Two Sections, 32 Pages of Community News
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E P O W O N December 2016
C E L E B R A T I N G
Y E A R S
Volume 11, Issue 12 Ph: 657-2418 P U B L I S H I N G
Hillsborough County Breaks Ground On $1.8M Veterans Resource Center
By Tamas Mondovics funds and a $1.5 million grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which was spearheaded by Florida State Senator, Tom Lee. The ceremony gave plenty of opportunity to
Hillsborough County Officials recently gathered to take part in a long-awaited and much anticipated groundbreaking ceremony for a new Veterans Resource Center. Hillsborough County officials and members of the County’s Veterans As a one-stop Services take part in the official groundbreaking ceremony for a new Veterans Resource Center to be built at Veterans Memorial Park shop and new and Museum. home for the County’s Consumer and Veterans County leadership and Veterans Services, the $1.8 million facility will be Services representatives to praise the built at Veterans Memorial Park and project as well as the generosity and the Museum, 3602 N. U.S. Hwy. 301 in cooperation between those involved. Tampa. “The new services center is the Construction of the 8,000 sq. ft. cenresult of a unified effort by our local ter is scheduled to be completed in sumVeterans, Veteran advocates, mer 2017, and will include a multi-purHillsborough County government and the pose room for uses such as training and State of Florida,” said Assistant special events. Hillsborough County Administrator, As funds become available, future Dexter Barge. plans call for a 14,000 to 16,000 sq. ft. Barge drew special attention to the addition for educational use and museum need for the new facility as it will serve exhibits. the approximately 93,000 veterans now The project is funded by $300,000 in County Capital Improvement Program
By Kathy L. Collins
The ever name on the old time popular Walker claw hammer banjo Brothers, homeworld as well as having town Blues made a big mark as a musician sensong writer. sations, will appear at New Hope United Methodist Church (formerly First United The very accomplished Methodist) on Walker Brothers ( L to R Sunday, Jarrod, Cory and Tyler) will January 8. The return home and perform with Mike Compton (Left) and Joe three Walker According to Walker, "The Newberry (Right) on January 8 at Brothers Cory, grew up in the church. In boys New Hope United Methodist Jarrod and Tyler fact, I have been a member Church (formerly First United Methodist) in Brandon. will appear with since my parents Marlin and Mike Compton and Joe Newberry at 6 Dixie moved to Brandon in 1965. Our p.m. The concert will consist of the pastor, Jaimie Westlake and Music Walker Brothers as a trio playing intricate Minister, Jeff Brant, have been very graslightly progressive bluegrass and cious in letting us have this show here. acoustic music. Then, Compton and They really appreciate the outreach it Newberry will play a style of old country gives the church to people who are not mountain music that was reminiscent of members of New Hope or any church." the early 1900's. They will end by playing This is a great concert for the whole as a more traditional five piece bluegrass family. There is no cost to see the show. band. A love offering is requested to pay the Cory (banjo), Jarrod (mandolin) and band. New Hope United Methodist Tyler (guitar) have been playing since Church is located at 120 N. Knights Ave. they were seven years old. The boys in Brandon. For more information, please grew up locally attending Pinecrest call 684-4161. Elementary, Turkey Creek Middle School and Durant High School. Cory and Jarod graduated from Middle Tennessee State. In This Issue Tyler is a junior at Florida State. The brothers have played many venues including the Grand Ole Opry and in variTRANSPORTATION UPDATE................PG 9 ous countries around the world. INDOOR SKYDIVE............................. PG 12 While traveling, the brothers have made and become friends with many FESTIVAL CONCERTS....................... .PG 16 high profile musicians. According to David GRANT FUNDING .............................PG 19 Walker, the father of the Walker Brothers, "This has led in the past to January conEYE ON BUSINESS...........................PG 21 certs involving world class entertainers." CHALKLINES........................................PG 24 Walker added, "Likewise, this year's duo are very well known in the bluegrass and SPORTS CONNECTION.................PGS 28‐29 old time music world." ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...................PG 30 Many will know Mike Compton's work from playing mandolin for the READ MORE LOCAL NEWS ONLINE soundtrack for the movie O Brother www.ospreyobserver.com Where Art Thou? Joe Newberry is a huge
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Local Musicians Bring Bluegrass Music To New Hope United Methodist Church
Photo By Tamas Mondovics
High School wrestling coach Russ Cozart stands in front of his wrestlers during a recent practice. After more than four decades coaching the sport, Cozart is as strong as ever and has no plans of slowing down, let alone quit, while pushing his hard working team toward the next victory. Please read full story in this edition.
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Volume 11, Issue 12
Chick-fil-A Christmas Coffee At Brandon Town Center Welcomes New Owners
By Tatiana Ortiz
The sound of munity.” the well-known Dawn Redmon Christmas tune from the Chick-fil-A Jingle Bells, rang in Creekwood throughout the Bradenton, will be food court at the new owner and Westfield Brandon franchised restauMall on November rant operator at the 30. Liz Stewart led Westfield Brandon the Riverview High Mall location. Her School Show Choir husband Scott as they performed Redmon will also their rendition of come on board as the song. Various New owner of the Chick-fil-A Brandon Town the restaurant Center (left) stands with Tammy and Paul marketing director chamber members Holmberg (right), who will be operating the and work with attended to celenew Chick-fil-A on Bloomingdale Avenue. community events. brate Paul and Dawn began her journey several years Tammy’s Annual Chick-fil-A Christmas ago with Chick-fil-A in a red shirt and Coffee. Attendees had the opportunity to consume breakfast, which Chick-fil-A knew the opportunity seemed too great to pass up. She worked alongside served. Franchised Restaurant Operator Paul Holmberg and Tammy Johnathan Ith from the Creekwood Holmberg own the Chick-fil-A at location. Dawn mentioned that she Westfield Brandon Mall and the Lake feels humbled and honored to be choBrandon Village Causeway location as sen as a Chick-fil-A owner. the franchised restaurant operators. The city of Brandon feels like home This will be the last year that the to Dawn because she grew up in the Holmbergs will honor their Chick-fil-A area. She also looks forward to learnChristmas Coffee event at Westfield ing and growing with the people in the Brandon Mall. The Holmbergs will be community. transferring to Chick-fil-A South “I would love for people to come by Brandon at 2010 Bloomingdale Ave., and say hello,” Dawn said. which will open in January 2017. For more information about Chick“For the past 15 years, we hosted fil-A Westfield Brandon, visit this event at the Causeway location http://www.cfarestaurant.com/westfieldand then the past three years at brandon/home. It is located at 519 Westfield Brandon Mall,” Tammy Brandon Town Center Mall in Brandon. Holmberg said. “Christmas is our Hours of operation are Monday through favorite time of year and we love to Saturday 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. Call 654-6769. share that with our friends in the com-
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Brandon Rotary Builds A Rotary Event Center In Brandon By Libby Hopkins
Rotary Club is home. “We believe a group of comthe center will build munity leaders better relationships that come togethwithin the club er to exchange through our social ideas and put events and that it them into action to will be beneficial in make a lasting difthe community ference in the learning about Brandon commurotary and what our nity and beyond. club does in the They have served community,” the Brandon comMcGuire said. “The munity for over 54 Brandon Rotary has been a part of the com- center will be a years and have munity for more than 54 years, and hosts the spotlight on rotary 41-year-old event, Wild Game Night raising within Tampa Bay raised more than money for many local Brandon charities. $1.6 million in area as a place charity support, have done countless where the local rotary clubs can come service projects impacting individuals, together.” companies and organizations all while The rotary has also been hostcreating a positive change in the coming their Wild Game Night for more than munity. The rotary is currently working 41 years. “Wild Game Night takes place on building a rotary event center. “The at Lupton’s Boggy Bottom Ranch,” rotary event center is going to hopefully McGuire said. “All proceeds from Wild open mid-February and it is located at Game Night are donated to local chari3007 S. Kings Avenue in Brandon,” said ties. In past years, the event has raised Chris McGuire, the rotary’s public rela$40,000 to $60,000 per year for local tions director. “The center idea came charities.” Wild Game Nig ht will be held about because of the headaches the on Friday, March 3 from 6 to 10 p.m. rotary club dealt with in finding a home and will feature an open bar, wild game to host weekly meetings that could dinner with complimentary beverages, accommodate 60 people per week. The door prizes and raffle. Regular admiscenter is going to be used as a permasion tickets are $100 and $150 for nent home and gathering space for the VIP Tickets. Sponsorships are available Brandon Rotary Club to host regular as well and those levels are the Big weekly meetings and host social gather- Boar for $1200, the Boar Hog $700 and ings.” The center will also be available the Wild Turkey $400. To learn more for the community and community about the Brandon Rotary or to attend organizations to rent to events. Wild Game Night or sponsor the event, The Brandon Rotary Club is visit www.brandonrotary.org or call most excited about having a permanent McGuire at 468-6889.
Volume 11, Issue 12
Life r o F n o i t a r t s i Reg lasses, C g n i t i r W y r Sto HCC Spring re… Mo Registration & esanti, Michelle Col Compiled by .com preyobserver michelle@os
Elderly Couple Seeks Mature Couple For Everyday Assistance
Life Story Writing/Memoir Classes To Begin At Bloomingdale Regional Library
Life Story Writing/Memoir classes will start once again the third week of January at the Bloomingdale Regional Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. Three classes will run simultaneously for 10 weeks each. One begins Tuesday January 17, 2017 from 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Another class begins Friday, January 20, 2017 from 1:30–4:30 p.m., and the third class starts Saturday, January 21 from 1:30–4:30 p.m. All skill levels are welcome. Pick up a brochure in the lobby of the library or
An elderly couple seeks assistance in everyday activities such as grocery shopping, meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, etc. They are looking for a mature couple of good character and habits to share in their country home of 13 plus acres on the Alafia River, in the Boyette, Bell Shoals, Fishhawk area of Valrico. A retired or husbandemployed couple, with wife available for two to four hours daily to assist is preferred. The Looking for helpful hire for elderly couple. husband would be needed less time for things email LifeWritersBloom@msn.com for such as mowing pasture with tractor or more information. light mowing with Dixie chopper (possiStudents are required to plan on bly eight to ten hours per weekend). The attending all ten classes. The classes couple has a regular cleaning lady and are sponsored by the Friends of the someone to mow lawn. They will supply Bloomingdale Regional Library and are a very nice double-wide, 3 BR 2 bath free to the public. To register, go to the home one-eighth mile from their home “Ask Desk” inside the library or email and an electric golf cart to go back and LifeWritersBloom@msn.com. forth between homes. Property is secured with an electric gate. Financial HCC: Spring Registration Now Open arrangements are $500 month for the At Hillsborough Community College rent, plus electric for home. Registration for spring enrollment is Compensation will be $8 per hour for now open at Hillsborough Community any work or time involved. Expect two to College (HCC). Students interested in four hours daily minimum for household applying to HCC can now register for help, about 75 hours per month for wife. spring courses through January 13, Hopefully wife will have interest in 2017. Visit http://news.hccfl.edu/. sewing, as my wife is an avid sewer and loves to share her knowledge and abiliGrowing Camellias To Be Discussed ties. It would help if husband has an At January Riverview Garden Club interest in fishing, as help is needed in Meeting loading and unloading, and in handling The Riverview Garden Club will hold of boat when fishing. its January meeting on Wednesday, If these conditions appeal to you January 11, 2017 at 10 a.m. at the and you would like to live on these Riverview Civic Center, 11020 Park Dr. secluded acres, fish and enjoy the Alafia in Riverview. The guest speaker will be River, agree to a background check, Master Gardener Emeritus Eileen Hart. please call 685-1147 for interview and to She will discuss Growing Camellias in see the facilities. the Tampa Bay Area. First time atten-
dance is free. There is free parking. For more information, call Harriet at 7276567.
