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Two Sections, 36 Pages of Community News


See Parade Route Pg. 4 June 2017 C E L E B R A T I N G

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Volume 14, Issue 6 Ph: 657-2418


Navy Veteran And Local Small Business Owner Throws Hat In For Congress Seat Run

By Sandra Meyer

Valrico in between his deployments. His success was swift and in 2016 the Valrico GradePower Learning was named the #1 GradePower franchise in the nation, receiving the GradePower President’s award. It has also helped connect him even tighter to the community he loves. Learned is now taking all of that experience to run for congress and represent the I-4 Corridor in the issues he feels affect the local community the most. “Health care is my number one issue right now. Washington is taking health care away from 50,000 people in the I-4 Corridor alone,” Learned said. He is also concerned with education, small businesses and ensuring good paying jobs for residents. “We need good paying jobs so people can earn a living here and not have to move away,” he added. Learned believes his on-theground experience is what is needed in Congress. “It’s not that macro level of Congress, my experience is dealing with people on the ground. We need a congressman who is from here. I grew up here, this is my home,” Learned said. For information on Andrew Learned and his Congressional run in 2018, visit

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Andrew Learned has served his country as an officer in the United States Navy for eight years and now he’s taking his passion for service to a new level. Learned has recently filed to run for Congress in 2018. The Valrico native believes that the time has Navy Veteran and come for him to Valrico native Andrew take his experiLearned has ence as a mili- announced his intent to run for Congress in tary officer, 2018. economics major and a successful small businessman and direct that towards bringing common-sense leadership to Washington. Learned grew up in Valrico, playing softball on the Bloomingdale Little League. After high school he studied Economics at the University of Tampa with a full-scholarship from the U.S. Navy. During his eight years of military service Learned has spent four of those deployed to the Middle East where he supported operations against ISIS and led teams against Somali pirates. His experiences in the Middle East taught him how to be a leader and make hard decisions. Not one to be wasteful of his time, in 2013 Learned opened up a local branch of the franchise GradePower Learning in

Photo Courtesy By Tamas Mondovics

Members of the Marine Corp League 1226 salute during last month’s Memorial Day Service and Remembrance ceremony held at Serenity Meadows Memorial Park. The annual event saw a sizable crowd supported by local leaders, Veterans, students and members of the community.


See Special Offer Page 10



The Wooden Spoon Diner Serves Up Classic Comfort Food With A Modern Twist The recently opened Wooden Spoon Diner in Brandon is already stirring up rave reviews with its modern twist on comfort food classics. With an extensive menu offering traditional breakfast combinations alongside offbeat selections like the Crab Cake Eggs Benedict, customers are all but guaranteed to discover something to suit even the most sophisticated palate. The diner’s breakfast and lunch menu The Wooden Spoon Diner presents a serves micro-roasted organic cold brew coffee to create its variety of iced mocha and cold coffee flavors concoctions. such as its internationally infused Greek Spinach Omelet and Maryland-Style Crab Cakes. Coffee aficionados will appreciate the micro-roasted organic cold brew coffee, a European gourmet coffee from Royal Cup. Riverview resident Manny Roussos is the owner and operator. With more than a decade in the restaurant industry, this is Roussos’ third restaurant. His experience also includes restaurant consulting where he helped other restaurant owners identify and troubleshoot problem areas. Lessons learned from his previ-

By Amanda Boston

Owner Manny Rousso (right) and head cook Rick Leasy (left) teamed up to create a menu that revamps diner food classics with modern-day flavor.

ous restaurants coupled with his consulting expertise provided Roussos with all the skills and knowledge required to create this establishment.

Continued on Page 17

In This Issue WATER RESTRICTIONS .......................PG 3 CRIME BEAT .......................................PG 7 HCSO MEMORIAL ..............................PG 8 SCHOOL BUS HIRING .......................PG 12

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS ..........PG 13 CHALKINES......................................PG 23 SPORTS CONNECTION .............PGS 30‐31


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Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 6

June 2017

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Valrico Edition

Buckhorn Elementary Adds Buddy Benches In Remembrance Of VPK Student

Start Of Rainy Season Too Little Too Late To Avoid Countywide Water Restriction

Buckhorn Elementary School was riddled with grief when Voluntary PreKindergarten (VPK) student Brooke Simmons drowned in her family pool Memorial Day weekend 2016. Nearly a year later, on Wednesday, May 24, three Buddy The ribbon cutting was on Benches and a Wednesday, May 24, and the plaque were unveiled benches are expected to last a with a ribbon cutting number of years. in Simmons honor. The concept of the Buddy “Her (Simmons) Benches came into play for family was delighted, Buckhorn over a year ago, but “said PTA board One of the benches was dedi- when the school was rejected member, Abigail cated to a VPK student who passed away last year, Brooke for a grant, everyone was disBoyce. “They put a appointed. Fortunately, the Simmons. butterfly on the PTA members of Buckhorn were not plaque, which is her symbol.” ready to let the idea go. Simmons mother and two brothers, Through an entire year of fundraiswho also attend the school, were present ing and pushing, the school finally along with the PTA, students and faculty. raised enough funds for the three Her bench will stand near the younger benches, and now one stands on each children’s playground. playground. The traditionally blue benches themThe school plans to fully explain selves are not designed for the standard the idea of the benches to all the stupurposes. Students who feel alone or do dents and work to implement the connot have a playmate are instructed to sit cept, so that all students feel comforton them, and other children will come to able participating. the rescue. “We get a lot of military families, so “Some of the students from up north it’s hard for those kids especially.” that had the benches at their old schools Boyce said. “People say military brats were really excited,” Boyce said. “It helps are used to it but it’s still hard.” current students reach out and be Visit respectful.”

The 2017 hurricane • Hand-watering: season officially began residents may handon June 1, and as water plants and shrubs, hoped brought some or use a micro-irrigation much needed rain to system in landscaping ease and give some beds at any time. relief to bay area resi• New sod and landdents. scaping: Days 1-30, Unfortunately, even water any day. Days 31the increase of rainy 60, water approximately days are but a drop in a Hillsborough County officials and every other day (evenSwiftmud have declared a Modified bucket for the region, Phase III Water Shortage for sev- numbered addresses on not enough to make up Tuesday, Thursday and eral counties. for months of less-than-normal amounts. Sunday; odd-numbered addresses on Coupled with dozens of brush fires Monday, Wednesday and Saturday). that scorched communities statewide, • Vehicle washing: individuals may local officials issued tighter water restricwash vehicles once a week, on the destions, in June, including limiting lawn ignated watering day for the address. watering to once a week. • Pressure washing: allowed once a The Southwest Florida Water year or to address a health or safety hazManagement District (Swiftmud) has ard, or to comply with health laws. declared a Modified Phase III Water • Fountains and other aesthetic water Shortage for features: may The new schedule for watering established lawns and several counties, landscaping throughout Hillsborough County, including only operate including the cities of Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace, is: eight hours per • Addresses ending in 0 or 1 – Mondays Hillsborough, day. • Addresses ending in 2 or 3 – Tuesdays Pasco and • HOAs • Addresses ending in 4 or 5 – Wednesdays Pinellas, effec- • Addresses ending in 6 or 7 – Thursdays must suspend tive until at least • Addresses ending in 8 or 9, locations with no address, and any requireTuesday, Aug. 1. locations with mixed addresses (such as office complexes and ment to centers) – Fridays The tighter shopping replace lawns, County officials said that all watering must be done before 8 restrictions apply a.m. or after 6 p.m. pressure wash, to all residents or engage in and most water sources including private other activity which increases water use. wells and ponds or lakes that are used as In unincorporated Hillsborough alternate irrigation supplies. County, violating the restrictions could While reclaimed water customers are mean a fine of $100 for the first offense, exempt from the water restrictions they $200 for the second, leading up to $500 are asked to avoid using the resource for the fifth and succeeding violations. excessively or unnecessarily. Visit

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Volume 14, Issue 6

Valrico Edition

Fourth Of July Parade Celebrates Brandon’s History Through The Decades By Kathy L. Collins

Photo Courtesy of Stephen Nickerson

Come out with family and friends and continue or start the tradition of attending The Community Roundtable's Annual Brandon 4th of July Parade. The parade is held on the 4th of July beginning at 10 a.m. in the heart of Brandon.

The Annual Brandon 4th of July Parade presented by The Community Roundtable will be held on Tuesday, July 4. The parade begins at 10 a.m. at the Law Offices of Reed & Reed at the corner of Lumsden and Parsons. The route will continue north on Parsons, stop at the viewing stand located in front of Nature's Health Foods at Parsons and Oakfield, continue west on Robertson and end in the Publix parking lot at Buckingham Place. This year marks the 60th anniversary of both The Community Roundtable and the parade itself. It also marks the 160th anniversary of John and Martha Brandon’s arrival in the area. To celebrate these milestones, this year’s parade theme is Through the Decades. Parade participants are choosing the decade of


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their origin or significant anniversary to honor the theme. John Noriega of Bill’s Prescriptions is this year’s Grand Marshall. Janine Nickerson, president of The Community Roundtable said, “Noriega’s store celebrated their 60th anniversary, so asking him to be the Grand Marshall was a perfect match.” Nickerson added, “This Independence Day Parade is a tradition for many Brandon family residents. Often, the Community Roundtable is told, ‘my grandparents brought me to the parade and now I am bringing my grandchildren as part of our holiday celebration.’” Brandon’s 4th of July Parade is a great tradition that celebrates the residents, schools, organizations and

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non-profits of the greater Brandon area. The parade features floats, marching bands, dancers and more. Included in the line-up this year will be the 2017 Honorary Mayor who will be announced that morning and the winner of The Community Roundtable’s Father of the Year. You can also see Walt Raysick, the winner of the Alice B. Tompkins Award (an award given to someone who epitomizes service to the community) and the winner of the Maureen Krzanowski Scholarship, Melissa Chin, a member of Riverview High School’s class of 2017. You will also see the 2017 Non-

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Profit of the Year, Portamento of Hope Café. The founder, Lela Lilyquist, along with its volunteers will be celebrated for the great work they do in the community. The Parade Committee is looking for sponsors and volunteers. Students in need of community service hours can have fun and help the community by volunteering for set up and clean up. For more information on the 2017 4th of July Parade, please contact The Community Roundtable at 6614350 or email at or visit

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Valrico Edition

Water Safety Takes Center Stage As Summer Boating Season Begins






By Tamas Mondovics

Considered by Larry McKinnon. many as the one McKinnon added that of the busiest Florida State Statute also boating weekends requires that all children 6 and the start to the years old and younger summer boating must actively wear a life season, Memorial jacket when on a boat Day weekend under 26 feet in length. arrived with perfect To assist boaters weather for Bay who find themselves in area residents. these situations, HCSO To match the has initiated Operation traffic and to keep Safe Bay with the generboaters safe on ous financial support of local waterways, Port Tampa Bay and members of the West Marine Pro. Hillsborough Hillsborough County Sheriff’s marine Together they provided County Sheriff’s 100 life jackets that will deputy stands by a sign promoting Office Marine Unit boating safety during Boating safety be stocked at three sepaweek late last month. The Sheriff’s were also out in Office’s Marine Unit is working hard to rate boat ramps in full force. Hillsborough County, keep boaters safe, and wants all boaters to be aware of boating rules including E.G. Simmons The Marine and regulations to be safe. Unit, part of the Park Boat Ramp in Homeland Security Division, was Ruskin, Williams Park Boat Ramp in enforcing Florida boating laws, monitorRiverview and at the Salty Sol ing slow and no-wake zones, looking for Fleishman at the Gandy Blvd Public boaters under the influence, patrolling Boat Ramp. restricted areas and performing boating Boaters are to utilize an honor syssafety checks. tem and are allowed to borrow life jackDeputies found that most boaters ets to ensure the safety of each child. have more than enough life jackets on The life jackets will be available in two their boats for the number of people sizes "under 50 lb." and "50 lb. to 90 lb." they are carrying, except when a guest “Once the boaters return to the unexpectedly brings a child on the boat. ramp, they can return the vest for the “When that person with a child next user,” McKinnon said. shows up at the dock and the vessel If boaters have any questions Captain fails to have the appropriate life regarding boating safety or boating jackets to fit the child, he is in violation laws, they can contact the Sheriff's of Florida State Statute,” said HCSO Office. Detailed information is available Public Information Officer, Corporal at


918 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Brandon, FL 33511 657-2418 (fax) 657-4469

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entor M y e n o Master M I’s Father’s OS M , r e e t n u l Vo ore… Day & M anti, oles ichelle C com M y b d r. Compile ospreyobserve @ michelle

Become A Florida Master Money Mentor Volunteer And Help Others If you like to help others, want to keep your own skills sharp, and can make sense out of dollars and cents, the Hillsborough County Extension Service Florida Master Money Mentor program may be just the volunteer opportunity you’re looking for. The Extension Service is now signing up persons interested in summer training to be a Florida Master Money Mentor volunteer. The program is an opportunity for participants to learn more about personal finance, and then share that knowledge with others. The fourweek training is scheduled July 13, 20, 27, and August 3 from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Extension office, 5339 CR 579 in Seffner. Participants must attend all four classes and complete some at-home study. The cost is $16. The deadline to register is Wednesday, July 5. No previous financial education or background in financial services is required to be a Florida Master Money Mentor. Training topics include effective communication strategies, analyzing decisions about finances, cash flow management, credit, debt management, and saving and investing for future goals.

Mentors are asked to commit to volunteering at least three hours per week, and follow guidelines for reporting, client confidentiality, and providing research-based unbiased information. Individuals who promote, sell, or endorse financial products or services are not eligible to be volunteers. But they can attend the training to increase their personal financial knowledge. Register online at Seating is limited; register early to reserve a place. For more information, contact Lisa Leslie, Hillsborough County Extension Service at 744-5519 ext. 54143, or The University of Florida Extension provides the infrastructure for this program throughout the state of Florida, thanks to a gift from Bank of America.

