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January 2017 Volume 16, Issue 1 Ph: 657-2418 1 5
Y E A R S
P U B L I S H I N G
Schools Benefit As FishHawk Ranch Road Race Celebrates 20 Years
By Katelyn Massarelli
C O M M U N I T Y
N E W S
Parents Respond To Hillsborough County School Board Vote To End Courtesy Busing
By Tamas Mondovics
The Hillsborough County Schools Board voted 6-1 last month to end courtesy busing for middle and high school students living within two miles of their school. The decision is the result of the Districts plan to reduce spending.
As anticipated, Hillsborough County Schools Board’s 6-1 decision last month to end its nearly 20-year-long courtesy busing offered to thousands of students living within two miles of their schools was met with much concern. Parents living in communities like FishHawk Ranch immediately turned to social media in hopes of finding the best way to come to terms with the loss of courtesy busing, a term that many have never heard, and a service that most thought was the norm. “Heavy traffic, long car lines and safety has been our concern for several years. It’s funny how the beginning of the school year the school board said the area was deemed hazardous conditions and we were always told that the solution is to utilize the buses,” said FishHawk resident Kathi Hayes. “Traffic continues to increase as more residents move into the area, suddenly, the area isn’t hazardous and now we are losing the buses, which makes no sense.” To explain the decision, school officials mailed out a comprehensive packet to nearly 7,500 middle and high school students who will be affected by the change at the start of the 2017-2018 school year, saving approximately $3 million for the District. “Parents of elementary students will have more time to plan,” said HCPS spokesperson, Tanya Arja. “We will end
elementary courtesy busing as well, but not until the 2018-19 school year.” School officials estimate the total saving at nearly $10 million. The state provides funding to transport students who reside more than two miles from their assigned school, for prekindergarten or special education students who require transportation living inside the two-mile boundary. Students not meeting the state’s hazardous criteria are known as courtesy rid-
Continued on Page 7
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The event will In 1997, the first have a 5K race FishHawk Ranch and two kids’ funRoad Race took place runs that will be to raise money for local charities and one mile and a eventually became a half mile. After the way to raise money races, the event for local schools in will have a post2005. This year, the race party for parrace is back to create ticipants and attendees to celea welcoming environbrate their accomment for everyone in plishments or just the comto have fun. munity “[Attendees] just as enjoy music proits done vided by an area for the D.J., food, and past 20 years. The Terkhorn familly attends the random give19th annual FishHawk Ranch This aways,” Road Race. year all McMorrow said. proceeds will be going to Barrington “Of course, one of the highlights is the Middle, Colleen Bevis Elementary, awards ceremony, with recognition for FishHawk Creek Elementary, Newsome overall Male and Female, Masters and High, Randall Middle and Stowers Grandmasters winners, as well as to the Elementary schools. In the past, the top three racers in each age group. Road Race has donated more than Medals are also given to all Kid’s Race $175,000 to local schools within the participants. FishHawk community and contributed to Avid Runners, beginning, intermedia scholarship for a student member of ate level runners, and walkers all come the FishHawk Road Runners. out to the Road Race. The event allows “Each school has the flexibility to participants and attendees to join in on use the funds they receive in a way that the fun whether it be to have fun with the is most beneficial to students or to supfamily or come join the energetic atmosport the school’s greatest need,” phere of the community. Marketing Manager for Waterset Potential racers can still register and Newland Communities Lynda McMorrow will be able to on the day of the race. said. The 5K registration fee is $25 in McMorrow and the rest of the advance and $30 on the race day. Kids Newland Communities marketing team race registration fees are $15. You can works to find sponsors for the race. They Register in advance at www.fishwork alongside the Public Relations hawkranch.com. The event will take team, school beneficiaries, and place on January 28 at FishHawk FishHawk Road Runners each year to Ranch, Lithia. For more information, you put together the Road Race each year. can call 685-7500.
P O S I T I V E
Free Popcorn Pg. 46
Photo Courtesy By Arkin Amirdinov
Members of the Newsome High School Wolfpack Marching Band proudly take part in the 90th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City, NY. The Band was one of only 10 marching bands participating in the parade and the first ever representing Hillsborough County.
Serving Our Customers in 4 Locations: Lithia • Big Bend, Riverview • 301, Riverview • Sun City Center
Volume 16, Issue 1
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Newsome High School’s Blue Letter Envelope Program Gears Up For Graduates Newsome High School parents of a graduating senior can participate in the Blue Letter Envelope program, which is sponsored by the PTSA. This year's committee chairperson, Liz Hallman, wants to spread the word early and reach as many in the community as possible. The hope is this year every senior receives a special sentiment. Hallman said, “Witnessing the emotional reaction of the students when they receive and read their letters is what makes running this program so rewarding. You may never know the impact your words may have on a student, but I have seen their reaction and your sentiments will fuel them to do great things.” The program was inspired by the national Red Letter Envelope program. Each year parents, grandparents, family, teachers, clergy, friends, or anyone who has impacted the life of a graduating student, can send a special card, letter or note congratulating them and wishing them well as they graduate and prepare for their next endeavor. The Blue Letter Envelope team carefully sorts and stores the cards and letters for each student and distributes them prior to graduation at the senior breakfast.
“My daughter was so touched by the family and friends that took the time to give her words of inspiration for her future. She will look back at those letters for years to come and have such sweet memories, noted Donna Rayburn. The letters and cards are kept confidential until they are given to the students. Thousands of letters will be collected, so please follow these guidelines: Cards or letters no larger than 8x10 (no packages); Do not send anything of value (cash, checks, gift cards, etc.) to the school; If sending several envelopes inside a larger envelope, put the student’s full name on all envelopes; and keep letters and cards flat. All cards and letters must arrive at the school by Friday, April 28, but you are encouraged to send letters earlier; No letters can be accepted after the deadline. Letters and cards can be mailed or dropped off at the Newsome’s Main Office addressed to: Student’s Full Name, Newsome High School PTSA- Blue Letter Envelopes, 16550 FishHawk Blvd., Lithia, FL 33547. For more information, email Liz Hallman at email@example.com.
St. Stephen Catholic School Hosts Student Open House By Kate Quesada
If you are conschools,” said Umoh. “We sidering a Catholic are constantly told that school education teachers appreciate stufor your children, dents that come from St. mark your calenStephen as they come to dars for Friday, high school with the necesJanuary 20 as St. sary skills and attitudes Stephen Catholic towards learning and also School in with strong leadership qualRiverview is ities and good character.” hosting an But Umoh is quick to open house add that St. Stephen focusSt. Stephen Catholic School Principal Linda es on more than academwhere prospecUmoh and student tive parents ics. “We are committed to ambassadors will be can learn the instilling Catholic values available at an Open House on Friday, January 20 to tell into everything we do many things the prospective families all that the school has to offer. through academic, spiritual school has to offer. Founded in and service experiences 2001 and accredited by the Florida that help students develop a personal Catholic Conference, St. Stephen is open relationship with Jesus,” said Umoh. “We to students in Pre-K through eighth are a forward-thinking school, rooted in grade. “St. Stephen provides a learning Catholic traditions and values and devotenvironment where every student is ed to preparing students for high school encouraged to reach their full potential,” and the 21st century.” said Principal Linda Umoh. “We offer a Students pray daily, celebrate Mass core curriculum, experiences in the arts, together, participate in reconciliation and foreign languages, sports and many spiritual retreats and provide service to extra-curricular activities.” the community. They have opportunities In addition, the middle school has a to live their faith through events such as one-to-one iPad and Chromebook prothe Week of Caring, Pro-life rallies, gram and eighth grade students are able Advent and Lent retreats, Focus 11 and to take and receive high school credit for Catholic Schools Week. “St. Stephen is Algebra 1 and Physical Science. The perfect for those seeking a school where school’s Resource Department has three they can feel part of a family,” said Umoh, instructors who meet the needs to stuwho added that this is a very exciting time dents on support plans and students who for them with the addition of the Family excel and need enrichment. Extra-curricLife Center and the much anticipated ular activities include show choir, drama opening of a new church this summer. To club, chess club, Little Flowers, 4-H, sign up for the open house or information Student Council and National Junior about the school, which is located at Honors Society. “The greatest compli10424 St. Stephen Cr. in Riverview, call ments we receive are from area high 741-9203 or visit www.sscsfl.org.
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Volume 16, Issue 1
Raizing Cain Helps Relay Team Raise Randall Students Promote Good Deeds Funds With Taste Of Hope Performance During MLK Day Of Service By Tamas Mondovics
Randall are invited to let Middle School stuour middle school dents are set to students show take part in what is them how to use promising to be them,” Verdi said. one of the busiest The second is and most attended a Heart Health events in school Awareness Fair, history. which will allow The annual, sixth grade P.E. Martin Luther King, students to share Jr., Day of Service, the Hands On which allows stuRandall Middle School students help remove CPR method and invasive plant species at Alafia State Park valuable information dents to be during the 2014 MLK Service Day. Randall involved in a wide about heart health students are once again preparing to get variety of commuinvolved with a verity of projects scheduled to community resifor the annual event. nity service projdents. ects, is now scheduled for Friday, The community is invited to particiJanuary 13. pate in both events, scheduled to be held “The goal is to have every student at Randall Middle School from 9:30-11:30 engaged in some type of community a.m. service or service-learning,” said Randall During the Bevis Book Buddies – Middle School, Service Learning U.S. History event, Randall students will Coordinator and Social Studies Teacher, read to first grade students at Bevis Kristy Verdi. Elementary and work with them to create Verdi explained that many teachers and write a children’s book about the have projects planned that relate to the Industrial Revolution. benchmarks they are currently teaching, Other events include: Best Buddies while others will have students engaged Training with B.T. Washington in school-wide projects or will continue Elementary, Clair Mel School Supply with regular instruction. Initiative, Randall Campus Beautification The day will include two special proj- and Cards for Military, Elderly, and ects at Randall. The first, Technology for Children in local hospitals the Young-at-Heart, will utilize the Parent volunteers may be needed to school’s Future Business Leaders of assist as chaperons on some field trips America (FBLA) members, who will be and on campus. Those interested and offering a technology support session for available on that date are asked to conlocal senior citizens. tact Kristy Verdi at “Local adults who struggle with cell firstname.lastname@example.org for further phone, iPad, Laptop, or other devices instruction.
By Kate Quesada
A walking FishHawk around a cancer surtrack or desvivor who ignated path, teaches at is a very perBevis sonal event Elementary for Waluzak, School, has who was created a diagnosed great way for with Stage the commu3C Colon nity to have A wine and beer tasting fundraiser, Taste of Hope, will be Cancer in held at the Palmetto Club in FishHawk Ranch from 7-10 2013. fun while p.m. on January 19. raising “After money for an important cause. The months of chemo, months of radiation Taste of Hope event, taking place from plus chemo, and a massive colon 7-10 p.m. on January 19 at the Palmetto resection surgery, when I was about to Club in FishHawk Ranch, will offer wine endure several more months of chemo, and beer tasting and appetizers with all the 2014 Relay event took place. With profits going to the American Cancer my husband, sister, niece and many Society’s Relay for Life event. loving people by my side, I made it up According to Bevis first grade to the stage to be recognized as a surteacher Jackelyn Waluzak, the co-lead vivor,” said Waluzak. “I Relay to fundraising chair for the event commitremember those we have lost to the tee, beer will be provided by Three battle, to motivate those still fighting, Daughter’s Brewery and wine from and to inspire everyone to get involved Total Wine. “I am planning to do 10 difand support the cause.” ferent kinds from reds, whites, sparkling This year FishHawk Relay for Life and dessert wines. For food, I’m planwill take place at Newsome High ning to do a cheese and charcuterie School taking place on Saturday, April station and gourmet snacks,” said 8. To sign up to join the team or to Waluzak, who has taught in FishHawk donate, visit for 11 years, seven at FishHawk Creek http://main.acsevents.org/goto/bevis. Elementary and four at Bevis Tickets for the event can be bought Elementary. online for $35 each at www.tasteThe event will also feature music ofhope-relayforlife.eventbrite.com. Call from Raizing Kane, a popular local Waluzak at (269) 599-2700 for more cover band that plays a wide variety of information. The Palmetto Club at music. Relay for Life, a team fundraisFishHawk Ranch is located at 17004 ing event where members take turns Dorman Rd. in Lithia.
Local Art Teacher Inspires And Encourages Students To Create Art In And Out Of School
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A love of art art that she and the desire to encourages her teach students is students to get what drives involved in comShelly Valdez, an munity events. art teacher at She recently had Lithia Springs two students who Elementary were selected for School in Valrico. the Inaugural Valdez teaches Holiday Card Art art to students in Exhibit sponfirst through fifth sored by the grades. She sees Tampa Bay the students for Buccaneers and 30 minute classheld at One Buc es twice a week. Place in Tampa Valdez said, on November 8. "Providing stuLithia Springs is dents with an art a Bucs Academy education is School. invaluable. I have Students several students were asked to tell me each day create a card Lithia Springs Elementary School art that they could that incorporated teacher, Shelly Valdez, was proud of her not wait to come the Bucs logo with a two students, Madeline Kapsick and to art. This helps Kendra Smith, fourth grade students, for holiday theme. The being selected as two of the 10 finalists in winner's creation with attendance the Inaugural Holiday Card Art Exhibit and liking school sponsored by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. was used as the in general. Art cover for the Bucs' also builds self-esteem when they official Christmas card. create something they love," Valdez Valdez said, "While we were not added, "Art also develops higher the final design, we were extremely order thinking when students are proud of Madeline Kapsick and young. Kendra Smith, both fourth grade stuIt also helps teach them to think dents, who were two of the 10 districtoutside the box. In their art projects, wide finalists." they are required to come up with a In addition, Valdez works with variety of solutions and to look at Center Place of Brandon who prothings from a variety of angles." vides scholarships for students to Valdez so believes in the value of take a free art class for one month.
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Volume 16, Issue 1
New Tin Roof Trading Company In Lithia Offers “Rustic Glam” Home Decor
By Nick Nahas
Everybody Perkins. Perkins dreams of making a owns a company living by doing called Pish Posh something they Boutique that offers love. Shaunessy custom painted furniDobish is realizing ture pieces, located that dream, recently behind Shaunessy’s opening her second Decor and More. area home decor Together, in the new business. Dobish store, they incorpoand business partrate both of their ner Veronica designing styles of Perkins held the using vintage, glitzy, grand opening of as well as modern the Tin Roof schemes. Customers Trading Company can view a room put on December 3. together with differTin Roof Trading Co. opened in Lithia on ent items. This allows “As a kid, I always December 3. loved decorating customers to pick a my room and helping my mom decorate single item that they like, or even a whole the house,” she said “This interest has led designed room. There will also be a prome to become an interior decorator.” fessional decorator on hand that can give Dobish, a Valrico native, also owns a customer advice on what to purchase. Shaunessy’s Decor and More, located on This offers a little more variety than Lithia Pinecrest Rd. near Erindale. Dobish Shaunessy’s Decor and More. has been an interior decorator for 15 The Tin Roof Trading Company years now. She attended Bloomingdale will also offer painting classes. The High school the first year that it opened, store has a DIY room where a variety and her kids have graduated from the of different skills will be taught, includsame school. Her business is primarily ing classes in chalk painting, cabinet based on referrals. Her store carries painting, decorating and candle pouritems that she uses to decorate with. She ing. The store will also be opening a started doing jobs for free to get her coffee shop and a bakery, as well as a name out there. “It just kind of spread like candle bar where customers can make wildfire,” she said. “Everybody would tell custom candles. They will also offer their friends and their friends would tell their own line of candles with original their friends. I’ve never had to advertise.” scents. The Tin Roof Trading Company is a For information, visit www.tin6,000 sq. ft. property located on 10530 roof39.com or their Facebook page CR 35 in Lithia run by Shaunessy and called Tin Roof Trading Company.
