Archived Blogs & Articles

Posted: 5/2/2013
12th Annual Clean Air Fair rescheduled for May 9th
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Come celebrate Clean Air Month at this free event!

What: The Environmental Protection Commission’s 12th Annual Clean Air Fair
When: Thursday, May 9, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (updated date)
Where: Poe Plaza in downtown Tampa (on Jackson Street at Franklin Street)
FREE! Includes prize drawings, food and refreshments

The Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County (EPC) is pleased to host the 12th Annual Clean Air Fair to be held from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 9 at Poe Plaza (on Jackson Street at Franklin Street) in downtown Tampa. This FREE lunchtime event celebrates May as Clean Air Month. The Clean Air Fair will feature environmental and community exhibitors from around Hillsborough County, complimentary food and refreshments, health information, live music and prize drawings!

The theme for this year's Clean Air Fair is Environmental Protection Through Neighborhood Connection, and will stress the importance of open communication between the community and the EPC. At the fair, exhibitors will demonstrate their efforts to reduce environmental impacts through public education, innovative energy efficiencies, and alternative technologies and fuel sources.

The photographs taken by the winners and finalists of EPC’s annual environmental photography competition will also be on display at the Clean Air Fair. EPC holds this contest for local high school students to recognize Clean Air Month, increase awareness of environmental issues, and inspire young artists to consider environmental issues facing the community.

For more information, contact Jeff Sims, EPC Air Management Division, at 813-627-2600 ext. 1285.

Clean Air Fair flyer

Posted: 4/29/2013
County Extension Offers Low-Cost Parenting Classes

All parents should have the opportunity to take a parenting class. Let’s face it - parenting can be a tough job! However, there are parenting skills that can make parenting so much easier. Some parents are required by the court system to take a parenting class. Parenting classes are court-approved and will provide you with an approved parenting certificate.

Dates: June 5th, 12th and 19th
Time: All Day
Time Details: This is a three-class series, with the following classes taking place on consecutive Wednesdays.
Location: Hillsborough County Extension Service, 5339 Counrty Road 579, Seffner, FL 33584-3334
Cost: $20 - For all three classes

Schedule of Classes:
Week 1
—A Balanced Parenting Style
—Enhance Your Child’s Self Esteem

Week 2
—Effective Discipline Techniques
—Helping Your Child Succeed in School

Week 3
—Family Communication Skills
—Managing Your Stress

Persons with disabiities requiring special accomodations, please contact Diana Converse at 813-744-5519 ext. 54140 at least five working days prior to the program so proper consideration may be given to your request.

Registration online

Posted: 4/29/2013
Hollomans Branch Canals Drainage Improvements Public Meeting May 2nd

Hillsborough County will hold a public meeting to discuss several proposed drainage improvements along three of Hollomans Branch’s canals to improve flooding issues in the Knights-Griffin area. This project is proposed to improve drainage ditches and underdrains beneath roads and driveways in the area of Knights-Griffin Road, North Dormany Road, Pless Road, North Poel Road, Hovan Avenue and Red Hawk Lane. Construction is expected to begin by spring 2014 and cost approximately $3.2 million. County staff will be at the meeting to explain the project and answer questions. Please attend; public input is welcome.

Date and Time: May 2, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Address: Cork Elementary School, 3501 N. Cork Road, Plant City, FL 33665
Contact: 813-272-5275

Posted: 4/25/2013
County Commission Seeks Public Feedback On Draft Strategic Plan

After three months of public input and five months of planning workshops, research and retreats, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners has created their draft Strategic Plan for the County.

Residents are encouraged to review the draft Strategic Plan and give their comments on the Plan through the Strategic Plan blog, via email or phone by May 14. The County Commission will take their final vote on the Plan at their regular Board meeting on May 15.

Background on the Strategic Plan, the draft action plan and links to submit comments are on the Strategic Plan webpage.

The Plan includes five main strategies that the County Commission feels will foster business and job creation, enhance quality of life, and make Hillsborough County a preferred community for additional residents and businesses. The Plan also includes actions that are proposed to be taken in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 to accomplish these strategies. The main strategies are:

  • Innovative Products - growing the export sector of the County by targeted infrastructure development, a comprehensive use of various economic development tools, development of competitive economic related infrastructure, and partnerships to develop the required workforce.
  • Distinctive Experiences - expanding people visiting or retiring in the County through a broader set of visitor experiences and services that would attract new residents.
  • Pro-Market Governance - instituting both policies and practices that encourage desired forms of economic growth.
  • Great Places - providing the safety, arts, culture, recreation and other community features that make the county a desirable place to live, work and do business.
  • Facilitative Leadership - bringing the community together to address its critical issues.

