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Two Sections, 36 Pages of Community News


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New Affordable Apartment Complex Opens In Valrico For Seniors

By Kate Quesada

Laburnum Gardens, an 81-unit apartment complex for seniors, opened earlier this month in Valrico.

maximum income for prospective residents ranges from $18,760 to $40,140, depending on family size. “Such public-private partnerships are becoming increasingly valuable as State Housing Initiative Program (SHIP) funding has significantly declined in recent years,” said Pratt. Amenities at the complex include a

clubhouse and community area, elevators in all buildings, a nature trail and boardwalk and a shuffleboard court. “In order to build a strong economy, people need a place to lay their heads at night so they can take care of their families and take care of their lives,” said Hillsborough County Commissioner Kimberly Overman. “That foundation is key to a successful community and economy.” Laburnum Gardens is located at 1146 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. For more information, visit the development’s website at or call 278-5273.

Osprey Observer 2109 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. Valrico, FL 33596


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Former Valrico Resident Is 2020 Florida State Teacher Of The Year

By Kate Quesada

Dr. Dakeyan the University of South Graham has another Florida, but credits his title to add to his success to the foundaname this month. tion he received at local Graham, who spent area schools. many years in the “If it weren’t for Valrico area attending Hillsborough County local schools, was Public Schools, I wouldselected as the 2020 n’t be where I am Florida State Teacher today,” he said. “That of the Year at an education, that foundaawards ceremony in tion, that learning, that Orlando in late July. passion for education The event was and passion to remain Dr. Dakeyan Graham, who attended the end of a long Valrico-area elementary and middle a student of life all road for Graham, a schools, was named the 2020 Florida came from my journey band, orchestra and State Teacher of the Year last month. through Hillsborough music theory teacher at King High School County.” who found out that he was nominated for In his new role as Teacher of the Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year Year, Graham will travel the state, speakin December, an honor that he won in ing at schools and with legislators about January. the needs of his profession. He also has Florida’s 74 school districts sent their trips planned for Washington DC and winners to the State Teacher of the Year California to meet with the Teachers of Program committee and five finalists were the Year from other states. chosen based on their student gains, “My biggest goal for the year is to community involvement, teacher leaderpromote a greater understanding of colship and instructional practices. lective equity and the importance of workGraham, whose parents still live in ing for students and teachers,” said the Bloomingdale home where he grew Graham. “I hope to inspire action while up, was honored to have been chosen as bringing awareness to the issues our one of the finalists and even more honstate faces in education.” ored by being named the Christa To learn more about the Florida State McAuliffe Ambassador for Education, the Teacher of the Year process, visit statewide Teacher of the Year. “I was able to learn so much through the process and had the honor of meeting and getting to know an amazing group of educators and legislators,” said Graham, who spent time with many representatives from the Florida Department 26 of Education in panels and one-on-one meetings during the final interviews. A student at Lithia Springs 9/11 HEROES RUN .............................PG 9 Elementary for third through fifth grade, Graham also attended Burns and BLOOMINGDALE SQUARE................PG 13 Rodgers Middle Schools and graduated NEW FLORIDA LAWS........................PG 18 from King High School, where he will return to teaching after taking a year of CHALKLINES .....................................PG 32 leave to fulfill his role as Teacher of the Year. He also received his bachelor's and READ MORE LOCAL NEWS ONLINE master's degrees in music education from the University of Florida and PhD from

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A new apartment complex in Valrico is helping to solve one of the area’s more difficult problems. Laburnum Gardens, located on Bloomingdale Ave., opened earlier this month and is offering affordable rental apartments for seniors. “All 81 units at Laburnum Gardens are reserved for seniors with incomes at or below 60 percent of the area’s median income,” said Todd Pratt, Hillsborough County’s Media Relations Strategist. Pratt explained that the maximum monthly rent will range from $502 for a one-bedroom unit to $904 for a two-bedroom apartment. Five of the units are designed for people with mobility challenges and two are for those with hearing or vision disabilities. “It is good and it’s clean, and the biggest thing is that it is new; brand-new,” said resident Armando Ocasio. “There are a couple of people that are in wheel chairs and it makes it easier for them and it’s comfortable.” Developed by Southport Development, Inc., the complex was partly funded by Hillsborough County. The


August 2019 Volume 16, Issue 8 Ph: 657-2418

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Buckhorn Elementary, with the help of local Keller Williams realtor Brenda McGlothin, surprised 75 third, fourth and fifth grade students who earned a 5 on their FSA or FSAA tests with congratulatory signs in their front yards. The teachers of the students and McGlothin helped deliver the signs over the course of four days from July 8-11. Read full article on page 3.

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Volume 16, Issue 8

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Page 3

Valrico Edition

Buckhorn Elementary Recognizes Students For Earning A Perfect FSA Score

By Nick Nahas

Buckhorn All 18 teachers of Elementary, the third, fourth with the help of and fifth gradeers local Keller also wrote conWilliams realtor gratulatory notes Brenda on the back of the McGlothin, sursigns. prised third, McGlothin purfourth and fifth chased the signs grade students for the three years who earned a 5 that this event has on their FSA or taken place. FSAA tests “I was honored with congratuwhen Ms. Brooks latory signs in asked me to sponPhotos courtesy of Buckhorn Elementary sor this recognition their front Students were surprised with a sign from their yards. The teachers if they earned a 5 on their FSA test. program for the teachers of the students because All 18 third, fourth and fifth grade teachers helped deliver the signs. students and Buckhorn McGlothin helped deliver the signs Elementary holds a special place in over the course of four days from July my heart,” she said. “Not only did my 8-11. children attend the school, but I was According to Buckhorn Principal also a substitute teacher there for six Tamera Brooks, the purpose of the years and a volunteer for the PTA. I event is to motivate and reward the believe in the phrase, 'The children students. are our future,’ and this is a great way “We liken it to sports, where they to recognize their hard work.” will get signs for being the T-ball Dubbed ‘The Prize Patrol’ by the champ or the baseball champ,” said faculty and administration, the event Brooks. “There’s a lot of sports signs will take place again next year as an out there that really recognize and incentive for kids to do well on their reward kids for physical excellence, so FSAs. we wanted to make sure that we were “The teachers really get a kick out recognizing kids for their academic of it just as much as the kids, I think excellence. They try just as hard work- because they are so proud of the hard ing that muscle of a brain.” work their kids have done,” said About 75 students earned the Brooks. “I am super proud that every honor, receiving a 5 in either single one of our third, fourth and fifth English/language arts, math or scigrade teachers have had students that ence, which only the fifth graders took. scored a 5.”

Solid Waste Wants Your Take On Trash By Michelle Caceres Gibsonton matter to us,” said residents Robert Tramel. and Jewel Splain Information could not wait to collected from cusvoice their opinion tomers will be used to Hillsborough while evaluating County Solid private solid waste Waste collection contracts, Management offiwhich are schedcials about how uled to be rebid in Hillsborough County Solid Waste they use the curManagement officials asked customers to talk late 2019. The rent garbage, recy- trash, sharing how much and how often they agency’s fiscal year use residential trash and recycling programs. runs from October cling and yard waste services. 1 through September 30. New contracts The couple, who usually offer their will be signed by the end of this year and home to down-and-out families needing new services will start on September 30, assistance, said they have a family of six 2020. living with them right now and they create Customers who completed the sura lot of trash. vey have shared how full their trash and “Our trash bin is completely full on recycling cans are each week, how frethe first trash day and at least half full on quently they use the once-weekly yard the second,” said Robert, who worked for waste collection service, whether a onceWaste Management for 15 years as a weekly garbage collection would work if mechanic. there was a cost savings to be gained or His recycling is also full every week. if another garbage can would be provided He also has yard waste in his yard right and if the opportunity to dispose of larger no, waiting for collection. bulk items, like sofas, mattresses and This is exactly the kind of information refrigerators, during curbside pickup that government officials are looking for, would be a valuable addition to existing said Damien Tramel, the solid waste services. manager with Hillsborough County Solid Robert shared his opinion that once a Waste Management. week trash collection would not be The agency is seeking feedback from enough for his household, but it might its approximately 290,000 residential cus- work if he received another garbage can. tomers in unincorporated Hillsborough He hopes for more consistent service on County and New Tampa on potential his street; sometimes the trash trucks do future service changes under evaluation, not pick up on his street. including garbage collection frequency “I just want decent service for what and curbside bulk item collections. I’m paying for,” said Robert. “Our goal is to meet the needs of our For more information, visit www.hillscommunity residents and their opinions or call 272-5680.


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Valrico Edition

Volume 16, Issue 8

New Terminal Site Considered For Possible Commuter Ferry Service

Center Place Fine Arts Presents Bunco For The Arts

town hall meeting in Brandon. As presented at the meeting, the price to Hillsborough County for implementing the ferry commuter service is expected to be about $38 million in capital costs, including the purchase of boats and infrastructure construction. Advocates suggest using money from the BP oil spill settlement, county transportation tax dollars and funding available from the Florida Department of Hillsborough County Commissioners (from left): Transportation to pay for it. Pat Kemp, Kimberly Overman and Mariella Smith A partnership between the update residents on a proposed ferry service operator of the existing Cross Bay between SouthShore and MacDill AFB. Providing more transportation options Ferry seasonal service between Tampa to link major job, residential and entertain- and St. Petersburg, HMS Ferries, Inc. ment hubs is a topic that comes up and South Swell Development Group, among politicians and civic groups when LLC would cover operating costs of about charting a course for fast-growing regions $100 million for 20 years. like Hillsborough County’s SouthShore Commuters between the SouthShore area. area and MacDill AFB could make the A commuter ferry service connecting journey in 15 minutes, as compared to South Hillsborough County’s large milithe current average of about 45 minutes tary-related population of service memand longer during peak travel times. Each bers and civilian workers with MacDill Air ferry would carry 150 passengers per trip. Force Base has been under consideraSupporters say the service could be tion for several years but has been expanded to operate during off-peak impeded by funding and environmental commuting hours and on weekends. concerns. Increasing transportation options in An offer by phosphate producer southeast Hillsborough County appeals to Mosaic of land at its Big Bend Marine Wimauma resident Fran Bodman, one of Terminal just north of Big Bend Rd. at ‘lita few dozen attendees at the meeting. tle to no cost,’ according to Hillsborough “Wimauma and the whole area County Commissioner Pat Kemp, may needs this so people have more access help the project get under way. to jobs,” she said. Kemp, along with Hillsborough According to the ferry plan, which County Commissioners Mariella Smith needs approval by the Board of County and Kimberly Overman, provided an Commissioners, the service would begin update about the ferry plans during a in 2022.

You can have fun supporting the arts by attending Center Place Fine Arts’ upcoming Bunco For The Arts on Thursday, August 22 at 7 p.m. This is a great event for both Come support the arts by attending Center Place Fine Arts’ next men and women event—Bunco For The Arts. This is a great way to have lots of over 21 years old and fun and support a local nonprofit arts organization that has been providing arts programming to the community for over 40 years. up. Tickets are just $20 and are available located in the heart of the community. We at Center Place. Be sure to get them now provide people of all ages the opportunity as space is limited. to participate in the visual arts programs In addition to a fun evening of dice that we have to offer.” games, there will be great prizes, This includes the next art exhibit that munchies, sangria and a 50/50 raffle. The will feature the artwork of Will Talenti, an food and beverages will be provided by award-winning visual artist and educator. the board of directors at Center Place. The community can view Talenti’s artwork All proceeds from Bunco For The throughout the month of August. Arts will benefit Children’s Programming Center Place was founded in 1976. at Center Place. In addition to visual arts, Center Place Lisa Rodriguez, marketing director hosts Children’s Live Theatre throughout for Center Place, said, “Guests in the the year. This is offered to school chilcommunity can laugh and giggle while dren, some of whom would not have the playing a fun-spirited game of dice with opportunity to see live theatre otherwise. great prizes and an optional 50/50 drawCenter Place Fine Arts & Civic ing.” Association is located at 619 Vonderburg Rodriguez added, “You do not have Dr., Ste. B in Brandon. To get tickets to to know how [to] play this game of dice. Bunco For The Arts, please go to Center We will walk you through it and you will Place. You can also purchase tickets at have a fun time. Your attendance suptwo additional locations—from Terry Fink, ports the arts in our community.” State Farm, located at 410 E. Center Place is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Bloomingdale Ave., and the Osprey that provides programs in visual art eduObserver, located at 2109 Lithia Pinecrest cation. They also host performing arts Rd. in Valrico. productions for the community to enjoy For more information on Bunco For and even participate. The Arts and other upcoming events, Rodriguez said, “Center Place is please visit

By Brad Stager

By Kathy L. Collins

August 2019

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Valrico Edition







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Hillsborough County Public School District 4 Citizen Advisory Council Coummunity Meeting Monday, August 26 at 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM Lithia Springs Elementary School Media Center, is located at 4332 Lynx Paw Trl. in Valrico. Join school board member, Melissa Snively, and her 3 CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee) appointees at its community meeting. The CAC advises the district of issues in the community, and this is how District 4 (HCPS District 4) Citizens Advisory Committe (D4CAC) members gather information. The meeting also serves as an opportunity to provide input to Melissa Snively regarding her decisions on budget and other policies. Parents, students, teachers, administrators are welcome. Feel free to bring a friend

Social Security Benefits Seminar Hosted By Angeloni Tax Advisory Group     Tuesday, August 20; September 17; October 15; November 19 and Thursday, September 5; October 3 and November 7; 5:45 p.m. HCC campus at the Regent, 6437 Watson Rd., Riverview. Learn strategies and principles behind the proper timing of taking you Social Security benefits; perfect for ages 58-67. Call 626-7575 to make reservations. Leave a message after 4:30 p.m.

