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Two Sections, 32 Pages of Community News

Brandon See O u Ad O n r Page 19

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

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Y E A R S

O F

Volume 12, Issue 2 P U B L I S H I N G

Newborn Receives Life-Saving Surgery At Brandon Regional Hospital By Kathy L. Collins

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

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Recently, a eating problems. baby, Layton According to Pedrosa, born Akers, "The on September external arms 30, 2016, underwere taken off went life-saving before Layton surgery at was discharged Brandon from the NICU. Regional We went Hospital (BRH) through an 11in Brandon. week consolidaLayton was born tion phase in with Isolated which the bone Pierre Robin grew and hardSequence ened before the Layton Pedrosa, shown here with his mother, Ricki Ackers, suffered from a rare condition known internal hard(PRS), a rare set of abnormal- as Isolated Pierre Robin Sequence. Thanks to the ware was skills of Dr. Joshua Mitchell and the caring staff at ities that affect removed on BRH, Pedrosa underwent delicate surgery and therapy and is now able to breathe, eat and do the head and January 4." everything that any normal baby can do. face where Dr. Mitchell, there is a small lower jaw (micrognathia), who is with Tampa Children's ENT and is a tongue that is placed further back than affiliated with BRH said, "Children with normal (glossoptosis) and obstruction of severe PRS and failure to thrive are fortuthe airway. nately fairly rare. Additionally, not all chilAccording to Ricki Akers, Layton's dren have to undergo mandibular distracmother, "My pregnancy was perfect. It tion as Layton did." Dr. Mitchell added, was completely shocking when my son "Layton's degree of micrognathia was was born with PRS. When he was born, pretty impressive along with the width of he was not breathing well and was imme- his cleft palate. However, he has been a diately taken to the NICU (Neonatal great healer and has a good family supIntensive Care Unit). I was absolutely port system, along with the fantastic pedidevastated." atric anesthesia and NICU nurses and Layton was treated by Dr. Joshua R. physicians at BRH. This is why he is getMitchell, M.D. Layton had to undergo a ting such a great outcome." mandibular distraction. This is where a Akers said, "It was a hard month, but precise incision is made in both sides of I am thankful for all the great doctors, the jaw bone. Both an internal and externurses and of course Dr. Mitchell. They nal distractor hardware are placed. Over saved my baby's life. He went from strugthe course of a nine-day period, the exter- gling to breathe and eat, not being able to nal arms were turned a small amount be on his back at all, to being able to do each morning and night. This creates a everything a normal baby can do." gap in which new bone can form thus BRH is located at 119 Oakfield Dr. in expanding the jaw, bringing the tongue Brandon. For information, call 681-5551 forward. This fixes both breathing and or visit www.brandonhospital.com.

Photo By Tamas Mondovics

Starbucks’ Smoked Butterscotch Latte and a cup of Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino was the order of the day for Brandon area residents, Jenny Langford and her daughter Maddie, 9, last month. The pair was among the very first customers to celebrate the opening of the brand new store located on Bloomingdale Ave. inside the Crest Pointe Towne Plaza adjacent to the new Chick-fil-A.

Ph: 657-2418 P O S I T I V E

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North Brandon YMCA Boosts SilverSneakers Program With New Leadership

By Tamas

members can also enjoy social events such as senior tea parties, pot lucks and senior birthday parties, health education seminars and other events that promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. “My goal is to keep our seniors healthy, physically and socially.” The Brandon Y Members of the Brandon Family YMCA Silver Sneakers fitness program work out during a recent class coordinated by long time currently hosts its YMCA Active Older Adult coordinator Kavita Marballi. hour-long, The SilverSneakers a premier fitness SilverSneaker classes on Tuesday, program for those ages 65 and up has Wednesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. A been a staple at area YMCA facilities that class is also held on Saturday starting at are especially proud of keeping seniors 12:15 p.m. physically active and mentally sharp. Marballi said that the class focuses While SilverSneakers need no introon upper body strength with non-impact duction its success at local YMCA faciliaerobic choreography. Chairs are availties including the Campo Family Y in able for seated and/or standing support Valrico, and Camp Cristina in Riverview is and for head to toe stretching and comlargely credited to its long time Active plete relaxation in a comfortable position. Older Adult Coordinator Kavita Marballi. The Y’s Silver Sneakers program can “The program has been a success be covered through insurance or at a and is appreciated by many in the comreduced cost. YMCA membership is not munity as each customized required to join the program. SilverSneakers class is designed excluVisit www.tampaymca.org. sively for older adults who want to improve their strength, flexibility, balance and endurance,” Marballi said adding that In This each Silver Sneaker class at the various Issue YMCA locations are well-supported by senior citizens, who desire a fitness proNATURE’S CLASSROOM......................PG 3 gram specifically designed for them. CASINO NIGHT .................................PG 11 To increase awareness and participation by senior residents living in Brandon CHALKLINES .....................................PG 12 and Seffner, Marballi, who has been in charge of coordinating the Active Senior STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL ...................PG 18 Adult programs at the Y for more than a EYE ON BUSINESS...........................PG 21 decade, was selected to oversee SilverSneakers at the North Brandon ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...............PG 23 Family YMCA located at 3097 S. PARK RENOVATION ........................PG 25 Kingsway Rd., in Seffner. “The current program at the Brandon SPORTS CONNECTION .............PGS 26‐27 Y is going well, but I am working on adding additional classes and activities to READ MORE LOCAL NEWS ONLINE fit our seniors needs,” Marballi said, www.ospreyobserver.com adding that besides the physical activities,


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Volume 12, Issue 2

Brandon Edition

PROVIDENCE SQUARE 1929A W. BRANDON BLVD. BRANDON 813-681-8880

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February 2017

Brandon Edition

Page 3

Nature’s Classroom Facility Celebrates Its Annual Open House Event March 25

Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium Awards Its First Scholarship To HCC College Student

For nearly five The upcoming decades, Nature’s open house event Classroom, called, "Woods, Florida’s outdoor Water, and Wildlife" education program is a considered has been providing once-a-year celeyoung students a bration that is now chance to get upscheduled for close-and-personal Saturday, March 25 with nature to help from 9 a.m. to 4 them reach an p.m. appreciation of the “This event will Hillsborough County sixth grade students the general environment, while allow participate in a hands-on field study of the Hillsborough River Watershed at Nature’s public to visit the promoting conserClassroom. The general public to visit the school that is norvation and preserfacility during its annual once a year open mally reserved for vation. house March 25. the environmental Nature’s education of all sixth grade public school Classroom is located Northeast Hillsborough County on 365 acres provid- students in Hillsborough County,” said event coordinator Chris Rusnak. ed by the Southwest Florida Water Visitors to the school are steadily Management District (SWFWMD) and growing, and have enjoyed the support of within the boundary of the Hillsborough local government officials and community River. leaders. Throughout the year, the school “It is our goal to foster a better underfocuses on the Hillsborough River standing of the natural world so that we Watershed Field Study catered to sixth can have a highly educated voter base to grade students who attend a three-day make smart decisions for the future of our program that covers the habitats, flora, state, country, and world,” Rusnak said. fauna, human use and impact field study The one day cash only event is $10 of the Hillsborough River Watershed. per carload. Boat rides are $2 per person School officials said that nearly and will include children’s activities, ani15,000 sixth grade students who visit the mal experiences, hikes, a shoreline samoutdoor facility claim approximately pling experience, and exhibitors. 540,000 hours of ecological and outdoor Nature's Classroom is located at skills experiences annually. 13100 Verges Rd in Thonotosassa, just Since 2007, Nature's Classroom officials have also opened the school’s doors 1.5 miles east of I-75 of the Fletcher Ave. Exit. Volunteers are welcome and may to the public to raise awareness and contact Mary Spence at 987-6969 or funding, which supports the feeding of its mary.spence@sdhc.k12.fl.us. collection of animals on site.

Grab an ager for the hospitalapron and some ity department utensils to test named Frederick out one’s culinary Jaeger at the skills during a Hillsborough cooking class Community College with the Rolling Dale Mabry camPin Kitchen pus. She would Emporium in always ask quesBrandon. It offers tions throughout the cooking classes semester to see if with a wide range any scholarships of topics from became available to desserts, soups strictly just culinary and more for indistudents. Jones met viduals of all ages. Karen West, Renita Jones and Chef West the requirements for present a Wusthof knife set to their Since 1995, the Rolling Pin scholarship winner. this store did get Kitchen Emporium named as the “Culinary Resource” for the Annual Culinary Scholarship and chose Tampa Bay area and the gourmet kitchen to apply through the Hillsborough store regularly stocks 15,000 items. Community College website. “To qualify Owners Chef David West and his for this particular scholarship, students wife Karen recently awarded their first must maintain a 3.0 grade point average scholarship called Rolling Pin Kitchen and much more,” Dave said. Emporium Annual Culinary Scholarship Outside the classroom, Jones with the reward amount of $1200 to attends the Ybor City Saturday Market Renita Jones. She was also presented and sells her cupcakes at a booth with a Wusthof knife set. Jones studies there, for which she began this jourRestaurant Management at Hillsborough ney almost 13-years ago. Jones also Community College. She does affiliate decorates wedding cakes and bakes herself with the Brandon and Dale Mabry an assortment of desserts through the campus. With five classes left, she plans business she owns called Lexi Cakes. to graduate towards the end of fall 2017 To learn more about it, visit www.faceand earn an Associate in Science degree book.com/lexicakebakeshop/. in Restaurant Management. For information, visit rollingpinon“I am very excited and grateful to be line.com. It is located at 2080 the first recipient of the Rolling Pin Badlands Dr. in Brandon. Open Kitchen Emporium Annual Culinary Monday- Wednesday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Scholarship,” Jones said. Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Jones learned about the scholarship Sunday 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Call 653through her professor and program man2418.

By Tamas Mondovics

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Volume 12, Issue 2

Brandon Edition

emorial M n a t is n a h fg A ree Tax Dedication, F More… Prep Help &

Registration for “celebrating everyBODY” will begin at 9 a.m. Guest speaker, McCall Dempsey, will share her story of hope and healing from a 15-year battle with an eating disorder. The Alliance is expectCompiled by Michelle Colesanti, ing over 300 walkers and commichelle@ospreyobserver.com munity resource exhibitors. There will be live music, free snacks/drinks, and an arts & crafts Donate To The Afghanistan Memorial Which Will Be Dedicated At Veterans area. The Alliance is proud to partner with the Tampa Bay chapter of the Park International Association of Eating In 2013 Marine Families helped raise Disorders Professionals to help spread funds to erect the Iraq Memorial at the the word about this important cause and Veterans Park in Tampa. make this walk a huge success. It is currently participating in the comThe Alliance for Eating Disorders pletion of the Afghanistan Memorial which Awareness is a nonprofit organization will be dedicated on February 25. dedicated to providing programs and These two memorials hold very speactivities aimed at outreach, education, cial places in our heart because these are political advocacy, and early intervention the two wars that have waged on during for all eating disorders. Since its estabthe life of the organization. A majority of lishment in 2000, the Alliance has offered members, loved ones, and supporters presentations on have served, sacrificed or eating disorders, given their all. positive body Help make sure none of image, and self them are ever forgotten by esteem to more donating to help Marine than 250,000 indiFamilies meet its $600 comviduals throughout mitment. Florida & nationDonations can be made wide. by visiting www.marinefamiThis invalulies.org/donate or Afghanistan able resource will Memorial Fundraiser on be distributed to Facebook. Tampa-area middle & high schools, colleges, social service agencies, doctors Celebrating everyBODY: A Walk For offices, and made available online. Eating Disorders Awareness Monies generated through this event will The Alliance for Eating Disorders also be used to establish a free support Awareness (The Alliance) will hold its first group in Tampa for those who struggle community awareness walk in Tampa with this deadly disorder. To register on Sunday, March 5 at Raymond James online, Stadium. visit allianceforeatingdisorders.com.

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Hillsborough County Extension Offering Free Tax Preparation Help

Hillsborough County Extension is now scheduling appointments for residents who need expert help in preparing their federal income tax returns. The free service is available to individuals and families whose Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is no more than $64,000. AGI does not include money contributed to tax deductible retirement plans, or certain other adjustments. IRS-certified volunteers can provide access to a selfguided tax preparation program, as well as one-on-one assistance. Appointments are required, and are available Tuesdays and Thursdays from February 7 through April 11, between 2-7 p.m. On the following Saturdays: February 11, 18, March 4 & 18, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. To schedule an appointment, contact Denise Kantak at 744-5519 ext. 54141 or kantakd@HCFLGov.net. Hillsborough County Extension is located at 5339 CR 579 in Seffner.

