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Two Sections, 32 Pages of Community News


See Page 19

9/11 Heroes Run Page 9 C E L E B R A T I N G

August 2017 1 5



Volume 14, Issue 8 P U B L I S H I N G

Neighborhood Pub Stein & Vine Expands With Coppertail Brewing Location

every day of the week along with rotating beer and wine specials. The best way to stay on top of their daily inspirations is to like and visit their Facebook page: Need a place to chill on the way home from work? Need dinner plans? Need a date night? The Stein & Vine is for everyone, whether you eat in or carry out. Lacey was so happy when she commented, “Every day someone new finds us,” because she and Ty are able to share their passion with the larger community. Look for a big five-year anniversary celebration to be announced in November along with a new partnership in Tampa, the S & V Kitchen at Coppertail Brewing. The more Stein & Vine in your life, the better you will be for it. For information, to call ahead, or carry out, call 655-4786 or visit It is open 12 Noon-12 Midnight on Sunday to Thursday and 12 Noon-2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. They are located at 827 W. Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon.

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

Postal Customer



Residents in the Brandon area used to have to drive into Tampa or out to St. Petersburg to enjoy craft beer and culinary creations apart from fast food or chain restaurants. All that changed five years ago when Lacey and Ty Mathis opened the Stein & Vine, a craft beer and wine bar at the corner of Kings and Bloomingdale. They are committed to the flavorful fare we crave. If you haven’t been there yet, you’re missing out. Lacey sums up their vision, “It stems from me and Ty wanting to create a place that we wanted to go.” Both passionate foodies, she and her husband sought after something more than your run of the mill restaurant, but didn’t always have time to travel. The Mathis family wanted that neighborhood pub environment, and all of Brandon is better for their efforts. They proudly offer a vast array of drink choices, especially local craft beers as they seek to support local breweries. Their menu changes daily, but you will find something savory

By Amy Schechter

Photo By Tamas Mondovics

Durant High School varsity football coach Mike Gottman watches his players as they warm up for a game. The 20172018 fall season will mark Gottman’s 14th year coaching the Cougars and is optimistic of another successful year.

Ph: 657-2418 P O S I T I V E



Valrico Moose Lodge Part Of Cypress Creek Co-op Six Weekly Pick Up Sites

By Caitlin Masessa

Adams picks up at wholesale markets, local farms, and various buyers. The week's selection in the bins, which can be purchased in a medium size for $20 or a large size for The volunteers at each location vary from 16 to 26 people. In total, $30, all depend the Cypress Creek Produce Co-op has 100 volunteers. on what is in season. After There never seems to be enough giving the bins out to the members, time to get the weekly shopping done, especially with kids home for the sumContinued on page 5 mer. However, if you’re a member of the Cypress Creek Produce Co-op, this is a worry of the past. Cultivated by Cassie Adams, the Cypress Creek Produce Co-op is a weekly service that puts together bins of fresh fruits and vegetables for you and your hungry family. Working in the The Cypress Creek Co-op offers vegetables and fruits for the taking. business of wholesale produce for almost six years, Cassie Adams noticed an In This excess of fruits and vegetables leftover Issue after a day on the job. “I would often bring home full cases of produce and Y VOLUNTEER HONORED...................PG 3 share it with family and friends with plenty to spare,” Adams reminisced. BUDDY WALK...................................PG 10 Not wanting the good food to go to LOCAL BARBER GIVES BACK.............PG 12 waste, Adams decided to share the healthy wealth by starting a Co-op in SCHOOL SAFETY...............................PG 13 her neighborhood. “I utilized my neighEYE ON BUSINESS...........................PG 21 borhood Facebook Page and asked if anyone was interested,” ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...............PG 23 Adams continued, “Now we have 13,000 members on our page and anySPORTS CONNECTION .............PGS 26‐27 where from 600 to 1,000 orders a PET RESOURCE ...............................PG 28 week.” These orders, which come in bins, READ MORE LOCAL NEWS ONLINE are prepared by Adams and volunteers. The contents of the bins rely on what

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Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 8

August 2017

Page 3

Valrico Edition

Longtime Campo Y Volunteer Ayden Thomas Honored During Anniversary Celebration

By Tamas Mondovics

including serving as communications and Y stewardship coordinator, working closely with facility sponsors and program promoters. Over the years, Ayden has learned computer and people Photo courtesy of YMCA skills. She Campo YMCA volunteer, Ayden Thomas, center, is joined by fellow volunteers and Y representatives during a recent surprise anniversary cele- also helps to bration, recognizing her seven years of hard work, commitment and plan special dedication while serving the Y and the community. events and From coaching sports teams, plan gives presentations at board meetings. events, raise funds and handle dozens “When I first started seven years of key responsibilities, YMCA volunago, I didn't know much about the Y teers serve an important role in associ- and didn't really know what the letters ation’s daily function. meant, but I am so thankful for the According to a recent report nearly opportunity and what working here 9,000 volunteers motivated by their helped me achieve.” desire to give back to their local comY officials acknowledged that munity, donate an estimated quarter weren’t for her willingness and volunmillion dollars worth of time to the teer spirit, Ayden would be stuck inside Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA annuher home all day, while her mother ally. works full-time. One such long-time volunteer who Campo YMCA VP of Operations has earned her local YMCA staff as Rob Gray emphasized Ayden’s exemwell as the community’s respect and plary attitude when he said, “One thing admiration is Campo Y volunteer that struck me and continues to Ayden Thomas. impress me is Ayden’s smile and posiTo acknowledge her seven years tive spirit every time she comes to of dedicated service, Thomas, 31, who work. She has done this 16 hours a enjoys the great support from her mom week for seven years straight.” Kim, was recognized late last month As an added benefit, volunteering during a special surprise anniversary at the Y has given Ayden a way to celebration hosted by the Campo Y meet new people in a friendly welcomstaff. ing environment, to improve her deciAyden was born with Spina bifida sion-making and time management and is wheelchair bound. skills not to mention gaining a whole lot What she lacks in mobility, howevof self-awareness. er, she makes up for in spirit including Her mom agreed when she said, “I the more than 5,000 volunteer hours have seen Ayden’s self-confidence that she has logged at the Campo Y, grow and her willingness to try new not to mention the thousands of dollars things expand.” that she had a hand in raising for the To sum up her appreciation for the facility. opportunity to be an integral part of the “I love working here,” Ayden said. Campo Y family as well as to serve her “The Y gave me an opportunity and I community Ayden said, “It has been a have grown so much from where I healthy experience and a blessing. The have started, which of course, has a lot Y has been there for me for the past to do with the positive environment that seven years and I don't see myself I work in.” going anywhere anytime soon.” Known for her happy, outgoing and For more information about the positive attitude, Ayden currently hanCampo YMCA please visit www.tamdles a wide range of assignments

Troy University Offers Flexible Schedules To Non-Traditional Students

By Nick Nahas

A long-standing the service members and relationship with the just do what we can in military led Troy order to assist them in University in Alabama earning their degrees and to offer extension progressing in their educlasses at nearby milication.” tary bases in the The rare opportunity 1950s. Those classes to earn a degree from a traditional university that have evolved and has an NCAA Division 1 expanded into 20 Troy football program in the Service Centers in Sunbelt Conference, as seven U.S. states, well as sororities and fraincluding one in ternities from afar, is Tampa. something that makes Troy offers a wide Troy University unique variety of classes and from other online prodegree plans at the Photo courtesy of Ed Siler grams out there. Troy graduate and underTroy University professors getting also makes classes as graduate levels. A ready for class. flexible as possible for students who have Masters of Science in Counseling and different needs than the average stuPsychology in Clinical Mental Health dents, such as those that may have fulldegree is offered at the Tampa campus. time jobs and can't attend regularly. The Other degree plans are offered online as in-class programs are only offered on well. All of the Tampa Bay region online evenings and the weekends for maxistudents are provided support by the Service Center, such as proctored exams mum flexibility. The online classes that are offered are very adaptable as well. and assistance from the staff. Students are also allowed to select the To accommodate the large military presence in Tampa, Troy offers programs, amount of credit hours per semester that they want to take, even if it’s just one as well as scholarships for military stuclass. dents. The Military and Family According to Siler, because Troy is a Scholarship Program reduces the tuition state school, their cost is very competirate for all active duty members and their spouses and dependents, for both gradu- tive. Also, since they have the Service Centers in Florida and they are so conate and undergraduate programs. nected to this area, they do not have an According to Ed Siler, area coordinaout-of-state tuition rate for Florida resitor for Troy University, this is about a 50 dents. percent tuition discount off of the regular Classes begin on August 14 and regtuition rate. “Troy has been very tied to istration goes through August 21. Visit the military for quite some time,” Siler said. “We see it more as a duty to serve




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Volume 14, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

, MosquiStoenFioisrh Cool es & Activitie… Mor

travel bags, along with instructions for introducing them to their new environment. Visit for more information on mosquito fish and Hillsborough County’s fish giveaway event.

Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Hillsborough County Launches Free Mosquito Fish Wednesdays

Hillsborough County Mosquito Control is teaming up with the University of Florida (UF) to host weekly mosquito fish giveaways for Hillsborough County residents. Residents may pick up free mosquito fish on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at UF’s Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory at 1408 24th St. S.E. in Ruskin. Residents can pick up limited quantities of free mosquito fish for use in backyard ponds, birdbaths, fountains, abandoned swimming pools, rain barrels, and other artificial containers that are common breeding sites for mosquito larvae. The fish are available first-come, first-served and will be provided in temporary plastic

August Is Too Hot But These Senior Activities Are Cool

Hillsborough County Aging Services offers a variety of activities for adults 50 and over. Visit to view activity calendars and additional center information or call Aging Services at 2725250. Upcoming August activities at the Brandon Senior Center, located at 612 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon. Call 635-8066.

Adam L. Bantner, II Files To Run For County Judge, Group 8 In 2018

FishHawk-area resident, lawyer and business owner, Adam L. Bantner, II filed

Senior Activities During The Hot Summer - Friday, August 18 at 10 a.m. - Brandon Mall Shopping Experience Monday, August 21 and 22 at 10:15 a.m. - Dominoes Tournament (Pre-registration required, please call for details) - Monday, August 21 at 12:30 p.m. - New - Summer Ice Cream Social: A sweet celebration is in store for National Senior Citizens Day - Friday, August 25 at 10:15 a.m. - Brandon’s Final Dominoes Tournament: Winners must be able to represent Brandon in the County tournament at Town ‘N Country Center on Thursday, September 21 (call for details). - Tuesday, August 29 at 10:30 a.m. - New - Wild West Day: Giddy up with us in your cowgirl/cowboy attire for a day of fun games and music - Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. - Bead Jewelry Class: Make your own jewelry ($1 per class)

to run for Hillsborough County Judge, ing his son's baseball and flag football Group 8. The election will take place teams, and leading civic organizations on August 28, 2018. and bar associations. With the county’s Bantner’s love of Hillsborough support, he hopes to bring this work ethic County and dedication to service led him to the bench. to seek the position of Hillsborough He has been the President of Tampa County Judge. His campaign hopes that Tiger Bay Club, President of Hillsborough his track record of hard work, history of County Association of Criminal Defense service, demonstrated leadership, fairLawyers, a member of the Hillsborough ness, and legal expertise will earn the County Citizen's Advisory Board (appointvotes of county residents. ed by Commissioner Stacy Adam and his White), a board member of younger brother grew up the East Hillsborough Bar in a middle class home Association, and a board while being raised by a member of The Greater single mother. At the age Brandon Chamber of of 14, Adam began learnCommerce. One must be ing the value of earning trusted to lead and Bantner his keep through work. has repeatedly earned that Since then he’s worked trust throughout his career. every year of his life Additionally, he has (minus two years while been recognized as a FishHawk resident, Adam L. board certified attorney by enrolled in law school) to Banter, II filed to run for County support himself and his the Florida Bar. In order to Judge, Group 8. family. In addition to be so recognized, you must being a lawyer since 2006, he’s worked have practiced law for at least five years, at his local pharmacy, restaurants as a have tried at least 20 cases to verdict (at dishwasher and cook, gym supervisor, least 15 felonies and 10 as lead attorney), landscaper, personal trainer, and copy then get approved to sit for the test editor with the Tampa Tribune. He through application and peer review, and opened The Bantner Firm in 2016 after then pass the test. He earned this distincleaving Brandon Legal Group. Prior to tion in 2016. He also has a perfect "10" joining BLG in 2014, he owned his own rating by AVVO and has been recognized firm, Adam L. Bantner, P.A., from 2011– as a Super Lawyers Rising Star every 2014. year since 2012. This work ethic served him well Finally, he is the proud father of a through high school, four years in college seven-year-old boy, a member at Bell at Florida Southern College in Lakeland Shoals Baptist Church, and has an where he earned his B.A. in English Bulldog rescue named Daisy. Communications, and three years in Visit and you Tallahassee at Florida State University can follow his campaign by College of Law. From there, he has “Liking” helped countless individuals as an attorudge. Meet Bantner his next event at ney, continued to serve his community Owen & Dunivan, 615 De Leon St. in through Chambers of Commerce, coachTampa at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, August 25.