An Evening Featuring Local Female Musicians

On Friday, June 23, the Windmill Taphouse presents The Ladies of Tampa, an evening spotlighting eight of Tampa’s finest female musicians. The free fun kicks off at 7 p.m. as each artist takes the stage to play original music. Local musician and radio personality Missy Holm is the promoter and successfully hosted a similar event in Lakeland. Her goal is to support local artists by connecting them to one another and

to their local community. The Windmill Taphouse features craft beers, wine, Kombucha on tap, a

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meditation salt cave and well-designed stage for hosting live music. The venue is located at 116 N. Kings Ave. in Brandon. For more information, visit the Facebook page The Ladies of Tampa at The Windmill Taphouse.

Free Father’s Day Weekend Fun For Dads At MOSI

On Father’s Day weekend, bring dad to MOSI for a fun-filled galactic journey inside MOSI’s huge summer experience, Cardboard Space Adventures. All fathers will receive free admission to MOSI with the purchase of another general admission ticket. The offer is only valid on Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18. Hours of operation are MondayFriday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Explore a towering space station and alien base, complete with a giant cardboard video game and massive maze, inside Cardboard Space Adventures; then check out the new Alien Worlds stargazing show in The Saunders Planetarium; and catch the award-winning IMAX® film Hubble in the Florida Hospital IMAX® DOME Theatre — all in one out-of-this-world day. Plus you

Volume 14, Issue 6

can discover more than 350 hands-on exhibits, explore the Kids In Charge children’s science center, relax in the BioWorks Butterfly Garden, and much more. MOSI, the Museum of Science & Industry, is Tampa Bay's communitysupported science center located at 4801 E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa. For more information, visit or call 987-6000.

Julie's Walk-In Closet Celebrates Eight Years In Business

Julie's Walk-In Closet, an upscale consignment boutique, will celebrate its eighth anniversary with a special "Ladies' Night" celebration on Friday, June 23 from 4-8 p.m. The event will be held at the shop, located at 720 W. Robertson Street in Brandon. "Our Ladies' Night event is a great way for us to say 'Thank You' to our customers," said Julie Pomeroy, the owner. "Our staff has so much fun reuniting with longtime customers and welcoming new friends to our shop. It's a great night for all!" The evening will include special store discounts, refreshments and make-up demonstrations by Katie Mackey of LipSense. For info call 3813846 or email

South Brandon 2010 Bloomingdale Ave Brandon (813) 571-0569 Lake Brandon Village 11325 Causeway Blvd Brandon (813) 655-1237 Hours: 6am - 10pm

June 2017

Valrico Edition

Page 7

10th Annual Migrant Graduate Banquet A Huge Success For Students

By Amy Schechter

By Tamas Mondovics

Detectives Uncover Grow Houses, Seize Guns, Make Arrests, In Narcotics Investigations Sheriff HCSO also David Gee conducted a briefed the synthetic marimedia last juana investigamonth at the tion commonly Criminal known as Investigation “spice." Division, Incidents located at involving such 2224 N. drugs include Falkenburg overdoses and Rd. on multiintoxicated susHillsborough County Sheriff David Gee answers ple investigapects who questions during a recent briefing about two investitions in illegal gations into illegal narcotics throughout the County. sometimes narcotics and The investigation led to dozens of arrests, and the attack or vioseizure of drugs and firearms. numerous lently resist law arrests that have occurred. enforcement. The first case, called "Operation The sheriff's office developed a Fall Harvest”, was prompted by sevstrategy aimed at all levels of spice eral anonymous tips on the part of cit- distribution, to include street-level izens through the Crime Stoppers dealers, mid level distributors and program. businesses as well as upper level Detectives spent countless hours spice manufacturers. Detectives researching and on surveillance, investigated a wide range of suswhich they said revealed a large pects, including homeless persons organization that spanned from and certified gang members, as well Hillsborough County to Pasco County as business owners with no prior and as far north as Marion County. involvement in the criminal justice Detectives employed a variety of system. techniques and manpower. Agents of the Florida Division of “Our detectives made the investiAlcoholic Beverage and Tobacco and gations a priority, trying to reduce vio- Hillsborough County Code lence in our neighborhood recognizEnforcement, also assisted with citing ing the danger this type of criminal and revoking the license of businessorganization poses to the community.” es actively selling spice. Gee said. Working closely with the Near the University of South State Attorney's Office, they concludFlorida, detectives seized 150 pounds ed with 13 search warrants, 10 of (approximately 7,200 packages) of which were executed in Hillsborough spice packaged for sale. Another 222 County. pounds of Damiana leaves used to The Pasco and the Marion manufacture spice with a street value County Sheriff's Office also executed of $352,000, was also seized, along search warrants at locations related with $10,500 in U.S. currency. to the organization, which yielded six Search warrants and consent grow houses that contained a total of searches were served at five area 481 marijuana plants. businesses actively selling spice withThe seized plants, along with an in Hillsborough County, including additional 24.5 lbs. of processed mar- Mary's Beverage Castle (voluntarily ijuana found, totaled $1.4 million in closed subsequent to the search warstreet value, while $97,011 in drug rant) 9401 US Hwy. 301 S Gibsonton proceeds were also seized along with and Apollo Beach Food Mart (search 10 firearms. Additionally, 13 subjects warrant) 6020 US 41 S. in Apollo were arrested on a variety of serious Beach. charges including racketeering and For more information, please visit drug trafficking.

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Dr. Ann M. cate of migrant Cranstonfamilies coordiGingras, pronates the fessor of event. She Special says, “We Education and need to honor Director of the both the students and the Center for families for Migrant making educaEducation at tion such a prithe University ority. For many, of South they were the Florida, told The 10th Annual Migrant Graduate Banquet. first of their Education families to graduate from high school.” World, “The most significant and unique This year, families heard the keynote challenge faced by migrant students is address from Lennard High graduate mobility-induced educational discontinuEsbeydy Villegas, an advocate for racial ity.” justice in education, now majoring in crimDespite overwhelming odds, the Southshore Chamber of Commerce cele- inal justice at the University of Michigan. Additionally, the Southshore brated with the families of thirty-four Chamber raised nearly $3000 to give a Hillsborough County high school graduates at the 10th Annual Migrant Graduate scholarship to a deserving student. The student will not be named, but Rimes Banquet on May 9. Students and their described what an amazing young man families came together due to the generhe is: “After four years of ROTC in high ous support of the community to celeschool, he found out that he missed the brate an achievement that is no small cut off for the Deferred Action for feat. Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by only four Children of migrant workers not only months. This completely eliminated his move around as their parents follow chance of being in our military…he has crops requiring them to continually enroll since then come up with a new goal. He in different schools, but they often face wants to become a mining engineer!” additional barriers including poverty, lanRimes shared that he not only guage barriers, and the need to work attended high school every day, but he alongside their parents. also worked from 3PM until 10:30PM on The path to a high school graduation the farm Monday-Friday with additional is not easy, but in many ways children of hours on weekends. migrant workers face a far rockier road. For more information, Ms. Rimes can Melanie Rimes, executive director of be reached at 645-1366. the Southshore Chamber and an advo-

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Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 6

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Honors Its Fallen During 2017 Law Enforcement Memorial Service

By Tamas Mondovics

Every year the Jr.’s name had members of the to be added to Hillsborough the list of County Sheriff’s deputies who Office, citizens and were killed in the families of the fallline of duty, raisen gather on the ing the number campus of the to 16, since Malcolm E. Beard 1874, when Sheriff's Deputy Richard Operations Center Roach was shot in Ybor City for a and killed at his solemn ceremony home in the subhonoring local urbs of Tampa. deputies who gave Roach’s the ultimate sacrimurder has Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, and his command staff honor the 16 fice. never been HCSO deputies who have lost their lives in the line of duty since 1874. The This year was solved. department hosted its annual Law Enforcement Memorial at the Sheriff’s office Fallen Heroes Memorial Wall, on the campus of the Malcolm E. Beard Remembering her grandson, HCSO Deputy David Abella, no different as a Sheriff Sheriff's Operations Center in Ybor City. who lost his life in 1977, Hortensia Abella places her hand David Gee large crowd on the Sheriff’s law Enforcemnet Memorial Wall. The Sheriff’s Sheriff’s deputies who have lost their lives in the line of duty since 1874 are: joined Office held a memorial service honoring local deputies who emphasized Deputy Richard Roach, 1848 - August 15, 1874 gave the ultimate sacrifice. Sheriff what the memoDavid Gee Deputy William E. Whitehurst, 1870 - July 4, 1893 rial does for the these law enforcement officers Deputy Ed Aulick, April 18, 1901 - January 24, 1932 and his community when he said, “This cereare never forgotten and is now Deputy Robert M. Suarez, June 8, 1904 - September 3, 1944 command mony pays tribute to a lot of heroes encompassing the Sheriff’s Sergeant Ben P. Wilder, Jr. February 28, 1923 - July 22, 1962 staff at who deserve it. This Wall of Heroes Memorial and Fallen Heroes Sergeant Donald C. Williams, May 21, 1917 - June 12, 1967 HCSO’s Memorial is a sacred place for us. We Wall. Sergeant James Strachinsky, February 13, 1912 - September 4, 1969 Law want to thank the community for their “This is how we remember Aux. Sgt. Lee A. Hutchinson, September 7, 1912 - July 25, 1970 Enforcement Deputy James A. Allen, March 27, 1919 - May 21, 1974 support.” our guys,” Gee said. “This is Memorial, Corporal Lemon Harvey, April 28, 1947 - December 15, 1981 Gee added that coming out to visit important to the families of those which was Deputy Frederick T. Clark, November 16, 1952 - May 7, 1987 the memorial is a way for Hillsborough we lost and it is a way to showcreated to Deputy Donna M. Miller, February 9, 1961 - May 8, 1987 County residents to contribute. case what this community is all commemo- Deputy David A. Abella, June 19, 1977 - April 21, 2004 “People need to know and underabout. It is the fabric of the rate and pay Sergeant Ronald Harrison, August 25, 1951 - August 15, 2007 stand the sacrifices of what these Sheriff’s office.” tribute to the Deputy Mark A. Longway, May 8, 1962 - September 21, 2010 deputies and law enforcement memGee added that during his 16 members Deputy John R. Kotfila, Jr., September 9, 1985 - March 12, 2016 bers are doing,” he said. four decade long career he of HCSO For more information about the remembers many of those who The memorial was built four years who have fallen in their quest to "Serve ago to ensure that the memories of memorial or the Sheriff’s Office please were lost in the line of duty. and Protect.” visit Last year, Deputy John R. Kotfila,

June 2017

Page 9

Valrico Edition

New Yorker Brings Fresh Business To Brandon With Eliana’s Market & Produce By Caitlin Masessa

asked which smoothie he can be found sipping on before adding with a smile, “But that’s everyone’s favorite.” Whether your favorite is strawberry banana, or if another taste is calling to you, Eliana’s Market offers customers the opportunity to personally The Meija Junior family poses outside of Eliana’s Market.

If you’re looking for a sweet, but healthy, treat that will cool you down in the heat of a Florida summer, then look no further than the quaint Eliana’s Market located on 160 N. Parsons Avenue. The location, which was once the home of the popular La Septima Café, specialCaesar Meija Junior, the owner of Eliana’s izes in a variety of meal options that Market, takes stock of his variety of produce. will leave you satisfied and ready for pick the fruit they want to be used in more; including Cuban sandwiches, their smoothie from the wide selection fresh fruit, and smoothies. offered in the store. “It’s something difWanting a change from the hustle ferent,” Meija Junior said of the unique of New York City, Caesar Meija Junior approach to blending drinks. made the decision to start his fresh That’s what Eliana’s Market is all market business in Brandon due to the about; giving customers a new experi“neighborly feeling” the area exuberence in their old neighborhood. If you ates. “Brandon offers a quiet and qualiwant to take a bite of a Cuban sandty life,” Meija Junior said as he meanand then wash it down with a wich, dered around his produce. This affecsmoothie filled with ingredients handtion for family shines through when by you, take a trip to Eliana’s picked Meija Junior is speaking about what he Market. The market is open from hopes for his business; a spot for those Monday to Saturday from 8:00AM to to take a break from their busy lives to 8:00PM. enjoy a sandwich and a smoothie. Eliana’s Market is located on 160 “My favorite flavor is strawberry N Parsons Ave., Brandon, FL 33511. banana,” Meija Junior answered when

Congratulations to our own

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Page 10

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 6

Libraries Offer Free Passes To Local Museums And Attractions

Local Foundation Needs Volunteer Help To Continue Working With Troubled Kids

If you enjoy to request them. visiting local One Discovery museums and Pass per adult attractions and library card may be have a checked out at a Hillsborough time, the check-out County library receipt serves as card, you can your admisparticipate in the sion or tour Hillsborough pass, and You can reserve a free County Public there is no admission or tour pass to Library need to select local museums and attractions through the Cooperative's return anyDiscovery Pass. Hillsborough County Public thing to the Library Cooperative's This unique pro- Discovery Pass program.. library. gram allows Stacey Jurewicz, library cardholders to check out a oneCommunity Engagement and time admission to one of the library's Partnerships Manager explained why partner museums or attractions. Please the program was implemented. note that the number of passes are lim- Jurewicz said, "People love their ited and are available on a first-come, libraries and the books, resources, first-serve basis. events and classes they get to experiParticipating museums and attracence. We thought the Discovery Pass tions include Big Cat Rescue, Florida program was an opportunity to expand Museum of Photographic Arts, Glazer that experience from beyond our offerChildren's Museum, Henry B. Plant ings to the greater cultural resources of Museum, Stageworks Theatre Hillsborough County, broadening the Production, Straz Center for the horizons of all our residents." Performing Arts (dark over the sumLaura Butler, a resident of mer), Tampa Bay History Center, Wimauma, recently used the Discovery Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa Theatre Pass to attend the Tampa Bay History Balcony-To-Backstage and Ybor City Center. Butler said, "I think this is an Museum State Park. Black-out dates amazing idea. I gave the information to and restrictions may apply. a friend, and we are planning on Each Discovery Pass provides one- attending another attraction this sumtime admission to one of the above dur- mer." ing a seven day check out period. For more information, please visit Passes may be reserved through the library's catalog and checked out at the pass, call 273-3652 or visit your local branch with the same library card used branch.

