Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Florida Strawberry Festival Announces 2017 Theme

The Florida Strawberry Festival released today the theme for its 82nd annual event – “We’re Playing Your Song!”
“Yes, it highlights our entertainment,” said General Manager Paul Davis. “But most of all, it points to our focus of providing what our visitors like.”

A new theme is created for each year’s festival to offer patrons a glimpse of the experience they will have at the 11 day event. It also unifies vendors, FFA chapters, organizations, corporate partners and exhibitors who create parade floats and displays throughout the celebration, said Davis.

The festival’s strawberry character featured in each year’s theme artwork is an iconic part of the event’s branding and advertising efforts. In this theme’s artwork, he wears a baseball cap and sunglasses and plays a guitar.

“It is our goal for every person who walks through our gate to leave satisfied, knowing we offered them something that they personally enjoy,” said Davis. “We think this theme reflects that well.”

First Hillsborough County Community Law Enforcement Workshop In December

The first Hillsborough County Community-Law Enforcement Workshop, originally scheduled for Oct. 17-18, has been rescheduled for Monday and Tuesday, December 5-6 at Clair-Mel Elementary School, 1025 S. 78th Street in Tampa. The workshop will still be held from 5-8:45 p.m., and the theme is “Community and Law Enforcement working together toward greater intercultural understanding.”

The new deadline to pre-register for the workshop is Tuesday, November 29. Twelve Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputies and 45 citizen attendees will be pre-registered from a pool of persons who pre-register. Call 272-5720 or email or to request an invitation to attend the workshop. county-budget-logo

The Community-Law Enforcement Workshops are sponsored by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), United Way Suncoast, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and the School District of Hillsborough County. In the next 12 months, Hillsborough County will sponsor a total of eight workshops: five for adults, two for youth, and one leadership retreat for elected officials and community leaders. The workshops, approved in August by the BOCC, are free and open to the public, with limited space available. Dates and locations for the final seven workshops have not yet been determined.

Hillsborough County Invites Residents to Help Improve Recycling Program

Residential recycling customers are invited to help improve Hillsborough County’s recycling program by sharing information about their recycling behaviors and knowledge in a confidential online survey and by participating in focus groups.

Survey links, focus group schedules, and registrations are available The survey and focus groups will take place through October and November. Surveys are available in English and Spanish. Seating for focus groups is limited.

Information gathered through the survey and focus groups will be used to design behavior-based education and outreach messaging in an effort to reduce recycling contamination. Contamination occurs when non-recyclable items or heavily soiled items are mixed in with clean recyclable items during collection. Contamination in the recycling cart causes problems including: damaging equipment, creating health and safety hazards for workers, reducing the amount of recyclables that can be successfully recovered, and increasing the overall cost of the recycling process.

All program recyclables should be placed in the blue cart clean, dry, and un-bagged to ensure proper sorting.  A good rule of thumb is “when in doubt, throw it out.” Items tossed in your gray garbage cart are used to make renewable electricity at Hillsborough County’s Resource Recovery Facility.

Hillsborough County Solid Waste is partnering with experts from the Florida Center for Community Design + Research at the University of South Florida to gather information about what customers know about the County’s curbside recycling program and how they make household recycling decisions.

Visit for more information about the County’s recycling collection service.

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.