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Two Sections, 48 Pages of Community News

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March 2017 Volume 14, Issue 3 Ph: 657-2418 C E L E B R A T I N G

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Feed The Bay Outreach Helps Fill Local Food Pantries March 26



Local Y Volunteers Honored For Service At 2017 Community Impact Dinner

By Kathy L. Collins

By Amanda Boston

Area residents who volunteer their time, talent and treasure to the neighborhood Y were recognized at the Annual Community Impact Dinner. Local Y Volunteers of the Year included Mike Hurlburt from North Brandon Y, Michelle Smith from the Campo Family Y, Robert Lindsey from the Big Bend Y and Larry Eaton from Camp Cristina.

The Tampa YMCA 2017 Community Impact Dinner, is an opportunity for attendees to learn about the Tampa YMCA's real impact on the community. In addition, awards are given to dignitaries and Volunteers of the Year from each of the Tampa YMCA's 15 branches are recognized. From the North Brandon Y, Mike Hurlburt, was selected as Volunteer of the Year. Hurlburt is a past board chair and just stepped down from nine years of service. Hurlburt was one of the driving forces behind the Y's Lopez Exceptional Student Center Christmas Project. Children from the center receive Christmas presents thanks to the efforts of volunteers such as Hurlburt. The Volunteer of the Year from the Campo Family Y is Michelle Smith. As Chair of the Youth Development Committee, Smith was instrumental in getting a large courtyard completely renovated. According to Dwight Kerr, Development Director, "The committee had a dream to convert a dirty unused space into an area which can be used for exercise, sports and picnics." Kerr added, "The committee had a dream and Smith helped lead the efforts." From the new Big Bend Y, the Volunteer of the Year is Robert Lindsey. He was chair of the Volunteer Board and helped to get it off the ground and make it fully functioning. Kerr said, "Lindsey was a true leader. The board raised and awarded $13,000 in scholarships." The Big Bend Y opened in 2015 and offers youth soccer, basketball and summer

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agency is ready to serve with a replenished pantry. Melanie Langston, the event coordinator at Bay Life Church in Brandon has led the charge of this operation since 2011. “I fell in love with Feed The Bay the first time I saw it simply because it was so laser focused and Feed The Bay is an so easy for the annual community-wide whole family to outreach where local get involved. It churches and business- Feed The Bay is a multi-church effort with is a teachable es team up with Publix hundreds of volunteers uniting to feed the moment. It is hungry. Super Markets to collect simply going thousands of pounds of food for local and being the hands and feet of Christ,” food agencies throughout the Tampa said Langston. Bay area. This year, the event takes The one-day event yields instant place on Sunday, March 26 from 9 a.m. and visible results of replenished to 2 p.m. with participation from 34 pantries in food agencies across the churches, 14 food agencies and 15 Bay, but it also spawns long-standing Publix Super Markets. For more than a desirable effects in other ways. decade, this event has stocked the Cheryl Hickman, founder and execpantry shelves of local food agencies utive director of the Women’s Resource such as the Women’s Resource Center, Center of Tampa explained, “ We norECHO and the United Food Bank. mally have close to 100 volunteers that So how does it work? The coordihelp on that day. We help mostly single nated effort offers a simple yet effective parent moms get reestablished with process to purchase the food items. employment, housing and healthcare. Participating shoppers are provided a Once they (the volunteers) understand grocery list of requested items. that we don’t just need food but also Immediately after the shopper purchasclothes, household items, furniture, they es the food, volunteers waiting outside begin to see the whole picture.” load the donated food onto a semi-truck. Volunteers must be at least 14 At 2 p.m., the loaded food truck sets out years old, but children are welcome to to a predetermined agency, where participate alongside their parents. For another group of volunteers is waiting to more information or to sign up as a volunload and sort the food onto the pantry unteer, please visit shelves. or contact Melanie Langston at By the next morning, the food

Photo By Tamas Mondovics

Guests walk by a Ferris wheel as they make their way through the Midway at the Florida Strawberry Festival held earlier this month in Plant City. This year’s year event offered more than 80 rides games and attractions to the thousands of daily visitors. The festival began in 1930 as a way to celebrate the annual strawberry harvest.


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camp. The Volunteer of the Year from Tampa YMCA's Camp Cristina is Larry Eaton. According to Mark Battig, the Executive Director for Camp Cristina, “Larry puts the camp and its needs at the forefront of all that he does for us. His willingness and ability to serve others is evident in his actions.” In addition to honoring volunteers who go above and beyond for their neighborhood Y, the Tampa YMCA awarded the Community Impact Award to former Hillsborough County School Board member, Doretha Edgecomb. She was recognized for her dedication and positive impact on Tampa Bay residents. For more information visit

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Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 3

Routine Emergency Siren Testing At Local Reservoirs Uphold FEMA Guidelines

By Tamas Mondovics

Residents living capability in case of near local reserloss of power,” she voirs are hardly said, adding that the unfamiliar with the District works closesound of emerly with Hillsborough gency siren tests County upon activaconducted monthly tion of the sirens. by qualified staff at Live test is typically performed agencies such as once a month on Tampa Bay Water the last Saturday of (TBW) and the Southwest Florida Tampa Bay Water’s 18.5 billion gallon C.W. the month at 12 Bill Young Regional Reservoir is filling up Noon, while mainteWater with water after the completion of the nance and comManagement facility’s $129 million renovation and plete function testDistrict (Swiftmud). construction project. ing is performed once every three Reservoirs located in south Hillsborough County include Swiftmud’s months. three billion gallon, 750-acre, Edward Similar to the District’s operation, Medard Park Reservoir located on Turkey TBW also conduct monthly tests that Creek Rd. and TBW’s 18.5 billion gallon, include three to five short blasts lasting C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir in between 10-20 seconds each. In an Lithia. emergency, however, the sirens will be While the routine testing is not new, sounded in a continuous blast which sirens continually prompt many to quesmeans residents should take steps to evacuate their families immediately to tion the level of danger that the nearby higher ground. reservoir might pose as well as what to “We conduct a test of our emergency do in the event of a breach. siren system on the first Wednesday of “Sirens are not mandatory for the every month to ensure the sirens are Medard Reservoir, however the District working in the unlikely event of an emerinstalled and maintained the sirens at the gency, at the C.W. Bill Young Reservoir,” request of the public,” said Swiftmud said TBW spokesman Brandon Moore. spokesperson Susanna Martinez Tarokh. Tarokh explained that currently there “The purpose of the sirens is to notify are three sirens in use to notify residents those closest to the facility of an emerwithin the immediate inundation areas; gency situation that requires immediate Siren 1 is located at the reservoir, Siren 2 evacuation.” is located at the east end of More information visit www.tamBloomingdale Ave. and Siren 3 is located For more in at the south end of River Drive. connection with the Medard Park “The sirens have battery backup Reservoir, visit.

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March 2017

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Valrico Edition

Dads And Daughters Create Memories At Campo Family YMCA Dance

Co-working In The Library Just Became Simpler With WorkInTheFLOW

Smiles and YMCA does so laughter filled the much for the community,” Hernandez Campo Family said. YMCA In order to parMultipurpose Room ticipate individuals on February 25, as paid a certain individuals arrived amount, which in their Sunday depended primarily best for the Daddy on their memberDaughter Dance. ship type. It cost Dads escorted their the Everywhere daughters to the Members: $20 a dance floor as the pair, $5 per addidisc jockey began tional daughter. For the night with a the Here Members: song called the Refreshment break from dancing the night away. $28 a pair, $7 per Hokey-Pokey. The additional daughter. With non-members: Chick-fil-A cows also joined in. This $35 a pair, $8.75 per additional daughwould be the second year of the event. ter. The girls must be at least 2-years“With the help of Chick-fil-A South old and less than 19-years-old. Dads, Brandon Bloomingdale and Chick-fil-A Lake Brandon Village, we put the Daddy uncles, grandfathers and father-figures came too. Another attendee Jason Daughter Dance together,” Family Cohen brought his daughter to this Activities Coordinator at Campo Family event as well and shared his thoughts. YMCA Alicia Bentley said. “Great turnout and this Daddy Daughter Besides dancing, participants had Dance sets a wonderful example of how the opportunity to get their photos taken a man should treat a woman,” Cohen in a photo booth. Or individuals could said. step in line for a balloon creation. “With the numerous family events Refreshments and food from Chick-fil-A that the YMCA offers, the Daddy did get provided as well. This event Daughter Dance would be my favorite,” brought the dads and their daughters together to create a long lasting memory. Bentley said. For information about Campo With it being more than just a gym and Family YMCA, visit swim, Campo Family YMCA believes in It is building strong families. located at 3414 Culbreath Rd. in Valrico. Valrico resident Richard Hernandez Open Monday through Friday 5 a.m.- 10 attended the Daddy Daughter Dance p.m. Saturday 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. and with his two daughters. “It felt terrific to Sunday 12 p.m.- 6 p.m. Call 684-1371. go out with them and Campo Family

entrepreneur founded WorkInTheFLOW. It can be easily described as a program that helps working professionals find sanctuaries for mindfulness while working solo. With WorkInTheFLOW, individuals can discover their true calling through selfsustaining grassroots community-powIndividuals listen attentively ered support-system and more. during a previous WorkInTheFLOW event. Individuals can access an online version of the WorkInTheFLOW commuJoin the Bloomingdale nity, which offers other connections with Regional Public Library users through discussions and more. and the team behind In regards to WorkInTheFLOW, WorkInTheFLOW on Thursday, March 30 Sambasivan mentioned his thoughts when its doors at 6:30 p.m. Dara Trujillo, about it. Vice President of Merchandise, New “This system specifically became Business Development at Home developed to bring communities togethShopping Network (HSN) and head of er,” Sambasivan said. Home Shopping Network’s American Its partners at SiliconGlades began Dreams Program will speak during this piloting WorkInTheFLOW for a year. free moderated discussion. This will be the fourth in a series of enriched network- WorkIntheFLOW can be located in 12 public libraries, which includes the ing events that the library presents Bloomingdale Regional Public Library. through its collaboration with The program also provides an “on ramp” WorkInTheFLOW. To register, visit to the entrepreneurial support ecosystem and search in Tampa and Hillsborough County. WorkInTheFLOW. Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Attendees can expect to learn about Library director Andrew Breidenbaugh the ‘From Zero to 96 Million Households explained more about WorkIntheFLOW. in 60 Seconds’-How HSN Helps Make “The program seeks to connect indithe Next Multi-Million Dollar Entrepreneurial Success Story. Friends of viduals to an integrated support system to the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library help them achieve more than they could do alone. People who choose will provide light refreshments. Part of the WorkIntheFLOW can recognize and conprogram will designate time for questions nect with one another, leading to helpful and answers and networking. Attendees feedback, skill-sharing and meaningful can gain more knowledge about free business development resources through professional relationships,” Breidenbaugh said. For more information visit workinthethe library and its partners. Ramesh Sambasivan, a serial social

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Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

County Hosts Ribbon Cutting On New $36M Public Safety Operations Complex

By Tamas Mondovics

Hillsborough of emergency,” said County Board of County Fire Rescue County Chief Dennis Jones. Commissioners, Built to the highemergency operaest hurricane rating tions officials, Fire construction stanRescue personnel, dards, the 52,000members of the sq. ft. main building community and the houses Fire media celebrated Rescue’s command the opening of the staff, Emergency County’s New Dispatch Center Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief Dennis Jones is joined by Florida Division and the high-tech Public Safety of Emergency Management Director Bryan Operations Koon, along with County Commissioners, Emergency Complex (PSOC) Stacy White, Sandra Murman a Pat Kemp Operations Center, during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the to serve residents last month in county’s brand new Public Safety Brandon. during major storms Operations Complex, in Brandon. Following a riband other emergenbon cutting ceremony, attendees had a cies. “This is a really big deal for our chance to tour the new $36 million dollar county,” said Commissioner Sandra facility located at 9450 E. Columbus Dr., Murman whose district touches the counwhich now becomes the new home to ty’s shoreline. “This complex is very Fire Rescue headquarters and the important as safety and security is on the County’s Emergency Operations Center mind of our residents especially during (EOC). hurricane season and safety and security Sitting on 20 acres between U.S. is what this new complex is all about.” Hwy. 301 and Falkenburg Rd. the project While commenting on the need for was funded by the Public Safety the new PSOC, County Commissioner Improvement Bond Project and General Stacy White drew attention to what Revenue funds. While the price tag is makes the new facility functional when he high, officials said that the facility brings said, “This new facility is important, but it together several major public safety build- is the people who work inside that make ings and critical support functions into one the real difference.” location. County Emergency Operations “This is an amazing new facility and Director Preston Cook also emphasized will become the center of our community the reason for the new complex when he as aside from our fire stations throughout said, “Our citizens now have a facility the county, it brings all of fire rescue’s they deserve.” For information about buildings together as well as our governHillsborough County and the new PSOC, ment operations into one location in case visit

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2017 SUN ‘n FUN International Fly- In & Expo Mark your calendars for aviation’s season opener during the 43rd Annual SUN ‘n FUN International Fly- In & Expo presented by Visit Florida from Tuesday to Sunday, April 4-9 in Lakeland. The FlyIn is SUN ‘n FUN’s largest fundraiser for the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE), a 25-acre, 11 building campus dedicated to aerospace and STEM education. Approximately 200,000 guests, exhibitors, volunteers, sponsors and performers are expected to attend. Proceeds from the event support numerous community activities in addition to ACE. This year, you are Cleared to Land on the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus. FlyIn or drive- in, you are not going to want to miss the once in a lifetime chances SUN ‘n FUN is going to bring to you this year. “This is the largest air show in the south,” said SUN ‘n FUN Executive Director John “Lites” Leenhouts. “This is also our largest fundraising event with proceeds going back into our Central Florida Aerospace Academy where we’re teaching the next generation of young people to be pilots and/or have careers in aviation.” SUN ‘n FUN welcomes our French Allies on Tuesday April 4, as the French National Team, Patrouille de France, performs during the airshow. The world-renowned Blue Angels will

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Valrico Edition




Staff Report



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be welcomed back to the SUN ‘n FUN stage. The team will perform Friday to Sunday. Art Nalls will bring the only civilian Harrier on the airshow circuit in for the weekend on April 7-9. On Wednesday, April 5, Stallion 51 will arrive in impressive formation for what is promising to be the largest assembly of P-51 Mustangs in over a decade. Event attractions include improved and increased flightline viewing areas, daily autograph session with performers, Thunder Alley Vintage Jet Display, Warbirds in Review showcase series, B1 Bomber static display, and much more. A twilight midweek airshow is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5. The evening program on Saturday, April 8 will include fireworks with a night air show. Attendees are encouraged to use hashtags #SnF17 and #LoveFL on social media while posting about the Fly-In. Air show and workshop schedules, camping reservations, registration for activities, and ticketing information can be found on the SUN ‘n FUN website at Keep up with all the fun on and




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Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

The GFWC Brandon Service League Is Excited To Hold Its Third Annual Spring Fashion Fling

Great Food, Wine And Music Await You At Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival

The GFWC The money that Brandon Service the non-profits League, a service receive is funded by organization that the Annual Holiday has been serving Home Tour which the greater takes place in Brandon area for December. The over 50 years, is 2017 Holiday Home hosting its Third Tour will be held on Annual Spring Saturday, Fashion Fling on December 9. The Saturday, April 1 local non-profits Celebrate with GFWC Brandon Service at 11:30 a.m. The who will receive League members, Glenda Thurow, Diane Burnett, Dianne Foerster and Candy Jackson, checks this year event will take as they support the greater Brandon communi- include the Boys & place at the ty at their upcoming Third Annual Spring Embassy Suites Girls Club of Fashion Fling on Saturday, April 1 at the Embassy Suites located at 10220 Palm River Brandon, The located at 10220 Rd. in Tampa. Palm River Rd. in Outreach Clinic, Tampa. The cost to attend is $35. ECHO, LifeCare of Brandon, New The afternoon festivities include a Horizon's Group Home and Brandon fashion show with fashions provided by Women's Resource Center. TMarie's Fashion & Gift Boutique, a deliSwanson said, "We choose to supcious lunch, a 50/50 drawing and opporport these organizations because they tunity baskets. Bradlee Swanson, presisupport the community. Each of these dent of the GFWC Brandon Service organizations offer a vital service, and we League said, “We are thrilled to be workwant to help them help as many people in ing with TMarie’s Fashion & Gift Boutique the greater Brandon area as possible.” for the fashion show. We love the idea of Swanson added, "The importance of partnering with a local company.” service organizations giving back to the This is also an opportunity for the local community cannot be overstated. club to honor their 2016 Holiday Home The help that we offer could be the differTour Charities and present checks to the ence between whether someone eats local non-profits. In addition, the club that day or gets medical attention or clothpresents three scholarships to deserving ing or shelter.” women. The scholarships include The You can get tickets to the Annual Claire and Reynolds Bryan Scholarship Spring Fashion Fling at TMarie's Fashion for the Arts, The Pat and Lee Elam & Gift Boutique, located at 3407 Lithia Scholarship for the Renaissance Woman Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico or from any memand the Brandon Service League Women ber of the League. Visit www.gfwcbranin Education Scholarship.

