Archived Blogs & Articles

Posted: 9/21/2015
November is National Adoption Month
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National Adoption Month has begun! The Explore Adoption campaign takes place each November. A newly redesigned website at highlights a different amazing child or sibling group in foster care each day of the month with photos and videos. The children most in need of homes are teens, sibling groups and children with special needs whose biggest dream is to be part of a permanent, loving family.

About 50 adoption celebrations and finalization ceremonies are being held throughout Florida during the month of November. To find an event in your area, please visit

For more information about the "30 Days of Amazing Children: Explore Adoption!" initiative or general questions about adoption of foster children in Florida, please visit, call 1-800-962-3678 (1-800-96-ADOPT), or check out the Florida Department of Families' Twitter feed at @ExploreAdoption. Blog posts featuring adoptive families will be featured on

Posted: 9/21/2015
Deadline July 26th to apply for low-income scholarship opportunity
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$5,000 College/Vocational Scholarship Opportunity For Low-Income Hillsborough County Residents

The Hillsborough County Social Services Division and Community Action Board are offering a $5,000 college scholarship to help low-income residents fulfill their post-high school educational interests.

Among other criteria, applicants must:

  • Be Hillsborough County residents between the ages of 16-22
  • Either be a high school senior or have obtained a high school or GED diploma
  • Be high school seniors or enrolled in an institution of higher learning (college/university/vocational)
  • Have a family income within 125% of the 2013 Federal Poverty Guidelines of the Community Services Block Grant mandated requirements.

The scholarship application must be delivered to the West Tampa Neighborhood Service Center located at 2103 N. Rome Ave., Tampa, FL 33607, by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 26, 2013. The scholarship application and additional criteria are available online:

Posted: 9/21/2015
“Master Money Mentor” training offered at Hillsborough County UF/IFAS Extension
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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – Hillsborough County Extension is offering training to those interested in becoming a Florida Master Money Mentor Volunteer. The four week training is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 3, 10, 17, and 24 at the County Extension office, 5339 County Road 579 in Seffner.

The program is an opportunity for mentors to provide basic personal finance coaching to individual in the community. No previous financial education or background in financial services is required. Prospective mentors will receive approximately 20 hours of training on how to provide personal finance mentoring. In return, they must commit to volunteering at least three hours per week and follow guidelines in regards to reporting, client confidentiality, and providing researched based unbiased information.

Volunteering offers an opportunity to broaden life experiences, meet a diverse group of people and make a positive impact in the community.

An application and background screening are required prior to being accepted into the training program. Register online at by May 27. For more information, contact Lisa Leslie, Hillsborough County Extension Services, at 813-744-5519, ext. 54143 or The University of Florida Extension serves to provide the infrastructure for this program throughout the state of Florida, thanks to a gift donation from Bank of America.

Posted: 9/16/2015
National Night Out event in Temple Terrace Oct. 6th
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Say ‘No’ to crime and have fun at National Night Out

Temple Terrace will celebrate its commitment to making our community safer when the City hosts its hugely popular National Night Out event on Oct. 6. This family-friendly event begins at 6 p.m. at the Family Recreation Complex, 6610 Whiteway Drive. Admission and parking are free.

National Night Out is a unique crime-prevention event designed to heighten awareness of community crime and strengthen the partnership between residents and police. Neighborhoods across the country hold block parties, parades, cookouts and more to celebrate this bond between law enforcement and residents.

Temple Terrace’s event includes free ice cream, cotton candy, smoothies and other snacks, as well as great prizes and giveaways. McGruff the Crime Dog will be there, along with Tiny, the cutest talking police car in Tampa Bay! There will also be great safety and crime-fighting demonstrations, an Aero-Med helicopter landing, a huge bounce house, a rock-climbing wall and many other fun activities for kids. Don’t miss this great community event.

For more information, or to sign up as a sponsor, call (813) 506-6551.

Posted: 9/16/2015
Downtown Temple Terrace redevelopment plans back on track, meeting on Sept. 17

Downtown Temple Terrace will have a new look in the future as plans to redevelop the area are underway, and the city wants feedback from the public as it proceeds with the project. A series of public meetings to educate residents on the city’s plans and receive input is scheduled for the evening of September 17th.

“There has been a master plan for the downtown area dating back to the 1920s that included row houses and alley ways, retail and generally a more walkable area,” says Grant Rimbey, City Councilman and Vice-Mayor for the city of Temple Terrace. “It was never carried out due to the depression, then other projects got funded over the years, and finally in 2005, we got a master plan. But then due to the economic downturn in 2007, again the project got put on hold.”

Rimbey says this time is different, the project is progressing under a timetable approved by the city council, and a request for proposals (RFP) document is expected to be issued in December.

“We are looking forward to getting the project back on the radar and start cranking it up again,” he says. “The current strip mall that exists doesn’t really tie in with the downtown area; we have a lot of ideas based off of the 1920s master plan that we can work with.”

According to Rimbey, those plans include a performing arts center, new multi-family housing units and small business retail.

The public meetings will be held on September 17th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Temple Terrace City Hall, 11250 North 56th Street, inside the council chambers located on the first floor. There will be a total of four short presentations at 5:45, 6:15, 6:45 and 7:15 p.m.

