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Get A Taste Of Olivor Heritage Farms At Chuck’s Natural Fields Market
By Taylor Wells
PRSTD STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID TAMPA, FL PERMIT #2397
Lovers of potential dangers and fresh, wellto not have unhappy cared for and and unhealthy aninaturally made mals. meats, produce “Pretty much and other everything we do foods may starts first and forewant to check most with animal well out Olivor being in mind first. Heritage Our initial values and Farms, a new current [values] are vendor at the proper treatJohn Roberts at his stand Chuck’s ment of in Chuck’s Natural Fields Natural Fields the farm Market. Market. animals,” Olivor Heritage Farms was estabsaid John. lished by John and Chrysti Roberts in “Happy February 2015. The farm prides itself animals on personally bred, caught and grown are healthy heritage foods, as well as being able animals and to provide food for themselves rather healthy animals are healthy for people than buying food from stores. Its food and are higher quality. We use pasis all non-GMO (genetically modified tured poultry methods. That means no organisms) and is made without herbi- coop houses, no pens, no confinecides or pesticides. ment. We allow our animals the freeThe farm’s name comes from a dom to roam and plenty of space to combination of their grandsons’ prevent overcrowding. This produces names, Oliver and Ivor. John and less stress and is much more sanitary. Chrysti started the farm so Oliver and Both of these practices contribute to Ivor could learn where their food more flavorful and consistent meat.” comes from and how to grow it natuThe farm can be found at Chuck’s rally. John later found that they had Natural Fields Market at 114 N Kings made a surplus of food. Ave. in Brandon, Monday through “I noticed a niche in the market Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturday, 9 that wasn’t being filled. I decided to do a.m.-6 p.m. It is also located at Flow something to fill that niche,” said John. Fitness Boutique at 11331 US-301 “As for Chuck’s, we’ve only been there #101 in Riverview, Monday through about three weeks. I met Chuck a few Friday, 8:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m. and 3:45months back and we just clicked. We 7:45 p.m. and Saturday, 8:15 a.m.-12 are like-minded on food and it just Noon. seemed like a natural fit.” Visit John’s philosophy is to use comhttps://olivorheritagefarms.com or pletely natural methods of raising and Facebook at growing animals and plants, to avoid www.facebook.com/olivorheritageGMO foods and chemicals due to farms.
Osprey Observer 918 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. Brandon, FL 33511-6121
December 2018 Volume 13, Issue 12 Ph: 657-2418 P O S I T I V E
C O M M U N I T Y
New 10,000 sq. ft. Building Will Be Built For The Women’s Resource Center By Tatiana Ortiz
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 5 for the Women’s Resource Center of Tampa’s new 10,000 sq. ft. space. Construction will begin during the first week of January 2019.
Volunteers, Bay Life Church members, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Tampa Police Department and other community supporters attended the Women’s Resource Center of Tampa’s groundbreaking ceremony on December 5 for its new 10,000 sq. ft. space. Since the organization reached capacity and outgrew it, many look forward to the construction that will begin during the first week of January 2019. To add, this place will also help the organization continue to fulfill its passion of changing lives and restore hope to women and their families. In 2003, Women’s Resource Center of Tampa became established. Since then, more than 33,000 people received assistance. As it is Christ-centered, the organization focuses on restoration of the mind, heart and more to the needy women and families in the community. In addition, the Women’s Resource Center does provide services to 90 residents of Hillsborough County each month. Women’s Resource Center of Tampa and Executive Director Cheryl Hickman said we walk families through the whole process. “We stay with our families as long as it takes,” Hickman said. It does offer a variety of services as well such as health care, employment and more just to name a few. With the larger facility, it will offer a new computer lab with eight brand new computers, 12 case management stations and two classrooms for educational classes such
as GED (General Educational Development). The Women’s Resource Center of Tampa will also expand its food pantry, storage area, clothes closet and more. Bay Life Church Care Pastor and Counseling Center Directo, Brenton Shephard shared how the families will benefit from the new building. “It will provide a long term housing place for the families,” Shephard said. “Overall, my heart is to serve those who are lost and broken,” Hickman said. For information, visit www.wrctampa.org. Check out the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WRCofTampa/. It is located at 1017 Kingsway Rd. in Brandon. Open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Call 309-3357.
In This Issue AUTHOR VISITS BAY LIFE CHURCH ....PG 3 CAREER FAIR AT BRANDON HS ..........PG 9 BULLS 5K RUN..................................PG 11 EYE ON BUSINESS .....................PGS 2526 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT................PG 31 SPORTS CONNECTION......................PG 32
See Page 12 for a full line up of this year’s Florida Strawberry Festival headline entertainment including Willie Nelson, Martina McBride, STYX, Need to Breathe and For King And Country & More. Don’t miss Steven Tyler and The Loving Mary Band, set to perform on Sunday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m.
N E W S
Volume 13, Issue 12
Santa’s Drill Team Looks To Partner With Veteran Organizations In The Community
By Libby Hopkins
assemble. “Santa’s Drill Team serves as the Honor Guard for the Santa Claus Oath, for the Santa Claus Hall of Fame and for the Knights of St Nicholas,” Elkin said. “The drill
The Santa Claus Drill Team is public charitable organization. Santa’s Drill Team is not a precision drill team, rather a collection of primarily grizzled old Veterans who are Santas and whose mission is to bring honor, sometimes with a little humor, to those who serve, those who have served, along with our local heroes, our first responders and our teachers.
Being Santa Claus is a busy job, especially this time of year. Bob Elkin, or ‘Santa Bob’ as he is known to many, is busy year-round. Why you ask? Well, because he is one of the founding members of The Santa Claus Drill Team. “I first portrayed Santa at my 3year-old granddaughter’s preschool in 1993 and was hooked,” Elkin said. “After attending a Santa workshop in 2004, I became serious about my role as a professional Santa Claus. In 2006 I attended the first modern-day Santa convention and I started the Palm Tree Santas and have served as president since then. I was one of the founding members of The Santa Claus Drill Team in 2010 and have served as president since 2012.” He was also inducted into the Santa Claus Hall of Fame 2017. The Santa Claus Drill Team is a public charitable organization. Santa’s Drill Team is not a precision drill team, rather a collection of primarily grizzled old veterans who are Santas and whose mission is to bring honor, sometimes with a little humor, to those who serve, those who have served, along with our local heroes, our first responders and our teachers. “Santa’s Drill Team was started to honor those who serve and those who have served as well as a way for us Santa’s to give back to the community the other 11 months of the year,” Elkin said. The drill team’s primary mission lies in performing patriotic presentations in honor of our American Heroes wherever and whenever patriotic Americans may
team is called upon to present our special patriotic presentations at almost all the national Santa Conventions.” Elkin and his drill team would love to get involved with veteran or patriotic events in the Brandon community in the near future. “I love just being able to honor our veterans, and we have added honoring our local heroes, our policemen, our firefighters and our teachers,” Elkin said. “We are available to entertain at most any type of event. We would love to bring our special show of patriotism to elementary schools.” Unfortunately, Elkin and his Santa’s are not available during the month of December. If you would like to learn more about The Santa Claus Drill Team, you can visit our website at www.facebook.com/groups/santasdrillteam or email Elkin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Elkin said you can also “Give Old Kringle a jingle at 2309254.”
Best-selling Author Of The Five Love Languages To Speak At Bay Life Church
By Amanda Boston
After the hustle Chapman and know that if and bustle of the holicouples apply the informadays, could you and tion he gives, it will help to your spouse use a build their marriages.” date night? If so, join Couples will be preNew York Times bestsented with valuable tips selling author Dr. Gary on identifying and underChapman on Monday, standing their ‘love lanFebruary 11 from 7-9 guages’ as well as their p.m. at Bay Life partner’s language. Church in Brandon. Simply put, love lanThe author of The guages are the way Five Love someone communicates Languages™ will be their love so when couspeaking on relationples learn how they ships for a special show and receive love, it date night. often drastically improves Since 1995, The their communication and Five Love connection. Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of Languages™ has The event is not limthe best-selling series, The Five sold more than 11 ited to married couples. Love Languages. He also presents million copies and this relationship advice at seminars Couples who are around the world. helped thousands of engaged or dating can couples build a better marriage with prac- significantly benefit from the seminar. Dr. tical and biblically sound advice. Dr. Chapman will be selling his books on site Chapman, also a seasoned speaker, with up to 50 percent off. delivers an engaging evening filled with Pastor Eichem also added a personlaughter and learning. al invite and said, “Love to encourage The cost is $29 per couple with tickcouples to just take a chance and join us. ets available for purchase online at Take the time to invest in your marriage.” www.baylife.org/date. Tickets will also be Bay Life is also offering a four-week maravailable at the door. However, due to its riage class on Sunday afternoons followpopularity and possible sellout, Bay Life ing the date night event. Couples can suggests purchasing the tickets beforesign up at the date night event. hand. For information, visit Tom Eichem, the executive pastor at www.baylife.org/date or call 661-3696. Bay Life, commented on the event, “We Bay Life is located at 1017 Kingsway Rd. are hoping it encourages and strengthens in Brandon. For further detail on author marriages in our community.” He continDr. Chapman, visit www.5lovelanued, “We are excited to host Dr. guages.com.
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Volume 13, Issue 12
Brandon High School JROTC Honors Past Instructor/Mentor During Veterans Day Week The Brandon High School (BHS) Army JROTC program hosted its first annual Veterans Week Pass-in-Review on November 8 at E.F. McLane Stadium. It was held in honor of Brandon’s former Senior Army Instructor, Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Thomas Michel, who served on the faculty at BHS from 1979 to 1999 teaching and mentoring thousands of cadets during his years as an instructor. Colonel Michel came to Brandon after a successful career with the U.S. Army Field Artillery that included a tour of duty as a military advisor in Vietnam. Joining Colonel Michel for the ceremony was his son, Admiral (Ret.) Charles Michel, who retired in May of this year as Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. Admiral Michel graduated with the BHS class of 1981 and was the cadet battalion commander for the Eagle Battalion (Army JROTC) in his senior year. Following graduation from the Coast Guard Academy in 1985, he served 33 years as a commissioned officer in a variety of diverse assignments. The host commander for the Pass-inReview was Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Donald Gunn, the current Senior Army Instructor for Brandon High School, who, like Admiral Michel, was a Brandon cadet during Colonel Michel’s tenure with the JROTC program. He served as the cadet battalion commander for BHS during school year 1985-1986. Like Colonel Michel, he served over 20 years in the Army before retiring and returning to the Brandon area to become a JROTC instructor. The current cadet battalion com-
mander, Rayna Drigo, received a surprise promotion to Cadet Lt. Colonel just prior to the Pass-in-Review. Her new rank insignia was pinned on by two former BHS cadet battalion commanders, Admiral Michel and Colonel Gunn. Rayna has received a Letter of Assurance from the Admissions Office at the United States Military Academy at West Point, which reserves a seat for her in the West Point Class of 2023 pending final medical and physical fitness qualification. Drigo said, “The Brandon High School JROTC program and I are truly honored to have been able to participate in such a special event honoring LTC Reviewing Officer for the Pass-in-Review, LTC Michel, accompanied to his right by the host commander, LTC Gunn. Michael and all the veterans who have served and protected our country. I think it’s important to show love and support to all of our nation's veterans, and I hope this event is the start of a tradition at Brandon High School as well as inspires many other people in the community to show their love and support for those who have and still are giving their lives for our freedoms.” The BHS JROTC program was established by the Army in April of 1972 and began training its first cadets during school year 19721973, the first year of instruction at Brandon’s new campus on Victoria Street. In addition to Colonel Gunn, Brandon’s JROTC program is led by Master Sergeant Robert Maestas and Sergeant First Class James Smith. Cadets from D & E Companies march Brandon High School is located lor Guard marches towards the Reviewi a The Brandon H.S. Co yn Ra t de ng Stand at E.F. Mc Ca of n tio ec dir the r La at 1101 Victoria St. in Brandon. Visit ne forward unde St adium. Drigo. http://brandon.mysdhc.org/.
