Make Cards for Troops
Join 2009 Brandon Honorary Mayor Connie Smaldone in the Second Annual Christmas Cards for the Troops on Saturday, October 24, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Campo Family YMCA, located at
For more information, contact Jeri Fontana, Stampin’ Up!® demonstrator, at 684-3415 or email at

Shop for the Holidays While Benefiting Organization
Word O Mouth Referrals presents its Holiday Shoppe on Sunday, November 1, from 2-5 p.m. at Music Showcase, located at 402 Oakfield Ave. in Brandon, with proceeds benefiting the Florida Academy of Performing Arts. We will have Mary Kay Cosmetics, Gold Canyon Candles and Just Jewelry and more. Fifteen percent of all sales will go to Florida Academy of Performing Arts.
For more information, email Bonnie Tekampe at

Open House for Pilots
CAMS Flight, Inc., a Cessna Pilot Training Center at St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport, will hold its annual Open House on Saturday, October 17, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Lunch is free and you can register for door prizes.
For directions and more information, call 727-507-8881.

Willy Wonka Visits Chocolate Store
Willy Wonka will be at the Original Leena’s Chocolates, located at 3476 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in the Lithia Crossings plaza, the weekends of October 17, 24 and 31, from 12 Noon-1 p.m. Free chocolates and samples will be available.
For more information, call 643-8500.

Ranch Hosts Halloween Party
R&R Ranch, located at 9805 Bryant Rd. in Lithia, is hosting its annual Horsey Halloween Party on Saturday, October 24, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. There will be hay rides, pony rides, pumpkin decorating, cart rides, games, prizes and more. Adults are free and children pay $7.50 each.
For more information, visit

Music Series Kicks Off at Westfield
Westfield, located at 459 Brandon Town Center in Brandon, will host its Fall Music Series within its Restaurant Courtyard on Saturday, October 24, from 6–8 p.m. There will be live music, family events and activities. The first 500 shoppers to register in the Restaurant Courtyard each weekend will receive a $5 restaurant gift card to one of the following restaurants: California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory, GrillSmith (opening fall 2009), Panera Bread, Ruby Tuesday or Siniqual Contemporary Mexican Cuisine.
For more information, call 661-MALL or visit

Seffner Chamber Hosts Fest
The Greater Seffner Area Chamber of Commerce and Service 1st Credit Union are proud to host the second annual Veterans Day Seffner Fest on Sunday, November 14, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is free. This event is located on MLK Blvd., half block east of Broadway on MLK.
Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are available by calling 627-8686.

Live Radio Show Broadcasts at Onething Prayer
Community In Touch with Mike and Sherry Moore will be broadcasting live at Onething Prayer, located at 777 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon, on Wednesday, October 21, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. The live broadcast is planned to continue on the third Wednesday of every month.
To learn more, visit or

Free Chick-fil-A
The Chick-fil-A® restaurant located at 1504 E. Brandon Blvd. in Brandon will offer a complimentary Chick-fil-A® Chicken Biscuit to customers each Tuesday in October from 6-10:30 a.m. No purchase necessary, limit one free item per customer per day.
For more information, call 661-2300.

Commissioner Beckner Visits Community
Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, District 6, Countywide, is hosting office hours in the community on Friday, October 23, from 4–6 p.m. at the Brandon Regional Service Center, located at 311 Pauls Dr. in Brandon.
To learn more, go to

2Captionforpicture: Brandon resident and Staff Sergeant Carols Rodriquez, a Local-National Force-Protection escort assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, directs a convoy of trucks on the flightline in Bagram, Afghanistan. For more information, visit

Rotary Sponsors International Grant
The Rotary Club of Brandon recently acted as host partner club to complete an international grant to purchase a vehicle suitable to be used as a bookmobile for children in outlying areas of Cochabamba, Bolivia. The bus is estimated to reach some 1,500 children by the end of the year who have no access to a library.

Coastal Cleanup a Success
More than 3,000 volunteers picked up litter and debris along shorelines, rivers and lakes during the 24th Annual International Coastal Cleanup in September. Volunteers cleaned 40 sites and approximately 148 miles throughout Hillsborough County and collected an estimated 52,707 lbs. of trash and 3,230 lbs. of recyclables.
For more information, visit or call 960-5121.

