Winner of Drawing Announced
The final event for Mary Ann Wilhelm’s race for Honorary Mayor of Ruskin was a breakfast held at the office of Wilhelm Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. in Ruskin where attendees were entered into a drawing for a brand new Carrier Infinity residential air conditioning system, installed at no charge by Wilhelm. The winners of the system were Ruskin residents Dick and Sally Berg. The campaign raised almost $5,400 to be split between the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce and local charities.

Animal Rescue Needs Your Help
The Animal Rescue site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet its quota of getting free food donated every day to abused and neglected animals. It takes less than a minute to go to the site and click on the purple box “fund food for animals” for free. This doesn’t cost you a thing. Its corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in exchange for advertising.
Please help by visiting

Rotary Speakers Scheduled for New Year
The SouthShore Rotary speakers scheduled for January 2009 are: Wednesday, January 7: Christy Foster, Tampa Bay Higher Education Alliance; Wednesday, January 14: Takia McClendon, Lennard High School; Wednesday, January 21: club business meeting; Wednesday, January 28: Jim Hosler, applied demographer. The SouthShore Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at 12 Noon at Cypress Creek Golf Club located at 1011 Cypress Village Blvd. in Ruskin. Lunch is $12. Visiting Rotarians and guests are always welcome.
For further information, please contact Club President David Madden at 417-9015.

Corks and Forks a Success
Campo Branch YMCA, located at 3414 Culbreath Rd. in Valrico, held its fifth annual Corks and Forks fundraiser, raising almost $35,000 to benefit the YMCA’s Scholarship program which helps to fund participation in camping and life enrichment classes for children who might not otherwise be able to benefit from YMCA programs. The Campo Board of Directors has recently adopted a new strategic vision plan that includes an expansion of services into the SouthShore area.
For further information, please contact Mags Oldman of Campo YMCA at 684-1371.

Mayor’s Race Benefits Deputies Darlin’s
Mary Ann Wilhelm, president of Wilhelm Heating and Air Conditioning Inc., presented a check for $1,150 to HCSO Deputy Chris Gerard for the Deputies Darlin’s charity, generated by Wilhelm’s Ruskin Honorary Mayor’s Race campaign. Wilhelm Heating and Air Conditioning, located at 802 4th St. SW in Ruskin, will be a collection center for toy and clothing donations for the Deputies Darlin’s charity, affecting needy children and the elderly in Ruskin, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Especially needed are gifts for children ages 10 to 15. Donations can also be dropped off at the Ruskin Community substation located at the rear of the Village Shoppes at the corner of 19th Ave. and U.S. Hwy. 41 in Ruskin.
For further information about Deputies Darlin’s, please call Officer Budd at 672-7430.

AAUW Updates
The American Association of University Women members sponsored a Book and Author Luncheon in November as an educational scholarship fundraiser for girls and young women. Sally Fox chaired a committee to select an author for the luncheon. After reading several authors’ books, the committee selected Kathleen O’ Connor, a resident of Sun City Center. O’Connor spoke to the group about her three novels and read from her latest novel, No Doubt. O’Connor’s next book, Men of Paradise, will be available in 2009. The American Association of University Women meets in Sun City Center.
For more information, call Edith Rice at 634-7633 or e-mail at

The Sun City Center branch of the American Association of University Women will meet at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 13, at Sun City Center Golf and Racquet Club located at 1702 Pebble Beach Blvd. Dini Elliott, director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Journalism at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, will be the guest speaker. Elliott holds an interdisciplinary doctoral degree in Philosophy of Education from Harvard University, is an author of several books and hosted a radio show, Ethically Speaking, from 2003 to 2006. Reservations for the luncheon, $15 per person, must be paid by Monday, December 8. Make check payable to AAUW, Sun City Center and mail to Maryellen Thomas, 835 Oakmont Ave., Sun City Center, FL 33573.