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First Saturday of month; 2-5 p.m. Beve Cibo, 5622 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Lithia Sponsored by First Light Home Care. 50/50 Raffle supports Relay for Life $1 of every Sparkling Berries Cocktail donated back to Relay.
Tampa Bay Chief Petty Officers Meeting
Fourth Thursday each month; 6:30 p.m. Tampa Buffet, 3904 S. Dale Mabry, Britton Plaza, Tampa For information, call Chuck Peterman, President – 767-1569 Third Tuesday of Month; 6 p.m. Savannah Court of Brandon, 824 N. Parsons Ave., Brandon Call 643-6767 to RSVP with Rhonda Fournier, Executive Director.
Hawthorne Health & Rehab Parkinson’s Disease Support Group
Third Thursday of the Month; 2 p.m. 851 W. Lumsden Rd., Brandon For more information or to register, call 661-8998 - M-F 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
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Shabbat Services–Fridays; 7 p.m. 706 Bryan Rd., Brandon Oneg, nosh and mingle follows. All welcome. Call 681-6547.
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Wednesday, January 2, 2019; 6:30-8 p.m. Bloomingdale Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico Learn how to create a backyard habitat to attract butterflies and birds using native and local plants. Presentation is from Master Gardener Teri Brockway. Please bring a plant or other gardening item for a fun Plant Swap. Email Richard@seedroff.com or call 303-638-3917 for more info.
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First Tuesday of the Month; 7 p.m. Alafia American Legion Post #148, 7240 US Hwy. 301 in Riverview. The Sgt. Walter P. Ryan Detachment of the Marine Corps League is looking for new members. All Marines welcome. Other military branch members accepted too. Email email@example.com or call Ron Essick at 503-0390.
VFW Riverview Post 8108 Events
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Volume 13, Issue 12
Plant City Resident M’ria Swire Creates Beautiful Works Of Art
By Kathy L. Collins
M’ria Swire of addition, you can see Plant City is an her art at The Blind Abstract Figurative Tiger in South Tampa painter. She uses on Howard Ave., 81 Bay acrylic as her priBrews in Tampa, Quality mary medium to Foods Market in Lutz create wonderful and Cider Press in St. works of art. While Petersburg. acrylic is her priThis March, you can mary medium, her see Swire’s art work at creativity allows her the 11th Annual to experiment with Winthrop Arts Festival applications and and Market. The 2019 other mediums to juried art festival will be build texture and held on Saturday, March form in her works of 30 and Sunday, March Artist M’ria Swire creates beautiful art. 31 in the Winthrop comworks of art using acrylic as her primary medium and the female munity (Winthrop Swire said, “I use the female form form in her paintings. You can see Commons) located in her work all over the area including as a way to harness Riverview. “I applied to at the weekly TMarie’s Valrico expression, emotion Sunday Market and next March at the festival because I the 11th Annual Winthrop Arts and energy.” Swire want to take my art Festival and Market. added, “My work exhibition to the next morphs movement and fluidity into a level. I want to immerse myself in art layered experience which is construct- events especially at locations where ed through application and color. This people are into the arts,” Said Swire. links the mindset to movement and Swire hosts Live Painting and application.” Potluck events at Overflow Brewing “I hope that my art makes people Company located at 770 N. 1st Ave. in feel something. I want people to really St. Petersburg one time a month. The look at art and appreciate it,” said next one is on December 30 from 2 to Swire. 6 p.m. Swire has been an artist for as Swire takes commissions. long as she can remember. She Because she is an abstract artist, she received a BFA from the University of will make up to five paintings to South Florida in 2013. She is a prolific ensure that the customer receives artist whose art can be seen all something that they like. around the Tampa Bay area. You can For more information on Swire and see Swire’s work each week at the to see some of her art, please visit TMarie’s Valrico Sunday Market. In www.mriasmezzanine.com.
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Brandon High School Hosts Career Fair
By Kate Quesada
with the Chamber and BHS to develop the event and she hopes to coordinate an even larger job fair in the spring. “There are tons of employers hiring in the Tampa Bay Area and we want to keep the students here,” said Snively. “With this type of event, students are
Warren Brooks, Workforce Connections Officer, Brandon HS Principal Jennifer Sparano, HCPS Board Member Melissa Snively, Dr. Nancee Sorenson HCC Brandon Campus President and HCPS Government Relations Representative Jason Pepe attended a career fair at Brandon High School.
Brandon High School (BHS) found a new way to inspire their students at this year’s Great American Teach-In last month. The school collaborated with the Education and Workforce Connection Council of the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce to host a career fair offering information from a group of local employers. Businesses and organizations, including Hillsborough Community College, Tampa Electric, Rasmussen College, Empire Beauty School, Hillsborough County Public Schools Technical Colleges, Brandon Regional Hospital and the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce, met with students throughout the event discussing possibilities for their futures after high school. “There is no greater asset to a school than the support of its community,” said BHS Principal Jennifer Sparano. “This career fair represents the opportunity for students to connect with our community businesses and network, so that they have post-secondary opportunities readily available where they live.” Hillsborough County School Board member Melissa Snively worked closely
able to learn how their interests can be transformed into a career.” BHS junior Zack York attended the event with the hopes of finding out more about the possibility of a career in elementary education. “Today I learned that there are so many opportunities out there for employment and I should really take advantage of these opportunities because they can help me later in life,” said York. Tampa Electric brought out equipment and information about their journeyman lineman program, which is an apprenticeship where students are paid while learning the hands-on skills and taking the classes required to become professionals in the field. “We came to show students that there are other options out there for them besides college,” said Sam Nowakowski, Supervisor of Technical Training at TECO. Brandon High School is located at 1101 Victoria St. in Brandon and can be reached at 744-8120. For more information on the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce Education and Workforce Council, visit www.brandonchmaber.com or call 689-1221.
New Main Street Group To Work With Elected Officials
By Michelle Colesanti
of forum instead of what we see played out.” This is not a political organization and Clark hopes that the local business owners can work with elected officials no matter their political affiliation to help benefit both sides. A group of local business owners are starting a Main Street As the represengroup and met with Representative Adam Hattersley from tatives gain a better District 59 (second from left). Local business owners are invited to participate in upcoming meetings. understanding of what local businessAs the 2018 election season came to es need, it is the hope that this informaa close, a group of local entrepreneurs tion can be useful when the representafrom the Brandon area met with newly tives return to the state house or to elected Representative Adam Hattersley Washington, D.C. (Dist. 59). This was Hattersley’s first meeting Business owners from the automowith local constituents. He was very intertive sector as well as others are starting a ested in what the business owners had to Main Street group and invite local busisay despite the fact that his term had not ness owners in the community to particiyet officially began. pate. The purpose of these meetings will “We’re already out there meeting be for the business owners to meet with constituents, no matter what side of the local elected officials to discuss issues political fence they sit on,” he noted. that directly affect how their business is Other business owners at the meetdone. ing included Neal Kahn owner of Olin Bob Clarke, Owner of Clarke Mott Tire; Mark Yencarelli, who recently Automotive Systems, said, “The governpurchased Velocity Lube & Repair; Julie ment becomes increasingly important in Arndt, owner of Minuteman Press; and my business, and without true represenMatt Chipman, a retired army veteran. tation I’m not going to be able to be sucThere were a few other interested busicessful in the future.” ness owners that were not in attendance. He said the group is forming to call Jeff Eakens, Superintendent of Schools elected officials to explain what is on the also plans to participate in the group. legislative table and to tell the business For information on its next meeting, owners what the issues are. “This is an contact Bob Clarke at 685-2939 or extremely important time for the country Bob@clarkeauto.net. and we need to be able to have this kind
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Volume 13, Issue 12
Chef Gaston Merideth To Be Honored By Black Chef's Association
Brandon Academy Students Reach Out To Serve The Community
Local Brandon resiin Wedding Wire and dent, Gaston Merideth number one in Tampa or Chef Gaston as he is Bay by Thumbtack," better known, will be a said Chef Gaston. recipient of the 2nd Gaston's Culinary Annual National Black Service recently did the Chef's Association's Craft Service for the 2019 Chef's Awards. filming of Bernie The Chef Gaston will be Dolphin, a movie that honored with the award was filmed here in the this February in Tampa Bay Area and Philadelphia. released this month. Chef Gaston will be In addition, recognized along with Chef Gaston other great chefs such Brandon resident, has developed Chef Gaston as New Orleans' legend Chef G's Merideth, will be Leah Chase of Dooky Florida honored at the Chase Restaurant. Barbecue Second Annual National Black Chef Chase is known Sauce which is Association's 2019 Chef's as the Queen of Creole Chef's sold locally at Chuck's Award in Philadelphia this Cuisine. February. Chef Gaston has been Natural Fields Market in Chef Chanda Clark creating delectable culinary dishes Brandon. for a quarter of a century. of Sweetie Pie's and Chef Gaston has Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network will also been cooking for 25 years. He served in be recognized along with multiple other the Coast Guard as a chef. He has chefs from around the country. served as an instructor of Culinary Arts at When asked what he thought when Manatee Technical College. He has also he learned he would be recognized, Chef cooked on live local television. This well Gaston said, "Finally, I have a chance to rounded chef is truly deserving of his get a personal award." Chef Gaston award. added, "My companies have received Chef Gaston's love of food and cooknumerous awards and recognitions, but I ing is evident. He said, "When you cook have never received an individual award." for a crowd, you are not only serving your Chef Gaston owns and operates client, but you are serving your client's Gaston's Culinary Services which is an clients. You get instant gratification and offsite catering business. They can cater praise when your food is good and liked." small, intimate and elegant affairs or large For more information on Chef Gaston events with up to 1300 people. "We have and Gaston's Culinary Services, please been ranked number seven by Tampa visit www.gastonculinaryservices.com or Bay Business Journal two times, top five www.flbbqsauce.com.
Brandon Academy thy,” said Dominick Students from grades K-12 Giombetti, upper school are reaching out to serve principal at Brandon those in need in the surAcademy. rounding community. In November, stuDuring the first nine weeks dents raised funds and of the school year, various gathered food for classes from K-5 have visitThanksgiving baskets for ed the elderly at Consulate students of families who Assisted Living, a long attend Trapnell standing tradition. Students Elementary School in perform songs, assist with Students visit with patients at Plant City. The Student Consulate Assisted Living, a crafts, read stories they Council donated $100 long standing tradition for have written as well as visit Brandon Academy students. from the proceeds from its with patients. “I often tell my students this recent Spookfest, 8th grade students sold quote from Audrey Hepburn, who said, Spookygrams and raised $238, grades K‘You have two hands…one to help your5 gathered shelf stable nutritious food self and the second to help others,’” said items for baskets and Brandon Sondra Cliggitt, lower school principal at Academy’s community partner, Winn Brandon Academy. Dixie, donated $250 toward this project. The upper grades (6-12) serve variThe combined efforts served over 31 ous groups during three scheduled families this Thanksgiving. “Serving famiScorpion Days. During the first one, the lies in need is important to me. Everyone 6th graders prepared 100 lunch bags for deserves food, especially a nice meal the homeless in conjunction with THORN around the holidays,“ said Sean Burns, Ministries. Regional Manager of Winn Dixie in 7th grade students participated in a Valrico. cleanup of Limona Park, and 8th graders December is the time when Brandon went to the Hillsborough County Pet Academy students become Scorpion Resource Center. Students from grades Angels for adults with physical and/or 9-12 spent time working at Feeding mental disabilities who either live in group Tampa Bay. homes or are monitored by Dream “Part of my mission for my students Support. This will be the fifth year that the is to create opportunities to serve others. school’s students have served these While we are developing strong minds, clients who are generally forgotten during we are also exposing our students to the holidays. areas of need not only within our commuBrandon Academy is located at 801 nity but also within our world. Today’s Limona Dr. It serves pre-K 3 through children will be tomorrow’s leaders and 12th grades. For information, call 689the most successful leaders have empa1952 or email@example.com.
