Archived Blogs & Articles

Posted: 6/15/2016
Children’s Board and community partner launch FREE mobile swim lessons to area children
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TAMPA – On Friday, June 17th, the Children's Board of Hillsborough County and partners including the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA, St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, Brandon Sports & Aquatic Center, the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation, and Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Foundation will launch a groundbreaking effort, which provides free swim lessons to children in participating communities to combat the number one cause of preventable child death for children ages 1-4, drowning.

In the past five years, more than 32 children in the Tampa Bay region have died tragically from accidental drowning, which is 100% preventable. Formal swimming lessons for children cut the risk of drowning by 88%.

The six core partners have made a collective commitment to bring swim ing lessons and water safety education directly into communities to address the startling drowning statistics which place Florida 300% higher than the national average. This unique funding provided by the Children's Board has allowed the partners to "think outside the box" to address issues that may cause barriers for children to receive formal swimming lessons and water safety education.

On Friday, June 17, at 10 a.m., the Children's Board and its partners will hold a press conference at Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, 405 Beverly Blvd. in Brandon, to announce the locations of the swim lessons and other details about the program.

Posted: 6/1/2016
FREE lunches and snacks for kids available this summer
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What Are Your Kids Going To Eat This Summer?

Hillsborough County, Fla. (May 31, 2016) - Hillsborough County is participating in a Summer Food Service Program that will provide FREE nutritious lunches and afternoon snacks to children at more than 50 sites throughout Hillsborough County from June 13 through August 3. The sites are in areas where 50 percent or more of the children qualify for free or reduced price meals during the school year.

The Summer Food Service Program will provide a balanced meal during summer vacation when school meals are not available. The meals and snacks will be offered at local parks and other community locations to all children under 18 in the area.

Applications are not required, and summer camp registration is not a requirement. The meals and snacks will be offered at local parks and other community locations to all children under 18 in the area.

A list of approved sites can be found on Hillsborough County's website, on the Summer Food Program page.

For more information, contact the Summer Food Program for Children at (813) 272-5162.

About the Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Service program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, an equal opportunity provider and employer. Those who wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination must complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, write a letter to the USDA address at 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (866) 632-9992, or (800) 845-6136 – Spanish language.

More information »

Posted: 6/1/2016
Military families get free MOSI admission all summer

Tampa’s Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) and USAA are teaming up to honor those who serve by offering military families free MOSI admission all summer, starting Memorial Day weekend.

Current service members with ID and up to five family members will be able to explore MOSI’s more than 450 hands-on permanent exhibits for free from the start of Memorial Day weekend on Saturday, May 28, 2016 through the end of Labor Day weekend on Monday, September 5, 2016.

In addition, veterans of the U.S. military who have served in the past are invited to MOSI for free during Memorial Day weekend, May 28 – 30, 2016. Veterans can also bring along up to five family members for free. Evidence of prior military service is required.

For the third year in a row, the military discounts are made possible by a partnership with USAA, a financial services and insurance company that serves current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. MOSI joins more than 2,000 participants in the Blue Star Museums program, which is a collaboration of the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. They have come together to support the defenders of our freedom and their families with free museum access all summer long.

Military members do not need to be present for their families to visit MOSI; the free admission program is available to any bearer of a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps – and up to five family members.

Some special or limited-time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program. To find participating museums and plan your trip, visit Free admission is valid for MOSI permanent exhibits only. Additional paid upgrades are available for IMAX films or the Sky Trail® Ropes Course and Zip Line.

For more information on Blue Star Museums at MOSI, call 813-987-6000.

Source: Attractions Magazine »

Posted: 5/10/2016
Main Street revival: Downtown Plant City carves out new path to the future

It’s the weekend in downtown Plant City, a time when many an urban core sleeps, waiting for the business week to bring the streets back to life with shoppers and office workers.

But on this Saturday as springtime arrives, the shops stay open late and the streets teem with young families pushing strollers, older couples holding hands and youngsters tugging on parents’ sleeves, wanting to explore the Union Station train depot. Music from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s fills the air, providing ambiance for row upon row of yesteryear’s cars, each with its hood up, open for inspection.

