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Two Sections, 32 Pages of Community News

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

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Volume 12, Issue 1 P U B L I S H I N G

Florida State Fair Captures Memories Staff Report


The ents used to 113th Florida make their State Fair is favorite treats scheduled from a “farm for February to fork” per9 through 20 spective and at the Florida get schooled State in the nuts Fairgrounds, and bolts of located at I-4 the confecand US Hwy tion-making 301 in process, Tampa. This while hearing year’s fascinating The Florida State Fair will take place February 9-20. theme, stories of “Picture Yourself at the Fair,” emphafamous sizes all of the unforgettable moments candy makers and chocolatiers. The waiting to be captured on camera. One Sweets exhibit is free with the price of of the new featured attractions promises admission. to make patrons of all ages as happy as “We want both loyal patrons and kids in a candy store as they learn about those who have not yet visited the the history of confections. The Sweets Fair to join us in making memories exhibit, along with rides, shows, conthat will last a lifetime,” said Cheryl certs, shopping, food and amazing aniFlood, executive director of the Florida mals and livestock, as well as Mildred State Fair Authority. “The Sweets W. and Doyle E. Carlton Jr. Cracker exhibit in particular will provide a fun Country and other exciting entertainand educational experience for all ment, promise non-stop fun – all at an ages.” excellent value and always with free In addition to thrilling rides, it parking. Discounted advance admission wouldn’t be the Florida State Fair and ride armband tickets are available without educational and entertaining for purchase attractions and performers. Where – at for the price of a movie ticket – can New at the Florida State Fair is you see a Sea Lion, a spectacular Big Sweets: A Tasty Journey, an interactive Top Circus, cheer on your favorite exhibit that utilizes a blend of traditional porker at the pig races, feed a giraffe and modern educational techniques to from your own hand, enjoy acts from explore candy’s history and role in popu- TV shows like America’s Got Talent, lar culture. There also is a giant Candy watch an amazing bear show, and be Land game perfect for fun photo ops, a thrilled by the dogs of K-9s in Flight? “beanboozled” taste test challenge Discounted admission and armband (grass flavored jelly beans anyone?) and tickets are available at candy-inspired art, including amazing Get the best replicas of famous paintings like the prices now through January 1. Tickets Mona Lisa, created with jellybeans. can be purchased at Florida Walgreens Visitors also learn about the ingredilocations through February 8.

See Page 26

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Hillsborough County’s Military Farm Tours Focus On Careers Beyond The Field

By Tamas Mondovics

Agribusiness, In an effort to Food Science provide military and Technology, veterans, Community reservists, transiSupported tioning active-duty Agriculture and personnel and Environmental their spouses an Protection opportunity to Aquaculture. explore career Participants will options available in the agriculture Local veterans and military personnel participate get a chance to in Hillsborough County’s annual Military visit a variety of industry, continAgriculture Tour. The event provides participants farming operaued Hillsborough opportunity to explore career options available in tions and the County officials the agriculture industry. University of Florida Gulf Coast have once again scheduled a free bus tour to a number of farms throughout the Research and Education Center in southern Hillsborough County. county. At each stop local officials and parThe Military Agriculture Tour ticipating business owners on hand will Program is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. highlight the diversity of agricultural operon Friday, February 3 at Hillsborough ations in Hillsborough County. County Extension Services, 5339 CR With seating limited, veterans and 579 in Seffner. Sporting more than local active duty military personnel are 93,000 veterans, Hillsborough County encouraged to pre-register at the event has the second highest veteran populapage by Wednesday, February 1. Lunch tion in Florida, and is soon to become will be provided. For more information on the first according to the U.S. Military Agriculture Tour community partDepartment of Veterans Affairs. ners and career resources for transitionThe annual event is organized ing veterans visit through a partnership between or contact Simon Bollin, Agribusiness Hillsborough County Economic Development, Hillsborough County Farm Development Manager, at 276-2735 or Bureau, Hillsborough County Extension Services and community partners committed to assisting transitioning veterans In This by providing meaningful connections to Issue quality civilian career opportunities and training. In preparation for the upcoming tour, county officials emphasized that WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS ................PG 8 today’s agriculture industries increasingly CHILDREN’S THEATRE ......................PG 10 focus on using technology and management systems for the production of food, CHALKLINES .....................................PG 12 medicine, consumer products and enerART SCHOLARSHIP ...........................PG 15 gy. “During the tour, veterans and transiEYE ON BUSINESS...........................PG 21 tioning military personnel will be introHOLISTIC HEALTH ..........................PG 23 duced to career paths and job opportunities within modern agriculture operations 15TH ANNIVERSARY .......................PG 25 and supporting industries,” said YEAR IN REVIEW.............................PG 30 Agribusiness Development Manager, Simon Bollin. READ MORE LOCAL NEWS ONLINE New areas in agriculture include: Precision Agriculture, Energy Crops,

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Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Detective, a former Florida International (FIU) starting quarterback David Tabor, talks football with some children gathered around in Brandon. Since its inception in 1845, HCSO has evolved into a full-service law enforcement agency, comprised of more than 4,000 law enforcement officers, detention deputies and civilians. Read about HCSO’s History Center in this edition’s Year In Review section.

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Volume 12, Issue 1

January 2017

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Brandon Edition

Wish Farms Hosts Fourth Annual Strawberry Picking Challenge To Benefit RCMA





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By Tamas Mondovics

Wish Farms, compete in a relayone of the largest style berry picking growers and shiprace is now schedpers of strawberries uled for Saturday, in Florida, is hostFebruary 11 at ing its Fourth Futch Farms, 3536 Annual Strawberry Futch Loop in Plant Picking Challenge. City. The competiMaloney tion is presented explained that the by the Florida day will have Photo Courtesy of Wish Farms something for Strawberry Local growers, farmers and residents pick everyone as it feaGrowers strawberries during third Annual Strawberry Association tures events such Picking Challenge, hosted last spring by Wish Farms. (FSGA) supporting as strawberry pickRCMA, a non-profit ing for children, a organization, founded in 1965, which now balloon artist, a face painter, games as operates child-care centers and charter well as live music. schools for Florida’s rural poor, particularAside from the money it raises, Wish ly farm workers’ children RCMA operates Farms owner, Gary Wishnatzki, put the 70 child-care centers and three charter family-friendly event’s purpose in perschools, throughout the state including 18 spective when he said, “By bringing this in the Tampa Bay area. event to the farm, we hope to bring According to event organizer, Amber awareness and education to the hard Maloney, being active in the community work of our farm workers.” has always been a focus of Wish Farms As a year round supplier of strawberand the Wishnatzki family. ries and blueberries and seasonal in The first Annual Strawberry Picking select vegetables, Wish Farms utilizes Challenge was presented by Bright How’s My Picking? a patented tool for House Networks in February 2014, and traceability to ensure quality by tying conhas raised $75,000 for RCMA. sumer feedback to the harvest time, field “Last year our event donated location as well as the picker. $78,000 to RCMA, and we are confident Organizers emphasize that sponsorthat this year will be just as successful,” ship opportunities at various levels are Maloney said. still available. In the last three years the charity For details please contact Wish challenge has raised more than $228,000 Farms Director of Marketing Amber for the children of RCMA. Maloney, 758-9027 or amber@wishThis year’s event, which brings locals growers and the public together, sports a For more information, visit www.wishnumber of participating teams as they


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Volume 12, Issue 1

Brandon Edition

e Sale, g a m m u R & t Plan roup Networking Gpen & Membership O More… Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

The Directors all have their own businesses to promote and have busy lives, but all enjoy giving of their time for their “SWAT Sisters”. Membership is open to all women. As a member, you would be able to bring business cards, brochures, and flyers to any of the

Riverview Garden Club Plant & Rummage Sale

On Saturday, February 25, the Riverview Garden Club will hold its annual Plant & Rummage sale from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. or until sold out. Cash only. Clothing, toys jewelry, household items, baked goods and half priced plants will be available. Admission and parking are free. It is located at 11020 Park Dr. in Riverview.

Riverview Garden Club Plant & Rummage Sale.

SWAT Membership Open To All Woman

Volunteering for an organization can be very rewarding. That is why the volunteer Directors of SWAT Networking are all staying for another year. “2016 was an amazing year for us,” stated Executive Director, Deb Gerard with First Impressions, the women of “S.W.A.T.” (Successful Women Aligning Together) feel a bond that does not exist in other The Directors of SWAT Networking groups throughout the area. groups. “We are a sisterhood,” states Gerard. chapter luncheons to put on a The organization provides a place “Members Only” table, as well as for women in business to gather and promote your business by doing a support each other. With seven chap- “30-second commercial” and of ters to choose from, the group has a course, Guests are always welcome Director for each chapter and each to attend as often and as many meetchapter has a “team” of volunteers. ings as they wish. For more informa-


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Moving Day Tampa Bay, A Walk for Parkinson's

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Charity Golf Tournament For Foundation That Mentors Teens Aging From Foster System

Grow Into You Foundation Inc., a local non-profit, recently started by certified Life Coach, Erin NeSmith CPC, ELI-MP, will be hosting a golf tournament fundraiser on Saturday, March 18. Grow Into You Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) aimed at providing coaching and mentoring to teens currently

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in the foster care system about to age out, or have recently aged out of the system. Most of the teens aging out of the foster care system have little to no support, and at the age of 18 find themselves struggling to figure out their next steps. As a coach with Grow Into You Foundation Inc., Erin NeSmith works one on one or in small groups with these teens to help them develop the skills they need to be independent adults. The foundation currently provides coaching to three foster care group homes in the Tampa Bay area, as well as working with several individual teens aged out or soon to age out. It is looking to expand so it can provide services to more teens. In order to expand, the foundation is looking to partner with local businesses, individuals and organizations to financially support these coaching services. The golf tournament will be held at River Hills Country Club at 1 p.m. to raise funds to provide services to more teens. Local businesses are being sought to provide donation items or items to be used for a silent auction. To donate or to register for the event or for more information, visit, or contact Erin NeSmith at or 966-4582.

