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News OVERVIEW FOR Saturday, January 31, 2015

Crowd Funding a Future Music Teacher’s Dream

Kingsford’s Jonathan Sims

A young Kingsford resident who has defied the odds is now closer to fulfilling a dream – thanks to crowd funding and the power of social media. Jonathan Sims, 17, a senior in Robinson High School’s IB program has a dream. Yet, at the age of four, the odds were starkly stacked against him. His story begins with addiction and abuse, then takes a turn toward miraculous.

Solar Energy: A Home and World Improvement Project

A home features a southern-facing roof with Dow Powerhouse solar shingles in an array that is far more aesthetically pleasing than bolt-down solar racks.

In just 90 minutes the sun bathes our planet with enough energy to power everything on earth for an entire year. Everything. And it’s scheduled to continue providing this free energy for the next 4.5 billion years. How much are we capturing? Solar energy now represents only 1.4 percent of all energy produced in the U.S.

Perfect Park Pastimes for February Fun

Brooker Creek Preserve

February is the perfect time in Florida to explore the great outdoors. With so many parks close to Westchase, it is easy to find one that you’ll enjoy. Lace up your tennis shoes, grab your bike or kayak (or, if you prefer a picnic, a basket and blanket) and enjoy our temperate weather before we’re all complaining it’s too hot again.

Bountiful Birds Winter in Westchase

Roseate Spoonbill

Florida is a bird lover’s paradise. And February is the perfect month to fly outside and enjoy our feathered friends. Not only is this a great time of year to appreciate the birds that live here year-round, it is also an ideal opportunity to catch a glimpse of the many birds visiting for winter.

Everly Hopkins, Westchase’s Beloved Miracle Baby, Dies

A month shy of her first birthday, Everly Hopkins of The Shires died on Children’s Hospital in Atlanta on Monday, Jan. 26, following heart surgery. Her parents, Crystal and Jimmy Hopkins, had traveled there in recent days for medical care and Crystal held Everly in her arms as she passed.

Westchase Road Repair Petition Awaits Your Signature

If you’d like the county to repave Westchase roads, the WCA needs your help by signing a petition. To read more and take two minutes to participate in this effort, simply click on the article title above.

Newcomers Luncheon Feb. 19

The Newcomers of Northwest Hillsborough will gather for lunch this month on Feb. 19. They’ll meet at 11 a.m. at the Floridan Palace, 905 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 33602.

Alonso Ravens Welcome New Principal

Kenneth Hart, the new principal at Alonso High School, will celebrate his 68th birthday in February. Retirement? He tried it once. It wasn’t for him.

County Administrator Merrill Talks Transport and Taxes in Westchase

County Administrator Mike Merrill spoke to nearly two dozen Westchase-area residents on Dec. 4 and presented a three-fold message: First, Hillsborough County is about as small and efficient as it can get. Second, new tax revenue is badly needed to cover the county’s woefully underfunded transportation system. Third, he wants to know which of your transportation priorities to include to get you to vote “Yes” on a sales tax referendum in 2016.

Suzi France Named Tampa Bay Woman of the Year

On Nov. 22 the Westchase Charitable Foundation (WCF) crowned the Tampa Bay Woman of the Year, recognizing an amazing fundraiser. The WCF’s annual Tampa Bay Woman of the Year (TBWOY) event is a premier event that culminates a nine-week fundraising competition for families in need.

Everly Hopkins, The Little Girl Who is Beating the Odds

In August WOW brought you the story of Everly Hopkins, the little girl defying the odds given her at birth. Everly was born on Feb. 20, 2014. Six days later, she was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a life-limiting chromosomal condition.

Westchase, 2014: The Year in Review

The year brought significant changes to Westchase’s governing documents, the rezoning of 32 acres at Westchase’s eastern entrance, and preparations for a major capital improvement program for Westchase playgrounds. And it wouldn’t be Westchase without a touch of drama.

Westchase Holiday Market a Success

With Santa, live music, face painting, raffles and shopping galore, both vendors and shoppers had a wonderful day. On Dec. 7 members of the Westchase Artists Society welcomed holiday shoppers to the Westchase Golf Club for their Fifth Annual Westchase Holiday Market. The indoor/outdoor event featured artwork and unique gifts for enthusiastic shoppers.

Westchase Junior Tennis Teams Named Best in County

Team Impact celebrates with Coach Calla.

The fall tennis season saw two Westchase junior tennis teams win Best in County awards in their age groups.

Westfield Citrus Park Greets New Tenants

Westchase’s mall has recently made some big changes. It’s welcomed new retailers, added new seating areas and refurbished its fountains.

UTB Gallery Welcomes Art Gallery Space

The Westchase Artist Society celebrated the opening of their exhibit, “Expressions,” at the Upper Tampa Bay Library’s new art gallery space Thursday, Dec. 11. The exhibit, running through January, features artwork from members of the Westchase Artists Society. The gallery renovation was made possible due to a grant from WOW.

Fitness and Nutrition: Separating Fact From Fiction

YMCA Fitness Trainer Carrie Bell, who offers advice on fitness misconceptions.

Ah, January – the month when millions of Americans resolve to establish healthier lifestyles. To help get our readers off on the right foot and avoid confusion when it comes to establishing a healthy routine, we’ve taken a closer look at some of the common fitness and nutrition misconceptions.