Pet Vaccination Clinic At Kim’s Natural Pets  Saturday, September 7; 3:30-4:30 p.m. Kim’s Natural Foods, 2110 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Valrico EZ Pet Low Cost Pet Vaccination Clinic Call 684-3663 to confirm.

Congregation Beth Shalom Shabbat Services Friday, 7:30 p.m. - Simcha Shabbot service on August 16. 706 Bryan Rd. in Brandon. All welcome. Oneg, nosh and mingle follows. Services stream live afterwards on Facebook at Congregation Beth Shalom of Brandon. Call 681-6547 for more information.

Parkinson's Support Group At Savannah Court Of Brandon Third Tuesday of the month; 6 p.m. Savannah Court of Brandon, 824 N. Parsons Ave., Brandon Call 643-6767 to RSVP with Rhonda Fournier, Executive Director.

Hawthorne Health & Rehab Parkinson’s Disease Support Group Third Thursday of the month; 2 p.m. 851 W. Lumsden Rd., Brandon For more information or to register, call 661-8998, M-F, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tampa Bay Chief Petty Officers Meeting Fourth Thursday each month; 6:30 p.m. Tampa Buffet, 3904 S. Dale Mabry, Britton Plaza, Tampa For information, call Chuck Peterman, President – 767-1569. In Business Since 2004

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Volume 16, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

Hillsborough Soil And Water Conservation District Hosts Summer Poster Contest

By Kathy L. Collins

The Hillsborough awareness of polliSoil and Water nators and the role Conservation District they play in our is hosting a Summer world." Posters Poster Contest. should illustrate Students from Pre-K what pollinators do through 12th grade fir the world. are eligible to enter. Pollinators The contest is free to include bees, butenter. Students who terflies, birds and Students from Hillsborough County are bats. attend public or priencouraged to enter the Hillsborough Soil vate school and "Without these and Water Conservation District’s homeschool are eligipollinators, we Summer Poster Contest. You can win cash awards and have your artwork seen would not have ble to enter. All by thousands at the Hillsborough County entries submitted will fruits, vegetables Fair this October. The theme for each be displayed at the and even nuts. poster is “We Love Pollinators.” Hillsborough County Fair October 17-20 They are critical to the production of fruits and 24-27. vegetables and nuts," said Tompkins. All entries are eligible to win cash The Hillsborough Soil and Water awards. There are two categories Junior Conservation District serves conservation category is Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st needs at the local level. The organization grade, 2nd and 3rd grade, and 4th is responsible for programs in the innerthrough 6th grade. Senior categories are city, urban, suburban and rural communi7th through 9th grade and 10th through ties. The purpose of the organization is to 12th grade. provide local grassroots mechanisms to In the Junior Categories, 1st place deal with soil, water and other natural can win $25, 2nd place is $15 and 3rd resources problems and in preventing place is $10. In the Senior Categories, 1st problems in Hillsborough County. place can win $50, 2nd place is $30 and The Hillsborough Soil and Water 3rd place is $20. Conservation District was organized by The theme for this year's contest is the people of Hillsborough County in ‘We Love Pollinators.’ According to Betty August 1946. Jo Tompkins, Executive Director of the Entries for the "We Love Pollinators" Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation Poster Contest are accepted through District, "During the last National Bee August 30. Entries can be sent to 201 S. Colony Count, we learned that we have Collins St., Ste. 202, Plant City, Fl 33563. lost 40.7% of the total amount of bee For more information on this contest and hives in the U.S. This is catastrophic and others, please call 752-1474, ext. 3 or not sustainable." Tompkins added, "The email or visit purpose of the contest is to create greater

Florida Fire Service, Inc. Offers Quality Safety Installation & Protection

By Taylor Wells

For fire safety and prevention, businesses want professionalgrade equipment, installation and upkeep to make sure it is all up to code and in the best condition, and Florida Fire Service, Inc. is a surefire choice. Florida Fire Service is a locally owned and familyoperated full-service fire protection company that has been in business for over 50 years. From fire extinguishers to alarms, fire suppression systems and more, its products are topnotch. “We maintain customers’ fire protection equipment so the fire department never has to do their job through timely, professional, friendly sales and service and working with customers to come up with affordable solutions that work for them,” said Executive Vice President Doug Higgs. To keep your fire equipment like new, the company does maintenance, repair, design, upgrading, cost-saving, certifying, scheduled inspections and retrofitting. Florida Fire Service is the licensed contractor that performs the required annual maintenance; other inspections may be required on fire protection equipment that can be performed by the owner or their designated agent. “I was an aviation firefighter on the flight deck of the USS Nimitz, so I truly

understand the importance of attention to detail, the importance of thorough maintenance as well as what it truly means to serve others,” said Higgs. As a former paralegal and business owner, his wife also understands the importance of attention to detail and service to others. Florida Fire Service has four core values: keeping things simple and accessible; the company’s staff is friendly and works quickly, the owners are always available for questions or concerns and its prices are affordable. Training the best people to offer the best service possible; its employees are great listeners, knowledgeable, experienced and enthusiastic. They all undergo extensive training, earning NICET, state and national certifications, along with a FDLE Level II background check, which is unique to the company. Although it does not provide its services to residential homes, homeowners can bring fire extinguishers to Florida Fire Service’s office for complimentary inspections. “I would like to take the opportunity to thank our over 6,000 loyal customers for trusting us with their fire protection service needs,” said Higgs. Florida Fire Service, Inc. is located at 2801 E. SR 60 in Valrico. For more information, visit or call 877-662-3473.

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Valrico Edition

Brandon Tradition, Babe’s Pizza Now Has New Owners After 41 Years

Nativity Catholic Church Partners With The Sheriff’s Office Homeless Initiative

Babe's Pizza Assistant (CNA) has been a staple while Craig of the Brandon worked at Pizza community for Hut and Papa more than 40 years John’s. After that, and was estabhe took over lished in the comseven Dunkin’ munity in 1978. Donut locations. Until recently, the He later sold landmark pizza joint has been owned and operated by Pat and Rich Paddock. Now, the two are happily retiring and have left their prized pizza shop From left to right: New owners to the new owners: Craig Patel and Sofia Patel shakSofia and Craig ing hands with the previous nowPatel. retired owners Pat Paddock and Rich Paddock. Throughout the years, the Paddocks have created a those and bought Babe’s Pizza, family-friendly environment by conwhich he now runs with his wife. necting and making long-lasting Craig bought Babe’s Pizza relationships with their customers because he saw it as a place that and employees. Running Babe’s could flourish. Pizza over the years has brought “I want to help Babe’s Pizza them many loyal customers and grow,” he said. As the new owners, friends. the Patels want only the best for So, it may be a relief to those their new restaurant. loyal customers that the Patels plan Babe’s Pizza is located at 107 to keep most of everything the N. Kings Ave. in Brandon and is same, other than a few upgrades. open Tuesday through Saturday, For sure, its famous double-decker from 5-10 p.m. and Sunday from 5pizza, as well as their name, will all 9:30 p.m. It is closed on Mondays. remain the same. For more information on the Before buying Babe’s Pizza, the menu, visit its website at www.facePatel’s accomplished quite a lot. or call 689Sofia used to be a Certified Nursing 2282.

In the Tampaemployed an army of Hillsborough area, parish volunteers to approximately 1,650 transform its social hall men, women and chiland parking lot into a dren are homeless. ‘one-stop shop’ of These are individuals community resources. who are sleeping in From basic necessities cars, on the streets or to bicycles, the outin transitional housing reach event involved On June 18, Nativity Catholic Church and shelters. close to 80 different opened up its doors to hold HCSO’s quarterly Homeless Initiative outreach. types of social services In 2010, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office where individuals could receive toiletries, (HCSO) enacted the Homeless Initiative health-screenings, immunizations, hairto help solve this issue and partners with cuts, clothing items, food, showers, housvarious social service agencies, business- ing assistance and spiritual counseling. es and nonprofit organizations. A deputy Kathy Damico, one of the organizers is assigned to five different districts and of outreach and the financial administraworks with the local community to find tive assistant at Nativity commented, “It long-term solutions. [the outreach] was well-organized, and it In addition to the daily interactions, brought me joy, and I'm sure that my cothe HCSO and Tampa Police Department workers will agree, that we were part of partner with local churches and organiza- this remarkable event ministering to those tions to hold quarterly outreaches. On in need. We can't wait to do it again next June 18, Nativity Catholic Church of year.” Brandon opened up its campus to serve The outreach not only offered short150 homeless people. The homeless term relief such as a home-cooked were bussed in, walked or were transspaghetti dinner prepared by Nativity volported by deputies. unteers, but also presented long-term "The homeless population in our area solutions by connecting individuals with is growing, and there are no shelters in mental health help and housing assisEastern Hillsborough County to help tance. these individuals," explained Bonnie Ussery continued, “We do ministries Ussery, the director of Pastoral Care at like this at Nativity for the glory of God, Nativity. "I see them [homeless] come and we are blessed to have parishioners through Pastoral Care on a weekly basis. who are so supportive.” Much of the homeless population is For more information about HCSO affected by alcoholism, drug abuse and Homeless Initiative, visit its Facebook mental health issues, which need to be page at HCSO Homeless Initiative or the emphasis for help." email Deputy Stephanie Krager at To pull off this event, Nativity

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Valrico Edition

ets k c i T , g cin n a y D l a Soci ble For Smoke Availa son & Morsaenti…, Robin by Michelle Cole

Smokey Robinson Coming To New Hard Rock Event Center

Legendary singersongwriter Smokey Robinson will perform ed com in the new 1,500-seat Compil spreyobserver. e@o ll e h Hard Rock Event ic m Center at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa on Thursday, October 10 at 8 p.m. Tickets at $80 and are on sale You Are Invited For Social now via Ticketmaster and at The Dancing Rock Shop. The show is for those 21 Plant City Social Dance will hold and older. a dance on Saturday, August 3, 10, Robinson initially rose to fame 17, 24 and 31 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at with his group, The Miracles. He met Strawberry Square, located at 4401 Berry Gordy after a failed audition for Promenade Blvd. in Plant City. This singer Jackie Wilson’s managers, dance will be social dancing on a and Gordy was impressed with 3,000 sq. ft. floating wood floor. Robinson’s vocals and ambitious Dance to the music by DJ Ken songwriting talents. With Gordy’s Miller. Social dancing includes slow help, the group released Got a Job, dances, waltzes, line dances, chawhich marked the beginning of a succha and rumbas, two-step and councessful collaboration and the start of try slow, swing and freestyle. The Motown Records. cost is $6 a person. No alcohol is to In 1960, The Miracles recorded be brought on property. Water and their and Motown’s first million-selling cups are available. Please bring your hit, Shop Around. Between 1960 and own snacks and drinks. Visit straw1970, Robinson would produce 26 Top 40 hits with The Miracles, including several Top 10 hits such as Vendors Needed For Toy Train & You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me, I Collectible Show/Sale In Second That Emotion, and the November group’s only No. 1 pop hit—The A Toy Train & Collectible Tears Of A Clown. Other notable hits Show/Sale presented by Regal included Ooo Baby Baby and The Railways will take place on Saturday, Tracks Of My Tears. November 23 The Detroit from 9 a.m.-2 native has been p.m. at the inducted into the Hillsborough Kennedy Center, County awarded an indiFairgrounds vidual star on the on 215 Hollywood Walk Sydney of Fame and a Washer Rd. second star with in Dover. The Miracles. He Vendors was inducted into will be on the Rock and Roll hand selling Hall of Fame in model trains, Vendors are needed for the upcoming Toy Train & 1987. various hob- Collectible Show on Saturday, November 23 at the Seminole Hillsborough County Fairgrounds. bies, colHard Rock Hotel lectibles and die-cast cars. There will & Casino Tampa is located at 5223 be a running train layout for the chilOrient Rd. Visit www.seminoledren to enjoy, so come on out and bring the kids. There is something for kids of all ages to enjoy. Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay Admission is $5 for adults. Kids Athletes Bring Home 41 Medals 12 and under are free. Credit cards The Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay are accepted. team won 25 gold, 11 silver, and five Vendors are needed. If you are bronze medals in the Medium Team interested in becoming a vendor, Division at the national championship please contact Joe at 727-244-1341 tournament, held from July 14-19 in or visit Eden Prairie, MN, taking fourth-place

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honors. Team members set four national records, and Danielle Kanas received the ‘Spirit of Excellence’ award as the outstanding female field athlete. The Adaptive Sports USA Junior Nationals is for athlete’s ages 6 to 22 with physical disabilities. This year’s tournament featured 254 athletes from 32 states. A signature program of Hillsborough County’s Parks & Recreation, Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay offers year-round sports and recreation programs to promote healthy lifestyles, independence and personal growth for people with physical disabilities.