She took an hour of the school day a few times a week to do her ‘superhero” exercises with nine students at Palm River Elementary School. “I had the idea going on for quite some time, Dr. Gwyn said. “I took what I had with my doctoral students and applied it.” Dr. Gwyn attended Palm River, so she was aware that the elementary school is in a low income area. The small number of children that attend the Presley program are kids with Torey Walton holding a sign that he made in the program. behavioral conDr. Gwyn’s full-time busicerns rooted in ness, Gwyn Consulting issues that extend Services sparked her interest past the classroom. in helping children struggling However, in in public schools due to their the classroom Dr. challenges. The Florida Gwyn and a small Native has over 14 years group of experts Boys in the Presley Youth and experience working in child use nontraditional Education Foundation use welfare in the field and on age-level educational games methods in order to to build on academic skills. also on a management level. teach students how She holds a PhD in Organization and to use characteristics like courage, selfManagement and a MS and BS in discipline and honesty to tackle real Criminal Justice. Her services offer world issues. academic help to doctoral students all “One child couldn’t read; he would over the world, from Venezuela to the play a game that helped him recognize United Kingdom. sight words,” Dr. Gwyn said. “He was Dr. Gwyn started the Presley reading and trying to sound out the Youth and Education Foundation in words, and another child sat behind him 2016 with the intent of using her edu- telling him “I believe in you.’” cation, skills and expertise, along with For more information on how to help the skills of her doctoral students, Dr. Gwyn continue her work with these into guiding struggling elementary children, you can contact the foundation school students along the right path. at 766-5276 or

By Kathy L. Collins

Offer ends 6/30/2017

By Abigail Baker

June 2017

Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series East Arrives At Amalie Arena August 19

Staff Report

Digger, El Toro Loco, Pirate’s Curse, Megalodon, Alien Invasion, Zombie, Monster Mutt Rottweiler, and Blue Thunder. Monster Jam competitors are trained at Monster Jam University in mastering the skills needed to compete in the series. Approximately 12 ft. high and about 12 ft. wide,

Tickets are now on sale for Monster Jam®, set to take place at Amalie Arena on Saturday, August 19.

Feld Entertainment Inc. recently announced that tickets for the first ever arena style Monster Jam®, the most adrenaline charged, action-packed motorsports experience delivering edgeof-your-seat excitement, are now on sale for AMALIE® Arena. Tickets for Monster Jam Triple Threat Series East are affordably priced for the whole family with seats starting at $15. Tickets are available at the McDonald’s® Ticket Office at AMALIE Arena and all Ticketmaster locations. Monster Jam Triple Threat Series East will be performing on Saturday, August 19, at 1 and again at 7 p.m. The Monster Jam Triple Threat Series East takes the skills of Monster Jam competitors to a whole new level of athletic endurance with the survival of the fittest. This series can only be seen in select cities across the country and features the most versatile athletes of Monster Jam. Fans of all ages will enjoy witnessing each competitor drive three customized high-powered vehicles: Monster Jam Speedsters, Monster Jam ATVs and the famous Monster Jam trucks to face off in battles of strength, ability and perseverance for the ultimate championship and a highly-coveted bid at Monster Jam World Finals. These premier athletes vying to be the Tampa champion are: Grave

Page 11

Valrico Edition

Monster Jam trucks are customdesigned machines that sit atop 66-inch-tall tires and weigh a minimum of 10,000 lbs. Built for short, highpowered bursts of speed, Monster Jam trucks generate 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower and are capable of speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Monster Jam trucks can fly up to125 to130 ft. in distance and up to 35 ft. in the air. The Pit Party on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. – 12 Noon gives fans the opportunity to meet the Monster Jam athletes and get up close the Monster Jam trucks. A pit pass and 1 p.m. event ticket are required for entrance into the pit party. For more information on Monster Jam, please visit, or,, or Order tickets by phone by calling 800-745-3000. Advanced parking passes are available at or the ticket office. Visit or call 3012500 for more information. Group discounts available by calling 301-6900.

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Page 12

Volume 14, Issue 6

Valrico Edition

Our Unique Friends Brings Pop-Up Childcare To Events, Weddings

County Public Schools To Hire 200 Bus Drivers, Mechanics For Upcoming Year

It's the and toys to keep weekend of the children enteryour business tained while the conference, and grown-ups mingle. after cycling When called upon through numerto work a wedding, ous babysitter the staffers do their phone numbest to accommobers, you come date the theme into to the horrifying crafts. “If it’s a Founder Shawndrette Calhoun stands proudly in spring theme, we realization that front of the logo for ‘Our Unique Friends’. you have no have the kids one to watch your child. Imagine you didmake flowers out of tissue paper and n't have to worry about childcare—that pipe cleaners,” Calhoun offered as an your employer already provided a service example, “We don’t want the kids to feel that will watch your little one in the same left out.” location of the event. This dream has However, the service isn’t just for big become a reality thanks to Shawndrette events. If you and your significant other Calhoun and the employees at Our want a night out, Our Unique Friends will Unique Friends, a childcare service that send a certified sitter to your home while comes to events, weddings, and to you you go out to enjoy one another’s compawhen adult life calls. ny. "Couples need to go out to balance The idea came to Calhoun after the well-being of the relationship," going through the struggle of being a sinCalhoun stated, “And we would be gle parent herself to her two daughters. “I delighted to help with that by watching know the importance of parents needing their child.” time away and the need of going to differAlthough Calhoun is a very hands-on ent business events to network and get founder, she does work with two other yourself out there,” Calhoun said. It is the women who help her with event care. necessity for a life outside of your chilThe staffers all go through extensive dren’s that drove Calhoun to use her background checks and must be CPR experience in teaching and social work to and Babysitting Certified. If you want to create a business that offers loyal care to utilize Our Unique Friends or to learn children without leaving the parents conmore about the service, call 445-2399 or cerned. visit The service When you call Our Unique Friends to also responds to Facebook messages on attend an event, they will turn an area its page, @Our Unique Friends, as well within the location into a “kid-friendly as answer emails, addressed to ouruniqzone," including age-appropriate crafts

Hillsborough and a competitive County Public benefits package Schools (HCPS) are promised, recently announced while officials said its plans to hire school that no experibus drivers and ence is necesmechanics for the sary and paid upcoming school training will be year, which is now set provided to suitto begin a bit earlier able candidates August 10. who have a clean To launch the driving record summer hiring camand no criminal paign HCPS officials background. have scheduled to Anyone with host a series of excellent driving Information Sessions abilities and an and Hiring Events as interest in helping the Transportation students is Services department encouraged to Hillsborough County Public Schools officials is looking to hire close are hosting a series of information sessions attend one of in an effort to hire school bus drivers and to 200 school bus seven information mechanics for the upcoming school year. drivers before the sessions schedstart of the new school year. uled for June 19, and June 26, and July With safety in center stage and put10 and July 17, at the Transportation ting students first, transportation officials District Office, 9455 Harney Road in are seeking individuals who are motivatThonotosassa and at HCPS’s Area 1 ed, compassionate and dedicated to proTransportation Office, 5002 N. Lois viding safe and reliable transportation Ave in Tampa, respectively. “School bus drivers play an important The open application lab times for role in providing safe, timely, efficient and school bus drivers and information or to courteous transportation services to our sign-up for an upcoming event, visit students,” HCPS External or call 813Communications Manager, Tanya Arja 982-5521. You can get updates on the stated in a recent press release. hiring events @HCPSschoolbus. In addition, the School District is in Following the information session, need of bus mechanics. District officials will be on hand to assist in Flexible working environment with beginning the application process and will benefits such as paid federal holidays provide tours of the school bus centers.

By Caitlin Masessa

By Tamas Mondivics




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June 2017

Page 13

Valrico Edition

Hurricane Expo Helps Residents Stay Prepared For Storm Season Ahead 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Statistics: ___________________________________________________________ 2016 1981-2010 Average Named Storms Hurricanes Hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger)

Five named storms affecting the Unites States in 2016, included Colin, Hermine, Matthew, Bonnie and Julia. To help prepare area residents for the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Hillsborough County has scheduled for its annual Hurricane Expo. Residents can also learn more by visiting the County’s website, at

“Partners In Preparedness” has been chosen as the theme of Hillsborough County’s 2017 Hurricane Expo, a free event organized by disaster response experts from Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa, the City of Temple Terrace, the American Red Cross, and the National Weather Service, (NWS). In harmony with the Atlantic Hurricane season (June 1 - November 30) the Expo is scheduled for Saturday, June 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 250 WestShore Plaza Mall in Tampa. “This is a great event to help residents be ready, to understand their resources and meet with disaster response experts face to face,” said Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Preston Cook. Cook emphasized that the NWS is predicting 11 named storms for the 2017

hurricane season. This year's expo is designed to feature activities for adults and children, including education displays, touch-a-truck station, disaster preparedness booths, and a severe weather panel with local meteorology specialists to identify their evacuation zone, pick up preparedness materials, and sign up for HCFL Alert. The first 500 to visit all the stations and fill out a passport will receive a NOAA weather radio and a disaster starter kit. To assist residents, County officials promoted this year’s “Have A Plan, Know Your Plan” reminder urging residents to take the necessary steps before a hurricane hits. “The time to prepare for hurricane season is before the tropical weather moves toward us across the Atlantic Ocean,” Cook said, adding, “It only takes one to cause a disaster.”

15 7 3

10.8 5.6 2.5

The 2016 season actually began months ahead of the norm as Alex became the second hurricane on record to form in the Atlantic Basin during the month of January. As reported by the NWS, according to NOAA's historical hurricane tracker database, the last hurricane that formed in the Atlantic during January was in 1938. Alex is also the first hurricane to occur in the Atlantic in January since Alice in 1955. The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season was also the first above average Atlantic hurricane season since 2012, producing a total of 15 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. It was also the costliest season since 2012, and was reportedly the deadliest since at least 2008. Twelve of the 15 named storms in the Atlantic basin in 2016 affected land directly in some way and of the 12, five hit the United States. Two storms that came too close for comfort included Hurricane Matthew, which first struck Haiti as a Category 4 storm on October 4. Matthew strengthened to a rare

By Tamas Mondovics

Category 5 late on September 30, becoming the first Category 5 Atlantic Basin hurricane since Felix in early September 2007. Scraping Florida’s eastern coastline, Matthew's center came ashore near McClellanville, South Carolina, as a minimal hurricane. The second major storm to threaten the state was Hurricane Hermine in early September, which also broke Florida’s decade long streak with no hurricane landfalls. After it traveled more than 4,000 miles, Hermine pushed inland near St. Marks, Florida, as a Category 1 storm. Evacuation zones, hurricane storm surge probabilities, local flood zones are among the main “need to know” items on the list. Some hurricane preparedness tips include: -Plan to pay close attention if authorities begin announcing zone evacuations. Know where you will go and how you will get there. - Compile contact information for family members, law enforcement, local hospitals and utilities, and your property insurance agent. - Share your preparation efforts with family members, make a plan, and be sure everyone knows how it will play out if severe weather looms. - After a storm passes, listen to local officials for instructions. When they deem it's safe to return home, watch out for debris, downed power lines, and standing water. -Prepare for the unexpected. For more information, visit

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Page 14

Volume 14, Issue 6

Valrico Edition

mbus u l o C f O Knights Patriotic Music, n, Conventiobused Children & Help A More... lesanti, helle Co d by Mic m Compile s o @ michelle

St. Stephen Council 14084 Receive Recognition At Knights Of Columbus State Convention

The 2017 Knights of Columbus State Council Convention was held on Friday, May 26 through Sunday, May 28 in Orlando. Delegates from all over Florida met to exchange updates about each of the Council’s activity over the past year. In attendance were more than 300 Councils totaling around 50,000 Knights. St. Stephen Catholic Church Council 14084 received four awards. For the third year in a row, it received the Altar Server of the Year Award for the Diocese of St. Petersburg. For the second year in a row, the newsletter received an Honorable Mention. Also, for the second year in a row, the Council was awarded the Supreme Activity Award. In 2016, they were awarded the Pro-Life Award, which means the Council is also up for an International Award at the Supreme

Convention happening in St. Louis this fall. Lastly, Council 14084 received the Supreme Service Award for its youth activities. Recent elections were held for the upcoming fraternal year with all new officers for 2017-2018. To find out more about the Knights of Columbus, visit, or visit

Honor, Integrity, And Service Presented By The Florida Wind Band

Congregation Beth Shalom To Hold The Following Activities

Shabbat on Friday evenings at 7:45 p.m. with Oneg (nosh and mingle) following the services. On Monday, July 17 from 6 to 7 p.m. the congregation will hold Page Turners, a book session about Yiddish language and culture. The book is Born to Kvetch by Michael Wex. Join in to discuss, nosh and kibbitz. A light dairy dinner will be served. The Congregation Beth Shalom is located at 706 Bryan Rd. in Brandon. For more information, call 681-6547. Knights of Columbus delegates from St. Stephen Council 14084 display its Supreme Service Award for its work in youth activities.