Hillsborough County Helps Students Achieve Higher Education Goals Through Scholarships

Achieving a higher education is an important life goal for young people and their families. Hillsborough County Social Services has partnered with the Community Action Board to offer scholarships for up to $5,000 to eligible students wishing to continue their education by

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attending an institution of higher learning. Scholarship applications for the 2017-2018 school year will be accepted through Friday, March 31. Recipients will be notified in writing prior to the start of the fall semester. Applicants who meet the following eligibility requirements may be awarded a scholarship: Applicants must be between the ages of 17 and 22, and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent (16year-olds may apply if they are graduating seniors). Applicants must reside in Hillsborough County. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.0. The applicant’s household income must fall within 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). The following criteria will also be used to evaluate applicants: Community service and school involvement, application and letters of recommendation, academic record (transcript), essay response, and panel interview participation. Application materials can be downloaded at hillsboroughcounty.org/en/residents/social-services/education-and-training/action-folder/apply-for-a-scholarship. Students may submit completed applications online, via mail, or hand deliver applications in person to any County Community Resource Center. Mailed applications can be sent to P.O. Box 1110, Department of Social Services 24th Floor, Attention Sylvia Wint, Tampa, FL 33601. In 2016, 52 scholarships totaling $260,000 were awarded to Hillsborough County students through Hillsborough County Social Services.

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February 2017

Page 5

Brandon Edition

Superior Residences Andrew Brings Home International Award For Product Creativity

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By Kate Quesada

Do you have a side was that you friend or loved one had to open the lid to who suffers with determine how much dementia? If so, the had been consumed, product that recently thus agitating the won Superior patient. Also, straws Residences of can be a challenge. Brandon an award We wanted a way to from Promotional determine the Products Association amount of consumpInternational (PPAI) tion without disturbmight be of interest ing the patient.” to you. McNeill found Superior the solution to her Residences Senior problem with a mood Jill Andrew of Superior Residences of Brandon and Jerry McNeill with Vernon bottle provided by Solution Expert Jill Promotions recently won first HIT. The bottle starts Andrew submitted a MacGraves place in the Health and Wellness categowater bottle provided ry of the PPAI Pyramid Awards for cre- out clear white and ative use of a promotional product. to her by Jerry turns red when cold McNeill of Vernon MacGraves or ice liquid is used. Promotions, Inc. to the PPAI Pyramid “The white bottle turned red to the Awards which recognize creative use of level of the contents so it was easy for promotional products because she the caregiver to see from afar how much noticed it changes the lives of patients was consumed,” said Andrew. with dementia. Andrew and McNeill’s collaboration “I needed a product that would was enough to impress the judges at the ensure that patients with dementia were PPAI Pyramid Awards. They gave the consuming adequate liquids and that use of the bottle first place in their award had ease of use,” said Andrew. recognizing creative use of a promotionAndrew did some research and al product. found a study from a group at Boston “This has turned into tremendous University that determined that someone spin-off for both of us,” said McNeill. “Jill with Alzheimers, which is a type of now uses the bottle for her trade show dementia, will eat 25 percent more food giveaways, her gifts to residents and off a red plate. She went further and caregivers and a show and tell item durfound that a patient with dementia will ing guest lecture events.” drink up to 87 percent more out of a red For information, contact Andrew at cup. 657-8587. Superior Residences is locat“We originally used a red cup with a ed at 1819 Providence Ridge Blvd. Visit lid and straw,” said Andrew. “The downwww.superioralf.com.

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Brandon Edition

By Tamas Mondovics

County Promotes Year-Round Vigilance During Severe Weather Awareness Week winds, lightning, hail and a few strong, long-track tornadoes left at least 20 people dead in three states, not to

A satellite image shown by the National Weather Service (NWS) of an organized and powerful squall line, which in some areas produced winds of 60-80 mph along with isolated tornadoes, hail and heavy rain made its way across the southeast U.S. ahead of a cold front last month, reminded residents of the importance to be prepared yearround.

Hurricane season may be over, but an organized and powerful squall line, which in some areas produced winds of 60-80 mph made its way across the southeast U.S. ahead of a cold front last month, causing a severe weather outbreak. According to emergency management officials, on its way to the Tampa Bay region the storm produced hazardous conditions thanks to strong

mention the high cost of property damage. Interestingly, the weather event, which quickly reminded residents of the need to be prepared at all times, came just in time for the annual Severe Weather Awareness Week, January 23-27. Hillsborough County has joined state emergency officials in promoting and calling attention to the importance of being prepared year-round.

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“It’s easy to forget that we get our fair share of hazardous conditions year-round,” said Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Preston Cook. Cook emphasized that while a great effort is put into promoting hurricane awareness, many end up focusing their preparedness efforts only on the hurricane season. “Other types of severe weather can be just as devastating,” he said. To change such outlook County officials hope that promoting Severe Weather Awareness Week, which calls attention to potential hazards, how to prepare, and how to survive, will help widen residents’ weather outlook. The lineup for the week included a few tips which are listed below: Lightning - If you hear thunder, go indoors. Stay inside for at least 30 minutes after thunder stops. If you are outside in a storm, do not use trees for cover. Marine Hazards and Rip Currents. - Before boating, check forecasts well ahead of time. Be sure everyone is wearing a life jacket, and have a VHF marine band radio on board. Never swim against a rip current. To escape

Volume 12, Issue 2

the current, swim parallel to the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle toward the shore. Tornadoes and Thunderstorms Have a family emergency plan that includes where to go if a tornado threatens. During a tornado, go to an interior room without windows, and if possible, on the lowest floor of the building. Never stay in an automobile. Hurricanes and Flooding Have a family emergency kit, and a plan that includes where you will go if you evacuate. If a flood occurs, move to higher ground immediately. Stay away from flooded roads. Turn around; don’t drown. Temperature Extremes and Wildfires - in hot weather, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing, and drink plenty of water. In cold weather, protect people, pets, plants, and pipes. When wildfire conditions exist, take steps to minimize potential damage to your home, such as removing pine needles and dry leaves within five ft. of the structure. For more information, including the County’s Disaster Planning Guide, please visit www.HCFLGov.net/StaySafe. Hillsborough County’s official notification system for emergency messages and urgent information is HCFL Alert. Residents are urged to sign up to receive messages by email, phone, and text, at HCFLGov.net/HCFLAlert, or call 272-6602.


February 2017

ss At a l C y r o t S e Lif vor a e d n E d u Library, M More… Run &

assist with the program. Volunteers assist seniors in making informed healthcare decisions. As the number of Medicare beneficiaries needing Compiled by Michelle Colesanti, assistance increases, michelle@ospreyobserver.com the need for volunteers increases too. The next class is Monday, February 27, meals and travel expenses are reimbursed. For information about volunFree Life Story Class Based On teering contact SHINE program manPoem Where I’m From At ager Sue Samson at Bloomingdale Library sue.samson@aaapp.or or 727-570Art instructor, Joley Billa, will 9696 ext. 234. For a volunteer appliteach a class based on the poem, Where I'm From by George Ella Lyon, using the participants' own life story lyrics at the Bloomingdale Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, on Saturday, March 4 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Room 8. Attendees will construct an 11" by 14" canvas board illustrating their life journey. Supplies will be provided for this free class, which is open to the public. Students may also bring photos or other personal mementos to enhance their art journey board. Please register for this class at the Bloomingdale Library's Help Desk. There is a 12 person limit.

Give Back To The Community By Volunteering Through SHINE

SHINE is a Florida Department of Elder Affairs program through which volunteers provide free, unbiased one-on-one insurance counseling and information about Medicare options and prescription drug assistance for elders and their families and caregivers. Volunteers are being sought to

Page 7

Brandon Edition

It will be held at The Masonic Park & Youth Camp, located at 18050 US Hwy. 301 S. in Wimauma, and will run from 8-11 a.m. This run will test the elite competitor as well as the average runner with a unique course design that includes winding trails through and alongside the beautiful river and 15+ challenging but fun obstacles. Whether you are pushing yourself to complete this new 5k challenge for time or for fun, when it's all said and done, you will leave with another great Mud Endeavor experience. The Masonic Park & Youth Camp, where this event is being held, consists of 2O4 acres of wilderness sitting directly on the Little Manatee River. The park is managed and owned by the 17 Masonic Lodges in Hillsborough County. The Masons have been giving back to the youth for years. To register online, visit mudendeavor.com or call (352) 588-4597.

Help Sprocket Live A Normal Life

Sprocket is a 2 year old male that Cat Call rescued a few months ago. He kept developing Two year old Sprocket is in need of surgery to help him live a normal life. sinus infections, uncontrolled sneezing, upper respiratory infeccation, visit www.floridashine.org/jointions as well as weight loss. He was the-team.aspx. taken to a Specialist, where it was discovered he has a back upper jaw Little Manatee River Mud Cleft Palate, very hard to see. As he Endeavor Run chews, excess food goes into his On Saturday, March 25, Mud sinus and nasal cavity causing him to Endeavor travels down to the Little sneeze out food which results in conManatee River for a scenic 5k mud stant infections. How he managed to obstacle run. survived alone outside was a surprise

to the vet. He is in need of surgery to correct this condition in order to live a normal life. We are a very small rescue and need help raising funds for this surgery. Any help would be appreciated. To help, visit www.youcaring.com/catcallincmainheadquarters-739258.

Impact Hosts Auditions For Impact’s Got Talent

The third annual Impact’s Got Talent 2017 will be held on Friday, May 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Bloomingdale High School. Auditions will take place on Sunday, March 26 at 1 p.m. Grades K-12 are encouraged to audition for this fun-filled event. Singers, dancers, musicians, theater, soloist, groups are all welcome. The grand prize is $250. Trophies will be awarded to 1st & 2nd place in each category as well as prizes for certain awards. Acts must be three minutes or under and you must audition with the act you would be performing the night of the event. You may audition a cappella or with a track. Contestants selected for the event will be asked to pay a registration fee of $15 per person (solos & duets), $10 each person for groups of three or more to help offset the cost of trophies and prizes. Visit www.WhatIsImpact.com or contact Ali Kagey at 454-9125 or alikagey@whatisimpact.com for an appointment time and audition location. Teen IMPACT is a group of high school teens committed to saying YES to healthy relationships and a positive future by saying NO to premarital sex, drugs, tobacco and alcohol.

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Page 8

Brandon Edition

CLS Golf Tournament Supports Funding For New Youth And Children Ministry Facility

By Michelle Colesanti

Iglesia Cristo La Senda (CLS), an institution with strong Christian values, will host its third annual Golf Tournament on Saturday, March 18 at Bloomingdale Golfers Club, 4113 Great Golfers Place in Third annual CLS Golf Valrico. Tournament on Saturday, March 18 at The entry Bloomingdale Golfer’s fee is $100 per Club. person. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. with unlimited free range balls. Golf starts at 1p.m. Meet special guest, former Yankee Pitcher Ramiro Mendoza, a five-time World Series champion. All golfers will receive 18 holes of golf, grab bags featuring a golf shirt from Mendoza’s company, MENDOZA55. There will be a Hole in One for $10,000. Enjoy snacks throughout the event. Included is an awards ceremony, dinner, contests, raffles, sport memorabilia, prizes and more. “This activity is very close to my heart, it is not only my church, but it is also a project that is focus towards the Youth and Children Ministry. It will also bring our community together keeping in mind that our youth and children are our future, said Mendoza.” Pastor Sergio Peralta said, “Recently we had the blessing to finish a new con-

struction for our new sanctuary. That has increased the assistance of families with young children and youth. For that same reason, we need a new facility for them so they can be able to do their activities and spiritual growth.” All the funds from the Golf Tournament go toward the new building and will benefit not only the children and youth, but also the community with free family and marriage counseling, free music classes for children and adults, computer classes, English classes and spiritual. “We will also have the space to have a complete food bank; right now we do serve on Sunday to the less fortunate,” Pastor Peralta added. You can register online at www.iglesiacls.com or pay by check to: Iglesia Cristo La Senda, 3104 Bryan Rd., Brandon, FL 33511. Deadline to enter is Friday, March 10. The church is also looking for sponsors for the tournament. A hole-inone sponsorship is $200, Gold sponsorship-$1,000, Platinum-$3,000 and Diamond-$5,000. More information on each sponsorship level can be found at www.iglesiacls.com. Cristo La Senda Church is located at 3104 Bryan Rd. in Brandon. For more information, call 571-7174.

