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Two Sections, 44 Pages of Community News


See Our Section On Pages 32-37 C E L E B R A T I N G


March 2018 Volume 15, Issue 3 Ph: 657-2418 1 6




Brandyn’s Angels Helps Mom Serve Homeless In Son’s Name After Loss

By Kate Quesada



BSAC Presents Casino Royale 2018 Fundraiser At The Regent

By Kathy L. Collins

in Florida, played basketball and worked hard in school. Wood feels confident he would want her to use the money to help the community he once enjoyed. From November 2017 until January 2018, Wood collected blankets and provided more than 200 bags of toiletries to the homeless at Gaslight Park in downtown Tampa. “My goal is to continue to give to the homeless throughout the whole

Come out and enjoy a lively evening of fun, table games, good food and drink at BSAC’s 10th Annual Casino Night. You get to have fun while also raising funds to help children of lower income families have the opportunity to take advantage of BSAC’s wonderful programming.

Valrico resident Kimberly Wood recently started Brandyn’s Angels to help Tampa’s homeless population.

year,” said Wood. She is now collecting water, chapsticks, hats and other items to help people be more comfortable during the warm weather months. “My son Brandyn was a beacon of light to many, both young and old,” said Wood. “My son believed that there was good in everybody so he basically trusted people until they gave him a reason not to.” Wood is accepting donations for the toiletries bags and funds through PayPal. For more information, call her at 409-8374 or search for Brandyn’s Angels on Facebook.

Brandon Sports and Aquatics Center (BSAC) is hosting its Annual Casino Night on Friday, March 23 from 7 to 11 p.m. at The Regent located at 6437 Watson Rd. in Riverview. This year’s event is expected to be bigger and better than ever. BSAC’s signature event, Casino Royale 2018, is an incredible opportunity to give back to the Brandon community while enjoying table games, a silent auction, open bar and 50/50 raffle. The cost to attend is $60. This gets you all you can eat and drink plus chips to play with at the wonderful table games. The games include craps, roulette, blackjack and more. You can even buy additional chips. This is a 21 and older event. BSAC will offer free childcare at The Regent for children ages three to 14. BSAC’s Casino Night raises funds that help support their scholarship program which allows lower income families to have access to all of the quality services that BSAC offers. This includes after school care, athletic training and special needs education. Last year, over 400 area residents attended Casino Night and helped to raise money for BSAC’s programs. As this is the 10th year anniversary of this fabulous event, it is hoped that the event will raise over $60,000 for scholarship funds.

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Valrico resident Kimberly Wood is turning the loss of her son into a mission to help others. Wood recently started Brandyn’s Angels, a group dedicated to helping the homeless in Tampa using restitution funds given to her due to her son’s death. Wood’s son Brandyn Preston was shot in the neck at a graduation party for his cousin in Iowa in 2011. He was 19 years old at the time and underwent treatment with his mother as his caregiver for two years until he passed away in January 2013. Wood now receives $187 a month in restitution from the Iowa Department of Corrections on behalf of the man serving a life sentence for Preston’s death. She is using that money to buy supplies for homeless people in the Tampa area. “The idea for Brandyn’s Angels came from the short life my son lived,” said Wood. “He was always lending a helping hand to those less fortunate without looking for anything in return.” Preston, who attended East Bay and Robinson high schools while living

Every year Feed the Bay collects upwards of 160,000 pounds of food and store gift cards.This year’s Feed the Bay will be held on Sunday, April 15 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at 17 participating Publix Super Markets throughout Hillsborough.


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BSAC is a non-profit organization that impacts the lives of area residents on a daily basis. BSAC provides parents with a safe, enriching and educational experience for their children. Over 10,000 swimming lessons are provided at BSAC each year. This helps fulfill BSAC’s mission of youth drowning prevention. Carli Walko, BSAC Director of Marketing said, “We have a little something for everyone here at BSAC. We offer many options for sports for children to grow in and learn. We offer a safe environment for children to come after school.” Waldo added, “We are also a great place to host your next party, team building event, church party or picnic.” BSAC is located at 405 Beverly Rd. in Brandon. To get tickets for BSAC’s Casino Night or to become a sponsor, please visit

In This Issue FEED THE BAY ....................................PG 3 WINTHROP ARTS FESTIVAL................PG 6 LOCAL EASTER EGG HUNTS .............PG 11 MULTI‐CULTURE FAIR.......................PG 13 CLS GOLF TOURNAMENT.................PG 15 EYE ON BUSINESS .....................PGS 25‐26 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT................PG 28 TAMPA BAY HISTORY EXPANSION ...PG 38 SPORTS CONNECTION......................PG 43


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Valrico Edition

Volume 15, Issue 3

March 2018

Page 3

Valrico Edition

Feed The Bay Returns This April Along Tampa Area Metropolitan YMCA Honors Volunteers At Annual Dinner With Dedicated Volunteers By Amanda Boston ping, volunteers are onsite to collect and load the food immediately onto the semi-trailers. “Each year we look forward to serving as store coordinators,” said

Every year Feed the Bay collects upwards of 160,000 pounds of food and store gift cards.

“My family and I have been a part of Feed the Bay since the very first year when it was one church and one man’s idea,” said Julia Pickens, a store coordinator volunteer. This year’s Feed the Bay will be held on Sunday, April 15 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at 17 participating Publix Super Markets throughout Pickens. “My husband Dwight and I felt that involving our boys, then 10 and 12, would be a great family activity and a way of setting an example of how we should serve others.” While store volunteers are essential to the Feed the Bay mission, other volunteer opportunities are available. At 2:30 p.m., the semi-trailers depart from the participating Publix Super Markets and head to one of the 14 participating food banks or agencies. Volunteers are needed to unload and sort the food at Feed the Bay welcomes young children to these local agencies. participate alongside a parent. Volunteers must be at least 14 Hillsborough County. The one-day event years old, but children are welcome to collects thousands of pounds of food to participate alongside their parents. To replenish the pantries of local food volunteer, visit banks and community agencies. Also, the website provides a list of parLaunched by Bay Life Church in ticipating Publix Super Markets, church2006, Feed the Bay leverages more es and agencies. than 30 churches in the Tampa area. “We love when volunteers bring The community outreach is an illustratheir children to the event,” Pickens said. tion of the body of Christ coming togeth- “There is a job for everyone and little er to be the hands and feet of Jesus. hands serving the Lord turn into big Pickens continued, “We encourage hands.” our friends and family to stop by so they If you are unable to participate, gift can be witnesses to the power of God’s cards from any supermarket may be people in action.” dropped off at the Bay Life Church office Publix Super Market, a longstanding between now and April 15. partner in the effort, offers shoppers the For questions, contact Melanie convenience of a grocery list with sugLangston from Bay Life Church at gested food items. Moreover, after shop-

By Kathy L. Collins

is co-chair of the Annual Giving Community Campaign. “Lori is always ready to help with a cheerful attitude and a smile,” said Hpoto courtesy of Mike Russo Volunteers from the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA were honored at Kerr. Dan the Annual Regions Community Impact Dinner held in February. This group of stellar volunteers included four from the greater Brandon area. Madine is the On Tuesday, February 27, the Tampa Volunteer of the Year from the Spurino Metropolitan Area YMCA held its Regions Family YMCA on Big Bend Road. He is a Community Impact Dinner at the TPepin volunteer basketball coach. He is also a Hospitality Centre in Tampa. At this year’s member of the Advisory Board and has event, Jeff and Penny Vinik were honored been working with the board for five for their dedication and positive impact on years. “Dan has spent hundreds of hours residents of the Tampa Bay area. helping local children with their basketball Volunteers from each of the YMCA skills and has been a positive role model branches were honored as well. for these children as they learn basketball From the Campo Family YMCA, the skills as well as team work and sportsVolunteer of the Year is Cindy Moran, the manship,” said Kerr. Chair of the YMCA Advisory Board. The youngest Volunteer of the Year Moran works on three standing commitfrom our area is Lexi Girard from YMCA tees and is a key member of the Camp Cristina. Girard is president of the Development Committee. Under her lead- Teen Leaders Club. “At only 15 years old, ership, over $200,000 was raised. “Cindy Lexi has done a remarkable job of leadgives unstintingly of her time and talent to ing the group of teens to volunteer not our Campo Family YMCA. Her hours are just at Camp Cristina, but other events not logged, but she certainly volunteers such as passing out water at the hundreds of hours each year,” said Gasparilla Race or helping in the food Dwight Kerr, District Development pantry at Metropolitan Ministries,” said Director. Mark Battig, Executive Director of YMCA The Volunteer of the Year from the Camp Cristina. North Brandon YMCA is Lori Egan, a For more information on the Tampa member of the Y’s Advisory Board. Egan Metropolitan Area YMCA, please visit volunteers at many events. This year she




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Volume 15, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

The Community Roundtable Holds Its Annual Community Affairs Dinner

New Pedaling For Parkinson’s Program Offered At North Brandon YMCA

Each year, the Central Florida. Fidler Community Roundtable has over 300 volunteer hosts its Annual hours and is passionate Community Affairs about giving back to the Dinner. This year’s dincommunity. Fidler said, ner was held on “Volunteering is about Wednesday, February more than just a gradu21 at Center Place in ation requirement. I am Brandon. extremely honored to The dinner is an have been selected.” opportunity for the comThe Non-Profit of munity to come together, the Year Award was celebrate the accomgiven to Seeds of Hope, Shaun Fidler, a senior at plishments of the past, Bloomingdale High School, shown an all-volunteer nonhere with Janine Nickerson, look to the future, award profit. Seeds of Hope President of the Community a scholarship and recprovides food assisRoundtable, was awarded the ognize outstanding citiMaureen Krzanowski Scholarship tance to local people in at the Annual Community Affairs need and meaningful zens and non-profit Dinner. organizations. community service This year’s theme was Vision. The hours for students. Seeds of Hope runs a keynote speakers were Hillsborough mobile food pantry, Backpack of Hope County Commissioner, Stacy White and food program (for elementary school chilJohn Dingfelder. White and Dingfelder, dren in need of food over the weekend) along with and a weekly Community food bank. Roundtable The Alice President, B. Tompkins Janine Community Nickerson, Service Award spoke about was presented plans to preto John serve Noriega of Bill’s Brandon’s hisPrescription tory. Center in Seeds of Hope was this year’s winner of the Non-Profit Specifically, Award given at the Annual Community Affairs Dinner Brandon. by the Community Roundtable. the three laid Noriega has out a vision of preserving Julia Mosely’s always equated his job with service to the property (located along Hwy. 60 between community. He often provides private Haverty’s and Portillo’s) in Brandon. The assistance to his customers without them property has been in the family’s possesever knowing what had been done for sion since them. Walt they settled Raysick, last there in the year’s recipient 1880’s. said of Currently, Noriega, “True there are volunteers do plans to prenot want the serve this hisspotlight. toric landmark. Respect, yes, Ultimately, the but not the site may be recognition. transformed That certainly John Noriega of Bill’s Prescription Center is the recipi- describes this into a history ent of this year’s Alice B. Tompkins Community Service center. The year’s recipiAward. community ent.” will be informed of the progress of this Noriega said, “We would not be here plan. without the community. Your problems go This year’s Community Roundtable away when you help others.” Scholarship was awarded to Shaun For more information on The Fidler, a senior at Bloomingdale High Community Roundtable, please visit School. Fidler has a weighted GPA of or call 5.72 and plans to attend the University of 661-4350.

The North the program throughout Brandon YMCA will Hillsborough County. begin offering the The North Brandon Pedaling for YMCA has the needed Parkinson’s program staff in place to make on Monday, April 2. the program a success The eight-week prothere. gram is free for anyone Pedaling for ages 30 to 75 who is Parkinson’s will be diagnosed with offered at the North Idiopathic Parkinson’s Brandon YMCA on disease. A medical Mondays and Fridays at provider must provide 10:30 a.m. A cycling consent and clearance instructor with in order for the patient Parkinson’s knowledge to participate. will lead each session. The North Care partners are Rebecca Piatt, the Wellness Director Brandon YMCA has at the North Brandon YMCA, along encouraged to particiwith Allen Burdett, Jr., a Parkinson’s pate, but this is not space for 19 particiclient of Piatt’s. pants. required. After the initial eight-week program, The classes are driven by fast-paced participants may continue, but they will music. be required to become a member of the Piatt said, “This program is improving YMCA. Parkinson’s patients’ quality of life. While The Tampa YMCA piloted the it does not cure Parkinson’s, it helps to Pedaling for Parkinson’s program two alleviate some of the complications assoyears ago at the South Tampa Family ciated with Parkinson’s and improves YMCA after researchers at the Cleveland walking, tremors, flexibility, grip strength, Clinic found a 35% reduction in motor coordination, posture and stiffParkinson’s disease symptoms by the ness.” simple act of pedaling a bicycle at a rapid Pedaling for Parkinson’s is funded pace. According to Rebecca Piatt, the through a grant, but the Tampa YMCA Wellness Director at the North Brandon plans to keep the program going in at YMCA, “The goal is to provide a program area YMCAs including South Tampa that allows Parkinson’s patients to draYMCA, Bob Sierra YMCA and North matically increase their exercise tolerBrandon YMCA. ance and decrease their symptoms in a The North Brandon YMCA is located comfortable, social environment.” at 3097 S. Kingsway Rd. in Seffner. For The Tampa YMCA wants to expand more information, please call 685-5402.

