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Two Sections, 36 Pages of Community News


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Volume 14, Issue 1 Ph: 657-2418


Developer Plans For Assisted Living And Retirement Residency On Lithia Pinecrest Rd. In Valrico By Tamas Mondovics

three story building, with room for 145 suites. Based on its conceptual design and artists rendition, the entire facility is promising to be surrounded by mature trees

Valrico Rd. Lit hia e cr st Rd .

and landscaping. Addressing the concern of increased traffic at the facility’s planned entrance on Lithia Pinecrest Rd. just north of the Lithia Pinecrest Rd., and Valrico Rd, intersection, Pressman said the impact to the already busy roadway will be minimal. “Just to be sure, this is a senior citizen residency, which means its residents will generate very limited traffic,” Pressman said. “The facility will have very low impact on the roadway.” The first Hillsborough County Zoning Hearing Master meeting for the Valrico Retirement Residence development is scheduled for Monday, February 20, 2017, at 6 p.m. at the 2nd floor Board Room at County Center, located at 601 E. Kennedy Blvd in downtown Tampa. A public hearing in front of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners is also scheduled for Tuesday, May 9, 2017. For more information, contact www.hillsboroughcounty.org. or call 2725600.


The grand opening ceremony for the much-anticipated, brand new Chick-fil-A South Brandon is now scheduled for Friday morning, January 26. Owned and operated by Paul and Tammy Holmberg, the new restaurant is located at 2010 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, and is a muchwelcomed addition to the recently opened Crest Pointe Towne Plaza, anchored by the new Walmart Supercenter. As part of the opening celebration and festivities, local residents are invited to an overnight parking lot campout beginning the day before. Come daylight, the first 100 customers are promised to be rewarded with the ultimate prize of free Chick-fil-A meals for a year. The special event is part of Chick-filA’s signature First 100 event dating back to 2003. The new 130 seat restaurant is just one of dozens of privately owned and operated Chick-fil-A restaurants to open this month, featuring a double drive thru, serving guests 6 a.m-10 p.m, Monday through Saturday. The Chick-fil-A South Brandon will traditionally remain closed on Sundays the same as all other Chick-fil-A restaurants now numbering more than 2,000 across the nation. While serving freshly prepared breakfast and daily entrees, the basic Chick-filA Chicken Sandwich, which perhaps because of its simplicity, and of course great taste, continues to lead the charts as many guests' favorite. With attention to details while promising the best service possible, the Holmberg’s are confident of the successful opening and operation of their new restaurant, which is not their first. In fact, Chick-fil-A South Brandon will be the couple’s third Chick-fil-A in the area and the fourth, counting the one they had owned and operated at

Postal Customer

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

Photo Courtesy By Tamas Mondovics

Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White (District 4), is joined by School Board member Melissa Snively in Lithia as the two talks to residents and the media about the school district’s recent decision to eliminate courtesy busing to students living within two miles of their schools. The district has provided the service for the past two decades.


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Hawthorn Retirement Group, an independent and assisted living management company has turned its attention to a nearly 10-acre site in the heart of Valrico to build a brand new senior citizen retirement residence. In hopes of expanding its senior citizen facilities in Florida, the Vancouver, WA.-based company is planning to build the new Valrico residence, which would add to its list of 56 retirement, personal care, assisted living and memory care communities it manages throughout the United States and Canada. As the developer, Hawthorn Retirement Group, represented by Todd Pressman, with Pressman & Associates, Inc., applied for rezoning (17-0166) last November, requesting to change the nearly 400,000 sq. ft. parcel located on the west side of the intersection of Lithia Pinecrest and Valrico Rd., from R (residential) to a PD (Planned Development). The 53,000 sq. ft. facility located across from a pond and lift station, presently under construction on the east side of Lithia Pinecrest Rd., will have 100 parking places, spread all around the

ne Pi

An artist rendition gives a better picture of a 50,000 sq. ft., senior citizen retirement facility planned in Valrico. Developer, Hawthorn Retirement Group, an independent and assisted living management company, has applied for rezoning the 10-acre parcel located just west of Lithia Pinecrest and Valrico Rds.


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

Regency Mall in Racine, Wisconsin in 1992. “In 1998, we relocated and transferred ownership and opened the Chickfil-A at Lake Brandon Village, which we currently own and operate,” Tammy proudly said, adding that in 2013 the two took over ownership and operations at the Westfield Mall Brandon, until December 2016. “We are currently hiring and training the needed 100 employees,” said Tammy’s son Jake, who will be managing the new restaurant. While welcoming applicants under a temporary canopy set up on the parking

Continued on Page 12

In This Issue CRIME BEAT.................................... ...PG 4 COURTESY SCHOOL BUSES ................PG 8 THEATER OPENING ..........................PG 10 MURDER MYSTERY ..........................PG 18

CHALKLINES....................................PG 23 15 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ..................PG 28 YEAR IN REVIEW......................PGS 29‐35



Page 2

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 1

January 2017

Page 3

Valrico Edition

Haskins Celebrates Move To Valrico Edward Jones

Dr. Wayne Lee: Plastic Surgery As An Art

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

One can mention plastic surgery and conjure an image of Hollywood starlets and politicians who never seem to age. Yet, a far larger percentage of average Americans turn to plastic surgery for both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. Dr. Wayne Lee and his hand-selected staff do not consider themselves just a plastic surgery center. People come to him for many reasons that make them feel less than whole. Dr. Lee’s philosophy seeks “to help people transform themselves, so that the image they have…in their minds’ eyes match the ones in the mirror.” Double-Board Certified, Dr. Lee is an expert in his field who knows that quality of life can depend on a healthy self-image. Per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation continues to top the list of procedures people seek. Apart from cosmetic augmentation, breast lifts, and breast reductions, many patients do not know where to turn after mastectomies, lumpectomies, and radiation. Dr. Lee prides himself on reconstructive surgery and his ability to restore form for patients ravaged by breast cancer, and this translates into his skill in performing cosmetic breast augmentations. He provides patients with a variety of implant options, but he also stays abreast of the latest tech-

By Nick Nahas

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

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

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

By Amy Schechter

nologies, such as biologic mesh, cellular dermis, and fat transfer processes to customize his procedure to the needs of the individual. He is practiced in the art of tattooing, so that he can recreate the pigmentation of the nipple to give people a desired appearance. Dr. Lee wants “to create a personal plan, so patients can lead more youthful, confident, active lives.” To that end, he offers other services on site such as tummy tucks, cellulite removal using Cellulaze, precision laser neck lifts, face lifts, and eyelid surgeries. His full-service surgery office/center in Brandon provides a welcoming, private place for the comfort of his patients where he can perform surgery on site with the assistance of IV sedation and general anesthesia. The 7,000 sq. ft. facility also boasts a Medi Spa where patients can freeze fat away with CoolSculpting and Smart Lipo, aesthetic services such as Botox and Zo Skin Health by Obagi. He also consults with patients in his Tampa office located near Florida Hospital. Dr. Lee has privileges at seven local hospitals. To check out monthly specials, visit www.wayneleemd.com. Call 5793369 to schedule a consultation. Brandon office is located at 1020 E. Brandon Blvd. Ste. 101 in Brandon. Tampa office is located at 3000 Medical Park Dr. Ste. 140.


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Page 4

Volume 14, Issue 1

Valrico Edition

Celebratory Gunfire Injures Two, Law Enforcement In Search Of Suspects Detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office are searching for suspects involved in discharging their firearms as a way to celebrate the New Year. The dangerous, irresponsible yet, popular practice of firing into the air, known as Celebratory Gunfire, often results in someone needlessly being seriously injured or killed by falling bullets. Sadly, the Sheriff’s Office reported two cases of what they say was the result of residents firing their guns into the air during the hours of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Detectives said that on Saturday, December 31, 2016 at approximately 9:10 p.m., Terry Wayne Snyder was riding a bicycle on Deerfield St. in Tampa, when he felt a sharp pain in his leg. Snyder reported that at the same time he heard fireworks in the area. After he was transported to Tampa General Hospital and treated for a gunshot wound Snyder was released. Less than three hours later on Sunday, January 1 at 12:09 a.m., Jesus Garcia-Renteria, was standing in the front yard of 6010 1st Street in


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A Billboard draws attention to the dangers of the irresponsible yet, popular practice of firing a weapon into the air, known as Celebratory Gunfire, which often results in someone needlessly injured or killed by falling bullets. HCSO is currently searching for suspects involved with the practice that led to the injury of two people over the New Years Holiday.

said HCSO Detective and Public Information Officer Larry McKinnon, adding that Renteria was also transported to Tampa General Hospital, where he was treated and later released. With no suspects at this time, HCSO detectives are asking the public’s assistance, while Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the identification and arrest of the unknown suspect(s) involved in these two cases. Anyone with any information

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Wimauma watching fireworks when a bullet struck him in the arm. “Witnesses at the scene had no idea where the shot came from nor did anyone see any weapons,”

www.crimestopperstb.com or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips Mobile application. Crime Stoppers must be contacted first in order to be eligible for a cash reward. Efforts to discuss the dangers of celebratory gunfire and ultimately to stop the practice is not new. On Friday, December 30, 2016 at 3:30 p.m., HCSO Captain Dave Fleet, joined by Bullet Free Sky a non-profit organization to educate the public and raise awareness on the dangers of

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Celebratory Gunfire, hosted a press conference at Shooter's World shooting range located at 116 East Fletcher Ave. inTampa. “Celebratory gunfire remains a serious problem in many communities,” said Sandy Duran, whose 12year-old son Diego was struck in the head by a .45 caliber bullet while the family watched fireworks on the wake of the New Year in 2012, in Ruskin. “We are all celebrating under the same sky, so it is vital to protect our loved ones and communities from harm during the holidays and, we cannot do it alone.” The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office remains committed to a policy of zero tolerance of illegal gun use and will enhance our initiatives to combat gun violence in this community. “Our mission is to protect the quality of life for all residents throughout our community by creating an environment of enhances safety and security,” McKinnon said. For more information please visit www.Bulletfreesky.org or mail to bulletfreesky@gmail.com.