Volume 12, Issue 2

National Blood Donor Month Applies To Pets

By Libby Hopkins

February is own hospitals. National Blood This eliminates Donor month, so the need to order pets in the blood from exterTampa Bay area nal sources, so and beyond are pets get medical lining up to do care much faster.” their part. Why Blood for on earth are dogs and cats is very much in pets donating demand and it is blood you ask? often used in Because just like emergencies, humans, dogs such as a pet and cats often Blood donations can be collected at the BluePearl Specialty & Emergency Pet Hospital in who has suffered need blood Brandon, which is located at 607 Lumsden trauma or gone transfusions Professional Center. To schedule a donation through surgery. during emerappointment, call 571-3303. An interesting fact to point out is that cats gencies or surgery. Many pets donate have different blood types just like blood so other pets can live. “To make humans. “Dogs have a numbered blood sure our patients have access to blood products right away, we have an in-house typing system called Dog Erythrocyte Antigen (DEA) system. DEA 1.1 is the blood bank,” said Dr. Dee Ann Dugger, of main blood type and dogs can be positive BluePearl Specialty & Emergency Pet or negative,” Dugger said. “DEA 1.1 Hospital and the founder of the Tampa Negative is a universal blood type and is Blood Bank program. “We couldn’t do it safe to be given to any other dog. Cats without the dogs and cats who particihave three different blood types: A, B, pate, as well as our donor parents who and AB. Type A is the most common with are all just wonderful people.” type B found in about five percent of the BluePearl Veterinary Partners, a population. There is no universal blood national provider of emergency and specialty pet care, currently hosts thriving pet type for cats.” To donate, dogs and cats must be in blood banks in Seattle, Houston and good health and must meet certain other Tampa. Hundreds of active donor pets requirements that can be found on the help save thousands of lives every year, BluePearl website. Cats and dogs who but cat and dog blood is still in very high donate also get some benefits, at no cost demand in pet hospitals across the to their owners. These include a free United States. “With one single donation, physical exam, complete blood work-up up to three pet lives can be saved,” said and tests for heartworm and other infecDugger. “Every new donor helps combat tious diseases. Visit the Tampa Blood nationwide blood shortages. In many Bank program’s website at www.bluecases, blood donated at BluePearl is pearlvet.com. used directly for emergencies within our


February 2017

Page 9

Brandon Edition

HCSO Seizes 66 Firearms, Arrests Dozens In ThreeMonth Undercover Weapons Investigation

By Tamas Mondovics

Members of “I can’t say the State enough about the Attorney's Office undercover operof the 13th ation that was Judicial Circuit, done here,” Gee the Federal said emphasizing Bureau of Alcohol, the outstanding Tobacco, work accomFirearms and plished by the Explosives (ATF) men and women and United States who took part in Attorney's Office the hand to hand for the Middle transactions as District of Florida During a recent press conference, Hillsborough the offenders County Sheriff David Gee shares the results of were delivering were all on hand a 12-week undercover weapons investigation. loaded guns, last month to discuss the conclusion of a major criminal which Gee said were “really easy to buy.” investigation that resulted in the seizure “If you want to predict violent crime of dozens of firearms, illegal drugs and you can always look at the number of the arrest of multiple suspects in firearms that are readily available on the Hillsborough County. street that people can just walk up and Hillsborough County Sheriff David buy,” he said, adding that the investigaGee told reporters during the press contion and its success is just the beginning ference at the HCSO Special and more work is going to be done. “We Investigation Division, 2224 N. are going to put a lot of resources into Falkenburg Rd. in Tampa, that the unified this during the year.” effort between the agencies involved According to HCSO, aggravated resulted in the seizure of 66 firearms from assault in Hillsborough County has 51 offenders. increased about 11 percent last year, a Gee said that detectives posed as significant increase. convicted felons and tried to buy guns Another concern was the fact that from people during the 12-week period, while a large amount of weapons were which he said was easy to do as nearly recovered during the operation, none of 60 people told undercover detectives that them were from the pair of recent gun they could get them guns. shop burglaries. When done, the operation seized 42 “The firearms recovered during the handguns, 15 riffles and nine shotguns, 12-week operation, a relatively short seven of which were reported stolen. amount of time, is alarming.” Gee said. A total of 188 firearm and drug-relatFor more information about the ed charges have reportedly been filed in Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, connection with the case. please visit www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.

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Page 10

Volume 12, Issue 2

Brandon Edition

Dine Through Italy And Sicily With Tasty Suitcase Travel Tours

By Michelle Colesanti

When most people think of visiting Chefs, super and they had lages, farms and green houses. Italy, the thought of good food is high deluxe another trip Cinzia plans to offer five or six on the list of reasons to visit this accommodascheduled, trips a year and will also expand to scenically beautiful and highly cultured tions, and but really other areas in Europe, including a trip country. Cinzia Cripe knows this first first class wanted to to Paris. hand. Born in Bergamo, a town in restaurants. visit Sicily. The groups consist of at least 10 northern Italy, she came to the U.S. in Debora “We were people, but no more than 16. She also 1990, first settling with her husband Felton, a friends with offers her services to private groups of in North Dakota. She has lived in Sales Cinzia and 10 or more, where the trips are cusFlorida for the last 20 years, but Associate at very interesttomized according to the requests of returns annually to her homeland to Rolling Pin, ed in the con- the travelers. visit family. traveled with cept of food, Her next tour will be to Sicily As a chef, who owned her own Cinzia’s the culture from August 26 to September 5. The restaurant, Luna Rosa, when she first group to moved to the area, sharing her love of Sicily in Modica is known as the capital of Sicilian chocolate. cooking comes naturally to her. She September currently works as a chef at Rolling Pin Food Emporium, but her main love remains with combining cooking, travel and food. Cinzia started receiving requests from catering customers to bring groups to Italy. She loved the idea of sharing her culture Cooking Classes at the hotel are part of the Sicily tour. One of the places visited on the Sicily and food with othand the histodeadline to sign up for this tour is tour. The dining room at the hotel in Sicily used to be a ers, and has been ry so chose to Wednesday, March 15. It will be folchapel. offering trips for the last year and a 2016. “As a go with her. lowed by another one to Sorrento and half. USF Humanities major with a Food We’d do it again in a heartbeat,” the Amalfi Coast from September 9She said, “I don’t want to do anyStudies Certificate, I was given this Kathy noted. She was impressed with 17, with a signup deadline of Monday, thing tourist related, my trips offer time trip as a gift from my brother and the welcoming spirit of the people. March 20. visiting farms and wineries where you friends so that I could experience the Mark thought Sicily was interestFor more information on the tours, can give time and attention to the flainfluence of other cultures through the ing because it is a place of so many and upcoming dates and deadlines, vors – to get the essence of the trip.” food. I fell in love with the country.” different cultures from the Roman call 298-9538 or email Each tour offers sightseeing, Kathy and Mark Nixon were also Coliseum to normal cities and towns. cinzia.cripe@yahoo.com. Visit cooking classes with Michelin Star on the tour. Mark had recently retired He enjoyed visiting the fishing vilwww.tastysuitcase.com.

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February 2017

Page 11

Brandon Edition

AMVETS To Host Casino Night Fundraiser

By Kathy L. Collins

that sponsorships, which start at $200, will cover the costs to put on the event. Renda said, "The Athena House was chosen as the benefactor for several reasons. Ending homelessness for veterans, along with suicide prevention, is a top priority." Renda Members of AMVETS Post 44 invite everyone to their first ever "Women vetadded, Casino Night Fundraiser on Friday, March 10. All funds raised will benefit The Athena House, a facility for homeless female erans often fall veterans. through the cracks." AMVETS (American Veterans) Post Athena House, the first in the nation and 44, which is located in Plant City, will hold the only one in Florida, is a 16-bed transiits first ever Casino Night. "Bets For Vets" tional housing facility. Women can stay will be held on Friday, March 10 from 5 to for up to 24 months. They are provided 9 p.m. at the Post located at 5521 SR 60 with counseling and life skill classes. In East on Plant City. Proceeds raised at the addition, they are given educational and event will benefit The Athena House, a vocational training which allows them to special housing facility for female veterre-enter the job market. ans. AMVETS is the oldest veterans Attendees simply make a $20 donaservice organization in the nation and tion at the door and in exchange they is comprised of veterans who have receive 5,000 points in the form of gamserved their country. The Sons of ing chips to wager at any of the Las AMVETS and Ladies Auxiliary are Vegas style gaming tables. You can try subordinate groups for veterans’ family your luck at blackjack, roulette, craps or members. Texas hold-em style poker. At the end of Throughout the year, AMVETS the night, attendees can turn in their organizes several fundraisers to help remaining chips for raffle tickets. support veteran causes or quality of In addition to fabulous gaming, atten- life programs in the community. This dees can treat themselves to a delicious includes Friday night dinners, an pulled pork BBQ dinner complete with all Annual Golf Tournament on April 14, of the fixings and dessert for just $5. the annual Patriot Day Celebration John Renda with AMVETS Post 44 and 9/11 Remembrance at Veterans said, "This is the first time that we have Memorial Park. They also host the held a casino night fundraiser. We are only police escorted Toys for Tots Toy very excited about it." Renda explained Ride in November.

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Page 12

Volume 12, Issue 2

Brandon Edition

Photos and story by Tamas Mondovics

HCC Students Selected to All-Florida Academic Team, District Announces Finalists HCC Students Selected to the 2017 All-Florida Academic Team

Finalists For Excellence In Education Awards: Instructional Support Employee of the Year Finalists

• Nancy Alexander, Wimauma Elementary School Hillsborough Community College • Terranique Ragins, Franklin Boys Preparatory School (HCC) was pleased to announce last • Roma Soogrim-EsteMcDonald, Muller Elementary Magnet month that eight of its students had School been selected to the 2017 All-Florida Ida S. Baker Diversity Educator of the Year Finalists Academic Team. • Olivia Williams Holcombe, Colson Elementary According to school officials the • Aaron Lee Berry, Alonso High School students were selected for their aca• Pedro Castrejon, Jefferson High School year, all area demic achievement, leadership and Teacher of the Year Finalists schools nominate • Carrie D. Donatelli, Turner Bartels K- 8 service to their community. the top candi• Katerina M. Pawloski, Tinker K-8 HCC’s eight students, who were dates for three • Lauren Schnebly Hackworth, Mitchell Elementary School among 127 students selected from categories, • Maria Torres-Crosby, Memorial Middle School across the state to receive the honor, the Ida including, • Elizabeth Walker, Spoto High School included: Abdoulaye Ba, Melissa De S. baker • Cathelyn Gregoire, Armwood High School La Cruz, Nicole Liberato, Imane Diversity Malih, Emily Otten, Abigayle Renk, Allen sponsored by USA Today and the Phi Educator of the Year, Instructional Theta Kappa International Honor Rogers and Lance Wood. Support Employee of the year and Society. Selecting the small group of stuTeacher of the Year. To recognize the students’ outstanddents is particularly noteworthy considThe finalists were notified of the ing achievements the All-Florida ering the fact that Hillsborough news in surprise visits earlier this month Academic Team Awards ceremony is Community College serves more than at their school and were joined by by The Florida College System hosted 45,000 students annually on five camSuperintendent Eakins, School Board on Friday, April 7, 2017, in Tallahassee, puses across the region. members, Hillsborough Education Florida. HCC campuses located Brandon, Foundation, sponsors and school district Fort more information about AFAT, and Ruskin, Plant City, Ybor City as well staff. please visit www.fldoe.org. as on Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, The winners of will be announced at Hillsborough Community College is the Awards ceremony planned for District Announces 2017 Excellence accredited by the Commission on Tuesday, February 28 at the David A. in Education Awards Finalists Colleges of the Southern Association of Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Hillsborough County Public Schools Colleges and Schools. officials were pleased to post the names Each student who has earned the HCPS Schools Recognized as Five of twelve finalists of the 2017 honor to be selected was first nominatStar Schools Excellence in Education Awards. ed by his or her respective college to Hillsborough County Public Schools District officials explained that each the All-USA Academic Team competition officials were pleased to announce that

... “Relax ke a t l we’l it.” care of

more than 90 of the schools within the district have earned the Five Star School Award for the 2015-16 school year by the Florida Department of Education. Statewide nearly 700 schools were recognized. Some of the local elementary schools on the list recognized included Cimino, Lithia Springs, Pinecrest, Brooker and Valrico, just to name a few. Florida’s Education Commissioner, Pam Stewart, said that the involvement of the community and family are critical to the success of students. “I am grateful for the parents, caregivers and community members who invest their time in our state’s schools,” Stewart said. To gain the Five-Star School recognition, a school must show achievement in all of benchmark areas as well as in five specific categories, including volunteerism and family involvement. The school must also receive a grade of a “C” or better, or a satisfactory improvement rating for the year being recognized. For the list of schools in Hillsborough County that received the honor visit www.fldoe.org.