By Kathy L. Collins
Second Annual Bloomingdale High School Running Of The Bulls 5K Set
By Jane Owen
as well as runners from the community and local running groups like Brandon Running Association, FishHawk Road Runners and HTTR Tornadoes. Running on campus was especially sweet for Bloomingdale alumnus Patricia Help support Bloomingdale Band and athletics at this year’s Rossie. Running of the Bulls 5K on Saturday, January 19. “It felt amazingWith a new year around ly nostalgic. I haven’t been the corner, Bloomingdale back to the campus since High School is ready for its 1990 and since I wasn’t a annual Running of the Bulls runner in high school, I 5K. The 5K, which particinever had the experience pants can run or walk, will be of running on the held on Saturday, January 19. school’s track field. As This unique race is focused being part of the second on bringing the community together to support high school students. Made possible by local business sponsorships, such as the title sponsor Acropolis Greek Taverna, the Band leadership holds a banner supporting the runners at last year’s annual Running of the Bulls 5k. Running of the Bulls 5k was created last year to graduating senior class of raise money for the band. This year, Bloomingdale High School, I was school athletic teams also profit from elated to tour the grounds once the race. again, even if it meant wheezing Participants can enjoy the race towards a finish line.” knowing they are making a difference Rossie encourages everyone to to students. All of the profit goes to consider a 5K. the school. This matters to the pro“A 5K race is the perfect distance grams that often need more than is and opportunity to mix fitness, social available to them. camaraderie and goal setting. It’s “We will use the funds to help suitable for both runners and walkers supplement instrument repair and of every level to come together, bring replacement. The fact is that we have their families and still have plenty of instruments that are 32 years old. time to enjoy post-race celebrating all Some of them can be repaired and before breakfast.” some of them are beyond repair,” The Running of the Bulls 5k is said Jon Sever, Director of Bands for timed by FitNiche Events. Registrants Celebrating Celebrating Bloomingdale Senior High School. receive a dri-fit 30 yearsshirt. Finishers will in business! “The good thingAir is,Conditioning this really is an receive medals and top age group fin& Heating easy and fun way to raise funds for ishers will receive awards.Expires: the program.” Registration costs $30.January Register at 30, 2019 Sunairtampa.com 813-684-9919 Last year’s race welcomed |curhttps://fitniche.com/event/runningRetail Value: $96 Owned andfamilies, Operated for 30bulls-5k-2/. Years rent and past Family students and CAC044863
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Volume 13, Issue 12
Florida Strawberry Festival Announces Headline Entertainment Lineup
The Florida Anderson & Strawberry Bobby Bare Festival released ($20) and 7:30 its lineup of p.m. Old headline enterDominion’s tainment artists Make It Sweet performing on Tour ($45). the Wish Farms “Our headSoundstage at line entertainthe 2019 event. ment lineup is Whether you are one of the most a country fan, anticipated rock, R&B or Don’t miss Kool & The Gang will perform at Get your tickets for Martina McBride, set to announcements Don’t miss Steven Tyler and The Loving the 2019 Strawberry Festival on Saturday, perform at the 2019 Strawberry Festival on we make prior oldies fan, there Mary Band, set to perform on Sunday, March March 2 at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. 3 at 7:30 p.m. is something for to the opening everyone. The lineup is as of the festival,” said Florida follows: Strawberry Festival President Thursday, February 28 Paul Davis. “We receive many 10:30 a.m. Jimmy Sturr & His calls throughout the year leadOrchestra (Free); 3:30 p.m ing up to the event from The Oak Ridge Boys ($20) guests who are eager to hear and 7:30 p.m. ALABAMA who will be performing.” ($45); Advance tickets for admisFriday, March 1 - 3:30 sion and for headline enterp.m. Willie Nelson & Family tainment shows will go on sale ($45) and 7:30 p.m. Brothers Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 at 8 Osborne ($40); a.m. and can be purchased Old Dominion will close out the 2019 miss Home Free set to perform Saturday, March 2 - 3:30 Don’t Strawberry Festival headline concerts on online at www.flstrawberryfesat the 2019 Strawberry Festival on p.m. Home Free ($20) and Sunday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. tival.com, at the Amscot Main Saturday, March 2 at 3:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. Kool & the Gang Ticket Office located at 2209 Coasters ($20) and 7:30 7:30 p.m. for King & Country ($30); W. Oak Ave. in Plant City and by p.m. NEEDTO($30); Sunday, March 3 - 3:30 p.m. phone at 754-1996. BREATHE ($35); Friday, March 8 - 3:30 Chicks with Hits featuring Terri Clark, For more information about ADA Wednesday, March p.m. Tanya Tucker ($30) and Pam Tillis and Suzy Bogguss ($25) accessible seating or tour group sales, 6 - 3:30 p.m. Gene 7:30 p.m. Chris Janson and 7:30 p.m. An Evening with Steven call 719-6680. Watson ($20) and 7:30 ($30); Tyler and The Loving Mary Band ($25); p.m. STYX ($35); The 84th Annual Florida Saturday, March 9 Monday, March 4 - 3:30 p.m. Pat Strawberry Festival will take place Thursday, March 7 3:30 p.m. Florida Strawberry Boone ($20) and 7:30 p.m. Martina February 28-March 10. Visit - 10:30 a.m. The Festival’s Battle of the Bands McBride ($35); www.flstrawberryfestival.com, Kingston Trio (Free), Finale (Free) and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5 - 3:30 p.m. The 3:30 p.m. The Letterman ($20) and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Keith Sweat ($30); Drifters, Platters & Cornell Gunter’s (#berryfest19). Sunday, March 10 - 3:30 p.m. Bill
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LifeCare Network Asks Local Community To Support Diaper Drive
The Bridges Should Be Your
By Amanda Boston
With a lofty goal Jessica Rickenbach, of 100,000 diapers, the Development LifeCare Network is Director of LifeCare asking the community Network in Brandon. to be the helping “This year we started hands with its Sanctity to run out of sizes in of Life Diaper Drive. October. We are hopFor more than 30 ing that others in our years, LifeCare community will partNetwork has sought ner with us for the to protect the sanctity diaper drive.” of life through promotLifeCare Choices ing biblical sexuality Centers offer a variand educating new ety of support for parents. expecting mothers Pictured are Bell Shoals The diaper and and new parents. Baptist Church members wipe drive correFrom pregnancy who assisted with last year's Sanctity of Life sponds with National tests to assistance Diaper Drive. Sanctity of Life after the birth, the Sunday, which falls on the third Sunday ministry educates as it provides physiin January. President Ronald Reagan cal, emotional and spiritual support. first enacted the Sanctity of Life Sunday The diaper and wipe drive specifion January 22, 1984, which was also cally supports its ‘Earn While You the same day that the U.S. Supreme Learn’ program, which offers classes Court legalized abortion in all 50 states covering prenatal care, labor and deliv(January 22, 1973). The Church uses ery, nutrition and breastfeeding. While the third Sunday in January to celethe clients learn, they also earn ‘Baby brate human life as well as mourn the Bucks’ to purchase items like diapers lives lost to abortion. and other supplies in its Baby Boutique. In previous years, local churches The nonprofit is requesting diaper supplied the demand for diapers, but sizes newborn to five with the greatest this year, the nonprofit is reaching out need for sizes 3, 4, 5. Rickenbach to businesses, neighborhoods and added, “We are believing that the Lord schools to host a drive. The amount of will provide immeasurably more diapers 100,000 diapers would sustain and wipes than we could ever imagine.” LifeCare’s Choices Centers in Brandon For information or to get involved, and SouthShore for the entire year of visit www.LifeCareNetwork.net, contact 2019. Jessica Rickenbach at “Our need for diapers is growing as Jessica@LifeCareNetwork.net or call we are serving more clients,” said 654-0491.
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Volume 13, Issue 12
Local Author Shares 100 Things To Do In Tampa Bay In New Book
By Taylor Wells
Solomon’s Castle in Ona in Hardee County.
Kristen Hare, the author of 100 Things to Do in Tampa Bay Before You Die, 2nd Edition. The cover of 100 Things to Do in Tampa You can now read local Bay Before You Die, 2nd Edition. author Kristen Hare’s 100 Things aged to give these 100 things to Do in Tampa Bay Before You Die, a try. 2nd Edition, which recently became Kristen had this to say available in October. The helpfully about writing her guidebook: varied and descriptive bucket list “When we first moved here in 2012, shares Kristen’s personal experimy family thought it would just be for ences of the most noteworthy attraca year, so we decided to live like tions she visited in Tampa Bay. Whether you are new to the area or a tourists and see, try and go everylongtime resident, you may find some where we could. We loved it here so much that we decided to look for jobs new and interesting places nearby to that would let us stay.” Writing this visit. book has allowed her to explore even The second edition features 30 more places. new adventures in the list. This new The author has many personal edition of Kristen’s book was written favorites. She loves Medard Park in with locals in mind so tourists would Plant City for its convenient location not be the only ones having fun. and the fun kids have there. Then Everything inside is a good time for there is Leaven Brewing in Riverview, all, though, so everyone is encour-
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a top brewery that is perfect for date nights. Next up is Brocante Market in St. Pete, a place filled with amazing vintage treasures that opens only on the first weekend of
each month. Those who seek the weirder side of Florida might want to visit Solomon’s Castle in Ona, an aluminum construction filled with art crafted from recycled objects. And there are so many more things to do. Have a delightful time getting the password to an exclusive 1920s-inspired speakeasy called Ciro’s. Explore the excitingly strange Dali Museum that celebrates the surreal Salvador Dali. Find countless different things at the massive Big Top Flea Market and its 1,200 booths. Visit the mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park for a beautiful show and fun times. There are hundreds of things to do, so go out and explore. “I think as long as I live here, future editions are possible, and I have no plans to leave!” said Kristen. “Next on my list is a road trip guide.” The book is published by Reedy Press and can be purchased at www.reedypress.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other places where books are sold.
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Life Story Writing Classes Help Preserve Stories For Future Generations
By Michelle Colesanti
There are A different theme is visited many reasons each week. Hands-on activities to put pen to and group interaction help participaper and pants to dig deeper into buried write down the memories. stories of your Individuals can improve selflife. You may esteem and increase self-confinot think that dence through class interaction. your stories The first LSW classes were are interesting held at Bloomingdale Library enough, but when it first opened in 2005. Val your family’s Perry was Bloomingdale future generain the first Regional Library tions will be class. The offers a 10-week Life appreciative. original Story Writing class You have will be held starting at instructor, the end of January the interest, Carol 2019. Val Perry has but how do Byrd, kept the program going since 2007. you begin? became ill The Bloomingdale Writer’s and the Connection (BWC) offers an Friends A group photo from the 2018 Saturday Life Story Writing class needed award-winning Life Story held at Bloomingdale Regional Writing/Memoir class beginning at volunteers Library. New classes begin the end the end of January at to carry on of January. Bloomingdale Regional Library. the proThis 10-week Life Story Writing (LSW) gram. Perry and Lynn Gardner (now class is free to participants and funded deceased) offered to continue the by the Friends of Bloomingdale classes beginning in the summer of Regional Library. The class is based 2007. off of Dr. James Birren’s Guided According to Perry, “I felt strongly Autobiography, a method used for that this class must continue. I had helping people document their life storecently retired from my volunteer ries. Classes are for young adults or work with the Girl Scouts at their retirees alike. Tampa headquarters which meant I Each class meets for about two had the time available. I love to write and a half hours each week and is and most of my previous writing had appropriate for all skill levels and all been life stories, although I did not ages. Whether you are brand new to know the term at the time.” writing or a professional writer, you will Upon graduation from the 10-week find a fit in this program. class, participants become members Three classes will run simultaneof the BWC, which came about when ously. One begins Wednesday, a group of writers from the original January 30, 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. class decided to keep meeting. Another class begins Friday, February For more details, please pick up a 1, 1:30–4:30 p.m. and the third class brochure in the lobby of the library or starts Saturday, February 2 from 1:30email LifeWritersBloom@msn.com. 4:30 p.m. Participants are required to plan on Many people find the course to be attending all 10 classes. therapeutic because the classes invite To register, go to the ‘Ask Desk’ them to reflect on their lives and get inside the library or new perspectives. email LifeWritersBloom@msn.com.
