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WCF Announces Candidates for Fifth Annual Tampa Bay Woman of the Year

The Westchase Charitable Foundation (WCF) is excited to announce its fifth annual Tampa Bay Woman of the Year fund-raising event at the Tampa Jet Center on Saturday, Nov. 22.

The event, which runs from 6-1 p.m., features 19 amazing women who have graciously committed their time and generosity by supporting our mission. "This year we’re creating a ‘Havana Nights’ experience full of cultural performers, VIP cabana-style lounging and a fabulous fashion show presented by South Tampa’s hottest boutiques, Lending Luxury and Urban Body for Men,” said Trey Corish, WCF Treasurer and Event Chair.

Tickets are on sale at http://www.tampabaywoman.org (General admission: $80 per person/$150 couple; VIP: $150 per person/$225 couple) and include endless hors d'oeuvres/open bar served from the best in the bay restaurants, a fabulous array of silent/live auction items, live music, an upscale fashion show, 50/50 raffle and lots of swag and style.

Sponsorship opportunities range from $500 upwards to $25,000. All sponsors will receive VIP tickets (quantity dependent on level), exposure in social media (Facebook and Twitter), inclusion in an official press release and their logos in event program/signage. Higher sponsorships receive reserved seating for the fashion show and additional perks and VIP treatment. For more information, contact Event Chair Trey Corish at 545-8122.

“Tampa Bay Woman of the Year will draw more than 350 guests and 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to helping families in need around the entire Tampa Bay community, not just Westchase. Sarah Jon Porreca, 2013 Tampa Bay Woman of the Year, will return to crown her successor on event night,” said Sean O’Donnell, WCF President.

Anyone can help with this cause by purchasing a sponsorship or ticket to the event, donating a silent or live auction item, or by simply making a donation. Go to http://www.tampabaywoman.org or contact Ronda Woble at (727) 488-9345.

Woman of the Year candidates must be nominated by a WCF board member or past candidate and be in good standing with our communities before being eligible to contend for the title of Tampa Bay Woman of the Year. This is a nine-week long fund-raising campaign where candidates set out into the community to raise funds in a variety of ways such as selling event tickets, obtaining event sponsors, or securing an auction item. All proceeds go directly to support the mission of WCF.

Ahmed Bhutta, WCF Treasurer, said, “Lasts year’s event was a huge success. By moving the event to the Jet Center, that really opened up a lot of opportunities to us. We raised over $75,000. But our goal this year is to gross upwards of $150,000. We need everyone’s support so that we can help families who are dealing with horrific situations…some battling serious illness while others are dealing with challenges of regular chemo treatments while trying to maintain a balanced home life.”

The Westchase Charitable Foundation (WCF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity that relies on fundraising to support those who have a family member battling a serious illness or who have faced with a personal tragedy. The organization is managed solely by volunteer members that donate their time, money and energy to help raise funds while minimizing all expenses. Over the last nine years, WCF has donated in excess of $375,000. Please note that WCF does not receive any government funding and therefore is solely reliant on fundraising activities and corporate sponsorships in order to maintain our mission of supporting families in their time of need. For more information, go to the foundation Web site, http://www.westchasefoundation.org

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To learn how you can help, please contact Event Chair Trey Corish at 545-8122.

2014 Tampa Bay Woman of the Year Candidates

Chelsea Anderson
Dawn Buck
Kylie Caporuscio
Hollie Christmas
Stephanie Corbo
Lisa Crow
Beth Cupari
Blakley Echeverry
Danielle Faine
Willena Faison
Suzi France
Yngrid Garcia
Kim Gunderson
Lisa Jenkins
Karen Johnson
Tiffani Martinez
Traci Morgan
Crystal Nichols
Theresa Rivera

By Ronda Woble, WCF Vice President, Photos by Lisa Presnail

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Westchase Santa Parade Dec. 13

Santa’s suit is pressed and his boots are shined as he gets ready to visit Westchase for his annual Pre-Flight Parade!

The Westchase Charitable Foundation (WCF) and its presenting sponsor, World of Westchase, are pleased to announce that Santa will board his vintage fire truck at 2 p.m. to begin his journey through the streets of Westchase on Saturday, Dec. 13.

Residents are encouraged to prepare their village floats and plan their block parties now to welcome Santa to their neighborhoods. More information and the estimated times for Santa’s visit to each village will appear in December’s WOW. As in the past, unwrapped gifts will be collected along the parade route to support many families at MacDill Air Base and throughout Tampa Bay. Last year over 1,000 gifts were collected and we hope to increase that amount this year.

Please call Dan O’Brien at 679-2364 or Ralph Caputo 503-9943 for more details

The WCF is a public charity and registered 501(c)3 that assists families with seriously ill children and families faced with tragedies. It works to improve the quality of life in our community. It is a volunteer organization comprised of Westchase residents who raise funds through a variety of events throughout the year. One hundred percent of net proceeds raised by its events go directly to families that need our support. Since the WCF’s inception in 2004, over $300,000 has been distributed to neighbors in need.

By Dan O’Brien

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Westchase Crime: September 2014

Watching cars play chicken with Davidsen Middle Schoolers crossing Linebaugh Avenue each afternoon makes one thing clear.

Many Westchase drivers either don’t understand or choose to ignore crosswalk laws.

If a pedestrian enters a cross-hatched crosswalk when the walk sign is blinking (or when she has a green light), all vehicles must yield to the pedestrian (even if the Don’t Walk sign begins to flash). If a pedestrian is present in a crosswalk that has no signal (like those on Gretna Green Drive in The Fords and The Greens; Montague Street at Westchase Drive; and at the entrance to Keswick Forest/Westchase Swim and Tennis Center), all vehicles must stop, yield and allow the pedestrian to cross before proceeding. If another vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk, it is also illegal to pass it as it could be obscuring your view of a pedestrian.

Before you turn, always check for the presence of pedestrians and joggers. And remember, if you see a pedestrian or jogger in a crosswalk, please observe the law.

Battery-Simple

9/8

9500 Cavendish Dr.                                                                            

Battery-Simple

9/27

9800 Montague St.                                                                             

Burglary Residence / No Force

9/6

10200 Radcliffe Dr.                                                                           

Theft From A Vehicle

9/6

10100 Montague St.                                                                             

Theft From A Vehicle

9/12

11900 Middlebury Dr.                                                                          

Fraud-Swindle

9/4

9500 W. Linebaugh Ave. 

DUI

9/12

Sheldon Rd./W. Linebaugh Ave.

DUI

9/15

Sheldon Rd./W. Linebaugh Ave.

DUI

9/19

W. Linebaugh Ave./Countryway Blvd.                                                                     

DUI

9/19

Gretna Green Dr./Greencrest Dr.                                                                     

Criminal Mischief Misdemeanor

9/21

9500 West Park Village Dr.                                                                       

Theft From a Vehicle

9/29

12000 W. Linebaugh Ave.

Grand Theft - All Other

9/10

10500 Montague St.                                                                           

Theft of Bicycle

9/18

12100 Lexington Park Dr.                                                                      

Theft of Motor Vehicle Parts

9/20

9900 Montague St.                                                                           

Criminal Mischief Misdemeanor

9/27

9800 Montague St.                                                                            

Obstructing Courts

9/18

10100 Kingsbridge Ave.                                                                         

Warrant Out of County

9/2

9800 Montague St.                                                                            

Warrant Out of County

9/2

9800 Montague St.                                                                            

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Fair Food Without the Guilt

How about some nice fair food without leaving Westchase?

Great beer specials, too?

Head on over to the Great Spiedini, the latest resident of the northwest corner of the Westchase Town Center. Born a Southern girl, I was not aware of this southern New York State specialty. One of the great parts of this gig is that I get to learn about regional and global cuisines.

A spiedie consists of cubes of chicken, pork, lamb, veal, venison or beef. The meat cubes are marinated overnight or longer in a special marinade, then grilled on spits over a charcoal pit. High protein, low fat? I’m in! No frozen Tyson Grilled & Ready chicken strips here!

Please, parents, your children deserve better.

One night, for an extended family dinner with Grandpa, we ambled over to check it out. We ordered a Classic Chicken Spiedie, which highlighted the savory marinade. While many people would like the simple meat and bread combination, I personally liked the Greek, Marsala, Parmesan and Mexican options, featuring different cheeses and sauces. The Open Face NY Strip Steak with hot cherry peppers, sautéed onions and mushrooms – served with melted cheese sauce over a slice of toasted Italian bread – was a delicious heart attack. It was Florida State Fair Food elevated to art form.

Coming back down to Earth, the thick ’shroom slice in the Portobello Sandwich was grilled after being marinated in the same sauce. It was an excellent vegetarian option and comes with roasted peppers, alfalfa sprouts and pesto sauce on a ciabatta roll.

The side dishes are all about comfort carbs. Grandma’s Macaroni and Cheese was creamy and cheesy in all the right places. The Salt Potatoes were baby-sized and dressed with butter and herbs. Kind of a conundrum – they were salty on the inside, but in a flavorful way. Meanwhile the Beer Battered Onion Rings with Boom-Boom dipping sauce were crunchy on the outside and sweet on the inside.

If you want to be really good, try the Strawberry Mango Kale Salad. It’s a little incongruous in it’s virtuosity, but the kale, strawberries, mango, sliced almond, avocado and feta cheese were all top-notch fresh. It was also absolutely beautiful in its presentation. The salad was dressed in a sweet-tart mango vinaigrette that was a little overwhelming, so it might be a good choice to order it on the side. An additional light option is ordering your chicken spiedie over a bed of romaine.

The restaurant’s atmosphere is not too exciting, however. While the outside has a pleasant patio, which will become quite lovely as the temperature drops a bit, the inside offers more of a git’r’done approach to eating. It is family friendly and very reasonably priced, however. The Great Spiedini features half-price beer specials every Monday through Friday from 6-8 p.m., making it a no-brainer for a weekday meal.

After an exhausting day at work or with the kids, I look forward to walking on over and getting my fill.

The Great Spiedini
http://www.thegreatspiedini.com
9648 W. Linebaugh
Tampa, FL 33626
749-7522
Hours: Mon-Wed, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Thu, 11 a.m.-midnight; Fri-Sat, 11 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sun, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

By Jill Chesney

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Westchase Shout Outs, November 2014

Congratulations to Dylan Swick of The Greens for earning his First Degree Black Belt on Saturday, Oct. 4. Your parents and family are so proud of the nearly five years of dedication and effort you have put into achieving this goal! The Swick family also appreciates Mr. Petrov and the other black belt instructors at Impact Martial Arts for their leadership and encouragement.

Congratulations to Jordan Lowrey of Harbor Links for earning her Girl Scout Gold Award! For her project, Jordan established and ran an art club at the Northwest YMCA. She designed the curriculum, donated the supplies and worked with the kids for over 100 hours. The Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting and was the culmination of Jordan's 13 years as a Girl Scout in Troop 772.

WOW wants your Shout Outs, short messages saying congratulations, well-done, thank you or “hey, we have some good news.” Shout Outs should be no longer than 75 words and can include a high resolution photo (JPEG attachments please). Send by e-mail by the fifteenth of the month to editor@westchasewow.com.

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From the President, Nov. 2014: Violation Increase Explained

Trust me. You have not been singled out.

There’s no vendetta and nothing personal. During the past couple of years our management team has been doing more frequent and thorough inspections.

The Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Directors negotiated a new contract with our management company, GPI, to have additional time and resources for inspections, doubling our night inspections and increasing the day inspections by 50 percent. As a result, violation notifications have increased over 66 percent and we can see the impact already. Our community is over 20-years-old and we need increased property inspections to maintain the picture perfect look we all enjoy.

The side effect is owners are receiving violations for items they had displayed on their property for a couple of years that should have been removed (or they should have been asked to remove) years ago. Owners are now receiving more than one violation. There are also owners who are not familiar with our documents and do not understand why they have to do what is asked on the violation letter.

Among others, the most common complaints are “you are singling me out because I received these violations and I see my neighbor has the same issue or others and I don’t see they are getting violation letters” and “I had this item displayed for a couple of years and now it’s an issue.” The latter I addressed at the top of this column, so let me address the former. You have not been singled out. In general, we do not know who lives in each property and it does not makes a difference. Violations are issued to all properties once they are noticed with no exception. Trust me. I get them as well.

On that same note the board approved a change to our violation policy to discourage association members from sending us many violations from neighbors – essentially becoming the “neighborhood inspector.” I assure you that your neighbors do not appreciate your taking pictures of their properties and neighbors’ disputes can escalate very quickly. We do, however, accept communications if you are concerned about a violation or two. You are welcome to contact our management office to report them.

The association’s violation process and, of course, our governing documents – including those that outline what you are allowed or not allowed to do on your property – are located on http://www.westchasewca.com I rec.ommend you review them again, especially the recent changes.

We have a great management staff and anyone who knows them will attest to that. They are always available to give you extra reasonable time to cure a violation. They can explain why the violation was issued and the process that follows the initial letter. Call them or call your voting member and ask for extra information.
Nov. 1 is our garage sale and Nov. 14 is our next Movie at the Park. Come out and enjoy the movie. More than 400 people of all ages attended last month. They had a great time enjoying a good movie, free popcorn, and quality family time.

As always, please volunteer. Simply call the office and ask how you can help – even with a few hours a year.

By Joaquin Arrillaga, WCA President

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Making Memories in Homosassa

Whenever I take my daughter on a trip, I wonder what memories are being created.

I remember a goat eating my raincoat at Wizard of Oz land in North Carolina, getting separated from my group at Disney World while looking at the topiaries, and leaving my suitcase at home the first time I was responsible for packing it.

When I mentioned Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park to my friend Carrie, she said she remembered visiting the park when she moved to Florida as a child. It was one of her favorite places her family visited that summer. That was all the encouragement I needed to plan a visit.

Homosassa is about an hour drive from Westchase. You start your visit to the park at the visitor center, where you can take a boat or tram ride to the main entrance. On the 20-minute boat ride, your guide will tell you about the park’s history and assure you that while you might not spot alligators on the boat ride, you will see wildlife when you get to the park.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park is home to a wide variety of animals indigenous to Florida and one hippopotamus, which is not. There are three resident manatees, cougars, black bears, flamingos, owls and osprey. On the mile-long nature walk through the park you’ll get the chance to view them up close. Volunteers also conduct presentations about the manatees, alligators, hippopotamus and other creatures throughout the day.

The park has changed quite a bit since Carrie’s first visit. Park Service Specialist Susan Strawbridge said that in the past year Homosassa Springs Park has added a shore bird aviary and revamped the manatee viewing area. According to Strawbridge, all of the animals at the park are rescue animals and the park participates in species survival programs for red wolves and whooping cranes. In November when the water temperature in the gulf begins to drop, Strawbridge says you can see up to 80 manatees seeking shelter in the spring’s consistent temperatures.

As any good day trip should, our trip to Homosassa Springs gave us plenty of things to talk about on the drive home. It will be interesting to see what ends up sticking around as a fond memory. Will it be Nicklas spotting a snake outside the reptile house and our ensuing panic that one had escaped from its enclosure? (After pointing the snake out to a nearby park ranger, we were assured it was harmless and was in fact a “wild” snake.) Will it be the underwater observatory where you could come face-to-face with manatees? Will it be the owls who wouldn’t stop staring at us? Will it be the fact that we learned that hippos fling their poo as signs of aggression?

Whatever the kids remember is OK with me, because I’ll always remember that we had a beautiful, fun day with great friends in one of Florida’s coolest state parks.

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Park
http://www.floridastateparks.org/homosassasprings/
4150 S. Suncoast Boulevard
Homosassa, FL
(352) 628-5343

By Marcy Sanford

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Garage Sale and VM Elections

Finally the cooler, less humid weather is here again!

It’s time to start cleaning out the dresser drawers and closets and get the long-sleeved shirts out. As you are doing that, keep in mind that the bi-annual garage sale was moved to Nov. 1. It’s the perfect way to get rid of some of those items that you no longer use or wear.

As a reminder to everyone, each unit owner will soon be receiving a proxy card to vote for his or her neighborhood Voting Member and alternates. Please return these cards to us as soon as you receive them. It’s important that each neighborhood has a representative to vote on its behalf and to be the voice of your community.

Included with this year’s mail out is a “Contact Info Form.” The association is gathering resident e-mails in order to disseminate important association information to our residents quickly and more efficiently. We must have your written approval on the form provided. Please note that this information will not be used to create a Westchase directory, nor will it be used to provide written notice of violations to any owner. It will only be used for association-related business matters as authorized by you on the form. You can e-mail, fax (813-926-1821) or mail it back to us. (Please note that WOW creates its own unrelated resident directory.).

Within the next few weeks you will be receiving your payment notice for your annual assessment – $319 due Jan. 1. Payment is due no later than Jan 31 in order to avoid a $25 late fee. Be sure to mail in your payment as soon as you receive your notice. You can also drop it off at our office for your convenience.

Now that the summer rains are behind us, we ask all owners to please assess their properties and see what may need a little bit of cleaning – driveways, sidewalks, walkways, fencing, roofs, etc. Maybe install a new layer of mulch to perk up those landscape beds. Just a little bit of sprucing up can make a huge improvement.

We wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

As always, management staff is here to help Westchase residents with any questions or concerns. Please feel free to drop by our office, located next to West Park Village pool (10049 Parley Dr.), or contact us at 926-6404 or via e-mail at manager@wcamanager.com.

By Debbie Sainz, CAM, CMCA

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Stories That Satisfy Like Novels

Short story collections are always a nice change of pace, especially when there is little time for leisurely reading.

The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol is a perfect choice during the start of the busy holiday season.

The title of Antopol's collection is a play on words. Several characters are dissidents, one even a target of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. But in most of the stories, to be "un-American" means to lack a sense of being anchored in America, to be suspended between cultures.

Antopol crafts deeply sympathetic characters. Each struggles to find his or her place when the past exerts a burden on the present. “The Unknown Soldier,” set during the McCarthy era, centers on a Russian-American apolitical communist. His effort to parlay his Russian persona into a film career backfires, sending him to prison for contempt of Congress. The title character in “My Grandmother Tells Me This Story” escapes a forced labor camp in a harrowing underground flight to join teen partisans in Belarus during World War II. And in "Retrospective” an Israeli man returns to Jerusalem to settle the estate of his American wife's grandmother. The secret that comes out leads him to reexamine the estranged relationship with his wife.

This collection of stories is unusually cohesive. Although the times and places are different, an underlying theme links the pieces. Each story is a complete work, while conceptually connecting with the other tales.

This work could be uncomfortably heavy. Antopol, however, is a master at using witty dialog to counterpoint the weightiness of the content. When one character describes the grilling he once endured in Czechoslovakia, he remarks, “Did they really believe sleep deprivation would crack a father with a newborn?” And a young woman explains to an older man how she knows he’s divorced: “You have that look about you. Like you just ran out of a burning building.”

Engaging story lines and depth of characters make the individual stories in this collection satisfying. The universal themes of family dynamics and hope in the face of unfulfilled expectations unfolding in fresh settings make The UnAmericans altogether memorable.

By Carol Collins

Carol Collins is a member of the Westchase Book Club and can be reached with book suggestions at carolcollins@tampabay.rr.com.

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Meet Ricky!

Ricky is a leatherback bearded dragon. He belongs to Merritt Stephens of West Park Village. Ricky is nearly 1-year-old and likes to swim and climb trees. He enjoys trips to local stores as he sits upon Merritt’s shoulder. Ricky’s favorite foods are strawberries, watermelon and tomatoes. He is easy to care for and brings lots of fun to the Stephens home!

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Westchase Artists Make Plans for 5th Annual Holiday Market

At the September group meeting, members of the Westchase Artists Society began finalizing plans for the 2014 Westchase Holiday Market.

This year’s Holiday Market will be returning to the Westchase Golf Club on Sunday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Holiday shoppers will be able to find the perfect gift, including original paintings, photography, ceramics, jewelry and sculpture from local fine artists along with handmade craft items. Proceeds from the event will benefit Autism Speaks.

Applications from fine artists and crafters are still being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until Nov. 22. Additional information and a link to register can be found on http://www.westchaseartists.com (See .Article, Page 20.)

Congratulations to Vanessa Montenegro whose pastel drawing, Body Checking, was selected for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s third annual Open Call for Artists. This year’s jury consisted of management from the Ringling Museum, the Dali Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts and Penny Vinik. Her artwork will be on display for an entire year at the Amalie Arena on the Suite Floor.

The next group meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. at the Upper Tampa Bay Library. Please visit http://www.westchaseartists.com for more information about the evening’s agenda. You can also friend the group on Facebook to stay updated on group activities.

The Westchase Artists Society is open to all types of visual artists from Upper Tampa Bay. Those interested in learning more about the group are invited to drop by a monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the Upper Tampa Bay Library on Countryway Boulevard. Please bring your creativity and a sample of your artwork to share.

By Teresa Trubilla

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Eighty Acres Near Westchase Slated for Development

The project will see 220 townhomes off Sheldon Road.

National homebuilder M/I Homes is developing a new townhome community, West Lake Town Homes, on 80 acres of land near Westchase. The Ohio-based company paid $3.5 million for the land, purchasing it from the Thomas Family trust, which owned the former ranch land on which Westchase is built.

West Lake Town Homes will be built on Sheldon Road north of Linebaugh Avenue next to The Palms at Citrus Park – a Taylor Morrison planned community of 74 single-family homes.

Dave Parker, M/I Homes vice president of sales and marketing, said that the company is planning to build 96 townhomes in the initial phase with a total of 220 townhomes when the community is complete. “The townhomes will be 1,500 to 2,200 square feet. They will range in price from low $200,000 to the mid $200,000. The complex will include a pool cabana and children’s playground.”

Parker says that the only access road will be off Sheldon Road and that the subdivision is currently zoned for Deer Park Elementary, Farnell Middle, and Sickles High School. The homes in The Palms at Citrus Park are also currently zoned for the same schools.

Parker says that M/I Homes hopes to begin open sales in the middle of February.

Taylor Morrison’s Jennifer Bouanani said that they began preselling lots in October and should have a model complete in November.

By Marcy Sanford

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The World’s Friendliest Cookie Lady

"Will that be chocolate chip or sprinkles, honey?"

Whether it’s a quick stop for game snacks or a longer visit for your weekly shopping, visiting Publix without running into someone you know is quite near impossible.

No one you meet, however, offers a more enthusiastic greeting than the world’s friendliest cookie lady.

JoAlice Snyder, known to most patrons of the bakery department as “Miss Jo,” has served Westchase residents baked goods with a broad smile and cheerful demeanor for almost 15 years. Adults enjoy the time she spends with them at the bakery counter while making decisions on birthday cakes or pastries. Children hide behind the bananas until Miss Jo approaches the counter to dole out a complimentary cookie. Then they dash up to receive a joyful greeting as they ponder chocolate chip or sprinkle delight.

Young or old, Miss Jo makes everyone feel special.

Snyder was born in Tampa at McDill Air Force Base. She bears the name of both her parents, Joe and Alice. As her father served in the Air Force, her family moved around the world to be near him. The longest distance they traveled was to Norway during her elementary school years. She explained military life in the 1950’s was far different than it is for those serving today. There was no base with a commissary. One building was used as both church, where they held Sunday school classes, and medical station, where children would get their immunization shots. Children in kindergarten through eighth grade attended one school while children in ninth through twelfth grades would be boarded out to other countries to attend school abroad.
No matter where they were in the world, Snyder remembers the Thanksgiving holidays fondly. “It didn’t matter where we were, my mom always had it all together with the traditional meal,” she said.

If ingredients were hard to find, her aunts would ship whatever they needed to make the meal complete.

In 1969, Snyder made her way back to Tampa to be near family again. She is now mom to daughter Cindy, grandmother to Cory, Ashley and Kayla and great-grandmother to Beyonce and Sean. Family fun is spent on the local beaches or shopping with her grandchildren. In December of 1999, Snyder entered the Publix at Westchase and noticed a “Help Wanted” sign. “I asked for an application and I spoke with a representative. Then I was hired the next day,” she recalled.

She started in the bakery baking bread. As a great-grandmother, one might imagine she started in the bakery because of her love of baking. Not so, said Snyder. “I don’t bake at home unless it’s with my granddaughter,” she said with a bashful giggle.

Her day typically begins on the early shift as she arrives by 7 a.m. She works the front line of the bakery waiting on customers, packaging breads and donuts or working the icing stating for pecan rings and donuts. She has never considered changing store locations. “I love this community. Everyone makes you feel like part of the family,” she said.

The best part, she added, is watching whom she calls her “cookie kids” grow up. Many still come by for a visit occasionally when they’re in the Westchase community visiting family.

Though her job requires standing and constant movement all day, Miss Jo manages to keep smiling and greeting customers with heartfelt joy. She seems truly happy to each customer. This consistency, she explained, is the result of always starting over as a child as her family moved many times. “We were always the new kids and we were always looking to make new friends.”

With the holidays fast approaching, Snyder is gearing up for the anticipated crowds and busy shoppers. Special items like pumpkin, sweet potato and pecan pies will be added to the choices in the bakery. The turkey dinner donation drive will begin near the end of October and will run through the end of the year. Last year, more than 200 dinners were donated to Feeding America and the Children’s Home. She is ready for the challenge of the increased workload, she said, and is looking forward to the holiday season.

Store manager Dan Damron speaks highly of Snyder and her interaction with customers and co-workers alike. “She’s phenomenal. She’s our standard and we try to get new employees to work with her when they begin,” he said.

Miss Jo has a Thanksgiving wish for Westchase residents. “I wish them a great holiday with happiness and love.”

Well said from a person who shares both with everyone she greets.

By Lisa Stephens

Stephens, a resident of West Park Village, is always looking for interesting Westchase residents to profile. She can be contacted at lmsfla@verizon.net.

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Painting with a Twist Opens in West Park Town Center

After her first Painting with a Twist experience, Fords resident Jennifer Bobrovetski was hooked.

“I went to a team-building event at a corporate conference and was in awe of the experience. I was amazed that I was able to create a masterpiece and had so much fun. I took my husband to one of the classes here in Tampa and we both agreed that it would be great to have a Painting with a Twist in Westchase.”

“You don’t need to know how to paint when you come to a Painting with a Twist class,” said Bobrovetski. “The instructor talks you through each step.”

Classes, she said, aren’t formal. They’re fun, social events at whose end you have a beautiful painting.

Painting with a Twist will open at 10110 Montague St., hopefully by November’s end. Bobrovetski said there are almost 4,000 paintings potential artists can choose to paint. “We will have a calendar on our Web site with the different paintings for each class.” Attendees can pick a painting from the Web site or the studio can provide suggestions.

Painting with a Twist will sell wine and beer. Bobrovetski suggests you come in about a half hour before class to socialize and get the creative juices flowing.

In addition to nightly and daily classes, Painting with a Twist will host private parties for children and adults and team building events.

Bobrovetski says another reason she likes the Painting with a Twist concept is that the company as a whole gives back to the community. “One of the core values of the company is to be an active member of the community and to focus on giving back.”

Each month features a fundraiser called Painting with a Purpose. For December’s event, Pit Bull Happenings, painters send in a photo of their pets before the class. The pets will be transformed to canvas and they will get to paint a picture of them.

For more information about Painting with a Twist and their grand opening, visit http://www.paintingwithatwist.com/tampa-westchase or their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pwatwestchaseFL

.

By Marcy Sanford

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WOW Events Calendar, November 2014

Check out these free (or nearly free) events for November.

DUNEDIN FINE ARTS CENTER ANNUAL HOLIDAY SHOW

Date: Sat, Nov. 1
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Dunedin Fine Arts Center
For more information: http://www.dfac.org
Ages: All

Shop for the art lover in your life at this annual art show. More than 100 artists will participate in this art celebration, now in its 28th year. The art will be for sale, along with decorated themed trees and a selection of hard-to-find gifts.

WESTCHASE SUNDAY MORNING MARKET

Date: Sundays, Nov. 2-Nov. 23
Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Price: Free admission
Location: Westchase Town Center
Ages: All

Stock up on all of your favorite organic produce, cheese and baked goods at this weekly market. The road will be blocked off between Tijuana Flats and Burger 21 to make way for up to 40 vendors. In addition to food, there will also be handmade soaps, all natural pet snacks and allergen-free cosmetics.

FIRST FRIDAYS CONCERT SERIES

Date: Fri, Nov. 7
Time: 5-9 p.m.
Price: Free admission
Location: Westchase Town Center, from the fountain to Maloney's
For more information: http://wobusa.com/Locations/Westchase
Ages: All

Head to Westchase Town Center, where the street will be shut down from the fountain to Maloney's for a night filled with food, drinks, live music and activities for the whole family.

VETERANS DAY CELEBRATION

Date: Tue, Nov. 11
Time: 11 a.m.
Price: Free
Location: Safety Harbor Marina
For more information: http://www.cityofsafetyharbor.com
Ages: All

The City of Safety Harbor, American Legion Post 238, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10093 will present a salute to all of those brave men and women who have served and are currently serving our country.

MOVIES IN THE PARK

Date: Fri, Nov. 14
Time: 7 p.m.
Price: Free
Location: West Park Village Town Center Green on Montague Street
For more information: http://westchasewca.com/
Ages: All

Movies start at sundown. Bring chairs and blankets and insect repellent and settle in for a great movie night. Free Birds will be showing in November.

FARM CITY DAY

Date: Sat, Nov. 15
Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Price: Free
Location: Heritage Village, Largo
For more information: http://www.pinellascounty.org/heritage
Ages: All

This is the kickoff event for Farm City Week, which was created to enhance links between rural and urban dwellers. Hands-on activities will include making butter and ice cream at the "dairy barn," milking goats, petting chickens and bunnies, and agriculturally themed arts and crafts.

SANDING OVATIONS SAND SCULPTURES AND MUSIC FESTIVAL

Date: Wed, Nov. 19-Sun, Nov. 23
Time: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.         
Price: Free
Location: Bilmar Beach Resort, Treasure Island
For more information: http://mytreasureisland.org/visitors/events.php
Ages: All

Treasure Island is known as the sand sculpture capital of Florida, and this event alone is worth the visit! Witness eight master sand sculptors competing against each other while enjoying crafts, food, drinks and kids' activities.

THE FLORIDA ORCHESTRA: THE SCIENCE OF SOUND

Date: Sat, Nov. 22
Time: 10 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.
Price: $5 per person (at Florida Orchestra ticket center in advance or at the door based on availability)
Location: MOSI, Tampa
For more information: http://www.floridaorchestra.org
Ages: All

Have you ever wondered what makes a sound? Why are some high and some low? What is a vibration? Come find out with the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) and musicians of The Florida Orchestra! Join us for Musical Playtime, starting 45 minutes prior to the concert. Activities will include an instrument petting zoo, musical games, stories and other learning opportunities.

TAMPA BAY WATER SKI TEAM HOLIDAY SHOW

Date: Sat, Nov. 29
Time: 4 p.m. (pre-show 3:30 p.m.)
Price: Free
Location: Home Site at 130 Burbank Road, Oldsmar
For more information: http://www.tampawaterski.com
Ages: All

Ring in the holidays with this fan favorite festive holiday show! The last show of the year for this team is sure to be a great one! Shows feature ballet lines, bare footers, jumpers, pyramids and more. Seating is available or bring a lawn chair or blanket.

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Second Quarter Off to a Great Start at Davidsen

It’s hard to believe that the first nine weeks have come and gone at Davidsen.

Much was accomplished during the first quarter. First, congratulations are in order for all of the PHD students who earned straight A’s during the first nine weeks. Those students will be honored with a special breakfast on Nov. 7.

A number of students also channeled their creative sides to create an entry for this year’s Reflection’s theme, “The World Would be a Better Place If….” As always, the entries are impressive. As a thank you for all of their efforts, participants will be treated to a breakfast later this month. Awards will be announced at a later date. Good luck to all who participated!

The eighth grade class cast their votes to decide the theme for this year’s dance and the winner is…A Night Under the Stars! Fundraising efforts for the dance are also well underway. Many thanks to our Westchase McDonald's for hosting a monthly Spirit Night to help raise funds for a fabulous and free dance for our graduating eighth graders in May. The Spirit Night is held the first Tuesday of every month from 5-8 p.m. (dine-in, take-out or drive-thru) and no flyer is needed. We hope to see you there!

Also, thanks to everyone who came out to the Burger 21 Spirit Night in September! Many thanks to Burger 21 for their support of our fund-raising efforts. We are so lucky to be in such a supportive community!

The second nine weeks promise much excitement as well. Next up is The Great American Teach In, which will take place Nov. 20. Volunteers are needed to make this event a success. If you have a career or a hobby that you would like to share with the students, please contact Leslie Blaze at ldblaze@aol.com. This is a great opportunity to share your knowledge with students and inspire them to consider their future goals.

The next conference night has been scheduled for Dec. 3 from 5-7:30 p.m.