By Kathy L. Collins

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Have A Voice In The Choice Of Tampa Bay’s Next Drinking Water Sources As the Tampa Bay area continues to grow, the region will need more water. Your voice is needed to help decide the next drinking water sources. If you live in Hillsborough, Pasco or Pinellas counties, you are invited to share your opinions on water supply projects at Tampa Bay Water, the regional drinking water supplier to the Tampa Bay area, is working on a long-term plan to meet drinking water demands well into the future. Part of the agency’s planning process is collecting community input. “Public input is essential to our planning process,” said Michelle Stom, chief communications officer for Tampa Bay Water.“ By working cooperatively with our member governments, community organizations, businesses and residents, we are able to improve our service to the Tampa Bay community.” There is a short-list of projects to consider, each with its own technical, financial and environmental components. The new sources under consideration include additional seawater and river water, two sources currently serving the region, as well as options that use highly treated reclaimed water as a new source. offers detailed information on each project, features a video overview, provides the ability to sign-up for a telephone town hall to discuss the projects live, and offers a survey to collect

Page 5

Valrico Edition






Staff Report

input. Based on projections, the Tampa Bay area will need to have additional drinking water ready in 2028. Input is needed now to ensure there is enough time for the design, permitting and construction process. Tampa Bay Water’s board of directors is expected to review the projects and community feedback before its December 2018 meeting when the board will be selecting a project or projects to move forward for more study, design and permitting. Planning ahead is always smart, especially when it comes to something as important as drinking water. Now is the time to be part of the conversation — so we have the right supply ready at the right time to keep our region growing and thriving. Visit to learn more and be heard. Locally, the 15.5-billion gallon C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir makes the region’s water supply more drought resistant, reliable and flexible. Surface water from the Tampa Bypass Canal, Hillsborough and Alafia rivers is stored in the reservoir during wet times. During dry times, when river is unavailable, water stored in the reservoir is withdrawn, treated and blended with other supplies to serve the region. To learn more, visit


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

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Page 6

Volume 15, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

First Citrus Bank Presents The 10th Annual Winthrop Arts Festival And Artisan Market

By Kathy L. Collins

all over the region have applied to participate. This year’s festival will be judged by a distinguished panel of judges including Martine Collier, the Executive Director of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Michael Parker, muralist and President of the SouthShore Arts Council 10th Annual Winthrop Arts Festival and Artisan Market on and Susana Weymouth, Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25 in beautiful Executive Director of Tampa Winthrop Town Centre in Riverview. Bay Businesses For Culture The 10th Annual Winthrop Arts and the Arts. Festival and Artisan Market, presented Awards are given for Best of Show, by First Citrus Bank, will be held on First Place, Second Place, Third Place Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March and Honorable Mention. In addition, 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the those in the community who love art, Winthrop Common located in Winthrop can become a Friend of Winthrop Arts Town Centre in Riverview. The park is at for $125 and select an artist to win a the corner of Hadley Commons and portion of the sponsorship. Winthrop Commerce Ave (behind Boca At this year’s festival, there will be and Ciccio’s). fine arts ranging from painting, sculpThis year the festival is presented ture, glass, mixed media to photography. by First Citrus Bank. Lisa Pitts, Branch Bryant Martinez, the Winthrop Town Manager for First Citrus Bank said, “We Artist said, “We are super excited for this are proud to enhance the vibrancy of year’s arts festival as it is our 10th year. our community by supporting the 2018 We are privileged to support new and Winthrop Arts Festival and Artisan established artists by holding this event Market.” and bringing a fine arts festival to the Kay Sullivan, President of the community.” Martinez added, “We are so Winthrop Arts Board of Visionaries said, honored to have the panel of judges that “We are honored to have First Citrus have agreed to judge this year’s show.” Bank as our Presenting Sponsor as it For more information on the 10th enables us to give more prize money Annual Winthrop Arts Festival and than ever before to our winning artists.” Artisan Market and to become involved The 10th Annual Winthrop Arts as a sponsor, artist, artisan or vendor, Festival and Artisan Market is a juried please visit or call art show with $5,000 in prize money 758-5161. available. Fine artists and artisans from


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The Blind Side Scott Mulhollen actor Quinton Aaron said. “We treat will be the keynote them like royalty.” speaker for Royal Banquet Family Kids Camp keynote speaker Tampa Bay’s Royal Quinton Aaron is Banquet: Giving Hope best known for playing Michael to Foster Kids on Oher, aka ‘Big Thursday, April 5, at Mike,’ in the The Regent in award-winning Riverview. movie The Blind The banquet is the Side. main fundraiser for The TampaRoyal Family Kids Camp Tampa Bay. The Actor Quinton Aaron, who starred in based Quinton the movie The Blind Side, will be the Aaron nonprofit organization’s keynote speaker at the Royal Foundation’s misgoal in 2018 is to proBanquet. sion is to provide vide a free week of hope, encouragement, camp in July for more than confidence and 60 kids who come from resources to children on foster care, group homes the brink of suicide or and kinship care. battling the damaging During this life-changeffects on self-esteem ing week children ages 6and confidence caused by the 12 who have experienced abuse, actions or words of others. neglect and abandonment are given Several banquet sponsorship a safe and loving environment with a levels are available, ranging from ratio of one adult to one child. The $250 to $3,000. Event sponsors camp is provided free of charge to include Thrivent Financial, the the kids and staffed 100 percent by Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay volunteers. Steel, Highland Packaging Solutions Last year, 47 kids attended the and United Hoist Equipment. camp staffed by 60 volunteers. The The cost to attend the banquet, campers were treated like royalty which will begin at 6:30 p.m., is $30 throughout the week, starting with a per person and $210 for a table of luxury coach bus ride to camp. eight. Register online at “It’s a time where [the kids] are Go online to shown God’s unconditional love in a for more way that they’ve probably never information on volunteering. experienced before,” Camp Director

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Page 7

Valrico Edition

Survivor Contestent To Speak At Upcoming Women’s Empowerment Retreat

Staff Report

When Brandon beautiful person others see resident Pearl and motivate you to comChiarenza went plete your transformation.” through a hard time Speakers include Cirie women’s retreat Fields of the reality show changed her life. Survivor, Shannon Carlton, Using her knowlsingle-mom to two teenage edge, her second daughters and founder of a annual retreat, Co-work Landing, Keandra Ward Business and Women’s Successful Branding Coach, Kris Living Overcome Beaird a John Maxwell Your Fears PJ Certified Coach, Annie Retreat, will take Hudgens founder of Miss place at 815 2nd Buckle Up Princess whose Ave. NW in Ruskin from Friday April 6 to mission is to save one Sunday April 8, offerchild at a time by remindCirie Fields from the Reality TV Show Survivor will be the keynote ing them to buckle up, as ing a variety of speaker at the second annual events from wine well as Stephanie Matos, Women’s Successful Living tasting, mediation local mindset coach and Overcome Your fears PJ Retreat from Friday-Sunday, April 6-8 in yoga, breakout sesfounder of Raise Your Ruskin. sions and insight Vibe. from nine inspirational speakers including Rounding out the list of speakers are India White author of How to Overcome the Survivor Reality TV star Cirie Fields. Obstacles from Your Past and Carolyn “Far too many women talk about the Daniels, who will be traveling from Texas future, but never get over the fear of getsharing on Life After Divorce. ting off the couch to take the necessary “I can completely empathize with steps to transform their future.” said women wanting more and being afraid to Chiarenza, who founded Women’s go after their vision because when I was Successful Living in 2016 and also owns going after my dream I was afraid of putBodyworks Health and Wellness Center. The event is for any woman over 16 who ting my vision first,” said Chiarenza, who has seen her clients lose more than is looking to make a change in her life. “College students, stay at home 8,000 pounds. moms or corporate executives, the fact Tickets are available at wslpjreremains, once you desire something More informaexciting, then this program is for you,” tion is available at www.womenssuccessshe said. “We have speakers who will Ticket includes entry to all inspire you to stop being fearful of your activities, breakout sessions, lodging dream and help you see yourself as the food and drinks.

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Inna’s Alterations Offers Exceptional Service And A Boutique Experience With a lifetime of experience in costume design and sewing, Inna Lilov of Inna’s Alterations and Repair offers unsurpassed talent to the Brandon community. Born in Russia, her family was part of the Moscow Circus, and she found herself traveling the globe with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey raising and training bears and walking a tightrope. She made and embellished her own costumes and her artistic prowess is noticeable in all her work. She with her staff, Vlasta Weimann and Natalia Vertuozova, offer an array of alteration services for men and women with a promise of honesty and quality. “I have a reputation,” Lilov said in between customers who have popped in to pick up a piece, have a fitting, or just to say hello. “I want people to come back.” And they do because the work reflects excellence.

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Beyond alterations, Inna’s storefront is a hidden gem of dresses, shoes, accessories, and attire for all occasions. She and her staff take department store and designer pieces with slight damage and repair them until the defect is unnoticeable. She then boasts 20-50% off designer prices in all sizes. In the market for a prom dress, a cocktail dress, or a sundress? She has something for all tastes including casual wear and jewelry. The deals are too good not to stop by. Inna’s Alterations and Repair is open Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information, call 651-4416. Inna’s Alterations is located at 1548 Bloomingdale Ave. E., Suite 1548, Valrico, 33594.

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Page 8

Valrico Edition

22nd Annual Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival Featured At This Year’s Gasparilla International Film Festival

By Kathy L. Collins

You will not want to miss films such as Heather Booth: Changing the World and Heading Home and The Tale of Team Israel at this year’s Annual Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival featured at the Annual Gasparilla International Film Festival held this March.

For the past several decades, the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival has been featured at the Annual Suncoast Federal Credit Union Gasaparilla International Film Festival. This year, the Tampa JCCS & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties have partnered to bring the broader community together as a showcase for the feature films and documentaries from around the world on themes of Jewish culture and identity. In addition, this year’s festival will feature community events paired with many of the films to create an enhanced experience, inspire dialog and provide meaningful moments of community engagement. “The evolved film festival is now showcasing over 20 films across the Bay,” explained Sara Scher, film festival committee co-chair. “This year’s powerhouse line up is the most eclectic that we have seen in years,” said co-chair Stewart Donnell. The 22nd Annual Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival begins with Opening Night on Wednesday, March 21 at 6 p.m. at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC in Tampa. The film festival opens with a screening of Bye Bye Germany, an award-winning film that screened across the U.S. and

internationally in over 50 film festivals. The films will be shown at various venues across Tampa Bay including the Bryan Glazer Family JCC Theatre, AMC Classic Centro Ybor in Tampa, Villagio Cinemas of Carrollwood, AMC Classic Palm Harbor and AMC Sundial in St. Petersburg. The film festival runs through Sunday, March 25. Film lovers can see a variety of films. On Thursday, March 22 you can choose to see Heather Booth: Changing the World; Longing; Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me; The Last Suit; Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story; and And Then She Arrived. On Friday, March 23 you can see The Cakemaker and Budapest Noir. On Saturday, March 24 you can see The Testament; In Between; and An Israeli Love Story. On Sunday, March 25 come out and see Scandal in Ivansk; Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas; Itzhak; Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel; and The People vs. Fritz Bauer. The films are expected to sell out, so film attendees are encouraged to pre-purchase film tickets by visiting For more information and to become sponsor of the Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival, please call 769-4725.

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Volume 15, Issue 3

Brandon Foundation Rebrands And Continues Its Annual Charity Golf Classic

By Amanda Boston

Since its through the Angel inception in 2003, Foundation will go the Brandon directly into the Foundation has hands of the famiserved more than lies rather than to 550 families and the local charities distributed for distribution. $2,000,000 in “We are very grants, goods proud of the enorand services to mous impact we local charities and have made togethfamilies in the er in our communicommunity. ty,” said Brewer, In 2006, the speaking about the Celebrity Guests from the 2017 Charity Golf partnership between Brandon Classic. Foundation the Brandon launched its Angel Program to assist fam- Foundation and local charities. She conilies in the area that have suffered a cata- tinued, “We are stronger as a community strophic event or life-threatening illness. due to their accomplishments.” Liz Brewer, the Executive Director of the Now rebranded as the Angel Brandon Foundation, announced that the Foundation, Brewer hopes to enlist more nonprofit is rebranding and refocusing its local business owners as Angel Providers mission. to donate their time, services or Brewer said, “Because of the enorresources to families in crisis. Likewise, mous impact of the Angel Program and to Brewer would love more volunteers to provide more clarity for our supporters become Angel Team members who come and corporate business partners, the alongside families in crisis to assist them Brandon Foundation will now be called with practical needs and match them with the Angel Foundation.” local Angel Providers. The Angel Foundation will unveil its “We encourage everyone to get new look and vision at this year’s Charity involved as an Angel Team member, Golf Classic. The annual golf fundraiser Angel provider, volunteer, sponsor or will be held on Friday, March 23 and donor so we can help even more families Saturday, March 24 at the River Hills in the years ahead,” noted Brewer. Country Club in Valrico. Each year, the Visit or golf fundraiser features celebrity golfers, a call 689-6889. To register or become a live and silent auction and fantastic food sponsor for the Charity Golf Classic, visit and drinks donated by local restaurants and caterers. The River Hills Country Club is located at Moving forward, all monies raised 3943 New River Hills Pkwy. in Valrico.

March 2018

Page 9

Valrico Edition

Group Knits Prostheses For Patients By Kate Quesada are all different and we won’t know which protheses will be best just based on bra size,” said Sandrock, who will also teach the recipient about care of protheses during the short fitting. “We also have many different colors from neutral and black to hot pink, depending on personality and mood.” The knitted protheses can be placed in a regular bra and accordVolunteer knitters and women looking for breast protheses ing to Sandrock are are invited to attend monthly meetings of the new Brandon Knitted Knockers group the third Wednesday of the month more light-weight and comfortable than tradiat Brandon Regional Hospital. tional synthetic protheValrico resident Lynette Sandrock ses that can not be worn for weeks is changing lives with her knitting. Sandrock is starting a Brandon group after surgery. In addition, the knitted knockers can be adjusted to fill the of Knitted Knockers, a national gap for breasts that are uneven and organization that provides free knitare easily adapted for those going ted breast protheses for women who through reconstruction by removing have had a single or double mastecsome stuffing. tomy or other breast surgery. She is The closest Knitted Knockers looking for both knitters to help make group was previously in the Sarasota the protheses and women who are interested in being fitted for one or two. An avid knitter since childhood, Sandrock learned about the Knitted Knockers group from a newspaper article and upon further research realized that making the protheses was a way she could give back. “I looked at one of the patterns and thought ‘I could do that,’” she said. The protheses are made from super soft acrylic yarn and are machine washable and dry quickly. area, so Like other knitSandrock conters in the tacted Brandon national organiRegional zation, Hospital and Sandrock local doctors donates the and has now set materials and up a monthly time for the session the third ones she Wednesday of makes. The every month in knitters have the hospital’s Classroom A, located found that it is important that recipients, who can have recently had their at 262 S. Moon Ave. in Brandon. For more information, call Sandrock at mastectomies or be years out from 300-1505 or visit www.knittedknockthe surgery, be fitted for the Sample patterns for people ses in person. interested in knitting are also avail“The fittings take a short time, able on the website. but are very important because we

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Volume 15, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

Comedian Leslie Norris Townsend To Perform At Bell Shoals Baptist Church

By Amanda Boston

Calling all ladies! Tampa’s FaithTalk radio station presents Ladies Night Out on Thursday, March 22 at Bell Shoals Baptist Church. Grab your girlfriends and get ready for an evening of laughs when Christian Comedian Leslie Norris Townsend takes the stage at 7 p.m. Townsend, also a former beauty queen and grand finalist on Star Search, received her first major break into showbiz performing at Walt Disney World. Shortly after, Hollywood noticed her knack for improvisation and knocked on her door. With 30 plus television appearances, including The Tonight Show and Comedy Central, Townsend easily connects with her audiences through song, dance and comedy. The accomplished performer has also shared the stage with the likes of Robin Williams, Bryan Cranston and Henry Winkler, just to name a few. Touted as part comedy and part testimony, Townsend’s act pulls from her life experience as she recounts her journey from a comedian with a bur-

geoning career in Hollywood to a farmer and stay-at-home mom in rural Ohio. “I wanted a better life for my family, and I couldn’t do that on the road,” explained Townsend. Comedian Leslie Norris Townsend captivates her “So here I audiences through song, was, this prisdance and clean comedy. sy beauty queen in heels, out in the mud and in the middle of nowhere.” “Laughter is so healing,” said Townsend. “It’s important for women to come together and lean on one another. We are going to have a great time at this event.” The fun kicks off at 5 p.m. with a shopping EXPO where ladies can mingle and sample lite hors-d'oeuvres and decadent desserts. For a larger appetite, food trucks will be on the premises. The event takes places on the Bell Shoals Brandon Campus located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon. General admission is $10 per person with VIP seating at $29 per person. For further detail or to purchase tickets, visit For more information about Townsend, visit

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March 2018

Page 11

Valrico Edition

Egg Hunts, Community Events And More Family Fun Around Town Centerpoint Church will hold an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 31 at 5:30 p.m. between its 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Easter services. Everyone is welcome. Please have children bring a basket to collect eggs if you have one. Centerpoint Church is located at 1801 S. Miller Rd. in Valrico. For more information, visit Cornerstone Baptist Church will hold a Children’s Easter Fellowship and Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 31 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Children (2 years through 5th grade) and their families are invited to join the fun and fellowship. Children need to bring an empty basket to collect eggs. The event also includes a Bible story, fun activities, hot dogs and drinks. The event is free and open to the public. The church is located at 818 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon. Contact the church office at 689-3325. Driven Church will host an Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 1, following its 10 a.m. service. The egg hunt includes free family photographs with a backdrop. Driven Church meets at Brandon High School, located at 1101 Victoria St. in Brandon. For more information, call 5860571 or visit First Presbyterian Church of Brandon will host an Easter Eggstravaganza on Saturday, March 31 at 10 a.m. Bring a basket and a dish to share. The event will feature crafts, an egg hunt and lots of fun. The church is located 121 Carver Ave. in Brandon.