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Seniors In Riverview Retirement Community Recreate Classic Movie Roles In 2019 Calendar
Staff Report and Photos courtesy of Huth & Booth Photography the eccentric socialite made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, she hesitated for a short time, but later agreed. “While I am not a showy person, I thought, why not? I am very pleased with the photograph and my children are so happy I did it,” said Williams. A special Premier Party was held on
The Bridges Retirement Community created a 2019 calendar featuring seniors ‘recreating’ popular Hollywood movie roles, including costumes, props and backgrounds. The residents, aged 73 to 97 years old, participated in recreating 12 movie scenes such as Thelma & Louise, Cleopatra, Grease, Sister Act, Rocky, Mary Poppins and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. For these seniors, age is no obstacle to dressing up like famous movie characters. Frank Danisi, a
The Bridges Retirement Community residents Inez and Charles Kilby appear as Bonnie & Clyde in the 2019 calendar recreating popular movie roles.
November 15 at The Clubhouse at The Bridges to unveil the calendar. Residents portraying movie characters walked the red carpet as part of the event. A framed 24” x 36” canvas portrait of each movie, courtesy of Huth & Booth Photography, was on display. “Involving our residents in meaningful and enjoyable projects such as these has The Bridges Retirement Community resident Shirley become a hallmark of The Michael appears as Mary Poppins in the 2019 cal- Bridges. We strive to showendar recreating popular movie roles. case their skills, share their unique stories and create an environ96-year-old retired Army veteran who ment that promotes each resident’s served during WWII and received the individuality,” stated Donna Purple Heart, had not worn a tuxedo Steiermann, Executive Director. in over 50 years when he dressed up The Bridges Retirement to play the part of James Bond. “I Community in Riverview is dedicated had never experienced a professionto providing health care and housing al photo shoot, let alone as the 007 for the elderly. The Bridges features character,” quipped Danisi. assisted living and memory care resiAt 97 years old, Eileen Williams dences with all amenities at 11202 has traveled much of the world as Dewhurst Dr. in Riverview. Call 413the wife of a Navy Commander. 8900 or visit https://bridgesretireWhen asked to dress as the role of ment.com.
Volume 13, Issue 12
Bloomingdale Football Hosts First Playoff Game; Defeats Palmetto 21-14
Local Candle Company Creates Candles To Help Empower Young Girls
The Bloomingdale “It brings attention to Bulls hosted its first just another reason playoff game in school why we play this history, defeating game.” Palmetto 21-14. It’s Bloomingdale been a year of firsts for extended its lead to Bloomingdale. The 14-0 after a punt team bested previousreturned to Palmetto’s ly undefeated 15-yard-line, setting up Riverdale the week a three-yard touchprior to claim its down run by first playoff victory Montgomery. Photos by Conor Malloy in school history. “We are 11-1 over The defense of the They sit at 10-1 for Bulls was stout again, the last two seasons not giving up a point playing at home. Our the best record in until the fourth quarter. school history as band is a major factor well. (when they travel with us also) and does “Since the day I was hired, we have an incredible job of playing very loudly been talking about playoffs and making and making it difficult on our opponent,” history,” said third-year Head Coach said Warner. “Our student section was Max Warner. “I am extremely proud of there at 6 p.m. for the playoff game, getthe players and the effort they have put ting on Palmetto during warm-ups. We in to make this a reality.” have a major home-field advantage The Bulls were in control for the when you put the band and Red Sea majority of the game, scoring first on a together. We can definitely feel the Charles Montgomery 12-yard touchenergy and support.” down pass to Terrel Ferrell to make it 7The Palmetto Tigers got on the 0. The defense was stout as usual, not board with six minutes left in the game giving up a point to the high-powered to make it 14-7. The Bulls countered Palmetto offense until late in the fourth quickly with a long 52-yard run by quarter, despite missing star linebacker Dominic Gonnella to the Tigers’ 28-yard Landon Moody, who was unavailable line, leading to a Montgomery 10-yard due to injury. touchdown pass to Charlie Skinner with The sold out home crowd was elec- 3:08 left in the game. tric, roaring loudly the whole game. The The Bloomingdale Bulls played the loyal fans have been waiting for a stage defending champs for Class 7A, Region like this since Bloomingdale’s inception 3, Venice, on November 23. With a 57 in 1987. “Playing in front of our fans and to 32 loss to Venice, Bloomingdale community is electrifying,” said running ended its best season ever at 11-2. back/defensive back Dominic Gonnella.
The Girls choose a scent, Empowered packaging, labeling, Mentally for ordering supplies. Success organizaAlong the way we tion, has a mission emphasize the is to engage eleimportance of qualimentary, middle ty control and work and high school ethics.” girls, empowering Pesano and them to discover her staff made sure their passion and the GEMS were purpose through introduced to all creativity and wisaspects of the canPhala Pesano, owner of dom. dle business in local candle company, Seventh Avenue Phala Pesano, addition to the Apothecary and Valrico resident, recently manufacturing owner of local canpartnered with The Girls Empowered dle company, process from Mentally for Success organization or “GEMS” to create Transitions Candles. Seventh Avenue preparing the canApothecary and Valrico resident, recently dle vessel, cleaning and labeling, then partnered with the GEMS to create packaging and selling. Transitions Candles. “The director, Crystal Pesano hopes other local businesses Bailes reached out to us and told me that will get involved with the GEMS or other she was looking for a company to work local youth programs. “I would love to see with her program,” Pesano said. “I could more businesses get involved directly not resist. It is such a great cause and with programs that support youth in our right down my alley working with teens.” community in a way that helps kids sucTransitions Candles is the social ceed,” Pesano said. “Being a mentor to enterprise of GEMS that provides another these young people is just as rewarding means for a healthy transition for a for our business as it is for the kids. GEMS girl. “The girls came into our shop Tampa has several great programs for and the first step was to sit down and talk young people but they need community about business principals, the value of support both financial but also by giving being an entrepreneur, the perks and the your time for the kids.” challenges of owning your own business Visit it website at www.girlsrgems.org. as well as the core values you must If you’d like to purchase a Transitions establish,” Pesano said. “We go into the Candle, you can visit the candle website how and whats of choosing a product and at www.transitionscandles.com or call how to establish everything from bookPesano at 247-3814. Seventh Avenue keeping to manufacturing to ordering sup- Apothecary is located at 3810 E. 7th Ave. plies, etc. Then the process of how to in Tampa.
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and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready The Bridges Retirement AMERICAN PICKto find extraordiERS To Film In Community Hosts nary items and Florida Veterans Assistance hear fascinating Seminar Mike Wolfe, Frank tales about Fritz and their team are The Bridges them. AMERIexcited to return to Retirement Community is CAN PICKERS Florida. They plan to hosting a veterans assistance seminar on is looking for film episodes of the hit Thursday, January 17 from 10-11 a.m. to leads and would series AMERICAN educate wartime veterans and their surPresenting the Environmental Conservation love to explore PICKERS throughout vivors about a benefit through the U.S. Award award to Lee Ann Coleman Cassell your hidden the region in February Department of Veterans Affairs ‘Improved and Brett Coleman are local Ducks Unlimited committee members Joseph and treasure. 2019. AMERICAN Pension with Aid and Attendance.’ This Mike Layrisson. If you or PICKERS is a docubenefit can help offset the cost of living in someone you know has a large, private mentary series that explores the fascinata retirement community for a wartime vetcollection or accumulation of antiques that ing world of antique ‘picking’ on History eran or his/her surviving the Pickers can spend the better part of Channel. The hit show follows Mike and spouse. Veterans of any branch of the the day looking through, send your name, Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in armed services who served 90 consecuphone number, location and description of the business, as they hunt for America’s tive days on active duty, including one the collection with photos to: americanmost valuable antiques. They are always day during a wartime period, may be firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-OLDexcited to find sizable, unique collections gible to receive up to $1,794 per month RUST (653-7878). Visit on Facebook and learn the interesting stories behind for assisted living expenses if they served @GotAPick. them. As they hit the back roads from during World War II, the Korean War, the coast to coast, Mike and Frank are on a Vietnam Era or other more recent conConservation Award Presented To mission to recycle flicts (duration of FishHawk Sporting Clays and rescue forgotten service required relics. Along the way, The East Hillsborough County–Plant may vary). City Ducks Unlimited Chapter presents its the Pickers want to Edwin Ortiz, meet characters with five year Environmental Conservation Manager of remarkable and Award to Fishhawk Sporting Clays at Hillsborough exceptional items. Lithia located on Hobson Simmons Rds. County Veterans The pair hopes to Fishhawk Sporting Clays, over the past Services, will progive historically signif- five years, has enabled the chapter to vide information icant objects a new sponsor conservation-minded youth eduand answer queslease on life, while cational events as well as fund raising. In tions about this partnership with other organizations, learning a thing or benefit. This free two about America’s Fishhawk Sporting Clays enabled Ducks seminar will be past along the way. Unlimited to restore 200 acres of Florida held at The wetlands. Established in 1937, Ducks Mike and Frank have Bridges, 11350 Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are on a mission seen a lot of rusty Unlimited has preserved over 14.1 million Bloomingdale to find extraordinary items among your acres of North American wetlands. Ave. in Riverview. hidden treasure for AMERICAN PICKERS. gold over the years
er. ed Compil @ospreyobserv e ll e mich
It’s Bunco Time
Kappa Kappa Chapter of Kappa Delta Phi will be hosting a Bunco for Children's Charities on Thursday, January 31 at 6 p.m. at Center Place, 619 Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon. The cost is $20 and includes light fare, snacks, refreshments and wine. Enjoy the fun while benefitting local Brandon charities. Tickets are available at Center Place or at the door. For more information, please call 967-3954.
You Are Invited For Social Dancing
Plant City Social Dance will hold a dance on Saturday, December 8 and 29 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Strawberry Square, 4401 Promenade Blvd. in Plant City. This dance will be social dancing on a 3,000 sq. ft. floating wood floor. Dance to the music by DJ Ken Miller. Social dancing includes slow dances, waltzes, line dances, cha-cha and rumbas, two-step and country slow, swing and free style. The cost is $6 a person. No alcohol is to be brought on property. Water and cups are available, but feel free to bring
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Volume 13, Issue 12
New Brunchery Owners Excited To Continue Community Tradition
By Tatiana Ortiz
For 30 years, had me washing dishes The Brunchery in as a 15 year old to pay Valrico has been for my first car,” said known for its Athan. “My favorite part stuffed french of the business is being toast, homemade with my customers and muffins and making sure they are decadent quiche taken care of from the specia, but also time they are greeted for its founding walking in until the time owner, Kevyn they leave.” Farley. Farley The opportunity came opened the origiat the right time for Athan nal location in to become owner of the Brandon, which Brunchery as he was later moved to its searching for places in current spot in Florida. He fell in love the River Hills with the 2,300 sq. ft. Plaza. And in Stanley Athan, new owner of the restaurant and its rooster Brunchery. November, a new theme, decor and friendly family moved to the area, took over atmosphere. ownership and pledged to keep the “I want the community to know same staff and menu that fans have that we plan on being here for a long come to know and love. time and appreciate how welcoming “We use the exact same ingredithe customers make us feel,” Athan ents and recipes that Mrs. Farley said. did,” describes new owner Stanley The Brunchery offers a variety of Athan, who purchased the restaurant breakfast and lunch items, such as with wife Natalia. “We buy the same homemade grits, seasonal coffees products from the EXACT same venand its popular home fries along with dors. Same bread distributor and a new special called the Red Rooster same produce distributor. And I that starts at $12. It is located at would NEVER change your coffee. I 4389 Lynx Paw Trail in Valrico. Open truly believe you don’t fix what isn’t Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m.- 2 broken.” p.m. and Saturday through Sunday Athan comes from a restaurant 7:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m. Call 654-9036. background and grew up in Seattle Starting January 1, The Brunchery as the youngest of three boys. “I've will open until 3 p.m. on Saturdays seen all aspects of the business. Dad and Sundays.