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Brandon Edition

Pepin Academies Opens New Area School To Serve More Students

By Tamas Mondovics

Pepin learning and learnAcademies, the ing-related disabilinon-profit charter ties. school for stuWithin its camdents with learnpuses, Pepin curing and learningrently serves more related disabilithan 700 students ties received the from third to twelfth green light last grade and young month to comadults 18 to 22. The pletely vacate its school’s temporary temporary camRiverview campus Pepin officials are proud to open a new permanent campus in Riverview this month at 10530 Lake St pus in Riverview offering classes from grades three to 12. and move its Charles Blvd. has operation into a newly purchased and been serving nearly 200 students since renovated building nearby. 2013. The new facility will see a total of School officials were pleased to 275 students with capacity for 325 stureceive a Certificate of Occupancy for the dents including this year’s ninth and tenth school’s new 16,000 sq. ft. campus, locat- graders. ed at 9304 Camden Field in Riverview, Aside from the space for more stuwhich they said allows room for more stu- dents, the new campus includes a dents to be served by the tuition-free, library, an indoor space for physical public charter school, following the winter education, and an outdoor play area, break. The official opening date for the which the temporary building did not new Riverview campus is Monday, have. January 9. “We are thrilled to have this oppor“The new school was designed with tunity to help even more students in the the students we serve in mind, offering a Riverview community receive the spemulti-sensory environment center and cialized instruction Pepin Academies is skills lab, in addition to the nurturing known and recognized for,” Butz said. ‘whole’ child atmosphere our staff proButz spoke highly of the local comvides,” said Pepin Academies executive munity support when he said, “The dedidirector and school principal, Dr. Craig cated support from our community leadButz. ers, contractor Batson-Cook and parPepin Academies has been serving ents allowed our footprint to expand students for nearly two decades, in three through this exciting project and give schools – two in Hillsborough County and even more students with learning disone in Pasco County and are the only abilities the opportunity to be successful full-time exceptional student education in our unique learning environment.” (ESE) day schools in Florida that offer a Call 677-6700 or complete an applistandard diploma option for children with cation at

A True Must-See: Shen Yun 2017 Florida Tour Staff Report

Since its “Actually in inception, Shen China today, you Yun, a classical can no longer see Chinese dance performances of company has genuine traditional taken off with, Chinese culture,” literally, flying said principal dancer colors. The and choreographer pageantry of Yungchia Chen, who grew up in dance and China, later moved music is a stunto Taiwan. “China ning display of has many talented Chinese civiShen Yun tells the story of ancient China through the pageantry of dance and music. It dancers, but the cholization; with will take place at the Mahaffey Theater in St. dancers spinPetersburg on January 27 and 28 and again at reographers aren’t allowed to choreoning and leapThe Lakeland Center on February 7 and 8. graph any traditional ing through the pieces for them to perform. Shen Yun is air in brilliant handmade costumes that different.” take your breath away. There are countless stories in the Shen Yun Performing Arts had hum5,000 years of Chinese civilization. Chen ble beginnings as a small nonprofit noted, “The challenge is to find stories organization based in upstate New York. you can depict on stage. In a play, actors It was established in 2006 by a group of talented ethnic Chinese artists who came can speak, but in dance you have just a few minutes to tell a story, and do so with together with a shared vision—to revive clarity in a moving way.” genuine traditional culture and share it Shen Yun is home to an impressive with the world. number of artists from around the world. Watching Shen Yun gives you the And these artists take Shen Yun’s misfeeling of partaking in something historic, sion to heart. This can be seen in their in the resurrection of a long lost world. It energy and joyful enthusiasm on stage, is the world of ancient China, the Middle as well as their seamless cooperation, Kingdom that can no longer be seen the type that can only arise from a comeven in China today. It is a world where mon sense of greater purpose. divine beings and humans interact, a Shen Yun will perform at St. magical world of myth and legend. Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theater on Friday It is completely independent of the and Saturday, January 27-28; The regime of the Chinese Communist Party Lakeland Center on Tuesday and in Beijing. In fact, even though the comWednesday, February 7-8; and the pany annually performs to sold-out theVenice Performing Arts Center Fridayaters in New York and around the world, Sunday, February 10-12. Tickets and the company is not allowed to perform in information visit China.

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Brandon Edition

Volume 12, Issue 1

Haskins Celebrates Move To Valrico Edward Jones By Tamas Mondovics

Suspects Arrested For Voyeurism In Local Businesses Voyeurism or as its known by a slang expression 'Peeping Tom' has been the subject of several recent calls to the Sheriff’s office in recent days, including two business areas which include a Goodwill Store in Brandon and a Publix Supermarket in Riverview. On Thursday, January 5, 2017, at approximately 5 p.m. deputies received a call to the Goodwill Store, located at 1106 E. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon after customers spotted Jack Tempfer, 51 of Seffner, looking under the doors of the woman's changing room while a female was trying on clothes. HCSO reported that when deputies arrived at the store, Tempfer was detained, but during the subsequent investigation, Tempfer stated that the female was his girlfriend and he was at the store to pick up clothes. However, deputies reviewed store surveillance videos and confirmed Tempfer’s activity of peeping under the dressing room door. It was also established that the victim, Alena Naron, 50, was not the Peeping Tom’s girlfriend. Tempfer was arrested and charged with Voyeurism, Disorderly Moral Conduct and taken to the Hillsborough County Orient Road Jail. The Sheriff’s Office also reported a

second incident that took place a day prior involving a similar act. On Wednesday, January 4, 2017, a plain clothes female detective observed James McEwen, 28 of Riverview enter the women's restroom at the Publix located at 3863 S Hwy 301 in Riverview, FL. The Sheriff’s Office said that the detective also entered the restroom and entered an individual stall and locked it behind her and, while in the stall, she noticed the shadow of a person holding a phone, whom appeared to be video recording her from within the next a stall. The detective utilized her own surveillance equipment and confirmed that McEwen was video recording her attempt to use the restroom. Exiting the stall the detective arrested McEwen without incident. HCSO detectives have seized McEwen's cell phone and will execute a search warrant to determine if there are any other victims of McEwen's illegal video voyeurism. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s detectives are asking the public that if anyone suspect they may be a victim of McEwen's illegal video recording, to contact the Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200. HCSO is also urging residents to be vigilant as a way to avoid being victims of this crime. For information about HCSO please visit

Melissa Haskins has a strong investment in the Valrico area. Haskins was born and raised in the area, and she now lives here with her husband, Paul, and her three children, Madison, Christian and Taylor. She attended Brandon High School, and later went on to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Tampa and a master’s degree in business. She is now a financial advisor for Edward Jones in Valrico. With Haskins’ strong ties to the area, she wants to give back to the community in which she grew up. “I like helping people and making sure they reach their financial goals,” she said. Haskins has been a financial advisor for 14 years and has worked for Edward Jones for four years. Haskins not only runs her own office, but she is also in charge of recruiting for other financial advisors as well. As a financial advisor, she helps people budget their finances, as well as invest for their future. According to Haskins, Edward Jones started in 1922, and the company has 13,000 offices in the United States and Canada. They are a full service investment firm, meaning that they offer a variety of services, including selling stocks, bonds and mutual funds. They also do annuities, life insurance and long-term care, among other services.

By Nick Nahas

According to Haskins, one of the advantages of working with Edward Jones is that they have many offices, so that they are local in the communities and located near your neighborhood, in order to make customers feel comfortable. “We treat it as a personal approach, everybody is different and we

Melissa Haskins was born and raised in the Valrico area and attended Brandon High School and the University of Tampa.

create a plan based on that individual’s goals and needs,” said Haskins. Located at 1068 Bloomingdale Avenue, the branch has a coffee club that meets every Friday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. to discuss current events, the economy and investing. Haskins is dedicated to helping clients reach their full potential when it comes to their financial goals, whether it be planning for retirement, or saving money for their children to go to college. The office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. For more information you can reach Haskins at 685-5294.

January 2017

Page 7

Brandon Edition

Pre-Schoolentine al V , t n e m l l o r En e… Tea & Mor Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Open Enrollment for 2017-2018 School Year At Limona Village Chapel Children’s Center

Limona Village Chapel Children’s Center (LVC) is a leading preschool that has been serving the greater Brandon area for more than 30 years. It is located at 408 Limona Rd. in Brandon. LVC serves 3 and 4 year old children and is an approved VPK provider. Preschool hours are from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. with optional aftercare. LVC’s Open Enrollment period for the 2017-2018 school year will be from Tuesday, January 17-Friday, February 10. Registration forms can be picked up from the preschool office or printed from the website at If interested, submit an application any time during the open enrollment. All applications will be entered into a registration pool for consideration for the 2017-2018 school year. For more information, call the preschool office at 689-8385 x227.

Brandon Christian Women’s Connection Valentine Tea

The Brandon Christian Women’s

Connection welcomes all ladies to their annual Valentine Tea, Tea for Two, with ballroom dancing by Kelly Chandler on Monday February 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will take place in Bell Shoals Baptist Church Special Event Center, 2102 Bell Shoals Rd.

in Brandon. A full high tea/lunch with entertainment is $15. First time guests pay $10. No membership is required, but a reservation due to limited seating is requested by Friday, February 3. Please call Lillie at 740-0098 for reservation.

Events And Activities At Congregation Beth Shalom In The New Year

Congregation Beth Shalom will hold the following activities: Bible and Bagels - Saturday, January 23 at 9:45 a.m. - Join in as Rabbi Torop discusses Parashat Shemot: Moses—Son, Husband and Father. Light breakfast will be provided. Bring your own beverage. Jewish Singles over 50 - Frida Kahlo exhibit - Thursday, January 19, at 5 p.m. Visit the Frida Kahlo at The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. This 60+ piece exhibit showcases the extraordinary career and life of acclaimed 20th century artist, whose dreamlike work suggests that love and suffering create a new sense of beauty. The exhibition extends outdoors, where a special colDr. Amir Boules

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lection of flowers and plants representative of those in Kahlo’s own garden. Cost is $10. You must RSVP to Anita Clifford,, to join in on the fun. International Holocaust Remembrance Day - Sunday, January 22, at 3 p.m. (Doors open at 2 p.m.) This event is hosted by the Tampa Bay Consular Corps at the Italian Club, 1731 E 7th Ave., in Ybor City. There will also be a presentation of awards to winning students of the essay contest aimed at combating anti-Semitism. To attend, send an email request with your name, e-mail address, phone number, and address to Hon. Vincent Genovese, Also, please RSVP to Anita Clifford at, and she will save a seat. Practical Explanation of the

Customs of Death and Mourning Sunday, January 29, at 10 a.m. - Rabbi Torop will discuss, The Shiva House. Rabbi Torop will discuss the step-by-step guide through Jewish tradition. Further related programs will be offered throughout the year. Welcome the Sabbath at services on Friday evenings at 7:45 p.m. Oneg (nosh and mingle) will follow services. Everyone is welcome. Services on January 20 will take place at 7 p.m. at the Bolnick Ranch. Bring your own seating, a blanket for the weather, and a snack to share for oneg. Snacks will be at 6 p.m. Call office for address and more information. A Pot Luck dinner will be held before services on Friday, February 3 at 6 p.m. Congregation Beth Shalom is located at 706 Bryan Rd. in Brandon. For more information, call 681-6547.

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Page 8

Volume 12, Issue 1

Brandon Edition

USAmeriBank Connects Women Entrepreneurs

By Kate Quesada

Female busigiven by CNN ness women from Commentator all over the Kayleigh Tampa Bay area McEnany. gathered last “We had such month for the a great response launch of to our event that USAmeriBank’s we are looking fornew program ward to hosting intended to help something similar them network every quarter,” and grow. said Gibertini, who USAmeriBank recently Women launched its WE pro- mentioned that the gram with an event at group is also planEntrepreneurs the Tampa Yacht Club. Attendees included Matt (WE), the proSpruill, SVP/Marketing Director, Shelby Jones, ning social events gram is including hockey WE Coordinator, Cami Gibertini, SVP/Retail Market Manager and Director of Women USAmeriBank’s games and charity Entrepreneurs, Joe Chillura, EVP/CEO, and way of reaching runs, in addition to Amanda Stephens, EVP/CFO. out to its female other fundraisers customers and community offering them and networking meetings. hand-crafted banking solutions and netBrandon resident and group memworking and educational opportunities. ber Kelly McKnight, owner of Brandon resident and USAmeriBank Automated Petroleum, attended the Senior Vice President Cami Gibertini is opening and plans to join the group for director of the program and a member of future events. the 12-person panel responsible for “I appreciate the opportunity to organizing the group. “Our bank is fortumeet ambitious and intelligent women nate to have a group of really strong who share the business side of life and female leaders and while we have been took the risk and gained the satisfacout there for years working with women tion that came along with it to achieve business owners, we now have an official success,” said McKnight. way to help,” said Gibertini, who added The group also has a strong social that members range from small business media presence and is hoping to use owners to attorneys. “We want to enrich its Facebook page, which can be found our members in both their personal and by searching USABWE, and to help professional lives,” said Gibertini. connect members. USAmeriBank The November launch attracted offers personal and business banking more than 250 local business people to with locations in Florida and Alabama, the Tampa Yacht Club for networking and including 13 offices in the Tampa Bay education on topics ranging from small area. For information, visit business loans to upcoming changes in or contact the economy. The key note speech was Gibertini at 315-3122.