On Sunday, July 2, the Florida Wind Band will perform patriotic music at the USF School of Music Concert Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m. Titled Honor, Integrity, And Service—the performance is a musical tribute to the servicemen, servicewomen and all who serve the country. Tickets are available through and will be accessible on the day of the concert at the School of Music Box Office. The price is $10 for students and seniors; $15 for general admission; $10 for active duty military and veterans and $10 for first responders. Group rates are also available if you call 531-9252 For information, visit The USF School of Music Concert Hall is located at 3755 USF Holly Drive, MUS 101 in Tampa.

Make A Difference In The Life Of An Abused Child

How can you make a difference in the life of an abused or neglected child? Find out more about the Guardian ad Litem program and its volunteers at information sessions hosted weekly: Thursday, June 15, and 22 at 6 p.m. at the Guardian ad Litem office, located at 700 E. Twiggs St., Ste. 750 in Tampa and Thursday, June 29 at 6 p.m. at Higgins Hall, 5225 N. Himes Ave. in Tampa. Over 3,700 children are currently under court supervision in Hillsborough County. Only 1,800 of these children have advocates to care for their best interests. More volunteers are needed. For more information, call 272-5110 and ask for the recruitment team.

SmileWright Dentistry To Host Invisalign Week In June

Tori Grieb, DDS, and her team at SmileWright Dentistry will be hosting an Invisalign Week from Monday, June 12 – Friday, June 16. Patients who start Invisalign treatment during Invisalign Week will receive a $500 discount off of their Invisalign treatment, regularly a $4,500 value. In addition, those who begin treatment will be offered a free whitening gel. Invisalign is the nearly invisible way to straighten teeth without wires and brackets. Using the latest advances in 3D computer technology a series of clear, customized removable appliances called aligners are created. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks, moving the teeth gradually, week by week, until the intended results are achieved. SmileWright Dentistry is located at 1202 Millennium Pky. in Brandon. For more information or to schedule an appointment for Invisalign Week, call 653-1455 or visit


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June 2017

Page 15

Valrico Edition

Cater Tampa Offers Custom Catering At Valrico Space Or Any Venue


By Sandy Meyer

It is summer “Catering is a and that means unique animal. it is time to gathThere are er with our always new friends and famithings to overlies over good come, new food, celebrating people to meet weddings, gradand new venuations or any ues to attend,” other momenhe added. tous occasion. In addition That is where to traveling to Cater Tampa private vencomes in. ues, Harris Photo Courtesy Cater Tampa Facebook Page Cater Adam Harris brings decades of culinary experience also has a to your venue to make it a memorable event. Tampa offers full banquet space scale catering services for just about in Valrico which seats up to 120 people. any personal or corporate event that Since Cater Tampa opened in February, comes to mind. Owner Adam Harris is Harris has already taken on large corpohappy to bring his expert catering servrate clients including HCC and has ice back to the area, offering breakfast, catered events like the Brandon Swim & lunch, and dinner menus for just about Aquatic Center’s fundraising event. any taste. Cater Tampa offers an extensive Harris has worked in the food menu with dozens of entrees and an industry since he was just 12 years old almost unlimited variety of appetizers. and took a job at Village Inn. Over the Harris says what sets his company decades he has dabbled in just about apart from others is his vast amount of every aspect of the food business experience. “I’ve catered over 600 wedincluding owning several restaurants, dings,” he said. “I’ve even assisted in nightclubs and working under a five-star hurricane relief, serving 6,000 breakfast, Cordon Bleu™ chef in the 1980’s. lunch and dinners daily,” he added. Harris was the owner of All Events Cater Tampa is ready to assist in Catering from 1995 until 2010. When your next corporate event, birthday or the economy collapse became too anniversary celebration or ‘just because’ much, he had to close his doors. Harris special event. turned to restaurant consulting for the Cater Tampa’s event space is locatnext seven years. Now he’s back doing ed at 1903 E. SR 60, Ste. F in Valrico. what he loves with his newest endeavor, For more information on its services or Cater Tampa. to rent space, visit or “I missed catering,” he said. call 906-0222.

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Don’t Let Your Investments Take a “Vacation”

It’s summer again – time for many of us to take a break and possibly hit the open road. But even if you go on vacation, you won’t want your investments to do the same – in summertime or any other season. How can you help make sure your portfolio continues to work hard for you all year long? Here are a few suggestions: • Avoid owning too many “low growth” investments. As you know, different investments have different characteristics and can help you in different ways. For example, you typically own stocks because you want them to grow in value so that you can eventually sell them for a profit. Other investments, such as certificates of deposit (CDs), provide you with a regular source of income and stability of principal – two valuable contributions to your portfolio. However, investments like CDs don’t offer much in the way of growth. So if you own too many of them, you might be slowing your progress toward your important financial goals, such as a comfortable retirement. You can maximize the productivity of your portfolio by owning a variety of investments – domestic stocks, international stocks, corporate bonds, U.S. Treasury securities, CDs and more. How much of each investment should you own? The answer depends on a variety of factors, including your age, income, risk tolerance, family situation and specific objectives. Over time, your ideal investment mix may change, but you’ll likely need at least some growth potential at every stage of your life. • Don’t let your portfolio go “unsupervised.” Your investment portfolio can be subject to “drift” if left alone for extended time periods. In fact, without your making any

moves at all, your portfolio can move in directions that may not be favorable to you. Suppose you think your holdings should be made up of 70% stocks, but due to strong gains, your stocks now make up 80% of your portfolio. This development could lead to a risk level that feels uncomfortably high to you. That’s why you should review your portfolio at least once a year, possibly with the help of a financial professional, to check your progress and make adjustments as needed. • Don’t stop at the nearest “resting place.” Some people hope that if they can get that one “winner,” they will triumph in the investment arena. But the ability to “get rich quick” is much more of a myth than a reality. True investment success typically requires patience, persistence and the resilience to continue investing even during market downturns. In other words, investing is a long-term endeavor, and you need a portfolio that reflects this reality. The investment moves you make today may pay off for you decades from now. You need to establish your goals and keep them constantly in mind as you invest. And you will never really reach the end of your investment journey, because you’ll need to make choices and manage your portfolio throughout your retirement years. Hopefully, you will enjoy a pleasant vacation sometime this summer. But your investment portfolio shouldn't take time off. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Melissa L Haskins, Financial Advisor

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Page 16

Valrico Edition

hing, s i F , g n i k Quit Smo eels Delivers, Wh Meals On ting & More... n House Hu ichelle Colesanti, d by M m Compile s o @ michelle

Help For Quitting Tobacco

Quitting tobacco isn't easy. Finding help should be. Tobacco Free Florida offers free tools and services to help you get started. Free Community worksite and clinic groups will be offered, with programs covering all forms of tobacco. Free Nicotine replacement patches, gum and lozenges will be available, while supplies last and if medically appropriate. Class will be available on Saturday, June 17 from 10 a.m.-12 Noon at USF – Area Health Education, 3515 E. Fletcher Ave. in Tampa and Thursday, June 22 from 68 p.m. at the Palm River Family Services, 7454 Palm River Rd. in Tampa.

A volunteer and her grandmother, who recently turned 105, help deliver the hurricane packs.

Pre-registration is required by calling 974-7889. For additional classes, visit

Coin & Currency Show

Brandon Coin Club Inc., A 501 (C) 7 non-profit organization, is pleased to announce its next Coin & Currency Show on Saturday, June 24 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Brandon Elks Lodge #2383, located at 800 Centennial Lodge Dr. in Brandon. 30 dealers/45 tables; free admis-

sion/parking/door prizes and excellent food available on site. Free coin grab bags for all children under 12 and free appraisals. ICG Grading Service will be in attendance and offering free verbal opinions and $10 slabbing. For more information, contact Jack Laci at 352-777-6073 or

Meals On Wheels Delivers Hurricane Preparedness Packs

Meals On Wheels of Tampa, HCI Group, CENTCOM, The Moffitt Cancer Center, Suncoast Credit Union, USF and many other dedicated volunteers delivered special Hurricane Preparedness Packs to the Meals On Wheels of Tampa recipients on the morning of Saturday, May 20 for the 2017 Hurricane season. Hurricane Preparedness Packs were given to all program recipients in case a disaster occurs that prevents volunteers from being able to deliver meals. Included in the packs were five shelf-stable meals, a gallon of water, a shelter evaluation form, a magic bottle opener, and a variety of emergency resource guides. The pack is free of charge to recipients. This year, funds received from Give Day Tampa Bay helped cover the cost of the Hurricane Preparedness Pack shelf-stable meals, as well as a generous donation from HCI Group, Inc. MacDill CENTCOM provided the gallons of water. For more information, please visit or call 238-8410.

Flora: A Fashion Journey Will Be Held at The Regent

Flora is the third production by the House of Gam. This has become an annual event hosted by the fashion blog. Flora will take place on Friday, June 23 at The Regent, located at 6437 Watson Rd. in Riverview. Doors open at 6 p.m. The show starts at 7 p.m. Flora will be showing four local

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designers, including Queenay Price who will be showing evening wear, Marisol Perez showing repurposed clothing, Gloria Guitierrez showcasing Couture bodysuits, and for the first time; The House of Gam will be showing its clothing collection for the Fall/Winter 2017 season.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. Tickets cost $10 for general admission and can be purchased at

Apollo Beach Will Be Featured In Upcoming House Hunters Segment

In the fall, HGTV filmed in Apollo Beach for the series House Hunters. You can watch it air for the first time on Friday, June 23 at 10 p.m. The trailer states: “A Tampa couple searches for a house with at least

Volume 14, Issue 6

3,000 sq. ft. to have room for future kids. However, she wants a Spanish or Mediterranean-style home with a white kitchen and pool-spa combination while he prefers a French provincial that has a frameless shower in the master bathroom.” For more information on HGTV, visit

Bass Pro Shops “Gone Fishing” Family Event

With the arrival of summer, it’s time to get your family outside. Bass Pro Shops in Tampa invites families to discover, or share, the joy of fishing during Gone Fishing event Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18 from 12 Noon – 4 p.m. each day. Free in-store family activities include learning how to cast a reel at a catch-and-release pond— complete with a “first fish” certificate and free photo downloads, seminars and informative Gone Fishing guides with tips for family-friendly fishing outings, as well as special giveaways. In an effort to inspire future generations to enjoy, love and conserve the great outdoors, Bass Pro Shops will also donate 40,000 rods and reels to nonprofit partners nationwide to get more kids outside. Join us in store, bring the family, and when you hit the water this summer use the hashtag #gonefishing! Bass Pro Shops is located at 10501 Palm River Rd. in Tampa. For hours and details, visit

June 2017

Page 17

Valrico Edition

MVM Metalcrafts

The Wooden Spoon Opens...Continued From Page 1 The diner’s name pays homage to Roussos' mother and his preferred cooking utensil. "I only use wooden spoons to stir my sauces and soups," he explained. "And my mom used to knock me on the head with a wooden spoon, so my fiancé suggested I call it the Wooden Spoon," he said smiling. The Wooden Spoon Diner’s head cook is Rick Leasy, and he is no stranger to the kitchen or Roussos. Leasy has more than 40 years of cooking experience and is a longtime friend. “It takes a team. Rick and I work together to get the right taste. We also experiment to keep the classic comfort foods fresh by adding a modern twist,” he said. All of the soups are prepared from scratch with most of the recipes

By Amanda Boston

originating from his mother. In the near future, Roussos plans to offer specials on designated days and a Friday Fish Fry. Roussos extends a personal invitation to stop in and taste some of his favorite dishes, which include the Maryland-Style Crab Cakes, the Greek Spinach Omelet and the pork tenderloin sandwich. The Wooden Spoon Diner is tucked away at 865 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon to the left of the Walmart Supermarket. The hours are 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Monday. For more information, call 655-5556 or visit Facebook and search The Wooden Spoon Diner.




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Page 18

Valrico Edition

Boulevard Salon Team Offers Hair Styling, Nails, Facials And Full Spa Services

By Michelle Caceres

izes in anti-aging treatWhen Lithia resiments, Vitamin-C and dent Eva Duchesne acne treatments and visits hair stylist Cathy microdermabrasion. Turner at Boulevard With so many Salon, she knows her ways to make a hair is in good hands. woman feel fabulous Duchesne has been on the outside, it’s a a client of Turner’s for surprise that owner 13 years and trusts Kathy Hegenauer is her explicitly to tame more concerned with her mane and leave how her clients feel on her hair looking fabuthe inside. lous. “This is a place “She came to me highly recommended Boulevard Salon nail tech Samantha where we work togethHoule not only offers a great er to really make and always makes manicure but a listening ear to clients feel welcome,” my hair look great,” longtime customer Phyllis Tyree. said Hegenauer. said Duchesne. “I That welcoming feeling extends to know she does a great job because of all both clients and staff. Many members of the compliments I receive.” Hegenaur’s team have been with her In addition to the standing appointment for cut and color, Turner occasional- since the salon opened. Nail technician Samantha Houle has been working with ly applies Keratin Complex on Hegenauer for more than 20 years. Duchesne’s hair to repair damage, lock Customer and Valrico resident Phyllis out humidity and reduce unwanted frizz. Tyree has had a biweekly standing “I have a lot of hair and in the sumappointment with Houle for a manicure mer the keratin treatments help my hair for more than 20 years. look sleeker and healthier,” said “Who wouldn’t love to come in here Duchesne. and spend time,” she said. Tyree is greetLocated at 210 E. Brandon Blvd., ed warmly when she arrives and offered Boulevard Salon is more than a place for a beverage. fabulous haircuts. It’s an all-inclusive For Tyree, it’s about more than a experience encompassing hair and nail great manicure. “It’s the personal conneccare and aesthetic needs including but tion and we talk about life, it’s challenges, not limited to facials, waxing services, the good times and the bad times,” she eyebrow and eyelash tinting, permanent make-up and massage. Hydro-facials are said. “She’s such a caring individual.” Boulevard Salon is located at 210 E. performed with a high-tech water oxygen Brandon Blvd. Visit or treatment skin dialysis machine by aescall 571-5800. thetician Rania Chamoun, who special-