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Valrico Edition

A True Must-See: Shen Yun 2017 Florida Tour




Staff Report

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



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Volume 14, Issue 1

Valrico Edition

s To e s s a l C g n i Life Writ n For o i t a r t s i g Begin, Re ore… M & r e t n Ce Children’s anti, oles ichelle C com M y b d r. Compile ospreyobserve @ michelle

Christmas spirit was shared with the residents and guests of New Horizons Group Homes in a special way. They spent the afternoon enjoying a gift from America’s Country Darlins’ – a full hour of the amazing music that they perform at state fairs and other venues around the

Award Winning Program Offered at The Bridges

The award-winning program, “A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls” will be offered at The Bridges Assisted Living Community in partnership with Senior Connection Center, Inc. This free four week program emphasizes practical strategies to manage falls. Participants will learn to view falls as controllable. They will set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks, and exercise to increase strength and balance. Anyone interested in improving their balance, flexibility and strength or that have restricted activities because of falling concerns are encouraged to attend. Classes will be held very Wednesday and Friday from February 1– February 24 from 9-11 a.m. in the Clubhouse at The Bridges, 11202 Dewhurst Dr. in Riverview. Space is limited. Please call Janet at 413-8900 for more information.

Christmas Spirit Shared With New Horizons Group Home Residents On Sunday, December 11, the

Valrico. Three classes will run simultaneously for 10 weeks each. - One begins Tuesday January 17 from 10:30 a.m.– 1:30 p.m. Another class begins Friday, - January 20 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 email LifeWritersBloom@msn.com for more information. Students are required to plan on attending all ten classes. The classes are sponsored by the Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library and are

The residents of New Horizons Group Home were treated to some Christmas Cheer by the ‘America’s Country Darlins’.

country. Everyone enjoyed the interactive performance, with the residents dancing and singing along. The afternoon was filled with great music, energy and love, with refreshments and the Country Darlins’ special wassil, along with a visit from Santa bearing loaded stockings for the residents and their pets, rounding out the day. They definitely brought a huge dose of Christmas spirit to New Horizons.

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

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serves 3 and 4 year old children and is an approved VPK provider. Preschool hours are from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. with optional aftercare. LVC’s Open Enrollment period for the 2017-2018 school year will be from Tuesday, January 17Friday, February 10. Registration forms can be picked up from the preschool office or printed from the website at www.lvcchildrenscenter.org. If interested, submit an application any time during the open enrollment. All applications will be entered into a registration pool for consideration for the 2017-2018 school year. For more information, call the preschool office at 689-8385 x227.

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free to the public. To register, go to the “Ask Desk” inside the library or email LifeWritersBloom@msn.com.

Open Enrollment for 2017-2018 School Year At Limona Village Chapel Children’s Center Limona Village Chapel Children’s Center (LVC) is a leading preschool that has been serving the greater Brandon area for more than 30 years. It is located at 408 Limona Rd. in Brandon. LVC

Quitting tobacco isn't easy. Finding help should be. Tobacco Free Florida offers free tools and services to help you get started. Free Community worksite and clinic groups will be offered, with programs covering all forms of tobacco. Free Nicotine replacement patches, gum and lozenges will be available, while supplies last and if medically appropriate. Locally, classes will be available: Monday, January 23 and February 20 from 5:307:30 p.m. at Oakfield Medical Plaza, 276 S. Moon Ave., Ste. 260 in Brandon; Tuesday, January 31 and February 28 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Bloomingdale Regional Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. Pre-registration is required by calling 974-7889. For additional classes, visit www.ahectobacco.com.

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Page 7

Valrico Edition

Florida State Fair Captures Memories

Staff Report

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

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Page 8

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 1

Parents Respond To Hillsborough County School Board Vote To End Courtesy Busing

The Hillsborough County Schools Board voted 6-1 last month to end courtesy busing for middle and high school students living within two miles of their school. The decision is the result of the Districts plan to reduce spending.

As anticipated, Hillsborough County Schools Board’s 6-1 decision last month to end its nearly 20-year-long courtesy busing offered to thousands of students living within two miles of their schools was met with much concern. Parents living in communities like FishHawk Ranch immediately turned to social media in hopes of finding the best way to come to terms with the loss of courtesy busing, a term that many have never heard, and a service that most thought was the norm. “Heavy traffic, long car lines and safety has been our concern for several years,” said FishHawk resident Kathi Hayes. “It’s funny how the beginning of the school year the school board said the area was deemed as hazardous conditions and we were always told that the solution is to utilize the buses. Traffic continues to increase as more residents move into the area, suddenly, the area isn’t hazardous and now we are losing the buses, which makes no sense.”

To explain the decision, school officials mailed out a comprehensive packet to nearly 7,500 middle and high school students who will be affected by the change at the start of the 2017-2018 school year, saving approximately $3 million for the District. “Parents of elementary students will have more time to plan,” said HCPS spokesperson, Tanya Arja. “We will end elementary courtesy busing as well, but not until the 2018-19 school year.” School officials estimate the total saving at nearly $10 million. The state provides funding to transport students who reside more than two miles from their assigned school, for prekindergarten or special education students who require transportation living inside the two-mile boundary. Students not meeting the state’s hazardous criteria are known as courtesy riders, thus the term courtesy busing. “Whether or not a student’s walk to school is hazardous is determined by

state criteria such as traffic count, speed limits, traffic path, and whether or not traffic signals are controllable,” Arja said. The district currently has more than 4,000 elementary and 7,500 middle and high school students living within two miles of a school. Arja said that buses were awarded based on temporary hazards, such as construction zones, but were not removed once the hazard was corrected. “For years students who no longer met the state’s hazardous criteria, continued to be bussed, costing the district millions of dollars that could be used in the classrooms,” she said, adding that the phasing out courtesy busing was recommended by the Gibson Consulting Group, as a means to reduce spending. It took nearly five months for school officials to determine that of the 7,495 students within the District’s 8 areas only 803 meet the state criteria. Similar to most communities, none of the 1,000 FishHawk Ranch area students attending Newsome High, Randall and Barrington Middle schools who receive courtesy busing met the state hazardous criteria, school officials said. “Our streets are already gridlocked with school traffic,” Hayes said adding, “I can’t imagine what it will look like next year with carlines, students hauling heavy

By Tamas Mondovics

backpacks walking in the heat and afternoon thunderstorms!” That is just what the “FishHawk Safe Bus for US!!! Advocacy for Safe School Bus Transportation Group” on Facebook planned to find out by means of a ‘Safe Bus for Us Drive In,’ scheduled for Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Parents were asked to drive their student(s) to school to demonstrate the impact to roads and traffic among other things, losing the buses would cause. School Board member, Melissa Snively, the only vote against the Board’s decision agreed when she reportedly said that the savings of several million dollars are not worth the safety risk and disruption, a notion that was obviously rejected. Parents who feel that the walking path for their students is unsafe may fill out a review request form, which was included in their packet and can also be found on the District’s website. The district will also conduct community meetings in the coming months to advise families on alternate ways to get their children to school, including carpools, organized walking groups and public transportation. For more information, please visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.