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August 2017

Page 5

Valrico Edition

Cypress Co-op...Continued From Page 1




By Caitlin Masessa

Adams months, said. makes sure Although to keep the members needs of come for the the commufood, Adams nity in mind. noticed that “We donate they stay for bins to anythe warmth one who projected by needs a the communihelping ty. “The way hand,” folks have A volunteer assists a member of the Co-op. Adam taken sharing spoke of some fruits the generous and vegetables outreach, “At and turned it into the end of gestures of kindeach week ness and goodwe take the will is inspiring,” remaining Adams notes, produce and “We have Co-op donate to members who local fire stapickup extra bins tions, an just to drop them orphanage, at their neighbors About 200-300 people arrive per pick-up to get their and volunteers and a list of produce fix. families that who work an need a helping hand.” extra shift and donate their bin.” After two years of being in operaTo learn more about the Cypress tion, volunteers estimate that about 200 Creek Produce Co-op, and to get a list to 300 people arrive at each pickup site of all their pickup locations which curto collect their bins, with the rently include Waterset, Cypress Creek, Winthrop/St. Matthews stop being the Sundance, Moose Lodge, Summerfield busiest. This boom in the Co-op busiand Winthrop/St. Matthews, join their ness doesn’t just rely on the affordable Facebook group at Cypress Creek prices offered by Adams, but also the Produce Co-op. There is a one-time fee health benefits that accompany the pur- of $5 to join the Co-op. chase. “Fresh vegetables always seem If you don’t have a Facebook page, to have more flavor here than they do but still want to become a member, in the grocery store,” Donna Hightower, email to who has been a member of the get a link to an order form as well as to Cypress Produce Co-op for three ask any questions you may have.




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If interested in advertising in our Brandon or Valrico editions, please contact us at 813-657-2418. CHRISTIAN VOICE EDITOR

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Volume 14, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

lf Charity Go ucks t, D Tournamen inner & Unlimited De… Mor Colesanti, e by Michell Compiled rv se b o y ospre michelle@

Box Gardens Is Topic At Riverview Garden Club’s First Seasonal Meeting

The Riverview Garden Club is having its first business meeting of the season on Wednesday, September 13 at 10 a.m. The guest speaker will be Randy Potters on Box Gardens. The club's address is Riverview Civic Center, 11020 Park Dr. in Riverview. Call 654-6987 for more information.

Charity Golf Tournament To Benefit St. Judes

Amazing Kidz Therapy is hosting a Charity Golf Tournament at River Hills Country Club on Friday, September 15 at 1 p.m. The cost is $100 per player or $400 for a team and includes greens and cart fees, lunch and dinner, skills contests, prizes, raffles and more. All proceeds will benefit St. Jude’s Research Hospital. Register at For more information, email Kathleen.Pici@AmazingKidZtherapy.c om.

TOPS 046 of Brandon will hold an Open House on Tuesday, August 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church on Carver St. behind Bill’s Pharmacy. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call Elizabeth at 924-1512.

East Hillsborough Ducks Unlimited Dinner And Auction

The East Hillsborough Chapter of Ducks Unlimited (DU) of Hillsborough County, Florida, will host its annual Dinner and Auction on September 14 at the Plant City Armory located at 4004 Airport Rd. in Plant City. Happy hour starts at 6 p.m.; dinner served at 7:15 p.m., with raffles and auctions to follow. Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. With the farmland literally ‘blowing away’ during the horrific dust storms of the 1930’s Dust Bowl, Ducks Unlimited was born in 1937 as a first line effort to restore wetlands. Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres

Brandon Elks Lodge Labor Day Picnic

Join the Brandon Elks for its annual Labor Day Picnic on Monday, September 4 from 12 Noon-4 p.m. Enjoy chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs and all the fixins’ for lunch from 12 Noon-2:30 p.m. The cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children. There will be games, a checkers tournament at 1:30 p.m. (register by 1 p.m. - $2 entry fee). The children will enjoy a slip and slide (bring towels and lawn chairs). The Brandon Lodge is located at 800 Centennial Lodge Dr. in Brandon. For more information, call Rita at 9669002 or the Lodge Office: 685-6469.

Open House For TOPS 046

thanks in part to the contributions from more than a million current supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. Wayne Tasler, East Hillsborough

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Volunteer Area Chairman states “In January, 2017 Ducks Unlimited celebrated 80 years of conservation efforts. Join us as we celebrate 31 years of wetlands conservation and restoration efforts here in Hillsborough County. Get in on all of the action including door prizes, multiple raffles and both live & silent auctions. We’ll have fishing and hunting trips, top quality coolers, limited edition guns, and this year’s hottest DU merchandise available!” For tickets, sponsorship opportunities or more info, contact Wayne Tasler at or 727-743-8810. Buy Tickets online: ents/46002/east-hillsboroughdinner For more information, follow on Facebook at


MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) 2017-2018

Are you a mom of a baby or preschooler, or do you know someone who is? Ever feel exhausted in the midst of the joys and challenges that come with your little ones? MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) is a community of women like you that can help. MOPS meets at FishHawk Fellowship Church, 15326 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia on the first and third Tuesdays monthly from September through May. The first meeting for

2017-2018 is Tuesday, September 5, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. A typical meeting includes food and fellowship, a guest speaker with topics relevant to a mom of a preschooler, creative activities and/ or games, and small-group discussions to connect with other moms. At FishHawk Fellowship Church, MOPS seeks to encourage, equip and develop every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ. When you come to MOPS, your children are lovingly cared for in our free on-site childcare. In addition to the MOPS meetings, we also schedule regular play dates and "Moms Night Out" events for MOPS members. For more information and to sign up, go to and search "MOPS", or email

Holy Innocent’s Fall Whistle Stop Craft Show Sees Vendors

Holy Innocent’s Episcopal Church is accepting vendor signups for its 10th annual fall Whistle Stop Craft Show on Saturday, November 4 from 9: a.m.-3 p.m. The event will be held on the church grounds at 604 N. Valrico Rd. in Valrico. Both inside and outside locations are available. The fee for an inside location, which accommodates one six ft. table and two chairs is $35 and $30 for an outside 12X12 space which is well shaded. Interested vendors can register for a spot at Any questions contact the church during normal business hours at 689-3130.

August 2017

Valrico Family Thrilled To Open Second Zaxby’s With New Gibsonton Location


By Nick Nahas

In March own business, 2003, Matt has been a Wortman big help giving made his him advice. dreams come Wortman has true when he bought the bought his rights for two first Zaxby’s more restauchain restaurants, but rant in Valrico. plans to open On April 3rd of only one more this year, he restaurant in expanded, Hillsborough building off Zaxby’s stellar staff getting County. He ready for the opening. the success of wants people his first store. to know what his restaurant has to The current offer. “We try to put love and care into Valrico resiour restaurant like a family would, dent opened and we just want to do the best for all his second restaurant in Gibsonton, in the guests that come in and want to the Riverview 14 Shopping and enjoy the excellent food that we proEntertainment Center, near the vide,” Wortman said. Goodrich GDX movie theater. Wortman is focused on making Wortman became interested in his Zaxby’s restaurant a desirable owning a Zaxby’s chain when he place for families to eat, along with worked for the company while he was great customer service. “I expect in college in Georgia, he said. He great customer service, excellent food made an offhand comment to his and any complaints to be solved mom about one day wanting to own a immediately if somebody has a bad Zaxby’s. He said his family was very experience,” Wortman said. “I want supportive and helped make his the management team to do the best dream become a reality. that they can to correct the mistakes He moved to Valrico in 2002 and that were made.” went into business with his mom, and Zaxby’s is a fast-food restaurant together, they purchased their first that specializes in chicken wings, restaurant. The family-owned busichicken fingers, sandwiches, salads ness has had success, which led to and more. It also offers special dipthe opening of the second store 14 ping sauces and catering is available years later. Wortman said his father, as well. It primarily operates in the Robert, who previously owned his south with more than 800 locations.


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Page 7

Valrico Edition

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Can You Save for College and Retirement?

Financial Advisor

Few of us have unlimited financial resources — which means that almost all of us need to prioritize our financial goals. Consequently, you’ll have some decisions to make if you’d like to help pay for your children’s college educations someday while, at the same time, saving for your own retirement. Your first step in addressing these objectives is to maintain realistic expectations. Consider the issue of paying for college. Right now, the average four-year cost (tuition, fees, room and board) is about $80,000 for in-state students at public universities and approximately $180,000 for private schools, according to the College Board. And these costs are likely to keep rising in the years ahead. Can you save this much for your kids’ education? Instead of committing yourself to putting away this type of money, take a holistic approach to saving for your children’s higher education. After all, you probably won’t be the only one to help pay for college. Depending on your income and assets, your family might be eligible for some needs-based financial aid awarded by the college. Also, you should encourage your children to apply for as many scholarships as possible — but keep in mind that most scholarships don’t provide a “full ride.” Here’s the bottom line: Don’t assume you will receive so much aid that you don’t need to save for college at all, but don’t burden yourself with the expectation that you need to pick up the full tab for your children’s schooling. On a practical level, you may want to commit to putting a certain amount per month into a college savings vehicle, such as a 529 plan. You can generally invest in the 529 plan offered by most states, but in some cases, you may be


Ea. Laundered Only

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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eligible for a state income tax incentive. Also, all withdrawals from 529 plans will be free from federal income taxes, as long as the money is used for a qualified college or graduate school expense of the beneficiary you’ve named. (Withdrawals for expenses other than qualified education expenditures may be subject to federal and state taxes and a 10% penalty on the earnings.) By starting your 529 plan early, when your children are young, you’ll give the investments within the plan more time to grow. Plus, you can make smaller contributions on a regular basis, rather than come up with big lump sums later on. And by following this approach, you may be in a better financial position for investing in your IRA and your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. Obviously, it’s to your benefit to contribute as much as you can to these plans, which offer tax advantages and a wide range of investment options. If you’re investing in a 401(k) or similar employer-backed plan, try to boost your contributions every time your salary increases. At the very least, always put in enough to earn your employer’s matching contribution, if one is offered. And once your children are through with college, you can discontinue saving in your 529 plan (although you may want to open another one in the future for your grandchildren) and devote more money to your retirement accounts. It can certainly be challenging to save for education and retirement – but with discipline and perseverance, it can be done. So, give it the “old college try.”