Get Fit Anytime At Anytime Fitness By Michelle Caceres
After Ronald give me a great and Monica workout,” she Rigaud retired last said. “There is year from impresan added benesive Army service fit that since it careers, they never closes I began looking for can work out a place to call anytime I want.” home and civilian Open 24 employment. The hours a day and place to call home 365 days a was simple: they year, Anytime moved their family Army Veterans and FishHawk residents Monica Fitness gyms and Ronald Rigaud chose Park Square to open are “always from North their new Anytime Fitness location open 24 hours. open” and Carolina to through its reciprocity program one memFishHawk Ranch. The second career bership allows access to the more than was a little more challenging. 4,000 gyms worldwide. “Our original plan was for us both to Members receive a free fitness confind civilian jobs at MacDill but the options sult with a personal trainer, who will talk I was considering all had deployment about goals and set up a personalized requirements,” said Ronald. “I had 30-day workout plan. Gym amenities already spent so much time away from include free weights, strength training and my family while in the service and I didn’t cardio machines, functional training, want to miss any more of my kids’ mileSilver Sneakers, personal training, corpostones.” rate programs and group classes. The That decision led to “Plan B”. After gym is also under video surveillance and talking to a headhunter specializing in panic buttons are located throughout. entrepreneurship, they decided to purAnytime Fitness’ staffed hours are chase an Anytime Fitness franchise. He Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., opened the gym in Park Square in Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 August. a.m. – 2 p.m. The Rigauds also offer a “It seemed like such a great fit for us “heroes rate”, a discount for military, vetbecause fitness has always been an erans and their immediate families, first important part of life,” said Ronald. “And responders and their immediate families you can’t drive a couple blocks in FishHawk without seeing residents partic- and teachers. “I want people to come in here and ipating in some form of fitness activity.” get healthy,” said Ronald. “Fitness isn’t a FishHawk resident Shirley Ann King fad; it should be a way of life.” has been a member of Anytime Fitness For more information visit www.anysince it opened. “The gym is always clean timefitnesslithia.com or call 438-8474. and classes, especially spin, are fun and
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Ending Courtesy Busing...Continued From Page 1 By Kate Quesada
Golf Cart Parade, Chili Cook-Off & More River Hills Celebrates with Golf Cart Parade
The Homeowners’ Association (HOA) at River Hills in Valrico kicked off the holiday season in a colorful and fun way last month with a Christmas Golf Cart Parade. Residents dressed their golf carts up with lights and decorations and drove through the neighborhood passing out candy and small toys to the crowd. According to Libby Trautman, who is both director and secretary of the HOA board, the parade is the brain child of social committee chair Wendy Cook and the 2016 event was the largest in the eight years since its inception, with 40 carts decked out. “This event kicks off the season and gets everyone in the holiday spirit,” said Trautman. River Hills is a gated community off Lithia Pinecrest Rd. with 1,162 homes. For information, contact the River Hills HOA at 662-0837.
Cruise into the FishHawk Market
This month’s FishHawk Market is taking place on Sunday, January 8 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Park Square. In addition to the variety of vendors with popular items such as fresh vegetables, fruits, domestic and imported cheeses, breads, baked goods, jams, jellies, herbs, honey, jewelry, home decor and more, there will also be a car show in the Park Square over flow
parking area. If you are interested in registering a car, please sign up at the Osprey Club which is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday Noon-5 p.m. All makes and models are invited to participate and awards for “Best of Show” will be presented. The preregistration cost is $5 per vehicle or $10 the day of the show (cash or check only). This is a free event for spectators which will include music by DJ Joe Ferranta and a 50/50 raffle. Proceeds will benefit the Florida Gulf Coast Paralyzed Veterans of America. Contact the Resident Services at 657-6629. The Car Show will take place from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Registration Open for FishHawk Ranch Chili Cook-Off
Who doesn’t love garden-fresh, homemade, mouth-watering chili? Whether you love to cook it or love to eat it, there are two ways to play at the 11th Annual FishHawk Ranch Chili Cook-Off taking place Saturday, February 25 from 12-2 p.m. There is no fee to enter chili which will be tasted by fans from throughout the community. Three prizes will be awarded in each of the two categories. For a $5 fee, residents receive a spoon, tasting cup and one vote to determine the chili champs. Contact Susan Parvin at 657-6629 or email email@example.com.
ers, thus the term courtesy busing. “Whether or not a student’s walk to school is hazardous is determined by state criteria such as traffic count, speed limits, traffic path, and whether or not traffic signals are controllable,” Arja said. The district currently has more than 4,000 elementary and 7,500 middle and high school students living within two miles of a school. Arja said that buses were awarded based on temporary hazards, such as construction zones, but were not removed once the hazard was corrected. “For years students who no longer met the state’s hazardous criteria, continued to be bussed, costing the district millions of dollars that could be used in the classrooms,” she said, adding that the phasing out courtesy busing was recommended by the Gibson Consulting Group, as a means to reduce spending. It took nearly five months for school officials to determine that of the 7,495 students within the District’s 8 areas only 803 meet the state criteria. Similar to most communities, none of the 1,000 FishHawk Ranch area students attending Newsome High, Randall and Barrington Middle schools who receive courtesy busing met the state hazardous criteria, school officials said. “Our streets are already gridlocked
By Tamas Mondovics
with school traffic,” Hayes said adding, “I can’t imagine what it will look like next year with carlines, students hauling heavy backpacks walking in the heat and afternoon thunderstorms!” That is just what the “FishHawk Safe Bus for US!!! Advocacy for Safe School Bus Transportation Group” on Facebook planned to find out by means of a ‘Safe Bus for Us Drive In,’ scheduled for Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Parents were asked to drive their student(s) to school to demonstrate the impact to roads and traffic among other things, losing the buses would cause. School Board member, Melissa Snively, the only vote against the Board’s decision agreed when she reportedly said that the savings of several million dollars are not worth the safety risk and disruption, a notion that was obviously rejected. Parents who feel that the walking path for their students is unsafe may fill out a review request form, which was included in their packet and can also be found on the District’s website. The district will also conduct community meetings in the coming months to advise families on alternate ways to get their children to school, including carpools, organized walking groups and public transportation. For more information, please visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.
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Volume 16, Issue 1
Local Musicians Bring Bluegrass Music To New Hope United Methodist Church The ever popular January concerts involving world Walker Brothers, homeclass entertainers." Walker added, town Blues musician sen"Likewise, this year's duo are very sations, will appear at well known in the bluegrass and old New Hope United time music world." Methodist Church (formerly First United Methodist) on Sunday, January 8. The three Walker Brothers Cory, Jarrod and Tyler will appear with Mike Compton and Joe Newberry at 6 p.m. The concert will consist of the Walker Brothers as a trio playing intricate slightly The very accomplished Walker Brothers ( L to R Jarrod, Cory progressive bluegrass and Tyler) will return home and perform with Mike Compton (Left) and acoustic music. Then, and Joe Newberry (Right) on January 8 at New Hope United Compton and Newberry Methodist Church (formerly First United Methodist) in Brandon. will play a style of old graduated from Middle Tennessee State. country mountain music that was remiTyler is a junior at Florida State. The niscent of the early 1900's. They will end brothers have played many venues by playing as a more traditional five Many will know Mike Compton's including the Grand Ole Opry and in varpiece bluegrass band. work from playing mandolin for the ious countries around the world. Cory (banjo), Jarrod (mandolin) and soundtrack for the movie O Brother While traveling, the brothers have Art Thou? Joe Newberry is a Tyler (guitar) have been playing since Where made and become friends with many huge name on the old time claw hamthey were seven years old. The boys high profile musicians. According to mer banjo world as well as having made grew up locally attending Pinecrest David Walker, the father of the Walker a big mark as a song writer. Elementary, Turkey Creek Middle School Brothers, "This has led in the past to According to Walker, "The boys and Durant High School. Cory and Jarod
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grew up in the church. In fact, I have been a member since my parents Marlin and Dixie moved to Brandon in 1965. Our pastor, Jaimie Westlake and Music Minister, Jeff Brant, have been very gracious in letting us have this show here. They really appreciate the outreach it gives the church to people who are not members of New Hope or any church." This is a great concert for the whole family. There is no cost to see the show. A love offering is requested to pay the band. New Hope United Methodist Church is located at 120 N. Knights Ave. in Brandon. For more information, please call 684-4161.
Water Smart Tots Will Benefit From MOMS Club Comedy Night When the MOMS Club of FishHawk heard about the organization Water Smart Tots, and its mission to eliminate pediatric drowning in Hillsborough Last year’s MOMS Club fundraiser was a success. County, they This year a Comedy Night unanimously starring sought after wanted to help. entertainer Scott Novotny will be held on February 3 The at the Palmetto Club in MOMS Club of Lithia. LithiaBevis/Starling will host a FishHawk Comedy Night to raise funds for Water Smart Tots. The President of the MOM’s Club Michelle Morgan said, “Choosing a charity for our fundraiser is always a hard decision. There are so many deserving charities in our community to pick from. Because we are moms, we always have a special interest in helping children and children's charities.” The event will take place on Friday, February 3, from 6:30-10 p.m. at the Palmetto Club, located at 17004 Dorman Rd. in Lithia. This year Fishhawk Comedy Night will feature comedian Scott Novotny, who has been in the comedy “business” for over 20 years. He is quickly becoming the most sought-after entertainer. He has the ability to play to a wide range of audience members while keeping the performance professional and appropriate.
A versatile performer, Novotny headlines comedy clubs throughout the United States, has acted in numerous stage productions, worked at the Brave New Workshop as an improvisational actor/writer, owned and operated The Comedy CabaretMN’s first fulltime comedy theatre, and has written for Saturday Night Live and the comic strip, Strange Brew. This outrageous performer has had numerous television appearances including A&E’s Comedy on the Road, MTV’s Half Hour Comedy Hour, and ABC’s America’s Funniest People. Tickets will cost $45 per person. A table for eight can be reserved for $320. Tickets include dinner, dessert, and the show. There also will be a cash bar and raffles for gift baskets all donated by local businesses and sponsors. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Businesses can also purchase advertisement in the event program. To make a donation or to purchase tickets for the event visit https://comedynightmomsclub.wordpress.com/ or contact email@example.com. For more information on Water Smart Tots, visit www.watersmarttots.org/.
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Volume 16, Issue 1
County Service Offers Helpful Hints To Avoid Getting Cars Towed To Impound
If you think you’ve ber to grab the been wrongfully towed in receipt. Hillsborough County, the If you parked Public Transportation in a lot with an Commission (PTC) honor box, make is here to help. The PTC sure you videotape regulates for-hire transor take a photo of yourself paying, so portation, which includes you have proof. towing companies, and Don’t block often assists drivers in anyone’s driveway Hillsborough County or business by investigating tow entrance when complaints. parking. Brett Saunders, The PTC also Chief Inspector with the offers tips to help Hillsborough County you if your car Public Transportation has been towed: Commission said, “We If you suspect often have local citizens The Public Transportation Commission that the tow report to us that their can help you if you feel that your car was not lawful, call car has been towed and has been unlawfully towed in Hillsborough County. the PTC to report it they either don’t know before you get your car back. why, or they feel the tow truck company Take pictures of the area around is charging them too much. Once your car. Take notice of any signs indicatwe receive a towing complaint, we ing that your car was illegally parked. will investigate it within 48 hours. This involves us contacting the tow truck com- If signs were not posted at every entrance, it was not a valid tow. All pany and reviewing their documentation signs should list the tow company with a for the tow to help us resolve the comcontact phone number. plaint.” Tow truck drivers are required In some instances, the PTC has to have proof of the violation. If the driver been able to get full or partial refunds for did not take pictures of your violation, you drivers. So far this year, the PTC has may be entitled to a partial or full refund. helped over 70 percent of citizens who Be sure to pick up your sought their help with getting a refund. vehicle between 8 a.m. and 6 To avoid getting towed, the PTC p.m. Monday through Saturday. offers this advice: Don’t park in a business’ lot if you are Otherwise, you will be charged a gate fee of $50 before obtaining your car. not patronizing that business. Visit hillsboroughcountyptc.com. If you parked in a staffed lot, remem-
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Haskins Celebrates Move To Valrico Edward Jones Melissa Haskins has a strong investment in the Valrico area. Haskins was born and raised in the area, and she now lives here with her husband, Paul, and her three children, Madison, Christian and Taylor. She attended Brandon High School, and later went on to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Tampa and a master’s degree in business. She is now a financial advisor for Edward Jones in Valrico. With Haskins’ strong ties to the area, she wants to give back to the community in which she grew up. “I like helping people and making sure they reach their financial goals,” she said. Haskins has been a financial advisor for 14 years and has worked for Edward Jones for four years. Haskins not only runs her own office, but she is also in charge of recruiting for other financial advisors as well. As a financial advisor, she helps people budget their finances, as well as invest for their future. According to Haskins, Edward Jones started in 1922, and the company has 13,000 offices in the United States and Canada. They are a full service investment firm, meaning that they offer a variety of services, including selling stocks, bonds and mutual funds. They also do annuities, life insurance and long-term care, among other services.
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based on that individual’s goals and needs,” said Haskins. Located at 1068 Bloomingdale Avenue, the branch has a coffee club that meets every Friday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. to discuss current events, the economy and investing. Haskins is dedicated to helping clients reach their full potential when it comes to their financial goals, whether it be planning for retirement, or saving money for their children to go to college. The office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. For more information you can reach Haskins at 685-5294.
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Newsome JROTC Wolfpack Students Had Busy Fall Schedule Giving Back
By SSG Cyrus Mendez, Battalion S5 NCOIC
Cadets donate 343 Gifts in support of Operation Forgotten Angels Raider Team Defends their Title as District Champions Cadets visit Baldomero-Lopez Monument at Veteran’s Park on Highway 301.
November and December have been busy months for the Newsome JROTC Wolfpack Battalion. Activities ranging from team competitions and a formal inspection to giving back to the community have kept the Cadets actively engaged. With more to come in the New Year the Cadets look forward to their upcoming winter break. The Raider Team successfully defended their title as District Champions and move on to State level competition in January. The Rifle Team placed third at the TriCounty, Multi-Service, Rifle Championships and both the JROTC Leadership & Academic Bowl and Cyber Patriot Teams have advanced to the next round of competition. The Drill and Color Guard Teams eagerly await their turn to compete at their first competition of the season at Brandon High School in January. Select JROTC Cadets participated in the Macy’s Day Parade. Giving back to the community is a huge part of the Newsome JROTC experience. In addition to supporting numerous Veterans’ Day activities and the Randall Middle School Great American Teach-In, the Wolfpack Battalion planned and conducted two Service Learning projects in November. During Operation Patriot, Cadets donated over 3,000 items to the residents of the Baldomero-Lopez
P.O. Box 6099 • Brandon, FL 33508
State Veterans’ Home and several Cadets spent Veterans’ Day with the Veterans. Operation Forgotten Angels was equally as successful as Cadets donated 343 unwrapped Christmas gifts to the FishHawk Ministry of Hope. The gifts were distributed in December to the less fortunate children in the local area. Christmas came early for the Wolfpack Battalion. In early December, the Cadets underwent their Annual Formal Inspection where they received a 98.5% rating maintaining their status as an Honor Unit with Distinction. The inspection included briefings by the Cadets on their Continuous Improvement Plan and Service Learning projects. The 233 person Battalion was standing tall for their in-ranks inspection and Cadets demonstrated their proficiency by conducting a Color Guard and Drill performance as well as answering questions on the curriculum they’ve been taught. The Cadets will be faced with numerous team competitions and will continue planning for their Military Ball in February and Field Day in March. For more information on events within the Wolfpack Battalion, visit www.newsomejrotc.com/ or click on the JROTC link under the Programs tab on the Newsome High School homepage.
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Volume 16, Issue 1
Get Tickets Early As Center Place Presents Its 27th Annual Wild Dame Night
By Kathy L. Collins
Ladies, it is ming at Center that time of the Place. Dawn year again when Galia, you get to gather Executive your friends and Director of get ready for a wild Center Place night at Center said, “Wild Place's 27th Dame Night Annual Wild Dame helps with our Night. This fun and Children's thefabulous event will ater programCenter Place will host its 27th Annual Wild Dame ming. Over take place on Night on Saturday, February 18. This is a fun and 15,000 children Saturday, fabulous night for ladies to get together and supFebruary 26 at port the arts. All proceeds from the event benefit each year from children's programming at Center Place. Center Place public schools, located at 619 Vonderburg Dr. in private schools, daycares and homeBrandon. The fun begins at 6 p.m. with schooling families come and enjoy our social time. live theater at Center Place featuring This ladies only event usually sells Stages Productions, Inc., Katie Adams out fast, so get your tickets now. Tickets Make Believe Theater and ArtsPower go on sale on Friday, January 6 at 10 each year. This may be the only theater a.m. Tickets are just $60 per person or experience that some of these children you can be a true supporter of the arts, ever get to experience.” and sponsor a table for just $800. Please Galia added, “It is important to Center note that there are a limited number of Place to continue to offer our quality protickets. gramming. The arts do make a differThis year’s theme is Biker Babes ence.” Rally Around America. Stages Center Place, a registered non-profit, Productions, who has performed at was established in 1976. Its members are Center Place's Wild Dame Night for over dedicated to the promotion of the fine arts 20 years, will present Let Freedom Sing. and civic involvement. Center Place offers You will not want to miss this special cultural enrichment through a variety of presentation. programs including monthly exhibitions of In addition to social time and a spefine, original art; art education for both cial presentation by Stages Productions, children and adults; and the performing ladies will enjoy wine, a sit down catered arts. dinner and decadent desserts which has For information on the 27th Annual become a tradition of Center Place’s Wild Wild Dame Night and other upcoming Dame Night. All proceeds from this very events, visit www.centerplacebrandon.org special event benefit children’s programor call 685-8888.
