Military Affairs Committee meeting.

Compiled by Jenny Bennett

Manatee Viewing Center To Remain Closed

Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center, where people can watch manatees gather each year, will remain closed until at least fall as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The viewing center, located at Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, has been a staple for more than 30 years and allows visitors easy access to the herds of manatees that are drawn to the plant’s warm waters in its discharge canal.

“As with so many of the changes we’ve seen this year, we know keeping the Manatee Viewing Center closed this season was a disappointment,” said Stan Kroh, manager of Land and Stewardship Programs for Tampa Electric. “Safety is our top priority, and with that in mind, we’re offering virtual ways to experience the center until we can welcome visitors back in person.”

It is expected to reopen on Sunday, November 1.

In the meantime, you can watch the manatees from the comfort of your own home by visiting

Apollo Beach Woman’s Club Seeking Donations For Scholarships

The Apollo Beach Woman’s Club has been serving the community for over 60 years and has given close to $400,000 worth of scholarships during that time to local students.

Last May, the club was honored to give over $18,000 to seniors from East Bay and Leonard High Schools. The club also donates gifts, gift cards, clothing and food items to families identified by the local elementary school counselors as needing a helping hand.

While the club is grateful for the opportunity to meet virtually, unfortunately not meeting in person has curtailed the club’s many fundraising activities. The Apollo Beach Woman’s Club is unsure how or if it will be able to give any scholarships in May.

If you are looking to donate to a nonprofit, please consider the Apollo Beach Woman’s Club and give whatever you can. It is the club’s hope that you will help in supporting some of the hopeful and inspiring high school seniors in our area.

Checks should be made out to ABWC and mailed to the treasurer, Sheila May, at 328 Mystic Falls Dr., Apollo Beach, 33572. Please note on your check: Donation for Scholarships.

For more information about the club’s activities, visit

2020 Tip Challenge Makes It To Ruskin

The staff at South Shore Pizza were delighted to be included in the 2020 tip challenge. An order was placed for a large pizza and some wings, and when paying, the customer tipped $2,020, asking that it be divided equally among all the staff that work there.

The staff would like to thank this very generous customer who made everyone’s day.

East Hillsborough Democratic Club Meeting

The East Hillsborough Democratic Club will hold a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, January 12 at 6:30 p.m. The guest speaker will be Sheila McNamara. All like-minded individuals are welcome to attend.

For more information, visit

Military Affairs Committee Meeting Discusses Veterans Day

The Military Affairs Committee of the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce held its most recent meeting at My Warrior’s Place in Ruskin. The team came up with a plan to make sure that SouthShore veterans didn’t go unthanked this year in the absence of a Veterans Day Parade. It discussed the Veterans Day Festival, selling Veterans Day lawn signs to show support, tribute stars for heroes and other projects that will take place this year.

Any interested community members are encouraged to contact the chamber at 645-1366.

River Hills Country Club Shows Thanks To Local Elementary School

River Hills Country Club recently raised $4,000 to show thanks and appreciation to those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic through its ‘Tee It Up For Teachers’ mission.

In April, it raised $10,000 and used that to deliver over 1,000 lunches to two local hospitals for the professional healthcare workers while supporting local restaurants. This time, the $4,000 was used to provide every employee at the Lithia Springs Elementary School in Valrico with a $50 Christmas present.

“Our board has fully backed management’s efforts to show appreciation to those that serve not only our club and residential development of River Hills, but also on behalf of those they serve in other areas and communities,” said Bob Swezey, general manager.

He added, “We wanted every single employee of the school to know that we realize each of them is as important as another, regardless if an administrator, teacher, cook, janitor or support services. They are a family taking care of other families, and our family cares.”

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