Fishhawk Fellowship will hold an Easter Extravaganza on Saturday, March 24 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Park Square, located at 16132 Churchview Dr. in Lithia. The free event will include bounce houses, rock wall, trampolines, refreshments and games. For more information, visit Hawthorne Village Retirement Community will hold its annual Easter egg hunt on Friday, March 30 at 11 a.m. Hunt for more than 2,000 eggs and get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny. This event is for ages 12 and under. There will be prizes and refreshments. Hawthorne Village is located at 859 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon. For more information, call 661-8998 or visit Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church will hold a free Easter breakfast and egg hunt on Sunday, April 1 at 9:15 a.m. The church is located at 604 N. Valrico Rd. in Valrico. For more information, please contact Kelly Black at 480-0800. Journey Church of Brandon will host a free movie night followed by a flashlight egg hunt on Friday, March 23

from 7-9 p.m. Popcorn and water will be provided. Bring chairs and flashlights. The church is located at 1310 John Moore Rd. in Brandon. For more information, visit Lighthouse Revival Center will host its annual Easter of Hope Outreach on Saturday, March 24 at 11 a.m. The event includes an egg hunt, face painting, free bike giveaway, contests, prizes, candy and more. LRC is located at 7211 S. 78th St. in Riverview. For more information, visit Next Level Church FishHawk will do a Helicopter Egg Drop at a secret location on Sunday, April 1. The drop will take place after the church’s Easter experiences held at Newsome High School at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Tickets and a map to the drop location are only available at the two experiences. Further detail can be found at Presbyterian Church of Bloomingdale will hold its annual Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 1, following the 10:30 a.m. service. The church is located at 710 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in

By Amanda Boston

Brandon. Redeemer Church will hold its annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 31 from 9-11 a.m. for toddlers through fifth grade. The free event also includes refreshments, a special craft and worship. The church is located at 12404 Boyette Rd. in Riverview. For more information, visit South Bay Church will host an Easter Eggstravaganza on Saturday, March 31 at 10 a.m. The egg hunt will feature fun for the entire family, including prize eggs, food and music. The church is located at 13498 U.S. Hwy. 301 S. in Riverview. For more information, visit St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church of Brandon will host an Eggstravaganza on Saturday, March 24 from 2-4 p.m. in the Family Life Center. The event will include an egg hunt, games, food, candy, and activities. The event is free but please register online at The church is located at 3315 Bryan Rd. in Brandon.

Riverview Easter Egg Festival will be held at the Summerfield Crossings Golf Club on Saturday, March 24 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and will offer fun for the whole family. Child under 12 can hunt for 8,000 eggs and a live Easter Bunny will be on site. The free event will feature face painting, bounce houses and a special egg hunt for the adults. Visit Facebook or The golf club is located at 13050

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Valrico Edition

Volume 15, Issue 3

Weird, Wacky And Wonderful Holidays – March 2018 Solo Vacation Day • Do Something Day • Let’s Laugh Day • Puppy Day Did you know that there are an abundance of daily holidays and special days every month? Some are immersed in tradition, while others may be silly, bizarre, unique, special or inspirational. Unofficial Holidays are not traditionally marked on calendars but are celebrated by various groups and individuals. Some are designed to promote a cause or to recognize historical events not recognized officially, while others are fun holidays, generally intended to just be humorous. So, in the midst of our busy lives, maybe consider taking time to enjoy some of the entertaining but lesserknown holidays throughout the year. Let’s get the ball rolling for March, the month most well known for St. Patty’s Day celebrations and March Madness. But, how will you honor National Frozen Food day on Tuesday, March 6? Observe a moment of silence thinking about all the yummy foods and snacks in your freezer. Maybe pay special homage to that carton of frozen ice cream. To make this day more special, load up the family and head to Campbell’s Dairyland located at 200 S Parsons Ave. in Brandon and treat

Now that's not the end of weird celebrations for March. ....Nope, not by a long shot. Check out a few other notable days: March 1 – Plan A Solo Vacation Day March 4 – March Forth and Do Something Day March 12 – Napping Day March 15 - Absolutely Incredible Kid Day March 19 – Let’s Laugh Day March 23 – Puppy Day March 24 – Chocolate Covered Raisin Day March 28 – Something On A Stick Day March 31 – Bunsen Burner Day

the kids to an ice cream Sunday to celebrate. Wednesday, March 14 is a national Pi Day. Why? Pi is a mathematical concept and a number that never ends so we round it off to 3.14. If you are a mathematician, this day honors you. It also

pays respect to Albert Einstein who was born on March 14, 1879. Most of us non-mathematicians will celebrate this day by eating pie. Don’t feel like baking a pie? Stop off at Moreno’s bakery at 737 W. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon and pick out a delicious pie of your choice. Also, Village Inn is known for giving free slices of pie to their customers on Wednesday, which just happens to be on Pi Day this year. All the waffle lovers of the world can

By Kelly Wise Valdes

unite on Sunday, March 25 for International Waffle Day. If you don’t have time to make homemade waffles in the waffle-maker that your Aunt Theo got you for Christmas 10 years ago, just jump in your car and enjoy a waffle at The Recipe Box Family Diner located at 147 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon. And remember, waffles are not just a breakfast food. Throw in a piece of fried chicken and call it dinner. You won’t want to miss out on Take a Walk In The Park Day on Friday, March 30. This is a great occasion to exercise and relax to help clear your mind and enjoy one of the 170 beautiful Hillsborough County parks. To find a park near you, visit You may need to walk after eating ice cream, pie and waffles. These holidays might encourage you to appreciate something, try something new or do something silly. At least we hope they inspire you to laugh a little during the days, weeks and months ahead. For more information, visit


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March 2018

Valrico Edition

Page 13

Early Learning Center Hosts Food Trucks And More At Multi-Culture Fair By Kate Quesada

What do a food truck class creates an inforoffering Middle Eastern mation board containfood and Taiko drummers ing facts and photos have in common? They about their chosen will both be in attendance country. These at the Village Early boards will be on disLearning Center’s free play at the event. Multi-Culture Fair on Community memSaturday, April 7. bers who attend the The community is event will be given a invited to join pre-school passport that will students and their famienable them to travel lies as they learn about from country to counthe cultures of 40 differtry within the preent countries from school, hearing stoPoland and Columbia to ries and making Ecuador and Egypt at the crafts, in addition to event. seeing items from the The Multi-Culture countries the students Fair is sponsored by have studied all week. The Village Family In addition, the fesFoundation, a nontival will include dancprofit organization, ing, music, displays of and the Parent native costumes from Advisory Committee of all over the world and the preschool. ethnic foods as well as “Raising awarea food truck offering ness of the world Middle Eastern food around us and its difand a Kona Ice truck. ferent cultures is the International comgoal of the school’s munity members, international week,” organizations or groups said Marlena Beamer, would are interested in International Festival participating in the Chairman. “The event can call the Village Early Learning school at 651-0779. Annual Village Early Learning Center Multi-Culture Fair will take place on Saturday, April 7 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Center celebrates our Visit www.vil“The students picked these counbefore the event and the students will diversity here.” The school is located at tries because they have family memexplore the customs, stories, food, According to Beamer, classrooms 3741 Canoga Park Dr. in Brandon bers that live in these regions,” said at the school will be decorated to rep- flags and geography of various counand the event will take place from 10 Beamer, who explained that each tries in preparation for the festival. resent a particular country the week a.m.-2 p.m.

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Valrico Edition

Volume 15, Issue 3

March 2018

New Chicago’s Best Burgers In Brandon Offers High Quality Food And Service Lisa and Brian Wiiliams took a chance. They quit their jobs, put together their savings, moved to Brandon from Chicago and opened up Chicago's Best Burgers located at 1925a West Lisa and Brian Brandon Blvd. Williams left family and friends behind in front of Sam’s Club on to open Chicago’s Best Burgers in S.R. 60 in Brandon. Brandon. Chicago's Best Burgers is a family owned business. When you go in, will you be able to enjoy one of our delicious burgers and feel welcomed by owners Lisa and Brian. Lisa said, "We are just a married couple who scraped together their savings and jumped in with two feet to open up a mom and pop shop." Chicago's Best Burgers is not a franchise. Here, you will be served 100 percent grass fed beef that is ground in house and cooked to order. The delectable sauces and aioli’s that go on the burgers or the wings are all made from scratch using Brian's secret recipes. The buns, there are four to choose from, are delivered almost on a daily basis. The toppings are all organic. Chicago’s Best Burgers offers 13 specialty burgers, build your own burgers, chicken wings, salads and fresh cut fries. They also offer a pota-

Page 15

Valrico Edition

By Kathy L. Collins

to tornado. This is a spiral cut potato on a stick. Think potato chips gone wild. While Chicago’s Best Burgers does not have a liquor license, you can enjoy one of their delicious burgers at our neighboring retailer, Craft Beer Cellar. Lisa said, “We thought, let’s not compete; let’s partner with them.” You can order your meal over the phone or in person, and when the food is ready, it will be delivered to you. Chicago’s Best Burgers is also partnering with Mobile Meals and UberEats. Brian has extensive experience in the restaurant business and runs the front of the house. Lisa is a paralegal and runs the back of the house. They both left families behind to come to Brandon and open the business. In the first week of being open, Hurricane Irma hit and they lost everything when power went down in the plaza. Lisa said, “We overcame a lot of obstacles to be where we are today.” Now, customers are their family. “We wanted to be a part of the community. We are more than just burgers; we are a part of the family,” said Lisa. Chicago’s Best Burgers is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information and to see their menu, please visit

Fourth Annual CLS Golf Tournament Supports Youth And Children Ministry

By Michelle Colesanti

Iglesia Cristo “Recently we La Senda (CLS), had the blessing an institution with to finish a new strong Christian construction for values, will host its our new sanctuthird annual Golf ary. That has Tournament on increased the Saturday, March assistance of 31 at River Hills families with young children Country Club, and youth. For 3943 New River Golfers are invited to play in the fourth annual that same reaHills Pkwy. in CLS Golf Tournament on Saturday, March 31 at son, we need a Valrico. River Hills Country Club. The entry fee new facility for is $100 per person. Registration begins them so they can be able to do their at 11:30 a.m. and Shot Gun start activities and spiritual growth.” begins at 1 p.m. All the funds from the Golf Meet special guest, former Yankee Tournament will benefit the new educaPitcher Ramiro Mendoza, a five-time tion community building for youth and World Series children. champion. You can register All golfers online at will receive www.iglesia18 holes of or pay golf, grab bags featuring a Golf Polo from MENby check to CLS, 3104 Bryan Rd., DOZA55 embroidery, a Hole in One for Brandon, FL 33511. Deadline to enter $10,000. Enjoy snacks throughout the is Monday, March 26. event. Included is an awards ceremoThe church is also looking for ny, dinner, contests, raffles, sport sponsors for the tournament. Single memorabilia, prizes and more. Player or hole-in-one sponsorship is “This activity is very close to my $100, Gold sponsorship-$1,000, heart, it is not only my church, but it is Platinum-$3,000 and Diamond-$5,000. also a project that is focus towards the More information on each sponsorship Youth and Children Ministry. It will also level can be found at bring our community together keeping Cristo La Senda Church is located in mind that our youth and children are at 3104 Bryan Rd. in Brandon. For our future, said Mendoza.” more information, call 571-7174. Pastor Sergio Peralta said,

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Valrico Edition

New Vanish Point Drop Tower Slides Right Into Adventure Island

Staff Report

Guests are in for high-speed thrills the slide of their lives and tropical, tranwhen Adventure quil surroundings Island®Tampa for guests of all Bay’s new epic drop ages. Within a slide, Vanish soothing Key Point®, opens in West atmosphere, March 2018. guests enjoy Inspired by the slides, point on a wave corkscrews, where water and gravwaterfalls, a wave ity form a perfect partpool, children’s nership, the crest of water playground this 70-ft. tower chaland other family lenges you with two attractions. Adventure Island®Tampa Bay’s new Vanish Point® 425 ft. wave paths. Step epic drop slide, Vanish Point®, opens in March 2018. will be located at into one of two skyboxthe center of the es, and face your park next to anothfears as the floor diser family-favorite appears beneath thrill slide, Colossal you. Or, get horizontal Curl™, and near on a 455-ft. long slide waterfalls, a ending with a high speed finale. 17,000-sq. ft. wave “These unique pool, children’s ride paths give guests water playground options on how they called Fabian’s want their thrills delivFunport® and other ered,” said Stewart family attractions. Guests can dig their toes into the Clark, president of Busch sand or relax in lounge chairs or a priGardens® Tampa Bay and Adventure vate cabana. Island®. “Whether you choose to Construction on Vanish Point® will have the floor drop from beneath your begin in the coming weeks, and the feet, or race to the bottom on a ride is expected to be completed to looped slide, the only way down once you get to the top is a wild ride that kick off the 2018 season for Adventure gets your heart pumping.” Island®. Located right across the street Visit for more from Busch Gardens®, Adventure information, hours and special offers Island is the ultimate combination of for Advernture Island.

Volume 15, Issue 3

March 2018

Page 17

Valrico Edition

, s r e s i a r Fund s t i b i h x Special E re… & Mo

with live tortoises, snakes, skinks and alligators on select dates. Now through Sunday, April 8 there will be an exciting array of reptile , themed educational ti n a s le o ichelle C m M activities and y b d e co Compil observer. y exhibits. This will e r p s o @ michelle include a hands-on sea turtle triage and intake station each day. Each weekend, the Aquarium will Topgolf Fundraiser Benefiting have a selection of live reptiles visitTeen Impact Program ing. CMA will have gopher tortoises from FWC Gopher Tortoise Program; On Sunday, March 25 from 2-6 an alligator, Burmese python, blue p.m., Impact will be holding a tongue skink, African spurred tortoise, fundraiser at Topgolf featuring a Hole in One and Beat the Pro Competition. and a red footed tortoise from The cost is $40 per ticket. Tickets are Amazing Animals Inc; as well as snakes and tortoises from Owl’s Nest available for purchase through Sanctuary for Wildlife. All activities Eventbrite at are included with general admission. Live Reptile Schedule: Sunday, . Ticket sales benefit the Impact program, which promotes healthy lifestyles and relationships to teens, parents, teachers, and other youth leaders through classroom education. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, contact Bill Kagey at 600-9446 or Topgolf is located at 10690 Palm River Rd. in Tampa.

Special Exhibit On Reptiles At Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) for Reptilepalooza. Learn all about these cold-blooded creatures with fun activities and up-close encounters

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CMA is located at 249 Windward Passage in Clearwater. Visit

Experience the Soulful, Hip Singing Of Choo Choo Soul With Genevieve

Experience Disney Junior’s Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve Goings, the soulful, hip, singing train conductor and Constantine ‘DC’ Abramson, the beat-boxing, break-dancing engineer on stage engaging children in singalong’s, dance routines and lots of crowd participation as they perform all the hits you know and love- when it comes to the RP Funding Center on Saturday, March 31 at 4 p.m. Genevieve Goings and Constantine ‘DC’ Abramson, the stars of Disney Junior’s ‘Choo Choo Soul,’ are entering their 11th year of entertaining preschoolers and parents worldwide. Born from the mind of a Silicon Valley video game developer, Choo Choo Soul began as a hip-hop/soul children’s album of music that “won’t drive parents crazy.” The album caught fire and the brand was acquired by Disney and developed into a live-action television interstitial paired with animation in 2006 that encouraged young viewers to get up

and dance to the funky, urban sound. Choo Choo Soul began touring the country in 2007 and has performed for thousands of children in over 100 cities across the globe. With the wildfire success of the go-to duo for tots, Disney commissioned a release of the second studio album; a re-make mashup of Classic Disney hits.

