Students Recognized for Efforts
The College Board and National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) have announced Bloomingdale High School seniors Michelle Rector and Stephanie Salazar as National Hispanic Scholars. The National Hispanic Recognition Program, established in 1983, is a College Board program that provides national recognition of the exceptional academic achievements of Hispanic high school seniors and identifies them for post-secondary institutions. Student Chelsea Schmitt and Salazar, also, are National Merit Finalists for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Student Keria Martin was chosen as the National Achievement Finalist. The National Scholarship Service (NSSFNS) offers a free college advisory and referral service for students who plan to attend two-year or four-year colleges. These students were recognized by the Hillsborough County School Board for placing among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million who entered the 2009 competition by taking the 2007 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Flotilla Seeks Volunteers
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary 74 Brandon, which meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at J.C. Handley County Park located at 3006 Kings Ave. in Brandon, is seeking volunteers interested in becoming members. Qualified members can assist in conducting various kinds of patrols on Tampa Bay waterways, assist with Homeland Security duties, teach boating safety programs, conduct free vessel safety checks for the public and assist in public affairs and administration. Members must be at least 17 years old and a U.S. citizen.
For information, call 1-800-704-4216 or go to www.cgaux74.org.

MOSI Host Mothers’ Day Tea
The Mother’s Day Tea at the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI), located at 4801 E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa, includes a high tea service, a special gift from MOSI’s gift shops, admission to over 450 hands-on exhibits and one standard IMAX Dome Theatre film, including a unique opportunity to sip tea surrounded by free-flying butterflies in the BioWorks Butterfly Garden. The Mother’s Day Tea will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 9 and 10, with seatings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The price is $24.95 for adults and $19.95 for children ages 12 and under.
Seating is limited, reserve early by calling 987-6000. For more information on MOSI, visit www.mosi.org.

Educational Center Plans Move
Lighthouse Center for Creative Learning, currently located at 724 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon, will be moving to a new location next year. It will encompass a 6,000 sq. ft. building off of Oakfield Dr., located at 516 Corner St. in Brandon. The center will offer private school for grades kindergarten-sixth, tutoring, cognitive therapy and aftercare for the community.
For more information, call owners Butch and Kelly Bedwell at 655-6505.

Creativity Group Meets at Library
A free, two-hour introductory workshop, Developing and Finding Support for Your Creativity, will be held on Wednesday, May 6, from 2-4 p.m. at the Bloomingdale Regional Library, located at 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. An art background is not required to participate. Participants of this workshop will have the opportunity to join an ongoing creativity group which meets monthly. The Artist’s Way, written by Julia Cameron, is used as a study guide for the group but is not required for the workshop. Space is limited. This adult program is sponsored by the Friends of the Bloomingdale Regional Library.
For more information or to register, call Susan Groulx at 655-5554 or e-mail LifeWritersBloom@msn.com.

Paws for Reading Announced
To celebrate National Pet Week, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library presents Paws for Reading from Wednesday-Tuesday, May 6-12. Celebrate our furry friends with crafts, pet tales and the opportunity to read with a therapy dog at the following library branches: Bloomingdale Regional Library, located at 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, on Thursday, May 7, at 4 p.m.; and Brandon Regional Library, located at 619 Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon, on Saturday, May 9, at 11 a.m.
For more information, call 273-3652 or visit hcplc.org.

Network Launches International Channels
Bright House Networks has launched 13 premium international channels across Tampa Bay, including: The Filipino Channel (Tagalog), Saigon Broadcasting Television Network (Vietnamese), SET Asia (Hindi), RAITALIA (Italian), Arabic Radio and Television (Arabic), TV5MONDE (French), Channel One Russia (Russian), ETTV-ET-Super (Chinese), TV JAPAN (Japanese), Deutsche Welle (German), Television Korea (Korean), Antenna Satellite (Greek), and RTPI (Portuguese). Each new international channel is available to Bright House Networks customers with standard or digital cable for a few additional dollars per month. A converter box is required for Bright House Networks standard cable customers.
For more information, visit mybrighthouse.com.

