Rep. Ross Spano (Florida-15) visited four local high schools to speak about the inner workings of Congress and leadership.

Newly Formed Lions Club Serving The Valrico/Lithia Area

All community service-minded men and women are welcome to attend the new Lions Club serving the Valrico and Lithia area. It meets on the first Wednesday of each month (unless otherwise stated due to a holiday).

The next meeting, which will be at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Properties Group on 3228 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Ste. 102 in Valrico (next to Harbor Freight Tools), is on December 4. Come at 6:30 p.m. to join in for pizza. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

All other meetings will be held at Grace United Methodist Church, located at 5708 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Lithia.

Spano Discusses Government & Leadership With Local High School Students

Rep. Ross Spano (Florida-15) recently visited four high schools in District 15 to speak about the inner workings of Congress and the importance of leadership.

“High school students are on the cusp of adulthood, and they’re at a prime age to engage in civic duty and to show greater leadership in their communities. These students are the next generation of American leaders, and investing in our youth is of the utmost importance to me. I value their insights and questions and I take to heart their challenges. After all, one of these students could very well be running our country one day,” said Spano.

The high school groups consisted of student leadership and JROTC cadets from Bloomingdale High School, Durant High School, Strawberry Crest High School and Rep. Spano’s own alma mater, Brandon High School.

Christmas In The Country

How did rural Americans celebrate Christmas before malls, e-cards and twinkly electric lights? Experience a 19th century Florida Christmas in the Country at Mildred W. and Doyle E. Carlton Jr. Cracker Country at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Christmas in the Country will take place on Saturday, December 14 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Cracker Country is a living history museum that represents aspects of home life, commerce and transportation as it was in many rural Florida communities just before the turn of the 20th century.

During Christmas in the Country, guests can stroll through the four-acre complex and experience seasonal décor, music and traditions in 13 original buildings, including a train depot, historic homes, general store, post office, blacksmith shop and more.

Guests can create holiday keepsakes like salt dough ornaments, beeswax candles, sachets and cornucopias, as well as help with the everyday chores like churning butter and cleaning laundry with an old-fashioned washboard.

Trail Dogs Bluegrass Band will perform onstage throughout the day.

Admission to Christmas in the Country is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and children ages 6-12. Children 5 and under will be admitted free. Parking is $8 per car and $14 per bus or RV.

The Florida State Fairgrounds is located at 4800 Hwy. 301 N. in Tampa. Please enter the Fairgrounds via the Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. entrance. For more information, visit

South Bay Genealogical Society Meeting

On Tuesday, December 17, the South Bay Genealogical Society will meet at the United Methodist Church in the Life Enrichment Center (LEC) at 1210 W. Del Webb Blvd. in Sun City Center.

It begins at 10:30 a.m. with a round table discussion. That will be followed by a sit-down luncheon at 12 Noon, and then the main presentation by guest speaker Annette Burke Lyttle at 1 p.m. She will talk about timelines and how they can be used in your research.

The cost is $15 per person for lunch. For reservations and information, call Terri at 633-5172. Mail checks to SBGS, P.O. Box 5202, Sun City Center, FL 33571 by Thursday, December 5.

Holiday Give Back At Serenity Meadows

Serenity Meadows is holding a special community event to give help and hope to those in need this time of year.

Join in on Saturday, December 7 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. for activities, light refreshments and remembrance ornaments.

One Blood’s Big Red Bus will be in attendance for a blood drive. Decorate cards for residents of The Bridges Assisted Living & Memory Care. Food will also be collected for ECHO of Riverview.

Serenity Meadows is located at 6919 Providence Rd. in Riverview. For more information, call 279-1620. Visit

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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.