A world of 29: Bachata taste awaits you Heightz, Justin at Busch Gardens Quiles & Milly Tampa Bay’s third Quezada; annual Food & Sunday, April 30: Wine Festival, Tribute Bands returning this (Jimmy Buffett, spring for an Queen, Bon Jovi extended nine and Prince). weeks of chartThe festival topping artists returns with signaUncork the flavor of more than 65 fine and culinary mas- wines, an expanded lineup of over 70 craft ture dishes and terpieces. The brews and a variety of featured cocktails at exciting new cuisine, the Busch Gardens® Food & Wine popular Tampa including duck tacos, Festival. Bay food and lobster ravioli, bacon wine festival is included with any mac & cheese, brown sugar rubbed Annual Pass, Fun Card or daily admispork belly, banana foster panna cotta, sion to the park and runs Saturdays gator bites, and cabernet-filled chocoand Sundays, March 4 through April lates, as well as an expanded selection 30. of wines, craft brews and cocktails. The biggest names in entertainFood and beverage is not included ment will take the stage every weekwith park admission and is available for end with the headlining act starting at 7 an extra fee. Guests must be 21 years p.m. on Gwazi Field. Artists kicking off of age or older to consume alcoholic the festival include: Kool & The Gang; beverages. Saturday, March 18: Young the Giant; For a limited time, if you buy a Sunday, March 19: Jason Isbell & Busch Gardens Fun Card, get an John Hiatt Trio; Saturday, March 25: Adventure Island Fun Card for free. NBC’s The Voice finalists Craig Wayne For those that want even more VIP Boyd & Adam Wakefield, Sunday, offerings, the Annual Pass offers unlimMarch 26: ited admission all year, free parking, no El Gran Combo, Saturday, April 1: blackout dates and special benefits DNCE; Sunday, April 2: Walk Off The totaling more than $300. With EZpay, Earth, Saturday, April 8: Hunter Annual Passes start at just $14 per Hayes; Sunday, April 9: Daya and month for one park, and $16 per month Matt Nathanson; Saturday, April 15: for both Busch Gardens Tampa Bay The Band Perry; Sunday, April 16: and Adventure Island. Visit seaworldNewsboys; Saturday, April 22: Santa Rosa; Sunday, April tampa/food-and-wine/event-info for 23: Lynyrd Skynyrd; Saturday, April more on the Festival.

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Page 7

Valrico Edition

Photos and story by Tamas Mondovics

STEM Fair Student Showcased, All-Florida Academic Team, & Hillsborough County Scholarships Offered Hillsborough Regional STEM Fair Showcases Local Students  

The 2017 Hillsborough Regional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Fair, the largest in the Southeast, concluded last month with two awards ceremonies at the Tampa Convention Center honoring the outstanding work of many local talents. The competition saw more than 2,100 students from all grade levels who have displayed 1,700 projects in three divisions, to be reviewed by 600 judges. “This is not a single day event. Students have spent months or even years working on their projects,” said Larry Plank, director for K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education. Some of the area elementary school winners included Bevis student Arnav Chavda, who received the Urban E Recycling Excellence Award for his project; Recycle The Rays. The Busch Gardens Award went to Brooker Elementary student Sienna Ryan for her project: Oil Slick, while the Great Explorations Award went to Apollo Beach Elementary student, Gavin Smoak for his project; It's Shake'n Time! Middle and high school winners are scheduled to be hosted by BristolMyers Squibb for a day of learning with scientists and engineers focused upon careers in STEM and strategies for success in the State of Florida Science and Engineering Fair to be held later in March. “We thank our sponsors, particularly Bristol-Myers Squibb, Stantec, and TECO, as well as the nearly 600 judges who assisted this week during our three days at the Tampa Convention Center,” Plank said.

For more information about STEM education in Hillsborough County please visit

HCC Students Selected to the 2017 All-Florida Academic Team Hillsborough Community College (HCC) was pleased to announce last month that eight of its students had been selected to the 2017 All-Florida Academic Team. According to school officials the students were selected for their academic achievement, leadership and service to their community. HCC’s eight students, who were among 127 students selected from across the state to receive the honor, included: Abdoulaye Ba, Melissa De La Cruz, Nicole Liberato, Imane Malih, Emily Otten, Abigayle Renk, Allen Rogers and Lance Wood. Selecting the small group of students is particularly noteworthy considering the fact that Hillsborough Community College serves more than 45,000 students annually on five campuses across the region. HCC campuses located Brandon, and Ruskin, Plant City, Ybor City as well as on Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa. Hillsborough Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Each student who has earned the

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honor to be selected was first nominated by his or her respective college to the All-USA Academic Team competition sponsored by USA Today and the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. To recognize the students’ outstanding achievements the All-Florida Academic Team Awards ceremony is hosted by The Florida College System on Friday, April 7, in Tallahassee. For more information about AFAT, please visit

Hillsborough County Helps Students Achieve Higher Education Goals Through Scholarships

Hillsborough County Social Services and the Community Action Board recently joined forces to assist local students with their goal of achieving a higher education. The County is now offering scholarships for up to $5,000 to eligible students wishing to continue their education by attending an institution of higher learning. In 2016, 52 scholarships totaling $260,000 were awarded to Hillsborough County students through Hillsborough County Social Services. According to officials, scholarship applications for the 2017-2018 school

year will be accepted through Friday, March 31. Applicants must be between the ages of 17 and 22, and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Sixteen year-old students who are graduating seniors may also apply. Applicants must reside in Hillsborough County, must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 whose household income falls within 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). Applicants will also be evaluated on their community service and school involvement, application and letters of recommendation, academic record (transcript) and essay response. Application materials can be downloaded on the Scholarship Application page on the County website, which also provides detailed instructions on how to apply. Students may submit completed applications online, via mail, or hand deliver applications in person to any County Community Resource Center. Mailed applications can be sent to P.O. Box 1110, Department of Social Services 24th Floor, Attention Sylvia Wint, Tampa, FL 33601. Scholarship recipients will be notified in writing prior to the start of the fall semester.

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Page 8

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 3

Tampa YMCA Water Safety Event Kicks Off 2017 Swim Lessons Season

The Village Players Community Theatre Presents Seussical The Musical

In its effort “This to prevent childreduction in hood drowning, childhood the Tampa drowning is Metropolitan encouraging Area YMCA has news to local scheduled to agencies, hold its annual, including the Safety Around Tampa YMCA Water event, and the which provides Children’s A toddler get some one-on-one time with a certified Board of free swim lesY swim instructor at a local YMCA. Emphasizing the sons to children Hillsborough importance of staying safe around water the this month. County, collabAssociation has once again arranged to host its annual Safety Around Water event this month, which While the orating to help has also marked the start of swim lesson season. weeklong event eliminate coincides with Hillsborough County Public drowning cases among local youth,” Schools spring break, it also marks the Llerena said. kickoff of this year’s swim lessons seaAssociation Aquatics Experience son. “The Y is dedicated to providing stuExecutive Amanda Walker agreed when dent-centered swim lessons designed to she said that the Tampa YMCA believes nurture the development of each individa child’s safety in and around water ual through dynamic group lessons,” said should never be left to chance. “We’re Tampa YMCA Communications Director, committed to providing the free Safety Lalita Llerena, adding that the Y teaches Around Water program annually in the kids, teens and adults how to swim, so spring to help keep kids stay safe at the they can stay safe around water and beach, pool, lake and while boating." learn the skills they need to make swimSwim lessons at the Y are divided by ming a lifelong pursuit for staying healthy. age level and preference and provide “We offer swim classes for all ages important life skills that could save a life and skill levels to help create the best and will benefit students for a lifetime. learning environment led by nationally It is safe to say that there’s a swimcertified Y instructors,” she said. ming class for all Greater Brandon area Llerena specifically emphasized the residents and those interested can importance of the annual Safety Around reserve a spot at nearby Y locations in Water program, which she said comes on Bloomingdale, Valrico, Seffner and neighthe heels of new data showing that the boring regions. drowning rate among children in For more information about swimHillsborough County, ages 0-6, was actu- ming lessons at a local YMCA facility ally reduced by 50 percent in 2016. please visit

The characters Village from the Players will beloved bring to life books.” the beloved Barber characters of added, “I Dr. Seuss as want our they present patrons to sit Seussical back and the Musical enjoy the fanbeginning on tasy of Friday, The Village Players will present Seussical the Musical Seussical the this spring. You will not want to miss as the talented March 31 Musical and local actors of the Village Players bring the beloved Dr. watch the with their Seuss characters to life on stage. new tradicharacters tion, Dinner and a Show. Doors open at come to life. The show is fun, funny and 7 p.m. and dinner is served immediately. whimsical.” This is definitely a show for The show begins at 8 p.m. The sponsor the whole family to enjoy together. Pierce for the Opening Night Dinner and a said, “It’s a family night out together sharShow is Chick-fil-A. ing childhood memories with friends and The show will also be shown on family.” Saturday, April 1, 8 and 15; Friday, April 7 Tickets for Opening Night Dinner and 14 at 8 p.m. There will be two matiand a Show are $30. All proceeds from nees on Sunday, April 2 and 9 at 3 p.m. this night will go toward renovation and Seussical the Musical involves a maintenance of the historical James large cast. All of the actors are from the McCabe Theatre. According to Pierce, community and are incredibly talented. “We are currently giving the building a Gail Pierce with the Village Players face lift.” All renovations and maintesaid, “Many grew up with Dr. Seuss nance that need to be done on a historic books. The generations that followed building are costly and ongoing. also enjoyed the animated movies. This Tickets for the other shows are $18 is definitely family entertainment at its for general admission and $15 for stubest.” Pierce added, “We hope our dents, military with identification and senpatrons will leave the theatre with a smile iors. Groups of 10 or more are also $15 on their face, humming a tune and recall- but must be reserved in advance. ing memories from their childhood.” The James McCabe Theatre is Todd Barber directs the show. located at 506 5th St. in Valrico. Barber said, “Directing Seussical the For tickets and other information, Musical is a way to get creative and please call the box office at 480-3141 or bring to life the well-known Dr. Seuss visit

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Page 9

Valrico Edition

STEVE MORAN P.A. 813-661-2476

Family-Owned FishHawk Pinch-A-Penny Thanks Community For 10 Years In Business

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When Larry, Their business Kathy and Jimmy philosophy is simple Rutledge opened - build and maintain the FishHawk a business that the Pinch-A-Penny community can located at 16715 count on for years FishHawk Blvd. in to come and do this Lithia back in 2008, with honesty, they did not know integrity and what to expect. dependability. This Now, as they enter philosophy is prac10 years in busiticed every day ness, they are without fail by Larry, thankful to all those FishHawk Pinch-A-Penny owners, Jimmy, Kathy, Jimmy and Kathy and Larry Rutledge, are thankful to in the community their employees. the community for supporting their business for 10 years. who welcomed Owning and them and supported them operating a small family business is not Owning this business is a second an easy task. Doing it well, while at the career for Larry Rutledge who retired same time always being there to lend a from the Financial Services (Insurance hand is quite an accomplishment. "I am and Investment) sector. Rutledge said, thankful to the residents of the "In my previous life, I was never in the FishHawk, River Hills and Bloomingdale same city for more than a few days and communities," said Rutledge. The was never really a part of a community. Rutledge family will once again host When that world ended, I wanted to be their Annual Eggfest on Saturday, March a part of something.” Rutledge 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. At the 7th added,”We decided that we wanted to Annual Eggfest, come see the Big open a business in an area that was Green Egg in action and enjoy a cookgrowing. It has really worked out for us. out. People in this community are just great. All who come to the Eggfest are Everyone is willing to help one another." invited to participate in a raffle to receive Rutledge said, “It has been refreshing to a mini Green Egg. Proceeds from the see how nice people are. It has raffle will be donated to Seeds of Hope, renewed my faith in fellow man." an organization located in Lithia that disThe Rutledge’s treat every custributes food in three ways-through a tomer like a friend. They know their cus- mobile food pantry, a once a week food tomers by name and are always willing distribution and a backpack program. to lend a hand to those who need it. Visit or call There is always a Rutledge at the store 655-3700. For information on Seeds of to greet you warmly and genuinely. Hope, visit

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Page 10

Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

Seffner-Mango Park On Track For Early Summer Completion

By Tamas Mondovics


Dr. Branning Hollis, O.D. Dr. Mona Kardani, O.D. FAAO


It has been ect will have nearly a decade effectively turned since Seffner the 19-acre pararea residents cel into a passive were promised a park to include public park to be community garbuilt on county dens, shade shelowned land adjaters, walking and cent to the jogging trails, Seffner-Mango landscaping, Library located at A conceptual plan for a new 19-acre passive pub- fencing and vari410 N. Kingsway lic park adjacent to the Seffner-Mango Library is ous site improvesaid to be completed by May. Rd., in Seffner. ments. The wait, however, is almost over as The park was designed by the $400,000 passive park, currently Engineering Design Firm, Lauren D. under construction, is nearing completion Campo, P.E. Campo Engineering, Inc. with a scheduled opening in late spring or Booher said that throughout early summer. February and March, the project will see Hillsborough County Commission the completion of the garden along with designated the original 25-acre parcel for its water irrigation as well as the installaa park and library and has approved tion of fencing and planting trees. funding for the design and construction of In April work on the shelter is schedthe library in the fiscal 2007 and 2008 uled for completion along with final touchbudgets. es including lighting. Unfortunately, money was not avail“The earliest the park will open is late able for the park at that time, county offiMay,” Booher said. With nearly 10 years cials said. in the making, however, waiting a couple A year later, in January 2009, the more months is a small price to pay. Seffner-Mango Branch Library was built It is noteworthy that the two-monthon six acres and opened to the public long renovation project of one the counwith a traditional ceremony attended by ty’s largest and most heavily used parks members of the BOCC. in Brandon is also nearing completion. Hillsborough County Commissioner The $315,000 makeover at Paul Ken Hagan spoke about the usefulness Sanders Park, at 602 W. Bloomingdale of the park during the library’s ribbon cutAve., which began on February 1, is ting ceremony, calling the park a “central scheduled to be finished by the end of focal point to the community.” March. According to Hillsborough County Please visit www.hillsboroughcounParks Services manager, Kyla Booher, when completed later this year, the proj-


