press releases

Family Sends Thanks Out to Community
In November, the Graham family, in honor of Kaelyn Graham, and supported by a team of more than 40 members, consisting of classmates, family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, walked in the annual Tampa American Heart Association’s Heart Walk. Graham, 5, was born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which basically means she was born with only half a heart, having undergone three open heart surgeries and 17 total surgeries, so far. She is currently in heart failure and her family is so grateful for the support everyone in the community has shown them. Her father is an active duty marine, and the family moved to FishHawk a year-and-a-half ago. Graham attends kindergarten at Bevis Elementary and was thrilled to have her new friends walking and supporting her at this event.
For more information, visit

Organization Partners With Bookstore
Volunteers of KarensKause have collected more than 1,000 books for the Karen B. Henderson Memorial Library Program. The nonprofit is partnering with Barnes and Noble for its annual holiday book drive. Until January, Barnes and Noble, located at 122 Brandon Town Center Dr. in Brandon, will be asking every customer that comes in if they would like to donate a book to the library, which, in turn, is distributed to local dialysis clinics.
For more information, call 770-1142.

Trail Run Benefits Kids
A 5k Trail Run and 3K Fun Walk will be held on Saturday, December 5, in the Bell Creek Nature Preserve, located at 10940 McMullen Rd. in Riverview. Parking will be at Rogers Middle School, located at 11910 Tucker Rd. All proceeds will benefit A Kid’s Place, located on Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon.
Visit to register as a participant or sponsorship. For more information, email

Restaurant Offers Added Bonus
Stonewood Grill, located at 612 Bloomingdale Ave. E. in Brandon, is offering a $40 bonus card in addition to the purchase of $250 in gift cards or a $100 bonus card in addition to $500 in gift cards through Thursday, December 31. Now open on Sundays from 12 Noon-9 p.m., the restaurant offers a children’s menu, a gluten-free menu and vegetarian dishes, as well as various drink specials. Call-ahead seating is welcome.
For more information, call 655-9561 or visit

Realty Hosts ECHO Holiday Food Drive
River Hills Realty, located at 4316 New River Hills Pkwy. in Valrico, will be accepting donations for the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) in Brandon throughout the month of November and December, this being its second year participating in a holiday food drive for the nonprofit.
Please call the office at 681-3555 or visit for a list of the most needed items. River Hills Reality

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 the third Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.
To learn more, visit or

Holiday Craft Makers and Seekers Wanted
Staff of Delaney Creek Lodge, located at 320 Lakewood Dr. S. in Brandon, would like to invite the public to a Holiday Gift and Craft Show on Friday, December 4, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Come visit more than 50 indoor booths selling unique gifts and handmade crafts. Get your holiday shopping done early and enter to win numerous door prizes. Crafters and vendors are being sought. There is no charge for a booth, just the donation of an item to be raffled off.
Please call Elisabeth or Barbara at 655-8858 or email

Salon Presents Cash for Your Old Products
Trade in your current shampoo, conditioner and styling aids for Elite Salon Suites’ recommended salon brands and receive 25 percent off already low prices. All collected products will be donated to The Spring Women’s Shelter.
Located at 2064 Badlands Dr. Brandon, the salon can be reached at 833-2278 or visit

Family Fest Coming
The FishHawk Holiday Family Evening Fest will be held on Thursday, December 3, from 6-8 p.m. at the Palmetto Club, located at 17004 Dorman Rd. in Lithia’s FishHawk Ranch. There will be food, games, entertainment and prizes. Vendor space is available.  For more information, call The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce at 689-1221.