Bailey Bryant, 21, of Palm Harbor in Pinellas County, pauses among the muscle cars to check on her 2-year-old daughter, Raelynn, lounging in a stroller. Stretching ahead of her for at least four blocks are rows of classic conveyances -- cars, hot rods and pickup trucks -- from every decade before 1990, gleaming as though they just rolled out of their 20th century showrooms for the first time.

Bryant says the monthly Plant City Strawberry Classic Car Show is a big draw for her party of eight, which regularly treks from Pinellas County on the Gulf Coast to see such events in Plant City in Hillsborough County and other parts of Central Florida.

Continued in 83 Degrees Media »

Posted: 4/15/2016
Grand Opening of the Bro Bowl: Sat. April 16th
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Scheduled activities:
• 10:00am - Food, Drinks, Skating, Music
• 1:00pm - Official ribbon cutting with Mayor Bob Buckhorn
• 2:00pm - Best Trick Jam
• Special appearance by Bess The Book Bus
• Good eats from The Chicken Trap

At Perry Harvey, Sr. Park, 900 E. Scott St., Tampa, FL

More information »

Posted: 3/31/2016
Hillsborough County helps students achieve higher education goals through scholarships

Achieving a higher education is an important life goal for young people and their families. Encouraging students to pursue their education and career goals, Hillsborough County Social Services has partnered with the Community Action Board to offer $5,000 scholarships to eligible students wishing to continue their education by attending an institution of higher learning.

Applications for scholarships for the 2016-2017 school year will be accepted through Friday, April 29, 2016, and scholarships may be awarded to students who meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Applicants must be between the ages of 17 and 22, and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent (16-year-olds may apply if they are graduating seniors)
  • Applicants must reside in Hillsborough County
  • The applicant's household income must fall within 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines of the Community Services Block Grant

The following criteria will also be used to evaluate applicants:

  • Community service and school involvement
  • Application and additional letters of recommendation
  • Academic record
  • Essay response
  • Panel interview participation

Application materials can be downloaded on the Scholarships page on the Hillsborough County Social Services website. Detailed instructions on how to apply are also available there. Students must present completed applications to the Hillsborough County Community Resource Center Manager in the targeted zip code of their residential area. A list of Community Resource Center locations is available here.

Recipients will be notified in writing prior to the start of the fall semester.

More information and scholarship application »

Posted: 3/17/2016
EPA awards $500,000 to help reduce children’s exposure to pesticides

WASHINGTON – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced two grants to help reduce students’, teachers’ and staffs’ exposure to pests and pesticides in our nation’s schools, while saving money, energy and pesticide treatment costs.

“Children are among the most vulnerable members of our society, and EPA is working to protect them from needless threats,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the office of chemical safety and pollution prevention. “Our goal is to have schools across the nation implement sustainable pest management practices to provide a healthier learning environment for our students and teachers.”

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a sustainable approach to controlling pests that focuses on prevention. This program is designed to utilize all appropriate pest management strategies, including the judicious use of pesticides.

These strategies include repairing water leaks, adding weather stripping to windows, and installing door sweeps. The result is a reduction in pest problems, pesticide use, and treatment costs along with water and energy savings. The IPM approach emphasizes removing the underlying conditions for pest to thrive.

The two projects that received awards are:

NEHA Mentorship Program for Developing School IPM Capabilities-- National Environmental Health Association, $241,000
This project will promote effective and environmentally sensitive pest management practices in schools through an intensive mentorship program between local health departments and underserved school districts. The mentorship program, pairing local health departments with school districts, will provide increased access to technical resources, and partnerships. This project will take place in 2016 and 2017.

