South Bay Hospital Opens $30 Million ICU, Progressive Care Tower

By Tamas Mondovics

South Bay Hospital officials, dignitaries, and members of the community gathered last month for a VIP Grand Opening Ceremony of the hospital’s Intensive Care and Progressive Care Unit and new tower.

The $30 million construction project began in the summer of 2015 including a 30,900 sq. ft. new patient tower located at 4016 Sun City Center Blvd. in Sun City Center,
The expansion consisted of a 26-bed ICU/PCU unit, new front entrance and lobby, new café at the Bay with outdoor seating, gift shop, chapel, expanded parking and covered golf cart parking.

“The new patient tower now features all private rooms and include a 14-bed progressive care service and 12 additional intensive care beds on the second floor to service the most critical patients in Sun City Center and surrounding SouthShore communities such as Apollo Beach, Gibsonton, Riverview, Ruskin, Parrish and Wimauma,” said South Bay Hospital CEO, Sharon Roush.

The new tower increases the hospital’s bed total to 138, it has also been designed to accommodate future expansion of two floors for an additional 48 beds.

“This expansion complements the many services we offer in orthopedics, cardiology, emergency services, general surgery and supports our ongoing efforts to be a leader in cutting edge, caring and collaborative healthcare,” Roush said.

For years, South Bay Hospital has proudly served residents of Sun City Center, Ruskin, Wimauma, Riverview, Apollo Beach, Gibsonton and the surrounding areas as a 112 bed, acute care facility offering a wide range of services, including general and vascular surgery, urology, cardiology, orthopedic, and spine surgery just to name a few.

South Bay Hospital is part of HCA West Florida is the Tampa Bay region’s largest healthcare system with 16 hospitals on 18 campuses, 20 ER locations, 14 ambulatory surgery centers, numerous imaging and occupational health sites, physician practices, medical education and teaching programs, regional lab, and consolidated service center.

All 16 hospitals are accredited by The Joint Commission and nine hospitals earned distinction as Top Performers on Key Quality Measures last year.
HCA West Florida is affiliated with HCA, one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services.

For more information about South Bay Hospital, please call 634-0172 or visit

UMC Of Sun City Center Offers Variety And Volunteer Opportunities
By Amanda Boston

The United Methodist Church of Sun City Center is a place with open doors, open hearts and open minds. The church makes a concerted effort to embrace all who enter through its doors, believers and seekers alike. Attendees are warmly welcomed with the love of Jesus and the pleasant aromas of a thoughtfully prepared continental breakfast. UMC invites you to bring your family, friends, and a hearty appetite.

Although nestled in a sleepy retirement community, the church boasts an active and intergenerational congregation. On Wednesday evenings, it hosts programs for children and youth, and in the summer generates a well-attended Vacation Bible School with over 60 volunteers.

According to Pat Hill, Director of Ministries, “The one thing that sets our church apart is our army of volunteers. For example, with more than 100 volunteers participating, our Congregational Care Ministry reaches out to those that are hospitalized or homebound. We deliberately try to impact our community and world in a positive way.”

Armed with its legion of volunteers, the church also supports national and international causes by dispatching mission teams dedicated to changing lives for Christ. Its Disaster Response Team works in the Southeast region to repair and restore homes and businesses affected by natural disasters. On an international level, the church sends forth missions teams to Cuba, Peru, Uganda, and Southeast Asia.

For those with musical interests, the UMC’s Worship Arts Ministry offers involvement opportunities with a 75-voice chancel choir, men and women vocal ensembles, hand bell ensembles, drama teams, visual arts team, youth band, and praise team. Most Friday evenings and some Sunday afternoons, UMC presents affordable concerts and events as part of its Thank God It’s Variety concert series.

On Sundays, the church accommodates many styles and time preferences. Beginning on Sunday, January 8, services will be held at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. for contemporary, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. for traditional, and at 4 p.m. for a Hispanic service. For information on UMC, call 634-2539, visit or the church directly at 1210 del Webb Blvd. W., Sun City Center.

Tampa Electric To Demolish Original Striped Chimney At Big Bend Power Plant

By Tamas Mondovics

Tampa Electric Company (TECO) has once made headlines last month after announcing the demolition of its original red-and-white-striped chimney at its Big Bend Power Station.

In a press release late November, company officials said that the change for the Apollo Beach skyline will begin in January. 

“This will change the landscape,” said TECO Big Bend Station director Ron Bishop. “Big Bend’s chimneys have been landmarks in Apollo Beach for decades.” 

The 500-ft.-tall chimney, one four standing tall at the plant, was built in 1968 and painted with red and white stripes, as was traditional at the time. It served Big Bend Units 1 and 2 for more than three decades.

 With attention to the well-recognized landscape, TECO officials emphasized that the Big Bend Plant uses the best-available pollution-control technology, which makes it one of the cleanest coal-burning power plants in the United States.

In a press release officials mentioned that the fourth chimney was built in 1999, when the scrubbers were installed, stating that since then the original chimney was used only minimally, adding that in 2008, the company removed the chimney’s steel liner, which had been affected by age.

“With no liner, the chimney made of poured reinforced concrete was no longer useful, and it has not been used since then,” said TECO spokesperson Cherie Jacobs.

The chimney will be dismantled in pieces by a specialized team. The large pieces of concrete will be removed from inside the structure. The most visible work will begin in mid-December and will continue through April.

Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 730,000 customers in West Central Florida. Tampa Electric is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. For information about TECO, please visit

Sixth Annual Newland Communities’ Concerts For A Cause Series Nets Thousands In Donations 

By Candace Rotolo

Hundreds of concertgoers who attended Newland Communities’ sixth annual Concerts for a Cause series and Fall Festivals featuring local and regional bands at Waterset and FishHawk Ranch, not only helped make a difference in the fight against hunger in our community, they also assisted a high school marching band in the March to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In lieu of admission, concertgoers were asked to bring non-perishable food items or monetary donations for the three organizations that benefited from the events.

Waterset concertgoers contributed nearly $900, which was donated to Calvary Lutheran Community Cupboard, an all-volunteer organization and Feeding Tampa Bay affiliate. The donation will purchase more than 800 lbs. of food for the non-profit organization, which feeds 2,000 people a week, primarily in the Apollo Beach and Ruskin community. 
“Without communities like Waterset we could not feed the people that we do,” said Jim Wise, the organization’s volunteer operations manager. “Time and time again, our residents show their extraordinary generosity,” said Pam Parisi, Vice President of Marketing for Newland Communities.

For information on Waterset, please call 235-0154 or visit The FishHawk Ranch community selected the Lithia-based Seeds of Hope and the Newsome High School Marching as the beneficiaries of donations. “We are very appreciative of Newland Communities for selecting Seeds of Hope as a charity for Concerts for a Cause and grateful to all whom donated,” said Eaton. Newsome High School Marching Band was a second recipient of concert donations. Thanks to concertgoers and a generous donation from Newland Communities, the Newsome High School Marching Band received $10,000 for its March to Macy’s fund. The band is the first Hillsborough County school to be selected to for the honor. For information on FishHawk Ranch, call 685-7500 or visit

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