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February 2017

Brandon Edition

Page 13


Page 14

Volume 12, Issue 2

Brandon Edition

in o C , t h g Ni Casino Seeks New Club s & More… Member

SWAT Presents Check to Women’s Christine Michaels of Resource Center the Brandon Chamber of Commerce presented info At the Annual “Boots and Bling” about its activities and Celebration for SWAT Networking at IMG interests, which include Golf Club in January, CEO, Dr. Robyn business development Spirtas and SWAT Executive Director, and problem traffic Deb Gerard presented a check to Compiled by Michelle Colesanti, areas. She informed the attendee, Ashely Brown, the CEO of the michelle@ospreyobserver.com group about what types Women’s Resource Center for close to of activities and outings $3000. “We collect ‘brag dollars’ all year the Chamber gets long to give to a charity” stated, Gerard, involved with. “it is a great way for us to get to know The Brandon Lions Club, located at each other on a more personal level and 610 Limona Rd. in Brandon, meets the collecting for a charity at the same time.” Brandon Coin Club Seeks New first and third Thursdays of each month. SWAT Networking always gives to a charMembers Dinner is 6:45 p.m. and the meetThe Brandon Coin Club meets the ing follows at 7:30 p.m. For more third Tuesday of every month at St. information, visit www.brandonAndrews United Methodist Church, locatlions.org or email ed at 331 Bryan Rd. in Brandon, Room membership@brandonlions.org if 421 in the Disciple Hall. you might be interested Meetings begin at 7 p.m. in joining. At a recent Conversation starts at meeting, Christine 6:30 p.m. After the meetMichaels of the ing, an auction is held for Brandon Chamber of all ages. The next meetCommerce recently ing will take place on spoke to the Brandon February 21. Call 719Lions Club. 5192 for more informaDr. Robyn Spirtas and SWAT Executive Director, tion. Casino Night To Deb Gerard presents a check to attendee, Ashely Brandon Lions Club Enjoys Local Speakers At Meetings

Sally Harris, a member of the Hillsborough County School board recently spoke to the Lions Club.

Sally Harris, a member of the Hillsborough County School board recently spoke at the Brandon Lions February 2 meeting relating her experiences as a school teacher and as a developer of a special needs school in Tampa, and eventually running for school board. She was encouraging those attending to consider mentoring school children.

Benefit Tampa Crossroads Athena House

Brown, the CEO of the Women’s Resource Center for close to $3000.

Bets for Vets Casino Night will take place on Friday, March 10 from 6-9 p.m. at the Amvets Post 44, 5521 S.R. 60 E. in Plant City. Five thousand chips for $20 per person or $35 per couple. Enjoy food, fun and prizes. Play Black Jack, Roulette, Craps, Texas Hold-Em and more. Casino Night benefits Tampa Crossroads Athena House.

ity but it was a special connection to give to another organization that supports women’s successes. SWAT, Successful Women Aligning Together is a unique women’s networking organization of 300 professional women. There are seven chapters from Venice to Brandon and Lakewood Ranch to Anna Maria Island in three counties – Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota. The celebration dinner was filled with awards, recognitions and speakers. SWAT welcomes visitors and guests. Visit www.swatnetworking.com

Newcomers March Events

The March meeting of the Brandon Newcomers Club is held on the third Wednesday of the month at the Brandon Community Center on Sadie Street at 9:30 a.m. This month it will be on March 15. Many interesting activities are offered...Arts & Crafts; Bridge; Bunco; Dominoes; Flick Chicks; Girl's Night Out; Hand & Foot; and Out and About and more. Each meeting is entertaining and informative. On Wednesday, March 27 at 9 a.m. will be FUN AND GAMES. Enjoy coffee from 9-9:30 a.m. and then you can play a game of your choice - Bridge, Bunco, Dominoes or Hand and from 9:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. Lunch will then be served and prizes given out. Sign up by first week in March. For more information, call Re at 643-3281.

Eastern Hillsborough Community Band Spring Concerts

The Eastern Hillsborough Community Band will perform three concerts as part of its 2017 Spring Concert Series in the Brandon area and Sun City Center. Performance dates and locations are: Thursday, March 30, 7 p.m. at Logan Hall, New Hope United Methodist Church, 115 Knights Ave., Brandon; Thursday, April 27, 7 p.m. at Strawberry Ridge Clubhouse, 3419 State Road 60 East, Valrico; and Thursday May 4, 7 p.m. at United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, 1210 Del Webb Blvd. W., Sun City Center. A $5 suggested donation asked at the door. EHCB is a full-sized band that has been entertaining since 2009. Visit www.ehcb.org or call 569-1771.

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February 2017

Faith In Community Restored By Local Restoration 1 Business Owner

By Nick Nahas

Many people have formances, and they curdreams and aspirations rently attend every Florida of owning their own Gator home game so that company. Dave Adams they can enjoy listening to has fulfilled those the “Pride of the Sunshine” dreams and has thrived Gator Marching Band. along the way. Adams' sense of giving Restoration 1 of Tampa back to the community Bay is a locally owned extends past the local comand operated small munity. Some of his team business with roots in recently went to St. the Southeast Augustine to help with flood Hillsborough area. damage from Hurricane The company speMatthew. “It was devastatPhoto By Dave Adams ing to see house after cializes in the remediaDave Adams purchased the tion and restoration of house, and street after Restoration 1 of Tampa Bay franchise in July of 2016. residential and comstreet of people’s personal mercial properties for damage caused by possessions set out to the curb for the water, fire, smoke or mold. According to county to take to the landfill,” said Adams. Adams, the company works directly with “Not just furniture and carpets, but cloththe customer’s insurance company so ing, pictures, books, etc. — things that that the customer can focus on getting could never be replaced. It was just hearttheir home back to its original state. “Our breaking. To get a heartfelt thank you and goal is to help homeowners that may not even hugs from my clients as we worked know where to turn when disaster on and completed their homes was one strikes,” said Adams. of the most gratifying experiences of my Family and community are a major professional career.” emphasis of Adams’ motivations. He has The experiences that Adams had worked for both small businesses and have given him invaluable knowledge large corporations in the same field about how to handle these disasters before taking a chance of owning and properly. He emphasizes that insurance operating his own business after his companies want people to act as quickly youngest son left for college at the as possible to save further damage to University of Florida. Adams has been their homes. married to his wife, Heidi, for 25 years, “I look forward to one day having and they have lived in the Valrico area enough extra time and money that we with their two sons, Zach and Sam, for 22 can give back to the community through years. Adams and his wife spent a lot of volunteer activities and donations.” For their free time watching their sons’ travel information, you can visit www.restorasoccer games and high school band pertion1.com/tampa-bay/.

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Page 16

Volume 12, Issue 2

2

Brandon Edition

McAuley Fine Jewelry Opens In Brandon

By Michelle Caceres

Martin’s His jourJewelers, the ney to the iconic store that jewelry trade has served the wound Brandon area for through other 62 years, has professions. shuttered its “I’ve sold doors. Customers things from insurance to looking for the appliances, same level of superior craftsMcAuley Fine Jewelry (formerly Martin’s Jewelers) but was mismanship will be owner Ed McAuley is prepared to continue the lega- erable cy of fine jewelry craftsmanship. because pleased to learn that McAuley Fine Jewelry will continue in these were things customers had to buy,” said McAuley. its place, with many of the same staff Lutz resident Michelle Townsend was ready to provide the superior level of referred to McAuley when she was in the service and workmanship that Martin’s market for a piece of custom jewelry. Her customers have come to expect from the mother, who passed away in 2004, had store. These include watch repairman Mike left her several pieces of jewelry and she Martin (Joe’s cousin), who has more than wanted to use them to create a wedding 33 years’ experience, store manager Don ring set for her anniversary. “Ed was able to take the idea that Korte, a local artisan with 46 years’ expewas in my head and construct it into a rience, Rob Comfort, a third generation tangible thing,” she said. master jeweler with more than 37 years’ Townsend was so pleased she’s experience (17 of those at Martin’s already thinking about her next custom Jewelers) that specializes in custom piece. ‘McAuley Fine Jewelry specializes pieces, Seudatt “Deo” Gajadhar, a bench in custom design work and is definitely jeweler with more than 50 years’ experithe store I will be turning to,” she comence (18 with Martin’s) and an accommented. The shop also specializes in jewplished goldsmith, Wayne Simmons, whose 31 years’ experience is reflected in elry repairs. “Martin’s was so successful for so his outstanding work and Pam Simmons long because customers trusted us to (Joe’s daughter), who has been in the take care of their jewelry that same way business for 15 years. McAuley Fine Jewelry, located at 664 we would take care of our mom’s,” said McAuley. McAuley Fine Jewelry is open Oakfield Dr. in the Atlantic Village Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Shopping Center on the corner of Kings Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ave. and Oakfield Dr., is owned by Ed Visit www.mcauleyfinejewelry.com, McAuley, who spent a decade as call 689-8124 or visit its Facebook page Martin’s’ assistant manager before taking at McAuley Fine Jewelry. over the mantle of owner.

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A pair of public open-house format meetings held in Brandon and in Riverview last month allowed area residents to learn about a variety drainage and flood control projects as well as the County’s master plan updates for the Delaney/Archie Creek Watershed located in central Hillsborough County. Armed with maps and background information, County Public Works representatives, were on hand for both meetings to assist attendees with their concerns and questions and input. The Delaney/Archie Creek Watershed drains approximately 36 square miles and is generally bounded on the north by Palm River Road and the CSX railway, to the west by Hillsborough Bay, to the east by Valrico Road, and to the south by the Alafia River. While the majority of the proposed projects for 2017 are planned west of I75, the event presented valuable information about the entire watershed master plan, the process of which began in late 2013. According to Project Manager, Junshan Su, a final report with recommended flood relief projects was completed in late 2016. “Drainage and flood control projects

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February 2017

Page 17

Brandon Edition

ng i l i m S e r A s Irish Eye , ECHO Now Luncheonte On Tuesday Open La More… &

Torop will present another fascinating session as we continue to gain insight into our relationship with and values towards Israel and the Middle East. March 14, 7:30 pm. Compiled by Michelle Colesanti, Congregation michelle@ospreyobserver.com Beth Shalom is located at 706 Bryan Rd. Call 6816547 for more information.

Brandon Christian Women’s Connection Luncheon Will Make You Smile

The Brandon Christian Women’s Connection March luncheon “Irish Eyes are Smiling” welcomes all ladies. on Monday, March 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. Luncheon and entertainment cost $15. First time guests pay $10. No membership is required for this nondenominational event, but a reservation due to limited seating is requested by Friday, March 3. Please call Lillie at 740-0098 for reservation.

Upcoming Events At Congregation Beth Shalom

Shabbat services take place on Friday evenings at 7:45 p.m. Oneg (nosh and mingle) follows services. All are welcome. Purim Spiel - Sunday, March 12. We will shake our groogers as we retell the story of Queen Esther, the Jews and our foe, Haman. All are welcome to this family-friendly event. Call the office for exact time. Life Learn Israel iengage - Rabbi

ECHO Will Open Its Doors Tuesday Nights

Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) of Brandon recently announced that it will have night time hours. Along with their regular hours of Monday Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., ECHO will also be open every from 5 -7 p.m. Clients will be able to receive the same services offered during the day. This includes, shopping for food and clothing. ECHO will also be offering a night time GED class. “We estimate seeing an additional 500 families a year, simply by keeping our lights on, one night a week” says Executive Director, Eleanor Saunders. ECHO’s new night time hours will allow the organization to help those families who work during the day but still need services. ECHO provides food and clothing for residents of Eastern Hillsborough County who have experienced a recent emergency. Since its inception in 1987, ECHO has served more than 180,000 Brandon area residents. Along with immediate resources, ECHO also provides an array of educational classes and basic social services.

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For more information contact ECHO at 685-0935 ext. 8000.