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Community Rallies Around FishHawk Mom Looking To Bring Home Baby Zeke
By Kate Quesada
When moved how the comFishHawk resident munity cares for a litRebecca Long tle boy half way received a photoacross the world.” graph of Zeke, a Local businessbaby living in China es including Agape with albanism, she Chic, Backyard fell in love and is Birds, Mobile Frenzy now working hard Detail, Davenport to raise enough Daily Delights, funds to bring him Bridge Boutique and to Lithia. In Wood Crafts and December, through More and author Kim personal donations Clark all donated to and an online aucthe on-line auction. tion, the community Long has also donated more than Rebecca Long, a FishHawk resident and received support from mother of six, is raising funds to adopt $4,000 to help local businesses like baby Zeke from China. Long reach her Mike Brand of Vortex $17,000 goal, but she still needs help. Security, Debra Caputo, who has offered A single mom with six children, some a donation of her Arbonne sales and Bob biological and some also adopted, Long and Madonna Abruzzese who donated thought that her family was complete until $100. her agency sent her information about “It's important to note that I live debt Zeke, who is living near Inner Mongolia in free and even volunteer-facilitate budgetthe Hebei province. ing classes at FishHawk Fellowship “He has albinism which means he Church,” said Long. “I’ve saved, budgetlacks pigment in his skin and people with ed, sold things and sacrificed to get this albinism often have poor vision too. He far in the adoption process. However also has anemia most likely from poor adoption is very expensive. Most dual nutrition,” said Long. “In China, people income families also fundraise. My career who are born different are considered to is flexible and I have the means and bring a curse to the family and they are more importantly love to care for baby ostracized by the society. His life there Zeke.” would be very difficult.” A painting event is in the planning “I am so grateful for all the love and stages at FishHawk Fellowship this support I have received regarding bringmonth. Contact Long at rebeccabauering Zeke home,” said Long. “It started firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on with my softball team asking for donations the event. Visit and has grown from there. I am so www.AdoptTogether.org/thelongfam.
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Volume 16, Issue 1
Brandon Native Serves Aboard U.S.Navy Submarine Tender In Guam
By Petty Officer 1st Class James H. Green
A 1996 continue to exceed all Bloomingdale Senior expectations while supHigh School graduate porting submarines and and Brandon native is surface ships in the 5th serving in the U.S. Navy and 7th Fleet area of as part of an integrated operations,” said Capt. crew of sailors and civilMark Prokopius, comian mariners working manding officer of USS aboard the expediEmory S. Land. “Their tionary submarine tenhard work and profesder, USS Emory S. sionalism makes me Land. proud of each and Petty Officer 1st every one of them.” Class Dennis Cope Sailors aboard subserves in Guam as part marine tenders support of the forward deployed Petty Officer 1st Class Dennis deployed subs as well naval force in the as combatant ships. Cope, a Bloomingdale High School Graduate, is currently Pacific. "These sailors conserving aboard the USS Emory He is in charge of to impress me tinue S. Land in Guam. all electrical planning for with the level of effort submarine repairs aboard the ship. and expertise they put into successfully “Guam sailors are located at our completing their mission day-in and nation’s most strategically important for- day-out," Rear Adm. Frederick Roegge, ward-deployed submarine base, and Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. the missions they conduct at the tip of Pacific Fleet, said. "Their actions and the spear are incredible,” said Capt. dedication to service enables the David Schappert, Commander, Submarine Force to excel in the underSubmarine Squadron 15. “They are sea domain." constantly challenged and continually “For me the best thing about servrise to meet and exceed expectations. ing on this boat is its location,” said Guam is the place to be for subCope. “Guam is a great place to be stamariners, and we have the ‘Go Guam!’ tioned and I like the opportunity to initiative to showcase all the great experience the different culture.” things we do out here.” The integrated crew of sailors and With a crew of 41 officers and 650 civilian mariners build a strong fellowenlisted, submarine tenders are 649 ft. ship while working alongside each long and weigh approximately 23,347 other, Cope explained. tons. A steam-powered propulsion sys“Serving in the Navy has allowed tem helps push submarine tenders me to be part of moving America forthrough the water at nearly 21 mph. ward in the world and I am proud of “The sailors aboard Emory S. Land that,” Cope added.
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Chick-fil-A Christmas Coffee At Brandon Town Center Welcomes New Owners
By Tatiana Ortiz
The sound of munity.” the well-known Dawn Redmon Christmas tune from the Chick-fil-A Jingle Bells, rang in Creekwood throughout the Bradenton, will be food court at the new owner and Westfield Brandon franchised restaurant operator at the Mall on November Westfield Brandon 30. Liz Stewart led Mall location. Her the Riverview High husband Scott School Show Choir Redmon will also as they performed come on board as their rendition of the song. Various New owner of the Chick-fil-A Brandon Town the restaurant Center (left) stands with Tammy and Paul marketing director chamber members Holmberg (right), who will be operating the and work with attended to celenew Chick-fil-A on Bloomingdale Avenue. community events. brate Paul and Dawn began her journey several years Tammy’s Annual Chick-fil-A Christmas ago with Chick-fil-A in a red shirt and Coffee. Attendees had the opportunity to consume breakfast, which Chick-fil-A knew the opportunity seemed too great to pass up. She worked alongside served. Franchised Restaurant Operator Paul Holmberg and Tammy Johnathan Ith from the Creekwood Holmberg own the Chick-fil-A at location. Dawn mentioned that she Westfield Brandon Mall and the Lake feels humbled and honored to be choBrandon Village Causeway location as sen as a Chick-fil-A owner. the franchised restaurant operators. The city of Brandon feels like home This will be the last year that the to Dawn because she grew up in the Holmbergs will honor their Chick-fil-A area. She also looks forward to learnChristmas Coffee event at Westfield ing and growing with the people in the Brandon Mall. The Holmbergs will be community. transferring to Chick-fil-A South “I would love for people to come by Brandon at 2010 Bloomingdale Ave., and say hello,” Dawn said. which will open in January 2017. For more information about Chick“For the past 15 years, we hosted fil-A Westfield Brandon, visit this event at the Causeway location http://www.cfarestaurant.com/westfieldand then the past three years at brandon/home. It is located at 519 Westfield Brandon Mall,” Tammy Brandon Town Center Mall in Brandon. Holmberg said. “Christmas is our Hours of operation are Monday through favorite time of year and we love to Saturday 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. Call 654-6769. share that with our friends in the com-
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WITH FLORIDA YARD EXPERT Lynn Barber, Hillsborough County Extension Mistletoe, A Traditional Holiday Decoration Mistletoe is a traditional holiday decoration. The American or oak mistletoe (Phorandendron serotinum) only grows in deciduous trees, which shed their leaves annually. In Florida, mistletoe is most commonly found in laurel oaks, but it can also be found in elms, hackberries, sycamores and wild cherry trees. Mistletoe may be lovely to look at, but beware of it on several levels. It is a parasite that can harm or destroy the tree it infests. By removing mistletoe, you can help the tree, but removal isn’t necessarily a simple task. You can remove the branch that is infested by cutting it a minimum of 6-12 inches below the location where the mistletoe is attached to the branch. Sometimes, the cure is worse than the issue, however, and the cure could damage the structure of the tree. If you decide to remove the mistletoe, you will need a pruning pole along with head, eye and hand protection. A better option may be to hire a professional to do the job. Another option is to use a growth regulation chemical when the tree is dormant, generally from December to early February. If applied at times other than these months, the growth hormone will
damage the tree. The chemical, Ethephon, must be applied by a licensed pest control operator. It is important to keep mistletoe out of the reach of children and pets. The U.S. poison control center received 1,754 cases of accidental poisoning between 1985 and 1994 that involved pets, children and mistletoe. You may want to consider purchasing plastic mistletoe from craft stores or on-line versus using the plant itself. At Extension, we prefer using plastic mistletoe, if at all, because it does not have potential health hazards of the live plant, lasts longer and requires no refrigeration or water. If you decorate with live mistletoe, don’t hang it above heaters, fireplaces, stoves or things that produce heat. The heat will dry out the mistletoe and can create a fire hazard. Wear gloves when handling mistletoe. If you don’t, be sure you thoroughly wash your hands with hot, soapy water after touching this plant. For more information, visit http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/hot_topics/lawn_an d_garden/mistletoe.html and http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/giam/potpourri/holiday/mistletoe.html. For assistance with horticultural questions, call 744-5519 or visit the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, 5339 CR 579 in Seffner.
Volume 16, Issue 1
Cowan’s Family Applebutter Tradition
By Trisha Becker
The pots, casseroles, applebutter desserts and more tradition has food for lunch. We been in the gather in the Cowan family kitchen, preparing for many genfor the applebutter, erations, the laughing, talking, special day eating, taking care of kids and chasing always falls puppies. on the At 3 Saturday after p.m., eight Thanksgiving hours from in Missouri. the start, Before the actual day, Emmett the appleand Darlene Becker gather eight butter is bushels of apples (about 40 lbs. ready, and each). This year Jonathan apples an assemwere used, 52 lbs. of sugar and bly line is about 65 cinnamon sticks cut into formed. It thirds. is scooped The apples are cooked until out of the they’re soft and then put through a kettle, and strainer. The strainer separates the The Cowan family celebrates poured apple from the rest that is discarded. Apple Butter Day by all participatThis will make an applesauce consis- ing in the preparation and then into quart enjoying the ‘fruits’ of their labor. or pint jars. tence, which is frozen until a few The lids are ready, sitting in hot water, nights before the actual day. The 125-year-old, 30 lb. copper ket- with magnets the lids are lifted and tle sits in the garage waiting on a burner, placed on top of the jar, then fastened with a ring. When it all cools down, the and it all gets started at 7 a.m. The men lid will pop sealing the applebutter. show up with donuts and begin stirring. The biscuits come out of the oven They stir in 10 minute increments, and the applebutter is placed on top. except for Uncle Cal, who can never The warm sweet apple cinnamon flavor remember when he stirred last, so they seem to add him into the mix every third spreads through your mouth, and you realize that it doesn’t get any better. time. The sugar is added throughout the I think it was all summed up when stirring, especially if it starts bubbling, Emmett and Darlene’s seven-year-old then you add it right away to cool it great grandson, Nickolos, was asked in down, the cinnamon sticks are added in school what his favorite holiday was, the last hour. and he replied “APPLEBUTTER DAY!” The women arrive later with crock-
Brandon Rotary Builds Event Center On S. Kings Ave. To Continue Support
By Libby Hopkins
Rotary Club is “We believe the a group of comcenter will build better relationships munity leaders within the club that come together through our social to exchange ideas and put them into events and that it action to make a will be beneficial in the community lasting difference learning about in the Brandon rotary and what our community and club does in the beyond. They community,” have served the McGuire said. “The Brandon commuBrandon Rotary has been a part of the com- center will be a nity for over 54 munity for more than 54 years, and hosts the years and have 41-year-old event, Wild Game Night raising spotlight on rotary within Tampa Bay raised more than money for many local Brandon charities. area as a place $1.6 million in where the local rotary clubs can come charity support, have done countless together.” service projects impacting individuals, The rotary has also been hosting companies and organizations all while creating a positive change in the commu- their Wild Game Night for more than 41 years. “Wild Game Night takes place nity. The rotary is currently working on building a rotary event center. “The rotary at Lupton’s Boggy Bottom Ranch,” McGuire said. “All proceeds from Wild event center is going to hopefully open Game Night are donated to local charimid-February and it is located at 3007 S. ties. In past years, the event has raised Kings Avenue in Brandon,” said Chris $40,000 to $60,000 per year for local McGuire, the rotary’s public relations charities.” Wild Game Nig ht will be held director. “The center idea came about because of the headaches the rotary club on Friday, March 3 from 6 to 10 p.m. and dealt with in finding a home to host week- will feature an open bar, wild game dinner with complimentary beverages, door ly meetings that could accommodate 60 prizes and raffle. Regular admission tickpeople per week. The center is going to be used as a permanent home and gath- ets are $100 and $150 for VIP Tickets. Sponsorships are available as well and ering space for the Brandon Rotary Club to host regular weekly meetings and host those levels are the Big Boar for $1200, social gatherings.” The center will also be the Boar Hog $700 and the Wild Turkey $400. To learn more about the Brandon available for the community and commuRotary or to attend Wild Game Night or nity organizations to rent to events. sponsor the event, visit www.brandonroThe Brandon Rotary Club is most tary.org or call McGuire at 468-6889. excited about having a permanent home.
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Melissa L Haskins
Estate Planning Tips for Blended Families
Most of us need to do some type of estate planning, but it’s especially important if you are part of a “blended” family. And the best time to start is now – before these plans need to be implemented. Estate planning can be complex, so you will need help from a qualified legal professional. But here are a few general suggestions that can be suitable for blended families: • Updatebeneficiary designations – and think aboutmultiple beneficiaries. Update the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and insurance policies to reflect the reality of your blended family. These designations can supersede the instructions you provided in your will. So if your will states that your current spouse should inherit your assets, but you had named your former spouse, or a child, as the primary beneficiary of an IRA, then your former spouse or your child – not your present-day spouse – will indeed receive the IRA. To ensure that “everyone gets something,” you could name your current spouse as primary beneficiary and your children from a previous marriage as equal contingent beneficiaries. But the primary beneficiary will receive all the assets and is free to do whatever he or she wants with the money. To enact your wishes, you can name multiple primary beneficiaries and designate the percentage of the asset each beneficiary will receive. • Create a living trust – and consider a professional trustee. A living trust can help you avoid the timeconsuming and costly process of probate, while giving you great freedom to determine how, and when, you want your assets distributed. After you pass away, the trust, if structured properly, can provide your surviving spouse with income for life; then, after your spouse dies, your children from an earlier marriage would receive the remainder of the trust.
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Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors are not estate planners and cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your estate-planning or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.
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This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.
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So far, so good. However, issues can arise if you name your surviving spouse or one of your children as the “successor trustee” who will take charge of the trust upon your passing. Your spouse, acting as successor trustee, could choose to invest only in bonds for income, but if he or she lives another 20 or so years, the value of the investments within the trust will probably have diminished considerably – leaving your children with very little. Conversely, if you name one of your children as trustee, the child could invest strictly in growth-oriented investments, leaving your surviving spouse with greatly reduced income. To be fair to everyone, you may want to engage a professional third-party trustee. This individual, or company, is not a beneficiary of the trust, is not entitled to share in the assets of the trust, and, ideally, should have no “rooting interest” in how proceeds of the trust are distributed. • Consider a prenuptial agreement. When it’s time to settle an estate, a prenuptial agreement can help avoid disputes among members of a blended family. If you and your new spouse have agreed to keep your assets separate so that each of you can pass an inheritance to your own children, you need to spell out that separation in your “prenup,” your will, your living trust and any other relevant estate-planning arrangements. Above all else, share your estate-planning intentions with members of your blended family. You may not be able to satisfy everyone, but through open communications, you can help prevent bad feelings – and unpleasant surprises.
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Patient Creates Sending Smiles Toy Collection
By Kate Quesada
At this time range of possibilities,” of year, many said Alice. “Things residents look like nail polish, crafts for ways to and hair accessories help those less are great, but so are fortunate than soccer balls, puzzles themselves. and coloring books.” Nine-year-old FishHawk resiValrico resident dent Kelly Rowjohn Addison learned about Kapustiak has Addison’s mission to found a way to fill the closet and put smiles on used her popular the faces of Facebook page, some of the Friends of FishHawk area’s sickest to organize more Valrico student Addison Kapustiak started a donations. children by collection for new toys for children receiving starting a toy “Addison is just treatment at All Children’s Hospital. drive and is such a bright light,” asking the community to help. said Rowjohn, who coordinates many Addison, who is in the third grade at volunteer projects and has helped hunLithia Springs Elementary, has a rare dreds of people in need. disease that requires regular blood During the holidays, donations were transfusions at All Children’s Hospital in dropped off at FishHawk Barbershop, St. Petersburg. During one of her visits, Art Monkey and other local businesses she noticed that the prize closet, where from Tampa to Lakeland. Many other patients can go and pick out a toy after community members and groups their treatment, was very low on toys. jumped in to help the cause. Davenport For her next birthday, rather than ask Daily Delights pledged to donate 10 perher friends to bring gifts for her to her cent of its proceeds during the collection party, she suggested they donate an toward purchase of toys and the item to the closet. When she received Newsome High School wrestling team such great support, she decided to made the drive its team project for the make the drive for toys wider and holiday season. Sending Smiles was born. But Addison doesn’t want to stop According to Addison’s mother, collecting after the holidays. Alice, the only stipulation on the toys is “Unfortunately, kids are sick all the that they are new and they appeal to time,” said Alice. Paypal donations can patients from babies to 21 year olds. be sent to “These toys are used as rewards for email@example.com. children to take home, so there is a wide Email Alice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Volume 16, Issue 1
Sixth Annual Newland Communities’ Concerts For A Cause Series Nets Thousands In Donations
By Candace Rotolo
Hundreds of for a Cause and concertgoers grateful to all whom who attended donated,” said Newland Eaton. Communities’ Newsome High sixth annual School Marching Concerts for a Band was a second Cause series recipient of concert and Fall donations. Thanks Festivals featurto concertgoers and ing local and a generous donation regional bands from Newland at FishHawk Communities, the Newland Communities Concerts for a Cause series was successful in helping with the fight Newsome High Ranch and against hunger in our community and in assist- School Marching Waterset, not ing Newsome band’s March to the Macy’s only helped Band received Parade. make a differ$10,000 for its ence in the fight against hunger in our March to Macy’s fund. The band is the community, they also assisted a high first Hillsborough County school to be school marching band in the March to the selected to for the honor. For information Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. on FishHawk Ranch, call 685-7500 or In lieu of admission, concertgoers visit www.fishhawkranch.com. were asked to bring non-perishable food Waterset concertgoers contributed items or monetary donations for the three nearly $900, which was donated to organizations that benefited from the Calvary Lutheran Community Cupboard, events. The FishHawk Ranch community an all-volunteer organization and Feeding selected the Lithia-based Seeds of Hope Tampa Bay affiliate. The donation will purand the Newsome High School Marching chase more than 800 lbs. of food for the as the beneficiaries of donations. Seeds non-profit organization, which feeds 2,000 of Hope, a non-profit organization foundpeople a week, primarily in the Apollo ed by FishHawk Ranch resident Leda Beach and Ruskin community. Eaton, offers a food pantry for the sur“Without communities like Waterset rounding areas and also supplies weekwe could not feed the people that we do,” end backpacks of food for low-income said Jim Wise, the organization’s volunschool children. FishHawk Ranch donatteer operations manager. ed approximately 1,100 lbs. of food, “Time and time again, our residents enabling the organization to distribute 110 show their extraordinary generosity,” said backpacks of food to local schools. Pam Parisi, VP of Marketing for Newland “We are very appreciative of Communities. For information on Newland Communities for selecting Waterset, call 235-0154 or visit Seeds of Hope as a charity for Concerts www.watersetfl.com.