If you are looking for a way to be involved with the Davidsen PTSA, it is never too late. Volunteers are always needed and are greatly appreciated. Keep track of upcoming events by visiting the PTSA Web site at http://www.davidsenptsa.org or like us on Facebook by entering key words Davidsen Middle School PTSA.

We wish all of our Dragons and their families a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Important Dates

NOVEMBER
4 PTSA Board/Committee Meeting
4 McDonald's Spirit Night
7 Report Cards/PHD Breakfast
20 Great American Teach-in
24-28  Thanksgiving Break

DECEMBER
2  PTSA Board/Committee Meeting
2 McDonald's Spirit Night
3  Conference Night
22  Winter Break Begins

By Karen Ring

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Diet Can Change Your Brain

Dementia and other brain-related diseases are not just on the rise, but are becoming epidemic.

Someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every 67 seconds in the U.S.

The conditions’ rise is not explained by genetics alone. Rather, it is the influence of our lifestyles and environment, which pull the trigger and set these devastating conditions in motion.

In his groundbreaking research at the National Institutes of Aging, Dr. Mark Mattson has found that calorie-restricting mice that have been bred to develop Alzheimer’s disease can dramatically slow down dementia’s onset.

The mice, which would normally develop Alzheimer’s disease at a human-age equivalent of 45, delayed the onset of memory problems by an astounding 20-22 human years when fed through intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting is a way to restrict calories, but not on a regular, daily basis. It is done by significantly reducing calorie intake for a designated period of time, and only periodically.

Human studies on intermittent fasting have several variations. One popular approach restricts calories to 500-600 calories per day on two non-consecutive days per week as described by Dr. Michael Mosley in his 2013 book, the Fast Diet.

After personally testing different types of intermittent fasting programs, Mosley settled upon the aforementioned program and after five weeks documented the following changes in his own health:

• A reduction in body fat from 27 percent to a healthy goal of 19.1 percent
• A reduction in blood glucose from pre-diabetes to normal ranges
• A 50 percent reduction in IGF-1, a hormone linked with various cancers
• A significant drop in harmful LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL

How can this alternate style of eating be so incredibly powerful that is might preserve our brains, or at least slow its deterioration? The answer seems to be that the brain can produce certain growth factors, most notably, BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). In Mattson’s mouse model, animals that were intermittently fasted literally gave birth to new brain cells (a process known as neurogenesis) as a result of increasing BDNF.

Knowing we have some ability to slow or prevent the diseases that are stealing the core of loved ones, family, and friends is an affirmation of just how powerful our diet can be.

By Christine Miller, RD, LD/N

A Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Educator, Christine Miller owns Advanced Nutrition Concepts at http://www.advancednutritionconcepts.com<./p>

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Westchase Homes Sold in September, 2014

Address

Sold
Price

Days on
Market

Price
Per
Sq. Ft.

Beds

Full
Baths

Half
Baths

Sq. Ft.
Heated

Pool

12386 Berkeley Square Dr.

128,000

5

111.11

2

1

1

1,152

N

12314 Berkeley Square Dr.

130,000

40

112.85

2

1

1

1,152

N

10506 Cranleigh Ct.

180,000

109

80.46

4

2

1

2,237

N

9508 W Park Village Dr. # 104

210,000

63

116.73

3

2

1

1,799

N

9528 W Park Village Dr.

225,000

5

154.96

3

2

1

1,452

N

9918 New Parke Rd.

235,000

2

161.85

3

2

1

1,452

N

9807 Gingerwood Dr.

253,000

34

163.86

2

2

0

1,544

N

9978 Stockbridge Dr.

290,000

47

148.26

3

2

0

1,956

Y

9204 Woodbay Dr.

306,750

70

129.49

3

3

1

2,369

N

9913 Stockbridge Dr.

315,500

39

161.30

3

2

0

1,956

Y

11826 Lancashire Dr.

334,000

6

159.05

4

3

0

2,100

Y

9611 Gretna Green Dr.

349,900

6

186.41

3

2

0

1,877

N

9632 Gretna Green Dr.

350,000

236

165.56

3

2

0

2,114

N

9848 Bayboro Bridge Dr.

350,000

45

193.37

3

2

0

1,810

Y

10511 Rochester Way

358,000

51

175.92

4

2

0

2,035

Y

10207 Woodford Bridge St.

374,900

9

150.74

4

2

1

2,487

N

10613 Weybridge Dr.

375,000

56

171.94

4

3

0

2,181

Y

10135 Kingsbridge Ave.

400,000

22

153.26

4

3

0

2,610

Y

9404 Cavendish Dr.

405,000

20

121.62

4

3

1

3,330

N

9512 Greenpointe Dr.

406,000

26

182.55

4

3

0

2,224

Y

11910 Middlebury Dr.

445,000

71

170.69

4

3

0

2,607

Y

10617 Tavistock Dr.

475,000

6

154.47

4

3

0

3,075

Y

10110 Rowlett Way

490,000

110

150.31

4

3

1

3,260

N

10307 Greenhedges Dr.

543,500

107

150.01

4

4

0

3,623

Y

11807 Marblehead Dr.

700,000

186

166.87

5

4

1

4,195

Y

 Information provided by Doug and Nancy Wood of Coldwell Banker

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Franklin Boys Aim to Honor Gold Star Families

Hillsborough County Magnet School Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy needs help to honor families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Hershel W. Williams served as a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.  After taking part in the invasion of Guam, Hershel was directed to Iwo Jima in early 1945, where he was positioned in the Firethrower and Demolition unit.

The Americans, exposed to enemy fire, were taking huge casualties.  Williams’ unit had landed with their six flamethrower men and had lost them all in two days without advancing more than 50 yards. Hershel, however, ultimately defeated many pillboxes, enabling the Marines to advance. For his bravery he received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman. 

Before serving in the war, Hershel, then 18, was a West Virginia cab driver who delivered death notice telegrams from the War Department to devastated families. Now Hershel’s goal is to build a monument to honor the Gold Star Families in all 50 states.  Gold Star Families are those that have suffered the loss of a loved one serving in the military.  Hershel “Woody” Walker has selected Franklin Middle Magnet to be the site for the State of Florida’s Gold Star memorial monument. 

Franklin students under the guidance of Grade 8 Social Studies teacher Michael Tolbert have undertaken a school-wide, student-centered effort to honor the families who have sacrificed so much for our nation. 

Mikal Willeke and Jackson Sullivan of Westchase both attend Franklin and have been working on this project.  Franklin students have worked very hard over the last two years mailing letters, washing cars and attending a multitude of veterans’ events. They have raised close to $35,000 of the $45,000 needed to build this monument. They need your help to make it a reality.

To learn more about this project or donate to this special cause visit http://www.hwwmohfoundation.org/tampa.html

.

By Mikal Willeke

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Westchase Thanksgiving Food Drive Nov. 23

When it comes to hunger in America and Tampa Bay, there’s stereotype and then there’s reality.

The stereotype? Consider the lazy, luxury car driving welfare queen mooching off the government and others’ generosity.

Speak to any volunteer at any of Tampa Bay’s food banks, and they’ll tell you this: that stereotype doesn’t match up with the families walking through their doors.

The Facts

The actual numbers tell a different story – and testify to the importance of regular contributions to local food banks.

Two-thirds of food bank families with children have at least one working adult, usually with a full-time job. But a minimum wage job in Florida pays $15,860 annually before taxes.

Enter another misconception: only teenagers make the minimum wage.

Actually 76 percent of those earning the minimum wage are 20 or older. Fifty-five percent of those making the minimum are women.

In Tampa, the average one-bedroom apartment rents for $844 monthly and rent for a two-bedroom apartment averages $1,002. Average monthly childcare expenses in Tampa range from $800-1,000. Now add in transportation costs to get to and from work.

Further, in recent years, inflation has eaten into the minimum wage (currently $7.93 in Florida and $7.25 nationally). The wage would need to be more than $11 per hour to equal its buying power in the late 1960s.

Federal cuts to SNAP, formerly called food stamps, totaled $5 billion just last November. How generous are food stamps? If you received the maximum amount, you would be allocated a total of $5.34 to spend on dinner for three people.

Of the 48 million Americans who live in food-insecure homes, more than half are white and more than half live outside of cities. Food insecurity in the U.S. has jumped fivefold since the 1960s and 57 percent since just the late 1990s.

Closer to home, of the 1.3 million residents of Hillsborough County, one out of six lives beneath the poverty level; for them, food runs out at least once per year. Food insecurity stalks rural parts of the county and even Tampa’s suburbs.

Were it not for free school breakfast and lunch programs, a significant number of Tampa Bay kids would not eat today. In total, 3,552,000 Floridians, or 18 percent of the state, relies on food assistance from the government to avoid hunger.

If local children are to eat over this Thanksgiving break, they need a helping hand from you.

A Hope-filled Hand

On Nov. 23 your Westchase neighbors will be gathering at Westchase Elementary School before fanning out into Westchase’s villages to collect donations for Metropolitan Ministries. The community’s food drive has grown by leaps and bounds since its inauguration seven years ago. The drive was established by Ben Stein of Harbor Links/The Estates as part of his Eagle Scout project.

“Westchase has been an incredible holiday partner of Metropolitan Ministries since 2009,” said Tammy Charles, Metropolitan Ministries’ Manager of Community Donations. “Since then, residents have donated over 70,133 pounds of food including over 750 turkeys and served more than 2,000 needy families during the holidays. Last year alone, Westchase blessed over 700 families with 22,436 pounds of food and over 300 turkeys.  With their generous efforts, Westchase brings so much hope to so many of our hungry neighbors during the holidays.”

If you’ve never participated in the food drive, a number of generous business leaders have stepped forward to offer encouragement. They are offering to match your donations to enhance resident participation. Josh Butts of Cornerstone Insurance has committed to matching one turkey for every two that residents (as a whole) donate (up to 100) while Nancy and Doug Wood of The Wood Team at Coldwell Banker will donate two cans of food for every turkey that residents donate.

In addition, Century Buick of Tampa has committed to donating $250 and collecting donations at their dealership. Pamela Patterson of State Farm Insurance has also committed to donating $250 while Vivian Braaksma, also of State Farm, has committed $100.

When two of the business matchers were asked why they participate, Josh Butts of Cornerstone Insurance commented, “Donating the turkeys is a fun, community, engaging event that allows us to give back. I have been blessed in life and always had a lot of food on the table at Thanksgiving. Donating the turkeys is a small way of helping pass on the blessings to others and I am excited to play a part.”

Nancy Wood of Coldwell Banker also explained why every year her team pulls up with hundreds of canned goods to match residents’ turkey donations. “We just believe in the positive energy of this grass-roots, community effort to help contribute to the greater good. It was a wonderful idea when Ben Stein initiated it for an Eagle Scout project and we are honored to be able to participate in the continued success with the true spirit of neighbors helping neighbors, from Westchase to all over Tampa Bay.”

WOW is looking for even more residents and businesses to participate in the food drive’s matching campaign. Simply e-mail WOW Publisher Chris Barrett at editor@westchasewow.com for information.

WOW also is making a challenge. This year the neighborhood with the highest percentage of  homes donating frozen turkeys will win $300 for a holiday block party. WOW is also offering $250 for a holiday block party to the neighborhood that shows the greatest improvement in household participation over last year. Round up your neighbors, organize their participation and some of your fun this holiday can be on WOW!

Metropolitan Ministries

A Tampa institution, Metropolitan Ministries is an ecumenical organization that assists Tampa’s community of homeless and hungry citizens in ways that instill both dignity and self-sufficiency. Established in 1972 by 13 churches of different denominations, Metropolitan Ministries now occupies a sizable campus on Florida Avenue and helps tens of thousands of Tampa Bay’s poorest families – and their children – each holiday season.

How to Help

The Westchase Thanksgiving Food Drive gives residents a simple way to help out. Simply purchase as many of the food items as you wish from the list running with this article and place them out on your driveway at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 23 (West Park Village residents, however, are asked to place donations out at the curb rather than in the neighborhood’s alleys).

If you’re leaving town before Sunday, Nov. 23, you can still participate. You can drop your donations off early at the Westchase Recreation Center at 9791 Westchase Dr. in The Bridges or 10314 Seabridge Way in The Bridges.  You can also leave them with a neighbor to set out on your driveway the day of the drive. (No frozen turkeys can be dropped off early, however, since no freezer space is available). Please include your address and village name with your donation so that your neighborhood can receive credit.

Westchase volunteers will do the rest. They are already hard at work to ensure the success of this year’s drive. Dozens of your fellow neighbors will canvass Westchase neighborhoods and deliver reminder flyers over the weekend of Nov. 15-16.  On Sunday, Nov. 23, volunteers will then drive through the community to pick up donations.

If you are donating a frozen turkey, please place it out as close to the 1 p.m. pick-up as possible to help keep it frozen.

If you are interested in volunteering with the drive, simply e-mail WOW Editor Chris Barrett at editor@westchasewow.com.

All of our volunteers wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

Can You Top Last Year?

In 2013, 1,000 Westchase homes and apartments donated to the drive. Hundreds of volunteers, including numerous members of Westchase’s Girl Scout and Boy Scout Troops, showed up at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center to help sort and load the donations onto three trucks sent to Westchase by Metropolitan Ministries.

In total the drive raised 22,436 pounds of food, including 301 turkeys, marking an historic high. By participating this year, you can help your neighborhood win a block party sponsored by WOW!

Village

Homes Donating

Total  Homes

Participation %

Glencliff

48

48

100.0%

Wycliff

25

30

83.3%

Keswick Forest

51

64

79.7%

Abbotsford

25

40

62.5%

Bennington

54

108

50.0%

Ayrshire

23

49

46.9%

The Greens: Greencrest

23

54

42.6%

The Greens: Greenmont

17

41

41.5%

Radcliffe

63

154

40.9%

Harbor Links

40

109

36.7%

The Bridges: Sturbridge

17

47

36.2%

Brentford

30

85

35.3%

The Bridges: Stonebridge

23

66

34.8%

Castleford

23

69

33.3%

The Bridges: Wakesbridge

29

88

33.0%

Glenfield

31

101

30.7%

The Estates

19

63

30.2%

The Enclave

32

108

29.6%

Saville Rowe

10

36

27.8%

The Greens: Greenpointe

41

153

26.8%

Stamford

16

61

26.2%

The Bridges: Stockbridge

17

65

26.2%

The Greens: Greendale

14

55

25.5%

Village Green

22

90

24.4%

Tree Tops

21

90

23.3%

Kingsford

30

132

22.7%

Cheshire/Derbyshire

42

186

22.6%

The Bridges: Baybridge

23

102

22.5%

Woodbay

31

162

19.1%

Chelmsford

19

100

19.0%

The Greens: Greensprings

20

114

17.5%

The Bridges: Woodbridge

6

40

15.0%

The Greens: Greenhedges

11

94

11.7%

The Vineyards

14

120

11.7%

West Park Village (except Village Green)

63

612

10.3%

Berkeley Square

11

122

9.0%

Thanksgiving Box of Hope

1 frozen turkey
1 box of cereal (hot or cold)
1 can of fruit
2 cans of yams
1 bag or box of stuffing mix
1 loaf of fresh bread
4 cans of vegetables
1 jar of peanut butter
2 bags or cans of black beans
1 bag of rice
1 can or box of potatoes
2 cans of cranberry sauce
1 can or packet of gravy
1 package of cookies or pastries
1 family box of Jell-O or pudding

Metropolitan Ministries: 2013 at a Glance

• 1,632,803 meals provided for hungry people
• 50,865 families helped through outreach services
• 3,022 children clothed
• 3,846 families assisted with essential water and electricity bills
• 22,638 families received holiday assistance
• 1,003 emergency nights at motels were provided for families
• 19,126 children received toys
• More than 21,826 volunteers donated 136,000 hours
• 107 families benefited from Metropolitan Ministries’ Uplift U® residential program

By Chris Barrett, Publisher; Photos by James Broome Photography

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Catch Twenty-Three Fake Ad Contest Continues, November 2014

Surely it’s occurred to all weekend football widows.

And those guys sitting at restaurant tables across from women who’d rather be having a romantic dinner with their smartphones:

“Perhaps my loved one has joined the unliving.”

“Could be, or maybe they're just not that into you,” observed Frozen Pizza Eater Marty Hamilton of Brentford. “Before you ‘cross the streams’ and call Dr. Egon Spengler, try making your walking dead a sandwich,” he advised.

If you think yours has been zombified, Spengler can confirm it. According to October’s fakery (page 60), the good doctor has abandoned his ghost-busting career to tackle spousal zombie detection.

“Besides, if it's action you seek,” Marty continued, “for a small co-pay Dr. Spengler may be able to mutate your Night of the Living Dead-style zombie into a full on World War Z hyperzombie. Be careful what you wish for.”

The editor thanks his brother, Brian, unliving up in New York, for October’s fake ad. Desperate for a Halloween ad, the editor contacted all of his siblings. Brian hit upon Zombie Busters after the editor rejected several ideas, including non-rotting, genetically modified pumpkins sold under the catch-phrase “They’re Gourd-geous!”

We also congratulate West Park’s Debbie Dawson, upon whom the fake ad gods smiled. Debbie will be taking her favorite zombie to Catch Twenty-Three, courtesy of its proprietor Rob Wickner. Thanks, Rob!

Don’t be a turkey! Get your November fake ad guesses in today!

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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A Favorite Day of the Year

One of my favorite days of the year lands this month on Sunday, Nov. 23.

It’s not because it kicks off a week of no school, meaning I don’t have to roll out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to rouse my high schooler for the bus. (Although that’s kind of nice.)

Nov. 23 is the day of the Westchase’s Thanksgiving Food Drive, organized by WOW to benefit Metropolitan Ministries.

It’s one of a handful of days that annually remind me of how special my community is. It’s a day that makes me thankful to call Westchase home.

Many people think of Westchase as beautifully landscaped medians, well-kept homes and impressive schools.

For me, Westchase is best captured by events like the food drive. Its volunteers – and the residents who will generously participate in the event – represent the special community spirit that’s always been a hallmark of this great neighborhood. That spirit – our strong and proud sense of community – is, by far, Westchase’s greatest selling point.

The food drive volunteers’ enthusiasm and generosity are contagious. I invite you to come out and witness it. As others who participate will tell you, you cannot help but go away feeling moved.

Yet while WOW organizes the Thanksgiving Food Drive each year, it would be inaccurate to claim it as ours.

The drive is actually yours.

At 1 p.m. I will climb onto the back of a Metropolitan Ministries truck and greet some amazing adults and kids. Scores of moms and dads, grandparents, and a cornucopia of kids will gather in the parking lot of Westchase Elementary. Some teens will be seeking high school service hours. Other kids will represent the service ideals of their Scout Troops. Joining these residents will be business leaders offering generous matches to encourage residents to participate. Their participation promises to multiply your generosity.

And so I ask a personal favor of you, our reader, this month. If you’ve participated in the drive before, I thank you and ask you to participate generously again.

If you’ve not yet participated, please take a few minutes to look at the drive’s food list in our cover feature, beginning on page 4 (our feature will even tell you how you can support the drive if you’re leaving town before Nov. 23). Please stop by the grocery store, pick up a few of the items or an entire meal (whatever you can afford), and lend a helping hand so that less fortunate kids can also enjoy a happy Thanksgiving.

As always, we welcome your letters and shout outs and ask that you let our valued advertisers know you saw them in WOW.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Shedding Our Fear of Snakes

Snakes tend to get a bad rap. As if that scaly, slithery appearance isn’t creepy enough, snakes have been associated with evil in Hollywood blockbusters time and time again, making them that much more intimidating when they show up in real life.

Homeowners are therefore often quick to get rid of snakes by any means possible when they encounter them on their property. John Soto, area herpetologist and former senior reptile keeper with the Bronx Zoo, pointed out, however, that when left alone, snakes serve a valuable role in our community.

Snakes help keep the ecosystem in balance. As predators, they eat insects, worms, toads, frogs, fish and sometimes other snakes. Most important, they help keep the rodent population in check. “Rats will do a lot more damage than snakes. They get in attics and gnaw on wires, which can be a fire hazard,” Soto said. Snakes also serve as important prey for birds, mammals and alligators.

When it comes to dealing with snakes, it is important to remember that of the 35 snake species found in central Florida, only four are venomous: the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, the Pygmy Rattlesnake, the Eastern Coral Snake and the Cottonmouth (also known as the Water Moccasin). The non-venomous varieties most often encountered in Westchase are the Black Racer, the Ringneck, the Garter Snake, the Corn Snake and the Rough Green Snake.

Soto advises homeowners to familiarize themselves with the snakes common to Westchase, paying particular attention to the telltale markings of the four venomous snakes in our area. The Florida Museum of Natural History’s website offers a simplified key for identifying snakes: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/identification

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Venomous or non-venomous snakes typically do not want anything to do with humans. “Most of the time, when you see a snake in your yard, it is just passing from one place to another and if you leave it be, it will just keep going,” Soto said.

To avoid unwanted encounters with snakes, Soto advises homeowners to keep their yards clear of tall grass, overgrown shrubs or piles of brush, debris or wood – all of which provide excellent hiding spots for snakes.  Soto also reminds homeowners to announce their presence (by stomping feet, rustling bushes with a broom, etc.) when doing yard work, reaching into dark corners of the garage or digging through outdoor storage containers.  “Snakes will run away from you 99 percent of the time. They generally only bite when they are startled,” Soto explained.

If homeowners encounter snakes in their yards, the best course of action is to let them be. They will go away. On occasion, a snake will make its way into a screened enclosure, garage or even a home. For non-venomous snakes that need to be removed, homeowners can follow these steps: Tip a large, empty trashcan onto its side and use a broom to gently "chase" the snake into the trashcan. Then, tip the trashcan upright and, taking care to keep hands away from the open top, replace the lid. If the snake is in the pool, use a pool skimmer in place of the broom. The snake can then be released into the woods.

If the snake is venomous or the homeowner is uncertain of its identity, a professional should be called in. Never attempt to handle a venomous snake.

Fords resident Scott Middlebrooks learned this lesson the hard way through no fault of his own. Four years ago, he was loading a trailer in his driveway in Wesley Chapel in order to make the move to Westchase. It had rained earlier that day, leaving a few puddles. Unbeknownst to Middlebrooks, a young Cottonmouth had claimed a puddle under the trailer. When he went to reach into the trailer, the snake bit Middlebrooks in the knuckles.

Middlebrooks, unaware that a venomous snake had bitten him, went about his business. When the pain in his hand, which he described as “like a jellyfish sting, only more intense,” grew worse, he became concerned. Fortunately the snake hadn’t budged. Middlebrooks lopped off his head, grabbed the body and headed to the ER, where the staff was quickly able to identify the snake and retrieve the correct anti-venom. (Please note: killing or attempting to retrieve the snake is not necessary and can lead to a second bite. A description or a photo work just as well.) Thankfully, Middlebrooks was fine; however, he spent two nights in the hospital and required four doses of anti-venom. The bill submitted to his insurance was close to $60,000.

Fortunately, death by snakebite is very rare in the U.S. (only a handful is reported each year); however, a tangle with a venomous snake can be painful and costly. For a list of registered wildlife trappers that can assist with removal of venomous snakes, visit: https://public.myfwc.com/HGM/NWT/NWTSearch.aspx

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Snakes are a part of life in Florida. A majority of the snakes in our area are harmless and, in most cases, even the venomous varieties will steer clear of humans. When treated with a healthy dose of respect, snakes truly are valuable assets to our community.

Thanks to Scott Middlebrooks for sharing his story with us!

By Karen Ring

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Hawaii Says Aloha to WOW

Over the summer, WOW found itself visiting Hawaii with two Westchase families, The Foster family of the Greens and the Simmons family of The Vineyards.

The Fosters are pictured at the USS Arizona Memorial while Maggie Simmons is pictured at the memorial, as well as Diamond Head, one of the state’s most iconic landmarks.

Located at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, the USS Arizona Memorial commemorates the losses suffered by the United States when Japan’s military attacked the U.S. naval base on O‘ahu on Dec. 7, 1941. Occurring prior to Hawaii becoming a state, the surprise attack triggered the U.S. entry into World War II.

The Arizona memorial also marks the resting place of 1,102 sailors and marines killed by their ship’s sinking. Located above the hull of the sunken vessel, the memorial, constructed in 1962, can only be reached by boat. More than one million visit the memorial annually. 

Designed by Honolulu architect Alfred Preis, the memorial cost $500,000, $64,000 of which was raised in a March 1961 benefit concert by Elvis Presley. The memorial is 184 feet long and features two peaks joined by a sweeping concave roof, a design, Preis explained, whose central sag represents initial defeat followed by ultimate strength and victory.

Under rules established by Congress, the 75 marines and sailors who survived the sinking of the Arizona could have their ashes interred in the wreck’s hull upon their deaths.

In 1999 the USS Missouri, the battleship on which the Japanese surrendered to General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz in Tokyo Bay, was moved to Pearl Harbor and docked near the Arizona, providing powerful symbols of the beginning and end of war in the Pacific.

The iconic Diamond Head, which sits off the popular Waikiki beach on Oʻahu, has an English name rooted in a misunderstanding. The name took root when 19th century British sailors confused calcite crystals for diamonds on the dormant volcanic cone.

Wrote Suzie Simmons, “Hawaii's most recognized landmark is known for its historic hiking trail, stunning coastal views, and military history. Diamond Head State Monument encompasses over 475 acres, including the interior and outer slopes of the crater.”

“The 0.8 mile hike from trailhead to the summit is steep and strenuous, gaining 560 feet as it ascends from the crater floor,” Suzie explained. “The walk is a glimpse into the geological and military history of Diamond Head. A concrete walkway built to reduce erosion shifts to a natural tuff surface about 0.2 mile up the trail with many switchbacks traversing the steep slope of the crater interior. The ascent continues up steep stairs and through a lighted 225-foot tunnel to enter the Fire Control Station completed in 1911. Built on the summit, the station directed artillery fire from batteries in Waikiki and Fort Ruger outside Diamond Head crater. At the summit, you see bunkers and a huge navigational lighthouse built in 1917. The postcard view of the shoreline from Koko Head to Wai'anae is stunning, and during winter, may include passing humpback whales.

The state of Hawaii has a fascinating history unique among U.S. states. It’s the only state whose entire boundary touches the ocean. It’s also the only state once ruled by its own indigenous monarchy.

Located in the Pacific at roughly the same latitude as San Francisco, Hawaii represents an intersection of Asian, North American and Polynesian cultures. The last state to enter the Union, Hawaii became the fiftieth state in 1959, 15 years after the end of World War II. Hawaii’s nearly 130 islands (there are eight main ones) often appear on U.S. maps in an inset box, making it difficult to see that its total land area makes Hawaii bigger than six other states. Its 1.4 million residents comprise a population that’s bigger than 10 other states.

While the subject of debate, archaeological evidence suggests the first humans arrived in Hawaii around 300 B.C. Historians also debate which European explorers first made contact, with some saying the Spanish did in the 1500s. The first documented European contact, however, occurred under Captain James Cook in 1778. Naming the islands the Sandwich Islands after the earl sponsoring his travels, Cook, however, was killed in a dispute with islanders upon his return in 1779. He made the fatal mistake of taking the king of the big island hostage in an effort to compel natives to return a small boat they had seized (likely in response to Cook’s seizure of fencing and idols from a local temple to use as firewood). Soon after the islands became a popular stop with Pacific explorers, traders and particularly whalers, who used the islands as a resupply depot.

The late 1700s saw much conflict on the islands as their individual kings fought for supremacy. The archipelago, however, was unified under the famed King Kamehameha in 1810. Soon after, the islands increasingly fell under the influence of American Protestant missionaries, who converted many of the islanders and established plantations. The 1887 constitution, signed under threat of violence from these foreigners, weakened the monarch and established land ownership requirements for voting, restricting participation by native Hawaiians. Subsequently the islands were increasingly dominated by American and European missionaries and planters.

Unhappy with this turn, Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last monarch, moved to establish a new constitution 1893. In response the Euro-American planters overthrew Liliuokalani with the assistance of a company of U.S. marines and established a republic whose first president was Sanford B. Dole, a cousin of the founder of the famed fruit empire.

Meanwhile the American businessmen petitioned the U.S. for annexation, which finally occurred in 1898. It occurred the same year that the U.S. acquired the territories of Guam, The Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico from Spain in the Spanish-American War, making the U.S. an indisputable Pacific power.

In 1993 the U.S. Congress passed a joint Apology Resolution, apologizing for the overthrow, and it was signed by President Bill Clinton.

We thank the Foster family and the Simmons family for sharing their tropical travels with WOW.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Westchase Recreation Center Programs, November 2014

Adult

Zumba
Combine Latin, American and international music with a fun, effective workout.
When: Mon, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $6/Class

Jazzercise
Combine elements of jazz dance, resistance training, flexibility and fun.
When: Mon-Fri, 8:20-9:20 a.m., 9:30-10:30 a.m., Mon-Thu, 5:30-6:30 p.m., 6:40-7:40 p.m. Sat,  8:20-9:20 a.m., 9:30-10:30 a.m., 10:40-11:40 a.m.
Cost: $10/Session

Badminton
Recreational play for adults to socialize, exercise and have fun!
When: Wed, 6 - 9p.m.
Cost: Free

Adult Open Gym Basketball
When: Thu, 6-9 p.m.;  Sat, 8-11 a.m.
Cost: Free

Senior Activities

Senior Pickle Ball
Pickle ball is a racquet sport combining elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis.
When: Mon, Wed, Fri, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cost: Free

Senior Tone and Stretch
Exercise to build strength, flexibility and increase range of motion.
When: Mon, Wed, 9-10 a.m.
Cost: Free

Adult Senior Field Trips
When: First Thursday of every month
Cost: Call center for details.

Toddler Activities

Pint-sized Picassos
Create a unique project sure to be a keeper.
When: Tue, 8:15-9 a.m.; 9:15-10 a.m.
Ages: 3-4
Cost: $7/Session

ABC’s of Fitness
Get kids active and teach them exercise and healthy habits
When: Thu, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; 11 a.m.-noon
Ages: 3-5
Cost: $7/Session

Broadway Babies
Introduction to performing arts, songs, and dance that all become part of mini-musical.
When: Wed, 1-1:45 p.m.
Ages: 3-5
Cost: $7/Session

Grade 5/Middle School/Teens

Girls Volleyball
Volleyball fundamentals with age-appropriate strength and conditioning.
When: Tue, 7-8 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session

Boys Competitive Volleyball
Learn ball-handling and competitive game skills
When: Tue, 8-9 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session
Ages: Grades 5-12

Girls and Boys Instructional Basketball
Basketball fundamentals with age-appropriate strength and conditioning.
When: Mon, 6-7 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session
Ages: 11-14

Art in the Park
Learn creative new art projects while making new friends.
When: Fri, 6 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session
Ages: Grades 5-12

Show on the Road
Learn the fun art of acting, play production, back stage and prop preparation.
Ages: 13 and up
When: Tue, 8-9 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session

Youth

Girls and Boys Instructional Basketball
Basketball fundamentals with age-appropriate strength and conditioning.Grades: K-8
When: Mon, 6-7pm
Cost: $10/Session

Girls Elementary Volleyball
Learn the skills and fundamentals of competitive play and have fun.
Ages: Grades 3-5
When: Tue, 6-7 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session

The Young Apprentice
Create a unique project sure to be a keeper.
When: Sat, 9-10 a.m.; 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Grades: K-5th
Cost: $10/Session

We’re looking for a Volunteer Line Dance Instructor! Please call the center.

All activities take place at:
Westchase Recreation Center
9791 Westchase Dr.
Tampa, FL 33626
(813) 964-2948

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Raising a Moral Child

What makes one child helpful, caring and compassionate while another needs prompting to display these traits?

As a child psychologist and mother of three children, I find the topic of how to raise moral children extremely intriguing. Research shows that for some children, kind and caring behaviors indeed come easier for them. Studies suggest one-quarter to one-half of our propensity for kindness is inherited. The good news? That leaves a lot of room for environmental forces to help children internalize these values.

Traditional literature on children’s moral development has typically focused on Lawrence Kholberg’s six stages of human moral development. In the first two stages, a child’s actions are largely determined by rewards and avoidance of punishment. In the next two stages, the maturing individual takes into account the views of others. Moral acts are now based on seeking approval from others as well as what society deems as acceptable.

During the last two stages, which not even all adults attain, an individual’s actions are influenced by higher-order, universal principles of respect, justice and fairness for humanity.

More recent literature on children and their moral development provides more specific information on how to raise ethical and moral children. Children as young as age 2 recognize and show moral behaviors and emotions. They have a rudimentary understanding of “right” behaviors versus “wrong” behaviors and can recognize when another individual is sad or upset. What is the best way to reinforce these right behaviors and help children display empathy?