January 2017

Page 9

Valrico Edition

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

By Tamas Mondovics

medicine, conIn an effort to sumer products provide military and energy. veterans, reservists, transi“During the tioning active-duty tour, veterans and transitioning personnel and military persontheir spouses an nel will be introopportunity to duced to career explore career paths and job options available in the agriculture Local veterans and military personnel participate opportunities in Hillsborough County’s annual Military within modern industry, continAgriculture Tour. The event provides participants ued Hillsborough opportunity to explore career options available in agriculture operations and supCounty officials the agriculture industry. porting industries,” said Agribusiness have once again scheduled a free bus tour to a number of farms throughout the Development Manager, Simon Bollin. New areas in agriculture include: county. Precision Agriculture, Energy Crops, The Military Agriculture Tour Agribusiness, Food Science and Program is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Technology, Community Supported on Friday, February 3 at Hillsborough Agriculture and Environmental Protection County Extension Services, 5339 CR Aquaculture. Participants will get a 579 in Seffner. Sporting more than chance to visit a variety of farming opera93,000 veterans, Hillsborough County tions and the University of Florida Gulf has the second highest veteran populaCoast Research and Education Center in tion in Florida, and is soon to become southern Hillsborough County. the first according to the U.S. At each stop local officials and parDepartment of Veterans Affairs. ticipating business owners on hand will The annual event is organized highlight the diversity of agricultural operthrough a partnership between ations in Hillsborough County. Hillsborough County Economic With seating limited, veterans and Development, Hillsborough County Farm local active duty military personnel are Bureau, Hillsborough County Extension encouraged to pre-register at the event Services and community partners compage by Wednesday, February 1. Lunch mitted to assisting transitioning veterans will be provided. For more information on by providing meaningful connections to Military Agriculture Tour community partquality civilian career opportunities and ners and career resources for transitiontraining. In preparation for the upcoming ing veterans visit HCFLGov.net/Vets2Ag tour, county officials emphasized that today’s agriculture industries increasingly or contact Simon Bollin, Agribusiness Development Manager, at 276-2735 or focus on using technology and manageBollinS@HCFLGov.net. ment systems for the production of food,




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Page 10

Volume 14, Issue 1

Valrico Edition

Goodrich Riverview 14 GDX Poised For February Opening Of Movie Theatre & Pub Grand Rapids, Michigan-based, Goodrich Quality Theaters, (GQT) Inc., had hoped to open the doors to the organization’s first theater in Florida in time for the 2016 holiday season, but according to Chief Operation Officer Martin Betz, a little delay was necessary for a very good reason. “We are bringing something special to movie goers and while missing the holidays is unfortunate, we want to be as compelling as we can on opening day,” Betz said. “We did not want to rush the project.” With only a few minor finishing Goodrich Quality Theaters, (GQT) Inc., announced touches left to complete the theater, the opening of its much anticipated Riverview 14 GDX Theater in early February. The theater is promwhich will create nearly 100 jobs ising guests a luxury cinema experience including an when open, GQT announced the original restaurant concept serving fresh, prepared to scheduled opening of Riverview 14 order dishes and beverages. GDX (Giant Digital Experience), a 66,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art theater multi- Rewards Program.” Building on the organization’s 75plex in Riverview, for early February year experience, Riverview 14 “GDX” is 2017. boasting of Goodrich’s cutting-edge large Located at the southwest corner of Iformat auditoriums including its two 70 ft. 75 and Gibsonton Dr., just east of the wide and 40 ft. tall screens projected in Super Walmart (exit 250) the theater is 4K digital, showcasing floor-to-ceiling promising its guests an unmatched luxury viewing powered by Premium Dolby cinema experience filled with a wide variATMOS sound system making movieety of special amenities. goers “feel” the action. “We are extremely grateful for the “The walls between every auditorium very positive response that we are receivare IMAX rated to ensure no sound will ing from Riverview and surrounding ever bleed through to interfere with any areas,” he said. “No doubt, the fantastic movie,” Betz said, adding that all fourwelcome from across the Tampa Bay teen theaters feature digital projection community demonstrates its excitement. offering 1,665 full-motion electric, leather Our entire organization is committed to recliners with extra wide arm rests plush bringing movie-lovers of all ages the very complete with snack trays and cup holdbest theater entertainment with unmatched value, unique food and bever- ers. Guests always can select their own age offerings and an outstanding

By Tamas Mondovics

seat, whether on-line, mobile app or in person prior to the start of every show, while all the box office windows are located inside the spacious, contemporary air-conditioned lobby that include a number of self-serve ticket kiosks and a massive concession stand with self-serve free drink refill stations. But there is more. Living up to its promise of offering a luxury cinema experience, Riverview 14 GDX will

provide guests something extra special, including FEATURES, a Gastro-Pub Restaurant & Bar, developed by Celebrity Chef Brian Duffy. Located inside the building with a seating capacity of about 100, including 20-30 at the bar, the restaurant is dubbed as an innovative scratch kitchen offering food prepared fresh daily, perfect for lunch, dinner and late-night. “Our guests can enjoy a great food and are welcome to take their dinner inside the theater making use of the snack trays and cup holders available at every seat,” Betz said. As a welcome gesture during the first month of opening, guests are encouraged to save any used movie stub from any other movie theater to exchange at their concession stand for a free popcorn tub. Now until the opening, GQT is running a contest giving away multiple Movie Passes for one year by simply signing up for their Free Outstanding Rewards Program (www.goodrichqualitytheaters.com/fmg). For information, visit GoodrichQualityTheaters.com and Facebook @ Goodrich Riverview.

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January 2017

Page 11

Valrico Edition

Pepin Academies Opens New Area School To Serve More Students


By Tamas Mondovics

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

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Page 12

Volume 14, Issue 1

Valrico Edition

Schools Benefit As FishHawk Ranch Road Race Celebrates 20 Years

By Katelyn Massarelli

In 1997, the first FishHawk Ranch Road Race took place to raise money for local charities and eventually became a way to raise money for local schools in

and FishHawk Road Runners each year to put together the Road Race each year. The event will have a 5K race and two kids’ fun-runs that will be one mile and a half mile. After the races, the event will have a post-race party for participants and attendees to celebrate their accomplishments or The Terkhorn familly attends the 19th just to have annual FishHawk Ranch Road Race. fun. 2005. This year, the “[Attendees] race is back to create a welcoming enjoy music provided by an area D.J., environment for everyone in the com- food, and random giveaways,” munity just as its done for the past 20 McMorrow said. “Of course, one of years. the highlights is the awards ceremoThis year all proceeds will be ny, with recognition for overall Male going to Barrington Middle, Colleen and Female, Masters and Bevis Elementary, FishHawk Creek Grandmasters winners, as well as to Elementary, Newsome High, Randall the top three racers in each age Middle and Stowers Elementary group. Medals are also given to all schools. In the past, the Road Race Kid’s Race participants. has donated more than $175,000 to Avid Runners, beginning, intermedilocal schools within the FishHawk ate level runners, and walkers all come community and contributed to a out to the Road Race. The event allows scholarship for a student member of participants and attendees to join in on the FishHawk Road Runners. the fun whether it be to have fun with “Each school has the flexibility to the family or come join the energetic use the funds they receive in a way atmosphere of the community. that is most beneficial to students or Potential racers can still register to support the school’s greatest and will be able to on the day of the need,” Marketing Manager for race. The 5K registration fee is $25 in Waterset Newland Communities advance and $30 on the race day. Kids Lynda McMorrow said. race registration fees are $15. You can McMorrow and the rest of the Register in advance at www.fishNewland Communities marketing hawkranch.com. The event will take team works to find sponsors for the place on January 28 at FishHawk race. They work alongside the Public Ranch, Lithia. For more information, you Relations team, school beneficiaries, can call 685-7500.

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Valrico Edition

Page 13

Page 14

Volume 14, Issue 1

Valrico Edition

For m a e T a Form SWAT , k l a W s ’ Parkinson ip & More… h Members y Michelle Colesanti, db m Compile preyobserver.co s o @ michelle

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

How to build 750 luminaries kits? You get muscular men and boys to fill plastic bags of sand outdoors while indoors you set up a production line to make the kits of 15 bags/candles/cups and put them in a large plastic bag for easy handling. All this was accomplished in a matter of three hours by Lions Club Members, along with other volunteer help, including eight members of Boy Scout Troop 61 from Presbyterian Church of Bloomingdale. The Brandon Lions Club has been selling these kits for over 10 years, which are used to put on display Christmas Eve by lighting the candles put into white bags which have sand as ballast. They are put along driveways and sidewalks when the

candles are lit make for an evening scenic presentation especially in local subdivisions. Proceeds will be donated to 501(C3) organizations and special eye/hearing care cases. For more information on the Brandon Lions Club, visit www.brandonlions.org/.

SWAT Membership Open To All Woman

luncheons to put on a “Members Only” table, as well as promote your business by doing a “30-second commercial” and of course, Guests are always welcome to attend as often and as many meetings as they wish. For more information, visit www.swatnetworking.com.

The Directors of SWAT Networking groups throughout the area.

bond that does not exist in other groups. “We are a sisterVolunteering for an organization hood,” states Gerard. can be very rewarding. That is why The organization provides the volunteer Directors of SWAT a place for women in business Networking are all staying for another to gather and support each other. With seven chapters to choose from, the group has a Director for each chapter and each chapter has a “team” of volunteers. The Directors all have their own businesses to promote and For the past 10 years, the Brandon Lions Club has offered have busy lives, luminary kits for use on but all enjoy givChristmas Eve. ing of their time for their “SWAT year. Sisters”. “2016 was an Membership is amazing year for us,” open to all women. As stated Executive a member, you would Director, Deb Gerard be able to bring busiwith First Impressions, ness cards, the women of brochures, and flyers “S.W.A.T.” (Successful to any of the chapter Women Aligning Together) feel a


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Symptoms of LPR include the sensation of something in the throat, hoarseness caused by continual throat clearing, sore throat, and sometimes swallowing difficulty. Interestingly, sucking on mints, which may provide immediate relief due to the fact that you’re constantly swallowing, are a major cause of LPR! According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “mints can actually relax the sphincter muscle which closes off the stomach from the esophagus (Jan 20, 2015).” So ditch the mints, which includes peppermint, spearmint, mint ice cream, mint chewing gum! you get the point. Other foods which can contribute to LPR are coffee, alcohol, chocolate (bummer!), carbonated beverages, citrus juices, tomato products and high-fat foods. And if modifying your diet doesn’t solve the problem, it’s time to visit your ENT. Dustie Lynch is a speech and language pathologist working at Hawthorne Health & Rehab Center in Brandon, and specializes in swallowing, speech and cognitive impairments for both inpatient and outpatient adults. Other potential Q&A’s could include simple strategies to mitigate swallowing problems, short term memory tips, information on how speech therapy can help people Parkinson’s improve their vocal volume, how to help those with hearing loss understand others better, dealing with GERD issues, methods to help maintain cognitive skills, dealing with insomnia, etc.