By Tamas Mondovics
County Designates New School Zone For Alafia Elementary Starting the second half of the 20162017 school year, Alafia Elementary School will have a new school zone on Natures Way Blvd. The new signage was scheduled to be installed during the school's winter break. Motorists, parents and students are all urged to be aware, adjust their driving habits and abide by the new posted sigDrivers traveling on Natures Way Blvd. near Alafia Elementary nage during the morn- School will have to adjust their driving habits following the of a new school zone including the installation of appropriate siging and afternoon nage. hours. Florida law says that signs must The Florida Department of be posted around each school zone Transportation reported that in 2015, telling drivers how fast they can go law enforcement officers wrote nearly and when the school zone is in effect. 40,000 tickets in the state to motorists signs feature flashing lights Some caught speeding in a school zone.
rather than a list of times. The posted school zone speed in Florida could be as low as 15 mph, but no higher than 20 mph, as defined in F.S. 334.03. Signs are posted around schools to alert drivers as they enter the zone, and there is a sign to indicate the end of the school zone. Aside from the safety aspect of school zones, breaking the speed limit can also be costly.
For starters, in Hillsborough County, speeding in a school zone can cost drivers $143, but depending on the speed and other violations,
fines can reach as high as $393, such as in the case of driving 15-19 mph over the 20 mph limit. Florida law states that school zone speed limits may be in force only during 30 minutes before, during, and 30 minutes after the periods of time when students are arriving at a regularly scheduled breakfast program or a regularly scheduled school session and leaving a regularly scheduled school session. Of course, the reasons for low speed limits when school children are present are obvious as children are crossing the street on foot and on their bicycles, not to mention the extra heavy traffic of parents picking up their children as well as school buses entering or exiting the school. In school zones, motorists are urged to pay attention and focus on driving while making other activities secondary. For more information and reminders, please visit www.dmvflorida.org.
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Children’s Board Releases Over $10 Million In Grant Funding
By Kathy L. Collins
For non-profit more of the following and governmental areas: Children are organizations legalhealthy and safe; ly operating in Children are developFlorida, who promentally on track; vide quality servicChildren are ready to es for children and learn; and Children families, the are supported and Children's Board of supportive families. Hillsborough Those served would In keeping with its vision that Hillsborough County has County will be recognized as one of the be residents of top five places in the nation to raise announced funding Hillsborough County children, the Children’s Board has of $10,300,000 in and primarily pregreleased over $10 million in funding for grants for the nant women and famgrants. upcoming fiscal year. The funding is split ilies with children up to age eight. between Leading Grants and Uniting Scott said, "This is an opportunity for Grants. the Children's Board and community According to Paula Scott, Director of providers to work together and serve their Public Relations, "A Leading Grant is a respective missions. We encourage applicontract awarded typically to small organi- cants to implement program practices zations that are primarily neighborhood and models that have been proven as and/or faith-based demonstrating innovaeffective in reliably producing the intended tive service delivery models in one strate- results when implemented with fidelity." gic focus area to meet emerging needs or "The Children's Board target underserved populations. The fund- Hillsborough County is a voter ing range is $5,000 to $65,000. A Uniting approved taxing authority that ensures Grant is awarded to an organization that there is a dedicated funding source of primarily demonstrates a neighborhood tax dollars that are invested and spent focus and collaborative approach to serv- wisely in programs that will provide the ice delivery that supports one or more best outcomes for the children and strategic focus areas. The funding families within Hillsborough County," request range is $75,000 to $525,000." said Kelley Parris, Executive Director The deadline for applications is of the Children's Board Hillsborough March 9. Grant applications are posted County. "Voters in Hillsborough County on the Children's Board website at pay a portion of their property taxes to www.childrensboard.org under budgeting the Children's Board to fund the protab and funding opportunities. Funding grams. The top priority is to make sure can potentially be provided for programs children of all ages are healthy, safe that utilize evidence-based, evidenceand prepared to learn," added Parris. informed or promising practices in one or Visit www.childrensboard.org.
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Volume 16, Issue 1
A True Must-See: Shen Yun 2017 Florida Tour Staff Report
Since its “Actually in inception, Shen China today, you Yun, a classical can no longer see Chinese dance performances of company has genuine traditional taken off with, Chinese culture,” literally, flying said principal dancer colors. The and choreographer pageantry of Yungchia Chen, dance and who grew up in music is a stunChina, later moved ning display of to Taiwan. “China Chinese civihas many talented Shen Yun tells the story of ancient China through the pageantry of dance and music. It dancers, but the cholization; with will take place at the Mahaffey Theater in St. reographers aren’t dancers spinPetersburg on January 27 and 28 and again at ning and leapallowed to choreoThe Lakeland Center on February 7 and 8. ing through the graph any traditional air in brilliant handmade costumes that pieces for them to perform. Shen Yun is take your breath away. different.” Shen Yun Performing Arts had humThere are countless stories in the ble beginnings as a small nonprofit 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. Chen organization based in upstate New York. noted, “The challenge is to find stories It was established in 2006 by a group of you can depict on stage. In a play, actors talented ethnic Chinese artists who came can speak, but in dance you have just a together with a shared vision—to revive few minutes to tell a story, and do so with genuine traditional culture and share it clarity in a moving way.” with the world. Shen Yun is home to an impressive Watching Shen Yun gives you the number of artists from around the world. feeling of partaking in something historic, And these artists take Shen Yun’s misin the resurrection of a long lost world. It sion to heart. This can be seen in their is the world of ancient China, the Middle energy and joyful enthusiasm on stage, Kingdom that can no longer be seen as well as their seamless cooperation, even in China today. It is a world where the type that can only arise from a comdivine beings and humans interact, a mon sense of greater purpose. magical world of myth and legend. Shen Yun will perform at St. It is completely independent of the Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theater on Friday regime of the Chinese Communist Party and Saturday, January 27-28; The in Beijing. In fact, even though the comLakeland Center on Tuesday and pany annually performs to sold-out theWednesday, February 7-8; and the aters in New York and around the world, Venice Performing Arts Center Fridaythe company is not allowed to perform in Sunday, February 10-12. Tickets and China. information visit www.shenyun.com/FL.
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Local Bikers Gear Up For Annual Gibtown Bikefest Motorcycle Rally
By Tamas Mondovics
Considered by The IISA many, as one of has been an Florida’s most enterintegral part of taining bikefests, 2017 the Gibsonton Annual Gibtown and Riverview Motorcycle Rally is area for just around the corner. almost 50 years and has Proudly presentbeen the pered by the Fran manent and Haasch Law Group, the family-oriented event is guaranteed to Biker and motorcycle enthusiasts draw a large crowd, enjoy the day during last year’s with plenty of room for annual Gibtown Bikefest at the thousands of bikes. IISA Club Grounds in Riverview. The festivities are winter home to many Carnival Showmen scheduled to kickoff on Friday, January and Circus performers. 13 and run through Sunday, January 15, As the ideal location for the annual at the five-acre International Independent event, the IISA Club grounds have Showmen’s Association IISA Club become a place for those in the outdoor Grounds, 6915 Riverview Dr. in amusement industry to come together, Riverview. share stories of the past seasons as well Also known as the Showman’s as to make arrangements for the next. Bikefest, the free event will feature free One of the IISA’s newest projects parking and free live entertainment with was the completion of the Showmen’s bands to include Greg Billings, Marshall Museum, a large free standing building, Tucker, Black Honkeys, Randy McNeely, Blackwater Jack, Big Engine just to name boasting of historical artifacts, photos, while large advertising banners depict a few. Stunt shows, food and beverage the evolution of the outdoor amusevendors, and merchandise vendors are ment industry. Bikefest visitors are promising to keep all visitors entertained. encouraged to stop by the museum “This is our 12th season in a row, and walk through the history of days and we are expecting up to 30,000 visigone by. tors for the duration of the event, which With a long history under its belt, will officially begins on Friday afternoon at the Showmen’s Bikefest has become a 3 p.m.,” said vendor coordinator Craig major Florida event ensuring organizFletcher. ers’ confidence in its current and conFletcher added that last year the tinued success. For information visit, event saw more than 40 vendors, but www.gibtownmotorcyclerally.com. organizers are expecting more this year.
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Volume 16, Issue 1
Take Flight At iFLY Indoor Skydiving Where The Sky’s The Limit From Ages 3 to 103
By Michelle Colesanti
everyone flew twice and felt the exhilaration of flying and more importantly, a great feeling of accomplishment. Staff cheered and clapped and encouraged each participant as they took their turns. On our second flight, we all experienced the high fly, which takes you about 1520 ft. up with your instructor. This experience offered a different feel to the basic flying package. I felt as if I were floating
The Osprey Observer staff recently spent a morning teambuilding taking flight at iFLY Tampa, the area’s newest venue for indoor skydiving.
The exhilaration of flying is too keen, the pleasure too great, for it to be neglected as a sport. — Orville Wright. Who hasn’t dreamed of being able to fly? While skydiving may be a great option for some, there are many others who would like to experience the feel of flying, but prefer staying closer to the ground. Indoor skydiving simulates freefall in a vertical wind tunnel, which moves air in a vertical column at speeds high enough to keep you safely floating. iFLY Tampa offers this experience for all ages, and most anyone can participate. If you are already an experienced skydiver, this is the place to safely practice and improve your maneuvers. This new Tampa location is the 26th one in the U.S. with over 60 worldwide. “Our mission is to deliver the dream of flight to everybody, whether you’re age three or 103,” said Matt Ryan, iFLY President and COO. Since the new iFLY Tampa recently opened, the Osprey Observer team wanted to put that dream of flight to the test. Eleven staff members visited the new facility for some team building. This was an opportunity to ‘fly’ out of our comfort zone. After checking in, we joined our instructor Ryan Bolohan for a training
class. Bolohan has been working at iFLY for almost two years recently transferring here from the Chicago location. “Instructing is awesome, every day I get to work my dream job. I get to share the passion I have for flying with everyone. I think it is really special to see the look on people’s faces when they experience flight,” he commented. We watched a short video and received information we’d need regarding proper body position. Because it is loud inside the wind tunnel, you also need to rely on hand signals. After completion, we were ready to suit up in our gear, which included a flight suit, goggles and helmet. We were now ready to fly. Everyone had the opportunity to fly for two one minute sequences. Staff members ranged from excited to extremely nervous, but in the end,
• Montessori Certified Teachers • Spanish and French, German with K-3rd • Spotlight Dance with Ms. Susan • Tumblebus • Piano and Harp Lessons • Soccer Shots • Arts and Smarts • Harp Lessons with Ms. Kristen
on air – a little bit like Peter Pan. This can be experienced for an additional fee. Billing Manager Terry Vassalotti approached the tunnel with apprehension. “I was nervous, but I felt completely safe in that environment, which put me at ease.” Our flight instructor had something to do with that. “Ryan was a true pro. He was so patient with us and made sure we were safe and comfortable. High flight was exhilarating, and I can't wait to bring my sons to enjoy the experience of iFLY,” said Multimedia News Editor Cyndi Cisneros.
Happy • Tampa Bay Family Theater • Care-Taking of Farm Animals New • Gardening Year! • Cooking Class • Yoga • Military/First Responders Discount • Sibling Discount
“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.” - Maria Montessori
This is one of the best team building experiences we have experienced as a team. iFLY also offers a Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) Education program using iFLY’s unique vertical wind tunnel facility to make it exciting, relevant, and accessible to all students. The curriculum has been designed by teachers and STEM professionals to support STEM learning in the classroom. How does it compare to an actual sky diving experience? We asked Bolohan that question since he is also a skydive instructor with about 1500 jumps under his belt, and holds two world records. “The iFLY experience is different from a sky dive because of the most obvious reasons. No plane ride and no parachute at the end. But the way the wind on your body feels and the way you control your movements are identical. Freefall is always freefall.” Graphics Manager Denise Graf had the time of her life. “It gave me the opportunity to experience something I would never have enough nerve to do at 13,000 or more feet off the ground." There are many flight packages to choose from. For one person to fly two one minute flights, the cost is $59.95. All packages include training, flight gear, and flight time with an International Bodyflight Association (IBA) certified instructor. Would we do it again? Advertising Rep Trisha Becker said, “This was the most fun I've had in a long time. There isn't another theme park ride that could compare.” Most of the staff agreed that we’d not only do it again, but share the experience with family and friends. iFLY is located at 10654 Palm River Rd. in Tampa. It is open MondayThursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m.-10 p.m. iFLY’s flight packages and prices and to book your flight time at iFLY Tampa, visit https://www.iflyworld.com/tampa/ or call 773-4359.
Volume 16, Issue 1
Volume 16, Issue 1
FEMALE FITNESS.............................PG 27 MANATEE VIEWING........................PG 32 .CHALKLINES...................................PG 33
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...............PG 35 YEAR IN REVIEW......................PGS 36‐48
T. Marie’s Sunday Market To Begin In January
Beginning Sunday, January 15, T. Marie’s will host a Sunday Market, which will be held between T. Marie's Boutique and Walgreens in the tree/shaded area at 3407 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico (at Bloomingdale Ave.) The market will then take place every Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. T. Marie’s is looking T. Marie’s will be hosting Sunday Markets every week beginning January 15. They are New Leaf 4D Ultrasound and Spa is set to open for artisans and vendors to parlooking for artisans and vendors who are interested in participating. in Brandon in January. ticipate. Please call 530-0922 to homebuilder and leading diverCommunities Earns Newland reserve your space today or for more David and Heidi Adams. The busisified developer, and Newland Real Tampa Bay Builders Association information and availability. ness is licensed and insured. Trained Estate Group, LLC. Bexley and Honors Applications are also available in the and certified technician’s offer 24/7 Waterset are two of more than 30 Two Newland Communities store. emergency service. communities the NASH-Newland partReceive Awards of Excellence by For more information, call 888nership owns together in 11 states Tampa Bay Builders Association’s Ribbon Cutting Will Be Held at 466-8055. Visit across the United States. iFLY Tampa to Celebrate Opening (TBBA) at the organization’s annual www.restoration1.com/tampa-bay or Each year, the TBBA Awards of banquet held in November. www.facebook.com/Resto1TB. Join in for a Excellence recognize outstanding Bexley, Newland ribbon cutting celework by members in marketing and Communities’ newest masterStreamsong® Wine Dinner brating the opening promotion, sales, design and individplanned community in Land Experience of iFLY Tampa ual achievement. O’Lakes, was honored with two on Tuesday, On Thursday, awards for Best Overall January 17 19, January Repair Your Marketing Campaign and Online at 11:30 a.m. Streamsong® Home Digital Advertisement, while Refreshments will Resort invites you Damage With Apollo Beach’s Waterset combe served. There to join in for a Restoration munity received a nod for Best will be demonstrapremium wine One Website. tions and more. dinner experience Bexley and Waterset are iFLY Tampa is feature Plum Restoration One offers remediaowned in a joint venture partnership located at 10654 Palm River Rd. in Jack, CADE and Odette Wineries at tion and restoration of residential or between NORTH AMERICA SEKISUI Tampa. For more information, call SottoTerra™. commercial properties for damage HOUSE, LLC (NASH), the U.S. busi773-4359 or visit https://www.iflyThis event includes three of Napa caused by water, fire, smoke or mold. ness unit and full subsidiary of SEKworld.com/tampa/. It is locally owned and operated by Continued on Next Page ISUI HOUSE, LTD., Japan’s largest
Volume 16, Issue 1
tom control. The doctors take the time with their patients to find long term solutions and also determine any and all behaviors patients are performing that negatively affect their health. Current Chiropractic is located at 3432 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico. Call 603-4466 or visit www.currenthealthuc.com.
Business Column Continued.............