Delta Beta Kappa Sisters Are Busy In The Community
The retired Alpha Delta Kappa sisters, Delta Beta Chapter, keep the Pictured L-R: Alpha Delta Kappa sisters Judy Moore, Hope Spirit Alive by makWolf, Marlena Johnson, Cindy Papp, Celia Rogers, Diane Fox, ing favors for Meals Linda Terrell, and Kathy Burleson. on Wheels. They at www.floridastatefair.com. Background have also sponsored a monthly Bingo checks are conducted on all candiat a local nursing home for the past 40 dates. EOE/DFWP years. Alpha Delta Kappa is a national Award Winning Program Offered at sorority for women educators. The Delta The Bridges Beta chapter has merged with another The award-wining program, “A chapter after 40 years. Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls” will be offered at The Florida State Fair Hiring Seasonal Bridges Assisted Living Community in Help partnership with Senior Connection The Florida State Fair is hiring Center, Inc. This free four week proTicket Sellers, Docents, Ride gram emphasizes practical strategies to Attendants, Tram Drivers, Tram manage falls. Participants will learn to Attendants, Sign Shop Technicians, view falls as controllable. They will set Gate Attendants, Event Services, goals for increasing activity, make Museum Maintenance Assistant, changes to reduce fall risks, and exerTelephone Operators and other season- cise to increase strength and balance. al positions. Start dates range from mid- Anyone interested in improving their January to early February and jobs will balance, flexibility and strength or that continue through Tuesday, February 21. have restricted activities because of The Florida State Fair runs falling concerns are encouraged to from Thursday, February 9 to Monday, attend. Classes will be held February 20. Shifts and hours are varvery Wednesday and Friday from ied. Applicants must be available to February 1– February 24 from 9-11 work flexible hours including, but not a.m. in the Clubhouse at The Bridges, limited to, on-call, late nights, early 11202 Dewhurst Dr. in Riverview. mornings, weekends and holidays for Space is limited. Call Janet at 413-8900 the duration of the Fair. Apply for information.
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Valrico Commissioner White Takes Helm As Chairman Of County BOCC
W W W
O S P R E Y O B S E R V E R
C O M
By Tamas Mondovics
Three ter transHillsborough portation County system and Commissioners, more goodincumbents paying jobs. Sandy Murman In a and Les Miller recent interas well as newly view, White elected emphasized Commissioner his desire to Pat Kemp, took be a strong the oath of office voice in last month, each regards to pledging to do the impact of their best for land use County resiHillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, decisions on Victor D. Crist (District 2), Stacy R. White (District 4), transportadents. Ken Hagen (Countywide, District 5), Al Higginbotham Murman, tion infra(Countywide, District 7), are joined by incumbents Miller and, newstructure Sandy Murman (District 1), Lesley “Les” Miller, Jr., (District 3) and newly elected Commissioner, Pat comer Kemp, including Kemp (Countywide, District 6) for a photo following a will serve a fourroad condisworn-in ceremony last month. year term each tions within on the seven-member Board. his own neighborhood and community. To begin the meeting, White was “This is a good time to talk about the chosen as the new BOCC chairman, widening of Lithia-Pinecrest Road,” while Murman was elected as vice chair- White said. “In my mind, this would have man. Miller took over Whites former a far reaching effect and would benefit assignment as BOCC chaplain. communities over a broad area that White was elected to the Board in includes FishHawk, Valrico, and 2014. From 2010-14, he served on the Brandon.” Hillsborough County School Board. A The BOCC also agreed to retain fifth-generation native of Hillsborough most of the same positions on various County, White lives in Valrico with his boards, committees, and councils on wife of 19 years and their three children. which they serve. As a newly sworn-in After graduating from East Bay High Commissioner, Kemp assumed many of School, White earned a Doctor of the positions held by her predecessor. Pharmacy degree from the University of Other appointments include: • Affordable Housing Advisory Board – Florida, and has practiced pharmacy for Al Higginbotham 19 years. • Arts Council of Hillsborough County – Murman, who was first elected a Victor Crist Commissioner in 2012, will once again • Aviation Authority – Crist represent District 1, while Miller, who • Children's Board of Hillsborough County – joined the Board in 2010, was re-elected Sandra L. Murman without opposition to represent District 3. • Environmental Protection Commission – Kemp, won the Countywide, District Lesley “Les” Miller, Jr., chair; Crist, vice chair 6 seat, and replaced term-limited former • Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority – Stacy R. White, Murman, Kemp, Commissioner Kevin Beckner. Miller The three Commissioners have offi• Hospital Authority – Miller, Murman cially joined Victor D. Crist (District 2), • Juvenile Justice Board – Kemp Stacy R. White (District 4), Ken Hagen • MOSI – Higginbotham (Countywide, District 5), and Al • Port Authority – Murman Higginbotham (Countywide, District 7). • Public Transportation Commission – memTo complete its first collective bers/alternates: Higginbotham/Kemp, Ken assignment the Board elected its leaders Hagan/ White, Miller/Murman for the coming year. • Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council – It is noteworthy that while the seven- Crist, member; White, alternate • Tampa Bay Water Board of Directors – member board praised its productivity in Hagan, Murman recent years, it did not shy away from • Tampa Hillsborough Economic drawing the attention on some of pressDevelopment Corp. – Hagan ing issues and challenges facing the • Tampa Sports Authority – Hagan county it serves. For a complete list please visit Such high priority topics include bet- www.HCFLGov.net/BOCC.
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Volume 11, Issue 12
Ellel Ministries Hosts Beauty For Ashes Conference, A Journey To Healing
By Tamas Mondovics
Detectives Seek Public Assistance In Catching Brazen Gun Shop Burglary Suspects It took ing in conjunction less than five with the Bureau minutes for of Alcohol, the dozen or Tobacco, so unknown Firearms and suspects in Explosives are hooded asking for inforsweatshirts to mation in the remove nearTampa gun shop ly three burglary. dozen The Sheriff’s firearms from Office said that a Tampa area the Bureau of After smashing a vehicle through the front entrance, gun store dur- more than a dozen unknown suspects steal nearly 40 Alcohol, Tobacco, firearms from a Tampa area gun shop last month. ing a smashFirearms and and-grab robbery last month. Explosives (ATF) and National Shooting The incident took place in the middle Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade of the night at the Tampa Arms Company association for the firearms industry, have located at 4023 Waters Ave. W., but announced a reward for information leadaccording to detectives, its robbery’s con- ing to the arrest and conviction of those sequences can reach to much farther. responsible for the theft of firearms from Based on surveillance video capTampa Arms Company, a federal firearms tured at the scene, detectives said that an licensee (FFL), in Tampa. unknown suspect drove a vehicle through ATF is offering a reward of up to the front glass entrance of the gun shop, $5,000, which will be matched by the which then provided a way for as many NSSF for a total reward of up to $10,000. as 10-15 suspects to enter the business Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is also and remove close to 40 firearms, includoffering a reward of up to $3,000 for inforing Glock handguns, shotguns and ARmation that leads to the identification and 15 assault-style rifles before they fled the arrest of the unknown suspects involved scene by unknown means. in this case. “These types of incidents always “We take this incident very seriously pose a higher level of danger as and pursue it aggressively,” McKinnon weapons get out on to the streets,” said said, adding that the community is always Hillsborough County detective and Public part of the success. Information Officer Larry McKinnon. Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS Hillsborough County detectives work- (8477), www.crimestopperstb.com.
By Libby Hopkins
Author Henry David Thoreau once Registration opens at 6 p.m., said, “There is no remedy for love but to Thursday evening, January 19. The love more.” God teaches us to love our event starts at 6:30 p.m. and session end enemies even though they may have at 9 p.m. Friday sessions begin at 9 a.m. caused us great and end at 5:30 harm. “We have p.m. and seen how God Saturday sessions begin at 9 can take the a.m. and end at worst things that 12:30 p.m. All Satan has done tickets are gento human beings eral admission through other and first come human beings, first served. humans' inhuEllel Ministries will be hosting its Beauty for Ashes This event is for manity to other Conference from January 19-21, 2017 at The humans and Crossing Southshore Campus in Ruskin. The con- men and women 18 restore the ashes ference will feature Ellel International Directors Peter and Fiona Horrobin with author and teacher years of age of people's lives Sarah Shaw. and older. No into something childcare is provided for this event and beautiful,” said Rosemary Sorg of Ellel children are not permitted at the event. A Ministries. “This was in the prophecies light boxed lunch on Friday is included in about the Messiah found in Isaiah 6:1 your ticket purchase. This will likely conwhich promises he will give us beauty in sist of a sandwich and chips. Special exchange for our ashes.” dietary needs cannot be accommodated, Ellel Ministries will be hosting their but you are free to bring your own meal. Beauty for Ashes Conference from Snacks, coffee, tea and water will be proJanuary 19-21 2017 at The Crossing vided during breaks. Attendees should Southshore Campus in Ruskin. The conbring a notepad, pen and a Bible. “Our ference will feature Ellel International hopes for this conference is for those Directors Peter and Fiona Horrobin with who have experienced abuse, hurts and author and teacher Sarah Shaw. Sarah pains, neglect, rejection, wounding and authored the book ‘Sarah', which relates feel like they have no hope or that there her incredible journey from utter brokenis no light at the end of the tunnel,” Sorg ness and despair to complete restoration said. “We hope that they will receive and wholeness. “The conference speakGod’s truth.” ers will share their personal stories about Visit www.ellel.org/usa. The how God has done this in their lives,” Crossings Southshore Campus is located said Sorg. A powerful testimony of God’s at 3058 E. College Ave. in Ruskin. healing and restoration will also be shared throughout the conference.
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Jewish Discovery Center Of Brandon Offers Local Chanukah Events Featuring Menorah Lightings
Shoals Rd. in Brandon. The cost is $15 and first time guests pay $10. Entertainment will be the Cornwell twins and the speaker is Erv Smith. Please call Lillie at 740-0098 by Monday, January 2 to make reservations.
Jewish Art History Lecture At Congregation Beth Shalom
The Lifelong Learning Committee of Congregation Beth Shalom of Brandon is pleased to announce that the lecture and slide program on Jewish Art History with Susan Fader
The Winthrop Menorah Lighting & Laser Show Monday, December 26 at 6 p.m. in Winthrop Town Centre (near Aveda), 6037 Commerce Ave. in Riverview. It will feature a Chanukah laser show by Full Color Lasers, Tony the Balloon Guy, face painting, a giant nine ft. Menorah, Chanukah craft, hot The Brandon Jewish Discovery Center invites you to join in at latkes and chocolate festive Chanukah celebrations taking place locally in Winthrop, gelt. This event is FishHawk, and Sun City Center. free of charge and no RSVP required. For more information, has been rescheduled for Sunday, contact 571January 8, 2017 at 4 p.m. at 706 8100 or jewishbrandon.com. Bryan Rd. in Brandon. A Menorah Lighting - Park Square This in depth presentation will look at in Fishhawk Ranch on Wednesday, Jewish art from its origins to the 16thDecember 28 at 6 p.m. featuring a 18th centuries and then the 1930’s. We giant nine ft. Menorah, hot latkes, will learn about artists of victims and surchocolate gelt and Chanukah music. vivors of WWII and how their art reflects This event is free and no RSVP is their individual experiences. The presenrequired. For more information, contation will end with a look at artwork by tact 571-8100 or jewishbrandon.com. Jewish artists of the1950s to present Chanukah Klezmer Festival will time. Their art will provide an understandtake place on Tuesday, December 27 ing of how Jewish culture and history at 4:30 p.m. at Sun City Center continues to be expressed through their Chamber of Commerce, 1651 Sun City work. Slides of the art will be shown Center Plaza. throughout the talk. It will feature Live Klezmer music Susan Fader, the daughter of by the Fraylach band, a giant 9 ft. Holocaust survivors, is a life-long profesMenorah. Handmade NY style potato sional artist with a degree from knishes and Matzah ball soup will be Philadelphia College of Art. Before retiravailable for purchase. Admission is ing in Florida with her husband, she free. To reserve a seat, call 571owned, and operated, three art-related 8100 or visit jewishbrandon.com/rsvp. businesses. She now enjoys working as a staff art instructor in a 55+ community. Celebrate the New Year With In addition, she teaches art at libraries Brandon Christian Women’s and other adult education programs. Connection There is no cost for admission, but a The Brandon Christian Women’s donation to Congregation Beth Shalom is Connection celebrate the New Year suggested. with a Black and White Luncheon Interested parties may call either the “New Year, New Vision” on Monday office at 681-6547 or Sheila Fishman, January 9, from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Lifelong Learning Chairperson, at 833Bell Shoals Baptist Church in The 7843 for further information and to conSpecial Events Center, 2102 Bell firm your attendance.