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January 2017

Page 15

Valrico Edition

County Fire Rescue To Purchase Five Acre Parcel As Future Keysville Station Site


By Tamas Mondovics

roads, a major Hillsborough County Fire benefit when it Rescue (HCFR) comes to improvChief, Dennis ing emergency Jones, joined by response time. county represenJones emphasized that tatives, met with residents last HCFR is considering a standard month to discuss footprint for the the purchase of new station land as the site designed to meet of a future fire Hillsborough County Fire Chief, Dennis Jones, current fire stastation in the talks to Valrico area residents about the protion standards, Keysville area. posed future location of a new fire station. which consists of The open a 9,000-sq. ft. building with three bays, house meeting, held in the auditorium that includes modern living quarters of Durant High, saw a small group of and workspace for each of the 24-hour residents who got a chance to hear full-time crew of three,. some details about the proposed sta“The new station will be an ALS or tion, as well as share their input. Advanced Life Support station, with a According to Jones, the five-acre fire engine ladder truck, but there are parcel under consideration is located no current plans for a Rescue on the east side of CR 39, a quarterAmbulance truck,” Jones said. mile north of Keysville Rd. County officials also confirmed “There is currently no funding and that HCFR is currently working on a construction of a fire station has not master plan covering the next 25 yet been scheduled or budgeted,” years, which based on current growth, Jones said, adding that it is a property according to Jones, includes the need that the department is looking at for an additional 70 new stations. because it is located in an area that Each new station takes approxineeds a new station in the near mately two years to build at a cost of future.” The proposed purchase price $2.3 million. The next station to be of the vacant lot was $100,000, and built is station No.44 in FishHawk, was approved by the Board of County located on FishHawk Blvd. just south Commission, funded by the Capital of the Boyette Rd., and Bell Shoals Improvement Program. Rd., intersection. Jones said that the department Construction of the FishHawk staconsidered other properties as well, tion is scheduled for competition in but settled on the proposed site for a late 2017 or early 2018. For informanumber of reasons, including its cention, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org. tral location as well as nearby cross-

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Estate Planning Tips for Blended Families

Financial Advisor

Most of us need to do some type of estate planning, but it’s especially important if you are part of a “blended” family. And the best time to start is now – before these plans need to be implemented. Estate planning can be complex, so you will need help from a qualified legal professional. But here are a few general suggestions that can be suitable for blended families: • Update beneficiary designations – and think aboutmultiple beneficiaries. Update the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and insurance policies to reflect the reality of your blended family. These designations can supersede the instructions you provided in your will. So if your will states that your current spouse should inherit your assets, but you had named your former spouse, or a child, as the primary beneficiary of an IRA, then your former spouse or your child – not your present-day spouse – will indeed receive the IRA. To ensure that “everyone gets something,” you could name your current spouse as primary beneficiary and your children from a previous marriage as equal contingent beneficiaries. But the primary beneficiary will receive all the assets and is free to do whatever he or she wants with the money. To enact your wishes, you can name multiple primary beneficiaries and designate the percentage of the asset each beneficiary will receive. • Create a living trust – and consider a professional trustee. A living trust can help you avoid the timeconsuming and costly process of probate, while giving you great freedom to determine how, and when, you want your assets distributed. After you pass away, the trust, if structured properly, can provide your surviving spouse with income for life; then, after your spouse dies, your children from an earlier marriage would receive the remainder of the trust.

So far, so good. However, issues can arise if you name your surviving spouse or one of your children as the “successor trustee” who will take charge of the trust upon your passing. Your spouse, acting as successor trustee, could choose to invest only in bonds for income, but if he or she lives another 20 or so years, the value of the investments within the trust will probably have diminished considerably – leaving your children with very little. Conversely, if you name one of your children as trustee, the child could invest strictly in growth-oriented investments, leaving your surviving spouse with greatly reduced income. To be fair to everyone, you may want to engage a professional third-party trustee. This individual, or company, is not a beneficiary of the trust, is not entitled to share in the assets of the trust, and, ideally, should have no “rooting interest” in how proceeds of the trust are distributed. • Consider a prenuptial agreement. When it’s time to settle an estate, a prenuptial agreement can help avoid disputes among members of a blended family. If you and your new spouse have agreed to keep your assets separate so that each of you can pass an inheritance to your own children, you need to spell out that separation in your “prenup,” your will, your living trust and any other relevant estate-planning arrangements. Above all else, share your estate-planning intentions with members of your blended family. You may not be able to satisfy everyone, but through open communications, you can help prevent bad feelings – and unpleasant surprises. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors are not estate planners and cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your estate-planning or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.

Melissa L Haskins, Financial Advisor

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Page 16

Volume 14, Issue 1

Valrico Edition

halom S h t e B t A Activities rough County o and Hillsb ces & More… vi Aging Ser ichelle Colesanti, d by M m Compile preyobserver.co s o @ michelle

Events And Activities At Congregation Beth Shalom In The New Year

Congregation Beth Shalom will hold the following activities: Bible and Bagels - Saturday, January 23 at 9:45 a.m. - Join in as Rabbi Torop discusses Parashat Shemot: Moses—Son, Husband and Father. Light breakfast will be provided. Bring your own beverage. Jewish Singles over 50 - Frida Kahlo exhibit - Thursday, January 19, at 5 p.m. Visit the Frida Kahlo at The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. This 60+ piece exhibit showcases the extraordinary career and life of acclaimed 20th century artist, whose dreamlike work suggests that love and suffering create a new sense of beauty. The exhibition extends outdoors, where a special collection of flowers and plants representative of those in Kahlo’s own garden. Cost is $10. You must RSVP to Anita Clifford, niewdnarb@yahoo.com, to join in on the fun. International Holocaust Remembrance Day - Sunday, January 22, at 3 p.m. (Doors open at 2 p.m.) This event is hosted by the Tampa Bay Consular Corps at the Italian Club, 1731 E 7th Ave., in Ybor City. There will also be a presentation of awards to winning students of the essay contest aimed at combating anti-Semitism. To attend, send an email request with your name, e-mail address, phone number, and address to Hon. Vincent Genovese, vgenovese@italconstampa.com. Also, please RSVP to Anita Clifford at niewdnarb@yahoo.com, and she will save a seat. Practical Explanation of the

Customs of Death and Mourning - Sunday, January 29, at 10 a.m. - Rabbi Torop will discuss, The Shiva House. Rabbi Torop will discuss the step-by-step guide through Jewish tradition. Further related programs will be offered throughout the year. Welcome the Sabbath at services on Friday evenings at 7:45 p.m. Oneg (nosh and mingle) will follow services. Everyone is welcome.

Services on January 20 will take place at 7 p.m. at the Bolnick Ranch. Bring your own seating, a blanket for the weather, and a snack to share for oneg. Snacks will be at 6 p.m. Call office for address and more information. A Pot Luck dinner will be held before services on Friday, February 3 at 6 p.m. Congregation Beth Shalom is located at 706 Bryan Rd. in Brandon. For more information, call 681-6547.

County Park Passes Now Available Online

Annual passes to Hillsborough County’s regional parks offer a great way to enjoy hiking, fishing, bird watching, and a host of other outdoor activities. Now, getting a pass has become more convenient than ever. Purchasing an annual pass used

Outdoor enthusiasts now can skip the trip and buy an annual pass from their computer or mobile device. An annual pass allows free access to the County’s 10 regional parks. The cost is $50 for an individual pass and $100 for families. The permit is issued in the form of a transferrable tag that hangs from a vehicle’s rear view mirror. The new, more convenient system comes just as prime camping season begins in Hillsborough

tance in everyday activities such as grocery shopping, meal preparation, lite 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 husband-employed couple, with wife available for two to four hours daily to assist is preferred. The husband would be needed less time for things such as mowing pasture with tractor or light mowing with Dixie chopper (possibly County. eight to ten Moderate temhours per peratures, weekend). lower humidity, Elderly couple seeks couple to share country home The couple and fewer bugs has a regular and help with everyday activities make late fall cleaning lady through March an ideal time for outand someone to mow lawn. They will door adventures. Camping for the supply a very nice double-wide, 3 BR general public is offered at Edward 2 bath home one-eighth mile from Medard, E.G. Simmons, Lithia their home and an electric golf cart to Springs, and Alderman’s Ford parks, go back and forth between homes. and requires an additional fee. Property is secured with an electric Regional parks include: gate. Financial arrangements are Alderman’s Ford Park, Edward $500 month for the rent, plus electric Medard Park, E.G. Simmons Park, for home. Compensation will be $8 Eureka Springs Park, Lake Park, per hour for any work or time Lake Rogers Park, Lettuce Lake involved. Expect two to four hours Park, Lithia Springs Park, Upper daily minimum for household help, Tampa Bay Park, and Brandon Senior Center Activities Upper Tampa Bay Trail. For January 16 at 1 p.m. - National Soup Month: more information, call 987Soup for the Soul (bring a soup to share). 6240. January 20 at 12:30 p.m. - Lunar New Year Festival: Celebrate the New Year with dancing A New Year Offers Fun and music. New Activities At January 25 at 9 a.m. - Gasparilla Pirate Hillsborough County Invasion: Party with the Pirates (Preregistration required, dancing). Aging Services Tuesdays at 10 a.m. - New - Color me calm: Hillsborough County Learn popular and therapeutic adult coloring Aging Services offers a techniques. variety of activities for adults 50 and over. Visit the www.hillsboroughcounty.org/residents/social-services/seniors to view activity calendars and additional center information or call Aging Services at 272-5250. The Brandon Senior Center is located at 612 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon and offers the following activities in January. For more information, call 635-8066.

to require going to the regional park administrative office and completing the paperwork and payment on site.

