Archived Blogs & Articles

Posted: 3/23/2015
Do-It-Yourself Home Improvement Scholarships Available
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TAMPA – Home improvement scholarships are now available to qualified City of Tampa Water Department customers through a partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools. The next eight-week (16 sessions) Home Improvement course starts Tuesday, April 7, from 6-9 p.m. Classes are being taught at the D.G. Erwin Technical Center (HiTEC) located at 2010 East Hillsborough Avenue. Seating is limited.

Those wishing to take advantage of this learning opportunity can simply call the Tampa Water Department at (813) 274-8121, option #5, to verify their utility account and request a tuition voucher, or send an email request to Once a voucher is received, the prospective student has two weeks to register for their class on-line at or in-person at the Erwin Technical Center Evening Admissions Office at 2010 E. Hillsborough Avenue between 1-9 p.m., Monday-Thursday or between 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Fridays.

The voucher issued for the Home Improvement course, which covers topics from plumbing to electrical to construction, covers $166 of the tuition fees, leaving the student responsible for just $50 (a $216 value) to complete registration.

Visit or call (813) 274-8121, option #5, for more information about obtaining a voucher to attend the eight-week Home Improvement course, courtesy of the Tampa Water Department.

Posted: 3/11/2015
Temple Terrace to host ‘Bike with the Mayor’ Day
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TEMPLE TERRACE – Bicycle enthusiasts are invited to take a ride along the shady streets of Temple Terrace on March 20 as the City hosts its second-annual “Bike with the Mayor” day. This free event is open to all riders.

Activities begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Family Recreation Complex, 6610 Whiteway Drive. Around 8 a.m., Mayor Frank M. Chillura will lead riders on a leisurely 3-mile ride along the beautiful, tree-lined streets of Temple Terrace. There will be light refreshments, free bicycle lights, free T-shirts, safety information and other giveaways for riders (while supplies last). The event was a huge success last year, with more than 70 riders participating.

"Bike with the Mayor" is being held in recognition and celebration of Florida Bike Month–March 2015. On March 3, the City Council will issue a proclamation declaring “Florida Bike Month in Temple Terrace.” A series of “Bike Smart” classes also will be held at various locations in March, with important information on bicycle laws, riding safety and more. The City of Temple Terrace is proud to co-sponsor these events with Tampa BayCycle (funded by FDOT) and the New North Transportation Alliance/Center for Urban Transportation Research.

WHAT: "Bike with the Mayor," a leisurely 3-mile ride through Temple Terrace
WHEN: Friday, March 20 at 7:30 a.m.
WHERE: Family Recreation Complex, 6610 Whiteway Drive, Temple Terrace
COST: Free

For more information about the event, contact Michael Dunn at (813) 506-6406 or

For more information about Tampa BayCycle or Bike Smart, contact Julie Bond at (813) 974-9799 or

Posted: 3/11/2015
Hillsborough County to host Residential Landlord/Tenant Forum on March 24

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – Hillsborough County Code Enforcement will host a landlord/tenant education forum on Tuesday, March 24, at 10 a.m. at the University Area Community Center, 14013 N. 22nd St. in Tampa.

The free program is aimed at helping residential landlords and rental managers provide safer dwellings, avoid code violations, and assist tenants in crisis. Renters also are welcome to attend.

The two-hour presentation will provide participants with education and information about County services, including safety nets for renters in crisis and County code requirements. Topics of interest range from rental assistance programs to smoke detectors and building permits, with experts available to answer questions. County staff who speak Spanish will be on hand to assist participants who need the information translated.

Advance reservations are encouraged. For more information or to RSVP, contact Jim Blinck at, or (813) 274-6600.

In addition to Code Enforcement, other Hillsborough County agencies scheduled to participate in the presentation include Building Services, Community Affairs, Consumer Protection, Fire Rescue, Neighborhood Relations, Pet Resources, and Social Services.

Posted: 3/9/2015
FREE Tax Preparation and Filing Help Available
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Need help with your taxes? If so, you can take advantage of a great program that a statewide nonprofit collaboration, Florida Prosperity Partnership (FPP), and its partners have made available to Floridians called

With this website, anyone in the state can find a location near them with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or a Facilitated Self Assistance website link to do their tax return from the comfort of their own home with IRS certified volunteers standing by to answer their questions. Most free services are available to people who make $60,000 or less per year and some do not have income restrictions.

Each year, thousands of Floridians claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which puts dollars back in to the hands of low- to moderate-income families and individuals. For those who qualify, easy to claim tax credits of more than $6,143 are available this tax season. FPP's website will help you to learn if you qualify for EITC.

In 2013 (2012 tax year), over 236,000 returns were filed by all volunteer sites (except military) in the State of Florida. This resulted in over $258 Million in refunds. The average income for these taxpayers was under $26,000.