By Michelle Colesanti
Valley’s most acclaimed winemakers. Executive Chef Michael Ford and his skilled culinary team have created provocative food pairings highlighting the flavors and aromas of each vineyard. Scot Gaffney, Regional Manager for the wineries will co-host the evening sharing their winemaking philosophy and dedication to handcrafting luxury and ultra-premium wines. The event will begin with a 6:30 p.m. reception followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Please make your reservations early as seating is limited. Call 855242-7583. Steamsong Resort is located at 1000 Streamsongs Dr. in Streamsong. For more information, visit www.streamsongresort.com.
We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym Grand Opening Celebration
Join in for the grand opening celebration of We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym – Tampa on Saturday, January 7 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. We Rock the Spectrum provides sensory-safe play for kids with autism, special needs and neurotypical development. The mission is full inclusion for all children regardless of their abilities. Each gym offers classes, arts and crafts; creative and developmental play area as well as birthday parties. The event is open to all children and their families regardless of developmental level. Admission costs $12 per child with 20 percent of proceeds to benefit the My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation. We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym – Tampa is located at 1076 E. Brandon Blvd., Ste. 102 in Brandon. For more information, call 757-9272081 or visit www.werockthespectrumtampa.com.
Dental Associates at Walden Woods to Give Away Free Smile Makeover
Dr. Ramon Gutierrez, Dr. Helen Hoveida and the team at Dental Associates of Walden Woods, located at 512 E. Alexander St. in Plant City are giving away a free smile makeover to one lucky candidate as
part of My Free Smile. Candidates can apply by going to www.MyFreeSmile.org and submitting their story and a photo of their smile. Applications will be open through January 13. The winner will be announced approximately two weeks after applications have closed. In addition to a complete smile makeover worth up to $10,000, the winner will also receive a clothing makeover from Southside Western and Outdoor Wear and a hair and make-up makeover from Sharon and Please call 752-3030.
New Early Learning School Will Open In FishHawk
The Goddard School, which is scheduled to open in late spring, will be located at 14106 Spector Rd. in Fishhawk. Pre-enrollment events are planned for late February. The preschool will offer a year round, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. children aged six weeks to five years. Its F.L.EX.® Learning Program (Fun Learning Experience) is grounded in research on how children learn best: children experience the deepest, most genuine learning when they are having fun. It is designed to provide a wellrounded experience and ensure that each child becomes confident, joyful and fully prepared for success in school and in life. Please visit GoddardSchool.com/LithiaFL or call 603-1530 for more information.
Teddy Bear Round-Up 2016
Partners in Allergy & Asthma Care partnered the first time this year with the Tampa Rough Riders. With offices in Valrico and Riverview, the allergy, asthma, and immunology practice was able to collect donations of several teddy bears to be distributed to local children's hospitals and other facilities. The hope is this becomes an annual tradition in the office and they can continue to give back to the community.
Current Chiropractic is celebrating its first year in business.
Current Chiropractic Celebrates One Year
Dr. Annie Apatiga and Dr. Theodore Dragoo are celebrating Current Chiropractic’s one year anniversary. They are humbled by
how quickly the local community welcomed them. “There is no way we would have been able to do it without
Pregnancy 4D Ultrasound and Spa To Open In January
New Leaf 4D and Spa is one stop place for moms and is scheduled to open in January. It is the only provider of High Definition (HD Live) 4D ultrasounds in entire Tampa and Brandon Area, and is also the only Pregnancy Spa in the area. Along with the HD Ultrasounds, a variety of photography packages are available to choose from. All natural, toxic free manicures and pedicures, massages and facials are offered. There is a small group and semi private yoga room for expecting and new mothers. Free support groups for expecting and new mothers will be offered. “We believe this a special time for moms and we are in the business of making them feel pampered and relaxed all while offering the best prenatal imaging in the area”, said owner Tia Yadav. New Leaf 4D and Spa is located at 1107 Professional Park Dr. in Brandon. For more information, call 3158297.
Investors Sought For Blink Fitness Franchise Expansion
New York-based Blink Pictured, from right, Rough Rider Randy Anderson, Alan Halsey MD, office manager Rhonda Halsey, and staff Fitness is planning franchise member Billie Rapczynski. expansion into Florida with so much support from the local chambers, organizations, small businesses and residents.” Dr. Apatiga and Dragoo love serving the community and giving hope to many that have none, and pride themselves on providing a unique and individualized approach to patient care. In order to provide this, the doctors perform one of the most thorough and comprehensive exams possible to help determine the cause of their patients issues instead of just symp-
sights set on targeted communities across Hillsborough and Sarasota Counties, including Tampa, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Brandon, Plant City and more. With nearly 50 corporate locations already open in New York/New Jersey, the fitness chain is aiming to open 15-20 franchise clubs in the area and is currently seeking qualified franchise investors to open one or multiple locations. For more information, visit blinkfranchising.com.
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The Florida Orchestra Draws Top Talent To Tampa BayBy Kelly Smith FishHawk Resident Offers Fitness The Florida Orchestra (TFO) is known for bringing worldrenowned artists to bay area stages. January concerts do just that, as well as feature one of TFO’s Gary Mauer and Elizabeth Southard will be on vocals for own rising the upcoming Bravo stars. Broadway concerts perSaintformed by the Florida Orchestra Friday to Sunday, Saens’ January 13-15. Organ Symphony (Saturday and Sunday, January 7 & 8): Michael Francis and TFO pull out all the stops for Saint-Saens’ Symphony No. 3, “Organ Symphony,” on a program that features Grammy-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich on Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole. Bravo Broadway (Friday-Sunday, January 13-15) It’s the best of Broadway’s big shows, with enduring music from Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Wicked and more. And it’s all brought to you by Broadway stars -- and husband and wife team -- Gary Mauer and Elizabeth Southard on vocals. Another bonus: Tony Award winner Stuart Malina conducts. Brahms, Mozart & Mendelssohn (Saturday and Sunday, January 21-22): Principal Oboe John Upton, who joined TFO in 2015, takes the stage as soloist in Mozart’s lively Oboe Concerto. Also on
the program is Mendelssohn’s jubilant Symphony No. 4, “Italian,” and Brahms’ lovely Variations on a Theme by Haydn, though turns out the original works probably were not by Haydn after all. TFO Principal Guest Conductor Stuart Malina conducts. Part of the Tampa Bay Times Masterworks series. New Series! Woodson Chamber Concerts: January also kicks off TFO’s new series of four Sunday afternoon chamber concerts at the intimate Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg. Principal Oboe John Upton, who joined TFO The first one is in 2015, takes the stage “American as soloist in Mozart’s Inspirations,” lively Oboe Concerto during Brahms, Mozart & featuring Mendelssohn on Dvorak’s Saturday and Sunday, “American” January 21 and 22. String Quartet, at 3 p.m. on January 22. More follow on February 26, March 26 and April 23. Admission is pay what you can at the door. The Florida Orchestra: Masterworks and Pops tickets are $15, $30 and $45 at floridaorchestra.org or 727-892-3337 and 800-662-7286. The orchestra regularly performs at the Straz Center in Tampa, Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.
By Kate Quesada
If you are hopand Total body focus. ing to make fitness a But in the months since priority, starting the business, FemaleF.I.R.S.T., Roland has expanded the owned by FishHawk services offered to include resident Danielle personal and group training, Roland, may be just swimming instruction and what you’re looking nutrition counseling. for. “I’ve worked with miliRoland, a certitary perfied personal trainer sonnel getand corrective exerting ready cise specialist, creatfor their PT ed FemaleF.I.R.S.T. tests, pre Katy trained for eight in March 2015 with months at 2x/week. She and post had suffered the loss of the goal of helping pregnancy a family member the female athletes. clients, previous year and need“I was an athlete ed to add structure to brides to her fitness. Katy growing up and I've be, postcleaned up her diet and worked with athletes followed the program. injury She lost 12lbs and 13 in various settings,” clients inches. said Roland, who needing was previously employed at an orthoperehab, dic group, gyms, schools, universities and endurance physical therapy clinics. “I remember athletes young athletes coming in with torn ACL's. needing proper strength training and so The problem is that they were going to many more,” said Roland, who has a BS practice for their sport but not receiving in Athletic Training and an MA in adequate strength training and injury pre- Counseling and works with clients from vention techniques. They could throw the ages 16 to 65. “I offer clients individualball or return the kick, but they could not ized programming. Every client is unique squat properly or do a push up with corand when working with me, you can be rect form. As a result, I began my busiassured your program will not be boring.” ness to help female athletes overcome Roland is offering a special for new these deficits in their training regimen.” clients with a fitness evaluation, two trainThe F.I.R.S.T. in the business name ing sessions, one nutrition session and a stands for Functional movement patterns, Lipstick and Lunges tank top for $199. Injury prevention strategy, Resistance Visit www.femalefirst1.com or call needed for strengthening, Sport Specific 624-1051.
Volume 16, Issue 1
Senior Activities In Brandon & County Park Passes
January 3 - New - 90-Day Wellness Challenge (call for times and details). January 6 at 12:30 p.m. - Elvis impersonator with Gary & DooWop Girls: Rock the House. January 10 at 10:15 a.m. - The Drawing Point: Painting with a Twist (Preregistration required; materials provided). January 11 at 10 a.m. – Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.: His inspirational life and legacy (refreshments). January 11 at 12 Noon - Senior Connection Center: A Matter of Balance. (Preregistration required, Spanish language, two hours, Series 1 of 8 through March 1). January 12 at 1 p.m. - Pool Tournament: Come test your skills (call for details). January 16 at 1 p.m. - National Soup Month: Soup for the Soul (bring a soup to share). January 20 at 12:30 p.m. - Lunar New Year Festival: Celebrate the New Year with dancing and music. January 25 at 9 a.m. - Gasparilla Pirate Invasion: Party with the Pirates (Preregistration required, dancing). Tuesdays at 10 a.m. - New - Color me calm: Learn popular and therapeutic adult coloring techniques.
Compiled by Michelle Colesanti, email@example.com
County Park Passes Now Available Online
Annual passes to Hillsborough County’s regional parks offer a great way to enjoy hiking, fishing, bird watching, and a host of other outdoor activities. Now, getting a pass has become more convenient than ever. Purchasing an annual pass used to require going to the regional park administrative office and completing the paperwork and payment on site. Outdoor enthusiasts now can skip the trip and buy an annual pass from their computer or mobile device. An annual pass allows free access to the County’s 10 regional parks. The cost is $50 for an individual pass and $100 for families. The permit is issued in the form of a trans-
ferrable tag that hangs from a vehicle’s rear view mirror. The new, more convenient system comes just as prime camping season begins in Hillsborough County. Moderate temperatures, lower humidity, and fewer bugs make late fall through March an ideal time for outdoor adventures. Camping for the general public is offered at Edward Medard, E.G. Simmons, Lithia Springs, and Alderman’s Ford parks, and requires an additional fee. Regional parks include: Alderman’s Ford Park, Edward
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Medard Park, E.G. Simmons Park, Eureka Springs Park, Lake Park, Lake Rogers Park, Lettuce Lake Park, Lithia Springs Park, Upper Tampa Bay Park, and Upper Tampa Bay Trail. For more information, call 987-6240.
A New Year Offers Fun New Activities At Hillsborough County Aging Services
Hillsborough County Aging Services offers a variety of activities for adults 50 and over. Visit the http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/ residents/social-services/seniors to
view activity calendars and additional center information or call Aging Services at 272-5250. The Brandon Senior Center is located at 612 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon and offers the following activities in January. For more information, call 635-8066.
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Volume 16, Issue 1
wsome e N r o F t h Senior Nig riting W e f i L , g n i Wrestl & More… n i g e B o T Classes
HCC: Spring Registration Now Open At Hillsborough Community College
Registration for spring enrollment is now open at Hillsborough Community nti, lle Colesa e h ic College (HCC). Students M y b Compiled reyobserver.com interested in applying to HCC p os michelle@ can now register for spring courses through January 13. Visit
Fishhawk Resident Receives Army Commission
Longtime Fishhawk Ranch resident Travis Ingraham completed his Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) requirements to become an officer in the US Army. Ingraham was commissioned a US Army 2nd Lieutenant at Ingraham: 2LT Travis Ingraham celebrates with both his grandfathe University of South ther, retired Air Force Technical Sergeant John Ingraham Sr. and his dad, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel John Ingraham Jr. Florida on December 9, 2016. http://news.hccfl.edu/. He has been a member of the Boy Scouts of America since 2000 in Free Technology Tutoring For The Heidelberg, Germany. When he “Young At Heart” returned to USA the following year, Come to Randall Middle School on Ingraham excelled in every aspect of Friday, January 13 from 9:30-11 a.m. to Scouting and rose through the ranks in learn from Randall Middle School’s Cub Scouting and Boy Scouts. He volbrightest and best students. Receive unteered for countless hours of comtech tutoring in: Android devices, Apple munity service in the Fishhawk area, products, tablets, laptops, desktop comand attained the rank of Eagle Scout; puters, Windows 7 and 10, Internet, the highest rank in Boy Scouting. 2LT Ingraham attended elementary, email, downloading photos, Microsoft Office Applications, Bluetooth, social middle school and high school at media, computer trouble-shooting and Fishhawk area schools. He completed four years of Junior ROTC at Newsome more. Bring your own device. Randall Middle School is located at 16510 High School. After earning his FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia. Associate of Science Degree at Hillsborough Community College, he Life Story Writing/Memoir Classes transferred to the University of South To Begin At Bloomingdale Regional Florida. Library Ingraham graduated from the College of Engineering with a degree in Life Story Writing/Memoir classes Mechanical Engineering this past will start once again the third week of August. He has been selected for serv- January at the Bloomingdale Regional ice in the US Army Engineer Corps. He Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in will attend Engineer Officer Basic Valrico. Three classes will run simultaCourse at Fort Leonard Wood, neously for 10 weeks each. Missouri. One begins Tuesday January 17
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from 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Another class begins Friday, January 20 from 1:30–4:30 p.m., and the third class starts Saturday, January 21 from 1:30–4:30 p.m. All skill levels are welcome. Pick up a brochure in the lobby of the library or email LifeWritersBloom@msn.com for more information. Students are required to plan on attending all ten classes. The classes are sponsored by the Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library and are free to the public. To register, visit the “Ask Desk” inside the library or email LifeWritersBloom@msn.com.
Jewish Art History Lecture At Congregation Beth Shalom
The Lifelong Learning Committee of Congregation Beth Shalom of Brandon has rescheduled the lecture and slide program on Jewish Art History with Susan Fader for Sunday, January 8 at 4 p.m. at 706 Bryan Rd. in Brandon. This in depth presentation will look at Jewish art from its origins to the 16th18th centuries and then the 1930’s. We
expressed through their work. Slides of the art will be shown throughout the talk. Susan Fader, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, is a life-long professional artist with a degree from Philadelphia College of Art. Before retiring in Florida with her husband, she owned and operated three art-related businesses. She now enjoys working as a staff art instructor in a 55+ community. In addition, she teaches art at libraries and other adult education programs. There is no cost for admission, but a suggested donation to Congregation Beth Shalom is suggested. Interested parties may call either the office at 681-6547 or Sheila Fishman, Lifelong Learning Chairperson, at 8337843 for more information or to confirm your attendance.
Come Out To Newsome Wrestling Senior Night
Calling all Newsome Wolf Nation, alumni, parents, friends and past trainers: Come out and support the wrestling team during the only home match of the season. The Newsome wrestling team is hosting a Dual Meet vs. Sickles
Newsome Wrestlers Class of 2017: Austin Ward, Joe LeBarre, Mike Calta, Cole Cochrane and Brady Houchens.
will learn about artists of victims and survivors of WWII and how their art reflects their individual experiences. The presentation will end with a look at artwork by Jewish artists of the1950s to present time. Their art will provide an understanding of how Jewish culture and history continues to be
on Wednesday, January 4 at 7 p.m. in the Newsome gym. This will also be Senior Night for the five senior wrestlers: Mike Calta, Cole Cochrane, Brady Houchens, Joe time to show your Wolves spirit, fill the gym and support the wrestling team. Admission is $4 per person.
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Elderly Couple Seeks Mature Couple For Everyday Assistance
An elderly couple seeks assistance in everyday activities such as grocery shopping, meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, etc. They seek a mature couple of good character and habits to share in their country home of 13 plus acres on the Alafia River, in the Boyette, Bell Shoals, Fishhawk area of Valrico, preferably a retired or husband-employed couple, with wife available for two to four hours daily to assist is preferred. The husband would be needed less time for things such as mowing pasture with tractor or light mowing with Dixie chopper (possibly eight to ten hours per weekend). The couple has a regular cleaning lady and someone to mow lawn. They will supply a very nice double-wide, 3 BR 2 bath home one-eighth mile from their home and an electric golf cart to go back and forth between homes. Property is secured with an electric gate. Financial arrangements are $500 month for the rent, plus electric for home. Compensation is $8 per hour for any work or time involved. Expect two-four hours daily minimum for household help, about 75 hours per month for wife. Hopefully wife will have interest in sewing, as my wife is an avid sewer and loves to share her knowledge and abilities. It would help if husband has an interest in fishing, as help is needed in loading and unloading, and in handling of boat when fishing. If these conditions appeal to you and you would like to live on these secluded acres, fish and enjoy the Alafia River, agree to a background
check, please call 6851147 for interview and to see the facilities.