Library Unveils Digital Bookmobile
Bloomingdale Regional Library, located at 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, will host the Digital Bookmobile, an immersive download experience inside a 74-foot, high-tech tractor-trailer, on Friday, December 18, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Library card holders can also check out and download digital titles any time, anywhere by visiting

Bank Collects Toys for Children’s Shelter
Grow Financial Federal Credit Union, located at 604 Bloomingdale Ave. E. in Brandon, is sponsoring a gift drive to benefit The Children’s Home of Tampa, which provides a safe haven for children in need. Employees and members of Grow Financial are encouraged to drop off a new, unwrapped gift suitable for children ages 6 to 17 at any of the 18 convenient Grow Financial branches throughout Tampa Bay. Members can also register to win a guitar autographed by teen idols the Jonas Brothers and Jesse McCartney; a gift donation isn’t required to enter the drawing. The gift donation drive runs through Friday, December 11, and the collected gifts will be presented to The Children’s Home at a special holiday celebration hosted by Grow Financial on Tuesday, December 22.
For more information, call 837-2451 or visit

Network While Helping Others
The business-minded are welcome to “Come One, Come All,” a great night of networking, on Thursday, December 10, at 5:30 p.m. at Cheddars, located at 11135 Causeway Blvd. in Brandon. The cost is $8 and attendees are encouraged to wear their holiday attire. Proceeds will benefit the Emergency Help Organization (ECHO) in Brandon.
To see more details and RSVP, go to

Group Hosts Cocktails for the Cure
The Tampa Bay Professionals Group presents Cocktails for Ta-Ta’s, benefiting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, at GrillSmith, located at 459 Brandon Town Center Dr. in Brandon, on Friday, December 4, from 4-8 p.m. There will be networking, door prizes, complimentary chair massages, $5 appetizers and more.
For more information, call Joan Miller at 645-8660.

SCC Holiday Walk Announced
From 9 a.m. to 12 Noon on Saturday, December 5, the Sun City Center Community Association Central Campus on N. Pebble Beach Blvd. will be buzzing with shoppers, browsers and diners at the 2009 Holiday Walk. A full breakfast—eggs, pancakes, sausage, toast, coffee, juice—will be offered for only $4—a bargain that attracted about 700 last year.
For Holiday Walk information, call 642-2006.

Adults Can Unleash Creativity
Center Place, located at 619 Vonderburg Dr., Ste. B, in Brandon, will host Creative Watercolor, led by instructor Sue Allen, on Wednesdays, December 9 and 16, from 2-4 p.m. The cost is $20 for members or $30 for non-members. In January – 6, 13, 20 and 27 –the cost is $40 for members or $50 for non-members.
For more information, call 685-8888.

Job Fair Held for Veterans
Tampa RecruitMilitary Veteran Opportunity Expo will take place in Tampa on Thursday, December 3, at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, located at 1010 N W C MacInnes Pl. in Tampa, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
For more information, visit

New Movie Releases
Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders is an exclusive, one-night only event, which will be broadcast via satellite from New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, December 14, at 7:30 p.m. at AMC-Regency 20, located at 2496 Brandon Blvd. W. in Brandon.
For more information, visit

Glenn Beck Hits the Big Screen
On Thursday, December 3, at 8 p.m., followed by a taped encore on Thursday, December 10, Glenn Beck’s personal story of love, faith and family returns this holiday season with a new installment of The Christmas Sweater – A Return to Redemption, presented live at Regency 20, located at 2496 Brandon Blvd. W. in Brandon. The cost is $20.
Tickets are available at and presenting theater box offices.

Annie to Premier
The Florida Academy of Performing Arts will present the musical, Annie, on Friday and Saturday, December 4 and 5, at 7 p.m. and a Sunday matinee on December 6 at 3 p.m. at Riverview High School Theater, located at 11311 Boyette Rd. in Riverview. Tickets are $12 for adults; $10 for seniors, students and military and can be purchased online at or
For more information, email or call 244-8669.