Salon Supports Locks of Love
New Identities Hair Studio’s Locks of Love charity event(s) held at the Westfield Brandon mall amassed 41 ponytails through 41 charity haircuts. All together, over the past few months, the salon has collected 124 ponytails for Locks of Love.
Located at 10639 Big Bend Rd. in Riverview, New Identities can be reached at 741-1177. For more information, visit

Chiropractor Trades Services for Food
Brandon Chiropractic Associates, located at 409 W. Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon, is urging its existing patients to come in on the Tuesday, November 17, to get their treatments in exchange for a bag of food or clothing items to be donated. For the entire months of October and November, new patients will receive up to $225 worth of healthcare for the same donation.
For more information, call 685-7577 or 689-1883.

Brandon Ballet Announcements
Tickets for the Brandon Ballet’s The Nutcracker, taking place Saturday and Sunday, December 12 and 13, are now on sale.
The Barnes and Noble Book Fair is supporting the Brandon Ballet on Saturday, November 7, from 10 a.m.-12 Noon, at the bookstore, located at 122 Brandon Town Center Dr. in Brandon. There will be The Nutcracker story time, tea with the Sugar Plum Fairy, autographs and pictures with costumed dancers and more. Present book fair ID 599100 from Thursday-Monday, November 5-9, and Barnes and Noble will donate a percentage to the Brandon Ballet.
Residents are also invited to Wine Exchange in Hyde Park for an afternoon of fine wine, food and company, on Sunday, November 1, from 2-4 p.m. for $50.
For tickets or more information, go to or call 684-4282.

Seminar Held for Businesses
Biz Ed 101: Human Resources and Employment Law Issues will be presented by Clark, Campbell, of Mawhinney & Lancaster, P.A. on Tuesday, October 27, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Buca di Beppo, located at 11105 Causeway Blvd.
For more information and ticket prices, call 689-1221, ext. 8815.

Luncheon Discusses Mass Transit Issues
The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon will take place on Tuesday, October 27, at 12 Noon to discuss “The Reality of Rail: A Discussion of Mass Transit,” held at Embassy Suites – Tampa/Brandon, located at 10220 Palm River Rd. in Tampa.
For more information and ticket prices, contact Crystal Colegrove at 689-1221, ext. 8824.

Halloween Parade Coming
The 12th Annual Halloween Horribles Parade will be held on Sunday, October 25, from 3-4 p.m. at Center Place, located at 619 Vonderburg Dr., Ste. B, in Brandon.
For more information or free tickets, call 685-8888.

Meet and Greet at Resource Center
The Brandon Family Support and Resource Center, located at 1277 Kingsway Rd. in Brandon, will be holding a meet and greet on Saturday, October 24, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
For more information, call 740-4634.

Poker Run Helps Benefit Guide Dogs
Paws for Patriots Poker Run, sponsored by the Old Town HOG Chapter (Brandon) and Southeastern Guide Dogs, starts and ends at Harley-Davidson of Brandon, located at 9841 Adamo Dr. with registration starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, November 21. This event will also feature a “poker walk” for those not able to ride, raffles, both a Chinese and silent auction, a swap meet, a chapter challenge, vendors and food.
Contact Cal Reimann for more information at 760-4757 or email

Garage Sale Held for Bo
A community garage sale will be held in the parking lot of Hot Locks, located at 106 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon, on Sunday, October 25, from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. to aid Bo, who is suffering from stage III non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lost his job, vehicle and income.
For more information, call 684-3099.

Coin Collectors Invited
The Brandon Coin Club is pleased to announce its next Coin, Currency & Stamp Show on Saturday, October 24, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Brandon Elks Lodge, located at 800 Centennial Lodge Dr. in Brandon.
Contact Mark Palermo at 361-0740 for more information.

Foundation Unveils An Evening of Hope
The Greater Brandon Community Foundation presents An Evening of Hope on Saturday, November 7, from 6-9 p.m. at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon. Tickets are $50 per person. Corporate tables and sponsorship opportunities are available.
Call 689-6889 for information.