Y Members Get Discount at Chili’s
Every Monday, from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., show your YMCA membership card at Chili’s (Bloomingdale location at 3422 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. only) and the Y will receive 10 percent of your sale. Only one card is required per party, and food and beverages are included (restaurant and bar are participating).
For more information, call 684-1371.

Spring Coffee Announced
The Greater Brandon Community Foundation Spring Coffee is Saturday, May 16, at River Hills Golf and Country Club, located at 3943 New River Hills Pkwy. in Valrico, starting with a reception at 10:30 a.m. with coffee and lunch at 11 a.m. to benefit The Foundation Angel Program. The Spring Coffee, with silent auction items featuring jewelry, bags, scarves and other various accessories, as well as chance drawings throughout the coffee, will be hosted by television Daytime show host Cyndi Edwards. Sponsorships are available. Each hostess will decorate her own table, with a donation of $50 recommended and an additional $25 per guest.
For further information, call Bonnie Pichette at 505-5155 or Sheila Del Castillo at 757-8622. To learn about the Foundation Angel Program or The Greater Brandon Community Foundation, call 689-6889 or visit www.brandonfoundation.org.

Helping the Homeless
Cynthia Pinckney Ministries, Inc. is pleased to announce the following monthly outreach activity: Saturday, May 16, at Able Body Labor, located at E. 12006 MLK Jr. Blvd. in Seffner. Volunteers need to arrive at 12:15 p.m.
To volunteer, please e-mail Administrator Director Donna Rogers at angel0ffaith@yahoo.com.

Annual Newsome Wolves Blue-White Intersquad Scrimmage
It will be held on Friday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Newsome Football Stadium.
After the game, there will be a cookout. All donations and proceeds from the cookout will go to help with medical bills for Ron Noble, a Newsome football player that has been diagnosed with leukemia. Everyone is invited to come out and see the Newsome Wolves in action and support a worthy cause. Any donations to help Ron Noble’s family are greatly appreciated.
If you need any more information, you can call Scott Powers at 390-8549 or Coach Hiscock at 716-5938.

Bolero Dancing Classes Unveil
Felix and Donna, present two hours of instruction relating to Bolera, cousin to the Rumba. Each lesson will teach you all the moves you need to make an elegant impression. Classes are offered Sunday, May 3, from 2-5 p.m. for $15 a person at the Boys & Girls Club of Brandon, located at 123 N. Knights Ave.
For more information, call 340-9433.

HOST Goes to Four-Day Week
With budget cuts affecting various sects of Hillsborough County, the Hillsborough County Public Schools Out-of-School Time (HOST) program has transitioned to a four-day week, being closed Friday, from Monday, June 8, through Friday, July 27. The program spans some 100 elementary schools and 26 middle schools throughout Hillsborough County, with those local to the area being: Boyette Springs, Cimino, Bevis, Buckhorn, FishHawk Creek and Valrico. Fees are said to have been adjusted for the HOST program’s summer initiative.
For more information, call 744-8941 or visit http://host.mysdhc.org.

Summer VPK at St. Mark
St. Mark Preschool, located at 2914 Lithia Pinecrest Rd in Valrico, will be offering free summer Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) for students entering kindergarten in August. Class will meet Monday through Friday, beginning on Monday, June 8, and ending on Friday, August 14, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
You may register your child by calling 655-7964 or 789-1323.

Fighting Arts Taught in Brandon
Okinawan Fighting Arts of Brandon, located at the Sadie Park Recreational Center at 502 E. Sadie St., will host a safety event for children on Monday, May 18, from 6-7 p.m. Children will be taught techniques in order to protect themselves and escape situations involving child predators. The organization also offers Kids Class on Monday and Wednesday from 5:30-6:30 p.m.; Family Class on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m.; and Warrior Class on Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. with instructor Rick Liebespach. Classes cost $4 per hour and are pay as you go.
For more information, visit http://sites.google.com/site/ofabpage or call 597-8652.

Center Provides Full-Time VPK
In an effort to prepare all 4-year-olds for kindergarten, Castles of Imagination, located at 820 Bryan Rd. in Brandon, will offer free voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) classes from Monday, June 8- Wednesday, August 5. Classes run from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. All meals and supplies are included. All children who are entering kindergarten this fall and who have not previously attended a VPK program are eligible to attend. Proof of residency and age are required.
For more information, call 689-2036 or visit www.elchc.org/vpk_parent.html.