Cabin Fever Transitions
Cabin Fever Open Mic Night, held in a log cabin behind Horizon Christian Church at 1720 S. Saint Cloud Ave. in Valrico, is now moving to the first Saturday evening of each month to better accommodate busy family schedules, having been held on Wednesday evenings originally. It is sponsored by the local Valrico Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, which provides affordable and delicious meals specially designed for the open mic night. On Saturday, December 5, singer/songwriter Melissa Brethauer will be in concert.
Additional information and photos are available at For more on Brethauer, visit

Calling All Singers and Guests
The Brandon Choral Society is looking for singers to join in the presentation of the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah on Sunday, December 20, at 3 p.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Valrico.  No auditions are required although a familiarity with SATB singing would be helpful. Singers should bring their own copies of the vocal score, but the church will have some available for purchase at $10 each. They will be provided with a practice CD of their parts. Rehearsals will be held on Tuesday evenings from 7:30-8:30 p.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Church, located at 5049 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico on November 24, December 1, December 8 and December 15, plus a dress rehearsal on Friday, December 18.
Advance purchase tickets are $10. They may be purchased at Roydon Music, located at 939 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon or Music Showcase, located at 1110 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon. Tickets will be available at the door for $15 or for $10 if accompanied by a donation of non-perishable canned goods. Children, high school age and younger, will be admitted free. The net proceeds from ticket sales as well as the donated canned goods will be given to Metropolitan Ministries.
If you are interested in joining or have any questions, please contact Deidre Young at or 685-0287 or Mary Lou Danahar at or 671-3703.

Cookie Walk Aids Missions
Central Baptist Church, located at 402 Windhorst Rd. E. in Brandon, will host its Fifth
Annual Mission Cookie Walk on Thursday, December 17, from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Residents are invited to fill a holiday box with their choice of handmade and decorated holiday cookies and treats for $5 lbs. All proceeds will benefit the Lottie Moon Missions.
For more information, call 689-6133.

Residents Invited to Meditate
American Buddhist teacher, Angus Berry, will lead the class, Viewing Others as Supreme, an introduction to meditation from the Kadampa Buddhist tradition, at Unity in Brandon, located at 115 Margaret St., on Thursday, December 3, from 7-8:30 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $10.
For more information, call 727-797-9770 or visit

Community Welcomed To Christmas Band Concert
The community is invited to a free Christmas concert presented by the Eastern Hillsborough Community Band at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, December 17, at Grace Community United Methodist Church at FishHawk, located at 5708 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Lithia. Musicians of all ages and levels of experience are also invited to join the new community concert band. The band practices on Thursday evenings from 7-9 p.m. at Grace Community.
For more information, call 864-0287 or email

Nativity Hosts Open House
Nativity Catholic School, located at 705 Brandon Blvd. E. in Brandon, will host its annual open house on Tuesday, January 5, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., starting in the Parish Hall.
For additional information, please visit or contact Karen Heitzmann, director of Enrollment, at 689-3395, ext. 256.

Christmas by Candlelight Held
The music ministries of First Baptist Church (FBC) of Brandon and Tampa Baptist Church are joining together to present Christmas by Candlelight on Sunday, December 6, at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. at FBC, located at 216 Parsons Ave. N. in Brandon.
For more information, call 689-1204.


Etiquette Taught in Time for Holidays
Table Etiquette Boot Camp will take place on Saturday, December 5, from 10 a.m.-12 Noon at All Stars Italian American Grill, located at 15260 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia. Children ages 6-12 are exposed to the rules of table etiquette through discussion and role-playing activities that include appropriate posture, place setting and acceptable conversation during a meal, plus much more. Reserve your place as seating is limited. The cost is $49 per student. A meal is included.
Contact Lisa Aber at 966-9787 or for more information.