Volume 16, Issue 8

let you know about the 2019 National PTA STEM + Families You can apply on behalf of your school. Each grant winner will be awarded $1,000 to partner with their local Mathnasium and to host a ‘Math Night’ at their school. Math Nights are turnkey twohour events co-hosted by Mathnasium and local PTAs in elementary schools across the country helping kids explore math at their own level through fun games and activities and provide students and their families with quality STEM experiences. You can apply for the grant through the quick and easy form here at The application deadline is on Sunday, September 8. There are only 35 grants offered nationally, but if your school does not receive the grant, please reach out to your local Mathnasium about hosting a Math Night at your school. Mathnasium, changing lives through math, has three locations locally: Mathnasium of Brandon,

Applications Now Available For 35$1,000 Math Grants And/Or Host A Math Night (Back row, left to right) Zach Woodke, Danielle Kanas, Mathnasium is dediLogan Krepop, Elizabeth Tidey and Coach Andy cated to helping children Chasanoff. (Front row) J.T. Gerstner. learn and understand math in ways that can change their located on the corner of

lives forever. In our effort to assist all children with math and STEM education, it has partnered with National PTA in its STEM + Families Initiative. (Visit It is reaching out to you today to

Bloomingdale Ave. and Bell Shoals Rd., call 655-6284 or email; Mathnasium of West Brandon, located off of Causeway Blvd. and Falkenburg Rd., call 607-4950 or email; and Mathnasium of Riverview, located at 11446 US 301, call 844-3843265 or email

August 2019

Page 9

Valrico Edition

Show Your Support For Veterans At The Annual Travis Manion 9/11 Heroes Run

By Sean Crumpacker

in the war following 9/11, inspiring the 9/11 Heroes Run and the Travis Manion Foundation. The Travis Manion Foundation has partnered with GORUCK for its 2019 9/11 Heroes Run. Rucking is a sport which involves carrying a weighted pack and is the foundation of Special Forces training. The partnership with GORUCK brings rucking divisions to the 9/11 Heroes Run, which can also be The 2019 Heroes Run will take place on Saturday, signed up for online. Visit the September 14 at Park Square, 16144 Churchview Dr. 9/11 Heroes Run’s website for in Lithia. more information. It is of the utmost importance that the sacrifices of veterans, first responders, active duty and their affected families are never forgotten. The 9/11 Heroes Run, hosted by the Travis Manion Foundation, aims to ensure that the legacies of American heroes are preserved by honoring their actions and uniting the community. The 5K+1M fun run is scheduled to be held on Saturday, September 14 at Park Square, located at 16144 The Travis Manion Foundation is Churchview Dr. in Lithia. Walkers and also looking for volunteers to help organrunners of all ages and fitness levels are ize and set up the 9/11 Heroes Run. welcome and encouraged to attend. Those interested can register to be a volOnline registration for participants is unteer in the same section of the site that required on its website at participants register for the race. According to Higgins, “We’re blessed m, which is also where the course map here in FishHawk and it’s important for us can be found. to get together and remember the sacri“For me, this is very personal. Travis fices of those first responders and those Manion was one of my marines when he veterans and to never forget the impact was killed. We were deployed together in that 9/11 had on so many people’s lives. Iraq. I was his commanding officer when In an area like FishHawk where you do he was killed. The reason he was in Iraq have a significant amount of veterans was due to the events of 9/11. And he— present, it’s only right that we take a few Travis—you know, gave the ultimate sac- hours once a year to remember those rifice when he was killed by a sniper,” sacrifices and come together as a comsaid Beau Higgins, race director. munity to appreciate what we have.” Manion died to save his teammates


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Page 10

Volume 16, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

Flagship Sailing Offers Both Experienced And Beginner-Level Sailing Courses

By Nick Nahas

Flagship ing instructor through Sailing, located at ASA 106 (Advanced The Marinas at Coastal Cruising). He is Little Harbor in an alumnus of both Ruskin, offers Flagship Sailing and the year-round beginMaryland School of ner-level sailing Sailing, and has offshore lessons for inexsailing experience in the perienced sailors Atlantic Ocean, as well as ASA Caribbean Sea and the certification coursGulf of Mexico. Norwood es for more experienced sailors of all ages. Sail charters are available as well. Photos courtesy of George Norwood Whether students teaches at the beginFlagship Sailing offers year-round beginner-level courses as well as ASA wish to sail in the ning, intermediate and certification courses. Gulf of Mexico, advanced levels. the Caribbean or on an inland lake or “What I really enjoy is the ability to river, Flagship Sailing captains will protake someone who’s had no previous vide them with the skills necessary to experience or it's been years since they safely live their dreams. have sailed and to see them start to Flagship Sailing instructors are expe- understand how to maneuver the boat rienced educators and professional and how to handle the sails and do those sailors to boot. They are certified by the things on the first day,” said Norwood. ASA and licensed by the United States “Taking the wheel soon after getting Coast Guard (USCG), and will assist stuon the sailboat made me nervous,” said dents in selecting the right courses to student Melissa Hartmann. “With Captain match their needs. Flagship Sailing proNordie's expertise and instruction, that vides personal attention to students, with feeling quickly disappeared, and I was no more than four students per class, sailing with confidence.” often only two or three. Every student receives realistic, onGeorge W. “Nordie” Norwood, a forboard instruction that can result in a certimer fighter pilot and US Air Force Veteran fication that is recognized around the of 30 years, is the owner of Flagship world. Discounts are offered to veterans, Sailing and is a USCG-licensed Captain senior citizens as well as law enforcewith a 100-Ton Master Mariner Rating ment and first responders. with Sail and Towing endorsements. The For more information on the classes Riverview resident is an ASA certified sail- offered, visit


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August 2019

Page 11

Valrico Edition

Lesser-Known Behind The Scenes Tours You Can Take Tomorrow

By Sean Crumpacker

you might not know, however, is that the stadium offers a whole other experience: stadium tours.The 75minute long backstage tour grants guests access to a luxury suite, the pirate ship, the USF home team locker room, the field, and more. Prices vary by age group. To check ticket prices or reserve a spot on a tour, visit

The Tampa area is home to a wide variety of entertainment opportunities for both tourists and residents alike, but what many locals don’t realize is that plenty of these businesses offer behind-the-scenes tours to those who go looking.

The Florida Aquarium The Florida Aquarium is a widely popular attraction. What many people don’t know, however, is that the aquarium features a few unique activities for visitors to sign up for online. The aquarium hosts a daily Behind the Scenes Tour. One hour in length, the tour gives guests a closeup look at the work that goes into maintaining a facility which harbors 14,000 animals. Whether you are interested in marine life and rescue or just want to learn about the aquarium, the tour is sure to be interesting and ensure guests appreciate the effort put into caring for so many animals. The Behind the Scenes Tour, as well as the Florida Aquarium’s other attractions, can be signed up for on its website at Prices vary day-to-day, so be sure to make your plans in advance.

AMALIE Arena Amalie Arena, originally known as the Ice Palace, is more than just a stadium for sports and performances. On Lightning game days, the arena opens up for guest tours, although a ticket to the game is not required to attend. Guests will get to see every floor of the arena, as well as view the pipe organ, the press box, the zambonis, and, of course, the ice. The tour is $10 per person. Children under 5 may attend at no cost. The tours always start 3.5 hours before the day’s game. For more information, visit

Tampa Theater

Big Cat Rescue Tampa Theatre Tampa’s historic movie palace is a bastion of culture that the city’s citizens fought to protect back in 1973, and for good reason. There are few theatres of its kind left in America. On the 90-minute Balcony to Backstage Tour, guests can get a glimpse of the inner workings of the Tampa Theatre. Visitors on the tour will learn about the theatre’s history, art, architecture, and stories. Because the tours do sell out, the Tampa Theatre recommends those interested reserve their slots in advance. Additionally, Tampa Theatre members can take the tour at no

cost. Visit to book your tour.

Port Tampa Bay All aboard; Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m., Port Tampa Bay offers a 75-minute tour of the harbor. Guests will board the Bay Spirit II to experience “a dynamic, working cargo port.” Port Tampa Bay is the largest, most diversified port within the state and one of the largest with-

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in the nation— guests are sure to experience an entirely new world on the harbor excursion. The seats for tours fill up quickly, so reservations are required to be made in advance. Call 905-7678 or visit to sign up. Best of all, it’s free.

Raymond James Stadium If you are a sports fan, you have probably watched a football game at the Raymond James Stadium. What

If you’re looking for a longer, educational animal tour that delves into ‘the inner workings of a real animal sanctuary,’ look no further than Big Cat Rescue’s Keeper Tour. Two hours in length, the Keeper Tour is a mini tour of the 67 acre sanctuary. Along the way, guests will learn the history of the sanctuary and about the cats themselves, and see many of the approximately 80 exotic cats. The tour also includes a Behind the Big Cat Scenes Adventure, each of which is promised to be unique and exciting. To book, visit

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Page 12

Valrico Edition

GSP Direct Showroom Delivers Best Blinds And Window Treatments For Your Budget

By Amy Schechter

The best addition to custom offense is often a blinds limited only defense, and when by the imagination. it comes to keeping GSP Direct’s your house cool first priority is to its and stylish, look no customers. Its goal further than GSP is to offer the highDirect, which has est level of products the solution for all and service. Orders your window treatcan be shipped ment needs. You directly from its faccan beat the heat GSP Direct offers solutions for all of your tories in the Far window treatment needs. this summer and East and/or directly complete your home’s look from its Miami warehouse. with a stylish selection. Do you own a commerGSP Direct has recently cial property? GSP Direct is relocated from Miami to its priced competitively for both new warehouse and showroom in the homeowners and businesses with a Tampa/Brandon area. With over 25 variety of products and installation with years of experience, Joe D’Arco wantpurchases. Come browse its wareed to move from working solely with house and stop by the showroom to wholesalers to the general public. see what custom products it can show He said, “We have both readyyou. made blinds as well as custom blinds For more information, please call so all customers can save money.” 488-5487 or email jdarco@gspdirectGSP Direct offers mini blinds, two- GSP Direct is conveniently inch faux wood blinds, vertical blinds located off of US 301 at 8504 E. and curtain rods, all ready to go, in Adamo Dr., Ste. 175 in Tampa.


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Volume 16, Issue 8

August 2019

Page 13

Valrico Edition

Opening Dates Announced As Bloomingdale Square Reconstruction Continues By Brian Bokor

It has been almost a year since the redevelopment of Bloomingdale Square began, and with all the construction underway, everyone is curious about the target dates for new tenants and store openings. The long-vacant Walmart space is currently being converted into a new 48,841-sq.-ft. Publix, a 1,600-sq.-ft. Publix Liquors, as well as a 15,000-sq.-ft. Home Centric, a home goods store owned by Bealls that features a continually changing assortment of home products. The anticipated opening date for the new Publix is tentatively set for Thursday, November 7. The existing Publix will keep its doors open until the day the new one is ready. “There will be no down time for Publix,” reported Marc Elias, who is the leasing contact agent for Bloomingdale Square, Regency Centers. The old 40,000-sq.-ft. Publix location will be home to a new LA Fitness once the storefront becomes available and build-out is complete (early 2020). Construction of the new, 14,400-sq.ft. strip center (with 2,000-sq.-ft. of patio

area) began September 2018 with a completion date of the exterior shell estimated to be in September or October. It will then take tenants another month or so to complete their build-out in order to customize their stores. The work being done behind the McDonald's is related to water drainage retention and will not be developed. Located along the entrance roadway closest to McDonald’s, the center will be home to a 3,500 sq.-ft. First Watch restaurant with a patio. A breakfast/lunch/brunch favorite, this location has also requested for an Alcoholic Beverage Permit and is planning to serve adult beverages (unlike most other local First Watch restaurants). It has also been announced that Beef ‘O’Brady’s will open next to Truly Greek. Adjacent to that is a currently available 1,200-sq.-ft. storefront, followed by a 3,000-sq.-ft. Banfield Pet Hospital, then a 2,800-sq.-ft. Pacific Dental Services. Next will be 1,200-sq.-ft. GNC Live Well, and the building will be anchored by a 2,700-sq.-ft. Chicken Salad Chick, a restaurant specializing in fresh, housemade chicken salad. A traffic light has been installed at the entrance/exit on Bell Shoals Rd. For leasing information, contact Elias at 664-4823 or visit the corporate website at







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Page 14

Volume 16, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

Interns Add To Osprey Observer News Team For The Summer

By Jordyn Kalman

Sean Crumpacker Newsome High School Crumpacker will be entering his senior year at Newsome High School. He is not sure what college he would like to

Jasmine Haroun Newsome High School

in journalism and environmental studies. After her journalism teacher told her about this opportunity, Le Roy wanted to intern at the Osprey Observer because writing has been her passion since she was little. She loves the Osprey Observer because of its focus on the local community and how it brings everyone together. In her time here, she has learned not just about the writing process, but also about the marketing and business side of the newspaper industry. She said she now knows there are a ton of factors that people do not think about when a newspaper is delivered to their door. Le Roy’s favorite part about working for the paper has been interviewing people and hearing first-hand the stories of people in the community. She would like to say to the staff, “Thank you to the entire staff for being so nice and helpful!”