Growing Camellias To Be Discussed At January Riverview Garden Club Meeting
The Riverview Garden Club will hold its January meeting on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 10 a.m. at the Riverview Civic Center, 11020 Park Dr. in Riverview. The guest speaker will be Master Gardener Emeritus Eileen Hart. She will discuss Growing Camellias in the Tampa Bay Area. First time attendance is free. There is
free parking. For more information, call Harriet at 727-6567.
Florida State Fair Hiring Seasonal Help
The Florida State Fair is hiring Ticket Sellers, Docents, Ride Attendants, Tram Drivers, Tram Attendants, Sign Shop Technicians, Gate Attendants, Event Services, Museum Maintenance Assistant, Telephone Operators and other seasonal positions. Start dates range from mid-January to early February and jobs will continue through Tuesday, February 21. The Florida State Fair runs from Thursday, February 9 to Monday, February 20. Shifts and hours are varied. Applicants must be available to work flexible hours including, but not limited to, on-call, late nights, early mornings, weekends and holidays for the duration of the Fair. For consideration, please apply at www.floridastatefair.com.
Background checks are conducted on all candidates. 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 The Tampa Rough Riders volunteered at the Brandon Lions Living Community Club’s party hosted for foster children in December. in partnership with received two presents from Santa. Senior Connection Center, Inc. This Parents of the children were given free four week program emphasizes turkeys to take home. practical strategies to manage falls. Eight members of the Tampa Participants will learn to view falls as Rough Riders also helped to give out controllable. They will set goals for stuffed bears to the children & beads increasing activity, make changes to to all of the children and all adults parreduce fall risks, and exercise to ticipating in the party. The Rough increase strength and balance. Riders also had three children lead the Anyone interested in improving their singing of their favorite carol. balance, flexibility and strength or that have restricted activities because of Celebrate the New Year With falling concerns are encouraged to Brandon Christian Women’s attend. Classes will be held Connection very Wednesday and Friday from The Brandon Christian Women’s February 1– February 24 from 9-11 Connection celebrate the New Year a.m. in the Clubhouse at The Bridges, with a Black and White Luncheon 11202 Dewhurst Dr. in Riverview. Year, New Vision” on Monday “New Space is limited. Please call Janet January 9 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Bell at 413-8900 for more information. Shoals Baptist Church in The Special Events Center, 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. Brandon Lions Club Host Foster in Brandon. Children Christmas Party The cost is $15 and first time The Brandon Lions Club hosted guests pay $10. Entertainment will be 24 foster children and their parents in the Cornwell twins and the speaker is December for the 31st year. With all Erv Smith. Please call Lillie at 740the helpers, all of the children were 0098 by Monday, January 2 to make very happy. Food was donated by reservations. some local merchants. Each child
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Volume 16, Issue 1
Winter Is Prime Time For Viewing Manatees In Apollo Beach
By Michelle Colesanti
It’s almost a great view of the wintertime in surrounding area and Florida, and Tampa Bay. The although we entrances are located don’t experience at the south end of the extremely the Manatee Viewing cold temperaCenter’s parking lot. tures as our Bring a picnic lunch to northern neighenjoy at one of the bors, the Gulf tables at the base of Now that cooler temperatures have finally the tower. waters do cool arrived, it is a great time to bring the family down below 68 Built and located to the Manatee Viewing Center. degrees and to minimize the that means that the native manatees impact on the environment, the tower, must find shelter in warmer waters. boardwalk and habitat trail are part of a Many seek refuge at TECO’s Big network of trails that will connect to Bend facility as warm water flows from the Florida Conservation and Technology the power station’s discharge canal. The Center, an under-construction project Manatee Viewing Center, located at 6990 between Tampa Electric, the Florida Dickman Rd. in Apollo Beach, is both a Aquarium and the Florida Fish and state and federally designated manatee Wildlife Conservation Commission. sanctuary providing critical protection The Manatee Viewing Center's tidal from the cold. The viewing center is much walk is featured as part of the Great more than just seeing the manatees. Florida Birding Trail, but offers more than According to TECO’s Environmental just vibrant birdlife. During your walk on Technician Jamie Woodlee, “We are a 900-ft., ADA-compliant walkway from the free environmental education facility center to the Tampa Bay Estuary, you can where people can come learn about man- identify a wide selection of native coastal atees and Florida wildlife/plants in generplants and trees as well as a wide variety al.” Stroll among award-winning butterfly of animal life. gardens and enjoy the Florida-friendly New for this year will be a ray’s touch landscaping. Along the way, there is a tank and the boardwalks have been variety of native and coastal plant life, widened leading out to the viewing area. where you can also catch a glimpse of Both parking and admission are free. animals in the wild that make the center's The Manatee Viewing Center is open habitat their home. now through April 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 Accessed by the nature trails, the p.m. daily (wildlife observation tower and boardwalk will take you to the wildlife habitat trails close at 4 p.m.). It is closed observation tower which opened in 2014. on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and The tower is 50 ft. tall and gives you Easter.
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Newsome Graduation Rate Increases, New Members Sworn Into School Board & More ed in the November General a family in the future. This Election and sworn in to reprebenefits the entire commusent District 5. nity by growing our econoShamburger, born and my. raised in Tampa, is a graduate Superintendent Jeff Eakins said that working of Bloomingdale High School together with the School and received her Master of Board he has created a Business Administration from District Strategic Plan St. Leo University. where raising the graduaShamburger has worked tion rate continues to be a in the insurance industry for 19 top priority. years and as a Mortgage “Our graduation rate Broker. shows me we care about The third member on the each child. It shows me we list was Susan Valdes, who are not going to stop. It represents District 1 and was shows me we are going to Hillsborough County Public Schools superintendent Jeff Eakins is joined by re-elected in the Primary eleccurrent school board members Susan L. Valdes, Sally Harris, Cindy Stuart, tion in August. get to every child and Melissa Snively, Tamara Shamburger, April Griffin and Lynn Gray. make sure they have Valdes was first elected to every opportunity to the School Board in 2004. members and two returning school board receive a standard diploma,” Eakins said. The second returning board member members during the swearing-in ceremoSchool officials were also pleased is Cindy Stuart represents District 3. ny on Tuesday, November 22. Stuart was first elected to the School with the report showing the District’s sucLynn Gray was sworn in to represent Board in 2012, and also re-elected in the cess of closing the achievement gap District 7 Countywide. Primary election in August. between its African American, Hispanic Gray was a teacher and instructional and white students. To complete the official’s ceremony, leader for 26 years in Hillsborough For more information, please visit the Hillsborough County School Board County and has been a local business www.sdhc.k12.fl.us. elected Stuart a new School Board chair. owner for 16 years. Sally Harris was selected as vice Gray was elected in the November New Members Sworn in to chair. General Election representing all of Hillsborough County School Board For more information about Hillsborough County. Hillsborough County Public Schools, The Hillsborough County School The school board also welcomed Board welcomed two new school board Tamara Shamburger, who was also elect- please visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.
Newsome High School Leads Graduation Rate as Hillsborough County Claims Increase in Student Success
The Florida Department of Education released high school graduation rates last month showing the positive news for Hillsborough County Public Schools, including a three-percentage point increase over the previous year. According to the report, the District, managed increase its graduation rate from 76 percent in 2014-2015 to 79.1 percent in 2015-2016. The graduate rate includes all schools that fall under the umbrella of Hillsborough County Public Schools, including charter, career centers and alternative schools. While HCPS’ 27 traditional high schools are at a graduation rate of 86.2 percent, Newsome High has managed to lead the way at 97.5 percent. Armwood High is now boasting of increasing its graduation rate by eight percentage points to 72.5, while Middleton High increased its graduation rate by nine percentage points to 74.7. School officials said the increase means that students have more opportunities for post-secondary education, more opportunities for better jobs with higher wages, and more opportunities to support
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There is just no stopping the Genesis. The hotselling luxury brand of Hyundai will release a total of six vehicles by 2021 – large G80 and G90, and the smaller G70 sedans, a coupe and two SUVs. Sold in a separate section of the Korean carmaker’s showrooms, the Genesis brand is successful, thanks to quality, styling, design and ease of use, according to Chris Hosford, corporate communications executive director for Hyundai. Our test drive was the flagship rearwheel-drive G90, with a 5.0-liter DOHC V8 engine cranking out 420 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 383 pounds-feet of torque @ 5000 rpm. Power reaches the wheels via a seamless 8-speed auto transmission while offering eco, smart, individual or sport drive modes. Hyundai has boosted the Genesis wheelbase by 4.5 inches from its predecessor, which translates into 128.9 cubic feet of interior space and a trunk volume of 15.7 cubic feet. The long hood meets a bold crest grille with winged Genesis emblem, flanked by LED auto headlights. Vertical tail lamps and chrome dual asymmetrical exhaust tips take up the rear. Step inside and you will discover a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen display for phone, nav and audio that can be controlled via a knob. Pampering the occupants are trizone auto a/c, head-up display, leatherwrapped power tilt/telescopic steering column and tilt-and-slide sunroof; 7-inch electro-luminescent display for speedometer, tachometer, coolant temperature, fuel level, odometer and trip computer gauges; 22-way power driver
GENESIS (G90 ULTIMATE) Tires: P245/45R19 front; P275/40R19 rear Wheelbase: 124.4 inches Length: 204.9 inches Width: 75.4 inches Weight: 4,751 pounds Suspension: independent five-link front, rear Steering: electric power Fuel capacity: 21.9 gallons City: 16 mpg Highway: 24 mpg Web site: www.hyundaiusa.com
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Volume 16, Issue 1
Amazon Offers New Convenience Lockers For Merchandise Pick Ups And Returns
By Michelle Colesanti
You don’t have lockers so that they to spend time any won’t see it.” more waiting for You can find your Amazon delivAmazon Locker locaery to make it to tions when selecting a your house. Since shipping address during last summer, the checkout process or Amazon gives conwhen adding a new sumers a new address in your option for their delivaccount. Locker sites eries – Amazon are given individual Lockers. names. Each Locker Once your has a name because it's package is delivan easy way for our ered to the Locker customers to identify Amazon has a Locker named Boulder location that you at the Speedway at Lithia Pinecrest them,” commented Rd. and Bloomingdale Ave. where you Billimoria. choose, you will can pick up items ordered. receive an email to Currently there are let you know it’s available for pick up. five locations within the south Many Locker locations have early Hillsborough County corridor to choose morning and late evening hours, some from. Many more locations are expecteven offering 24 hour service. You can ed as the program grows. Locally, they also make returns using the locker. can be found at: Amazon Locker Jim Billimoria from Amazon “Rigsby”, located at 10016 McMullen Corporate Communications said, “We Rd. in Riverview at the 7-Eleven, have nearly 20 Lockers in the area Riverview, Amazon Locker “Ethan”, since late this summer. Amazon located at 9817 US Hwy. 301 S in Lockers are a safe, secure, and conRiverview at the 7-Eleven, Amazon venient way for our customers to Locker “Boulder”, located at 3353 Lithia receive their Amazon packages and Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico at Speedway, can do so at any time up to three busiAmazon Locker “Diana”, located at ness days after their order has been 1020 S Kings Ave. in Brandon at the 7delivered to a Locker.” Eleven, and Amazon Locker “Vienna”, Local residents think this is a great located at 3629 E SR60 in Valrico at option that Amazon offers. Patricia the 7-Eleven. Tracy thought it had another great use More info about Amazon Lockers especially around holiday time. “If you can be at www.amazon.com/Locker. To are getting a gift for someone in your find a Locker close to you, visit house, you can pick it up at one of the www.amazon.com/findalocker.
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A Call To Artists Is Issued For The 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show A Call to artists has EHAG, P.O. Box been issued by the East 3055, Plant City, FL Hillsborough Art Guild 33563. Artwork is to (EHAG) for the 2017 be hand delivered to Florida Strawberry Festival the Florida Fine Art Show which will Strawberry Festival run from Thursday, March grounds on Friday, 2 to Sunday, March 12. February 24 from 12 The Fine Art Show will be Noon to 6 p.m. held in the Milton E. Hull For anyone who Building on the Strawberry is entering the show, Festival Fairgrounds. it is crucial that you Karen Crumley, a long time member of EHAG is back as chair of the Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Artists, young and old, are invited to submit original works of art to the Arts Show. Crumley was 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show held on the Strawberry the chair for 17 years. She Festival Fairgrounds in Plant City from Thursday, March 2 through Sunday, took several years off from March 12. You will be joined by artists such as Brooke Stefanelli, who won her duties, but is excited to the 2016 Suncoast Credit Union Purchase Award for her painting, Royal Fun For Everyone. be back. While Crumley is have their work viewed is tremendous.” not an artist herself, she is a staunch carefully This year's show will be a grand review the rules prior to entering. There advocate for the arts. Crumley said, “I am event with nearly $5,000 available in are size requirements as well as framing not an artist, my son is, and he wanted to prizes. This includes the prestigious and hanging requirements. join the club (EHAG) in 1992 when it first Purchase Award sponsored by Suncoast Artists can enter up to three pieces of started. We joined together so I could Credit Union ($500), the Best of Show art. There are four Adult Professional help on committees to help make sure ($300) and the Business Leaders' Choice Divisions which have an entry fee of $15 the fine arts thrive in our local area includAwards. The latter is sponsored by area ing Plant City.” per entry. There are four Adult Amateur businesses that advocate and support the Crumley encourages artists, young Divisions which have an entry fee of $12 arts. and old, professional and amateur, to per entry. There are also divisions for While this is not a juried show, there enter original works of art in the 2017 Adult Miniature and Adult Sculpture. Each is limited space. Early entries are being show. Crumley said, “The Florida of these has a $12 fee per entry. accepted through Sunday, February 12. Strawberry Festival draws a huge audiYouth, ages six to 17, are encourArtists can mail the entry form and fees to ence, and the chance for local artists to aged to take part in the Florida
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Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show. This is a great opportunity for young, aspiring artists to create an original piece of artwork, have it hung in a gallery setting and have it viewed by thousands who visit the festival. Crumley said, “We especially want to encourage students to enter and spread their wings. The experience lets them learn about competition and how to display their work. The Youth Division has an option of allowing them to mail their 8.5” x 11” paper entries only by Sunday, February 12 along with their entry form and fee of $5 per entry. If they do not mail the entry, they can bring it to the festival grounds on Friday, February 24 from 12 Noon to 6 p.m.” It should be noted that if students opt for the hand delivery of their artwork, they still have send their entry form and fee in the mail by Sunday, February 12. If you have ever considered entering an art show, this is the one for you. The show is open to all Florida residents, including winter residents. The entry forms and rules can be found at www.FLstrawberryfestival.com just click on Contests and Rules. If you have any additional questions, please email Crumley at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 924-3829.
Volume 16, Issue 1
Osprey Observer Celebrates 15 Years
The first edition of the Osprey Observer, Jan 2002.
Many of the current Osprey Observer team celebrating with a 15th Anniversary luncheon.