Good Samaritan Mission’s 2017 Family Salsa Fest

This year the annual Salsa Fest at the Good Samaritan Mission in Wimauma will be held in conjunction with its monthly Saturday Farmer’s Market on Saturday, March 4 from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m This is a celebration of its community and all things Salsa. Come and join in to sample the cuisine offered by the food vendors. Move your toes or your whole body to entertainment with a Latin beat. There will be a lot of games and activities for the whole family. Shop at craft vendors and learn about local businesses and non-profit organizations. Entrance and parking is free. The Good Samaritan Mission and the Family Salsa Fest is located at 14920 Balm Wimauma Rd. (Corner of Balm Rd. and Balm Wimauma Rd.) in Balm. For more info, call 634-7136 or email gsmission1984@gmail.com.

St. Patrick’s Day Social At Brandon Community Center

A St. Patrick’s Day Social and Event, Lunch and Dance will take place on Monday, March 13 at 11 a.m. at the Brandon Community Center located at

502 E. Sadie St. This event is free. For more information or to RSVP (by Thursday, March 9), please call 734-4806 and ask for Maria or call Linda at

Tuesday Night Bingo Open To Public

Tuesday night Bingo is open to both members and non-members of the Brandon Moose Lodge #1880 (North Hall). Doors open at 5:30 p.m. First number is called at 6:30 p.m. sharp. The cost is $10. Food is available for sale before the games start, coffee and popcorn all night. Every week there are over 20 games and depending on how many players there are $700 to $1,000 is given out weekly. The Brandon Moose Lodge is located at 804 S. Miller Rd. in Valrico.

Enjoy The Triumphant Quartet At First Baptist Church of Gibsonton

The First Baptist Church of Gibsonton is excited to announce that The Triumphant Quartet will perform at the church, located at 9912 Indiana St., in Gibsonton on Friday, February 24 at 7 p.m. The cost is $10 per person and tickets may be purchased at the door. The Triumphant Quartet is the number one southern gospel group in the nation and First Baptist Gibsonton is honored to host them. For information, call the office at 677-1301.

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Page 18

Volume 12, Issue 2

Brandon Edition

Strawberry Festival Offers More Than Food, Music And Iconic Racing Pigs

By Kate Quesada

The Florida Strawberry Festival, with its delicious food and exciting entertainment, has been a local favorite since 1930 and is back this year from March 2-12, promising to be better than ever. According to festival Public On Friday, March 3, at 3:30 p.m., the iconic Relations and Willie Nelson will offer Media a concert at the Representative Florida Strawberry Festival, just one of Lauren McNair, the many headline the strawberryperformers coming to centered food at this year’s festival March 2-12. the event is always one of the biggest draws. “We have about 150 food vendors with a wide variety of choices, so there really is something for everyone,” said McNair, who explained that strawberry shortcake is the most popular food item with about 250,000 sold during the 11day festival last year. McNair added that one of the best ways for strawberry lovers to navigate the event this year is by using the Strawberry Central page on the Website and mobile app. “Visitors can use Strawberry Central to see a complete list of every food item we offer. It is the go-to place for those who come here for all things strawberry,” said McNair. Other popular food items include strawberry milkshakes, corn dogs, Kettle Korn, Amish Doughnuts and chocolate covered bacon. The festival also offers an impressive lineup of musical acts with many free concerts throughout the time and tickets available at an extra cost for headliners including Willie Nelson, 3 Doors Down, Little Big Town, The Bellamy Brothers, Elle King and Patti LaBelle. “We sell about 9,000 seats to every show and offer 3,000 free seats on a first come, first seated basis in the Morrow Steel Free Grandstand,” said McNair. However, events included in the ticket price include something for everyone with seven livestock shows, contests, displays and exhibits. Highlights include

the Cabot Strawberry Smoothie event where Cabot Creamery will be creating the World Record Strawberry Smoothie on Friday, March 3 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., ROBOCARS “Big Blue” and “Yellow Jacket,” the Tampa Bay Times Race Zone and nightly entertainment in the Public Showcase Tent. There are also magic, circus and milking shows, pig races and food contests from corn dog and strawberry mashed potato pie eating to strawberry stemming. Times for these events are available on the Website under the “Free Entertainment” tab. McNair recommends the SunnyBell Kiddie Korral for families with young children. “It is an area separate from the main midway that is smaller and offers rides just for kids,” said McNair. “Children will also want to see the Belmont Festival of Magic, the New Circus Incredible, the Florida Strawberry Growers Association Strawberry Production Display, which is a great agricultural education experience, and Robinson’s Racing Pigs.” There is also a Youth Strawberry Stemming Contest on Saturday, March 4. The schedule for all of these events can also be found on the Website at www.flstrawberryfestival.com. McNair credits the support of the community for the festival’s continued success. “The people of Plant City are very proud of our agricultural roots, so the whole area works hard to make sure the festival is a success,” said McNair. “We have about 2,500 volunteers from the community, some of whom even take vacation time from their jobs so they can volunteer here, who want to contribute whatever they can to make sure visitors to Plant City receive a warm welcome and have a good experience here.” For information on the festival, visit www.flstrawberryfestival.com or call 7529194. Tickets to the event can be purchased at the gate for $10 for adults and $5 for children 6-12. Fairgrounds are located at 303 N. Lemon St. in Plant City.

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February 2017

Brandon Edition

Ladies Night Out Promises Fun Evening With Christian Comedian Amberly Neese On Thursday, March 23, Christian comedian Amberly Neese will share her gift of humor and passion for Christ at Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon. Armed with comedic flair and candor, Neese will tackle everyday stressors and scenarios from a biblical perspective. Neese said, “I am stoked to speak at this event and cannot wait to meet each of you there. Grab a friend and a Depends undergarment and get ready to giggle.” The food and fun kicks off at 5 p.m. with a shopping EXPO and a sweet supply of chocolate confectionaries and delicious desserts. The main event begins at 7 p.m. when Neese takes center stage to treat the ladies to a time of encouragement and enlightenment in the faith. As a little girl, Neese was known for her sidesplitting storytelling. Yet, it wasn’t until her first speaking engagement at a women’s retreat almost 25 years ago that she realized she could use humor to point others to Jesus. After the retreat, she came home changed. Neese discovered her calling—to remind others of the joy that is found in a life abiding in Christ. “It is his (God’s) design for us to live a life of joy,” said Neese. Renowned as the “joy” lady, Neese’s infectious laugh and humor delights her

By Amanda Boston

audiences all over the country. In addition to her speaking engagements, Neese has written two devotionals books: Fragrance of Faith and Treasure of Trust. She has also been featured in Desiree Carter’s Remarkable Women of Faith, a book of testimonies from godly women. Currently, Neese resides in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and two children. She serves as an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University. She is crazy about her family, the Food Network, and all things Star Wars. If you would like to attend, tickets are $5 per person and available at www.letstalkfaith.com/LadiesNightOut. The event is at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, 2102 Bell Shoals Road, Brandon. FaithTalk 570 & 910 WTBN is sponsoring Ladies Night Out. For more information, please visit the Website above.

Page 19

FX Fitness Studio Challenges You To A Healthier And Active Lifestyle

By Michelle Colesanti

Always helping as many inspired by living people as possible the active and live a healthier and healthy lifestyle, more-fit lifestyle. I Drew Preiss and want FX Fitness to wife Ashleigh now be known as a share this fitness place that anyone journey as the can come to, owners of the new regardless of what FX Fitness Studio your current fitness in Brandon. level is, and walk The FX Effect out feeling and Training Method is looking better”. a cross training FX Fitness isn’t style of fitness conjust a luxury fitness sisting of group studio. The cross classes, Yoga, boot training style of camps, one on one workouts will chalpersonal training, Drew Preiss (along with his wife Ashleigh) lenge you and push are the owners of FX Fitness Studio in along with a your limits in an Brandon, which will be holding its Grand monthly 3D body environment that Opening celebration on Saturday, assessment. you feel safe and February 11. Back in 2011, Drew, an ISSA comfortable in. “Each member has Certified Personal Trainer, formerly their own set of goals to achieve, and worked with big box gyms, but decided we are there to guide them to the to start his own business by doing results they desire,” he said. boot camps on the side. Prices can range from $15 for a With the recent soft opening of FX drop-in class to $149 per month for Fitness Studio in January, the Preiss’ unlimited access to all the classes and look forward to the upcoming grand monthly assessments. opening celebration which will be held The facility is 2800 sq. ft. Hours on Saturday, February 11 at 10 a.m. A are Monday to Thursday from 5:30 free FX Boot Camp class will kick off a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 5:30 a.m. the fun at 9 a.m. You are invited to to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to come in and try the class and check 1 p.m. It is closed on Sunday. out the Studio. An FX Founders memFX Fitness is located at 932 W. bership special will be available during Lumsden Rd. in Brandon. For more the grand opening. information, call 643-7007 or email According to Drew, “I want to fxfitnessstudio@gmail.com. Visit make a big impact on our area by www.fxfitnessstudio.com.


February 2017

Brandon Edition

Page 20


InThis Section

Brandon

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...............PG 23 PARK RENOVATION ........................PG 25 SPORTS CONNECTION .............PGS 26‐27

PURIM CELEBRATION ......................PG29 February 2017

Volume 12, Issue 2

Fuzzy’s Will Offer Classic Southern Comfort Chicken-Fried Taco

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop presents the Chicken-Fried Taco, a rich and tasty take on the classic Southern comfort food dish now through March 12. The new taco is every bit as crave-inducing as the restaurant’s signature tacos, and is available for only$2.99. The Chicken Fried Taco is prepared with the guest’s choice of hand-battered and fried fajita-style beef or chicken, Latin-fried potatoes, a creamy Verde sauce, and shredded cheese, all served on a flour tortilla. Visit www.FuzzysTacoShop.com.

Brandon Honda Helps “Drive” Rescue Pet Adoptions Year-Round

A lifelong proponent of shelter animal adoptions, John Marazzi, Managing Partner of Brandon Honda is now making it easier for shoppers to picture adorable pets available at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center (PRC) in their lives and in their Hondas. Eighteen cardboard cut-outs of shelter cats and dogs are now romping throughout the Brandon Honda showroom at 9209 E. Adamo Dr. to steal the hearts of visitors and raise awareness of

Ph: 657-2418

all the deserving, Brew Your Own Beer At healthy dogs and cats Bootleggers BrewworX In available for Brandon adoption Bootleggers BrewworX, through breed Brandon’s only Brewery specific rescue where you can enjoy craft groups, SPCAs beer and learn to brew it and humane yourself, invites you to celesocieties, or at brate and participate in this county-run shelyear’s Tampa Bay Beer ters and animal Week during the first full services. week of March. Local brewLocal pet phoers, distributors, and venPhoto courtesy of Adam Goldberg of tographer Adam AGoldPhoto.com dors celebrate beer. This Goldberg took pho- John Marazzi and his shelter rescue year, why not brew your dogs Athena (L) and Zeus (R) share tos recently at the a moment with a cardboard cutout own? Hillsborough County Before of a shelter dog for adoption. Pet Resource Center local located at 440 N. Falkenburg Rd. in musicians begin to Tampa. Goldberg originally found his pasplay and the food sion for photographing animals at the truck rallies the food Humane Society of Broward County. on Sunday, March 5 “Rescue animals can be especially from 12 Noon-9 p.m., right outside hard to photograph when they are anxBootleggers BrewworX, you can get a ious and confused in the transition from a jump on the hops by creating your own home or the streets to shelters,” said mix under the tutelage of the staff. Be Goldberg. “I’ve had to learn how to win sure to call ahead and reserve your brewtheir confidence so that they can relax ing slot. “Many places serve beer,” said and turn on their true personality for the Shaun Goeckner, co-owner of camera.” Bootleggers BrewworX. “And a few Hillsborough County Pet Resource places brew beer. But we are the only Center is open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. seven pub in town that teaches people how to days a week. For more information make beer.” Bootleggers BrewworX just call 744-5660 or visit www.hillsboroughreleased new flavors: Lushable Crush county.org/en/locations/pet-resource-cenIPA, Trappezoid Belgian Tripel, Black ter. Watch Lager & Vienna Vixen. The brew For Brandon Honda, call 664pub also will host the International 1234. Visit www.BrandonHonda.com. Women’s Collaborative Brew Day on

GYM FOR AUTISTIC KIDS ................PG 30 Wednesday, March 8. After home brewing beer together for more than 12 years, Valrico neighbors and friends, Mike Pitts and Shaun Goeckner, bought Bootleggers Brewworx in 2015. Last summer the duo added a pub to Brandon’s only brewery, featuring 30 taps and creating what might be a first for the Tampa Bay Area – a public place to make beer and drink beer under the same roof. Pitts is an airline pilot and Goeckner, who owns a tech firm, is a self-described beer geek, who can steep, mash and sparge some mean hops. Bootleggers Brewworx is located at 650 Oakfield Dr. Call 6439463 or visit http://brewworx.com/.