Rotarians Annual Bike Drive Jan. 10

If Santa brought you some new wheels, why not donate your old ones to a great cause this month? On Jan. 11 the Westchase Rotary Club will be holding their Sixth Annual Charity Bike Drive.

Westchase Food Truck Rally Jan 30

Westchase, loosen your belts! The community’s next Food Truck Rally is Friday, Jan. 30, from 5-8 P.M. in the front parking lot of Westchase Elementary School.

Plan to Attend the Aug. 12 TED Meeting

Westchase residents are encouraged to attend a meeting of the Policy Leadership Group for Transportation and Economic Development in Hillsborough County (TED). It will be held on Aug. 12 at 1:30 p.m. in the second floor board room of the County Center.

Public Notice of Westchase-Wide Guideline Changes

In addition to offering changes to the Westchase CCRs and Bylaws, Westchase VMs are considering amendments to the Westchase’s Single Family Residential Guidelines. If you read this article last month, the Documents Committee submitted some changes to the proposed Guidelines after the May meeting of the Westchase Voting Members. Changes of substance are indicated by italics in the summaries below.

WCA Board Hears Costco Update; Decries WOW Coverage of Investment Properties

There was a packed audience for the February Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Directors’ meeting. Residents attended not to speak during the open residents’ forum, but to hear about the proposed Costco development at the corner of Sheldon Road and Linebaugh Avenue.

Costco Developer to File Rezoning Request March 6

While it was announced in January that February would see a formal presentation by the Costco development team, February’s WCA meetings came and went without its appearance.

Proposed 2014 WCA Budget Draft Contains $2 Assessment Increase

The 2014 draft budget that emerged from the roughly 90-minute Westchase Community Association (WCAO) Budget Workshop on Aug. 20 produced a projected assessment of $322. The amount represents a two dollar increase over the 2013 assessment. If adopted, it would be the first increase in the WCA assessment since 2008.

Westchase VMs Approve Three Guidelines

In a very brief meeting that preceded the Westchase Association’s Aug. 20 budget workshop, Westchase Voting Members (VMs) took their final votes on three amendment to Westchase and neighborhood-specific guidelines. In all cases, the 20 VMs present cast unanimous votes.

VMs Entertain New Paver Rules for Driveways and Sidewalks

The July 9 meeting of Westchase VMs started with two quick, unanimous approvals for Abbotsford's and Chelmsford’s new mailboxes before VMs turned to driveway pavers.

VMs Approve New Mailboxes for Castleford and Portions of The Bridges

At their June 11 meeting, Westchase Voting Members’ (VM) two main agenda items were final votes for updated mailboxes for Castleford and the Bridges. VMs also received an update on the county’s new garbage collection system, scheduled for rollout in October.

CDD’s 2014 Draft Budget Recoups Incorrect 2013 Credit

Westchase Community Development District (CDD) supervisors are discussing a tentative spending plan that projects a 7.62 percent increase in operations and maintenance spending. The plan, which may see adjustments at the CDD's July and August meetings, is slated for final approval on Aug. 6.

CDD Supervisors Approve Harbor Links’ Streetlight Conversion; Stonebridge Homeowners Voice Concerns

The June 4 meeting of the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) saw resolution of a years-long process to address a Westchase neighborhood’s leaking gas lights and attendance by a number of Stonebridge residents concerned over nearby developments that could significantly impact them.

Memorial Services Scheduled For Westchase Swim Coach Kelley Allen

Westchase Community Association (WCA) Manager Debbie Sainz and Operations Manager Kelly Smith have released information about upcoming memorial services for Kelley Allen, the WCA’s Director of Competitive Swimming. Allen was tragically killed on Oct. 28.

Tales from the Black Friday Ninjas

Some Westchasers celebrate Thanksgiving night by pulling the covers over their heads and relishing their turkey-induced slumber. Others become Black Friday Ninjas. Millions of Americans choose to participate in the highly competitive consumer Olympics known as Black Friday, where average shoppers display the stealth and cunning of a ninja in order to bring home retail gold. These warriors head out in the dark of night risking a stray elbow to the eye or worse, a shopping-cart wheel to the freshly pedicured toe.

Public Notice of Residential Guideline Changes

At their Oct. 11 and Nov. 15 meetings, Westchase Voting Members (VMs) will be considering changes to the Westchase Residential Guidelines. The Westchase Residential Guidelines is a supplementary document to the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CCRs). Both documents spell out architectural and use rules for Westchase residential properties.

Help a Wizard Make Magic

With just an hour of your time each week, you can dramatically change the life of a child who needs an adult role model. Westchase Elementary is looking for mentors for this school year. Can you lend a hand?

School Open Houses, 2011

Several private schools in the area are holding open houses to the community in the upcoming months. The list below is not a complete listing of all private schools in the area. Some of these institutions hold open houses in different locations; please contact the school admissions office for more information.

Westchase Birthday Celebration Oct. 29

This year Westchase turns 20 and you’re invited to the biggest birthday celebration around! On Saturday, Oct. 29, from 3-7 p.m., WOW is throwing a party to celebrate all that is great about our community. All residents are invited to join the fun on the West Park Green on Montague Street for a celebratory street party. The party will be held on the afternoon of the tenth anniversary running of The Great West Chase 5K and Children’s Fun Run.

Fitness Trail Opens This Month

The Westchase Community Association (WCA) and Community Development Districts (CDDs) are happy to announce the upcoming opening of the Fitness Trail in Baybridge Park.