Elderly Couple Seeks Mature Couple For Everyday Assistance An elderly couple seeks assis-


about 75 hours per month for wife. Hopefully wife will have interest in sewing, as my wife is an avid sewer and loves to share her knowledge and abilities. It would help if husband has an interest in fishing, as help is needed in loading and unloading, and in handling of boat when fishing. If these conditions appeal to you and you would like to live on these secluded acres, fish and enjoy the Alafia River, agree to a background check, please call 685-1147 for interview and to see the facilities.

Newly Patented Product Invented by a Local Resident! Say good bye to the aggravation and frustration that comes with putting on your jewelry! To learn more about this product, email mgibbs19@verizon.net www.cinchclasp.com


January 2017

Page 17

Valrico Edition

Brandon Rotary Builds Event Center On S. Kings Ave. To Continue Support

By Libby Hopkins

Rotary Club is excited about hava group of coming a permanent munity leaders home. “We believe that come together the center will build to exchange ideas better relationships and put them into within the club action to make a through our social lasting difference events and that it in the Brandon will be beneficial in community and the community beyond. They learning about have served the rotary and what our Brandon commuclub does in the Brandon Rotary has been a part of the com- community,” nity for over 54 munity for more than 54 years, and hosts the years and have 41-year-old event, Wild Game Night raising McGuire said. “The raised more than center will be a money for many local Brandon charities. $1.6 million in spotlight on rotary charity support, have done countless within Tampa Bay area as a place where service projects impacting individuals, the local rotary clubs can come together.” companies and organizations all while The Rotary has also been hosting creating a positive change in the commu- their Wild Game Night for more than 41 nity. The Rotary is currently working on years. “Wild Game Night takes place 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 Night will be held about because of the headaches the on Friday, March 3 from 6 to 10 p.m. and rotary club dealt with in finding a home to will feature an open bar, wild game dinner host weekly meetings that could accomwith complimentary beverages, door modate 60 people per week. The center prizes and raffle. Regular admission tickis going to be used as a permanent ets are $100 and $150 for VIP Tickets. home and gathering space for the Sponsorships are available as well and Brandon Rotary Club to host regular those levels are the Big Boar for $1200, weekly meetings and host social gatherthe Boar Hog $700 and the Wild Turkey ings.” The center will also be available for $400. To learn more about the Brandon the community and community organizaRotary or to attend Wild Game Night or tions to rent to events. sponsor the event, visit www.brandonroThe Brandon Rotary Club is most tary.org or call McGuire at 468-6889.

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Volume 14, Issue 1

Valrico Edition

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

By Kathy L. Collins

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


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January 2017

Page 19

Valrico Edition

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Edible Arrangements Launches New Edible To Go Service

By Katelyn Massarelli

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

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Valrico Edition

Page 20


January 2017

Volume 14, Issue 1

Ph: 657-2418

InThis Section CHALKLINES....................................PG 23 WILD DAME NIGHT. .......................PG 24 A CALL TO ARTISTS .........................PG 27 15 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ..................PG 28 YEAR IN REVIEW......................PGS 29‐35

Grand Re-Opening of Phoenix House Expands Capacity to Treat Substance Use Disorders

Phoenix House Florida hosted a ceremonial ribbon cutting celebrating the grand re-opening of its recently renovated outpatient facility for adolescents and adults in December 2016. The Heartwood Campus is located at 510 Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon. A reception followed the ceremony and tours were available throughout the afternoon. “To best meet the increased demand for treatment throughout Hillsborough County, Phoenix House’s location in this multifaceted medical complex allows us to double our treatment capacity as well as to expand our hours and programs to meet the unprecedented need for access to treatment by the diverse population we serve,” said Clinical Director Sonya Bufe. Phoenix House is committed to promoting longterm health throughout our communities for individuals struggling with substance use disorders through an approach focused on all aspects of wellness−from prevention to recovery to physical fitness to emotional and psychological wellbeing. Heartwood Campus’s location in this

It is locally owned and operated by David and Heidi Adams. The business is licensed and insured. Trained and certified technician’s offer 24/7 emergency service. For more information, call 888466-8055. Visit www.restoration1.com/tampa-bay or www.facebook.com/Resto1TB.

T. Marie’s will be hosting Sunday Markets every week beginning January 15. They are looking for artisans and vendors who are interested in participating.

medical complex provides patients with access to additional healthcare resources and reinforces the fact that substance use disorder is a treatable biological brain disease from which patients can recover, while also reducing the stigma often associated with the disorder. Phoenix House Heartwood Campus provides evidence-based outpatient and intensive outpatient substance use treatment to adolescents and adults, including whole health and wellness activities. Services available include: comprehensive assessment; individual,

group, and family counseling; psychoeducational therapy groups; case management; life-skills education; drug testing and recreational activities that teach people ways to have fun while sober. CARF-accredited programs offer individualized treatment protocols utilizing evidencebased practices to meet the needs of each patient. For more information, visit www.phoenixhouse.org/locations/florida/brandon-center/ or call 844-517-2382.

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

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T. Marie’s Sunday Market To Begin In January

Beginning Sunday, January 15, T. Marie’s will host a Sunday Market, which will be held between T. Marie's Boutique and Walgreens in the tree/shaded area at 3407 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico (at Bloomingdale Ave.) The market will then take place every Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

T. Marie’s is looking for artisans and vendors to participate. Please call 530-0922 to reserve your space today or for more information and availability. Applications are also available in the store.

Continued on Next Page

Page 22

Valrico Edition

Business Column Continued............. Teddy Bear Round-Up 2016

By Michelle Colesanti

Partners in Allergy & Asthma Care partnered the first time this year with the Tampa Rough Riders. With offices in Valrico and Riverview, the allergy/asthma/immunology practice was able to collect donations of several teddy bears to be distributed to local children's hospitals and other facilities. The hope is this becomes an annual tradition in the office and they can continue to give back to the community.

Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic Race Weekend Welcomes DICK’S Sporting Goods As Exclusive Sporting Goods Retailer

The Gasparilla Distance Classic Association, organizers of the annual Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic Race Weekend and Publix Too Good For Drugs Jr. Gasparilla Distance Classic announced a sponsorship agreement with Pittsburgh-based DICK’S Sporting Goods, a leading omni-channel sporting goods retailer offering an extensive assortment of authentic, high-quality sports equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories. The 40th running of the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic, the Tampa Bay area’s largest running event, will be held February 25-26, and will include a 15K, 5K, Half Marathon and 8K, and will welcome 32,500 runners and walkers to Downtown Tampa. In addition to hosting Gasparilla’s in-store registration at all DICK’S Tampa Bay Area stores on January 14, 15, 21 and 22, DICK’S will also participate in the ‘8 On Your Side Health & Fitness Expo,’ with activities for the thousands in attendance, held in the Tampa Convention Center.

Ribbon Cutting Will Be Held at iFLY Tampa to Celebrate Opening

Join in for a ribbon cutting celebrating the opening of iFLY Tampa on Tuesday, January 17 at 11:30 a.m. Refreshments will be served. There will be demonstrations and more. iFLY Tampa is located at 10654

Pictured, from right, Rough Rider Randy Anderson, Alan Halsey MD, office manager Rhonda Halsey, and staff member Billie Rapczynski.

Palm River Rd. in Tampa. For more information, call 773-4359 or visit https://www.iflyworld.com/tampa/.

Wineries at SottoTerra™. This event includes three of Napa Valley’s most acclaimed winemakers. Executive Chef Michael Ford and his skilled culinary team have created provocative food pairings highlighting the flavors and aromas of each vineyard. Scot Gaffney, Regional Manager for the wineries will cohost the evening sharing their winemaking philosophy and dedication to handcrafting luxury and ultra-premium wines. The event will begin with a 6:30 p.m. reception followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Please make your reservations early as seating is limited. Call 855242-7583. Steamsong Resort is located at 1000 Streamsongs Dr. in Streamsong. For more information, visit www.streamsongresort.com.

Volume 14, Issue 1

your anchor is the right size for your boat and that you have enough line for it to set. Have a method to determine your GPS location. If your vessel has navigation equipment, know how to use it in order to locate your position. If not you can download the Sea Tow app for free and it will give you your coordinates when you need them. Have a way to call for help. If your vessel doesn’t have a radio make sure you have a method to charge your cell phone in case there is a delay in being able to locate and assist you. Make sure you have at least 300 lumens of light to navigate with. Even though you might have planned to return before dark often it could be dark by the time an assistance vessel gets you underway again. For more information on Sea Tow, call 727-547-1868 or visit www.seatow.com/local/tampabay/.