Learn more about the Strategic Plan and how you can provide input

Posted: 4/16/2013
Food programs available to help child care providers

Healthy food options for participating facilities

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Health (DOH) and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) have joined in promoting a program that serves nutritious meals and snacks to children. Federally funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Child Care Food Program enables child care providers to promote healthy eating. The DOH administers the federal program and works to ensure that participating facilities offer meals and snacks that meet or exceed federal and state nutrition standards. Meals are available to all eligible participants without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

“The Child Care Food Program promotes healthy habits for life, by encouraging young children to eat nutritious foods and learn about healthy food choices while in child care,” said Maria Williamson. M.S., R.D., L.D., Chief of the Bureau of Child Care Food Programs in the Department of Health. “Parents seeking child care in Florida are encouraged to enroll their children in facilities that participate in this program.”

The program is offered at four types of child care-related settings:

  • Child Care Centers: In a non-pricing child care center, meals are available at no separate charge to eligible children. In a pricing child care center, children from households whose income falls within the reduced-price income eligibility guidelines are eligible for reduced-price meals. These meals are priced at 40 cents for lunch/supper, 30 cents for breakfast, and 15 cents for snacks. Children from households whose income falls within the free income eligibility guidelines are eligible for meals at no charge.
  • Family Day Care Homes: Meals are available at no separate charge to eligible children.
  • Afterschool Programs: The Afterschool Nutrition Program is a subcomponent of the Child Care Food Program. Snacks and/or suppers are available at no separate charge to eligible children.
  • Homeless Shelters and Certain Emergency Shelters: The Homeless Children Nutrition Program is a subcomponent of the Child Care Food Program. Meals are available at no separate charge to eligible children.

Head Start participants and children from households receiving Food Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits are automatically eligible to receive free meals benefits at participating facilities.

The Department of Children and Families licenses and inspects child care centers and also has some oversight for family day care homes. Our agency recently launched a PREVENT Obesity campaign with 8,000 child care providers across the state to give them the resources and tools they need to prevent obesity through nutrition, physical activity and limiting screen time. Healthy menu ideas and more are available at

"We know how important it is to teach our children how to grow up happy and healthy," said DCF Secretary David Wilkins. "Our partnerships with other agencies to promote good nutrition from an early age will help these children make good lifestyle choices that will keep them in shape and active as they grow into adults."

Lists of participating providers, organized by facility type, can be found at
View the current Income Eligibility Guidelines used in determining a child’s eligibility for free or reduced-price meals.

For more information on the Child Care Food Program, please visit

DOH protects, promotes and improves the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Posted: 4/8/2013
Girls shelter to be named in honor of former Florida first lady Mary Jane Martinez

Hillsborough County will host a ceremony naming the Children’s Services Girls Shelter in honor of former First Lady Mary Jane Martinez. The ceremony will be held on Friday, April 12 at 10 a.m. at the Children’s Services Division, Lake Magdalene Campus, 3191 Clay Mangum Lane in Tampa.

Hillsborough County Commissioners voted unanimously on Feb. 20 to name and dedicate the Mary Jane Martinez Cottage in recognition of the tremendous contributions made by Mrs. Mary Jane Martinez. While serving as Florida’s First Lady, she founded and served as President of the Board of Trustees of the Youth and Family Foundation of Florida. This Foundation provided support to a network of organizations throughout Florida that provide shelter and crisis counseling services with the goal of keeping families together. When Mrs. Martinez first started the Foundation, there were approximately 15 shelters across the state, due in large part to her efforts, that number has since doubled, and more than 500,000 youth and families have been served statewide as a result since Mrs. Martinez first began her work. First Lady Martinez also served as First Lady of the City of Tampa, and devoted her life working for positive change for children, with 20 years as librarian and mentor to students at King High School.

Note to Photographers: Youth living on campus cannot be photographed due to identity protection reasons. When taking photos or taping video, please do so in a manner that will not show the children’s faces.

For more information, contact the Children’s Services Division at 813-264-3807.