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Registration Is Open For Skyway 10K Virtual Run Runners who missed the chance to register for the physical Skyway 10K Virtual Run can still take part in the action and earn a medal, commemorative race bib and special-edition race shirt by doing the virtual run. During the registration period, which will remain open until January 7, 2019 at 12 Midnight, visit www.Skyway10K.com. The Skyway 10K Virtual Run presented by Visit St. Pete Clearwater allows runners of all ages, athletic ability, and locations, who may have been unable to attend or register for the Skyway Run, to be able to participate in the event, which benefits the Armed Forces Families Foundation. Registration costs $45 and includes a commemorative bib, Virtual Run T-shirt and Virtual Run medal, all of which will be mailed to participating runners following completion of the race. Those participating in the Skyway 10K Virtual Run may run, jog, walk or even crawl the 6.2 miles from any location, on the road, on the trail, on the treadmill, at the gym or on the track (or even at another race). Once completed, entrants are asked to send an email to Virtual@Skyway10K.com with their full name and the date(s) and location(s) where they completed their 6.2 miles. The deadline to submit Virtual Run emails is March 1, 2019. “We have had such a tremendous
By James Judge
turnout of support and those wanting to participate that we decided to add an element to our race that will allow those unable to participate physically to participate virtually,” said Brian Horne, race director at Skyway 10K. “This race means more than just a run over one of the most iconic bridges in the country; it’s a chance to give back to military families and we want to make sure everyone who wants to help has a chance to do so.” The 2019 Skyway 10K, scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 3, is the largest fundraising event benefiting the Armed Forces Families Foundation. The inaugural 2018 Skyway 10K, which featured 7,000 runners from 40 states, three countries and all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces crossing the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, sold out in just five days and raised $560,000 with the entire proceeds going to Armed Forces Families Foundation. Anyone interested in volunteering for or sponsoring the second annual Skyway 10K can learn more by visiting www.Skyway10K.com or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds from the event will go to support the Armed Forces Families Foundation. Visit www.armedforcesfamilies.org
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Volume 13, Issue 12
cess o r P n o pti Pet Ado , Christmas Easier xtended & E Town™ ore… M ti, lesan helle Co ic M y ed b com Compil spreyobserver. o @ e michell
Hillsborough’s New Online System Makes Pet Adoption Simpler
Hillsborough County has made major improvements to the way people look for adoptable pets. The Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center recently unveiled its online kennel, a new system that substantially increases the amount of information available to prospective adopters. The online system, called ADOPT, features individualized pet profiles, real time updates on which dogs and cats are available for adoption and detailed search options for those looking for specific characteristics in a pet such as breed, sex or age. A resident can now filter search results to find, for example, only female dogs less than two years old, or look online to see if their lost cat has been taken to the shelter. ADOPT pet profiles also include all the information the staff and volunteers have gathered when observing pets while at the shelter, giving those considering adoption a look into the dog or cat’s personality and how it could fit within their life. The ADOPT online kennel system
can be accessed by desktop computer or mobile devices at HCFLGov.net/Adopt. An instructional video also is available. Dozens of dogs and cats are adopted every day from the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center, and the ADOPT system is designed to make the process even easier and more convenient. The PRC is Hillsborough’s only open-admissions shelter, meaning it accepts dogs and cats regardless of size, breed, age or medical condition.
Busch Garden’s Christmas Town™ Festivities Extended To January 6
Keep the spirit of the season glowing bright with more opportunities to visit Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay’s Christmas Town™. Park guests can stroll through Christmas Town Village under millions of twinkling lights and enjoy fan favorite holiday shows each day now through January 6. Guests will be immersed in festive fun at the Christmas Town Village, including merry merchandise and tasty holiday
treats. Indulge in winter whiskey and wine tastings and explore unique treasures from artisans around the world at the Artisan Market at Xcursions and around the park. Little ones can visit Sesame Street Safari of Fun to join some furry friends as they learn the meaning of Christmas in ‘Elmo’s Christmas Wish,’ and even take a ride on the fan favorite Jingle Bell Express miniature train. Leading up to New Year’s Eve, Christmas Town features extended hours on weekends and select dates and more festive experiences, including an all-new
holiday show, visits to Rudolph’s® Winter Wonderland, a new Dine with Santa buffet at Serengeti Overlook Restaurant and nighttime rides on Florida’s best thrill attractions. Christmas Town is included with any daily admission or annual pass, and is open until 10 p.m. on select dates. On December 31, guests can enjoy the best of Christmas Town and extended park hours as they celebrate New Year’s Eve. Say farewell to 2018 with live entertainment and fireworks that ignite the night sky in a dazzling presentation beginning at midnight. The holiday merriment continues into 2019 with the Three Kings Celebration on January 5 and 6. This cultural celebration boasts authentic Latin flavors found only during the holidays and live entertainment honoring the three Wise Men under a dazzling display of twinkling Yuletide lights. For complete event information, including dates, times and packages, visit ChristmasTown.com.
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TECO’s Manatee Viewing Center Now Open To Visitors
By Taylor Wells and Photos Courtesy of TECO
It is that time of the year again as the manatees take up residence near TECO Energy's Big Bend Power Station. Bring your family and friends to visit and take this chance to marvel at the sea cows at the Manatee Viewing Center. The manatees make the clean bay water in Tampa Electric’s discharge canal their home from November through April. The area maintains temperatures in the low 70s, allowing manatees to comfortably thrive. Water below 68 degree Fahrenheit can make manatees cold stressed, causing sickness and sometimes death. Although they were reclassified as a threatened species last year, mana- A close-up of a manatee’s face as it resurfaces. tees exist in low numbers and are vulnerable to endangerment, so TECO provides a wonderful opportunity for manatee populations of Florida to live and grow healthily at the Manatee Viewing Center. In addition to providing these marine mammals an area to prosper, people are given the chance to have a fun time while seeing and learning about the manatees. The Manatee Viewing Center provides an environmental education building featuring great photos A crowd taking in the manatees. and information about manatees. water, 10-15 minute movie about manaThe education building also has puzzle tees, natures trails, 50 ft. wildlife obsertables, game kiosks, manatee bones and power plant, solar energy and stew- vation tower, sandbox and chalkboard area, butterfly garden, gift shop and ardship information. concession stand. There is also a Other attractions include viewing stingray touch tank that, in partnership platforms, a 900 ft. tidal walk through a with the Florida Aquarium, acts as the mangrove forest that goes out over the
off-season home of the actual mascots of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays. Visiting the Manatee Viewing Center is free. Along with being operated by Tampa Electric, the gift shop, concession stand and donation boxes all help fund the facility. As many as 342,000 visitors spent time at the Manatee Viewing Center last year. The Manatee Viewing The stingray touch tank containing the Tampa Bay Center is open now through Rays’ mascots. April 15, 2019. It is located at 6990 Dickman Rd. in Apollo Beach and is open all week from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The center is closed on Christmas Eve (at 3 p.m.), Christmas Day and Easter. Parking is free. For information, visit www.tampaelectric.com/company/mvc/, call 228-4289 or use TECO’s Residential Contact Us Form at www.tampaelectric.com/forms/residential/contact/ The wildlife observation tower is 50 ft. tall, allow- (select Manatee Viewing Center in ing guests a great view of the area. the pull-down box).
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Volume 13, Issue 12
Summer Adventure ‘Workamping’ In Yellowstone National Park Four years ago I retired after a successful career of 38 years. Two years ago my wife Paulette and I traveled to Vermont and Maine in our new RV to escape the heat of summer and to explore our national parks. While there, we found many people in our campgrounds were there for the same reasons as us. We discovered many were ‘Workamping’ working full and parttime in campgrounds or in nearby Grand Prismatic Spring. national parks and tourist destinations. This ‘senior workforce’, as we later discovered, is a vital resource to many businesses and organizations that are operated seasonably during the summer months. We found this to be interesting but didn’t give it a second thought; after all we were enjoying retirement. In January, we attended the Tampa RV show and found companies representing organizations lookBison Herd in Lamar Valley ing for summer help. One of the comand made stops in Nashville and St. panies, Delaware North Corporation, Louis before heading further north and manages 12 retail stores in Yellowstone west. We saw the Corn Palace, Wall National Park as well as other parks, Drugs and Badlands, Crazy Horse and sports facilities (Amalie Arena) and nearby Kennedy Space Center retail and food Mt. Rushmore monuments and Devils Tower before we arrived in Yellowstone. concessions. We arrived at the park in early June. We pursued looking at working in Our first purchase was a window scraper Yellowstone for the summer. We comfor the frost on the car windows and pleted applications, had lengthy teleheavier clothes for the cooler weather. phone interviews and both my wife and I The weather in the first week dipped to were excited to be offered positions at 24 degrees at night. During the remainder Lake General Store located on the shores of the summer the average nightly lows of Yellowstone Lake. were in the 30s and daytime highs in the Our adventure began in May, driving 60s, with occasional days in the 70s. Our to Yellowstone in our RV, our home for three month contract began in June right the next four months. We took our time
By Bill McKay
students from the US, Bulgaria, Russia, Romania, the Philippines and Taiwan. This blended family worked well together and many friendships developed. The older staff introduced the students to American culture, traditions and holidays like Halloween and the Fourth of July. We even celebrated Christmas at the end of August following a long standing tradition and folklore in the park. As the summer was closing so was our time in Yellowstone. We said our Paulette and I at the front of Lake sad goodbyes the day after Labor Day, General Store. exchanged addresses, made friends on Facebook and started our journey home. The store remained open for about two more weeks after we left with a short staff and was closed for the season the third week of September. Another season in Yellowstone was completed. If you are looking for an adventure next summer, you may wish to consider working in one of our 59 national parks. At our location, dorm housing and RV Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone at sites for those traveling in recreational vehicles was available. The nearest groArtist Point. cery store was 52 miles away so meal after Memorial Day, and for the next three plans were offered for staff, providing months we lived and worked in paradise. three meals a day seven days per week. The store we worked in was picturDue to the 7,800 foot altitude, it is recomesque, in a building built in 1919 next to mended to check with your physician as the historic Lake Hotel. We were surthe oxygen concentration is 5.5 percent rounded by mountains and not far from less than the Tampa area and altitude geysers, rivers, rapids, waterfalls, scenic sickness affects many. vistas, valleys and abundant wildlife. The experience, the memories and Aside from the scenic beauty of the park, the friendships made this the experience the experience working with the staff was of a lifetime. If you are an adventurer heartwarming. The staff comprised of looking to do something different next seniors and college students from all over summer and can work several days per the world, including many senior couples week, this may be your opportunity of a and singles on an adventure like us and lifetime.