A variety of studies show that when a child has engaged in a kind or positive behavior, praising their personal character instead of the actual behavior is helpful. You might say, “You are such a nice child,” versus “That was a nice thing to do.” Praising the character of a child helps children internalize the positive traits as a part of their identities.

How parents respond to negative behaviors is also important and requires a different touch. When children cause hurt to others, they typically will feel either guilt or shame. These, however, are two different things. Shame is the sense that “I am a bad person,” whereas guilt refers to feeling bad about an action. Repeated shaming from parents takes the form of anger, the withdrawal of affection, and threats of punishment, including spanking. It can lead children to feel worthless, small and not good enough. Children are then more likely to feel angry and to lash out at whomever they wronged. In contrast, guilt leads to remorse and regret. With guilt, a child has a tendency to correct the action and to make amends to the person.

What should parents take from this? When a child hurts another person, one of the most effective ways to handle the situation is to express disappointment about the child’s behavior rather than the child’s character. (For example, one could say, “I’m very disappointed that you hit your friend,” rather than, “You bad, disobedient child!”) A parent who expressed disappointment about behaviors will help their children feel guilt rather than shame. It conveys that the parent had high standards but a mistake was made. It communicates that the child is still worthy and loved, but the action was disappointing. Indeed, in my practice, when children and teens have spoken about mistakes they have made, they inevitably proclaim that the disappointment from their parents was the worse punishment they could have received.

Last, the best way to raise moral, ethical and kind children is for adults to practice moral, ethical and kind behaviors themselves. Study after study has shown that it is not what adults say, but rather how they act that most influences their children’s behaviors. If raising a generous child is one’s goal, then one must practice generous behaviors. If your goal is to raise a child who values fairness and justice to others, than fairness and justice must be observed in the home environment.

Adults face moral and ethical decisions every day – some small, some big, some easy to figure out and others more complex. Our children watch us grapple with these decisions. They closely observe how we inevitably handle them and the decisions we make.

This is what ultimately informs our children about what is right and wrong.

By Maria Aranda, Ph.D.

Aranda is a licensed psychologist (#PY5983) who specializes in psychological assessments and child, adolescent, and adult therapy. More information about her can be found at http://www.helpingtampafamilies.com<./p>

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Will Your Block Win the New Year’s Party?

The judges are coming! The judges are coming! (But this year you have to invite them!)

It’s time to haul out the ladder, your five miles of icicle lights and all the tinsel your toddler can eat!

Judges for WOW’s 16th annual Westchase Holiday Decorating Contest will be hitting the road the weekend of Dec. 12-14! This year the best decorated neighborhood or group of homes (our definition of “block”) will win annual bragging rights and $300 to throw a New Year’s block party. So get your neighbors organized today. (Hint: Shaming helps.)

The first, second and third place individual winners for best decorated house will also win a prize package to be determined (The individual home prizes are usually gift cards to home improvement stores so you can buy more holiday swag on discount after the holidays.)

Judging will take place the weekend of Dec. 12-14 (regardless of weather) and winners will appear in January’s WOW. Judging will take place in the evening after dusk so make sure your lights are on! To have judges look at your home, a neighbor’s home or your block (group of homes), please e-mail the neighborhood name and house address(es) to Tracy Urso at advertising@westchasewow.com.

After judging, a list of Westchase’s best homes will appear on http://www.westchasewow.com so that all residents can take a holiday light tour.

As a friendly reminder, decorative lights may be displayed between Thanksgiving and Jan. 15, according to the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.

Good luck to all!

Want to Win?

This year, in order to give the judges time to do their holiday shopping, we’re not going to make them drive by every single house (It takes more than five hours!). If you’d like your home, a neighbor’s home or a group of homes considered by WOW’s Decorating Contest judges, please e-mail the neighborhood name and house address(es) to Tracy Urso at advertising@westchasewow.com. You can submit your home or that of a friend. Don’t be shy!

By Chris Barrett, Publisher; Photo by James Broome Photography

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Two Ravens Golfers Advance to Regionals

The future is bright for Alonso High School’s boys golf program. This season was pretty brilliant, too, and gave a preview of even better times to come.

The Ravens, led by junior No. 1 golfer Nate Kosarich, a resident of Glenfield, were 13-6 in dual matches. Although the team’s season ended in district play, after a heartbreaking loss against Sickles in a four-hole playoff, Kosarich and Connor Trevisani advanced to the regionals as individuals. With five of six golfers returning next season, the Ravens will be strong contenders.

“All of these kids have been playing together for a while now and you can just see the improvement,’’ Alonso coach John Miliziano said. “We are looking forward to what’s ahead for us.’’

Kosarich, who broke the Alonso nine-hole low-round record with a 2-under-par 34 in September (then tied it with another 34 about two weeks later), is the clear standout. But the Ravens also got nice contributions from Trevisani, Connor Esposito, Nick Molinaro (the team’s only senior), Nick Kappas, Brett Daly, Jordan Cannon and Jake Neugebauer.

Miliziano said it’s no coincidence that Alonso was honored last season by the Hillsborough County School Board as having the top grade-point average for all of the county’s boys golf teams.

“That means something in golf,’’ Miliziano said. “These kids are all able to learn and grow.’’

That’s especially true for Kosarich, who has shown remarkable improvement despite taking up the game seriously only about two years ago. His father, Ed, a scratch golfer who was a teaching professional at the Saddlebrook Resort, played with him occasionally at the Westchase Golf Club. For the most part, though, Kosarich drifted into AAU baseball and competitive junior tennis, where he achieved a top 50 ranking in the state.

Once he decided to take up golf, though, there was no looking back. Even in a relatively short time, competing against players who have pursued the game for a decade, Kosarich has made himself into one of the county’s brightest prospects.

His ultimate strength is his driver. He’s very long off the tee and that sets him up for powerful rounds, although he’s continually searching for more consistency with his short game and putting.

“I’ve enjoyed all the sports I’ve played and I’ve made a pretty good transition to all of them,’’ Kosarich said. “Golf, by far, has been the hardest. It’s so mental.’’

Miliziano said Kosarich is well-equipped for improvement because he’s hard-working, mature, level-headed and intelligent. Kosarich sometimes acts as an assistant coach of sorts. He has enough knowledge and clout to make suggestions to other players, who listen and absorb.
“His love of the sport and his passion to play really sets him apart,’’ Miliziano said. “He’s one of those guys who never stops practicing. He’s driven to be great. His goal is to play college golf and I’m not afraid to say that, if he keeps moving in this direction, professional golf could happen, too.’’

Kosarich, 16, has a nine-hole stroke average of par (36). Overall 18 holes, he has shot a 71 in a junior tournament and a 69 in a practice round.

But his Alonso highlight clearly was breaking the school record for low round.

It was at the Silver Dollar Golf Club, Alonso’s home course, in a dual-match with Hillsborough. After a lengthy putt on the sixth hole to save par, Kosarich clinched his historic round by birdieing two of the last three holes. On the ninth hole, a par-4, he nearly drove the green, hitting it about 290 yards off the tee, and got the needed birdie to achieve the school record.

“I knew the record was 35 and it was a goal to get that this year,’’ Kosarich said. “It was something in my mind and I knew I had a shot at it. It’s just a matter of putting it all together.’’

His second 34, shot at MacDill, seemed like an even better overall round. “The guys I was playing with thought I could’ve shot a 30 that day,’’ Kosarich said. “It gave me a lot of confidence. It showed I could play to that level and still could have some shots I left out there on the course.’’

Kosarich said he was pleased with his junior season, although he’s hoping to make an even bigger jump in 2015. At this point, even with his previous sports versatility, he’s now interested in working as a golf specialist. For two years, he played on Alonso’s tennis team, requiring him to take a two-month break from golf, and he noticed the difference.

Now it’s all golf, all the time.

“I feel like I’ve been able to make up some of the time that I didn’t play,’’ Kosarich said. “It’s hard to do because you can’t replace that kind of experience, but it’s possible to thrive in this game, even when you get a late start.

“My dad has been a big help. He’s so good and we really have some battles. I’ve seen him shoot a 28 (over nine holes). He just tells me to keep working and keep improving. I figure if I can do that, I’ll be able to achieve my goals.’’

That includes a shot at college golf – and beyond.

And it means continuing to make Alonso’s golf program into one of Hillsborough County’s most relevant squads.

The future seems very bright.

By Joey Johnston

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Master Gardener Series Continues at UTB Regional Library

The next six months will see the continuation of a series that helps homeowners improve their lawns and gardens.

The series continues after presentations made by Master Gardeners in September and October. The series runs the second Wednesday every month at 6:30 p.m. at the UTB Regional Library on Countryway Boulevard.

Nov. 12, Caladiums: Cynthia Glover speaks about caladiums for the home garden. She’ll offer tips on growing, maintaining, and choosing the best varieties and discuss the colorful value these easy foliage plants add to any Florida garden.  

Jan. 7, Daylilies: Master Gardener Julie Fugleberg’s daylily talk covers a bit of history, varieties and propagation of daylilies.  

Feb. 11, Orchids 101: Gerri Almand identifies some of the most common orchids and how to grow them in Florida, including light and water requirements and repotting techniques.

March 11, Beyond the Basics: Orchids: Jim Hawk shares further tips on helping your orchids thrive.

April 8, 25 Palms your Neighbors Don’t Have: Jim Hawk offers an overview of 25 hard-to-find, but hardy, underutilized palms for Central Florida. You are sure to learn about a few new palms!

May 13, Bedding Plants 101: Shelly Stein introduces a variety of warm and cool season plants that can add year-round color to our Central Florida gardens. This talk is a primer on how to select a site, prepare the bed, and choose the best flowers for the season, location and your style.

By Shelly Stein

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Troop 46 Busy with Elections and Merit Badges

Troop 46 has had many opportunities to obtain rank advancement, merit badges and perform service for our community in recent months.

The Scouts have learned many new skills while completing requirements on our road to Eagle Scout.

We had our Troop elections for the year and now have a new Senior Patrol Leader and Patrol Leader Council. They are busy planning new and exciting events for Troop 46.

Frontier Days Weekend at Flaming Arrow Scout Reservation was held the first weekend in October. This was the First Annual Frontier Days for the Gulf Ridge Council Scouts. We were able to choose between 27 distinctive merit badges, ranging from Metal Working to Wilderness Survival, while having a good time camping in Lake Wales, Florida.

The Environmental Science Merit Badge was earned by 19 Scouts by attending a class held at Lowry Park Zoo. We offer a big “thank you!” to Ms. Lori Doty, a Troop mom, for putting together an educational yet fun day at Lowry Park Zoo.

Our Fall Court of Honor (COH) was held Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. in the First Baptist Church of Citrus Park sanctuary. We had 22 rank advancements, while 88 Scouts earned a total of 418 merit badges, and 77 awards were presented. Thank you to Troop 46 parents for baking cookies and brownies for the reception following the COH.

Troop 46 Scouts will be volunteering during Westchase’s annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. This year’s food drive will be Sunday, Nov. 23. Be on the lookout for Troop 46 Scouts in your neighborhoods, passing out flyers and collecting donations. You will also be able to find us accepting, sorting and loading donations at Westchase Elementary.

Troop 46 has weekly Troop meetings on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Citrus Park. To learn more about Scouting, and for more information about Boy Scout Troop 46, please contact Scoutmaster Scott Doster at scoutmasterscott46@gmail.com.

By Drew Hatch

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Westchase Artists Prepare for Holiday Market

The Holiday Market Elves have been busy making preparations for the 2014 Westchase Holiday Market.

The fifth annual Westchase Holiday Market will be held on Sunday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Westchase Golf Club at 11602 Westchase Golf Dr. All net proceeds from the event along with ticket sales from special art raffles will be donated directly to Autism Speaks. Last year’s market raised over $2,000 for this great charity.

Holiday guests are invited to shop for the perfect gift to complete their holiday shopping as the market returns to the beautiful Westchase Golf Club. Original paintings, photography, ceramics and sculpture along with handmade craft items are among the many types of artwork that you can expect to find.

This year’s event will feature a Best of Show juried prize along with artist demonstrations in the indoor and outdoor space at the golf club. Refreshments will be available for purchase and Santa will be on hand for pictures and to visit with children of all ages.

By Teresa Trubilla

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What to Wear on Thanksgiving

It’s November lovelies! Woot!

November is one of my very favorite months, not only because it’s my birthday month, but because turkey day is coming!

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Thanksgiving. There is something so comforting about the whole family gathering together and sitting down to enjoy a delicious meal. My mama usually hosts our Thanksgiving celebration and she goes all out when it comes to the cooking. My sister and I are doing our best to learn her special dishes, but nobody can really make them quite like she does. I’m drooling just thinking about the flavor extravaganza that’s headed my way!

So, as I’m sure you can imagine, I throw caution to the wind and pretty much eat whatever I want on Thanksgiving. As such, I make sure I wear an outfit that’s nice and comfortable on the big day. And I’m sure most of you are in the same boat. While we, of course, want to look nice on a holiday, uncomfortable is the last thing we want to be when we’re about to eat a large meal. And in our family, it’s not just about the meal. We start the day with an amazing breakfast, followed by appetizers galore. Can you tell we like to eat?

I have a few different suggestions for what to wear on Thanksgiving and I promise you’ll be comfortable in every one! My aim is to always look presentable, but be perfectly at home stretching out on the couch and putting my feet up in whatever I’m wearing.

First, consider a soft, a-line dress. I think it would always be my mother’s preference that we wear a dress on holidays. We were always in dresses when we were little, so I try to remember how happy it makes her when we’re all dolled up. That doesn’t mean I’m willing to give up my comfort rule, however. Ha ha! A soft cotton or flannel dress, depending on how cold it is, is definitely comfortable. There are no constricting waistlines! Just make sure it has an empire or a-line silhouette!

You might also try a flowy blouse. A pretty, loose blouse looks pulled together, but is, again, comfortable! Pair it with boyfriend jeans and cute flats for optimal comfort! If you’re headed out of the house, a floppy hat would be a fun addition to this look.

On the more daring side, throw on a kimono. Yes, I said a kimono. They’re all the rage this fall and when worn with skinny jeans or leggings, they are oh-so chic. If you can’t find one you like in a traditional store, head to a vintage shop. I just bet you’ll find a fabulous one! My personal shopper friend picked me up a gorgeous printed number that I get compliments on every single time I wear it. Trust me...kimonos are the way to go this season!

That’s my take on what to wear on Thanksgiving. I hope it inspired you to start styling your own looks!

By Kristin Swenson

Kristin Swenson loves fashion and is one half of the BonBon Rose Girls, Tampa’s hottest fashion, shopping and lifestyle blog at http://www.bonbonrosegirls.com<./p>

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New Wellspring Pastor Calls Westchase Home

In July Keith Harcombe was appointed lead pastor at Wellspring United Methodist Church on Sheldon Road.

Harcombe and his wife Julie, the parents of three sons and a daughter, recently moved into a home in The Bridges and already love living in Westchase. Their youngest son, David, is in the fourth grade at Westchase Elementary. Son Max is a sixth grader at Davidsen Middle School. Jack is a junior at Alonso and their oldest, Jordan, just started her freshman year at FSU.

Keith Harcombe grew up in Liverpool, England. He was in the Royal Navy and was enjoying sailing the globe when his ship landed in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1992. Julie Harcombe, who grew up in Clearwater and got her degree at the University of Florida, just happened to be at a friend’s birthday party when Keith came ashore and they met.

After much writing and travel to visit, they married and called England home for the birth of their first three children. A stay-at-home mom, Julie was just about to take a job teaching science when Keith was diagnosed with Reynaud’s disease. Told a tropical environment would be best for his health, he took a pension from the Navy in 2003 and moved to Florida, where Julie’s family lives.

Julie went to work as a pharmacist while Keith began his seminary studies while working as a youth minister. After Keith finished his bachelor’s degree at Asbury’s satellite campus in Orlando, he became Associate Pastor at Palma Ceia Methodist Church in South Tampa. In March the Harcombes were excited with his appointment to Wellspring. Julie is currently a pharmacist at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Harcombe wants to have the church integrated into all of Westchase’s activities. The church is sponsoring Boy Scout Troops 46 and 215. In November the church will participate in Wellspring Cares, a community outreach program, and the Westchase Thanksgiving Food Drive. They are really excited about preparing a float for the upcoming Westchase Christmas parade.

Residents can meet Harcombe at Wellspring’s Sunday services at 9:30 and 11 a.m.

By Brenda Bennett

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Lowry Wins Clean School Award

Lowry is proud to announce that it has been awarded the Hillsborough County Clean Swept Award for elementary schools.

Our custodial and maintenance team is clearly second to none! Thank you for all of your hard work making Lowry a clean environment for our students to learn and grow.

We would like to invite all of the Lowry students to write a letter thanking a veteran for his or her service. Younger students may draw a picture and write a couple of sentences. Letters and drawings will be due on Friday, Nov. 7, and will be delivered to the VA Hospital in time for Veterans Day. All students who participate will be given a special military-style spirit stick.

The December holiday season is quickly approaching. We are looking for those in our Lowry community who would like to sponsor a child for our Helping Hands program. This is a way that parents, students and friends of Lowry can help those Lowry families, most in need, enjoy a happier holiday season. Please keep in mind your gifts may be all the child receives during the holiday season. If you are unable to sponsor a child, but would like to donate a gift card towards a child sponsorship, this would be greatly appreciated. Please contact Helping Hands Chair Melinda Lewis at lowryvolunteers@gmail.com. The gift of giving is a wonderful experience we can offer to all of our children!

Lowry wrapped up its first ever Boosterthon Fun Run event with over 100 percent pledge support! We would like to thank everyone who donated to this fundraiser. The students are very excited to receive the new mobile science labs, which are expected to arrive ready for use in early 2015.

The annual Fall Carnival was celebrated on Friday, Oct. 17. Lowry students, families and friends enjoyed the games, prizes and food. Thank you to all of our volunteers who helped to make this event a great success.

By Krista Reznik

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New Family Grateful for Westchase’s Strong Community

When Kathleen Grant’s family moved from Ireland to Tampa, her sister, Dominique Sorvillo, encouraged her to move to Westchase because it was a great community.

A month later, the Grants experienced first-hand how Westchase neighbors help each other.

“The day after our dog Oreo arrived here from Dublin, I was walking her when she was startled by a loud car muffler. She pulled the leash out of my hand and started running down Montague toward the train tracks,” said Grant.

Immediately after Oreo dashed into the woods, adults and children in West Park Village began searching for the lost pup. “Many of my sister’s neighbors helped us out and as we went around the neighborhood putting up flyers, we had children and adults we had never met before join in the search.”

When Oreo wasn’t found immediately, Kathleen posted information on Facebook, sent an e-mail to the Community Development District (CDD), who forwarded it on to Westchase Voting Members.

A week after Oreo ran away the family received their first tip. She had been seen around Glenfield and Keswick Forest.

They later heard from many residents of The Greens and Harbor Links, whose residents searched for her. The Westchase Golf Club lent a golf cart to allow the family to search the course. Employees of The Grind even lent a hand. “We were overwhelmed and touched by how many people cared about Oreo and wanted to find her,” said Grant.

Three weeks later, the Grants received multiple tips of Oreo sightings. “I got a call from a lady named Amy who said she had seen a black lab matching Oreo’s description near Waters and Montague,” said Grant. “Amy waited to show me the spot in the woods. I saw Oreo’s footprints and knelt down and started calling her name. Suddenly there was a rustling in the woods and Oreo came running to me.”

After a quick visit to the vet to treat some scratches and a thorn in her eye, Oreo was reunited with her family.

They celebrated with champagne, and or course, Oreos.

By Marcy Sanford

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Reflections of a Crash Test Dummy

She inches past a guy watering his grass like she’s a mobster slowing for a hit. He looks up suspiciously.

She passes and heaves a sigh of relief. “That’s my first pedestrian I didn’t hit!”

It’s been a month of inspiring firsts.

All culminating in her profound observation about learning to drive: “This is more complicated than Mario Kart.”

A video game that triggers excited cackling in her throat whenever she runs Cousin Izzy off the road.

The Sophomore is driving me east on Forest Lakes Road toward Race Track Road – our first venture out of 25 mph neighborhoods. She’s successfully keeping my heart rate under 100 bpm.

Until 10 yards before the Race Track Road intersection, when we enter the Big Brakes or T-Bone Stakes Zone.

And the traffic light slings yellow.

She has two milliseconds to choose between slamming the brakes, flinging her crash-test dummy dad against his seat belt, or slamming the accelerator, rocketing through the intersection to beat red.

Instead, she gasps. She pulls her foot off both pedals.

My spine fuses.

And her right foot demands a UN Debate.

“JUST…!” I sputter.

“WHAT?!”

She starts convulsing. She taps the brake. She taps the accelerator.

I brace my feet against the floor in a futile attempt to run away.

Her foot comes back up.

The Chinese and Russians have vetoed the General Assembly’s resolution to Just Do Something.

And the light clicks red.

“AUGH!”

“OHMIGAHD!”

I brace one hand on the car ceiling, the other against the door. We roll into the eight-lane crowded intersection – against the light – at five mph.

If this were a Pixar film, you’d suddenly notice the 8-year-old standing on the side of the road, mouth gaped in mid-lollipop lick, his saucer eyes slow-motion tracing the most ludicrous thing he’s ever seen passing by:

A screaming 15-year-old girl snail-driving through a hellaciously busy intersection while brakes shriek; her father stands completely upright inside a Toyota Corolla; and the guy selling Ruskin tomatoes on the side of the road seizes his own head to brace for impact.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for an important safety announcement:

Next time tell your wife to take the child driving.

Breaking news:

That’s not gonna work either.

The Sophomore blasts into the house the next weekend. “I am never going driving with her again!” She flees to her room to thrust her brain inside her iPod.

“I am never going driving with her again!” her mother, entering from the garage, unwittingly echoes.

Overhearing, The Sophomore jets back to the living room to address this outrage.

“She thinks I drive crazy!”

“Um,” I interrupt. “You both agree. Yet still you manage to argue.”

The Momster calmly points at her. “She thinks that speed limits are goals to be reached within three seconds.”

“No one ever told me they were just maximums!” The Sophomore cries.  “Mom just sits there, herky-jerky gesturing and sputtering!”

The Sophomore turns to address the woman who carried her for nine months, foregoing her Friday glass of wine and her daily morning coffee, before nearly splitting in two pushing her large, purple head out. “When we passed my friends on Montague Street, you looked like you were dancing the Robot in the front seat!” The Sophomore gestures like an out-of-control C3PO. “How embarrassing is that?!”

Her Puerto Rican mother holds up her hands. “The problem is…”

The Momster pauses dramatically.

The Sophomore and I both fall silent. Momster’s look makes clear that what she will utter will explain everything perfectly.

“…I learned to drive in Spanish.”

I realize I’m mouth-gaping like the Pixar kid.

The Sophomore is C3POing again.

“Every time she does something,” Momster says in perfect, unaccented English, “by the time I get it out of my mouth, it’s a half mile back.” She shakes her head. “You’re taking her driving from now on.”

So, two days later, we’re in the parking lot of the local elementary school, where the bus dumps all the loser high schoolers who don’t drive themselves. I’ve decided to let The Sophomore drive home.

“Did you check your mirrors?”

“Ugh!” She growls and adjusts them. “Someone keeps moving these!”

“You always need to adjust them before driving. We’re different heights.”

“Oh!” she exclaims.

The same “Oh!” she exclaimed when I first answered her puzzled query, “So, how do I get this thing to go backwards?”

“This is not going well!” her fourth grade sister announces from the back.

“Dad, can you please tell her I need complete silence?”

I turn to evil-eye Grace and find her lying across the seat in the fetal position.

“Do you really think that’s helpful?”

“I only do this when she’s backing up.”

“Dad!” The Sophomore exclaims. “I need to concentrate!”

Grace falls silent and The Sophomore heaves the van into reverse. She ever-so-cautiously creeps backwards.

A handful of juniors, the last to clear out from the bus stop, stand over by the bike rack. They watch the unfolding drama, astride their bikes, frozen until we’ve safely moved on.

Her highly complicated reversal complete, The Sophomore pauses. She rubs her sweaty hands on her shorts and clears her throat. She heaves the van into drive…

And rockets forward.

Arriving at the parking lot exit’s stop sign, she slams on the brakes. Not firmly hitched, my seat suddenly rolls forward until it catches and flings me against the seat belt.

Ka-THUNK!

It’s either the seat mechanism catching or my collar bone snapping.

“Sorry!”

She turns out of the lot and kathumps off the curb. It finally hits me. I just don’t want her to drive.

I don’t want her to climb into a thin metal can and drive out into a world where a man with Ebola lies on an immigration form and flies into Dallas. I don’t want her bee-bopping out into a county where drivers, drunk beyond reason, sail south on northbound highways.

A man spends 15 years protecting the most remarkable achievement of his life. And then, with a snap of the fingers, she begs the keys and drives off into a world he simply doesn’t trust.

While he sit there like the Ruskin tomato man.

Is it too much to expect that she just stay happily in the living room running Cousin Izzy off the road?

Yet, with her outstretched hand, she’s asking me to take the next, difficult step in a parent’s life. A process begun in June of 1999, when a delivery nurse offered an outstretched hand, where I found the scissors to cut through the thick rope binding her to her mother.

While I wept like a fool.

Halfway home from the school lot, The Sophomore pulls over to offer a friend a ride.

Specifically, she pulls entirely onto the grass and almost the sidewalk.

“What are you doing?!”

“I’m pulling over.”

“Into someone’s front yard!?”

“Is it a big deal?”

“If you’re offering someone a ride, you’re not supposed to run them down beforehand.”

She huffs.

I roll down the window. “Are you really sure you want a ride?”

“Sure!” Michael says excitedly. He’s either exhausted from walking a whole block or feels compelled to witness the trainwreck firsthand.

But she does it. She actually gets Michael home safely, slowly and smoothly and he jumps out.

“My first real passenger,” she says, forgetting the crash-test dummy beside her.

Beaming, she calls out her window to her friend. “How was it?”

Michael thinks on this. “You drive like my grandmother.”

“Thank you!” she chirps.

And The Sophomore drives off…

With the crash-test dummy clutching the door.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Send WOW Your Halloween Photos

WOW wants to share your photos of your favorite ghosts and goblins.

We want to share photos of your Halloween block parties and trick or treating with our readers.  Simply send high resolution versions of them to editor@westchasewow.com. In keeping with our annual tradition, WOW will run a Halloween photo spread in December (sometimes deadlines do strange and scary things too).

Please help us by observing the following guidelines:

1. By Nov. 10 e-mail your photo as a high resolution JPEG file attachment to editor@westchasewow.com.
2. Make sure e-mail’s size is smaller than 10 MB or the server may return it to you.
3. Do not copy and paste your photo into the e-mail or an attached Word document. Mac Users need to send a .zip file of compressed photos in order to keep their computer’s e-mail program from embedding the photos in the e-mail, which reduces their resolution. (See below.)
5. To make the photo influx manageable, please send only your best photo of each child or group of children; feel free, however, to send a few different photos of block parties.
6. Please do not send WOW links to photo sites to download your images. WOW staff will be unable to go to the site, register for an account and download the photo.
7. While WOW loves group photos, rather than sending several different photos of your child with two or three different friends in each, please gather them all in a larger, single group for one photo.

Mac Users

When Mac users send photos, they frequently arrive in Outlook, which is WOW’s e-mail program, as embedded photos that can’t be copied and pasted out of the e-mail. To get around this, please follow the following directions:

1. Make a new folder on your desktop (File > New Folder).
2. Highlight the pictures you are going to send.
3. Go to File > Export > File Export and export the pictures into that new folder.
4. Click on the folder on the desktop and go to File > Compress. This will create a .ZIP file with the same name as the folder.
5. You can drag this .ZIP file into your e-mail message and send it.

Happy Halloween!

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Westchase Elementary Fund-raisers a Success

This November Westchase Elementary would like to give thanks to all of our families who have once again shown support of our school by giving generously to our fund-raisers!

The fifth grade exceeded their goal and the school-wide Boosterthon continues to provide funding for new technology for our classrooms. We greatly appreciate all that you do to make our school great!

On Nov. 7 our Wizards will again host a Veterans Day Program. This is a time for students to celebrate veterans and active military personnel who have served and sacrificed for our country. The program will include a flag ceremony, as well as recognition and a salute to our veterans and service members. Our very own Westchase Chorus and Drum Corps musicians will be performing in addition to the Davidsen Middle School Jazz Band.

Parents are welcome to attend this very special program. As a show of gratitude and respect to our veterans, we ask that kids dress in red, white and blue for the day.

A breakfast will be served in the Multi-Purpose Room beginning at 8:30 a.m. for active service personnel and veterans. The formal ceremony will take place on the covered courts from 9-9:30 a.m.

If veterans or active military would like to attend, additional sign-up sheets are available in
the front office or they can e-mail holt.taramah@gmail.com.

This year we are teaming up with the Penny Campaign to raise funds for the local charity Stay In Step SCI Recovery Center, whose primary mission is to assist individuals recovering from spinal cord injuries. Military veterans are among the patients treated at the center. The Stay In Step Organization is raising funds to expand beyond their sole Orlando location and establish a new center in Tampa to better serve local needs. Donations will be collected the week of Nov. 3-7, and will include a friendly competition between grade levels to see who can earn the most for a prize. A donation box will be placed in the front office for anyone who would also like to support the effort with a personal contribution. For more information about this year’s charity, please visit http://www.stayinstep.org

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Come one! Come all! Enter the Kingdom of Books with Scholastic's Fall Book Fair! The Westchase Media Center will be holding their annual Fall Book Fair on Tuesday, Nov. 18, through Friday, Nov. 21. It will offer new books from some of your favorite series: Fly Guy, Skippyjon Jones, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Spirit Animals, Origami Yoda and so many more!! Don't forget that books also make great holiday gifts.

Book Fair hours are Tuesday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m., and Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 a.m.-2:30. Tuesday and Thursday are our Night Shopping Events. With any purchase made after school hours with an adult the student receives a chance to win a $30 shopping spree for them and their teachers. One winner will be pulled after each Night Shopping Event. Throughout the entire book fair, every $10 spent will earn the child a chance to win a free paperback book. Ten lucky winners will be selected every morning.

Remember there is no school on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, or over Thanksgiving break, Nov. 24-28.

By Jennifer Arnold

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A Step in the Right Direction

Feet are extremely important for even the most basic activities.

As long as they are functioning properly and not causing any pain or discomfort, we take them for granted. When an issue arises, however, it becomes paramount to get some relief and correct the problem.

If not corrected, trouble with feet can lead to issues with your knees, hips and back. Sometimes the secondary issue is the symptom, and the correction is to fix the feet. It is the quintessential kinetic chain. You know – the toe bone is connected to the foot bone; the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone, and so on.

The trouble can stem from your foot’s anatomy. No arches or high arches can cause over pronation. Supination can lead to problems as well since your bodyweight is distributed more on the outside of your foot. Standing for long periods of time, or being overweight, can also cause problems with your feet.

One very common condition is plantar fasciitis, a painful tightening of the tissue in the heel of the foot. Another foot condition is plantar fibroma, in which a knot develops under your foot’s arch. It also causes tightening and can be most uncomfortable in the morning. Ingrown toenails and bunions can be caused by the positioning of your feet inside your shoes.

Strengthening leg muscles when there are muscular imbalances can help take pressure off overactive areas of your feet. Stretching can help provide relief from some of the tightness. Taping your feet for particular activities can provide temporary support. The shoes you wear can also make a huge difference. Some shoes are fashionable but not practical, especially if you are going to be on your feet for long periods of time or do activities that require running or jumping. Corrective shoes can be an integral part of the solution.

Alternatively, investing in custom orthotics that can be placed inside your shoes can be costly but worthwhile investments. These are designed specifically for your feet and can be transferred from one pair of shoes to the other. Visit a good physical therapist or podiatrist to help you determine the best course of action for you.

By Shannon Thigpen

Shannon is a Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Specialist who teaches at the YMCA and trains privately. Visit http://www.shannonthigpen.com<./p>

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Seniors to Enjoy Dinner Theater in November

The Westchase Seniors Group will witness a miracle on Saturday, Nov. 8.

Of course, they’ll be traveling to a dinner theater for the experience. The play, Miracle on South Division Street, is a heartfelt and hilarious story about a family in Buffalo, NY, who erected a 20-foot high shrine to commemorate and profit from what Grandpa says was the Blessed Mother's appearance in his barber shop. The cost of the play and dinner is $32 per person, which must be paid in cash at the door. The buffet dinner includes a choice of four entrees plus a salad bar, vegetables, dessert, rolls, and coffee or iced tea.

Reservations must be made by contacting Jose or Nevenka Rios by Nov. 3 at nevenkar@aol.com or 852-1046. We will meet to form car pools at 3 p.m. on the St Joseph's Medical Care Center parking lot on Linebaugh Ave. The dinner will start at 4 p.m. and the play at 6 p.m. at the Early Bird Dinner theater, 13355 49th St. North in Clearwater.