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Volume 11, Issue 12
Brandon Native Serves Aboard Submarine A True Must-See: Shen Yun 2017 Florida Tour Staff Report Tender In Guam By Petty Officer 1st Class James H. Green
A 1996 Bloomingdale of operations,” said Senior High School gradCapt. Mark Prokopius, uate and Brandon native commanding officer of is serving in the U.S. USS Emory S. Land. Navy as part of an inte“Their hard work and grated crew of sailors professionalism makes and civilian mariners me proud of each and working aboard the expeevery one of them.” ditionary submarine tenSailors aboard der, USS Emory S. Land. submarine tenders Petty Officer 1st support deployed subClass Dennis Cope marines as well as serves in Guam as part surface combatant Petty Officer 1st Class Dennis Cope, a Bloomingdale High of the forward deployed ships. School Graduate, is currently naval force in the Pacific. serving "These sailors in the U.S Navy aboard He is in charge of all continue to impress the USS Emory S. Land in Guam. electrical planning for me with the level of submarine repairs aboard the ship. effort and expertise they put into suc“Guam sailors are located at our cessfully completing their mission daynation’s most strategically important for- in and day-out," Rear Adm. Frederick ward-deployed submarine base, and Roegge, Commander, Submarine the missions they conduct at the tip of Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said. "Their the spear are incredible,” said Capt. actions and dedication to service David Schappert, Commander, enables the Submarine Force to excel Submarine Squadron 15. “They are in the undersea domain." constantly challenged and continually “For me the best thing about servrise to meet and exceed expectations. ing on this boat is its location,” said Guam is the place to be for subCope. “Guam is a great place to be stamariners, and we have the ‘Go Guam!’ tioned and I like the opportunity to initiative to showcase all the great experience the different culture.” things we do out here.” The integrated crew of sailors and With a crew of 41 officers and 650 civilian mariners build a strong fellowenlisted, submarine tenders are 649 ft. ship while working alongside each long and weigh approximately 23,347 other, Cope explained. The crews are tons. A steam-powered propulsion syshighly motivated, and quickly adapt to tem helps push submarine tenders changing conditions. It is a busy life of through the water at nearly 21 mph. specialized work, watches and drills. “The sailors aboard Emory S. Land “Serving in the Navy has allowed continue to exceed all expectations me to be part of moving America forwhile supporting submarines and surward in the world and I am proud of face ships in the 5th and 7th Fleet area that,” Cope added.
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Since its “Actually in inception, Shen China today, you Yun, a classical can no longer see Chinese dance performances of company has genuine traditional taken off with, Chinese culture,” literally, flying said principal dancer colors. The and choreographer pageantry of Yungchia Chen, dance and who grew up in music is a stunChina, later moved ning display of to Taiwan. “China Chinese civihas many talented Shen Yun tells the story of ancient China through the pageantry of dance and music. It dancers, but the cholization; with will take place at the Mahaffey Theater in St. reographers aren’t dancers spinPetersburg on January 27 and 28 and again at ning and leapallowed to choreoThe Lakeland Center on February 7 and 8. ing through the graph any traditional air in brilliant handmade costumes that pieces for them to perform. Shen Yun is take your breath away. different.” Shen Yun Performing Arts had humThere are countless stories in the ble beginnings as a small nonprofit 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. Chen organization based in upstate New York. noted, “The challenge is to find stories It was established in 2006 by a group of you can depict on stage. In a play, actors talented ethnic Chinese artists who came can speak, but in dance you have just a together with a shared vision—to revive few minutes to tell a story, and do so with genuine traditional culture and share it clarity in a moving way.” with the world. Shen Yun is home to an impressive Watching Shen Yun gives you the number of artists from around the world. feeling of partaking in something historic, And these artists take Shen Yun’s misin the resurrection of a long lost world. It sion to heart. This can be seen in their is the world of ancient China, the Middle energy and joyful enthusiasm on stage, Kingdom that can no longer be seen as well as their seamless cooperation, even in China today. It is a world where the type that can only arise from a comdivine beings and humans interact, a mon sense of greater purpose. magical world of myth and legend. Shen Yun will perform at St. It is completely independent of the Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theater on Friday regime of the Chinese Communist Party and Saturday, January 27-28; The in Beijing. In fact, even though the comLakeland Center on Tuesday and pany annually performs to sold-out theWednesday, February 7-8; and the aters in New York and around the world, Venice Performing Arts Center Fridaythe company is not allowed to perform in Sunday, February 10-12. Tickets and China. information visit www.shenyun.com/FL.
Cowan’s Family Applebutter Tradition
By Trisha Becker
The pots, casseroles, applebutter desserts and more tradition has food for lunch. We been in the gather in the Cowan family kitchen, preparing for many genfor the applebutter, erations, the laughing, talking, special day eating, taking care always falls of kids and chasing on the puppies. Saturday after At 3 Thanksgiving p.m., eight in Missouri. hours from Before the actual day, Emmett the start, and Darlene Cowan gather eight the applebushels of apples (about 40 lbs. butter is each). This year Jonathan apples ready, and were used, 52 lbs. of sugar and an assemabout 65 cinnamon sticks cut into bly line is thirds. formed. It The apples are cooked until is scooped they’re soft and then put through a out of the strainer. The strainer separates the kettle, and The Cowan family celebrates apple from the rest that is discarded. poured Apple Butter Day by all participatThis will make an applesauce consis- ing in the preparation and then into quart enjoying the ‘fruits’ of their labor. or pint jars. tence, which is frozen until a few nights before the actual day. The lids are ready, sitting in hot water, The 125-year-old, 30 lb. copper ket- with magnets the lids are lifted and tle sits in the garage waiting on a burner, placed on top of the jar, then fastened and it all gets started at 7 a.m. The men with a ring. When it all cools down, the show up with donuts and begin stirring. lid will pop sealing the applebutter. They stir in 10 minute increments, The biscuits come out of the oven except for Uncle Cal, who can never and the applebutter is placed on top. remember when he stirred last, so they The warm sweet apple cinnamon flavor seem to add him into the mix every third spreads through your mouth, and you time. The sugar is added throughout the realize that it doesn’t get any better. stirring, especially if it starts bubbling, I think it was all summed up when then you add it right away to cool it Emmett and Darlene’s seven-year-old down, the cinnamon sticks are added in great grandson, Nickolos, was asked in the last hour. school what his favorite holiday was, The women arrive later with crockand he replied “APPLEBUTTER DAY!”
HART Launches HyperLINK TransitOperated Ride-share Service In Brandon
By Tamas Mondovics
and HARTFlex Brandon). "Hillsborough County residents want a variety of transportation options for getting to and from the Brandon area, and we're happy to now add transitoperated ride-sharing to their list with the start of the HART HyperLINK service," said Katharine Eagan, HART Chief Executive Officer. "It's cost-effective, a convenHillsborough Area Regional Transit ient option and we are Authority, (HART) is now offering HART HyperLINK a new ride-share optimistic that residents service, to assist riders while working will embrace the immedito eliminate congestions on Brando ate benefits that area roadways. HyperLINK service brings Continuing in to our region." its effort to assist area residents to get Brandon is HART’s second location around town while eliminating artery-clogto introduce the new service after the ging congestion, Hillsborough Area agency launched HART HyperLINK in Regional Transit Authority (HART) has the University/Lutz and Carrollwood expanded its latest ride-share service to areas last month. riders within the boundaries of Brandon. HART officials emphasized that Starting in December, HART HART HyperLINK, the nation's FIRST HyperLINK, the transit-operated ridetransit-operated ride-share service conshare partnership between HART and nects riders (within a three-mile zone) to Transdev, a Chicago-based private-sector the HART network via the HyperLINK operator of multiple modes of transit in app, or booking a trip by calling 298North America, including bus, rail, street 0455. HyperLINK trips are $3 one-way, car, para-transit, shuttle, and sedan and and vehicles are ADA-accessible. taxi services joined forces on behalf of Residents may try the service free for the Brandon area residents. first five rides with the promo code; The partnership now allows riders to hartlink-brandon. Rides are payable by catch a lift to two designated stops within cash or credit. Transdev operates public HART’s service zone, which includes transportation in 19 countries.The app is Westfield Brandon Transfer Center available in both Google Play and App (Routes 8, 31, 37, 46, 53LX) and Stores. Visit www.gohart.org. Brandon Regional Hospital (Routes 37
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Volume 11, Issue 12
Valrico Inventor Ready To Take Cinch Clasp Jewelry Business To Market
Bloomingdale Rajun’ Bull Marching Band Receives Superior 30th Straight Year
Wife, mother, Valrico resident and anklets and any piece of jewelry that owner of Celestial Cinch Clasp LLC., affixes for men, women and children. Maria Gibbs “We wanted to create a product that was preparwill help people put on their jewelry ing for an effortlessly,” described Gibbs. “I had a evening out vision of what this product should be and with her the Cinch Clasp is exactly what I husband dreamed it would one evening be.” when she In addition to couldn’t affix allowing for easy the perfect affixing, the Cinch necklace to Clasp has been accompany designed to conher outfit. nect jewelry She had to together for a charge whole new look. Cinch Clasp owner through the Maria Gibbs has inventThe double clasp ed a new jewelry product that can affix two or more jewelry pieces, house, has been designed and manuyelling for factured and is ready for market. the triple can help create a cascading, her husband draping jewelry effect with just one to come and help her and complete her clasp to undo. outfit. In addition to precious metals made A concept was born and Gibbs conto match all fine jewelry, Cinch Clasp is tinued ahead and headed to jewelers, also designed in Stainless Steel, 18k manufacturers and developers and even Gold Plated, Sterling Silver, 14k solid, filed patent papers, because she couldn’t and White Gold, Rose Gold and more. rest until she brought her revolutionary Husband James Gibbs, an Air Force product, Cinch Clasp to market. Veteran and also a customer, wears his Now, Celestial Clasp, LLC. is gold chain and heirloom cross with his pleased to announce the release of Cinch Clasp daily. Cinch Clasp, the newest jewelry acces“This product is not just for women sory that will simplify jewelry attachment. who wear jewelry,” explained Gibbs. The concept is a secure but easy “This is a product for anyone who wears, release clasp that will affix to the existing or wants to wear jewelry.” lobster claw and connection on all curCinch Clasp is currently available rent popular jewelry. The Cinch Clasp is online with a single Stainless Steel pricsecure, easy to release and is attractive ing starting at $24.99 at www.cinchso as to not distract from the look of jew- clasp.com. For more information, contact elry. It is perfect for necklaces, bracelets, Gibbs at 352-9087.
The Bloomingdale Bloomingdale Marching Band Rajun’ Bull program.” Marching Band Up next for and Crimson the band is their Guard are winter concert, known nationwhich will be ally and interheld at nationally for Bloomingdale their superior High School on sound and performance. On November 5, the band upheld its record and received the superior rating for the 30th year in a row at the Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA) Marching MPA at Riverview High School. The band performed music from The Eagles which Photo credit to Kristin Witt. Leilani Torres (left), Director Jon Sever, Robin English (cenincluded Desperado, ter), and Joel Papineau (right) holding the award for the Life in the Fast Lane, band’s Superior rating at the FBA’s Marching MPA performTequilla Sunrise, Lyin ances in November at Riverview High School. Eyes, and Already Gone. The Rajun’ Bull Band is under Thursday, December 8 at 7 p.m. the direction of Jon Sever with Donations for Toys for Tots will be colCrimson Guard directors Billy Sullivan lected at the concert. This concert will and Coleen Petree. definitely get you in the holiday spirit. When asked about the 2016 Just a couple days later, on marching season, Sever said, “This Saturday, December 10, the Rajun’ year’s marching season was a chalBull Marching Band will be participatlenge due to all the weather issues, ing in the Snow on 7th parade in Ybor but the band did an outstanding job City. This is a really fun event for the and I am proud to have been a part of whole family. So come on out and the 30 year legacy known as the support the band.
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Dumke Finds Innovative Ways To Run Blues Berry Farm In Plant City
By Kathy L. Collins
Blues Dumke Berry Farm in utilizes experiPlant City is mental and run in an non-invasive innovative, ways to save creative and water and compassionprotect the ate way by plants from award-winpests. “We ning owner are into susSusan tainability and Persson not being Susan Dumke of Blues Berry Farm in Plant City is proud wasteful,” Dumke and to unveil her new food truck. She plans to partner with her family. In other farms and bring her delicious blueberry creations explained to the community in the coming months. fact, Dumke Dumke who was recently honored with the 2016 uses kites and fake bird sounds in the Woman in Agriculture Award given at the fields to fend off pests. Harvest Awards Luncheon at the In addition, Dumke has started proHillsborough County Fair. ducing jellies from the end of season harDumke started in corporate American vest which often went to waste previousbut has spent the last 10 years farming ly. “I was just over throwing out all this the delicious blueberries that can be stuff, and it led to an ‘A-ha’ moment.” Her found at Costco and Publix (the blueberjellies have been featured at Williams ries are marketed under Wish Farms and Sonoma. others suppliers). Soon you will be able to sample Dumke concerns herself not only some of Dumke’s jelly and other crewith her more than 40,000 blueberry ations when she rolls out her new food plants, but also with her workers and the truck. She hopes to attend events such environment as well. Dumke makes it a as the Plant City Food Truck Rally and point to get to know every one of her the Mayor’s Food Truck Rally in Tampa. workers. If they have a need, she tries to Dumke wants to inspire and motivate find ways to help them. An example of others to recycle and save water as a this need was demonstrated when newly elected member of the Soil and Dumke invited a small bank out to the Water Conservation District. The blueberfarm to help educate the workers. ry harvest season begins in mid to late “Being in the fields brings something March. At the end of the harvest, Blues different to the business,” explained Berry Farm is open for U pick in early to Dumke. “We have great employee retenmid-May depending on Mother Nature. tion and I want the workers to want to Follow Dumke and Blues Berry Farm on return to us every season. facebook and Instagram.