Two Sections, 36 Pages of Comm unity News



July 2019 Volume C E L E B R A 16, Issue 7 Ph: T I N G 1 7 657-2418 Y E A R S O F

P U B L I S H See Article On I N G P O S Turning Lane & Page 12 I T I V E C Impro O M M U N I T Y N E W S S. Miller And Lithia vements Coming To Thera py Dog At Nelson Pinecrest Intersection Integrated With Elementary To Be By Brad Stager Class the project for Hillsborou rooms Nelson gh County. By


Elementary has Le Roy He had two surgeries “The intent is to acquired a therapy relieve the pressure on on his back legs dog to be integrated Miller,” she and said. two anterior cruciate inside its classroom ligs. ament (ACL) tears. Julia Delones is Odd Job, a a longtime resident of However, he has mixed black lab, the area mostly has near the junction recovered and is visited the school and continexpressed appreciati uing to positively occasionally for impact on for the the county’s effort, the community. past seven years, but is skeptical as to how “Just to sit and pet said the owner of well the the plan will help a a dog totally reduces dog and physical situation involving human your stress level,” education teacher behavior as The intersection at much as a high Everyone, including of S. Nelson, Leslie traffic count. will be improved Miller Road and Lithia Pinecrest the teachers, has used “The extra turn A growing number with a $356,000 upgrade. Wheeler. She has lane will Odd help, but it’s not of people making been teaching at going to fix Valrico their home it because Nelson since 2005 means an increase they block the and would bring in Odd cars traveling on intersection,” Job in during teacher what were once country said Delones, workdays ever since roads, adding up referring to a she got him. to congestion and motoring tech“Who doesn’t nique known as delays for drivers, Solomon walking ‘blocking especially during peak want to have their Odd Job around travel times. Entering an intersectiothe box.’ Nelson Elementar y. Among the plans n with traffic dog at school with backed up to the them?” point where Hillsborough County in Eastern Last year, Wheeler said Wheeler. Job to calm to keep traffic mov- cannot clear the intersectio the car decided to train ing is a project Odd Job to be a n, blocking down after a the movement of to improve the therapy dog so intersecother tion of Lithia Pinecrest that he could regularly work rough day. a matter of courtesy, cars, is not only Road and S. with students at it Miller Road, just the school. According “He’s had an according to Florida is against the law north of Blooming to Wheeler, Odd Statute 316.2061, dale Avenue. Job got was very cooperativ effect on Coach Wheeler which says in part, has e during “No his driver therPlans for the project apy training and teaching Physicalbeen shall enter everybody in an intersection or got it done in four presented at a marked crosswalk Education at Nelson an open house weeks. He did everything this school.” unless there is sufficient held by Hillsborou Elementary since the trainer gh County call for space 2005. asked on the him to do. Then, other side of the In addition, Wheeler resurfacin with the help of intersection or crosswould like to ing existing pavement g and restripNelson’s principal start bringing Odd walk to accommo and guidance counJob into assisted date the vehicle…” to create an additional on S. Miller Road selors, he was approved living homes so he can It is a problem that left-turn lane continue to help to visit during from westbound Workman school hours. others inside and outside acknowledges does S. Miller Road to of school. the exist. southbound lanes In the past school year, “Cars shouldn’t of Odd Job be blocking the Road at the T-intersecLithia Pinecrest was used only on intersection, but tion. The traffic Fridays and strictly they do,” she said. signal system will reward to students’ be upgraded and The project is part good behavior and pedestrian safety of Hillsborough academics. The kids County’s Capital features will be could either read Improvement Program added. to Odd Job, take him and is estimated out for a walk or to cost $356,000. just Relieving congestio relax and enjoy Actual road work petting him. n on S. Miller will take about 60 Road is the desired “He has to days 90 always and outcome, according the project is expected loved children and to Steffanie Workman has a great disposition to be , who is managing completed by August 2020. 14 that to go to waste,” and I didn’t want No road closures are anticipate said Wheeler. d. Next year, the school SPORTS FIELD UPGRADES is hoping to add onto Odd Job’s ..................PG 4 purpose. It would like to incorporat TEEN COURT .................. e him ....................PG 9 the classroom setting even more inside as well as rewardSPORTS CONNECTIO ing students. He N...............PGS 28‐29 will be dents daily. A blanket visiting the stuCHALKLINES .................. permission ................. slip will ..PG 32 be sent out across the school to allow interaction with READ MORE LOCAL Odd Job. NEWS ONLINE Odd Job has not had the easiest life. PRSTD STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID TAMPA, FL PERMIT #2397

Kalman is a sophomore at the University of Florida currently majoring in journalism. She chose this field of study after working on her high school newspaper for two years and then writing for The Alligator, one of the country’s largest student-run newspapers, in college. She loves journalism because it allows her to channel her passion for writing into something positive for the community. Her favorite part about working at the Osprey Observer this summer was collaborating with such a wonderful team and getting the chance to be more involved in the community she grew up in. During her time on staff, she continued to improve her writing and interviewing skills. Kalman would like to say to the staff, “Thank you for making this whole experience so enjoyable. Shout out to Michelle for being awesome and always being there to give me advice and offer to help.”

attend in the future, but he is considering UCF or Old Dominion. Crumpacker said he will most likely major in programming because he makes video games and codes as a hobby but is also considering journalism as a possibility. Crumpacker wanted to intern at the Osprey Observer because he loved the writing and journalism classes he has taken in school, so this was a great way to continue working on his skills over the summer. During his time at the Osprey Observer, Sean has learned about the news writing process, how to conduct interviews and has further improved his communication skills. He also recently moved to FishHawk, so writing for the paper has been a great way to learn about and get involved in the community. Crumpacker wanted to say to the staff, “Thanks to everyone at the office for being so helpful, friendly and responsive. This internship was a great opportunity, both for my own hobby and job experience, and I’m really grateful that I got to get involved with the Osprey Observer.” ECRWSS EDDM

Jordyn Kalman University of Florida

Hailey Le Roy Newsome High School

Postal Custom er

Every summer, the Osprey Observer welcomes interns from high schools and colleges into its office to learn the ins and outs of the newspaper industry and gain real-world experience as a reporter. This summer, the Osprey Observerr had the pleasure of having five interns, Jordyn Kalman, Sean Crumpacker, Hailey Le Roy, Jasmine Haroun and Nur Suleiman, in their newsroom.

Sean Crumpacker Newsome High School

Osprey Observer 2109 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. Valrico, FL 33596

Jordyn Kalman University of Florida

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Hailey Le Roy Newsome High School Le Roy will be a sophomore this upcoming school year at Newsome High School. She is unsure of what college she would like to attend but is interested


Nur Suleiman Florida A & M University

During her time, Haroun has been able to further develop her writing abilities and has been introduced to whole new areas of the community she had not seen before. Her favorite part of working here has been collaborating with her colleagues and she admires how everyone is available to lend a helping hand whenever needed. Jasmine would like to say, “Thank you so much to the Osprey Observer team for giving me this opportunity to see such a wonderful group of people impact and inspire the community.”


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Jasmine Haroun Newsome High School Haroun is a rising sophomore at Newsome High School and hopes to one day go to her dream school, University of Florida, to study biological sciences. She wanted to intern at the Osprey Observer because she has always valued the newspaper since it shows us the good going on around us, and people need to see the positives once in a while. Also, this gave Haroun the opportunity to enhance her writing skills.

Nur Suleiman Florida A & M University Suleiman is a rising second year student studying journalism at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. She chose Florida A&M because she wanted a change of pace and felt the university chose her. She wanted to intern at the Osprey Observer to advance her writing skills while she was home for the summer at a publication she loved to read in high school. After spending a couple months working here, Suleiman has learned a lot about the ins and out of newspaper writing. Although she was a member of the Newsome yearbook staff, she had never considered news before, so this opportunity has allowed her to explore this field. Her favorite part about working here is being able to watch a topic transform into a story and to see her work published. Suleiman would like to say, “I would just like to thank the staff for this opportunity and tell them that they truly are amazing people.”


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August 2019

Page 15

Valrico Edition

Go Retro And Try The Drive-In For Some Great Family Entertainment

By Nur Suleiman

Take a trip down memory lane and bring your family to support three local Drive In businesses that have survived the era of technology. In the past there were hundreds of drive-ins in Florida, but now there are only about seven. In Hillsborough County two still exist; The Ruskin Family Drive-In and The Fun-Lan Drive-In. Not too far away in Lakeland, you can also visit the Silver Moon Drive-In. The Ruskin Family Drive In, located at 5011 US-41, opened on April 16, 1953 and is celebrating 67 years in business. The movies are displayed on a 2,000 ft. screen. Sticking to its roots, the Ruskin Family Drive In only accepts cash. The prices are $6 per adult (aged 9 & up), $1 for children ages 5-8, and under 5 is free. The box office opens at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 8 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday. Visit In Tampa, the Fun Lan Drive-In is located at 2302 E. Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa and has been showing movies for just under 70 years having opened in January 1950. During the day from Thursday-Sunday Fun Lan is a Flea Market and Swap Shop. However,

starting at 8:30 p.m., you can catch a movie. More than 71 years ago, Silver Moon DriveIn at 4100 New Tampa Hwy. in Lakeland opened on April 14, 1948 and is the only surviving Drive-In movie theatre in Polk County. The prices are $2 for ages 4-9 and $6 for ages 10 and up and $2 for ages 4-9. The gates open around 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and around 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Each screen shows a double feature. Silver Moon also offers a Flea Market during the daylight hours. One common theme amongst the Drive-Ins is swap shops or flea markets that make use of the property during daylight hours. Swap shops are when vendors come out and sell or swap their goods. President of Sun South Drive-In Theatres Chip Sawyer said, “A lot of theatres started to use the land as a creative way to gain revenue and use the land during the day”. Some tips for going to the Drive-In would be to get there early because there is no assigned seating and spots can fill up fast. Also bring cash because some Drive-In Movie theatres do not take credit cards.

Local Boy Scout Troop Meets 50-Mile Challenge On Appalachian Trail

By Michelle Colesanti

Boy Scouts once-in-a-lifetime from Troop 665 in experience,” he Lithia got to spend said. time this summer Another Scout hiking part of the Sam said, "No Appalachian Trail amount of training (AT). Two groups, can prepare you for separated by age the feeling of set out from accomplishment Amicalola Falls after successfully State Park in completing the Georgia, ending in entire 50-mile L-R: Chandler Johnson, Quentin, Solomon, Hog Pen Gap, a Tom Bristow, Carl Wohlfeil, Joey, Peyton, hike." Sam, Millie Maresca, Ethan, Jason Mart, trip of more than “The Scouts all and Justin hiked 53.4 miles of the 50 miles. worked together Appalachian Trail between June 24 and 28. According to and hopefully will Chandler Johnson, remember this trip preparation of this for a lifetime. This hike started back in trip was extra speOctober 2018 by cial for me, as I getting the scouts had the opportunity to prepare their to hike with both bodies for the hard my father and my task of hiking 10 son,” Rick Bordin, miles per day up one of the adult and down the trails leaders, commentwith backpacks ed. on. “The long All of the hikL-R: David Motte, Richard Maidens, preparation time Richard Bordin, Kevin, Rick Bordin, Noah, ers will receive the helped everybody, Alex, Nick, Josh, Sam, Brandon, and Mike Boy Scout 50-Miler Rubio hiked 51.75 miles of the as when all was Appalachian Trail between July 1 and 5. Award. said and done, the "We are so hike went 53.5 miles with over 10,000 ft proud of all our Scouts, and parent leadof vertical climbing over the five days.” ers, that took on this challenge. They On the AT, hikers had to carry a tent have been training all year with practice and gear in their backpacks. Keeping hikes to build endurance as well as the weight low required a great deal of develop adequate packing techniques, planning and coordination. topographical map reading and food One group hiked 53.4 miles from and water planning,” said the June 24 to 28 and the second group Scoutmaster, Tom Bristow. “We had a hiked 51.75 miles from July 1 to 5. The 100 percent success rate - all those hike was long and difficult. All of the Scouts that took on this challenge finboys hiked Blood Mountain, which is ished the full 50 plus miles; a great win more than 4,400 ft. in elevation. In the for Troop 665, and we could not be end, all of the hikers completed the trip more thrilled with the way things turned feeling very accomplished. out," he added. Justin, one of the Scouts, thought Boy Scout Troop 665 meets the hike was difficult, and there were Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. at Grace times he wanted to quit. “I pushed United Methodist Church, located at beyond my limits and completed some5708 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Lithia. For thing I never thought I’d be able to do. more information, email Tom Bristow at I’m so happy I got to participate in this • Caters to Businesses Large and Small • Free Pickups and Disposal

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Volume 16, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