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Page 8

Valrico Edition

Win Designer Sunglasses And Support Water Smart Tots Bingo Fundraiser

By Kate Quesada

Florida resievery child deserves the dents know the opportunity to learn importance of survival swimming water safety and skills,” said Yick. the scary statistics “Since our incepassociated with tion, close to 200 infant drowning. children have benLocal charity Water efitted from receivSmart Tots is hosting scholarships ing an event next who would othermonth where wise not have been donors can have Water Smart Tots is hosting its second annuable to afford lesfun while raising al Designer Sunglasses Bingo fundraiser on September 14 in Valrico. sons.” funds to help teach “The nationwide average cost for the local children to swim. The second annual Water Smart Tots 4-6 week specialized swim program is approximately $400-$500 per child,” said Designer Sunglasses Bingo fundraiser Yick. “For many families, these classes will take place on Thursday, September would not an option for them without a 14 from 6-10 p.m. at River Hills Country voucher or scholarship.” Club in Valrico. In addition to Bingo, every ticketed “This is our biggest fundraising event player will also receive a goodie bag with to raise money to provide survival swimming scholarships to financially underpriv- snacks from Heavenly Creations and Harvest Crisps, samples from R+F by ileged children or children with special Amanda McMahon and coupons from needs in Hillsborough County,” said Pinot’s Palete and Chick-fil-A Came Yick, the Community Outreach Bloomingdale. Each bag will contain a Coordinator For Water Smart Tots who raffle ticket for a chance to win a door proposed the idea for the event to the prize of one of six Alex & And bracelets charity’s board in 2016. “Last year the provide by Operation Lotus. DJ Jake event was nearly sold out and raised Dela Cruz will provide music for the more than $8,000. The funds directly evening. There will also be a 50/50 aucbenefitted more than 25 children.” tion with baskets including Stampin' Up Water Smart Tots in a non-profit corporation dedicated to eliminating pediatric Scrapbooking, Disney, Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium, Aquatica, SeaWorld, drowning in Hillsborough County. Medieval Times and WonderWorks tick“With pediatric drowning being the leading cause of accidental death among ets, 2 roundtrip tickets on JetBlue & much more. There will also be appetizers and a children ages one to four in Florida, cash bar. Visit or Water Smart Tots was founded by local email resident Kari Bahour on the belief that

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Volume 14, Issue 8

Pet Supplies Plus Offers Personal Touch And Self-Service Dog-Washing Station Let’s face it. Pets are members of the family, so when you go out for needed items, you want the best. However, as pets grow and change, so do their needs, and not all of us are experts. That’s where Pet Supplies Plus, your neighborhood pet store, provides personalized service without any hassle. Pet Supplies Plus is equipped to provide nutrition, toys, and supplies for most small pets including dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and fish, so look no further the next time you need pet food to settle kitty’s stomach or a leash that gets your dog to heel. Jacki Kessler, independent owner and operator of the Valrico location, along with her staff have a passion for your pets: “We are hands-on. We go to great lengths to train employees, so the people on the floor are knowledgeable in anything from nutrition all the way up to needing a vet’s care.” For this reason, a number of her energetic, happy employees are also vet technicians. Apart from knowledge about nutrition, her employees want your family to live as happily as you can, so they can make recommendations on items to improve behavior, stay healthy, and get your pets needed play and exercise. Additionally, Pet Supplies Plus offers a self-service dog-washing station where for $10 you have 30 minutes and access to all the needed supplies, like water,

By Amy Schechter

shampoo/conditioner, towels, and combs, to get Fido squeaky clean. That’s better than trying your hand in a cramped bathroom at home, plus you leave the mess behind. Every weekend and by appointment during weekdays, Kessler knows she offers the most affordable nail-trimming in town where you will pay between $10 and $12 rather than go through the hassle of clipping cuticles yourself. Pet Supplies Plus also partners with VIP Pet Clinic every other Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to offer shot clinics where pet owners can purchase discounted vaccinations and medications on site. They also team up with local adoption agencies, like Dogma Pet Rescue and Hillsborough County’s First Saturday Pet events, to hold adoptions at least monthly. For those who open their hearts to adopt an animal, Kessler and her team offer discounts to help offset the cost of purchasing supplies, so you go home ready to love on your knew family member. It is open 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. MondaySaturday and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information or to check out monthly specials, visit and choose the Valrico location or call 540-0645. Like on Facebook at Pet Supplies Plus is located at 1937 East SR 60 in Valrico.

August 2017

Page 9

Valrico Edition

Family Friendly 5K And Fun Run Honors The Sacrifice Of Heroes

By Brittany Wallace

The 2016 Lithia 9/11 Heroes Run will take place this year on Saturday, September 9. Runners go full speed ahead on a day to remember 9/11 and the heroes who served.

The annual 9/11 Travis Manion Foundation Heroes Run will take place on Saturday, September 9 in Lithia. The Foundation is named after Manion, who was a US Marine Corp and served in Command 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. He died April 29, 2007 saving his teammates in Iraq. He used to say, “If not me then who…”. The Foundation works to keep that attitude by helping connect military to citizens, and help veterans and military. There will be a 5K run and a one mile fun run. Both runs are open to everyone no matter level of ability. You can choose to either run or walk. This is the third year for the Lithia 9/11 run. The director of the Lithia-based 5k 9/11 heroes run, Beau Higgins, knew Manion personally. He was the commanding officer of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion he served in. Higgins said, “The most rewarding


thing for me I think is just remembering 9/11… and it’s important to remember what that day was all about.” This nonprofit charity run is about remembering 9/11 and the wars since. This includes all the veterans, first responders, civilians, and military. The foundation wanted this run to also unite communities. A large portion of the net proceeds raised from the run will go back into the community. The rest goes to the Travis Manion foundation programs for veterans and survivors and its Character Does Matter program. Higgins said “I think as a community it is easy to lose sight of that day; what was a momentous day in the history of the United States, and the 9/11 Heroes Run is an opportunity to remember, and share our story… and hopefully to energize the community to give back.” The race will take place at Park Square, 16144 Churchview Dr. in Lithia starting at 8 a.m. Registration through August 22 is $27.50 for 5K for an Individual, $17 for the 1 Mile, $90 Fun Run/Walk Family Pack of 4 and $24.75 for 5K Active Duty Military or First Responder. The price goes up on August 23. There is a 10 percent discount for active duty status, with a government ID presented. For information, visit


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Page 10

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 8

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Host Buddy Walk To Support Down Syndrome Community Since being established in 2006, the nonprofit organization F.R.I.E.N.D.S Down Syndrome West Florida has worked to provide educational and support services to families who have been impacted by the condition as well as encouraging community involvement through events. One of these events, the Second Annual FDSWF Buddy Families come out to support FDSWF at the First Annual Walk, is slated to occur Buddy Walk in 2016. on October 7 at Raymond organization, but James Stadium. The idea for the Walk good will the came to Ann Foyt, the President of didn’t stop there. FDSWF, after welcoming an enthusiAfter running an astic Craig Woodard Sr. “He had article on the organized a fundraiser through his Buddy Walk, the employer [Springleaf Financial] and St. Pete Times raised over $1200 for FRIENDS,” Ann donated over Foyt said of the addition, “He came to $4,000 worth of me in 2016 with the idea of hosting a advertising while Buddy Walk.” the Winthrop With four people doing the work donated Group of 18, it took the team a mere four office space to months to secure a location and spongiving FDSWF, sors for the event as well as more them a place to than 50 volunteers from the University host workshops of South Florida. “I thought we would and meetings. have a couple of hundred people to With the donashow up and maybe raise a few thoutions raised, the sand dollars,” Foyt spoke of her expectations, “In the end, we had over organization could begin their 860 registered families and over 2,000 Sponsorship Program as well as conpeople showed up the day of the walk. tinue to sustain their current programs. As this year’s Buddy Walk quickly It was phenomenal.” The supportive approaches, Foyt is prepared to delivfamilies raised over $30,000 for the

By Caitlin Masessa

crowd with superheroes and princesses as the participants make their way down to the Buccaneers field. Tampa Food Trucks and YoYo Juice will provide food while FDSWF’s own Robert Taylor grills ribs and pulled pork. The event is expected to have a few local celebrities in attendance. With his Buddy Walk volunteers work to make the First Annual Buddy Super Bowl ring, forWalk unforgettable. mer Bucs DE Chuck er a day Darby will be signing autographs and that is taking pictures. The raffles will also “bigger offer autographed footballs by QB and betJameis Winston, WR Mike Evans, and ter” than DE Gerald McCoy. the sucThe registration fee for the event cessful is $15 and includes a free t-shirt as year well as admission into the event. before. Down Syndrome individuals and chilThe day dren 12 years old and under is free. will start For the Buddy Walk and beyond, with a President Ann Foyt is thrilled to contin“child ue serving the community. “I have friendly” such a passion for our DS community Tailgate and I will not stop until we have grown Party into the organization that our families hosted can be proud of,” Ann Foyt spoke with by DJ confidence, “We aren’t going anyChuck where.” The Second Annual Buddy Eckhart. Walk will be on Saturday, October 7 at After getting their faces painted by Raymond James Stadium. Lola The Party Girl, the children are For more information, visit welcome to participate in inflatable or slides and obstacle courses. The MUCH Foundation plan to delight the

August 2017

District Names New Communications And Media Officer, Grayson Kamm

By Tamas Mondovics

Pending approval the Public from the Hillsborough Information Office, County School responding to media Board, inquiries and sharing Superintendent Jeff story ideas. Eakins has named The team is veteran journalist and tasked to respond in communications proa timely fashion to all fessional Grayson requests from nationKamm last month as al, state, and local the new media and provide Communications and assistance with Media Officer for ParentLink. Hillsborough Since January Photo submitted by HCPS 2016, Kamm has Schools. Veteran journalist and communications served as the According to professional, Grayson Kamm was school officials, Communications named last month as Hillsborough Kamm, a graduate of County Public School’s new communi- Director at Tampa’s cations and media officer. the University of Museum of Science Florida, was ready to lead a team of & Industry. professionals on July 24, his first day “As a member of MOSI’s execuwith the district with the goal to tive team, Kamm has managed comimprove the connection between the plex projects and communications community and the district. effort and generated substantial posiOfficials said that Kamm is plantive media coverage for the institution,” ning on using a wide range of commu- said HCPS spokesperson Tanya Arja. nication channels, which include its Before joining MOSI, Kamm covNewsDesk (online news blog), Inside ered a broad range of topics for 14 HCPS (a talk show with years as an award-winning journalist – Superintendent Jeff Eakins that highincluding extensive investigations, lights schools and teachers), as well breaking news, feature stories and as Social Media sites such as more - on television, in newspapers Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and and online. YouTube Channels. Kamm is married to attorney and HCPS’ communications team that child advocate Cathy Kamm. includes Tanya Arja, (Media Outreach The oldest of their two children will and Department Manager), David begin kindergarten in Hillsborough Valdez (Marketing Manager) and Schools this fall. Doryann Carrega (Content For more information, please visit Development Manager) also serves as

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Valrico Edition

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Page 12

Valrico Edition

Local Barber Puts Focus On Giving Back

By Caitlin Masessa

hopes that the event which happened on July 23 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center in Plant City will become more than just a pick-up point. “We wanted to bring ourselves to the community in the right way,” Sureller beamed, “We want to give away all the 200 bookbags that were donated.” Passing out flyers around his community, Sureller could feel the buzz of excitement the residents feel over the Although only 24 event. A buzz that already years old, Plant City has him seeing the opportunative Dontrey Sureller nity to expand Generation is aware of how lucky ReNewed beyond bookhe is. With two kids, a bags. “What we plan on one two-year-old girl and a day soon is to get to where baby boy that entered we can do job placement the world this past May, and prepare people for job Sureller was quick to interviews by giving them have them exposed to the right clothes to wear or Photos courtesy of Dontrey the importance of famiSureller to help them fill out an applily. “My family and I are cation,” Sureller said when small, but we’re very close-knit,” Sureller speaking about helping adults as well as explained. “It’s important for me to have children, “We just want to mentor and them see that closeness.” Cutting hair for give back.” two years, and going on his first year at Mentoring is nothing new for Sureller 6ithelement Barbershop in Brandon, thanks to 6ithelement’s tradition of giving Sureller discovered a new passion free haircuts to the foster kids of A Kid’s through the job he loves. “While I cut peoPlace. Going on six months of performing ple’s hair, I talk and mentor them,” the service, the Barbershop closes at six Sureller said, “I found that, through cutting every other Tuesday to accommodate the hair, I can touch lives.” children, and stay until they have given Wanting to touch lives beyond the every child the cut they desire. “The kids barber chair, and with the help from his love us and have a good time,” Sureller family, Sureller decided to form smiled, “They don’t really have anyone, Generation ReNewed, a foundation that so to see them come in and look up to us puts the spotlight on his home of Plant really touches my heart.” Sureller hopes City. “We want to give back to the Plant that Generation ReNewed doesn’t just City community by reaching back from touch the hearts that need it the most, but the generations of the past to the generathat it will also inspire more people in the tions of today to get our neighborhood community to speak out about a cause restored,” Sureller explained the nameimportant to them. “That first initial sake of the charity. With back-to-school thought of ‘I want to help’ is all you really season rapidly approaching, Sureller need,” Sureller offered advice to anyone decided it was the perfect time for who wants to help out, “If you can think it, Generation ReNewed to put on its First you can do it.” Annual Bookbag Drop. With food, music, To learn more about Generation bounce houses, and a Tuna car show ReNewed and its mission, contact that had more than 60 vehicles, Sureller Kimberly Kitchen at 562-4495.