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March 2017

Valrico Edition

Local Attorney Vanessa Bevington Receives Super Star Honor

By Kate Quesada

Brandon family law the Hillsborough County attorney Vanessa Bar Association and the Bevington recently Brandon Bar received an honor that Association, works on sets her apart from family law matters, other professionals in while her partner, Allen her field. The partner at Carman handles perCarman and Bevington sonal injury cases. P.A. was selected to the Bevington has worked Super Lawyers 2017 on cases ranging Rising Star list, a disfrom divorce and pretinction given to less nuptial agreements than two and a half perto child support and cent of lawyers in the paternity issues and state. domestic violence Bevington, who cases. got her law degree “We really get to from Thomas M. know our clients and Cooley Law School in work hard to resolve Brandon family law attorney Michigan and started their issues for them,” Vanessa Bevington was recently selected to the Super Lawyers practicing in 2006, said Bevington. “Our 2017 Rising Star list. was nominated for the firm is very personable list by her peers and was then selected in the sense that when you hire me, you by the research team at Super Lawyers, are going to get me working on your case a rating service of outstanding lawyers, to from start to finish.” receive the honor using a multi-level In addition to working hard for her process including a statewide survey of clients, Bevington also strives to be an lawyers and an independent research active part of the Brandon community. evaluation of candidates. She works with local charities including The Super Lawyer lists are published Metropolitan Ministries and the Salvation nationwide in Super Lawyer Magazines Army and has participated in a mission and feature lawyers from 70 different trip to Haiti. practice areas. Carman and Bevington, P.A. is locat“This award is a great honor,” said ed at 223 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. and can be Bevington. “It means a lot to me to be reached at 654-3444. For more informarecognized by my peers and to know that tion, visit or connot only my clients appreciate my hard tact the office for a free initial consultation. work.” To learn more about the Super Lawyers Bevington, who is a member of the Rising Star list, visit Florida Bar, the Middle District of Florida,

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Page 11

Page 12

Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

The Rustic Door Décor & More Joins The Brandon Community

By Libby Hopkins

The local ture with chalk paint. mother/daughter “Our style influences duo of Carmen are a combination of Hutchison and country charm, rustic, Linda Dorremocea shabby, coastal, glam, are the owners of Mediterranean, and vinsocial media store, tage,” Dorremocea The Rustic Door said. “Our products are Décor & More. “I a creatively induced consider myself fusion of our different adventurous, personalities. Some always striving for work showcases my success, and never mother's love of vinLinda Dorremocea and her mother, willing to take no tage and French counCarmen Hutchison are the owners of the for an answer,” try decor while other social media home décor store, The Hutchison said. “I pieces reflect my love Rustic Door Décor & Moore. Their business provides customized services of rustic, country think this has to their customers with handmade helped me in life to charm. We are truly a wreaths, pallet art signs, burlap door overcome the hangers, and refreshing furniture with family owned business chalk paint. impossible and to unlike other large never give up. I am so happy to be able home decor companies.” They love being to pursue this dream of making The able to connect with their customers on a Rustic Door a reality with my daughter.” personal level and provide customized Dorremocea wanted to be an services to suit their home decor needs at interior designer from a very young age. “I a price that is affordable. would watch my grandmother sew and Both Hutchison and Dorremocea she taught me to sew clothes for my hope to grow their social media business Barbies,” Dorremocea said. “I loved rearand increase their following as well. “Our ranging my bedroom, college dorm, and hopes are to continue growing and servlater homes and would give advice to ing our customers' needs for their homes, friends. I love experimenting with colors, while still retaining a personalized experipatterns, and creating a feeling of warmth ence,” Dorremocea said. “We have some and comfort to one’s home. I love the exciting ideas for this year, so stay tuned.” idea of bringing a creative thought to If you would like to learn more fruition and producing work that I am about the products offered at The Rustic proud of.” Door Décor & Moore, you can visit their Their business provides cusFacebook page at tomized services to their customers with handmade wreaths, pallet art signs, a, or you can contact Dorremocea and burlap door hangers, and refreshing furni- Hutchison at 541-3229.

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Page 13

Valrico Edition

Community Roundtable Recognizes Deserving People In The Community At Annual Dinner

By Kathy L. Collins

Melissa Chin, a senior at Riverview High School. Chin has a weighted GPA of 6.7. Chin is an active volunteer and established the Best Buddies Chapter at Riverview High School. Melissa Chin, a senior at Riverview High School was honored The Non-Profit with the Maureen Krzanowski Scholarship, Lela Lilyquest, founder of Portamento of Hope, shown here with Lisa Rodriguez, of the Year Award was named the Non-Profit of the Year and Walt Raysick, retired was presented USN was presented with the 2017 Alice B. Tompkins Community Portamento of Service Award at the Annual Community Affairs Dinner. Hope, a local soup Each year, the Community kitchen founded by Lela Lilyquist. In Roundtable, an all-volunteer organization accepting the award, Lilyquist said, that has been serving the greater "When I started this organization, I did not Brandon community for over five know much about feeding the homeless. I decades, holds its Annual Community have since learned that we throw away Affairs Dinner. This dinner is widely antici40 percent of the food supply each year.” pated each year. It is an opportunity for Portamento of Hope accepts 75,000 the community to come together to celepounds of food each year and uses it to brate the past year's accomplishments feed 1,100 homeless each week. Lilyquist and to recognize those in the community added, “I appreciate this award. I am who have given of their time to make the delighted and humbled.” area better. This year's Community Affairs The Alice B. Tompkins Community Dinner was held on Wednesday, Service Award was presented to Walt February 22 at Center Place in Brandon. Raysick, retired USN. In presenting the Jeff Eakins, Superintendent for award, last year’s recipient, Kavita Hillsborough County Schools, served as Marballi said, “This individual has a pasthe keynote speaker. Eakins thanked the sion for all he does including Crime Community Roundtable for providing stuStoppers, Toys for Tots, Eagle Scouts, the dents in Hillsborough County with access Brandon Chamber Military Affairs to community service projects. Eakins Committee and more. He was a key said, “Thank you for all you do to change member in establishing the Veterans the lives and hearts of students.” Memorial Park. For more information on Each year, the Community The Community Roundtable, please visit Roundtable awards the Maureen or call Krzanowski Scholarship to a deserving 661-4350 or email high school senior. This year's recipient is

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Page 14

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 3

March 2017

Page 15

Valrico Edition

Successful Living Brunch Inspires Entrepreneurs

By Kate Quesada

will leave attendees empowered to break through the barriers holding them back whether as a stay at home mom or a business CEO.” Speakers include Valrico resident Shannon Carlton who opened Co-Work Landing, a co-working space for entrepreneurs, in Brandon last year. “I am inspired every day when I hear other women’s stories of where they have been and where The Women’s Successful Living Brunch will take they are now in their lives,” said Carlton. “From losing more than place April 8 in Brandon. 100 pounds to conquering the Pearl Chiarezza wants to help Appalachian Trail, the Successful Living women overcome the challenges they women are conquering daily and I am face every day, and has brought together excited to be a part of a group that wants a team of inspiring female leaders to do to share their stories to inspire others to just that at the Women’s Successful succeed.” Living Brunch next month in Brandon. Sandy Lee of Sandy Lee Coaching, “In our professional and personal Home Keeper’s International’s Kimberly lives we are going to come up against Solomon, Liz Everett of Liz Everett Style obstacles that will hold us back,” said and The Osprey Observer Managing Chiarezza, a Brandon resident who Editor Marie Gilmore will join Chiarezza founded Women’s Successful Living last and Carlton as the event’s speakers. August. “My goal is to help women realize “These leaders have embraced the that they are not alone if they are finding it need for women to take care of ourselves hard to conquer challenges and achieve first and have been successful in accomgoals.” The Saturday, April 8 brunch, plishing this in their lives,” said Chiarezza. which will take place at The Event Gallery The $55 ticket price includes a bagel in Brandon from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., is breakfast, brunch from catering sponsor the second in what Chiarezza hopes will Livy O’s Catering and 20 minute talks be a quarterly series and will feature a from each speaker, followed by 10 minline-up of six local women who have utes of question time. The event is sponovercome their own sets of challenges to sored in part by Lucyna Aleksandra make a difference in the community. Portraits. Sponsorship opportunities are “We are working to build a local tribe still available. Tickets can be purchased of women who can help and inspire each for an early bird special price of $45 until other,” said Chiarezza, who also estabthe end of March. The Event Gallery is lished and owns Bodyworks Health and located at 524 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon. Wellness Center. “My hope is that the day Visit

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Page 16

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 3

March 2017

Page 17

Valrico Edition

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

By Amanda Boston

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

All Life Legal Expands And Is On The Move In Riverview By Michelle Caceres

Riverviewgood friend too. based All Life In addition to Legal has moved Carolan and attorto a larger space ney Kyle Belz, in the Park Place attorney office complex. Jacqueline O. The move is Ellett has joined designed to the firm to assist accommodate a in fulfilling its misgrowing staff, sion. Ellett is a A Ribbon Cutting with the Riverview Chamber house the of Commerce was recently held to celebrate graduate of All Life Legal’s move to a larger location to Stetson Riverview accommodate the growing practice. Mediation and University, where Coordination Center and provide a more she completed the Elder Law collaborative environment in which attor- Concentration Program. Her areas of expertise include Elder Law, Estate neys and clients can work together. Planning, Probate, Trust Administration Located at 10017 Park Place Ave. in Riverview, All Life Legal specializes in and Family Law. The larger office space will also Elder Law, a practice area which addresses the legal issues faced by the host the Riverview Mediation and elderly, including property management, Coordination Center, which provides advance directives, special needs planpre-suit, court-ordered and post-judgning, guardianship, Medicaid planning ment mediation as well as parental and estate planning. coordination services for family law mat“Elder law attorneys have a positive ters. impact on people’s lives when they “I created this as an option for peoneed help the most,” said attorney Karla ple who want to avoid lengthy litigation Carolan. “When in a time of crisis, we’re for family law issues,” said Carolan. able to use our experience and help “Mediation resolves conflicts efficiently create a plan to get through that difficult and economically.” time.” “Our clients can be assured that Brandon resident Bob McGough they will receive understanding at a said All Life Legal has assisted him in whole different level,” said Carolan. many matters during the last eight All Life Legal is open Monday years. “They are professional and toThursday 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. and Friday 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Most initial straightforward and have a good command of the law,” he said. “It’s a relief to consultations are free of charge. For more information about All Life know they are taking care of me.” McGough said he needed a lawyer, Legal visit or call 671-4300. but in Carolan he found a lawyer and a

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Page 18

Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

The Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum Plant City Presents Railfest 2017 By Tamas Mondovics

HCSO Make Arrests In Riverview, FishHawk Serial Gas Stations Armed Robberies Riverview area gas station clerks and patrons can breath a little easier following the arrest of a Valrico man in connection with a series of armed robberies last month. According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Trevor N. Gipson, 21 of 2918 Cloverfield Lane in Valrico, who is also a suspect a series of other robberies in Riverview and FishHawk, was arrested shorty after robbing the Circle K located at 6211 North Dale Mabry Highway. Based on the alert from the Circle K robbery and information gathered by deputies, Gipson was arrested just 40 minutes after he pointed a handgun at the clerk while wearing a black mask. Detectives said that the store was not Gipson’s first target. Gipson is also responsible for an armed robbery within the City of Temple Terrace. According to HCSO, on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 Gipson robbed two 7-Eleven stores within 30 minutes. The first robbery occurred at the 7-Eleven located at 10016 McMullen Road in Riverview at 4:07 am, followed by the second just 25 minutes later at the 7-Eleven located at 16781 Fishhawk Blvd, in Lithia. In both cases Gipson allegedly entered the stores, approached the clerk and demanded cash. After receiving money, he fled the store. HCSO deputies had a number of

other area gas station and business robbery cases to follow, including the one at the Speedway gas station located at 13179 Highway 301 S. in Riverview that occurred on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at approximately 3:23 a.m. Less than two weeks following the incident, detectives were able to identified and arrest Joshua Abdull McClain, 16 of Plant City, whom they said was armed with a shotgun. While unrelated to the Gipson case, McClain, approached the clerk, demanded money from the register and then fled with the cash in a southern direction, possibly toward The Grove at SouthShore apartment complex, deputies said. The robbery was the third in a row at the same business since January, and detectives believe that McLain is also responsible for the robberies that occurred on Monday, January 9, at 2:51 a.m. and on Wednesday, January 18, 2017, at 2:46 a.m. During the search for this suspect, Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay was offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information that would lead to the identification and arrest of the suspect involved in these cases. For future cases Crime Stoppers can be reached at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), or to report anonymously online at

By Kathy L. Collins

If you like The official trains or have a program begins at child who does, 11 a.m. The Third then you should Annual Golden attend Railfest Spike Award will be 2017 at the given to an individRobert W. ual who has been Willaford Railroad instrumental in Museum located establishing and at 102 N. Palmer maintaining the St. in historic Come out to Railfest 2017 at the Robert W. Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum in downtown Plant downtown Plant Willaford Railroad City and enjoy a day devoted to the history City on Saturday, Museum. The and lore of the great American railroad. April 8 from 10 museum helps to a.m. to 4 p.m. Railfest 2017 is a free preserve the history of the railroad and its event perfect for the whole family. presence in Plant City. Past recipients of According to Benito (Bennie) the Golden Spike Award include Robert Lubrano, Jr., Executive Director of the W. Willaford who donated most of the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum items on display in the museum, and Society, Inc., “Railfest is an opportunity for Commissioner Michael S. Sparkman. us to educate the community about the The Robert W. Willaford Museum railroad and its importance to us as a Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose community.” mission is to promote and educate visiRailfest 2017 will be a fun filled day tors about railroad history and its impact which will include balloon artists, face on Eastern Hillsborough County and painters, a bouncy house and even a Plant City. The museum displays and miniature train for children to ride in and maintains a sizable collection of railroad enjoy. There will be live music both inside memorabilia, including a completely and outside of the museum. Children can restored Seaborn Air Line no. 5735 even meet with “Mr. H. B. Plant” himself. caboose. They can also meet with personnel from The museum is open Monday CSX who will be on hand to provide infor- through Wednesday from 12 to 4 p.m. mation about safety around railroads. The and Thursday through Saturday from 10 museum will be open for viewing. a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is also open Railfest 2017 is a fundraiser for the until 8 p.m. on the third Saturday of the museum. Everyone can enjoy a delicious month. Bar-B-Que dinner. There will be a silent For more information, please call auction which will include railroad memo719-6989 and like them on rabilia as well as non-railroad items such as gift cards from local merchants. oadMuseum. Dr. Amir Boules


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Page 19

Valrico Edition

Dynamic Painting Offers $10,000 In Paint Jobs To Celebrate Anniversary

By Nick Nahas

If you could paint do it for the a perfect picture of a recognithriving local business tion, I do it that generously gives because I back to the communilove to ty, it would be of Rob give back Silver’s Dynamic to the Painting communiUSA. The ty,” he company said. “I am started back very in March FishHawk single mom Daniella Vetencourt blessed 2007 when and her sons Diego, 10 and Matias,7, won with how a Free Exterior Home Paint job in 2015 my busiSilver startafter she entered an Osprey contest. ed booking ness has jobs before he even had employees, and progressed, and if I can make a small difhe had to do most of the painting by himference in somebody’s life by giving a self. Today, the interior and exterior house paint job away, then I’d love to do that.” painting business has taken off and Silver In March, four people will be selected now has over 20 employees working for to receive $2,500 worth of free painting. him within a 25-mile radius of the Potential recipients will write a 500-word Brandon, Valrico, Fishhawk and essay on why they would like a paint job, Riverview areas. and must include a picture of their house Silver is very appreciative of the local in order to be eligible. Entry forms will be community where he started his company available at Osprey Observer headquarand found success, which has lead to his ters. Certain restrictions apply. generosity of giving back to people in The idea for the Painting from the need of a helping hand. According to Heart campaign started when Silver put Silver, he has donated on average an ad on Craigslist trying to get rid of the $2,500-$3,000 of exterior paint jobs every extra gallons of paint he had. A single year for close to five years. The cammother contacted him asking for just one paign, called Painting From the Heart, gallon so that she could paint her garage. gives exterior paint jobs to single mothers It inspired a full donation. “I love helping on Mother’s Day and servicemen or vetout others, it’s a great feeling,” he said. erans during the holidays. For the last 10 Painting from the Heart, Silver has years, he has also given $3,000-$4,000 also been involved as a guardian for in certificates to local charities for room Honor Flight of West Central Florida, takmakeovers every year. ing WWII Veterans on a trip to D.C. for For the 10th anniversary, Silver plans the day. For information, visit their website on donating $10,000 in paint jobs. “I don't at

Enter to win a Paint Job!