Book Fair Supports School’s Media Center
Randall Middle School will host a fundraiser Book Fair Event at Barnes and Noble on Friday, December 11, from 6-8 p.m. The school’s band, orchestra and chorus will perform as residents shop for books and gifts for the holidays. Student artwork will also be displayed, along with a craft table, and the Randall Hawk mascot and a photo op with a cut-out of the Wimpy Kid (bring your own camera) will be in attendance. Class wish lists will be available to make purchases for teachers. All money raised will be used to update the Media Center’s reference collection.
A voucher is required for credit to the school and is available on the Randall PTSA Website, and on the Media Center Website, Use the voucher at Barnes and Noble from Thursday, December 10-Monday, December 14. Any questions, contact Darlene Meginnis, media specialist, at or by phone at 740-3900, ext. 240.

Marching Band Cooks Up Pancakes for a Cause
Newsome High School Wolfpack Marching Band is hosting its Second Annual Pancake Breakfast with Santa at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, located at 16773 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia, on Saturday, December 5. Advanced tickets cost $5 for adults and $2.50 for kids under 12; at the door prices are $6 and $3, respectively. A photo with Santa is available for a small fee. There will be multiple vendors available, 10 themed baskets to raffle off and a 50/50 raffle. Proceeds will be used to purchase food and gifts for several families that the band is adopting this year. The band is also accepting canned food and unwrapped toys, too.
For tickets, call 695-0677 or email

Chorus Members Head to All-State
Five chorus students from Newsome High School have been selected to participate in All-State Chorus performances in conjunction with the 2010 Florida Music Educators Association conference in Tampa. Selected from Newsome for mixed and women’s choirs were Annie Brooks, Cesar Razza, Darby Green and Kaylee Strickland. They will take the stage beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 9, for concerts at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. A.J. Vaughan qualified for the All-State Reading Chorus, which will perform at 6:15 p.m. Friday, January 8, at the Marriott Waterside Grand Ballroom in Tampa. The next Newsome chorus concert is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8, in the school auditorium, located at 16500 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia, followed by participation Wednesday, December 9, in the Candlelight Processional, an annual holiday event at the Epcot theme park in Walt Disney World.
For more information, visit or call 740-4600.

Kids Become Sculptors
Center Place, located at 619 Vonderburg Dr., Ste. B, in Brandon, will host Kid’s Clay for ages 5-13 with instructor Anita Devine on Tuesdays, December 8 and 15 and January 12 and 26, from 5:15-6:15 p.m. The cost is $20 for members or $25 for non-members.
For more information, call 685-8888.

1Captionforpicture: Sage is a 5-month-old, male, black domestic short hair mix 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.

2Captionforpicture: Franklin is a male Chihuahua who was found abandoned in someone’s front yard 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.

Wannabe Scientists Welcome
Mad Science will be hosting classes at the Osprey Club in FishHawk Ranch, located at 5721 Osprey Ridge Dr. in Lithia, from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; 1:30 -4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 23, Tuesday, December 29 and Wednesday, December 30. The cost is $45 per day or if all three days are chosen, $30 a day. For ages 5-12.
For more information, call 655-6643 or visit


Surprise Guest Instructor Inspires Dancers
The Academy of Dance Dynamics, located at 4383 Lynx Paw Trl. in Valrico, held a hip hop workshop called, Dynamics of Mouse, which featured guest instructor Noel Areizaga, aka “Mouse.” Some of his best credits include playing Ruben on the movie Bring It On 4 and performing with Enigma Dance Kru on Randy Jackson’s America’s Best Dance Kru on season one. He brought his hard hits, pops and lock, which inspired dancers of all ages, signing autographs at the end of the class.
If you are interested in participating in the next hip hop workshop become a fan of Academy of Dance Dynamics on Facebook. For more information, call 655-TAPS (8277).

League Holds Spring Registration
The FishHawk Youth Baseball League will begin registering for the spring 2010 season, with a Veteran’s Early Registration (must have played in the spring 2008 season) on Wednesday, December 9, from 6-9 p.m. and on Saturday, December 12, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. There will be an open registration for all new and returning players in January for all members who reside in the Newsome High School boundaries. The registrations will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, January 6 and 7, from 6-9 p.m. and Saturday, January 9, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Please visit for more information.