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January 2017

Brandon Edition

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Armor Guard Painting Offers A High Level Of Protection For Your Home

Ippolito Honored For Lifetime Commitment To Agriculture In Hillsborough County

Owning a home cially designed to is a wonderful thing. ensure that the exteAll homeowners rior of your home is know that their maximally protected homes require a lot against the eleof maintenance to ments. protect their investThe process is ment, and that extensive. First, an inspection of the includes painting both You can count home is completed. the interior and the on Armor Then, a three to sixexterior of the home. Guard Painting inch trench is dug If you could opt & Coating to provide a high around the perimefor a method of proof protection to both the interior and ter of the home to tection that is guaran- level exterior of your home thus protecting it prevent ground teed for a longer perifrom the harsh Florida elements. moisture from seepod, would you ing into the foundation which causes choose it? Armor Guard Painting & cracks. Next, the home is pressure Coating offers that extra level of protecwashed, patches and repairs are done tion. and the home is masked off. Then, the Armor Guard Painting & Coating is one of Florida’s largest exterior and interi- primer/sealer is applied. A final coat is then applied and the trim is done. The or painting and coating companies servcrew will then clean up the property, and ing most of central and southern Florida, a Completion Certificate is completed. including right here in the greater In addition to painting and coating the Brandon area. exterior and interior of your home, Armor Armor Guard Painting & Coating Guard Painting & Coating can also prooffers a variety of options using superior tect your pool deck and pavers, roof, products that extend the longevity of the garage floor and windows. protection the products give your home. Armor Guard Painting & Coating is a They are specially formulated to withstand Florida’s harsh sub-tropical climate. family owned business. Rodney Yavorsky, the owner, has more than 20 They include the Armor Coat systems years of experience in the industry. that provide guaranteed protection for 10 Yavorsky said, “We have perfected the or 20 years. Armor Guard Painting & process of protecting both the interior and Coating also offers an exterior standard exterior of your home. Call us today and coating system that is guaranteed for 10 we will get you scheduled and your projyears and exterior painting systems that ect completed within days.” last seven, five or three years. For information, visit Regardless of the system you or call 727-501choose, you get Armor Guard Painting & 1264. Coating’s 10 step process. This is spe-

Each year, men served on the adviand women who sory council of the have dedicated Hillsborough their lives to the County Cooperative agriculture industry Extension Service in Hillsborough and was named the County are honored Extension’s Volunteer of the at the Annual Year. Harvest Awards Ippolito retired Ceremony. The in 1989. However, most prestigious of retirement has not the awards is the stopped Ippolito’s Harvest Lifetime Tony Ippolito became the 26th recipient of extraordinary Achievement the Harvest Lifetime Achievement Award. involvement with Award. In 2016, food. Since 1993, Ippolito has volunBrandon resident, Tony Ippolito became teered, along with his wife of 58 years, the 26th recipient of Harvest Lifetime Jean, at the Seffner Methodist Church Achievement Award. Meals on Wheels (MOW). “I cook, along Ippolito worked as the General with others on the MOW team, and each Manager of the privately-owned Tampa Monday, 85-90 meals are delivered to Wholesale Market for 32 years. Ippolito homes for individuals who are homegrew up around the market because his bound,” said Ippolito. The Brandon Meals dad was one of the businesses at the market. Ippolito said, “The interaction with on Wheels has over 19 churches that participate Monday through Friday to the farmers who came to sell their prodserve 275 individuals on a daily basis. ucts was very gratifying as business was Ippolito said that he was shocked conducted between sellers and buyers.” In addition to working as the General and humbled when he found out that he would receive the Harvest Lifetime Manager, Ippolito was a frequent guest on an early morning show, “RFD Florida.” Achievement Award. “In my view, farmers and the industry folks that support farmThe show aired on WFLA-TV. Ippolito explained, “For more than 20 years in the ing are the very core of the community. I felt honored beyond words to be recog1960’s and 1970’s, on Fridays of each nized and to be included.” week, I was a guest on to display and Ippolito turned 93 in November. “I describe fruits and vegetables that were appreciate so much each day that allows available locally. It was challenging and me the freedom and the resources to also very rewarding for me to serve as the ambassador for healthy food prepara- continue my small contributions to the health and care of people in our commution and consumption.” nity,” said Ippolito. Ippolito was also a civic leader and

By Kathy L. Collins

By Kathy L. Collins


Page 10

Brandon Edition

Volume 12, Issue 1

Center Place Of Brandon Offers Live Theatre Specially Designed For Children

Young Artists Adorn The Walls Of Hospital’s Newly Refurbished Pediatric Center Unit

Center Place of non-members and Brandon has a great $6.50 per student for lineup of children's schools and day theatre for the wincares. Center Place ter/spring season. offers complimentary Center Place's chiltickets to A Kid's dren's theatre is availPlace, Folsom able to children from Elementary ELP and all schools in Eastern a few other special Hillsborough County needs programs. including public and For some chilprivate schools, day dren, Center Place's cares and home children's theatre is the school programs. The only opportunity for shows are designed them to experience live For over 30 years, Center Place of for children three theatre. Each year, Brandon has been giving children in years old and up. All the area the chance to experience live over 15,000 children theatre with their monthly Children’s are given the opportushows are offered at Theatre program. 10:15 a.m. or 1:45 nity to see theatre. "We p.m. believe that the whole community beneFirst, Biscuit by ArtsPower on Friday, fits from exposing our young people to January 27. Biscuit learns about the joys the world of fine arts," said Dawn Galia, of having a family. Executive Director of Center Place. Galia Next, Let Freedom Sing performed added, "We will continue with our quality by Stages Productions on Wednesday, programming to enhance the lives of chilFebruary 1, Thursday, February 2 and dren in our community," added Galia. Friday, February 3. This show tells the Center Place has been offering this story of our nation from its beginning to invaluable service since the mid 1980's. the present. Stages Productions has been offering Then, Wednesday, March 1 and performance at Center Place since the Thursday, March 2, Katie Adams Make beginning. Believe Theatre will present Anansi and If you are a business and would like The Tree of Life. This show is a collection to sponsor a children's theatre performof African tales told with puppetry, storyance, contact Galia at 685-8888."We telling and audience participation. would introduce your business at the In May, Stages Productions will pres- beginning of each show and put your ent the timeless tale of Charlotte's Web. logo on our website and flyers as a sponThe shows will be held on Wednesday, sor of children's theatre," said Galia. May 3, Thursday, May 4 and Friday, May For information, visit www.center5. Tickets are $6 for members and $7 for

Artwork Of The winners were Young Artists also asked to return to Adorn The Walls the hospital this past Of Brandon December for a special Regional Hospital’ signing event. The Newly Refurbished young artists were Pediatric Center asked to personalize Unit their artwork with their In Brandon autographs. The artRegional work will now become Hospital’s newly a permanent installaArea children who participated in refurbished tion on the Pediatric Brandon Regional Hospital’s art contest Center Unit. Pediatric Center for the newly refurbished Pediatric Unit, the original In commenting on Center Unit were asked to personalize their winning artwork with their signature. the event, Jenny artwork of 15 young area artists adorn the walls. The Bregman, Child Life Specialist said, “We artwork was submitted during the hospiknow that the patients in the pediatric tal’s first ever Easter Egg Hunt back in unit will be excited to see that kids, just March. Over 300 submissions came in like them in the community, created the from children from Brandon, Valrico, artwork on their walls.” Riverview, FishHawk, Wimauma and Brandon Regional Hospital is a Dover. The young artists ranged in age member of HCA West Florida Division. from four to 13 years old. Brandon Regional Hospital is a 422 bed Children were encouraged to paint acute facility that offers a number of spesomething and participate in the contest. cialty services including The Pediatric The children were given a prompt to Center. The Pediatric Center includes a paint something that makes them happy, dedicated Emergency Room, a 15 bed and of the 300 submissions, 15 were inpatient unit, an eight bed Intensive selected. Artwork was selected based on Care Unit and a Level III Neonatal originality, creativity and artistic ability. Intensive Care Unit. Winners received an award and recogniThe hospital also offers the latest tion at a dessert reception. advancements in cardiovascular surgery The artwork was judged by memand minimally invasive techniques perbers of the hospital’s Pediatric Patient formed at the Heart and Vascular Center. and Family Advisory Board. This board is The Women’s Center, which includes composed of a group of former pediatric Baby Suites, is a state of the art unit. patients and their families who collaboBrandon Regional Hospital is located rate with clinicians and hospital staff on at 119 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon. For more policy and program decisions related to information, please visit www.brandonrethe Pediatric Center Unit.

By Kathy L. Collins

By Kathy L. Collins

January 2017

Page 11

Brandon Edition

HCPS School Security Services Seek Support For Third Annual Golf Tourney

By Tamas Mondovics

Hillsborough cal staff hopes to County Public see all who are Schools (HCPS) able and willing to School Security support the event, Services is gearto enjoy a great ing up to host its day of great golf Third Annual and good times at Hillsborough a fantastic golfing HCPS School Security Services is seeking players and support for its Third Annual County School venue. Hillsborough County School Security Golf Security Golf Raffle and Tournament. Tournament. auction prizes as According to HCPS School Security well as contests including the longest officials, the 4-person scramble format drive, closest to the pin, putting and hole event now is the department’s way to in one contests are all on the menu. bring the community together for a day to “Our goal is to establish this golfing play the sport they love, while giving back event as an annual endeavor for years to to the community by means of raising come,” Newman said, while emphasized money for the students they serve. that all proceeds will go toward the HCPS “This is our way of giving back to the Security Services Sunshine Fund, which community, as we raise money for scholfinances a variety of training needs and arships, support our students during the honor guard ceremonial events not to holidays and helping them with a wide mention the potential scholarship opporvariety of school supplies including tablets tunities. Registration is from 12 p.m.— and laptop computers,” said HCPS 12:45 p.m. as Tee Time is scheduled for Security Services Corporal and event 1 p.m. Shotgun. Abruzzese said the tourorganizer Robert Abruzzese. ney is limited to the first 144 players to The tourney scheduled for Monday, join the festivities while supporting the March 27 at The Claw at USF Golf Club, students and department. located on 46th St., just north of Fletcher Tournament entry fees are: $85 per Ave. raises money for the department’s person, 4-some discount price of $300 Honor Guard, which represents the state and includes golf cart, greens fees, bevand the community. erages and dinner. Dress code applies “The HCPS School Security are and consists of collared shirts, no denims committed to providing the best service or cutoffs, and soft spikes only. and security for all students, staff and visiChecks are payable to Security tors to the nearly 300 campuses,” said Services and mailed to Bob Abruzzese HCPS Security Services Chief, John C/O Security Services, 2920 North 40th Newman. St. Tampa, FL 33605. For information call Newman added that department’s 623-3996 or visit officers along with its command and cleri-

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Page 12

Volume 12, Issue 1

Brandon Edition

Photos and story by Tamas Mondovics

District Hosts Kindergarten Round Up & Announces Excellence In Education Finalists Hillsborough County Public Schools hold a Kindergarten Round Up period for the 20172018 School Year

Families interested in enrolling their child in their assigned, attendance area school should attend the Kindergarten Round Up event scheduled for that school. Area schools hosting the event includes Valrico Elementary School. School officials said the event is now scheduled to begin 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 23. Families interested in enrolling their child in their assigned, attendance area school should attend the Kindergarten Round Up event scheduled for that school, which offers the student a firsthand look at kindergarten life, introduces parents to the school, and allows attendees to become acquainted with the campus. Parents who attend are encouraged to bring their child’s birth certificate, health and home address documentation to register their child for kindergarten. Parents unable to attend the Round Up are encouraged to enroll their child in school by the end of June. Parents who would like to research their kindergarten options may visit various Round Ups and

apply for School Choice or a magnet school during the application period. The Hillsborough Choice application period for elementary schools closes January 20. Families can apply directly online for School Choice and magnet options by visiting and searching “Go Choice.” For a detailed list of Kindergarten Round Ups and a list of accepted documentation for enrollment, parents should visit the district website at and see the “Kindergarten Round Up” information on the home page. For more information, contact Terrie Dodson-Caldevilla at 272-4048.