About The CINS/FINS:
The residential and non-residential Children in Need of Services/Families in Need of Services Programs (CINS/FINS) provides a Child and Family Counseling Program and the highest quality care and treatment to Hillsborough County youth and families. Services are offered in partnership with the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services. The goal is to reduce juvenile crime while supporting and strengthening the youth and families in Hillsborough County.

Posted: 4/8/2013
Public meeting April 9th to discuss Jackson Springs Gym expansion

Hillsborough County will conduct a public meeting on Tuesday, April 9 at 6 p.m. to receive public comment and discuss plans to expand the current Jackson Springs Park Gymnasium. The meeting will be held at the Jackson Springs Park Gymnasium, 8620 Jackson Springs Road.

This Capital Improvement Project will cost approximately $1,884,000.

For more information, call Citizen Services, 813-635-5400.

Posted: 4/4/2013
Mayor Buckhorn appoints new neighborhoods liaison
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Miray Holmes will be the new Community Partnerships and Neighborhood Engagement Manager

TAMPA – Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced that Miray Holmes has been appointed as the manager for Community Partnerships and Neighborhood Engagement.

"I’ve known Miray for years, and she has always been the person in the room to bring people from different walks of life together. With her experience at the Buccaneers and in the private sector, I know that Miray has the skills and connections to make good things happen throughout the city," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "She truly has a love for all of the people in our community."

In her capacity as the manager for Community Partnerships and Neighborhood Engagement, Holmes will serve as Mayor Buckhorn's main liaison to the neighborhood associations and as their voice at City Hall. She will also work with community partners and private entities to make Tampa's neighborhoods a better place.

Holmes will report to Neighborhood Services Director Jake Slater.

Holmes comes to the City of Tampa having most recently worked as the Director of Community Relations for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Glazer Family Foundation. Prior to that role, she worked in Community Marketing at Reliant and as an Account Director for Olympic Sponsorships with the Atlanta Centennial Olympic Partners. Holmes holds a Bachelor of the Arts from Howard University.

Posted: 4/1/2013
Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 18-22

While hurricanes are known and feared for their ferocious winds, historically it is the water that causes most of the deaths in hurricanes. About 90% of all hurricane fatalities occur from drowning in either storm surge or freshwater flooding. The widespread flooding caused by Tropical Storm Fay in 2008 serves as a reminder that tropical storms can cause as much or greater devastation than hurricanes with freshwater flooding.

Even outside of tropical systems, flooding is a serious concern in Florida since it can happen anywhere and at any time. Effects from flooding can be localized, impacting just a few streets in a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting multiple cities, counties and even whole states. Flooding is caused by the amount of rainfall (meteorology) and what happens to the rain after it hits the ground (hydrology).

As our state’s population increases, buildings and pavement replace the natural land. This creates more water runoff and can increase flood problems. Most deaths due to flooding in the United States are due to people driving their cars into flooded areas. Once a vehicle begins to float, the situation for the driver and passengers becomes dangerous and often deadly.

DID YOU KNOW??? Just 6 inches of fast-moving floodwater can knock you off your feet and 2 feet of water can sweep an SUV off a road.

Residents should be aware of their location with respect to flood-prone areas and know evacuation routes. People are also urged to be extremely cautious when driving in heavy rains, especially when water covers the road. Because it is difficult to determine the depth of water or the condition of the road under the water, if you come to a flooded road, remember the phrase “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”.

Meteorologists at the Southeast River Forecast Center and local National Weather Service offices all watch the weather and use satellite pictures, Doppler radar and computer models to try to warn people well in advance of the flooding, so they can save lives and property. Flood Watches and Warnings, along with Flash Flood Watches and warning are issued for a specific area when flooding conditions are likely or are already occurring.

For more information about flooding and what you can do to protect yourself and others can be found at or

Posted: 3/21/2013
Public Meeting March 28 To Discuss New Progress Village Recreation Center

Hillsborough County will conduct a public meeting on Thursday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m. to receive public comment and discuss plans to construct a new recreation center for the Progress Village community at Larry Sanders Complex. The meeting will be held at the Progress Village Recreation, 8701 Progress Blvd. in Tampa.

This Capital Improvement Project will cost approximately $1.9 million for construction, and $100,000 for site work. The meeting will discuss the proposed construction of a new 13,000 square-feet multi-purpose recreation center.

For more information on the meeting, contact the Parks, Recreation and Conservation department at 813-635-3500.

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