Newsome DECA Goes to State
Earlier this year, Newsome High School’s DECA had a record-breaking 40 members win at districts. These winners qualified to compete at state competition which was held in March in Orlando. Many of the state competitors had the chance to interact with students from around the state and gain leadership skills as well. Most of the students had to compete in roleplay with a judge and also had to take a 100-question test.
Newsome DECA had four winners, two of which were teams. Joanna Miranda placed third in Marketing Management and Alexa Wollach placed fourth in Retail Merchandising. The team of twin sisters Sydney and Angela Coates placed sixth in the Travel and Tourism category. Four DECA members will be attending national competition in May in Anaheim, CA. Newsome DECA would like to thank all of the winners for their great effort at state competition.
For more information, call the school, located at 16550 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia, at 740-4600.

Student Helps School to be Eco-Friendly
Fifth grade student Abigail Zellmer, of Colleen Bevis Elementary, has taken it upon herself to recycle lunchroom trash. Each day, she takes a large bag into the lunchroom and collects milk cartons, paper wrappers and any plastic that can be recycled from her class. She then takes it home to put into her recycle bins to be collected. She was the class representative for the Tropicana Speech Contest and did her speech on the importance of recycling.
For more information, call the school, located at 5720 Osprey Ridge Dr. in Lithia, at 740-4000.

Donate Books for Fair
Brandon Family Support & Resource Center would like the community to donate its gently-used books for the upcoming Brandon FSRC Book Fair, taking place on Friday, June 26, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Please drop off the books to the center, located at 1277 Kingsway Rd. in Brandon, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10a.m.-7:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
For more information, call 740-4634.

Newsome Chorus Named Grand Champions
Led by Chorus Director Jeff Bogue, Newsome High School’s choruses traveled in March to attend the Fiesta-Val music competition in Williamsburg, Virginia. Competing against other high schools across the country, each of Newsome’s choruses brought home awards in their respective categories in recognition of a notable contribution to musical excellence. Of particular note, Newsome Singers, Advanced Ladies, and Chamber Choir placed first. Special Awards of Achievement were given to the following people: Brittany Hensley (violin accompaniment), Allie Kaye, Tyler Dobler, Zach Pearson and Alyssa Dessoye (quartet), of ELITE’s rhythm section, as well as Chaz Jackson (solo). To top off the exciting evening of wins, Newsome was awarded with the distinction of Fiesta-Val Grand Champion.
For more information, contact Newsome High School, located at 16550 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia, at 740-4600.

Lego and Programming Contests for Youth
On Saturday, May 16, from 9 a.m.–2 p.m., kindergarten–fifth grade students are invited to participate in a LEGO contest by bringing their best LEGO creation to TechPlayzone’s Anniversary Celebration. The contest is free and prizes will be awarded for the most complex and creative LEGO creations. This year, in addition to the annual LEGO contest, TechPlayzone is also sponsoring a free Scratch Programming Contest. The contest is open to kindergarten– seventh grade students. On Saturday, May 30, from 10 a.m.–11 a.m., TechPlayzone invites interested families to attend an informational meeting about First Lego League Robotics Competitions. First Lego League (FLL) is for young people ages 9-14. TechPlayzone has sponsored FLL teams for three years as a way of giving back to the community.
The LEGO and Scratch Programming contests’ details can be found at www.techplayzone.com/techplay. For more information about TechPlayzone, located at 13208 Boyette Rd. in Riverview, visit http://www.techplayzone.com/techplay or call 684-7329.

Newsome Offers Basketball Camp
Newsome High School boys basketball coach Jon Mackey is offering two weeks of basketball camp at the Newsome High School gym. The dates are: Week 1: Monday-Thursday, June 8-11 and Week 2: Monday-Thursday, June 15-18. The morning sessions are from 9 a.m.-12 Noon for grades fourth-sixth (as of this fall), and the afternoon sessions are from 1-4 p.m. for grades seventh-ninth. All campers will receive a camp shirt. Each camp session is limited to the first 35 campers who sign up. You may attend more than one week. The cost is $75 and checks can be made payable to Newsome High School.
Send the form, your money, camper’s name, grade this fall, home phone, email address, adult shirt size and which session he/she is attending, along with the consent and release forms, to: Coach Mackey, Newsome H.S. 16550 FishHawk Blvd., Lithia, Fl. 33547. If you have any questions, call Mackey at 740-4600, ext. 525, or e-mail Jon.Mackey@sdhc.k12.fl.us.