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Volume 11, Issue 12
Take Flight At iFLY Indoor Skydiving Where The Sky’s The Limit
By Michelle Colesanti
everyone flew twice and felt the exhilaration of flying and more importantly, a great feeling of accomplishment. Staff cheered and clapped and encouraged each participant as they took their turns. On our second flight, we all experienced the high fly, which takes you about 1520 ft. up with your instructor. This experience offered a different feel to the basic flying package. I felt as if I were floating
The Osprey Observer staff recently spent a morning teambuilding taking flight at iFLY Tampa, the area’s newest venue for indoor skydiving.
The exhilaration of flying is too keen, the pleasure too great, for it to be neglected as a sport. — Orville Wright. Who hasn’t dreamed of being able to fly? While skydiving may be a great option for some, there are many others who would like to experience the feel of flying, but prefer staying closer to the ground. Indoor skydiving simulates freefall in a vertical wind tunnel, which moves air in a vertical column at speeds high enough to keep you safely floating. iFLY Tampa offers this experience for all ages, and most anyone can participate. If you are already an experienced skydiver, this is the place to safely practice and improve your maneuvers. This new Tampa location is the 26th one in the U.S. with over 60 worldwide. “Our mission is to deliver the dream of flight to everybody, whether you’re age three or 103,” said Matt Ryan, iFLY President and COO. Since the new iFLY Tampa recently opened, the Osprey Observer team wanted to put that dream of flight to the test. Eleven staff members visited the new facility for some team building. This was an opportunity to ‘fly’ out of our comfort zone. After checking in, we joined our instructor Ryan Bolohan for a training
class. Bolohan has been working at iFLY for almost two years recently transferring here from the Chicago location. “Instructing is awesome, every day I get to work my dream job. I get to share the passion I have for flying with everyone. I think it is really special to see the look on people’s faces when they experience flight,” he commented. We watched a short video and received information we’d need regarding proper body position. Because it is loud inside the wind tunnel, you also need to rely on hand signals. After completion, we were ready to suit up in our gear, which included a flight suit, goggles and helmet. We were now ready to fly. Everyone had the opportunity to fly for two one minute sequences. Staff members ranged from excited to extremely nervous, but in the end,
on air – a little bit like Peter Pan. This can be experienced for an additional fee. Billing Manager Terry Vassalotti approached the tunnel with apprehension. “I was nervous, but I felt completely safe in that environment, which put me at ease.” Our flight instructor had something to do with that. “Ryan was a true pro. He was so patient with us and made sure we were safe and comfortable. High flight was exhilarating, and I can't wait to bring my sons to enjoy the experience of iFLY,” said Multimedia News Editor Cyndi Cisneros.
This is one of the best team building experiences we have experienced as a team. iFLY also offers a Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) Education program using iFLY’s unique vertical wind tunnel facility to make it exciting, relevant, and accessible to all students. The curriculum has been designed by teachers and STEM professionals to support STEM learning in the classroom. How does it compare to an actual sky dive experience? We asked Bolohan that question since he is also a skydive instructor with about 1500 jumps under his belt, and holds two world records. “The iFLY experience is different from a sky dive because of the most obvious. No plane ride and no parachute at the end. But the way the wind on your body feels and the way you control your movements are identical. Freefall is always freefall.” Graphics Manager Denise Graf had the time of her life. “It gave me the opportunity to experience something I would never have enough nerve to do at 13,000 or more feet off the ground." There are many flight packages to choose from. For one person to fly two one minute flights, the cost is $59.95. All packages include training, flight gear, and flight time with an International Bodyflight Association (IBA) certified instructor. Would we do it again? Advertising Rep Trisha Becker said, “This was the most fun I've had in a long time. There isn't another theme park ride that could compare.” Most of the staff agreed that we’d not only do it again, but share the experience with family and friends. iFLY is located at 10654 Palm River Rd. in Tampa. It is open MondayThursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m.-10 p.m. iFLY’s flight packages and prices and to book your flight time at iFLY Tampa, visit https://www.iflyworld.com/tampa/ or call 773-4359.
St. Stephen’s Hosts New Student Open House Local Bikers Gear Up For Annual By Kate Quesada Gibtown BikefestBy Tamas Mondovics If you are conschools,” said Umoh. “We
Considered by The IISA many, as one of has been an Florida’s most enterintegral part of taining bikefests, 2017 the Gibsonton Annual Gibtown and Riverview Motorcycle Rally is area for just around the corner. almost 50 Proudly presentyears and has ed by the Fran been the perHaasch Law Group, manent and the family-oriented winter home event is guaranteed to draw a large crowd, Biker and motorcycle enthusiasts with plenty of room for enjoy the day during last year’s annual Gibtown Bikefest at the thousands of bikes. IISA Club Grounds in Riverview. The festivities are scheduled to kickoff on Friday, January to many Carnival Showmen and Circus 13 and run through Sunday, January 15, performers. 2017, at the five-acre International As the ideal location for the annual Independent Showmen’s Association event, the IISA Club grounds have IISA Club Grounds, 6915 Riverview Dr. in become a place for those in the outdoor Riverview. amusement industry to come together, Also known as the Showman’s share stories of the past seasons as well Bikefest, the free event will feature free as to make arrangements for the next. parking and free live entertainment with One of the IISA’s newest projects bands to include Greg Billings, Marshall was the completion of the Showmen’s Tucker, Black Honkeys, Randy McNeely, Museum, a large free standing building, Blackwater Jack, Big Engine just to name boasting of historical artifacts, photos, a few. Stunt shows, food and beverage while large advertising banners depict vendors, and merchandise vendors are the evolution of the outdoor amusepromising to keep all visitors entertained. ment industry. Bikefest visitors are “This is our 12th season in a row, encouraged to stop by the museum and we are expecting up to 30,000 visiand walk through the history of days tors for the duration of the event, which gone by. will officially began on Friday afternoon at With a long history under its belt, 3 p.m.,” said vendor coordinator Craig the Showmen’s Bikefest has become a Fletcher. major Florida event ensuring organizFletcher added that last year the ers’ confidence in its current and conevent saw more than 40 vendors, but tinued success. For information visit, organizers are expecting more this year. www.gibtownmotorcyclerally.com.
sidering a Catholic are constantly told that school education teachers appreciate stufor your children, dents that come from St. mark your calenStephen as they come to dars for Friday, high school with the necesJanuary 20 as St. sary skills and attitudes Stephen Catholic towards learning and also School in with strong leadership qualRiverview is ities and good character.” hosting an But Umoh is quick to open house add that St. Stephen focusSt. Stephen Catholic School Principal Linda es on more than academwhere prospecUmoh and student tive parents ics. “We are committed to ambassadors will be can learn the instilling Catholic values available at an Open House on Friday, January 20 to tell into everything we do many things the prospective families all that the school has to offer. through academic, spiritual school has to offer. Founded in and service experiences 2001 and accredited by the Florida that help students develop a personal Catholic Conference, St. Stephen is open relationship with Jesus,” said Umoh. “We to students in Pre-K through eighth are a forward-thinking school, rooted in grade. “St. Stephen provides a learning Catholic traditions and values and devotenvironment where every student is ed to preparing students for high school encouraged to reach their full potential,” and the 21st century.” said Principal Linda Umoh. “We offer a Students pray daily, celebrate Mass core curriculum, experiences in the arts, together, participate in reconciliation and foreign languages, sports and many spiritual retreats and provide service to extra-curricular activities.” the community. They have opportunities In addition, the middle school has a to live their faith through events such as one-to-one iPad and Chromebook prothe Week of Caring, Pro-life rallies, gram and eighth grade students are able Advent and Lent retreats, Focus 11 and to take and receive high school credit for Catholic Schools Week. “St. Stephen is Algebra 1 and Physical Science. The perfect for those seeking a school where school’s Resource Department has three they can feel part of a family,” said Umoh, instructors who meet the needs to stuwho added that this is a very exciting time dents on support plans and students who for them with the addition of the Family excel and need enrichment. Extra-curricLife Center and the much anticipated ular activities include show choir, drama opening of a new church this summer. To club, chess club, Little Flowers, 4-H, sign up for the open house or information Student Council and National Junior about the school, which is located at Honors Society. “The greatest compli10424 St. Stephen Cr. in Riverview, call ments we receive are from area high 741-9203 or visit www.sscsfl.org.
Volume 11, Issue 12
Amazon Offers New Convenience Lockers For Merchandise Pick Ups And Returns
By Michelle Colesanti
You don’t have won’t see it.” to spend time any You can find more waiting for Amazon Locker locayour Amazon delivtions when selecting a ery to make it to shipping address duryour house. Since ing the checkout last summer, process or when Amazon gives conadding a new address sumers a new in your account. Locker option for their sites are given individdeliveries – ual names. Each Amazon Lockers. Locker has a name Once your because it's an easy package is delivway for our customers ered to the Locker to identify them,” comAmazon has a Locker named Boulder location that you at the Speedway at Lithia Pinecrest mented Billimoria. Rd. and Bloomingdale Ave. where you choose, you will Currently there are can pick up items ordered. receive an email to five locations within let you know it’s available for pick up. the south Hillsborough County corriMany Locker locations have early dor to choose from. Many more locamorning and late evening hours, some tions are expected as the program even offering 24 hour service. You can grows. Locally, they can be found at: also make returns using the locker. Amazon Locker “Rigsby”, located at Jim Billimoria from Amazon 10016 McMullen Rd. in Riverview at Corporate Communications said, “We the 7-Eleven, Riverview, Amazon have nearly 20 Lockers in the area Locker “Ethan”, located at 9817 US since late this summer. Amazon Hwy. 301 S in Riverview at the 7Lockers are a safe, secure, and conEleven, Amazon Locker “Boulder”, venient way for our customers to located at 3353 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. receive their Amazon packages and in Valrico at Speedway, Amazon can do so at any time up to three Locker “Diana”, located at 1020 S business days after their order has Kings Ave. in Brandon at the 7been delivered to a Locker.” Eleven, and Amazon Locker “Vienna”, Local residents think this is a located at 3629 E SR60 in Valrico at great option that Amazon offers. the 7-Eleven. Patricia Tracy thought it had another More info about Amazon Lockers great use especially around holiday can be time. “If you are getting a gift for at www.amazon.com/Locker. To find a someone in your house, you can pick Locker close to you, visit www.amait up at one of the lockers so that they zon.com/findalocker.
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Veterans Resource Center ...Continued From Page 1
Winter Is Prime Time For Viewing Manatees In Apollo Beach
By Michelle Colesanti
It’s almost winterthe south end time in Florida, and of the Manatee although we don’t expeViewing rience the extremely cold Center’s parktemperatures as our ing lot. Bring a northern neighbors, the picnic lunch to Gulf waters do cool enjoy at one of down below 68 degrees the tables at and that means that the the base of the native manatees must tower. Now that cooler temperatures have finally find shelter in warmer Built and arrived, it is a great time to bring the family waters. located to minito the Manatee Viewing Center. Many seek refuge mize the at TECO’s Big Bend facility as warm impact on the environment, the tower, water flows from the power station’s disboardwalk and habitat trail are part of a charge canal. The Manatee Viewing network of trails that will connect to Center, located at 6990 Dickman Rd. in the Florida Conservation and Technology Apollo Beach, is both a state and federal- Center, an under-construction project ly designated manatee sanctuary providbetween Tampa Electric, the Florida ing critical protection from the cold. The Aquarium and the Florida Fish and viewing center is much more than just Wildlife Conservation Commission. seeing the manatees. The Manatee Viewing Center's tidal According to TECO’s Environmental walk is featured as part of the Great Technician Jamie Woodlee, “We are a Florida Birding Trail, but offers more than free environmental education facility just vibrant birdlife. During your walk on where people can come learn about 900-ft., ADA-compliant walkway from the manatees and Florida wildlife/plants in center to the Tampa Bay Estuary, you general.” Stroll among award-winning can identify a wide selection of native butterfly gardens and enjoy the Floridacoastal plants and trees as well as a wide friendly landscaping. Along the way, there variety of animal life. is a variety of native and coastal plant life, New for this year will be a ray’s touch where you can also catch a glimpse of tank and the boardwalks have been animals in the wild that make the center's widened leading out to the viewing area. habitat their home. Both parking and admission are free. Accessed by the nature trails, the The Manatee Viewing Center is open boardwalk will take you to the wildlife now through April 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 observation tower which opened in 2014. p.m. daily (wildlife observation tower and The tower is 50 ft. tall and gives you habitat trails close at 4 p.m.). It is closed a great view of the surrounding area and on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Tampa Bay. The entrances are located at Easter.