Hillsborough County Public Schools officials were pleased to post the names of twelve finalists of the 2017 Excellence in Education Awards. District officials explained that each year, all area schools nominate the top candidates for three categories, including, the Ida S. baker Diversity Educator of the Year, Instructional Support Employee of the year and Teacher of the Year. The finalists were notified of the news in surprise visits earlier this

Finalists For Excellence In Education Awards:

Instructional Support Employee of the Year Finalists • Nancy Alexander, Wimauma Elementary School • Terranique Ragins, Franklin Boys Preparatory School • Roma Soogrim-EsteMcDonald, Muller Elementary Magnet School Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year Finalists • Olivia Williams Holcombe, Colson Elementary • Aaron Lee Berry, Alonso High School • Pedro Castrejon, Jefferson High School Teacher of the Year Finalists • Carrie D. Donatelli, Turner Bartels K- 8 • Katerina M. Pawloski, Tinker K-8 • Lauren Schnebly Hackworth, Mitchell Elementary School • Maria Torres-Crosby, Memorial Middle School • Elizabeth Walker, Spoto High School • Cathelyn Gregoire, Armwood High School

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month at their school and were joined by Superintendent Eakins, School Board members, Hillsborough Education Foundation, sponsors and school district staff. The winners of will be announced at the Awards ceremony planned for Tuesday, February 28 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

Local Schools Lead Graduation Rate as Hillsborough County Claims Increase in Student Success The Florida Department of

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Education released high school graduation rates last month showing the positive news for Hillsborough County Public Schools, including a 3-percentage point increase over the previous year. According to the report, the District, managed increase its graduation rate from 76 percent in 20142015 to 79.1 percent in 2015-2016. The graduate rate includes all schools that fall under the umbrella of Hillsborough County Public Schools, including charter, career centers and alternative schools. While HCPS’ 27 traditional high schools are at a graduation rate of 86.2 percent, Newsome High has managed to lead the way at 97.5 percent. Armwood, High is now boasting of increasing its graduation rate by 8 percentage points to 72.5, while Middleton High increased its graduation rate by 9 percentage points to 74.7. School officials said the increase means that students have more opportunities for post-secondary education, more opportunities for better jobs with higher wages, and more opportunities to support a family in the future. This benefits the entire community by growing our economy. Superintendent Jeff Eakins said that working together with the School Board he has created a District Strategic Plan where raising the graduation rate continues to be a top priority. “Our graduation rate shows me we care about each child. It shows me we are not going to stop. It shows me we are going to get to every child and make sure they have every opportunity to receive a standard diploma,” Eakins said. School officials were also pleased with the report showing the District’s success of closing the achievement gap between its African American, Hispanic and white students. For more information please visit

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January 2017

Brandon Edition

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Page 14

Volume 12, Issue 1

Brandon Edition

ke A a T , o c c ba Quit Toter Gardener Mas & More… Class Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Master Gardener Class Getting Ready For Spring At Bloomingdale Library

On Wednesday, February 1from 6:30 -7:30 p.m., there will be a clinic called Getting Ready for Spring given by Master Gardener Nicole Pinson at the Bloomingdale Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. This event is sponsored by the Hillsborough County Master Gardner Program of the Hillsborough County Extension, University of Florida, IFAS Extension. This talk focuses on how to start planning a new garden or how to care for existing landscape along with understanding your soil, care, maintenance, troubleshooting, pests and diseases.

Brandon Lions Club Sold Luminaries To Raise Funds For Eye And Hearing Organizations

With the help of Boy Scout Troop 61 from the Presbyterian Church of Bloomingdale, the Brandon Lions Club put together 750 luminary kits that were sold in time for Christmas.

The Brandon Lions Club has been selling the kits for over 10 years, which are used to put on display Christmas Eve by lighting the candles put into white bags which have sand as ballast. They are put along driveways and sidewalks when the candles are lit make for an evening scenic presentation especially in local subdivisions. Proceeds are donated to 501(C3) organizations and special eye/hearing care cases. For more information on the Brandon Lions Club, visit

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David Korte Reaches 100 Gallon Donor Milestone

David Korte has been sharing his “Gift of Life” by donating blood and platelets for many years. The day after Christmas, he achieved his 100 Gallon Donor Milestone at OneBlood’s Brandon Donor Center, located at 722 W. Lumsden Rd. Korte started donating whole blood in 1990 in honor of his grandmother who was fighting breast cancer in another state. Blood donors there were For the past 10 years, the Brandon Lions helping her, so he would help others Club has offered luminary kits for use on here in Christmas Eve. Tampa Bay. offers free tools In 1993, due and services to to his comhelp you get mitment, started. Free good veins Community and B posiworksite and clintive blood ic groups will be type he was offered, with proasked to grams covering become a all forms of platelet tobacco. Free donor and Nicotine replacegive blood in ment patches, that special gum and way. He David Korte has donated 100 gallons of blood. lozenges will be then began available, while supplies last and if medto donate platelets as often as every ically appropriate. Locally, classes will be two weeks, 24 times a year. available: Monday, January 23 and Generally healthy people age 16 or February 20 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at older who weigh at least 110 pounds Oakfield Medical Plaza, 276 S. Moon can donate blood. All donors receive a Ave., Ste. 260 in Brandon; Tuesday, wellness checkup including blood presJanuary 31 and February 28 from 5:30sure, temperature, iron count, pulse and 7:30 p.m. at Bloomingdale Regional cholesterol screening, plus a surprise Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in gift. Valrico. For more information, Pre-registration is required by calling visit or call 888-936-6283.

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Organization Announces Application Dates For 2017 Charlie Hounchell Art Stars Scholarships

By Kathy L. Collins

Tampa Bay TBBCA has awardBusinesses for ed 55 scholarships Culture and the to area students. Arts (TBBCA) Past winners have has issued a “A attended prestigious Call for institutions including Applicants” for its The Juilliard School, 2017 Charlie New York University’s Tisch Hounchell Art School of the Arts, Stars Savannah College of Scholarships Art and Design, The Program. The University of South program proLillian Kraack of Lithia ( Rt) received the Florida and The vides financial TBBCA 2016 Charlie Hounchell Art Stars of Tampa. University support to stuScholarship for Vocal Music.She is standing Last year, two dents who live in with TBBCA Board Treasurer, Stephen Gay and 2016 Vocal Music Judge, Dawne local students were Hillsborough, Eubanks. awarded scholarPinellas and ships. Lillian Kraack of Lithia, graduated Pasco Counties to help them pursue from Newsome High School. Kraack won higher education in the arts. for Vocal Music and now attends Each year, $15,000 is awarded to Oklahoma City University where she is juniors and seniors in the above-refermajoring in musical theatre and vocal perenced counties. The scholarships are formance. In addition to Kraack, Sabrina awarded based on merit and artistic abiliDowning of Valrico received a scholarship ty in the fields of instrumental music, for dance. She is a graduate of Howard vocal music, theatre, dance, visual arts W. Blake High School and is now pursuand literary arts. Qualified students may ing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance and apply in one, more or all disciplines via a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary separate applications. Guidelines and the application for the natural sciences at the University of South Florida. 2017 Charlie Hounchel Art Stars TBBCA is a non-profit 501(c )(3). For Scholarship Program can be found at over 27 years, TBBCA has united businesses in support of arts education, and scholarships. There is no fee to apply. culture and the arts in our community. Completed application are due by The organization is based on the philosoMonday, February 20, 2017 and can be phy that “the arts are good for business, mailed to TBBCA at P.O. Box 559, and business is good for the arts.” Tampa, FL 33601. The winners will be For information, contact TBBCA announced in April. The TBBCA program Executive Director, Susana Weymouth at is named in honor of TBBCA Past President, Charlie Hounchell. Since 2007,

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Edible Arrangements Launches New Edible To Go Service

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Edible blends and bringing back Arrangements is their fruit salads. They widely known for its even offer frozen hot unique fresh fruit chocolate smoothies for displays that have customers to indulge in made eating fruit so on days that healthy just much more fun. won’t cut it. Now, Edible From the Edible To Arrangements Go menu the two most launched its new popular smoothies are Edible To Go servthe Liquid Sunshine that ice. It allows cusoffers a tasty blend of tomers to drop by and choose a smoothie from their menu or customize your own smoothie. Luckily, Edible Edible Arrangements new Edible to Go service features a variety Arrangements is of fresh fruit smoothies and other healthy treats for customers to here at 3455 Lithia choose from. Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico. What makes Edible To Go strawberry, banana, and pineapples and unique for customers is it uses fresh the Night at the RoxBerry which contains fruits like banana, cantaloupe, blueberry, strawberry and blueberry fruits and strawberry, honeydew, and pineapple yogurt, according to Seal. that are cut fresh every day. Besides the Seal said she originally loved being pure fruit smoothies Edible To Go also an Edible Arrangements owner for the offers a wide variety of ingredients like happiness her business brought to the whey protein, yogurt, flax seed, and oats community and her passion is still presto name a few. ent today with the Edible To Go service. “This is a great start to a healthy new “I like bringing happiness and smiles year,” Cathy Seal the owner of the to faces,” Seal said. “People love our Valrico Edible Arrangements said of the combination of healthy treats.” new service. To find an Edible To Go menu and The service all about the customer more information you can visit ediand finding the healthy treat they prefer, Edible according to Seal. The service even Arrangements in Valrico is open from 8 goes beyond smoothies and offering difa.m.-7p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. ferent treats like fresh fruit parfaits, on Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on chocolate dipped fruit cones, froyo fruit Sunday.



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Page 16

Volume 12, Issue 1


Brandon Edition

Get Tickets Early As Center Place Presents Developer Plans For Assisted Living And Retirement Residency On Lithia Pinecrest Rd. In Valrico Its 27th Annual Wild Dame Night By Tamas Mondovics By Kathy L. Collins

side of Lithia Pinecrest Rd., will have 100 parking places, spread all around the three story building, with room for 145 suites. Based on its conceptual design and artists rendition, the entire facility is promising to be surrounded by mature trees and landscaping. Valrico Rd. Addressing the concern of increased traffic at the facility’s planned entrance on Lithia Pinecrest Rd. just north of the Lithia Pinecrest Rd., and Valrico Rd, intersection, Pressman said the impact to the already busy roadway will be minimal. “Just to be sure, this is a senior citizen residency, which means its residents will generate very limited traffic,” Pressman said. “The facility will have very low impact on the roadway.” The first Hillsborough County Zoning Hearing Master meeting for the Valrico Retirement Residence development is scheduled for Monday, February 20, at 6 p.m. at the 2nd floor Board Room at County Center, located at 601 E. Kennedy Blvd in downtown Tampa. A public hearing in front of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners is also scheduled for Tuesday, May 9. For more information, contact or call 2725600.


An artist rendition gives a picture of a 50,000 sq. ft., senior citizen retirement facility planned in Valrico.