Why could you use up to $2,500 in free painting! Send us your story and a photo. Email a story approx. 500 words about your painting needs to subject line Painting along with a photo. At least 4 winners from the community will be selected as part of Dynamic Painting USA’s 10 year Anniversary Give Away! Name: Address: Phone: Email: Community: Email to win at, fax to 657-4469 or mail to 918 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Brandon, FL 33511.

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Page 20

Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

Program Offers Support To Quit Tobacco

By Nick Nahas

By Tamas Mondovics

County Aging Services Reports Isolated Breach of Protected Health Information Hillsborough County or used inappropriately or maliciously. has reported an isolated “In accordance with breach of protected inforfederal law, Hillsborough mation within its Aging County has notified the Services Department last 647 affected clients via month. mail, and has reported Aging Services offers the breach to the U.S. numerous services Hillsborough County Aging Department of Health designed to enhance the Services has reported an isolatand Human Services lives of older adults age ed breach of health information 50 and over, from active of more than 600 clients and is and the Florida now offering affected clients free Department of Elder adult programming and credit monitoring for a year. Affairs,” Cardenas said. in-home services to hot In an abundance of caution, meals and referral services. Hillsborough County is also offering According to a press release by affected clients free credit monitoring for a County Aging Services officials, a comyear. plete and thorough internal investigation “We have sent instruction by mail to has been conducted and the department our clients to utilize this service,” she said has taken steps to notify the estimated adding that clients may also contact her 650 then-clients affected by the breach. directly at 1-800-466-5400 or via U.S. Elizabeth Cardenas, Hillsborough mail at P.O. Box 1110, Tampa, FL, 33601. County HIPAA Privacy Officer, said that In the press release, County officials the breach, which was discovered by emphasized that Hillsborough County Aging Services employees on December employees adhere to comprehensive pro22, 2016, is believed to have occurred in cedures, policies, and training regarding March 2011, 2016 when a former protected information. employee inadvertently came into posAn internal review of Hillsborough session of personal, protected information County policies and training confirms that including social security numbers, current practices for handling confidential addresses, financial information and or information provide the utmost protection case notes. of confidential information, the release Cardenas confirmed that at this time, said. For information about Hillsborough the investigation has not revealed any County Aging Services, please visit facts indicating the information has been out of possession of the former employee

July 7, 2013 is an expect when quitting. The important day for Lenny facilitator of the class Moore — that’s the day guides participants as they nearly four years ago identify triggers and withthat he quit smoking. He drawal symptoms, and reached his goal with the brainstorms ways to cope help of the Tobacco Free with these changes. Florida Quit Your Way “Tobacco Free Program. The organizaFlorida’s mission is to cretion provides free nicoate a healthy, sustainable, tine replacement patchtobacco-free environment es, gum and lozenges, for all Floridians,” said as well as counseling to Brittany McNaughton, the help people over the age Tobacco Cessation of 18 overcome their Specialist/Systems Brittany McNaughton is the tobacco dependence. “I Change Coordinator at the Tobacco Cessation would absolutely recomUSF AHEC Tobacco Specialist/Systems Change Coordinator at the USF AHEC mend Tobacco Free Program Office. According Tobacco Program Office. Florida to anyone,” said to McNaughton, tobacco Moore. “I do not think I would have been use is the leading cause of preventable successful without them.” death and disease in the United States. Several tools are available to ensure Smokers are more likely than nonsmokthat clients are successful in quitting all ers to develop heart disease, stroke and forms of tobacco. Participants can talk to lung cancer. It also harms nearly every a quit coach over the phone, or they can organ of the body. register for group sessions with others tryThe Tobacco Free Florida Area ing to achieve the same goal. Web Quit is Health Education Center Cessation another option where virtual tips are avail- Program is a statewide network consistable 24/7. The text messaging program ing of five program offices at the provides tips and practical advice in conUniversity of Florida, University of Miami, junction with email tips and a quit guide. University of South Florida (USF), Nova All these options allow people to make Southeastern University and Florida State use of the tools that best fit their lifestyle. University, and 10 affiliated regional Five topics are touched on during a AHEC Centers. Group Quit session, including the danThe program provides services to all gers of tobacco use, the benefits of quitFloridians. Potential members are ting, the challenges of quitting, aids for encouraged to pre-register for classes quitting, as well as support for quitting. and come willing to quit. “The vision of Members are educated on the health the program is to create a Tobacco Free effects related to tobacco use, but more Florida,” said McNaughton. importantly, participants are taught how Visit beneficial quitting tobacco is and what to

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March 2017

Nightly Events Make Eating Entertaining At Uncle Mike’s Smokehouse Grill

By Debra Massaro

Uncle Mike’s line dancing lesSmokehouse sons; Friday AllGrill, located at You-Can-Eat 106 SR 60 in Catfish Fry, cornPlant City, is offerhole tournaments, ing patrons more DJ Night, and than a great meal. ladies drink free in Recent changes the saloon; to the hours of Saturday All-Youoperation, nightly Can-Eat Steak features, and a Line dancing is a popular Friday night event at Night and karaoke Uncle Mike’s Grill. at 9pm; Sunday new party hall have turned the eating establishment into Pastors Eat Free from 11-3pm and church goers receive ten percent off an entertainment venue. when presenting the weekly bulletin. Owner Simone Tolley holds a business degree from the University of South The weekly line dance lessons are Florida. Her husband Mike has been in taught by Simone, who is a former Tampa the hospitality business since 1990 and Bay Buccaneers cheerleader. traveled the world as a corporate trainer “It’s what I love to do,” she said. in chain restaurants. The pair decided to In 2016, the restaurant added Blake fine-tune their years of experience and Hall, an 8800-sq. ft. catering facility which opened their own family- friendly estabseats up to 300 people. In addition to the lishment. contemporary dining room, Mike’s offers a semi-private game room with private bar Simone, who runs Uncle Mike’s, that can accommodate 45 people and an shared, “Corporate America has taken over the restaurant world. I wanted a fam- outdoor covered pavilion with private bar and stage with 150-person capacity. Full ily-owned “Mom and Pop” place with home-cooking.” catering is available along will a full liquor Uncle Mike’s is known for serving bar. On-site wedding and party planners affordable “comfort food” with quality offer expertise for both large and small ingredients including pork, chicken, pasta, gatherings. Brides-to-be can take advanseafood, wraps, soups, salads, and a tage of private tastings, as well. variety of side dishes and desserts. Hours of operation are Tuesdays The restaurant is closed Monday for 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Wednesdays and private parties and features the following Thursdays 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Fridays special events: Tuesday Night All-Youand Saturdays 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., and Can-Eat Pork and kids eat Free with the Sundays 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. For information, visit, call purchase of an adult meal; Wednesday 737-4444, or log on to All-You-Can-Eat Crab Legs; Thursday Nine Dollar Burger Meal Night and free

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Page 21

Valrico Edition


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Page 22

Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

Our Residents Are Always On The Move!

G. Fried Flooring America Remains Local Treasure, With Temp Showroom Move By Michelle Caceres

G. Fried sands of colors and Flooring patterns, exotic and America’s showdomestic hardroom and warewoods, intricately house have been patterned tile, parked smack durable laminate dab in between flooring, sheet vinyl Brandon Honda and vinyl tile. More and Ferman than a flooring speChevrolet on E. cialty store, G. Fried Adamo Dr. for Flooring America’s more than 17 experts are trained years. President in flooring sales and Rufus Ashby design to guarantee never planned a unique level of on moving from personal service. G. Fried Flooring America president Rufus the prime locaFlooring delivery Ashby said his showroom is moving to a tion but fate and installation are temporary location in the Kmart Shopping always has a Center on W. Brandon Blvd. until a permanent also available. location can be found. way of changing “We underthe best laid plans. stand how difficult it can be to find just the The building was sold and in January right flooring and we are here to help,” he learned that his lease was not renewed. said. Ashby had to be out by February 28. G. Fried professionals helped “It’s been such a unique situation to FishHawk Ranch resident Rick Ramirez have the showroom and warehouse next select and install wood flooring last year to each other,” said Ashby. after water damaged the 1,800 sq. ft. first His realtor scoured the available floor of his home. options. A permanent warehouse and “I had used G. Fried Flooring office space was located on Madison America in the past and knew that I could Ave. between Highways 301 and 41. The trust them with this large project,” he said. retail location has proved trickier. “They were very professional, clean and I Until a permanent location is found, was extremely satisfied with the finished the store is moving to a temporary home, product.” a 10,000 sq. ft. space located in the G. Fried Flooring America is open Kmart Shopping Center located at 1516 Monday – Friday 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., W. Brandon Blvd. Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday Ashby said even though the location 12 Noon – 4 p.m. is temporary, it will showcase a diverse For more information, visit selection of luxurious carpets in or call 628-9630.


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March 2017

Valrico Edition

Page 23

Page 24

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 3

InThis Section


COMMUNITY EVENTS.....................PG 29 CHARITY FOR HOMELESS ...............PG 31 PARKINSON’S FUNDRAISER............PG 32 SUMMER CAMPS.....................PGS 34‐38 March 2017

Yellowfin Realty’s Kimberly Smith

Volume 14, Issue 3

Ph: 657-2418

Realtor Kimberly Smith is at Yellowfin Realty Group. She lists properties for sale, and helps buyers find homes whether resale or new construction. She also does property management for anyone who has investment properties that they need managed or for anyone who isn’t ready to sell but Barbara McGinnis is with the Kimberly Smith is with the Love’s Tire and Service Center is located has to move away for a job, Yellowfin Realty Group. Yellowfin Realty Group. at 1701 Hwy. 60 East in Valrico. change in family lives or any important factor New Mediterranean other reason, handling all aspects of in choosing a realGrill Opens the management from finding a tenant, tor is choosing collecting the rents, depositing rent Taza Mediterranean someone you are funds into the owner’s account, hanGrill is a new restaurant comfortable with dling repairs, move outs, evictions and and can trust. specializing in any other occurrences. “I pride myself Mediterranean and McGinnis is an on personal service to all my cusMiddle Eastern Food. It experienced negotomers and put all of my effort into also offers catering and tiator, knowledgehelping them in selling, buying or prop- able in all aspects delivery. erty management,” said Smith. Taza is committed to of buying and sellYellowfin Realty Group is located providing you the best ing process will at 801 W. Bloomingdale Ave. in experience with expericoordinate and Brandon. To contact Smith, call 368ence dishes such as Hummus, Falafel, have a constant line of communica4568. Spinach Pie, Mixed Grill, Shawerma, tions with you. and Tabouli. Vegeterian and vegan “To me communication is the key Property Manager And options are offered. for a successful transaction and long Realtor Barbara McGinnis At Come and check out Taza term relationships. I can proudly say a Yellowfin Realty Mediterranean Grill at 1076 E. large percent of my current business Brandon Bl. Ste 107 Brandon (next to If you are looking for a property comes from past customers referring Walmart and behind Good Will). Call manager or realtor to take care of your their family friends and coworkers to 324-7500 or visit www.tazamediterreal estate needs,Barbara McGinnis at me,” she added. Yellowfin Realty can help. Call 220-4339 or email mrssIt is open from Monday to “Every client is unique, and that is Saturday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Visit exactly how I will treat you. The most

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...............PG 40 nGrill/.

Hercules Tire and Greg Wilson Racing Offer Summer Fun For Great Value

Sprint car driver Greg Wilson recently visited Love’s Tire and Service Center. Love’s Tire and Service Center is a local dealership carrying Hercules Tires. Hercules Tire has served as a proud sponsor of the Greg Wilson Racing Team since 2012, and continues to do so now that he is part of the World of Outlaws. The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series is the premier winged sprint car series in the world. It features world class drivers, thrilling races and is the self-proclaimed “Greatest Show on Dirt.” Love’s Tire and Service Center is located at 1701 Hwy. 60 East in Valrico.

Career Job Fair & Resource Expo

A Career Job Fair & Resource Expo will take place on Monday March 27 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County Board Room. Red Carpet USA Entertainment & Events is proud to partner with Hillsborough County NAACP, The Flyer, and Aarrow Sign Spinners. Children’s Board of Hillsborough

Continued on Next Page

Page 26

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

By Michelle Colesanti

Miller Rd., just a few doors down from Winn-Dixie (where China Chen used to be). Order Robongi online at or call 662-2997.

Bleu Salon Named To The Salon Today 200

Bleu Salon in Valrico, owned by Michael Jonson recently was named to the Salon Today 200 by Salon Today, the leading business media for salon and spa Visit David Weekley Homes 55+ community Encore at FishHawk Ranch. owners. County is located at 1002 Palm Ave. in The magazine’s 20th annual Tampa. For more information, call 943- SALON TODAY 200 issue profiled 8583 or email the selected salons in its January 2017 edition. The 200 salons were honored for their best business Encore By David Weekley Homes practices from applications submitDelivers Engaging Lifestyle ted by Salon Today readers, who represent the 20,000 top-producing One year after its launch, Encore at FishHawk Ranch is delivering an exciting, salons and spas in the country. The magazine honored appliactive lifestyle for residents. As FishHawk cants in 11 different best practice Ranch’s only 55+ lifestyle community, categories, including, Compensation & Encore by David Weekley Homes feaBenefits, Customer Service, Employee tures three series of homes that offer an Education, Inventory Management, ideal balance of livability and outstanding Philanthropy, Planned Profitability, Retail design so you can enjoy the lifestyle you want, in a home that is as beautiful as it is & Merchandising, Retention & Referral Programs, Salon Culture, Technology and accommodating. Daily activities are Growth. Bleu Salon was honored in the planned by a full-time Lifestyle Director. following: Growth. Enjoy the 5,000-sq. ft. amenity center, “Our editors recognize that strong The Oasis, where you can host a party in business leadership requires the mastery the entertainment room, meet friends on the great lawn for yoga, swim in the adult- of a number of different best business practices,” said Stacey Soble, editor-inonly pool or enjoy a game of bocce or pickle ball. If you are ready to jump into the energetic lifestyle of Encore at FishHawk Ranch, the community offers a variety of Showcase Homes ready for immediate move-in. Or, choose from our award-winning floor plans to build from the ground up and enjoy the amenities Encore has to offer while your new home is being built. For more information about Encore by David Weekley Homes at FishHawk Ranch, contact 813-422-6175.

Robongi Sushi Wok & Grill Now Open In Valrico


Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

From classic Wok selections to fresh hand-rolled sushi, Robongi is Valrico's top destination for great Asian Fusion Cuisine. Looking for a quick and filling lunch? Check out the delicious Bento Box Special--served with your choice of soup or salad, three pieces of shumai, garlic shrimp, rice, and a sushi roll of your choice. Robongi is located at 2519 E. SR 60 in Valrico, near the corner of FL-60 and S.

Bleu Salon is located at 3451 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico. Call 651-4020 or visit

A Local Artists Exhibit To Benefit Alzheimer Foundation At 22 Moons

On Saturday, April 1 from 6-9 p.m., The Gallery at 22 Moons will present a Local Artists Exhibit, which will benefit the Alzheimer Foundation Benefit and will include a Wine & Cheese Degustation. 22 Moons is located at 3110 Lithia Pinecrest Rd.Ste.103 in Valrico. Call 530-4549 for more information.