Lunch & Learn Will Help You Learn About Transition to Assisted Living

Streamsong® Wine Dinner Experience

On Thursday, January 19, Streamsong® Resort invites you to join in for a premium wine dinner experience feature Plum Jack, CADE and Odette

The Twin Creeks Assisted Living & Memory Care Community is coming soon to Riverview. The plan is to open in May 2017. Now is the time to stay up-to-date about Twin Creeks and learn more how you or your loved one can reserve a premium location and Boating Tips Offered By Sea Tow apartment style and lock in 2016 Tampa Bay rates. Capt. John On January Bryan of Sea Tow in 26 from 11:30 the Tampa Bay area a.m.-1:30 p.m., sees all sorts of misthere will be a takes made by Lunch & Learn boaters and most of about “Having the them are easily Conversation” – avoidable. He offers Transitioning to a few common ones Assisted Living. that you can take Come and discovmeasures not to er what Twin make. Check the Creeks could be weather forecast and for you or a loved ask yourself if one. It will take your vessel place at The breaks down will Regent, 6437 you be safe. Watson Rd. in Anchoring in high Riverview. Save your winds can easily Florida is great for boating year-round and seat by Friday, Capt. John Bryan of Sea Tow in the Tampa January 20. Call flood your boat or Bay offers boating tips. cause you to drift into 551-2333 or visit damaging obstructions. Make sure shane.potter@twincreeksretire.com.

January 2017

Valrico Edition

Page 23

Photos and story by Tamas Mondovics

Local Schools Lead Graduation Rate as Hillsborough County Claims Increase in Student Success

The Florida Department of Education released high school graduation rates last month showing the positive news for Hillsborough County Public Schools, including a three-percentage point increase over the previous year. According to the report, the District, managed increase its graduation rate from 76 percent in 2014-2015 to 79.1 percent in 2015-2016. The graduate rate includes all schools that fall under the umbrella of Hillsborough County Public Schools, including charter, career centers and alternative schools. While HCPS’ 27 traditional high schools are at a graduation rate of 86.2 percent, Newsome High has managed to lead the way at 97.5 percent. Armwood, High is now boasting of increasing its graduation rate by eight percentage points to 72.5, while Middleton High increased its graduation rate by nine percentage points to 74.7. School officials said the increase means that students have more opportunities for post-secondary education, more opportunities for better jobs with higher wages, and more opportunities to support a family in the future. This benefits the entire community by growing our economy. Superintendent Jeff Eakins said that working together with the school board he has created a District Strategic Plan where raising the graduation rate continues to be a top priority. “Our graduation rate shows me we care about each child. It shows me we are not going to stop. It shows me we are going to get to every child and make sure they have every opportunity to receive a standard diploma,” Eakins said. School officials were also pleased with the report showing the District’s success of closing the achievement gap between its African American, Hispanic and Caucasian students.

Drivers traveling on Natures Way Blvd. near Alafia Elementary School will have to adjust their driving habits following the new school zone including the installation of appropriate signage.

For more information, please visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.

Valrico Elementary School to Host Kindergarten Round-Up

Valrico Elementary School is gearing up for its annual Kindergarten Round-Up. School officials said the event is now scheduled to begin 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 23. Hillsborough County Public Schools will hold a Kindergarten Round Up period for the 2017-2018 school year. Families interested in enrolling their child in their assigned, attendance area school should attend the Kindergarten Round Up event scheduled for that school, which offers the student a firsthand look at kindergarten life, introduces parents to the school, and allows attendees to become acquainted with the campus. Parents who attend are encouraged to bring their child’s birth certificate, health and home address documentation to register their child for kindergarten. Parents unable to attend the Round Up are encouraged to enroll their child in to school by the end of June. Parents who would like to research their kindergarten options may visit various Round

Ups and apply for School Choice or a magnet school during the application period. The Hillsborough Choice application period for elementary schools closes Tuesday, January 31. Families will receive notification in late February. For questions contact the Choice Information Line at 272-4692. For a detailed list of Kindergarten Round-Ups and a list of accepted documentation for enrollment, visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us and see the “Kindergarten Round Up” information on the home page. Families can apply directly online for School Choice and magnet options by visiting www.sdhc.k12.fl.us and search “Go Choice.”

County Designate New School Zone for Alafia Elementary

Starting the second half of the 2016-2017 school year, Alafia Elementary School will have a new school zone on Natures Way Blvd. The new signage was scheduled to be installed during the school's winter break. Motorists, parents and students are all urged to be aware, adjust their driving habits and abide by the new posted signage during the morning and afternoon hours. The Florida Department of

Transportation reported that in 2015, law enforcement officers wrote nearly 40,000 tickets in the state to motorists caught speeding in a school zone. Florida law says that signs must be posted around each school zone telling drivers how fast they can go and when the school zone is in effect. Some signs feature flashing lights rather than a list of times, which means that just because there aren’t lights flashing drivers are not in a school zone. The posted school zone speed in Florida could be as low as 15 mph, but no higher than 20 mph, as defined in F.S. 334.03. Signs are posted around schools to alert drivers as they enter the zone, and there is a sign to indicate the end of the school zone. Aside from the safety aspect of school zones, breaking the speed limit can also be costly. For starters, in Hillsborough County, speeding in a school zone can cost drivers $143, but depending on the speed and other violations, fines can reach as high as $393, such as in the case of driving 15-19 mph over the 20 mph limit. Florida law states that school zone speed limits may be in force only during 30 minutes before, during, and 30 minutes after the periods of time when students are arriving at a regularly scheduled breakfast program or a regularly scheduled school session and leaving a regularly scheduled school session. Of course, the reasons for low speed limits when school children are present are obvious as children are crossing the street on foot and on their bicycles, not to mention the extra heavy traffic of parents picking up their children as well as school buses entering or exiting the school. In school zones, motorists are urged to pay attention and focus on driving, while making other activities secondary. For more information and reminders, please visit www.dmvflorida.org.

Page 24

Volume 14, Issue 1

Valrico Edition

Get Tickets Early As Center Place Presents Its 27th Annual Wild Dame Night

Organization Announces Application Dates For 2017 Charlie Hounchell Art Stars Scholarships

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

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

By Kathy L. Collins

By Kathy L. Collins

Congratulations to the

Martin Family on their retirement!

In an effort to continue the legacy of Martin’s Jewelers, the staff and jewelry team of Martin’s Jewelers will continue to provide the same great service to our Brandon community!

Details coming soon!

January 2017

Page 25

Valrico Edition

New Tin Roof Trading Company In Lithia Offers “Rustic Glam” Home Decor

By Nick Nahas

Everybody Perkins. Perkins dreams of making a owns a company living by doing called Pish Posh something they Boutique that offers love. Shaunessy custom painted furniDobish is realizing ture pieces, located that dream, recently behind Shaunessy’s opening her second Decor and More. area home decor Together, in the new business. Dobish store, they incorpoand business partrate both of their ner Veronica designing styles of Perkins held the using vintage, glitzy, grand opening of as well as modern the Tin Roof schemes. Customers Trading Company can view a room put on December 3. together with differTin Roof Trading Co. opened in Lithia on ent items. This allows “As a kid, I always December 3. loved decorating customers to pick a my room and helping my mom decorate single item that they like, or even a whole the house,” she said “This interest has led designed room. There will also be a prome to become an interior decorator.” fessional decorator on hand that can give Dobish, a Valrico native, also owns a customer advice on what to purchase. Shaunessy’s Decor and More, located on This offers a little more variety than Lithia Pinecrest Rd. near Erindale. Dobish Shaunessy’s Decor and More. has been an interior decorator for 15 The Tin Roof Trading Company years now. She attended Bloomingdale will also offer painting classes. The High school the first year that it opened, store has a DIY room where a variety and her kids have graduated from the of different skills will be taught, includsame school. Her business is primarily ing classes in chalk painting, cabinet based on referrals. Her store carries painting, decorating and candle pouritems that she uses to decorate with. She ing. The store will also be opening a started doing jobs for free to get her coffee shop and a bakery, as well as a name out there. “It just kind of spread like candle bar where customers can make wildfire,” she said. “Everybody would tell custom candles. They will also offer their friends and their friends would tell their own line of candles with original their friends. I’ve never had to advertise.” scents. The Tin Roof Trading Company is a For information, visit www.tin6,000 sq. ft. property located on 10530 roof39.com or their Facebook page CR 39 in Lithia run by Shaunessy and called Tin Roof Trading Company. Your FishHawk Community Physician for Health& Beauty