Another Great Dining Experience In October Melba Lufkin and Bob Shafer organized another outstanding lunch experience at Tampa Bay’s Ocean Prime restaurant. Unfortunately they were not able to attend because Melba fell the night before and broke her wrist; however, Anita Steinfeld stepped up and made sure all of Melba's plans were overseen and gracefully carried out. These plans included honoring Rama Patterson and Katherine Griffin for their birthdays. In more good news, Melba and Bob are already searching out and sampling additional prime restaurants we might want to visit in the future.

Tuesday Morning Coffee Each Tuesday morning from 9-10 a.m. Westchase seniors are invited to meet at the Westchase McDonald’s Restaurant for coffee, breakfast and friendly conversation. The coffee is free with a food purchase and the conversations are always enjoyable. Grab your coffee and join us. You can’t miss us. We are the “older” but “young at heart” people laughing and having a great time.

Join The Fun If you are a Westchase resident over 55-years-old and looking to enjoy life, join over 200 of your neighbors who make up the Westchase Seniors Group and add more life to your years. It only costs a smile to join and the dues are just as cheap. Members participate in only what they are interested in and pay their own way. To receive e-mails about Westchase Seniors events, send your name, address, and phone number to westchase.seniors@gmail.com or call Lewis and Rama Patterson (926-5473).

By Lewis and Rama Patterson

The Pattersons are residents of Kingsford and can be reached at westchase.seniors@gmail.com or 926-5473.

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Westchase Pools Shift to Winter Hours; USTA Team Registration Deadlines Announced

This month Westchase’s facilities shift to their winter hours.

Please note that the West Park Village pool hours for the fall will change to 3-8:30 p.m. seven days per week with the slide closed for the winter months.

The Westchase Swim and Tennis Center’s pool off Countryway Boulevard will remain open from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. seven days per week. Both pools will be heated at a toasty 82 degrees.

If you have not been hand-scanned for entrance to the pools and tennis courts, please do so at your convenience at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center’s office or the Westchase Community Association (WCA) offices, located adjacent to the West Park Village pool on Parley Drive.

By Kelly Shires, Operations Manager

Shires is the WCA’s Operations Manager and can be reached at wcacenter@wcamanager.com.

Tennis Lessons: Learning Doubles Play, Part II

If you play doubles, remember three things. First, always take the best partner available. How will that happen? Have fun, keep a very good attitude and remember that when your partner misses the ball, they didn’t do it on purpose. Be positive and enthusiastic. If you and your partner enjoy playing together, you’ll have the best team.

Second, a lot of people try to hit the ball very hard, always trying to make winners. Consistency, however, is very important. So be steady and lead your opponents into missing by having a good position on the court. Also understand your responsibilities and areas that need to be covered.

Third, doubles has lots of volleys and you will hit many of them. There are three you need to master: the punching, block and touch volleys.

Players have the tendency to judge every volley the same way, typically as a punch volley. Understanding the differences among the three types of volleys will give players more confidence and will make them more successful when playing at the net.

Communication is also a must in doubles. Have a plan when you're serving and returning. For example, if a weak second serve is delivered into the service box, this becomes a great opportunity for the receiver to join his teammate at the net. The receiver should then move inside the baseline. If he/she anticipates this play, they can hit the return deep into the opponent’s court and move in behind the return.

Before serving, always communicate with your partner. Let them know what formation you're going to use and where you will place the serve, such as wide, down the middle or to the tee. This creates opportunities for your partner to poach. Remember, accomplished doubles teams are poachers who are always looking to poach both when serving and receiving.

By Roberto Calla, Westchase’s Tennis Pro

Calla, Westchase’s tennis pro, can be reached at callatennis@hotmail.com.

USTA Tennis Team Registration Online

All USTA Tennis league players are to sign up on the WCA Web site at http://www.westchasewca.com

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The deadlines are listed below but all interested players are encouraged to sign up before Dec. 1:

USTA 18 and over (Deadline: Dec. 1) – Season Jan.-March.
USTA 40 and over (Deadline: Feb. 15) – Season April-June
USTA Combo Teams (Deadline: July 1) – Season Aug.-Dec.

This online list will be used to determine interested players and establish USTA teams before each season starts. Anyone who signs up after the deadline listed may not get on a team. It is left to the USTA captain’s or co-captain's discretion based on the current situation and needs of the team.

Can't play in the daytime? Westchase is looking to start a ladies USTA 3.0 night team. Sign up if interested. Match play is Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m.

Sign up at http://www.westchasewca.com

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By Kyle Roberts

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Raven Golf Tournament Supporting Baseball, Jan. 3

The Alonso PTSA is still open to new members.

Please consider joining both the Booster Club and the PTSA.

Visit our Web site, http://www.alonsoboosterclub.com for m,ore information. PDQ Gift Cards are also still available for sale! The cost is $6 for a $10 gift card. You can purchase these online at the Square Marketplace and on the Booster Club’s Web site.

The 2014 Touch of Class Dancers will be hosting a junior dance camp on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 4-5, with a performance at the football game on Friday, Nov. 7, during halftime. Contact Belinda at bakrauss@verizon.net for more information.

The 2011 and 2009 Alonso High School Ravens Baseball Division 6A State Champions will be hosting a golf tournament fundraiser at the Westchase Golf Club on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015 at 1 p.m. The format of the tournament is a four-person team, best ball scramble. Awards will be given for winning teams, closest to the pin, longest drives and a putting contest. This is a great opportunity to support an award-winning baseball program in our local community. All proceeds will go towards building new batting cages adjacent to the baseball field.

The Alonso golf tournament is seeking golfers and sponsors as well as donations of food, drink and door/raffle prizes. All donations are tax deductible and checks should be made payable to the AHS Booster Club. The price for an individual golfer is $100, which includes greens/cart fees, dinner banquet, golf awards and door prizes. Non-golfers can purchase dinner-only tickets. There will be additional contests and raffles that golfer can buy on the day of the event. Several levels of sponsorships are also available, ranging from $100 to $2,500, including hole sponsorships, Alonso baseball field corporate banners and other sponsorship opportunities.

For more information, registration and sponsorship applications, or to make any type of donation, please contact Cathy Fahrman at 508-6242. The tournament is limited to 144 golfers, first-come, first-served, so don’t delay. Sign up today.

Thanks in advance for your support of these great baseball players and Alonso High School Ravens Baseball program.

Go, Ravens!

Important Dates

NOVEMBER

1 Band/Dance @ Marching Band Music Performance Assessment
1 SAT Prep/Saturday Success Academy
1 The Addams Family Encore presentation, 7 p.m.
7 Football vs Sickles (Middle School Band/TOC Junior Dancers & Senior Night), 7 p.m.
8 Band/ROTC at Veterans Day Parade
11 No School – Veterans Day
15 Saturday Success Academy, 9 a.m.
24-28 No School: Thanksgiving Break

DECEMBER

2 Cheer Competition, 6 p.m.

For a complete calendar of all the events happening at AHS, visit http://alonso.mysdhc.org/

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By Belinda Krauss

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GirlTalk is Back!

After taking a break over the summer months, the GirlTalk group is back in full swing.

The group kicked off a fresh round of meetings at White House Black Market in Citrus Park Mall on Sunday, Sept. 21. The staff of the chic, boutique-style store, which takes basic black-and-white clothing to a whole new level, stayed on after mall hours in order to treat the ladies to a fun-filled evening. It included a wardrobe presentation, individual style consultations and tips on taking a look from day to evening. The ladies also enjoyed light refreshments while getting reacquainted after their summer hiatus.

On Oct. 23 GirlTalk hosted an Education Night at the Upper Tampa Bay Public Library. It was an informative evening that covered all of the wonderful educational opportunities available in our area.  Hillsborough County Schools Choice Communications Manager, Terrie Dodson-Caldevilla, was on hand to give an overview of school choice options available through the Hillsborough County Public Schools’ elementary, middle and high schools. Also attending were representatives from area private schools, including SkyCrest Christian School, Jesuit High School, Calvary Christian High, Cambridge Christian School, Independent Day School – Corbett Prep, Academy of Holy Names, Tampa Prep, Carrollwood Day School and more.

The group’s founder, Lori Shaw, is busy pulling together more fun ideas for the fall months, including the group’s annual holiday party. To keep tabs on upcoming events, be sure to like the group on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/girltalktampa or contact Shaw at loriella@tampabay.rr.com. The group is free to join and is open to anyone interested in fun, friendship and a fresh perspective.

By Karen Ring

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When Lightning Strikes…Twice

They say lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. The Tonn family begs to differ.

Their Bridges home was struck by lightning in July of 2013 and again this past July. “The first time it happened, I wasn’t home, but my daughter was watching TV in our master bedroom and said she heard a loud ‘pop,’ like a gunshot,” Jenifer Tonn explained.

Both strikes occurred in the same manner: lightning struck the wrought iron fence in their backyard, ran along its length and passed into their home, blowing out a large chunk of stucco in the process. Once in the home, the lightning caused a massive power surge that wiped out a laundry list of electronics. On the most recent strike, the Tonns incurred over $3,500 in damage.

All of the electronic devices that were damaged or destroyed were plugged into surge protectors, which led the Tonns to believe that they would be protected. However, upon reviewing the warranty information on the surge protectors, Troy Tonn discovered that there was one thing it did not cover – lightning strikes.

Lewis Block, chief estimator with All South Lightning Protection, explained that protecting a home from a lightning strike and a power surge are two different things. To protect a home form a direct lightning hit, a lightning rod system is required. These systems range from a basic Faraday system, which is patterned after the first lightning rods created by Benjamin Franklin more than 200 years ago, to the Early Streamer Emission (ESE) Lightning Protection System, which works to reduce the intensity of the charge between the lightning rod and the storm cloud.

The purpose of any lightning rod protection system is to dissipate electrical energy from structures by offering an easy path for the lightning to safely reach the ground. The rod is connected to a thick copper or aluminum wire, which in turn is attached to a grid or ground rod buried in the ground nearby. Lightning rods provide protection from structural damage and fire that can result from a direct lightning strike.

If there are any trees as close as 10 feet to a home that are taller than the roof, they will also need lightning protection. As well as protecting the tree, this prevents any side flashes that could bounce off the tree onto the home.

Because the Tonns knew that their fence was the culprit in both instances, they chose to forgo the whole house lightning rod system and instead, with guidance from a certified electrician, installed a grounding rod directly to the fence. They also shifted their fence slightly to allow a 1.5” air gap between the fence and the house.

Power surges, on the other hand, can occur as the result of a direct lightning strike, as in the case of the Tonns, or as the result of a lightning strike several hundred miles away. In either case, they can wreak havoc on a home’s electronics.

According to Block, the key to protecting a home against a massive power surge is to install a whole house system that offers consistent power surge protection on all of the home’s lines, from electrical to cable and telephone, sprinkler systems, satellite dishes – any line that is entering the home.

Much like lightning rods, surge protectors act as a power diverter, redirecting harmful power disturbances safely through a path of least resistance to ground. By installing a whole house surge protection system, as opposed to individual power strips, all of the home’s systems have the same ground potential, in one common location, for passing the surge away from electronic equipment.

While whole-home surge protection is sold on the store shelves, Block advised that this is one area of protection where it pays to invest in a professional system.

We live in the lightning capital of the country; fortunately, there are measures we can take to protect our homes from this powerful force of nature.

Thanks to the Tonn family for sharing their story with us.

By Karen Ring

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Road Repaving Petition, Decorations and Violations

Bennington

The Voting Member meeting in October consisted of various topics including a presentation by the county planning commission representative, Ray Chiaramonte (for more information on county initiatives, including long range transportation plans, please visit Imagine2040.com). Also discussed was our ongoing favorite topic, our roadways’ condition. After meetings and discussions with our county commissioner, Sandy Murman, Westchase Community Association Director Joe Odda proposed that a concerted effort by the Westchase community would get our voices heard. He suggested creating a community petition, made available via a Web site on which owners could access and sign it, triggering an e-mail sent directly to the county commissioners. There was a great deal of support for this plan and VMs discussed its implementation and how to get the word out to the community. I will keep everyone informed as plans develop.

Have a good month!

By Jeanne Klimschot, Bennington VM

The Bridges

It is almost time to deck the walls, gutters, shrubbery and mailboxes. Don't forget the timeframe for putting up and taking down holiday decorations. Halloween decorations must be removed by Nov. 7. Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa and other winter holiday decorations may go up at Thanksgiving and must be down by Jan. 15. Decorations displayed outside of those dates will likely get you a violation.

Word on the street is that "I" am the only one getting violations. That is "I" as in each individual homeowner. You are not being singled out. Violations are up throughout Westchase. Out of 340 homes I represent, there were 78 violations this month. Take a look around your place and see if it needs any sprucing up. Common violations are: trash cans stored in view; discolored sidewalks/driveways; vehicles parked on the grass, street or sidewalk; and dead sod or plants. You get the idea. We all moved here because of the property values and nice look of the neighborhood. We want to keep both.

A group of interested Westchasers is preparing a petition to ask the county commission to pave our streets sooner rather than later. Some streets the CDD owns (and collects paving reserves for) have just been paved, leaving others wondering when they will get paved. Watch for signs of the petition link on the WCA and WOW Web sites.

Please send an e-mail to bridgesvm@gmail.com and include your home address if you would like to receive e-mail updates.

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Cynde Mercer, The Bridges VM

The Greens

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that you are all aware that if you lease your Westchase property out to tenants, you must advise the Westchase Community Association (WCA) manager and provide a copy of the executed lease or you may be subject to a violation and fine. Contact the WCA staff for details!

Each month at the Voting Members (VM) meeting, each VM receives a list of violations from their neighborhood. This month I received four pages with 126 violations. The number one violation was discolored house/roof/driveway/sidewalks with 35 violations. If you received a violation letter, please act upon it quickly; let’s work together to pare this list to a minimum.

Are you aware that Westchase is receiving a $10,000 grant from the USTA for updating Westchase tennis facilities? That, coupled with $35,000 in capital contributions and other previously budgeted funds, will be used to resurface the tennis courts, improve/place hand scanners at all facilities, and construct a small cabana building.

By Gerald (Jerry) Pappa, The Greens VM

Stockbridge

Greetings, Stockbridge! I hope you had a happy Halloween and are all prepped for the garage sale. Whether you are selling your wares, settling in for the morning or getting out of Dodge, good luck! As of deadline, I do not have a date or time for the Fall Block Party. I will update residents once we have the details worked out. I would also like to welcome Ryan and Daniela to Stockbridge. Our newest residents are settling in nicely. We’re glad that they’ve made Stockbridge their home.

At the Voting Member (VM) meeting, we spent a great deal of time reviewing and discussing violation policies. I am very happy to say that Stockbridge had a significant decrease in the number of violations sent. I want to reiterate that the purpose of the Westchase Community Association (WCA) violations is not to “pick on” residents, but rather to maintain our community and more important, our home values. We all sometimes forget to bring in trashcans in a timely manner; we walk over our stained driveway without concern or selectively ignore that dead patch of grass. Trust me. I have received my fair share of violations. While I do not like to get them, I do appreciate why we get them. Let’s do our best to keep the violations on the decline and thanks for so few reported at this past VM meeting.

Another issue we discussed at the VM meeting was the need to repave some Westchase roads. Radcliffe VM Eric Holt, and our own Joe Odda, will be preparing a Westchase-wide petition in order to influence our county representatives to consider the project of repaving some Westchase’s neighborhoods. As more information comes available, I will pass it along. The VMs also were given a review of the Nathan Lafer Good Neighbor Award. Please see the WCA Web site for additional information if there is a resident you want to nominate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Ed Siler, Stockbridge VM

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West Park Apartments See Major Renovations and Improvements

Shortly after Atlanta-based Carroll Management Group took over West Park Village Luxury Apartments in May, they began major renovations.

“We totally expanded and renovated the fitness center and the lounge area,” said Property Manager Jordan Petras. “The fitness center has new machines and a yoga and Pilates area. We have new furniture, touch screen computers and a pool table for residents to use in the village lounge and we completely updated and renovated the kitchen. Both areas are available for residents to use any time of the day or night on a first come basis.”

That’s not all.

“We also updated and refurbished the resort-like pool area,” Petras announced. “We have a nice, new outside kitchen area at the pool with two large grills, a sink, an ice holder, and plenty of counter space. Around the pool, we have new pool furniture, umbrellas, and tables.”

Carroll Management Group is renovating the units as they become available and hopes to have all completed within two to three years. Petras said the average cost to renovate the units is $4,500. “Inside the units, we have been updating bathrooms and kitchens with new stainless steel appliances and designer flooring, lighting, counters and back splashes. The new flooring is installed throughout the units. So far we have renovated 100 units. Our overall goal is to add amenities for our residents.”

Located in West Park Village, the 617-unit community includes one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, townhomes and manor homes.

“We have different styles of homes for all different lifestyles,” said Petras. “We want to do more functions for our residents and be involved with the local community with events like our annual Halloween and tree lighting events.”

In addition to managing West Park Village Apartments, Carroll Management Group also manages the 23 retail spaces at the front of West Park Village Town Center.

By Marcy Sanford

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UTB Library Programs, November 2014

FAMILY PROGRAMS

Toddler Time (Ages 2-3 with caregiver): Mon, Nov. 3, 10, 17 and 24, at 10:15 a.m.; Tue, Nov 4, 11, 18 and 25, at 10:15 a.m.; Wed, Nov 5, 12, 19 and 26, at 11 a.m.
Story Time (Ages 3-5): Tue, Nov 4, 11, 18 and 25, at 11 a.m.
Baby Time (Ages 0-18 months): Tue, Nov 4, 11, 18 and 25, at 1:15 p.m.; Wed, Nov 5, 12, 19 and 26, at 1:15 p.m.
LEGO Block Party: Mon, Nov 17, at 3:30 p.m.
CoderDojo: Teaching Kids to Code: Sat, Nov 1, 15 and 29, at 11:30 a.m.

TEEN PROGRAMS

Teen Advisory Board: Tue, Nov 4 and 18, at 4:30 p.m.

ADULT PROGRAMS

Sahaja Meditation: Sat, Nov 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29, at 10:30 a.m.
Tai Chi with Bonnie Birdsall: Thu, Nov 6, at 1:30 p.m.
Job Support Group: Tue, Nov 4 and 18, at 10:30 a.m.
Master Gardener Series: Caladiums: Wed, Nov 12, 6:30 p.m.
• Master Gardener Cynthia Glover offers tips on growing, maintaining, and choosing the best varieties of caladiums. 
Book Discussion: Thu, Nov 6, at 6:30 p.m.
• Join us to discuss The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.
Family Center on Deafness Telephone Distribution: Fri, Nov 14, at 10 a.m.
Computer Classes:
Tech Boulevard: Tue, Nov 4, 18 and 25, at 2:30 p.m.
• Ongoing training in computer basics.
Microsoft Word–Introduction: Tue, Nov 4, at 6:30 p.m.
eBooks and eReaders–Introduction: Tue, Nov 18, at 6:30 p.m.

LIBRARY HOURS

Sun, 12:30-5 p.m.; Mon-Wed, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Thu, noon-8 p.m.; Fri & Sat, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Holiday Hours: The library is closed on Tue, Nov. 11 to observe Veterans Day and Thu and Fri, Nov. 27-28, to observe Thanksgiving. The library closes early Mon-Wed, Nov. 24-26.

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Westchase Boys and Girls Lacrosse Registration Announced

The Westchase Stampede, our area’s only youth lacrosse organization for both boys and girls, is set to begin its third season.

Registration has just begun and is open to boys ages 7 through 15 and girls in elementary school.

The Stampede is built around a philosophy of introducing the sport to new players as well as making sure it’s fun for everyone involved. They accept both new and veteran players alike and ensure everyone receives quality play time.

Practices begin in mid-January and will be held at Timberlan Park on Monday and Wednesday nights from approximately 6:15 p.m. until 8:15 p.m. Games are usually on Saturdays and held in different parts of the Tampa area. The season ends in April.

Boys teams will include U9, U11, U13, and U15 groups, while girls will be fielding a Youth team. Following the great success of the first two years, the Stampede organization is anticipating even better numbers and support from the community for 2015. The registration cost for boys will be $200 and girls will be $150. Please keep in mind, spaces on each squad are limited.

Equipment for players new to the sport can be found locally at both Dick’s Sporting Goods and Lacrosse Xtreme. If you need assistance in selecting the right equipment, please contact Tina Broome (director@westchasestampede.com) and she will make sure you get what you need without breaking the bank. Boys will need a stick, gloves, elbow pads, shoulder pads, helmet (preferably white), protective cup and mouthpiece. Girls will need a girls’ lacrosse stick, eye protection, and a mouthpiece.

As with any youth sports program, volunteers play a vital role in keeping things organized and fun. As such, the Stampede is always interested in finding new coaches to assist the kids. Parents that may be interested are asked to contact the Westchase Stampede Director Tina Broome via e-mail at director@westchasestampede.com.

Parents interested in registering their child or children should visit the Westchase Stampede online at http://www.westchasestampede.com If yo.u have any questions at all, Tina  Broome will be happy to help. You can also use the Contact page on the Stampede’s Web site to reach out to her via the Web.

By James Broome

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Five Westchase High Schoolers Make Conference Finals

While younger Westchase swimmers saw new adventures, high school swimmers began to prepare for all-important district, regional and state championships in recent weeks.

The Westchase TBAY club recently attended the Get Rowdy and Race meet in Winter Haven for the first time. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, as rain Friday and Saturday complicated things just a bit for the 23 Westchase swimmers who raced.

It didn’t put a damper on success, though. Paige Easton, Aly Johnston and Drake Palmer turned in top five finishes.  Abby Williams dropped more than 20 seconds in 100 butterfly. Marissa Dunlop cut more than 10 seconds in 100 breaststroke and Dylan Nolan did the same in 100 IM.

Later in the month the weather was lovely in St. Petersburg for the SPA Friday Night at the Races.  Several TBAY Westchase swimmers posted best times, with Emily Kramer dropping more than 10 seconds in 100 back and 100 breast.  Top five finishers were Paige Easton, Noah Hall, Hunter Long, Dylan Nolan, Drake Palmer, Sam Prabhakaran, Leila-Anais Pyrczak, Tristan Sanders, Robert Shaw, Gregory Tilzer, Nicole Tilzer and Sam Williams.

As for the high schoolers, the County Conference Finals were held at Bobby Hicks pool across from Robinson High School. After divisional meets whittled down finalists from all 27 high schools in the conference, the finalists returned to chase conference championships. The top two division finishers in each event, plus two wild cards, reach finals.  Each swimmer can participate in two individual events and two relays.

Abby Rose of Sickles took third in both 50 and 100 free. Maddie Strasen of Robinson was third in 200 free and seventh in 100 breast, while competing on two relay squads along with Robinson teammate Tiffany Quach. Richie Bui of Sickles finished third in 100 breast, while Jefferson’s Isabel Minnis placed fifth in 200 IM.

Up next for high school swimmers are District Championships.

Be sure to like TBAY Westchase on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @tbaywestchase!

By Jean Strasen and Alex Richardson

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Nov. 1 Garage Sale Big Ticket List Released

The Westchase Community Association (WCA) manager’s office has released the Big Ticket List for the Westchase Fall Garage Sale on Saturday, Nov. 1.

The Westchase Garage Sale runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here to view the list.

In order to improve traffic flow and access by emergency vehicles, the Westchase Community Association (WCA) asks that residents not sell food items or collect outside items for sale as part of a large, charitable event.

All unsold items can be donated to Goodwill, which will have three donation locations around Westchase from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. to accept your donations. On the day of the garage sale Goodwill will have trailers from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. at the St. Joseph's Outpatient Clinic parking lot, located at 10509 W. Linebaugh Ave., and Fifth Third Bank, located at 9450 W. Linebaugh Ave. Each weekend Goodwill also has trailers at the Primrose School, 12051 Whitmarsh Lane, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Donations of clothing and household items will support Goodwill's services for people who are disabled, elderly or unemployed. Goodwill cannot accept mattresses, box springs or televisions. They will provide a receipt for tax purposes.

For answers to questions about the sale, please call the Westchase association manager at 926-6404. For more information about the Goodwill donation locations, please call (888) 279-1988, ext. 1440.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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County Issues Creek Water Safety Warning for Keswick Forest and Glenfield

County crews are repairing a sewage line leak Near Double Branch Creek, which has prompted a warning to residents in villages along Countryway Boulevard and Twin Branch Acres to avoid the creek’s water for the next few days.

Residents who live along Double Branch Creek south of Linebaugh Avenue and west of Countyway Boulevard are urged to avoid contact with the water in the creek after a sewage pipeline leak was discovered on Tuesday, Oct. 28.  This includes the Keswick Forest, Glenfield, and Twin Branch Acres neighborhoods, along with the community off of North River Road near Memorial Highway and the Bay Bayou RV Resort.

The leak is in a sewage line near the banks of Double Branch Creek just south of Linebaugh Avenue. Hillsborough County Public Utilities crews are assessing the damage and determining the best approach to fix the pipeline.

It is not known at this time how long it will take to make repairs.

The sewage line leak does not impact indoor household tap water, which is safe to use and consume.

Residents are urged not to fish, wade or swim in the creek for the next few days, and to avoid coming into contact with the water during other activities. 

The leak was discovered by staff from the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, who notified the Public Utilities Department earlier this afternoon.  The Public Utilities Department also will post signs. The department has notified local and state environmental agencies, and will be taking samples and monitoring the area where the spill occurred.

By Andrea Roshaven, Hillsborough County Community Relations Coordinator

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Great West Chase 5K and 10K Results Are In!

The Great West Chase 10K, 5K and Children’s Fun Run broke a new record for the community event with nearly 1,000 registered runners for the Oct. 25 races in West Park Village.  With 178 runners finishing the 10K race, first place was taken by Keswick Forest’s Larry Smart, 45, with a time of 34:51. Second place went to Matthew Farrell, 34, (36:14) and third place to Michael Rivera, 27, (36:47).

The Great West Chase 5K saw 552 runners cross the finish line with the indomitable Smart also placing first in that race with a time of 17:28. Placing second was Nicholas Zivolich, 35, (18:10) and third place was won by Blair Burnett, 46 (18:11). For complete race results from the Great West Chase 5K and 10K please click here.

To see runners' photos by James Broome Photography, click here. To view a video of the event produced by Philip Dean of Dean communications, click here.

WOW thanks all the event’s generous sponsors, its tireless volunteers and enthusiastic participants. For a complete wrap up of the event, please read December’s WOW.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Great West Chase 5K and 10K a Great Success!

The Great West Chase 10K, 5K and Children’s Fun Run broke a new record for the community event with nearly 1,000 registered runners for the Oct. 25 races in West Park Village.  With 178 runners finishing the 10K race, first place was taken by Keswick Forest’s Larry Smart, 45, with a time of 34:51. Second place went to Matthew Farrell, 34, (36:14) and third place to Michael Rivera, 27, (36:47).

The Great West Chase 5K saw 552 runners cross the finish line with the indomitable Smart also placing first in that race with a time of 17:28. Placing second was Nicholas Zivolich, 35, (18:10) and third place was won by Blair Burnett, 46 (18:11). For complete race results from the Great West Chase 5K and 10K please click here.

WOW thanks all the event’s generous sponsors, its tireless volunteers and enthusiastic participants. For a complete wrap up of the event, please read December’s WOW.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Gretna Green Repaving Begins Oct. 22

Gretna Green Drive in The Fords will get a facelift this week, but how will it affect access to the neighborhood?

According to Andrea Roshaven, Community Relations Coordinator for Hillsborough County, the repaving of Gretna Green Drive in The Fords will begin Monday, Oct. 22.

“We’re going to start repaving tomorrow,” Roshaven informed WOW on Oct. 21. “Weather permitting…we expect to be completed sometime next week. “

The work, however, will not include actual neighborhoods in The Fords and will only resurface Gretna Green Drive from Linebaugh Avenue to the entrance to Kingsford. Weather permitting, repaving work will run daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The county will return roughly 30 days after paving to complete street markings.

In January, the county’s repaving crews will return to Westchase.  Montague Street from Linebaugh Avenue to New Park Road is tentatively scheduled to see major work. The county will completely tear up the road to reconstruct its base. The road base, which the county described several years ago as incorrectly constructed, has led to continual and quick deterioration of any surface applied to the road. Calling off the major work several years ago due to protests from businesses along Montague Street, the county warned that, when the road needed resurfacing again, the reconstruction would have to occur. Work, however, is expected to take place overnight in an attempt to minimize the disruption to businesses along the stretch.

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Two Repaving Projects Coming to Westchase

As Westchase leaders gear up for a community-wide campaign to convince the county to repave a significant portion of Westchase’s aging roads, the county will tackle a small repaving project in The Fords, perhaps as early as Monday, Oct. 20. They will then return and perform major work on crumbling Montague Street through West Park's commercial district early in the new year.

According to Westchase Community Association (WCA) Director Joe Odda, chair of the Government Affairs Committee (GAC), the Hillsborough Department of Public Works will begin resurfacing Gretna Green Drive in The Fords beginning Monday, Oct. 20. The work, however, will not include actual neighborhoods in The Fords. Resurfacing will only occur on Gretna Green Drive from Linebaugh Avenue to the entrance to Kingsford.

In January Montague Street from Linebaugh Avenue to New Park Road will also see major work. The county will completely tear up the road to reconstruct its base. The road base, which the county described several years ago as incorrectly constructed, has led to continual and quick deterioration of any road surface the county applies to it. Calling off the major work several years ago after protests from businesses along Montague Street, the county warned that, when the road needed resurfacing again, the complete reconstruction would have to occur.

According to Odda, however, the county is making greater efforts to reduce the work’s impact on adjacent businesses. They are currently looking to schedule road construction so it doesn’t impact the holiday season. The county has also informed Odda that they will undertake Montague Street construction in the nighttime hours, between roughly 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Both projects were scheduled by the county prior to the community’s plans to petition commissioners to repave a significant number of aging neighborhood roads.

WOW has reached out to county officials for confirmation and will share further information as it becomes available.

By Chris Barrett, WOW Publisher

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VMs Discuss Community-Wide Road Repaving Petition

The October Voting Member (VM) Meeting began with a presentation by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

Ray Chiaramonte, a Westchase resident and former VM who is the Planning Commission and MPO Executive Director, stepped VMs through a presentation on the MPO’s 2040 plan, about which county residents were recently surveyed.

Explaining the results, Chiaramonte reported that most people realize that Hillsborough County isn’t spending enough money on transportation. He said that people also understood that taxes would have to be raised to pay for some of the changes. Survey results showed that 82 percent said that the county should exceed current spending. Chiaramonte reported that 600,000 additional people will live in the area by the year 2040. He explained that current road funding comes from gas taxes but as cars become more fuel efficient and people elect to use electric cars, that revenue will decrease. One thing being discussed is a one cent sales tax increase. That would equate to about $150 a year more for an average family or an increase of $80 to $90 for a single person household.

Chiaramonte said there were also a number of smaller projects in the plan such as adding street lighting to major roads like Sheldon Road and Waters Avenue and connecting nearby trails. After the presentation, VMs had many questions about the potential widening of Linebaugh, which Chiarmonte does not support within Westchase; transit options, which are currently limited in Westchase; and the date the new sales tax would end if adopted (probably never).

Residents can review all of the plans, see when the MPO’s upcoming meetings are and get involved by visiting http://www.planhillsborough.org

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Next, VMs unanimously provided their initial approval for Berkeley Square’s paint palette and the reappointment of Variance Committee members Ruben Collazo, Brian Ross, Shawn Yesner and Roger Gritton, an architect.

Westchase Community Association (WCA) President Joaquin Arrillaga then asked the group to consider nominating people in their neighborhoods for the Nathan Lafer Good Neighbor, a yearly award honoring a neighbor who has shown great spirit and helped and volunteered to improve the quality of life in Westchase. The nomination form can be accessed here - http://westchasewca.com/documents_forms/NF_Award_Nomination_Form_2.doc

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Arrillaga then provided VMs information on the association’s violation policy. He said that violations have increased since Westchase is now over 20-years-old and the community needs to keep itself looking good. Unfortunately, the increase in violations has caused some residents to believe they are being singled out and they’ve called or come to the WCA office upset. The board has updated the language to try to discourage residents from “becoming neighborhood inspectors” and trying to report issues they see with their neighbors’ properties when they are cited. VM Cynde Mercer (The Bridges), asked if the names of residents reporting violations was still confidential. Arrillaga confirmed that it is “very confidential.”

VM Jerry Pappa (The Greens) said, “At times I send e-mails out (to Greens residents) that summarize the number of infractions,” His goal is to let residents know that they aren’t being singled out and understand where the major issues are.