Volume 14, Issue 6

Brewworx Offers Great Variety Of Beers, Brewing Classes & More

By Katelyn Massarelli

It started dog for a walk with Shawn and sneaks off to Goechner, owner get a beer. of Bootleggers “I love pets Brewworx in and I love bringBrandon, visiting ing my dogs his friend in every now and Northern San then,” Goechner Francisco. The said. enjoyment he Goechner’s Customers can visit Brewworx to learn how to got from visiting brew their own beer. The store, located 650 purpose in offerOakfield Dr. in Brandon, is both kid- and pet- ing brewing his friend and friendly. always leaving classes for cuswith a six-pack led to Goechner readtomers is not only to spread his love ing up on brewing beer, so the for brewing his own beer, but also to California-native didn’t have to travel let others try it for themselves. There 100 miles for a good beer. are many aspects to brewing a beer, “I get a great deal of enjoyment but it doesn’t have to be difficult, out of making minor tweeks [while according to Goechner. brewing a beer] and seeing how it “We want to get you comfortable changes the product,” Goechner said. making beer,” Goechner said. “We’ll His enjoyment led to the opening talk to clients about what beer they of Bootleggers Brewworx in Brandon. like and select kits that fit the style. The store is a place customers can We’ll take them through the process come to learn how to brew their own and the beer stays here in a temperabeer or wine with classes sometimes ture controlled environment for 1-2 taught by Goechner. Brewworx offers weeks.” beer and wine brewed in the shop, at Having a brewery so close to local breweries and in different counTampa offers more options for the ties such as Pinellas, Sarasota and wide variety of beers kept on tap at Manatee. the shop. Goechner said his store has Despite the common thinking of atleast half a dozen beers kept on tap leaving the kids at home, Brewworx in at all times. Brandon offers a family and pet-friend“Tampa is the beer Mecca of the ly environment. There is a special corSouth,” Goechner said. ner for kids and no hard liquor offered Bootleggers Brewworx in Brandon because of the family-friendly environis located at 650 Oakfield Drive in ment. The pet-friendly environment is Brandon. For more information, call inspired by the common theme in (813) 643-9463 or email them at England that the husband takes the

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June 2017

Page 19

Valrico Edition

Legacy Ridge By WestBay Is A Hidden Gem

By Sharon Still

Development open-plan is underway at grand living Legacy Ridge, a room, natuHomes by ral gas for WestBay comwater, cookmunity in Valrico. ing and This quaint comlaundry and munity nestled in outdoor the heart of an spaces and established residesigns dential neighboroffering The Verona, offering five bedrooms, four baths and a bonus hood offers 67 three-car garage in more than 3,500 sq. ft. of living homesites and is rooms. space is just one of nearly a dozen models in the split into two dis- newly under development Legacy Ridge community “Our in Valrico. tinct neighborArtisan colhoods, each offering executive-style new lection homes are a perfect complement homes. to surrounding neighborhoods and gives The main neighborhood, with gated those who want to move up, buy new, entry, consists of 57 homesites featuring increase the size of their home, looking open green space and a selection of for latest designs, trends, energy effiwater view ciency. We can sites.Complimenting this meet their needs is a cul-de-sac enclave without compromisof 10 distinct homesites. ing where they The neighborhood also already live, allows features a 2.5-acre park them to remain in with “Bark Park.” their neighbor“Legacy Ridge is a perfect pocket in hood,” Snow explained. an established neighborhood,” said Sales kicked off in May and accordJanice Snow, Strategic Marketing ing to Snow, “We have five sales to date Manager for Homes By WestBay. She and counting.” reports that the new models are estimatLegacy Ridge is located at 2901 ed for completion in fall 2017. Brucken Rd. in Valrico. The Sales Office Floor plans available are from Homes is located at 961 Collina Hill Dr. in by WestBay’s Artisan Collection and there Brandon. Hours are Monday, Tuesday are nearly a dozen to choose from, rangand Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5:30 ing from 4-7 bedroom, 3-5 baths, threep.m. and 12 Noon-5:30 p.m. on car garages, brick-paver driveways and Wednesday and Sunday. For more inforlead walk. These one- and two-story mation, visit offer 2,562-4846 square feet with da/valrico/legacy or call Lisa Starling or upper and lower level owner’s retreats, Dominick Colla at 813-774-6112.

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¹Specials valid until 06-30-2017. All vehicles subject to prior sale. Photos are for illustration purposes only. All offers available for well qualified consumers with approved credit, reflect stock numbers listed may require financing through GM Financial Services³. Not all buyers will qualify. Offers available for a limited time and subject to change without notice. All rebates and incentives are to be assigned to dealer. Some incentives are in lieu of special finance rates. ⁴Some incentives may not be available to all consumers and may depend of method of purchase. Must take delivery from current dealer stock. Limited supply of vehicles. You must mention this ad upon arrival to qualify. Only the stock numbers listed in the ad are at these prices. All prices are plus tax, tag, title and dealer pre-delivery fee in the amount of $799.95 which charge represents cost and profit to the dealer for items such as inspecting, cleaning and adjusting new and used vehicles, preparing documents related to the sale or lease. Please see dealer for complete details. Ferman is not responsible for publication errors, or typographical errors associated with the creative production of the ad. Vehicle art depicted is for the purpose of advertising and may not be representative of actual vehicles(s) in stock. See dealer for complete details. Offers expire 06-30-2017.

June 2017

Valrico Edition

Page 20

InThis Section


CHALKLINES....................................PG 23 DANGEROUS INTERSECTIONS ........PG 29 SPORTS CONNECTION .............PGS 30‐31 SHERIFF GEE RETIRES .....................PG 33 June 2017

Volume 14, Issue 6

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...............PG 34

Ph: 657-2418

Goodrich Quality Theaters Celebrates New Riverview 14 GDX å Featuring Gastropub

In April, Goodrich Quality Theaters hosted a huge MultiChamber Ribbon Cutting Photo courtesy of Ed Booth, Huth and Booth Photography Ceremony to cel- Recent multi-chamber ribbon cutting held at Riverview’s Goodrich Quality Theaters. ebrate its brandscratch kitchen perfect for lunch, dinnew Riverview 14 GDX Theater & ner and late-night dining. Features Gastropub opening. It is located at 10550 East Bay Rd. Multiple events took place in Gibsonton. Visit www.goodrichqualithroughout the week to celebrate Tampa’s destination theater. Riverview for the latest movies and showtimes. 14 “GDX” (Giant Digital Experience) features Goodrich’s cutting-edge large Dr. Laura Bridges Voted One Of format auditoriums with two fabulous Tampa’s Top General Dentists 3,200 sq. ft. screens projected in 4K digital showcasing floor-to-ceiling viewThe June and July publication of ing powered by Premium Dolby Florida’s Tampa Magazine has ATMOS™ sound system. In addition, announced that Dr. Laura Bridges all 14 theaters feature state-of-the-art was voted as one of the top general digital projection with every seat dentists in the Tampa Bay area. Dr. reserved in extra comfortable fullBridges was selected after Tampa motion luxurious, plush leather. Plus, Magazine sent ballots to over 900 they have a contemporary lobby active and licensed dentists practicing including “FEATURES”, a Gastro-Pub in the Tampa Bay area. The selection Restaurant & Bar developed by of Dr. Laura Bridges was a result of Celebrity Chef Brian Duffy; innovative the anonymous voting conducted by

Petcare Clinic At Pet Supplies Plus

Chef Dave and Karen are thrilled to host Chef Richie Farina, who will be back in Brandon for his only Florida appearance and cooking classes on Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24.

active area dentists. According to Dr. Bridges, Tampa Bay has an amazing network of general dentist and dental specialists so to be recognized by her peers makes this award very special to her. Bridges Dental is located at 3646 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico. New patients can make an appointment to see Dr. Bridges by calling the office at 654-3399. Bridges Dental accepts over 14 major PPO dental insurances and offers its own in-house dental wellness plan for patients without dental insurance. Visit Bridges Dental at

A VIP Petcare Clinic takes place every other Sunday at Pet Supplies Plus from 1-2:30 p.m. Check the store for exact dates and details. It also offers a Dog wash that is more accessible than your tub at home. Pet Supplies Plus is located at 1937 E. St. Rd. 60 in Valrico. Hours are Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. For information, call 548-0645 or visit alrico/8062.

Continued on Next Page

Page 22

Valrico Edition

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

By Michelle Colesanti

Celebrity Chefs Return To Brandon At Rolling Pin

Rolling Pin announces Celebrity Chefs return to Brandon for Cooking Classes in its state of the art Culinary Center. Chef Dave and Karen are thrilled to be hosting Chef Richie back in Brandon for his only Florida appearance and cooking classes. He will return at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, June 23 for “Crowd Pleaser” and 24 “Winner Chicken Dinner” for two evenings of food and fun. He began his career as a pizza maker and catering chef in 1998, before attending culinary school at Johnson & Wales from 20012005. His family resides in Riverview. Rolling Pin has a number of other Celebrity Chefs lined up for the fall and winter: Chef Tre Wilcox, Chef Virginia Willis, Chef Lyndsey Waters, and Chef Fabrizio Schenardi. Additionally, they host 8-10 classes a week in hands-on, demonstration and socially interactive styles. Each month has kids/tweens classes and afternoon teas from which to choose. Private and Corporate Parties are available too. Rolling Pin strives to provide its customers with quality kitchen tools, gourmet foods and superior customer service. Rolling Pin is located at 2080 Badlands Dr. in Brandon. For more information, call 653-2418 or visit

Tasty Venues Offers Culinary Journeys In Cooking And Home Décor And Food Products

Tasty Venues recently opened at 951 E. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon. Owners Cinzia and Mark Cripe, along with Debora Felton and Susan Hastings, opened the café to offer food exploration classes that will take guests on culinary journeys throughout the world’s finest cuisines. It was established to share beautiful food and beautiful goods related to food in recognition of the connections are created around a shared table. The owners invite the community to join them in a delicious journey of culinary exploration.

You will be delighted as you watch a masterful chef prepare a meal in front of you and be inspired when you engage in cooking with the Chef. The café offers lunch Monday through Friday. Tasty Venues also offers home décor and gifts, books, imported luxury foods and teas from around the world, plus everything to make entertaining lovely and easy. The hours are Monday to Wedesday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday to Saturday from 11 a.m.8:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Call 381-4999. Visit

tion.” Their experience in the industry allows them to transform large imported slabs into real works of art. They can accommodate designs from simple to exquisite, and offer an impressive variety of granite and marble slabs stocked on-site. They fabricate and install granite, marble, and quartz counter tops and flooring. Classic Stone Gallery can help with all of your natural stone renovations. They deal directly with the public and only charge by the square foot, which saves you money by not having to pay for full slabs. Call 247-2840 or email for a free quote. It is located at 5724 E. Adamo Dr. in Tampa. The hours are Monday to Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Visit

New Local Business Passionate About Supporting Community

Classic Stone Gallery Is Your One Stop Shop for Granite And Marble

Classic Stone Gallery is a granite and marble supplier, fabricator and installer. It supplies, cuts and installs the granite and marble slabs right in your home making it a one stop shop. Classic Stone Gallery specializes in custom made marble and granite counter tops, remodel work, shower stalls, patios, fireplaces, staircases, both commercial and residential jobs. According to owners Stefano

Plazza, Jimmy Mormin and Joe Plazza, they chose to work in this industry because they love what they do. They came from Sicily in the 70's with nothing but their expertise in sculpting and crafting marble and granite and a few close friends. They have now flourished in the heart of Tampa for almost 40 years. “We enjoy creating counter tops and unique design pieces that grab people's atten-

The 2017 Champ Boosters Savings Book is exclusive to Hillsborough County and offers a new choice for schools and teams to reach their fundraising goals. The savings book has over $200 in savings from 26 well-known businesses in our area, such as Black Rock Bar & Grill, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, BOCA, Square 1 Burgers, iFLY, Florida Aquarium, and more. Fundraising began in April and the feedback so far confirms all of the following: It’s easy to sell and organize, It’s a profitable fundraiser, Families enjoy that the book is full of local savings. Schools and teams create impressive goals to help kids learn and grow – and fundraisers are often required to achieve them. This fundraiser is unique because it was created for our community, by our community. To further the commitment to the community, Champ Boosters also funds college scholarships in partnership with Hillsborough Education Foundation. “The Champ Boosters mission is to create opportunities to help students and young athletes reach their goals,” said Alison Clinton, owner and local mom of three. “I’m thrilled to say the Champ Boosters Savings Book and local scholarships are positively impacting our community and I look forward to creating many more oppor-

Volume 14, Issue 6

tunities over the years.” The Champ Boosters Savings Book is available for summer and fall fundraisers – it’s easy and risk-free. All offers in the savings book expire 2/28/18. Visit

5th Gear Fitness Offers Youth Boot Camp Class In June

For the entire month of June, 5th Gear Fitness will hold Youth Boot Camp classes for ages 8-12 on every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:15 p.m. The cost for each child to participate is $10 per class with each additional sibling discounted to $8. Parents can also participate for an extra charge. 5th Gear Fitness strives to work personally with each client to optimize whole fitness, health, and well-being through training, consultation, education and motivation. It is located at 1076 E. Brandon Blvd. in Suite 211 in Brandon. For more information, call 662-4044 or email You can also visit and its Facebook page @5gearfit.