BAYSL Tryouts Announced
Brandon Area Youth Soccer League (BAYSL) Flames Select will be holding team tryouts from Tuesday-Sunday, May 26 – 31, at the J.C. Handley Soccer Field, located at 3104 S. Kings Ave. in Brandon, for U8, 9 and 10 Academy teams to U19 boys and girls. BAYSL summer camp programs will also hold the BAYSL Flames Select Team Pre-tryout Camp from Monday-Friday, May 18 – 22, for boys and girls ages 7-18. From Monday-Friday, June 8-12, BAYSL Recreational 1/2 Day Camp will be held for boys and girls ages 6-11. From Sunday-Saturday, August 2-8, BAYSL Flames Competitive Camp will welcome boys and girls ages 7-11 in the a.m. and ages 12-18 in the p.m. Register early – space is limited.
For more information, visit www.brandonsoccer.com or call 684-5948.

Vet Announces Local Winners
Dr. Ellen Matheson of Alafia River Animal Hospital, located at 7017 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Lithia, announces the winners of the new puppy and kitten promotion. The kitten winner is April, who was adopted through the Hillsborough County Animal Services foster care program by the Shea family of FishHawk Ranch, winning a six-month supply of Advantage Multi. Dixie is a rottweiler puppy who lives in River Hills with the McCampbell family. She won a six-month supply of Sentinel. If you have a new puppy or kitten, it is important to protect it against heartworms, fleas and intestinal parasites. Bring your new puppy or kitten to Alafia River Animal Hospital for a chance to be the next winner.
The hospital can be reached by phone at 643-1002.

Women’s Connection Hosts Luau
Brandon Christian Women’s Connection (BCWC) will host its last luncheon until fall with a Hawaiian luau. Ladies are encouraged to wear bright clothing or Hawaiian attire to the luncheon on Monday, May 11, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Inspirational speaker Millie Farthing, a retired Winter Haven High School teacher who has been a Bible teacher and speaker for over 35 years and founded Celebration of Grace, a retreat ministry for women, will share how you cannot predict the future, but you can prepare for it. Also included in the program will be Joe Martin from Martin Jewelers, whose store was the second jewelry store to open in Brandon, providing information concerning what to do with your unused gold. Women’s Connection welcomes women of all denominations and meets at Bell Shoals Church, Special Events Room, located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon. The cost is $12. Complimentary childcare through age 5 is provided by reservation.
Contact Bobbi at 657-8632 or at Barbara_gardner4@yahoo.com by Tuesday, May 5, to reserve your spot.
Another date to consider is Monday, May 4, for a time of prayer connection. All ladies are invited to attend for an hour of prayer and fellowship.
For details, contact Sandy at 655-0779.

Churches Unite for Resurrection
Over 150 people gathered for the third annual Easter Sunrise Service by the lake at Rotary Camp Florida in April, organized by The River of Life Methodist Cluster, which includes First United Methodist of Brandon, First United Methodist of Seffner, Limona Village Chapel, Primera Iglesia, South Shore United Methodist Church, St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church and Riverview United Methodist Church, so that the community could experience Easter in an outdoor setting. People from different churches and various backgrounds sat next to each other in lawn chairs and bundled up from the cool breeze of the lake to hear about the resurrection of Christ. Pastors and leaders from multiple churches participated by leading prayer, worship, meditation and a drama of Mary Magdalene at the tomb.
For more information, please contact Barb Kemp at 689-6849, ext. 223.