Genevieve Goings is now the voice of Disney Junior the Channel and the host of the ‘Radio Disney Junior.’ Writing music for acclaimed brands such as Leapfrog and FisherPrice, releasing a children’s clothing line with, and touring schools with her ‘Do You Know?’ Brand, Goings has solidified her path in the Children’s Market. Along with Choo Choo Soul, Constantine “DC” Abramson is an Entertainment Professional working with the NFL, NBA, and MLB through mascotting, choreographing, and fan engagement. Tickets are on sale for $51, $29. Service charges may apply and are available by visiting the RP Funding Center Box Office or toll free 888397-0100, and online at


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Page 18

Volume 15, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

al, v i n r a C y it Commun roup, Coin Support G More… Show &ichelle Colesanti, M om erver.c led by Compi e@ospreyobs michell

Breakfast With ECHO At The Regent

Join the team at ECHO of Brandon for a complimentary fundraising breakfast on Wednesday, March 21 from 8-9 a.m. Seating and breakfast will begin promptly at 8 a.m. Learn about ECHO’s programs to provide food, clothing, and backto-work programs for over 13,000 neighbors per year, and how you can help. R.S.V.P. to, or for more information call 6850935.

Seffner Chamber Of Commerce To Hold Community Carnival

A ‘Seffner Community Carnival’ will take place on Saturday, March 17 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. at Railroad Industrial CU, located at 1209 Kingsway Rd. in Brandon (corner of Windhorst & Kingsway).

toric clubhouse at 129 N. Moon Ave. in Brandon. Membership is open to women of all ages who want to make a difference in the Brandon community. For more information about this free, fun, and informative event, please contact Liz at 681-7612 or at

Hawthorne Hosts Parkinson’s Disease Support Group

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

Save the Date, Local Charities Win...

Mark your calendars on Wednesday, March 28 for HAMBINGO at Hamburger Mary's Brandon 7 p.m. Cost to play 10 games of Bingo is $10. KDP focuses its fundraising efforts on children as Kids Depend on People. All proceeds from this and previous fundraising events will be distributed to local charities prior to May in time to share its activities with pride at National in June. Reservations are recommended. Call 643-2110 and tell them you are with Kappa Kappa group when reserving.

Membership Recruitment For GFWC Brandon Junior Woman’s Club

Please join the GFWC Brandon Junior Woman's Club for its membership recruitment event, ‘Come Grow With Us,’ on Thursday, March 22, from 6:30-8 p.m., at the club's his-

Hawthorne Health & Rehabilitation Center, located at 851 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon, is a skilled nursing facility with inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs including speech, physical and occupational therapies. Call 661-8998 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Beth Daniels Can-Cer Vive Loop Run/Walk

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Can-Cer Vive Loop Run/Walk; a medical fundraising event. In May of 2017, Beth Daniels was diagnosed with Stage 4 Esophageal Cancer. Daniels, a 40 year old mother of two, and wife to Felipe Daniels - a 12 year NCO Army Veteran who is now a civil service officer at MacDill AFB, is literally in a fight for her life. Funds raised will help to ease the crippling financial burden that Stage 4, Esophageal Cancer has placed on her family. All registration fees and pledges go directly to the Daniels family. The event will be held Sunday, March 18 at 10 a.m. at Alderman’s Ford Park, 100

Currency Show on Saturday, March 31 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Brandon Elks Lodge #2383, located at 800 Centennial Lodge Dr. in Brandon. There will be 30 dealers/45 tables - Free American Silver Eagle. Admission and parking are free. Free coin grab bags for all children under 12. Food will be available on site. Free appraisals and door prizes. ICG Grading Service will be in attendance and offering free verbal opinions along with $10 slabbing. For more information, contact Jack Iaci at 352-777-6073 or

16th Annual Community Roundtable Golf Tournament

Alderman’s Ford Park Dr. in Plant City. For more information, to register or to make a donation, visit

Put On Your Dancing Shoes

Valrico Dancing will be holding a dance on Friday, March 16, April 6 and April 20 at the Knai Thomman Social Hall, located at 225 N. Dover Rd., in Dover. The dance will take place from 6:30 to 9:30. The cost is $6. Bring your own table service for your BYOB and snacks. The music will be by DJ Ken Miller. Currently, dances take place on the first and third Friday’s of the month. This is a social ballroom and music will be varied to include waltzes, line dancing, swing, free style, slow, country and some Latin music.

Brandon Coin Club Hosts Coin & Currency Show The Brandon Coin Club Inc., a 501(C) 7 non-profit organization, is pleased to announce its next Coin &

The 16th Annual Community Roundtable B. Lee Elam Golf Tournament will take place on Thursday, March 29 at Buckhorn Springs Golf & Country Club. Check in begins at 11 a.m. with a 1 p.m. Shotgun Start. The cost of $125 for individuals and $400 for foursomes includes lunch and dinner. You can pay online (submission

deadline is March 16). Visit or make your tax except check payable to: The Community Roundtable, PO Box 1061, Brandon, FL 33509-1061. Founded in 1957, The Community Roundtable is al all volunteer charity assisting Greater Brandon area charities.

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March 2018

Page 19

Valrico Edition

Riverview Drowning Prevention Specialist Wins Award For Water Smart Tots At WEDU Event

By Michael Smith

Riverview’s Kari 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation Bahour, a drowning dedicated to eliminating pediprevention specialist atric drowning in Hillsborough and founder of County by promoting awareWater Smart Tots, ness through water safety edutook home the Be cation and by providing access More Involved to aquatic self-rescue swimMason Dixon Award ming skills to children ages 12 for Volunteerism at months to six years who are the 13th annual financially underprivileged or WEDU Be More have special needs. Awards. “Water Smart Tots was founded on the belief that Created by every child deserves the WEDU PBS to help opportunity to be equipped raise awareness for local nonprofits and Photo courtesy of Water Smart Tots with required survival swimMason Dixon, right, presented ming skills,” Bahour said upon their service to Riverview’s Kari Bahour with West Central the Be More Involved Mason accepting her award. “Since Dixon Award for Volunteerism. our inception we’ve raised over Florida, this year’s event was held on Thursday, February $40,000 to fund approximately 3,000 indi22, at the Bryan Glazer JCC in Tampa. vidualized one-on-one swim lessons. The Mason Dixon Award for “Drowning is a preventable tragedy. It Volunteerism, named for local radio peris our vision to eliminate pediatric drownsonality and philanthropist Mason Dixon, ing and with the support of dedicated community members, together we are is bestowed upon the individual, family or making that vision a reality.” group that has lent a unique voice to For more information about Water bring awareness, credence, support, or Smart Tots, visit action to an issue or cause. In explaining to the audience why he Melonie Hall of Family Promise of and his wife, Pat, chose Bahour as this Hillsborough County was a finalist for the year’s winner among the six finalists, an emotional Dixon shared—for the first time Mason Dixon Award. Family Promise, publicly—that their daughter nearly which is located in Brandon, also was a drowned several years ago in the pool at finalist for the Be More Empowered Small their home. Nonprofit Award, which honors an organiBahour became a survival swimming zation with a budget of less than instructor after her 16-month-old son $500,000 that is making a major positive experienced a near drowning incident at impact on our community. Visit famia friend’s pool more than 18 years ago. In For a list of winners, visit 2014, she started Water Smart Tots, a



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Page 20

Volume 15, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

Bell Shoals Baptist Volunteers Make It Their Mission To Help Puerto Rico Hurricane Victims

By Tenetia Faircloth

to people in great need and giving The people of Puerto Rico have out the good news of the gospel. a saying, ‘Puerto Rican strong.’ We traveled an hour southeast Although proud and strong, more of San Juan in Punta Santiago, than five months after category 5 Humacao, the area hardest hit by Hurricane Maria hit the island, people the storm. Everywhere, power are still struggling. Large parts of the poles leaned at awkward angles, island are still without electricity, and dangling power lines dangerously the power companies are telling low over homes, sidewalks and the these people that it will be June street. Broken power poles, before power is restored in some downed trees and piles of debris areas. Supplies sit in warehouses lay everywhere. instead of reaching the people in Our team worked all day with need as distribution is a problem. Rick and Diane, volunteers from Bell Shoals four chainsaws, cutting and removDue to primitive conditions, it has Baptist Church work to remove gigantic tree from Volunteers from Bell Shoals Baptist Church and ing trees and debris fallen in the been difficult to send volunteer a small home in Puerto Rico. Alexandria, Virginia deliver food to hurricane yard of an elderly couple as well groups to help. victims in Puerto Rico. as the house next door. After the In February, a group of 10 volunjob was finished, the couple fed us all a teers from Bell Shoals Baptist Church hot meal of chicken, rice and beans. flew to San Juan for one week, joinFrom what little they had, they made ing the Southern Baptist North sure to show hospitality. What a blessAmerican Mission Board’s (NAMB) ing it was to pray with each family as disaster relief team, Send Relief. Its we completed the task for the day. mission in Puerto Rico supports existWe walked through the neighboring churches on the island ministering hood, delivering food. At each home we to the community after Hurricane visited, the people gladly received the Maria. With four locations on the food and told us their stories. One lady island, NAMB has 80-100 volunteers showed us shelves on her wall where on the island on any given day. she displayed beautiful figurines. “I When we arrived ,we were Volunteers from Bell Shoals Baptist Church join found my dog, [a Chihuahua], up on relieved to find both the municipal Send Relief in Puerto Rico as they feed the this shelf,” she told us. Her family saw electricity and water supply working community and distribute FEMA boxes. the roof fly off of the church next door at our location. and watched its furnishings fly out. After We cleaned and painted buildings eled to the La Perla district in Old San we heard their stories, we prayed with and assembled and set up wooden bunk Juan to visit Pastor Ivan. Although there Send Relief volunteers Tom and Tenetia each family, letting them know that God beds for Send Relief’s mountain camp are many worldly influences all around Faircloth ready to help Puerto Rico. knows and cares for each of them. set to house groups of 60-130 college his small church, Pastor Ivan chooses down walls. He stopped in front of a What a blessing it was to go. students during March spring break. to live right next door to his church, to small crumbling block home where he Bell Shoals Baptist Church is sendOn Sunday we split into two teams to best understand the needs and to minplans to build an art center where chiling another team to Puerto worship in local churches, joining them ister to his flock. He led our team on a dren can come to enjoy creative activiRico February 24. Let’s remember to after church as they fed a hot meal to the walk through La Perla, praying for the ties and learn of God’s love for them. It pray for our neighbors, the people of community and passed out FEMA boxes people of Puerto Rico. Many buildings was a challenging day, seeing these Puerto Rico. to each family. Sunday evening we trav and homes had no roof and broken young pastors going out, reaching out Dr. Amir Boules

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March 2018

Page 21

Valrico Edition

Tampa’s Premier Festival Returns With Busch Gardens Food & Wine And Music

Staff Report

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay‘s most delicious event returns this March with tastes for every palate at the fourth annual Food & Wine Festival. Guests can sample delectable cuisines paired with a selection of 65+ wines, 50+ craft brews and specialty cocktails, while enjoying some of the biggest names in entertainment. The Food & Wine Festival runs Saturdays and Sundays, March 3 through April 29 and is included with any Annual Pass, Fun Card or daily admission to the park. The Festival features allnew twists on cuisine at 13 culinary cabins, along with favorites like mango shrimp ceviche and beef brisket on a spiced corn waffle. Experience bold new eats at the Savory Tavern with fried frog legs with bacon corn fritters, or indulge in flavorful treats at Artisan Eats with beloved dish duck fat truffle fries and then spice it up with tostones rellenos de pollo at Comfort Kitchen. Opt for lobster tart with leeks and Swiss cheese or mushroom vol-au-vent at the Light Fare

the Festival which include priority seating and a five-item sampler lanyard for even more access to great times and great tastes. Additionally, guests can purchase of 5, 10 and 12-item sampler lanyards to tailor the experience to any taste bud. Food and beverage is not included with park admission and is avail-

H E A D L I N E C O N C E RT S E R I E S Saturday, March 3: Sunday, March 4: Saturday, March 10: Sunday, March 11:

Saturday, March 17: Sunday, March 18: Saturday, March 24: Sunday, March 25: Saturday, March 31: Sunday, April 1: Saturday, April 7: Sunday, April 8: Saturday, April 14: Sunday, April 15: Saturday, April 21: Sunday, April 22: Saturday, April 28: Sunday, April 29:

Canteen, or relish in the robust flavors at Chef’s Plantation with salmon cake with lemon aioli, Korean-style ribs and allnew short rib and brie grilled cheese. Guests can elevate the Food and Wine

Edwin McCain & Sister Hazel Grupo Niche The Fray Southern Uprising Tour: A Southern Rock Revival with Travis Tritt, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Outlaws Olga Tañón Goo Goo Dolls Better Than Ezra & Tonic Michael Bolton Boyz II Men Natalie Grant Hank Williams, Jr. TLC Bret Michaels Coming Soon The All-American Rejects Cole Swindell Flo Rida Kaleo & Bleachers

Festival experience even more by sipping a carefully curated selection of fine bourbons and new tequila tastings. Guests can choose from two exclusive VIP concert upgrades at

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Page 22

Valrico Edition

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Volume 15, Issue 3

March 2018

Page 23

Valrico Edition

Citrus Carpet And Tile Celebrates Two Years Of Cleaning And Community

Endangered Sea Turtles Released By Florida Aquarium

Citrus Carpet an additional and Tile Cleaning employee to of Tampa owner work with him on Jim Hirz is proud jobs. to have been For carpet servicing the cleaning, Citrus community for Carpet and Tile two years this uses a quick drymonth. During ing, low that time he has moisture process that made a name for not only prehimself with hunvents redreds of satisfied Riverview resident Jim spotting but carpet and tile Hirz with Citrus Carpet and Tile Cleaning of Tampa is celebrating two years in also means customers and the community this month. as president of that custhe Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon. tomers can fully use the area within an Hirz, who moved with his wife Carol hour. All services are personalized and to Riverview from Atlanta in 2014, decid100 percent guaranteed. ed that Citrus Carpet and Tile Cleaning But one of Hirz’s favorite things about would be a great fit for a new business in owning a small business is the way it has eastern Hillsborough County. helped him get immersed in his commu“The company’s product, approach nity. He has been a member of the and philosophy sets it apart,” said Hirz, Kiwanis Club, a global organization of who ran a video production business for members dedicated to serving the chil20 years before moving to Florida. dren of the world and developing youth Using a special all natural formula leaders, for 16 years and states that his derived from skins of citrus fruits, the work with the group influences everything company specializes in carpet, tile and he does. grout cleaning, but also offers furniture, “I am so thankful and proud that my business has allowed me to take on an area rug and upholstery cleaning. An important role with the Kiwanis Club,” additional service Hirz feels sets his busisaid Hirz, who became president of the ness apart is grout color sealing, which is a painting process that creates an impen- Greater Brandon group last year. Citrus Carpet and Tile services all of etrable boundary to the pours grout and Hillsborough County. For more, visit allows the customer to custom pick the or call Hirz at color of the finished product. 314-7800. For Kiwanis, visit www.bran“When we are done it looks like a or call 810-8584. new floor,” said Hirz, who recently hired