U.S. News & World Report Recognizes Hawthorne Health And Rehab Of Brandon

Hawthorne Health and Rehab of Brandon has been recognized as a Top Nursing Home for 2016-2017 by U.S. News & World Report, a leading expert in evaluation and rating of health care providers across the country. Ratings are based on information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. The methodology was updated for 2016-2017 to reflect those communities that have maintained a high level of excellence over time. This resulted in only 13% of facilities receiving the Best Nursing Home designation, which represents a 41% decrease from prior year. “This is a wonderful honor to be recognized as a top nursing home, especially in light of the more stringent criteria. We are very proud of being a leader in Nursing Home quality care and rehabilitation in our newly expanded Bounce Back rehabilitation neighborhood and gym. Our dedicated, caring staff work hard every day to enrich the lives of our residents, and this award validates their efforts,” said Hawthorne Executive Director, Joseph Cassiba.

Bloomingdale Square Shopping Center Update

With the closing of the Walmart store and other smaller businesses at the Bloomingdale Square Shopping Center, located at Bloomingdale Ave. and Bell Shoals Rd., there have been many rumors about what will be coming into the plaza. According to Leasing Agent for Regency Centers, Marc Elias, “We have a full Redevelopment planned for Bloomingdale Square Shopping Center. However, due to confidentiality agreements, I am unable to release further information at this time.” As soon as any information is released, we will let our readers know.

Lotus Nails & Spa Opens In Valrico

Get a special Mani-Pedi package or a relaxing spa treatment at Lotus Nails & Spa. It is delighted to offer a comprehensive range of services, using only premium quality an natural products. Visit Lotus Nails & Spa to experience its unique services. It is located at 3513 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico (behind Sun Trust Bank).

Fresh hand-rolled sushi is a specialty at Robongi, which recently opened in the Winn-Dixie Plaza on SR 60.

Serving It Up In Style

chief of Salon Today. “The salons named to the Salon Today 200 for 2017 not only proved they excel in one or more of these areas, they also have created rewarding environments for their staff members and standout experiences for their clients. Their willingness to share their success offers our readers important business benchmarks and inspirational businessbuilding ideas.”

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They are who THEY say they are. • You are who THEY say you are. They are where THEY say they are. • You are where THEY say you are.

Help your loved one remember the importance of warmth, acceptance and understanding. Look deep into their eyes and join them, then once again you will cherish your time with them.

March 2017

Valrico Edition

Page 27

Page 28

Disney On Ice Presents Newest Show, Worlds of Enchantment Staff Report

Enter the dazzling world of Disney magic LIVE ON ICE! Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favorite Disney stories at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment at Amalie Arena on Friday, March 24 at 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, March 25 and 26 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thrill to high-speed stunts as Lightning McQueen and the crew of Disney® Pixar’s Cars race across the ice. Dive into adventure with Ariel and The Little Mermaid’s undersea kingdom. The toys are also back in town with heroic action when Buzz, Woody, Jessie and the Disney® Pixar Toy Story gang escape Sunnyside Daycare in their most daring adventure. Plus, enter the wintery world of Arendelle with sisters Anna and Elsa and pals Olaf and Kristoff from Disney’s Frozen as they learn that true love comes from within. Prior to the performance, get warmed up for the show and be your best with exclusive moves taught by the mouse that started it all at Mickey’s Dance-Along Pre-Show. The backstage warm-up will

Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

be brought to the ice. The skating athletes of Disney On Ice will remind everyone that getting active can help you to be your best. Your whole family will dance and laugh as Mickey Mouse and the Disney On Ice performers teach the audience a new dance routine you will only learn LIVE at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment. From wheels to waves, icy wonderlands to infinity and beyond, your family’s favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment. Ages Two and older require ticket. Costumes are not permitted for guests 14 years and older. Show times vary and will be noted on your ticket, so make sure you arrive a few minutes early so you don’t miss a minute of this exciting way to get ready for the show. Amalie Arena is located at 401 Channelside Dr. in Tampa. Ticket prices start at $18. Purchase tickets at, Ticketmaster or by phone at 800-745-3000.

McAuley Fine Jewelry (Located in the former Martin Jeweler’s)

Same Staff ... Same Location ... Same Trusted Professionals of the former Martin’s Jewelers The staff and jewelers of Martin’s Jewelers will continue to provide you with the same great service and trust in workmanship that you have always enjoyed.

Ed McAuley, Owner Served The Martin Family For Over 10 Years Open Tuesday-Friday 10-6 • Saturday 10-4

813-689-8124 • Oakfield Drive, Brandon (Located in the Atlantic Village Plaza, Kings Avenue & Oakfield Drive)

March 2017

Valrico Edition

Thursday of every month. Upcoming meetings include April 20, May 18, June 15, and July 20. Physical, speech and occupational therapists will discuss treatment for issues related to balance, swallowing, talking and other skills that can be affected by Parkinson’s Disease. Hawthorne Health & Rehabilitation Center, located at 851 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon, is a skilled nursing facility with inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs including speech, physical and occupational therapies. Hawthorne also hosts a dementia support group in their assisted living facility, as well as past meetings for those dealing with strokes, diabetes, low vision and other diseases. Call 661-8998 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution is eligible for membership. For more information, please email The next meeting is April 6.

ity Band Commun trawberry ,S Concerts k, Arabian U-Pic t & More… en Horse Evby Michelle Colesanti, om ed Compil spreyobserver.c @o michelle

Eastern Hillsborough Community Band Spring Concerts

The Eastern Hillsborough Community Band will perform three concerts as part of its 2017 Spring Concert Series in the Brandon area and Sun City Center. Performance dates and locations are: Thursday, March 30, 7 p.m. at Logan Hall, New Hope United Methodist Church, 115 Knights Ave., Brandon; Thursday, April 27, 7 p.m. at Strawberry Ridge Clubhouse, 3419 State Road 60 East, Valrico; and Thursday May 4, 7 p.m. at United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, 1210 Del Webb Blvd. W., Sun City Center. A $5 suggested donation asked at the door. Reservations are not required. For more information about the band, email, visit or call 569-1771.

Brandon Coin Club Seeks New Members

The Brandon Coin Club meets the third Tuesday of every month at St. Andrews United Methodist Church, located at 331 Bryan Rd. in Brandon, Room 421 in the Disciple Hall. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. Conversation starts at 6:30 p.m. After the meeting, an auction is held for all ages. Call 719-5192 for more information.

Parkinson’s Disease Support Group

Hawthorne Health & Rehabilitation Center hosts a free monthly support group for those who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers on the third

10 Annual Strawberry U-Pick In Plant City

The Hillsborough County 4-H Foundation will conduct its 10th annual 4-H Strawberry U-Pick on Saturday, March 25 (rain or shine), and hosted by Fancy Farms of Plant City. Picking is from 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Price is $1 per quart with no limit. Containers are provided. The picking area has been expanded to accommodate the event and to insure everyone has plenty of fresh strawberries to take home. GPS field location is 1909 S. Wiggins Rd. in Plant City (½ mile west of the previous picking location). Proceeds from the event fund 4-H awards and scholarships for area 4-H youth and area food banks. Pickers can pick extra quarts and donate them at no cost to the food bank program. Picking assistance for the elderly and disabled will be provided. Call 4778332 or email

Driscoll’s Strawberry Classic 5K, 10K, Fun Run The Tampa Bay Runners Club will host the 36th

NOW OPEN South Brandon 2010 Bloomingdale Ave Hours: 6am-10pm

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Rehearsal Venue Change For Plant City Community Chorale

Annual Driscoll’s Strawberry Classic on Saturday, March 25. Join in for the Classic 5k, the Classic 10k both races in the new 15k Challenge (5K + 10k). Race times are: 10k–7:15a.m.; 5k-8:30a.m., and one mile fun run–9 a.m. Race begins at Temple Terrace Elementary School, 124 Flotto Ave. in Tampa. Enjoy music, food, massage, awards and delicious locally grown strawberries. This event also benefits Local Tampa Meals On Wheels and Children’s Dream Fund. Register at Contact Tampa Bay Runners Club, Ron Tiller, President and Race Director at 843-3276 or

Daughters of the American Revolution Alafia River Chapter Meets Locally

The Alafia River Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) meets the first Thursday evening of the month in Brandon. DAR is a nonprofit, nonpolitical volunteer women's service organization, whose mission is to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism. Some volunteer projects include collecting donations for local veterans and schools on a recurring basis, in addition to an ongoing cemetery clean-up project that aids in historic preservation/conservation. Any woman over 18 years old who can prove

Plant City Community Chorale will begin rehearsals at a new venue, Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church at 604 N. Valrico Rd. in Valrico, on Monday, March 27. For several years, the Chorale has rehearsed at First Presbyterian Church in Plant City, but the Chorale has grown over the years, adding more members from different areas, and Holy Innocents’ will be more centrallylocated. The Chorale hopes to attract new singers in the Valrico-Brandon area. The Chorale’s next concert is on Saturday, March 25, at Holy Innocents’. Call 493-1979 or visit

Discover The Arabian Horse

Local business, ShowBiz Arabians, owned by Lisa LoringPowell, is hosting The Central Florida Arabian Horse Association's first "meet & greet" at the farm on Saturday, March 18 from 12 Noon-4 p.m. There will be lots for families to do while visiting the farm. Be introduced to this magnificent breed, the Arabian horse; demonstrations of what these beautiful creatures can do; there are quite a few foals on the premises for the families to view; and there will be a drawing for a lucky person to win three free riding lessons, given by a professional trainer. The event is being held to give the public a chance to get up close with these often misunderstood Arabians. ShowBiz Arabians is located at 8731 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Lithia. For more information, email

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Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 3

nt, king Eve Scrapboo Speaker, Mission inner At W Grammy ch & More… r u h Shiloh C Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Spirited Toastmasters Open House

Spirited Toastmasters meets on the first and third Tuesdays of every month at 7 p.m. at Saint Stephen School, 10424 St Stephen Cir, in Riverview. Anyone can drop in to see how Toastmasters can help improve your speaking and leadership skills in a friendly and supporting environment. Visitors are welcome to attend Spirited Toastmasters’ Open House on Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. More information can be found at

Impact Hosts Auditions For Impact’s Got Talent

The third annual Impact’s Got Talent 2017 will be held on Friday, May 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Bloomingdale High School. Krades K-12 are encouraged to audition for this fun-filled event. Singers, dancers, musicians, theater, soloist, groups are all welcome. The grand prize is $250. Trophies will be awarded to 1st & 2nd place in each category as well as prizes for certain awards. Acts must be three minutes or under and you must audition with the act you would be performing the night of the event. You may audition a cappella or

with a track. Contestants Monday to Wednesday, April 3-5 at 7 selected for the event p.m. each night. She will speak about will be asked to pay a “Redeeming Conflict. registration fee of $15 “Sometimes we think that if we per person (solos & were good Christians, our lives would duets), $10 each perbe void of conflict. Nothing could be son for groups of three further than the truth. The witness of or more to help offset Jesus and the history of the church the cost of trophies tells us that conflict is a perennial facand prizes. tor of life lived in community with othAuditions will take ers. But, the tensions we encounter place on Sunday, March don’t need to tear us apart. Handled 26 at 1 p.m. well, they have potential to help us Visit or build much stronger relationships contact Ali Kagey at 454-9125 Earn Bright Futures for participating as summer staff for Teen with each other and become holier IMPACT or for persons. Come reflect on what the an appointment time. Christian tradition has to teach us Registration fees include workspace and Teen IMPACT is a group of high for Friday dinner at 6:30 p.m. and snacks. about conflict done well,” Garrido said. school teens committed to saying YES to St. Stephen is located at 5049 Bell For Saturday, a light breakfast, lunch and healthy relationships and a positive future a dessert buffet. You must bring your own Shoals Rd. in Valrico. Visit by saying NO to premarital sex, drugs, supplies. Registration fees for both days tobacco and alcohol. is $55 (Friday only $25, Saturday only

Teen Impact Accepting Applications For Summer Staff

Join the Teen IMPACT Presentation Team where you will learn and present educational skits on the benefits of healthy relationships. Students may earn Bright Futures Hours for participation. Applications are available at Application deadline if Friday, March 31. Teen IMPACT is a group of high school teens committed to saying YES to healthy relationships and a positive future by saying NO to premarital sex, drugs, tobacco and alcohol.

Whistle Stop Crop Scrapbooking Event

Holy Innocent’s Episcopal Church is hosting its Whistle Stop Crop on Friday, March 31 from 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m. and Saturday, April 1 from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

$30); Early registration (by March 24) is $45. Proceeds from this event will benefit Holy Innocents summer mission trips. It will be held at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, 604 N. Valrico Rd. in Valrico. Register at Call 689-3130.

Lenten Mission Speaker Comes To St. Stephen Catholic Church

Dr. Ann Garrido, a Catholic writer, educator, administrator and communications consultant who has a passion for bringing the best research and practice of healthy communication and conflict management from the business world into the church world, will be the Lenten Mission Speaker at St. Stephen Catholic Church,

Jason Crabb To Perform At Shiloh Baptist Church In Plant City

Two-time Grammy winner and the winner of 21 DOVE awards, Jason Crabb, will be in concert at Shiloh Baptist Church in Plant City on March 25 at 7 p.m. Crabb rose to prominence singing with his siblings as the Crabb Family, but recently transitioned to the contemporary Christian music world and in 2016 won a Grammy for the Contemporary Christian Album of the Year and four DOVE Awards. General admission is $20 and VIP admission is $30. Tickets can be purchased at the church office, located at 1104 Cason St. from Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. or at

March 2017

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Valrico Edition

Sheriff’s Office Partners With Community To Bring Resources To The Homeless

By Amanda Boston

“If anyone has organizations and communimaterial possessions ties together,” explained and sees a brother or Whitney. sister in need but has no The Brandon Elks Lodge, pity on them, how can Brandon Moose Lodge and the love of God be in Salvation Army combined that person?” (1 John forces and resources to dis3:17) On Tuesday, tribute 200 peanut butter and January 31 at Bay Life’s jelly sandwiches, hot meals, Chapel on Martin Luther toiletry bags, blankets and King Blvd, the love of clothing. Bob Blair, an officer God propagated conof the Elks Lodge said, “I am jointly with the spirit of now retired, and my wife and I gratitude as the donate all the time we can to Hillsborough County help out the homeless.” The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Tampa Police Volunteers Carol Flood, Charlene Chassee, Elisa Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), Thirty-eight years ago, Department held a homeless outreach in Seffner, which provided Blair and Julie Ebert dispensed peanut butter and Tampa Police Blair was homeless and individuals with a “one-stop shop” of services and comforts. jelly sandwiches and hot meals to the homeless.. Department (TPD) and sleeping in his car. He held a local community united job, but was unable to afford for a homeless outreach. housing. Thankfully, a co-workThe Chapel’s parker discovered his plight and ing lot temporarily transoffered him room and board. formed into a “one-stop Blair attributed his comeback to shop” of community his co-worker’s kindness and resource tables dispenssupport. He continued, “I know ing clothing, hot meals, what it takes to bring the dignity housing assistance, back to the homeless...That’s health-screenings, vacciwhy I jumped in with both feet. I nations, backpacks, hairget a little misty just seeing the cuts, identification cards, outpouring of help the homeless toiletry bags and Bibles. get at these events.” Joshua Boyer, a deputy from the Homeless Initiative Women’s Resource Center along with community volunThe More than 100 homeless The next Homeless organized the outreach providing more than 100 individuteers distributed clothing to those in need. individuals registered for Initiative outreach is on als with resources and services. healthcare, mental health care, substance services and received necessities. In Tuesday, March 14 from 10 tion,” explained Boyer. abuse help and permanent housing. addition to the abundance of material a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Target Plaza by Randi Whitney, a homeless liaison Joshua Boyer, a deputy with the resources, the atmosphere was fragrant officer for TPD considers herself an urban Bruce B Downs Blvd. and Fletcher Ave. If Homeless Initiative spearheaded the outwith love, encouragement and hope. you or your organization would like to get camper travel agent. “We try to get them reach. “Our main goal is to see the homeIn 2010, HCSO began the Homeless (the homeless) connected with resources. involved, contact Deputy Boyer at jboyless get off the street. It’s good to give Initiative with only one deputy. Today, the I don’t have housing or resources, but I them clothes and food, but that is just the program consists of five deputies whose For information about the HCSO can help by navigating them to those band-aide. We need to give them the mission is to assist the homeless with Homeless Initiative, visit its Facebook services. We all work together. That’s the services they need for a long-term soluobtaining identification, food and clothing, page at HCSO Homeless Initiative. way to get things done—by bringing