WCA Director Joe Odda and Radcliffe VM Eric Holt then discussed a community-wide petition regarding road repaving. Odda and Holt attended a morning coffee with County Commissioner Sandy Murman, where Holt asked if a petition would help. Murman responded that it always helps to present concerns in an organized manner. Holt said, “It’s a matter of being the squeaky wheel and getting our items prioritized.”

Holt has created an initial petition at change.org. This will allow people to sign it online. The idea is to then submit it to Commissioner Murman. Holt will submit the link to the VMs and the board and refine it for potential distribution to the community.

Mercer gave an update to the VMs on the Rental Committee, formed back in April. She said that at that time, there were concerns about the number of rental units. Since then they have found that there are very few commercial ownerships in Westchase and the community doesn’t have an overload of rental units. Mercer said that the clamp down on violations has helped with their upkeep. She asked if there was enough staff to adequately keep up with the inspection schedule and violation process. Arrillaga and Property Manager Debbie Sainz said they are comfortable with the staff they have working on the process and they are keeping up.

VMs then debated the committee’s suggestion of a non-negotiable fine for homeowners who do not register their lease information with the property manager. One suggestion that VMs agreed to was the creation of a brochure that lists the major violations and the location of Westchase’s rules. It can be handed to new renters or even signed with the lease. VM Alan Shabott (Abbotsford) said, “I love the idea of us being friendly and welcoming them and having something to hand them. It is a great way to welcome someone to the community.”

Arrillaga will be taking the suggestion to the board.

Arrillaga provided an update on the Tennis Cabana and court expansion project. He reported that the USTA had given the community a $10,000 grant; while it fell short of the total expected, he stated the balance can be covered from the association’s capital contributions, made by new owners when they purchase Westchase homes. 

Arrillaga then provided the VMs with a few updates from the board. He said directors are reviewing the legal contract to ensure the association is getting the best service for the money. He also acknowledged that at their last meeting, VMs had complaints about the makeup of the Nominating Committee and the fact that it did not include any VMs. Arrillaga said that he had checked with the attorney, who said VMs cannot force assignments on the committee but Arrillaga stated that any VM is welcome to join the committee.

Arrillaga closed the meeting by asking VMs to review the Code of Conduct information to be sure that everyone is respecting everybody’s opinion.

VMs adjourned at 9:24 p.m.

By Brenda Bennett

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WCA Postpones Planned Tennis Cabana Construction

At the Oct. 9 Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Directors’ meeting, directors tackled legal fees and tennis leagues and decided to temporarily postpone construction of their planned Tennis Cabana.

The fate of the Tennis Cabana and court expansion now appears to hinge on Westchase Voting Members’ feedback.

Opening the resident forum preceding the directors’ meeting, Chelmsford Voting Member (VM) Bill Dennis told the board that several of his residents had complained to him about large trucks damaging lawns and the median strip when they made turns into the neighborhood. The residents had asked him to find out what could be done to prevent the damage. Director Brian Ross suggested that Dennis talk to the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) office.

Stamford VM Don Costello told the board that he thought it was time to ask for bids for a new law firm since the association’s current firm was raising its rates by ten percent. Director Kathy Carlsen said that the issue had also been discussed at the last VM meeting and that she agreed with Costello that it is time to ask for bids from other law firms. WCA President Joaquin Arrillaga said that in the past seven years the WCA’s law firm had provided great service and had only increased their rates one time but he said the board would discuss the issue at another meeting.

Several Westchase tennis players attended the meeting with different questions and concerns for the board. Fords resident Natalie Kobel questioned the board about the composition of the WCA’s Swim and Tennis Committee and voiced concerns that there was a member of the committee who did not participate in the programs. Arrillaga replied that the members of the Swim and Tennis Committee were serving their second year of a three-year term.

West Park Village resident Carmen Fiorito asked the board to make changes to association’s current policies so that Westchase residents would have priority for spots on United States Tennis Association (USTA) teams. She asked the board to change the current policy so that residents had the first opportunity to be on a team, that they play a minimum of three matches and that Westchase residents comprise at least 50 percent of a team. She also asked the board to establish online registration for USTA teams. She said she did not want to exclude non-resident players but wanted to advocate for Westchase residents. Director Pithers said that the 50-percent resident rule was waived initially because there were not enough residents who wanted to play. Now the program has grown and there are enough interested residents, she said, they should get priority.

During the board’s discussion of rules and policies regarding USTA leagues, Ross said that he felt the board should set policy, not run the tennis program or make decisions about teams and leagues. When asked about becoming more involved with the oversight of the program, Operations Manager Kelly Shires said that each team captain manages his or her own team. He said all the captains do an excellent job but that Head Tennis Professional Roberto Calla and he could play a more active role and that he was open to any suggestion and would work with whatever the board decided. All board members voted in favor of Director Ken Blair’s motion that tennis program participants be required to register online by a given deadline, that 50 percent of the team be Westchase residents and that the captains and co-captains of the teams be Westchase residents.

Harbor Links resident Wendy Baier said that the 50-percent rule would come back to haunt the board because there were some levels that did not have enough residents available to play. The board agreed to ask Calla and Shires to ensure that the board’s policies were adhered to and gave them leeway to make exceptions to the 50-percent resident rule if there were not enough qualified, interested players.

All board members also voted in favor of Pithers’ motion to allow a new USTA 3.0 ladies team that will meet at night as long as the team follows USTA and Westchase rules and their practice time does not conflict with any other teams or lessons.

Carlsen asked the board to revise the minutes from last month’s meeting. She said, “I requested that printed copies of the CCRs and bylaws be available upon request not that copies by printed automatically.”

Arrillaga said that they had already printed the copies and that VMs could request them through the association office. Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz said the cost was less than originally budgeted.

All directors voted in favor of reappointing Cynde Mercer, Mary Griffin, and Kathy McGlone to the Covenants Committee, which hears appeals to fines for unresolved deed restriction violations, and Jovanna Hoagland to the Modifications Committee, which reviews homeowner requests to make changes to yards and home exteriors.

Government Affairs Committee (GAC) Chair Joe Odda, who also serves as a WCA director, said that there is concern about the conditions of Westchase streets. “All the streets have issues,” he stated. “In some places on Gretna Green in The Fords there are cracks in the road with plants growing in them.”

Odda said that Radcliffe VM Eric Holt had been trying to get the streets in his neighborhood repaved. “The micro resurfacing technique that they used to repave them has not held up at all,” Odda observed.

Odda and Holt attended a meeting with Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman and brought the issue up. She suggested they bring a neighborhood petition to the county with a statement of concern. Odda said Holt and he thought the association should do a neighborhood-wide petition and include a list of Westchase’s worst areas. He said he would like the petition to be written by legal counsel and was wondering if there was an electronic way to go about getting signatures. He said that he would also be bringing the matter up at the next VM meeting.

Carlsen said she was against spending any money on legal fees. Ross said he agreed with Carlsen that no money should be spent on legal expenses and that it was his experience that the decision for road repaving happened on an administrative level. He wondered if anyone had approached county staff yet. Odda said that he had talked to several county engineers and right now Westchase is not scheduled to be surveyed until 2015 and would not be on the schedule for repaving until 2017. He said he did not think it would hurt to give them a petition asking them to repave the areas that are in most urgent need now. Arrillaga said he would bring the issue to the VMs at their next meeting.

Odda also reported that the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce was in favor of Citrus Park Drive being extended from Sheldon Road by the mall to Countryway Boulevard just north of the library. He stated that he would be speaking to them at their next meeting. Ross asked the board if they understood that that the Citrus Park Drive extension, once completed, would lift the stipulation that the planned Costco at the intersection of Sheldon and Linebaugh would not open during morning rush hour. Arrillaga said that, yes, that was understood. Odda said the traffic issues are already present without Costco. 

Sainz reported that they had issued 678 deed restriction violation letters in August and 639 in September. She said many of these were due to the fact that water restrictions had been lifted so WCA managers were now checking sidewalks and driveways to see if they needed to be cleaned. Ross wondered if there were any policies or regulations in regards to how often inspections are done. He said the board should find a time to create a process and schedule for inspections. All voted in favor of Arrillaga’s motion to remove the stipulation that the association will not accept anonymous violation tips.

During her manager’s report, Sainz told the board that capital contributions (required contributions made to the association when a Westchase home is purchased) were up for the year and that there was an average of 26 closings per month in Westchase. She also said that 14 palm trees around the West Park Village tennis courts were being removed at the end of October. She said the tree roots were causing extensive damage to the courts. The trees will eventually be replaced by crepe myrtles.

After her report, Ross questioned Sainz about a computer the association had to buy for the palm scanners at both swim and tennis centers.  He wondered if the association had bought the computer based on information from Fujitsu and if so, he felt that Fujitsu should pay for the computer. Arrillaga said someone had dropped the ball on the palm scanners and that he is ticked off at the money and time the project has taken and the fact that the scanners still don’t work. He said he had a call with the company to find out what they were going to do to fix the situation.

The board has been working to bring renovations and additions to Westchase’s tennis courts, including a new Tennis Cabana, as part of their Master Plan Committee’s recommendations. The board applied for a USTA grant and hoped to receive $40,000 towards construction. Arrillaga, however, announced that the USTA only granted Westchase $10,000, thus creating a shortfall of $33,000 for the project. Arrillaga said that he tried to get Welch Tennis to lower their price on the courts and was told that costs have increased since the time of their initial quote. Welch Tennis said that while they would not increase their quote, they will not lower it. Arrillaga also approached Mangrove Construction to see if they could cut costs anywhere and was told that Mangrove was no longer interested in constructing the Tennis Cabana.

Carlsen asked why the board was proceeding with a project if they didn’t have the money for it. Ross and Pithers both said that part of what makes Westchase a premier community is the neighborhood’s facilities. To Carlsen’s objection that only 1.5 percent of residents play tennis, Pithers said it was very shortsighted to say that the amenities only affect a small percentage of residents. She went on to say that one of the reasons Westchase is a premier community is because of fabulous amenities. “When we stop improving, it will affect the home prices to 100 percent of our residents.”

Arrillaga told the board that there was money available to make up the difference, including $15,000 previously budgeted for a splash park (but cancelled when actual construction costs proved higher) and a $32,782 surplus in capital contributions. He also pointed out that they were going to have to ask for new bids for the project so the cost might decrease. Ross suggested that the board talk to the VMs about the project and tell them how it is now going to be funded.

Four board members subsequently voted against Director Ken Blair’s motion to rebid the project and use the surplus funds to make up for the grant shortfall as long as the new bids come in the same or lower than the original bid. Carlsen and Ross voted against the motion because they felt the board needed to tell the VMs before moving money in the budget; Arrillaga voted against the motion because he thought a less expensive structure should be built; Director Keith Heinemann also voted against the motion. With only Pithers, Blair, and Odda voting in favor, the motion failed to pass, 4-3. Arrillaga said he would take the project to the next VM meeting.

Arrillaga said that he would be asking VMs to bring nominations for the Nathan Lafer Good Neighbor Award to their next meeting. Ross suggested placing the award information – including its past recipients – on the association’s Web site more prominently. All board members agreed.

All board members voted in favor of Carlsen’s motion to remove the restriction that non-profit groups can only use the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center’s activity room once per month for meetings.

The next WCA Board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the WCA offices at 10049 Parley Dr.

By Marcy Sanford

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Avoiding the Potential Westchase Roof Scam

Consider this scenario: A roofing company knocks on your door or leaves a door hanger.

They point to your 18-year-old roof (which will likely need to be replaced in the next two years) and tell you they can get your insurance company to cough up a $10,000 check to replace it. They’ll do it by making a claim of damage from a hailstorm that occurred nearly a half year ago.

You haven’t been up there. It seems reasonable there could be storm damage. Part of your brain, however, may feel uneasy. “But my roof isn’t currently leaking and I never suspected any damage,” you might think.

“Just sign here and we’ll get the work done,” the company’s representative will tell you.

Would you sign the contract?

If you live in The Bridges, a neighborhood with roofs nearing the ends of their lifespans, odds are you’ve had a run in with one of two such roofing companies. Or you know a neighbor who’s signed a contract to begin the work.

It’s happening with greater frequency. At the Oct. 7 meeting of the Westchase Community Association’s (WCA) Modifications Committee, the association reviewed 14 roof replacement requests – most from The Bridges and many with the same roofing company claiming hail damage. In contrast, the committee considered only two roofing requests at their Aug. 26 and Sept. 9 meetings.

Vineyards resident Josh Butts, the owner of Cornerstone Insurance, however, wants you to quickly shut the door.

“People should absolutely steer clear of anyone who knocks on their doors,” said Butts. “These guys are stormchasers.”

Most Westchase homes from The Greens and The Fords eastward have original roofs nearing the ends of their lifespans, generally 15-20 years in Florida.

According to Butts, such companies wait for weather reports like the hailstorm that brushed Westchase on Sunday, May 25. They pinpoint neighborhoods whose homes have aging roofs that show significant wear and tear. And they aggressively market door-to-door. “They tell people, ‘Just sign this paper and we’ll handle everything,’” said Butts.

They’ll even crawl onto your roof, take photos, and return to show you where the roof isn’t looking so good.

“They say this is a direct result from May 25. How in God’s name would they be able to decipher the damage they’re claiming?” said Butts.

Butts has one significant piece of advice: Don’t sign the paper.

“The homeowner has actually signed over their rights – it’s an assignment of benefits,” said Butts.

He added, “What they effectively do is make the roofer the claimant, essentially the homeowner.”

The roofer will then go to homeowner’s insurance company and make a claim. “They’ve effectively made themselves the self-appointed adjuster, the claimant and the contractor assigned to do the work. It’s a complete conflict of interest,” said Butts.

Under the signed agreement, if an insurance payout occurs, it must go to the named roofing company. Homeowners completely forego the right to bid out the work. Yet for a job as important as re-roofing, experts say homeowners should interview and acquire bids from at least three companies – and then check references; the companies’ license and insurance coverage; and their reputation with consumer reporting agencies like the Better Business Bureau prior to selecting one. Doing such homework will help ensure you have hired a reliable company that will use quality materials at a competitive price.

There are other reasons not to sign.

According to Butts, signing the stormchaser’s agreement will result in one of three things from your insurance company: a full payment, a partial payment or denial.

Each has ramifications.

In the latter two cases, the homeowner will still be on the hook for thousands of dollars in repairs.

In short, insurance companies don’t want to insure homes with roofs that have exceeded their lifespans. The roofing company’s claim will make clear your roof’s age to your insurance company. “Now the people are up the creek without a paddle,” said Butts of the homeowners who sign. “They have six months to get a new roof or they face non-renewal of their insurance.”

Even homeowners who receive a partial payment have a problem. “They’re still going to have to get a roof. And now they’re tied to this shady roofing company.”

Butts added, “Do you think that company is going to show up with the best materials and guys?"

By signing prior to the outcome of the insurance claim, the homeowner has guaranteed the company the work. Any insurance company check goes to them. “You’ve signed it away,” said Butts.

Ignoring that uneasy part of your brain may have other costs. Will making the claim make it more likely your insurance company will drop you?

“Yes,” answered Butts. “In general, that would be the case – especially if the person had a prior claim in the last five years.”

Further, any claim is then carried with the home, affecting rates offered by companies selling homeowners new policies.

But the costs don’t only lie with the homeowner. “This is where it is a community problem,” said Butts. “One of the insurance rating factors is the amount of claims versus the premiums being generated in a given zip code. It’s called the loss ratio.”

Butts added. “Investigating each claim can cost several thousand dollars even if there is no claim.” He said the payouts and investigative costs can have very negative consequences for the entire community. “The loss ratio for 33626 [Westchase’s zip code] will be adversely affected,” he said.

In short, this means that every Westchase homeowner will pay more for homeowners insurance in coming years if the practice becomes widespread. “It does hurt the community,” Butts insisted.

Yet, for Butts, is this a case of an insurance salesman just trying to protect his own bottom line?

As an insurance broker, Butts sees no personal loss from homeowners making claims. His goal, he said, is simply to educate people and protect the community he calls home.

“There’s no free lunch,” he said. “I want to help people keep their homeowners’ insurance rates low.” He added, “I’m one of them.”

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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CDD Supervisors Seek Consultant for Park Plans; Weigh Greens Gatehouse Cost Changes

An Oct. 8 meeting saw Westchase CDD supervisors agree on an approach to completing park renovations and heard talk of possible cost increases – or overnight staffing changes – to The Greens gatehouse security contract.

Addressing upcoming park work, Community Development District (CDD) Attorney Erin McCormick announced that she had prepared a public notice seeking a designer for plans, which will largely focus on bringing Baybridge and Glencliff Parks’ playgrounds into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). “We’re going to do a request for qualifications for a park planning consultant,” she stated.

Citing his recollection that supervisors had not yet specified an approach for tackling the project, CDD Chair Mark Ragusa inquired whether the announcement precluded the hiring of a design-build firm, a single company that would both design the project and complete its construction.

McCormick acknowledged it would. The approach envisioned by the notice involved the hiring of a consultant who would design the project’s scope of work. The resulting specifications would then be put out to bid. Subsequently, the consultant would oversee the work to ensure it complied with the plan. McCormick’s approach had been previously recommended by CDD Supervisor Greg Chesney.

Prior to approving McCormick’s public notice, however, Ragusa pressed supervisors to clarify the board’s preferred approach. While stating he was aware of the advantages and disadvantages of both using a design-build firm or breaking it into separate components as McCormick’s approach would do, Ragusa stated he was unsure of the best way to proceed. He therefore requested input from CDD Engineer Tonja Steward, District Manager Andrew Mendenhall and McCormick. Stewart stated she preferred hiring a designer prior to bidding the work. She offered two caveats, however. She suggested the district should subsequently hire a general contractor to manage the project rather than have staff hire and oversee multiple contractors. She added, “You’ve got to really like your designer.”

A motion approving the public notice seeking a parks consultant ultimately passed unanimously. Supervisors indicated they would study responses at their November meeting and then invite some to interview.

Later in the meeting supervisors returned to the topic when Glencliff resident Kathy Carlsen suggested the consultant develop a long-range park plan, as previously advocated by CDD Supervisor Brian Ross and Chesney. Citing the need for a list of assets and potential plans for possible development over a longer time, Carlsen stated, “Things have changed in our community over the last 10 years.”

Ragusa, however, disagreed in part. “I don’t think we need someone to tell us [what we have].” Ragusa held that staff and supervisors understood what available park space the district owned.

“It’s not what we have,” Carlsen pressed. “It’s what we want to do with it.”

Ragusa continued. “To do a full blown park plan, that makes sense. We don’t need an inventory.”

Ragusa, however, warned that any plans to convert green space to an area containing play equipment would likely see pushback. “The community will come out,” he said. “It’s never for change.”

Concluding the matter, staff agreed to provide Carlsen with a list of park areas delineated in their insurance documents as well as a copy of the district’s 2005 capital improvement program.

Following up on a previous month’s topic, staff reported the county had posted no parking signs in the right-of-way at the Bridgeton Drive turnaround just outside Baybridge Park’s gates. In recent months, park visitors have parked in the right of way, essentially blocking the road and forcing traffic to pass through the congested parking lot instead. Field Supervisor Doug Mays reported that the signage did not appear to stem the illegal parking in recent weeks yet the county was reluctant to paint road lines or use signs that more clearly stated “no parking.” While staff committed to following up with the county, CDD Chair Ragusa suggested they might also have the district’s off-duty deputy patrol address the situation. “He needs to decide whether he wants to ticket everyone,” Ragusa observed.

Referring to a memo of recommended staff salary and bonus increases circulated to supervisors, District Manager Andrew Mendenhall requested supervisors take action on the request, which would be retroactive to Oct. 1. The recommendations called for staff salary increases of five percent.

Supervisor Chesney, however, stated he saw the recommended increase as excessive. “I don’t think we should do it,” he said, instead suggesting staff should be given an increase equivalent to the government’s consumer price index (CPI) measure of inflation with exceptional efforts subsequently rewarded by bonus. Stating “no one is getting five percent raises,” Chesney argued that staff was already being paid at the top of their fields, which Mendenhall acknowledged was true.

Supervisor Bob Argus, however, stated he believed the CPI, because it factored in consumers’ tendency to switch to cheaper purchases when prices increase, underestimated inflation. He instead argued the district should peg salaries to the increase in the nation’s money supply, which he stated was 4.9 percent.

The district currently has four staff members, Field Supervisor Doug Mays, Office Manager Sonny Whyte and two other staff members, Livan Soto Viego and Cristian Guaba, who undertake field and park work. (CDD staff does not include the landscaping crews, which are employees of the district’s contracted landscaping company.) Under current practices, Mays suggests raises and bonuses based upon performance reviews of all staff members but himself. Mendenhall then makes recommendations for Mays after receiving supervisors’ input.

While Mendenhall has stated that Westchase staff members have been compensated at the high end of wage scales for their positions compared to other districts he manages, he has also emphasized that Westchase has the best employees of all his districts. Supervisors ultimately passed a motion 4-1, with Chesney opposed, embracing the five percent salary increases. [See the table below for the history of district salary increases.]

Supervisors then heard from James Davis and Andrea Kingston, two representatives of Securitas, the company that staffs The Greens guardhouse. Supervisors previously took no action on Securitas’ request that their contract be increased by 85 cents per hour to cover increased costs associated with providing health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, whose coverage mandate, unless delayed again, will go into effect Jan. 1. The increase represents a five percent increase (or $7,600 annually) to the current contract, whose costs are paid solely by Greens homeowners. Davis stated that Securitas would cover most of the $2 per hour costs associated with the healthcare mandate. Given the slim profit margins on security contracts, he added, the company needed the district to share the costs.

Initially, Ragusa appeared to doubt cost projections, insisting that most other security agencies simply were avoiding the health insurance mandate by turning to part-time employees under 30-hours per week.

Davis and Kingston, however, countered that part-time employees actually cost the company more due to higher turnover. Kingston observed that the Greens gatehouse had only one part-time employee and the service levels there were better as the result of using content, full-time employees.

At Ragusa’s request, Davis, however, committed to sharing his company’s internal financial projections of costs associated with the insurance mandate. Davis, however, offered an additional option. He stated many other communities were replacing overnight guards, which see only a handful of visitors, with automated systems, allowing remote control of access. He stated Securitas would install the equipment at no cost. With the savings arising from remote coverage overnight, the district could offset the healthcare increases and perhaps save money. Describing the transition to remote security elsewhere as successful, Davis stated, “The biggest hurdle is educating the residents that the barbarians won’t storm the gates and burn their houses down.”

Addressing the proposal, Ragusa asked Davis to return with a proposal. “I don’t want to make a quick decision today,” he said. “I think we need to let The Greens [homeowners] know.”

In other actions:

Supervisors approved a $33,550 contract, subject to their attorney’s review, for pond bank erosion repairs in portions of West Park Village, The Greens and The Fords. The work will be undertaken by Bio Mass Tech.

Tapping unspent funds from last year’s budget, supervisors approved the purchase of a $20,000 four-wheeler and a $4,000 sidewalk grinder.

Supervisors adjourned at 5:33 p.m.

CDD Staff Salary Changes

Field Supervisor

% Increase

Merit Bonus

Holiday Bonus

March 2008

5

 

 

Oct. 2008

6

 

 

Oct. 2009

3

 

$1,250

Oct. 2010

3

$400

$1,250

Oct. 2011

0

$1,200

$1,250

Oct. 2012

0

$2,500

$1,250

Oct. 2013

7

$1,500

$1,250

Oct. 2014

5

 

 

Office Manager

 

 

 

March 2008

8

 

 

Oct. 2008

5

 

 

Oct. 2009

4

 

$1,250

Oct. 2010

3

$400

$1,250

Oct. 2011

3

$1600

$1,250

Oct. 2012

3

$2,000

$1,250

Oct. 2013

5

$1,250

$1,250

Oct. 2014

5

 

 

Field Staff #1

 

 

 

Oct. 2011

3

 

$500

Oct. 2012

3

$1,000

$500

Oct. 2013

3

$300

$500

Oct. 2014

5

 

 

Field Staff #2

 

 

 

Oct. 2014

5

 

 

Notes: The dual increases in 2008 represented supervisors’ attempts to ensure CDD staff members were compensated competitively compared to other districts' equivalent employees. The Westchase Field Supervisor is a salaried position; the others are full-time hourly employees. The numbers above do not include additional benefits such as health care and the district’s retirement plan. Each employee was hired the year prior to the first noted increase.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Westchase GirlTalk Group to Host Education Night

The Westchase GirlTalk Group is hosting Education Night on Thursday, Oct. 23. The evening is open to anyone interested in learning more about all of the wonderful public and private educational options in our area.

Terrie Dodson-Caldevilla from Hillsborough County Public Schools, Choice Communications, will provide a presentation on the many school options that  Hillsborough County Public Schools offers for elementary, middle and high school students. Also attending are representatives from area private schools, including SkyCrest Christian School, Jesuit High School, Calvary Christian High, Cambridge Christian School, Independent Day School – Corbett Prep, Academy of Holy Names, Tampa Prep, Carrollwood Day School and more.

Education Night will begin at 6 p.m. at the Upper Tampa Bay Library at 11211 Countryway Blvd. in room 204A. For more information, contact Lori Shaw at loriella@tampabay.rr.com.

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WCA’s Movie in The Park Returns Oct. 10

On Friday, Oct. 10, Westchase’s free family movies return for the fall and winter months! Bring chairs, blankets and snacks to the West Park Village Town Center Green on Montague Street. The movies begin at dusk (Don’t forget your insect repellant!). October’s movie is Muppets Most Wanted (PG).

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Farmers Market Debuts in Westchase Town Center Nov. 2

Fresh produce, local honey, and seafood are just a few of the items you’ll be able to pick up at the new Westchase Sunday Morning Market.

The new farmers market debuts on Sunday, Nov. 2, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The weekly market will be located at Westchase Town Center, near the fountain by Burger 21 and Tijuana Flats.

“We’re going to block the street off between the restaurants and stores and hope to have vendors lined up from one end of the street to the other,” said market manager Richard Kendler. “We’ll have the market every Sunday so that people can stock up with their favorite products each week. We’ll have several produce stands including one with organic produce, a cheese monger, Sweet Caroline’s baked goods, and a gluten-free bakery. We have one booth where they will make fresh guacamole for you and one with a fabulous Italian olive salad. All of our vendors sell top quality items.”

Kendler says that the market has room for 40 vendors and right now they have about 26 spots filled. Some other items you’ll find at the market include hand-made soap, fresh salsa, fresh herbs, loose tea leaves, all natural pet snacks, fresh picked oranges and natural cosmetics.

By Marcy Sanford

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Movies in Park Return Oct. 10

The Movies in The Park are back!

Every second Friday of each month from October 2014 through March 2015 the Westchase Community Association (WCA) will host a Movie in the Park at 7 p.m. All movies are shown on the Village Green on Montague Street in the West Park Town Center. All are child appropriate, so be sure to bring a lawn chair, snacks and – on those chilly evenings – a blanket. We kindly ask that you leave the pets at home. Muppets Most Wanted will kick off our movies on Friday, Oct. 10.

Each year the association has permitted the bi-annual garage sale to be held the first Saturday in October – except for this year. Due to a holiday conflict, this fall’s garage sale will be held Nov. 1. Please note the change on your calendar.

It’s that time of year again where each neighborhood gets to elect their neighborhood voting members and alternates. Each unit owner will be receiving a proxy card to cast his or her vote. Please return these cards to us as soon as you receive them. It is important that each neighborhood has a representative to vote on its behalf and serve as your community voice. If you want to be included on the proxy card as a candidate, you can e-mail us with your intent. Please note that only Westchase owners that are named on a unit’s warranty deed are eligible to be voting members.

At the Sept. 4 board meeting, the board of directors approved the proposed budget for 2015 with some changes, resulting in an annual assessment of $319 for next year. By November you will receive your annual assessment notice, due Jan. 1. Payments are due no later than Jan. 31 in order to avoid a $25 late fee. Be sure to mail in your payment as soon as you receive your notice. You can also drop it off at our office for your convenience.

In November the board of directors will be selecting a recipient for the Nathan Lafer Good Neighbor Award from nominations submitted to them by Westchase residents. The award was established in 2006 to honor neighbors who show great spirit and who have helped and volunteered in the community to improve Westchase’s quality of life in. The nomination form can be found on our Web site, http://www.westchasewca.com under, Documents/Forms tab. Please submit this to the association management office.

As always, management staff is here to help Westchase residents with any questions or concerns. Please feel free to drop by our office, located next to West Park Village pool (10049 Parley Dr.), or contact us at 926-6404 or via e-mail at manager@wcamanager.com.

By Debbie Sainz, CAM, CMCA

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First Class Dining for Seniors Oct. 3

It’s back by popular demand!

A year ago last August the Westchase Seniors Group enjoyed lunch so much at Tampa's Ocean Prime steak and seafood restaurant that Melba Lufkin and Bob Shafer have again reserved a private dining room for us on Friday, Oct. 3, at 11:30 a.m. Seating is limited, so reservations must be made quickly by contacting Melba Lufkin or Bob Shafer at melba0425@gmail.com or 383-2576. Ocean Prime offers a variety of salads ($13-$21), sandwiches ($13-$18) and lunch specials ($18-$30). The restaurant is located at 2205 North Westshore Blvd. If you would like to carpool to the restaurant, let the Pattersons know. We will meet at the old SweetBay grocery store parking lot at Linebaugh and Sheldon at 11 a.m.

The Westchase Seniors Group extends a great big thank you to Lilly Hackney and Marion Thompson for organizing a wonderful lunch and tour of the recently renovated Safety Harbor Resort and Spa. This Seniors Group activity was so popular that the spa could not accommodate all who called to make reservations. Sorry about that! We will try this one again sometime in the future.

Tuesday Morning Coffee Each Tuesday morning from 9-10 a.m. Westchase seniors are invited to meet at the Westchase McDonald’s Restaurant for coffee, breakfast and friendly conversation. The coffee is free with a food purchase and the conversations are always enjoyable. Grab your coffee and join us. You can’t miss us. We are the “older” but “young at heart” people laughing and having a great time.

Join The Fun If you are a Westchase resident over 55-years-old and looking to enjoy life, join over 200 of your neighbors who make up the Westchase Seniors Group and add more life to your years. It only costs a smile to join and the dues are just as cheap. Members participate in only what they are interested in and pay their own way. To receive e-mails about Westchase Seniors events, send your name, address, and phone number to westchase.seniors@gmail.com or call Lewis and Rama Patterson (926-5473).

By Lewis and Rama Patterson

The Pattersons are residents of Kingsford and can be reached at westchase.seniors@gmail.com or 926-5473.

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Westchase Elementary Fall Festival Oct. 24

The Westchase PTA proudly promotes healthy choices and encourages all Wizards and their families to join in the fun events planned throughout October.

A school wide student pep rally on Oct. 6 will kick off our nine-day Boosterthon fundraiser. This fun, healthy, character-building program encourages students to gather pledges from sponsors for every lap they complete during the Boosterthon fun run. The money that is raised will be used to update classroom technology. Families are invited to come out and cheer on their students on Wednesday, Oct. 15, for the fun run. Please help our school by connecting your student with sponsors. Thank you for your support!

Next, mark your calendars for National Walk or Bike to School Day on Thursday, Oct. 9. This event always has a great turnout and is enjoyed by the students! Help us to encourage our students to be more active by joining this nationwide campaign.

This year’s Fall Festival is not to be missed! Plan on attending this fun family fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 24, at Westchase Elementary from 4-7 p.m. This fantastic event is a fundraiser for our teachers and is always an entertaining evening for the entire family. Plenty of games and activities will keep children of every age entertained. The coupon cards for this event will be available in the main office beginning Oct. 15.

Finally, Westchase Elementary will celebrate National Red Ribbon Week on Monday, Oct. 27-31. Red Ribbon Week is all about encouraging kids to be drug free and bully free and to promote healthy lifestyles. Westchase asks that students show their commitment to this cause by wearing red on Monday to kick off the week-long event, then hats on Tuesday to “put a cap on drugs and bullies.” Sunglasses will be worn on Wednesday to “shade out drugs and bullies.” Students can wear their shirts backwards on Thursday to “turn your back on drugs and bullies.” On Friday kids take home their written pledge to stay drug and bully-free. For further information about this event, please contact Donna Winslow at lahiere@yahoo.com

Culminating this month’s activities is the beloved Storybook Parade on Oct. 31. The entire student body and even some fun-loving staff members participate in this celebration of reading and love of words. Younger students dress up as their favorite storybook character while older ones enjoy a play on spelling as they join together to form compound words. Families are invited onto campus in the morning to watch the students as they parade around the school in their costumes.

We thank all of you for all you do to support our students and our school!

By Jennifer Arnold

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Gotta Good Neighbor Who Should Be Recognized?

In 2006 the Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Directors established the Nathan Lafer Good Neighbor Award in memory of Bridges resident Nathan Lafer.