Best Of In-Home Care Award To Options For Senior America Brandon

Options for Senior America Brandon is proud to announce it has been selected as one of the 2017 Best of In-Home Care Award winners on SeniorAdvisor.com, the largest ratings and reviews site for senior care and services in North America. SeniorAdvisor.com’s Best of 2017 Award winners represent the best of the best of in-home care, assisted living, and other senior living providers, based on the

Continued On Next Page


Page 22

Brandon Edition

Business Column Continued............. online reviews written by seniors and their families. This exclusive designation honors the top one percent of senior care providers across the country. To qualify for inclusion in the Best of 2017 Awards, providers must have maintained an average overall rating of at least 4.5 stars while receiving three or more new reviews in 2016. Additional details and a complete list of award winners can be found on SeniorAdvisor.com. Visit www.OptionsCorp.com or call 800-267-8466.

Majesty Title Services, LLC Opens A Branch In Brandon

Majesty Title Services (Majesty) announces its expansion into Brandon at 915 Oakfield Dr. Ste. B and will be managed by Cathy Thompson, a seasoned title and escrow officer; Thompson is transferring from the company’s main office in South Tampa. Relationship Manager, Allen Denham will be responsible for business development in the area, while Dori Sullivan has been brought on to assist with processing and closing transactions. Majesty continues to execute on its strategic expansion opening its fourth Tampa Bay office in the Brandon market. Vince Cassidy, Majesty's CEO explained. "Brandon is a logical extension of our plan; it’s a great opportunity because of its high density, it’s a mature market and it enjoys continued appreciation of the median sale price. Majesty has several clients in that market and we always wanted to open an office to make it more convenient for them." To learn more about Majesty, please visit http://www.MajestyTitle.com

Bill Shields Roofing To Install Free Roof For Brandon Military Veteran

A local Brandon military veteran will receive a new roof from Bill Shields Roofing, an Owens Corning™ Roofing Platinum Preferred Contractor, as a part of Owens Corning’s national Roof Deployment Project. As a way to show gratitude to the soldiers who tirelessly serve our country and the families who support them, Owens Corning™ Roofing and their network of independent Platinum Preferred Contractors, along with support from the Owens Corning Foundation, are donating

By Michelle Colesanti

superior care and a state of the art facility including more than a half-acre of beautiful outdoor play yards. Canine Cabana is located at 9708 Carr Rd. in Riverview. For more information, contact Angie Pickren at 672-9663 or angie@caninecabana.biz.

Volume 12, Issue 2

Career Job Fair & Resource Expo

A Career Job Fair & Resource Expo will take place on Monday March 27 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County Board Room. Red Carpet USA Entertainment & Events is proud to partner with Hillsborough County NAACP, The Flyer, and Aarrow Sign Spinners. Children’s Board of Hillsborough County is located at 1002 Palm Ave. in Tampa. For more information, call 9438583 or email slongo@redcarpetUSA.us.

roofing materials and labor to build brand new roofs for military families around the country. A new roof was recently installed for Melody Wright, a 10 year National Guard veteran who is serving her second Holistic Medical Care Clinic Moves overseas tour. To New State Of The Art Location In Through the Roof Deployment Brandon Project, Owens Holistic Corning Roofing and Medical Care Clinic its network of indeLLC now has a pendent Platinum new central locaNew Location For Tampa Bay Acu Preferred Contractors tion in Brandon. Health And Spine aim to lessen the Located at 205 Tampa Bay Acu Health and Spine is stressors that can W. Morgan St. in acupuncture clinic of Stephen Dellthe weigh hard on military Brandon, Holistic Jones, a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. Dr. families’ daily lives. Medical Care Clinic Steve has been serving the Valrico and With help from will still offer best of Brandon area for three years, and has Support Our Troops®, class, excellent just moved to a new location: Derm a 501(c)(3) public purmedical care utilizAroma Spa on 1201 Oakfield Dr., Ste. pose charity, Holistic Medical Care Clinic is now located ing integrative 101 in Brandon. This acupuncture pracFor more inforat 205 W. Morgan St. in Brandon. medicine, a blend tice is devoted to helping rid you of pain mation on the Roof of naturally and quickly. The clinic treats Deployment Project, or to learn more conventional/Western medicine and com- sinusitis, neck and back injuries, arthritis, about how you can get involved, visit plementary therapies. It is a healing-orimigraines, digestive disorders, GERD, RoofDeploymentProject.com. ented medicine that considers the whole fatigue, hypothyroid, neuropathy and person, including all aspects of lifestyle other internal disorders. Acupuncture, Dog Daycare Games – Fun and emphasizes natural healing methods herbal medicine, point injection therapy Competition That vs. pharmaco/chemical-based, invasive (biopuncture) are used, and nutrition lab Highlights Skills Used To treatment modality. testing to provide customized alternative Keep Dogs Safe Alternative natural procedures medicine to help you reach your health This winter, professional include hyperbaric oxygen therapy goals. You can reach the clinic at (727) pet care businesses, like (HBOT) for wound care after plastic sur482-4942. Visit www.tampabayCanine Cabana, will show gery or C-section scar recovery or brain acuhealthandspine.com. that certain skills used by neurogenesis; Prolozone/PRP therapy for excellent daycare facilities, quick back/shoulder or sports injury repair Pet Sitters International Announces including teaching dogs to sit, come, and without the need for surgery; and UltraFinalists For 2016 Pet Sitter Of The wait at the gate, all within a controlled violet, intravenous (UV-IV) light therapy Year™ Award environment, can be accomplished withfor hard to treat viral/bacterial infections; Julie Gajewski, Fuzzy Friends Pet out fear or intimidation and keep dogs and Vit C IV ozone treatment as a comCare, LLC, in Brandon has been selected safe while they play together. The plementary cancer treatment, among oth- as one of Pet Sitters International (PSI) Daycare Games, designed by Robin ers. top-five finalists for the 2016 Pet Sitter of Bennett, and Susan Briggs, the coOffice Manager Sunny Sia said, the Year™ Award. First awarded by PSI founders of The Dog Gurus, is focused “We’ve been successfully healing patients in 1995, the Pet Sitter of the Year desigon proving who is best at providing these for the past three years at our Apollo nation is the industry’s highest honor and skills to the dogs in their care. “The dogs Beach location and needed a bigger recognizes excellence in the professional love to play these games and we wanted space to house our new state of the art pet-sitting field. The winner will be to recognize the handlers and facilities ETC Bara-med XD hyperbaric oxygen announced during PSI’s 23rd annual taking the best care of their pets by havchamber which will be on commission by Professional Pet Sitters Week™, March ing a friendly competition,” explained the end of February.” New patients are 5-11. For information about PSI or to Briggs. currently being accepted. Please call locate a PSI pet sitter in your area, “We’re hoping to take home the 398-0470 or visit http://holisticmedicalvisit www.petsit.com. Gold, just like in the Olympics.” stated care.net. Angie Pickren, owner of locally owned, Canine Cabana. Daycare has become a growing industry and Canine Cabana is dedicated to raising the bar of safety in off-leash Our Personal Service & Attention to All Our Customers for 62 years play, teaching owners how to know when their dog is happy, and helping to reduce the number of dog fatalities that occur every year in dog daycares and dog parks. 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February 2017

Page 23

Brandon Edition

With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins

The Creative Artist Gallery Welcomes Artists And The Community

Tampa Theatre Announces The Return Of Tampa’s Longest Running Academy Awards Party

happens at the The Creative Creative Artist Gallery, Artist Gallery Martin has regular art Located at 933 E. exhibits. The current Brandon Blvd. in show is called “For the Brandon is a unique Love of Art.” Artists art gallery. Vanessa were given the opporMartin, a photogratunity to show artwork pher, is the owner which shows subjects and opened the The Creative Artist Gallery in Brandon about which they are gallery last April. offers a unique space for artists to show Martin offers a their work. The current exhibit, “For the passionate. The show Love of Art” is available until March 6. is up until March 6. space that is dedicated to new artists in the community. It is The next show will be “Mardi Gras” and will feature artwork that celebrates the a space where artists can exhibit their artist’s take on the fun of Mardi Gras. This work in a lovely gallery setting. show opens on March 10. In the time that the Creative Artist In addition to partnering with organiGallery has been open, Martin has been zations and hosting art exhibits, Martin busy putting on shows and partnering has started a magazine called, The with organizations such as the Arts Creative Artist. Martin said, “I started the Therapy Program at the James A. Haley magazine as another way to market VA Hospital. Martin said, “Meeting the people that run the Arts Therapy program some of the artists that come through the gallery. For new artists that are not has been the highlight so far. Being able known, it gives them a way to share their to give these veterans a place to show story and work with people.” The magatheir art has really been awarding. Also, being able to help them financially, even it zine includes an Around Town section is a small amount, is very rewarding. I am which features places that show art work and inspire artists. happy to be able to raise awareness Artists can participate by submitting about the program as well.” art which can be chosen as the cover art. Since opening, Martin has also been able to give many artists a space to show Martin said, “It is free to enter and is another great way to market an artist’s their work and share their expertise artwork.” The Creative Artist can be found through teaching the next generation of online at Magcloud or through www.theartists. creativeartistgallery.com. As artists are the center of all that

Tampa's majestic their star status with a movie palace, the movie-themed costume Tampa Theatre, is or let the glamour of proud to announce the Hollywood inspire an return of one of its outfit. most glamorous Inside the Tampa events, Hollywood Theatre, there will be Awards Night, on games, prizes, free Sunday, February 26. popcorn and soda, hair Celebrate Hollywood's and makeup touch-ups The Tampa Theatre presents its 18th with stylists from Paul biggest night of the Annual Watch Party featuring a new Mitchell the School, the year with a Red “Backstage Pass” VIP Ticket at its Carpet Reception and Oscar Red Carpet Live Academy Awards Party. VIP watch party for the live telecast of the pre-show on the big screen, and a cash 89th annual Academy Awards on the big bar. ABC's live coverage of the Academy screen. Awards begins at 8:30 p.m., and guests For those who really want to be a who stay until the Best Picture is celebrity, you can get a "Backstage Pass" announced at the end of the telecast will ticket which includes exclusive access to enjoy donuts and coffee in the lobby. the Tampa Theatre Green Room and a Jill Witecki with the Tampa Theatre spread of complimentary appetizers, said, “Tampa Theatre has been hosting beer, wine and signature cocktails until 11 the city’s longest-running OSCAR watch p.m. The Hollywood Awards Night Red party for 18 years, and it is one of our Carpet Reception begins at 7 p.m. on favorite fundraisers. Our guests love getFranklin St. under the historic marquee. ting dressed up, the limo rides, and walkGuests first get to experience a limo ride ing the red carpet, and we love that all of around the block courtesy of Skyline it supports our artistic and educational Limousines. Superstar guests will walk programming.” the red carpet past adoring fans and Backstage Passes are $75 per perpaparazzi, rub shoulders with costumed son ($70 for members). General admischaracters representing Hollywood's sion tickets are $20 ($15 for members). biggest bigwigs, pose for a picture with a Tickets are on sale at the historic Tampa living award "statue," and chat with "Roan Theatre Box Office located at 711 N. Jivers.” Franklin St. in downtown Tampa or at Guests are encouraged to show off www.tampatheatre.org.

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Page 24

Brandon Edition

Volume 12, Issue 2


February 2017

Page 25

Brandon Edition

County Closes Paul Sanders ‘Tree’ Park To Begin Two Month Park Renovation Project

Dukes of Hazard John Schneider Signs On To Movie Filming Locally, The Favorite

Hillsborough tion and expansion County has temhas been on the porarily closed County’s Community and began a two Project roster for month long renosome time, and vation project of when complete, the one the largest new playground will and most heavily sport engineered used parks in wood fiber Brandon. in an The improved makeover at Paul Paul Sanders Park is getting a playfacelift and is scheduled to be Sanders Park, ground temporarily closed until the end of March. 602 W. surfacing Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon, named system, which they say is designed to after long time Brandon resident Paul be enjoyed by children of all abilities. Sanders three years before his death in “The new equipment includes traditional 1991—is promising to upgrade as well as swings and slides along with a next-genexpand the park, while virtually replacing eration playground equipment that all of the playground equipment and encourages children to climb, run, and adding additional play structures, county play,” said County spokesperson Todd officials said. Pratt. Famous for its mature oak trees that The $315,000 project covered by provide shade by means of a natural the County Parks and Recreation canopy, the park has been the favorite department's budget for Capital hangout for the thousands of visitors it Improvement Projects also includes rensees annually. Picnic tables throughout ovating the restrooms, repaving the the park have been used for birthday par- parking lot, adding sidewalks, and creatties and family gatherings. ing an additional entrance on the northThe facelift is a much welcomed and west side of the park to improve traffic anticipated project for many of its regular flow, which will come in handy. guests including Lithia resident Jinifer Hillsborough County Parks Services Leichner who said, “I love this park. I manager, Kyla Booher confirmed that have great memories growing up as a the park will be closed to the public durteenager visiting this park and as an adult ing the duration of the project from bringing my children here. It is a beautiful Wednesday, February 1, to Friday, park and I am glad the county is putting March 31. the effort into making sure it stays that For information about community way.” projects in Hillsborough County, visit County officials said that the renovawww.hillsboroughcounty.org.