Volume 13, Issue 12
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ONE OF A KIND CUSTOM HOME! Fall in love with this beautiful 5/4.5/3 + pool home sitting on a cul-de-sac backing to conservation! Coveted apartment above garage, wood floors, huge bedrooms & soaring ceilings are some of the features! Kitchen with white cabinets, granite & island! Unique home! $525,000
WONDERFUL CONDO IN GATED COMMUNITY IN THE HEART OF BRANDON! This 1 bedroom, 1 bath home would make a great choice for your first home purchase! Minutes on foot to SR 60! Tile throughout all living areas, neutral paint colors & kitchen with maple raised panel cabinets & oversized bedroom! Park/playground & community pool! $75,000
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Read InThis Section
CHALKLINES....................................PG 28 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...............PG 31 SPORTS CONNECTION ....................PG 32 December 2018
Volume 13, Issue 12
New Y Directors Ready To Serve The Community
The Campo Family YMCA is pleased to welcome Christian ‘CJ’ Hernandez and Lauren Brun to its leadership team as it continues to provide a safe place where Greater Brandon area community members can go to feel supported, improve their well-being and create meaningful experiences in their lives. As membership experience director, Hernandez leads staff in providing a superior member experience at the Y. He comes to the Tampa Bay area from Ohio where he worked in membership, aquatics and wellness at the Lima Family YMCA. Prior to the Y, he worked for a national fitness chain where he supported membership and personal training. Hernandez has a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration and an MBA from Northwestern Ohio University. “Christian is excited for the opportunity to take his experiences into his new role and continues to advance the Campo Y’s impact in the community,” said Campo Y Executive Director Jarrod Williams. Brun is the new senior aquatics
With both Lauren Brun (l) CJ Hernandez (r) onboard the Campo Y team is eager to expand its positive impact in the Greater Brandon area.
experience director for the Campo Y. She has served as the aquatics experience director for the Northwest Hillsborough Family YMCA for the past two years. Prior to that, Brun served as an aquatics coordinator, lifeguard and welcome center representative at various Ys within the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA. She received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Indiana University. “Lauren’s commitment to program quality and staff development along with her exceptional work ethic and drive has been instrumental in the growth of the Tampa YMCA’s aquatic departments,” said Aquatics
NEW YEAR’S EVE EVENTS...............PG 35 Owner of the Year is only awarded to a single Drama Kids franchise owner, making this coveted award a prestigious honor for the local business-owner. In addition to this recognition, the Florida Drama Kids program received the Summer Camp Award for its Dreams Take Flight program, which was held in July. The program encouraged local students to use their imaginations to create worlds filled with high-flying adventure. Faith Clark, Owner of Florida Drama Kids has recently One of these was the world been named Owner of the Year at the Drama Kids of Neverland, as students International’s annual conference. concluded the summer with Experience Executive Amanda a well-attended production of Disney’s Walker. Peter Pan, Jr. These accolades proFor more information, visit www.tampaymca.org/locations/valrico- vide an exciting ending to the Drama Kids Fall Session of classes in locafl-campo-ymca/ or call 684-1371. tions across Hillsborough County. A new spring session of Drama Faith Clark Awarded ‘Owner Of Kids classes—which aim to allow stuThe Year’ At National Drama Kids dents to express themselves creativeConference ly, collaboratively and confidently Florida Drama Kids is pleased to through the power of theatrical perannounce that its Owner/Director, Faith Clark, has been named Owner of formance—is open for enrollment now, and will begin the week of January 22the Year at Drama Kids International’s 25, 2019. annual conference. The award was For information, visit https://drapresented to Faith on November 3 by Doug Howard, who has held the title of makids.com/brandon-apollo-beachriverview-plant-city-fl/ or call 489President & CEO of Drama Kids since 5899. 2000. From amongst the hundreds of owners across the country, the title of
Continued on Next Page
Business Column Continued.............
By Michelle Colesanti
Tax Preparation Volunteers Sought
Local AARP Foundation coordinators are looking for volunteers to work in the annual Tax-Aide program. The program offers free tax preparation assistance to a wide range of taxpayers with a focus on clients over 50. AARP volunteers receive free training and are IRS-certified each year. All volunteers are required to attend class and must pass a national tax test for certification. Tax training is done at the Bloomingdale Library during January. Tax help is offered completely free at the Seffner-Mango and Bloomingdale Libraries from February until April 15. To become a much needed volunteer in your community, log on to www.aarpfoundation.org/taxaid an d fill out the application. For more information, email local coordinator Lee Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free Seminar On Caring for House Plants
You have heard that house plants are great for cleaning the air you breathe and for improving the sense of well-being in your home, but you are not sure where to start. Kerby's Nursery is offering a free House Plants Seminar where you will learn how to care for house plants, where to place them in your home and how to repot when needed. All the tips and tricks you need to turn your bungalow into a jungalow. Join in at Kerby’s Nursery, 2311 S. Parsons Ave. in Valrico on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 2 p.m. for a free, one-hour seminar. Registration is not required.
Pre Sales At New Fitness Center To Be Located In The BayCare HealthHub At Bloomingdale
BayCare Fitness Center (Bloomingdale) will be a 20,000 sq. ft. fitness space housed inside the BayCare HealthHub at Bloomindale an innovative, high-tech health and wellness facility designed to make life better for residents in the greater Brandon area and surrounding communities. It is expected to open in
spring 2019. It will have state-of-the-art technology including art cardio and strength equipment. It will also provide personal training, a free fitness tracker, more than 50 group exercise classes per week (including barre), separate yoga and cycling studios and nutrition services. The facility will also have on-site child care services for an additional fee. Pre-sales for the BayCare Fitness Center (Bloomingdale) has just begun and will run until it opens. “We’re thrilled to work with EXOS to bring a world-class fitness center into our BayCare HealthHub at Bloomingdale,” said Todd Jones, vice president of Ambulatory Experience and Operations at BayCare. “This facility’s amenities and features will help create an environment where wellness, community and fitness become one.” At this time, the community can come see BayCare Fitness Center (Bloomingdale) representatives in the BayCare Membership Bus located at the corner of Lithia Pinecrest Rd.and S. Miller Rd. Business hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. -7 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Residents can also call 586-8600. BayCare HealthHub at Bloomingdale is located at 2470 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. For more information on the fitness center, visit https://baycare.org/services/fitness-centers/baycare-fitness-centerbloomingdale?hcmacid=a0Z1a00000 E7CZKEA3.
Create Your Life Vision-Board Workshop
Shannon Carlton with CoWork Landing, Pearl Chiarenza with Women's Successful Living; Ronnie McLaughlin with Keller Williams Realty and Lori Nadglowski with Laurel Wealth Management present the Third Annual Vision Board Party. Vision boards – those collages of daily reminders to achieve a life you envision for yourself – have been
Hours: 6am - 10pm
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Volume 13, Issue 12
Lake Brandon Village
11325 Causeway Blvd, Brandon
around for so long, it is hard to know when they even started. But like many things that start on paper, vision boards went digital with apps like Pinterest and carefully curated Tumblrs. Experts say electronic boards lack authenticity, creativity and are, ultimately, less effective, which is why Create Your Life Vision-Board Workshop was created. Create your Vision Board to take home with the help of experts and new friends. The event is 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, January 5 at 2350 E SR 60. Tickets are $57 per person or two tickets for $90. Ticket price includes your vision board, all materials, brunch and mimosas. Contact Shannon Carlton at CoWork Landing at 924-4679 or email@example.com for
Business Immersion Retreat
The beginning of a new year is a great time to spend a full day working on your business with other successful business owners in the area. On Sunday, January 6, CoWork Landing is hosting a dedicated day for business owners. This is a full day complete with an agenda for you to generate goals for the upcoming year. Set up systems, marketing calendars, goals, events, projects, etc. We will come together twice during the day to mastermind with each other about our progress and our goals. There is a limit of 15 people. Ticket price is $50. Call or email Shannon at 924-4679 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat.
Volume 13, Issue 12
Photos and story by Tamas Mondovics
emphill Ms. Kimberly HM onth
Rajun’ Bulls Drum Line Helps Bass Pro Ring In The Christmas Holiday
Teacher Of The
mphill Ms. He ade 8th Gr dle Mid Burns ol Scho
Bloomingdale High School’s Rajun’ Bulls drum line helped ring in the holiday at Bass Pro Shops in November, along with Santa Claus and Sickles High School JAFROTC Color Guard. Santa then lit the Christmas tree in the store with the help of carolers from Bloomingdale High School chorus. Santa’s Wonderland will be open different times every day for free photos, crafts, carousel rides and games until December 24. See www.basspro.com/santa for details on dates and times.
a teacher? Why did you decide to become ers and motivating others. oth g pin hel I've always enjoyed nity to do this everyday. Teaching gives me an opportu
r? What are your goals as a teache ts is to shape and mold young den stu My primary goal for my kers and to motivate my stuminds into positive critical thin tributors to society. dents to grow to be positive con
? Do you have any hidden talents this now but in middle in do Although I don't think I can rling a baton. with the marching band…so twi high school I was a majorette ? surprised to find out about you What would your students be I like to play my do, y the t tha same music artists the of e som like I t tha ybe Ma , and I'm very alone), I like to be on Instagram music loud in my car (when I'm shy. .. ments you are willing to share.. Any embarrassing teacher mo me into volunSomehow my students talked rs ago and I had yea m gra teering at a school pro d but I'm shy min n't did I se. to "rap" a short ver in front of audiences. like What is you favorite food you school cafeteria? ! I like the macaroni and cheese
Congratulations To The 2018-19 Hillsborough County School Board
at do you When you aren’t teaching, wh of your hobenjoy doing or what are some bies? ng my I enjoy traveling, binge watchi e with tim ng ndi spe favorite shows and my family.
Melissa Snively was elected to the Hillsborough County School Board (District 4) for her second term. Snively will serve her second term as vice chair. She is a graduate of the University of Florida with a B.A. in English, and a Minor in Secondary Education. She has owned and operated her own business in Lithia since 2001, where she employs eight professionals. Tamara Shamburger, Chair District 5 Tamara was elected to the School Board, in District 5, in 2016. Tamara is a proud Tampa native. She is the product of Hillsborough County
Ms. Kim been a berly Hemphil teacher l for 13 y has ears.
island with If you were trapped on a desert it be and why? uld wo at your favorite book, wh I'm not an d it to remain positive because nee ely init def uld The Bible…I wo "outside" person. you live by? Is there a quote or saying that poster) kes a BIG difference. (classroom ma t tha Attitude is a little thing
Superintendent Eakins and the newly elected HCPS Board Members.
Public Schools and is a proud graduate of Bloomingdale Senior High School. Tamara has a Liberal Arts degree from Hillsborough Community College; Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of South Florida; and a well-earned Master of Business Administration (MBA) from St. Leo University Other school board members are Steve Cona (District 1), Stacy Hahn (District 2), Cindy Stuart (District 3), Karen Perez (District 6) and Lynn L. Gray (District 7). For more information, visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.
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Adult Mentors Needed For Waiting List In Hillsborough County Schools
By Kate Quesada
Have you student weekly, at the always wanted to school, for an hour. make a difference in Every mentor is trained the life of a teenagand must pass criminal er? The Hillsborough history background Education checks and abide by all Foundation (HEF) is Hillsborough County looking for at least Public School policies 80 adult mentors for and procedures. They its Taking Stock in are also given a grade Children program specific road map to (TSIC) that connects guide during the weekly residents with middle sessions. and high school stu“We look for our dents at local mentors to be honest, schools. caring, patient, flexible, According to reliable and open-mindTSIC Program ed,” said Laird. “This is The Hillsborough Education Manager Anna Laird Foundation is looking for adult men- such a great opportunity tors for members of its Taking Stock for anyone who really there are currently in Children program. 350 students from wants to make an sixth to twelfth grade involved in the impact on a teenager, because with the program and only 270 mentors. weekly meetings for at least a full “The purpose of the mentor relation- school year, they can really get to know ship is to give these students someone and really help the person they are set on their side to guide them and help up with.” them improve their academic and life Residents who do not have the time skills,” said Laird. to commit to a full mentor position can All students in the program have help the Foundation in other ways, been awarded a college scholarship including volunteering at the Teaching through TSIC after meeting criteria set Tools Store which offers school supplies by the state program. to teachers at Title One schools “The students all have risk factors throughout the county. that make it statistically less likely for The Foundation is funded by comthem to graduate from high school and munity and personal donations that are then go on to something post secondmatched by the state. ary,” said Laird. “But they are all highly For more information or to make a motivated and eager to do well and just donation, visit www.educationfoundaneed someone on their side.” tion.com. Contact Laird at 463-4283 or Mentors meet with their assigned email email@example.com.