Experience Musical Theater Wonders With The Straz Center’s 2019-2020 Broadway Series Beginning in mid-September, the Straz Center’s 2019-2020 Broadway Series will be ready for all musical theater lovers to enjoy. This year, nine shows are included in the Broadway season ticket packages, with three more available to be added. “What is terrific about our series is that we present the absolute best that Broadway has to offer. The Tampa Bay community has come to expect top-notch Broadway performances and our series always delivers,” said Paul Bilyeu, senior director of communications at the Straz Center. Starting the series on Thursday, September 19 to Sunday, November 3 is Spymonkey’s Hysteria, a combination of The Pink Panther and Hitchcock’s Rebecca. Directed by Cal McCrystal, Hysteria features a “spooky mansion, a plucky young heroine and a handsome English aristocrat. Add a German butler and a Spanish soap star and you are all set for a night of hysteria with Spymonkey!” From Tuesday to Sunday, October 813, you can experience the delightful tale of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dahl’s story follows Charlie, who gets a rare look into Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory alongside a few lucky others. You, too, can join the delicious fun of OompaLoompas, amazing inventions, wonderful songs and more. Following that is Fiddler on the Roof from Tuesday to Sunday, November 510. From Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher and the team behind South Pacific, The King and I and 2017 Tony-winning

By Taylor Wells

My Fair Lady

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Best Play Oslo, the performance will be an authentic vision of the beloved original and fresher than ever. Next up is Once On This Island from Tuesday to Sunday, November 1924.This widely acclaimed, Tony Awardwinning show is about a courageous peasant girl named Ti Moune who, guided by island gods, goes on a beautiful and magical journey to find the man she fell in love with. After that is Disney’s Aladdin from Thursday to Sunday, December 19, 2019 to January 5, 2020, which has left many


Once On This Island

in awe on its tour around the country. This new version of the highly regarded classic has all your favorite songs along with fantastic new music, choreography, sets and costumes that make the show extraordinary. Then from Tuesday to Sunday, February 18-23, 2020 comes Mean Girls from writer Tina Fey, composer Jeff Richmond, lyricist Nell Benjamin and director Casey Nicholaw. This hilarious musical is about Cady Heron, who was raised in an African savanna and must survive in her new home of suburban

Illinois when faced with three lionized frenemies. Coming next is Miss Saigon from Tuesday to Sunday, March 24-29, 2020 by the creators of Les Misérables. It tells the story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim forced to work for the Engineer in a bar. She falls in love with an American G.I. named Chris, but the fall of Saigon separates them. The eighth show is Summer: The Donna Summer Musical from Tuesday to Sunday, May 5-10, 2020. Donna Summer is a Bostonian singer-songwriter who rose to stardom from gospel choir to dance floor diva. Featuring more than 20 of Summer’s classic hits, it tells the risks she took in breaking through barriers to become an iconic figure who would inspire all future music divas. Last but not least is My Fair Lady from Tuesday to Sunday, June 2-7, 2020, directed by Bartlett Sher. This musical follows Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle and linguistics prof Henry Higgins, who strives to change her into a ‘proper lady,’ but she may not be the one changing. In addition to those nine shows, you can also see Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The SpongeBob Musical. Single tickets for all three go on sale on Sunday, December 1. Though not included in the Broadway season ticket packages, you can call the Ticket Sales Office at 229-7827 to ask how to add them. For more information about the shows, to buy single tickets or to buy or renew season tickets for the Broadway season package, visit

August 2019

ht g u o S s n o Donati Bikes, For Mens ore… M & e c a R 5K

Valrico Edition

Unfortunately, many people who fall prey to the trap of addiction do not have the means to find a way out. That is why Next Level Church is teaming up with , Phoenix House to ti n sa elle Cole h ic M host the very first y db m Compile Run For The One s @o michelle 5K charity event and fight the battle against substance addiction. You are invited to walk or run in Bikes For Christ In Need Of Used the 5K race on Monday, September 2 Men’s Bikes at 7 a.m. at 5642 FishHawk Crossing Blvd. in Lithia. The race entry fee is Bikes for Christ’s main focus is pro$25, $20 for recovering participants, viding bicycles for those in need, and it $15 for children under 10, and $40 for has reached critically low levels on its virtual participants. men’s bike inventory. If you have a good The entry fee covused bike that you do not use, please ers the race as well consider donating it. as a short sleeve TLocal drop off areas include Cycle shirt. For anyone Therapy on 917 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in interested in conBrandon (548-0007), Florida Mattress tributing without on 1809 W. Brandon Blvd. (477-9016) participating in the and A Peace of Plant City on 120 N. race, online donaCollins St., Ste. 101 (704-5773). tions are accepted. Visit of the proceeds will directly tions for more information or to make a support Phoenix House. Race packet donation. pick-up is at Next Level Church on 10540 5K Race Seeks To Help End Browning Rd. in Lithia Substance Addiction on Friday, August 30 Substance abuse and from 4-7 p.m., addiction is a very real and Saturday, August 31 present tragedy affecting our from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. communities. According to a and Race Day Pick-up recent study conducted by from 6-6:45 a.m. at the Centers for Disease Control race location, 5642 and Prevention, there were FishHawk Crossing more than 70,000 drug-relatBlvd. in Lithia. ed deaths reported in the Preregistration is United States in 2017 alone.

Page 17

ing some ‘cowhunter’ skills, like how to swing a lasso and what to pack for a long cattle drive. The cost is $8 per person 4 years old and up, children 3 years old and younger will be Cracker Country will hold a Homeschool Day on Friday, September 6 admitted for from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. free. Advance recommended. To register and for ticket purchase is recommended. This more information, please visit is a very popular event and there are and select the limited tickets available. link to the race location near you. You Cracker Country is located at the may register online or print the appliFlorida State Fairgrounds. Parking is cation. free. Enter Orient Rd. only. Please folCall Walt Robbins at 308-3090 or low the directions listed on the website email and not a GPS. Visit www.crackercounfor more information. Day At Cracker cowhunters. Country: Pioneers & Cowhunters Visit for a special day designed for homeschoolers and their families. On Friday, September 6 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., educational interpreters in historic dress will guide young learners through activities that would have been familiar to a child growing up in a Florida farming and ranching community over 100 years ago. Try your hand at churning butter, helping with the household chores, making your own toy, taking a lesson in a one-room school house and learn-

Plant City Community Chorale's 2019-2020 Season Sees New Voices The Plant City Community Chorale is looking for new voices to join its singing community. New singers are asked to demonstrate the ability to match pitches and rhythms, sing in tune and be flexible in section placement for voice balancing and tone dynamics. Email PCCChoraleSecretary@gmail. com to set up a time on Monday, August 19 between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. to sing for its artistic director or call 965-7213. Monday rehearsals start on August 12 and run from 7-9:30 p.m. at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, located at 604 N. Valrico Rd. in Valrico. Visit

Page 18

Valrico Edition

Volume 16, Issue 8

An Overview Of The Top Florida Law Changes That Took Effect July 1

By Kathy L. Collins

During the 2019 Legislative Session, the Florida Legislature reviewed more than 3,500 proposed bills. Of those, nearly 200 made it through to the Governor DeSantis’ desk. Out of the 200, nearly 20 bills took effect on July 1. Among them was the $90.98 billion spending bill for the fiscal year. Included in the budget is money for the Everglades and water projects. Student funding was boosted to $242 per student, and there was money for post Hurricane Michael. Here is a look at some of the other bills, in no particular order, that took effect on July 1. (HB 107) Texting While Driving is now a primary offense which means that if the police see you tapping on your phone, they can pull you over without another reason. The law will be fazed in with warnings at first and then tickets will be issued beginning on January 1, 2020. (SB 190) Bright Futures requirements are now more stringent. In order to receive the ‘Academic’ scholarship, which covers tuition and fees at state colleges and universities, a student must achieve a 1330 on the SAT rather than 1290. To receive the ‘Medallion’ scholarship, which covers 75 percent of costs, you must have closer to a 1200 rather than 1170. (HB 19) Floridians can now purchase U.S. FDA approved drugs at a lower price from Canada and other countries. (SB 1020) This bill creates a Hemp Program which provides for a regulato-

Nearly 20 laws that passed the Florida Legislature in the 2019 session took effect on July 1. These included a ban on texting while driving and an increase in the requirements to be eligible for Bright Futures Scholarships.

ry framework that includes requiring licenses for people and businesses who want to grow hemp. (SB 426) Firefighters with a diagnosis of cancer will be eligible for additional benefits. (SB 7098) This bill carries out a constitutional amendment setting death benefits for law enforcement officials who are killed on duty. (SB 168) This highly controversial bill allows local law enforcement agencies to “use their best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law.” (SB 7012) This law carries out the constitutional amendment wherein voters voted to ban vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes indoors.

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(SB 7070) This bill provides that the standards for testing requirements for certifying teachers will be lowered. (HB 771) This bill prohibits the local government from adopting or enforcing ordinances relating to single-use plastic straws. (SB 707) This is an education bill that includes a new school voucher program that allows the state to pay for as many as 18,000 students to attend private school. (SB 1552) This bill established Florida Red Tide Mitigation and a Technical Development Initiative. (SB 7066) With voters voting overwhelmingly to pass Amendment 4, which proposed to restore the voting rights to people who had completed the

terms of their sentences (except for sexual assault and murder), the legislature passed a measure requiring felons to pay restitution, fines and fees before they can register to vote. Other bills included SB 7068, which builds and expands toll roads. This was a top priority of Senate President, Bill Galvano. The bill will expand the Suncoast Parkway from Tampa Bay to the Georgia border, expand the Florida Turnpike west to connect with the Suncoast Parkway and include a toll road from Polk County to Collier County. Representative Mike Beltran of Lithia was instrumental in passing of SB 292 and HB 843. The first requires school districts to allow authorized students to wear military dress uniforms at high school graduation. The latter increases oversight of pediatric heart surgeries by allowing team doctors to make unannounced visits to struggling programs and review death records. Representative Beltran said of HB 843, “My legislation will provide the necessary oversight to allow a Pediatric Cardiac Technical Advisory Panel to appoint physician experts to visit Florida’s 10 pediatric heart surgery programs.” Representative Beltran added, “We worked with all stakeholders to devise a system of regulation that will reduce preventable deaths while allowing doctors and facilities to perform necessary lifesaving procedures. This legislation saves lives.” To review all of the bills that the Florida Legislature considered and passed, visit or

August 2019

Page 19

Valrico Edition

Hard Rock Unveils The King’s Prized 24-Karat Grand Piano At Entrance Opening

By Marie Gilmore

The Seminole Hard ments and concerts, including 60 Rock Hotel & Casino major entertainment acts each team are hard at work as year. they kick off a new grand Upon completion, a total of 14 entrance way that is just restaurants and bars will keep a sneak peek for the hungry hearts happy, including the huge renovation and addition of Constant Grind, a development underway casual sit down or grab and go for the company across hot spot; the Pool Bar & Grill, an Florida. upbeat, full service restaurant; and And, what better an Italian fine dining concept that way to kick off a new will further elevate the property to grand entrance then with true culinary destination status. dual unique curved escaRooms are available to book lators, custom art and a now for resort stays beginning in centerpiece, Elvis Osprey Observer’s Patricia Tracy strikes a mid-July. Elvis Presley’s 24-karat gold Grand Piano, purchased as a gift for his pose with Elvis Presley’s band leader Presley’s 24-karat gold mom, was ensconced in gold leaf as a first wedding anniversary gift by The architect of record for the James Burton at an unveiling of Elvis’ 24Priscilla. The piano unveiled as a center piece at the Seminole Hard Grand Piano. Purchased expanded Seminole Hard Rock karat gold Grand Piano at the Seminole Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. as a gift for his mom, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. Hotel & Casino Tampa lion expansion, which will be completed in sions piano was inside his home when Priscilla is Klai Juba Wald of Las Vegas. Interiors the fall. A grand opening has been schedto its Poker Room, Mezzanine Level had it ensconced in gold leaf as a first design is led by Wimberly Interiors, New uled for October 3 with country artist Casino/Rock Walk and Orient Road wedding anniversary gift. The piano was York. Landscape designers are EDSA of Keith Urban performing at a sold out conGarage. It will also unveil a new spa, food put into storage and purchased by Hard Fort Lauderdale. cert on Friday, October 4, in the properand beverage options, retail stores, and Rock as a signature piece. Owned and operated by the ty’s new 1,500-seat Hard Rock Event arrival experience. The centerpiece was unveiled at a Seminole Tribe of Florida, Seminole Hard Center Three new outdoor swimming pools special media kick off event and in attenRock Hotel & Casino Tampa is one of the “We’re honored to have Elvis’ pricedot the 60,000-square-foot expanded dance were developers, managers, replargest and most successful casinos in less piano on permanent display here at pool and deck area and will feature 20 resentatives from the Seminole nation the world offering award-winning gaming, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino cabanas, 700 lounges and daybeds, two and even Elvis’ TCB Band leader James hospitality and entertainment. The hotel is Tampa,” said Jim Allen, Hard Rock DJ booths and more. Burton. who was happy to visit with AAA Four Diamond rated and the properInternational Chairman and Seminole The completed 245,000-square-foot patrons and sign guitars while reminiscty proudly offers seven award-winning Gaming CEO. “Hard Rock has such a casino brings the new gaming experience ing at the event. restaurants, including the upscale dining deep connection to music history, so it’s to nearly 5,000 slots, 179 tables and a “I remember this piano sitting in the venues Council Oak Steaks & Seafood fitting that this fantastic piece of memorastate-of-the-art poker room with 46 poker music room at Graceland,” described and The Rez Grill. bilia is here at one of the most successful tables. For the ultimate VIP experience, Burton. “This is a very special day and The resort is located off I-4 at North casino properties in the world.” the new hotel tower will feature a private I’m just glad to still be making music.” Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino gaming parlor, with exclusive check-in Known as one of the top guitar players in about 10 minutes east of downtown Tampa’s expansion includes a new 14and private elevators. the world, Burton still performs with his Tampa. story hotel tower with 562 guest rooms In addition to the Hard Rock Event band and is based out of his home state For more information, please and suites, three ultra-lavish pools and Center, a 17,000-square-foot grand ballof Louisiana. call 866-502-PLAY or visit www.seminoleextensive gaming space. The casino room will host conventions, trade shows, The kick off event is just the complex has already completed expanprivate events, large-scale poker tournaning of the property’s ongoing $700 mil-