The Florida bit of a local Aquarium staff celebrity when a video of one of his released 10 laser treatment endangered sessions was Kemps ridley sea posted to The turtles back into Florida Aquarium’s the ocean in Instagram for February, after Giving Tuesday. three months of Quincy is a bit successful rehaolder and larger bilitative care. than the turtles Nine of the from this season, ten turtles sufbut is swimming fered through a cold-stunning Photo Submitted By The Florida Aquarium just as strongly, and is was ready event in the The Florida Aquarium staff, including Roger Germann, the President and CEO, releases 10 for release. Northeast that Kemps ridley sea turtles after successful “This is began in early rehabilitative care at The Florida Aquarium. always an amazNovember 2017. ing feeling,” said Ari Fustukjian (FuhThese turtles, along with 38 other coldstook-shian), The Florida Aquarium’s stunned turtles, were transferred to Florida from the New England Aquarium Associate Veterinarian. “The path to getting these turtles healthy, strong, and in Massachusetts on December 8 as back out into their native habitat is the part of a multi-institutional effort includresults of countless hours of hard work ing Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Mote and dedication by numerous institutions Marine Laboratory and Sea World and individuals. Thanks to this commitOrlando, to rehabilitate and release the ment to care, these little guys will have turtles back to the ocean. a second chance, and will hopefully In addition, one of the nine turtles grow up to contribute to the next generthat was released is the Kemp’s ridley ation of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.” turtle named Quincy that appeared on The turtles received a course of The Florida Aquarium’s social media antibiotics to treat respiratory infections back in November. and topical wound care for superficial Quincy is from the previous coldinjuries. One animal received a more stun season, and he is named after intensive course of antibiotics after Quincy, Massachusetts, the site of the being diagnosed with a blood-borne sea turtle hospital where he first infection, but has responded well and is received care. He was transferred to on the mend. The Florida Aquarium in December of “Being release-ready means that 2016, along with nine other colddiagnostics no longer show signs of disstunned turtles. ease, that the animals are active and Quincy and the other turtles were behaving normally, and that they’re all treated for pneumonia, and most of capable of and swimming strongly and them were released last summer. catching live food,” concluded Quincy, however, developed a front flipFustukjian. per injury and required additional speThe Florida Aquarium is located at cialized treatment. He received several 701 Channelside Dr. in Tampa. For months of low-intensity laser therapy information, visit and physical therapy to help improve mobility with his flipper, and became a

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Page 24

Valrico Edition

Volume 15, Issue 3


InThis Section

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT...............PG 28 SUMMER CAMPS.....................PGS 32‐37 TUTORING CANCER PATIENTS........PG 38 MISSION TRIP .................................PG 39 March 2018

Volume 15, Issue 3

SPORTS CONNECTION. ...................PG 43

Ph: 657-2418

New Brandon Office For Dean Burnetti Law

Dean Burnetti Law recently opened its new Brandon office, located at 413 Lithia Pinecrest Dr. in Brandon. The Christian law firm’s main office is located in Lakeland and was founded in 2015. The founding attorney and the firm’s namesake, Burnetti, attended seminary before graduating from Oral Roberts School of Law in 1986. Dean Burnetti Law is a Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, and Ribbon Cutting of Dean Burnetti Law Brandon office. Social Security Disability law firm. “With so much recent growth in this area, With more than 30 years’ experience, I wanted a Christian Law Firm to be availBurnetti is one of only four attorneys in able to serve the people of Hillsborough the State of Florida who is double Board County.” Certified by the Florida Bar in the areas of For more information, please contact Worker’s Compensation and Civil Trial 863-BURNETTILAW or 813-BURNETTILaw. LAW, or visit The firm consists of two other attorneys, Tim Coleman and Scott Graul. OfferPad Offers Real Estate Simplicity Graul works primarily out of the new And Ease To Consumer Brandon office. The firm’s practice conOfferPad is revolutionizing the real centrates on the areas of personal injury, estate industry and providing a solution to auto accidents, premises liability, nursing residents in Tampa. home negligence, medical malpractice, The process offers workers’ compensation, sexual battery, simplicity and ease. and Social Security Disability law. Consumers visit the The ribbon cutting Ceremony was company’s website attended by Brandon’s Honorary Mayor (, enter information about Sue Burkett, who is also the Principal of their home and within 24 hours receive Bloomingdale High School. In addition to an offer. Burkett, several local area doctors and The company, launched in 2015 and lawyers came to welcome the new firm. is currently in eight markets – the cities When asked what compelled him to they know best. OfferPad has seen an open an office in Brandon, Burnetti said, increase with Tampa residents desiring a

more seamless and convenient option, giving them back the control of the real estate process. The company empowers the consumer with choice, convenience and certainty, and eliminates the stress and unpredictability associated with the traditional real estate process. OfferPad has additional perks, such as the homeowner selecting the closing date, a free move within 50 miles, and Instant Access – a way for homebuyers to access and tour a home at their convenience without an agent.

Seminar Hosted By Angeloni Tax Advisory Group

Claiming your Social Security benefits at the wrong time could cost your fam-

ily tens of thousands of dollars. A seminar will be held at The HCC campus at the Regent on Tuesday, March 27 and Thursday, April 5 at 6 p.m. (promptly) to help you with these decisions. Plan to be there by 5:45 p.m. This seminar is perfect for people in

the age range of 58-67 years old. At this seminar you will learn some of the unknown strategies and principles behind the proper timing of taking your Social Security benefits. The HCC campus at the Regent is located at 6437 Watson Rd. in Riverview. Call Angeloni Tax Advisory Group at 626-7575 to make reservations. Leave a message after 4:30 p.m.

Flow Fitness Will Celebrate Turning One Year

One year ago Flow Fitness opened its doors and wants to celebrate with you. On Saturday, March 31 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., its friends at PDQ will be on site cooking fresh yummies along with other planned things for you and your young ones, including a bounce house, slime making station, face paiting, video game center, Mary Kay, Juice Plus, 1 Rock Nails, Ruffles and Roses, Housel Dance, Thrive, Pruvit and more. Grab a ticket in the lobby for prize drawings every 30 minutes. Each winner will receive an amazing prize from one of the vendors and one person will win a free month at the studio. Bring a friend and earn an extra ticket for the drawings. Flow Fitness is located at 11331 US Hwy. 301 S, Ste 101 in Riverview. Call 374-3019 or visit

Continued on Next Page

Page 26

Valrico Edition

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

By Michelle Colesanti

Ten Year Celebration At What’s In Consignment

What's in Consignment, located at 3220 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Ste. 102 in Valrico, will be celebrating 10 years of business on Tuesday, March 20 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Join in for refreshments, raffles and discounts.

LifeLink® Foundation Announces New Chief Financial Officer

styles that fit my client lifestyle. Hair is an expression of a individuals personality and reflect not only their outward beauty but also their inward beauty.” Great hair happens by appointment. Call 520-8910. Hours are Wednesday from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Thursday 9

Valrico Social Security Office Moves To New Location

The Valrico Social Security Office will be moving to a new location at 2027 S. Parsons Ave. in Seffner. Persons with questions about Social Security can visit the Valrico office Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-12 Noon. Most Social Security business does not require a visit to an office. Services can be handled through Social Security’s toll free telephone (at 1-800-772-1213 or TTY-1-800-325-0778 or establish an account online at Current Social Security beneficiaries can manage their account; change an address, adjust direct deposit, obtain a benefit verification letter, request a replacement Medicare card or replacement SSA-1099. Account holders still in the workforce can verify their earnings, and obtain estimates of future benefits on the website.

Foundation, a non-profit community service organization dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplantation therapy, is pleased to announce the promotion of Stephanie Hernandez to Chief Financial Officer. Hernandez joined LifeLink Foundation more than 11 years ago, and previously served as Controller. She holds a Masters of Accountancy Degree from University of South Florida and is a Certified Public Accountant. LifeLink Foundation is an independent, non-profit community service organization dedicated to the recovery and transplantation of organs and tissues. LifeLink consists of three organ recovery organizations, a tissue bank and a transplantation immunology laboratory, and The Bank of Tampa employs more Appoints Nick Thurston as than 500 staff Market Director, Plant City members in west The Bank of Tampa central Florida, LifeLink® Foundation’s New Chief Financial Officer Stephanie announced the appointment Georgia and Hernandez. of Nick Thurston as senior Puerto Rico. vice president, market director, for the Visit for Plant City market. more information. “I am thrilled to welcome Nick to The Full Service Salon; Styles By Marsha Bank of Tampa to lead our presence Styles by Marsha is a full service even further into eastern Hillsborough,” salon for the whole family, and is located said Corey Neil, market president, at 3448 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. at Salons by Hillsborough County at The Bank of JC (next to SteinMart). Tampa. “Bringing Nick aboard is a strateMarsha has been in the gic move to expand our footprint into Valrico/Brandon area since 1980. She eastern Hillsborough County. We realize brings 37+ years of experience as a mas- the importance of being part of the fabric ter stylist. Specializing in precision haircuts and color, she also enjoys special event styling and perms. She has completed specialized training with Redken’s Master & Specialist programs, L’Oreal Professionnel and Matrix to name a few. “I am focused on designing

Volume 15, Issue 3

of that specific comtotal distance. Social media munity, and over the participants should years, Nick has use #TreadmillTuesday tagestablished himself ging @TampaYMCA. as that banker.” This is the third conThurston brings secutive year the Tampa more than 20 years YMCA will rally the commuof experience in the nity for Treadmill Tuesday. financial services Last year, a total of 1,630 industry. Prior to joinTampa Bay residents coming The Bank of pleted 3,358 miles during Tampa, Thurston the 12-hour event, surpassserved as regional ing the First Coast by about president for Eastern Head Shot of Nick Thurston, new 21 miles. The year prior, Market Director at The Bank of Hillsborough and Tampa lost to Jacksonville Tampa – Plant City. Pasco counties at by 176 miles. Sunshine Bank (CenterState). Thurston is involved in community Pet Vaccination Clinic At Kim’s organizations throughout Hillsborough Natural Pets County. He serves as the vice chair of the EZ Pet Low Cost Pet Vaccination Plant City YMCA board of directors, and will hold a pet vaccination clinic on treasurer of the Historic Plant City Main Saturday, April 7 from 2-3 p.m. Kim’s Street board of directors. He also serves Natural Foods is located at 3110 Lithia on the board for Brandon Regional Pinecrest Rd., Valrico, just north of Hospital. Thurston holds a Bachelor of Bloomingdale Rd. Call 684-3663 to conScience in business management from firm. Northwood University.

YMCA Tampa vs. Jacksonville in TieBreaker Showdown

Florida Medical Hearing Centers

The Florida Medical Hearing Centers recently opened at 3435 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in the Publix plaza. A ribbon cutting with the Valrico FishHawk

It’s time for a tie-breaker, Tampa Bay. Having both previously won the Treadmill Tuesday title, the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and YMCA of Florida’s First Coast are going head-to-head in the 2018 Treadmill Tuesday TieBreaker - a competition between the Tampa Bay and Northeast Florida communities for the greatest distance traveled on a treadmill. This free friendly competition takes place Tuesday, March 27 A ribbon cutting with the Valrico FishHawk Chamber was from 6:30 a.m.-6:30 held to celebrate the opening of Florida Medical Hearing p.m. and is open to YMCA Centers. members and nonmembers across the entire Tampa Bay and chamber. Northeast Florida areas, encouraging Free hearing evaluations are availphysical activity and healthy living among able along with computerized adjustcommunity members. ments of hearing aids, computer analyAll Tampa Bay area community sis of hearing aid, three-day trial riskmembers are invited to participate in free. Treadmill Tuesday by completing a 30Friendly, no pressure, professional minute treadmill workout at any Tampa hearing center providing a full range of YMCA location or by posting on social hearing products and services. Repair media. At Tampa Y facilities, staff will and maintenance are provided on most record the distance each participant hearing aid brands, and offer a 30-day walks, jogs or runs on a treadmill for 30 risk-free trial on its products. minutes. To join from home or other locaHours are Monday to Friday from 9 tions via Twitter or Facebook, particia.m.-5 p.m. Call 775-2631 or visit pants should post a post-workout photo of the treadmill dashboard displaying the

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March 2018

Page 27

Valrico Edition

Family Sells Dipped Strawberries For Mission Trip Fundraisers

By Michelle Caceres

Riverview out in her memory as particuresident Rose larly impactful. Conte loves par“There was a lot of love ticipating in misthat was poured out from our sion trips and local community,” she said. serving people “Once I announced I was in other coungoing over and taking suptries. She also plies, people that I didn’t even loves working in know were showing up and the kitchen. donating food, health supplies Rose, Tori and Christian Conte sell Since misand money for the people of large chocolate-covered strawberries sion trips are Puerto Rico.” to support their mission trips. not cheap, In Puerto Rico, residents Conte combined were grateful for the muchher two passions to needed supplies. They brought form Tasty Berries, a satellite phone so residents a service selling, could make a call to worried rellarge, fresh, decoatives. rated Ghiradelli “It was such a humbling chocolate-dipped experience,” she said. “I’m so strawberries. thankful that I was able to go Proceeds from the and be His hands and feet and The Conte family runs Tasty Berries, providing chocolateberry sales help represent our community.” dipped strawberries for parties fund mission trips “If I can impact someone’s and events to fund mission work for herself, her life it brings me great joy,” said to other countries. daughter Tori and her son Christian. Rose. “Transformation or life begins at The family caught the mission bug in the edge of your comfort zone and going 2013, when her son was trying to earn on these trips proves that God provides enough money to go on a mission trip to the opportunity but it’s up to us to take Brazil with his church. That same year them. they decided to start selling chocolateOne dozen chocolate-covered strawcovered strawberries to help pay for the berries start at $25. Customization of trip. It was so successful that they have orders is possible; berries can be continued to offset the cost of the trips wrapped in gift boxes or displayed on with money earned from the berry sales. platters, perfect for weddings, bridal Christian has been on four mission showers and parties. Pick-up or delivery trips. Rose and her daughter have been is available. on two trips to Brazil and one to Puerto To place an order, visit www.tastyberRico after Hurricane Irma., by email at The Puerto Rico mission trip stands or call 501-2036.

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Page 28

Volume 15, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins

East Hillsborough Art Guild Once Again Presents Spectacular Fine Arts Show Florida Strawberry Festival The 2018 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show, presented by the East Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG), once again showcases the artwork of the talented residents of the area. The show is open to the public during the Annual Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. According to chair, Karen Crumley, “We had a record number of entries this year. We had 548 pieces of artwork entered.” Crumley added, “The Youth Division continues to grow, bringing in large amounts of work thanks to the commitment of area art teachers.” The judges for this year’s show were Kerry Lynn Vosler, a painter of heirloom portraits and landscapes. Her work is exhibited nationally and internationally. Vosler is a faculty member for the Portrait Society of America’s Portrait Academy Series and has been their Florida Ambassador since 2003. Ellen Chastain, the Education Manager for the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland was also a judge. Chastain serves as Polk Museum of Art’s liaison to the Polk County School District, Polk County Tax Collector’s Office for Special Programs and VSA of Central Florida.