Local Honored for His Discoveries
During the formal dedication ceremony of the “first 16 feet” of the Ruskin History Center, Frank Garcia, who discovered numerous early ice age fossils in Ruskin which he has on display in Camp Bayou, received the third annual award for Preserving Ruskin’s History from the Ruskin Historical Society. Garcia is expanding his display to include an educational center there and is preparing a permanent stand-alone display at the SouthShore Regional Library. Recently, he learned that one of his discoveries was a previously unknown species. The small manatee-like creature was given the name Nanosiren garciae which means “little mermaid” and honors its discoverer Garcia. The fossils will be displayed at Smithsonian Institution and the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.
For more information, visit For more on the Ruskin History Center, visit

Knights of Columbus Help Veterans
The Knights of Columbus Assembly 1850 recently visited the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, nursing home and Fisher House to help maintain contact with active, injured, nursing home residents and retired military and their families. The order is dedicated to visiting and supplying needed items that are not readily available to them. Members invite residents to come out and spend some time with veterans on Saturday, December 13, at the nursing home, Haley’s Cove, located at the Haley Veterans Hospital Facility, for a pizza party, starting at 11:30 a.m. The group is collecting white T-shirts sizes large-5x, underwear sizes 38-44 waist and socks. These items will be gift-wrapped and handed out to each veteran.
For more information, call Ed Mcnamara at 657-7716 or e-mail Herbert Swoope at

Beefs Thanks Community for Support
Summerfield Beef O’ Brady’s and the Masengale family – Jamie, Rodney, and its special heart baby Olivia – would like to extend a special thank you to Tim and Missy Dorman and their children. The Dorman family donated the framed jersey that was raffled off at Beef O’Brady’s and $819.30 was raised to support Mended Little Hearts, a support group for children with heart disease and heart defects out of All Childrens Hospital that provides support and care packages for families with children in the hospital, as well as funding to help find cures for these children.
To find out more, contact Jamie Masengale via or Kate Dumas at

ABWC Invites All to Luncheon
The Apollo Beach Woman’s Club’s next membership meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 10. The members will be treated to the wonderful sounds of the holiday season by the Sounds of Time chorus group from East Bay High School. The luncheons for the club are held the second Wednesday of each month at Summerfield Crossing Golf Course located at 13050 Summerfield Blvd. in Riverview, costing $16.
If interested, please join members at one of the luncheons as a guest by contacting Regina Lesnau at 642-3305 on or before the Friday prior to the meeting. If interested in becoming a member, please call Judy Peck at 746-1072.
The Apollo Beach Woman’s Club is also selling Apollo Beach license plates for $10 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Beach community in conjunction with the Apollo Beach Chamber of Commerce.
If you would like to purchase a license plate, contact Sylvia Gordon at 641-8793.
In addition to the license plates, the club is offering Village Inn Pie Certificate for $10.
If you would like to purchase one or more certificates, please contact Sonja Davidson 645-2145.
All the proceeds from these two events will go to the clubs scholarship fund which awards scholarships to qualified Apollo Beach residents graduating from high school or adults pursuing a college degree.

Williams Boat Ramp Fishing Pier to Close
Hillsborough County’s Williams Boat Ramp will receive a $275,000 facelift beginning in December as improvements are made at this popular fishing pier and boat launch facility at U.S. Hwy. 41 and the Alafia River. The boat ramp will remain open during construction, but the fishing pier will be closed for 60 days to repair the aged and storm damaged structure. The pier will receive new decking, handrails and general repairs. Other improvements at the facility will include paving of the parking lot, changing boat fender bumpers, new water fountains and sidewalks to the picnic shelters.
For more information, contact Peter Fowler at 903-2263.

Gold Star Wives to Meet
Gold Star Wives Meeting – Suncoast Chapter will meet Wednesday, December 17, at 10:30 a.m.- meeting every third Wednesday – at Panther Trace II Clubhouse located at 11518 Newgate Crest Dr. in Riverview. Widows/widowers whose spouses died while serving in the armed forces of the United States or as a result of service-connected disabilities are welcomed to visit and join this chapter.
For more information, visit www,

Denizens Feed Over 1,500
The 14th Annual Brandon ’86 Rotary Denizens of the Deep Fish Fry fed over 1,500 guests in November at Rotary’s Camp Florida. Organizers said there were more than 294 kids under age 12 who got in free, ate free and had a great time jumping on bouncy castles, experiencing face painting and watching the magician shows all day long. Over 150 volunteers worked non-stop. The money raised from the event will go to charities in the Brandon community.
Caption: The 14th Annual Brandon ’86 Rotary Denizens of the Deep Fish Fry fed over 1,500 people, with the help of 150 volunteers.

Ruskin Mayor Helps Abused
Newly elected Honorary Mayor of Ruskin John Smith presented Laurie Kepler, executive director of the Mary and Martha House, with a check for $2,833. The Honorary Mayor Campaign is an annual fundraiser for the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce and the charity of the candidate’s choice. Smith chose the Mary and Martha House as his charity because he has supported it since moving here in 2006, when he and his wife, Penny, a member of the Board of Directors, purchased the local H&R Block franchises.
Caption: (L-R) John Smith, Laurie Kepler and Melanie Morrison pose for a picture as Smith awards $2,833 to the Mary and Martha House.