It was 15 years ago this month that the Osprey Observer was delivered to the first homes in FishHawk Ranch. The concept was simple, publish positive, local, community news and deliver it directly to the communities that it covers. The very first month, the Osprey Observer Newspaper was hand-delivered to 750 homes in FishHawk Ranch. The second month, the newspaper was hand-delivered by children and inserted into the Brandon-Valrico Journal. By month 3, the Osprey Observer was printed at M&M Printing in Ruskin and direct-mailed by the United States Postal Service. Within 6 months, the newspaper was delivered into 10,000 local homes
One of the first ribbon cuttings for the Osprey Observer offices in 2005 with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce.
and was printed by Within 3 years, we a large commercial started the Riverview printer in edition and quickly Clearwater where added Apollo Beach we continue to print while realizing the today, Web Offset. future growth potential During the early for S.E. Hillsborough years, I used to County and then added pack my then the Valrico edition and youngest son into finally the Brandon the family mini-van edition. and drive to In 2009, the Osprey Clearwater-- to not Observer purchased only deliver the CD the, now 20-year-old Photo courtesy TamSand Photography that the newspaper local Christian Voice Happy New Year From was burned on--but The Gilmore Boys! newspaper and have to then pick up the expanded its reach and newspapers and deliver them, bundle distribution throughout the communiby bundle to the bulk mail delivery ty. area of each of the local post offices. In addition to the monthly newsBy the time the first year had papers, we engage with our readers passed, we realized it would make via our website, social media, eBlast more sense to pay the printer's mailing newsletter and with our offices cenhouse, Direct Web to bundle and trally located in Brandon. deliver the papers to the post office. We have always wanted to be the
voice of good news in the community and we are happy to share community success stories.' The Osprey Observer is one hundred percent supported by local advertisers and small businesses. In addition to being a community hub of information, the Osprey Observer has an incredible team of staff--many of which have been with the newspaper for years and have become familiar faces in the community. We also have to thank our readers who not only read about their community but also get involved in making a difference. We thank you for reading and look forward to publishing community news for many more years to come! To contact our offices, call 657-2418 or email me directly at email@example.com. Wishing you all the best! Marie Gilmore, Managing Editor
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Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016
Sheriff’s Office To Add Additional New District To Meet Future Growth Hillsborough County has seen a wide range of proposed projects in 2016, addressing land use and transportation issues, but one proposed project was equally well received by residents, especially those living within the boundary of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office District 4. In September, the Sheriff’s Office announced the addition of a fifth district to accommodate future growth. Specific details about location off the new office and staff is still being refined but residents can expect the official operation of the new district A map of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office patrol districts shows the addition of District V, which the departoffice in early spring of ment has proposed to launch next spring. 2017. Progress Village, Lithia, FishHawk and Original Story printed Bloomingdale. September 2016 “The change is necessary due to To meet the current needs and in what is going on in District IV,” said order to accommodate future growth, Major Robert Bullara, who replaced the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s retiring former District IV commander Office (HCSO) has made preparations Major Ron Hartley in 2015. “We have to add a fifth district to its service. 1,000 people moving to nearly The addition of a new district, Hillsborough County each month, most which will specifically affect and of them to communities in District IV. reshape District IV, the department’s Currently we have 34 active subdivilargest district is scheduled to begin sions.” serving residents in April or May 2017 When ready, the new district led is hardly a surprise. by its new commander, Major Kyle Within its more than 400 square Robinson, will border communities miles, District IV, serves nearly north of the Alafia River, such as 300,000 residents in the communities Progress Village, Bloomingdale and of Ruskin, Riverview, Apollo Beach,
By Tamas Mondovics
rently under construction in Gibsonton and Progress Village, will draw even more people to the area. Now is the time to get ahead of this.” Bullara said that since last year, 2,500 new single-family home permits have been pulled, showing Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office District IV Major Robert Bullara talks to residents at the Bloomingdale Community Substation about no signs of the department's recently proposed addition of a new patrol district. slowing down. While promnorthern Riverview along with its subising a smooth transition, Bullara, said stations. that the department is working on hirDistrict IV will continue to serve ing 100 deputies by the end of the communities south of the river, Lithia, year to fill all necessary positions for FishHawk, Gibsonton, Apollo Beach, the new district office, which will be Ruskin, and southern Riverview located across from HCSO’s District II including Balm, Wimauma and Sun facility on Falkenburg Road. City Center. The major anticipates losing some During a recent neighborhood of his deputies to the new district, meeting, which is held monthly at the while the rest of the staff will come Bloomingdale Community Substation, from patrol districts I,II, and III. Bullara put things into perspective As to the future of the when he emphasized the effects of the Bloomingdale Community Substation growth within his district and what following the opening of the new disneeds to be done. trict office, Bullara could not say for “Traffic issues are the future,” he sure, but was confident it will remain said adding, “Big Bend Road is like open to serve its residents when he State Road 60, and is just tough to get said, “I don't think this station will be around. New schools and the constricclosed, at least not for another year.” tion of new schools and subdivisions, For more information, visit not to mention two new theaters curwww.hcso.tampa.fl.us.
Volume 16, Issue 1
Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 Pepin Academies Purchases Building, Plans Move
By Bonnie Mentel
approved by the Board of County Commissioners, Pepin will be able to move forward with the public bond financing to buy the building and finance the construction of the classrooms. “Pepin Academies is a public, charter school that serves kids with learning and learning-related disabilities. It’s been around since 1999. Pepin’s New Campus, located at 9304 Camden Field in Riverview, has capacity to hold 325 students and still has It’s a school that really some openings for next year. allows kids to come and be Pepin Academies, announced last a part of something special and particisummer the purchase of a new, much pate in activities that they likely would not larger academic facility in Riverview. have had the opportunity to participate in School officials were pleased to if they were in a large, typical campus,” also announce that as planned the said Principal, Dr. Craig Butz. not-for-profit, tuition-free, public charThe new building is 16,000 sq. ft. and ter school that cares for children with will house next year’s ninth and tenth learning and learning related disabiligrades. The plans are to keep the third ties received its Certificate of through eighth grade students at the temOccupancy for the school’s new porary Riverview campus at 10530 Lake Riverview campus, allowing more stu- St. Charles Blvd. during construction and dents to be served starting in 2017. move during the winter break. The transition to the new facility “The new campus has space that is took place throughout the month of already built that can accommodate a December, with students enjoying the number of our students. The other portion new space following 2016 winter of the building will need major modificabreak. tions that will include building out additionAn official ribbon cutting is sched- al classrooms, offices and several shared uled for January, 2017. Pepin student spaces. These modifications Academies currently has three require permits from local government schools – two in Hillsborough County entities before major construction can and one in Pasco County – that serve take place,” Butz said in an email update. hundreds of students. The new campus is located at 9304 Original Story printed June 2016 Camden Field in Riverview. It will have On Tuesday, June 7, Pepin the capacity to hold 325 students; the Academies will meet for a zoning hearing temporary campus holds 300 students. to discuss the building they are purchasCall 677-6700 or complete an application ing in Riverview. Once that has been at pepinacademies.com.
New Senior Living Community Breaks Ground Near River Springs Plaza
By Morgan Lamphere
Builders, architects, community members and the finance team gathered to mark the occasion. “It is not every day that a new community like Twin Creeks begins construction,” said David Ammons, founder and partner of Enriched Community Development, A groundbreaking was recently held for Twin Creeks LLC. “We are honored to mark Senior Living in the River Springs Plaza near FishHawk. this occasion and grateful to One of the years most anticipated the partners and friends that joined us and largest construction projects in today.” Riverview, benefiting senior residents Enriched Community Development, began with a traditional the groundLLC, a Tampa-based developer of senior breaking of Twin Creeks Senior Living. living communities, closed on the conThe promised 11-month long projstruction financing in March. ECD is a ect is clearly on schedule as the two partnership between local senior living story building located adjacent to the developer, Tom Dentinger, and North River Springs Plaza at the corner of Carolina-based Retirement Living FishHawk Blvd. and Boyette Rd., is Associates, Inc. RLA, Inc. manages and quickly taking shape with a scheduled develops several different types of senior opening in early 2017. living communities throughout the Offering a wide variety of ameniSoutheast. An investment group headed ties within a welcoming neighborhood, by Robert D. Gries, Jr., founder and manthe new facility is promising to aging director of Gries Investment Funds become a great addition to the growis an equity partner in the project. RLA, ing Riverview community. Inc. will oversee management of the comOriginal Story printed June 2016 munity once Twin Creeks is complete. Twin Creeks Senior Living broke Residents also will enjoy exercise ground recently at the rear of the River areas and beautifully landscaped outdoor Springs Plaza at the corner of FishHawk spaces. Home choices will include comBlvd. and Boyette Rd. and is expected to panion suites, studios, and one-bedroom open in early spring of 2017. apartments. The two-story building will include 80 Beverly-Grant, Inc., an award winning assisted living and memory care apartdesign-build firm that specializes in health ments in addition to generous common care construction, is the general contracarea spaces and outdoor living areas for tor. Call 919-783-0735 ext. 5 or email residents. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 County Begins $1.2M Bryan/Brooker & Durant/Valrico Intersection Traffic Signal Projects
By Tamas Mondovics
tion traffic signal installation projects south of East Lumsden Road. To improve safety, motorists will soon see the installation of the first new traffic signal at the intersection of Durant and Valrico roads. The $590,000 project was scheduled to begin this month, including construction of enhanced pedestrian features and drainage Installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection of Durant Rd. and Valrico Rd. in Valrico is now underway. improvements at the intersection. As one of the busiest intersecThe second new traffic signal and tions needing improvement in improvement project at the intersection Hillsborough County brings four of Bryan and Brooker roads near Burns major roads together. Middle School is to begin once the For years, County officials have school year ends. The project cost is been promising to start the improve$565,000. ment project of the Lithia The Durant and Valrico intersection Pinecrest/Lumsden/Bell project and the Bryan and Brooker Shoals/Durant, intersection with the Intersection project are both funded latest starting date now scheduled for through the Public Works Capital mid-2017, The construction is said to Transportation Program. be 34 months. Construction work for both projects Residents have a chance to comis expected to take place on weekdays ment and examine local land use and between 8 a.m.-5 p.m., but officials are transportation plans by visiting promising the work will generate only www.planhillsborough.org. standard construction noise. While temOriginal Story printed May 2016 porary traffic lane closures may be necIt is safe to say that when it comes essary and traffic delays may occur, to traffic improvements there is no shortto businesses will be maintained access age of trouble spots throughout Hillsborough County. Aside from some of throughout construction.Drivers are cautioned to observe all traffic control measthe roadway improvements and interures for the safety of workers, pedestrisection projects in Valrico, such as the ans, and other motorists. much-needed culvert and drainage For more on the above projects, visit upgrade just south of Valrico Road and www.HillsboroughCounty.org, under the State Road 60 intersection, County offiTransportation Projects link. cials have scheduled two new intersec-
Volume 16, Issue 1
Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 Developer To Install New Traffic Light At Bloomingdale Square Plaza
Randall & Barrington Middle Schools Offer Counseling To Military Kids & Families
congested roadway. According to Hillsborough County Transportation Program Manager and Traffic Engineer, Robert Campbell, installation of the new signal located at the second entrance to the plaza approximately 900 feet west of Bell Motorists struggle with heavy traffic on Bloomingdale Avenue Shoals Road in front of as they make their way in and out of the Bloomingdale Chipotle Mexican Grill Square Plaza. and Dunkin Doughnuts Motorist routinely traveling on restaurants on the south and north side of Bloomingdale Ave. were not surprised Bloomingdale Avenue, respectively, is last June, to see the start of a new trafscheduled to begin this summer. fic light installation project at the north The private project is initiated, entrance of the Bloomingdale Square financed and organized by Bloomingdale Plaza, located at 889 East Square Plaza owner and developer Bloomingdale Ave, in Brandon. Regency Centers Corporation, a real County officials estimated the investment trust based in estate duration of the project between four to Jacksonville. Regency Centers LP is one six months and were not disappointof the largest operators of grocerying as the new signal became fully anchored shopping centers. operational in late November. Boasting of more than three dozen Original Story printed July 2016 stores, the Bloomingdale Square Plaza Hillsborough County traffic engineerhas seen some major changes in recent ing officials recently approved the installatimes including the closing of Walmart, tion of a new signal to ease traffic flow in which has anchored the shopping center and out of Bloomingdale Square Plaza at since it opened nearly 30 years ago. 889 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon. More recent additions to the plaza’s With the now infamously heavy traffic roster of stores and retailers includes on Bloomingdale Avenue between Lithia Burger Monger, Title Boxing and Pinecrest Road and U.S. 301 as the norm—especially during rush hour, which Jeremiah's Italian Ice, to name a few. From start to finish, county engineers officially renders the avenue a failed are estimating the duration of the project road—the installation of additional signals between four to six months. Visit comes as no surprise for motorists roubit.ly/29zXUAU. tinely making use of the accident-prone,
Military families Military and Family who have recently Life Counselor moved to the area (CYB-MFLC) prowere pleased to see gram, which plays a an article last year key role in giving milabout a provision to itary children the help them cope with support they may the demands posed need during some of on them by military the more challenging life. periods. Most vulnerable Contracted by are the children who the Hillsborough have to adjust not County Public just to a new home Schools, children of Counselor Tammy Alsing, left is welcombut also a new military families who ing military mom Nikki Hall to Randall Middle School. Hall recently moved to school. attend Barrington FishHawk from Alabama. To assist the and Randall Middle challenges, the Department of Defense Schools have been enjoying the federally (DoD), provides a Child and Youth funded services of one such counselor, Behavioral Military and Family Life Tammy Alsing. Counselor (CYB-MFLC) program, givSpecializing in child and behavioral ing military children the support they issues, Alsing brings years of experience may need. at no cost to the more than 100 military Barrington and Randall Middle children at Barrington. Randall currently Schools have been enjoying the feder- boasts of 150 military children. ally funded services of one such coun“We cover a wide variety of issues selors, Tammy Alsing. the students are dealing with at school or Hillsborough County Public at home, both on and off campus,” Alsing Schools officials said that the program said. “My hope is that parents and the has been enjoying great success and students are aware of the support that will likely expand to more schools in are provided for them exclusively.” the future. Each week, Barrington Middle Original Story printed Oct 2016 School military children and families may Every member of a military family take advantage of Alsing’s expertise on knows all too well the wide variety of Mondays and Tuesdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 issues imposed on them by military life. p.m. On Wednesdays, Thursdays and But coping with these demands may be Fridays, Alsing’s services are utilized at most difficult for the family’s children and Randall. For more information, about to help, the Department of Defense (DoD) Hillsborough County Public Schools, funds the Child and Youth Behavioral please visit www. sdhc.k12.fl.us.
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Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 District Proposes Boundary Changes For Stowers, Bevis And Pinecrest Elementary Schools For 2016-2017 Season
By Tamas Mondovics
Surprising no one, Hillsborough County Public School officials announced a number of boundary changes, in hopes of offering some relief to the overcrowding in area schools. On the elementary school level, changes involved local schools such as Stowers, Bevis, Pinecrest, forcing parents to make some adjustments. HCPS also sought changes for Boyette Springs Elementary Schools at a later date. While in the middle of one of the most ambitious cost saving effort, and continued countywide population growth, school officials said that the changes are far from over. For information parents are asked to visit the District’s website at www.sdhc.k12.fl.us. Original Story printed Feb 2016 Given the continued growth in the southeastern part of Hillsborough County, boundary changes offering relief to the overcrowding in area schools is inevitable. The last time Hillsborough County Public Schools officials addressed the topic was ahead of the 2015-2016 school year affecting area high school students. According to school officials, it was now time to propose an attendance boundary change on the elementary school level, involving Stowers, Bevis, Pinecrest and at a later date, Boyette Springs Elementary Schools. To reach parents locally and get some input, school officials scheduled
Hillsborough County Public Schools have proposed an attendance and boundary change affecting students at Stowers, Bevis, Boyette Springs and Pinecrest Elementary Schools.
an open house, public meeting last month at Stowers Elementary School. According to County Schools Growth Management and Planning, General Manager Lorraine Duffy-Suarez, the proposal has focused on providing relief to Stowers, which currently has a student count of 1,058 with a seating capacity of 972. “While balancing enrollments, the proposed reassignment of Stowers Elementary students to Bevis and Pinecrest will provide a temporary relief to Stowers,” Suarez said, adding that the change will not impact students currently assigned to Bevis, or Pinecrest Elementary Schools but will make room for future growth at the Stowers campus. The reassignment from Stowers to
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Bevis and Pinecrest will be recommended to the School Board for the 2016-17 season, later this year. Students residing within the areas of change shown on the map are proposed to be reassigned for the school year beginning August 2016. After public comment and additional research, district officials have also decided to recommend to the School Board that the area proposed to be reassigned from Stowers to Boyette Springs be placed on hold and reevaluated next school year due to a of number factors, including the launch of the Center for Gifted Studies which will increase enrollment at the Boyette Springs campus. HCPS officials have also announced
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the opening of a brand new elementary school “C,” which has not been named yet, but is slated to open in the Triple Creek area in 2017. “This new school is to relieve Summerfield, Summerfield Crossings and Collins Elementary Schools,” said HCPS Spokesperson Tanya Arja. “We will discuss the boundaries for that school and may look at a small part of the existing Stowers boundaries.” Student reassignments from Stowers to Boyette Springs Elementary (including those areas contained within the original staff proposal) will continue to be reevaluated during the drafting of the new attendance boundaries for elementary “C.” Decreasing enrollments at Stowers during the redistricting plan for the 20172018 school year will also be monitored. Students attending another school through a Choice, Magnet, or Charter School can continue at their currently enrolled school. Exceptional Student Education (ESE) services and the HOST program currently offered at each of the schools will continue to be offered. The district’s transportation department will determine those neighborhoods that will be eligible for bus transportation and those neighborhoods where students will walk to school. For more information and updates visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us. To submit questions and comments, email to email@example.com.To receive a return phone call, include phone number in the email message or call 272-4608.