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Page 32

Valrico Edition

Shakes, Rattles, Rides, & Rods Rally For Parkinson’s Disease Over five million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s disease, a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder whose symptoms typically progress from mild tremors to complete physical incapacitation. Putting it mildly, life with Parkinson’s can be a rough road to travel. However, when Rick Karczewski received his diagnosis, he made the decision to fight back. For this reason, he is heavily involved with the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Francis J. Zesiewicz Foundation, which are dedicated to finding a cure and developing treatments that improve the quality of life through the funding of Parkinson’s research. Before his own diagnosis, Karczewski often looked for events that combined his love of motorcycles with a good cause. Heading up a rally seemed like the natural next step. Karczewski wants to get the word out on his great local event benefiting both charities, and he invites the public to take part in the Third Annual Shakes, Rattles, Rides, & Rods fundraiser, which takes place Saturday April 1. This event combines a community ride day with fun and fellowship. The cost per person is $15. The ride is open to all street legal motorcycles and jeeps with registration from 9:30-10:45 a.m. at AMVETS Post 44. They roll out by

By Amy Schechter

11 a.m., so be there early. Whether you have a bike or not, you can still meet the entire crew at Harley Davidson of Brandon beginning at 12 Noon where for the same $15 donation, all participants can enjoy food from Portillo’s restaurant and activities like live music, a bike/jeep show, various vendors, an auction, and raffle. Karczewski has a special goal. He hopes to raise $16K individually, so he can give it all back to the local Parkinson’s community. He said, “You never see benefits for Parkinson’s. Once I got it, I said I wasn’t going to let it kick my a**.” This is just as much about others as it is for him personally, though. He knows that Parkinson’s impacts people right here in his community, many of whom are now his friends. That’s why most of the funds stay local helping our neighbors and their families. This is sure to be a great day for all involved. For those participating in the ride, AMVETS Post 44 is located at 5521 FL60 in Plant City. For those meeting up at Harley Davidson of Brandon, the address is 9841 E Adamo Dr. in Tampa. For information, visit or contact Rick Karczewski 810-5001. To donate directly, visit Karczewski’s secure donations page at

Volume 14, Issue 3

State-of-the-Art 5th Gear Fitness Offers Popular Fitness Classes, Childcare & More By Amy Schechter

Have your mind/body, nutriNew Year’s fittion, and correcness resolutions tive exercise. de-railed? Do Inside the yoga you begin exerstudio, a range of cising only to classes are lose momenoffered including tum? warm yoga, taba5th Gear ta yoga, ballet Fitness offers barre, barre consomething for tour and pilates Angie Williams, Gretchen Trasorras, and Jessica Adams, owners & trainers at 5th Gear everyone at all reformer Fitness. levels of experimachines, which ence with the goal of working personincorporate resistance into traditional ally with each client to optimize whole pilates movements. Perhaps the cardio equipment is fitness, health, and well-being through the most impressive. The treadmills training, consultation, education, and are curved, allowing the runner to conmotivation. trol the speed and place more demand The owners of 5th Gear Fitness want to inspire change mentally and on the user than a traditional tread by physically. Gretchen Trasorras, partforcing you to use more muscles. owner and trainer with over 30 years HIIT classes also utilize MyZone in the industry, believes that in order to heart rate monitoring technology so see results, clients have a strong need coaches know when to push and when for “community relationships formed in to real you back in. Finally, the cardio a positive setting of like-minded peocycle room with RealRyders, stationple.” Trasorras advocates what she ary bikes that tilt from side to side calls “trainer swapping” so clients can mimicking an outdoor bike and requirget the full spectrum of expertise. She, ing much greater core activation than the trainers, and the other owners, traditional spin bikes. Jessica Adams and Angie Williams, 5th Gear Fitness offers child-care, have different skills and expertise from shower stalls/lockers, and nutrition resistance training, to yoga, to highcounseling. intensity interval training (HIIT) & The March special includes a St. more. Patrick’s Day four-leaf clover good toward four free visits for new guests. 5th Gear Fitness offers a range of individualized training and group class- Existing clients and new enrollments can enter to win their part of the pot of es all founded on "whole fitness" phigold by referring friends and family. losophy based on five fundamental fitVisit ness components: cardio, resistance,

March 2017

Valrico Edition

Page 33

2017 Camps Offer Many Options To Keep Kids Engaged This Summer It’s only the start of spring, but before you know, the dog days of summer will be upon us. What can you do to keep the kids entertained? Where can they go to try new things, learn how to swim, meet new friends and have great adventures and even learn about places and cultures far away? There are many options to choose from locally that will fit the bill. The staff at the Osprey Observer has collected the top recommendations for local summer camps and created this special pull out section. Maybe your kids would like to spend the summer “horsing around.” R&R Ranch offers just that opportunity, and not just to learn to horseback ride, but also about the care of the horses. At Music Showcase, music and theatre take the stage and so can your child. Musicals such as The Lion King Jr. and Legally Blonde Jr. will be offered, and your child can hold starring roles in these and other popular musicals offered from the Florida Academy of Performing Arts for children ages 5 and up. The local YMCAs will offer many types of camps which mix fun along with great learning experiences. With choices of half or full day camps, there is something for everyone. LEGOs and robotics take center stage at the camps offered by TechplayZone. Introduce your kids to hands-on fun that will both enrich and entertainment them.

Camp Superkids at A Child’s Haven offers field trips twice a week. Do you want your kids to retain the math skills they learned during the school year? Mathnasium is the place to help give them a strong start in the fall. For dates, prices and registration information on these and more, turn the page and enjoy this special section and have a great summer. Your kids will use a lot of STEAM by enjoying the science and tech camps offered this summer by MOSI. Your kids can experiment with many different things that will be offered. For the artist in your family, sign them up for workshops to learn about painting, drawing, pottery, modeling and more at Center Place Fine Arts. With weekly themes utilizing age-specific activities and field trips that make BSAC unique, your kids will enjoy every moment of summer camp. Did we miss one? Let us know by e-mailing subject line “Summer Camp” to and we will be sure to add our full listing online.

New Summer Camp At The Suncoast Youth Conservation Center In Apollo Beach By Kathy L. Collins grades six through eight will get to experience the camp the week of June 12. The center will then offer Kayak Adventures the week of June 19 for children in grades three to five, and then the week of June 26 for children in grades six to eight. Summer camps at the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center in Suncoast Apollo Beach will provide exciting opportunities for children to learn about marine life and the coastal environment while they campers will take participating in fun activities such as fishing and kayaking this excursions through summer. the mangroves of Are you looking for a fun, unique and Newman Branch Creek paddling their exciting summer camp for your child this own sit-on-top kayak. In the fishing camp, summer? The Suncoast Youth students will have a chance to catch a Conservation Center in Apollo Beach is "linker" snook or possibly release a redoffering summer camps for children in fish and go home with a fishing rod and third grade to fifth grade and those in tackle box at the end of the week. Kayak sixth grade through eighth grade. adventurers will gain invaluable boating The Suncoast Youth Conservation and seamanship skills that will help earn Center is a hands-on marine science cen- them a safe boating certificate. ter that is part of a much larger statewide The cost is $190 per week per child. network of youth conservation centers. The center is located at 505 Estuary Their mission is the create the next genShore Lane in Apollo Beach. eration that cares about Florida's natural Please visit The Suncoast Youth coast for more information and to regConservation Center will offer Saltwater ister your child for an exciting summer Fish Camp for children in grades three to experience. If you have questions, five the week of June 5. Children in please call 922-7969.


Ages K5 through

5th Grade

Themed weekly camps. You pick which camps to attend. 2 weekly field trips for K5 - 5th grade

Fee for K5 - 5th Grade $125 Weekly Includes ALL Field Trips & Activity Fees

Healthy Lunch and Snacks Fun Academic Summer Studies Character Building Awesome Friendships Arcade Recreation Room Tons of Fun Activities

A Child’s Haven

1520 Brentwood Hills Blvd, Valrico S of Hwy 60, N or Lumsden, off Mt. Carmel • CHC 404

Get Ready For Kids ‘R’ Kids Most Interactive Summer Adventure Ever

Discover and explore a unique camp each week. During Kids R Kids 10 week summer camp series, campers will explore their hidden talkents, potential passions and intriguing interests. Each boy and girl will experience art and cooking, engineering and community service and everything in-between. This summer camp is all about the journey to discover what suits each camper’s personality – the quest to discover what they like best. Kids R Kids Valrico is located at 4321 Lynx Paw Trail in Valrico. Call 657-6200. Kids 'R' Kids Learning Academy of Circa / FishHawk is located at 5815 Kids Crossing Dr. in Lithia. Call 654-7000. For info on both locations, visit

Etiquette & Modeling, Collage, Creative 3-D Masks, Cruise around the World, Fantasy Sculptures, Paper Schulpures, Pet Sculptures, Print Makimg, Project Role-Model, Recycled Art, Space Art and Wet & Wild Canvases. Classes are offered from Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Register today by calling 685-8888 or visit

Mathnasium Now Enrolling For Summer

You can keep your kids on track this summer by enrolling them at

Find Fun Activities For Your Budding Artists At Center Place Fine Arts

Who knew that art could be so much fun? This summer, you can sign up your budding artists, ages 7 to 16, for workshops at Center Place Fine Arts. Learn about painting, drawing, pottery, modeling and more. Workshops include Art Journaling, Art Mural, Build a Beach Party, Charm,

Mathnasium. The summer programs are designed to combat summer learning loss. Through their time spent during the summer at Mathnasium, your kids will retain all they learned in math class this year giving them a strong

Now Enrolling!

• 6 Weeks Through 12 Years • Full & Part Time Options • Open: M-F 6am to 6:30pm • Creative Curriculum for Infants & Toddlers • ABC Mouse Computer Technology • Brainwaves Curriculum • APPLE Accreditation • STEAM Curriculum • Security Code Access Entry • FREE Internet Viewing of Your Child’s Day • Outdoor Playgrounds with Water Park • Before & After School Care: 6-12 Years Stowers, Valrico Academy, FishHawk Creek, Bevis, Lithia Springs, Alafia, Cimino, and Foundation Christian

• Nutritious Meals & Snacks: Low Salt & Sugar • Spanish & Music Included • Trained Professional Staff, Certified in First Aid & CPR • Extracurricular Programs

start in the fall. For information on mini-summer camps and summer fun nights, call 655-6284. Visit for more information. Mathnasium offers help in math, enrichment, and test prep as well as homework help. It is located at 1048 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico.

MOSI Offers Lots of Choice Science and Tech Camps

When school is out, MOSI is in. Get in-depth and hands-on with your favorite Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) subjects or try something totally new. Enjoy hands-on experience and building projects. From extracting DNA to launching rockets and building robots, we are about creating the experiences that expand interests and make dreams a reality. Doing real science with the tools and technologies used by industry professionals is just one way MOSI Summer Science Camps inspire our campers with a can-do attitude that can last a lifetime. Real science coupled with exciting experiments, simulations, explorations, and inventions will help

you discover the innovator within. Instruction in the camps are by certified teachers and experienced science and technology educators in a positive environment. There will be opportunities to conduct experiments and use cutting-edge equipment and technology. Your kids will have access to current science and technology in one of the best science centers in the world. Summer Camp at MOSI will take place from Tuesday, May 29 through Wednesday, August 9. Upgrades available for extended care from 7–9 a.m. and 4–6 p.m. and daily hot lunches are available. Register online at or call 987-6000 for more information. MOSI is located at 4801 E Fowler Ave. in Tampa

Enjoy Music and More This Summer At The Florida Academy of Performing Arts

Full and half day camps are available for kids ages 5 and up at The Florida Academy of Performing Arts (FAOPA) at Music Showcase. Kids will enjoy drums, acting, guitar, field trips, singing and games and more. Musical Theatre productions of The Lion King Experience, Jr., Legally Blonde the Musical, Jr., Winnie the

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Two Great Locations!

CIRCA FISHHAWK 813-654-7000 5815 Kids Crossing Drive

(Located next to Stowers Elementary and Mosaic)

VALRICO 813-657-6200 4321 Lynx Paw Trail (Located across fromLithia Springs Elementary)

NOW ENROLLING SUMMER & FALL VPK Voluntary Pre Kindergarten 2017-18

“FREE 3 Hr Program with “Pay for rest of day” Option • Accelerated Pre-K Curriculum with Math, Science, Spanish, Music, Sign Language & More • Preparation for National Kindergarten Standards • Must be 4 years old by September 1, 2017 • Must be Florida resident • Class times: Tuesday - Friday, 8:30am - 12:15pm

Pooh Kids and Doctor Dolittle Jr. will all take place this summer. For more information, call 4902787 or visit

Kids Will Enjoy Horsing Around at R&R Ranch

R&R Ranch is a family-owned and operated horse ranch specializing in horse experiences for the young child and beginner riders. Campers range in age from 6-12. They will enjoy daily trail rides and hay rides along with receiving an education on grooming and the care of the horses and farm animals Kids will also enjoy a bounce castle, movies and popcorn in the air conditioned camp house, a petting zoo with baby bunnies, chicks, ducks and baby pigs, arts, crafts, and more. The cost for camp, which takes place Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. is $195 per week or $50 per day. Early and late pickup can be arranged. Spaces are limited. Camp runs from Monday, May 29 through Friday, August 4. R&R Ranch is located at 9805 Bryant Rd. in Lithia. For more informa-

tion, visit or call 6553819.