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This year, the coveted Best of Show award was given to Esme Coward of Crescent City. In addition to the accolades bestowed upon Esme, the Best of Show award is given along with a cash prize of $300. The Strawberry Theme Award winner is Heather Espisito of Lakeland. Espisito received a ribbon and a cash award of $100. The winner of the Suncoast Credit Union Purchase Award also went to Esme Coward. The winner of this category is chosen by a representative of the Plant City branch, and the winning piece will be on display at the branch throughout the coming year. Esme also received a cash prize of $500. The student entries this year were outstanding. In addition to the above awards, area businesses stepped up to be a part of the Business Leader Choice Awards. This year, there were 12 Business Leader Choice Awards. Among them were the Osprey Observer and Winthrop Arts, Inc. For more information on this year’s show and to get information for next year, please visit

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Local Dancers Win Big At Annual Clogging Festival, Dollywood Bound Dancers

who are a part of Clogging Connection based in Plant City recently participated in The Florida Clogging Festival on The dancers with Clogging Connection based in Plant City came home Sunday, February 11. big from The Florida Clogging Festival with over 53 awards. Clogging is a fun dance that takes inspiration from Irish Step dancing to tap. The festival life. “My grandmother, Deborah Conn, was held at the Osceola County started Clogging Connection with my Fairgrounds. Uncle Jamie. They set the foundation for Approximately 30 dancers hailing the rest of my team including my mother from Brandon, Valrico, Riverview, Plant and then myself when I was born,” said City and Sarasota participated in the fesConn. tival and received numerous high honClogging Connection has been in ors. The Clogging Connection dancers existence for nearly 32 years. “The received 32 1st Place Awards, 15 Grand one thing I want everyone to know is Champion Awards, one Team of the Day cloggers are all one big family. I that Award, one 2nd Place Award and four truly have never met people that are 3rd Place awards. The dancers range in more accepting than the ones in the age from four years old to over 40 years clogging world.” old. Dancers with Clogging Becky Conn is the Connection have participated in festiDirector/Choreographer for Clogging vals and events all over the area Connection. Conn explained what clogincluding The Florida Strawberry ging is. Conn said, “Believe it or not, it is Festival, The Florida Opry, the not about wooden shoes. As a Clogger, Bluegrass Festival, chili cook offs, The we often get that question. Clogging is a Hillsborough County Fair and much form of dance that started many years more. ago in the Appalachian Mountains. We Their next competitive event is at take a lot of inspiration from other forms the Dollywood Clogging Classic held of dance such as tap, Irish step dancing, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in May. and square dancing. We wear a white Clogging Connection is located at leather shoe with two taps attached at 507 N. Wheeler St. in Plant City. each end. While learning how to clog, Classes are offered from 4 to 9 p.m. you learn different sounds and ways to Monday through Thursday. move your feet with the rhythm of the For more information, please conmusic in order to clog.” tact Conn at 455-6814 or 752-1683. Conn has been clogging her entire

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March 2018

Valrico Edition

FishHawk Pinch-A-Penny Presents Its Eighth Annual Big Green Eggfest

By Kathy L. Collins

FishHawk appetizers. At Pinch-A-Penny 11 a.m. learn will hold its Eighth how to cook a Annual Big Green chicken. At 12 Eggfest on p.m. you will Saturday, March see how a deli24 from 10 a.m. to cious pork can 3 p.m. This fun be prepared on and informative the Big Green event is hosted by Egg. At 1 p.m. the Rutledge famisee a steak ly, Larry, Kathy and The Rutledge family, owners and operators of the get cooked to FishHawk Pinch-A-Penny, will be hosting their 8th Jimmy, the owners Annual Big Green Eggfest on Saturday, March 24 perfection, and of the FishHawk if that is not from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at their store located at 16715 FishHawk Blvd. All proceeds from the Pinch-A-Penny enough, come event will be donated to Seeds of Hope. located at 16715 at 2 p.m. and FishHawk Blvd. in the Winn Dixie Plaza witness pizza magic. Attendees at the in Lithia. classes will get to taste the food preThe Big Green Eggfest is for anypared. one in the community who either owns Also, new this year, there will be a one or has been thinking of acquiring a terrific raffle. Tickets are $10 and the Big Green Egg. You get to see the Big lucky winner will receive an in home, Green Egg in action learn all about it. personal cooking class by Jimmy For those who want to get one at a Rutledge. This is a perfect opportunity deep discount, FishHawk Pinch-Ato learn how to use the Big Green Egg Penny is offering a limited number of to its fullest potential. Big Green Eggs before the Eggfest. In Jimmy said, “I first got a Big Green exchange for a 25% discount, your Big Egg about 10 years ago. I now have Green Egg will be used at the Eggfest. three. Grilling is fun for the whole famiYou will get a Big Green Egg, a large ly.” Jimmy added, “The Big Green Egg nest and large plate setter. There are is an investment that will last a long just 10 Big Green Eggs being offered at time.” this discounted rate, and you must preAll proceeds from the event and the purchase it before the event. raffle will be donated, along with a At this year’s Eggfest, there will be match from the Rutledge family, to themed cooking classes offered every Seeds of Hope. hour. The classes are designed to proFor more information on the 8th vide tips and techniques on using the Annual Big Green Eggfest, please like Big Green Egg. At 10 a.m. come see Lithia Egghead on Facebook or call how you can create mouthwatering 655-3700.

Page 29

HART Announces Service Changes

By Michelle Caceres

35 minutes. Three or four times a week he travels from his home in Tampa Heights to the college campus. “Riding the bus began as a challenge for me just to see if I could do it and it has paid off in so many ways,” he said. Without a hefty car payment, Lemke was able to open an individual retirement account, which he makes monthly contributions. The year he Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) staff have been out in the community began riding the bus, the BP oil spill to unveil several service enhancements. occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. “I felt Hillsborough Area Regional Transit like I was doing my part to help the enviAuthority (HART) unveiled new service ronment,” said Lemke. enhancements that took effect in HART is also doing its part by transiFebruary. These changes increase fretioning its fleet from diesel fuel to comquency on key routes, reduce wait times pressed natural gas that contains signifiand provide faster connections for its cantly less pollutants than traditional customers. types of fuels. Riders traveling to MacDill Air Force Lemke also makes good use of his Base will enjoy additional express bus free time while on the bus to enrich his service. mind. While riding the bus he read Moby Many changes were the direct result Dick for the first time, something he of passenger feedback and a comprewouldn’t have been able to do behind the hensive study and are part of a 10-year wheel of a car. transit development plan (TDP) first Seward said he hopes the changes implemented in October 2017, named they’ve made will encourage more citiMission MAX, to improve public transzens to leave their cars in their garage in portation in Hillsborough County. favor of public transportation. “One of our primary goals is to “We’re here to serve the citizens of ensure flexibility for riders that rely on our Hillsborough County and the enhanceservice,” said Jeff Seward, HART interim ments through Mission MAX have providChief Executive Officer. ed HART with a solid foundation of highHART rider Dustin Lemke, associate quality bus service that we can build on dean at Hillsborough Community as our community grows,” said Seward. College’s Dale Mabry campus, has been For more information about HART’s using public transportation for almost new route schedules visit eight years and said the changes have or call 254-HART to speak with a cuscut his commute time from 55 minutes to tomer service representative.

Page 30

Volume 15, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

Family-Owned Forever Green Lawn & Pest Control Service Offers Quality

By Nick Nahas

Mike For 35 Compton years, started his Forever family-run Green Lawn lawn compa& Pest ny, Forever Control has Green Lawn been working & Pest in the lawn Control, in care industry. 1987. He and The company his son Ben offers free Compton estimates and work together no contracts to ensure are required. that your They offer lawns look monthly and amazing. “I bi-monthly want to make lawn maintepeople happy nance packand proud of ages. Mike Compton started Forever Green Lawn & Pest their lawns, Control 35 years ago offering many services, including According to the trimming of trees, weed control and tree injections. its website, and make their landscaping look great,” said the company promises excellent cusMike Compton. “Our goal is to turn tomer service and strive to make you something that doesn’t look good into proud of your lawn. With lawn maintesomething that looks really nice.” nance contracts, they assign a personThe St. Pete native takes pride in al lawn care expert to you, ensuring making people’s lawns beautiful. He they learn your preferences and do the offers lawn care, trimming of trees and job exactly how you want it, each and shrubs, weed control, pest control, every time. All of the chemicals used deep root tree injections for palm trees are nontoxic and safe for pets. and repairing of irrigation systems. Compton’s goals are to keep the They span from St. Pete, to business growing and to keep making Clearwater, to Tampa, in addition to customers happy about its lawn care. Bradenton, and all the way down to For more information, visit Fort Meyers and Cape Coral. They have offices located in St. Pete, Coupons and special offers can be Bradenton, Tampa and Fort Meyers. found in the Osprey Observer and on “We do it right the first time or we don’t the company’s website. do it at all,” Compton said.

Bullfrog Creek Brewing Co. To Open In Erindale Plaza Near Car Wash On The Greens

By Kate Quesada

Valrico resibility to brew many dent Jamie Ratcliff different types of is realizing a beers and change out the recipes regdream this month as he gets ready to ularly. Bullfrog open the doors to Creek will also offer Bullfrog Creek guest taps with cider and other Brewing Company local beers and will on Lithia PInecrest have wine available Rd. in mid-March. to purchase. Ratcliff began Plans include his brewing jourregularly scheduled ney last year food trucks on the and is very weekends and excited about partnerships with sharing his Valrico residents Jamie Ratcliff and Chanse Haas local restaurants craft with plan to open the doors to who will deliver local beer Bullfrog Creek Brewing Company in midfood to the brewlovers. March. ery. The 3,000 sq. “As a long time resident, I am so ft. brewery and tap room will be housed in excited to bring craft beer to the Erindale Plaza, next to Car Wash on the Valrico community,” said Ratcliff. “We Greens, in a space formerly occupied by plan to host a lot of local events focusthe Erindale Market and gas station. ing on good beer and great service.” “The location is a perfect fit for my In addition to offering drinks and vision because of the great bones and entertainment and a founder’s club porch area where we can offer outdoor opportunity, Ratcliff plans to schedule seating and an area for entertainment,” said Ratcliff, a veteran, born and raised in events where residents can come in and participate in the brewing. the Valrico area. “It is such a cool process,” he said. Ratcliff, who works closely with the “It starts out as grain and turns into a brewery’s production manager, Chanse great beer......all right here in Valrico.” Haas, recently brought brew master Matt The brewery, located at 3632 Morrow to the team from Arches Brewery Lithia Pinecrest Rd., will be open in Atlanta. They plan to offer 16 types of every day from 12 Noon until 9 or 10 beer on tap with a variety of choices p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on including IPAs, pilsners, porters and weekends. For more information, call stouts. 703-8835 or visit www.bullfrogcreekThe brewery uses a nano-brewing, small-capacity system giving it the capa-

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March 2018

Valrico Edition

Page 31

2018 Summer Camps Offer Many Options To Keep Your Kids Active It’s only the start of spring, but before you know, the dog days of summer will be upon us. What can you do to keep the kids entertained? Where can they go to try new things, learn how to swim, meet new friends and have great adventures and even learn about places and cultures far away? There are many options to choose from locally that will fit the bill. The staff at the Osprey Observer has collected the top recommendations for local summer camps and created this special pull out section. Maybe your kids would like to spend the summer ‘horsing around.’ R&R Ranch offers just that opportunity, and not just to learn to horseback ride, but also about the care of the horses. At Music Showcase, music and theatre take the stage and so can your child. Musicals such as Mary Poppins jr. and Fiddler on the Roof jr. will be offered, and your child can hold starring roles in these and other popular musicals offered from the Florida Academy of Performing Arts for chil-

dren ages 5 and up. For your actor or musician, check out Firehouse Cultural Center and Patel Conservatory also offer fun and exciting ideas. The local YMCAs will offer many types of camps which mix fun along with great learning experiences. With plenty of choices, there is something for everyone. Mathnasium is the place to help give them a strong start in the fall. For dates, prices and registration information on these and more, turn the page and enjoy this special section and have a great summer. Do you have a child interested in cooking? Check out Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium’s Cooking Camps for Kids through Teens. With weekly themes utilizing agespecific activities and field trips that make BSAC unique, your kids will enjoy every moment of summer camp. Did we miss one? Let us know by e-mailing subject line “Summer Camp” to and we will be sure to add our full listing online and in future editions.


Brandon Sports & Aquatics (BSAC) impacts lives and the community as a whole by providing over 10,000 swim lessons per year, in conjunction with its mission to prevent youth drowning. It also provides quality affordable childcare for working families. There is programming for the special needs population with its Team Trident Program, which is focused on three main areas: active recreation, proper socialization and interpersonal skills, and independent life skills. There is something at BSAC for every child. Over the past 55 years local families have counted on BSAC to provide year-round, quality sports, recreation and educational experiences for their children. We are a favorite of working parents who want to feel good about where they are leaving their kids every day; that the kids are safe, are learning valuable athletic and social skills and are practicing good leadership. Summer Camp at BSAC is a place for all children to be active, exploratory, creative, independent, playful, friendly, and confident. Join in for BSAC’s Passport to Adventure where your child will experience food, games and culture from all around the world. Both full day, half day and drop-in options at an affordable rate are offered. There are field trips weekly for all ages too. Every week the children will ‘travel’

to a new region of the globe, earning passport stamps as they go. They will dazzle you with the stories of their daily adventures as they bring out their inner Beast Mode in Africa and Seas the Day exploring the Islands. Along with the Summer Camp Experience, additional programming, such as swim lessons are offered. The Learn to Swim Program is the most comprehensive swim lesson program in our area, working with ages six months and up. These are conveniently offered during your child’s Summer Camp day.

and crafts projects they will get to take home. At the end of each week, every camper will get to take home their very own LEGO® mini figure. Each day and week will be a brand new LEGO® adventure you won’t want to miss. Below is the schedule for the camps being offered at nearby locations: We Rock The Spectrum in Valrico, Monday to Friday, June 18-22: LEGO® STAR WARS Camp; July 9 – July 13: LEGO® Movies Camp and July 30 – August 3: LEGO® Superheroes and Villains. Livingstone Academy Campuses in Seffner, Riverview, and


Bricks 4 Kidz Tampa is back with awesome LEGO® Summer Camps being offered all over the Brandon, Riverview, and Valrico areas. Join in for a different theme each week such as Star Wars, Minecraft, Ninjago, and much more! Each week our campers will be building signature Bricks 4 Kidz robotic LEGO® models, very popular LEGO® mosaics and 3D LEGO® sculptures, as well as playing fun games and creating arts

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Autism Spectrum LEGO Club Brandon Area LEGO Camp Morning Session (Bloomingdale) and July 23-July 27: LEGO® Mashup Camp (Riverview Campus). Sign up today at or call 545-4282.