Hawthorn Retirement Group, an independent and assisted living management company has turned its attention to a nearly 10-acre site in the heart of Valrico to build a brand new senior citizen retirement residence. In hopes of expanding its senior citizen facilities in Florida, the Vancouver, WA.-based company is planning to build the new Valrico residence, which would add to its list of 56 retirement, personal care, assisted living and memory care communities it manages throughout the United States and Canada. As the developer, Hawthorn Retirement Group, represented by Todd Pressman, with Pressman & Associates, Inc., applied for rezoning (17-0166) last November, requesting to change the nearly 400,000 sq. ft. parcel located on the west side of the intersection of Lithia Pinecrest and Valrico Rd., from R (residential) to a PD (Planned Development). The 53,000 sq. ft. facility located across from a pond and lift station, presently under construction on the east

tR es cr

Ladies, it is ming at Center that time of the Place. Dawn year again when Galia, you get to gather Executive your friends and Director of get ready for a wild Center Place night at Center said, “Wild Place's 27th Dame Night Annual Wild Dame helps with our Night. This fun and Children's theater programfabulous event will Center Place will host its 27th Annual Wild Dame ming. Over take place on Night on Saturday, February 18. This is a fun and 15,000 children Saturday, fabulous night for ladies to get together and supFebruary 26 at port the arts. All proceeds from the event benefit each year from children's programming at Center Place. Center Place public schools, located at 619 Vonderburg Dr. in private schools, daycares and homeBrandon. The fun begins at 6 p.m. with schooling families come and enjoy our social time. live theater at Center Place featuring This ladies only event usually sells Stages Productions, Inc., Katie Adams out fast, so get your tickets now. Tickets Make Believe Theater and ArtsPower go on sale on Friday, January 6 at 10 each year. This may be the only theater a.m. Tickets are just $60 per person or experience that some of these children ever get to experience.” you can be a true supporter of the arts, Galia added, “It is important to Center and sponsor a table for just $800. Please Place to continue to offer our quality pronote that there are a limited number of gramming. The arts do make a differtickets. This year’s theme is Biker Babes ence.” Rally Around America. Stages Center Place, a registered non-profit, Productions, who has performed at was established in 1976. Its members are Center Place's Wild Dame Night for over dedicated to the promotion of the fine arts 20 years, will present Let Freedom Sing. and civic involvement. Center Place offers You will not want to miss this special cultural enrichment through a variety of presentation. programs including monthly exhibitions of In addition to social time and a spefine, original art; art education for both cial presentation by Stages Productions, children and adults; and the performing ladies will enjoy wine, a sit down catered arts. For information on the 27th Annual dinner and decadent desserts which has become a tradition of Center Place’s Wild Wild Dame Night and other upcoming events, visit Dame Night. All proceeds from this very or call 685-8888. special event benefit children’s program-



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January 2017

Page 17

Brandon Edition

s r u o H e c i f f Local O r e n o i s s i m For Com ore… White & M Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Commissioner Stacy White Hosts Community Office Hours in Brandon

Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy R. White, District 4, will host community office hours at the Brandon Regional Library in Room #2 in Brandon, to hear from residents without them having to travel to County Center in downtown Tampa. Commissioner White and his staff welcome this opportunity to meet residents one-on-one as they sign in to discuss their thoughts and concerns on various projects and community issues taking place in Hillsborough County. No appointment is necessary. Residents are seen individually on a first-come, first-served basis. The community office hours are on Tuesday, January 31 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The Brandon Regional Library is located at 619 Vonderburg Dr.

Hillsborough County to Recognize Environment’s Protectors Hillsborough County wants to

honor those whose efforts to protect the environment have made a lasting difference in residents’ quality of life. The Hillsborough County Board of County

Commissioners on Thursday unanimously approved the creation of the Theodore Roosevelt Hillsborough Forever Conservation Award. The award will be given annually to an individual or group who exemplifies dedication to preserving

Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy R. White, District 4

the County’s natural resources. The award is named after Theodore Roosevelt Jr., the 26th president of the United States and noted conser-

vationist who placed more than 200 million acres under public protection. The award was championed by Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White. “This is another way to recognize those who work so hard to

Hillsborough County and “be someone who shows persistence and dedication to long-term conservation of the County’s natural resources, demonstrates integrity in performance toward conservation goals, and displays attributes of true conservation stewardship,’’ according to the award criteria. Nominations will go through the Jan K. Platt Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program General Committee, which will send a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners for approval. The Board will hold an awards ceremony in April to coincide with National Arbor Day. Nominations must be made by 5 p.m. on February 10 and can be sent to Ross Dickerson at or by mail at Hillsborough On December 11, the residents of New Horizons Group Home were treated to some Christmas Cheer by the County Environmental ‘America’s Country Darlins’. Lands Management, 10940 McMullen Rd., preserve the lands, waters, and Riverview FL 33569. wildlife that make Hillsborough Visit the county website at County special,’’ White said.“Hopefully, this award will not just rec- ernment/board-of-county-commissionognize their efforts, but also encourers/t-roosevelt-hillsborough-conservaage others to keep up the fight to pro- tion-award. Call 672-7876 for more tect the environment.’’ information.. Nominees must live or work in

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Page 18

Volume 12, Issue 1

Brandon Edition

New Chick-fil-A South Brandon Soon To Open With Chance To Win Free Meals For A Year

By Tamas Mondovics

The grand opening ceremony for the much-anticipated, brand new Chick-fil-A South Brandon is now scheduled for Thrusday morning, January 26. Owned and operated by Paul and Tammy Holmberg, the new restaurant is located at 2010 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, and is a much-wel-

Alex Williams, 20 pauses for a photo while filling out an application for part-time work at the Chick fil-A South Brandon restaurant scheduled to open on Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico this month.

comed addition to the recently opened Crest Pointe Towne Plaza, anchored by the new Walmart Supercenter. As part of the opening celebration and festivities, local residents are invited to an overnight parking lot campout beginning the day before. Come daylight, the first 100 customers are promised to be rewarded with the ultimate prize of free Chick-fil-A meals for a year. The special event is part of Chick-filA’s signature First 100 event dating back to 2003. The new 130 seat restaurant is just one of dozens of privately owned and operated Chick-fil-A restaurants to open this month, featuring a double drive thru, serving guests 6 a.m-10 p.m, Monday through Saturday. The Chick-fil-A South Brandon will traditionally remain closed on Sundays the same as all other Chick-fil-A restaurants now numbering more than 2,000 across the nation. While serving freshly prepared breakfast and daily entrees, the basic Chick-filA Chicken Sandwich, which perhaps because of its simplicity, and of course great taste, continues to lead the charts as many guests' favorite. With attention to details while promising the best service possible, the Holmberg’s are confident of the successful opening and operation of their new restaurant, which is not their first. In fact, Chick-fil-A South Brandon will be the couple’s third Chick-fil-A in the area and the fourth, counting the one they had owned and operated at Regency Mall in Racine, Wisconsin in 1992.

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“In 1998, we relocated and transferred ownership and opened the Chickfil-A at Lake Brandon Village, which we currently own and operate,” Tammy proudly said, adding that in 2013 the two took over ownership and operations at the Westfield Mall Brandon, until December 2016. “We are currently hiring and training the needed 100 employees,” said Tammy’s son Jake, who will be managing the new restaurant. While welcoming applicants under a temporary canopy set up on the parking lot just outside the nearly completed restaurant, Jake took pride in the great turnout of prospective new full-time and part-time employees. ‘We have had more than 200 apply within the first couple of days,” he said. The Holmbergs’ success is only a continuation of what was started by Chick-fil-A founder, Truett Cathy, who has opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia in 1946. Cathy founded the Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. in 1967. More familiar to most, however, is the picture of the now famous renegade cow, caught in the act in 1995 with a paintbrush in mouth, painting the three words "EAT MOR CHIKIN" on a Texas billboard. Chick-fil-A's family owned and privately held restaurant company system sales exceeded $6 billion in 2015, which marks 48 consecutive years of sales growth. Aside from serving great food, Chick-fil-A South Brandon is promising its successful relationships with local schools, organizations and neighboring businesses. For information about the new restaurant and guidelines for the grand opening First 100 event, visit

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Brandon Edition

The Village Players To Perform Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap This February If you love a good murder mystery, then you will not want to miss the Village Players’ version of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. All shows will be at the historic James McCabe Theatre located at 506 5th St. in Valrico. The actors with The The Village Players are getMousetrap opens ting ready to perform Agatha Christie’s The on Friday, Mousetrap this February. February 3 with the now legendary Village Players’ Opening Night Dinner Theatre. Tickets for opening night are $25. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. and the show will be presented at 8 p.m. All proceeds go towards renovation and maintenance of the historic James McCabe Theatre. Shows will be performed over three weekends in February. Fridays, February 10 and 17 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, February 4, 11 and 18 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, February 5 and 12 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $13 for seniors, military with ID and students with ID, and $12 for groups of 10 or more (advanced reservations are required). The Mousetrap opened on London’s West End in 1952 and has been running there continuously ever since. The play is known for its twist ending. Audiences are traditionally asked to not reveal the end-

By Kathy L. Collins

ing to anyone. The Mousetrap is set in a boarding house where strangers are stranded during a snow storm. The characters include the newly married couple who run the boarding house, a spinster, an architect, a retired Army major, a strange little man who claims his car overturned in a snow drift, a jurist and a policeman who shows up on skis. Among this group is a murderer. One by one each character reveals their sordid pasts are revealed until the last nerve ending moment, the identity and motive of the murderer is revealed. Gail Pierce, a producer and director with the Village Players said, “I oversee six shows a year and direct one or two of them. I especially enjoy murder mysteries and historical true stories. I prefer to direct these shows because everyone enjoys a good murder mystery.” Pierce added, “We may not be the Straz Center, but I believe we are a good solid community theatre that offers residents not only affordable, quality theatre, but also the chance to be involved in a production. The door is always open for someone who wants to get started working on a show.” Tickets available at or call 480-3147 or 643-8292.

Shapes Fitness For Women In Brandon Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

By Tatiana Ortiz

Keeping up with the latest fitness trends might seem tiresome. In fact, Shapes Fitness for

Women in Brandon continuously remain updated with these trends for the last 25 years. The health club will celebrate its 25th anniversary. The programs here aim to be designed for women of all levels, which include those who never stepped foot inside a traditional health club. “We make sure that the programming stays very trendy and innovative,” Valrico resident and franchise owner Ann Gilbert of Shapes for Women in Brandon said. Gilbert also owns the Riverview and Wesley Chapel locations as well. Changing women’s lives for 25 years, describes Shapes Fitness for Women in Brandon. The health club can be known as the regions premiere women’s only fitness center operating club throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Manatee counties. This 14,000 sq. ft. building at the Brandon location does provide various amounts of amenities to its 2,400 members such as a portable and stationary barre, full-sized pool for aquatic

programs, indoor cycling and more. “The health club offers a variety of workout classes, schedules and programs that meet my needs,” seven Free weight area. year Shapes Fitness for Women Brandon member Susan Martin said. Both the Brandon and Riverview locations participate in the Diet Logic program. The health club gives more than 40 group classes per week, which include Aqua Yoga, Aqua Tai Chi and Zumba just to name a few. Besides group classes, the health club does Elite Training and that price ranges from $59-$99 a month with unlimited coached classes. Individuals can find top of the line selectorized and free weight equipment too. “I feel humbled to be part of Shapes Fitness for Women in Brandon for close to 10 years and to be with our team for the 25th anniversary,” General Manager Liz Denney said. Come join the 25th anniversary celebration on Tuesday, January 31 with vendors, a live band and more beginning at 9 a.m. For information, visit It is located at 731 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon. Open Monday through Friday 5 a.m.- 9 p.m. Saturday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Call 661-0033.