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Volume 14, Issue 8

McGinnis Law Firm Puts Clients First With Family & Marital Law Practice

By Nick Nahas

Wendy McGinnis practices McGinnis knew all areas of family law, since the 7th grade including divorce cases, that she wanted to paternity cases, adopbecome a lawyer. tions, name changes and “My parents would domestic violence cases always tell me that as well. I was good at makMcGinnis is very ing arguments,” hands-on with her she said. In 2001, clients. They deal directly she fulfilled her with her and aren’t dreams, becoming passed off to a paralegal licensed in Florida or assistant. She is also to practice family a certified family medialaw. tor. “I am there for my McGinnis went clients, advocating for to the University of their best interests and Delaware for her their rights under the undergraduate law,” she said. schooling, majoring McGinnis lives with in political science her husband and four with a minor in kids in the Brandon area. French, and then She likes to volunteer in Wendy McGinnis has been attended Seton her spare time to help the practicing family law for 16 years. West Florida Flames Hall University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey Soccer Club. She also enjoys particito get her law degree. pating in races, such as the Fishhawk In November 2007, McGinnis Turkey Trot 5K and the Gasparilla bought her own law firm, McGinnis Distance Classic. Law Firm. For 10 years now, You can call 800-768-2026 to McGinnis has served the greater schedule a free initial consultation Tampa area, specializing in family with McGinnis Law Firm. The office law. According to McGinnis, the six hours are Monday through Friday years prior to owning the practice, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening and she worked for a private law firm that weekend appointments are available also practiced family law, helping her by request. learn the ins and outs of the busiFor more information, you can ness, which assisted her in starting visit the McGinnis Law Firm website her firm. at

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August 2017

Page 13

Valrico Edition

Transportation And Student-Safety Takes Center Stage At Start Of 2017-2018 School Year

By Tamas Mondovics

Thanks to recent changes after school hours. involving Hillsborough County Officials said that Public School student transportaAAA’s School’s Open tion such as the scrapping of – Drive Carefully, HCPS’s long standing courtesy awareness campaign busing, the start of the 2017-2018 was designed to curb school year presented plenty of a trend of unsafe concerns and worry for parents driving behavior in and students. school zones and Starting Thursday, August 10 neighborhoods that an estimated 6,700 middle and can lead to children’s High school students who are livinjury and death. The end of courtesy busing and thousands of students back at school, transportation and student-safety takes center ing within two-miles of their “We must work stage in Hillsborough County. Motorists are urged to slow down, be vigilant and watch out for walkers and bikers. assigned school are now making together as a comtheir way to school by means of munity to remind al back to school meeting. effort to alert drivers to either walking, biking or being drivers to slow down and stay alert Signs and magnets were be extra cautious for dropped off and picked up. as kids head back to school,” Arja distributed throughout pedestrians and bicyAccording to HCPS spokespersaid. Hillsborough County in an clists before, during and son, Tanya Arja, elementary courtesy To keep students safe, busing, will also end at the start of the Hillsborough County the 2018-19 school year. School Sheriff’s Office also made officials estimate the total saving arrangements to beef up its at nearly $10 million. presence on the roadways While the estimated savings as deputies are scheduled to are substantial, and can be used be out in force, in patrol in the classrooms, many parents cruisers, motorcycles and feel that no amount of saving is unmarked vehicles keeping a worth it if it comes at the cost of close eye on motorists who student safety. don't know or, don't heed Only time will tell what adjuststate laws regarding stopping ments are yet needed. In the for a school bus. mean time, local law enforcement “The goal is to keep our officials, school district staff and children safe through educaadministrators are urging residents tion and enforcement,” to be alert, to use extra caution. HCSO Cpl. Larry McKinnon To assist with the effort to be said in connection with the vigilant this year, AAA’s Auto Club agency’s annual school bus Group Traffic Safety Foundation safety campaign. For more has donated approximately 500 information on Florida's yard signs and more than 1,700 school bus laws, vehicle magnets to local law visit:http://floridaschoolbusenforcement officers at their

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Page 14

Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 8

Photos and story by Tamas Mondovics

District Begins 2017-2018 Season With Confidence In Continued Student Success Annual Back To School Press Conference

Superintendent Jeff Eakins, School Board members, students and staff welcomed the media to its annual Hillsborough County Public Schools Back to School news conference, on Monday, August 7, at 10:30 a.m., at Ben Hill Middle School, located at 5200 Ehrlich Road, Tampa. The event is an opportunity for the Eakins to share some of the district’s goals for the upcoming school year, including district’s promised efforts to continue building a strong school culture at each school while providing an engaging curriculum for the more than 212,000 students. “Through the dedication of the district’s teachers, administrators and support staff both at the schools and at the district level, Hillsborough County Public Schools continues to increase the district’s graduation rate,” said HCPS communications officer Grayson Kamm. Kamm emphasized that the most recent graduation rate increased three percentage points to 79.1 percent and the district currently has 996 more graduates than in the prior year. At the news conference, Superintendent Eakins also explained the district’s systems of support, that he said, “Ensures that our teachers have

the tools necessary to be successful in the classroom.” For more information about Hillsborough County Public Schools please visit

During the 2016-2017 school year, 51 traditional schools were graded “A” in 2017, up by 10 from 2016. In 2017, 38 traditional schools were graded “B”, 15 traditional schools improved their grade from a “D” to a “C” and there fewer "F" traditional schools, District Welcomes New dropping to 3 from 7 in 2016. Educators For 2017-2018 Seven of the district’s turnaround Season schools, as defined by the state, have improved and are now in a monitoring Hillsborough County Public status. Just Elementary went from a “D” Schools officials including to a “B”, while Jennings and Van Buren Superintendent Jeff Eakins, Superintendent Jeff Eakins talks to the nearly 600 new Middle, and Gibsonton, Lockhart School Board Chair Cindy Stuart, teachers ready to begin the 2017-2018 school year. Magnet and Reddick Elementary as well as other School Board theme of the Hillsborough Educators all went from a “D” to a “C”. Schools members and district staff welcomed Institute is “Learn, Grow, Thrive” and is Superintendent Jeff Eakins emphanearly 600 educators, last month to take the first opportunity for new hires to learn sized that there is still more work to be part in the annual Hillsborough Educators about the more than 212,000 students done, but said that he is committed to Institute. they themselves will be welcoming in to supporting the efforts of our school staff The event hostesd by Gaither High their classrooms on the first day of as we all work to prepare students for School was designed to assist teachers school. life. to gain insight into the district and learn to “We are committed to student sucbe the most effective teacher in the classDistrict Boasts Of More “A” Schools    cess,” he said. “The school grades show room. Hillsborough County Public School we are doing something significant in Following the opening remarks, officials were pleased to post the results the way students are learning and how teachers transitioned into sessions organof the 2016-2017 school grades, released they are achieving. We have people in ized by area, by school and by grade last month by the Florida Department of our schools who are creating the right level. Education, showed students making culture in our schools, advocating for Day two of the program offered partremendous gains. students and building relationships,” said ticipants a variety of sessions from This release demonstrates that Superintendent Jeff Eakins. increasing engagement in everyday Hillsborough County Public Schools The 2016-17 school grades, district classroom activities, classroom manageadministrators, teachers and support staff grades and school improvement ratings ment, and knowing your students through are dedicated to student success and are now available at http://schooldata. advocate for every child, officials said. According to school officials the

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Page 15

Valrico Edition

School And Teachers Can Get Community Garden Resources From County

By Lynn Barber

Yes, it’s back to school time already. Did you know that the Hillsborough County Extension Service has a School and Community Garden program coordinator? Lisa Meredith fills this role and is the person to contact. She has a list of resources that will help teachers and community garden leaders investigate available grant funding, can meet with you to evaluate your site conditions, make recommendations on what and when to plant, and provide you with materials to make the process easier to manage and navigate. They are an educational institution and don’t provide labor, but can provide the name of other organization(s) that may be able to assist you. School gardens are great because they help build self-esteem, encourage learning, provide interactive lessons, teach life skills, provide a sense of ownership, allow youth to learn where food comes from, and enhance science and environmental knowledge. Community gardens are beneficial because they provide access to fresh food, promote exercise and nutrition, work well for people with limited yard space, revitalize neighborhoods,

decrease crime and stress, provide an opportunity to connect with others, and control food production. Meredith has been involved with dozens of school and community gardens. Each one is unique and tailored to the style of the gardeners and serve the purpose of teaching how food is produced. School teachers are very innovative in using plants and gardens as teaching tools. Whether container gardening or utilizing the landscape around the school, these gardens show students how important plants are to butterfly populations and to us as consumers of what we grow. If your school or community is interested in more information about these types of gardens, please contact Meredith at 744-5519 x 54146, or email For assistance with horticultural questions, call: 744-5519 or visit the Hillsborough County Extension Service, 5339 CR 579 in Seffner. There are several demonstration gardens on site. More gardening information is available at:, and


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Page 16

Volume 14, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

BreakPoint: A Student Ministry At Bell Shoals Baptist Church

By Amanda Boston

Pastor me and made Matthew Angell a huge differfrom Bell Shoals ence in my Baptist Church life.” He further invites students illustrated the from grades 7 value of a prothrough 12 to gram where BreakPoint—a like-minded Student Ministry students can held on connect and Wednesday support one nights from 7 to another. 8:30 p.m. in the Even so, Point Student ministry is the Photograph is courtesy of Lucas Reed Pastor Matthew Angell is shown baptizing Leif-Erik not limited to Building on the a graduating senior, and one of the 16 stu- believing Brandon Campus. Hansen,dents baptized during summer camp. The fall kickoff is teens as it on Wednesday, August 16 and will also provides a place for Christian stuinclude a treat from the Kona Ice Truck. dents to bring their friends to learn The stated purpose of the ministry is more about Jesus and experience "to lead students to a personal, growing Christian community. relationship with Christ and for them to In an attempt to influence more desire to make Him known to others." youth, the Student Ministry is introducAngell, the Student Ministry Pastor, ing First Wednesday. “On the first described a typical Wednesday night. Wednesday of each month, we will "The evening begins with a fun game have something special for the stuand worship with the band. We will have dents like Remy’s donuts or a relevant message geared toward midJeremiah’s Italian Ice. It is free for all dle and high school students followed by the students, and it’s a big night for small groups where they discuss the them to invite their friends,” explained message," he said. Angell. Angell’s roots run deep at Bell The Student Ministry is a free proShoals Baptist Church. He grew up in the gram that runs weekly throughout the church and is a product of its Student year—with a short hiatus in July. Bell Ministry. Over the years, Angell has Shoals Baptist Church is located at served on the church’s staff, and in 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon. For September, he assumed leadership over information, visit, the Student Ministry. Facebook @ Bell Shoals Student Concerning his latest role, Angell Ministry on Facebook or Instagram asserted, “I do it because it worked for bsbc_studentministry.