Enjoy Trivia Night At FEATURES GastroPub

FEATURES GastroPub, located at Goodrich Quality Theaters, recently launched a terrific weekly, entertaining and family-friendly evening Trivia Night every Wednesday from 7-9 p.m. It is free and run by a very professional organization. Consider how much fun it will be to put together a winning team (no limit to the number of people on each team). Many categories including movies will be included. Great prizes will be awarded each week for first, second and third place. Enjoy $3 off all appetizers from the scratch kitchen. FEATURES GastroPub is located at 9390 Theater Dr. in Gibsonton. Hours are Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m.-12 Midnight and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Visit or call 295-8469.

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June 2017

Page 23

Valrico Edition

Photos and story by Tamas Mondovics

High School Graduations, End-of-Season Accomplishments Take Center Stage

Bell Creek Academy Bell Creek Academy Strawberry Crest Valedictorian: Arianna Salutatorian: Kirsten Valedictorian: Kevin Chacko Meekins, Olekszak (IB) GPA: 7.07 GPA: 6.09 GPA: 7.84 College: University of Florida College: University of Florida College: University of Florida

Hillsborough County’s Top Students Recognized during 2017 Graduation Ceremonies

Ending the 2016-2017 school year, thousands of students representing 28 high schools throughout Hillsborough County have scheduled to celebrate one the most important day of their young lives; graduation. Included during each graduation ceremony, or commencement is the traditional valedictory and salutatorian speeches delivered by seniors who stood out from the rest of their classmates due to their personal achievements. Once again this year’s graduation ceremonies were scheduled to be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall. For a full list of the 2016 visit

Below are some of the Valrico area students: (Not all school provided photos at time of writing).

Durant High School

Valedictorian: Brittany Jarrell GPA: 7.8668 College: FSU

Durant High School

Salutatorian: Sarah Rohlfsen GPA: 6.9 College: Georgia Institute of Technology

Five Students Recognized For Perfect Attendance Grades K-12

Hillsborough County school officials were pleased to recognize five seniors during a recent School Board Recognition meeting 901 E. Kennedy Blvd., in Tampa, for having perfect attendance from kindergarten through 12th

Our Residents Are Always On The Move!

Strawberry Crest Valedictorian: Fatima Iyer (Traditional) GPA: 9.0 College: Harvard Law School

Strawberry Crest Salutatorians: Keylonnie Miller (IB) GPA: 7.75 College: University of Michigan

grade. High school students, Emilie Dunn, (Newsome), Ryan Ingraham, (Sickles), Jacob Lorentzen, (Durant), Logan Phillips, (Pepin Academy) and Michael Stone, (King) each were presented by Suncoast Credit Union and Toyota of Tampa Bay with items memorializing and rewarding their achievements. In an effort to encourage school attendance, Deputy Superintendent Beth Shields initiated an annual attendance program in 2000 to recognize students who have maintained perfect attendance from kindergarten through the 12th grade. In addition to recognizing the students co mitment and effort, Toyota of Tampa Bay is hosting the annual “A Perfect Car for Perfect Attendance” a

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Strawberry Crest Salutatorians: Alanis Rosado (Traditional) GPA: 7.3 College: University of South Florida

special event that was scheduled for Sunday, June 4. Each year, the event honors seniors with at least one year of perfect attendance by Toyota of Tampa Bay giving away a Scion to one fortunate senior who will select the marching car key. The five seniors who have earned perfect attendance for the past 13 years will receive one entry ticket for each year of perfect attendance for their welldeserved accomplishment. The 1,840 other eligible seniors are provided one entry ticket for having earned at least one year of perfect attendance during high school. Visit

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Page 24

Volume 14, Issue 6

Valrico Edition

NOW’S THE TIME TO SELL! What are you waiting for? We need listings!

Local Electronic Repair Business Gives Top-Notch Customer Service

By Nick Nahas

for $50 and the phone breaks with that protector on it, the next screen repair will only cost $9. “I want customers to know that we have their best interest at heart,” Sells said. “We are always honest and forthPhoto courtesy of Bryant Sells right, which isn't always the case In 2014, uBreakiFix opened a store in the Valrico area in the Shoppes at Lithia plaza. in the sales industry.” Bryant Sells is living the American uBreakiFix will price-match to make sure dream — moving up the company ladthat each customer gets the right deal. der from being an employee working on Sells takes pride in his store’s customer retail development with uBreakiFix, to service and he wants to make sure that owning two of his very own franchises. every customer leaves the store with a Just over three years ago his dream great experience. “I know that nobody became a reality when he opened his plans for electronic repairs, they just very first store in the Valrico area in the Shoppes at Lithia plaza. Two years later, happen,” he said. uBreakiFix has over 300 locations, Sells opened his second store in the both nationally and internationally. It has Regency Square shopping center in stores located in Canada and Trinidad Brandon. “I always wanted to be a business owner,” Sells said. “I just had to get as well as the U.S. Sells would ultimately like to purchase some more my foot in the door.” uBreakiFix franchises in the future. “We uBreakiFix offers a wide array of want to be an established figure in the services fixing consumer electronics, community and to be a go-to resource from game consoles and laptops, to for everybody in the greater Brandon phones and tablets. They have even area, “ Sells said. “We want to be repaired TV motherboards and drones. respected and well-known in the comuBreakiFix will look at your electronics munity.” and give an estimate for free. They also For more information you can visit sell products, such as glass screen prothe Facebook page at https://www.facetectors and phone cases. If you purchase a glass screen protector warranty


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Page 25

Valrico Edition

Sea Tow Tampa Bay Offers 24/7 Peace Of Mind Boat Towing Service

By Nick Nahas

Sea Tow Tampa Bay assisting a 50-foot sport fish that ran aground.

Sea Tow Tampa Bay has had smooth sailing under new owners Raul and Cile Moreno, who bought the franchise two years ago. Cile has had prior experience owning and running a company, with a background in sales and marketing. With her son and Sea Tow general manager, Captain Erich Jaeger’s previous knowledge of operating boating vessels, the company is off to a great start. The company owns four towboats that are scattered throughout Tampa Bay for optimum coverage. The team consists of seven full-time captains that are available 24/7 in case of an emergency on the water. A wide variety of services are offered for a yearly membership to the company, including boater education classes and automated radio checks, as well as unlimited boat tows, battery jumps, and up to 20 gallons of gas delivery.

Sea Tow Tampa Bay offers 24/7 boat towing.

They even have a Sea Tow app that can be used for non-emergency assistance and access to tides and weather information. “We are ready to come out 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, no matter what, to come and get you,” Jaeger said. “When you have Sea Tow, we are going to get you home no matter what the case.” May is National Boating Safety Month, giving Sea Tow Tampa Bay the perfect opportunity to help spread the word about boater safety throughout the bay. They have done their due diligence, providing boaters with every tool possible for a safe boating experience. In 2007, the Sea Tow Foundation, a grant program that provides free lifejackets to passengers, was established to promote boating safety. The company also created the Designated Skipper Program, attempting to spread awareness of

A 102-foot yacht tow in progress.

the dangers of drinking and boating. “You should not be operating a vessel while impaired,” Jaeger said. “Alcohol is involved in almost every fatality on the water.” With the varied hours and high levels of stress that it takes to maintain an operation that is constantly running, it helps that the business is family-run and operated, because

everybody involved understands the demands of the job. “You never know when the job is coming, you just know that the job’s coming,” Jaeger said. Jaeger said the family hopes that with the success of Sea Tow Tampa Bay they can purchase another Sea Tow franchise in the future. For information, visit their website at

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Page 26

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 6

June 2017

Page 27

Valrico Edition

Local Realtor Looks To Join Forces With A Local Non-Profit

By Sandy Meyer

Buying or sellget the maximum traffic ing a home can be to your home. If a realone of the most tor tells you its okay to stressful experioverprice, find another ences in life. Joy one,” she said. Frisch and The As a way of thankTampa Bay Realty ing the community for Team are ready to her success, Frisch is hold your hand looking to extend a perthrough the entire centage of her office’s process to ensure monthly profits to a you have the local non-profit charity. smoothest experiTo have your non-profit ence possible. considered, please Frisch opened send an essay (feel The Tampa Bay Joy Frisch with The Tampa Bay Realty free to include any Realty Team as a Team to select local non-profit for a other pertinent informamonthly grant. satellite office for tion) to Joy Frisch, Charles Rutenburg Realty and has explaining how your non-profit makes a more than 12 years of real estate local impact on others. All types of nonexperience and holds the ABR, SRS, profits are welcome to participate. The SRES and MCNE certifications. winner will get $500 initially and then Frisch and her team represent both become the recipient of a percentage buyers and sellers and offer a variety of monthly sales. This is an amazing of programs and guarantees. For buyopportunity for a local charity to get a ers, there is a satisfaction guarantee big boost. Please mail essays to: Joy that if you are not happy with your new Frisch c/o Non-Profit Essay 10703 home within the first 18 months, they Rockledge View Dr. Riverview, FL will resell it for free. For sellers, Frisch 33579. Deadline is Monday, July 10 will buy your home if it fails to sell with- and winner will be announced by the in a time frame agreed upon at the inimiddle of August. tial agreement. For more information on how The Typically it is set at 180 days. “We Tampa Bay Realty Team can ease the look at our client’s needs and our pressure of buying or selling a home clients come first, second and third,” and a variety of finance programs, Frisch said. please visit Frisch’s advice to those currently or call looking to sell their homes is to price 677-5897. Also visit your house correctly from the for a list of Frisch’s ning. “The first 30 days is when you published books on real estate.

Robongi Provides Asian Fusion Cuisine & Fresh Ingredients To Valrico

By Tatiana Ortiz

also be seen mounted on the walls as part of Robongi’s décor. The restaurant serves lunch from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. and offers a variety of specials too. For example, the Combo Box Lunch cost $9.50. It consists of either Chicken Teriyaki, Beef Teriyaki and a few other choices. It comes with salad, rice, three gyozas (dumplings) and three California rolls. Besides specials, Robongi does provide a wide range of food Individuals visiting the options to Valrico area in search to choose from fulfill their craving of Asian such as food should visit Robongi. Seafood It offers a vast selection of Delight, Asian Fusion Cuisine food Sushi items. Sashimi, This Valrico restaurant Steamed became established in Chicken with December 2016. The mixed vegRobongi owner, Jian Lin, etables and brought the idea to incormuch more. porate a food menu that The restauincludes sushi, Chinese, rant sells grilled items and more. He soda, wine, also owns another place in tea and other Valrico called Asian beverage Kitchen, which serves as a items too. to-go restaurant. Guests Also, patrons can dine-in for lunch, dinRobongi’s Sushi Sashimi Lunch Combo. can order ice ner or do carry-out. For an cream and additional $2 the restaurant does deliver, fried bananas for dessert. but only to the Valrico area. It does “Overall, I want the community to catering as well. know that we provide different types “Through the other restaurant I of food here at Robongi,” Lin said. heard many people inquiring about sushi For more information, visit and delivery. Robongi opened as It is located er avenue for our customers,” Lin said. at 2519 E. SR 60 in Valrico. Open To add, as soon as diners walk into Monday, Wednesday and Thursday Robongi they will notice a sushi bar with from 11 a.m.- 10 p.m., Friday through a high countertop and chairs. The Saturday 11 a.m.- 10:30 p.m. and restaurant seats 65 diners comfortably Sunday 12 Noon - 9:30 p.m. Call with multiple tables and booths avail662-2997. able. Two flat screen televisions can

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Volume 14, Issue 6

Valrico Edition

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June 2017

Page 29

Valrico Edition

Bloomingdale Avenue Ranks Top On Most Dangerous Intersections List As recently released by HCSO, and also posted by ABC Action News, below is a list of the intersections, their ranking and the number of accidents for the month of April: __________________________________________________ PALM RIVER RD + 78TH ST S = 14 ANDERSON RD + WATERS AV W = 13 HABANA AV N + SLIGH AV W = 12

301 HW S = BIG BEND RD = 12 301 HW S + BLOOMINGDALE AV = 11

The watchful eyes of red-light cameras installed at the intersection of Bloomingdale Avenue and Bell Shoals Road are monitoring motorist since January 2010. Bloomingdale Ave. recently took its place on HCSO’s most dangerous intersections in Hillsborough County list.

With the recent countywide population growth, area roadways are making headlines for being over capacity and rightfully earning the “failed road” designation. Bloomingdale Ave. in southeastern Hillsborough County is no exception. Nearly six miles long and one of the busiest roadways in the County, Bloomingdale Ave., between US 301 and Lithia Pinecrest Rd., has recently found itself on another list that did not make things any better. The list was released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office naming the top intersections for accidents for just a one month period; the month of April. While the intersection of Palm River Rd. and 78th St. topped the list of most accidents (14) Bloomingdale Ave. made the list multiple times posting a high

By Tamas Mondovics As recently released by HCSO, and also posted by ABC Action News, included is a list of local intersections, their ranking and the number of accidents for the month of April. For information, visit




HANLEY RD + WATERS AV W = 8 number of accidents DALE MABRY HW N + VAN DYKE RD = 8 crossing US 301, Kings DALE MABRY HW N + NORTHDALE BL = 7 Ave., Bryan Rd., HIMES AV N + WATERS AV W = 7 Providence Rd., and LINEBAUGH AV W + GUNN HW = 7 DALE MABRY HW N + LINEBAUGH AV W = 7 Gornto Lake Rd. totaling BLOOMINGDALE AV + GORNTO LAKE RD S = 7 43 crashes for April. GIBSONTON DR + MATHOG RD = 7 Although not on the BIG BEND RD + SUMMERFIELD BL = 7 list, the intersection of Bloomingdale Ave. and visibility enforcement posted by Bell Shoals Rd. is by no means spared HCSO are constant features targetfrom being mentioned as it has earned ing many of the areas in hopes of the necessity to be one of just seven reducing traffic violations and acciRed Light cameras now in use throughdents. out the County. Commenting on the traffic probAfter also factoring in the high numlems in his district, Hillsborough ber of fender-benders that are plaguing County Commissioner Stacy White the now infamous roadway, motorists said that he is “anxiously awaiting that are routinely making use of the results of a recent east and Bloomingdale Ave. are clearly enduring Morning traffic cautiously crosses the intersection west corridor study” focusing on a daily travel nightmare at least during on Bloomingdale Ave at the Bloomingdale Square such roadways as Bloomingdale rush hour traffic. Plaza. Bloomingdale Ave. recently took its place Ave. Digital message boards and high on HCSO’s most dangerous intersections in

Hillsborough County list.