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living in Hillsborough for all veterans and County–the secondtheir families.” highest veteran popPlans for the new ulation in Florida, center began nearly a soon to become the decade ago and is a first according to the part of a master plan U.S. Department of developed by local Veterans Affairs. veterans and County “When it’s comofficials and, includes pleted, the new facilistriking memorials ty will offer services and tributes to wars for local veterans, fought as well as local their dependents, soldiers fallen. “Our veterans and survivors in deserve to be honaccessing federal, Marines of the 4th Assault Amphibian state, and local bene- Battalion, Tampa, presents the Colors ored and served,” fits,” Barge said. during a recent groundbreaking ceremo- County ny for a new Veterans Resource Center Commissioner Stacy Boasting of the to be built at Veterans Memorial Park future addition to an and Museum, located at 3602 N. U.S. White said. “This Park and the new resource already impressive Hwy. 301 in Tampa. center is here to Park, Veteran serve those that served our country. It is Memorial Park and Museum Committee a model for the nation.” Chairman, Tom Aderhold, said, “I am Veterans Memorial Park also humbled to be a part of this project and includes the Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, by everyone’s hard work. This beautiful Jr. Veterans Museum. For more informapark is here to educate families and host tion about the project, visit patriotic events. It has become a regional, state and a National destination. It will HCFLGov.net/CountyProjects under the County Building Projects link. now become the epicenter of resource
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Volume 11, Issue 12
ailable Park Passes Av erry Online, Strawb ne Festival Headli ore… &M EntertadinbymMicehenllet Colesanti,
The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners today selected Commissioner Stacy R. White as chairman, and Commissioner Sandra L. Murman as vice chairman, during the Compile om .c er rv annual organizational meeting. se ob ey michelle@ospr Commissioner Lesley “Les” Miller, Jr. will serve as chaplain. The organizational meeting followed County Park a ceremony in which two returning memPasses Now bers and one newly elected commissionAvailable Online er took oaths of office. Annual passes Re-elected commissioners Murman, to Hillsborough District 1, and Miller, District 3, returned to County’s regional their seats. New to the Board is Pat parks offer a great Kemp, who won election to serve way to enjoy hiking, fishing, bird watching, Countywide District 6. and a host of other outdoor activities. White was elected to the Board in Now, getting a pass has become more 2014. From 2010-14, he served on the convenient than ever. County School Board. White Hillsborough Commissioner Stacy White Elected as Purchasing an annual pass used to is a fifth-generation native of Hillsborough Chairman During Board Of County require going to the regional park adminCounty who lives in Valrico with his wife Commissioners' Annual istrative office and completing the paperof 19 years and their three children. After Organizational Meeting work and payment on site. Outdoor graduating from East enthusiasts now can skip Bay High School, he the trip and buy an annu- Thursday, March 2 – Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra | Drifters, Platters earned a Doctor of al pass from their com& Cornell Gunter’s Coasters | for KING & COUNTRY Pharmacy degree puter or mobile device. Friday, March 3 – Willie Nelson and Family | Kip Moore from the University of An annual pass Florida, and has Saturday, March 4 – Kane Brown | 3 Doors Down allows free access to the practiced pharmacy County’s 10 regional Sunday, March 5 – Clare Bowen/Charles Esten | Little Big Town for 19 years. parks. The cost is $50 for Monday, March 6 – The Bellamy Brothers | Jennifer Nettles an individual pass and 2017 Headline Tuesday, March 7 – Brenda Lee | NEEDTOBREATHE $100 for families. The Entertainment permit is issued in the Wednesday, March 8 – Tracy Byrd | Scotty McCreery Lineup of the form of a transferrable Thursday, March 9 – Cab Calloway Orchestra | The Oak Ridge Boys| Florida Strawberry tag that hangs from a Festival The Blues Brothers vehicle’s rear view mirror. Below is the lineThe new, more conFriday, March 10 – Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers | Elle King up of headline entervenient system comes Saturday, March 11 – Maddie & Tae | Patti LaBelle tainment acts perjust as prime camping Sunday, March 12 – Joe Nichols| Rascal Flatts ‘RHYTHM & ROOTS’ Tour forming on the Wish season begins in Farms Soundstage Hillsborough County. Moderate temperatures, lower humidity, and fewer bugs make late fall through March an ideal time for outdoor adventures. Camping for the general public is offered at these parks: Edward Medard, E.G. Simmons, Lithia Springs, and Alderman’s Ford parks, and requires an additional fee. Regional parks include: Alderman’s Ford, Edward Medard, E.G. Simmons, Eureka Springs, Lake, Lake Rogers, Lettuce Lake, Lithia Springs, Upper Tampa Bay, and Upper Tampa Bay Trail. For information, call 987-6240.
at the 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival, which will take place March 2-12, 2017. Plenty of country, classic country, Christian, rock, or oldies concerts to choose from.Tickets can be purchased at Flstrawberryfestival.com/headline-entertainment/, call 754-1996 or in person at the Amscot Main Ticket Office, 2209 W. Oak Ave. in Plant City.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Is Bringing XTREME To Tampa
Prepare to be astonished and amazed by artists who redefine the word extreme in everything they do, magnifying traditional elements of the circus and combining these elements with neverbefore-seen spectacles, original, fastpaced performances and incredibly hilarious moments. Join in at Amalie Arena, Tampa from January 25-29, 2017 a world of extreme beauty, flexibility, strength and dexterity are explored in ways you’ve never seen before. With such an exciting lineup, The Greatest Show On Earth® guarantees to dazzle and astound, and a Ringling Bros.® show wouldn’t be complete without a full menagerie of amazing animals. Circus XTREME features beautiful Bengal tigers and two-humped camels ridden by brave Mongolian women. Tickets for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Circus XTREME are on sale now. Restrictions, exclusions and additional charges may apply. All seats are reserved and tickets are available by calling 800-745-3000. For group rates, call 866-248-8740. Purchase tickets and view show times on Ringling.com.
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New Mission BBQ Brandon Celebrates Opening Of Its 40th Location
By Tatiana Ortiz
The http://missionAssisting bbq.com/locations. Veterans of When diners walk America Support into Mission BBQ they Team (AVAST) can see framed memColor Guard orabilia mounted on marched in forthe walls such as phomation to begin tos, patches and more the grand openthroughout the restauing ceremony of rant. Mission BBQ Mission BBQ’s 40th location in From the left: Bill Leahy Brandon. A smil(Market Partner), Brian ing crowd greeted Poole (Operating Partner), the color guard as Steven Sullivan (Director of they approached Operations), Steve Newton Photo courtesy of Bri’s Eye Photography (Co-Founder), Bill Kraus the outside build(Co-Founder) does offer an array of food and beving of Mission BBQ to perform their routine. Before the erage items on the menu such as pulled ceremony concluded, individuals placed pork, smoked brisket, Maggie’s Mac-Ntheir right hand over their heart to recite Cheese and fresh cut fries, kettle iced tea the Pledge of Allegiance. A Veteran sang and much more. Mission BBQ does proThe Star-Spangled Banner. Co-Founders vide a catering service for any occasion Bill Kraus and Steve Newton from and takeout. Diner Roscoe Turner said he enjoys Mission BBQ mentioned that every day at barbeque and thought his chopped beef 12 Noon the National Anthem gets sung. brisket sandwich, Maggie’s Mac-N“We do what we do for the love of Cheese and baked beans at Mission our soldiers, firefighters, police officers, first responders—all our loved ones in BBQ tasted great. service,” Kraus and Newton said. As being all about the community, On September, 11, 2011, Mission Mission BBQ gives back to the Special BBQ began operation in Glen Burnie, Operations Warrior Foundation, along Maryland. Co-Founders Bill Kraus and with many other organizations. Steve Newton from Mission BBQ continFor more information, visit missionbbq.com. It is located at 1504 W. ued the journey with their franchise and Brandon Blvd. in Brandon. Hours of expanded it to 11 other states. Besides Operation are Monday through Thursday the state of Maryland, Mission BBQ can 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday 11 be found in Delaware, Pennsylvania, a.m.- 10 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m.- 8 Indiana and North Carolina just to name p.m. Call 830-9618. a few. For a full list of locations check
RobZ Celebrates 10 Years in Valrico
By Kate Quesada
With the holireally want.” days fast approachThe RobZ ing, it is time to start Fitness Website, at thinking about New www.Rob-ZYear’s fitness resoluFitness.com, docutions and Rob ments more than Zulkoski and his staff 100 written and at RobZFitness want video testimonials to help. from clients who For the first time have undergone a in the business’ 10 fitness journey with years in Valrico, Zulkoski’s team. Zulkoski is promot“These are people ing a discount to like you who live in Rob Zulkoski and his staff at RobZFitness new clients who sign are offering a discount for new clients that the area and have up for fitness servic- sign up before the New Year to celebrate trusted us to get 10 years at their Valrico studio. es before the New them back into Year. shape,” he said. “I am offering a 25 percent discount “When people think of losing weight, we for signing up before the New Year are the experts in the area.” because time slots fill up once the holiValrico resident Bob Hendryx credits days hit,” said Zulkoski who has helped Zulkoski and his team with helping him thousands of clients reach their weight lose 105 pounds in less than a year. loss and fitness goals over the last 10 “When I realized it was time for me to get years. healthy, Rob gave me a few options for Zulkoski’s 2,400 sq. ft. studio, located getting started,” said Hendryx, who used in the Stein Mart and Fresh Marketa combination of healthy eating, cardio anchored Lithia Crossings plaza on Lithia exercise and weight lifting workouts to Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico, offers personal start losing body fat and maintain a and group fitness training, with aerobic healthy weight. “I am now doing stairclasses such as BODYPUMP, Step, Boot climb training every Saturday at the Bank Camp, CXWORKS and Core. of America in Tampa, and I have started “We are different from other services jogging two miles to the grocery store on out there because all of our trainers have Sundays. It has been interesting to see at least a four-year degree in Exercise my progress change from merely a desire Science and Wellness,” said Zulkoski to lose weight a year ago to being fit, athwho has 24 years of personal training letic and eating healthy.” experience. “Not only are our trainers Visit www.Rob-Z-Fitness.com for extremely educated and experienced, but healthy recipes, fitness tips and class and they really care about our clients. We studio times. For more information, call know how to get them the results they 371-3700.
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Volume 11, Issue 12
Upcoming Event To Empower Women For Successful Living
Bloomingdale Student Raises Funds For Queena Survivor Feature Film
Women wanting Sylvia Thomas to become more sucCenter, will also cessful in their daily speak about setting lives will find plenty of health goals for the helpful advice at New Year. The proWomen’s Successful gram will host a quarLiving’s quarterly terly brunch to assist meeting and brunch women who want to on Saturday, January be more successful in 7 from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. all aspects of their life, The meeting will by improving family be held at The Event relationships, finding Gallery, located at 524 financial success, Oakfield Dr. in building healthier bodBrandon, and will feaies through proper ture keynote speaker nutrition and exercise, Stacey Schieffelin, seeking spiritual supCEO and founder of Stacey Schieffelin, CEO and founder of port and enjoying perYBF (your best friend) YBF Beauty, LLC, is the keynote speak- sonal pampering. er for the upcoming Women’s brunch. Beauty, LLC, is one of “As women we the founders of often put our family’s Women’s Leadership Live along with needs before ours and our mission is to Debbie Saviano and Linda McMahon. teach women that to take care of our Stacey was voted Woman Entrepreneur families we first must take care of ourof the Year and one of Ladies’ Home selves,” said Chiarenza. “We want to proJournal’s Power Women. Schieffelin vide women with the tools to help them inspires women on their journey to selflive financially successful and healthier actualization and fulfillment using the lives as well as empower women in our power of inner and outer beauty. community.” Other guest speakers include Ticket prices are $45 for early birds Shannon Couturier with CoWork Landing, (purchased by December 26), $55 for Patie Powers is a financial advisor with regular admission and $60 at the door. First Command Financial Services, For more information about Women’s Sandy Lee with Sandy Lee Coaching and Successful Living, visit www.womenssucBonnie Karet previous owner of Art cessfulliving.com. To purchase tickets go Monkey and co-founder/VP of Big Big to World Project. https://womenssuccessfulliving.eventbrite. Group organizer Pearl Chiarenza, com, contact Pearl Chiarenza at owner of Bodyworks Health & Wellness email@example.com or Center and Community Liaison for the call 449-3308.