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Volume 16, Issue 1
Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016
FishHawk CDD 2 Board Says Yes To Blue Wave Swim Team Addition
By Tamas Mondovics
One of the first stories in 2016 covered by the Osprey Observer dealt with a battle between two aquatic based organizations, each vying for the possible use of Aquatic Club swimming pool facility FishHawk Ranch. Team Velocity a Lutz based swim program, proposed a year-round competitive swimming oriented use of the facility, while the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center’s Blue Wave swim program had a spring/summer swim lessons oriented approach. Both organizations stood before the FishHawk Community Development District 2 Board, but it took three meetings before the CDDII made its decision to vote in BSAC’s favor. According to BSAC officials the swim program was well attended and with plans to return to the Aquatic Club again in the summer of 2017. Original Story printed Jan 2016 During its last monthly meeting for the year, normally held at The Palmetto Club at 17004 Dorman Rd. in Lithia, members of the FishHawk Community Development District 2 Board have finally voted on two proposed uses of the community’s Aquatic Club brought before them by competitive swim programs Team Velocity and Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center’s Blue Wave. It was the third time since October that the requests of the two programs were addressed by the Board, which at the end said no to Team Velocity, a Lutz
Members of the FishHawk Community Development District 2 discuss the proposals in connection with the future use of the Fishhawk Aquatic Club.
based competitive swim program, while unanimously voting in Blue Wave’s favor. Representatives of Team Velocity requested a year-round use of the facility located in the heart of FishHawk’s Garden District. Team Head Coach Gary Goodner told the CDD Board that the organization was prepared to pay for the complete installation of a permanent water heating and cooling system along with lights for after dark use by the team and community. “We are here asking for a great partnership with the community,” said Goodner. “We know competitive swimming, we are aware of the need here and are well prepared to offer a great program with many additional benefits to the community.” Also vying for the use of the Aquatic
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Club, Blue Wave’s Swim Coach Todd Foley expressed interest in using the facility only to accommodate summer swim programs such as offering swim lessons from April through September. Foley made clear to the Board that Blue Wave had no desire or plans to be installing any heaters or lights while using the Club. That sounded much more feasible to the members of the Board, whose decision to turn down Team Velocity came as a great disappointment for some. Several residents said that they were very much looking forward to joining a new competitive swim team so close to home especially one that was to be led by U.S. Olympic swim coach and 2008 ASCA's Hall of Fame inductee,
Don LaMont. “Aside from the swim team and the fact that a great coach is ready to lead the program, the Board should consider the longterm benefits such as a heated pool in the winter months and lights that would allow the pool to stay open until later in the evening, all of which Team Velocity is ready to bring to the community,” FishHawk resident Troy Seibert said prior to the Board’s decision. While one local resident was against any swim team or scheduled program using the facility, a number of Board members expressed their concerns, including Marisa Radley, who said, “I am concerned about the scheduling issues as the facility is already booked and very busy.” Board vice Chairman, Ruth Brown added, “I am just concerned that the proposal changes the way our pools have been designed and built.” However, FishHawk resident Karena Caputo added that in the wintertime the facility is hardly used and she would have liked a little more research on the part of the Board which she feels would have gone a long way. The next FishHawk CDD 2 meeting will be held Tuesday, January 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fishhawk Palmetto Club located at 17004 Dorman Rd. For more information about the FishHawk CDD 2, visit fishhawkcdd2.org.
Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 County Delays Bloomingdale, Culbreath Intersection Improvements Until After Holidays
$3.1M FishHawk Sports Complex Expansion Slated For June Completion
improve traffic flow for the Bloomingdale Avenue and Culbreath Road intersection. The public information meeting held early December was in an open house format at the Bloomingdale Regional Library’s brand new meeting room at 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Hillsborough County Public Works officials and engi- Valrico, and explained the neers talk to residents about the upcoming specifics of the $1.4 million conBloomingdale and Culbreath intersection project. struction as well as the reason for the County’s decision to delay As anticipated, 2016 saw a wide the project start until the beginning of the range of traffic related improvements new year. with many more to come. One of such “We have decided to wait with conprojects was the Culbreath Rd. and struction until after the holidays,” said Bloomingdale Ave. intersection Bayside Engineering Transportation improvements, which took place earliProject Manager, Jordan Caviggia. er in the year, after years of delay. Caviggia added that it seemed best The project focused on signalizato hold off the project for another month tion improvements, as well as adding due to the extra traffic during the holidays an eastbound right turn lane and a along with the current construction on second westbound left turn lane on Bloomingdale Avenue in connection with Bloomingdale Ave.; northbound dedithe Walmart Supercenter just west of the cated left and right turn lanes and Bloomingdale and Culbreath intersection. southbound right turn lane on “This job has been under design and Culbreath Road into the Campo YMCA consideration for the past five years,” he located South of Bloomingdale Ave. said. “We are looking at starting construcMotorists are generally pleased with the improvements although some tion in the second week of January 2016.” Officials ensured residents that traffic expressed the need to pay close attenflow will remain open during construction tion to the consistent and at time in both directions on Bloomingdale heavier traffic flow in and out of the Avenue, but that closing of one-lane in YMCA facility, and the nearby baseball each direction will be necessary for workand softball fields. ers’ safety. Original Story printed Jan 2016 Work is expected to be completed in Area residents recently had a chance to meet with County public works officials, mid-2016. Information presented at the engineers and project managers to get an meeting is also available at www.Hillsborough County.org. update on the status of the project to
www.hillsborough county.org. Original Story printed June 2016 After years of planning and months of construction, FishHawk and surrounding area residents are only days away from witnessing the completion of FishHawk Sports Complex expansion project. County officials presented their expansion plans An aerial view of the FishHawk Sports Complex expan- in connection with the comsion gives residents a better perspective of the size and plex, located at 16120 location of the nearly completed project. FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia, nearSince its completion in 2008, the FishHawk Sports Complex has seen a ly five years ago. The existing complex was built in 2008 with eight ball fields, steady growth of use, becoming one of the largest and most congested ath- four multi-purpose fields, concession stand, restrooms and parking. letic facilities in the County. By 2012, the facility was facing a In 2011, FishHawk area residents problem of overcrowding with teams fightbegan planning to expand the coming for fields and often playing late into plex which then boasted of 12 total the night. fields, concession stand, restrooms “We are 95 percent done with the and parking. project, opening in June,” said Project After five years of planning and a Manager Chris Postiglione, land swap deal between Hillsborough The construction by QGS County and local developer, Newland Communities, the addition of four new Development Inc., totaling $3.1 million, included several elements including the multi-purpose fields, along with new expansion of the existing sports complex lighting, 200 additional parking, new concession, and much more was final- with four additional multi-purpose Bermuda grass practice fields. ly completed this past summer. The initial planning phase of the The land swap cost Newland expansion raised some concerns among $150,000 due to necessary work to Starling residents, just west of the comprepare the new tortoise habitat. plex. Newland worked with the county County officials are promising to and residents to develop a gopher torhold an official opening ceremony in toise habitat to satisfy concerns. Visit January or early February, 2017. www.hillsboroughcounty.org. For more information visit
By Tamas Mondovics
By Tamas Mondovics
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Volume 16, Issue 1
Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 14-Screen Goodrich Theater To Anchor New Shopping, Entertainment Center In Riverview By Tamas Mondovics
One of the most exciting projects of 2016 is the much anticipated Riverview 14 Shopping and Entertainment Center, located between the Gibsonton Walmart Supercenter and Interstate 75. The 30-acre entertainment, retail and restaurant development, will be anchored by Riverview 14 GDX, a state of the art 14-screen movie theater, operated by Goodrich Quality Theaters based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Although, completion of the new theater was scheduled for the fall of 2016, construction related delays forced the theater’s opening day to spill over to the new year. Local community leaders, residents and business owners break ground on Riverview 14 The plaza itself also saw the Shopping and Entertainment Center located between the Gibsonton Walmart Supercenter and groundbreaking for Zaxby’s Interstate 75. The 30-acre site will be anchored by Goodrich Quality Theaters and will feature several restaurants and businesses. Chicken restaurant, and is on target to see movie theater, operated by the opening of Dunkin’ Goodrich Quality Theaters Donuts, Baskin based out of Grand Rapids, Robbins, Little Caesars Michigan. and a T-Mobile. According to Goodrich Original Story printChief Operations Officer ed Jan 2016 Martin Betz, the theater will Dozens of local govfeature “GDX” (Giant Digital ernment officials, comeXperience), the company’s munity leaders and resicutting-edge large format dents gathered last month for the formal ground breaking of the Riverview 14 Shopping and restaurant development and Entertainment Center, located scheduled for opening in the between the Gibsonton Walmart summer of 2016, will be Supercenter and Interstate 75. anchored by Riverview 14 GDX, The 30-acre entertainment, retail a state of the art 14-screen
auditorium, with a giant 80-ft.-wide screen allowing floor-to-ceiling viewing. The screens will range in size from 40-ft. to more than 70-ft. wide in a nearly 70,000 sq.-ft. upscale building. Betz said that the all-digital projection theater will feature recliners and reserved seating in every auditorium, along with the latest technology and amenities including premium Dolby Atmos sound systems, a spacious lobby, multiple box offices, plus self-serve ticket counters and a massive concession stand with self-serve drink refill stations. The theater will also include a 100-seat restaurant off the lobby with food, beer and wine options. “We’ve really worked hard to make it a wonderful family experience with something for everyone,” said Betz. Theatre goers will also have a chance to take advantage of several businesses joining the project, including Zaxby’s Chicken restaurant, Dunkin’ Donuts and a T-Mobile store. Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White also praised the project. “The developers have clearly seen a need here, and believed that this was a great location and venture,” White said. “I wish them the best.” For information, visit www.strathmore.com.
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Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016
New Walmart Supercenter On Bloomingdale Avenue Opens On March 9
By Tamas Mondovics
The once, hard fought battle against the Bloomingdale Walmart Supercenter, in Valrico is not much more today, than a faded memory for most local residents. The 153,000 sq., ft, store opened last spring with a traditional celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony, while festive back round music was provided by the Bloomingdale High School marching band. New Walmart Supercenter Manager Peter While, the new store anchoring Peck and customer service supervisor Cassandra Brown pose for photo ahead of the 43-acre Crest Pointe Towne the official grand opening of the newly Shoppes gets busier and busier, constructed store inside Crest Pointe Towne several already confirmed businessCenter Shoppes on Bloomingdale Ave. es to occupy the frontage of the 400 full and part-time associates in welplaza such as Starbucks and Chick-filcoming the community. (Peck has since A, are nearing completion. retired from Walmart). Wendy’s restaurant has quietly The new 153,000 sq., ft, opened its doors in September, while Supercenter, located at 2140 Tijuana Flats and Mattress Firm are yet Bloomingdale Ave. just west of Lithia to get started. Pinecrest Road, will anchor Crest Pointe There remains nearly 2.89 acres Towne Shoppes, a 43-acre mixed use still available for additional businesses development project by Redstone to be built. The property also has 14 Investments. acres apportioned for a residential On opening day, the new store will development. officially replace its much smaller predeOriginal Story printed March cessor just down the road inside the 2016 Bloomingdale Square Plaza, which has Three years after its first rumored served the community for the past 30 construction in the heart of the years and was managed by Peck for the Bloomingdale community, the new past 10. Walmart Supercenter is ready to open its The new store is promising a larger doors on Wednesday, March 9 at 7:30 assortment of merchandise in electronics, a.m., bringing a broad assortment of fresh furniture, sporting goods, home improvegroceries and general merchandise at its ment, apparel, toys along with a full line of signature value. fabrics and a pet department to name a “This is a store with the same low few. prices and a new address,” said Store Open 24 hours a day, seven days a Manager Peter Peck, a 20-year Walmart week, the Supercenter is a full grocery veteran, who is leading the more than store with fresh produce, meat and pantry
staples, a full-service deli and instore bakery offering custom cakes and fresh baked breads. “We will also carry local products like Plant City Strawberries,” Peck proudly said. According to officials, the store has no outside leased ven-
dors such as restaurants, banks or a nail salon inside the building, but utilizes the space to feature a number of convenient on-site services such as full service vision and pharmacy with a free store pickup service providing an easy way to shop millions of products on Walmart.com, with many items available for pickup the same day. Automotive products will also be offered, minus the traditional tire center. Peck said that the additional space is utilized by the extended garden center and a much larger seasonal department. While on the surface the new store appears pretty much the same as all the rest, with one important element that Peck and his associates worked hard to
provide to local customers over the years. “We are serving the same community, including many of our customers we call by name, who rely on low prices as well as a quick and friendly service they were used to at the old store,” Peck said. “We intend to continue that tradition. This is not just another big box store, but a place with a family atmosphere. I want our customers to be happy and to receive the same service they have enjoyed at the old store.” Peck rests his confidence in a solid line of longtime associates including Gerri Kanahan, who was there to open the Bloomingdale Square Plaza store in 1986, and now has a chance to welcome her friends, family and area residents for another grand opening celebration. “I am so excited to be going to the new store,” Kanahan said. “I opened this store 30 years ago and now I get to open our new Supercenter.” Opening day festivities will include a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 9 followed by a family fun day on Saturday, March 12, giving customers a chance to meet Peck, and his management team as well as enjoy activities and free food samples while supplies last. The celebration is scheduled from 12 Noon-3 p.m. Demonstrating commitment to the community, a presentation of $8,000 in grants from the Walmart Foundation to local community groups are also scheduled prior to official opening. Additional information about Walmart can be found at corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at twitter.com/walmart. www.walmart.com, www.samsclub.com.
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Volume 16, Issue 1
Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 County Presents Four Potential Sites For New Riverview Library Replacement: Final Choice Is Balm River Road, Across From Camp Cristina
By Tamas Mondovics
Hillsborough County officials turned their focus on expanding or replacing the existing the more than 35-year old 8,000 square feet library in Riverview, located at 10509 Riverview Drive. After a series of public meetings and community input four new sites were selected for consideration. County officials eventually chose the site located on Balm River Road just south Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library system’s of Boyette Road, across new director Andrew S. Breidenbaugh talks to residents during a recent public meeting about the from the Y’s Camp Cristina, replacement of the Riverview Branch Library. just east of U.S. 301, near voice their concerns, which have conRiverview High School. The new firmed patrons’ desires to see a much facility is a $7 million a 25,000 sq ft, larger updated facility, and has one story building with plenty of prompted County officials to offer a parking. list of potential locations for a brand Construction of the new library new building within the borders of the is currently expected to begin Riverview community. sometime in early spring of 2017 The list was narrowed down to with completion in late 2018 or early four potential sites with the majority of 2019. For more information or to send responses—mainly for its convenient input residents may call 273-3652 or location—favoring a little more than seven-acre site on Hackney Drive, email libraryinformation@hillsborjust east of U.S. 301 and north of the oughcounty.org. Alafia River, which is nearly eight Original Story printed May 2016 Hillsborough County Public Library miles from the current library at 10509 Riverview Dr. officials have been working diligently The other three locations for conwith the community to gain input as to the location, size, as well as amenities sideration include two potential sites on Mathog Road, and west of U.S. they want to see in a future expanded 301 and south of the Alafia, close to library in Riverview. For the past few the Kid’s Community College charter months residents had a chance to school. The fourth location is on Balm attend a number of public meetings to
Riverview Road, south of the Alafia and east of U.S. 301, within walking distance of Riverview High School. A new location is the first step in the process as the 8,000 sq. ft. and 35 year-old current building is outdated and too small for the increased customer use accompanied by new development in the area in recent years.
Library officials said the new site will accommodate a new possibly 2025,000 sq, ft., facility, with room to expand, featuring plenty of room for technology instruction, public meetings and a children’s library. “The entire board of county commissioners are supporting this project and we want you to determine the services, the characteristics and amenities that are befitting the Riverview community,” said Commissioner Ken Hagan. The estimated total cost of the project is $7 million. While county officials estimate the new building completion date for mid to late 2018, library project manager Janet Marnatti would not speculate on when to expect a decision on the
site. Officials are promising to hold more meetings once a site is chosen to offer input on what the new library will look like and how it will function. Call 273-3652 or email email@example.com. Visit www.hcplc.org.
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Year in Review- Updates on the Top Stories from 2016 FishHawk Pinch-A-Penny Donates $4,000 To Newsome Band March To Macy’s
By Marie Gilmore
After a lengthy fundraising campaign to cover its travel expenses, the Newsome High School Wolfpack, had its moment of fame during the 90th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The main performance that featured the band in front of nearly 50 million people across the nation may have been brief, but is something that the band will not forget anytime soon. Original Story printed April FishHawk Pinch-A-Penny owners from l. to r. Kathy, Jimmy and Larry Rutledge present a 2016 $4,000 donation to Newsome Band Director For nine years, Pinch-A-Penny Michael Miller and school principal Carla Owner Larry Rutledge and his staff Bruning. have been able to hear the beating Band Director Michael Miller and school of the Newsome drum line every afterPrincipal Carla Bruning were also in noon and even during the summer from attendance to present a plaque of apprehis store located in the Winn Dixie ciation to the band and to accept the anchored Shops at FishHawk. He donation of $4,000 from Pinch-A-Penny. understands the commitment and the The Newsome Band will open the dedication of the band and its practice Free Friday Extra Concert Series conschedule. cert at Water Works Park on Friday, April So, when he and his wife, Kathy, 8 at 7 p.m. The series is presented by and son, Jimmy, were approached this Friends of Tampa Recreation. year and asked to make a donation to "This is not just a trip," Larry the Newsome Marching Band March to explained to the students. Macy's fundraiser helping to get the "This is an opportunity that will have band to the 90th Macy's Thanksgiving lasting effects on you for years to come Day parade this fall, he didn't hesitate. In and will have benefits you can't even fact, he made his Sixth Annual Big imagine yet." Green Egg Fest a benefit for the band Larry is proud of his family-owned and invited the band to perform for the business and proud to be a part of the community outside his store. Newsome Marching Band effort. "It is The fest was a success and Larry, truly our pleasure to contribute to this wife and son, also a Newsome graduopportunity for the students." ate, were invited to a recent practice at FishHawk Pinch-A-Penny is located the school and introduced to the band. at 16715 FishHawk Blvd. Call 655-3700.
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Volume 16, Issue 1