Ohall Recognized By Super Lawyer By Michelle Caceres
Each year, cial needs parents Super Lawyers rechave to jump through ognizes the top when their child turns lawyers in Florida 18,” said Foyt. “Laurie through a patented was able to get all the multiphase selection paperwork completed process involving and was with us every peer nomination, step of the way.” independent Ohall has a big research and peer heart for families with evaluation. special needs children. Elder law attorHer firm has worked ney Laurie Ohall has with the 13th Judicial received Super Circuit to put guardian Lawyer designation advocacy forms online as a 2018 Top-Rated so that families who Elder Law Attorney Elder law attorney Laurie Ohall has cannot afford an attorbeen recognized as a 2018 Topin Brandon. This is ney can file on their Rated Elder Law Attorney in her fourth year earnown to become their Brandon. ing the distinction. child’s guardian advo“The fact that attorneys are nomicate. She has also hosted workshops nated by their peers is an honor,” said for families, free of charge, to walk Ohall. “It means a lot to know that they them through the process and help have recognized my qualifications, them fill out the forms. education and experience.” The law offices of Laurie Ohall, Ohall is one of only 106 board-cer- associated with R.F. Meyer & tified elder law attorneys in the state. Associates, LLC, is located at 1464 Requirements for this honor include: a Oakfield Drive. Ohall is a Florida board minimum of five years practicing law, a certified elder law attorney who condemonstration of substantial involvecentrates her area of practice in estate ment in the field of law where certificaplanning, elder law, probate and estate tion is sought as well as being showing administration, wills and trusts, good character, ethics and professionguardianship and Medicaid planning. alism. “Clients who hire me can be confiFishHawk resident Ann Foyt didn’t dent in knowing that I have the knowlneed anyone to tell her that attorney edge and experience to help them with Laurie Ohall is a super lawyer. Ohall their elder law concern,” said Ohall. assisted her in obtaining guardianship The law offices of Laurie Ohall is for her adult son, who has Down’s open Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 5p.m. Syndrome. For more information, visit “It’s an unfortunate hoop that spewww.ohalllaw.com or call 438-8503.
Volume 13, Issue 12
With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins
Roberto Ferrer Entertains Through Song With His Starlight Cabaret Roberto Ferrer, a resisongwriters and this makes dent of Brandon, has been me sad. The singer is often an entertainer his entire just the interpreter of the adult life. He has traveled song.” In his shows, Ferrer the world over entertaining will sing popular songs. audiences. He has had the “People instantly recognize good fortune of working the songs I sing,” added with many celebrities and Ferrer, who knew many of getting to know other the composers and songsingers and songwriters. writers personally. He Today, he is taking his knows thousands of songs Roberto Ferrer entertains experiences and knowland knows the history of audiences not only with edge of songs and song- song, but with the history and the song. back story about the writers and providing audiBy adding history and ences with an entertaining composers and songwriters context to the songs he who wrote the popular songs and educational experisings, Ferrer gives audiwe all know and love. ence. Ferrer not only sings songs that ences a view into the background of the everyone knows, but he gives you the song that they may never have known. back story on the writing of the song. This is what makes his Starlight Cabaret In his show, Starlight Cabaret, Ferrer shows so unique. Ferrer said, “This extra will give the audience the history of a information is what makes my concerts song, information about the background different.” of the songwriter and then sing the song. Ferrer was born in Havana and The songs in his show will include clascame to the United States by himself at sics such as What is This Thing Called the age of 17 in 1959. His parents sent Love which was written by Cole Porter in him here to work. He struggled when he 1929 for the musical Wake Up and came to this country, but fortunately for Dream and the song, Raindrops Keep him, he met his wife, Carmen. They have Falling On My Head, written by Hal David been married for 54 years. and Burt Bacharach for the 1969 film You can see Ferrer in concert at The Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Barn at Winthrop on Friday, December 21 That song won an Academy Award for and on Friday, February 8, 2019. To get Best Original Song in 1970. tickets and to reserve your spot, please Ferrer said, “People do not value contact Jamie Reid at 684-2276.
A Visit To The Ybor City Museum State Park Is A Trip Back In Time This holiday break, the businesses that take a visit to the Ybor sprung up to support City Museum State the industry and its Park located at 1818 workers, 9th Ave. in Tampa (Ybor The casita has City). Whether you are been restored and interested in looking for furnished to look as it something to do or would have when want to learn more cigar workers lived about the history of the The Ybor City Museum is a fascinating there. At the height place to visit. It allows visitors to take a area, the Ybor City of the cigar industry, trip back in time to an era when the cigar industry was booming. Museum is a great there were approxiplace to visit. mately 150 casitas located in the area. The Ybor City Museum consists of The volunteer docents do an excellent job the museum building, the garden and of describing how the area looked and grounds and three casitas. You will learn changed during the period of time from all about the unique and colorful history of 1885-1930. the founding of Ybor City, the rise of the Bryant Martinez, a resident of cigar industry and the immigrants Riverview, has visited the museum sever(Cubans, Italians, Jews, Spaniards and al times. Martinez said, "The Ybor City Germans) who settled the area and lived Museum is a great place to learn about in Ybor City. the history of Ybor City. It has a rich and Admission to the Ybor City Museum colorful history." is just $4 and free for children five years After your visit, take a walk around old and younger. The price of admission the historic area and see some of the 84 gets you access to the museum building, buildings that are listed on the National the grounds and a docent led tour of the Registry of Historic Places, and the 956 casita. buildings that were deemed to have hisThe museum is housed in the historic torical significance by the National Park Ferlita Bakery building. In it, you can see Service. the old baking oven and a replica of a The Ybor City Museum is open cigar rolling room. You will learn fascinatWednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. ing facts about the people who lived in to 5 p.m. For more information, please the area, the rise of the cigar industry and visit www.ybormuseum.org.
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Volume 13, Issue 12
Sports 657-2418 www.ospreyobserver.com
Connection By Nick Nahas and Photos Courtesy of Kathi Hayes
Four Bloomingdale Baseball Players Commit On National Signing Day
Shortstop Nico Saladino signs with South Florida State College.
The Bloomingdale Bulls baseball program had four players sign on National Signing Day on November 14. Bryce Hazzard, Nico Saladino, Myles Caba and Kyle Merkle all made commitments to play baseball at the next level. “It means the world to me,” said Hazzard. “It’s a dream come true. I’ve wanted to play college baseball ever since I was a little kid, and I’m happy that I was finally able to achieve that milestone that I’ve set for myself. I’m very grateful.” The senior switch-hitting outfielder has been a starter on varsity all four years for the Bulls. Last season he hit .295 with 23 hits and 13 runs batted in. He plans on majoring in business and minoring in sports management at Nova Southeastern. He will join former Bulls’ teammate and fellow outfielder, Nate Chevalier. Last year’s team MVP for the Bulls, Nico Saladino, has committed to play baseball for the South Florida State College Panthers. Saladino, the grandson of Saladino Tournament founder, Tony Saladino, was a vital player for the Bulls last season, as they won their first district tournament championship in
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Outfielder Bryce Hazzard signs with Nova Southeastern.
Designated Hitter Kyle Merkle signs with Presbyterian College.
Head big relief Coach, and it Kris feels good Wilken’s to do it.” 11 seaHe wants sons. In to major in the chamcriminal pionship justice and game, he later train hit a long to become two-run a firefighthome run er. that “Nico extended leads by the lead, example which was on the The four seniors want to end their high school careers on a never field,” said good note. relinJim quished. Osting, The left-handed hitter primarily played head coach of the Ostingers AAU team shortstop and batted at the top of the that all four players played on. “He’s not order, hitting .303 with 20 hits and 13 very vocal, however, he is always in the runs batted in. He also became a startright place at the right time. That’s what ing pitcher mid-way through the season you need out of a shortstop. He’s a when teammate Jesse Hunter got hurt, great kid, quiet, everybody loves him.” throwing 25.2 innings with a minuscule Saladino’s teammate Myles Caba 0.27 ERA and 22 strikeouts.“It means a will join him at South Florida State lot,” said Saladino, “To work for that for College. The power lefty cranked out a long time and to finally get it done is a 56.1 innings and was the ace of the
Pitcher Myles Caba signs with South Florida State College.
pitching staff, throwing in all the big games against tough opponents. He had a 2.24 ERA and 67 strikeouts. Caba closed out the district championship game against Riverview, picking up the save. “As a left-handed pitcher, I think he’s just now starting to blossom,” said Osting. “The sky is the limit for him.” Caba wants to major in the medical field. “Hopefully this can propel me into dreams of playing in the MLB,” said Caba. “I think this is a great opportunity and we’ll see where it goes from here.” Kyle Merkle, a 6’5 designated hitter, has committed to play for Presbyterian College where he will major in physics. Merkle was a tremendous power hitter last season, hitting several home runs. He had 15 hits and 10 runs batted in. “He’s a quiet giant,” said Osting. “He has as much power as some big league players.” He wants to gain a starting spot for the team when he joins his college team next season as either a first basemen or the designated hitter. “It honestly means everything,” said Merkle. “This has been a life-long dream of mine.”
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Hillsborough County Encourages Trail Hiking With Annual Spree
By Kate Quesada
With the weather cooland Steven J. Worthan ing off, December is the Neighborhood Park in perfect time to enjoy Riverview, Little Florida’s great outdoors Manatee River Corridor and Hillsborough County Nature Preserve in recently launched its annuWimauma and Lithia al program to encourage Springs Conservation residents get out and Park in Lithia. One of explore the many local the hikes can be at a trails and parks. location of the particiLast year, more than pant’s choice that is not 5,000 people participated on the list. in Hillsborough County’s Trails range from Hiking Spree which fealess than a mile to more Hillsborough County is tures 25 trails in 19 locathan four miles and encouraging residents to tions throughout the county, from easy to strenuous. explore local trails with its annual Hiking Spree from now A list of all the participatmany in the SouthShore until March 31, 2019. area. Residents are ing hikes with informaencouraged to register on the tion about length, difficulty levels and terHillsborough County website and then rain can be found at www.hillsboroughcomplete a minimum of eight of the trails county.org. before March 31, 2019. “We chose the trails to give residents “Participants may hike on their own, a really good range of the gorgeous trails with others or on our guided park staff Hillsborough County has to offer,” said hikes,” said Dana McDonald, Senior McDonald. “We wanted to showcase Program Coordinator with Hillsborough some of the less popular ones we know County. “Each trail is a unique, fun way to residents will enjoy and also make sure explore outdoor Florida.” we have a wide range of difficulty levels Upon completion of the hikes, resiso there are options for everyone.” dents should turn their completed form to Participants are encouraged to post one of seven local park locations, includphotographs from their hikes on social ing the Ruskin Recreational Center, and media using the hashtag #TakeAHikeHC. can then chose a medallion or an official For information or to register, visit Hiker Patch as a reward. www.hillsboroughcounty.org and search Local parks with participating trails “Hiking Spree.” To receive a reward by include Bahia Beach Nature Preserve, mail, send a completed form with a E.G. Simmons Conservation Park and stamped/self-addressed envelope to Cockroach Creek Nature Preserve in HCPRD Hiking Spree; Bell Creek Ruskin, Triple Creek Nature Preserve, Regional Park Office; 10940 McMullen FishHawk Creek South Nature Preserve Rd. Riverview, FL 33569.