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August 2017

Valrico Edition

eam T l l a b e s a B 12u rs, e y a l P s k e e S ns o i t i d u A r e NutcrackMore… &

“Winning any place in the Purple Dragonfly Contest is a huge honor because in order to maintain the integrity of the Dragonfly Book Awards, a minimum score is Compiled by Michelle Colesanti, required before a First or Second place, or Honorable Mention will be awarded to the entrant – even if it is the sole entry in a category,” explains Linda F. Tampa Bay Thunder 12u Seeks Radke, president of Story Monsters LLC, Players the sponsor of the Dragonfly Book Tampa Bay Thunder is looking for a Awards. “Competition is steep, too, few 12u players for the fall 2017 season. because there is no publication date limit The Thunder is a family-oriented team as long as the book is still in print.” that focuses on developing players. The Ghost Story, is a Lizardville, Practice takes place two to three times spine-tingling, edge of your seat young per week and games take place two to adult adventure story that will keep you three weekends per month. The team guessing until the very end. It retails for practices in the Plant City/Pinecrest/Lithia and can be $9.99 area and most games are purchased at played locally. All players are Barnes and Noble welcome. If you love the and Amazon webgame, want to work hard to at which sites get better and still keep the books are sold. fun in the game, call or text For a comCoach Tony at 731-3299 or plete list of winemail visit ners, Lizardville The Ghost Story

Wins Coveted Purple Dragonfly Book Award

2017 Nutcracker Auditions

Announcing The judges of the Purple Theatre Arts & Dragonfly Book Awards conLocal author Steve Altier won first Dance Alliance test, which recognizes excelplace in the Purple Dragonfly Book (TADA) in conjunclence in children’s literature, awards contest for his book tion with Tampa have spoken, and Lizardville Lizardville The Ghost Story. Bay Dance The Ghost Story by Valrico Theatre's audition for its 10th annual proauthor, Steve Altier, won 1st place in the duction of The Nutcracker. Auditions will Young Adult Fiction category.

be held at Theatre Arts and Dance Alliance located 16711 Fishhawk Blvd. on Saturday, August 26. TADA's annual production features a cast of 100 aspiring dancers, acrobats and actors as well as Hillsborough County Teachers and Administrators. Those interested in auditioning can go to to find audition information and times. Performances will be at Howard W. Blake High School on Saturday and Sunday, December 9 and 10. Visit or call 5710901.

Tampa Bay Teen R&B Singer Audtions For American Idol

JJosh, a local teen and R&B artist,

Page 17

arranged and produced by Grammy winning pianist, Lannie Battistini under the Hands in Motion Music label. JJosh is considered by those that listen to him “an old soul with young charm.” He is inspired heavily by old school and vintage styles, including Elvis, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra. His R&B inspirations are drawn from artists such as Kanye West and Drake, as well as being open to all kinds of inspiration, reworking it into his own sound and voice comfortably. “This has always been my dream,” said JJosh. “If I keep my passion with the support of my family and friends, I know I can do this.” For more information, visit and also on Twitter @RnBJJosh, Soundcloud, and Facebook JJosh Music.

Family Time At Brandon Regional Library

teams up with the American Idol casting company to audition directly for the Executive Producers and bypass the lines of the upcoming season of Idol held in Orlando, on August 17. At only 15, his first single, 7 Years, released earlier this summer, creating interest with American Idol casting. The single is his own rendition of Grammy Nominated singer-songwriter, Lukas Graham’s, hit single; it was

Make reading time family time. On Tuesday, August 15, 22 and 29 at 7 p.m., enjoy stories, action rhymes, songs and interactive activities make up this fun 30-minute program that celebrates a love of reading for children of all ages. Children may wear pajamas and bring a blanket and favorite cuddly toy. Family Time is for children and their caregivers. Brandon Regional Library is located at 619 Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon. Call 273-3652 for more information.

Page 18

Volume 14, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

Award-Winning Council Oak Steaks Adds To Expansive Menu Offerings For 10 years, Wine A new Baked Alaska Spectator Magazine has dessert offering is enough acknowledged Council Oak for two and is a chocolate Steaks & Seafood nestled brownie topped with vanilinto the heart of the la ice cream, meringue Seminole Hard Rock and chocolate sauce and Casino, with the Award of Excellence and it’s easy to see why judges continue to recognize this local fine dining restaurant. Council Oak and its attached cocktail bar, Lionfish is one of the new items available Executive Sous Chef Council Oak Lounge have with limited availability. Michael Balles. been designed as an intimate, perfect date night desflambéed tableside tination. And, it is almost with Amaretto 151. impossible to miss the Along with its Himalayan Rock Salt-lined, revamped menu, open-air butcher shop upon Council Oak also entering the 165-seat restauoffers a number of rant located in the center of new cocktails with the casino, near the Hard such names as Pillow Calamari & Rock Cafe. The restaurant recently Talk, Garden Party, Lobster with updated its menu including new appetizOsprey team members enjoy an intimate date Cucumber Gimlet, smoked cherry night at Council Oak. ers, entrees, a new dessert and several Twisted Western and peppers and red new craft cocktails. a photo worthy Rose Mojito, which wine gastrique. Ask about daily exclusive To set itself apart, Council Oak offers includes a rose infused ice cube. specials based on availability, including an open-air, fresh-cut butcher shop where the show-stopper, Lionfish appetizer. Resort Executive Sous Chef Michael all the beef is aged on site within the Balles, who oversees 10 on-site restauLionfish is poisonous in the wild but safe Himalayan Rock Salt walls and always rants, opened the Bobby Flay Steak to eat and decadent once prepared. cut to order. The separate climate-conrestaurant at the Borgata Hotel & Casino Another new appetizer is the Wagyu trolled case features dry-age coolers and in Atlantic City, N.J. and worked with Beef Tartar served chopped with crispy is used to age steaks for their delicious Wolfgang Puck American Grill and leeks, cilantro, capers, quail egg and flavor. All meats are cut onsite and are American Cut by Iron Chef Marc smoked tableside.. 100 percent USDA prime and aged anyForgione, is proud of the new offerings at For entrees, Grilled Yellowtail where from 21- 28 days. Council Oak. Snapper with roasted tomato and fennel; New appetizers joining the menu “We wanted to bring some fresh flaFlorida Grouper with rock shrimp and update include, Steamed Mussels with vors and some new techniques into the tomato scampi with wild arugula; a 21garlic infused tomato broth and toasted menu changes at Council Oak,” ounce bone-in New York Strip; and a ciabatta; Soft Shell Crab with summer described Balles. “We are proud of the Prime Rib special offered on Fridays and succotash and caper vinaigrette and new menu and want to make every expeSaturdays only join the menu.

By Marie Gilmore

rience at Council Oak, a memorable one.” Council Oak Steaks and Seafood Restaurant has received one of the most prestigious restaurant reviews from Zagat. Reviewers tout its “friendly efficient” service and “trendy” décor, saying “it’s perfect for a night out on the town.” The restaurant offers over 300 wine selections that represent numerous varietals, regions and prices ranging from $50 to $7,000, and features popular Napa Valley classics, Veuve Clicquot Champagnes and an eclectic selection of wines from Plumpjack Estate to Paul Hobbs Winery and more. Owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is among the country's top five casinos, as ranked by the number of gaming positions available to casino guests. The Seminole Hard Rock Casino now offers a non-smoking casino for guests. It occupies 37 acres of the Tampa Seminole Reservation, which is located east of downtown Tampa near the Intersection of I-4 and I-75. The hotel is AAA Four Diamond rated and offers six award-winning Zagat-rated restaurants, including the fine dining venue Council Oak Steaks & Seafood. The resort is currently under expansion with plans for more casino space, larger Rock Spa and additional hotel rooms underway. Non-smoking casino floor, new Orient Road Garage and additional new features including a self-guided memorabilia “rock walk” tour. Visit Call for reservations 866-388-4263 or book online at Dining room is non-smoking.

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August 2017

Page 19

Valrico Edition

Feld Entertainment, Inc., Brings Newest Disney On Ice Frozen to Tampa

By Vanessa Evans

Feld Entertainment, Inc., the worldwide leader in producing live touring family entertainment, announced it will bring the Academy Award® winning and number one animated feature film of all time, Disney’s Frozen, to life. Tickets are on sale for Disney On Ice presents Frozen, which visits Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Dr. in Tampa from Friday, September 29 at 7 p.m., Saturday, September 30 at 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, October 1 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The Academy Award® winning tale will be told live for the first time in this production, capturing the dynamic of two royal sisters, Anna and Elsa. Audiences will get to sing along with such musical masterpieces as Let it Go, Do You Want to Build a Snowman? and Fixer Upper. “In our more than 30 years of producing Disney On Ice shows, Feld Entertainment has been waiting for a film like this,” said producer Nicole Feld. “While it might seem obvious that Frozen is well suited for the ice, this Disney On Ice production will touch audiences emotionally through innova-

tive show elements and world-class skating.” Frozen directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee add, “Seeing audiences around the world embrace Frozen has been the experience of a lifetime. And to now have the chance to consult with the talented team at Feld Entertainment and watch their creation come to life on ice, is thrilling.” In Disney On Ice presents Frozen, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse take the audience through the magical story based in Arendelle, with special appearances by beloved Disney princesses and favorite characters from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story and Finding Nemo and Disney’s The Lion King, who come together to prove that true love is the greatest power of all. To create a completely immersive experience for the audience, the set design will encompass the space from the ice surface up through the air, drawing everyone into the story and closer to the characters. Elsa’s magic will be enhanced by state-of-the art special effects while her emotions will be conveyed through powerful skating. All seats are reserved and tickets are available by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amalie Arena office. Group ticket sales and information, call 866248-8740. Visit

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Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 8

InThis Section


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...............PG 23 LATIN FOOD....................................PG 25

SPORTS CONNECTION .............PGS 26‐27 CHARITY GOLF .................................PG29 August 2017

Volume 14, Issue 8

Low Cost Preventive Shot Clinic at Kim’s Natural Pet’s in Valrico

A low cost Shot Clinic will be held on Saturday, September 2 from 2-3 p.m. at Kim’s Natural Pet’s, located at 3110 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico. For more information, call 684-3663.

Weight Loss & Wellness Centers

Garcia Weight Loss is a dedicated team of physicians and staff with a passion for helping people look and feel healthier, younger, and to achieve the right weight. Come celebrate its new Brandon office at 403 S. Kings Ave., Ste. 220, as well as its new beauty, health, and weight loss offerings on Tuesday, August 22 from 5-8 p.m. All sorts of products and services to help you look and feel your best will be given away. Come grab a bite, chat with Dr. Garcia, and you could walk away with a freebie. Hours are Monday, Thursday & Friday: 9-5, Tuesday: 8-4, and Wednesday: 10:30-6:30. Services offered are Weight Loss

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and Wellness, DNA Health and Fitness Programs, Hormone Replacement Therapy, Aesthetic Services, and Skin Care Products. RSVP or call 982-3042.