Lafer contributed numerous hours in the service of Westchase as a director on the WCA Board, Bridges Voting Member (VM) and a member of three WCA committees.
The Nathan Lafer Good Neighbor Award recognizes those good neighbors who help and volunteer simply because help is needed. It recognizes volunteers whose work improves the Westchase community. Each year after reviewing nominations, the WCA board presents the Nathan Lafer Good Neighbor Award in the fall.

All Westchase residents are eligible to nominate and be nominated. The nominee must demonstrate a spirit of compassion and helpfulness to his or her neighbors and the Westchase community.

Residents can obtain the short nomination form by visiting http://www.westchasewca.com under Documents/Forms or by e-mailing manager@wcamanager.com.

All nominations must be submitted no later than Oct. 31.

By Debbie Sainz, WCA Manager

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Westchase Programs Have Room for You!

One of Westchase’s most unique attributes is the commitment and passion our staff has for their jobs.

Say hello when you get a chance and thank them for a job well done.

As the season gravitates toward winter, our pools will remain open and heated at a toasty 82 degrees for lap swimming.

We continue to grow in our swim, tennis, and karate programs, and have spots available. We are very fortunate to have such talented and skilled instructors working and living here in Westchase. Please don't hesitate to come by the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center and we will introduce you to our instructors. All of our programming information is online at http://www.westchasewca.com

.

By Kelly Shires, Operations Manager

Shires is the WCA’s Operations Manager and can be reached at wcacenter@wcamanager.com.

Tennis Lessons: Learning Doubles Play

Now is a good time to talk about doubles.

I define doubles as a team tennis experience, in which each member assumes a strategically functional position that allows both to have fun while exercising. Most of the players, however, don't understand that it's a team experience. While four people are supposedly playing a friendly game, the doubles court has the potential of becoming the loneliest, most pressure-filled and most painful environment around.

Everyone is usually so worried about their own game or their partner’s game that players forget that it's a team experience. Both partners should feel that having a great time together on the court is more important than winning. This team experience will allow each member to play the best tennis possible. If one teammate fears that the other will lose respect or approval when a mistake occurs, the team will never be able to create an energizing bond or experience. Try to remember that your partner is not purposely making errors.

Another very important element in a doubles play is the team’s double formation. I encourage my students to learn, practice and use various formations. The most common formation is the conventional, one-up, one-back formation. I, however, encourage my students to play aggressive doubles and play the net. The purpose is to have both players positioned at the net as soon as possible. The team’s position at the net leaves fewer burnable areas into which an opponent can hit. Both members on your team are more actively involved with each point.

Angular shots are easier to produce at the net than at the baseline. Many opponents will also be intimidated when they see both team members playing the net. It also forces opponents to make more specific shots.
Now team up and have a blast!

By Roberto Calla, Westchase’s Tennis Pro

Calla, Westchase’s tennis pro, can be reached at callatennis@hotmail.com.

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Fresh Mediterranean Bites from Your Long Lost Family

“You’ve gotta try this place,” I heard over and over from a wide group of foodie friends and friendly restaurant owners.

It took me a while to buy into the hype. The name was not sexy and the location not super-hip. But as I’ve learned it’s not the groovy, foo-foo food that sustains us in life. It’s mama’s home cooking.

Walking in to Fresh Bites, I felt like I was greeted by my (imaginary) long-lost Mediterranean family. After a stressful week of starting high school, my kids, husband and I were looking for a place to kick back and share comfort food. We found the perfect place, just down the street from Westchase. We had a happy accident of massive amounts of food because we purchased Fresh Mezza for two, plus two dinners. I can’t say the owners didn’t try to warn us, but the Fresh Mezza is more designed for a big group of party snackers.

Fresh Bites is committed to using unprocessed ingredients – they use fresh herbs and natural, organic meats while avoiding canned products. While the menu leans towards vegetables, grains and beans, all their meat comes from Niman Ranch, an organic supplier that never adds hormones or antibiotics.

The Fresh Mezza had a wide variety of vegetarian dishes, which also made cameo appearances in a lot of the meals. The standout side was the Mudardara. Rice with lentils, it had a beautifully nuanced flavor and deeply caramelized onions. The Taboule was made the traditional Lebanese way, with lots of parsley, mint, tomatoes and onions, and a tiny bit of bulgur wheat. The Hummus was ten times smoother than anything you can find at Publix, and had a lot of Tahini flavor. The yogurt cucumber dip was tasty, but a little too thin to be scooped up with the pita triangles. Roasted beets and olives were some simple counterpoints to the dips and complex spices. But wait, there’s more! It also included solid renditions of Baba Ghanouj and Stuffed Grape Leaves.

As if all that weren’t enough, we tried the Kebbeh, which is minced meat with crushed wheat, onion, pine nuts and spices. To my gringo mouth, it tasted like a lighter, flat meatloaf with a lot of savory spices. We also tried the Shawarma – thin-sliced beef marinated in herbs and spices, then roasted and served on a pita. Both of these came with a side salad that had a lovely tart lemon dressing.

Before we rolled out of the restaurant, we all partook of the in-house Baklava, which was appropriately nutty and dense, but not as sticky sweet as found elsewhere. The restaurant uses raw, unbleached sugar and stevia for sweeteners. 

This is definitely more of a family restaurant than a date place. You can order at the counter or they’ll come over if you just plop yourself down at a table. The vibe with the cafeteria tables on one side and cute wine bar on the other was a little schizophrenic, but I imagine the owners are continually trying to warm up the space.

You can feel the love they have poured into Fresh Bites, and the respect they have for their customers, providing healthy delicious food that nourishes the soul.

Fresh Bites
http://www.freshbites.org
11665 Countryway Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33626
336-4936
Hours: Mon-Thu, 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Fri, 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sat, noon-9:30 p.m.

By Jill Chesney

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WOW Events Calendar

Check out these free (or nearly free) events for October.

FILM SCREENING
Date: Fri, Oct. 3
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Price: $5
Location: Carrollwood Villagio Cinemas
For more information: http://villagiocinemas.com/
Ages: Best for adults

Local filmmaker John Matheny will debut his new murder mystery, Murder on Frog Pond Drive. After the film, find out what it takes to create your own feature length film.

HARBOR SOUNDS MUSIC FESTIVAL
Date: Sat, Oct. 4
Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Price: Free
Location: Downtown Safety Harbor
For more information: (727) 726-2890
Ages: All

Head to downtown Safety Harbor and enjoy a music-filled day, featuring a variety of artists on three stages, arts and crafts and food vendors.

MOVIES IN THE PARK
Date: Fri, Oct. 10
Time: movie begins at dusk
Price: Free
Location: West Park Village Town Center Green on Montague Street
For more information: http://westchasewca.com/
Ages: All

Westchase’s free family movies are back! Bring chairs and blankets and insect repellent and settle in for a great movie night. Muppets Most Wanted will be showing in October.

5TH ANNUAL OKTOBERFEST TAMPA
Date: Fri, Oct. 10 through Sun, Oct. 12
Time: Fri, 4-11 p.m.; Sat, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Price: $8 per person; military free with valid I.D.
Location: Curtis Hixon Park, Downtown Tampa
For more information: http://www.oktoberfesttampa.com/
Ages: All

Head to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for the largest outdoor Oktoberfest celebration in Tampa. It is a weekend filled with German cheer, dancing and singing. Oktoberfest Tampa 2014 will feature plenty of beer along with a variety of exciting games and competitions.

GHOST & HISTORY WALKING TOUR
Date: Tue, Oct. 14
Time: 7 p.m.
Price: Free (registration required)
Location: Safety Harbor Library
For more information: (727) 724-1525, Ext. 4112
Ages: Best for older children and adults

Take a two-hour paranormal walking tour in which you'll learn about the history of Safety Harbor, hear stories about life in the early days, see pictures from the fire and hurricane that destroyed the city and learn what buildings survived.

ART ON THE HOUSE AND FIVE BY FIVE EVENT
Date: Fri, Oct. 17
Time: 5-8 p.m.
Price: Pay-as-you-will admission ($10 for 5x5 event)
Location: Tampa Museum of Art, Downtown Tampa
For more information: https://tampamuseum.org/
Ages: All

Every Friday, enjoy the museum on a pay-what-you-will basis. On this particular evening, for $10 admission, you can stay for the annual Five By Five event from 7-9 p.m., which features 5×5" artwork made and donated by international and local artists. Each work is signed by the artist on the back of the work, displayed anonymously and sold for a flat $25 each to raise money for individual artist grants and programs.

MARINEQUEST
Date: Saturday, Oct. 18
Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Price: Free
Location: FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, St. Petersburg
For more information: http://myfwc.com/
Ages: All

MarineQuest offers events for all ages, including hands-on activities that will help younger visitors learn about the fascinating marine life in our oceans. Kids can even touch sharks and rays, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, spiny lobsters, and other marine critters commonly found in Florida's waters. There will also be face painting, crafts and much more!

POPS IN THE PARK
Date: Sat, Oct. 18, and Sun, Oct. 19
Time: 7 p.m.
Price: Free (suggested canned food donation for Tampa Bay Harvest)
Location: Saturday at Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg; Sunday at River Tower Park, Tampa
For more information: http://www.floridaorchestra.org
Ages: All

Pack a picnic dinner and enjoy the beautiful sounds of The Florida Orchestra in the great outdoors. Concertgoers will be treated to a lively mix of familiar classics and popular favorites.

JOHN’S PASS SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
Date: Fri, Oct. 24 through Sun, Oct. 26
Time: 3-11 p.m. Fri.; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sat.; 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Price: Free admission
Location: John’s Pass Village, Madeira Beach
For more information: http://www.johnspass.com
Ages: All

Enjoy a weekend filled with arts, crafts and all things seafood!

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY FAIR
Date: Thursdays through Sundays, Oct. 23-Nov. 2
Time: see Web site for schedule
Price: $7; $5 students; $4 seniors; five and younger free.
Location: Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, Brandon
For more information: http://www.hillsboroughcountyfair.com/
Ages: All

Midway rides, carnival-style foods, a firefighter show, Robinson's Racing Pigs, livestock shows, live music, chili cook-off, a kids cooking contest, a ranch rodeo – this fair has it all!

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Troop 46 Trains Future Leaders

Over the Sept. 6 weekend, Troop 46 started the year off right with their first campout at the Gulf Ridge Council’s oldest camping facility.

Located in Odessa, Camp Brorein is maintained by our local Boy Scout Council and has been committed to Scouting’s advancement of since 1923. Upon arriving at camp, the Troop conducted a training called Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST) for 23 of its rising leaders. This national training course is used to teach Scouts how the leadership of Boy Scout Troops is organized, so that they may choose Troop positions to pursue in the upcoming election.

The training also teaches them many leadership skills through fun activities and exercises. The skills introduced include how to improve communication, plan activities and engage different personality types in their patrols. As they become leaders in the Troop, they can put these basic skills into practice and continue to use them throughout their lives. The Troop would like to thank Assistant Scoutmaster Mark McMurray and all of the other adult leaders and Scouts who helped conduct the training.

After the training concluded on Saturday, more Scouts joined the ILST attendees for a fun night of camping. The Scouts played games and relaxed in the outdoors. Several Scouts who are members of the Order of the Arrow (Scouting’s service organization) completed service projects to help benefit Camp Brorein. They prepared firewood from several felled trees, removed several small stumps from the archery ranges and generally cleaned up the camping areas. The Scouts of Troop 46 always enjoy giving back, and they are looking forward to all that their new leaders will bring to the group.

Troop 46 has weekly Troop meetings on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Citrus Park. To learn more about Scouting and to learn more about Boy Scout Troop 46, please contact Scoutmaster Scott Doster at scoutmasterscott46@gmail.com.

By Alex McMurray

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Pond Bank Erosion Prevention: How Can You Help?

If you’re a Westchase homeowner living on a pond, the Westchase CDD needs your help protecting your yard.

Westchase’s beautiful ponds aren’t actually natural lakes. They are engineered stormwater management facilities owned, operated and maintained by the Westchase Community Development District (CDD).

Translation please?

Back when the community was developed, state and local governments mandated the construction of Westchase’s stormwater pond system to hold back and slow the run-off of rain. If released at once, the wave of rainwater from our afternoon thunderstorms would otherwise flood developments downstream from Westchase.

The visible ponds, however, are just part of the community’s complex stormwater system. The ponds are interconnected by a web of buried pipes. These pipes lead to Westchase’s roads, other ponds and weirs, and even wetlands. Through maintenance easements over all the land under which the pipes run, the CDD ensures the system works correctly.

The system does more than prevent flooding, however. Working in conjunction with nearby wetlands and streams, Westchase’s interconnected pond system serves as an enormous, natural filter that protects the ecology of Tampa Bay. Each year Westchase ponds – particularly their aquatic plants – filter tons of pollutants. They remove and break down yard fertilizers and pesticides as well as petroleum and other pollutants from Westchase’s roads.

Did you know Westchase’s street sewers drain directly into Westchase ponds?

Because the ponds hold pollutants from yards and roads, activities such as boating, swimming and fishing are not permitted in them. (Certainly, no one should ever consume fish caught in the retention ponds.) Homeowners, however, should take care not to add unnecessary pollutants. Some homeowners allow automobile chemicals, cleaning agents and even house paint to flow into street drains; others toss pet waste directly into the street sewers rather than carrying it home to a garbage can. Doing so ultimately insures it all washes into ponds behind their neighbors’ homes.

In order to maintain the system, the CDD owns Westchase’s ponds and many of their pond banks. (While some homeowners own the pond banks, the CDD still has maintenance easements along them.) The district regularly inspects the community’s ponds to assess both water quality and the stability and condition of its pond banks. In recent years, the CDD has spent hundreds of thousands of homeowner dollars addressing pond cleanout, pond bank erosion repairs and aquatic plantings. Unfortunately, many homeowner actions undermine the district’s work and contribute to preventable pond bank erosion.

Westchase’s pond banks are highly susceptible to erosion due to the ponds’ waves, the fluctuation of water levels, a lack of vegetation on or near the pond banks, and yard drainage into the ponds.

Homeowners need to take important steps to maintain the integrity of the pond banks behind their homes. Doing so will protect their yards from slowly collapsing into the water. First, drainage from home roofs as well as from pools and air conditioners can erode pond berms and slopes. Pool water, containing chemicals, can also harm pond water quality. If runoff water from your yard, home or pool follows the same discharge path into the pond behind your home, it ultimately will erode the pond bank and cause you to lose portions of your yard. If you notice run-off or drainage gullies cutting into pond banks, please contact the CDD office at 920-4268 to discuss smart ways to redirect yard and home drainage.

Second, some homeowners are in the habit of spraying herbicides and weed killers along pond banks to discourage aquatic plants. Others have lawn companies that cut the turf along the water too short. The most harmful homeowners, however, actually remove aquatic plants to promote a clear view of the water’s surface. Aquatic plants, however, serve two functions. In addition to filtering pollutants, their roots stabilize pond banks, preventing erosion and preserving homeowners’ properties. When removed, they increase the likelihood the homeowner’s yard will slowly collapse into the pond.

What are the best practices?

First, redirect yard drainage that is creating gullies and erosion on your pond bank.

Second, vegetation, grass and aquatic plants must be allowed to establish themselves and grow both along pond banks and within the water. They should never be removed or treated. The district hires a professional aquatics company that knows which helpful plants should stay and which invasive species should be removed. This job should be left to them.

Third, pond bank grass should never be cut excessively by homeowners or their landscape companies. The pond banks should be lushly green and never brown.

Fourth, any aquatic plants that the CDD installs along the pond slopes must also be protected from herbicides. They should never be trimmed and never removed. Those who remove them could be billed by the district for their replacement.

Taking these precautions will help stabilize the pond slope behind your home.

At recent meetings CDD supervisors have discussed the creation of a maintenance log for homes abutting pond banks. If created, it would record the level of cooperation of adjacent homeowners. Those who fail to observe these best practices may be left to make erosion repairs themselves. It isn’t a cheap undertaking. The district recently voted to spend $35,000 to repair pond banks behind only five homes.

Westchase’s beauty is enhanced by its beautiful yards, ponds and wetlands; its interconnected stormwater system also protects Tampa Bay. With homeowners’ assistance, Westchase’s pond banks and Tampa Bay’s beautiful estuary can be protected and maintained for years to come.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Teaching Life’s Lessons Through Sports

Fall weather brings youth sports with weekday practices, Saturday games and peanut or popcorn fund-raising drives.

Woodbay resident Rich Caulley is familiar with many of Westchase’s numerous youth leagues. He has been a volunteer coach for his own kids’ teams for many years.

Having coached approximately 500 kids over the years, Caulley is ready to take to the field for another winning season. For Caulley, winning is more than just the numbers on the scoreboard at the end of the game. It’s about the lessons learned on the field that will benefit his athletes through life.

Caulley spent most of his childhood in Thomasville, Georgia. Sports were always a big part of his life as a kid. He began playing soccer at age 4 and continued to play through high school. Caulley picked up tennis at age 10 and went on to play Division 1 in college. He managed to work in baseball and basketball through the years as well. His athletic heroes were among the greats: Herschel Walker, Pele and Ivan Lendl.

After graduating from Stetson University with a BBA in accounting, Caulley went to work crunching numbers at a public accounting firm in Georgia. It was during a training class in 1994 that he met future wife, Laura. Eventually a career move brought the couple to Tampa, where he took on the position of chief financial officer/chief operating officer of an insurance company. Just before the move, their son Nick, now 13, was born. Son Andrew was born two years later. Today Caulley and two partners own and operate GCD Insurance Consultants.

Even before his children were born, Caulley enjoyed coaching youth. “I coached recreational soccer in college,” he said.

Prior to moving to Tampa, Caulley coached for five different soccer associations, which included recreational, competitive and travel leagues. Since moving to Westchase, he has served as a coach for Westchase Soccer Association, Tampa Bay United, Lutz Rangers Soccer, Keystone Little League, Tampa Thunder, Flag4Kids and 3v3 Challenge Sports. 

The challenge in coaching recreational teams, he said, is finding the right balance of intensity for the kids. Each child has a different reason for participating – to be part of a team, to play for fun, to play to win or to play because their parents have insisted upon it. Competitive teams are different, according to Caulley. He feels the most challenging part of coaching for competitive leagues is balancing the desire to win with teaching the kids properly, getting plenty of playing time for all players, dealing with parents and keeping it fun – all at the same time!

Despite the unique challenges of both leagues, Caulley enjoys the many rewards of working with the youth entrusted to him. He especially enjoys working with kids who have a desire to compete. In his many years of experience, he has learned that the reach of lessons learned on the field extends far beyond the game. They learn about persevering and working through failure. They learn how to compete without cheating and how to win with humility.

Great memories are plentiful but the very best ones fall into the same theme for the dedicated coach: “Watching my boys compete to the best of their ability,” he explained.

His wife, Laura, helps with the chaos of both boys’ busy schedules. She makes sure she is at one son’s game while Rich is coaching the other’s team.

League titles and tournament wins are fun as well. Which was Coach Caulley’s favorite?

“The best one was taking my Roswell team back to my hometown of Thomasville and winning a tournament there that I had already won with another team from Thomasville five years earlier. It was also at the fields that my mom and dad were responsible for building when they started soccer in Thomasville and Albany, Georgia.”

For anyone contemplating which sport might best suit their child, Caulley recommends beginning with soccer. “Because you can play soccer as young as 3,” he explained.

Later, he suggests you try different sports to see which one best suits your child. Starting young these days is important. He adds, “Unfortunately in today’s sports climate, you have to choose to narrow your sports earlier than I had to as a kid.”

His goal for his own two boys as well as the others he coaches is simple. “That they learn lessons that will help them in life and to be able to play sports in high school. Anything beyond that is a bonus,” he shared.

Off the field, Caulley enjoys chess, board games, poker and college football. “Virtually any activity with my family,” he says is his favorite way to spend his free time.

Fortunately, they’re with him both on and off the field.

By Lisa Stephens

Stephens, a resident of West Park Village, is always looking for interesting Westchase residents to profile. She can be contacted at lmsfla@verizon.net.

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Real Estate Round Up, August 2014

Address

Sold
Price

Days on
Market

Price
Per
Sq. Ft.

Beds

Full
Baths

Half
Baths

Sq. Ft.
Heated

Pool

9838 Gingerwood Dr.

173,000

100

94.59

3

2

0

1,829

N

12015 Deacons Croft Ln.

212,000

24

139.47

3

2

1

1,520

N

10019 Tate Ln.

225,000

91

154.96

3

2

1

1,452

N

9807 West Park Village Dr.

234,000

57

168.83

3

2

1

1,386

N

12310 Glenfield Ave.

255,000

186

142.46

3

2

0

1,790

N

9109 Crystal Commons Way

272,750

4

152.37

4

2

1

1,790

N

10330 Lightner Bridge Dr.

275,000

13

159.05

3

2

0

1,729

Y

10203 Rubury Pl.

282,000

14

152.35

3

2

0

1,851

N

9976 Stockbridge Dr.

292,000

87

144.99

4

2

0

2,014

Y

10537 Weybridge Dr.

302,000

30

154.63

3

2

0

1,953

N

10509 Chilmark Way

320,500

22

161.95

3

2

1

1,979

N

10302 Springrose Dr.

322,500

8

176.42

3

2

0

1,828

Y

10331 Lightner Bridge Dr.

325,000

3

179.56

4

3

0

1,810

Y

9806 Woodbay Dr.

340,000

95

154.62

4

3

0

2,199

N

11820 Lancashire Dr.

365,000

97

181.59

4

2

0

2,010

Y

10204 Rubury Pl.

375,000

103

169.84

4

3

0

2,208

Y

10334 Green Links Dr.

386,000

67

198.46

3

2

0

1,945

Y

10403 Applecross Ln.

389,900

7

176.35

4

3

0

2,211

Y

10311 Marchmont Ct.

390,000

5

196.97

3

2

0

1,980

N

10758 Tavistock Dr.

407,500

29

155.89

4

3

0

2,614

Y

10357 Abbotsford Dr.

410,000

15

162.50

5

3

0

2,523

Y

10421 Greenhedges Dr.

415,164

29

129.58

4

4

0

3,204

Y

10438 Greendale Dr.

460,750

85

158.77

4

3

0

2,902

Y

10460 Greendale Dr.

505,000

84

153.87

5

3

0

3,282

Y

10429 Greenmont Dr.

520,000

131

152.67

5

3

1

3,406

Y

10419 Greenhedges Dr.

534,500

128

144.26

4

4

0

3,705

Y

12106 Marblehead Dr.

539,000

84

175.86

4

3

1

3,065

Y

12135 Clear Harbor Dr.

700,000

23

182.77

4

3

1

3,830

Y

Information provided by Doug and Nancy Wood of Coldwell Banker

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Cub Scout Pumpkin Patch Open

The Cub Scouts of Pack 46 started off the year in September with a round-up meeting for all new boys interested in joining the world of Scouting! Families were introduced to Pack and Den leaders and placed according to grade level. Boys were also entertained the traditional drum circle performed by older Scouts.

The Pack’s annual Pumpkin Patch fundraiser is in full swing beside Wellspring Church, located on Sheldon Road. Stop by and select the perfect pumpkin for your holiday festivities. The patch is open daily throughout the month from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and is run by the Dens and their families. Proceeds raised go towards Pack activities.

Scouts will also participate in the annual Halloween carnival at Westchase Elementary School  on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. Scouts may dress up in costume and come out for games and treats!

Join us for the Pack meeting on Oct. 21 to learn more about Scouting. General information and our calendar are available at http://www.pack46.com If yo.u would like more details about the Pack, please contact us at cubscouts46@gmail.com.

By Tracy Christensen

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Donors + Volunteers = Successful School Supply Drive

Thanks to Westchase families and other food bank supporters, children from 194 Kaye Prox Food Bank families returned to school this year with new backpacks full of supplies.

For the past half-dozen years, the food bank has organized a drive to collect school supplies and backpacks. The project has expanded from a grab box with a few supplies to filled backpacks for each student. Since 2010 the number has more than tripled. This year, 377 children and teens received fully stocked backpacks. That’s an increase of 40 percent from last year.

Led for the second year by Westchase teen coordinators, Maya Barrett and Isabel Giovannetti, 50 organizations and individuals donated nearly 15,000 school supplies and more than 250 backpacks to the drive. When it looked like the project would run short of backpacks, an amazing coincidence occurred. The same week that the manager of the Walgreens on Tampa Road at Countryway Boulevard arranged for the food bank to purchase backpacks at cost, two generous supporters donated enough funds to buy seventy!

For several food bank supporters, donating school supplies was nearly as exciting as it was for the children who received them. One long-time food bank volunteer took her two granddaughters shopping to pick out school supplies and backpacks to donate. She then brought the girls to the food bank one afternoon to give the backpacks to two happy children. Another supporter came into the food bank three different times to donate backpacks. She said that every time she walked through the school supplies aisle and saw the cute backpacks, she remembered how much she loved getting a new one each year. She wanted children in the families the food bank serves to have that same feeling.

The bighearted response to the drive created a challenge. All the supplies needed to be inventoried, organized and packaged. A few sessions were set up and the call for volunteers went out. The first morning, carloads of kids, teens and moms from Westtown Church arrived to help. Within 90 minutes, they had packaged more than 200 sets of supplies. Other volunteers helped on two additional days. Altogether, more than 50 volunteers donated more than 300 hours to the project.

Thanks to all!

By Carol Collins

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TBAY Swimmers Remember Coach Kelly Allen

Eight-year-old Sydney Senior hit the water excited to “go really fast” in the 50-yard butterfly.

It’s considered the most demanding of the four competitive swimming strokes. It was her first time swimming the event in a meet, and in the last 25 yards the youngster was feeling the strain. She slowed down to catch her breath and finished the race, dejected that she had not gone as fast as she’d hoped.

It was then that her sister, Summer, 11, dashed up and consoled her with these words: “Coach Kelley would be so proud of you!”

Coach Kelley was Kelley Allen, the late TBAY Westchase coach whose life was taken in a senseless shooting two years ago. The meet where this scene transpired was the second annual Kelley Allen (KAH2O) Memorial Meet at Countryside, where TBAY Westchase came out in force in honor of the man who made such a lasting impact on its young athletes.

“I was crying under my sunglasses,” said Chris Senior after witnessing the exchange between her daughters. “Sydney sat on my lap as she calmed down after the race and said that Coach Kelley once told her she could call him Charlie for a week at practice if she ever swam 50 fly in a meet.”

As far as his former swimmers were concerned, Coach Charlie – er, Kelley – was watching every stroke of this meet with pride.

“The KAH2O Meet is a personal one for our team,” TBAY Westchase coach Alex Richardson noted, “and we had record-breaking attendance (70 TBAY Westchase swimmers) and impressive overall performances. Four of our girls finished in the top three of their age groups.”

Paige Easton won the overall high point title in the 8-and-under division, with Aly Johnston taking third. Elliot Easton finished second in the 9-10 girls group while Maddie Strasen was third among senior girls.

Westchase had eight swimmers with top three finishes in an individual event (Richie Bui, Elliot Easton, Paige Easton, Aly Johnston, AnneMarie Johnston, Alina Lytvynenko, Isabel Minnis and Strasen) and 11 swimmers with time drops of 10 or more seconds in a single event (Francesa Bonanomi, Tito Borromeo, Emerson Chiado, Marissa Dunlop, AnneMarie Johnston, Ethan Kalichak, Penelope Laret, Nico Liberos, Ella McKee, Dylan Nolan and Sam Prabhakaran).

Participating in their first ever meet were Denver Adams, Ryan Banas, Nolan Becker, Noah Hall, Samantha Hall, Myah Haslop, Elizabeth McDonough, Gavin Nolan, Sara O'Conner, London Palmer, Connor Pelesh, Tyler Pelesh, Greg Tiltzer, Nicole Tiltzer, Kennedy Wesley and Mason Wesley.

The weekend of the KAH2O meet was a busy one for the high school swimmers on TBAY Westchase. It coincided with City Relays at Bobby Hicks pool in South Tampa and required some interesting travel schedules.  Ten members of the TBAY Westchase squad swim for four different high schools: Robinson (Maddie Strasen, captain; and Tiffany Quach), Jefferson (Isabel Minnis), Sickles (Abby Rose, captain; Richie Bui; Katelyn Rosenblum and Eryka Farrant), and Jesuit (Danny Harris; Ben Brown; and Johnny Dang).  Sixth-grader Summer Senior swims for Academy at the Lakes.

“Our team's high school group has grown over the last year and we are excited to represent TBAY Nation in their high school programs,” Richardson said.  “We are training toward a great championship season for districts, regions and hopefully states.”

It’s a good thing many of the TBAY Westchase swimmers were so busy at the aforementioned meets, considering how much they consumed at the awards banquet that preceded them. The program marked the end of the long-course season and the beginning of short-course swimming in 25-yard lanes – the more standard length and the one used in high school competition.

Up next on the schedule for TBAY Westchase is the WIN Get Rowdy & Race Meet, a Friday Night at the Races in St. Petersburg and a rare team event on dry land – the Great West Chase 5K.  “We are looking forward to participating in the Westchase 5K run as a team and supporting the local Westchase community,” Richardson said.

Be sure to like TBAY Westchase on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @tbaywestchase!

By Jean Strasen and Alex Richardson

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Light in the Midst of Darkness

Warning! Don't pick up this book if you have anything on your to-do list.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is so absorbing that once you begin reading, you'll want to keep turning the pages until the end.

Doerr intertwines fact and fiction in this story of two teens whose lives intersect amid the chaos of World War II. Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind French teenager who flees to the Breton town of Saint-Malo with her father as Paris falls. Werner Pfennig is a German orphan, whose extraordinary grasp of electronics earns him a place in a selective Nazi training school and leads to a position as a Wehrmacht radio technician. The young heroes cross paths when Werner‘s unit is sent to Saint-Malo to track down and remove the source of baffling intelligence transmissions.

Although the entire novel was compelling, I found the characters and prose especially engaging. Each of the novel’s inhabitants is memorable but the two main protagonists are particularly well drawn. Doerr employs Marie-Laure’s thoughts to convey shyness and her actions to show resourcefulness. He portrays Werner as a young man struggling to balance self-preservation and morality as a Nazi soldier. Doerr connects Marie-Laure and Werner through their mutual search for light in the darkness of war. Such appealing characters kept me hoping for a happy ending.

Doerr's prose is keenly sensory and his language creates images that shimmer with detail. The descriptions go beyond the visual when he depicts what Marie-Laure cannot see: “Cars splash along streets, and snowmelt drums through runnels; she can hear snowflakes tick and patter through the trees. She can smell the cedars in the Jardin de Plantes.”

His evocative writing drew me into another time and place.

The narrative is primarily character-driven. Even so, Doerr weaves a tale of intrigue, with a subplot about a missing diamond. He adds elements of serendipity to move the plot forward and create ties among the characters. Small details build an intricate structure to portend the novel’s end.

All the Light We Cannot See is moving and consummately uplifting.

It is a book to savor, ponder and share with friends.

By Carol Collins

Carol Collins is a member of the Westchase Book Club and can be reached with book suggestions at carolcollins@tampabay.rr.com.

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Halloween and Fall Activities Beckon

The leaves might still be green here but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate fall in Florida.

There are ample opportunities to get lost in a maze, go on a hayride or pick the perfect pumpkin.

Horse Power for Kids Fall Festival
8005 Race Track Rd.
http://horsepowerforkids.com
When: Oct. 4-Nov. 2 (Sat and Sun), 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $10 per person, food available for purchase

This popular annual fundraiser for Horse Power for Kids is one of the closest festivals to Westchase. Admission includes pony rides, hayrides, a petting zoo, bounce houses, train rides, and music. They also have a pumpkin patch.

Wellsprings United Methodist Church Fall Festival & Trunk or Treat
10701 Sheldon Rd.
http://www.wellspringtampabay.com
When: Oct. 25, 1-3 p.m.
Cost: Free

Celebrate fall with live music, games and candy. Participants in trunk or treat will decorate their cars based on this year’s theme – video games. If you would like to hand out candy during trunk or treat, you must register with Wellspring first.

Cub Scout Pack 46 Pumpkin Patch
10701 Sheldon Rd.
When: Oct. 5-30, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., daily; noon-8 p.m., Sunday

There are hundreds of pumpkins to choose from at this pumpkin patch, the only fundraiser for local Pack 46.

Fox Squirrel Corn Maze
3002 Charlie Taylor Rd., Plant City, FL
http://foxsquirrelcornmaze.com
When: Oct. 3-26 (Sat and Sun), 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $10 (18+); $9 (3-17); 2 and under free, food available for purchase

In the heart of Plant City you can test your directional skills in the corn maze at Single R Ranch. You can also enjoy a tractor-pulled hayride where you might see wild turkeys, hogs, deer, raccoons, cattle, and possibly, if you’re lucky enough, Sherman, the fox squirrel. They have a pumpkin patch plus games to play like horseshoes, badminton, duck races and rope-a-steer. There is a market with local honey and jams for sale, a butterfly experience, and pumpkin painting available for an additional charge.