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Page 20

Volume 16, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

Friday Night Lights: Strawberries And Football Highlights Turkey Creek History

By Charles Nelson

lived its usefulness. Over strong community objections, Turkey Creek was forced to abandon the “strawberry schedule” in 1956-57 and operate on a Photo courtesy of suthor school schedPhoto courtesy of Photo courtesy of ule that matched 1927 School Building listed on the Historical July 1956, Turkey Creek parents oppose the eliminaCoach Bonar urges on Turkey Creek Footballers in Registry of Hillsborough County. all of tion of the strawberry schedule. 1952. Hillsborough These coaches school calendar to open in late Spend any time with old-timers in County. Many believed this might end understood the complex, multi-faceted Spring, ending their terms just before Eastern Hillsborough County’s Turkey Turkey Creek’s football success. lives of their boys as both students and Christmas to ensure sufficient family labor Creek and you are sure to hear stories of The fortunes of the football team durlaborers, sensing that they might be playfor the winter harvest. the historic “strawberry school” and its ing this trying period in Turkey Creek’s ing for something bigger. Following World War II, serious disfamed football teams. Bliziotes said of his team, “98 percent history bolstered the community as likely cussions resurfaced suggesting that Turkey Creek sits squarely in the nothing else could have. The high school of them have done farm work all their “strawberry schools” should be closed for county’s most important agricultural life…when not on the football field, they’re continued to serve Turkey Creek until a variety of economic, educational and region. 1972, though on a “normal” school working on the farm field.” moral reasons. Turkey Creek parents Labor intensive strawberries have schedule, and the football team continued Under Coach Bonar, winning seacountered that closing these schools crebeen the dominant winter crop for the last its winning ways in the Tampa Bay sons became the norm, and the winning ated an existential threat to their farms, 120 years. Until well into the mid-twentiConference. The Gobblers went on to win did not stop. From 1950-52, Turkey which would not survive the loss of their eth century, farmers and their children a total of 6 championships until the Creek amassed Florida’s longest undechildren’s labor. There was little middle supplied that labor. From Christmas to Conference folded in 1972. feated streak (to that date) of 26 games. ground. April, farm children were needed in the Today, the 1927 school building, listBonar’s successor, John Bliziotes, Concurrently, while farm families and fields to pick and package the low-lying ed on the Historic Registry of was equally successful in creating anoththe school board battled, a brand-new fruit. Their schooling would have to wait. Hillsborough County, still proudly stands er streak of 18 winning games in 1955football team arose to energize the high As a result, laboring farm children at 5005 S. Turkey Creek Rd. 56. The community, battling for its school’s supporters just as their traditions often found themselves behind in their school’s survival, went football crazy. were being assailed by district educators. school work because of their long Thousands of fans packed Holmes Charles Nelson Bio Turkey Creek’s first football game absences. To alleviate this absentee Charles Nelson holds a MA degree in Stadium on Friday nights in support. was in 1944 in a losing effort at Pinecrest. problem, Turkey Creek School was one History from George Mason University Despite this success and intense For three years, the Gobblers’ gamely and taught as an adjunct instructor at of the very first to adopt a “strawberry” support from the community, the school HCC (Dale Mabry). He is also affiliated played mediocre football, but in 1947, forschool schedule in 1923. Most with Tampa Bay History Center as a board continued to question the viability tunes turned under the leadership of Hillsborough County schools opened in volunteer docent, researcher and of “strawberry schools,” presenting a long Coach Herb Bonar (1947-1953) and his community lecturer, with an emphasis on July or August, but those in the middle of list of reasons why the schedule had outSouth Hillsborough County history. successor, John Bliziotes (1954-1959). the strawberry region adjusted their



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Valrico Edition

Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series™ Returns To Amalie Arena Staff Report Tickets are on backflips, vertisale for Monster cal two-wheel Jam®, the unexskills and racpected, unscripted ing at speeds and unforgettable up to 70 miles family-friendly per hour to motor sport. The produce jaw2019 season will dropping, live bring a new level motor sports of high-flying, fouraction seen wheel excitement around the to the entire family world. with six different Now competitions at across all Amalie Arena on Monster Tickets are on sale for Monster Saturday, August Jam Jam® at Amalie Arena on 24 at 1 and 7 p.m. events, Saturday, August 24 at 1 and 7 pm. Coming off the fans in heels of the first-ever Monster Jam World every city Finals XX at Camping World Stadium in will have the chance to vote for the winOrlando, Monster Jam is bringing more of ner in the two-wheel and freestyle comthe action back to Florida later this sumpetitions by real-time, in-stadium fan votmer with the highly technical and highing on their smartphones. Fans are invitstakes athleticism of the Triple Threat ed to the Pit Party taking place on the Series Monster Jam event. Arena Track prior to the 1 p.m. event, Featuring eight of the most intense where they can get up close and personathletes of Monster Jam, Tampa Bay area al with the Monster Jam trucks, speedfans will witness a fierce battle for the sters, ATVs and drivers, take photos and championship with each competitor conget autographs. tending in customized high-powered vehiTickets start at $15 and General Pit cles: Monster Jam Speedsters, Monster Party Passes start at $15 each. Tickets Jam ATVs and, of course, the iconic and Pit Passes are available for purchase Monster Jam trucks in six events sure to online at or in-person at leave fans on the edge of their seats. Amalie Arena ticket office. Monster Jam drivers are trained, Amalie Arena is located at 401 world-class male and female athletes Channelside Ave. in Tampa. Call 301who have mastered not only the physical 2500 for ticket information. strength and mental stamina needed to For more information on a Monster compete, but the vital dexterity to control Jam near you, please log in on 12,000-pound machines capable of doing

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Page 22

Valrico Edition

Volume 16, Issue 8

August 2019

Page 23

Valrico Edition

Big Cat Rescue Is One Of The Leading Exotic Cat Sanctuaries

By Sean Crumpacker


In 1993, Carole Baskin drove to Minnesota to visit a breeder with the intention of purchasing a pet bobcat cub. Rather than a cattery, they found a fur farm. Partially skinned bobcats and lynxes were left lying on the floor and they learned that of the 56 kittens available, those that were not sold would be skinned next year. The pair agreed to purchase all of the owner’s felines, provided he would no longer make coats out of cats. He accepted. They travelled home to a then-40 acre site in Citrus Park where they began to build cages. Thus, Big Cat Rescue was formed. Big Cat Rescue is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and rehabilitation of exotic cats alongside banning private possession of the animals. It works against circuses who abuse big cats for performances, fur farms which slaughter felines for


their coats and misinformed pet owners who think wild, exotic cats can ever be as tame as their smaller, domesticated counterparts. Big Cat Rescue is accredited by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries. Additionally, Charity Navigator gave it a rating of four stars—Charity Navigator’s highest rating. All donations received by the sanctuary go towards caring for its 60+ wild cats; all of its non-program expenses come from the income generated by its tours, so you can rest assured that any donations made to the sanctuary will go entirely to the cause. The sanctuary hosts regular tours, allowing visitors to come to its 67-acre site to view the cats as close as safely possible for both onlookers and the felines. Guests are given a radio and an earbud to listen to recordings detailing each cat’s backstory and the circumstances which brought them to the

“retirement home” Big Cat Rescue aims to be. It is worth noting that some of the cats were rescued from upsetting and disturbing circumstances. Listening to each story is a truly eye-opening experience for those uneducated about big cats’ struggles and will eradicate any beliefs that these cats belong in private captivity. The only way to see the cats is to attend a tour, but luckily, there are plenty of options. The Day Tour is the standard experience which takes guests around the sanctuary to learn about the cats and the horrors of big cat abuse. The Feeding Tour takes place in the morning rather than the afternoon, when the cats get their meals and are generally more active. The Keeper Tour is a longer, more in-depth look at the sanctuary geared towards those interested in more than just the cats. Lastly, the Kids Tour is


geared towards children under 10, who are not allowed to attend the other tours. For more information or to book a tour, visit Additionally, check out the rest of the sanctuary’s website for more information about big cat abuse and how even a single individual can play a role in putting an end to it.

Page 24

Volume 16, Issue 8

Valrico Edition


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Volume 16, Issue 8

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Blu Indigo Spa Holds Ribbon-Cutting Blu Indigo Spa held a ribbon-cutting to officially celebrate its grand opening in Valrico. Commissioner Stacy White was on hand for the event. Leticia Kallas is the owner of the spa, which offers massage, facials, manicures, pedicures Stacy White attended Blue Indigo Spa’s ribbon-cutting to celeand waxing. brate its official grand opening. Located at 3339 four million treatments performed Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico, the worldwide, CoolSculpting hours are Monday and Tuesday from 9 is the leader in noninvasive fat reduca.m.-7 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday tion. This technology can even be from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday from strategically used to improve overall 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Call 651-3258 or visit body shape by smoothing out fat ets and reducing the volume of fat cells in the treatment area. Tampa Rejuvenation Provides Latest At Tampa Rejuvenation, In Weight Loss And More a consultant and certified Tampa Rejuvenation has been technician will work with bringing health and wellness to the each patient to determine Tampa Bay community for over 14 their goals and expectayears. It provides the latest in weight tions, creating a customized loss, bioidentical hormone replacetreatment plan to meet each ment therapy, sexual health and noninpatient’s desires. vasive aesthetics. Tampa Rejuvenation is CoolSculpting is a safe and effeclocated in Brandon at 1155 tive way to eliminate fat cells for good. Nikki View Dr. For a free consultation, Utilizing state-of-the-art cooling techcontact the Brandon location at 537nology, CoolSculpting is able to target 3800. For other Bay area locations, problem areas that do not respond call 888-865-8370. Visit www.tamparewell to diet and exercise. FDA-cleared in 2010 and with over

Mira Med Spa is located in Plaza Bella on the second floor, directly above The Green Boutique, at 1082 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico.

Fundraiser At EarthWise Pet Supplies Benefits Community Pet Project

Boutique Mira Med Spa Offers High End Medical Skincare In Spa Environment Mira Med Spa is celebrating its first year in business. Services offered include medical and relaxation skincare treatments, facials, microblading, injectibles and massages. Products carried include Carry ZO, PCA, Pure Fiji and Revision Skincare. Lisa Hart, the owner, said, “We are a boutique med spa offering high end medical skincare treatments in a relaxing spa environment.” Hours are by appointment only. Call 654-6472 or visit You can find it on Facebook at Mira Med Spa Aesthetics Studio.

EarthWise Pet Supplies, located at 3454 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico, will host a fundraiser for Community Pet Project (CPP) on Sunday, August 18 from 12 Noon-5 p.m. CPP provides food, collars, leashes, flea preventative, toys, spay and neuter vouchers and other basic items to the pets of the homeless and at-risk residents of Hillsborough County. Fifty percent of all dog wash proceeds will be donated to CPP. Self dog washes cost $14.99. Also, all nail trims/grindings will be 50 percent off.

Fetch Specialty & Cancer Veterinary Centers Offers Advanced Radiation Therapy To Treat Cancer In Pets    Learning your pet has cancer can be a frightening experience, but thanks to the latest advances in treatments and technologies, like humans, cancer

Continued on Next Page

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Volume 16, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

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

By Michelle Colesanti

in pets is treatable. Tampa Bay area to be able to offer this Fetch Specialty & Cancer Veterinary advanced type of cancer treatment to the Centers, located in Brandon, offers a vari- neighboring communities. It is a costety of cancer treatments for pets, includeffective way to add longevity and quality ing chemotherapy, immunotherapy, surof life to our beloved pets with cancer.” gery and an advanced form of radiation Fetch is a family-owned specialty vettherapy known as Stereotactic Radiation erinary practice that opened in March (SRS/SRT). offering 24/7 emergency and critical care. SRS/SRT is a modernized, nonsurgi- Specialty services, including medical cal radiation therapy that delivers a higher oncology, radiation oncology, surgery (soft dose of radiation in a fewer number of tissue, orthopedic and neurosurgery) and treatments to a targeted body area, most- diagnostic imaging (X-rays, ultrasound ly tumors that cannot be surgically and CT scan), are from Monday-Saturday removed. Examples of tumors that cannot by appointment. be safely and effectively treated include Fetch is located at 717 W. Robertson brain, spinal, nasal, lung, adrenal, urogen- St. in Brandon. Call 603-8000 or visit ital and bone tumors. It is a faster and more precise approach to destroying cancer cells with Chamber Holds Ribbon Cutting For minimal damage to the surrounding Sayde Steeves Cleaning Service, Inc. healthy tissue. A ribbon cutting was This held by the Valrico advanced FishHawk Chamber of form of radiaCommerce for Sayde tion therapy Steeves Cleaning Service, results in which has been in business more for over a decade. It offers rapid tumor daily, weekly, biweekly, shrinkage, Sayde Steves Cleaning Service recently monthly or quarterly cleanfaster pain hosted a ribbon cutting with the Valrico ing. They will clean up for FishHawk Chamber of Commerce. relief and very you after events, moveoften longer disease control for large, in/move-out, commercial and residential non-resectable tumors. cleaning and much more; all customized Fetch Co-Founder and Boardto suit your needs. Certified Radiation and Medical Sayde Steeves Cleaning Service is Oncologist Dr. William Ratterree statlicensed, insured and bonded and opered, “SRS/SRT greatly reduces the numates 24/7 days a week. After 5 p.m. it is ber treatments over conventional radiaby appointment only. tion protocols while maximizing the delivFor information, call 245-2118 for ery of radiation directly to the tumor. We visit on Facebook at Sayde Steeves are the only specialty practice in the Cleaning Service.