Musical Theater And Much More Offered At Firehouse Cultural Center

The Firehouse Cultural Center will be offering Summer Camp through the summer. It is located at 101 1st Ave. NE in Ruskin. Week 1: June 4 – June 8 Musical Theater I; Week 2: June 11 – June 15; Musical Theater II Week 3: June 18 – June 22; Musical Theater III; Week 4: June 25 – June 29; Musical Theater IV Week 5: July 2 – July 6; No Camp on Wednesday, July 4; Week 6: July 9 – July 13; The Art of Printmaking; Week 7: July 16 – July 20; Cartooning & Animation; Week 8: July 23 – July 27; Robotics-Materials Fee for Robotics: $50; Week 9: July 30 – August 3; Robotics -Materials Fee for Robotics: $50. For more information, call 6457651 or visit

Continued on Next Page

Dance, Music And Theater Camps Take Center Stage At Patel Conservatory

Registration is now open for Patel Conservatory dance, music and theater summer camps and classes, which begin the week of May 29. Nearly 70 camps and classes are offered, most with performance opportunities, for students of all ages and abilities. Some camps and classes require auditions. Theater auditions will be held March 29, April 19 and May 18 and music auditions will be held April 7 and May 5. Auditions for Patel Conservatory Popular Dance (PCPD) classes will be held April 7. Registration for auditions is required. Additional information about the Patel Conservatory, including audition scheduling, is available at and by calling 222-1040. Nearly $200,000 in scholarships will be awarded for Patel Conservatory camps and classes this summer. Scholarship applications are available online and the priority deadline is April 16. The Patel Conservatory offers classes in dance, music and theater for students of all ages and experience levels. Each year, the Patel Conservatory and the Straz Center’s arts education programs enrich the lives of more than 70,000 students in our classrooms, on our stages and

through the community. The Patel Conservatory is located at the Straz Center, 1010 N Macinnes Pl. in Tampa. Visit

Busch Gardens Offers Exciting And Educational Camp Programs

Busch Gardens’ Summer Day Camp is a time to make new friends, try new things, come face-to-face with a giraffe and challenge North America’s tallest freestanding drop tower. For more than 25 years, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has provided children with inspiring, exciting and educational experiences with some of the

best Tampa summer camp options found anywhere. A variety of Summer Day Camps to fit your student’s grade level and interest are offered. Different programs are offered for kids in grades K through 8th. Day Camps include daily lunches, snacks

and drinks, a Camp Tshirt and a water bottle, complimentary photo with a Busch Gardens animal ambassador and complimentary admission to Busch Gardens following camp each day for camper For students in grades 9-12, Busch Gardens offers Counselor in Training. If you are looking for something fun to do this summer, that will provide you with valuable career experience, then the Busch Gardens Counselor in Training program (CIT) is the summer camp program for you. This week-long program offers a real opportunity to learn from the best. Expert educators will share their experience and knowledge with you on topics from child development to zoo careers and environmental awareness. Complete a specialized orientation and participate side by side with camp counselors during the summer day camp programs. Application required. Information is available at If your child is looking for a homeaway experience, Busch Gardens Summer Resident Camp offers this chance for students. Busch Gardens

Summer Resident Camps have combined nature and thrills to create a unique one-of-a-kind experience. Based out of a secure onsite dormitory, Mzinga Lodge, camper’s grades 5 through college are provided with an all-inclusive camp experience from start to finish.

Come Experience The World With Kids R Kids

Some of the fun summer programs taking place at Kids R Kids this summer include: Kid Power Explore heroes around the world to create an unforgettable superhero story of your own that combines STEAM concepts with special powers. Epic Escape – Solve ‘the-whodone- it’ cases from favorite children’s liaterature and global mysteries throughout history. Use secret code detective work, teamwork and problem-solving to reveal the plots of epic literature. Melting Pot – Get involved in making the world a better place by visiting new cultures, exploring unique languages, cooking up new recipes using math and science and creating new traditions for your family. Mind Blast – Build an original, interactive game using recycled materials found in your community. This is a

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• 6 Weeks Through 12 Years • Full & Part Time Options • Open: M-F 6am to 6:30pm • Creative Curriculum for Infants & Toddlers • ABC Mouse Computer Technology • Brainwaves Curriculum • APPLE Accreditation • CITA Approved Curriculum • Security Code Access Entry • FREE Internet Viewing of Your Child’s Day • Outdoor Playgrounds with Water Park • Servicing the following schools, Grades K to 5 Stowers, Valrico Academy, FishHawk Creek, Bevis, Lithia Springs, Alafia, Cimino, and Foundation Christian • Nutritious Meals & Snacks: Low Salt & Sugar Summer Camp • Spanish & Music Included Begins • Trained Professional Staff, Tuesday, May 29th Certified in First Aid & CPR thru • Extracurricular Programs


SUMMER VPK 2018 & FALL VPK 2018-19 FREE 3 Hr Program

Kids ‘R’ Kids is excited to introduce our first summer camp EVER designed to teach your child that they are an important part of the global community. With a different “world” to explore each week using STEAM strategies and hands-on activities kids will explore all the things our world has to offer – all while sharing loads of laughter and having heaps of fun! Over the course of the summer, your child will build confidence and discover that one person no matter how big or small – CAN make a difference. And when we work together, there’s NO LIMIT to the amazing things we can accomplish to ROCK THE WORLD!

Friday, August 3rd Trips and Meals included

Two Great Locations...

CIRCA FISHHAWK 813-654-7000

5815 Kids Crossing Drive

VALRICO 813-657-6200

4321 Lynx Paw Trail

(Located next to Stowers Elementary and Mosaic)

(Located across fromLithia Springs Elementary)

Lic # CHC432384

Lic # CHC431024

fun-focused week that fuses innovation, imagination and conservation. Pay it Forward – Create a lasting impression on the world by expressing your kindness and goodwill through community-focused projects and cooperative games that will unite everyone involved. Other fun weeks include Creative Destination, Steam Revolution, Cloud Exploration, Habitat Hunters, Globe Trotters and Our Town. Kids ‘R’ Kids has two locations: Kids 'R' Kids Learning Academy of Valrico is located at 4321 Lynx Paw Trail in Valrico. Call 657-6200 for more information and Kids 'R' Kids Learning Academy of Circa/FishHawk, 5815 Kids Crossing Dr. Call 654-7000 for more information. Visit

Spend The Summer At R&R Ranch Horsin’ Around

Summer Campers will enjoy riding and caring for horses at family-owned R&R Ranch. It specializes in safe enjoyable horse experiences. The name stands for ‘Rest" and "Relaxation’ and also offers pony parties, trail riding les-

sons, horse boarding, playgroups and horse camps. Summer Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Monday to Friday. Early and late pickup can be arranged. Student’s ages 6 to 12 years are invited to attend. Campers will enjoy: a daily trail ride or lesson, pony painting, hay rides, lots of games, snowball fight, learning how to care for horses and farm animals, bounce castle, Lunch and disco in the air conditioned camp house. There is a petting zoo with baby bunnies, chicks, ducks and baby pigs. Kids will also get to enjoy arts and crafts and more. Campers should wear closed toe shoes and comfortable clothes. They will also need a swim suit if they want

to participate in the water activities. Campers will need to bring their lunch and lots to drink. Sunscreen and bug spray are also recommended. Safety helmets will be provided. R&R Ranch is located at 9805 Bryant Rd. in Lithia. Visit www.rrranch-

Summer Camp at

Camps Dates:

May 29th through

August 3rd Sign Up for

We specialize in horse experiences for S u m m e r C am p the young child and beginner riders. Space is limited. • Daily Trail Rides & Hay Rides O n ly $ 2 2 5 p e r wk . (Mon. thru Fri. 9am - 5pm) • Horse Education We Also Offer: Field Trips, Pony Parties, Trail Rides, Play Groups & More 9805 Bryant Rd Lithia, FL 33547 Visit us on the web:

F or more info call 81 3-653 -3 819

Improve Math Performance Over The Summer At Mathnasium Brandon

Incorporating math studies into a student’s summer routine brings other significant benefits. “Take advantage of the more relaxed environment of summer break as a golden opportunity to improve math performance,” suggests Becky McDaniels, Center Director at Mathnasium Brandon and Mathnasium @home. Mathnasium’s new @Home tutoring program will also help students keep up on their math skills from virtually anywhere. “During the summer, children have a lot of unstructured time, allowing them to unplug their busy minds and begin making different connections. These are ideal conditions for effectively absorbing new information and having a sudden ‘aha’ moment when concepts click into place. McDaniels has found the summer months to be a great opportunity for students to work on mathematics and have seen children make great strides with a serious commitment of just two

to three hours a week all while having a great time. Call 655-MATH or visit online at to schedule summer sessions at your neighborhood center or at home using its Mathnasium @home program and combat the summer slide from virtually anywhere. Mathnasium will also be offering a coding/robotics camp this year on Sunday, June 17 and July 15. More dates to be added based on enrollment. Mathnasium of Brandon is located at 1048 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico in Plaza Bella.

Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium Is Cook Up Some Summer Fun

Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium’s Summer Camps are a great way to learn new skills in the kitchen, create tasty recipes, and meet lots of new friends. The only things you need to be prepared are closed toe shoes and a restraint for shoulder length hair. All the ingredients, tools, and even the fun is included. Students are taught how to properly use real kitchen tools, knives, and appliances safely under adult supervision. Students come away with the confidence

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to prepare dishes that are age appropriate and tasty. The goal is to encourage your child to be a help in the kitchen and to have fun while building a lifetime of good skills. Cooking Camps for kids ages 6-9 will take place from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. daily and the tween’s and teen’s Summer Camps, ages 10-15) will take place from 2-4:30 p.m. Camps will take place weekly for four days and run from May 29 through August 2. Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium is located at Brandon Crossroads, 2080 Badlands Dr. in Brandon. Call 653-2418 or visit

Sports, Teen or Gymnastics camps may be for them. Is your camper looking for a unique adventure? Two camp options may be YMCA Camp Cristina or The First Tee of Tampa Bay. Preschool and Adaptive Camps are offered at a few locations too. For more information at some of the local Y’s, call North Brandon Family YMCA at 685-5402, Campo Family YMCA at 684-1371, YMCA Camp Cristina at 677-8400 and Spurlino Family YMCA at Big Bend Road at 228-9622.

Your Kids Will Enjoy Their Best Summer Ever At YMCA Camps

Full and half day camps are available for kids ages 5 and up at The Florida Academy of Performing Arts (FAOPA) at Music Showcase. Kids will enjoy music, acting, guitar and drums, field trips, singing and games and more. Musical Theatre productions of Mary Poppins jr., Seussical, Fiddler on the Roof jr. and Junie B. Jones The Musical jr. will all take place this summer. Daily themes will include Wicked, The Greatest Showman, Frozen, Hamilton and more.

The area YMCA’s offer a lot of options for summer camp fun. With the full day camp experience, campers enjoy days full of themed camp fun like arts and crafts, swimming games and more. Specialty Full Day Camps include time throughout the week spent engaged in activities specific to the specialty chosen. If your camper is looking to spend an entire day immersed in something they are passionate about, the Aquatics,

For more information, call 490-2787 or visit

Second Annual FamilyFriendly Summer Camp Expo

The Family-Friendly Summer Camp Expo (Tampa Edition) will kick off on Saturday, April 7 from 4-7 p.m. at the George M. Steinbrenner Field in connection with the Tampa Tarpons MLB team Inaugural Home Opener. When families pre-register online, they can take advantage of discounted $1 admission tickets to the Expo

Enjoy The Summer Scene 2018 At The Florida Academy Of Performing Arts

Motorized LEGO® and LEGO® Art Projects

Full Week Camps Half Day and Full Day Options Ages 5-12

Camp locations all over Brandon • Riverview • Valrico Lithia • Fishhawk Early Bird Registration and Sibling Discounts To find out more and to register please visit

or call us at 813-545-4282

and the game. The Summer Camp Expo will offer a one-stop shop to local summer camps, summer activities, special needs camps, family products and services. The first 250 families will receive a free swag bag. Kids can run the bases, get player autographs, enjoy a fun Kids Zone, live entertainment, and so much more. There will be lots of giveaways and prizes up for grabs. Make sure to stay for the post-game fireworks. Visit for ticket info.

Bricks 4 Kidz Tampa is back with awesome LEGO® Summer camps being offered all over the Brandon, Riverview, and Valrico areas! Join us for a different theme each week such as Star Wars®, Minecraft®, Ninjago®, and much more!

The Suncoast Youth Conservation Center Offers Six Weeks Of Summer Camp

By Kathy L. Collins

Campers get to experience fun this summer along the shores of Tampa Bay at the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center’s marine-focused summer camps.

If you are looking for a unique summer camp experience for your child this summer, then look at the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center (SYCC) in Apollo Beach. The SYCC is offering six weeks of marine-focused summer day camps for students who have completed the third through eighth grades. The SYCC is offering three weeks of Saltwater Fish Camp, one week of Kayak Adventure Camp and new this summer, two weeks of Marine Science Camp. The Saltwater Camps, offered in June and July, are geared for beginners who want to learn how to rig a fishing rod, tie knots, throw a cast net and stock a tackle box. As part of the Saltwater Camp, campers get to fish the mangrove shorelines of the Tampa Bay estuary. The Kayak Adventure Camp, offered

Math Help

in July, is for youth who have completed grades six to eight. It will cover basic kayak strokes and maneuvers, rescues, orienteering, chart reading, water safety, habitat conservation and provide plenty of opportunities for trying out the new paddling skills they have learned. Campers will also learn everything they need to know to obtain a Boating Safety Education

Identification Card. The newest camp is the Marine Science Camp. This camp is offered in July and August. Dr. Kathy Guindon, Director of SYCC explained, “Students will learn about the animals found within various marine habitats. They will also use tools and techniques scientists use to study a range of marine wildlife from birds to fish. Games, experiments, crafts, recreational activities and sessions with a scientist will be used to connect students with the outdoor world.” Dr. Guindon added, “The Center’s week-long camps are a fun way for students to learn about saltwater fishing, kayaking and more.”

Math Enrichment

Test Prep

Summer Fun

Avoid The SUMMER SLIDE! Summer Topics

• Curing Finger Counting • Focusing on Fractions • Having Fun & Building • Confidence in Math

• Preparing for Middle School • Maximizing ACT/SAT Math Skills • Previewing or Reviewing • Algebra I & II or Geometry

Now Enrollin g for Summer

Mathnasium has two options to serve you with an In-Center experience or an @home experience.

Beach Side, Cliff Side, or World Traveler; take Mathnasium@home anywhere!


Camps run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The registration fee for each camp is $190. Campers get a tshirt, water bottle and a lifetime of memories. Space is limited. Spaces are filled on a first-come, firstserve basis. Dr. Guindon said, “The SYCC is a marine-focused conservation education center on the shores of Tampa Bay that

provides exciting learning opportunities for youth and families. It is a part of the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, an FWC program dedicated to Creating the Next Generation That Cares about fish and wildlife conservation.” For information, visit

Hours: 6am - 10pm South Brandon

Lake Brandon Village

(813) 571-0569

(813) 655-1237

2010 Bloomingdale Ave, Brandon 11325 Causeway Blvd, Brandon

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Valrico Edition

Volume 15, Issue 3

The Tampa Bay History Center Expands Opening New Permanent Gallery

1 Voice Club Serves Cancer Patients With Tutoring & More

History Center President and CEO, C.J. Roberts said, “We are telling a Florida story.” Roberts added, “Conquistadors, pirates and privateers, shipwreck recovery- many of these things were happening not just in the Tampa Bay area, but across the state. The new gallery expands our focus and gives visThe Tampa Bay History Center has unveiled an 8,500 sq ft. itors a broader, addition known as ‘Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates and Shipwrecks.’ The expansion is now open and would make Florida-wide view of history.” for a perfect afternoon outing over Spring Break. The expansion The Tampa Bay History Center, comes just in time for families to visit located in downtown Tampa along over Spring Break. You can learn the Riverwalk, has unveiled its first about Florida’s maritime history by significant expansion since opening way of the latest in museum technolin 2009. The 8,500 sq. ft. addition is ogy, including hologram pirates, an known as ‘Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates and Shipwrecks.’ The new permanent gallery features a 6o ft., 18th century pirate ship. The new addition also introduces visitors to explorers who landed in ‘La Florida’ more than 500 years ago. immersive, choose-your-own advenVisitors will also learn about little ture theatre experience, and a celesknown pirates such as ‘Calico’ Jack tial ellipse on the gallery ceiling Rackham and Anne Bonny. They showing how sailors used the stars to prowled Florida’s coasts in the traverse unknown oceans. 1700’s. There are many items on view to The new gallery also teaches vis- the public for the first time. These itors about the science and technoloinclude world class artifacts which gy of shipwreck recovery. Visitors are nearly 400 years old. You can get can see how old vessels are recova look at navigational tools, jewelry, ered from the ocean floor. coins, pottery and other rare items Additionally, the expanded gallery recovered off of Florida’s coast. includes the Touchton Map The Tampa Bay History Center is Library/Florida Center for located at 801 Old Water St. in downCartographic Education (TML/FCCE). town Tampa. The Tampa Bay History This is a partnership with the Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. University of South Florida, and it will seven days a week. feature 6,000 maps of Florida and For more information, please visit the Caribbean. The maps date back or to the 15th century. call 228-0097.