Hawthorne Hosts Parkinson’s Disease Support Group

Hawthorne Health & Rehabilitation Center hosts a monthly support group for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and caregivers on the third Thursday of every month. A variety of speakers will provide information on topics relating to swallowing, balance, walking, speaking, mobility, exercise, self-care, cognition, and memory, all of which can be impacted by Parkinson’s Disease. The Parkinson’s Disease support group is free of charge and open to those who have

DAVID WEEKLY ENCORE .................PG 31 been diagnosed with the disease, family members, caregivers and anyone with an interest in learning more about Parkinson’s. The next meeting will take place on August 17 from 2-3 p.m. in the Media Center. The speaker will be Debra Tarakofsky, NOVA University professor & owner of Swallowing Diagnostics, Inc. Topic: Parkinson's and Swallowing, A Roadmap to Swallowing that even Jack LaLane would approve (quote by Jack: "Your muscles know nothing – it's your brain"). Hawthorne Health & Rehabilitation Center, located at 851 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon, is a skilled nursing facility with inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs including speech, physical and occupational therapies. For more information or to register, call 661-8998 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.5 p.m.

Bella Pizza Comes To Plaza Bella

Come to Bella Pizza, which is located at 1028 Bloomingdale Ave. in Plaza Bella. Not only can you order the delicious pizza, but there is a varied menu choice of traditional Italian offerings such as homemade lasagna, stuffed shells, baked ziti and fresh salads. Having a party? Bella offers an XL 28" pizza that is cut into square slices for large crowds. Its hours are Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m.-9 pm. and until 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday from 12 Noon-8 p.m. Visit or call 661- 4191.

Personal Finance for Teens

Are you concerned your child will never move out of their bedroom? Bring your teen on Tuesday, August 29 and join us as Lori Nadglowski, MBA, CFP® discusses the financial lessons your child will need to be financially independent. This presentation covers basic financial principals, identifies the three most important decisions your child will make

Continued On Next Page

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Valrico Edition

Business Column Continued............. that determines their financial well being, and the important conversations to have with your children about money. This presentation will take place at CoWork Landing, located at 522 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon. For more information, call 252-0799 or visit

Award Winning Program Offered At The Bridges

The awardwining program, “A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls” will be offered at The Bridges Assisted Living Community in partnership with Senior Connection Center, Inc. This free four week program emphasizes practical strategies to manage falls. Participants will learn to view falls as controllable. They will set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks, and exercise to increase strength and balance. Anyone interested in improving their balance, flexibility and strength or that have restricted activities because of falling concerns are encouraged to attend. Classes will be held every Wednesday and Friday from September 6–September 29 from 9-

By Michelle Colesanti

11 a.m. in the Clubhouse at The Bridges. Space is limited. Please call Janet at 413-8900 for more information.

Guardian Advocacy Workshop To Be Held

If your child is turning (or has turned) 18, and has been diagnosed with a developmental disability (intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, autism, spina bifida, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, or Prader-Willi syndrome), and continues to need your help to make financial, educational and health care decisions, you will likely need to petition the court to become a Guardian Advocate over your child. Only the local courts can award parents continuing legal authority to oversee their child’s personal, financial and medical affairs as he or she transitions into adulthood. Unfortunately for parents, Guardianship can be a costly and time-consuming legal process, and the court administrators are not able to answer questions or help families because they cannot give legal

Phil & Michelle Colesanti visiting the working windmills at Museummolen Schermerhorn inThe Netherlands.

advice. Before you walk down this complicated road, parents, grandparents and caregivers are invited to join local attorneys Laurie Ohall and Dana Kemper for a free Guardian Advocacy Workshop on Saturday, August 19 from 10 a.m.-12 Noon to learn: how to file to be the Guardians Advocate for your child on your own without an attorney in Florida if you can’t afford one; how to avoid paying the court fees associated with petitioning the court for Guardianship if you are filing on your own. The attorneys will go step-by-step through all required documents to ensure parents have the correct information in place to avoid delays and denials. Additional legal planning strategies that parents can utilize to ensure your child has a smooth and protected transition into adulthood. Admission is free. You must RSVP and a link will be sent to you so that you can print out the forms and bring them with you to the workshop. The workshop begins at 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM in the Medical Arts Building at St. Joseph’s Hospital on the 1st Floor in Classroom #1, 3001 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd. in Tampa. Seating is limited to 45 spots. To RSVP, visit or call 438-8503.

Volume 14, Issue 8

Golf Tournament Benefits Campo YMCA You are invited to participate in this year’s Campo Family YMCA Annual Golf Tournament, which will be held on Saturday, September 30 at Riverhills Country Club in

Valrico. This tournament is a major part of Campo’s fundraising effort to help support families and individuals of all ages who could not otherwise afford vital community programs such as: pediatric cancer survivor program; summer camp, school readiness program; chronic disease prevention; teen leadership; Livestrong for cancer survivors; and drowning prevention, youth sports, and much more. All the proceeds from this golf tournament stay local and have a lasting impact on our neighbors in the community. The Tampa Metropolitan YMCA is a Four-Star Charity and is a 501(c)(3) organization. A portion of your sponsorship is tax-deductible and donors will receive a tax receipt for contributions. For more information or to register, please call Kavita Marballi at 684-1371, or email her at

Michelle with Alicia Martin (past Osprey Observer staff member - now living in England) at Shakespeare’s birth home in Stratford on Avon, UK.

One of the stops on a recent Rhine River cruise, Strasbourg is in the Alsace region of northeastern France.

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August 2017

Valrico Edition

Page 23

With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins

MaryAnne Freeman Puts Her Heart And Soul Into Her Paintings heart and soul into MaryAnne a painting, it stays Freeman of Plant with the painting.” City is a passionate “I love what I person. Freeman is do,” said Freeman a professional artist who has had an who creates paintamazing life. She ings of stunning moved over 31 Florida landscapes times while she and sunsets, indigewas married to a nous birds and wellCoast Guard man crafted portraits. and raised her chilFreeman came dren largely on her to art late in life after own. Since retirea tremendously sucment, she has cessful career in moved an additionmusic. As a musial seven times. cian, she played with She has lived in a band, orchestra, Plant City since the and provided music late 1990’s with for church services, MaryAnne Freeman of Plant City is a her second huswonderfully creative artist who creates parties, weddings and even composed paintings that are uplifting, and each piece band, a retired has a bit of her passion in it. Navy man who is a music. Freeman had Hospice Chaplain. a military contract with the Navy. She “I have had an amazing life. There directed choirs, a Performing Arts has been a lot of struggles and chalCompany and a group of military stulenges, but it has been good. I think dents. Once Freeman discovered she had my philosophy for life comes from being alone. It comes out in my work. a talent for art, she put her heart and When I share my work, people get it,” soul into it. She took classes with Master Artists including Gary Gessford. said Freeman. Freeman has an effusive personalFreeman said, “I felt that I had music in ity and is a lovely, welcoming person. me, but it took a while before my own A visit to her home studio was like music came out, and then I started to walking into a wonderfully curated write music. Art came late in life to gallery. me.” Freeman added, “Unlike a musiFreeman is an award-winning cal performance where the applause is artist. She has been a member of the like a vapor that disappears, art lasts. East Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG for You can see it, hold it and touch it.” 15 years. Freeman does commissions Freeman paints with mixable oils. and can be contacted at She is inspired by landscapes, beach scenes, flowers, sunsets and animals. Freeman’s work is currently being Freeman said, “I like to paint things shown in a gallery in Melbourne. that are uplifting. When you put your

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The Friends Of The Bruton Memorial Library Present The 2017 Mystery Dinner Theatre The Friends of the Bruton Memorial Library, a non-profit organization, will present its 18th Mystery Dinner Theatre fundraising event on Friday, August 25 beginning at 7:15 p.m. The event will be held at Hillsborough Community College Trinkle Center located at 1206 Park Rd. in Plant City. The cost to attend this fantastic event is just $45 per person, and this includes dinner, wine and beer. Tickets can be purchased at four locations in Plant City including the Bruton Memorial Library (302 W. McLendon St.); Regions Bank (2303 Thonotosassa Rd.); Holiday Inn Express (Park Rd. and I-4); and Walden Lake Car Wash (1414 S. Alexander St.). This year’s production, Suspect Hollywood, directed by Dodie White, promises to be a wonderful evening filled with great food, great friends and superb entertainment starring several of Plant City’s finest business leaders. All of the guests are considered a part of the pool of people auditioning for parts in the newest “Hollywood” movie, Peril of the Prodigal Son.

White, who is vice president of the Friends said, “We have changed this year’s format. This time the actors join the audience for dinner, and they come back on stage to act out the solution to the murder.” White added, “All is done with fun in mind even though it is a murder mystery. My goal is for the cast members to have as much fun as the audience does.” The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The show and dinner will begin at 7:15 p.m. Bring your friends and family to this fantastic event and be prepared to solve a mystery. There will be some great door prizes, and you will laugh a lot have tons of fun. Who knows? You might just get cast into a “Hollywood” movie. Proceeds from the event will be used to fund various activities at the Bruton Memorial Library including expansion of the library’s resources and facilities, children’s summer programs, cultural and educational events presented at the library. This will also help funding scholarships for local high school students. For information, contact White at 927-0595 or or Gail Lyons at 967-6366 or

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Valrico Edition

Volume 14, Issue 8

August 2017

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Valrico Edition

Latin Inspired Recipes Take Center Stage At New LC’s Café & Supper Club Are you looking for a new place to enjoy a breakfast or lunch? LC’s Café, which recently opened in Brandon, will not disappoint you. The menu is Latin inspired, and offers many options of simple home cooked food; all delicious. Loraine Aguayo opened the restaurant in January. "I originally was looking for a place to cater from. When I saw our current location was available, I fell in love with it. I actually could see the cafe up and running. My husband and I had already been operating a private monthly invite-only Supper Club for the last two years so we decided to move that into our new café," she said. You can enjoy either breakfast or lunch choices during the restaurant’s regular hours, which are Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The blueberry muffins are stuffed full of the fruit and are so light and moist. There are other muffin choices as well and all are home-made by Clary Abreu, a graduate from Le Cordón Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando. If you need protein to start the day, there are multiple egg

choices to Aquayo’s choose from. husband, The lunch Ellery, is fare includes delicious, the tasty Tampa fruity, but Bowl with not too Spanish Rice sweet. He and Black also created Beans topped the “Mad with Classic Flat White”, Mojo Marinated a rich Chicken or creamy cofPork. There are fee made quite a few with a spesandwich choiccial blend of es, one of the milk and most popular cream that is being the served hot Chicken Breast, and poured Cranberry and from a Pecan Salad on beaker. Croissant. Find Soups the OMG Roast and salads Recently opened LC Café offers delicious Latin Pork or Chicken inspired home-cooked comfort food. L-R: Ivette Ortiz, are also on the owner Loraine Aguayo and baker Clary Abreu. available as menu, so well as plenty of sweet favorites named because the first person to try baked by Abreu. the sandwich said, ‘OMG this is the Saturday mornings are special best’. The home-made Blackberry and feature a Mimosa Brunch. “You Sangria, which was created by can enjoy free regular or decaf

By Michelle Colesanti

house coffee, specialty menu items such as our savory bruschetta served with our stuffed French toast bake or Belgium waffles with strawberry or blueberry compote and a cranberry, orange or mix of the two mimosas,” commented Aguayo. The Supper Club event takes place once a month featuring authentic Tampa family recipes. There is a set menu where everything is all inclusive for one price. The menu changes each month. Visit www.lcscafe for more information on the dinners and to RSVP or to join the supper club invite list to receive the dates and menu information for upcoming events. Aquayo will also cater private dinners in your home or venue for up to 14 people. “Our place or yours”, she said. Beginning this summer, you can relax after a long week at Friday Happy Hour, which will take place from 5-8 p.m. LC’s Café is located near Divine Designs Spa at 1602 Oakfield Dr. #103 in Brandon. Call 526-9395 or email

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Page 26

Valrico Edition





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Volume 14, Issue 8

Sports Connection 657-2418

12U Wolves Finish Their Season In The Championship Game At Dreams Park In Cooperstown

12U Wolves baseball team pose with their trophy. (L-R Back Row)) Assistant Coach Kevin Leshko, Head Coach Chuck Harman, Julian Montes, Makye Hayes, Dyan LaPointe, Kohl Wise, Adrian Rolon, President/Assistant Coach Greg Stallings, (L-R Front Row) Jake Moore, KJ Leshko, Dawson Harman, Alex Philpott, Nate Hook, Brian Rivera.