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Volume 14, Issue 6

Valrico Edition





Mondovics tamas@ ospreyobserv

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Durant Cougars Show Strength at Spring Football Jamboree

By Tamas Mondovics

Durant High School Cougars football coach Mike Gottman talks to his players before taking on the Brandon Eagles during this year’s spring football jamboree. The Cougars defeated Brandon 21-7.

This year’s spring football jamboree has once again allowed local programs to play each other ahead of the upcoming 2017-2018 season later this fall. The line up included the Durant Cougars, Brandon Eagles, Bloomingdale Bulls and the Newsome Wolves which hosted the event last month. While each program put its best upcoming seniors on display it was also a time for head coaches, Mike Gottman (Durant) Max Warner (Bloomingdale) Isaac Anderson (Brandon) and Kenneth Hiscock (Newsome), to measure up the strength of their respective teams. First up for the night was a twoquarter bout between Durant and Brandon, which expectedly displayed a strong Cougars offensive line up

Durant quarterback, Carlton Potter and teammate David Haynes get ready to face off the Brandon Eagles during this year’s spring football jamboree.

ending in a 21-7 win over the Eagles. Leading Durant was Russian born, 230-pound fullback David Tabakovic, followed by Cameron Myers. Brandon answered with a play by quarterback Harry Kanu connecting with Jamal Nash to cut the lead to 147.Third-year starting quarterback Carlton Potter connected with Myers once more on an 83-yard pass to seal the game. “We are returning six on offense, but we have work to do on defense,” Gottman said. “Our fall season will depend on how fast we can clean up mistakes.” The jamboree’s second half saw an exciting game between host Newsome and visiting Bloomingdale, which from the start did not disappoint the sizable crowd of parents and fans who filled the bleachers in support of


Durant High School football players warm up for this year’s spring jamboree.

the play-

Scoring began with Bulls receiver Ed Amos on an 80-yard touchdown on the kickoff return. With Dakota Allen connecting to Cornelius Bryant, Newsome answered back to tie the game at 7-7. The scoring continued as Bloomingdale featured Corey Thornton and Levi Williams. Newsome managed to squeeze in a field goal and another touchdown to

end the bout at 21-17 in the Bulls favor. “We will see who steps up tonight,” Warner said during a pre game interview. In the wake of last year’s loosing season the first for the Wolves in school history, Newsome is hoping to get back in the game. “We are very excited and looking forward to the season and to big things,” Hiscock said. For more information please visit

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June 2017

Valrico Edition

Page 31

Sports Connection Story by Tamas Mondovics

Newsome Sophomore Wins National Title As Level 9 Gymnast Newsome High School sophomore and talented gymnast, Jaden Haley, 15, has every reason to celebrate after winning the Level Nine Eastern National Gold Medal on Vault this spring in Lansing, Michigan. Haley, who trains 16.5 hours per week at Lakewood Ranch Gymnastics in Bradenton, under owner and coach Laura Parraga is currently the Florida State Champion on Vault. “Jaden is a faithful, Local gymnast and Newsome High School sophomore hardworking young lady,” Jaden Haley, 15, recently won the Level Nine Eastern National Gold Medal on Vault this spring in Lansing, MI. Parraga said. “She is naturally strong and has you to push past this, you can accomgreat power. She is a joy to coach plish anything.” and we are so excited to watch where Since winning the level nine her gymnastics takes her.” national title, Haley plans to move forAside from crediting her coaches, ward to make upgrades to her routeammates, family, and friends, whom tines and to become a level 10 gymshe said has been supporting her and nast this coming season. bringing me to this point, Haley credits As a gymnast, Haley is also workher success to another source. “I ing to earn an athletic scholarship. would especially like to thank God To encourage others, the young because I believe that all my accomgymnast wants her teammates to plishments have come as blessings always remember why they started from him. I feel very blessed to have gymnastics. won the title of national champion on “A lot of times as you get more vault; I was and am extremely happy.” competitive in the sport you can easily Haley’s success and competition get lost in the stress and pressure,” highlights include: she said. “You should always 2014 Level 7 – State Champion Beam remember that little girl or boy State Champion Floor who loved the sport and push 2015 Level 8 – State Champion Vault through it for them. Find that 2015 Level 8 – Vault-America’s Top 100 passion.” 2016 Level 9 – State Silver Medalist, Vault Haley added that she 2016 Level 9 – Regional Qualifier believes everything happens for 2016 Level 9 – Vault America’s Top 100 a reason and has its purpose. “There will be bad days and To reach her goals, Haley said bad things that happen to you, but takes a lot of mental perseverance. that doesn't define your future; you “Gymnastics, while a very physicontrol that. You should always be cally demanding sport, challenges you open to change. One thing you do difthe most mentally,” she said. “Your ferently can make the difference in thoughts can really get to you and be your performance and in the long run. an obstacle to what you want to By making those changes you can achieve. But if you can find it within reach your full potential.”

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daughter of Christina and David Gillett, will compete to become the newly crowned Miss Princess for Florida at the pageant to be held on Friday and Saturday, July 28 and 29 ic M at the Hyatt Regency Grand y b d m Compile Cypress in Orlando. s o @ michelle The winner of the Pageant will receive a $1,000 cash award, official crown and banner, along with air transportation to compete in the national pagThe Teki Hinton eant at Disneyland Ericson Memorial in California. Scholarship Contestants Announced compete in four The Hillsborough overall categories County 4-H Foundation including Formal is pleased to announce Wear Modeling, the creation of the Teki Personal Hinton Ericson memoriInstruction, al academic and trades Interview and scholarship. Mrs. Community Service Ericson was a 4-H Project. alumnus and daughter Danielle’s activiof Chip and Jemy ties include youth Hinton. We wish to barrel racing, travthank the many friends Teki Hinton Ericson eling with her famiof the Hinton family and ly for Cowboys for to the Nat and Alice Storms family for Christ ministry to youth rodeos, pracmaking this Scholarship possible. ticing gymnastics and playing with her Application forms are available friends. through the 4-H Office. Submission Her friends and family, along with Deadline for 2017 is Monday, July 10 Absolute Auto Repair has helped to at 4:30 p.m. The scholarship will be support her on this journey. awarded at this year’s 4-H Awards For more information on the Banquet on Saturday, August 12 at Pageant, visit the the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds.

Ukulele Workshop At Brandon Regional Library

Brandon’s Chuck E. Cheese Offers Sensory Sensitive Sundays

Chuck E. Cheese’s recently collaborated with CARD A Ukulele (Center for Autism Workshop will be held and Related on Monday, June 19 at Disorders) to offer 6:30 p.m. at the Sensory Sensitive Brandon Regional Sundays at the Library, located at 619 Brandon store locatVonderburg Dr. in ed at 1540 W. Brandon. Brandon Blvd. in Join members of Brandon. Sensory the Tampa Bay Ukulele Sensitive Sundays Society for an introducoccur on the first tion to the instrument, Five year old Danielle Gillett will Sunday of every followed by a fun, hour participate in a Miss Princess pag- month from 9-11 long strum-and-sing eant in Orlando in July. a.m., beginning in session. Ukuleles will June. be provided for use durThe sensory-friendly experience ing the workshop, or bring your own. provides an opportunity for children to This workshop is for adults. For enjoy games, pizza and prizes in a more information about this program calm and safe environment that call 273-3652 or visit includes: smaller crowds and less Local Five Year Old To Participate noise, no Chuck E. mascot or other costumed character and dimmed In State Pageant lighting with no shows or music. Food Five year old Danielle Gillett, and games are offered, and parents

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Volume 14, Issue 6

Valrico Edition

are permitted to bring snacks for their children due to dietary restrictions. Also, a trained and caring staff will make sure each guest has a fun filled visit. For more information, visit

Local Student Earns Dean’s List Recognition At Norwich University

John Robert Francis Harrison of Valrico recently earned Dean’s List recognition at the prestigious Norwich University for the spring semester 2017. The diversified academic institution educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich is one of the nation's six senior military colleges

and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distancelearning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. For more information on Norwich University, visit

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June 2017

Page 33

Valrico Edition

Four-Term Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee To Retire September 30

Bell Shoals Baptist Church Holds Youth Summer Camp

community leader is his truly genuine care for those whom he worked with and those he served over the years. Florida Gov. Rick Scott will now appoint an interim sheriff to serve Hillsborough County until a new sheriff is elected at the next general election in November 2018. Residents can expect their next After serving the community for nearly four decades, four-term Sheriff appointed from Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee has announced his within the Sheriff's retirement effective at the end of September. Gee’s potential Office. successors include a pair of agency veterans. Potential sucAfter nearly four decades of serving cessors include Colonels Chad his community in a great number of law Chronister and Donna Lusczynski. enforcement functions, four-term While also a possible successor, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee HCSO Chief Deputy José M. Docobo has decided to retire effective September is reportedly not likely to take the job. 30. Gee thanked his staff for their While not unexpected, the announce- “remarkable service” and spoke highly ment has saddened many that have had of leading the more than 4,000 memthe privilege of knowing and working with ber agency when he said, “It has been Gee who has led the agency unopposed an honor and privilege for me to be for the past 13 years and would have like- your colleague, your friend and your ly continued such a status in 2018. extended family member. It is now But, Gee said it was time. time for me, however, to concentrate “After over 40 years of law enforceand devote my full attention and supment service, I have decided to retire at port to my family. I wish each of you the end of September,” Gee wrote in an well and ask that you continue to proemail to his employees while announcing vide the level of commitment neceshis decision, which he said, “has not been sary in making this transition as made lightly and was one of the most difsmooth as possible.” ficult decisions that I have made in my For more information about there career.” Sheriff’s Office please visit The Sheriff’s career began 38 years ago as a patrol deputy, followed by servNote From The Osprey Observer ing as a homicide investigator, Internal Editor: Affairs supervisor, public information offiThe Osprey Observer Newspapers cer, chief financial officer and chief wishes to express its sincere appreciadeputy. tion and gratitude for the service proGee was elected Sheriff of vided by Sheriff Gee. His leadership Hillsborough County in 2004 and was rehas led the Hillsborough County elected—unopposed—in 2008, 2012 and Sheriff's Department for many years in 2016. and the success of the department is a During his long career Gee has direct result of his efforts and dedicaenjoyed a long list of awards, honor and tion. Sheriff Gee's commitment to qualaccolades while humbly stated, “Each of ity and professional integrity has set my Sheriff's Office family and the citizens the bar for future leadership positions. of our community is very important to me. Thank you Sherriff Gee, enjoy I have dedicated my life to serving others every minute of your retirement and and hope that I have served well. we know your legacy of kindness, Throughout the years, serving the comrespect and integrity lives on in munity has been my priority and it has Hillsborough County. been an honor and privilege to serve with you by my side.” Sincerely, Your Friends at Perhaps the best thing about this Osprey Observer

For more than 20 adventurous activities, summers, Bell Shoals camper camaraderie and Baptist Church has worthwhile worship. faithfully organized Guffey explained, “I and conducted a love being able to get kids away from their normal weeklong summer routine and let them expericamp at Camp ence fun-filled days in a Kulaqua. This year’s summer camp operCamp Kulaqua offers campers a Christian environment ates from Monday, variety of activities in a beautiful where loving adult counand God-centered environment. selors are investing in their June 26 through lives.” Friday, June 30 The cost for each through its continued camp is $415 and includes support from Bell all transportation, lodging, Shoals leaders, menfood and activities. tors and volunteers. Financial support is availJanie Guffey, able for those who may Minister of Preschool need assistance. The and Children at Bell As campers participate in outdoor opportunity to sponsor a Shoals, said, “I don’t activities, they often build lifelong relationships and memories. needy child is also availthink I will ever get too able for those who feel called to do so. old for camp. I love being with the kids, Guffey attested to the positive and and I now have the joy of having kids long-lasting impact of summer camp. She who were once campers now serving said, “My life was changed as a child with me as counselors.” when someone paid for me to go to a Summer camp is actually two sepasummer camp. ...A week at a Christian rate programs: a children’s camp for chilcamp can change a kid’s life. The frienddren who have completed grades three through six, and a student camp for those ships they develop can last a lifetime, but when they put their faith and trust in who have completed grades seven Jesus, their eternity in heaven is settled through twelve. Although the camps forever.” occur simultaneously, each program has To register for either camp, visit its own theme, agenda and For more tions. information or questions about the chilCamp Kulaqua is located in High dren’s camp, contact Debbie Thompson Springs, Florida, which is about 40 miles at 689-4229 ext. 223 or Mindy Wellman north of Gainesville. Its facilities feature at 689-4229 ext. 417 for the student waterslides, pools, a zoo, horseback ridcamp. For further detail on camp facilities, ing, zip lining, mini-golf, go-carts, canoevisit ing and more. Each day is packed with

