Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Annual Fall Festival At Alafia River State Park

The Friends of Alafia and Alafia River State Park will host the annual Fall Festival on Saturday, October 14 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. It will take place in the Day Use Parking Lot area. The Prestage Brothers, Ben and John will perform from 12 Noon- 4 p.m.

Come out for a fun day and bring the family. Children activities include Jumbo the Purple Pirate (face painting/balloon hats and animals/ magic tricks), pumpkin painting, hay rides, and competitive events. Food and drinks will be available.

There will be no charge to attend the event other than normal gate admission to the park ($4 for an individual, $5 for vehicles with up to eight passengers, $1 additional for each person beyond eight). Alafia River State Park is located at 14326 CR 39 S. in Lithia. For more information, visit

Field Of Honor Ceremony Scheduled

The veterans of Hillsborough County conducts a Field of Honor Ceremony on Saturday, October 14 at 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park and Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr. Veterans Museum, 3602 U.S. Hwy. 301 N. in Tampa. The event, park and monuments are all free and open to the public.

Several Gold Star Families will attend the quarterly remembrance to honor servicemen and servicewomen who made  the supreme sacrifice while engaged in our nation’s current War on Terror during July, August and September.

Field of Honor ceremonies feature the Rolling Thunder/FL Chapter 11 color guard, Missing Man Formation flyover by Ye Mystic Airkrewe, patriotic music by Cody Palmer/VFW Post 8108, and a traditional rifle salute and taps by the Sgt. Walter P. Ryan Detachment 1226 Marine Corps League of Riverview.

For more information, call 744-5502 or 246-3170. Visit Consumer & Veterans at

Many Resources Available To Hillsborough Residents At Hurricane Irma Disaster Recovery Center

Hillsborough County and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have partnered to open a Disaster Recovery Center where residents impacted by Hurricane Irma can find out about programs and services available to help them.

The local Disaster Recovery Center is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at The Regent, 6437 Watson Rd. in Riverview. Appointments are not necessary.
More than a dozen agencies are providing resources at the center, including:
FEMA, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Florida Department of Children and Families

Florida Department of Health, Hillsborough County Aging Services, Hillsborough County Affordable Housing Services, Hillsborough County Health Care Services, Hillsborough County Homeless Services, Hillsborough County Social Services, American Red Cross, Career Source Tampa Bay, Central Florida Behavioral Health Network and Senior Connection from Area Agency on Aging.

Types of assistance are determined on a case-by-case basis. Disaster assistance may include grants to help homeowners and renters pay for temporary housing, essential home repairs, personal property replacement, human services and other disaster-related needs. SBA offers low-interest disaster loans for businesses of all sizes, homeowners, renters, and private non-profit organizations. SBA disaster loans may cover repairs, rebuilding, as well as the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property. 

For federal assistance, the registration process is the first step in recovery and requires information such as insurance policies, and bank information for possible direct transfer of funds. FEMA encourages residents to register before they visit the Disaster Recovery Center.  

To register, go to, through the FEMA mobile app available in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or call (800) 621-3362, which is video relay service accessible. (TTY: (800) 462-7585.) Helpline hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.

Survivors requiring a reasonable accommodation such as American Sign Language interpreting, Braille, large print, etc., while visiting the Disaster Recovery Center may call the helpline for support.

Relief Fund Established For Hillsborough County Residents Impacted By Hurricane Irma

Even before Hurricane Irma hit Hillsborough County, good Samaritans all around the country began asking how they could help residents. Hillsborough County has established the Hillsborough County Irma Relief Fund that will directly fund recovery efforts for residents impacted by the storm.

All financial donations to the relief fund will be used to support non-profit organizations providing aid and recovery services to Hillsborough County residents, such as Salvation Army and American Red Cross. Funds collected will go directly to residents through the non-profit organizations and will not be used for any governmental services or administrative costs.

Visit to make an online donation to the Hillsborough County Irma Relief Fund or make checks payable to “Hillsborough Irma Relief” and mail to: Lutheran Services Florida, 3627 W. Waters Ave., Tampa, FL 33614.

Funding will be authorized by a committee consisting of representatives from the Hillsborough County Department of Aging Services, Florida Department of Children and Families, and United Way Suncoast.

The creation of a general recovery/relief account to support human services organizations providing relief and recovery services to disaster survivors is a part of Hillsborough County’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

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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.