Your Kids Will Enjoy the Best Summer Ever At Y Camps

The local YMCA’s are offering a Passport to the Best Summer Ever from Tuesday, May 30 through Friday, August 4. Get ready for the total camp experience. Day Camp is separated by grade level and features a rotation of diverse activities including indoor games, outdoor recreation, team challenges, structured and free swim. The themes change weekly and range from Super Heroes to Around the World and everything in between. Specialty camps are for kids looking for something different. Choose from any number of skills and specialties. Sports camps are for the kid who is an athlete at heart. It is for those looking to try a new sport, or those simply curious about sports in general. The camps are full of fun with an amphasis on team work, sportsmanship and fundamentals. Aquatic camps include swim lessons and lots of fun water adventures

guaranteed to keep kids active and engaged. Teen camps are for those looking to develop leadership skills. Gymnastic camps are for all skill levels from beginner to advance. Adaptive camps are available for campers with special needs insuring fun and inclusion for all. For more information on the North Brandon location, call 685-5402, Campo Family location, call 684-1371, Camp Cristina, call 677-8400 or register online at

TechPlayzone Offers HandsOn Technology Enrichment In Fun & Safe Environment

TechPlayzone has led the charge for engaging young people in science, technology, engineering, and math since 2005. With an increased demand for hands-on technology enrichment, TechPlayzone has continued to provide families with excellent curriculum,

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Summer Camp at

Camps Dates:

May 29th through

August 4th Sign Up for

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and fun in a safe environment for all kids. Give your child a high-tech advantage at TechPlayzone this summer. TechPlayzone Engineering Camp - TechPlayzone is pleased to partner with the Doolittle Institute to offer an engineering camp for young people in 2nd-12th grades. This will allow campers to build and program drone quad-copter robots, self-driving cars with sensors, and 3d print objects for use with Tetrix Robotics Systems. This camp has been developed for kids who enjoy problem-solving, designing, and building and will take place at 1528 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. Camps are weekly from Monday, June 5Friday, August 4. The cost is $150 per week from 9 a.m.-12 Noon or 1-4 p.m. TechPlayzone STEM Camp TechPlayzone is pleased to partner with Families Instructing Students at Home (FISH) to offer an amazing STEM camp for all young people in 2nd-7th grade. TechPlayzone Camp at Bell Shoals Baptist church includes hands-on science experiments, LEGO Mindstorms Robotics, and Minecraft

for Engineers. Campers rotate through hands-on activities. Each week is a different theme and campers enjoy different challenges every week. It will take place at Bell Shoals Baptist Church - The Annex, located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon from 9 a.m.-12 Noon. This camp is for ages 7-11 and costs $125 per week. It will run Monday to Friday, July 10-14, July 2428, and July 31-August 4. More details and camp descriptions will be available at For more info, call 6847329 or email

more information call 684-1622 or visit

BSAC Offers A Lot Of Fun Activities For Kids This Summer

What should we do with the kids this summer? Here at BSAC your child gets the state-park old-fashioned camp experience you had as a child, with some modern technology, like Wii Challenge Competitions, thrown in. The Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center has the most comprehensive summer camp in the greater Brandon area for ages 3 to 14. With weekly themes come corresponding age-specific activities and field trips that make

our summer camp unique. In addition, each child has the opportunity to experience all of the sports that you have come to expect at BSAC; swimming, tennis, diving and more! Lunches and snacks can be brought from home or purchased from our full concession bar, and we will have special days featuring Chick Fil A and PDQ. Each child has the option to attend BSAC's Summer Camp per day or week – any family needs can be met. Full day and half day programs are available. For more information, call 689-0908 or visit BSAC is located at 405 Beverly Blvd. in Brandon.

Your Kids Will Enjoy Camp Superkids at A Child’s Haven

Different themed camps will keep your kids busy at A Child’s Haven. Camp is for ages K5 through 5th grade. Each week there will be two weekly field trips. Your kids will enjoy a healthy lunch and snacks along with fun academic summer studies, character building, awesome friendships, an arcade recreation room and lots of other fun activities. The cost is $125 per week and includes all field trips and activity fees. A Child’s Haven is located at 1520 Brentwood Hills Blvd. in Valrico. For

Award W inning STEM Camps Since 2005 Where Bright & Creative Kids Play to Learn


March 2017

Page 39

Valrico Edition

Christian Music Artist Francesca Battistelli Will Perform At Bell Shoals Church

By Amanda Boston

Contemporary on as a singerChristian music artist songwriter and into Francesca Battistelli will the realm of perform with the Bell Christian music. Shoals’ Worship Choir. The singer has The concert begins at released four 7:30 p.m. with doors Christian albums opening at 6:30 p.m. to spanning a 10-year the church’s state-of-theperiod with each album echoing difart lighting and sound ferent stages of her venue. Attendees can life. Since her first expect Battistelli to sing album release in her chart-topping Christian songs as well 2004, the musician as a few of her favorite has transitioned Broadway tunes. from a teen to a Tickets range from mother of three. $14.50 per person for Who: Francesca Battistelli Battistelli is a main floor seating to recipient of six What: Christian Music Concert $68 per person for the GMA Dove When: Friday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. Artist Circle seating, Awards and four Grammy nominawhich includes a meet Where: Bell Shoals Baptist Church 2102 Bell Shoals Rd., Brandon tions. In 2016, and greet. Due to the she won a popularity of the main- Tickets: Grammy and stream artist, tickets are expected to sell out quickly. said, “I am so honored and humbled Battistelli partnered with True to have been recognized with a North Presents, an agency assemGrammy award for Holy Spirit, a song bling accomplished musicians with that has meant so much to me.” capable church music ministries For additional information on the across the nation. The musicianship artist, please visit her Website at exhibited at these events dazzle audi- For quesences with a matchless and rewarding tions regarding the concert, please listening experience. contact True North Presents at Battistelli was born into a musical or call 615-775-1088. You may also visit its family in New York City, but was Website at raised in Florida. At age 15, she was The cona member of the pop music group cert venue is located at 2102 Bell Bella, based out of Orlando. After the pop group dissolved, Battistelli moved Shoals Rd. in Brandon.


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Marti Ryan coordinates Community Relations & Engagement for a large and growing department in Hillsborough County. A career broadcaster, she first transitioned to government service in 2005 as the Public Information Officer (spokesperson) for the county animal shelter. Marti continues to serve a variety of locations and special projects –including the county’s Marine Safety Unit. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from George Mason University.

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Page 40

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 3

With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins

Arts Council Of Plant City Presents The Plant City Statue Challenge The J. Seward Johnson Sculptures one and submit it to the photo contest on have returned to Plant City, and this time, visitors are invited to take part in the Plant Make sure to use #PCStatue17 in the caption. City Statue Challenge hosted by the Arts The challenge lasts just one day, Council of Plant City on Saturday, April 1. April Fool’s Day, but the statues will be on Come to McCall Park located in historic loan and available for viewing until downtown Plant City between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and get registered for this very Thursday, June 1. The Plant City Statue Challenge will take fun challenge. place during the According to spring in the Park Shelly Drummond, an event. Drummond organizer of the chalsaid, “We are partnerlenge, “The Plant City ing with Plant City Statue Challenge is a Main Street on that call to local individuday and encourage als, groups, clubs, participants to allow businesses and other time to visit vendors organizations to take and enjoy the other on the challenge of creating their own livGather up your friends, family or even activities of spring in ing ‘statue’ on April co-workers and take on the Plant City the park.” Statue Challenge on Saturday, April 1. The top three Fool’s Day. It is a photo entries of the Plant City Statue great way to show your creativity, proChallenge will win and will be notified by mote your business and share your email and will receive gift baskets featurhometown pride.” ing local treasures from Plant City. Once you are registered, you can Drummond added, “The Plant City then choose from the 10 statues strategiStatue Challenge is a way to get the cally placed around Plant City. There are community out together, to play and statues in McCall Park, at the Bruton share our creative spirit.” Memorial Library, at Plant City The Arts Council of Plant City supEntertainment, at Plant City Photo ports arts and arts programs in the Artchives, at the Village Green Park, at greater Plant City area. For more informaCity Hall and at the Robert Willaford tion on the challenge, please email Railroad Museum and Platform. Take Drummond at photos with the statues, select the best

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The East Hillsborough Art Guild Presents The 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show The 2017 City office throughFlorida Strawberry out the coming Festival Fine Art year. Show, presented The by the East Strawberry Theme Hillsborough Art Award winner is Guild (EHAG), is Nadia Blake of a great art show Valrico. Her piece open to all Florida was chosen by a residents includmember of the ing children. The Florida Strawberry Festival annual show The winner of this year’s Strawberry Theme which is held dur- Award for the 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival Association, and she will receive ing the Florida Fine Art Show is Nadia Blake from Valrico. the red and white rosette ribbon and a Strawberry Festival has grown and has $100 monetary prize. become a fantastic attraction for those Vosler said of the show itself, “It is a visiting the festival. This year’s chairman, Karen Crumley, did an outstanding job in high quality show. I am very impressed.” managing and presenting the show. Vosler added, “It is one of the best organThe Best of Show winner is from a ized shows I have ever judged. I was professional oil painter, John Brennan pleasantly surprised with how well organfrom Lutz. Brennan received the purple ized it was.” rosette ribbon and a $300 monetary 2017 was another great year for the award. The judge for the show, Kerry amount of prize money that was awardLynn Vosler said of the winning painting ed. This is thanks to the generosity of the featuring a bird, "It stirred me. I was very community including Jarrett-Scott Ford, impressed. The piece was very cohesive Suncoast Credit Union and the many and well executed.” businesses and organizations that sponThe winner of the Suncoast Credit sor prizes through the Business Leader’s Union Purchase Award is Regina Espitia Choice Awards. These leaders include of Lakeland. She received not only the Kay Sullivan with Winthrop Town Centre, teal rosette purchase award ribbon but St. Clement Catholic Church, the Arts also $500. In addition, the Plant City Council of Plant city and the Osprey branch of Suncoast Credit Union which Observer. chose the piece, will display it in the Plant Visit

March 2017

Florida State Fair Recycled Yard Art Winners On Display Through March 21

Lisa Meredith & Lynn Barber

As you probably know by now, twice a year, we sponsor a Recycled Yard Art Contest, one at the Hillsborough County Fair and one at the Florida State Fair. The purpose of the Recycled Yard Art Contest is to increase environmental awareness and encourage reuse/recycling of materials into yard art. The competition involved two and three dimensional art created from items already used for their original purpose. During the 12 days of the 2017 Florida State Fair, attendees voted for the People’s Choice award on one of the 24 entries submitted. The votes have been tallied, all 9,142 of them (an increase from the 2016 vote total of 8,144), and the winner is: Andy Hamilton for the “Farm Bike” created with boat fenders, bicycle parts, wheels and a propane cylinder. Jeffrey Scott De Blasio won first place for his “Metal Bonefish Sculpture”, which was created from horseshoes and various other metal parts. Dowdell Middle Magnet School won the first place Middle School Award for its creation, “Teacup Planter” that utilized old tires, tin cans,

paint, a paper bag and rope. The first place award for an Elementary School went to Ballast Point Elementary for “Fence Picket Self Portraits” made with reclaimed

wooden fence pickets. First place for a High School was awarded to Hannah Barrionuevo from Wharton High School for her “Piano” created from clay and clothespins. All of the contest winning entries will be on display at the UF/IFAS Extension Service, 5339 CR 579, Seffner, until March 21. We hope you will stop by to view these creations, stroll through the Bette S. Walker Discovery Garden and see what we have to offer. I’m truly amazed at the creativity of all of the artists. Each of us would probably be surprised at how creative we can be. This is a great time to put on your thinking caps for a Recycled Yard Art project you have been considering creating…and create it. We will have two Recycled Yard Art competitions in 2018; one at the Hillsborough County Fair, and one at the Florida State Fair. Hope you will participate. Thanks for Reducing, Reusing, Recycling and Repeating.

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Wine & Dine Through Italy And Sicily With Tasty Suitcase Travel Tours

By Michelle Colesanti

When most Debora Felton, a Sales people think of Associate at Rolling Pin, traveled visiting Italy, the with Cinzia’s group to Sicily in thought of good September 2016. “As a USF food is high on Humanities major with a Food the list of reaStudies Certificate, I was given sons to visit this this trip as a gift from my brother scenically and friends so beautiful and that I could highly cultured Modica is known as experience the country. Cinzia the capital of Sicilian influence of chocolate. Cripe knows other cultures this first hand. Born in Bergamo, a through the town in northern Italy, she came to food. I fell in love the U.S. in 1990, first settling with her with the country.” Cooking Classes at the hotel husband in North Dakota. She has Kathy and are part of the Sicily tour. lived in Florida for the last 20 years, Mark Nixon but returns annually to her homeland to were also on the tour. Mark had recently visit family. retired and they had another trip schedAs a chef, who owned her own uled, but really wanted to visit Sicily. restaurant, Luna Rosa, when she first “We were friends with Cinzia and moved to the area, sharing her love of very interested in the concept of food, the cooking comes naturally to her. She curculture and the history so chose to go rently works as a chef at Rolling Pin Food with her. We’d do it again in a heartbeat,” Emporium, but her main love remains Kathy noted. She was impressed with the with combining cooking, travel and food. welcoming spirit of the people. Cinzia started receiving requests Mark thought Sicily was interesting from catering customers to bring groups because it is a place of so many different to Italy. She loved the idea of sharing her cultures from the Roman Coliseum to culture and food with others, and has normal cities and towns. He enjoyed visitbeen offering trips for the last year and a ing the fishing villages, farms and green half. houses. She said, “I don’t want to do anything The groups consist of at least 10 tourist related, my trips offer time visiting people, but no more than 16. farms and wineries where you can give Her next tour will be to Sicily time and attention to the flavors – to get from August 26 to September 5. The the essence of the trip.” deadline to sign up for this tour is Each tour offers sightseeing, cooking Wednesday, March 15. For upcoming classes with Michelin Star Chefs, super dates and deadlines, call 298-9538 or deluxe accommodations, and first class email Visit restaurants.



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Page 42

Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

Hunt, Quit Easter Egg Brandon Smoking, tration & is Broncos Regre… Mo

Pre-registration is required by calling 9747889 or visit

Learn Your Psychology Of Color

Join in for a Create Workshop on the Psychology of Color at the Bloomingdale Regional Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, on Saturday, April 1 from 10:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. Local artist and teacher, Jennifer Hand, will help you explore color, and the impact it can have on your life. You will discover your color preferences, and how to weave them into your life and use them to illustrate your writing. Supplies will be provided,

Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

14 from 6:308:30 p.m., fun and Easter egg hunt included. Please visit

Volunteers Needed As Local Weather Observers

Do you ever wonder how much rainfall you received from a recent thunderstorm? If so, a volunteer Hawthorne Village Retirement weather observing program needs your Community will hold its annual Easter help. The Community Collaborative Egg Hunt on Friday, April 14 at 11 a.m. Rain, Hail, and Snow network, or Hunt for (over 2,000) eggs and meet CoCoRaHS, is looking for new volunand get your picture taken with the teers across Florida. The grassroots Easter Bunny. This event is for ages 12 effort is part of a and under. There will be prizes and growing national refreshments. network of homeHawthorne Village is located at based and amateur 859 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon. For rain spotters with a more information, call 661-8998 or goal of providing a visit high density precipinetwork that tation Spring Fling Craft & Vendor Event will supplement Come and support your local existing observasmall businesses at the Spring Fling tions. Craft & Vendor Event on Sunday, To become a March 19 from 12 Noon-5 p.m. CoCoRaHS observVendors will introduce new products er, visit www.cocoand crafters will show off their new and click hand-made items. on the “Join The Event will take place at The CoCoRaHS” Barn at Winthrop, 11349 Come join the fun at Hawthorne Village’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt. emblem on the Bloomingdale Ave. in Riverview. For upper right side of more info, contact Lynn Malone at the main website. but please bring a poem or story of 404-7426 or your own, or a favorite author, to Grow Into Your Family Fun Day At trate. Register at the library's Help Barnes & Noble Desk, or call 273-3652. There is a 15 Help For Quitting Tobacco person limit. On Saturday, April 1 from 11 a.m.Quitting Tobacco 2 p.m., Barnes & Noble in Brandon will isn’t easy. Finding Brandon host a book fair with Grow Into You, an help should be. Broncos Early organization that provides assistance Tobacco Free Registration for foster children who are aging out of Florida offers free And the foster care system. Supporters will tools and services to Community be invited to shop in the store during help you get started. Event that time, and Barnes & Noble will Free Community donate a percentage of the proceeds to The worksite and clinic their foundation. Several activities are Brandon groups will be planned to entertain guests. There will Broncos will be offered with probe a Beauty and the Beast Storytime holding early grams covering all and Sing-a-Long with Activities and on- site regisforms of tobacco. Giveaways from 11 a.m.-12 Noon. tration events Free Nicotine During the event, there will be local on Sunday replacement patchauthors scheduled. Steve Altier will be March 26 from es, gum and signing his new book for Young Adults, 12 Noon-3 p.m. and Wednesday April lozenges will be available, while supLizardville The Ghost Story. Gwen 5 from 6:30- 8:30 p.m. Football players plies last and if medically appropriate. Rollins and her daughter Brittany will be and cheerleaders are currently being Locally, classes will be available signing books from their Molly accepted, however some levels are limMonday, March 20 and Monday, April Tailwagger Series. Brittany (illustrator of ited on availability. The Broncos will 17 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Oakfield the series) will also be demonstrating also be holding a free community Medical Plaza, 276 S. Moon Ave., Ste. her drawing talents as well. Easter event on Friday April 260 in Brandon.