ABWA Inducts New Members
The SouthShore Charter Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association recently inducted 14 new members. The organization meets the third Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m. for dinner, networking and a business program with a speaker at the Freedom Plaza Clubhouse.
Guests are always welcome and should contact Penny Smith at 641-1040 or to be added to the email invitation. You can find out more about the SouthShore Charter Chapter at
Caption: The SouthShore Charter Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association recently inducted 14 new members.

Post Announces Meeting
The next meeting of the Riverview Detachment of the Marine Corps League will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 6, at the American Legion Post 148 located at 7240 U.S. Hwy. 301 in Riverview. The detachment is always seeking new members and the meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month. All former and active duty marines plus navy corpsmen who have served a tour with the Fleet Marine Force are eligible to join.
For additional information, call Jack Skelding at 672-1778 or visit

Upcoming Events at Moose Lodge
The coming events for Ruskin Moose Lodge, located at 1212 E Shell Point Rd. in
Ruskin, are open to qualified members and guests:
December 13—Hillbilly Christmas Party
December 25— The Lodge will be open Christmas Day
December 31 –Gala New Year’s Eve Dance with Taylor and Taylor
Spaghetti dinner every Wednesday from 5-7 p.m.
Chicken Wings every Thursday from 5-7 p.m.
Fish fry also serving baked fish every Friday from 5-7 p.m.
Sandwiches every Sunday 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Karoke every Saturday night from 7-11 p.m.
Live bands every Friday from 7-11 p.m.
For more information, call Katie Schaff at 727-251-5965 or email at

The Market at Summerfield
The Market is an outdoor market with arts and crafts, homemade items, plants and produce, operating every Friday night from 4-9 p.m. and every Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. It is located in CiCi’s Pizza parking lot at 13141 Hwy. 301 S. in Riverview.
Interested vendors can contact Dana at 654-5429.

Ruskin Chamber Collects for Tots
Drop off you donations for Toys for Tots at the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce located at 315 S. Tamiami Trl. in Ruskin.
For more information, call 645-3808.

Drop Off Toy and Get a Cup of Coffee
Please drop off you donations for Toys for Tots at Sava Café, located at 5469 U.S. Hwy. 41 N. in Apollo Beach, and get a free cup of coffee for a great cause.
For more information, call 645-9595.

Hydro Harvest Hosts Bazaar
Hydro Harvest Farms in Ruskin is looking for seven canners and crafters for its first in a series of Homemade at the Farm. A u-pick farm in Ruskin at 1101 Shell Point Rd. E., it is holding its first bazaar on Saturday, December 13, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The farm will also have strawberries ready to be harvested as well as Christmas trees available.
For more information, call 645-6574 or visit

Holiday Gift Wrapping for a Cause
The Girl Scout Troops of West Central Florida 1175 and 210 will be outside Goin’ Postal, located at 10677 Big Bend Rd. in Riverview, on Saturday, December 13, hoping to raise funds for their troop. The Girl Scouts will be wrapping your holiday presents just in time for the holidays. The over 300 Goin’ Postal store owners nationwide are proud to support the Girl Scouts.
For more information, call 741-3636. To learn more about scouting, visit

Mary and Martha House’s Holiday List
Mary and Martha House in Ruskin is collecting items for its Holiday Closet 2008. Suggested gifts include: gift cards to Walmart and other stores, blocks, arts and craft sets, developmental toys, accessories for girls, cars and trucks, jewelry, purses, make-up, stationary, journals, building sets, dolls, ball and sports equipment, action figures, watches, remote control vehicles, children and teenage DVDs, phone cards, books, preschool play sets, board games/cards, early learning toys, twin bed linens, television, bus passes, radio, vacuum, brooms, mops, DVD/VCR player, electric can opener, scatter rugs, alarm clocks and toasters.
For more information, call 645-7874.