Producers of the Clearwater based film, The Favorite, announced that they are in preproduction and set to start shooting in late February in the greater Tampa Bay region. John Schneider has a Cast and crew role in the upcoming Christian based film, The are being Favorite, which is set to selected with start shooting locally. He John Schneider, is known for his roles on Dukes of Hazard, being selected Smallville and Tyler as one of the Perry’s Have and Have lead roles in Nots. the movie. John is known for his roles on Dukes of Hazard, Smallville and Tyler Perry’s Have and Have Nots. The Favorite is based upon the true story of Luke Bernard, a local pastor’s son, who nearly died from a car accident in Los Angeles just after he was cast in a new television series. Luke amazed his surgeons and nurses by recovering from severe brain trauma in less than a year. While literally relearning to walk, talk, and write, he was inspired in a dream to write a movie screenplay about two brothers each seeking to be their father’s favorite son. The result was a screenplay that amazed veterans of the film industry in Hollywood. In 2016, the novelized screenplay was published by

By Tamas Mondovics

License CGC#1513613

By Marie Gilmore

Evergreen Press. Producer Daniel Bernard, Luke’s father, and the founder of Somebody Cares, Tampa Bay, said, “We didn’t The Favorite is based upon the true story of even find out Luke Bernard, a local Luke had pastor’s son, who nearly been in a died from a car accident in Los Angeles just after near fatal he was cast in a new accident for television series. three days. When we got to the hospital his injuries were even worse than we had imagined. We believe that his recovery and the film based upon his experience can bring great hope to many by demonstrating the power of faith and prayer. The movie will be released in the fall of 2017 or beginning of 2018. Shooting will be focused primarily in Pinellas County in February with 25 speaking roles cast including: BENJAMIN: Luke Bernard, LUKE: Matthew Fahey, DANIEL: John Schneider, ASHLEY: Mollee Gray and MIKE FRASER: Jeff Hardy. For more information or to interview the author, email info@thefavoritemovie.com or contact Daniel Bernard at 727-421-4132. Visit www.thefavoritemovie.com for latest news updates.

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Page 26

Volume 12, Issue 2

2

Brandon Edition

PRESS

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Sports Connection 657-2418 www.ospreyobserver.com

Area Boys And Girls Lacrosse Begins As Fourth Official FHSAA Season

Bloomingdale Bulls Evan Knapp gets pressured by a solid Newsome defense during a recent district game.

For the delight of coaches, players and fans, local high school boys and girls lacrosse programs begin their fourth season as an official Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) sport. In a single Class standing, area teams assigned to District 14, includes Newsome, Bloomingdale, Durant, All Saints’ Academy and Tampa Bay Tech. The official 2016-2017 season began following the annual preseason

Newsome Wolves Cameron Kitchiner controls the attack during the season’s first conference game against Bloomingdale.

jamboree which according to coaches and players always helps to see how their programs measure up. For its season opener game Durant led by program head coach Andrew Madden, hosted the Freedom High School Patriots for a non-conference game at Cougars Stadium. Madden called the game a “good measuring stick” to start the season when he said, “This game helps us to see how we are doing, what we are doing well

Cougars captain, Colton McNabb runs past the Patriots defense during a home season opener non-conference game earlier this month.

and, of course, what we need to fix.” While the boys team played a solid settled defense, its offensive turnovers led to transition opportunities for the Patriots, ending the game with Freedom’s 7-6 win. “All in all a good first game with some easy to fix mistakes,” Madden said. The Lady Cougars, led by fourthyear program head coach and Durant graduate, Kiara Klinger, the night ended on a much higher note after the girls defeated Freedom 21-6. “I am proud of the girls,” Klinger said. “We will only improve and play better at each game.” Ready for its first conference game of the season, Bloomingdale High School welcomed its district rival Newsome, for a pair of games, both of which revealed the need for the host team to tighten the belt.

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Lady Bulls Kelsey Penn and Lady Wolves Katie Ward battles for the ball during a recent district game.

Newsome’s strength was unquestionable, as both boys and girls teams led by coaches Eric Blackburn and Chris Crusey respectively, dominated the night, right from the start. “We are off to a great start,” Crusey said, adding that his team lost a number of seniors, but is ready for the season with a balanced roster. Facing their much stronger opponent, the Lady Bulls led by program head coach, Sarah Ginn, suffered a tough loss, but played all four quarters of the game with so much heart that it was a simply a delight to watch. “We have a lot to work on and grow, but we will pull through this season,” Ginn said. “These girls are so high spirited. They just love the game.” For more information about the season please visit www.maxpreps.com.

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February 2017

Page 27

Brandon Edition

Connection Sports Story by Tamas Mondovics Newsome Sports Success At 2nd Annual Bass Pro Shops Marksmanship Classic

Bloomingdale Girls Soccer Reaches Post Season As District Champs

Close to 150 Kehrmeyer high school said that in years JROTC students past, the Air Force from 26 high JROTC team from Sickles High schools near and School had enthufar took aim at targets last month siastically traveled competing for troto Bass Pro Shops phies and medals, in Leeds, Alabama not to mention the to participate in a Members of the Newsome High School bragging rights, similar tournaJROTC team Darian Shelow, Hunter Dymond, during the 2nd Emma Custis and Michael Portugue, proudly ment, utilizing the Annual Bass Pro pose with their second place trophy during the Civilian 2nd Annual Bass Pro Shops Marksmanship Marksmanship Shops Classic of West Central Florida. Portugue and Marksmanship Custis also won first and third place individual Program (CMP) Classic of West Mobile Range set events respectively. Central Florida. up in the Tracker boat showroom. Competing teams included students Last year, however, the host team from Bloomingdale and Newsome High worked with local Bass Pro Shops Schools and teams from as far away as General Manager, Ronnie Cheeks, to Niceville, in Florida’s panhandle. host the inaugural event, which saw 25 Newsome walked away with a secJROTC teams from high schools across ond place team win, behind Oviedo High the area competing in the tournament. School, while host team, Sickles High “This year the event has grown to 36 won 3rd place overall. Sarasota Military teams traveling to participate,” Kehrmeyer Academy, won 1st place in the precision said.The recently opened Bass Pro rifle category. Shops store is located at 10501 Palm Newsome’s team success was couRiver Rd. in Riverview. pled with impressive individual results The tourney debuted the new including the Emma Custis’ third place OptiScore Target System Range from the win and Michael Portugue’s prone posiCivilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), tion first place win. Portugue also placed which utilizes cameras to capture the fifth overall. actual pellet as it passes through the tar“The activity and excitement in our get instead of the sound as it passes through a paper roll in an acoustical tarboat showroom proved to be a great event for students to participate in and for get. Shooters and the audience members were able to view the results of each shot our customers to watch,” said Bass Pro on monitors. For information about Bass Shops Community Relations Manager, Pro Shops, visit www.basspro.com. Cheryl Kehrmeyer.

The teams faced Bloomingdale Newsome midHigh School way through the girls’ soccer season only to team enjoyed suffer a loss 6-0 a strong seaand 5-1 respecson with plenty tively. to celebrate Worthy of last month mentioning is Bloomingdale’s after reaching long time neighthe region Bloomingdale High School Girls soccer team boring rival, the playoffs as celebrate their Class 4A District 9 Championship Class 4A victory. The Lady Bulls posted a 6-0 district record to Newsome Lady Wolves soccer District 9 advance to the region playoffs. team led by program head coach Kelly champions. Townsend assisted by John Evensen. The Lady wolves, coached by While the Newsome boys’ team Heather Iverson managed to post a 10-11 overall record, while maintaining an out- ended its season with a loss during the district semifinals, the girls prostanding undefeated 6-0 district run. gram claimed the district trophy, after Advancing to the post season, the defeating Riverview, 4-1, advancing to girls faced Countryside (Clearwater) in the regional quarterfinals and after a 2-1 the much tougher round of region victory managed to move up to the playoffs. regional semifinals, to face off As fourth-time district champs conSt.Petersburg. fident of the team’s future, Townsend Unfortunately, after a hard fought bat- said that her girls were in position to do more than just coming close to the tle against the Green Devils, the Lady state title when she told reporters, “I Bulls quest for the state title was halted think this group can do it, they just with a 2-1 (OT) loss ending the overall might have what it takes.” season with an 11-2-1 record. Unfortunately, Newsome has to try The season also saw a measure of again next year. success for the boys’ soccer program led The Lady Wolves managed to by Coach Michael Lankford. reach this year’s state playoffs, but The team finished the season with a lost their shot at the state title after a 13-8-2 record after defeating Armwood 3-0 loss to the Oviedo Lions. and Lennard High in the district playoffs, Visit, Florida High School Athletic but had to end the season with a 4-2 loss Association (FHSAA) region and state against Gaither in the district final. playoffs please visit www.fhsaa.org. The Bloomingdale boys and girls

By Tamas Mondovics

By Tamas Mondovics

 



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Page 28

Volume 12, Issue 2

Brandon Edition

CPA’s Serving Riverview And Surrounding Areas See Steady Growth This Tax Season

Remi’s Minis Gourmet Coffee and Donut Shop Is Set To Open In Winthrop Town Center

Representative. Hamilton continues to see clients during tax season. The passing of January 31, the last day for employers to mail W2’s to their employees, has clients flocking in to learn whether they have a refund coming to them or a check to write to the IRS. Staff at Hamilton and Phillips CPA help the community Santana reported that last with all aspects of tax prepartations. year’s numbers were at a Along with the many resolutions and record high with ten percent growth over fanfare the coming of a new year brings, the prior year and additional growth something bigger lurks on the minds of expected this year. many Riverview area residents—tax sea“Our niche is to provide the best posson. The CPAs at Hamilton and Phillips sible service at the best possible price are busy fielding questions from current with the best possible results,” said and prospective clients, and the firm has Santana. “We are a full-service firm servseen steady growth. ing our business clients all year long with Hamilton and Phillips CPA, located at bookkeeping, financial statements, audits, 3447 Brook Crossing Blvd. is one of the IRS Representation, retirement plans, oldest and largest firms in Brandon. It and tax planning. The firm also files perwas founded in 1983 by Greg Hamilton, sonal tax returns, both federal and state. CPA who retired at the end of 2015. His Hamilton and Phillips business clients partner, Laura Phillips, CPA, graduated run the gamut across Riverview, Apollo from USF with a degree in accounting Beach, Brandon, and surrounding areas. and serves as the firm’s managing partThe firm also serves clients in other ner. After Hamilton’s retirement, Phillips countries including Canada, Germany, took on two new partners, Rachel France, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine, milSantana, EA and Dustin Orr, CPA. itary clients and more. Santana, who has been with the firm for Santana feels the firm is set apart nearly 20 years, graduated from USF with from the rest by the ease with which a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting. She clients can manage their taxes in today’s is certified with the IRS as an Enrolled the fast-paced world. Clients have the Agent, which is considered an elite status option to email (scanned documents), among tax professionals. Orr, who has mail, or drop off their tax information. For been with the firm for over 5 years, gradu- information, including frequently asked tax ated with an MBA from USF and is both a questions, visit www.cpabrandonfl.com or CPA and an Investment Advisor call 689-7480.

