Compiled By Michelle Colesanti,

Wi-Fi Access Now Available At Selected Hillsborough County Recreation Centers

Hillsborough County Park, Recreation and Conservation is excited to announce that Wi-Fi service is now available at 12 recreation centers. This Wi-Fi service is available from 7 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week, and is part of Hillsborough County’s efforts to continuously improve the experiences at its facilities for its residents. The Brandon Community Center, located at 502 E. Sadie St. in Brandon is a local recreation center that now offers the free Wi-Fi.  For more information, contact the Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department at 813-635-3500.


Nominations Open For 2013  Women’s Hall Of Fame

The Hillsborough County Commission on the Status of Women is now accepting nominations for the 2013 Class of the Hillsborough County Women’s Hall of Fame. Up to three outstanding women will be selected. Inductees may also be honored posthumously. Nomination forms are available online at or by calling Brandon Wagner, Commission on the Status of Women at 276-2640. Nominations are due on or before 5 p.m. on Friday, November 16. The induction ceremony will be held Thursday, March 28, at the Tampa Convention Center.


5th Annual USF Young Innovator Competition

K-12 students in the Tampa Bay area are competing for a chance to be named top inventor and take home a $1,000 cash prize.  Last year’s finalists invented a self-watering Christmas tree ornament, LED wallet and an electricity-generating houseplant. The idea for the contest was the brainchild of 13-year-old Anna Hopen. Anna’s father, Anton Hopen, is a patent attorney. With help from the Museum of Science and Industry, MOSI, the University of South Florida, USF and local school districts, this year’s contest expects hundreds of new inventions.

Student contestants fill out an invention disclosure form that identifies a current problem with technology and hypothesizes a solution. Then, they make a sketch of their invention and explain how it works. Judging is based on creativity, persuasiveness, benefit to the public and marketability.

Initial submissions are judged by the USF Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors.  Academy members must be the inventor of at least one U.S. patent. Academy Founder and USF Vice President of Research and Innovation Paul Sanberg volunteered the chapter to select finalists.

On Monday, February 11, Thomas Edison’s birthday, the top ten finalists will present their invention and prototypes to a live panel of judges at USF. The top inventor will receive a $1,000 cash prize. The first runner up will receive a $500 cash prize. The second place runner up will receive $250 cash prize.  In addition, each winner’s school will receive cash prizes to advance their science and engineering program. All participants receive special awards including free admission to MOSI. The ten finalists receive other prizes, including annual family passes to MOSI.

The deadline for submission of inventions is Friday, January 25, 2013.  The contest is open to all elementary, middle and high school students in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Manatee, Pasco, Hernando, Sarasota and Citrus Counties.  Finalists will be selected Wednesday, January 30.  Contest rules and applications are available at or through the school districts.


Eleventh Annual Business Fair And Community Parking Lot Sale

The Village Early Learning Center in partnership with The Village Family Foundation announced today that it will be celebrating its 11th Annual Business Fair and Community Parking Lot Sale on Saturday, November 3 from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at The Village Early Learning Center, located at 3741 Canoga Park Dr. in Brandon. The goal of this initiative is to raise awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disorder that is the primary genetic killer of children under the age of two. Fundraising will occur with basket raffles and silent auctions. One hundred percent of all proceeds will go to Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (FSMA). Community donations are welcome and the community is welcome to attend.


 Black Friday Drop In Care

Happy Faces Academy, located at 16641 Fishhawk Blvd. in Lithia, will hold drop in care for children on Black Friday. This is open to the community. They will be open from 6 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, November 23. This is in addition to their monthly Parents Night out from 6-10 p.m. For more information or to register your child, please contact the school at 662-5100.