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The BSAC Afterschool. The highly School Experience anticipated new cur(BASE) is bringing riculum has also back its most popular brought in communiafter-school clubs in ty business partners, addition to exciting which connects stunew options. After a dents not only to our long day, students community, but to can look forward to current leaders in the spending time with Brandon area as their friends while well. Students will For the new school year, the BSAC developing personal have the unique After-School Experience is bringing interests and hobbies back opportunity to its most popular after-school clubs in Culinary, Arts & engage with professome exciting new options. Crafts, Robotics, sionals across a LEGO’S (intro to wide range of indusRobotics), tries through field Community Service, trips and guest Gardening, Odyssey speakers, interacting of the Mind, and with chefs, dental Trade. Students have hygienists, law the opportunity to enforcement, nutriregister for two clubs tionists and more. in fall and two clubs BASE continues in spring. to raise the standard “As a local nonprofit, for after-school programBSAC is excited to serve ming by tying activity curour community by providing riculum to the Sunshine exceptional after State Standards. school experiences Educational enrichfor children,” said ment has never Brandi Hooper, been more fun, Director of BASE. innovative, or “Our curriculum engaging. based programming In the 2019offers homework time, 2020 school year, computer lab time, BASE will be availorganized outdoor able at BSAC in games, and enriching addition to the folclubs. All of our activlowing six ities are focused on immersing your child Hillsborough County Elementary in leadership experiences, community Schools: Brooker, FishHawk Creek, connections, the importance of service, Bevis, Stowers, Lithia Springs and and understanding how they can impact Kingswood. BSAC also picks up stuthe lives of those around them.” dents from various elementary schools In an effort to drive the BSAC misin the Brandon area for programming at sion of impacting lives daily, students will its 12.5 acre main campus, which has explore educational topics they are pastwo swimming pools, diving boards, a sionate about while building life skills that media center, gym, and art room. For will carry on well into middle and high information, visit

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August 2019

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Volume 16, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

Sports 657-2418

Connection By Steve Lee

Ice Sports Forum Hosts Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Youth Camp

Kids chase the puck in a free-for-all skate before a practice session. In the wake of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s disheartening first-round ouster in the playoffs last spring—especially after posting the best regular season record in the National Hockey League—there have been a few roster changes for the upcoming season. Fan favorite Tyler Johnson, however, remains with the team and was on hand for an autograph session and onice drills during last week’s youth camp at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum. Drake Munroe, a 10-year-old player, listed Johnson as his fourth favorite

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson signs a Lightning player stick for Nick Pope, a 12-year-old hockey player from Brandon. and had Johnson’s No. 9 the 2004 Stanley Cup jersey signed by the Tampa Bay center championship team. player. Nick Pope, a 12-year-old who plays “I’m getting harder at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum, had shots,” said Pope, who Johnson sign his stick. proudly said he also had Pope, like many among the nearly 100 his stick signed by boys and, yes, some girls, signed up for Lightning all-stars Steven Stamkos and the camp to hone their skills. No matter Nikita Kucherov. what level they are at, it surely helps to be Cullimore, who has coached locally at trained by Johnson and former Lightning the youth level since his 2012 retirement player Jassen Cullimore, a defenseman on following a 20-year NHL career with five teams, and Johnson, who has surpassed 20 goals in four of his six seasons with the Lightning, took turns working with the 10and-under and 15-and-under skaters and goaltenders on Brandon’s twin rinks during the weeklong training camp. “Parents like the fact that we’re able to keep them attentive with the drills,” Cullimore said. Johnson and Cullimore had plenty of help in putting the youngsters through skat-

Former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jassen Cullimore was an instructor at the youth hockey camp. ing, shooting and passing drills. A handful of skaters from the organization’s community program lend a hand. “This job is so rewarding,” said Charles Jensen, a former Bloomingdale High School player. Apparently, the young skaters and goalies took the instructions to heart. “It’s fun,” Munroe said. “I’m learning that off the ice is important and to try hard.” Chris Wiseman, a former player for the Scorpions youth program who worked with the kids at the camp, added, “They have so much fun here. We have a couple of kids that have been to all our camps this summer. They just keep coming back.” That includes Lightning's summer camps at Xtra Ice in Tampa, AdventHealth Center Ice in Wesley Chapel and Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar.

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August 2019

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Page 29

Egypt And Cairo: An Old Country Viewed Through A Young Student’s Eyes

By Jasmine Haroun

pieces thousands of some men dressed in dishdashas As a student, school is the place I years ago?”. We were (the white robes). Throughout the go to every weekday to learn new fascinated by the surday, we heard the Azaan (call to things. As a traveler, the destinations I rounding ruins, the prayer) over the speakers. The melotravel to are where I expand my knowlhieroglyphics that covdious sound rippled through the edge of the culture, tradition and their ered the walls, and the streets reminding folks it was time to people. During my spring break in theories about how the pray. As we walked through the March, my family and I went halfway pyramids were built. bazaar, I watched as customers hagacross the world to a country in Africa Later, we visited muse- gled with vendors, heard the constant that is rich with stories and history. In ums and learned about honking in the streets and the motorfour days we got a taste of their culthe pharaohs and their cycles weaving their way between ture, architecture, people and most of customs. The name cars. all, the expansive history the country Imhotep was a name Our guide even took us to places itself has to offer. frequently repeated. He to see how handmade carpets were The first thing most people think of strung, paintwhen they ings were hear the made from word bamboo ‘Egypt’ is (papyrus pyramids. paper), and As such, flowers were we started turned into our tour in healing oils Cairo with and perfumes. the pyraI was thormids that oughly were scatimpressed by tered The Pyramid of Cheops or more famously known as The Great Pyramid of Giza. their knowlthroughout A local bazaar bustling with vendors, customers, locals, and tourists. edge and the desert. shirt and my From left to right: Amir Haroun, Sheela Haroun, Jasmine Haroun, Faizal Haroun riding was said to be a workmanship. Our guide, Maged, even arranged for legs felt like camels in a desert right outside of the city of chancellor to the There are not enough words to us to enter the bent pyramid in jelly. Cairo. pharaoh Djoser, a high priest of ‘Ra’ describe this trip of a lifetime, but I Dahshur. When we got to the pyramid Later that day we went to see the the sun god, as well as, the architect have to say that I learned so much I looked up and it seemed to tower famous “Great Pyramid” - one of the of the step pyramid. interacting with the people, and seeover me. Maged explained that we Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In old Cairo, we visited the souqs ing the country for myself. I think getwould have to walk down a narrow When we got there, my brother and I (otherwise known as a bazaar). ting out and experiencing something tunnel about 60 feet down and then walked to the base of the pyramid and There was a gold souq, spice souq, for itself is a great way to learn somewalk up three flights of stairs to get to were shocked, as my brother who was and a central open area where we thing new. Although Egypt is Land of the tomb. We all ended up taking the almost six feet tall was shorter than stopped to have Egyptian tea and the Pharaohs and Home to the journey up and into the pyramid and one brick. It makes you think “How ‘people watch.’ We saw women Pyramids, if you look a little deeper, it when we came back from the exhaust- was it possible that early Egyptians dressed in their burkas and even is so much more. ing walk, I was sweating through my were ever able to create such master-

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Volume 16, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

Winthrop Arts Offers Fine Arts Classes For Children, Teens And Adults

By Kathy L. Collins

If you or your The Art child like to creFactory offers ate art, consider fine arts classes registering for but no expericlasses at the Art ence is needed. Factory. The Art Children, teens Factory at and adults can Winthrop Arts, let their creative located at 11267 side shine withWinthrop Main out rubrics, St. in Riverview grades or judg(behind Remi's ment. Bryant Mini Donuts) Martinez, the offers fine arts Lead Art classes for chilInstructor at the dren five to 11 Art Factory said, Everyone, regardless of age and experience, years old, teens can take fine arts classes at the Winthrop Arts "The Art Factory 12 and above Art Factory, located at 11267 Winthrop Main is a special St. in Winthrop Town Centre. and adults. place where stuChildren's art classes are offered dents can create freely. All of our stuMonday through Thursday between dents, regardless of age or experithe hours of 3 to 4:30 p.m. and 4:30 ence, are treated like fellow artists." to 6 p.m. and on Friday from 3:30 to Because students are treated like 5 p.m. Teen drawing classes are fellow artists, they are encouraged to offered on Tuesday from 6-7:30 p.m. enter artwork in the Annual Winthrop Adult ceramics and watercolor classArts Children's Art Show, the es are offered on Monday from 6 to Hillsborough County Fair Fine Arts 7:30 p.m. Adult watercolor is also Show, and the Florida Strawberry offered on Wednesday from 1:30 to 3 Festival Fine Art Show. p.m. Winthrop Arts will host an Open Registration for all of the fine arts House at the Art Factory on Friday, classes is available at August 9 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. For the chilAttendees will have the opportunity dren's classes, children can select to create art, take a tour of the Art from drawing, painting (oil crayons, Factory and sign up for art classes. watercolor and acrylic), Explore For more information and to regCreative Storytelling, ceramics and ister for classes, please visit fabrics. Students must pre-register. If you have Classes are $15 per class and there questions, please call Kathy at 758is a four week minimum. 5161.


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August 2019

Valrico Edition

Bier Fest Pours Out This Month At Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay

Staff Report

Just in Bier Fest hightime for lights more than 20 International Florida-based brewBeer Day, eries and over a Busch dozen Tampa Bay Gardens favorites. Tampa Bay is The best way to hosting the enjoy the flavors of return of Bier the festival is with the Fest, featuring purchase of a Bier over 40 local Fest Sampler and internaLanyard, starting At this year’s Bier Fest, taking place at Busch at only $29.99. tional brewGardens on weekends now through September Samplers allow a eries, 8, enjoy pub-inspired fare and great entertain40 new brews choice of any five or ment along with 40 new brews to try. to ten food or beverage try, new pub-inspired fare and live entersamples throughout the festival. Pass tainment. Members get an exclusive offer: 12-items Although International Beer Day is for the same price as a 10-item sampler, celebrated globally on the first Friday of or two extra samples for free. August, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has Bier Fest is included with park admisbeen pouring out the fun all year with sion, including year-round admission with complimentary beer samples as a part of a Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Annual the park’s 60th anniversary celebration. Pass or Fun Card. For a limited time, Samples will continue to pour out at guests who purchase a Busch Gardens Garden Gate Café in the heart of the fes- Fun Card for $99.99 will receive an tival footpath throughout Bier Fest each Adventure Island Fun Card for free, weekend now through Sunday, including unlimited admission through the September 8, including Labor Day. Beer end of the 2019 season. connoisseurs can create the perfect pairFood and beverage is not included ing with delicious pub food favorites and with park admission and is available for enjoy live music from local acts. an additional fee. Guests must be 21 From Florida’s finest craft brews to years of age or older to consume alcointeresting international delights, park holic beverages. guests can enjoy local favorites and Be the first to know about new explore new flavors throughout the festievents, special deals and future val plaza. New to the festival this year, announcements by following the park’s guests can toast to the end of summer social media channels and join the conwith seasonal flavors like pumpkin and versation using #ThrillsOnTap fruity ciders, including gluten-free options. on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Valrico Edition

wn Ms. Brroade 7th G

Ms. Stephanie T. Brown Teacher Of The Month

nan Mulren Middle School

a teacher? Why did you decide to become from Florida State ting rke My first degree was in Ma I could not find a product in University. I enjoyed sales but By d re o s n o n jobs, I was substitute Sp which I truly believed. In betwee lized that I could sell reading teaching and that's when I rea Signature sity of South to children. I went to the Univer ting wri and e in English Education. Wade Florida to earn a Masters Degre that all Reading and writing are skills t bes the e hav people need in all careers. I now product to sell. cher? What is a goal of yours as a tea ry student eve and h eac see I would like to finer a grow intellectually. There is no b appears bul moment than when that light it. got lly and I know that child fina What is your hidden talent? urposing My friends say I am good at rep things. t would What is something about you tha Ms. Bro ts? den stu wn ha r be a surprise to you for overs been a teach few a h wit fit er pro 21 years non I am starting a . the Ball in of le Bel to ilar sim is t tha nds good frie h prom dresses. We are calling which we provide needy girls wit in Eastern We hope to be up and running our nonprofit Gowns for Girls. . son 0 prom sea Hillsborough County for the 202 saying? What is your favorite quote or you think no character is what you do when The quote I live by is your true one is watching you. system? like to see changed in our school What is something you would ate vocationcre ut our school system I would If I could change anything abo l of learning goa the that students could have age. al- technical middle schools so lier ear an at ls g or other valuable skil auto mechanics, wood workin