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January 2017

Brandon Edition

Page 20


January 2017

Volume 12,

Issue 1

Ph: 657-2418

InThis Section

CALL TO ARTISTS ............................PG 23 15TH ANNIVERSARY OSPREY..........PG 25 MADD WALK UPDATE.....................PG 28 NEW DISTRICT UPDATE ..................PG 30


T. Marie’s Sunday Market To Begin In January

patients can recover, while also reducing Beginning Sunday, January 15, the stigma often T. Marie’s will host a Sunday associated with Market, which will be held between the disorder. T. Marie's Boutique and Walgreens Phoenix in the tree/shaded area at 3407 House Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico (at Heartwood Bloomingdale Ave.) Campus proThe market will then take place every Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 T. Marie’s will be hosting Sunday Markets every week beginning January vides evidence15. They are looking for artisans and vendors who are interested in partici- based outpatient p.m. pating. and intensive T. Marie’s is looking for artioutpatient sans and vendors to participate. complex allows us to double our treatsubstance use treatment to adolesPlease call 530-0922 to reserve your ment capacity as well as to expand cents and adults, including whole space today or for more information our hours and programs to meet the health and wellness activities. and availability. Applications are also unprecedented need for access to For more information, visit available in the store. treatment by the diverse population we or call 844serve,” said Clinical 517-2382. Grand Re-Opening of Director Sonya Bufe. Phoenix House Expands Phoenix House is Lunch & Learn Will Help You Capacity To Treat Substance committed to promotLearn About Transition to Assisted Use Disorders ing long-term health Living throughout our comPhoenix House Florida The Twin Creeks Assisted Living & munities for individuhosted a ceremonial ribbon cutMemory Care Community is coming als struggling with ting celebrating the grand resoon to Riverview. The plan is to open substance use disoropening of its recently renovatin May 2017. ders through an ed outpatient facility for adolesNow is the time to stay up-to-date approach focused on cents and adults in December about Twin Creeks and learn more all aspects of wellness from prevention 2016. The Heartwood Campus is how you or your loved one can to recovery to physical fitness to emolocated at 510 Vonderburg Dr. in reserve a premium location and aparttional and psychological wellbeing. Brandon. A reception followed the cerment style and lock in 2016 rates. Heartwood Campus’s location in this emony and tours were available On January 26 from 11:30 a.m.medical complex provides patients throughout the afternoon. 1:30 p.m., there will be a Lunch & with access to additional healthcare “To best meet the increased Learn about “Having the resources and reinforces the fact that demand for treatment throughout Conversation” – Transitioning to substance use disorder is a treatable Hillsborough County, Phoenix House’s Assisted Living. It will take place at biological brain disease from which location in this multifaceted medical

The Regent, 6437 Watson Rd. in Riverview. Save your seat by Friday, January 20. Call 551-2333 or visit

Repair Your Home Damage In Time For The Holidays With Restoration One

Restoration One offers remediation and restoration of residential or commercial properties for damage caused by water, fire, smoke or mold. It is locally owned and operated by

David and Heidi Adams. The business is licensed and insured. Trained and certified technician’s offer 24/7 emergency service. For more information, call 888466-8055. Visit or

The Bridges Retirement Community Hosts Veterans Assistance Seminar

The Bridges Retirement Community is hosting a Veterans assistance seminar on Thursday,

Continued on Next Page

Page 22

Volume 12, Issue 1

Brandon Edition

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

By Michelle Colesanti

February 23 to educate sales and inventory wartime Veterans and their positions. survivors about a benefit Meany is a through the U.S. native of Riverview Department of Veterans and has worked in Affairs "Improved Pension just about every with Aid and Attendance." department of autoThis benefit can help offset mobile dealerships the cost of living in a during his extensive retirement community for a automotive career. wartime Veteran or his/her He applies all that experience in his surviving spouse. Veterans new position to of any branch of the armed quickly and accuservices who served 90 rately evaluate consecutive days on Jerry Meany - new Assistant Used Car Manager at Brandon Honda. trade-in vehicles for active duty, including one day during a wartime periresale or trade. od, may be eligible to receive up to Brandon Honda, a division of $1,794 per month for assisted living Morgan Auto Group, is located at 9209 expenses if they served during World E. Adamo Dr. in Tampa. It is an awardWar II, the Korean War, the Vietnam winning, Green-Star Certified automoEra or other more recent conflicts bile service facility and works proac(duration of service required may tively to protect the environment. For vary). more information, call 664-1234 or Frank Strom, Director of the visit Department of Consumer and Veterans Services will provide informa- Fred Astaire Brandon Sixth Anniversary Community Party tion and answer questions about this benefit. This free seminar Fred Astaire will be held at The Dance Studio of Bridges, 11350 Brandon officially Bloomingdale Ave. in opened its doors in Riverview, from 12 Noonthe Brandon/Valrico 1p.m. with lunch provided. area on February 7, Seating is limited. Please 2011, with just one reserve a seat by callstudent. Since that ing 413-8900. time, the studio has seen over 1000 stuRecent Promotions At dents walk in and Brandon Honda dance out. General Manager Studio owners Sam Raabe is pleased to David and Kelle announce that Joel Jarrell Chancellor relocated has been promoted to from the Tallahassee Internet Director at area where they Brandon Honda, a division Joel Jarrell - new Internet Director were both dance at Brandon Honda. of Morgan Auto Group. instructors at a Fred Jarrell first joined Brandon Honda in Astaire Dance Studio. Kelle grew up in January 2016. He holds a degree in Brandon, and the dancing couple political science from the University of decided to bring the Fred Astaire South Florida and has several years of name back to the area by opening auto dealership experience in sales, their own studio. Kelle said, “Sharing finance and management. the joy of dance with the community is Jarrell plans to grow the Internet our family’s passion. We hope to bring Department by working closely with his just a little bit of that joy to Brandon’s 24 direct reports to implement new families and help everyone meet their technologies and creatively find ways personal dancing goals.” to enhance and smooth every cusDavid’s first student was Bridget tomer’s online experience at Brandon Sardone, who continues her dance Honda. instruction to this day, and has even Raabe has also promoted Jerry taken the position of the Brandon stuMeany to Assistant Used Car dio’s receptionist. In the six years Manager. Meany has been with since its opening, Kelle and David Brandon Honda for eight years in have achieved honors and won

numerous awards. David consistently wins top teacher in the Tampa Bay region, which includes the studios in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. At the Fred Astaire World Championships this summer, Kelle won the Third Place Top Pro Rhythm Teacher and the Fourth Place Top Overall Teacher, awards generally dominated by men. She has won prechampionship divisions, a salsa competition and several awards for guests and outstanding achievements. Fred Astaire Brandon is hosting a Sixth Anniversary Community Party on Friday, February 10, from 7-9 p.m. at the Brandon studio located at 1076 E Brandon Blvd. Ste 114 in Brandon. Everyone is welcome at no charge. For more information, call 4385963.

Weekly Show Hits Milestone With 150th Episode

The 150th episode of Now Hear This Entertainment (NHTE) was recently released. The weekly show reached the milestone in grand fashion, with Mike Delguidice as the featured guest. The singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist plays guitar and sings background vocals on the Billy Joel tour that has dates coming up in Florida, New York, Louisiana, and Nebraska. Delguidice also continues to front the Big Shot tribute band, which calls Long Island, New York, home but has dates scheduled elsewhere as well (including Florida). “I’m so proud of hitting this milestone,” said Bruce Wawrzyniak, the host of the show. “To see where NHTE has come to is something I couldn’t have envisioned when the show was first launched back in February 2014.” Recorded at Crystal Blue Sound Studios, the show has listeners from 124 countries, spanning all five regions of the world (Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and

P.O. Box 6099 • Brandon, FL 33508


Oceania) and has been delivered ontime, every week for close to three years now. In addition to Delguidice, notable guests have ranged from participants on American Idol, The Voice, and America’s Got Talent, to a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, a Grammy Award winner and even the lead guitar player for Garth Brooks. Now Hear This Entertainment can be heard for free on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher Radio, SoundCloud, TuneIn Radio, and, among other platforms.

Ribbon Cutting For Keifer Jewelers Will Celebrate Three Years In Brandon

Family-owned Kiefer Jewelers will hold a ribbon cutting to celebrate its third anniversary and the joining of the Riverview Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, January 31 from 5-7 p.m. at its Brandon location in Regency Square Plaza at 2472 W. Brandon Blvd.

Come and watch manager Bob play the saxophone while enjoying a Valentine’s Day theme of chocolate covered strawberries from Coastal Catering and champagne donated by Pinots Palette. You can tour the showroom which will also have fresh flowers by Oops a Daisy. The ribbon cutting is open to the public as well as all Brandon and Riverview chamber members. Kiefer Jewelers began in Dade City in 1957 and then opened in Lutz. Brandon is the third location. There is a 45 year master jeweler on site. Get your jewelry repaired and watch batteries replaced. For information, contact Lorraine at 684-4572 or Visit

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January 2017

A Call To Artists Is Issued For The 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show

By Kathy L. Collins

Artists, young and old, are invited to submit original works of art to the 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival.

A Call to Artists has been issued by the East Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG) for the 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show which will run from Thursday, March 2 to Sunday, March 12. The Fine Art Show will be held in the Milton E. Hull Building on the Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds. Karen Crumley is chair of the Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Arts Show. Crumley encourages artists, young and old, professional and amateur, to enter original works of art in the 2017 show. Crumley said, “The Florida Strawberry Festival draws a huge audience, and the chance for local artists to have their work viewed is tremendous.” This year's show will be a grand event with nearly $5,000 available in prizes. While this is not a juried show, there is limited space. Early entries are being accepted through Sunday, February 12. Artists can mail the entry form and fees to EHAG, P.O. Box 3055, Plant City, FL

Page 23

Brandon Edition

33563. Artwork is to be delivered on Friday, February 24 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. For anyone who is entering the show, it is crucial that you carefully review the rules prior to entering. Artists can enter up to three pieces of art. There is an entry fee for each piece. There are four Adult Professional Divisions, four Adult Amateur Divisions and divisions for Adult Miniature and Adult Sculpture. Youth, ages six to 17, are encouraged to take part in the Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show. Crumley said, “We especially want to encourage students to enter and spread their wings. The experience lets them learn about competition and how to display their work. The Youth Division has an option of allowing them to mail their 8.5” x 11” paper entries ONLY by Sunday, February 12 along with their entry form and fee of $5 per entry. If they do not mail the entry, they can bring it to the festival grounds on Friday, February 24 from 12 noon to 6 p.m.” The entry forms and rules can be found at If you have any additional questions, please email Crumley at or call 9243829.

Live A Happier, Healthier Life With Holistic Health And Wellness

By Amy Schechter

Anyone who and healthy suffers from reocrecipes. curring migraines Wadsworth knows the world is offering the folmay consist of lowing classes in dealing with the new year, acute pain and each heavily discounted at up to waiting for the 50 percent off next time it will their original interrupt your life. prices: a free These debilitating Healthy Habits 7headaches are Day Challenge often accompabeginning nied by light senJanuary 16; a sitivity, Healthy Eating 5nausea/vomiting, Day Jumpstart and disorientafor those who tion. Some of us suffer migraines are lucky to Lynne Wadsworth, Certified Holistic Health Coach beginning never experience January 23 for $3.97; a 4-week Jump that kind of suffering, but millions are Start program with a Facebook supplagued by stress, obesity, and loss of port group and self-paced weekly energy. Thankfully, there are steps you emails beginning January 30 for can take right now to reduce all of $29.97; a 4-week Natural Migraine these problems. Lynne Wadsworth, Relief Program beginning February 6 owner of Holistic Health and Wellness which is $247 for a group session and and Board Certified Holistic Health $297 for individualized support, and Coach, knows firsthand the benefits of in conjunction with the University of a natural approach to pain relief. South Florida, she is teaching a 4Having experienced chronic migraines week Healthy Living Class for seniors after the birth of her first child, at one time she believed her life would always February 10. She also became a certified wellness cooking instructor and require prescription medication to offers healthy cooking classes and reach normalcy. Wadsworth explains that medication simply wasn’t the route seminars on eating healthy while on a budget. Wadsworth is confident in she wanted, “I began my own more these programs: “I don’t put people natural and holistic search.” through things I don’t do myself. Her journey took her from selfPeople connect to lose weight and study to the Institute for Integrative have a healthier lifestyle, and in Nutrition where she learned just how learning what I have learned you get important the food we eat can be to the added benefit of relieving our overall health. “It’s the body-mindmigraines and other pain/inflammaspirit. It’s not going on a diet. It’s a tion, stress relief, better sleep, and lifestyle change that bring about overall better quality of life.” changes,” Wadsworth shares. The For information on classes startchanges she made not only reduced ing in 2017, read the books and literthe frequency and severity of her migraines, but they helped her achieve ature she has authored, and reach out for immediate wellness coaching, healthy weight loss, increased her contact Wadsworth at 340-1368 or by energy, and reduced her stress levels. email at InShe knew she had to share what she person meetings from her home in found with others, especially those Valrico, a local neutral location, or struggling to wean themselves off of through teleconferencing are availmedications who need the type of able by request Monday-Thursday extended support beyond hospital from 5:30PM-8PM and weekends by rehabilitation programs: “I don’t do this appointment. More information, sesfor the dollar sign. I know it can work sions, and pricing are also available and that people can reach what I have on her website, holisticreached.” She offers individual and and on facegroup sessions tailored to help you your individual path with health llc/ and include live support sessions, portholistichealth/. email support and weekly newsletters,

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Brandon Edition

Volume 12, Issue 1

January 2017

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Brandon Edition

Osprey Observer Celebrates 15 Years

The first edition of the Osprey Observer, Jan 2002.