Local Resident Graduates from U.S. Air Force Basic Training

Airman Justin A Hutchinson recently graduated from United States Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT) in September. He was appointed Dorm Chief and excelled as a leader and motivator among his fellow trainees throughout the entire duration of BMT. During his time at Lackland AFB, he and his wingman, Airman Matthew I Rocha won first place in the obstacle course despite beginning the course behind their sister flight and other male trainees. Hutchinson was also voted “Most Outstanding Male Airman”, unanimously by his entire training squad. He was also a member of the elite USAF BMT Band flight, 323TRS B601/B602! He had the privilege of playing at graduation ceremonies (including his own) among other events.  His flight was also awarded the top Physical Training Award out of their entire graduating class, and the Mustangs had the honor of leading the Airman’s Run at the beginning of their graduation weekend. His wife Hillary and family would like to thank all of those who have prayed faithfully as they embark on this new chapter. Airman Hutchinson is excited about his new career in the United States Air Force and will continue his training USAF Technical School.



Driver Safety Classes Offered By AARP

AARP offers Driver Safety refresher courses for drivers older than 50. Once the six-hour course is completed, each participant receives a certificate to turn into their insurance company for a possible rate reduction on their automobile insurance. The cost is $12 for AARP members, $14 for non-members. Registration information is available at and 1-888-227-7669. In November, veterans and their spouses are free.  If the veteran has passed away, the spouse is still free. Upcoming classes will take place on Thursday, November 8 from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, located at 121 Carver Ave. To register, call 655-0990; Tuesday, November 13 from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Davis Park Senior Center, located at 612 Parsons Dr., in Brandon. To register, call 653-7249, and on Monday, November 26 from 12 Noon – 6 p.m. at H 2 U Brandon Regional Hospital, located at 228 Oakfield Plaza, Room 228. To register, call H 2 U Office at 684-3316.



Ambassadors Perform At UF Choral Festival

Only one of six choirs in Florida to be invited, Bloomingdale’s show choir “Ambassadors” recently performed at the University of Florida Invitational Choral Festival. The festival was a day of musical education filled with clinics, master classes, and performances by UF students, faculty and choirs. Upcoming events for Bloomingdale Chorus include their Veteran’s Day Concert, which will be held on Thursday, November 8 at 7 p.m. in the Bloomingdale auditorium. Their Winter Concert will be held on Thursday, December 13 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.  Admission is free for both concerts. Program advertising is currently being accepted through the Bloomingdale Chorus Booster department. To have your ad placed in any of the upcoming concert programs, please contact Taya Fagan at 393-9832 or email Funds generated through this article for program ads will go into the general fund, to aid in the chorus department’s trips/expenses.



Book Clearance Sale And Market

The Tampa Bay Heat will hold a book clearance sale and market on Saturday, November 17 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. It will be held at New Life Church, 2802 S.R. 60 E. in Valrico. There will be many children’s books, curriculum, fiction, how-to and much more. All books are $2 or less. There will also be a market during this event with vendors, garage sale items, books, curriculum, kid’s clothes, food, crafts and more.Vendor spaces are available for $10 for HEAT members and $20 for non-HEAT members. You need to provide your own tables and will have a parking space to set up your items.   Visit for information or to reserve a space.



Mad Science To Hold Winter Camp

Mix up some science fun during Mad Science of Tampa Bay’s Crazy Chemical Concoctions Winter Break Camp. This half-day camp (1-4 p.m.) explores how chemistry affects our everyday lives. Camp is suitable for children 6-12 years of age. With different themes daily, the cost of five day camp is $119, four days $104, three days $76.50 and two days $60. For more information on this camp, visit or call 655-6643.



Baton Twirlers Perform At A UCF Football Game

Members of the Patrick’s Patriots Twirling Corp. were invited to perform with the University of Central Florida Marching Knights and Majorettes during their halftime show on Thursday, October 13. These girls participated in the UCF Majorette Day along with other twirlers from Florida. This was a wonderful opportunity and these twirlers were proud to represent the Tampa Bay area. These twirlers are instructed by Barbara Patrick and Lynann Patrick-Hudson.For information on how to become a member of the Patriots Twirling Team, contact Patrick at 626-4554 or



Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.