Yes Florida Residents, Even You Can Enjoy Outdoor Ice Skating
By Kathy L. Collins
The muchday snack at the Café anticipated yearly at Winter Village which tradition of outfeatures Kahwa Coffee door ice skating Roasting, Mise has returned to Waterfront Bar and downtown Whatever Pops and Tampa. The grilled cheese. Winter Village This is a fun holifeatures Winter day activity for the Village Shops, whole family. Chrissy the Winter Village Nieves, a resident of Express, and Winthrop in Riverview more. The Winter said, “We are so excitIce skating, holiday shopping and more available at the Winter Village in Curtis Village and ice ed to go back this year. Hixon Park in downtown Tampa now skating take place Our son, Nolan, just through Saturday, January 5, 2019. in Curtis Hixon turned two so we know Park which is situated along the he will get a huge kick out of the giant Hillsborough River at 600 N. Ashley Dr. in tree, all the decorations and watching the downtown Tampa. ice skaters. Hopefully next year he will be The temporary ice skating rink and able to skate.” Winter Village will be up through You do not need to own skates. Rent Saturday, January 5, 2019. The Winter skates and get 90 minutes on the ice for Village Shops are made up of 10 bou$14. Group rates are available. You can tiques featuring local merchants and purrent the rink for a private party by contactveyors. The pop-up holiday shopping ing Rachel Radawec at rradawec@tamexperience allows shoppers to get an pasdowntown.com or call 221-3686. assortment of holiday decorations and The rink will be open Monday gifts. through Thursday from 4-9 p.m. On Back this year is the Winter Village Friday the hours are 4-10 p.m. On Express. You can hop on a holiday Saturday, come out anytime between 10 themed streetcar in either Ybor City a.m.-10 p.m. and on Sunday from 12-9 (Service begins at 3:55 p.m. and ends at p.m. During school breaks, the rink is 7:55 p.m.) or at the Whiting Station (seropen 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through vice begins at 3:25 p.m. and ends at 7:25 Saturday and 12-9 p.m. on Sunday. The p.m.) Roundtrip tickets are $5. You can rink will be open on Christmas Eve from enjoy treats, music and activities on the 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Christmas Day non-stop ride. The Holiday themed from 4-10 p.m. Streetcar will run on select Sundays now Hours vary for the Winter Village through Sunday, December 23. Shops. Visit You can also treat yourself to a holiwww.wintervillagetampa.com.
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Brenda Wade Real Estate Along With Business Partners Donate $12,600 To Seeds Of Hope
By Barb Kern
Brenda Wade Real Estate and business partners recently donated $12,600 To Seeds of Hope during its Sixth Annual 'Partners in Giving' fundraiser on December 3.
The Brenda Wade Real Estate Team and business partners joined together for Brenda's sixth Annual ‘Partners in Giving’ fundraiser. Brenda and her agents spent one day learning from business associates and matched every dollar that was contributed by the partners, so together they could have an impact in the community. Brenda said, “Our goal was to exceed the $11,000 amount we raised last year and we were so very happy to raise and donate $12,600 to our local charity, Seeds of Hope, Inc. Seeds of Hope president Leda Eaton was amazed, “I was beyond excited to hear the total amount raised. It really takes a village to support all that we do as an all-volunteer organization.” Last year, Seeds of Hope led relief efforts for Alafia residents affected by flooding from Hurricane Irma. Those ongoing efforts highlighted the commitment the charity has to helping local people–a commitment shared by the Brenda Wade Team. Brenda was impressed by their efforts then and continues to be excited about Seeds of Hope’s vision. “We share a passion for helping local people. Our business is in this community and has grown here. We feel Seeds of Hope’s efforts to help those less fortunate is a cause that fits well with who we are.” Brenda is thankful to this year's business partners for serving her clients all year long and graciously pulling alongside of she and the Team in support of the people served by Seeds of Hope. A big thank you to: Adela’s Pro Cleaning Service, All American Title, All Bay Insurance Group, American
Volume 13, Issue 12
Mortgage Service Company, Buyer’s Choice Home Inspection, Bungalow Home Inspections, IberiaBank Mortgage, Complete Choice Insurance, Couture Painting, Don's Painting, Gonzalez Roofing, Guaranteed Rate, NFM Lending, Osprey Observer, Pilka & Associates Law Firm, Pillar to Post Home Inspections, Suddath Movers, Supreme Lending, The Rice Financial Group, United Mutual Funding Corp, Watts Dental and Dawson & Associates
Insurance. Seeds of Hope has been in the Brandon/Valrico/Lithia community for over eight years and began with local resident Leda Eaton helping her then high school students receive meaningful community service hours. That was the beginning of the FishHawk Turkey Trot and from that Seeds of Hope was created to use the money generated to help alleviate local hunger. The organization has maintained its original commitment to providing meaningful community service for students but has grown as an organization to combat hunger in three ways by providing weekend backpacks of food for school children, boxes of food to families on Thursdays and a weekly mobile pantry aimed at short term food relief. Eaton is proud of the impact the charity has had, “Before Hurricane Irma, we were a food relief organization. After Hurricane Irma, we added disaster relief to our resume. It’s not something I ever would have planned but I am so thankful we were there. Larger organizations with cumbersome rules and regulations couldn’t do what we did. We targeted the people who needed/deserved help, took people shopping for personal items, provided daily hot meals, washed clothes and provided showers. So many volunteers stepped up. It was amazing to be a part of the overwhelming groundswell of community support.” For more information about Seeds of Hope, visit www.sohopefl.org.
Local Organization Helps Cancer Patients Find Strength And Courage
By Libby Hopkins
Ruth Walker created the Courage Through Cancer foundation to help those affected by cancer and their loved ones who are caregivers. She started the foundation after she lost her husband, Deacon Darryl Walker, to Esophagus cancer. The mission of Courage Through Cancer is to help one who will reach one.
It is often said that courage is not having the strength to go on, it is going on when you have not strength. Ruth Walker, CEO of Courage Through Cancer in Riverview, would agree with this statement because she too found the strength to go on when she felt like she could not after her husband, Deacon Darryl Walker, was diagnosed with Esophageal cancer. He was the inspiration for starting Courage Through Cancer. “My husband displayed courage through his cancer and he maintained his faith and took time out to encourage others,” Walker said. “It got to the point where we maintained our faith and our positivity and others began to seek us out at Moffitt as well as Florida Cancer Center to offer prayers or encouragement to others.” The mission of Courage Through
Cancer is to help one who will reach one. So many people are hurt beyond what we see. There is no preparation in losing a loved one and no words for watching them suffer. “At Courage Through Cancer, we cannot change your circumstances, but we can love you and be your support through it,” Walker said. “Our goal at Courage Through Cancer is to help patients and families financially, spiritually and in areas of comfort living to enable them to be consoled during their time of need. God has given us this mission and in being obedient to His will, our heart’s mission is to open our doors for you to come and receive all that He has to offer for His people.” One of the projects that Walker is currently working on to help expand Courage Through Cancer’s mission is building the Darryl Anthony House in honor of her late husband. “The Darryl Anthony House is one of our main objectives,” Walker said. “It’s a place for the weak and weary. As a caregiver, you can bring your burdens to the Darryl Anthony House. A home named after a man who prayed without ceasing throughout his battle. The best part about visiting the Darryl Anthony House is that you bring your anxieties, your worries and your fears and you get to leave them there and leave with a renewed spirit.” If you’d like to learn more about Courage Through Cancer, or if you’d like to make a donation to help build the Darryl Anthony House, you can www.couragethroughcancer.org or call Walker at 900-9878.
Happy Holidays Here’s to a a season filled with warmth, comfort and good cheer! Should the new year bring you a change of address please contact us so that we can assist you.
The Tracy Team
PATRICIA TRACY Realtor
Celebrate The New Year And Ring In 2019 All Over Tampa Bay New Year’s Eve is time for reflection and revelry, but in the end, everyone wants to have fun ringing in the New Year. This year say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019 by experiencing some of the great events happening in Tampa Bay. This is just a sampling of what you can do this New Year’s Eve. Take the children to the Kid’s New Year’s Eve 12 Noon Balloon Drop at the Armature Works from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This family friendly, free event will be held in the courtyard and will feature Spheres Bubbles, a magic show and a balloon drop countdown. For more information, please visit https://tinyurl.com/y83u4kpy Adults can enjoy the New Year’s Eve 2019 Gala at the Armature Works in The Gathering. You can dance to a live band and a DJ, enjoy Top Shelf open bar, a wide selection of late night hors d’oeuvres as well as a champagne bar. Enjoy a midnight toast as you watch fireworks. The cost to attend is $165 per person. The gala is from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. For more information, please visit www.AWNYE.com. The Armature Works is located at 1910 N. Ola Ave. in Tampa. Busch Gardens is a great place to ring in the New Year with music, fireworks and thrilling rides. The park will be open until 1 a.m. Admission to the New Year’s Eve celebration is
By Kathy L. Collins
There are lots of options for residents to choose from to ring in the New Year! You can select an elegant gala at the Armature Works, thrilling rides at Busch Gardens or an Austin Powers themed night at the Tampa Theatre. The choice is yours!
included with the paid admission. Busch Gardens is located at10165 McKinley Dr. in Tampa. For more information, please visit www.buschgardens.com. If you want to be out on the water in Tampa Bay, there are several options. Pirate Water Taxi is offering a New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise The one-hour cruise includes champagne and party favors. You will also get prime viewing of the downtown Tampa fireworks display. The cruise time is 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and the cruise departs from the Tampa Convention Center (home dock stop #7). The cost is $49.95 plus tax for adults and $39.95 plus tax for children 4 to 12 years old. You also get a boarding photo. For more information, please visit www.piratewatertaxi.com. Adults can enjoy dinner and dancing on either a two-hour ($149.95 plus
fees and taxes) or a three-hour ($199.95 plus fees and taxes) cruise. Both feature dinner, party favors and a midnight fireworks show. Check out the Tampa VIP New Year’s Eve Cruise on Yacht Star Ship. For more information, please visit www.yachtstarship.com. The Tampa Theatre will hold its 3rd Annual NYE Wrap Party from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Jill Witecki with the Tampa Theatre said, “Join Dr. Evil and Mr. Bigglesworth for heavy hors d’oeuvres and desserts, live music and dancing.” You can watch the ball drop live on the big screen at midnight. There is an open beer and wine bar and a cash bar featuring Austin Powers themed cocktails. The cost to attend is $99 for general admission and $89 for Tampa Theatre members. For more information, please visit www.http://tampatheatre.org/annualevent/nye-wrap-party/. The Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium in Brandon is hosting a No
Jacket Required New Year’s Eve Celebration at 6 p.m. Chef Dave will prepare gourmet dishes before your eyes as you sip wine throughout the evening. The cost is $110 per person and wine and champagne are included. The Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium is located at 2080 Badlands Dr. in Brandon. For more information, please visit www.rollinpinonline.com or call 653-2418. Top Golf, located at 10690 Palm Ave. in Tampa, is holding a party featuring live entertainment, a chefinspired menu and a midnight celebration. You will also get party favors to help ring in the New Year. You can enjoy unlimited game play from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and enjoy a midnight fireworks display. To reserve a bay for up to six guests, the cost is $225 excluding food and beverages. You can upgrade to VIP status for $450. Bays are limited, so you are encouraged to reserve early by visiting www.topgolf.com.
Volume 13, Issue 12