Meet The Easter Bunny At Hawthorne Village’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Little Manatee River Mud Endeavor Run

On Saturday, March 25, Mud Endeavor travels down to the Little Manatee River for a scenic 5k mud obstacle run. It will be held at The Masonic Park & Youth Camp, located at 18050 US Hwy. 301 S. in Wimauma, and will run from 8-11 a.m. This run will test the elite competitor as well as the average runner with a unique course design that includes winding trails through and alongside the beautiful river and 15+ challenging but fun obstacles. The Park & Youth Camp consists of 2O4 acres of wilderness sitting directly on the Little Manatee River. It is managed and owned by the 17 Masonic Lodges in Hillsborough County. The Masons have been giving back to the youth for years. To register, visit or call (352) 588-4597.

Garage Sale Will Help Raise Funds To Support Motorcycle Safety

FL1-B of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association will be holding a garage sale on Saturday, April 8 at 2213 Ray Rd. in Valrico from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Funds are being raised in support of Motorcycle safety within the local area.

Spaghetti Dinner To Benefit Team Grace Cycling

A Spaghetti Dinner will be held on Saturday, March 25 at 6 p.m. at Grace Community United Methodist Church, 5708 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Lithia. Enjoy pasta, salad, bread, drinks, and dessert. The Dinner is a Fundraiser Benefitting Team Grace Cycling, which is raising funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Mid Florida Chapter. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children under 10 or $30 for a family. Pre-purchase dinner at

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Page 43

Valrico Edition

New Flying Locksmiths Ready To Serve It’s a bird, it’s a plane, It’s The Flying Locksmiths! This national franchise was founded in 1946 and has expanded with dozens of locations across the United States thanks to their professionalism and family values. One of the newest locations opened in Brandon this past October by local residents, Tammy and Michael Broussard. The Broussard’s have been actively involved in the community since they moved here in 2004. Both are members of the Riverview and Valrico Chambers of Commerce and Michael is the President-elect of the FishHawk Riverview Rotary Club. The couple is excited to bring a new local business to the area. “We want folks to know that this has been our home, we are part of the community,” said Tammy. Tammy and Michael have been pillars of the local community, dedicating their time to organizations that help those in need. Most notably is the annual Crawfish Festival which Michael and The Rotary Club has been spearheading for the last several years, raising over $20,000 for local charities and scholarships. In addition, Tammy’s 20+ years of leadership and consulting experience in technology and software solutions have given her a unique perspective on the importance of customer satis-

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faction. “This is perfect for us,” she said. The Flying Locksmiths offer a wide variety of security solutions and locksmith services for both residential and commercial needs. Their prices range based on the specific needs of each customer with 24/7 availability thanks to a national dispatch center which customers can easily reach by phone. With customer service as their number one priority, The Flying Locksmiths understand the changing locksmith/security industry and offer the most comprehensive inventory available along with the latest technologies and security solutions. From padlocks to Class 5 Security Vault installation, The Flying Locksmiths are here to address your needs. The Flying Locksmiths Tampa South Office has 12 local employees and is looking to add an additional qualified locksmith to the team. Qualified candidates must be second or third generation locksmiths. For information on the services offered by The Flying Locksmiths, or to inquire about current openings, call 813801-3145. The Flying Locksmiths is a fully mobile locksmith/security company, and the office is located at 156 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon.



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It’s tax time again – which for many Americans means that a tax refund is on its way. If you’re going to get a refund this year, how can you use the money to your best advantage? Of course, it’s always tempting to spend the check from Uncle Sam on something fun. But a tax refund could be sizable – the average amount in 2016 was $2,857, according to the IRS – so putting this money to work could help boost your progress toward your financial goals. Here are some possibilities for using your refund: • Help fund your IRA. If you were to receive a tax refund of $2,857, you’d have slightly more than half of the $5,500 annual IRA contribution limit for 2017, although, if you are 50 or older, you can contribute an extra $1,000. Consequently, you may find it much easier to fully fund your IRA for the year — and you should do exactly that, because an IRA is a great retirement savings vehicle. If you have a traditional IRA, your contributions may be fully or partially deductible, depending on your income, while your earnings can grow tax deferred. (Taxes are due upon withdrawal, and withdrawals prior to age 59½ may be subject to a 10% IRS penalty.) With a Roth IRA, your contributions are not deductible, but your earnings are distributed taxfree, provided you don’t start taking withdrawals until you’re 59½ and you’ve had your account at least five years. • Help diversify your portfolio. If a market downturn hits one asset class, and that’s where you keep most of your money, you could take a big hit. Owning an array of investments – such as stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, and so on – can help prepare your portfolio to weather the effects of market volatility, By adding new investments,

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or increasing your holdings of existing investments, you may be able to further diversify your portfolio – and you can use your refund for this purpose. (Keep in mind, though, that diversification, by itself, can’t guarantee profits or protect against loss.) • Contribute to a 529 plan. If you have children or grandchildren whom you’d like to help send to college, consider using your tax refund to help fund a 529 plan. Your 529 plan contributions may be deductible from your state taxes, and your earnings are distributed tax-free, provided they are used for qualified higher education expenses. (However, withdrawals not used for higher education expenses may be subject to both income tax and a 10% penalty.) • Pay off some debts. You can help improve your financial picture by reducing your debt load – but it may make sense to prioritize these debts. For example, rather than make an extra mortgage payment, you might want to first tackle those debts or loans that carry a high interest rate and that don’t allow you to deduct interest payments. After all, your monthly mortgage payment will remain the same even if you make an extra payment, but if you can get rid of some smaller debts, you will free up some cash that you could use to invest for your future. Think carefully about how to use your tax refund. It represents an opportunity that you won’t want to waste.


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Page 44

Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

ures cert Feat ter n o C t i f e s Ben lips & Si r a l i h P n o s Fo Wil OSI Pay Hazel, M al & More… Day De

Nominate An Outstanding Young Hillsborough County Resident For the YEA! Awards

Each year, Hillsborough County recognizes the many positive contributions made by young people in our community through the Youth Excellence and Achievement Awards (YEA! Awards). Nominations are being accepted now through 5 p.m. Monday, April 3. YEA! Awards nominations can be submitted for both middle and high school students in each of the following categories:

Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Third Annual Rotary Benefit Concert At Lakeland Center Features Wilson Phillips

A Rotary Benefit Concert is coming to The Lakeland Center on Saturday, March 25 at 7 p.m. With five studio albums under their belt and their impressive pedigree as the daughters of two legendary groups: The Mamas and Papas, and The Beach Boys, respectfully, Wilson Phillip’s harmony-rich sound still sets them one notch above the rest. They will be joined by special guests Sister Hazel and Jessie James Decker. Ticket prices are $69.50 and $54.50. Service charges will apply and are available by calling The Lakeland Center Box Office 863834-8111, 888-397-0100, and online at All dates, acts, and ticket prices are subject to change without notice.

others or complete a project that has improved the community. The nomination form can be submitted online at Nominations will be reviewed by the Commission on the Status of Women. The YEA! Awards were created in 2010 to recognize Hillsborough County students for making a difference in their community. Students honored show initiative, innovation, and a commitment to themselves and others, while pursuing excellence in a leadership capacity. This can be demonstrated in academics, community service, athletics, performing arts, conservation, or other areas. The YEA! Awards will be presented by the Board of County Commissioners in May. Visit or contact Hillsborough County Communications & Digital Media at 272-5194.

MOSI Now Offering Pay For A Day Deal

Leadership - demonstrating positive impact on others in an ongoing endeavor, such as sports, academics, or the arts. Success Despite Difficult Odds overcoming tremendous personal difficulty to attain success and to make a positive impact on others. Volunteer or Community Service allocating discretionary time to help

At the price of regular general admission, every MOSI guest will be given a Discovery Passport—the Pay for a Day deal card that gives them free unlimited admission to the Museum of Science & Industry through the end of 2017. At $26.95 for adults, $25.95 for seniors (60+), and $20.95 for children (3-12), MOSI’s Pay for a Day, Rest of the Year Free ticket is the most affordable Pay for a Day offer in all of Tampa Bay. With no blockout dates, Discovery Passport holders can spend all of 2017 immersing themselves in Florida’s only IMAX® DOME Theatre,

discovering the night sky in the planetarium, and controlling tomorrow’s tech with real drones and 3D printing. Families can come back again and again to ride a bike across a tightrope, touch a real meteorite, and hang on through a simulated hurricane. Floridians also get Florida

Resident Special savings when they upgrade from a Pay for a Day ticket to a full MOSI Membership. Full Memberships add even more benefits, including discounts on camps, programs, and shopping; free parking; free or discounted admission to more than 450 science centers and children’s museums worldwide; and 12 months of unlimited visits to MOSI. No other discounts apply, and the Pay for a Day offer does not include special engagement exhibits and films, or separately ticketed activities such as the roller coaster simulator or Sky Trail® Ropes Course. MOSI’s Pay for a Day, Rest of the Year Free discount offer goes on sale February 25 at and the MOSI Ticket Office and will only be available for a limited time. MOSI is located at 4801 E Fowler Ave. in Tampa. Visit

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Welcoming entry w/formal living room & dining room! Split floor plan w/ 4 bedrooms & 2 Baths. Generous size kitchen w/dinette, inside laundry room. High ceilings w/plant shelves. Two car garage w/door opener, covered patio. Neutral colors throughout this lovely home. This community has easy access to I-4 for commute to Tampa or Orlando! Come and see this lovely home. $224,900

FREE Home Value Estimates! Selling the Neighborhood We Live, Work & Play Over 15 years Experience

tchen w/dinette,

March 2017

Valrico Edition

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Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition






tamas@ ospreyobserv

Sports Connection

rest Rd. 918 Lithia Pinec 33511 Brandon, FL 657-2418 serve www.ospreyob


Saladino High School Baseball Tournament Reaches 37th Great Season Following a tumultuous and emotionally charged year, Hillsborough County School’s Tony Saladino High School Baseball Tournament has reached its 37th consecutive season. This year’s event has geared up to host a total of 55 games played between 32 public high school teams during spring break at Brandon (headquarters), Jesuit, Jefferson and Newsome High Schools from Saturday, March 11 trough Friday, March 17. Befitting its fame and long history, the annual week-long, roundrobin tournament provides fans and High school baseball fans fill the bleachers during last year’s Hillsborough County School’s Tony spectators of all ages an opportuniSaladino High School Baseball Tournament at the ty, not only to spectate, but to parBrandon High school which served as the tourney’s ticipate in and enjoy a variety of headquarters. Now in its 37th season the event has baseball-related activities in a patri- geared up to see 32 public high school teams comotic, nostalgic, family-oriented, edu- pete for the coveted trophy during spring break as it invites all in the community to come out and join the cational and safe atmosphere. celebration. “This is much more than just a keep local high school players close to tournament,” said Tony Saladino. “It is a home, thanks to the countless activities celebration of the sport, while it keeps and memorabilia displays that supplethe kids and all who love baseball busy ment the educational, recreational and and, out of mischief during Spring baseball opportunities for players, Break.” coaches, fans and spectators. Saladino’s sentiments are clearly Each year the tournament showcasemphasized in the tourney’s online invies nearly 800 players and gives basetation as it mentions that the event helps

forward each year for the past three and a half decades is greatly missed. Bertha’s absence does not go unnoticed by anyone who has had a chance to taste the tournament’s spirit, anchored by Bertha’s unmatched generosity, kindness and love of her family friends, fans the media and, of course, the young players. Leaving behind her husband Tony, of 52 years and a large family, Bertha suffered a heart attack before she died in early 2016—surrounded by friends and family. She Steinbrenner Warriors senior pitcher Al Alberger was 84. pitches against the Alonso Ravens during last Last year’s Tony Saladino High year’s Annual Saladino Baseball Tournament at School Baseball Tournament final Brandon High School. The Warriors defeated the Ravens 6-4 to become tourney champions for the game saw the defending champifirst time in school history. ons, Alonso Ravens, facing off ball scouts representing Major League Steinbrenner High School Warriors. teams and many college coaches from At the end, the Warriors defeated throughout the country in attendance the the Ravens 6-4 to become tourney opportunity to find their next pick. champions for the first time in school The event also includes the tradihistory. tional home run derby championship, Tourney organizers have urged resiheld just before the final game on Friday dents to fill the bleachers, root for their night adding to the annual baseball fun. teams, and enjoy the celebration. Unfortunately, tournament’s matriFor information about the Saladino arch, Bertha Saladino, the engine that baseball tournament visit, www.tonysalhas propelled the week-long tournament


March 27th-April 1st

Store Hours: M-F: 7:30am-6pm Saturday: 8am-1pm

CAR CAR SHOW SHOW & & FREE FREE COOKOUT COOKOUT April April 1st 1st 10am-3pm 10am-3pm


*Most vehicles. No other discounts apply. Offer valid 3/27/17 - 4/1/17 only. $21.00 for synthetic blend.

*Tire disposal fee applies. Offer valid 3/27/17 - 4/1/17 only.

March 2017

Page 47

Valrico Edition



Strong Dogs Wheelchair Basketball Team Aims For National Tournament Story And Photos By Nick Nahas “Everybody he said. talks about LeBron The being the greatest Strong Dogs basketball player are ranked in the world, but fifth in the let him try to play county in basketball in a Division II in wheelchair and the National see how he does,” Wheelchair said Wayne Basketball Bozeman, head Association. coach of the They recently Tampa Bay Strong hosted a sixDogs wheelchair team basketball team. Sunshine Bozeman became Shootout the leader of the Wheelchair start-up team nine Basketball years ago after Tournament inquiries from where they some injured vetwent 2-2. erans at the VA Currently, Hospital. Bozeman they practice works as a two hours a Recreation day, twice a Therapist with the week at the Hillsborough All People’s County Parks and Life Center Recreation on 6105 E. Department. Sligh Ave., The Strong Tampa, in The Strong Dogs are ranked fifth in the national for Division II. The Strong Dogs have built a family atmosphere and compete in several tour- pursuit of Dogs compete as naments during the season. Robert Gordon has been with the Tampa Bay Strong Dogs since he was 15. part of Paralympic their eighth injured veterans. “To me, they are adaptive sport has given them an Sport Tampa Bay, a signature proconsecutive appearance in the the best basketball players out opportunity that they normally gram of Hillsborough County Parks National Wheelchair Basketball there, not just our guys, but everywouldn't be able to pursue, to travel & Recreation. The team is comAssociation tournament, which will body, “Bozeman said. “It’s not about and play in a competitive league and be held March 29-April 2 in prised of 17 players, some of whom their disability, it’s about their abilito showcase their skills and abilities. Louisville, Kentucky. have spina bifida and others who ty.” Robert Gordon, a 21-year-old resiare amputees or have spinal cord Some people may view adaptive For the players on the team, this dent of St. Petersburg and current injuries. Four of the players are sports as an inspiration, but to the student at St. Pete College majoring players, this is an opportunity to in Communications, is one of the play sports and to be active. team’s leaders and has played for “It’s a great honor to coach the Strong Dogs on and off since he these men,” said Bozeman. “I think was 15. Gordon, who was born with it’s the hardest basketball game in spina bifida, is thrilled with the the world.” chance to play the sport. “Growing Both Bozeman and Gordon up, I got tired of just watching my encourage people to come out and friends play and I didn’t know about watch the team play. For more inforadaptive sports at the time, so I did mation, search on Facebook for its some research and found the team,” page at @tbsdofficial.

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Page 48

Volume 14, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

The Brenda Wade Team Sells MORE THAN ONE HOME Every Business Day! We Get You MORE DOLLARS For Your Home! Call The Brenda Wade Team!

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Osprey Observer 2017-3 Valrico  

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