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Page 26

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 1

January 2017

Page 27

Valrico Edition

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

By Kathy L. Collins

Artists can mail the entry form and fees to EHAG, P.O. Box 3055, Plant City, FL 33563. Artwork is to be delivered on Friday, February 24 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. For anyone who is entering the show, it is crucial that you carefully review the rules prior to entering. Artists can enter up to three Artists, young and old, are pieces of art. There is an entry invited to submit original fee for each piece. There are works of art to the 2017 four Adult Professional Divisions, Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show held on the four Adult Amateur Divisions and Strawberry Festival divisions for Adult Miniature and Fairgrounds in Plant City from Thursday, March 2 Adult Sculpture. through Sunday, March 12. You will be joined by artists such as Brooke Stefanelli, who won the 2016 Youth, ages six to 17, are Suncoast Credit Union Purchase Award for her paint- encouraged to take part in the ing, Royal Fun For Everyone. Florida Strawberry Festival Fine A Call to Artists has been issued by Art Show. the East Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG) Crumley said, “We especially want to for the 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival encourage students to enter and spread Fine Art Show which will run from their wings. The experience lets them Thursday, March 2 to Sunday, March 12. learn about competition and how to disThe Fine Art Show will be held in the play their work. The Youth Division has an Milton E. Hull Building on the Strawberry option of allowing them to mail their 8.5” x Festival Fairgrounds. 11” paper entries ONLY by Sunday, Karen Crumley is chair of the Florida February 12 along with their entry form Strawberry Festival Fine Arts Show. and fee of $5 per entry. If they do not mail Crumley encourages artists, young and the entry, they can bring it to the festival old, professional and amateur, to enter grounds on Friday, February 24 from 12 original works of art in the 2017 show. noon to 6 p.m.” It should be noted that if Crumley said, “The Florida Strawberry students opt for the hand delivery of their Festival draws a huge audience, and the artwork, they still have send their entry chance for local artists to have their work form and fee in the mail by Sunday, viewed is tremendous.” February 12. This year's show will be a grand The entry forms and rules can be event with nearly $5,000 available in found at www.FLstrawberryfestival.com. prizes. If you have any additional questions, While this is not a juried show, there please email Crumley at is limited space. Early entries are being kscrumley@yahoo.com or call 924-3829. accepted through Sunday, February 12.

St. Stephen Catholic School Hosts Open House

By Kate Quesada

If you are conschools,” said Umoh. “We 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 that help students develop a personal 2001 and accredited by the Florida Catholic Conference, St. Stephen is open relationship with Jesus,” said Umoh. “We are a forward-thinking school, rooted in to students in Pre-K through eighth 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 opening of a new church this summer. To ular activities include show choir, drama sign up for the open house or information club, chess club, Little Flowers, 4-H, about the school, which is located at Student Council and National Junior 10424 St. Stephen Cr. in Riverview, call Honors Society. “The greatest compli741-9203 or visit www.sscsfl.org. ments we receive are from area high

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Page 28

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 1

Take Flight At iFLY Indoor Skydiving Where The Sky’s The Limit From Ages 3 to 103

By Michelle Colesanti

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. We watched a short video and received

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 15-20 ft. up with your instructor. This experience offered a different feel to the basic flying package. I felt as if I were floating on air – a little

bit like Peter Pan. This can be experienced information we’d need for an additional regarding proper body fee. position. Because it is Billing loud inside the wind Manager Terry tunnel, you also need Vassalotti to rely on hand signals. The Osprey Observer staff recently spent a approached the After completion, we morning teambuilding taking flight at iFLY were ready to suit up in Tampa, the area’s newest venue for indoor tunnel with skydiving. apprehension. “I our gear, which includwas nervous, but ed a flight suit, goggles I felt completely safe in that environand helmet. We were now ready to fly. ment, which put me at ease.” Our flight Everyone had the opportunity to fly instructor had something to do with that. for two one minute sequences. Staff “Ryan was a true pro. He was so members ranged from excited to patient with us and made sure we were extremely nervous, but in the end, safe and comfortable. High flight was everyone flew twice and felt the exhilaraexhilarating, and I can't wait to bring my tion of flying and more importantly, a sons to enjoy the experience of iFLY,” great feeling of accomplishment. Staff

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 diving 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 reasons. 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. iFLY is located at 10654 Palm River Rd. in Tampa. To book your flight time at iFLY Tampa, visit www.iflyworld.com/tampa/ or call 7734359.

January 2017

Water Smart Tots Will Benefit From MOMS Club Comedy Night When the MOMS Club of FishHawk heard about the organization Water Smart Tots, and its mission to eliminate pediatric drowning in Hillsborough Last year’s MOMS Club fundraiser was a success. County, they This year a Comedy Night unanimously starring sought after wanted to help. entertainer Scott Novotny will be held on February 3 The MOMS Club of at the Palmetto Club in Lithia. LithiaBevis/Starling will host a FishHawk Comedy Night to raise funds for Water Smart Tots. The President of the MOM’s Club Michelle Morgan said, “Choosing a charity for our fundraiser is always a hard decision. There are so many deserving charities in our community to pick from. Because we are moms, we always have a special interest in helping children and children's charities.” The event will take place on Friday, February 3, from 6:30-10 p.m. at the Palmetto Club, located at 17004 Dorman Rd. in Lithia. This year Fishhawk Comedy Night will feature comedian Scott Novotny, who has been in the comedy “business” for over 20 years. He is quickly becoming the most sought-after entertainer. He has the ability to play to a wide range of audience members while keeping the performance professional and appropriate. A versatile performer, Novotny head-

Page 29

Valrico Edition

Staff Report

lines comedy clubs throughout the United States, has acted in numerous stage productions, worked at the Brave New Workshop as an improvisational actor/writer, owned and operated The Comedy CabaretMN’s first fulltime comedy theatre, and has written for

Saturday Night Live and the comic strip, Strange Brew. This outrageous performer has had numerous television appearances including A&E’s Comedy on the Road, MTV’s Half Hour Comedy Hour, and ABC’s America’s Funniest People. Tickets will cost $45 per person. A table for eight can be reserved for $320. Tickets include dinner, dessert, and the show. There also will be a cash bar and raffles for gift baskets all donated by local businesses and sponsors. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Businesses can also purchase advertisement in the event program. To make a donation or to purchase tickets for the event visit https://comedynightmomsclub.wordpress.com/ or contact momsclubbevis@yahoo.com. For information on Water Smart Tots, visit www.watersmarttots.org/.

Community Rallies Around Local Mom Looking To Bring Home Baby Zeke

By Kate Quesada

When moved how the comFishHawk resident munity cares for a litRebecca Long tle boy half way received a photoacross the world.” graph of Zeke, a Local businessbaby living in China es including Agape with albanism, she Chic, Backyard fell in love and is Birds, Mobile Frenzy now working hard Detail, Davenport to raise enough Daily Delights, funds to bring him Bridge Boutique and to Lithia. In Wood Crafts and December, through More and author Kim personal donations Clark all donated to and an online aucthe on-line auction. tion, the community Long has also donated more than Rebecca Long, a FishHawk resident and received support from mother of six, is raising funds to adopt $4,000 to help local businesses like baby Zeke from China. Long reach her Mike Brand of Vortex $17,000 goal, but she still needs help. Security, Debra Caputo, who has offered A single mom with six children, some a donation of her Arbonne sales and Bob biological and some also adopted, Long and Madonna Abruzzese who donated thought that her family was complete until $100. her agency sent her information about “It's important to note that I live debt Zeke, who is living near Inner Mongolia in free and even volunteer-facilitate budgetthe Hebei province. ing classes at FishHawk Fellowship “He has albinism which means he Church,” said Long. “I’ve saved, budgetlacks pigment in his skin and people with ed, sold things and sacrificed to get this albinism often have poor vision too. He far in the adoption process. However also has anemia most likely from poor adoption is very expensive. Most dual nutrition,” said Long. “In China, people income families also fundraise. My career who are born different are considered to is flexible and I have the means and bring a curse to the family and they are more importantly love to care for baby ostracized by the society. His life there Zeke.” would be very difficult.” A painting event is in the planning “I am so grateful for all the love and stages at FishHawk Fellowship this support I have received regarding bringmonth. Contact Long at rebeccabauering Zeke home,” said Long. “It started long@gmail.com for more information on with my softball team asking for donations the event. Visit and has grown from there. I am so www.AdoptTogether.org/thelongfam.

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Page 30

Volume 14, Issue 1

Valrico Edition

Osprey Observer Celebrates 15 Years

The first edition of the Osprey Observer, Jan 2002.