VBS Held at St. Andrew’s
St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church (UMC), located at 3315 Bryan Rd. in Brandon, is hosting Vacation Bible School, themed Studio Game Show Go!, from Monday-Friday, June 15–19, from 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Children age 3 (by September 1, 2008) through fifth grade are invited to attend. There is a fee of $20 per child with a maximum of $50 per family. Full and partial scholarships are available. Volunteers are needed, and there is a sign up link on the Website. The registration fee for children is waived if the family has an adult volunteer participating. Childcare will be available for volunteers who have children age 2 and under.
Register at www.vacationbibleschool.com/standrewsumc/register/ or call Nikole Segale at St. Andrew’s UMC at 689-6849, ext. 222.

Rome Adventure Held at St. Stephen
St. Stephen Catholic Church, located at 5049 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico, will host Vacation Bible School – Rome Adventure: Paul and the Underground Church – from Monday-Friday, June 22-26, during two sessions: 9 a.m.-12 Noon or 5:30-8:15 p.m. Registration for parishioners with a child in preschool (must be 4 years old by September 1) through fifth grade will take place after Masses Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17 in Room 3. Volunteers are needed.
For more information, call 671-4434.

FBC Offers Lessons in Arts
The First Baptist Brandon School of Fine Arts, within First Baptist Church of Brandon located at 216 N. Parsons Ave., is accepting applications for the summer session which begins Monday, June 8, and includes six lessons. Private lessons are now available for piano, voice, guitar, flute and clarinet.
For more information, call 689-1204 or go to www.fbcbrandon.org.

Announcements for Concerned Action, IncHRIST
Concerned Action, IncHRIST will hold orientation covering thought-action process, repressed anger, grace, forgiveness and choosing a happier life the first and third Monday each month from 7-9:30 p.m. at CAI’s office, located at 3813 Ravenna Dr. in Valrico.
Its Sunday services are from 3:30-4:15 p.m. at one of four assisted living facilities in Brandon.
The I Am HOPE Café offers a free hot meal, help and referral assistance to the homeless and needy in our community every Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 5-6 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Mango and every Saturday, from 9-10 a.m., at two locations: FBCM, located at 11619 E. MLK Jr. Blvd. and Brandon Church of the Nazarene, located at 114 N. Kingsway Ave.
Share & Prayer Group’s Journey through the Bible is every Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. at CAI’s Office.
For more information, call 689-9552.

Christian Networking Initiated
My Christian Concierge, a national Christian networking group, is beginning in the Brandon area. It not only gives Christian business owners the power of business networking but also integrates Bible studies that have application to the unique way Christians are to do business. The group also markets its members’ local businesses with printed advertising that is distributed to homes in the area. Florida State Director Dan Rodden owned a zoo for many years and was the CEO of a Christian non-profit organization for 30 years, where he taught youth to work and do business in a Biblical manner. The Brandon area’s meetings will be held weekly at 11:45 a.m. on Thursdays at 777 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon. The meeting will be held in the conference room just behind the Holy Grounds Coffee Shop and will end promptly at 1 p.m.
To get more info, please contact Rodden at 719-5826 or visit www.mychristianconcierge.com.

Church Posts Job Opportunities
In an effort to assist churches in reaching as many qualified possible employees as possible, St. Stephen Catholic Church, located at 5049 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico, has created a link on its Website that allows employers to post open positions. The link does average more than a 100 hits per month from its parishioners. The church encourages other parishes in the Diocese of St. Petersburg and their parishioners who own companies or are managers seeking employers to post open positions on the site.
To post a position, go to www.ststephencatholic.org and click on the “Job Board” link at the bottom of the page. Each job posting will be reviewed and posted within 24 hours of the request. For more information, call 789-4900, ext. 306 or e-mail communications@ststephencatholic.org.

Church Supports Divorced
DivorceCare is a special weekly DVD seminar and support group for people who are dealing with the pain of separation or divorce. FishHawk Fellowship, located at 15326 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia, will be starting a new 13-week session on Wednesday, May 6. A workbook is required as well as a $12 fee (scholarships are available).
To learn more, visit www.divorcecare.org. To register or for more information, contact Barbara Davidson at 655-7431 or bdavidson@fishhawkfc.org.

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Carisa Biesecker
Carisa is a Senior News Reporter and Assistant Editor at the Osprey Observer. When she's not at work, she continues to write, working on future projects; hangs out with friends and family, her best friend (aka her husband) and her four dogs.