Military Welcome to a Pancake Breakfast
Are you a military family member affected by a deployment? Then come to a
Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, October 24, from 8:30-11 a.m. at the MacDill
Family Resource Center, located in the Credit Union Building at 710 Oakfield Dr., Ste. 153, in Brandon.
Please RSVP by calling Gayle Cook at 655-9281 or Kris Keyser at 828-0122.

Chili’s Offers Fundraisers
Chili’s is offering Restaurant Nights with the local schools, where the restaurant gives the schools 10 percent back on the sales that they bring in to the restaurant on their particular day.
For more information, contact Managing Partner Cheryl Hammond at 653-7375.

Hall of Fame Dinner Announced
BHSAA Hall of Fame Dinner will take place on Thursday, November 12, at 6 p.m. in the Brandon High School dining hall, located at 1101 Victoria St. in Brandon. Prepaid reservations can be made by sending $15 per meal to Karen Rodriguez, 308 W. Jersey Ave., Brandon, FL  33510.
For more information, call 651-3261.

Flotilla Seeks Volunteers
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary 74 Brandon is seeking volunteers interested in becoming members to conduct 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, or to become a member, call 1-800-704-4216 or go to

Collection Held for Metropolitan Ministries
The Brandon Credit Union Service Center, located at 710 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon, is collecting monetary and canned goods for Metropolitan Ministries. The barrels will be picked up on Monday, October 26.
For more information, call 247-4414.

Save the Date for Corks & Forks
The South America at 2009 Corks & Forks: Viva Carnivale! will be held poolside on Saturday, November 21, at the Campo Family YMCA’s Family Fun Pool, located at 3414 Culbreath Rd. in Valrico. Tickets are $50 for YMCA members and $75 for non-members.
For more information, call Mags Oldman at 684-1371, ext. 208. Tickets are also available at


Women’s Connection Hosts Local Talent
The Stonecroft Brandon Christian Women’s Connection announces Jeremy D. and Katie Silverman as the featured performing artists for its only 2009 fundraising event on Saturday, November 7, at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, located at 120 N. Knights Ave. in Brandon.
For more information, contact Michelle Burgess at 310-9518.

FAITH Riders Fight Against Pediatric Cancer
FAITH Riders of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon invite bikers to participate in the Ride for Kids on Sunday, November 1, starting at 9 a.m. at the Sarasota County Technical Institute, located at 4748 Beneva Rd. in Sarasota, to raise funds for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. There is a $35 donation fee.
For more information, please contact 1-800-253-6530 or go to

St. Andrew’s Kids Present Musical
Located at 3315 Bryan Rd. in Brandon, St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church’s 18th annual children’s musical “Hurry on Down” will take place on Sunday, November 22, at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
For more information, please call 689-6849 or visit

Bingo Coming To Congregation Beth Shalom
Starting Saturday, December 5, bingo will be held on the first Saturday of every month at Congregation Beth Shalom, located at 706 Bryan Rd. in Brandon. The cost is $15 for 20 games. There will be door prizes, two specials with cash prizes, a 50/50 ticket collection. Doors and the food concession will open at 6:30 p.m. There will be a dinner special every month. Bingo starts at 7:30 p.m.
For more information, call 681-6547.

Auction Aids Missions and Children
St. Mark United Church, located at 2914 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico, will hold a benefit auction on Saturday, November 14, at 7 p.m. to benefit the work of St. Mark United Church in missions and outreach programming. Ten percent of all proceeds will go to the Brandon Guild of All Children’s Hospital.
For more information, call 685-0998.

Buddhist Meditation Offered
American Buddhist teacher Angus Berry will instruct Learning to Cherish Others, an introduction to meditation from the Kadampa Buddhist tradition, at Unity in Brandon, located at 115 Margaret St., on Thursday, October 29, from 7:05-8:30 p.m. Donations of $10 are welcome.
For more information, call 727-797-9770 or log on to

Church Changes Locations
Ministerio Transformando Vida Asambleas de Dios Inc. will be relocating from 3805 Turkey Creek Rd. in Plant City to S.R. 60 in Valrico, hosting its first service on Sunday, November 1, at 10:30 a.m. Services include: Tuesday at 7 p.m. for prayer service, Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for worship service, Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for Bible study and 10:30 a.m. for worship service.
For more information, call 707-9674.