Many peothe budget ple in the for the film Brandon area and putting know the story the final of Queena, the touches on 2008 the second Bloomingdale draft of the Library victim, screen play. but Derrick Ball “The target Perez with audience for Indomitable the film is Productions, a pretty much senior at anyone who Bloomingdale has been High School, is told they looking for help aren’t capafrom the comble of doing munity to introsomething. duce Queena This film will to a much largnot only Bloomingdales High School senior Derrick Ball Perez is prove them er audience. Perez, who raising funds to make a movie about Queena, the 2008 otherwise, Bloomingdale Library victim. met Queena but will also through his mother who performs essenhumble audiences to show them that they tial oil aroma touches on her, has raised haven’t lost everything and that life is premore than $1,500 towards his $25,000 cious and worth fighting for.” goal to fund a movie in the style of the Perez is hoping to raise money from popular Dolphin Tale, based on Queena’s the community to purchase equipment, story. cover the cost of production and have “I knew about the events that took funds to distribute the film to audiences all place eight years ago, but I was extremeover the world. ly unaware of Queena’s current condi“We need the community’s help to tell tion,” said Perez. “A lot of people I know Queena’s story,” said Perez. “She has lost weren’t even sure if she survived.” a lot, especially a lot of things most of us Queena suffered a brain injury during take for granted. But the one big thing she an attack at the Bloomingdale Regional hasn’t lost is that amazing, beautiful smile Library when she was an 18-year-old sen- and that laugh that fills the room and ior in high school, and is now wheel chair brightens your day.” bound and was unable to take the spot According to Perez, all of the funds she had previously earned at the made from the sales of the film will go to University of Florida. Queena’s medical costs. “We want to make this film so we can For more information on Queena, use Queena’s story to inspire others,” visit www.joinqueena.com. Contact Perez said Perez who is currently working on at 304-7984.
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Children’s Board Releases Over $10 Million In Grant Funding
By Kathy L. Collins
For non-profit healthy and safe; and governmental Children are develorganizations legally opmentally on track; operating in Florida, Children are ready to who provide quality learn; and Children services for children are supported and and families, the supportive families. Children's Board of Those served would Hillsborough County In keeping with its vision that Hillsborough be residents of has announced County will be recognized as one of the Hillsborough County top five places in the nation to raise funding of and primarily pregchildren, the Children’s Board has $10,300,000 in nant women and released over $10 million in funding for grants for the families with children grants. upcoming fiscal year. The funding is split up to age eight. between Leading Grants and Uniting Scott said, "This is an opportunity for Grants. the Children's Board and community According to Paula Scott, Director of providers to work together and serve their Public Relations, "A Leading Grant is a respective missions. We encourage applicontract awarded typically to small organi- cants to implement program practices zations that are primarily neighborhood and models that have been proven as and/or faith-based demonstrating innovaeffective in reliably producing the intended tive service delivery models in one strate- results when implemented with fidelity." gic focus area to meet emerging needs or "The Children's Board target underserved populations. The fund- Hillsborough County is a voter ing range is $5,000 to $65,000. A Uniting approved taxing authority that ensures Grant is awarded to an organization that there is a dedicated funding source of primarily demonstrates a neighborhood tax dollars that are invested and spent focus and collaborative approach to serv- wisely in programs that will provide the ice delivery that supports one or more best outcomes for the children and strategic focus areas. The funding families within Hillsborough County," request range is $75,000 to $525,000." said Kelley Parris, Executive Director The deadline for applications is of the Children's Board Hillsborough March 9, 2017. Grant applications are County. "Voters in Hillsborough County posted on the Children's Board website at pay a portion of their property taxes to www.childrensboard.org under budgeting the Children's Board to fund the protab and funding opportunities. Funding grams. The top priority is to make sure can potentially be provided for programs children of all ages are healthy, safe that utilize evidence-based, evidenceand prepared to learn," added Parris. informed or promising practices in one or Visit www.childrensboard.org. more of the following areas: Children are
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Volume 11, Issue 12
YOUNG MARINES ...........................PG 23 CHALKLINES....................................PG 24 SPORTS CONNECTION .............PGS 28‐29
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...............PG 30 TRANSPORTATION STUDY ..............PG 31
Check Presented By Music Showcase for Breast Cancer Patient
Brandon. Haskins, who has been a financial advisor since 2013 said, "We are excited about our new Music Showcase awarded location, and we are eager for our proceeds from month-long clients to visit us." fundraising efforts to a 39-yearEdward Jones, a Fortune 500 old breast cancer patient. The company, provides financial serviccheck totaling $1640 was prees for individual investors in the sented to Sherry NewtonUnited States and, through its affiliJackson on November 8 by ate, in Canada. Every aspect of Paula Gaskin and Joyce Baker. the firm's business, from the types Jackson is a single mother with of investment options offered to two children who has underA $1640 check was presented to breast cancer Hawthorne Village of Brandon honored its resident the location of branch offices, is gone a double mastectomy with patient Sherry Newton-Jackson on November veterans on Veteran’s Day. designed to cater to individual chemotherapy and radiation. 8 by Paula Gaskin and Joyce Baker. investors in the communities in however, they had no prior restaurant She hasn’t been able to work which they live and work. The firm's experience, working only off their since April due to her many doctor Black Rock Bar + Grill Now In 14,000-plus financial advisors work dream of what Black Rock could appointments and treatments. She is Brandon directly with nearly seven million become. With a very determined famistruggling to keep up with her mortBlack Rock Bar + Grill opened its clients. ly and help from the community, Black gage payments and other bills. doors October 27, 2010 in Hartland, For more information, please Rock grew into something remarkable. The check is from monies raised Michigan, a small town in a very tightly To learn more about Black Rock Bar & call 685-5294. Visit www.edwardfrom fundraisers that the Oakfield bonded jones.com. Grill, visit www.blackstore held throughout the month of community. rockrestaurants.com. October, which was Breast Cancer It brought Ace Golf Riverview Named TOP 50 Black Rock Bar + Awareness Month. Music Showcase an Golf Range in US Grill is located at 804 raised the funds by selling pink ribAustralianProvidence Rd. in bons, cookies, cupcakes, and also The Golf Range Association of style dining Brandon. Call 445-4111. held a costume Halloween Party in America named Ace Golf Range in experience October. Music Showcase sought Riverview as a 2015 Top 50 unlike any Edward Jones nominations for its fundraising dollars Standalone Golf Range in the US. Ace other. By Financial Advisor and selected Ms. Jackson as this Golf’s Family Entertainment Center pairing famMoves to New Office year’s winner. Music Showcase would includes a Golf Driving Range, ily recipes, a 755-degree volcanic like to thank our patrons for their help Miniature Golf, Batting Cages and Golf Melissa L. Haskins of the financial stone, and a love for food, the in raising these funds. For more inforPro Shop. The facility was recognized services firm Edward Jones recently Morganroth family knew they were a mation on Music Showcase, visit as a Top 5 New Golf Range when it moved to a new office at 1068 E. perfect fit for the restaurant industry; www.musicshowcaseonline.com. Bloomingdale Ave. (Plaza Bella), in Continued on Next Page
Volume 11, Issue 12
Business Column Continued.............
By Michelle Colesanti
was built in 2003 and has received the of continuing education annually for 37 Top 50 US Golf Range award many years. In addition to Mastership in the times since then. AGD, Dr. Schwartz Ace Golf is locally has attained the status owned by Bill Place of Diplomate of the and Su Lee. The comAmerican Board of pany has two golf Oral ranges and three golf Implantology/Implant courses. All are open Dentistry (achieved by to the public daily until one tenth of 1% of 10 p.m. Ace Golf U.S. dentists), Ranges are located at Fellowship in both the 820 S. Kings Ave. in American Academy of Brandon (651-4653) Implant Dentistry and and at 12910 the International Boyette Rd. in Congress of Oral Riverview Implantologists, and (672-7750). Associate Fellow of Dr. Sanford Schwartz the World Clinical The facilities feature Laser Institute. 18-acre golf Practicing since 1979 and serving practice Brandon since 1986, Dr. Schwartz and ranges, miniahis wife, Carolee, have three children, ture golf, pro shops and batting cages. Jake, Tara and Susan. For more inforFor more information, visit www.acemation, call 684-7888, visit golf.com. www.DrSandySchwartz.com or e-mail The Golf Range Magazine’s Top firstname.lastname@example.org. 50 Issue may be found at www.golInvestors Sought For Blink Fitness frangemagazinedigital.com/i/613539Franchise Expansion dec-2015. New York-based Blink Fitness is America’s Best Dentists 2016 planning franchise expansion into Dr. Sanford Schwartz was recently Florida with sights set on targeted communities across Hillsborough and nominated for the 2016 “America’s Sarasota Counties, including Best Dentists” directory. Dr. Schwartz received this nomina- Tampa, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Brandon, Plant City and tion based on his superior credentials, experience, exceptional care and his commitment to excellence. All dentists that received this commendation average over three times the continuing education required by most states, have been highly reviewed Franchise expansions of Blink are slated for the Tampa Bay area. online, were chosen by more. With nearly 50 corporate locaother health care professionals and tions already open in New York/New providers, and practice full time with Jersey, the fitness chain is aiming to over four years of experience. open 15-20 franchise clubs in the area Dr. Schwartz graduated from New and is currently seeking qualified franYork University College of Dentistry in chise investors to open one or multiple 1979 and currently practices dentistry locations. at 787 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon. For more information about the He has averaged more than 100 hours
Blink Fitness franchise opportunity, visit blinkfranchising.com.
We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym Grand Opening Celebration
Join in for the Grand Opening Celebration of We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym – Tampa on Saturday, January 7, 2017 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. We Rock the Spectrum provides sensory-safe play for kids with autism, special needs and neurotypical development. The mission is full inclusion
Ribbon Cutting for Montessori Kids Universe - Brandon
Patricia Ayala, along with her family and the staff of Montessori Kids Universe – Brandon were thrilled to celebrate the opening of their new
Montessori Kids Universe – Brandon recently held a ribbon cutting with the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce.
for all children regardless of their abilities. Founded in California, each We Rock the Spectrum franchise features 10 pieces of sensory-safe gym equipment specifically designed to work with many of the sensory processing issues that children on the autism spectrum encounter, such as trampolines, swings and zip lines, while providing all children with the sensory diet necessary for improved learning and neurological development. Each gym offers classes, arts and crafts; creative and developmental play area as well as birthday parties. The event is open to all children and their families regardless of developmental level. Admission costs $12 per child with 20 percent of proceeds to benefit the My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation. We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym – Tampa is located at 1076 E. Brandon Blvd., Ste. 102 in Brandon. For more information, call 757-9272081 or visit www.werockthespectrum-
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school with the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce (GRCC). On Tuesday, November 29, GRCC conducted an official ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the occasion. At Montessori Kids Universe – Brandon, a classic Montessori education is offered and enhanced with a Reggio Emilia inspired art and science enrichment experience. They are currently accepting student’s age 6 months to 5 years. Teachers are trained to respect the child’s individual personality thus leaving him room to grow in biological independence. If you have a young child in your life that would benefit from this type of learning environment, Montessori Kids Universe - Brandon is waiting to talk to you. Tours and interviews are offered for interested applicants. Call them at 571-3400 or email email@example.com to schedule your tour. They are located at 3721 Canoga Park Dr. in Brandon in the Bloomingdale area. To read more about this school, visit montessorikidsbrandon.com.