Click here to view original article »

Posted: 9/16/2015
Tampa neighborhoods surrounding downtown prepare for rebirth

Scott Shimberg spreads an enormous map across a conference table, and sweeps his hand over the geographic picture of east Tampa.

One roadway in particular gets his attention -- 22nd Street. He sees a roadway that is noteworthy as a connector to neighborhoods -- Ybor City and the Channel District among them -- and a quick shuttle to Interstate 4 ramps that lead to downtown Tampa or points of interest east and west of a growing urban core.

The city has invested millions of dollars into 22nd, updating it with new paving, sidewalks and bicycle lanes. A roundabout drew controversy before it was built in 2013 at at the junction of North 22nd Street, East 22nd Avenue, East 23rd Avenue and North 21st Street, but it is something Shimberg points to with approval.

East Tampa is where Shimberg, his wife and business partner Heidi Shimberg, and their company Hyde Park Builders, are focused on a picture puzzle piece that snaps snugly into Tampa's future. For many developers that future encapsulates upscale high-rise towers in downtown, Port Tampa and the Channel District.

The Shimbergs have a different perspective on Tampa's future street scape. It includes affordable single-family housing within the outer ring of neighborhoods encircling Tampa's urban rebirth. And 22nd Street is their starting point.

The Shimbergs soon will break ground on three single-family residences on the corner of 19th Avenue and 22nd Street, within the borders of the East Tampa Community Redevelopment Area. That is the beginning of a building spree on some 70 lots spread across neighborhoods in the greater east Tampa area, north and east of downtown Tampa.

Their investment is an estimated $7 million to $8 million dollars. The sales price for each home will be between $150,000 to $170,000.

Continued on 83 degrees »

Posted: 9/9/2015
Hillsborough commissioners seek applications for citizen boards and councils
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Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 3, 2015) - Hillsborough County Commissioners are seeking residents to serve on several County citizen advisory boards and councils. Residents interested in seeking appointment must be registered voters in Hillsborough County. These are voluntary positions and members serve without compensation. Applicants may apply to more than one board but may only serve on one board at a time unless specifically approved by the BOCC. All applicants must submit a completed Questionnaire for County Appointments and a Standards of Conduct form. Other requirements are in the information that follows.

The deadline to apply is Sept. 24, 2015. Appointments will be scheduled for a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners in October or November 2015.

The forms are available in the Commissioners' reception area on the second floor of County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd. in downtown Tampa; by calling the Boards and Councils Coordinator at (813) 272-5826; or on the County's website at: The Application Questionnaire for County Appointments is in the middle of the page, along with the Standards of Conduct Form. These forms can be filled out and printed, and then scanned and emailed, faxed, hand-delivered, or mailed. All forms must be signed and dated. Additional directions for submission are listed on the questionnaire.

If you apply to a board that requires a background check, you must also submit a Background Investigation Disclosure and Authorization form, which is also available on the webpage listed above.

Download list of council and board openings »


AleshiaJones,Communications & Digital Media,Hillsborough County,
phone:(813) 274-6787.

Posted: 9/9/2015
Self Checkout Comes to Plant City’s Bruton Memorial Library
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The Bruton Memorial Library has announced that self-checkout machines are scheduled to be installed during September. Using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, kiosks will enable library patrons to check-out their own books, DVDs, and other materials. Patrons can also check-in their books, and pay for fines and fees using cash, credit, or debit all at the same self-serve station.

Adding these two kiosks will provide three possible check-out areas in the library, reducing lines and wait time. In addition to providing a quick and efficient check-out process, the new RFID technology will assist the library staff in readying materials to return to the shelves and making sure the latest books and movies are available to be checked out as soon as possible. Library staff will assist the public with learning how to use the new equipment and staff will continue to provide support whenever needed. The library staff will still offer traditional circulation desk services, and the library will continue to check materials in and out for patrons if that is the method they prefer.

Posted: 9/3/2015
September 2015 Children's Board newsletter online
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In this issue:

  • A message from Kelley Parris, Executive Director
  • September is Child Safety Awareness Month
  • Exciting New Funding Opportunities Coming Soon
  • Introducing the Children’s Board “Kid Care Kits”

Read the newsletter »


PaulaScott,Director of Public Relations,Children's Board of Hillsborough County,

Posted: 9/1/2015
Tampa “Stay & Play” rec hours extended through fall

TAMPA – In June, Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced two significant Parks initiatives to help keep kids safe throughout the summer by extending hours of parks facilities and providing free recreation cards (“Rec Cards”). Both programs were a success, and hours will be extended this school year.

City of Tampa Police and Parks and Recreation Security worked together throughout the summer to keep all participating youth safe. There were no incidents at any of the nine participating facilities.

Extended Hours Continue This Fall

Building off the summer success, the following recreation centers will be opening from 10AM to at least 6PM on the weekends throughout the fall, providing extended Saturday and Sunday hours previously not offered:
• Copeland Park Community Center, 11001 North 15th Street
• Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 2200 North Oregon Avenue
• Grant Park Activity Center, 3724 North 54th Street
• Jackson Heights Community Center, 3310 East Lake Avenue
• Springhill Community Center, 1000 East Eskimo Avenue
Free “Rec Cards” will continue.

Activities will be in a semi-structured environment and vary by location. Those activities will range from sporting activities like basketball to arts and guest speakers.

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