Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

St. Patrick’s Day Social At Brandon Community Center

A  St. Patrick’s Day Social and Event, Lunch and Dance will take place on Monday, March 13 at 11 a.m. at the Brandon Community Center located at 502 E. Sadie St.

This event is free. For more information or to RSVP (by Thursday, March 9), please call 734-4806 and ask for Maria or call Linda at 662-0255.

2017 Corvette Grand Sport Raffle

You could own a brand new Corvette Grand Sport for as little as $5. The red Corvette Grand Sport will be raffled off on Sunday, March 12 at 5 p.m. at Stingray Chevrolet’s vehicle display on the Florida Strawberry Festival grounds.

This 2017 model, valued at about $70,000, includes the following features: 

Tickets for the drawing are $5 each and are available for purchase through March 12 at and at the  Stingray Chevrolet dealership located off exit 22 on I-4 in Plant City. Tickets can also be purchased all 11 days of the Florida Strawberry Festival at Stingray Chevrolet’s vehicle display on the event grounds.

This opportunity is made possible by Steve and Susan Hurley of Stingray Chevrolet, who have donated a vehicle for this raffle for the past eight years. All proceeds from the raffle benefit Unity in the Community, a Plant City organization that contributes to local youth organizations and other groups who provide assistance to underprivileged families.

Hillsborough County Helps Students Achieve Higher Education Goals Through Scholarships

Achieving a higher education is an important life goal for young people and their families. Hillsborough County Social Services has partnered with the Community Action Board to offer scholarships for up to $5,000 to eligible students wishing to continue their education by attending an institution of higher learning.

Scholarship applications for the 2017-2018 school year will be accepted through Friday, March 31. Recipients will be notified in writing prior to the start of the fall semester. Applicants who meet the following eligibility requirements may be awarded a scholarship:

Applicants must be between the ages of 17 and 22, and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent (16-year-olds may apply if they are graduating seniors). Applicants must reside in Hillsborough County. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.0. The applicant’s household income must fall within 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG).

The following criteria will also be used to evaluate applicants: Community service and school involvement, application and letters of recommendation, academic record (transcript), essay response, and panel interview participation.

Application materials can be downloaded at

Detailed instructions on how to apply can also be found on the page. Students may submit completed applications online, via mail, or hand deliver applications in person to any County Community Resource Center. Mailed applications can be sent to P.O. Box 1110, Department of Social Services 24th Floor, Attention Sylvia Wint, Tampa, FL 33601.

In 2016, 52 scholarships totaling $260,000 were awarded to Hillsborough County students through Hillsborough County Social Services.

Guardian ad Litem Program Seeks Volunteers

Hundreds of Child Advocates are urgently needed for abused and neglected children. These children need a caring person to stand up and be their ‘voice’ in the courtroom and to advocate for them in the child welfare system.

As a child advocate, the Guardian ad Litem visits the child/children every month, becomes familiar with the circumstances regarding the family, and makes recommendations to the court to help ensure the child/children remain in a safe and stable environment.

Attend an information session: Thursday, March 2 at 3:30 p.m. at the Brandon Chamber of Commerce, 330 Pauls Dr., Ste. 100 in Brandon and Thursday, March 16 at 10:30 a.m. at the Bloomingdale Regional Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico.

For more information, call 272-5110 or visit

“Now Hear This Entertainment” Podcast Hits Three Year Mark

The weekly “Now Hear This Entertainment” (NHTE) podcast hit its three-year anniversary on February 17. 

“This is another great milestone for NHTE,” said show host Bruce Wawrzyniak. “There have been so many highlights over these first three years and I maintain my enthusiasm for the show’s continued growth and success.”

The podcast has been delivered on-time, every Wednesday, to the tune of 158 episodes as of February 15. 

It is available for free at as well as on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher Radio, SoundCloud, and TuneIn Radio, among other platforms, the show has gotten listeners from 125 countries, spanning all five regions of the world (Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania). The show is typically recorded each week at Crystal Blue Sound Studios in Dover.

Community Prayer Vigil For Queena And Her Family

The family of the Bloomingdale Library Attack Survivor, Queena, is requesting the presence of the community on Sunday, March 5 at 1:30 p.m. at the Multi Purpose Center at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon.

With the power of prayer and the continued support from the community, it will help carry the family through this difficult time.
On March 9, the man convicted of Queena’s attack could have his sentence changed as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding cases of juvenile offenders.

Morris was sentenced to 65 years, but a U.S. Supreme Court decision now says sentencing juveniles to life or lengthy prison times can be cruel and unusual.
On February 9, both sides presented their arguments.The Judge did not deliver his sentence that day as anticipated. On March 9, he will deliver his written sentence after having time to consider all things.

This new sentence could result in less time or more time in prison.

Visit to learn more about her incredible journey and to donate to her fund.

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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.