CARE Presents Tree of Lights
The Critter Adoption and Rescue Effort (CARE) no-kill shelter for homeless dogs and cats is holding its Seventh Annual Tree of Lights for the Animals fundraiser from now through Christmas. The annual events allows area residents an opportunity to honor their past or present pets with a Christmas bulb or personalized dog or cat ornament which will be placed on a shelter tree. The trees will be lit through the holidays and the donations will go directly to supporting the 50-60 pets currently at the shelter. For a tax-deductible contribution of $5 or more each, a bulb will be placed on a tree for every pet you want to honor. For a $10 or more donation, a cat or dog ornament with the name of your pet(s) will be placed on a tree. At any time during the holiday season, visitors are encouraged to come view the trees and, hopefully, visit some of the pets available for adoption – if only to say hello and Merry Christmas. Tree of Light donation forms may be picked up at the shelter located at 1528 27th St. S.E. in Ruskin.
For more information, call 645-2273.

AP Chamber Kicks Off Lighting Contest
The Apollo Beach Beautification Committee and the Apollo Beach Chamber of Commerce presents the 18th Annual Apollo Beach Christmas Lighting Contest. Residents of zip code 33572 will have a chance to show off those decorations, with judging to occur on Wednesday, December 17, from 6–9 p.m. Categories are Residential or Condo Complexes/Apartment Complexes, with winners presented with awards by Sunday, December 21. Completed forms must be submitted to the chamber office, located at 223 Flamingo Dr. in Apollo Beach, by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, December 12. Forms can also be faxed at 641-2612 or e-mailed to
For more information, call 645-1366.

SCC Holds First Holiday Walk
On Saturday, December 13, Sun City Center Holiday Walk on the Central Campus on N. Pebble Beach Blvd. Begin your holiday cheer with breakfast in the Florida Room from 8 a.m.-12 Noon for $4. The club rooms will be open from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., offering free refreshments and handmade holiday gifts at low prices. The Model Railroad Club is also inviting visitors to come operate the trains, and in the Rollins Theatre, The Performing Arts Club, under the direction of Lew Ressiguie, will present a 20-minute holiday music show at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. At 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., John Bowker will entertain with a 20-minute presentation about Sun City Center. Another first will be the Holiday Club Tree that will be in the Atrium.
To volunteer at the event, contact Ann Marie at 633-1979.

Elmira’s Wildlife Sanctuary Holds Party
Please join Elmira’s Wildlife Sanctuary for a Christmas Lawn Party with traditional Italian cuisine on Saturday, December 13, starting at 3:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at 4 p.m., costing $20 per person. There will be a Chinese auction and a 50/50 raffle.
For tickets and directions, call 941-776-8975 or visit

SKids Perform Christmas Memories
The Performing Arts Club Kids are coming in concert for Christmas Memories on Friday, December 12, at 7 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church, located at 5309 U.S. Hwy. 41 N., with a reception to follow. It will feature the Packettes and Ellen Kleinschmidt. Donations will provide Christmas gifts to needy children in the SouthShore area.
For more information, call 633-4286.

Resident Receives Good Samaritan Award
Ruskin resident Maxine Zerr was recently honored by Lutheran Services of Florida for her volunteer work, especially with the Community Cupboard food pantry, a ministry of Calvary Lutheran Church located at 5309 U.S. Hwy. 41 N. in Apollo Beach. The Community Cupboard provides food for 20,000-25,000 needy persons per year.
For more information, call 645-1305.

RUMC Dedicates Youth House
Ruskin United Methodist recently dedicated a house on Shell Point Rd. meant to be used by the Youth group. Many of the youth of the church and their parents devoted time and work to refurbishing the home. The youth group meets weekly on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m., welcoming those in sixth grade and up. In November, several of the men who helped refurbish the youth house roasted Youth Director Hal Jeffery. A great time was had by all.
For more information, call 645-1241 weekdays between 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

St. Stephens Hosts Adore 2097
Adore 2097, featuring popular Christian recording artist Matt Maher, will be at St. Stephen Catholic Church, located at 5049 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon, on Friday, December 19, to help celebrate the Advent season at the church. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the night of Eucharistic adoration, praise and worship will run from 7-9:30 p.m. Joining Maher on stage as fellow worship leaders will be Christian recording artists Kelly Pease and Josh Blakesly. Audience members also will hear from Adore 2097 co-founder George Paul. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Buyers will receive one free ticket for every eight tickets purchased.
For information, call Eduard Lugo at 671-4434 or the parish office at 689-4900. You can also visit

Calvary Holds Annual Angel Tree Project
Calvary Lutheran Church, located at 5309 U.S. Hwy. 41 N. in Apollo Beach, will hold its annual Angel Tree project through Sunday, December 14. Project chairpersons, Jack and Norma Kitzman have compiled a list of over 500 SouthShore needy children from area schools and agencies. A Christmas tree will be at the church with tags that give the sex, age, sizes and requested gifts from the children. Every effort is made to provide each child a set of clothes and one toy. Proceeds raised by fundraisers held to benefit Angel Tree and monetary gifts will be used to purchase clothes and gifts for those tags that are not taken. Beall’s Outlet is giving a discount card punch for each food item donated for the Community Cupboard food pantry. Those cards that are not being used by the recipient can be donated to the church and will be used toward those purchases. Because of hard economic conditions, some families, in lieu of gifts, have asked for support of special medical needs of a child. It is the hope that the project can provide for some of those needs and make sure the rest of the children also have a gift to open.
Additional information can be obtained by contacting the church office at 645-1305.