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Tampa Bay Welcome’s Newest Chapter Of Young Marines To The Area
County Service Offers Helpful Hints To Avoid Getting Cars Towed To Impound
The Young The Young Marines Marines national youth is a youth education organization launched and service program for a new unit in Tampa boys and girls, age this past October. Unit eight through the comCommander Lori pletion of high school. It Staben is proud to promotes the mental, introduce The Tampa moral, and physical Bay Young Marines to development of its the area. Staben, who members. The program brings a wealth of focuses on character experience having building, leadership, been the executive self-discipline and proofficer of a Young moting a healthy, drugMarines unit in Illinois, free lifestyle. says she finds the The Young Marines community service is neither a recruiting The young Marines have many aspect particularly sat- opportunities tool, nor a program for for community service isfying. throughout the year, including per- troubled youth. One forming Color Guard services at vari- thing the program is, When Staben ous community events. and her three children however, is fun. Many (all Young Marines) moved to Tampa last friendships continue into adulthood. August, she was surprised there were no There are leadership schools as well as units in Hillsborough County. opportunities such as visiting Pearl Rather than let the Young Marines Harbor; participating in National Code slip from her family's lives, Staben decidTalkers Day; and joining summer camps ed to start a unit. She contacted the for sailing, simulated flying, working at a Marine Corps Forces Reserve unit as cattle ranch, exploring the "Wild West," well as the Marine Corps League and scuba diving lessons and visiting asked for support. Riverview MCL American historical sites. There are also Detachment 1226 is now the unit sponsor multiple community service opportunities and several Active Duty Marines from the available for the Young Marines. 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion are The unit meets on Tuesdays from 6 assisting the unit as Training Officers. p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the Marine Corps "I'm very excited," Staben said. "It's Forces Reserve unit, 4th Assault all falling together. I have high hopes that Amphibian Battalion, 5121 W. Gandy the Tampa Bay Young Marines will be a Blvd. in Tampa. very successful unit, and we measure For more information, email Lori success by community involvement and Staben at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 847-406kids having fun while learning." 9505 or visit www.youngmarines.com.
If you think you’ve ber to grab the been wrongfully towed in receipt. Hillsborough County, the If you parked Public Transportation in a lot with an Commission (PTC) honor box, make is here to help. The PTC sure you videotape regulates for-hire transor take a photo of portation, which includes yourself paying, so towing companies, and you have proof. often assists drivers in Don’t block Hillsborough County anyone’s driveway by investigating tow or business complaints. entrance when Brett Saunders, parking. Chief Inspector with the The PTC also Hillsborough County offers tips to help Public Transportation you if your car Commission said, “We has been towed: often have local citizens If you suspect The Public Transportation Commission report to us that their that the tow can help you if you feel that your car car has been towed and was not lawful, call has been unlawfully towed in Hillsborough County. they either don’t know the PTC to report it why, or they feel the tow truck company before you get your car back. is charging them too much. Once Take pictures of the area around we receive a towing complaint, we your car. Take notice of any signs indicatwill investigate it within 48 hours. This ing that your car was illegally parked. involves us contacting the tow truck com- If signs were not posted at every pany and reviewing their documentation entrance, it was not a valid tow. All for the tow to help us resolve the comsigns should list the tow company with a plaint.” contact phone number. In some instances, the PTC has Tow truck drivers are required been able to get full or partial refunds for to have proof of the violation. If the driver drivers. So far this year, the PTC has did not take pictures of your violation, you helped over 70 percent of citizens who may be entitled to a partial or full refund. sought their help with getting a refund. Be sure to pick up your To avoid getting towed, the PTC vehicle between 8 a.m. and 6 offers this advice: p.m. Monday through Saturday. Don’t park in a business’ lot if you are Otherwise, you will be charged a gate fee not patronizing that business. of $50 before obtaining your car. If you parked in a staffed lot, rememVisit hillsboroughcountyptc.com.
By Sandy Meyer
Happy Holidays fromOur Family to Yours!
Volume 11, Issue 12
Photos and story by Tamas Mondavics
New Board Members Sworn In To County School Board, Teach-in Success New Board Members Sworn In To Hillsborough County School Board
The Hillsborough County School Board welcomed two new School Board Members and two returning School Board Members during the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, November 22. Lynn Gray was sworn in to represent District 7 Countywide. Gray was a teacher and instructional leader for 26 years in Hillsborough County and has been a local business owner for 16 years. Gray was elected in the November General Election representing all of Hillsborough County. The school board also welcomed Tamara Shamburger, who was also elected in the November General Election and sworn in to represent District 5. Shamburger was born and raised in Tampa and is a graduate of Bloomingdale High School, and received her Master of Business Administration from St. Leo University. Shamburger has worked in the insurance industry for 19 years and as a Mortgage Broker. The third member on the list was Susan Valdes, who represents District 1 and was re-elected in the Primary election in August. Valdes was first elected to the School Board in 2004. The second returning board member is Cindy Stuart represents District 3. Stuart was first elected to the School Board in 2012, and also reelected in the Primary election in August. To complete the officials ceremony, the Hillsborough County School Board elected Stuart a new School Board chair. Sally Harris was selected as vice chair. For information about Hillsborough County Public Schools please visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.
Durant Marching Band Performs At 75th Pearl Harbor Anniversary
Durant High School’s “Cougar Pride” instrumental music program had the opportunity this month to join a list of local bands to demonstrate their skills and talent during a special event.
School in June, 2014. Interested donors to the Cougar Pride band can visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/DurantMusicBoosters.
Hillsborough County Public Schools Boasts of Annual Great American Teach-In Success
Hillsborough County Public Schools welcome hundreds of local residents, business owners, and community leaders as speakers into classrooms to learn about careers and hobbies they may not have known about previously, said Tanya Arja with HCPS communications. On Thursday, November 17, guests to area schools spoke with students about the benefits of getting a good education as well as demonstrated their skills and discussed Hillsborough County Public Schools superintendent Jeff Eakins is joined by current school board members Susan L. Valdes, Sally Harris, Cindy Stuart, Melissa Snively, Tamara opportunities available for students. Shamburger, April Griffin and Lynn Gray. Speakers included helicopter On Wednesday, December 7, The Band achieved numerous per- pilots, artists, active members and vetabout three dozen of the more than sonal and ensemble awards from their erans of the United States Armed 120-member band participated in a cerhard work and commitment to excelForces, ballroom dancers, nurses, emony commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Led by band director Bruce Herrmann, the group joined a Pearl Harbor Mass Band of nearly 1,200 students from all over the United States and Japan to perform in Hawaii on Remembrance Day. “I am thrilled that we have a chance to attend,” Hermann said during practice, just days before the event. “This extraordinary and historic event was offered to us by Music Celebrations International, which serves both an eye-opener, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Hermann added that event itself is a cultural exchange, which demonstrates in a truly remarkable manner how cultures once opposed can work together through the gift of music. To prepare for the trip, which Members of the Durant High School “Cougar Pride” instrumental music program, takes part school officials said cost nearly in a recent practice. The Band led by director Bruce Hermann participated in a memorial ceremony of the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. $3,000 per student, the Durant Music Boosters, Inc., a non-profit 501 (c)(3) wedding planners, auto mechanics, organization, has reached out to corpolence and has represented the State police, firefighters and paramedics, rations, local businesses, and private of Florida at several local and national School Board members and school individuals to provide financial assisevents over the last 19 years. district staff, just to name a few. tance to its students in the form of Herrmann was appointed Director of For more information please visit sponsorships or donations. Instrumental Music at Durant High www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.
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Patients Come First For Dr. Daley
Dr. Andrew and my staff care Daley is known about their wellin the Brandon being,” said Dr. community for Daley. being a kindPatients enjoy a hearted prifull range of compremary care hensive health servicphysician who es including prevenreallytakes tative health and welltime with his ness counseling and patients. So it diabetic teaching. is no surprise Medical records are that his new electronic, ensuring event, his efficient access and “Daley Dose” safekeeping accurate Dr. Daley (center) meets with his patient family luncheon was while maintaining the during this first annual “Daley Dose” luncheon in celebration of the first anniversary of Daley & highest standards for a great sucAssociates PrimeMed of Tampa Bay in cess. This the privacy and secuBrandon. was part of the rity of records. celebrations for the first anniversary of his Ada Gilmore has been a patient for own practice, Daley & Associates many years and would never dream of PrimeMed of Tampa Bay in Brandon. changing her favorite primary care physiAccording to Dr. Daley, “When cian. patients fail to make their appointments “Dr. Daley really takes time to or are lost to follow up, they receive a answer all of my questions during every reminder from my team to come in for appointment and he manages my health their “Daley Dose,” hence the term. care needs,” said Gilmore. This seems to work well, helping to Dr. Daley & Associates PrimeMed of improve patient compliance and overall Tampa Bay is a traditional Internal regard for their health and wellness. Medical practice and is open to ages 18 Dr. Daley is a resident of Brandon and up. For patients’ convenience, most and has been since his reassignment to commercial insurance products, including MacDill Air Force Base back in 2003. He Aetna, AvMed, Blue Cross and Blue was a managing partner of Cornerstone Shield, CIGNA, Humana, Tricare, United Medical Care of Brandon for eight years, Healthcare are accepted along with a where he dedicated himself to bringing variety of Medicare products. world-class care to his patients. The office is located at 631 W At Daley & Associates PrimeMed of Lumsden Rd. in Brandon and is open Tampa Bay, the same world-class care Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and attention is provided to all of his Dr. Daley also has an office in Bradenton. patients. “It is very important that my To make an appointment, or for further patients leave my office knowing that I information, call 530-0903.
6 Weeks thru 12 Years
Local Student Rowers Compete In The Head Of The Hooch Regatta
By Tamas Mondovics
Completing part in the twothe final race of day race are set the fall season, a off at intervals team of local stuand have to foldents proudly low a course took part in The and are timed Head of the while penalties Hooch Regatta are given for in Chattanooga, missing buoys. Tennessee last Close to Members of the The Stewards Foundation rowing 9,000 seats are month. team, Newsome High School sophomore Drew Second only Bennett and freshman Cristian Lopez are joined by rowed during Bloomingdale High School junior Bryce Fuson and the event and to the Head of Bloomingdale resident Cullen Finley, compete in 1,200 boats the Charles in the The Head of the Hooch Regatta. Boston—the compete on largest regatta or boat race in the counSaturday alone, which is more in just one try—the Hooch draws more than 150 day than any other regatta. teams from around the country to take “It is a true test of rowing stamina part in races for all ages from high school, and skill,” said team mom, Jennifer college and masters programs. Bennet, whose son Drew not only enjoys Newsome High School sophomore attending the annual event, but said that Drew Bennett and freshman Cristian it’s the most important contest his team Lopez competed in the event held the trains for all year. weekend of November 5 and 6, and were “I love going to the Hooch,” Drew joined by Bloomingdale High School junsaid. “It's the big regatta we train for all ior Bryce Fuson and Cullen Finley, a fall. It's a great weekend away with my Bloomingdale resident who attends Jesuit team and we get to meet and compete High. against other rowers from around the The four boys proudly row for The country. I really like the competition and Stewards Foundation a nonprofit 501 (c) the memories I make. I’ll definitely be 3 organization, based at the bypass canal back next year.” The Hooch was the final in Tampa, which use the sport of Rowing race for the team’s fall season, and after as a vehicle to teach teamwork and a few weeks of rest the boys return to responsibility to young people. winter training. According to race officials, the course Those interested in learning to row is 5,000 meters (3.1 mile) long along the may contact head coach Mike Smith at Tennessee River from Chickamauga email@example.com or call 786 0337. Dam into the Tennessee River Gorge at New crew members are always welcome. Chattanooga. For more information, please visit The more than 2,000 boats taking www.rowtampa.com.