St. Stephen Announcements
St. Stephen Catholic Church, located at 5049 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico, announces the following events: Mass for Expectant Mothers is on Saturday, October 24, at 4 p.m.
Contact is Rosie Bridges at or 671-4434.
Angels Among Us is taking place on Saturday, October 24, at the Pepin Hospitality Center. Tickets are $75. The evening includes dinner, open bar, plenty of fun and fellowship.
If you have a donation that needs to be picked up, call Mel Williams at 597-8550. If you would like information on sponsorship, call Dena Craig at 767-4571.
XLT Adoration will take place on Sunday, October 25, from 6:30-8 p.m. All Souls Day Remembrance Mass will be held on Monday, November 2, at 7 p.m.
For more information, call 689-4900


4Captionfor picture: The Varsity Turkey Creek Trojans, of the local FYFCA football and cheerleading league that plays in Brandon, showed their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, wearing pink socks, pink shoelaces, pink sports tape, pink wrist bands and even pink gloves. For more information, visit

Openings Available at Life Academy
Children’s Life Academy has openings in its preschool, located at 3120 S. Miller Rd. in Valrico, open from 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday – Friday for ages 2-5. It will be starting a free VPK program in November and any child who will begin kindergarten next year is eligible.
Please call 657-4802 or for more information.

Leaguerettes Hold Registration
The 2009-2010 Brandon Leaguerettes Girls Slow Pitch’s registration will be held on Saturday, October 24, from 9 a.m.-12 Noon at the Brandon Sadie Park, located at 510 E. Sadie St. in Brandon. The sign-up fee is $135. There are divisions for ages 5-17. New players need to bring their birth certificate.
For more information, call 689-6189 or visit

Kids Welcome To Santa’s Workshop
The Second Annual Santa’s Holiday Workshop will be held at Center Place, located at 619 Vonderburg Dr., Ste. B, in Brandon, on Saturday, November 14, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. for children grades kindergarten-fifth. Each child will receive a bag lunch and small gift. The price of admission to this event is two canned goods or one new toy that will be donated to a needy family that Center Place will sponsor for the holidays through the Cynthia Pinckney Ministries. A ticket is required.
Call 685-8888 for more information.

Scrapbook for Education
Scrappin’ 4 Education, a scrapbooking event to benefit Brandon High School PTSA, will take place on Saturday, November 7, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Brandon High School’s cafeteria, located at 1101 Victoria St. in Brandon, The fee is $25, with $5 off with a BHS PTSA card. The student fee is $10.
To register, contact Asunta Blanchard at or call 684-7528.

1Caption for picture: Rabbi Menachem Mendel Rubashkin visited the Jewish Community Center Preschool Brandon, located at 706 Bryan Rd., recently to teach the students about Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. He taught the 3- and 4-year-olds how to make a Shofar, an ancient musical horn made from the horn of a ram. For more information, call 643-0522.

2Caption for picture: First grade student Noah Hamrick is surrounded by his grandparents as Bell Shoals Academy, located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon, celebrated grandparents in the month of September, with more than 500 grandparents coming out. For more information, call 689-9183.

Tea Party Celebrates Book Series
Grace Christian School, located at 1425 N. Valrico Rd. in Valrico, will be hosting a Girls ‘n Grace Tea Party with the creator and author of the Girls ‘n Grace dolls and book series Pam Davis on Saturday, November 7, at 12 Noon. There will be a fashion show of the girls with the dolls and their clothes. Adults cost $15 and children $10.
Please call the office at 689-8815 for reservations.

BSAC Announcements
The Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, located at 405 Beverly Blvd. in Brandon, will host a self defense class, taught by martial arts Black Belt Itamar Eylon, on Wednesdays from 7:15-8 p.m. The cost is $10 per person.
For more information, please call 689-0908 or 728-4275.
Also, the Battle of the Backyard Champions will take place on Saturday, October 24, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. with an awards dinner immediately following. Master of Ceremonies Ernest Hooper, of the St. Petersburg Times, will be in attendance. Competitive levels include: Youth 8-14, Teens 15-18, Adults 18-40 and Wise Warriors 40-plus.
For more information, contact Lori Bukaweski at 361-7450 or

Swim Team Celebrates 20 Year Reunion
The Blue Wave Swim Team at the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center celebrated its 20 year reunion at the facility in September. Peter Banks, now High Performance director of Swim Ireland, was in attendance for this special event.
If you are an alumni of the Blue Wave Swim Team or are seeking more information about the Blue Wave program, please call 689-0908.