Many of the current Osprey Observer team celebrating with a 15th Anniversary luncheon.

It was 15 years ago this month that the Osprey Observer was delivered to the first homes in FishHawk Ranch. The concept was simple, publish positive, local, community news and deliver it directly to the communities that it covers. The very first month, the Osprey Observer Newspaper was hand-delivered to 750 homes in FishHawk Ranch. The second month, the newspaper was hand-delivered by children and inserted into the Brandon-Valrico Journal. By month 3, the Osprey Observer was printed at M&M Printing in Ruskin and direct-mailed by the United States Postal Service. Within 6 months, the newspaper was delivered into 10,000 local homes

One of the first ribbon cuttings for the Osprey Observer offices in 2005 with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce.

and was printed by Within 3 years, we a large commercial started the Riverview printer in edition and quickly Clearwater where added Apollo Beach we continue to print while realizing the today, Web Offset. future growth potential During the early for S.E. Hillsborough years, I used to County and then added pack my then the Valrico edition and youngest son into finally the Brandon edithe family mini-van tion. and drive to In 2009, the Osprey Clearwater-- to not Observer purchased only deliver the CD the, now 20-year-old Photo courtesy TamSand Photography that the newspaper local Christian Voice Happy New Year From was burned on--but newspaper and have The Gilmore Boys! to then pick up the expanded its reach and newspapers and deliver them, bundle distribution throughout the communiby bundle to the bulk mail delivery ty. area of each of the local post offices. In addition to the monthly newsBy the time the first year had papers, we engage with our readers passed, we realized it would make via our website, social media, eBlast more sense to pay the printer's mailing newsletter and with our offices cenhouse, Direct Web to bundle and trally located in Brandon. deliver the papers to the post office. We have always wanted to be the

voice of good news in the community and we are happy to share community success stories.' The Osprey Observer is one hundred percent supported by local advertisers and small businesses. In addition to being a community hub of information, the Osprey Observer has an incredible team of staff--many of which have been with the newspaper for years and have become familiar faces in the community. We also have to thank our readers who not only read about their community but also get involved in making a difference. We thank you for reading and look forward to publishing community news for many more years to come! To contact our offices, call 657-2418 or email me directly at Wishing you all the best!  Marie Gilmore, Managing Editor

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Volume 12, Issue 1


Brandon Edition

The Story Behind The Romance Valentine’s Day – it’s a time for showing love and appreciation to your significant others. But when did it begin and why? It’s not just a ‘Hallmark’ holiday. Its roots go way back. Just who was Saint Valentine? Officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, he was a third-century Roman priest. At the time, the Emperor, Claudius II, decided that single men made better soldiers than those who had wives and families, so he banned marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius by continuing to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When this was discovered, Claudius ordered that Valentine be put to death. Not much is reliably known, but most agree that St. Valentine was martyred and then buried on the Via Flaminia to the north of Rome. It’s also believed that Valentine’s Day has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia, a pagan fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. According to another legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting after he fell in love with a young girl, possibly his jailor’s daughter. It is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. At the end of the fifth century, Pope

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Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the middle ages. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. It is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Exchanging hand-made valentines in the Americas probably began in the early 1700s. Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America in the 1840’s. She was known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” and made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, an estimated one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, We may never know the true story, but Valentine’s Day continues to be one of the most popular of our annual holidays, which only reminds us of how important our loved ones are; something we should carry forward the rest of the year too.

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January 2017

Page 27

Brandon Edition

Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016

Sheriff’s Office Celebrates Law Enforcement History 170 Years In The Making One of the most exciting events for Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee and his deputies was the long awaited and much-anticipated, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office History Center, which opened last spring in Ybor City. The museum packs 170 years of County law enforcement history and excellence, showcasing the evolution of the Department of Detention Services, historical uniforms, law enforcement technologies and equipment, and a Fallen Heroes room, in addition to an extensive badge collection and hundreds of photographs just to name a few. The museum continues to grow as new artifacts and displays are brought to the center. Orignal Story printed May 2016 Standing in front of a large crowd with a giant pair of scissors at hand, Sheriff David Gee officially cut the ribbon on the front doors of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) History Center, located at 2001 N. 19th St. on the corner of Ninth Avenue and 19th Street in Ybor City. The opening of the History Center earlier this month was more than just an outlet to display the various aspects of sheriff's office history. To those that worked on the project, making the museum a reality was also a celebration of 170 years of law enforcement excellence. The facility will now showcase the

By Tamas Mondovics

(Right) Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee cuts the ribbon on the department’s brand new History Center now open on the corner of Ninth Avenue and 19th Street in Ybor City. (Above) Uniforms on display at the museum. (Right) Former HCSO Major Ron Hartley points to an old friend on a photograph on display at the center.

evolution of the Department of Detention Services, historical uniforms, law enforcement technologies and equipment, and a Fallen Heroes room, in addition to an extensive badge collection and hundreds of photographs. "We've been diligently working to make this a reality," Deputy Jerry Carey said just before Gee cut the ribbon. Carey emphasized that the History Center is an opportunity to interact with the community when he said, “It is a great place for people to visit and to share their experiences.” First inside the renovated and taste-

fully decorated building, Gee spoke proudly about the making and seeing the project become a reality as he welcomed local residents, friends, and fellow officers along with members of the media. “It is neat to see this project now ready to be enjoyed by the community as it is a great reflection on the history of Hillsborough County,” Gee said, adding that over the years artifacts and photographs, old uniforms, equipment, badges and jail logs have just been laying around or being collected, but are now on display. To gather 170 years of history and

pack them into an approximately 1,200 sq. ft. museum was not an easy task, but thanks to a dedicated team of retired and current deputies led by HCSO Captain Jim Bradford, it is now a part of HCSO’s history. “The project took five years and everyone who had something to share was more than willing to contribute,” Bradford said. “We are very pleased with how the center turned out and are looking forward to adding to the collection and to our County’s law enforcement history.” The opening celebration would not have been complete without the presence of many who have been making history including former HCSO Major Ron Hartley, who worked for the Sheriff's Office for four decades. Perhaps one of the most sobering display was the Fallen Heroes room, featuring Sergeant Ben P. Wilder, Jr., who was killed while making an arrest in July, 1962. Sgt. Wilder’s uniform—donated to the museum by his widow 87-year-old Dorothy Wilder Alster,—is now on display behind glass. Wilder was 39 years old. The history center is open Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information about the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, visit

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Brandon Edition

Volume 12, Issue 1

Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 MADD Dedicates Walk To Valrico Deputy Killed By Wrong-Way Drunk Driver

By Tamas Mondovics

Affiliate and Hillsborough Advisory Board of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD WCF) was dedicated to fallen Deputy John R. Kotfila Jr., of Valrico, whose watch ended on Saturday, March 12 when he was killed by a wrong-way drunk driver on the Crosstown Expressway. Photo Courtesy Martin Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez According to Event Attorneys at Law The Ninth Annual Walk Like MADD fundraising walk was Manager Bianca Kendall, the dedicated to fallen Deputy John R. Kotfila Jr., of Valrico. community has responded to One incident that broke the this year’s walk more then ever before. hearts of many, while prompted even “The event has not only met, but more to show their commitment to a exceeded its goal of $75,000, which cause they believed in, was the loss was the most money it has raised since of fallen Deputy John R. Kotfila Jr., of MADD was founded in 1980,” Kendall Valrico, whose watch ended on said, adding that the walk is held annuMarch 12, 2016, when he was killed ally to finish the job that was started by by a wrong-way drunk driver on the a grieving mother 36 years ago. Crosstown Expressway. Kendall emphasized that Walk Like West Central Florida Affiliate and MADD Tampa raises mission-critical Hillsborough Advisory Board of funds to help save lives in Hillsborough Mothers Against Drunk Driving County and provides the opportunity to (MADD WCF) dedicated its Ninth educate the community about the danAnnual Walk Like MADD fundraising gers of impaired driving and underage walk to Kotfila. drinking. The event raised awareness and By being dedicated to Deputy John almost $72,000, as it welcomed more R. Kotfila Jr., the timing of Tampa’s 2016 than 800 participants who showed up Walk Like MADD was also significant as to support the message it took place at a time when law #DrunkDrivingEndsHere. enforcement, community partners and More than 350 members of the coalition partners are seeking solutions Hillsborough County Sheriff's office to the plague of wrong-way drunk drivjoined the crowd led by Deputy ers in the community. Kotfila's aunt, uncle, grandparents In a recent press release, MADD and other friends and family memreported that despite a nearly 50 perbers, who were in attendance to pay cent decline in drunk driving deaths tribute to a true hero. The event was since MADD was founded, almost a real success and testimony to the 10,000 people are killed by drunk drivcommunity’s genuine spirit. ers and another 290,000 are injured in Original Story printed April 2016 drunk driving crashes every year. More than 800 walkers, along with Walk Like MADD events are taking many who could not physically participlace in more than 100 cities across the pate but gave financial support, took country this year. Events will take place part in the Ninth Annual Walk Like in Pasco and Pinellas counties in the MADD fundraising walk. The signature, fall. Visit victim-tribute and community awareness to regevent hosted by West Central Florida ister, donate or get more information.

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Hillsborough County Commission Approves Animal Abuse Registry Ordinance The Hillsborough The effort, spearheadCounty Board of ed by Commissioner Kevin County Commission Beckner, will require regishas made many decitration of individuals who sions and voted on have been convicted of cerissues affecting resitain misdemeanor or felony dents in 2016 includanimal abuse offenses in ing its 6-1 vote to Hillsborough County. adopt an ordinance “Most owners consider protecting some of their pets to be family the county’s most members,” Beckner said, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners approved adding that the registry not vulnerable. a new County Animal Abuser only protects animals, but it The BOCC’s Registry. Animal Registry can identify and will hopefully Ordinance is in place to identify as prevent violence against humans, too. well as prevent convicted animal “I’m very proud of the new law.” abusers from acquiring and owning According to the ordinance, convicted animals. offenders may not own, possess, live in Spearheaded by Commissioner the same home or on the same property, Kevin Beckner, the registry will require or work with a service animal unless othregistration of individuals who have erwise provided in a court order. If a pet been convicted of certain misdeis to be adopted, pet retailers and shelters meanor or felony animal abuse offens- must require the person to sign an affies in Hillsborough County. The decidavit attesting that he or she is not listed sion made local headlines but has on the Registry, County official said in a also drawn much support, praise and recent press release. interest from animal lovers around the While the only ‘no’ vote for the regstate. istry came from Commissioner Stacy Original Story printed October White, it was not for his unwillingness to 2016 support the its purpose. Individuals convicted of animal abuse White added that his vote against the will no longer have a chance to adopt draft ordinance amounted to a procedural dogs or cats, thanks to a new ordinance issue. “I'm glad we have an animal abusrecently approved by the Hillsborough er registry in place I just wanted the ordiCounty Board of County Commissioners nance language vetted a bit more.” (BOCC). The Registry will contain the names, According to County officials the new residence, photo and other related inforordinance will help to identify as well as mation of Abusers living in the county prevent convicted animal abusers from who are convicted of an Abuse Offense acquiring and owning animals, by means on or after November 1, 2016, the effecof a County Animal Abuser Registry. tive date of the ordinance.