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Page 26 2
Volume 11, Issue 12
Bloomingdale Athletes Commit On Signing Day With Their Future Schools
By Nick Nahas
Three Bloomingdale High School coach. “I feel like I will fit in perfectly Park Vista, sending Bloomingdale to teammate). She will leave an outstudent-athletes are one step closer there,” Wilson said. Wilson is a fourits first state championship game standing legacy at Bloomingdale, to achieving their dreams of becomyear starter who has made a huge appearance in school history. after leading the Bulls to district ing college difference Chevalier, who signed with athletes after with both his Division 2 national champs, officially signglove and his Nova Southeastern University, ing on the bat. His older wants to end his high school dotted line brother Austin career in style. “I want to win with their the state championship. I want and cousin schools on to get the team there and to Kam both National Signing Day in a room full of their families and friends. “It feels so awesome, I’m relieved and excited,” said Emily Doyle, West Virginia Bloomingdale centerfielder Nate Chevalier signed Wesleyan with Division 2 national champions, Nova volleyball Southeastern University. commit. “I Bloomingdale second baseman Cody Wilson signed lead championships in both her freshman just want to with UNC Asheville. by go right now, and senior seasons. I’m so excited.” A BSHS volleyball played for the Bulls As for Wilson and Chevalier, they Bloomingdale volleyball superstar Emily Doyle signed with West Virginia Wesleyan College. standout, Doyle will major in psycholas well. He will major will start their final high school seaogy and eventually wants to get her in business. son in February. Bloomingdale head example,” he said. He plans on PhD. Doyle, along with baseball stars Wilson and teammate Chevalier baseball coach Kris Wilken said he majoring in physical therapy sports Cody Wilson and Nate Chevalier, sat have played together for four straight will miss writing both of their names exercise. beside each other while they signed seasons at Bloomingdale, as well as in the lineup card, after penciling in Doyle’s high school career ended their National Letters of Intent. for the Ostingers, an AAU team. their names the last four years. “Their Cody Wilson, Bloomingdale seclast month in a heartbreaking five-set talent sticks out first and foremost, Chevalier has started every high ond baseman, signed with UNC match against East Lake. Doyle led but their work ethic is off the charts school game in centerfield since he Asheville. “When I went up there to her team with a total of 191 kills and and through the roof, and that’s why was a freshman. As a freshman, visit the campus it felt perfect for me. 128 digs this past season (she had they will get to play at the next level,” Chevalier scored the game-winning It has small classes and I loved the 107 more kills than her next closest he said. run in the state semifinals against
Mondovics tamas@ er.com ospreyobserv
Rd. Pinecrest11 918 Lithian, FL 335 Brando -24 18 657 bserver.com www.ospreyo
Volume 11, Issue 12
Sports Connection 657-2418 www.ospreyobserver.com
Brandon Eagles Longtime Wrestling Team Coach Eyes State Crown By Tamas Mondovics
helps.” There was a time when Cozart emphasized that the Brandon High School wrestling most important element needed for fans, and admittedly most local and success on the mat is mastering the statewide wrestling enthusiasts, folbasic skills. lowed the numbers and wondered “The better you practice the bethow long can the school’s so called ter you get,” he told his young wres“streak” last. tles, no doubt for the thousandth The answer came in 2008, time if not more, over his fourwhen Brandon’s unmatched record decade-long coaching career. of the longest winning streak in the Perhaps the most noteworthy school’s—any school’s—wrestling part of being in the presence of history at 459 wins, 385 of which Cozart is that he is as strong as under Head Coach Russ Cozart, ever. Something that the team is not ended in an unforgettable match taking for granted. against Miami Dade. While currently sharing some of While the Eagles 34-year long his coaching duties with his son dual-match winning streak came to Joe, who is likely to carry the torch an end, its state wrestling champiat Brandon in the future, Coach onship victories continued to show Cozart gave no indication of any no sign of coming to a close. Members of the Brandon High School wrestling team practice in mid-season in hopes of immediate change of plans, when he Ending the 2015-2016 winter reaching the school’s 28th state title win. The program has managed to win its 16th consecutive state championships last March, at the Silver Spurs Arena. sports season, Brandon managed to reach its 16th consecutive state title, 27 overall. The Eagles latest state victory came in March, when the program tallied 159 points on four individual champions to win the Class 2A title at Silver Spurs Arena. Runner up Fort Myers Riverdale had 140 points, and Jesuit came in Brandon High School Eagles wrestling coach Russ Cozart speaks to his third at 79.5. Brandon High School wrestling Coach Russ Cozart keeps a close eye on his wrestlers at the start of a recent practice. Cozart has been coaching the program There is lit- athletes during a recent practice at the Brandon High School gym. Cozart has at Brandon for 37 years and is considered as one of the most successful high managed to lead the program to a 34-year, dual-match winning streak that school wrestling coaches in the nation. tle doubt that ended in 2008. the Eagles conhis success, Cozart did not ing, 37 years here at Brandon,” he said, “Yeah it would be great to see tinued success has everything to do to give credit where it is hesitate proudly said during a recent practice Joe here in the future, and it’s his with Cozart, 63, who just like the due. at the high school’s gym, while but I am more focused now dream, program’s victories, is equally show“I have good kids who want to standing under a wall of state victory getting on my job done and I’m not ing no signs of slowing down. work hard,” he said, quickly adding, banners. stopping soon.” anytime “This is my 41st year of coach“Of course, my experience also When asked about the secret of
Story and photos by Tamas Mondovics
Valrico Rams Cheer And Football Celebrate 2016 Fall Season Success
By Tamas Mondovics
the organization’s cheerleading squads. “We are also proud of our level 3, Jr Pee Wee and level 4, Varsity squads both of whom won
and Brandon communities just to name a few. The National Pop Warner League boasts of member organizations in 42 states with a participant base of more than 400,000 young football players and cheerleaders. As it was the case this year, Pop Warner provides a number of opportunities for the Rams, which includes fielding teams for children with special needs in their Challenger
Valrico JV Football Team Celebrates its 2016 fall season success after reaching the regional finals, topping off the year with a game at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The Valrico Rams Football and Cheerleading organization is in its fourth season as members of the National Pop Warner League.
Coaches, players and parents associated with the Valrico Rams Youth Football and Cheerleading Organization are no strangers to success, which was validated once agin this fall, following one of the program’s most successful season in its 11-year history. Now in its fourth season as a member of the National Pop Warner Football SouthEast Region League, the Rams managed to send its undefeated Jr Pee Wee, Pee Wee and Junior Varsity teams deep into regional playoffs after each team winning its conference. The Rams Jr Pee Wee (13-1) team lost in the second round of regional playoffs, but received an
invitation to Game Day of Champions held on Saturday, December 3, at Raymond James Stadium. The Rams Peewee (12-1) and JV (8-2) teams both advanced to the Regional Championship, finishing the season with games played at Disney’s Wide World of Sports along with several invitaValrico Rams Varsity and Junior Pee Wee Cheerleading squads celebrate their regional tional bowl games played on its championship success, which led both programs to the national stage. home field, 707 S Miller Rd. in Valrico against a trio of teams from Regionals advancing to the National Division, as well as the opportunity to Hawaii. competition,” he said. advance teams to the Pop Warner “I could’t be happier for what our Thanks to its reputation and sucSuper Bowl at ESPN’s Wide World of coaches and teams were able to cessful presence within the Greater Sports complex at Walt Disney World. accomplish this year,” said Rams vice Brandon area the Rams pull players For information, visit www.valricopresident John Cleckler, adding that from Riverview, Valrico, FishHawk rams.org., or call 393-6026. the season’s success also included
Volume 11, Issue 12
With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins
Iconic Photographs By Clyde Butcher On Display At Tampa Bay History Center From now through Sunday, January 8, the Tampa Bay History Center located in downtown Tampa, is featuring the iconic photographs of legendary photographer, Clyde Butcher. A visit to the History Center over the holiday break would make for a great day out for the
lands and dunes, coastal hammocks and inland swamps. Butcher has been capturing the beauty and mystery of the Florida Everglades since the 1980's, and has been taking photographs of the landscape of North America for over 50 years. Butcher continues to use traditional analog (non-digital) photographic methods, using a variety of vintage large format cameras and a custom You won't want to miss built darkroom to produce the opportunity to see an exquisite exhibit of his award winning images. Early in Butcher's natural Florida photographs by Clyde career, he took color photoButcher at the Tampa graphs. He was moved to Bay History Center. large scale black and white whole family. There is something for images after his first visit to Big Cypress everyone at the History Center. National Preserve and the Everglades. Butcher's exhibit is called "Preserving Bryant Martinez, the Winthrop Town Eden: The Florida Photographs of Clyde Artist and resident of Brandon said, "He is Butcher." The current exhibit in the a fellow artist I greatly respect. I love History Center's Wayne Thomas Gallery Florida and he captures the essence of offers a retrospective of Butcher's Florida the natural spirit of Florida. We are fortuphotographs taken all over the state nate to have him archiving photos of natincluding at Big Cypress National ural Florida.” Preserve. The History Center is located at 801 Butcher's photographs in the current Old Water St. in Tampa. For more inforexhibit explore the vast landscape of mation, please call 228-0097 or visit Florida. He has captured Florida's wetwww.tampabayhistorycenter.org.
Students Create Whimsical Artwork For Winthrop Arts' Annual Children's Chagall Show
Winthrop Arts at St. Stephen Catholic held its Annual School. Best of Show for the Children's Chagall 13 to 18 category went Show on to Shaniah Murphy from Thursday, Randall Middle School. December 1 at the First place went to Art Factory in Jessica Wettengel Riverview. The (Winthrop Charter show called for School) in the five to 12 young artists to age category. Caroline create original artwork influenced by Students from area schools and those Scott (Randall Middle who attend the Art Factory, an after School) and Emaly the work of Marc school and home school art program, Chagall, an artist entered artwork in the Annual Children's Martinez (Progress Chagall Show held in December at the Village) tied for First who lived from Art Factory located in Riverview. Place in the 13 to 18 1887 to 1985. He age category. was a significant figure in the Surrealist Second Place was awarded to Caleb movement. Moyet (Symmes Elementary) and Ian There were more than 40 pieces of Illes (home school) in the 5 to 12 categoartwork entered into the show. The show ry, and to Emele Gaspar (Progress was judged by Vince Kral, Christiane Village) in the 13 to 18 category. Hoyt and Seth Sullivan-Dawes. Third Place was awarded to Mariah Katharine Sullivan-Dawes, the Kierstand (Bell Creek Academy) and Director of Everything for Winthrop Arts Alexa Malberg (Winthrop Charter). said, "The diversity of the 40 plus works Honorable Mention was awarded to submitted were impressive and made evaluating the pieces all the more difficult. Adiana Potter (Winthrop Charter) and Alexa Malberg (Winthrop Charter). Some categories were so close, there Special Honorable Mentions were awardwas a tie." For Best of Show there was indeed a ed for a collaborative work by Bella Alain (Symmes Elementary), Hailey Rodriguez tie for the five to 12 age category (Winthrop Charter) and Alexa Malberg ( between Kaylie Waldrop and John Paul Winthrop Charter) and for a group tile Schaffer. Waldrop is a home school stuproject produced in ceramics class taught dent who attends the Art Factory's Home School Art Program. Schaffer is a student by Neil Leonard and Tim Hoffmeister.
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Plan Hillsborough Seeks Community Input On Brandon Corridors Study
By Tamas Mondovics
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to see if you still have funds available in your HSA!
HDR Engineering Project Manager, Steve Schukrast talks to residents gathered at the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce meeting room about the initial findings of a recently completed land use and transportation study of major Brandon area corridors.
Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), The Planning Commission (TPC) and HDR Engineering presented local stakeholders the initial findings of a recent land use and transportation study along major Brandon area corridors. The joint effort focused on communities between State Road 60 (Brandon Boulevard) and Bloomingdale Ave. and I75 and Dover Rd., chosen for its characteristics very similar to many other areas of the County. “The study was a joint pilot project between our agencies to better coordinate the envisioned land use pattern with planned transportation improvements along major corridors,” said MPO Executive Director Melissa Zornitta during the meeting held at the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, 330 Pauls Drive in Brandon. The five-month, $175,000 study project was led by the MPO and TPC, with the partnership of Hillsborough County’s Development Services and Public Works, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART), and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Brandon’s east-west corridors of Brandon Blvd, Lumsden, and Bloomingdale, which connect much residential and commercial development to I-75, and experience a lot of congestion with several crash hot spots were all surveyed. “Options for maintaining, improving mobility and safety for Brandon area communities are becoming increasingly limited,” Zornitta said.
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Senior planner, Jay Collins pointed to a number of challenges including limited space for development, and to opportunities such as, reuse of vacant sites and buildings. MPO principal planner Sarah McKinley spoke about congestion along all major corridors within the study area, limited right-of-way for improvements and connectivity to local streets, suggesting a transit-oriented development and completion of current road widening and intersection projects. Such projects include the Bell Shoals Rd. widening from Bloomingdale Ave. to Boyette Rd. from 2 to 4 lanes, a 36-month construction scheduled to begin mid-2017. Resurfacing Bloomingdale Ave., and the Lithia Pinecrest/Lumsden/Bell Shoals/Durant, intersection improvement starting in mid2017, a 34 month construction, was also mentioned. The now infamous Lithia Pinecrest Rd., widening, with its estimated at $97 million, also discussed. By 2040 the roadway is expected to reach traffic volumes more than 50 percent beyond its capacity at 2 lanes. The Federal “flexible” funding is limited to about $16 million annually for all projects in Hillsborough County and its cities. Officials said that relying on this source would mean funding no other projects such as Gibsonton Dr., Big Bend Rd., and HART bus replacements. Residents have a chance to comment and examine the study results and findings by visiting www.planhillsborough.org.
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Volume 11, Issue 12