With dozens “Being able to of extracurricular support them is clubs and activireally impactful for ties to choose me.” from at Newsome 1Voice High School, sixty Foundation execustudents from all tive director Mary grade levels are Ann Massolio said members of the the invaluable 1Voice Club, a service the club group that formed provides keeps six years ago and pediatric cancer partners with the patients and their 1Voice siblings from Foundation to falling behind academically, since serve families many miss a lot of impacted by pedischool due to atric cancer. Newsome Newsome 1Voice Club member Hailey Baker treatment regisenior and club dedicates time out of her week to tutor stu- mens. dents in math, science and reading. president Sarah She can’t Grabau said they support the 1Voice speak highly enough about her volunFoundation with many different proteers. grams but the largest project involves “They’re so enthusiastic and weekly tutoring of cancer patients develop relationships and their siblings. with the families they Approximately serve,” she said. “With 10-12 volunteers everything bad you participate in the read about these days tutoring sessions, people should know offered every that there are respectTuesday night at ful, consistent youth 1111 Oakfield Dr., doing good today.” adjacent to Oakfield In addition to the Lanes. Tutors work tutoring program, the club also volunteers at with children with canmore than 20 of the foundation’s famcer and their siblings ily support programs. in Grades K-12. The evening begins These opportunities have instilled with dinner followed by one-on-one or a valuable love of community and small group tutoring. The evening fincivic-minded ishes with an awareness in the activity, craft or club’s members. special guest. Grabau graduates Recent special this spring and guests have has already included The looked into club Giving Tree perofferings at the forming a drum university she will circle and Bess be attending in the the Book Bus fall. bringing books. “I want to conGrabau, who tinue serving othattends most ers and I was weeks, said she happy to see servtries to tutor the Members of the 1Voice Club partner with ice clubs offered same children the 1Voice Foundation and tutor students on at U.S.F.,” she each week a weekly basis. said. because she For more information about the enjoys the relationship she builds with 1Voice Club or the 1Voice Foundation them. call Massolio at 787-3042 or visit “We talk about so much more than math and reading, said Grabau.

By Kathy L. Collins

By Michelle Caceres

March 2018

ing l F g n i r p S ents r a P , e c n Da t& u O t h g i N Moree…lle Colesanti, Mich om server.c iled by Comp e@ospreyob l michel

Second Annual Daddy/Daughter Mother/Son Spring Fling Dance

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Valrico Edition

Tickets can also be purchased directly at Amazing Kidz Therapy, located at 4312 Bell Shoals Rd, in Valrico. Autism Speaks is a national non-for-profit organization that works towards increasing family services, science, advocacy and awareness for the ASD community. Funding is solely generated from the fundraising conducted through events. Contact Kathleen Pici at Kathleen.Pici@AmazingKidZtherapy.c om.

On Friday, April 13 from 6-9 p.m. join in for the Second Annual Daddy/Daughter Mother/Son Spring Fling Dance. This special evening is Parents Night Out for children ages 4 and up and raises Music Showcase and The Florida money for Autism Academy of Speaks Walk. It will Performing Arts take place at The will be hosting Barn in Winthrop, a Parents Night 11349 Bloomingdale Out Easter Ave. in Riverview. Party on Dress up with Saturday, March your child for a spe24 from 6-10 cial evening neither of p.m. you will forget. In There will instances where a be food, popparent is unable to corn, games, attend, special adults prizes, crafts are welcome (ie and an Easter grandparent, Egg Hunt. uncle/aunt, etc). The Easter Fathers and their daughters recently There will be dancing, Bunny enjoyed a night out together at Campo desserts, raffle aucmovie, Hop will Family YMCA. tion, photos and also be shown. more. Children will also be participating in Purchase tickets at www.amazan Easter Egg Hunt. Be sure to bring basket with the child's name on it charity-event.html. and each child will get to take home Each ticket is for one adult and the eggs they find. one child and includes hors d'oueves, The cost is $35 per child ($10 for dessert table and photos. There will each additional child). There is limitbe one swag bag per child. ed availability. Call 685-5998.

shine). The cost is 50 cents per quart (no limit). You can also pick for The Campo and free Family donate to area YMCA recently hostfood banks. ed its Second Help is availAnnual Daddy able for elderly Daughter Dance and disabled. on Saturday, The U-Pick February 24. All will take place dads got to enjoy a Fancy at special evening of Farms. GPS dancing with their litaddress: 1909 tle princess while S. Wiggins Rd. enjoying delicious in Plant City desserts and photo and follow the opportunities. signs. Call There were 134 477-8332 for father/daughter pairs Jilly Woodward – Nine year old Jilly more informaregistered (up 100 Woodward, a student at Immanuel Lutheran from last year). in Brandon, raised over $550 for Jump for tion. Heart by going door to door, doing a lemonChick-Fil-A donated ade stand, online and by donating money Parkinson’s the food, goody bag received for her birthday. Disease items and drinks. Group Held At The Support Mikie Magic provided animal balloons Bridges and a magic show and Power The Bridges Assisted Living Productions provided the music and Community will host a support group lighting. Paradise Booths ran the for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s photo booth Disease, family members and careThe proceeds went toward the givers. The support group will meet Campo Y’s annual campaign. quarterly on the last Wednesday of Campo Family YMCA is located the month beginning Wednesday, at 3414 Culbreath Rd. in Valrico. For more information, visit www.tampaym- April 25. Guest speakers will present on a variety of topics such as or call 684ty, balance, cognition, medication, 1371. and nutrition. The purpose of the supAnnual Strawberry U-Pick Benefits port group is to share information, offer mutual support and gain addi4-H Support the local 4-H at the annu- tional information from area experts. There is no fee to attend. Please al Strawberry U-Pick on Saturday, RSVP to Janet at 413-8900. March 17 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (rain or

A Special Evening For Fathers and Daughters At Campo Family YMCA

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Valrico Edition

ow, h S t n e l a T king, o o b p a r c S ala & G e d a r e Masqu MoMriceh…elle Colesamnti,

lead those they serve to know Christ, protect the sanctity of human life and promote biblically based sexuality according to God’s plan for marriage. For more information, visit

ed by Compil preyobs s o @ e ll miche

Calling All Performers For Impact’s Got Talent Show

Mark your calendar for Friday, May 11 for the fourth annual Impact’s Got Talent show based on the hit television show America’s Got Talent. The family-friendly fundraiser kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at Bloomingdale High School, located at 1700 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. The grand prize is $250. Auditions will be held on Sunday, April 8 from 1–5 p.m. at Dance Quest International, located at 853 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon. Participation is for those in grades K12 and talent acts such as but not limited to: vocalists, actors, dancers (solo, duets and groups) and musicians. To sign up for an audition time, please contact Jennifer Crum at 6613236 or Impact’s Got Talent event tickets are $10 per person and available on The evening will also feature a 50-50 raffle and silent auction. All ticket sales benefit the Impact program, which promotes healthy lifestyles and relationships to teens, parents, teachers, and other youth leaders through classroom education. To be a sponsor, contact Angie Kagey at 264-9368 or For more information, visit IMPACT’s Got Talent 2018 Facebook Event page or

The LifeCare Network’s Annual Golf Tournament With Helicopter Drop

LifeCare’s annual golf tournament will be held on Friday, April 13 at the River Hills Country Club in Valrico. Check-in begins at 11 a.m. and is followed by lunch and a helicopter golf ball drop. The shotgun start is at 12:45 p.m. The registration fee is $150 per person and includes golfing, lunch, dinner, a Dri-Fit polo shirt, a goodie bag and contests along the golf course. The LifeCare Network exists to To register or become a sponsor for the golf fundraiser, please contact Jessica Rickenbach at or 6540491. The River Hills Country Club is located at 3943 New River Hills Pkwy. in Valrico.

of which is required to meet the current school year budget. The other half will be used to upgrade every teacher in the school with the newest portable technology. The gala includes dinner, fully hosted bar, dancing, live and silent auctions. Be entertained by energetic performance of hot jazz of the 20's & 30's, Dixieland & New Orleans jazz performed by The Jazz Phools, with additional music provided by Sustache Music Events. Purchase tickets at Admission ticket sales close on April 20. For more information, email

Sabbath Services At Congregation Beth Shalom

Welcome the Sabbath at Congregation Beth Shalom on Friday evenings at 7:45 p.m. Oneg, nosh and mingle follows. All are welcome. Join in on March 16 when the choir with join in and March 23 for a challah bake-off, Shabbat ShaChallah. All invited to bring their favorite loaf and recipe. RSVP to Shiela Fishman at: to participate in this event. Page Turners - On Monday, March 19 at 6 p.m., come, eat and discuss this month’s book, A Two Family House. Light dinner provided. Communal Second Night Sedar – On Saturday, March 31, join in for family Seder meal, songs and service lead by Cantor Friedler. Cost is $36 for adults and $16 for children aged 5-12. Free for children under age 5, no meal provided. Mandatory reservations by mail, e-mail or phone. Congregation Beth Shalom is located at 706 Bryan Rd. in Brandon. Call for more information: 681-6547.

Mardi Gras Masquerade Gala Benefits Nativity Catholic School

The annual Nativity Spring Gala, the second largest fundraiser for Nativity Catholic School (NCS), benefits the teachers and children of NCS. It will take place on Saturday, April 28 at 6 p.m. at The Brady Center, located at 3319 Bayshore Blvd. in Tampa. This year’s focus is on the teachers with a goal to raise $60,000, half

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Scrapbooking Event

Holy Innocent’s Episcopal Church is hosting a scrapbooking event on Saturday, April 14 from 9a.m.-6 p.m. Registration fees include workspace, light breakfast and lunch. Bring your own supplies. There is plenty of room and great lighting. Registration fee is $35. Proceeds from this event will benefit Holy Innocents mission trips. The event will be held at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, 604 N. Valrico Rd. in Valrico. Register at Any questions, please 727-365-2300.

Holy Innocents’ Sixth Golf Scramble

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church will hold its Sixth Annual ‘Best Ball’ Golf Tournament at River Hills Country Club, on Saturday, April 14’ , at 1 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to

Volume 15, Issue 3

the winning foursome as well as for Longest Drive and Closest to the Hole Contests. There are also Hole in One Prizes and a Putting Competition. The event will conclude with dinner, a raffle and silent auction during the Awards Ceremony. For individual and foursome registration as well as sponsorship opportunities visit All proceeds will benefit the mission and ministries of Holy Innocents Episcopal Church.

Girls Night Out Hosted By Local Home Based Businesses

Join in for a night of Wellness, Fashion and Beauty. It is hosted by Linda Foster (dōTERRA), Lori Wyatt (Beautycounter), Rowena Sjovall (vêtue boutique) and Sharen Hunziker (Premier Designs). This event is all about you. Enjoy discussions that focus on your well-being, skin care, make-up, fashion and style. In addition to the various discussions offered, there will be giveaways and light refreshments provided. This evening is all about you so grab your favorite gal pals and make this night a fun Girls Night Out. FabYOUlous & BeYOUtiful will take place on Thursday, April 5 from 6-9 p.m. at Co-Work Landing , located at 522 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon. Admission is free. For more information, please join the Facebook Group – FabYOUlous and BeYOUtiful.

Impact’s Summer Staff Program Is Accepting Applications Now

Summer Staff is an opportunity for high school students (grades 9– 12) to educate younger students (10+) about the importance of living healthy lifestyles and being role models of this lifestyle. The Summer Staff Program presents at local Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA’s, Parks & Recreation Centers and churches. It is an 8-week long program and provides over 100 community service hours for Bright Futures. The application deadline is Friday, March 30. Application forms and more information can be found at For more information, contact Angie Kagey at 264-9368 or

March 2018

Valrico Edition

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Valrico Edition

Volume 15, Issue 3

March 2018

Valrico Edition


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By By Nick Nick Nahas Nahas

Young Athlete Continues To Excel Despite Chiari Condition Photos Courtesy of Jillian Heilman Neely Heilman, at 14, has faced more adversity than most her age. With a positive outlook on life and a passion for sports, she has truly turned lemons into lemonade. “I don’t just stop when I fall down or when something bad happens, you just have to keep pushing forward,” Heilman said. Two and a half years ago, Heilman’s older sister, Hally, passed away at the age of 15. One year later, Heilman had a second severe concussion while playing soccer, and was later diagnosed with Chiari Malformation, a condition that causes her cerebellum to extend below the base of her skull. Numerous hits to Heilman at a cold swim meet in January. the back of the head while playing soccer caused Neely severe inflammation, resulting in headaches, nausea and dizziness. To avoid long-term damage from concussions, doctors advised her to never play contact Heilman with some friends from her Blue Wave “Swamily.” sports again. invited to national training camps, Two weeks later, she was diagand had dreams of playing division nosed with the same life-threaten1 soccer at USF. Naturally, she was ing immune deficiency that Hally devastated. Her mom, Jillian had and her younger brother Ben Heilman, said that her daughter has. was on her phone looking up possiHeilman, who had been playing ble non-contact sports as soon as soccer since she was three, was they were leaving the doctor’s considered an elite soccer player office. Playing sports was the only for Tampa Bay United. She was a way for her to fuel her competitive national pool player that had been

into soccer,” said Jillian Heilman. Heilman had done several triathlons when she was younger. She really enjoyed the swimming aspect of the three events. She decided that she would adopt swimming as her new sport. Eight Heilman competing in a swim meet. months ago, she joined the BSAC Blue Wave swim team, which her coach, Rich Rodgers, characterizes as a swim family, or “swamily.” “It’s meant a great deal emotionally and physically, to not only develop strong bonds with the girls on the team and the coaches, but I’ve been able to do something besides soccer that has allowed me to have a lot of fun and stay physically active,” Heilman said. Heilman hopes to become a part of the Durant High School swim team next year. She will also compete in her first triathlon in years, next month in Gainesville. Her ultimate goal is to go to college for swimming and she hopes to one day, compete in the Olympics. “I like the feeling of the water,” said Heilman. “You feel Heilman at the Outpatient Care Center at the All almost invincible when you are Children’s Hospital before one of her many appointments. swimming your fastest. It’s just fire. “Neely just has a competitive something that is totally different drive and an athletic mentality, and from anything else that you can do she needed something to focus that in the world, and it gives me a feelenergy on that she had always put ing of relief and happiness.”

Page 44

Volume 15, Issue 3

Valrico Edition

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Osprey Observer 2018-3 Valrico  
Osprey Observer 2018-3 Valrico