2SportsCaption: Misty is available for adoption at C.A.R.E. in Ruskin, open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. from Tuesday-Saturday. For directions, visit or call 645-2273.

3SportsCaption: Dingo is available for adoption at C.A.R.E. in Ruskin, open 10 a.m.-3 p.m. from Tuesday-Saturday. For directions, visit or call 645-2273.

Semifinalists Announced for Merit Scholarship
Homeschooled student Ian Hanchett is a semifinalist in the 2010 National Merit Scholarship Program.
To learn more about the scholarship, please go to

Performing Arts Academy Started
Brandon’s theatre and arts offerings are about to reach a whole new level with the arrival of the Florida Academy of Performing Arts. The academy will initially lease rehearsal and performance space from Music Showcase, located at 402 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon, offering classes and programs in acting, film, television, musical theatre, orchestra, rock band, jazz band, chorus, showchoir and public speaking, as well as education in the business of entertainment, planning a performing arts career, audition and casting workshops and an exciting new WebTV show featuring local actors.
For more information, contact Janet Frenkel at 244-8669 or visit


County Unveils Updated Ecotourism Guide
Hillsborough County’s SouthShore: What a Difference a Bay Makes Ecotourism Guide, has been released. The brochures may also be picked up at the Apollo Beach Chamber of Commerce, located at 137 Harbor Village Ln. in the New Mirabay Village shopping plaza.
To view the guide, log onto

Funds Available for First Homebuyers
Hillsborough County’s Affordable Housing Department will be releasing $716,000 to help eligible residents buy their first home in unincorporated Hillsborough County, Temple Terrace and Plant City through its Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program. The program provides a loan of up to $8,000 in down-payment assistance to income-eligible first-time homebuyers. These funds can then be paid off by the federal income tax refund available to homebuyers under the federal First-Time Homebuyer Credit program.
Additional program details can be found at by clicking on “Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program.” For more information, contact Judy Jones, Housing Programs, at 274-6680 or via email at

Bully Busters Bus Bench Kicks Off Campaign
Hillsborough County and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office officially kicked off the new anti-bullying initiative, Bully Busters, this morning with the unveiling of the first Bully Busters bus bench. The bench is one of 50 that will be placed in strategic locations around the county that are frequented by children and teenagers. In addition to the bus benches, the county is also distributing 10,000 Bully Buster bookmarks and 500 posters.  Hillsborough Television (HTV) has also produced public service announcements that are airing on HTV, as well as several cable channels including Animal Planet, the Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, MTV and Nickelodeon. The project is funded through state justice grants.
For more information, contact Jan MacLeod, Hillsborough County Criminal Justice liaison, at 276-2539.

Changes for Hillsborough County Services
The following departments will be affected by change in hours of operation or locations, and/or new fee schedules: Animal Services; Library Services; Parks, Recreation & Conservation Services; and Veterans Affairs. In addition, Hillsborough County offices will close during the five furlough days that have been scheduled throughout the next fiscal year:
Friday, Oct. 30, 2009
Friday, Jan. 15, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2009
Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010
Emergency services, wastewater plants and some children’s services will not be affected by these furlough closures. Closures will affect all other Hillsborough County services, including Head Start centers, libraries, parks and recreation centers, neighborhood service centers and senior centers. In addition, book drop-off stations at libraries will not be in service.
For more information, the contact information for each department has is listed: Animal Services: 744-5660 or at; Parks, Recreation & Conservation Services: 635-3500 or visit; Library Services: 273-3652 or visit; Solid Waste: 272-5680 or visit; and Veterans: 975-2181 or visit

October is Head Start Awareness Month
As part of October is Head Start Awareness Month, many of Hillsborough County’s 24 Head Start/Early Head Start centers will host individual events to highlight what this unique program offers.
For a listing of all awareness events, visit and click on “Latest News.” To find out about the nearest Head Start/Early Head Start center, residents should call 272-5140.

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