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

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

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

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

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

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Page 31

Valrico Edition

Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 Developer To Install New Traffic Light At Bloomingdale Square Plaza

County to Begin $1M Greenhills Drive Drainage Improvements

congested roadway. According to Hillsborough County Transportation Program Manager and Traffic Engineer, Robert Campbell, installation of the new signal located at the second entrance to the plaza approximately 900 feet west of Bell Motorists struggle with heavy traffic on Bloomingdale Avenue Shoals Road in front of as they make their way in and out of the Bloomingdale Chipotle Mexican Grill Square Plaza. and Dunkin Doughnuts Motorists routinely traveling on on the south and north side of restaurants Bloomingdale Ave. were not surprised Bloomingdale Avenue, respectively, is last June, to see the start of a new trafscheduled to begin this summer. fic light installation project at the north The private project is initiated, entrance of the Bloomingdale Square and organized by Bloomingdale financed Plaza, located at 889 East Square Plaza owner and developer Bloomingdale Ave, in Brandon. Regency Centers Corporation, a real County officials estimated the estate investment trust based in duration of the project between four to Jacksonville. Regency Centers LP is one six months and were not disappointof the largest operators of grocerying as the new signal became fully anchored shopping centers. operational in late November. Boasting of more than three dozen Original Story printed July 2016 stores, the Bloomingdale Square Plaza Hillsborough County traffic engineerhas seen some major changes in recent ing officials recently approved the installaincluding the closing of Walmart, times tion of a new signal to ease traffic flow in which has anchored the shopping center and out of Bloomingdale Square Plaza at since it opened nearly 30 years ago. 889 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon. More recent additions to the plaza’s With the now infamously heavy traffic of stores and retailers includes roster on Bloomingdale Avenue between Lithia Burger Monger, Title Boxing and Pinecrest Road and U.S. 301 as the norm—especially during rush hour, which Jeremiah's Italian Ice, to name a few. From start to finish, county engineers officially renders the avenue a failed are estimating the duration of the project road—the installation of additional signals between four to six months. Visit comes as no surprise for motorists roubit.ly/29zXUAU. tinely making use of the accident-prone,

The conoutfall from the struction has pond to the existalready begun ing drainage syson the retention tem at South pond at the SE Valrico. corner of Valrico Work is Rd. and Lithia expected to begin Pinecrest Rd. in October 2016 Completion is and should be still scheduled completed within for Spring. 140 days or Original spring 2017. Story printed According to Hillsborough County Public Works announced plans to improve storm water drainage on and project manager, October 2016 around Greenhills Dr. in Valrico, including the Hillsborough David Vogel, conconstruction of a new 2-acre retention pond. County Public struction handled Works department has announced its by Bun Construction Company, will genplans to improve storm water drainage erally take place on weekdays between 8 on and around Greenhills Drive in a.m. and 5 p.m. and, will involve heavy Valrico. equipment and excavation. County officials and Public Works Vogel emphasized that the most representatives presented the details of intrusive portion of the project is the the planned $1 million Capital replacement of the drainage pump staImprovement project during a public tion located at the back of the pond withinformation meeting held late last month in the Greenhills neighborhood, which he at the Bloomingdale Regional Public said will generate normal construction Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in noise. Valrico. As a word of caution, Vogel emphaThe open house format meeting, sized that excavation work can somewhich saw about a dozen residents, times cause an accidental water pipeline gave attendees a chance to review and break or similar problem. comment on the proposed plans includShould any water service interruption ing the replacing the Greenhills Drive occur, instructions for a precautionary drainage pump station as well as the boil water notice will be issued,” he said. construction of a new 2-acre retention “All areas affected by the construction will pond at the corner of South Valrico Road be restored.” and Lithia-Pinecrest Road. InfO presented at this meeting will Officials said that the project will also also be available on the Greenhills Drive connect the Golf Heights Circle pump Drainage Improvements project webpage station to the new pond and create an www.hcflgov.net.

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Page 32

Volume 14, Issue 1

Valrico Edition

Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 County Begins $1.2M Bryan/Brooker & Durant/Valrico Intersection Traffic Signal Projects

By Tamas Mondovics

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

$3.1M FishHawk Sports Complex Expansion Slated For June Completion

By Tamas Mondovics

www.hillsborough county.org. Original Story printed June 2016 After years of planning and months of construction, FishHawk and surrounding area residents are only days away from witnessing the completion of FishHawk Sports Complex expansion project. County officials presented their expansion plans An aerial view of the FishHawk Sports Complex expan- in connection with the comsion gives residents a better perspective of the size and plex, located at 16120 location of the nearly completed project. FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia, nearSince its completion in 2008, the FishHawk Sports Complex has seen a ly five years ago. The existing complex was built in 2008 with eight ball fields, steady growth of use, becoming one of the largest and most congested ath- four multi-purpose fields, concession stand, restrooms and parking. letic facilities in the County. By 2012, the facility was facing a In 2011, FishHawk area residents problem of overcrowding with teams fightbegan planning to expand the coming for fields and often playing late into plex which then boasted of 12 total the night. fields, concession stand, restrooms “We are 95 percent done with the and parking. project, opening in June,” said Project After five years of planning and a Manager Chris Postiglione, land swap deal between Hillsborough The construction by QGS County and local developer, Newland Communities, the addition of four new Development Inc., totaling $3.1 million, included several elements including the multi-purpose fields, along with new expansion of the existing sports complex lighting, 200 additional parking, new concession, and much more was final- with four additional multi-purpose Bermuda grass practice fields. ly completed this past summer. The initial planning phase of the The land swap cost Newland expansion raised some concerns among $150,000 due to necessary work to Starling residents, just west of the comprepare the new tortoise habitat. plex. Newland worked with the county County officials are promising to and residents to develop a gopher torhold an official opening ceremony in toise habitat to satisfy concerns. Visit January or early February, 2017. www.hillsboroughcounty.org. For more information visit

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January 2017

Page 33

Valrico Edition

Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 County Delays Bloomingdale, Culbreath Intersection Improvements Until After Holidays

By Tamas Mondovics

improve traffic flow for the Bloomingdale Avenue and Culbreath Road intersection. The public information meeting held early December was in an open house format at the Bloomingdale Regional Library’s brand new meeting room at 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Hillsborough County Public Works officials and engi- Valrico, and explained the neers talk to residents about the upcoming specifics of the $1.4 million conBloomingdale and Culbreath intersection project. struction as well as the reason for the County’s decision to delay As anticipated, 2016 saw a wide the project start until the beginning of the range of traffic related improvements new year. with many more to come. One of such “We have decided to wait with conprojects was the Culbreath Rd. and struction until after the holidays,” said Bloomingdale Ave. intersection Bayside Engineering Transportation improvements, which took place earliProject Manager, Jordan Caviggia. er in the year, after years of delay. Caviggia added that it seemed best The project focused on signalizato hold off the project for another month tion improvements, as well as adding due to the extra traffic during the holidays an eastbound right turn lane and a along with the current construction on second westbound left turn lane on Bloomingdale Avenue in connection with Bloomingdale Ave.; northbound dedithe Walmart Supercenter just west of the cated left and right turn lanes and Bloomingdale and Culbreath intersection. southbound right turn lane on “This job has been under design and Culbreath Road into the Campo YMCA consideration for the past five years,” he located South of Bloomingdale Ave. said. “We are looking at starting construcMotorists are generally pleased with the improvements although some tion in the second week of January 2016.” Officials ensured residents that traffic expressed the need to pay close attenflow will remain open during construction tion to the consistent and at time in both directions on Bloomingdale heavier traffic flow in and out of the Avenue, but that closing of one-lane in YMCA facility, and the nearby baseball each direction will be necessary for workand softball fields. ers’ safety. Original Story printed Jan 2016 Work is expected to be completed in Area residents recently had a chance to meet with County public works officials, mid-2016. Information presented at the engineers and project managers to get an meeting is also available at www.Hillsborough County.org. update on the status of the project to


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New Senior Living Community Breaks Ground Near River Springs Plaza

By Morgan Lamphere

Builders, architects, community members and the finance team gathered to mark the occasion. “It is not every day that a new community like Twin Creeks begins construction,” said David Ammons, founder and partner of Enriched Community Development, A groundbreaking was recently held for Twin Creeks LLC. “We are honored to mark Senior Living in the River Springs Plaza near FishHawk. this occasion and grateful to One of the years most anticipated the partners and friends that joined us and largest construction projects in today.” Riverview, benefiting senior residents Enriched Community Development, began with a traditional the groundLLC, a Tampa-based developer of senior breaking of Twin Creeks Senior Living. living communities, closed on the conThe promised 11-month long projstruction financing in March. ECD is a ect is clearly on schedule as the two partnership between local senior living story building located adjacent to the developer, Tom Dentinger, and North River Springs Plaza at the corner of Carolina-based Retirement Living FishHawk Blvd. and Boyette Rd., is Associates, Inc. RLA, Inc. manages and quickly taking shape with a scheduled develops several different types of senior opening in early 2017. living communities throughout the Offering a wide variety of ameniSoutheast. An investment group headed ties within a welcoming neighborhood, by Robert D. Gries, Jr., founder and manthe new facility is promising to aging director of Gries Investment Funds become a great addition to the growis an equity partner in the project. RLA, ing Riverview community. Inc. will oversee management of the comOriginal Story printed June 2016 munity once Twin Creeks is complete. Twin Creeks Senior Living broke Residents also will enjoy exercise ground recently at the rear of the River areas and beautifully landscaped outdoor Springs Plaza at the corner of FishHawk spaces. Home choices will include comBlvd. and Boyette Rd. and is expected to panion suites, studios, and one-bedroom open in early spring of 2017. apartments. The two-story building will include 80 Beverly-Grant, Inc., an award winning assisted living and memory care apartdesign-build firm that specializes in health ments in addition to generous common care construction, is the general contracarea spaces and outdoor living areas for tor. Call 919-783-0735 ext. 5 or email residents. morgan@rlainc.com.

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Page 34

Volume 14, Issue 1

Valrico Edition

Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016

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

By Tamas Mondovics

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

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January 2017

Page 35

Valrico Edition

Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016

New Walmart Supercenter On Bloomingdale Avenue Opens On March 9

By Tamas Mondovics

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

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

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

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

Page 36

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 1

Profile for Osprey Observer

Osprey Observer 2017-1 Valrico  

Osprey Observer 2017-1 Valrico