Cooperstown Dreams Park was started in 1996 by Lou Presutti. About 17,000 players from across the country and Canada with up to 104 teams a week over 13 weeks travel to Dreams Park each summer with their families. Presutti passed away last year but his wife, Linda, still continues the traditions and love for baseball as their memories last forever. The FishHawk Baseball Club (FBC) Wolves 12U Travel Team under Head Coach Chuck Harman headed to Cooperstown, New York this June and played in the week three tournament. The Wolves played a total of 13 games in five days. After a 4-2 pool play, the team seeded 33rd out of 104 teams. Head Coach, Chuck Harman knew they had a long road ahead of them, but gave them a pep talk saying, “We have worked all year to be here. We came with a purpose so let’s stay focused with no distractions.” Determined to play hard, one by one, they won games. A 17-1 win against Texas Stix and a 6-1 win against Bartow Canes (GA). The next game was against the number one

seed. The Wolves defeated the Utah Yard Dawgs in a back-andforth game for a 6-4 win. What a great way to end day four. The players said a quick goodbye to the parents and head back to the barracks where they stayed the entire week with the coaches. Defeating the number one seed provided them with the motivation needed for the last day of games. Field #7 lived up to expectation as it proved to be their lucky Assistant Coach Greg Stallings, President of FishHawk Makye Hayes wins Road Runner Wolves, Coach Chuck Harman, Head Coach of 12U field. Again, one by one, the Competition with a time of 12.08 Wolves and Coach Kevin Leshko, Assistant Coach are Wolves defeated three more seconds. Hayes still currently leads in presented with engraved bats from the team. teams that put them into the chamthe fastest time over 1040 teams. pionship. home runs with 10 Prior to the championship game, wins and 3 losses. one of the meaningful moments for the The FBC Wolves players, and a long standing tradition, is is under the direction for the teams to share time together over of Jimmy Osting, dinner prior to the championship game. owner of Osting The televised championship game Baseball Academy. was a hard fought battle between the The program has 33rd seed FishHawk Wolves and the proven to be both 2nd seed Total Baseball Bears (CA). challenging, yet Down by six runs in the first inning, the rewarding. Head Wolves pulled together and fought back Coach, Chuck to tie the game in the sixth inning. Harman has coached five of the players since they were in Wolves 8U Travel. “It’s not about winning every tourEnding the game in an extra inning, the nament, it’s about learning all aspects of Wolves ultimately lost 10-9. baseball from proper mechanics to Although they came home with secsportsmanship.” Greg Stallings, ond place, the Wolves accomplished President of FBC Wolves saw potential many firsts. The Wolves were the highand assisted in coaching the boys this est seeded team to make it to the chamyear. pionship game through team determinaEnding the season 40-15-1 with an tion and coaches inspiration. This chamoverall batting average of 401, 146 pionship game set a Cooperstown home runs, playing 56 games, this group record for the most online viewers with of 12U boys has much to be proud of. over 20,000 people watching online. In They would like to thank the community addition, at the tournament, a Wolves for its support throughout the year. player, Makye Hayes, won the Road For more information about the FBC Runner Competition with the fasted time Wolves Travel Baseball or Osting around the bases with an impressive Baseball Academy programs, please 12.08 second run. visit or While in Cooperstown, the team managed to pull in an impressive 76

August 2017

Page 27

Valrico Edition

Connection Sports Story by Tamas Mondovics County Opens Registration For 2017 Senior Games, Bunco Joins The Sports

Bloomingdale 10U Girls Softball All-Stars District And State Champions In Undefeated Season

among senior games participants, games organizers said. Other options include horseshoes, darts, billiards, bag toss, and shuffleboard, with a total of more than 40 sports and recreational events. Some events serve as qualifiers for Hillsborough County residents 50 and up take part in the annual the Florida Senior Tampa Bay Senior Games. Last year more than 600 participants Games. took part in the two-week long Olympics-like event. "It's a lot of fun, One of the year’s most exciting local and you don't have to be an athlete," said sporting events is Hillsborough County’s Mary MayGlass, 78, and a six-year Annual Tampa Bay Senior Games, which Senior Games veteran. It's not intimidatwill be celebrating its 37th season. ing at all. We encourage each other." Registration for the fun and friendly With socialization as a major part of competition is now open for all those who the Games, participants will for the first meet the requirements and interested to time try a roll of the dice at a Bunco table take part in 18-day event scheduled to this year. take place October 2-20 throughout the "I've met a lot of nice friends,” said Tampa Bay area. May who competes in darts, bowling, With an estimated 650 people shuffleboard, and horseshoes, among a expected to attend, the Senior Games is long list of other events. “It’s not about a three-week long competition ranging winning or losing; it's about good friends from a baking contest, hobby show, and and having fun.” talent showcase on opening day to the Registration is now open for contestmore physically demanding activities of ants who will be at least 50 by the end of tennis, golf, softball, track and field, 2017. The senior games are hosted by cycling, powerlifting, golf, and bowling not Hillsborough County in partnership with to mention pickleball, one of the fastest Friends of the County Parks, City of growing sports in the country according to Tampa, and City of Temple Terrace. the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA). For more information and to register, The event has become a favorite please visit

It is one Knowles thing to win a emphasized that championship, the girls have but winning both practiced very district and state hard for three titles on the back weeks to prepare of an undefeated for World Series season is pricecompetition. less. “The talent That is just and teamwork what the the girls have Bloomingdale 10U All Stars celeBloomingdale paid off by havbrate their State Championship Youth Sports ing an undefeatvictory. Bottom row (left to right): Emma Velasco, Jansen Association 10 ed season, earnWarbritton, Riley Porter, Camryn VanGalder, Leah and under girl ing both District Pabon, Haylee Baker, Ava Velasco. Middle row softball All-Stars (left to right): Paige Sanchez, Kimora Okimosh, and State Emily Knowles, Leanne Allen, Carly Rivera. Third Championships,” team experiRow (left to right): Charlie Allen, Larry Knowles, enced this seasaid team mom Jason Warbritton, Eric VanGalder. son. Carly Pabon. The girls first dominated the district Proud of the girls, fellow softball team line up winning the trophy in Madeira mom Maria Rivera, agreed when she Beach after an undefeated tourney, folsaid,” I believe this is an awesome lowed by reaching the Babe Ruth All-Star accomplishment. I have watched these State championship tourney and its final 10-year-old girls play their hearts out in game in Lake City, which ended with a the Florida heat, and now this amazing 11-0 victory against the Palatka Panthers. group of girls are headed to the World The win rightly placed the team led Series. A moment of recognition is both by program manager Larry Knowles in due and goes a long way with these position to represent Bloomingdale, area young players.” communities as well as the state of Team mom Shannon Baker summed Florida at the annual Babe Ruth World up her thoughts on the girls accomplishSeries scheduled for July 29-August 5, in ment when she added, “These 10U girls Jensen Beach. are just incredible.” The team has “We have a great group of girls that launched a Go Fund Me account have fun and have worked really hard to ( District and State champions,” bound) for anyone who would like to conKnowles said. “They are continuing to tribute. work just as hard to achieve their goal of For more information about BYSA, winning the World Series.” please visit

By Tamas Mondovics

By Tamas Mondovics

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Page 28

Volume 14, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

Hillsborough County Pet Resource Celebrates Major Milestone, Earns BOCC Commendation

Over A Century Of Automobile Experience Separates Ferman Chevrolet From The Rest

Hillsborough of close cooperation County Pet Resource with animal rescue Center (PRC), the groups and new policounty’s only opencies that aggressively admission shelter in promote adoption, Hillsborough County, foster, and spay-andand its staff and volneuter programs. unteers have every According to Pet reason to be proud of Resource Center their hard work, Director Scott Members of the Hillsborough County Pet Trebatoski, the which was recently Resource Center were recognized by the recognized by the Board of County Commissioners for their monthly adoption Board of County hard work that has included assisting the events have become Commission (BOCC). adoption of more than 50,000 dogs and a much-welcomed cats at the center in the past four years. addition and have During a regularhelped with center capacity. ly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, “We are now seeing a following as July 19 on the 2nd floor of the County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., the BOCC residents come out to adopt as well as enjoy a day of fun and celebration with issued a commendation to us,” Trebatoski said. the Center and its adoptions and rescue Officials emphasized that the shelter partners for the life-saving programs that also depends on a talented veterinary have led to the rescue and adoption of over 50,000 pets in the past four years. staff and dedicated community volunteers According to County officials, prior to that now number more 640 and who the BOCC embarking on the ‘Be the Way have logged in 26,000 hours of service in Home’ plan in May 2013, approximately 2016. “Many of those hours dedicated to 40 percent of the animals brought into the finding loving homes for shelter pets,” PRC were adopted out. Trebatoski said. However, during the following three As part of the continued effort to years, and thanks to some aggressive accomplish its purpose, the Center is crechanges in leadership, organization and ating a wall at the shelter to showcase improvements to the center and its functhe pets with their adopted families. tions, the number of pets adopted more Adopters are encouraged to take a than doubled to 85.5 percent, including 90 percent for dogs, which officials said is family photo with their PRC dog or cat and drop it off at the center, 440 N. an amazing figure for a shelter that Falkenburg Road, or email it to accepts any pet regardless of size, age, breed, or medical condition. For info about Pet Resource Center, The increase in the number of pets finding new homes is said to be the result visit

both he and the Tampa area had its first auto dealership. Chevrolet was founded on November 3, 1911, and since then has produced over 200 million cars and trucks. Chevrolet awarded Ferman its first Chevrolet dealership in 1930 establishing it as Tampa’s Heritage Chevrolet dealer. A Chevrolet Motor Company executive whose internal memo noted Fred Ferman, Sr.’s ‘good name and reputation’ and declared, “... this is the best connection we can make in Tampa.” In 1931, Tampa’s newest Chevrolet dealer advertised its new location at 307 Florida Avenue in Tampa and changed its name to Ferman Chevrolet in 1933. According to the website, “Since opening our doors, Ferman Chevrolet has been all about the ‘ease of doing business’ and growing our dealership ‘one Guest at a time’ by exceeding expectations with an outstanding selection of new Chevy vehicles, competitive prices and lease offers, and an impeccable guest service experience.” Much has changed since 1895, but one thing remains true...the mission and values guiding every dealership proudly bearing the Ferman name. Today, you can visit Ferman Chevrolet at 9751 Adamo Dr. in Tampa. For more, visit or call 400-2649.