Who doesn't like idea for a mini donut a good, tasty donut? and coffee shop If you are one of the when they were millions who cannot traveling in resist a donut, then California. Ben head over to Remi's explained, "We go Minis, Inc. located in out there a couple of Winthrop Town times a year and are Center in Riverview. always fascinated by Remi's Minis is the success of the owned and operated donut and food truck by long time industry. So, we Riverview residents, thought we would Ben and Christy give it a try, but with Chambless. our own twist." Ben Remi's Minis is added, "We decided Ben and Christy Chambless invite you to to find and outfit a not your ordinary, come and try their mini gourmet donuts run of the mill coffee and vintage Airstream hand crafted coffee beverages at their and donut shop. For new shop located in Winthrop Town Center travel trailer." in Riverview. one thing, it is The name, housed in a refurbished 1963 Airstream Remi's Minis, comes from the Travel Trailer- yeah the old silver bullets! Chambless' adopted dog, Remi. They Second, it is situated in a great commuadopted him from the Humane Society of nity, Winthrop Town Center in front of the Tampa Bay. Remi was found tied to a Art Factory at Winthrop Arts. tree and had been shot over 30 times in At Remi's Minis you can get a delithe head and face with a BB gun. Remi's cious vanilla cake donut topped with deli- loveable face is perfect for the logo. As a cious ingredients such as maple icing thanks to the Humane Society of Tampa with bacon, Nutella with fresh strawberBay, customers will be asked to round up ries and even toasted coconut and their order and the difference will be caramel. During holidays, seasonal donated each month. favorites will be offered. Remi's Minis will officially open in Remi's Minis will also serve locally late February. Remi's Minis will be open roasted Blind Tiger coffee. You can get Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to espresso based beverages such as latte, 6 p.m. They are located at 11267 brewed coffee and nitrogen-infused cold Winthrop Main St. in Riverview. brew. Ben and Christy plan to locally For more information, please visit source the majority of the ingredients remisminis.com or call 525-7282 and used. make sure to like them on Facebook at Ben and Christy came up with the Remi's Minis, Inc.

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February 2017

Brandon Edition

Allegria Italiana Offers Authentic Family Recipes In Welcoming Location Nestled at the intersection of Oakfield and Corner Drives near Brandon Regional Hospital, Allegria Italiana Ristorante brings the culture, food and feel of Italy to Brandon. The restaurant is owned by the Dragoneti family, who share their decades of Vito Dragonetti’s Allegria Italiana Ristorante in experience and Brandon serves up passion to the authentic Italian cuisine. creation of Italian cuisine. Many of the items on the menu are authentic recipes passed down through generations of Italian families. Matriarch Mamma Rosa’s sauce recipe graces the menu in several dishes. It’s not just her recipes that can be found at the restaurant. The 85-year-old can be found most nights sitting in the dining room, enjoying the overall atmosphere and ready to chat with customers. “She brings some of that Italian authenticity to the restaurant,” said owner and son Vito Dragonetti. From their roots in Italy, the Dragonetti family began their restaurant venture in New York in the 1970’s, where they owned pizzerias, trattorias and steakhouses. A commercial broker, Eddie Arnold,

By Michelle Caceres

told Dragonetti that Brandon had a need for a family-owned Italian restaurant with great food. The New Yorker left the Big Apple and moved to Florida. Allegria has been open almost three years. “We have lasted because we know how to take care of our customers,” said Dragonetti, who emphasizes

the importance of the entire dining experience at his restaurant. “We are a small restaurant and take pride in our food,” he said. “Plan to spend an hour and a half eating and enjoying good food, the atmosphere and good conversation with your dining companions.” Dragonetti is doing something right. TripAdvisor ratings are extremely favorable and the restaurant earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2015 and 2016. Allegria is open Monday – Thursday 3:30 p.m.–9 p.m., Friday 3:30 p.m.–10 p.m., Saturday 4:30 p.m. –10 p.m. and Sunday 4 p.m.–8 p.m. Reservations are required on the weekends and lunch may be added soon. Visit www.allegriaitaliana.com, or call 651-1166.

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Chabad Of Brandon’s Upcoming Events To Include "Purim In The Stadium" “Purim in the Stadium” is Chabad of Brandon's creative twist to this year’s community celebration of Purim, the holiday commemorating the Jewish people’s salvation in Persia of old. The festivities will be held at Chabad Jewish Discovery Center, located at 1578 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico on Sunday, March 12 at 4:30 p.m. featuring fun sportthemed activities and your favorite stadium foods. Billed as the most joyous date on the Jewish calendar, the daylong holiday commemorates the nullification in 356 B.C.E. of a Persian decree calling for the extermination of the Jewish people throughout the Persian Empire as told in the biblical Book of Esther. Chabad’s original spin on this age-old holiday has helped bring the spirit of Purim to Brandon year after year. "It combines ancient Jewish traditions with a modern twist," said Rabbi Mendel Rubashkin, Director of Chabad of Brandon. "We focus on doing interesting and innovative programs that will maximize the enjoyment for young and old alike, yet still keeping with the holiday theme." The event is a community-wide program, and all are welcome to join, regardless of Jewish affiliation or background. Participants will enjoy beef franks in a soft pretzel bun, Philly "cheese" steaks, nachos and more of your favorite stadium

Staff Report

foods. In addition, the celebration will feature sport themed interactive activities and childfriendly reading of the Book of Esther, known in Hebrew as the Megillah. "The event is focused primarily on spirit, fun, and tradition." said Tzippy Rubashkin, program director at Chabad who helped organize the event. "Everyone is sure to have a great time." In the spirit of Purim, participants are encouraged to come in costume. The cost is $18 per person or $60 per family. A pre-Purim event, PURIM UNMASKED, will help women and girls uncover the meaning behind the Purim costume. This will take place on Sunday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m. Design and decorate elaborate masks to be used as a wall hanging or as a costume and explore the story of Purim as it is told, unmasked. Taste delicious Hamantaschen and Purim treats. It is $10 per person. A multimedia Megillah reading followed by a luncheon featuring NY bagels, lox, whitefish salad and all the trimmings will take place on Sunday, March 12 at 12:45 p.m. This is free of charge, but RSVP is required. To RSVP, please visit jewishbrandon.com/rsvp or call 571-8100.


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Brandon Edition

T Marie’s Sunday Market Seeks Vendors For Weekly Afternoon Outdoor Events

By Kathy L. Collins

local artisans, artists and food vendors. There are 60 booth spaces available for each market and are available for just $30. The vendors, artists and artisans change each week so there is always variety at the market. In addition to the booths, local businesses such as AJ's Fine Wine and Liquors have embraced the market and open their businesses to the attendees. "You can get some delicious food from one of our vendors and then enjoy a glass of wine T Marie Benchley and Kirk Gladwyn (shown on AJ's outdoor patio," said here with Paisley), owners of T Marie’s Fashion Benchley. & Gift Boutique started T Marie’s Valrico Benchley and Gladwyn are longSunday Market to offer families a fun activity every Sunday with 60 artists, artisans and time residents of Valrico. They are vendors selling one of a kind items. both civic minded and want to give If you are looking for a fun, family back to the community. "The market is and pet friendly activity on a Sunday that our way of giving local artists, artisans is close to home, try attending the weekly and food vendors an opportunity sell their Valrico Sunday Markets hosted by T goods," said Benchley. Marie's Fashion & Gifts Boutique, located T Marie's opened two years ago. It is at 3407 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. In Varico. T a lovely space that offers unique clothes, Marie's Valrico Sunday Market takes accessories and gifts. "This store is for all place weekly (weather permitting) from 10 women. I want them to feel beautiful and a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday now through offer an escape," said Benchley. "Anytime the end of May. The markets will pick you combine puppies, champagne and back up in October. chocolate, you cannot lose," added T Marie's owners, T Marie Benchley Benchley. and Kirk Gladwyn, started the Sunday The setting is just lovely for a Sunday Markets so that families could have a fun Market. The majestic oaks offer shade activity that also helps local vendors, artiand tranquility. sans and artists. "We wanted to give famThere are some spaces available, ilies something to do locally every but given the success of the market thus Sunday," explained Benchley. The far, vendor spaces will go fast. If you are Sunday Markets started on January 15, interested in becoming involved as an and since then, over 500 people have artist, artisan or food vendor, contact T gone to each market. Marie at 530-0922. Applications can be The Sunday Market is composed of picked up in the store.

Volume 12, Issue 2

Children With Autism Rock The Spectrum

By Matt Boniface

According to the licensed dayCDC, 1 in 68 children care. are on the autism Their spectrum. This is up grand opening, from 1 in 150 in the on January 7 of year 2000 this year, was (www.cdc.gov/ncbdfilled with wondd/autism/data.html). der as children The prevalence of this were greeted disorder has affected with storm millions of households troopers from and parents are lookTampa's 501st A ribbon cutting was recently held to celebrate ing for safe environthe opening of We Rock the Spectrum, a gym Legion and ments for their children. that offers safe environments for children on Anna from the the autism spectrum. An independently movie Frozen. owned and operated gym called We Kapusta expressed how she'd Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym has been recently hosted a birthday party for a 9 established in the local area by Michelle year old boy who'd never experienced Kapusta, “After seeing We Rock the one before because he'd been asked to Spectrum in Largo, I knew Tampa needleave from other, more structured facilied one.” ties. “If they don't want structure they “I have three children and one is on shouldn't be forced into it,” she explained. the spectrum...most of our employees It offers many reasonable admission have children on the spectrum so we options for families. They offer “Open have a lot of experience,” Kapusta Play” daily for $12/child + $10/sibling with explained. In addition to direct experience no specific time limit. Daily passes and with children on the autism spectrum, the memberships are also available. cooperation trains Kapusta and her Insurance may only cover an hour each employees. These trainings are designed week of occupational therapy so they by Occupational Therapists specifically for team up with a non-profit, My Brother children on the spectrum. Rocks the Spectrum, part of the corporaCatering mainly to children from tion, which grants families assistance for infant to 13 years, they still welcome additional time otherwise not covered. teens and young adults interested in They are also a huge sponsor for “Autism coming to play and can find a time bestSpeaks” and are looking to partner with suited for them by calling in advance. local schools for field trips and as a genChildren not on the spectrum are also eral resource. welcomed to attend and play. Kapusta Kapusta would like to extend her noted, “We are a full inclusion, sensory thanks to the support from Ed Buckley gym for children of all abilities.” They do and her husband Phil who have helped require that a parent or guardian remains her bring this dream to fruition. on site at all times as they are not a The Gym is open 7 days a week:

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February 2017

Page 31

Brandon Edition

Rep. Spano Helps Unite Area Churches And Community In Prayer More than a dozen churches from the Tampa Bay area united for an evening of prayer and thanksgiving at Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon. In response to the nation’s escalating racial and political divides, the event focused on unifying community and families. Leading the charge was Rep. Ross Spano from the Florida House of Representatives. He expressed, “I had a growing concern and a feeling that I needed to do something. I began to pray about it and met with friends, community leaders and local pastors who share a heart for that same vision of unity. The November 20 event was the first step of a series of meetings that we hope will take place at quarterly intervals.” Dr. Stephen Rummage, senior pastor Bell Shoals Baptist Church, and A.D. Shaw, senior pastor Shekinah Glory Cathedral, share in Spano’s enthusiasm and shouldered key leadership roles in preparation for the UNITED event.

Rummage said, “I believe that the church is the beginning place for real unity in our communities. We have been brought together by God's Son, and we can extend His work of reconciliation and peace to others. The event gathered a diverse group of people from various denominations, races and political views. The evening dedicated a time of prayer to educators, law enforcement, first responders, military, and leaders of the city, state and nation.

Worship teams from the participating churches combined into a mass choir to worship the Lord in song. The church, being the body of Christ, put

By Amanda Boston

unifying the community through current struggles. Students, parents and community members are invited to an encouraging evening jampacked with entertainment from local high school bands, drama teams and choruses. In respect to community events, Spano clarified that although he can’t separate who he is as abeliever from who he is as a leader, he is careful not to Dr. Stephen Rummage, senior pastor Bell Shoals Baptist Church, played an active role in planning and provided the infringe on the beliefs of others. venue for the November 20 event. “I understand aside personal differences, disthere may be some concern that I will played love for one another, use my platform for some religious and acted as an example of agenda. unity to the rest of the commuBut that’s not what this is about,” nity. explained Spano, “I sense an openIn March, plans are underway for a community event at a ness in the church particularly to get out of our comfort zone and reach local high school. across divides to truly see unity and In Spano’s words, it will be love one another like Christ.” a “Character Pep Rally for If you would like to get involved Unity” and will feature a celebrity or be added to the mailing list, please speaker to be named later. As the contact the office of Rep. Spano at name implies, the rally will spotlight the role of an individual’s character in 744-6256.

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Page 32

Brandon Edition

Volume 12, Issue 2

Osprey Observer 2017-2 Brandon