St. John Episcopal Offers Holiday Hope
St. John the Divine Episcopal Church is offering a service of comfort and hope that will be held Tuesday, December 16, at 7 p.m. This will be a time for prayer, reflection and fellowship for those experiencing difficulty handling the holidays due to sorrow, loss, pain, depression, addiction, financial problems or any other contributing factors. Refreshments will be served after the service. Everyone in the community is invited; whether in need and hurting, or willing to offer support and compassion.
For more information, please call 645-1521.

Musical Drama Emmanuel Coming
First Baptist Church of Gibsonton, located at 9912 Indiana St., presents Emmanuel – Celebrating Heaven’s Child on Saturday, December 20, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 21, at 10:30 a.m. See and hear the story of the first Christmas as told in Luke’s Gospel. Watch as Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem, the wise men bring their gifts to the Savior and shepherds leave their flocks to worship baby Jesus in the Bethehem manger.
For more information, call 677-1301.

New Members at Big Bend
Big Bend United Methodist Church in Riverview, located at 11525 Big Bend Rd., accepted 13 new members in November. The church offers two identical services at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sundays in which people of all races worship in a casual atmosphere.
The church is offering DivorceCare, a 13-week support group for people experiencing divorce or separation, meeting on Sundays at 6 p.m. A support group, Celebrate Recovery, for women who have hurts, habits or hang-ups meets on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.
Call the church at 677-9482 or visit for more details.

Choir Members at UMC Perform Musical
The 60-voice Chancel Choir from the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, located at 1210 Del Webb Blvd. W., will be performing its Christmas musical entitled A Classic Christmas during the worship services of Saturday, December 13, at 4 p.m. and again on Sunday, December 14, at 10:55 a.m. The production will feature a powerful visual element that includes images and video from various historical periods. These services are free and open to the public, and early arrival is encouraged due to limited seating.
For additional information, please contact Jeff Jordan at.634-2539 or 938-4911.

South Shore Sound Chorus Welcomes Ladies
The South Shore Sound Chorus will be taking a break from practices until Monday, January 5 and invites all ladies interested in singing to come join in the fun and educational chorus at that time. Practices are on Monday at 7 p.m. at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church on W. Del Webb Blvd.
For further information, call Terry at 786-9418 or visit

South Bay Donates to Those in Need
South Bay Church, located at 13498 U.S. Hwy. 301 S. in Riverview, joined together with Coldwell Banker Dolphin Realty this year in an effort to help many families during these economic hard times. Together they were able to assist 18 families by providing free turkeys and baskets filled with all the fixin’s needed to prepare a hearty Thanksgiving dinner. South Bay Church will once again reach out to the local community and try to assist those in need during these economic hard times by sponsoring a local dinner and collecting presents for children ages 1-18.
If you would like to donate gifts or if you know of someone who has children and needs some assistance with Christmas gifts this year, please contact Diane at no later than Monday, December 15.

Riverview Church Unveils Christmas Events
Riverview United Methodist Church, located at 8002 U.S. Hwy. 301 S. in Riverview, announces several events to make your Christmas special: The Chancel Choir will be presenting the Christmas Cantata One Small Child at both services, 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., on Sunday, December 14; On Wednesday evening, December 17, free spaghetti and all the trimmings will be provided by the worship committee. There will be fun activities, carols to sing and entertainment to follow the meal; The Children’s Christmas Musical will be held on Sunday, December 21, at 6:30 p.m.Practices are being held every Wednesday evening from 7–7:45 p.m.
If you have any questions, please contact Amy Yost at 840-8120; The Praise in Motion liturgical dance group has also begun meeting and is also preparing presentations for the Advent season, meeting weekly on Sundays in the Ford Youth Building at 4:30 p.m. Praise in Motion is open to all children from kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, contact Diana Williams at 677-3261. Contact the church office at 677-5995 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 12 Noon or visit

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Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!