Hydro Harvest Farm Pumpkin Patch
1101 Shell Point Road, E, Ruskin, FL
http://www.hydroharvestfarms.com
When: Oct. 4-Nov. 1 (daily, hours vary); Boo Fest, Oct. 25, noon-3 p.m.
Cost: Free

Hydro Harvest Farm hosts one of the largest pumpkin patches in Southern Hillsborough County. You can find many different varieties of pumpkins here including small pie pumpkins and huge carving pumpkins. They also have lots of hay, ornamental gourds and squash. At their ninth annual Boo Fest on Oct. 25, children can decorate pumpkins, play games and create crafts.

Harvest Moon Corn Maze
15990 Stur St., Masaryktown, FL
http://www.harvestmoonfl.com
When: Oct. 4-Nov. 2 (Sat and Sun), 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $11.95, children 2 and under free, food available to purchase

You’ll find three different levels of mazes here including one that is appropriate for young children and a scavenger hunt inside the maze. Other activities include a 70-foot jumping pillow, barrel train rides, petting zoo, arts and crafts, and Spookly, the square pumpkin.

Sweetfields Farm
17250 Benes Roush Rd., Masaryktown, FL
http://sweetfieldsfarm.com
When: Oct. 4-Nov. 2 (Sat and Sun), 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Oct. 20 and 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: $9.50 (12+); $5 (3-11); 2 and under free, food available for purchase

See if you can find your way through the maze and vote for your favorite scarecrow in the scarecrow contest. Enjoy hayrides, a hay play area, duck races, a spider web maze, a tree house, storytellers, crafts and animals. Pumpkins are available for purchase as well as u-pick produce.

By Marcy Sanford

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Fun Fall Traditions

Fall is here and the Florida furnace will officially go on vacation later this month.

For the last few weeks, despite temps still above 90 degrees, my fourth grader has insisted we drive around Westchase with the car windows down.

“It smells like Halloween,” she says excitedly.

Perhaps she has an amazing nose for candy corn. While I’m not quite detecting holiday aromas yet, I put the windows down at her request. I love that she’s excited. It’s contagiously joyful.

While they’re more subtle here than where I grew up, I too love Florida’s seasonal changes. I must have a little bit of a 9-year-old still in me because I also look forward to fall traditions with excitement.

For one, we kick off another Great West Chase race this month, only this year we’ve added a 10K to our 5K and Children’s Fun Run. If you want to experience a morning of contagious fun, join us on Oct. 25. See our cover story on page four for more details.

And I can’t wait for another Westchase Halloween, with its neighborhood gatherings, friendly folks and haunted driveways. Last October, my sister moved to Florida and experienced her first Westchase Halloween in awe.

“It’s like Times Square!” she said (right before tripping and falling when a mummy grabbed her ankle).

How lucky we are!

If you’re interested in stepping your own decorating up a notch – or visiting two of Westchase’s most impressive Halloween haunts, check out page 24.

October’s WOW holds another annual tradition, our Private School Special. This year’s school article, beginning on page 94, represents a valuable primer on schools, including key school differences, dates and deadlines. We even offer a rundown of Private School Open Houses to enable you to make the best choice for your kids. We thank all the private schools for helping to bring this special feature to our readers.

Last but not least, you’ll notice a significant amount of news from Westchase’s homeowners association and Community Development District (CDD) in this issue. Both held multiple meetings between the deadlines for September’s and October’s WOWs. Both concluded their budget processes and the WCA held its board elections. We’ve organized them chronologically to help you catch up.

Last, if you live on a Westchase pond, be sure to read the article on page 52. It offers helpful tips on protecting your back and side yards from eroding into the water. It was compiled with the help of CDD Engineer Tonja Stewart and we’re grateful for her guidance.

As always, we welcome your letters and shout outs and ask that you let our valued advertisers know you saw them in WOW.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Popular Haunts in Florida’s Humidity

Frogs and mosquitos aren’t the only creatures that come out when the sun goes down in Tampa Bay.

Ghosts and spirits haunt hotels, bookstores and ships all around town. You just have to know where to look.

On a recent dark and muggy night I recruited a few of Westchase’s bravest residents to journey with me to see what we could find in St. Petersburg. Our ghost tour began outside the Vinoy Hotel. Our guide’s tales were part historical society lesson and part ghost story. Only the most courageous among us will ever stay on the sixth floor or enter the ballroom of the Vinoy after hearing about the ghosts that have never checked out of the hotel.

Along the way we also found out about Haslam’s Book Store, where a famous author continues to promote his books from beyond the grave, and the creepy Hotel Indigo, where one of the ghosts reportedly followed a guest home.

Maybe the ghosts were snubbing our minivan or perhaps they knew that we all have children who can at times be much scarier than any ghost out there. Fortunately we made it back to Westchase without any spirits hitching a ride. 

At our last stop outside one of St. Pete’s many historical homes, we were encouraged to look for signs of the deceased lady of the house who still resides there. Alas, we only saw our reflection. Or maybe we just told ourselves that to stay brave.

Ghost Tour also offers tours of downtown Tampa and St. John’s Pass. Highlights of those tours include the Tampa Theatre, Old Tampa Book Company and the Fort Brooke area. During the St. John’s Pass tour you’ll find out the spooky history of several of the boats docked there as well as learn why the Friendly Fisherman restaurant might not be that friendly.

Ybor City is also apparently a very scary place after dark and not just because of drunk club-goers. “We have collected the 'creme de la creme' ghost stories of Ybor City,” said Joe Howden, creator of the Official Ybor City Ghost Tour. “We enter two haunted sites that are considered haunted not only by us but by the world. Both of these buildings have been on worldwide TV ghost shows because of their hauntedness.”

Which are they?

“One is the Don Vicente Inn, formerly the downtown hospital of Ybor City,” said Howden. “We tell stories and do some investigating down in the basement that was the hospital's morgue and autopsy area.” He added, “We also enter the Cuban Club, The Circulo Cubano, which was the social club for Cuban immigrants in Ybor City. It is listed by The Travel Channel as the fourth most haunted building in America.

Howden concluded, “I believe the extreme level of paranormal activity in this building is because of the level of attachment. As they did in life, I believe they return there at night.” 

Are you brave enough to take a tour this October to see what spirits haunt the Tampa Bay area? 

It may be the only way you’ll feel goose bumps in Florida in October.

Ghost Tour Tampa/St. Pete/St. John’s Pass
http://www.ghosttour.net/tampa.html

Ybor City Ghost Tour
http://www.yborghosttour.com

By Marcy Sanford

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Public Notice of Berkeley Square Guideline Change

The Westchase Voting Members (VMs) will consider a request to adopt a neighborhood-specific exterior paint palette for Berkeley Square at their Oct. 14 and Nov. 11, 2014, meetings.

As required for neighborhood specific guideline changes in neighborhoods with subassociations, the Berkeley Square HOA has indicated its support for the adoption of the new palette, which is based upon the Westchase community-wide master palette. The Berkeley Square neighborhood guideline must also win approval of two-thirds of the VMs present in person or by written consent at two distinct VM meetings called to consider the changes.

For a complete list of individual unit colors specified for body; trim; and doors and shutters, please contact the WCA manager at manager@wcamanager.com or see the WCA Web site, http://www.westchasewca.com

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By Debbie Sainz

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Westchase Family Field Day, Oct. 12

It promises great fun for a great cause!

Irish 31 and Orangetheory Fitness Westchase are sponsoring Westchase Family Field Day on Sunday, Oct. 12.

The event will be held from noon to 3 p.m. at the Westchase Recreation Center, located at 9791 Westchase Dr. “We host Orangetheory’s run club each week,” said Irish 31’s Melissa Maloney. “We wanted to work together to create a fun event for the Westchase community. Teams will compete in relay races, obstacle courses and other games.”

Maloney spelled out the details. “Anyone 8 years or older can be a part of a team. We’ll have music and a high-energy deejay on site, as well as screens to track each teams’ results, and a Fan Zone with TVs showing the Bucs game. We’ll also have child care available for children 3 to 8-years-old and activities for children inside the Rec. Center.”

Maloney said that Irish 31 will provide a boxed lunch for all participants and a free beer coupon for 21 and older participants for the after-party celebration at Irish 31.

“The Westchase Field Day is going to be a great event,” said Tampa Bay Club Sports’ Chris Greibner. “ Some of the games we’ll have include a rubber duck launch, where teams use a large slingshot to see how far they can launch a rubber duck, and volley pong, where teams try to shoot volleyballs into garbage cans. The activities will be fun and challenging yet still doable for all athletic abilities, including kids at least 8-years-old.”

All proceeds from the event will benefit The Toby Hall Foundation and the Friends of County Parks. The Toby Hall Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by former Tampa Bay Rays baseball player Toby Hall, helps children with disabilities or special needs play non-competitive baseball so they can be part of a team. The Friends of the County Parks promotes support for the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department.  The money given to the Friends of County Parks will benefit the Westchase Recreation Center.

For more information or to register a team for the Westchase Family Field Day, visit http://www.formstack.com/forms/ClubSport-westchasefieldday

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By Marcy Sanford

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Road Repaving, VM Elections, Block Parties and Annual Meetings

Bennington

The Westchase Voting Members (VMs) meeting in August covered the proposed 2015 budget, which was reviewed line by line at the meeting. With the acceptance of the budget, the annual assessment is $319. A copy of the final budget will be sent to residents when you receive your assessment invoice.

The September VM meeting was predominately dedicated to electing four members to the Westchase Association Board of Directors, each for a two-year term. The elected members are Kathy Carlsen, Keith Heinemann, Joe Odda and Brian Ross.

A reminder to all: please check out the Bennington/Woodbay neighborhood page on Nextdoor.com. If you have not already joined this social Web site, I encourage you to please do so for updated information throughout the month.

A major concern that is shared throughout the neighborhood is the continuing deterioration of our roadways. If you would like to call and make your voice heard, the contact at the Hillsborough County Planning department is Mr. Post at 307-1852 (thanks to Jerry Bletsch!). I have given this information out to various neighbors and have also posted it on Nextdoor.com. I just wanted to cover all bases by including it here. Unfortunately the feedback is not encouraging. There is no money and no timeframe for repaving the roads. I am also reaching out to our county commissioner, Sandy Murman, who can be reached at murmans@hillsboroughcounty.org. Her office number is 272-5470 or you can check out her Web site, http://www.sandymurman.com

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With schools now back in session, please be watchful of children and adults walking to and from the bus stops as you drive through the neighborhood.

Everyone have a good month!

By Jeanne Klimschot, Bennington VM

The Greens

Happy Halloween! I hope that you are all satisfied with the modification to the speed bumps both entering and exiting The Greens. The most recent modification has made them much more forgiving and smooth as you pass over them. Thanks to Doug Mays and Sonny Whyte for handling this for us.

As you may be aware, in the month of September I attended both the Community Development District (CDD) and Westchase Voting Members meeting to address and support the position of The Greens, including the approval and installation of our new American flag at The Greens gatehouse. How do you like our newly installed, illuminated American flag? I personally think it adds some personality to our gatehouse and surely demonstrates our sense of patriotism to the Westchase community.

Did you know that, unlike VM and HOA meetings that are held in the evening to make it easy for residents to attend, the CDD meetings are held during the day when most of us are working? Also, check out the CDD Web site, http://www.westchasecdd.com for t,heir meeting minutes, and to get current information on the CDD.

The link to the Community Development District (CDD) and the gatehouse is http://www.westchasecdd.com/4.html There. you’ll find further information along with the resident form. Please update your resident file.

Best regards and watch out for those trick-or-treaters.

By Gerald (Jerry) Pappa, The Greens VM

Radcliffe

Hello, Radcliffe! This month we will be holding a Radcliffe Block Party on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 4-7 p.m. My family and I are once again excited about hosting the event at our home at 11916 Keating Dr. This year we have a very specific reason to bring everyone together beyond the usual meet and greet. As many of you are well aware, our streets have been looking worse for wear over the past few years. Despite efforts from several of us to address this concern with Hillsborough County, they remain unwilling and/or unable to commit to repaving our roads at any time in the near future. Therefore, we are going to try a different approach. I am inviting all Radcliffe owners to stop by our block party and sign a neighborhood petition to the county requesting our streets be paved within a reasonable timeframe. While there is no guarantee that they will even respond to such a statement, I think it is worth the effort given the level of support we all share for this work to be done. Please stop by to say hello on Oct. 18 if only to sign our street paving petition! Any questions can be directed to me at radcliffevm@gmail.com.

By Eric Holt, Radcliffe VM

Stockbridge

As you may be aware, the voting member (VM) proxies will be sent this fall. No one has contacted me about becoming the Stockbridge VM or Alternate VM. I plan to continue as VM unless someone would like to volunteer as well. Please let me know if you have an interest in being the VM; we would need to have your name added to the proxy card. As VM, I promise to miss as few meetings as possible and to make the Alternate VM volunteer experience as easy as possible. There are 11 VM meetings annually.

On that note, the VM proxies will soon be sent to each homeowner. It was presented to both me and the WCA that we will once again revisit the mailbox question. The question will be listed at the bottom of the proxy card. Please indicate whether you are for or against replacing the white mailboxes. This will be the last time we will vote on the mailboxes based on informal requests from our residents. Any other petition to raise this question again would need to be a formalized one where a group of residents have gathered enough names (more than 50 percent of Stockbridge) and present that to me and the WCA for consideration. Then we would be required to have another formal proxy where every homeowner would be able to cast a vote. Please be advised that I will not put forward to the WCA any other requests to vote on the mailboxes unless a majority of the Stockbridge homeowners have formally petitioned me to do so.

For those families with pets, please be aware that Cane and Bufo toads have been reported in our area (not Westchase-specific). These toads carry a neurotoxin that is deadly to animals. Please keep an eye on our furry friends to ensure that they are safe when in yards or on the walkways. The toads are mostly found near lakes and wetlands.

Looking forward to some cooler temps!

By Ed Siler, Stockbridge VM

Townhomes of West Park Village

The Townhomes of West Park Village will hold their annual meeting and approval of their 2015 budget on Thursday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. at the Westchase Community Association (WCA) office on Parley Drive. Currently, the 2015 budget shows no increase in our association dues. We welcome any residents who would like to attend, along with potential board members. We are still in need of one board member and would welcome your participation. Please remember to complete and return your proxy vote if you are unable to attend.

The WCA along with all the local associations have begun an effort to gather e-mail addresses and contact information for each homeowner. This would enable our board to communicate more effectively and efficiently with each of you. You will receive a resident contact form in your annual meeting mailing from Greenacre Properties. I encourage you to complete and return it to the WCA office. At the board meeting in October we will also begin the discussion of our exterior painting process for 2015.

I look forward to seeing you in person; please feel free to contact me at debbiedawson53@yahoo.com

By Debbie Dawson, President of Townhomes of WPV HOA

Villas of West Park Village

As we enter the next to last season of the year – fall – our Villas Association will be holding probably the most important board meeting of the year, the 2015 budget adoption meeting. By now you have received the official notification that the meeting will be held Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Westchase Community Association Management Office, located at 10049 Parley Dr., next to the West Park Village pool.

As a special note to the new members of our Villas Association, let me say that all directors would like for all of you to know that your presence at this meeting is more than welcome. Not only you will have the opportunity to meet other villa owners, you will also be able to participate by asking questions regarding the proposed budget for the coming year. As I normally state when we have a board meeting, “Please remember this is your association and you are more than welcome to attend and participate in your board deliberations.”

A short report of the work done during this year will be made. We’ll also discuss what is expected to be accomplished during the coming year. I hope to see many of you at the meeting.

By Carlos Quiros, President of Villas of WPV HOA

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The Great West Chase Greets Fall on Oct. 25

October kicks off the season of Westchase’s most treasured traditions. And this year, it’s adding a 10K.

For Westchasers, October brings pumpkin patches, haunted houses and, yes, personal best times.

An easy achievement when you’re chased down Linebaugh Avenue by a mummy.

Launching the Halloween season, participants in The Great West Chase will kick up their heels on Saturday, Oct. 25. While not everyone will achieve his personal best time, the event’s organizers and volunteers guarantee you’ll have a great one.

Annually the Great West Chase offers dedicated runners one of the best races to kick off the cool-weather running season. Some runners tackle The Great West Chase for the thrill of competition. Others, donning Halloween costumes, run for laughs and fun. 

For many, the Westchase races, among the best organized in West Central Florida, offer residents an opportunity to participate in their first 5K race. Best of all, it’s held on one of Tampa Bay’s most beautiful courses – while supportive family, friends and neighbors cheer you on.

Kicking off its 13th year, The Great West Chase race has added a 10K at the request of its participants! If you’ve mastered 5Ks, make this the year to be recognized for completing your first 10K.

The Great West Chase, however, is not merely a road race. It’s a community party that fills the West Park Village green on Montague Street with entertainment, music and great food and drink for the race participants. Scores of Westchasers who aren’t running simply roll out of bed early to enjoy the fall fun and contagious joy of this great event. Dozens of sponsors host booths, each featuring a fun family activity, from small games and bounce houses to temporary race tattoos.

And it’s all for a great cause. All race proceeds after expenses are annually donated to a Title I school with a high percentage of families struggling to raise kids while living beneath the poverty line. Lacking the resources of many Westchase homes, many of these at-risk children need an extra hand with math, reading and writing.
With your participation, WOW’s staff and enthusiastic volunteers will once again be able to present a check for nearly $20,000 to a worthy school. This year’s beneficiary is Bellamy Elementary on Wilsky Boulevard, a school that sends many of its students to Davidsen Middle School, which serves Westchase.

The Great West Chase’s 5K and 10K events are USATF/RRTC nationally certified, Ipico chip-timed races. Last year the 5K hosted over 900 participants and the children’s fun run saw over 150 runners. This year we aim to do even better.

The 10K run will start at 7 a.m. The 5K run kicks off at 8 a.m. and the children’s 1K Fun Run begins at 9 a.m.

If you haven’t yet participated, make this year’s races your first. The event will be held in the heart of beautiful Westchase. Start and finish lines for the races are located at the base of West Park Village Green at the intersection of Montague Street and Brompton Drive.

As the sun rises, the 5K race proceeds west along Linebaugh Avenue before looping back at Radcliffe’s entrance and returning along the same scenic route. The 10K follows the same course but proceeds north on Countryway Boulevard before looping back at Northumberland Drive (the median break just south of Race Track Road) and returning along the same beautiful course.

All race participants will receive a great goody bag, featuring a race T-shirt and other giveaways. After the race, they’ll join the best post-race party in town, featuring great food and drink and a fabulous raffle drawing that have previously featured gift certificates, iPods and even beach weekend getaways. Irish 31 will be preparing the post-race food while World of Beer returns with their offerings. Whole Foods Carrollwood will handle pre-race eats and water. And Pure Protein will hand out protein bars.

Runners will be captured during the event by James Broome Photography. Participants can make their race even more fun by running in Halloween costumes. The best ones will be recognized with awards at the post-race awards ceremony.

Awards will be given for first, second and third place finishes overall; for both male and female masters; and for both male and female runners finishing first, second and third places in standard, five-year age groups up to 75+. If this is your first 10K or 5K race, please be sure to stay for the awards ceremony when your accomplishment will also be acknowledged in a special way.

Race registration can be done at http://www.active.com at ww,w.thegreatwestchase.com, with the registration form in this month’s inserts, or with the QR code on this page.

Business sponsors and volunteers are needed. Like Girl Scout Troop 318, which has signed on to handle recycling again this year, we need a lot of volunteers to pull off such a big event. If you would like to sponsor the race or volunteer, please contact Tracy Urso at advertising@westchasewow.com for more information.

Join us on Saturday, Oct. 25, for a day of charitable outreach, exercise, food, entertainment and fall fun!

And be sure to check http://www.WestchaseWOW.com for news of pre-registration events at Fit to Run.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Westchase Fall Garage Sale Is Nov. 1

It’s time to make space for all your upcoming holiday gifts!

The Westchase Fall Garage Sale is Saturday, Nov. 1. The sale is one of two such annual events that are generally held on the first Saturdays of May and October. The usual October garage sale, however, was scheduled later due to Yom Kippur.

Garage sale hours run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. To improve traffic flow and access by emergency vehicles, the Westchase Community Association (WCA) asks that residents not sell food items or collect outside items for sale as part of a large, charitable event.

While there is no charge for Westchase residents to participate in the event, those residents who would like items to appear on the Big Ticket List need to e-mail their information to the association manager’s office at officemanager@wcamanager.com by Tuesday, Oct. 28. Please include your name, address, phone number, village name and a description of the item(s) you want listed. Also be sure to inform that office if you want your price and phone number included with your ad. You can also mail the information to the association manager at 10049 Parley Drive, Tampa, FL 33626.

Printable copies of the Big Ticket List will be posted on http://www.WestchaseWOW.com and www.westchasewca.com. They will also be available at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center prior to the sale.

All unsold items can be donated to Goodwill, which will have three donation locations around Westchase from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. to accept your donations. On the day of the garage sale Goodwill will have trailers from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the St. Joseph's Outpatient Clinic parking lot, located at 10509 W. Linebaugh Ave., and Fifth Third Bank, located at 9450 W. Linebaugh Ave. Each weekend Goodwill also has trailers at the Primrose School, 12051 Whitmarsh Lane, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Donations of clothing and household items will support Goodwill's services for people who are disabled, elderly or unemployed. Goodwill cannot accept mattresses, box springs or televisions. They will provide a receipt for tax purposes.

For answers to questions about the sale, please call the Westchase association manager at 926-6404. For more information about the Goodwill donation locations, please call (888) 279-1988, ext. 1440.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Blame the Diabolical Possession

After removing all possible causes, the eerie rattling sound still echoed.

Leaving one possible explanation:

Charlie’s bathroom was haunted.

Sherlock Holmes would have concluded so. “When you have eliminated the impossible,” the detective said, “whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

We were well beyond the impossible.

The unsettling morning began with my wife coming into my office and jabbing the home phone into my side. My wild gestures indicating “Hello! Trying to work here!” were apparently too subtle.

“It’s Charlie!” she whispered.

Which means I had to answer.

My own father died twenty years ago. When I moved to Westchase in 1998, Charlie ably stepped into his place. We go out to lunch. We mutter at election returns together. He calls to ask if I caught a particular column in the morning paper. And when I get around to calling him back two days later, we have a typical Irish Catholic father-son exchange:

Me: Hey, Charlie. You called to ask me something?

Charlie: Yeah, I did.

Me: Well?

Charlie: “Well, if you actually called me back the same day I called you, I’d actually remember the very important thing I needed to ask you.”

Charlie was educated by the same nuns who honed my mother’s shaming skills.

Charlie’s also a true gentleman, hailing from a generation that understood that if you’re going to curse like a brother trucker, you do it exclusively around other disreputable guys. And you look around very carefully and then whisper it so your wife doesn’t scold you.

Charlie and I share tools and advice. I consult him about landscaping. And because I once accidentally fixed a toilet, he consults me about plumbing.

Which is why a frazzled Charlie called that eerie morning. “There’s a rattling sound like a machine gun going on in my master bath. Could you give it a look?”

In the middle of magazine production, I internally groaned. Whenever I undertake the simplest plumbing repair, I generally lose a long weekend.

But when a good friend calls and announces his master bathroom is shooting at him, a real man goes over, studies the situation, gives his head a sympathetic shake and hands over his plumber’s number.

Moments later I was standing in Charlie’s shower (alone, clothes on) studying the shower caddie and the shower head, which were rattling like all of hell’s demons were shaking the pipes behind the bathroom tile.

“It started right after Evelyn finished her shower!” Charlie said. “It just keeps going!”

He carefully looked around. “Strangest da** thing I’ve ever seen,” he whispered.

I touched pipe between the tile and the showerhead. It was madly vibrating yet no water was flowing.

“Let’s turn the water off to the house and see if it stops.”

So we cranked the shut-off valve in the garage, but couldn’t turn it entirely.

Back in the bathroom the eerie rattling still echoed.

I turned the shower on. Water trickled out and the rattling continued. I reached up to remove the shower head but then thought better of it.

Clearly the valve in the garage wasn’t working.

I looked at my phone and checked the time.

Then I nodded sympathetically and gave Charlie my plumber’s phone number.

Back in my office, the Irish Catholic guilt quickly consumed me.
If the pipe was rattling, there was a leak somewhere I couldn’t see. Probably inside the wall. So when the bathroom wall exploded and drowned Charlie and Evelyn, it would be on my head.

I called Charlie. “Did you call the plumber?”

“He can’t come for three hours.”

Five minutes later, I was kneeling at the curb under the blazing sun, staring into the water meter box, filled with ghastly looking rainwater.

A couple of moldy old frogs looked up at me. And a handful of lizards. And two or three spiders, one of which looked deadly.

Oh, and probably a cobra.

I sucked a deep breathe, plunged my quivering pliers in and torqued the water main shut off.

“It’s still running!” Charlie hollered from the laundry room.

I cursed and plunged again.

“It’s off!” he cried.

Which meant no possible vibration.

We dashed into the master bath. The shower pipe was rattling like a skeleton’s knees in a blizzard.

“The air conditioner’s on this side of the house, isn’t it?!”

Charlie rushed out to poke the thermostat while I ran outside to check that the unit stopped.

The ghastly rattling continued.

“Kill all the power! If that doesn’t stop it, then we’ll know…”

My words drifted off. I had no clue what we’d know.

Charlie looked worried. “Evelyn will have to reset the clocks.”

I pointed at the rattling pipe.

Charlie screwed up his courage and went into the kitchen to ask permission.

Moments later, I threw the main breaker in the house. The TV went off. The ceiling fans died. The garbage disposal went silent.

A lone dog barked in the distance.

Back in the bathroom, the shower pipe still rattled.

Charlie cursed.

“Your house is haunted,” I announced. “Or diabolically possessed, which I’m fairly sure is a violation of Westchase’s deed restrictions.”

Charlie raised a doubting eyebrow. “The devil possesses showerheads?”

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

With one nagging exception. With the water completely off, I simply had to pull off the showerhead and listen inside the pipe like a lunatic. I pulled off the shower caddie and reached up to unscrew the showerhead.

The shower caddie was madly vibrating in my hand.

I nearly screamed in fright, then realized it was highly unlikely the devil was passing from the showerhead into me.

I looked at the possessed caddie.

And handed Evelyn’s rotating facial exfoliator to Charlie.

“Evelyn!” he cried.

Two hours after my wife’s phone jabbing, Evelyn walked into the bathroom. She eyed the exfoliator, her face contorting as she struggled to concoct a believable way to place the blame squarely on her husband.

Failing, she just eyed me.

“You are not going to write about this.”

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Stewards Take Youth All-Points Trophy at Halifax Regatta

Congratulations to the Stewards Foundation Tridents rowing team!

They recently returned from the Halifax Regatta with the Youth All-Points trophy! Out of the 26 high performance summer rowers on the team, four of them live in Westchase.

The Stewards Foundation Tridents began the regatta morning bright and early in Daytona Beach. While facing competitors from teams numbering in single digits to powerhouses like Plant High School, the Tridents were determined to make a powerful team statement at the end of the summer rowing season.

Camaraderie flourished as the Tridents rigged boats and entered the water for their events. Yet by midday, the coaches were wondering if the team was going to make a showing. As the afternoon progressed, however, the Tridents rowed their way to the Youth All-Points award, winning the coveted crystal Halifax Regatta trophy and bypassing Plant and Melbourne high schools in the process.

A summer of hard work culminated in high spirits and high points as the Tridents headed home, confident that the fall season has the potential for continued success and surprises for their competitors.

Our next Regatta will be The Head of the Hillsborough Rowing & Paddling Regatta Festival in Tampa Oct. 10-11. Visit http://www.headofthehillsborough.com for event details.

If you’re interested in joining the Stewards Foundation or want to learn more about rowing, visit http://www.rowtampa.org for more information.

By Julie Wojciechowski

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Westchase Halloween Gurus Share Tips on Creating a Frightening Display

Halloween has become one of the most popular holidays of the year.

Spending on candy, costumes and creepy decorations totaled $6.9 billion dollars in 2013 alone.

With half of that just in Westchase.

While perhaps a slight exaggeration, the surge in spending is due in part to the fact that Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore. Not only are more adults investing in costumes, they are also spending massive amounts of time and money transforming their yards into fright fests intended to scare the living daylights out of their neighbors. (All in good fun, of course!)

Bill and Tracy Burroughs have spent more than 10 years perfecting their Halloween displays. For the past two years, their innovative efforts have earned them a National Gemmy Award.

Jeff Rosenblatt has been transforming his yard for Halloween for the past 25 years and his work is always a hit with the neighbors. “Some neighbors even close up their home and leave notes directing kids to our home,” Rosenblatt said.

We asked the Burroughs and the Rosenblatts to offer some advice to fellow Westchasers looking to take their Halloween decorating to the next level.

Keep It Fresh

“The key is adding something new every year,” Bill said.

The Burroughs always begin with a theme and build their display from there. Tracy turns to Halloweenforum.com to brainstorm ideas.

Creating original set ups each year doesn’t mean breaking the bank. To keep spending at a minimum, the Burroughs incorporate existing decorations in new ways. Items they no longer need are sold and the profits go towards new decorations. Tracy also finds great deals at the end-of-season sales.

Add an Element of Surprise

Nothing is scarier than that feeling that someone is lurking nearby. Both Bill and Jeff enjoy adding that element of surprise by immersing themselves in their displays.

Two years ago the Rosenblatts went with a scary clown theme and had six mannequins dressed as clowns sitting in chairs in the driveway. Jeff was one of those clowns. “An adult decided to sit on one of the clown’s laps to have her picture taken. Little did she know, she was sitting on my lap. When I moved, I think the screams could be heard for blocks,” Jeff laughed.

In years past, Bill has disguised himself as everyone from Freddy Krueger to the infamous pirate Davy Jones. He is notorious for revealing his whereabouts to visitors when they least expect it!

Play Up the Special Effects

Fog, lights and music offer a winning special effects combination. Fog machines are essential for creating that spooky graveyard ambience and are a staple in the Burroughs’ annual displays.

While Jeff admits that lighting can be the trickiest part of Halloween decorating, it is well worth the effort. Spotlights cast the perfect shadows; black lights make elements “pop.” According to Tracy, the new kaleidoscope lights create a mesmerizing, disco-like aura that adds a whole new dimension to a Halloween set up. Last year, the Burroughs also used projectors to cast eerie images in windows and on walls.

The right music is sure to elicit fear. Just a few notes from the hauntingly repetitive theme song from the movie Halloween will have trick-or-treaters convinced that Michael Myers is lying in wait. And no sound is quite as goose-bump inducing as the violin screech from the movie Psycho (ree, ree, ree, ree…).

Keep it Under Wraps

Both the Burroughs and the Rosenblatts are adamant about keeping their plans a secret. (We didn’t even get a hint.) Some decorations, like the graveyard scene, go up in early October. The full display, however, is not revealed until Halloween night – which makes for a massive amount of work on Halloween day.

“I'm not sure exactly why we do this, but we all have tons of fun. My wife Sheila and my children, Mya and Ethan, love it, too,” Jeff said. If you are looking to see what Jeff has in store this year, head out to Greencrest in The Greens this Halloween.

The Burroughs create their elaborate display not once, but twice – once on a weekend prior to Halloween as a special treat for the Westchase community and again on Halloween night. Of course, it’s a different set up each time. The Burroughs are located at 11926 Derbyshire Dr. For updates on when the set up will be on display, visit their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/BurroughsHalloweenHaunt

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Happy haunting!

By Karen Ring

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Catch Twenty-Three Fake Ad Contest Continues, October 2014

“I know I can't win again in 2014,” Frozen Pizza Eater Marty Hamilton grumbled.

“But I'll endeavor to persevere as an inspiration to those like Keith Heinemann, who last month swooped in like a little old lady from Seffner at the casino to claim the jackpot with the first nickel played.”

And persevere Marty did.

Referring to September’s fabulous fakery for caffeinated bath soap, Marty wrote, “Move over bath salts, there's a new way to get your buzz on in the lavatory. ‘Quake Up’ (pg 46) takes the ring from around your neck and puts the ringing in your ears.”

He wasn’t quite finished.

“Also available are ‘Make Up,’ infused with botulinum toxin; ‘Bake Up,’ made with medical cannabis; ‘Snake Up,’ imbued with tadalafil to help increase blood flow; and ‘Fake Up’ containing a placebo and soap.”

Fortunately, Greens resident Bobbie Muir’s entry proved more, um, de Muir. “What a creative person (or group?) you have working on these. When I start reading the monthly WOW, I love finding the surprise!”

And, would you believe? Demure Bobbie Muir won!