January 2017

Brandon Edition

Page 29

Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 Crime Stoppers Launches Gun Bounty Program, Offers $1,000 Rewards

By Tamas Mondovics

In an effort to curb gun violence, Hillsborough County law enforcement agencies joined forces at the beginning of 2016. The new initiative, named Gun Bounty, is spearheaded by Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay and was announced during a press conference led by then serving Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida State Attorney Mark Ober. Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay officials said that so far the talks to the media about Gun Bounty, a new Crime Stoppers program. program has yielded some posiDirector Lisa Haber, Crime Stoppers of tive results and is continuing to make Tampa Bay President Debbie Carter, City a difference, but its future success is of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and pendent on sustainability, support and Colonel Donna Lusczynski, HCSO continued funding. Haber explained that the program is Original Story printed March 2016 based on a simple formula of one gun, A partnership formed between Crime one arrest, equals a reward of $1,000, all Stoppers of Tampa Bay, the county's law promoted under the motto: see it, say it, enforcement agencies, including stop it. The $1,000 cash reward is given Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office when an anonymous tip is called into (HCSO) and Tampa and Temple Terrace Stoppers that results in at least Crime Police Departments, has led to the one arrest on a fire arm related charge launch of a new reward program with the recovery of at least one illegal designed specifically to help curb gun viofirearm. lence. The new initiative named Gun In 2015, the Hillsborough County Bounty Program was recently announced Sheriff's Office investigated 687 criminal during a press conference led by involving a firearm, including 18 offenses Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida State homicides. Attorney Mark Ober, who serves Unlike a gun-buy-back program, Gun Hillsborough County. Bounty specifically focuses on illegal "Sadly, we hear almost every day of guns in the hands of a criminal that may tragic events that needlessly snuff out a use the weapon in future crimes. life or injure our families, children or Anonymous tips regarding illegal friends," Ober said as he stood in front of firearms can be given to Crime Stoppers a panel of County government and law by calling 1 (800) 873-TIPS (8477), subenforcement officials, among them Crime mitting a tip at Stoppers of Tampa Bay Executive

County Begins $1.2M Bryan/Brooker & Durant/Valrico Intersection Traffic Signal Projects

By Tamas Mondovics

tion traffic signal installation projects south of East Lumsden Road. To improve safety, motorists will soon see the installation of the first new traffic signal at the intersection of Durant and Valrico roads. The $590,000 project was scheduled to begin this month, including construction of enhanced pedestrian features and drainage Installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection of Durant Rd. and Valrico Rd. in Valrico is now underway. improvements at the intersection. As one of the busiest intersecThe second new traffic signal and tions needing improvement in improvement project at the intersection Hillsborough County brings four of Bryan and Brooker roads near Burns major roads together. Middle School is to begin once the For years, County officials have school year ends. The project cost is been promising to start the improve$565,000. ment project of the Lithia The Durant and Valrico intersection Pinecrest/Lumsden/Bell project and the Bryan and Brooker Shoals/Durant, intersection with the latest starting date now scheduled for Intersection project are both funded through the Public Works Capital mid-2017, The construction is said to Transportation Program. be 34 months. Construction work for both projects Residents have a chance to comment and examine local land use and is expected to take place on weekdays between 8 a.m.-5 p.m., but officials are transportation plans by visiting promising the work will generate only standard construction noise. While temOriginal Story printed May 2016 porary traffic lane closures may be necIt is safe to say that when it comes to traffic improvements there is no short- essary and traffic delays may occur, access to businesses will be maintained age of trouble spots throughout Hillsborough County. Aside from some of throughout construction.Drivers are cautioned to observe all traffic control measthe roadway improvements and interures for the safety of workers, pedestrisection projects in Valrico, such as the ans, and other motorists. much-needed culvert and drainage For more on the above projects, visit upgrade just south of Valrico Road and, under the State Road 60 intersection, County offiTransportation Projects link. cials have scheduled two new intersec-

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Volume 12, Issue 1

Brandon Edition

Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016

Sheriff’s Office To Add Additional New District To Meet Future Growth Hillsborough County has seen a wide range of proposed projects in 2016, addressing land use and transportation issues, but one proposed project was equally well received by residents, especially those living within the boundary of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office District 4. In September, the Sheriff’s Office announced the addition of a fifth district to accommodate future growth. Specific details about location off the new office and staff is still being refined but residents can expect the official operation of the new district A map of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office patrol districts shows the addition of District V, which the departoffice in early spring of ment has proposed to launch next spring. 2017. Progress Village, Lithia, FishHawk and Original Story printed Bloomingdale. September 2016 “The change is necessary due to To meet the current needs and in what is going on in District IV,” said order to accommodate future growth, Major Robert Bullara, who replaced the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s retiring former District IV commander Office (HCSO) has made preparations Major Ron Hartley in 2015. “We have to add a fifth district to its service. 1,000 people moving to nearly The addition of a new district, Hillsborough County each month, most which will specifically affect and of them to communities in District IV. reshape District IV, the department’s Currently we have 34 active subdivilargest district is scheduled to begin sions.” serving residents in April or May 2017 When ready, the new district led is hardly a surprise. its new commander, Major Kyle by Within its more than 400 square Robinson, will border communities miles, District IV, serves nearly north of the Alafia River, such as 300,000 residents in the communities Progress Village, Bloomingdale and of Ruskin, Riverview, Apollo Beach,

By Tamas Mondovics

rently under construction in Gibsonton and Progress Village, will draw even more people to the area. Now is the time to get ahead of this.” Bullara said that since last year, 2,500 new single-family home permits have been pulled, showing Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office District IV Major Robert Bullara talks to residents at the Bloomingdale Community Substation about no signs of the department's recently proposed addition of a new patrol district. slowing down. While promnorthern Riverview along with its subising a smooth transition, Bullara, said stations. that the department is working on hirDistrict IV will continue to serve ing 100 deputies by the end of the communities south of the river, Lithia, year to fill all necessary positions for FishHawk, Gibsonton, Apollo Beach, the new district office, which will be Ruskin, and southern Riverview located across from HCSO’s District II including Balm, Wimauma and Sun facility on Falkenburg Road. City Center. The major anticipates losing some During a recent neighborhood of his deputies to the new district, meeting, which is held monthly at the while the rest of the staff will come Bloomingdale Community Substation, from patrol districts I,II, and III. Bullara put things into perspective As to the future of the when he emphasized the effects of the Bloomingdale Community Substation growth within his district and what following the opening of the new disneeds to be done. trict office, Bullara could not say for “Traffic issues are the future,” he sure, but was confident it will remain said adding, “Big Bend Road is like open to serve its residents when he State Road 60, and is just tough to get said, “I don't think this station will be around. New schools and the constricclosed, at least not for another year.” tion of new schools and subdivisions, For more information, visit not to mention two new theaters

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January 2017

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Brandon Edition

Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016

New Walmart Supercenter On Bloomingdale Avenue Opens On March 9

By Tamas Mondovics

The once, hard fought battle against the Bloomingdale Walmart Supercenter, in Valrico is not much more today, than a faded memory for most local residents. The 153,000 sq., ft, store opened last spring with a traditional celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony, while festive back round music was provided by the Bloomingdale High School marching band. New Walmart Supercenter Manager Peter While, the new store anchoring Peck and customer service supervisor Cassandra Brown pose for photo ahead of the 43-acre Crest Pointe Towne the official grand opening of the newly Shoppes gets busier and busier, constructed store inside Crest Pointe Towne several already confirmed businessCenter Shoppes on Bloomingdale Ave. es to occupy the frontage of the 400 full and part-time associates in welplaza such as Starbucks and Chick-filcoming the community. (Peck has since A, are nearing completion. retired from Walmart). Wendy’s restaurant has quietly The new 153,000 sq., ft, opened its doors in September, while Supercenter, located at 2140 Tijuana Flats and Mattress Firm are yet Bloomingdale Ave. just west of Lithia to get started. Pinecrest Road, will anchor Crest Pointe There remains nearly 2.89 acres Towne Shoppes, a 43-acre mixed use still available for additional businesses development project by Redstone to be built. The property also has 14 Investments. acres apportioned for a residential On opening day, the new store will development. officially replace its much smaller predeOriginal Story printed March cessor just down the road inside the 2016 Bloomingdale Square Plaza, which has Three years after its first rumored served the community for the past 30 construction in the heart of the years and was managed by Peck for the Bloomingdale community, the new past 10. Walmart Supercenter is ready to open its The new store is promising a larger doors on Wednesday, March 9 at 7:30 assortment of merchandise in electronics, a.m., bringing a broad assortment of fresh furniture, sporting goods, home improvegroceries and general merchandise at its ment, apparel, toys along with a full line of signature value. fabrics and a pet department to name a “This is a store with the same low few. prices and a new address,” said Store Open 24 hours a day, seven days a Manager Peter Peck, a 20-year Walmart week, the Supercenter is a full grocery veteran, who is leading the more than store with fresh produce, meat and pantry

staples, a full-service deli and instore bakery offering custom cakes and fresh baked breads. “We will also carry local products like Plant City Strawberries,” Peck proudly said. According to officials, the store has no outside leased ven-

dors such as restaurants, banks or a nail salon inside the building, but utilizes the space to feature a number of convenient on-site services such as full service vision and pharmacy with a free store pickup service providing an easy way to shop millions of products on, with many items available for pickup the same day. Automotive products will also be offered, minus the traditional tire center. Peck said that the additional space is utilized by the extended garden center and a much larger seasonal department. While on the surface the new store appears pretty much the same as all the rest, with one important element that Peck and his associates worked hard to

provide to local customers over the years. “We are serving the same community, including many of our customers we call by name, who rely on low prices as well as a quick and friendly service they were used to at the old store,” Peck said. “We intend to continue that tradition. This is not just another big box store, but a place with a family atmosphere. I want our customers to be happy and to receive the same service they have enjoyed at the old store.” Peck rests his confidence in a solid line of longtime associates including Gerri Kanahan, who was there to open the Bloomingdale Square Plaza store in 1986, and now has a chance to welcome her friends, family and area residents for another grand opening celebration. “I am so excited to be going to the new store,” Kanahan said. “I opened this store 30 years ago and now I get to open our new Supercenter.” Opening day festivities will include a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 9 followed by a family fun day on Saturday, March 12, giving customers a chance to meet Peck, and his management team as well as enjoy activities and free food samples while supplies last. The celebration is scheduled from 12 Noon-3 p.m. Demonstrating commitment to the community, a presentation of $8,000 in grants from the Walmart Foundation to local community groups are also scheduled prior to official opening. Additional information about Walmart can be found at on Facebook at and on Twitter at,


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Brandon Edition

Volume 12, Issue 1

Profile for Osprey Observer

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