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Volume 16, Issue 8

Tax Referendum Dollars Already Hard At Work At Local Schools

By Kate Quesada

As of last projects are month, going to be Hillsborough completed,” County Public said Arja. Schools So far, (HCPS) has more than $5.6 collected more million has than $31 million been spent on from the Halfschool projects, Penny Sales and in the first Tax year, in addition Referendum to the new passed by votroofs and air Lithia Springs Elementary School in Valrico received a new air conditioning system this summer conditioners, 50 ers in thanks to funds from the Half-Penny Sales Tax November playgrounds, Referendum passed by voters last year. 2018. tracks and athAccording to school district officials, 102 letic courts are expected to be replaced; projects are taking place over the sum31 painting and carpeting projects should mer throughout the county, including a be completed; and more than $1 million new air conditioning unit and other will be invested in school security. upgrades at Lithia Springs Elementary “Over the next 10 years, funds from and Durant High Schools in Valrico. the Half-Penny Tax will overhaul or “Currently, we have 21 air conditioner replace a/c systems at 203 schools,” said overhauls or replacements and 13 new Arja. “Each summer, our district expects roofs being completed,” said Tanya Arja, to complete approximately 20 major Hillsborough County Public Schools' school air conditioning projects as the Media Outreach. funds are generated by sales across the Arja explained that the district uses county.” multiple criteria to determine which school In addition to the air conditioners, projects to prioritize. HCPS’ 10-year plan includes more than “We look at the age of the equip1,700 projects, including 63 aging roof ment, the last time there was a major replacements, $23 million in safety and upgrade to the system and the number of security improvements, $25 million in work orders sent in by a school,” she classroom technology upgrades and the said. “Over the past three years, we have building of four new schools to relieve had more than 250 maintenance overcrowding. At least $500,000 will be requests from Lithia Springs Elementary, invested in each school. which was operating with air conditioning Durant received ADA improvements equipment from 1992.” over the summer and work on the Air conditioning improvements began school’s roof will be completed over the over the summer at Durant but will contin- school year in addition to painting, which ue through the school year with complealso began last month. tion scheduled for the summer of 2020. “Since the moment school ended, HCPS has put together five and 10our teams have been hard at work delivyear plans organizing and prioritizing the ering on our half-penny promise,” said projects, but adjustments will be made to Arja. “We are grateful to residents [who] the list if there is a major breakdown or passed the sales tax referendum to increase in work orders. improve our schools.” “The list is reviewed by the roofing For the latest updates on referendum department for synergy with their projects projects and a list of schools on the five and with planning and construction before and 10-year plans, visit www.hillsbora final determination is made on which

August 2019

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Valrico Edition

Local Schools Receive Great Grades By Kate Quesada Florida report cards are in and all of the Bloomingdale and FishHawk area schools passed with flying colors. All local elementary, middle and high schools, with the exception of Bloomingdales High which received a B, and Pinecrest Elementary which received a C, were awarded the highest possible A ranking. Randall Middle School in Lithia is one of the 99 schools in “The number of A Hillsborough County that received an A or a B rating for the and B graded schools 2018-2019 school year. Randall has a received an A every year since opening its doors in 2000. operated by Hillsborough County Public Schools Hillsborough County has climbed to 99 in the newest School "At Randall we are very fortunate to Accountability Report data from the have family support. Our parents provide Florida Department of Education,” said our school with so many resources Tanya Arja, Hillsborough County Public through their volunteer work and donaSchools’ Media Outreach. “Schools gradtions,” said Principal Claire Mawhinney. ed A and B now make up 46 percent of “Our students come to school with a all district-operated schools in strong foundation that we can build on for Hillsborough, a three percentage point success. We have high expectations for increase from 2018.” ourselves and our students. Our teachers According to the Florida Department and support staff put in extra hours tutorof Education, school grades provide an ing and volunteering time to our clubs, understandable way to measure the perSTEM, music and athletic programs.” formance of a school and focus on stu“The amazing thing is this is dent success measures through achieve- achieved with a larger than average midment, learning gains and maintaining a dle school population of 1,424 students,” focus on students who need the most added Mawhinney. “We are very proud of support. our learning gains in Language Arts this Schools are graded A, B, C, D or F year. Ours students showed gains in their based on scores based on 11 composcores, moving from 58 percent in 2018 nents: four achievement, four learning to 65 pergains, a middle school accelerations, as cent in well as for graduation rate and college 2019. This and career acceleration. Each component is important is worth up to 100 points in the overall data since calculation. The number of points earned it reflects for each component is added together the sucand divided by the total number of availcess of all able points to determine the percentage of our stuof points earned. dents, Randall Middle School in Lithia is cel- including those who ebrating its 20th birthday this year and need extra academic support. We are has continually maintained an A grade proud of our students and ready to soar since opening its doors in 2000 and earn- into the new school year.” ing the highest school grade points for Visit any traditional middle school in ountability-reporting/school-grades.

IB Students In Hillsborough Continue To Outpace Students Around The World Staff Report unheard of in the world of IB education, nationally and globally,” said Bob Cox, Hillsborough Schools’ Supervisor of Magnet Programs. According to the International Baccalaureate Organization, last year the U.S. IB diploma Strawberry Crest High School in Dover’s IB rate was 65.6 percent program had a 100 percent passing rate, a first for the school and only the second time in the and the global IB diplodistrict’s history. ma rate was 78.18 perStudents in Hillsborough County cent. These national and global numbers Public Schools’ four International are currently being tabulated and updatBaccalaureate (IB) programmes are ed for this year. once again proving that they measure up “I want to congratulate our students, to, and exceed, the performance of stufamilies and staff who are part of our IB dents around the world. programs. Earning an IB diploma sets The IB diploma rates were recently these students apart from others as they released and our district’s four IB apply to universities. These students Diploma Programmes collectively had have proven they can handle demanding one of their most successful years ever, workloads and can meet the high expeconce again topping last years’ national tations placed on them, which will set numbers. them up for success in college and in the Every senior in the IB program at workforce,” said Jeff Eakins, Hillsborough Strawberry Crest High School in Dover Schools Superintendent. graduated with an IB diploma, giving the To receive an IB diploma, a student school a 100 percent passing rate, a first must pass oral and written exams, pass for Strawberry Crest High School and courses and maintain a high Grade Point only the second time in the district’s hisAverage throughout their four-year IB tory (Robinson High School, 2015). career. They must also earn hours in Strawberry Crest increased its diploma service to their community and write an rate by two points, moving from a 98 per- extended length college-level essay. cent last year. Students must accomplish all of the “Our students, families and educaabove while also living the life of a high tors at each of these schools worked school student, participating in school very hard to reach this amazing level of clubs, sports, jobs, friendships and other success. These diploma rates are activities.

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Volume 16, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins

Roy Adams Exhibits Paintings And Assemblages At Library The artwork of these pieces multimedia artist Roy because they reflect Adams will be feaan eclectic view of tured at the Bruton my art.” Memorial Library The exhibit is during the month of striking and captures August. Adams is a the imagination. photographer, There are photos of painter, printmaker Dinosaur World, a and filmmaker. He 20”x24” color photo creates mixed of a strawberry as You can see Roy Adams’ very eclectic work this month at the Bruton Memorial well as the cloth colmedia assemblages Library. and installations. lage. The exhibit at the library is both unique As Adams said that “Art is everand interesting in content and size. evolving,” he continues to hone his craft Adams earned a B.A. in Art from the by taking classes and workshops. Early University of South Florida. Adams is an in his career, Adams met photographer award-winning artist whose artwork and Bud Lee, who encouraged him to paint. installations have been shown both Lee was named Life Magazine’s domestically and internationally. Adams Photographer of the Year. The two develhas had exhibits at the Florida Museum oped a friendship, and Lee helped of Photographic Art in Tampa and the Adams get into art shows in the area. Tampa Museum of Art and he has been The Bruton Memorial Library is locatinvolved in group shows all over the ed at 302 McLendon St. in historic downworld. Adams has had his work shown in town Plant City. The exhibit can be galleries from Arkansas and Minnesota to viewed during normal operating hours of Lakeland and Tampa. the library. Most of the art in the current exhibit If you are an artist and would like to features local subject matter. He currently have your art exhibited at the library, resides in Plant City. please call 757-9215 or visit the front The exhibit at the library consists of desk at the library and ask for an applicaphotographs, cloth collage and paintings. tion. For more of Roy Adams’ work, Adams said, “Art is ever-evolving. Art please visit is life.” Adams explained, “I selected or email

The Village Players Present Wait Until Dark The Village Regular admisPlayers will present sion tickets for the a murder mystery, shows are $18 and Wait Until Dark, $15 for students, senduring the month iors and military with of August. Wait IDs. Until Dark is a Wait Until Dark 1966 play by centers around Sam Frederick Knott. Hendrix and his blind The Village wife, Susy. Sam Players' version is learns, after a flight directed by Gail home, that a doll he Pierce. innocently acquired is Under the direction of The Village stuffed full of drugs. A Gail Pierce, the Village Players will kick off Players will present the group of criminals, 1966 murder mystery Wait Until Dark. Wait Until Dark led by the ruthless with Opening Night Dinner Theatre on Roat, has been following Sam in an Friday, August 9. The Opening Night effort to get the doll back. When Sam Dinner Theatre is sponsored by Willie's leaves Susy alone in the apartment, a Seafood. Tickets to Opening Night life-threatening game begins between Dinner Theatre cost $35 per person. Susy and the criminals. Susy levels the Reservations are required. playing field by turning off the lights. All proceeds from the Opening Night Wait Until Dark was made into a Dinner Theatre will go towards the reno- movie in 1967 starring Audrey Hepburn, vation of the historic 1915 James who won an Academy Award for Best McCabe Theatre. Actress. Regular shows will be held throughPierce said of the murder mystery, out the remaining weekends in August. "This is a great thriller made popular by Shows will be held on Friday, August 16 Audrey Hepburn in the 1960s." and 23; Saturday, August 10, 17 and 24; The Village Players is a nonprofit and Sunday, August 11 and 18. Community Teaching Theatre. Visit Doors open at 7 p.m. and the or call tain is at 8 p.m. for the Friday and the box office at 480-3147. Saturday shows. For the two Sunday All shows will be presented at the matinees, the doors open at 2 p.m. and James McCabe Theatre located at 506 the curtain is at 3 p.m. 5th St. in Valrico.

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August 2019

Page 35

Valrico Edition

Produce Co-Op Offers Six Pick Up Spots, Great Value & Volunteer Hours

By Kate Quesada

Four years ago medium bin costs last month, Cassie $20 and is developed Adams invited 15 of to feed a family of her neighbors to save four and a large bin, money by buying fruits costing $30, should and vegetables in bulk. feed a family with five It did not take long for to seven members. word to spread and Adams posts the soon Cypress Creek items that will be in Co-Op was born. At the bins the weekend most recent count, the before on Facebook. group had more than Both bin sizes have 22,000 members with the same kind of pick-up locations and items but not the delivery throughout same amounts. Southeastern There is no requireThe Cypress Creek Co-Op recently ment to sign up for a Hillsborough County. celebrated four years of bringing fresh Members, who join produce to communities throughout bin every week and by paying a one-time many add on items Southeastern Hillsborough County. fee of $5, have the are available. opportunity to order bins of produce for The co-op has multiple pick-up locapick-up weekly and can earn free food by tions throughout the area, including volunteering to help with distribution at the Waterset in Apollo Beach, Summerfield in pick-up locations. Riverview, Ruskin, FishHawk Ranch, “It started as a way to get to know my Valrico and Winthrop on different days of neighbors,” said Adams, who sorted the the week and at Tampa General Hospital produce on her living room floor when the once a month. Delivery is also available group was still small. “And although we in certain areas. have grown so much it still feels like a Adams is proud of the group’s community venture.” involvement in the community from donaEach week, Adams, who previously tions to schools and neighborhood events worked with wholesale produce compato helping people help others. nies, goes to local fruit and vegetable “This is so much more than produce,” buyers and farms to price out items to be she said. “Our members feel like part of a included in the bins for the week. community, get to know neighbors they “I try to buy local first, based on what wouldn’t normally have met, help others is in season,” she said. and eat well because of it.” Bins come in medium and large To learn more about Cypress Creek sizes and contain approximately six differ- Co-Op, find the group on Facebook or ent types of vegetables and five fruits. A visit

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Page 36

Volume 16, Issue 8

Valrico Edition


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Osprey Observer Valrico August 2019  

Osprey Observer Valrico August 2019