Softball Team Reveals Spring 2010 Season
Registration for the Miss Tampa Bay Softball at FishHawk’s spring season will begin on Wednesday, December 2, and end on Saturday, January 9. Evaluations will begin on Monday, January 11. The league is open to all area girls between the ages of 4 and 16 and does not have any boundary restrictions. League games will be played at the FishHawk Youth Sports Complex on FishHawk Blvd (across from the Publix). Teams will be selected after evaluations and practices will begin on Monday, January 18. League games will begin on Saturday, February 20, and run until Sunday, May 23.
For more information regarding times and dates or to register online, please visit


New Regional Park Fees Start
Residents and visitors using Hillsborough County’s Regional Parks will be charged an entry fee and boat launch fee. This is first time these fees have been implemented in the Hillsborough County parks. Entry fee is $2 per vehicle (up to eight people) and the boat launch fee is $5. Frequent users of the parks are urged to purchase an annual pass that is good for one year from the date of purchase and good for any regional park in the system. The annual entry pass is $100 for a family or $50 for individuals. The boat ramp fee annual pass cost $100. For more information or to purchase the passes, visit or call 635-3500.

Water Resource Center Moves
Hillsborough County Water Resources Services’ (WRS) Brandon Customer Service Center will move to WRS’ new Brandon Support Operations Complex at 332 N. Falkenburg Rd., just south of the county’s Animal Services shelter.
As usual, bill payments may be made online at or by phone at 276-8526.

Representative Votes Against Health Care Act
U.S. Representative Gus M. Bilirakis (R-Fla.), representing Florida’s 9th Congressional District, voted against H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, and supports the Republican alternative health care reform bill.
To learn more, visit

One Call for Public Works Help
Hillsborough County Public Works Department wants to remind residents in unincorporated Hillsborough County that they can call one convenient phone number – 635-5400 – to request a variety of department services, report a needed repair or find out more information about a Public Works Department project.
To request any of these services, call the Hillsborough County Public Works’ Customer Service Center at 635-5400 from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Comment Needed for Local Mitigation Strategy
The County’s Hazard Mitigation Section in the Planning and Growth Management Department is requesting public input from residents on its draft updated Local Mitigation Strategy Plan. The public can send their comments to Hillsborough County Hazard Mitigation Section, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., 19th Floor, Tampa, FL 33601.
For more information, visit or contact Hazard Mitigation at 276-8245 or at

County to Become IMAGE Certified
Hillsborough County Administration will become the first IMAGE Certified county organization in a 57-county region in the state of Florida by early 2010 – a distinction the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes will become an industry standard. Hillsborough County Administration is participating in a voluntary collaborative program, known as IMAGE, with DHS’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to develop a more secure and stable workforce and to enhance fraudulent document awareness through education and training.
For more information, contact George Williams at 276-2758.

New Ordinance With Abandoned Property
Hillsborough County will become one of 13 local governments in Florida that have a new foreclosed property registry on their books. The county’s new Property Registration Ordinance is in effect. The new ordinance requires lending institutions to register all vacant, abandoned and foreclosed properties with Hillsborough County Code Enforcement and provide periodic inspections of the property. Each registration costs the mortgage company $100 per property.
For information, log onto

Bullying Initiative Receives $50,000
Bully Busters, Hillsborough County’s new anti-bullying campaign, received a $50,000 donation from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The donation comes from asset forfeitures seized by the sheriff’s office. The money will be used for services and events for children to help stamp out bullying. The Bully Busters program includes public awareness, education, intervention and community support.

County Unveils Website for Chinese Drywall
Residents concerned about problems associated with Chinese drywall found in some homes can view an online portal of resources by visiting and clicking on the Chinese Drywall button on the right-hand side of the page. It includes links to federal and state agencies handling investigations and findings, information regarding tax breaks offered by the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s Office and recent news coverage about Chinese drywall.

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