By Tamas Mondovics

By Amanda Boston


What do you do when you have a health problem? Call your doctor, ask friends, or do research on the internet? Whether it’s a small or big problem, it can impact your quality of life. If the problem is related to any of the following issues, it’s possible to get relief through outpatient therapy at a rehab center: • Coughing or choking while eating or drinking, difficult or painful swallowing, food stuck in the throat or continual nose running during meals, can all be addressed by a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) who specializes in adult impairments. In addition, SLPs can assist with word finding, short term memory and vocal disorders, including helping those with Parkinson’s Disease improve their ability to be understood. • Difficulty walking, weakness, impaired balance and coordination (including dizziness), gait abnormality, postural instability, amputation, musculoskeletal pain (headaches, joint pain, etc) and post-surgical impairments can be addressed by a Physical Therapist (PT). PTs are able to treat the impairments using manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, balance and gait interventions. • Low vision, which a term for someone who has tried glasses, medication or surgery, but is still unable to complete necessary activities due to poor vision, can be addressed by an Occupational Therapist (OT) with a specialty in low vision. In addition, OTs can address fine motor problems that effect writing, dressing, bathing, toileting, meal preparation and housekeeping. OTs address the underlying reasons for the problems, teach compensatory techniques and recommend adaptive equipment. Anyone looking for outpatient therapy should make sure to ask for one-on-one treatment with therapists who specialize in adults. It’s important to know in advance what kinds of payment the facility takes (Medicare, insurance, private pay). A doctor would need to write a prescription for therapy. If you’re not sure if therapy would help, call a rehab center and ask to talk to a therapist. Dustie Lynch, MBA, MS, CCC/SLP is an SLP at Hawthorne Health & Rehab Center in Brandon, and specializes in swallowing, speech and cognitive impairments for both inpatient and outpatient adults, certified in VitalStim and LSVT Loud programs, and can be reached at

851 W. Lumsden Rd. Brandon, FL 33511


Page 34

Volume 14, Issue 6

Valrico Edition

With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins

Valrico Artist Creates Beautiful Watercolor Art develop skills Ralph and techniques. Lopez of Knowing that Valrico is an education never expressive ends, Lopez has and creative continued to take watercolor workshops to artist. His art hone his skills is best known and further as Watercolor develop his craft. Reflections by Lopez's work Rafa. is noted for the Rafa is a variety of subSpanish nickjects and the use name for Rafael. Lopez Ralph Lopez of Valrico is a wonderful watercolor of vibrant color. artist who paints delicate flowers, wildlife and He has won sevtaught Florida's natural beauty. eral awards for Spanish and his watercolor collage work of scenic English in the Hillsborough County New Mexico and the Pacific coast as school system for 34 years. Lopez well as for his portraits of wild animals. said, "I have always liked to draw and Lopez's work has been juried into take photographs. I like the challenge several area art festivals including the of the use of water in painting, espeWinthrop Arts Festival and Artisan cially its fluidity." Market the last two years. Lopez is a Lopez uses 300 pound cold press lifelong resident of the Tampa Bay Arches paper and Winsor and Newton pigments. He works from his own trav- Area. He graduated from Jesuit High School in 1959 and the University of el photographs. He often combines elements from different photographs to Tampa in 1963. He has lived in Valrico make one lovely painting. His subjects with his wife, Carol, for 17 years and in Riverview for 22 years before that. range from delicate florals to imaginaIf you have questions or would like tive animal portraits and portraits of to get in touch with Lopez, please conFlorida wildlife. tact him at 643-1089 or email him at When Lopez retired, he studied with art masters which allowed him to

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East Hillsborough Art Guild Celebrates 25 Years Of Art In Plant City

EHAG was able to award four scholarships this year including one to the MacDonald Training Center who was represented by Kaila Hansley and Rita Hattab, Director of Development. The scholarships are made possible by funds raised at the Annual Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show and the annual Christmas Show.

On Monday, May 1, members of the East Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG) gathered for their Annual End of the Year Banquet. The celebration was held at the Plant City Woman’s Club located at 1110 N. Wheeler St. in historic downtown Plant City. At the annual affair, members of EHAG celebrate the successes of the year, install new board members and award scholarships. The banquet is also an opportunity to recognize the hardworking members of the club who make everything possible. This year’s banquet was especially celebratory as EHAG is celebrating its 25th year of promoting and advocating the arts in Plant City. Two special people were recognized at the banquet. Eleanore McDade founded EHAG back in 1992 and has worked tirelessly ever since to ensure the success of the organization. Karen Crumley took on the difficult role of chairing the Annual Fine Arts Show at the Florida Strawberry Festival. Past president and EHAG Art Guild Grant Chairman, PaulaAndra Aigner said, “We would not have a guild without these two ladies.” Meletha Everett installed the new officers for the 2017-2018 board. Installed as president for the upcoming year is Loretta Burns. Tina Wooster was installed as vice president. Treasurer will be Colleen Justin. Pam West will serve as secretary. This year, EHAG was able to award four scholarships to three deserving emerging artists and to an organization that supports the arts. The first scholarship was awarded to Brianne Elliot, a student at Full Sail University. Elliot will use the $300 scholarship to continue her education in pursuit of a degree in computer graphics and traditional studio art. Rylee Marchese is a high school student who will use her $300 scholarship to attend a summer art camp. In awarding the scholarship, Aigner said, “Rhylee has an art teacher at school who is willing to change her class schedule to make sure

P.O. Box 6099 • Brandon, FL 33508


that Rhylee is in her classes. I agree with her on that. Rhylee wants to work more on her art to improve it and to show it.” Camila Nima-Gonzalez is a middle school student who was awarded a gift card for supplies and five free art classes with Betty Fairbanks, a long-time member of EHAG member. Aigner said, “Camila wants to further her art career and sell some of her work at our Christmas Show.” The last scholarship of $300 was awarded to the MacDonald Training Center. The mission of the MacDonald Training Center is to empower people with disabilities to lead the lives they choose. One of the ways they do this is through their Fine Arts Studio located in Plant City. Rita Hattab, Director of Development thanked EHAG for their support and said, “Everyone knows the power of art.” Also in attendance with Hattab was Kaila Hansley and her parents, Earnest and Nila. Earnest said, “MacDonald Training Center is a very beneficial place for adults with disabilities. It helps them to be a part of the community.” EHAG’s mission is to enrich the human spirit and lives of others through the promotion, development and enjoyment of visual arts. EHAG achieves this goal through several means. They host their Art Around Town which is a collection of exhibits throughout Plant City. The prominent exhibit is at the Classroom Gallery located in the 1914 Plant City High School Community Center located at 605 N. Collins St. in downtown Plant City. The Classroom Gallery is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. The exhibit rotates every 60 to 90 days. EHAG meets on the last Monday in August, the first Monday in October, November, January, February, April and May from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Woman’s Club of Plant City. For more information and to become a member, please visit

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June 2017

Page 35

Valrico Edition

Custom Classics Collision Is Your One-Stop-Shop After An Accident


By Sandy Meyer

As the popuCustom lation in our Classics is a communities one-stop shop soars and after a collision. increased traffic If there are any fills our streets, mechanical or auto accidents electrical issues will continue to in addition to the rise as well. If body repair, you find yourself Custom Classics involved in one has an entire of the many colnetwork of vallisions that occur ued mechanics Custom Classics owner Manny Gonzalez has to subcontract on our roads the Brandon area for near- the work and every day, you’re been proudly serving ly three decades. first priority will keep your repair be getting your vehicle back into preprocess as simple as possible. They accident condition. Custom Classics can also recommend a PIP attorney to Collision and Motorcycle Refinishing is customers when the collision involves ready to help you through this medical issues. process. Gonzalez’s advice to drivers is to Custom Classics has been serving avoid texting while driving. “Cell Brandon and surrounding areas since phones are the new rain for our busi1990. Owner Manny Gonzalez has ness,” he said. “While we don’t mind been working in collision repair since the business, we sure hate to see peohe was 14 years-old and brings ple get hurt. There’s no text worth your decades of experience to ensure your life,” he added. He also wants drivers car is returned in the same condition it to know that it is every driver’s right to was before the accident, a promise he choose their own collision repair combacks up with a lifetime guarantee. pany if an accident occurs. It is illegal Gonzalez and co-owner Tyson for insurance companies to try to dicKimik operate an independent shop tate where you have your vehicle that offers collision repair and paint repaired. work. Custom paint work is also availCustom Classics is open Monday able for vehicles and motorcycles. – Friday from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. They accept all estimates from insurand Saturday’s by appointment. It is ance companies. “We work with the located at 1018 W. Brandon Blvd. Ste. insurance companies to repair vehi110 in Brandon. Please call 327-4953 cles, we don’t work for them,” said or visit for Gonzalez. more information.

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Page 36

Volume 14, Issue 6

Valrico Edition

The Brenda Wade Team is with over 210 Pending & Closed Sales in 2017! When you buy or sell, use the in real estate! Call The Brenda Wade Team!

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CUSTOM JOHN CANNON HOME WITH MARVELOUS WATER VIEWS! 4/5/3 + office + media room + pool/spa home! Boat lover's paradise with no detail overlooked! Live the Florida dream in this wonderful home! You will not be disappointed! $1,189,000

WATERFRONT BEAUTY WITH NEW EXTERIOR PAINT! 5/5/3 + bonus + pool/spa home with private dock! Tray ceilings, large windows & kitchen with granite counters, cherry cabinets topped with crown & stainless appliances incl. 5 burner gas stove! $675,000


ARTHUR RUTENBERG HOME ON LAKE TENNESSEE! 4/3/3 + pool home in the prestigious gated community of Lake Juliana Estates! Oversized lot & million dollar views! Home is loaded with upgrades! Extended dock with amazing sunset views! $525,000 ! EW E N RIC P

BEAUTIFUL HOME ON QUIET LOOP STREET! 3/2/2 home that is just a short stroll to the community pool! Interior offers tile floors, arched entryways & wonderful paint choices! Kitchen with 42" raised panel wood cabinets, stainless appliances & granite! Granite in both baths! Fully fenced! $225,000

LIKE-NEW 3/2.5/1 TOWNHOME IN THE HEART OF BRANDON! Maintenance free community is just minutes from SR 60! Open floor plan offers kitchen with staggered espresso cabinets, granite & stainless appliances! Master with large walk-in closet! $150,000

COUNTRY LIVING AT ITS BEST! Bring your horses & build your dream home & barn on 6.02 acres in picturesque Alafia Ridge Estates, an exclusive gated community with NO CDD FEES! Lot is at the end of a cul-de-sac & boasts two ponds, one on each side! $150,000

BEAUTIFUL HOME THAT IS IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE! 3/2/2 home that offers crown, wide base, upgraded fixtures & doors, neutral paint, wood-look tile & tongue & groove ceiling accents! Wonderful kitchen with staggered maple cabinets, granite & stainless appliances! $229,000 ! G EWIN N T S LI


WONDERFUL FAMILY HOME THAT IS CLOSE TO MACDILL! 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home that is immediately available! Brick exterior & covered patio area! Inside offers new French doors, generous room sizes, ample storage & lots of character! You'll love it! $245,000

2 WONDERFUL LOTS TOTALING 2.21 ACRES WITH CREEK RUNNING THROUGH! Non deed restricted street that is just minutes to shopping, dining, entertainment & a short ride to some of the best schools in Hillsborough county! Central location right off of Bloomingdale Ave! $145,000

CARDEL BEAUTY IN FISHHAWK RANCH! 3/2/2 + bonus home just a short bike ride to Bevis elementary! Freshly painted interior in 2015, new flooring & kitchen with raised panel wood cabinets, island, granite & stainless appliances! Screened patio! $315,000

GATED LAKE WEEKS! 5/3/3 + bonus home that is in a great location close to both I-75 & I-4! This floor plan offers spacious rooms, wood floors, volume ceilings & more! Kitchen with 42" cherry cabinets, corian counters & island! Screened lanai with tile floors! $345,000 ! EW E N RIC P


STUNNING CHADWELL "CALLAWAY III" IN CITRUS WOOD! 5/3/2 home on large lot! Double crown, 6" base, wood floors, plantation shutters, chair rails & fireplace are some of the features! Remodeled kitchen with white cabinets & granite counters! Large sunroom! $415,000

GATED LAKE WEEKS COMMUNITY! Stunning 5/3.5/3 + bonus + pool home close to both I-4 and I-75! Fresh exterior paint welcomes you! Inside discover plantation shutters, neutral paint, remodeled kitchen with wood cabinets & granite counters! Lanai with nebula lighting & no backdoor neighbors! $400,000

STUNNING CHADWELL HOME! 4/3.5/3 + office + pool/spa home that offers plantation shutters, crown, wood floors, fireplace & decorator paint choices! Spacious kitchen with staggered cherry cabinets, granite & stainless app.! Large pavered lanai & fenced yard! $435,000


ALMOST NEW WATER FRONT HOME! 4/3/3 + office home with great curb appeal featuring stone accents! Inside find decorator paint colors, kitchen with raised panel wood cabinets, granite & stainless appliances! Fully fenced! Great amenities! $417,999 ! G EWIN N T S LI

GATED LAKE WEEKS COMMUNITY! Gorgeous 5/3.5/3 + bonus +pool/spa home on 0.45 acres! Wonderful curb appeal! Interior boasts Pergo floors, great paint choices & kitchen with maple cabinets, granite, island & stainless appliances! Beautiful, private pavered lanai! $425,000

**RARE FIND**EXTENSIVELY REMODELED HOME SITTING ON 1.33 ACRES WITH 200FT OF RIVERFRONT! 5 bedroom, 3 bath home set back on lot! Completely remodeled from top to bottom, you will LOVE this home! Take a look at my website! $539,000

NO CDD ON OVER 1/3ACRE CONSERVATION LOT! Rare find with this 4/3/3 + office + bonus + pool home that is just minutes on foot to Bevis! Plantation shutters, new carpet, neutral paint & kitchen with 42" maple cabinets, granite & stainless appliances! $475,000

STUNNING HOME IN GATED C ANTERBURY OAKS! 4/3/3 + office + pool/spa home that has been extensively updated! Remodeled kitchen with granite counters & stainless appliances! 2015 NEW ROOF & 2016 NEW A/C! Wood floors & spacious rooms! Fully fenced 0.36 acre lot! $449,900


Osprey Observer 2017-6 Valrico