Keeping the Pests Out: The Economics of Integrated Pest Management in Schools – Health Resources in Action, $300,000
This project will examine the costs and benefits of implementing school IPM activities. Currently, there are only a few studies about the economics of school IPM. This project will help school districts understand the costs and benefits associated with establishing and sustaining IPM programs. The results of this two year project will be available in early 2018. IPM is a smart, sensible, and sustainable approach that takes advantage of all appropriate pest management strategies, including the judicious use of pesticides.

These projects support EPA’s vision that all of the nation’s students can attend schools with IPM programs.

More information on EPA’s School IPM program »

More information on these grants »

Posted: 3/11/2016
Nominate an outstanding young Hillsborough County resident for the YEA! Awards

The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners wants to recognize the many positive contributions made by young people in our community through the Youth Excellence and Achievement Awards (YEA! Awards).Nominations are being accepted now through 5 p.m. Monday, April 4.

YEA! Awards nominations can be submitted for both middle and high school students in each of the following categories:

  • Leadership - demonstrating a positive impact on others in an ongoing endeavor, such as sports, academics, or the arts.
  • Success Despite Difficult Odds - overcoming tremendous personal difficulty to attain success and to make a positive impact on others.
  • Volunteer or Community Service - allocating discretionary time to help others or complete a project that has improved our community.

The nomination form can be submitted online at, or printed and mailed. Nominations will be reviewed by the Commission on the Status of Women.

The YEA! Awards were created in 2010 to recognize Hillsborough County students for making a difference in their community. Students honored show initiative, innovation, and a commitment to themselves and others, while pursuing excellence in a leadership capacity. This can be demonstrated in academics, community service, athletics, performing arts, conservation, or other areas. The YEA! Awards will be presented by the Board of County Commissioners in May.

For additional information on the YEA! Awards, visit or contact Hillsborough County Communications & Digital Media at (813) 272-5194.

Posted: 3/11/2016
Temple Terrace hosting first “Touch-A-Truck” event for kids
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TEMPLE TERRACE – Kids love to play with trucks, and later this month they’ll get to play with some of the biggest trucks they’ve ever seen. Temple Terrace is holding its first-ever Touch-A-Truck, a family friendly event that lets kids climb onto big trucks and other vehicles, honk their horns and have their picture taken behind the wheel.

The event is Saturday, March 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Downtown Temple Terrace (corner of Bullard Parkway and 56th Street). Admission and parking are FREE. Snacks will be sold at reasonable prices. You want trucks? There will be a convoy! In the line-up:

  • A giant tow truck from Stepp’s Towing Services
  • An Amsoil powerboat rig from Rinker Racing Team
  • Several Temple Terrace police and fire vehicles (including the SWAT Bearcat)
  • The Hillsborough County Bookmobile
  • Big farm equipment from M&B Products, Inc. (dairy operation)
  • A plumber’s truck from Bay Area Plumbing
  • The Big Red Bus (bloodmobile)
  • …and more!

There will also be live music from Construction Percussion at 10:30 a.m. and noon, courtesy of Busch Gardens. Come out and enjoy this amazing truck-a-mania! And don’t forget to bring your camera.

Have a truck or cool vehicle you’d like to exhibit? Contact the Temple Terrace Parks & Recreation Division at (813) 506-6600.

Posted: 2/16/2016
Temple Terrace rekindles efforts to design town center for future

Temple Terrace is putting redevelopment back on its drawing board in a major way.

After years of delay due to a sour economy and a court settlement with a prior developer, plans to redevelop the city's downtown are on track for a future with real possibilities.

And the city's efforts are part of a broader vision for the area that includes decisions by the Tampa Innovation Alliance, the University of South Florida, Busch Gardens and the new owners of University Mall. The combined efforts shouldn't be downplayed, according to Martin Hudson, Temple Terrace's redevelopment director.

"I can't stress enough how these efforts are tied together," Hudson said. "We feel the timing has finally come. We also believe the efforts of the Tampa (Innovation) Alliance are definitely going to have a very positive influence on our downtown efforts. That's a big deal."

Temple Terrace, however, starts with one advantage, Hudson said. "We are probably further along to trigger projects this year."

Continued on »

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