Not because she complimented the highly creative editor, you cynics! But because the fake ad gods operating the online random number generator demurely punched Bobbie’s meal ticket. Now Bobbie will be taking the caffeine addict of her choice to Catch Twenty-Three, courtesy of its proprietor Rob Wickner. Thanks, Rob!

Now go pull out those nickels, people, and get your October fake ad guesses in today!

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Westchase Thanksgiving Food Drive Captains and Matching Contributions Sought

Last November 1,000 Westchase homes and some generous matching business owners sponsors donated 22,436 pounds of food, including 301 turkeys.

This November we have three trucks to fill!

Will you lend a hand?

The seventh annual Westchase Thanksgiving Food Drive is Sunday, Nov. 23 – the Sunday before Thanksgiving – and WOW needs your help to make it a success again. Last November more than 150 volunteers, including scores of Scouts and high schoolers needing service hours, collected food throughout Westchase for Metropolitan Ministries. About 29 percent of Westchase homes participated in the drive. Last year’s Thanksgiving Food Drive also saw generous Westchase businesses matching residents’ contributions.

As part of WOW’s preparations for this great November tradition, we are looking for individuals who will serve as captains for their neighborhoods and businesses and residents who are willing to match (in full or in part) residents’ contributions.

Neighborhood captains simply ask a few of their fellow residents to help distribute reminder flyers to all the homes in their neighborhoods the weekend prior to the drive (Nov. 15-16). On Sunday, Nov. 23, captains will also drive their neighborhoods with their volunteers to pick up food donations placed out by Westchase residents. These donations will then be driven to Westchase Elementary School, where three trucks will be loaded to carry the contributions to Metropolitan Ministries. A number of volunteers will then travel down to Metropolitan Ministries’ downtown tent to help unload the trucks, sort the donations and prepare them for distribution. It’s a fun, wonderful way to kick off Thanksgiving week. If you are willing to contribute a few hours to this cause, please e-mail your name, address and phone number to editor@westchasewow.com.

Businesses and residents willing to match portions of contributions are encouraged to contact WOW Publisher Chris Barrett at editor@westchasewow.com to explore how to become involved in this great and growing tradition, which helps others in significant need.

Don’t miss this opportunity to volunteer with your family and neighbors and see Westchase generosity in action!

By Chris Barrett, Publisher; Photo by James Broome Photography

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Westchase Artists Review Use of Copyrights

At the August group meeting Rebecca Piskura presented information about the basics of copyrights.

While an original artwork is automatically and immediately protected for the artist’s lifetime plus 70 years, she explained that the securest protection is to file a formal copyright online with the U.S. Copyright Office, http://www.copyright.gov Sever.al ways to protect your visual art online were discussed, including adding a visible watermark to your images before uploading, disabling right click on your site, uploading only low resolution images or placing a © notice with your name next to your work.

Calling all artists! Local fine artists and crafters are invited to join in the upcoming Fifth Annual Westchase Holiday Market being held on Sunday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Westchase Golf Course clubhouse. Additional information and a link to register can be found on the society’s Web site. Proceeds from the Holiday Market benefit Autism Speaks. Last year’s event raised $2,000 for the charity.

The next group meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Upper Tampa Bay Library. The Westchase Artists Society is open to all types of visual artists from Upper Tampa Bay. Please visit http://www.westchaseartists.com for more information about the evening’s agenda and bring your creativity and a sample of your artwork to share. You can also friend the group on Facebook to stay updated on group activities.

By Teresa Trubilla

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WCA Accepts Resident Directory Painting

The work of Westchase artist Ruth Smith now graces the walls of the WCA office building on Parley Drive.

At the Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board meeting on Thursday, Sept. 11, WOW Director Mary Griffin, representing the magazine, introduced Bridges artist Ruth Smith and made a formal presentation of her painting of the West Park Village Swim and Tennis Club’s pool to WCA Directors.

Smith’s work was featured on the 2014 Resident and Business Directory, distributed to all Westchase homes this past summer.

A Westchase resident since 2007, Smith commented on her artistic pursuits. “About three years ago, just as something for myself, I started painting. Just as a hobby. I never had painting in college.”

Art, however, wasn’t something new for Smith. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources, she went on to earn an MSA in Medical and Biological Illustration from University of Michigan.

“I’ve always been torn between science and art. I ultimately went into medical and biological illustration,” she explained. Ruth worked for publisher doing scientific illustrations via computer for seven years and then freelanced. She also took on responsibilities as a stay-at-home mom for her children.

In recent years, Smith has completed a lot of graphic design on a volunteer basis for the Davidsen PTSA. She also returned to her love of art and has embraced painting.

Of her current interests, she remarked, “I like painting nature and animals.” She added, “I’m just seeing where it goes from here.”

Smith, however, is open to any custom painting, including pet and family portraits, as well as computer illustration and graphic design. Her work can be viewed at http://www.fruitysmith.com She c.an be reached at smith.fruity@gmail .com.

Smith lives in The Bridges with her son, Jacob, who attended the presentation, and her daughter, Emma.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Teasing Out School Options in Westchase

Parents searching for that perfect educational fit for their child face a bewildering array of options.

Not only are private schools varied and plentiful, new programs within the public school system offer exciting educational opportunities. Navigating the choices can be daunting. Below, we offer an overview of the educational options available in the Westchase area.

Attendance Area Schools

Attendance area schools are those designated by the Hillsborough County School Board based on a student’s residential address. Because these schools cannot deny admission to any child within the residential school zone, they are designed to meet the needs of a broad student population. In turn, at the middle and high school level, they generally offer a wide range of extracurricular and athletic programs to cater to a diverse student body.

Westchase residents are zoned for top-quality schools across all grade levels. Our zoned schools are Westchase and Lowry elementary schools; Davidsen Middle School and Alonso High School. At the time of printing, all of these schools were listed as “A” rated schools.

The Vega family of The Fords chose to send their two sons to their zoned school – Westchase Elementary – for their elementary education. When it came time to send their oldest son, Andrew, off to middle school, they decided to explore all options. They weighed the various choices and discussed them with Andrew before deciding that sticking with the neighborhood school – Davidsen Middle – made the most sense for their family.

“We discussed the magnet school options, but Andrew was not very interested in those programs. He really wanted to be able to walk to school and see his friends from Westchase,” Kristen Vega explained. “Since we had spoken to families who already had children who were doing well at Davidsen, Mike and I saw no reason to send him elsewhere. To us, part of the middle school experience is becoming more self-confident and mature, so it makes sense to send him where he is most comfortable to begin with,” she added.

Transportation: Transportation is provided by all attendance area schools; however, students who live less than two miles from a school are not eligible for transportation.

How to Apply: Families do not need to complete an application for their children to attend or remain at their attendance area school. New students will need to register. Contact the school directly for registration information.

School Choice

The School Choice program offers parents and guardians of children entering Grades K -11 the option of applying to up to three non-magnet schools outside their attendance area. Families can apply to schools throughout the district that have available space.

The reasons for taking advantage of the school choice program vary. For the Hector Garcia family of West Park Village, school choice allowed them to find a school that had the multicultural diversity they were after. “Our children come from a multi-racial, multi-ethnic family. We value this diversity, and prefer for our children to learn in a similarly diverse environment,” Lourdes Garcia explained. “In the same way that being the only girl in a robotics and engineering program limits that child’s ability to fully reach her potential, so too does being one of only a handful of multi-racial children in an entire school.”

They found what they were looking for in Deer Park Elementary – a high-achieving school with a student population that appealed to their family. “We could not have been happier with our decision and feel fortunate to have the flexibility to do so,” Garcia added.

Transportation: Transportation may be limited or unavailable in some areas. For more information visit https://edconnect.sdhc.k12.fl.us/GisUtils/Transportation.faces

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Application Process: The application for school choice for students currently enrolled in Grades K-4 and all students applying to middle and high school begins Nov. 12 and ends Dec. 17. These students can apply online at http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/departments/95/hillsborough-choice-options A lis.t of eligible schools appears directly on the school choice application. (Note: students new to Hillsborough County Public Schools are required to complete a paper application).

For students who are entering Grades K-5 and who are enrolling in a Hillsborough County public school for the first time, the application period begins Jan. 13, 2015, and runs through Feb. 11.

For More Information: Visit http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/doc/list/hillsborough-choice-options or call (813) 272-4692.

Magnet Schools

Magnet schools are public elementary, middle and high schools that offer a theme-based curriculum. While magnet schools operate on a specific theme, students study a complete range of subjects with a focus on hands-on learning that is inquiry and performance-based. Hillsborough County Public Schools magnet philosophy maintains that magnet schools "connect kids to the real world.”

STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and IB (International Baccalaureate) programs are particularly popular among Westchase families who choose the magnet route. Numerous magnet opportunities exist, however, that appeal to a wide range of interests, including animal science, architecture, performing arts, environmental studies and many more.

For the Hector Garcia family, the magnet program has allowed daughter, Maya, to explore her true passion. “Maya showed a genuine interest in the performing arts from a very early age. Traditional schools typically only dabble in the arts, whereas Maya yearned to be immersed,” Garcia explained.

Maya attended Orange Grove Middle School of the Arts and is currently enrolled in Blake High School’s performing arts program.

“We are fortunate to have both middle and high schools which cater to artistic children. Maya is also doing quite well and enjoying 'left-brain' subjects, including honors biology and geometry,” Garcia added.

Transportation: Transportation is available for most magnet schools. In some areas, transportation may be limited. For more information visit https://edconnect.sdhc.k12.fl.us/GisUtils/Transportation.faces

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Application Process: The application period for students currently enrolled in Grades K-4 and all students applying to middle and high school begins Nov. 12 and ends Dec. 17. These students can apply online at http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/departments/95/hillsborough-choice-options (Note.: students new to Hillsborough County Public Schools or coming from private school are required to complete a paper application).

For students who are entering Grades K-5 and who are enrolling in a Hillsborough County Public School for the first time, the application period begins Jan. 13, 2015, and runs through Feb. 11.

Students may apply to the magnet schools of their choice with the exception of IB schools, which are dictated by the student’s address. Westchase’s assigned IB programs are McFarlane Park Elementary, Roland K-8 Magnet, Walker Middle Magnet and Robinson High School.

Selection for elementary or middle magnet schools is done by computer lottery. Applications for all high school magnet programs are evaluated on a competitive basis.

For More Information: Visit http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/doc/list/hillsborough-choice-options or call (813) 272-4692.

Parent information nights that cover both school choice and magnet options for prospective elementary, middle and high school students will be held Nov. 6 at Armwood High School and again Nov. 17 at Jefferson High School. Both sessions will run from 5:30-7:30 p.m. In addition, parents and prospective students can attend an interactive information session at the Florida State Fairgrounds Dec. 12 from 3-7 p.m.

Charter Schools

Charter schools are tuition-free, public schools of choice that operate under a performance contract, or “charter,” which affords the school greater flexibility in its operations than is typically granted to a traditional public school. Charter schools are public in the sense that they are funded through the Florida Education Finance Program in the same manner that district schools are funded. They are also required to provide a curriculum that meets the Sunshine State Standards and are accountable to the school district in which they reside.

Unlike a traditional public school or magnet program, however, they are not managed by the school district. Charter schools hire their own teachers, design their own curriculum and manage their own finances. Furthermore, while charter schools in Florida are required to hire certified teachers, they are not required to be unionized. This allows for more freedom to hire and remove teachers as the school sees fit.

There are currently 46 charter schools within Hillsborough County, with areas of study that range from performing arts to technology to health sciences.

When the Hillsborough Academy of Math and Science (HAMS) opened on Waters Avenue last year, Bridges resident Barbara Griffith was intrigued by their STEM focus and enrolled her son in the program. “STEM is the future. If you look at the top growth industries today, most of them have a STEM focus,” Griffith said. Barbara’s son is now a fourth grader at HAMS, which runs through Grade 8 and serves roughly 800 students.

Transportation: Transportation to a charter school cannot be a barrier for enrollment or attendance. To find out about transportation arrangements for a charter school, contact the school directly.

Application Process: Charter schools must open their enrollment to all students in the district. Enrollment periods vary and each charter school has its own process that is approved through their board. To find out about a specific school's process, contact the school directly.

For More Information: A complete list of charter schools, including contact information, is available at http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/doc/924/charter-schools/resources/charter-schoollist

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Virtual Schools

Advances in online education have made virtual schools a mainstream choice for today’s students. “Online courses offer students and families an option to create an education plan that is focused on an individual student's needs. District virtual programs offer families the best of both worlds: a cutting edge curriculum that meets state standards, supported by highly qualified local teachers, in a flexible, personalized setting. Students are no longer limited by schedule conflicts, course selections at a local school, class size caps, or even bell schedules and seat time,” stated JoAnne Glenn, principal at Pasco eSchool.

The Hillsborough Virtual School (HVS) is a school choice option for students entering Grades K‐12. HVS students are taught by Hillsborough County teachers for each online class. “Virtual students will need to have reliable Internet, telephone and e-mail access. Families considering online courses should be comfortable using the computer and Internet to complete assignments, research and projects, and also be comfortable using e-mail and telephone communication as a primary means for teacher-student and parent-teacher communication,” Glenn added.

Students can also take advantage of co-enrollment through HVS, in which students enrolled in full-time public or private school take online classes during or in addition to their school day. Class selection and registration are handled by the guidance counselor at the student’s physical school.

Families who wish to homeschool and file a “Letter of Intent to Home Educate” may use HVS to fulfill curriculum needs.

According to Glenn, other online options to consider include the following: state virtual school programs (Florida Virtual School), virtual charter schools (where available) and virtual programs operated by other school districts.
Application Process: For HVS the application window for full‐time enrollment is May through August for a first semester start and October through early January for a second semester start. There are no eligibility requirements for students entering Grades K‐5; however, students entering Grades 6‐12 full‐time must meet one of the following eligibility requirements: they must have spent the prior year in a Florida public school; be a sibling of virtual student who was enrolled in the current and at the end of the previous year; be a military dependent who moved to Florida in the past year; or a student enrolled in a district virtual, charter or Florida Virtual School (FLVS) program.

For more Information: For HVS visit http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/doc/list/virtual-instruction-programs or call (813) 983-7278. For programs located throughout the state, visit http://app4.fldoe.org/coursecatalog/ A res.ource guide for choosing an online school is available at http://www.fldoe.org/Schools/virtual-schools/pdf/ParentsGuideOP.pdf
Private Schools

Private schools function autonomously, generating their own funding through various sources like student tuition, private grants and endowments. Private schools vary tremendously in size and focus. According to a 2009 study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, 68 percent of all private schools have a religious affiliation.

Parents turn to private school for many reasons. Some are looking for a faith-based education. Others may seek out private education for the smaller class sizes, a sense of community, openness to parental involvement or rigorous academic standards. Families may choose to enroll their children in private school from day one or transition into private school at the middle or high school level.

The Decossas family of Harbor Links sent both of their daughters to Westchase Elementary, but when it came time to consider options for their oldest daughter’s middle school education, they decided private school was the way to go. They found a good fit with Berkeley Preparatory School. “Berkeley was a great choice for our sixth grader because it offered a comprehensive program that fit our family goals. They not only provide a strong academic experience, but they also have an extensive sports program, offer religious studies and have designated student community service days during the school year. The staff is very invested in the children’s success as a student as well as a person,” stated Lisa Decossas.

Berkeley is just one of the many quality private school options. The key is finding the school that meets your child’s educational and emotional needs, as well as the needs of the family as a whole.

A great place to start is with the school’s mission statement. The mission statement tells what the school stands for and what they expect from their students. A school can have an impeccable reputation, with test scores and college acceptance rates that are off the charts, but if that school’s mission is not in keeping with a family’s values, chances are it will not be a good match.

Once the playing field is narrowed, it’s essential to visit prospective schools. Depending on the schools in question, several options for visitation may exist.

Cost will inevitably be a deciding factor when choosing a private school. Getting answers to questions regarding tuition and payment plans up front will help avoid disappointment down the road. Parents should also inquire about additional costs not included in tuition. Yet if a school seems out of reach initially, parents should not rule it out right away. Many schools have financial aid available. Never be afraid to ask.

Transportation: Transportation options vary by school and may be unavailable at some schools.

Application process: Private schools are not required to accept all applicants and admission to some schools can be highly competitive. The application timeline and process varies. Check with individual schools of interest for important dates and application requirements.

For More Information: The Open House Guide located in this issue of the WOW is a great place to start. It lists information and upcoming open house dates for some of the top private schools in the area. The Web site, Private School Review, (http://www.privateschoolreview.com/town_schools/stateid/FL/townid/1417) offers a listing of more than 100 private schools in the Bay area.

Decisions regarding a child’s education, particularly at the middle and high school level, can leave parents reeling. However, as Lisa Raab, AGP teacher at Westchase Elementary, pointed out, there is no need to stress: “The amount of effort your child puts into their education and the people that your child chooses to spend their time with end up being the main factor – not the school itself.”

With so many great options in our area, it really is hard to go wrong.

By Karen Ring

Private School Summaries 2014

WOW thanks the following schools for helping to bring you our Private School Special.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The business listings on these pages represent paid advertisements in conjunction with WOW’s Private School Special. Paid advertising is not an endorsement by WOW, Inc. Interested residents should contact the businesses and ask all relevant questions prior to enrolling.

Berkeley Preparatory School
(813) 885-1673

Berkeley Preparatory School is a PreK-12, independent, coeducational day school dedicated to putting people in the world who make a positive difference. Call (813) 885-1673 and visit http://www.berkeleyprep.org

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Brain Balance
(813) 475-6977

Brain Balance is an individualized and comprehensive, drug-free after-school program that helps children overcome their struggles related to learning disabilities, behavior issues and social skills.

Carrollwood Day School
(813) 920-2288

Carrollwood Day School is the first IB World School in Florida fully authorized to offer the complete continuum of IB programs from preschool through high school. Visit CDS at http://www.carrollwooddayschool.org

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Community Montessori School
(813) 886-2050

Community Montessori School is committed to developing skilled, resourceful and caring members of society who value discovery and excellence and contribute with purpose to the world around them.

Corbett Preparatory School of IDS
(813) 961-3087

An extraordinary environment for learning in Tampa since 1968. International Baccalaureate Programme for all students in PreK3-Grade 8. Visit us at http://www.corbettprep.com

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Espiritu Santo Catholic School
(727) 812-4650

A fully accredited Catholic school located in the Diocese of St. Petersburg.  Academic excellence inspired by love, led by the Spirit.  Now enrolling PK3-Grade 7. VPK provider.

Hillel Academy
(813) 963-2242

A community Jewish day school whose mission is to provide a superior education that encourages a love of learning and a strong Jewish identity.

Kids ‘R’ Kids
(813) 926-5437

Kids ‘R’ Kids schools of quality learning: Infants-Pre-K and after-school care. Serving Westchase and NW Hillsborough County families since 1999.

Primavera Preschool
(813) 855-6718

Primavera Preschool is a private, family-owned business that strives for excellence in early childhood education along with their exclusive infant care. Experience the difference...

Rainbow Garden Preschool
(727) 799-2700

The Rainbow Garden is an accredited Christian preschool providing a well-balanced curriculum that both develops a strong foundation for reading, writing, science and math skills and includes art and music.

Tampa Catholic High School
(813) 870-0860

Tampa Catholic High School is a four year college preparatory school offering Honors (including Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment), College Prep, and Academic Assistance programs of study.

Tampa Preparatory School
(813) 251-8481

A coeducational college preparatory school that provides students in Grades 6-12 with rigorous intellectual training. Now offering morning bus service from Westchase. Learn more at http://www.tampaprep.org

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Meet Ellie

Ellie is a 3-year-old rescue dog originally from Los Angeles, CA. After a move with her owner, Marisa Honig, she is now enjoying her home in West Park Village. When Ellie isn't cuddling or enjoying her neighborhood walks, she loves playing with her dog cousins, her toys, treats and taking in the beautiful Florida sunshine. Ellie brings great joy and a smile to her owner and anyone she meets along the way.

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Alonso Wins “A” School Grade

“A” is for Alonso.

Once again Alonso High School has received an “A” grade from the state of Florida. This accolade is due to the hard work of our dedicated staff, students and parents. Thank you for all your hard work. Let’s keep it going!

In other news, there is a new “house model” structure in place for the Alonso Guidance Department. This model allows a school counselor to work with the same group of students for all four of their high school years. The counselor starts with them as freshmen and moves through the years with them until graduation. See The Raven Flyer on the school’s Web site, http://alonso.mysdhc.org for s,chool counselor grade level assignments as well as these other important topics:

• Edsby
• Student Parent Online Toolkit (SPOT)
• Bell Schedule
• 2014 Fall Sports Schedule
• SAC and PTSA
• Attendance/Tardies
• Bus Route Information

It’s not too late to join the Booster Club and purchase a Hillsborough County Activity Card. This is an athletic admission card that is only available through the Booster Club and provides access to all regular season athletic events at both the high school and middle school levels within Hillsborough County (excludes preseason, postseason and tournament events). A student activity card is only $55. There is also a 10 event card for only $30. Forms are available online at http://www.alonsoboosterclub.com or in the front office. Your Booster Club membership benefits students, athletes, teachers, coaches, teams and clubs throughout Alonso.

PDQ Gift Cards are also still available for sale! The cost is $6 for a $10 gift card. You can purchase these online at the Square Marketplace and also on the Booster Club’s Web site, http://www.alonsoboosterclub.com Check. it out!

Go, Ravens!

Important Dates

OCTOBER
1 Volleyball vs. Wharton, 6:15 p.m.
2 Varsity Football vs Bloomingdale, 7 p.m.
4 Saturday Success Academy, 9 a.m.
7 Volleyball vs. Riverview, 6:15 p.m.
10 Orchestra Concert, 7 p.m.
15 Raven Rampage, 7 p.m.
17 Varsity Football vs Wharton (HC), 7 p.m.
20 No School
24 Varsity Football @ Riverview, 7 p.m.
25 Saturday Success Academy, 9 a.m.
30 Drama (The Addam’s Family), 7 p.m.
31 Drama (The Addam’s Family), 7 p.m.
31 Varsity Football @ Plant, 7 p.m.

NOVEMBER
1 Saturday Success Academy, 9 a.m.
1 Drama (The Addam’s Family), 7 p.m.

By Belinda Krauss

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Davidsen School Year Off to Great Start!

The school year at Davidsen is off to a great start and we have lots of important news to share.

The annual Business Partner/Volunteer Breakfast held on Sept. 9 was a huge success. We offer our special thanks to our valued business partners who were able to attend: Orangetheory Fitness Westchase, The Kitchell Group and Miche fashion purses.

To learn more about how your business can help support Davidsen Middle School through our Business Partners and Sponsorship programs, visit http://www.davidsenptsa.org or e-mail gwennsilverstein@hotmail.com.

Our annual Box Top Drive is currently underway. The drive runs from Oct. 1-28. Students should turn their Box Tops in to their lunch teacher. Gift cards for participation will be awarded to one student and one teacher.

Going forward, on the first Tuesday of every month from 5-8 p.m., the Westchase McDonald's will offer Davidsen Spirit Night to support eighth grade activities. Davidsen will receive 20 percent of the sales. The next spirit night will be Oct. 7. No flyer is necessary.

The first dance of the year will be held Friday, Oct. 17, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign your child up for the PTSA. Members will be admitted to the dance at no charge.

During the week of Oct. 27-31 students will be celebrating Red Ribbon Week with numerous activities meant to remind them of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Discount Cards are a great way to save money with area businesses and are available for order online at http://www.davidsenptsa.org The h.ugely popular Davidsen hoodies are sold out for now, but look for them to be available again later this fall.

Finally, for those interested in participating in Reflections, there is still time to get your entries together. Students can interpret this year’s theme, The World Would Be a Better Place If…through choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography or visual arts. Submissions are due Nov. 3. For more information visit http://www.floridapta.org/programs/reflections

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Upcoming Dates


NOVEMBER
4 PTSA Board/Committee Meeting
4 McDonald's Spirit Night
7 Report Cards/PHD Breakfast
20 Great American Teach-in

DECEMBER
2 PTSA Board/Committee Meeting
2 McDonald's Spirit Night
3 Conference Night

By Karen Ring

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From Bloomington to Herradura

From Indiana to Costa Rica, WOW had a blast in recent months.

April found Kingsford resident Vanessa Neylan zip-lining in Herradura, Costa Rica. “I went with my family last week,” she wrote to us back in the spring. “It was the Vista Los Suenos canopy tour.”

Vanessa said the zip-lining tour included 15 platforms and 14 cables with a total distance of 3.5 kilometers. The system’s longest cable ran for 2,400 feet over tropical landscapes. And she reached speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Recounting her family’s adventure, she added, “You are able to see macaws, toucans and other animals on the tour.”

Herradura is located on the central west coast of Costa Rica, a Central American country with the same square mileage as West Virginia. While most areas in the country are separated by a mere 50 to 100 miles, the roads and hilly terrain ensure that the longer trips still take hours. Featuring active volcanos, cloud forests, tropical rainforests and black-sand beaches, Costa Rica is breathtaking. While it was colonized by the Spanish centuries ago, little architecture of historical significance remains in San Jose, the capital, because the country inhabits an active earthquake zone. Most travel guides suggest making your stay in the capital brief and maximizing your time in its less urban regions.

June found Vineyards resident Bette Vance heading north to her 60th college reunion at Indiana University in Bloomington. Observed Bette of the combined 50th and 60th anniversary celebration, “Reunions are a very special time to reminisce, see old friends and meet new people. It’s also a time to appreciate the many gifts we are given.”

Betty graduated in 1954. She drove her WOW in the World contribution to a WOW staff member’s home and delivered the photo in an envelope with a handwritten note. “Sorry…no computer or e-mail. Discarded my typewriter and haven’t used my word-processor for a long time. Still living in the 50’s and loving it!”

Bette included some fun facts about life at IU when she arrived in the fall of 1954. When she attended, Indiana’s in-state students paid $4.75 per credit hour (today it’s $273.40 per hour). Total IU enrollment in 1954 was 18,441 students while today its campuses educate 110,393. Many of Bette’s freshmen classmates paid all or part of their tuition by working, most earning around 60 cents per hour and seldom exceeding a dollar.

We thank Vanessa and Bette for sharing their travels and adventures with WOW!

Take Your WOW on Vacation

Remember to take your WOW with you on your vacation outside of Florida this fall. Take a photo or two of you or the kids holding it somewhere fun, submit them with a few sentences about your trip and the site pictured and WOW will send you a check for $40-$100.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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Westchase Recreation Center Programs, October 2014

Adult

Zumba
Combine Latin, American and international music with a fun, effective workout.
When: Mon, 7:15-8:15 p.m.; Thu, 6 p.m-7 p.m.
Cost: $6/Class

Yoga
Yoga is the “yoking” of mind, body and spirit. Join us for a 60-minute class, which will incorporate breathing, movement and meditation to alleviate stress and increase strength, flexibility and balance.
When: Fri, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Cost: $8/Session

Jazzercise
Combine elements of jazz dance, resistance training, flexibility and fun.
When: Mon-Fri, 8:20-9:20 a.m., 9:30-10:30 a.m., Mon-Thu, 5:30-6:30 p.m., 6:40-7:40 p.m. Sat,  8:20-9:20 a.m., 9:30-10:30 a.m., 10:40-11:40 a.m.
Cost: $10/Session

Badminton
Recreational play for adults to socialize, exercise and have fun!
When: Wed, 7:15-9 p.m.
Cost: Free

Chess (Intermediate-Advance)
Learn competitive play, strategy, and socialize
When: Thu, 7:15-8:15p.m.
Cost: $10/Session

Adult Open Gym Basketball
When: Thu, 6-9 p.m.;  Sat, 8-11 a.m.
Cost: Free

Senior Activities

Senior Pickle Ball
Pickle ball is a racquet sport combining elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. You’ll have a blast!
When: Mon, Wed, Fri, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cost: Free

Senior Tone and Stretch
Engage in social activity while excising to build strength, flexibility and increase range of motion.
When: Mon, Wed, 9-10 a.m.
Cost: Free

Field Trips
Adult Senior Field Trips
When: First Thursday of every month
Cost: Call center for details.

Toddler Activities

Pint-sized Picassos
Each week focuses on an element of art and offers a unique project that is sure to be a keeper.
When: Tue, 8:15-9 a.m.; 9:15-10 a.m.
Ages: 3-4
Cost: $7/Session

ABC’s of Fitness
This program to get kids active and help them learn the importance of exercise and healthy habits
When: Thu, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; 11 a.m.-noon
Ages: 3-5
Cost: $7/Session

Broadway Babies
Introduction to performing arts, songs, and dance that all become part of mini-musical number students perform at a later recital.
When: Wed, 1-1:45 p.m.
Ages: 3-5
Cost: $7/Session

Grade 5/Middle School/Teens

Girls Volleyball
Character-based program teaching volleyball fundamentals with age-appropriate strength and conditioning.
When: Tue, 7-8 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session

Boys Competitive Volleyball
Focus on learning ball-handling skills and competitive games
When: Tue, 8-9 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session
Ages: Grades 5-12

Girls and Boys Instructional Basketball
Focus on learning ball-handling skills and competitive games. Character-based program teaching basketball fundamentals with age-appropriate strength and conditioning.When: Mon, 6-7 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session
Ages: Grades 5-12

Art in the Park
Learn creative new art projects while making new friends.
When: Fri, 6 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session
Ages: Grades 5-12

Show on the Road
Learn the art of acting, play production, back stage and prop preparation while having fun.
Ages: 13 and up
When: Tue, 8-9 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session

Youth

Girls Elementary Volleyball
Learn the skills and fundamentals of competitive play and have fun.
Ages: Grades 3-5
When: Tue, 6-7 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session

Chess (Beginners)
Learn the rules, strategy and fun of the game of chess
Ages: 6 and up
When: Thu, 6:15-7:15 p.m.
Cost: $10/Session

The Young Apprentice
Each week focuses on an element of art and offers a unique project that is sure to be a keeper.
When: Sat, 9-10 a.m.; 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Grades: K-5th
Cost: $10/Session

Coming Soon!
Get FIT with Franco Inspired Training. Join us for a one hour full-body Workout. Call the center to be placed on the interest list.

All activities take place at:
 

Westchase Recreation Center
9791 Westchase Dr.
Tampa, FL 33626
(813) 964-2948

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Lowry Fundraiser Earns New Mobile Science Labs

The new school year is in full swing and Lowry Elementary has already hosted its first big event.

For the first time Lowry welcomed Boosterthon and its Fun Run event to the school on Thursday, Sept. 25, with a special kick-off pep rally on Sept. 16. This year’s theme was Rock’n Town Live. Rock’n Town Live featured a music festival theme that taught about community. Digital devices in homes across America can keep students inside and isolated. This fundraiser took students backstage at a town music festival to learn from the Rock’n Town band about the five traits that make communities rock.

The Lowry PTA raised enough money through the Boosterthon event to purchase new mobile science labs. It was a wildly popular event with the kids and was a great fundraising success! Lowry is looking forward to utilizing the brand new mobile science labs soon.

Lowry would like to say a great big thank you to our ten sponsors who helped to make Boostheron a success – Accon Marine, LLC, Ha Ha Family Dentistry, David P. Alfano, DDS, Brain Balance, Vinh's Martial Arts Center, Bivens Orthodontics, Mangrove Bay Dentistry, Westchase BBQ, Westchase Pizza & Pasta Co., and Larsen's Pool & Spa. We appreciate your support and could not have made this event so successful without your help.

Lowry is also gearing up for its annual Fall Carnival. There will be games, prizes, food and much more! The fun begins at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17, and is open to the general public. We look forward to hosting everyone for a wonderful event!

Red Ribbon Week is being celebrated Oct. 21-24. This is a great way to celebrate being drug free – and to keep our family, friends, and peers drug free as well. The school’s guidance counselor, Ms. Lauren Alfano, has numerous activities planned throughout the week to reinforce being drug free.

Lowry rolled out its annual spirit stick program in September and it was a great success. Each child received a Lowry Pride spirit stick. Spirit sticks will be sold on select Fridays throughout the school year and students can also earn spirit sticks in various ways, such as attending special events during the school year.

By Krista Reznik

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Can You Lend a Wing?

The Stork Club is looking for an individual willing to greet Westchase’s newest residents.

One of Westchase’s dedicated Stork Club volunteers is retiring and a replacement is needed to help greet Westchase newborns home from the hospital. The current volunteer covers the neighborhoods of Abbotsford, Castleford, Chelmsford, The Greens and Gated West Park Village. The replacement does not need to live within those neighborhoods, however.

Stork Club volunteers simply respond to calls in a handful of neighborhoods. They post a stork in the newborns’ yards and drop off a birth-announcement form for publication in WOW. After a few days, they return to pick up the stork.

If you can spare a few minutes each month to help build a stronger community, please contact either Stork Club Chair Nancy Gerovac at wishyouwerehere@tampabay.rr.com or Westchase Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz at either manager@wcamanager.com or 926-6404.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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