By Tamas Mondovics

Staff Report

Chevrolet introduced the Corvette in 1953. Mayor Curtis Hixon and two participants from the Gasparilla Parade pose in front of the new car in the Ferman showroom. (From the Ferman Collection)

The gasoline engine vehicle was ‘road tested’ for the first time in 1893 by Frank and Charles Duryea, who then opened the first U.S. facility designed for volume motor vehicle production three years later. The internal combustionengine motor vehicle was then patented in 1895. At about this same time, Fred Ferman became sole owner of Tampa Cycle Company. In 1899, he and Tampa Cycle Co. employee Victor James crafted two vehicles from bicycle parts, one of them powered by steam, the other by a Frenchmade gasoline engine. The latter was the first gasoline car driven in Tampa. Ferman had already established his instinct for emerging industries. Intrigued by the 1901 C u r v e d Dash Oldsmobile Runabout, 28 year old Ferman applied for and won an Oldsmobile sales agency in 1902. Now,

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August 2017

Valrico Edition

Playing For Charity At Annual Knights Of Columbia Golf Classic The Knights of Columbus Golf Classic Mother Seton Council #6724 is preparing for its fourth annual charitable round of golf. Even the sweltering heat and afternoon showers will not stray these dedicated golfers from this annual fundraising event, which will take place on Saturday, September 23 at The Bloomingdale Golfer’s Club. “The proceeds will be used for charitable events throughout the year,” explained Neil Waid, Warden of the Counsel. “Charitable organizations such as Citizens with Disabilities, Lopez School of Exceptional Students, the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital and Haley House along with various other local organizations are on the club’s list of recipients,” he continued. “Donations to support the homeless veterans and veterans’ families in need are also an organization that we help support,” said Waid. Tee off time will be promptly at 9 a.m. The fee includes a golf cart, range balls, beverages, breakfast sandwiches and lunch. Registration time will be from 7:45 to 8:30 a.m. To add to the excitement for the day there will be a four-person

By Joyce Bliss

scramble. This year’s fees will be $95 for singles and $380 for a foursome. The winner of the Early Bird entry for a foursome will play for free. Registration for the Early Bird entry fee for a foursome is Friday, September 1. There will be prizes for first, second and third places along with the longest drive and closest to the pin. This year’s contests will include the hole-in-one contest with an award of $10,000 going to the firstplace winner and a golf vacation package to three more winners. There will be additional fundraising opportunities with a silent auction, a 50/50 contest and a raffle. “The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal organization,” Waid explained. This selfless organization believes in and supports the true meaning of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. You may also register and pay online with PayPal at or you can mail payment with registration form to Mother Seton Council #6724, Post Office Box 1327, Brandon, Florida 33511.. For more information contact Tim Kasprzyk at

Page 29

Leadership Brandon Class Of 2017 Hosts 18th Annual Casino Night

Staff Report

The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Brandon Class of 2017 will host its 18th Annual Casino Night on Friday September 8 at the Regent, which is located at 6437 Watson Rd. in Riverview. This year’s theme is a Black & White party. Casino Night is an annual fundraiser for Leadership Brandon, which is a 10month professional development program developed by the Brandon Chamber of Commerce. The Casino Night party features casino-style gaming, an open bar, DJ, and silent auction items. The event typically draws several hundred people, with popular raffle items like the Chest of Cheer, a 50/50 raffle, and the Tower of Beer. “Casino Night makes a great date night, or a girls/guys night out, and it’s a wonderful way to meet other businesses and network in the Brandon community,” said Melissa Baldwin of Leadership Brandon Class 2017. Tickets can be purchased at Pre-sale tick-

ets are available through Friday, September 1 for $50 per person and are $65 per person thereafter. The ticket price includes food, open bar and casino money. The Leadership Brandon Program started in 1985 and connects people with the opportunity to grow as leaders, develop relationships with people of influence, and inspires them to make a difference in their business and in the community. The program has educated and inspired hundreds of people over the years. Many have gone on to positions throughout the community and made countless though extraordinary contributions. Leadership Brandon graduates serve in senior positions in state and local government, both for profit and non-profit business, as directors on boards and as volunteers and advocates throughout our community. It is a program of the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce. For more information on the Chamber, visit The Class of 2017 is also actively seeking silent auction donations and sponsorships for Casino Night. Donations of merchandise, services, or gift certificates would be appreciated for the silent auction. Donations should be received by August 25.

Page 30

Volume 14, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

Sip Tea At Fundraiser Party To Support The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry

Superior Residences Activities Director Wins Director Of Year Award At Conference

Attention ing assistance ladies and little to those in ladies—you need through a are cordially food pantry and invited to a financial assisLadies Tea and tance. Kathie Fashion Show Huff is the prespresented by ident of the the Society of food pantry and St. Vincent de said, “We are Paul. The grateful to the annual food ladies who pantry organize this fundraiser will The Tea Party provides fun, fellowship and food as it tasty fundraiser raises money to support a noble cause. be held on for our ministry. Saturday, September 9 from 11 a.m. to 1 Each month, we assist about 140 families p.m. in the Family Life Center of St. with food and spend about $3000 to pay Stephen Catholic Church. rent and utilities and make food purchasTea attendees can sip on tasty teas es.” and dine on homemade sandwiches, The Tea and Fashion Fundraiser is scones and desserts while supporting a the only fundraiser for the food pantry, worthy cause. Ladies will design and dec- and most of the funds are contributed orate headbands and then parade through generous parishioners. However, around modeling their creations. The due to the parish’s recent expansion, Huff women’s clothing store Dress Barn will is thrilled to open up the Tea to more also add to the entertainment with a fash- ladies in the community. ion show. The event needs volunteers to host a The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is table of eight, which will include decorata nonprofit Catholic organization inspired ing a themed table with personal dishes by gospel values and operated by volunor with fanciful paper products. Ladies teers. The organization is divided up into can invite friends to their table or join the ‘Conferences’ throughout the world and is fun at someone else’s table. The cost is typically based out of a church, school, only $16 per person with all the proceeds hospital or community center. The misgoing toward the St. Vincent de Paul sion of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Ministry. is to serve those in need and promote For information or reservations, spiritual growth for the men and women please contact Arlene at 284-5884 or who serve. For information on The St. Stephen Catholic Parish in the St. Stephen conference and food Riverview hosts a local conference offerpantry, visit

Individuals at Superior Residences of Brandon Memory Care sang along to their theme song called You Are My Sunshine as Activities Director Bill Andrew softly played it on the piano. Andrew recently won the Life Enrichment Director of the Activities Director Bill Year award at Andrew at Superior the 2017 Senior Residences of Living Brandon Memory Care wins Life Enrichment Conference on Director of the Year July 28. This award. conference took place at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida from July 26- 28 with the sponsor being Florida Argentum. He had no idea about his nomination for this particular award and shared his thoughts about it. “I felt elated and very humble to receive the Life Enrichment Director of the Year award. Definitely an honor to represent the state of Florida,” Andrew said. Andrew resides in the Riverview area and highly involved with The Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce for many years. For the last two years Andrew maintained his position

By Amanda Boston

By Tatiana Ortiz

as the Activities Director. He began his journey at Superior Residences of Brandon Memory Care 15 years ago and played the piano. Andrew also attends Mulberry United Methodist Church and directs music there. He started playing the organ and piano in church since 1974. To add, during his college years he majored in music and started his lessons at the age of four! What he loves most about his role at Superior Residences of Brandon Memory Care would be when he plays the piano and the residents sing along with him. In addition to that, Andrew enjoys sitting at the table with the residents to converse with them. Superior Residences of Brandon Memory Care offers a homelike community for all levels of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diagnosis. These programs and services here utilize the latest knowledge and therapeutic techniques. It does provide amenities too. Superior Residences of Brandon Memory Care also encourages family involvement and community activities. To learn more, visit It is located at 1819 Providence Ridge Blvd. in Brandon. Call 657-8587.

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August 2017

Page 31

Valrico Edition

Encore by David Weekley Homes At FishHawk Ranch Lets Residents Live Life To The Fullest Just because Encore at FishHawk Ranch is a 55 and over community, don’t assume that its residents sit around all day playing bridge. Well, in all honesty, they do have a weekly Bridge night, but it’s sandwiched in between Pickleball, line dancing, Yoga and aqua fitness classes. Let’s not forget Wine Down Wednesdays. In fact, residents are given a monthly activity calendar so chock-full of entertainment options, life here can seem more like a vacation than the daily grind. The hub of this community is The Oasis Lifestyle Club, 5,000-sq. ft. complete with full-time activities director Sandy Acevedo, a personal trainer and group exerMixologist Ed Blash whips up drink concoccise instructor, resorttions at a get-together at Encore at FishHawk style lap pool, bocce, Ranch. pickle ball courts and or playing Bridge,” said basketball gym. Haupt. “I had no idea there were so When Dee Haupt made the decimany activities.” sion to move from Pinellas County to Haupt finds herself attending most FishHawk to be closer to her daughter of them, as do many other residents. and grandchildren, she immediately Resident and author Ed Blash fell in love with the vibrant community. heads up the breakfast and board “Sometimes I’m up at the Oasis game clubs. He gets his daily work-out Lifestyle Club two or three times a day, in at the gym. taking yoga and line dancing classes “I wasn’t looking for a social cen-

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accustomed to hosting large gatherings and coming up with new activities. Holidays are easy but it’s the days in between that can prove more challenging. August’s party is a Cheeseburger in Paradise party. “My staff Encore at FishHawk residents Dee Haupt, Mardy Hall, and I start Colleen Keane and Gerry Knox share a game of cards before thinking about taking a swim in the pool at The Oasis Lifestyle Club. an activity and our brains just go crazy,” she said. The 240home community currently has 42 occupied homes but are selling quickly. Homes in Encore at FishHawk Ranch, built by David Weekley Homes and sitter, but I’m pleased with all the uated on 50’ homesites, start in the options,” he said. “You really have the high $280’s and feature expanded outchoice here to be as social as you door living areas and inviting living want.” spaces, great for entertaining and conWith a calendar that changes necting with friends. every month, one might think it is diffiFor more information about cult to come up with fun and unique Encore at FishHawk Ranch visit events tailored to the over-50 set. or “Not so,” said Acevedo, who once worked at the Y.M.C.A., and was

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Volume 14, Issue 8

Valrico Edition

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GREAT HOME ON A QUIET, DEAD-END STREET! 4/2/2 + pool home on 0.36 acre lot! Updated kitchen, volume ceilings, wood-burning fireplace & more! Huge screened lanai with pool with new pump in 2017! Large room sizes make this home feel so spacious! $316,900


GATED LAKE WEEKS COMMUNITY! Stunning 5/3.5/3 + bonus + pool home close to both I-4 and I-75! Inside discover fresh interior paint, plantation shutters, neutral paint, remodeled kitchen with wood cabinets & granite counters! Lanai with nebula lighting & no backdoor neighbors! $395,000


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! $399,000


BEAUTIFUL CUSTOM HOME ON 0.92 LAKEFRONT ACRES! 4/4.5/2 + office + pool/spa home that is AMAZING! DETACHED IN-LAW SUITE with kitchenette & full bath! Main home offers wood floors, plantation shutters, tray ceilings, crown & neutral paint! Look at my website to truly appreciate this home! $600,000


WONDERFUL HOME WITH POND VIEWS IN GATED ABBEY TRACE! 3/2/2 home boasts kitchen with 42" cherry cabinets, corian counters & island! Other features include Pergo flooring, volume ceilings & great paint choices! Large screened lanai gives you additional space! $249,900


B E A U T I F U L H O M E I N G AT E D NEIGHBORHOOD! 4/2.5/2 +bonus home sitting on a fully fenced lot! This beautiful home offers great paint choices, Pergo floors & granite in both baths! Kitchen with 42" maple cabinets, island, stainless appliances & granite counters! $260,000


OVERSIZED LOT IN DESIRABLE TWIN LAKES! 4/3/3 + office + bonus home that offers 2016 porcelain floors, wood floors, gas-burning fireplace, Bose surround sound system & delightful paint choices! Heated spa & outdoor kitchen! Newer A/C's and hot water tank! $375,000


CUSTOM HOME IN GATED BELLEFONTE! 5/2.5/3 home that was completely remodeled in 2005! New roof in 2013 & well for lower water bills! Wood floors, crown, tray ceilings, French doors, wood-burning fireplace & more! Large brick pavered lanai & 0.5 acre lot! $590,000


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Osprey Observer 2017-8 Valrico  

Osprey Observer 2017-8 Valrico