Learn more about how to get help in Hillsborough County »

Posted: 2/16/2015
New Library “Discovery Pass” program gives families free museum access
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Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library Launches the Discovery Pass Program July 22

Beginning July 22nd, the "Library Takes You Places: Discovery Pass Program" will begin offering Hillsborough County library cardholders the opportunity to check out family museum passes at the John F. Germany Public Library, 900 N. Ashley Drive in Tampa. Each pass allows 2 adults and 2 children admission to one of four area museums: the Glazer Children's Museum, Henry B. Plant Museum, Tampa Bay History Center or Ybor City Museum State Park.

The Discovery Pass program is a great opportunity for the library to further develop future partnerships with surrounding businesses and attractions. This is a pilot program for Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library system whose future goals include adding area attractions and offering the program at more branches throughout Hillsborough County.

Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library joins the ranks of other public libraries across the country implementing similar museum/attraction partnership programs including Miami-Dade, Chicago, and Seattle among others. For more information about this and other FREE programs at Hillsborough County libraries, call 813-273-3652 or visit and search for keyword "discovery pass".

Posted: 2/16/2015
FWC, partners introduce foster children to outdoor activities
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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in partnership with the Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition and Florida Rep. Ben Albritton, hosted a youth event on February 6th for Florida’s foster children.

Over 60 children and their adult chaperones went fishing, hiking and practiced archery at the Joe Budd Youth Conservation Center outside of Tallahassee. They were also treated to dinner and an outdoor screening of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition’s award-winning documentary of their 1,000-mile journey in 2012 from the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp.

“Every child should have the opportunity to experience the outdoors,” FWC Chairman Richard “Dick” Corbett said. “We appreciate the support from DCF and the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition in our effort to create the next generation that cares about Florida’s wildlife and natural resources.”

The FWC continues to work with partners and engage in events like this through its Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network.

“It is a wonderful blessing to have Florida’s foster children connect with God's creation,” said Albritton. “The FWC, DCF and the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition are valuable partners in this effort to do the right thing for our youth and our natural resources.”

“We are so thankful to have FWC partner with us on this project,” said Jeanna Olson, Circuit 2 Community Development Administrator for DCF. “These camps provide foster youth an opportunity to experience fun and educational activities while teaching them valuable lessons about nature conservation,” she said.

“One key to keeping our environment pristine and protected is to involve children from a young age,” said Mallory Dimmitt, executive director of the Florida Wildlife Corridor. “We are lucky to have partners like the FWC and the youth centers network come together and bring our youth out into natural Florida to pique their curiosity early in their lives.”

To learn more about the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, visit or

Posted: 2/16/2015
Neighborhood cleanup in February in East-Lake Orient Park

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – Hillsborough County has scheduled a neighborhood cleanup from Feb. 18-21 and Feb. 25-28 in the Sugarcreek and Buffalo Estates subdivisions, located in the East Lake-Orient Park area.

The cleanup boundaries are Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the north, East 26th Avenue on the south, Orient Road on the west, and Danny Bryan Boulevard on the east.

During the cleanup, a central collection site will be located at 8008 E. Chelsea St. in Tampa. Dumpsters will be available from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Residents who live within the cleanup boundaries may dispose of various items at no charge by showing proof of residence, such as a Florida Driver's License, Florida Vehicle Registration, or a utility bill.

The following items may be placed in the dumpsters:

  • furniture, junk, trash, debris
  • metal
  • electronics
  • tires (limit 5 per residence)

Items that will NOT be accepted for disposal:
  • tree debris
  • commercial vehicle tires
  • hazardous chemicals

  • Several Hillsborough County agencies are partnering with the Sugarcreek and Buffalo Estates neighborhoods to inform residents about code violations and help them create a sustainable community. County agencies teaming up for the event include Code Enforcement, Public Works, the Office of Neighborhood Relations, Resource Management Division, Pet Resources Division, Public Utilities, and Streets and Addresses, along with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and Tampa Electric. The cleanup is funded in part by a Community Cleanup Grant administered by the County's Office of Neighborhood Relations.

    For more information, call Hillsborough County Code Enforcement at (813) 274-6600 or the Office of Neighborhood Relations at (813) 307-3564.

Posted: 2/16/2015
Color Me Rad 5K Partners with the Children's Board of Hillsborough County
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A portion of the proceeds made from promo code registration and volunteers will be used to offer a community grant to benefit children in Hillsborough County.

Color Me Rad 5K has partnered with the Children's Board for an amazingly colorful fun run!
As the community partner, the Children's Board is offering 15% off registration by using promo code CHILDRENSBOARD.

Volunteers are needed!
There are many volunteer opportunities with Color Me Rad 5K Tampa. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age to participate.
• Packet Pickup (Friday, May 23)
• Color Stations
• Registration Tent
• Merchandise Tent
• Start Line
• General Ushers
To volunteer contact Joanna Cheshire by email or phone: (813) 204-1729

May 24, 2014
Florida State Fairgrounds
4800 U.S. 301, Tampa, FL 33610

Wave Time Availability:
9:00am Wave — Soldout
9:10am Wave — Available
9:20am Wave — Soldout
9:30am Wave — Available
9:40am Wave — Available

What is Color Me Rad?

Color Me Rad is a 5K that fires off in a blaze of color bombs, color cannons, color mortars, and multi-toned courses that guarantee your outlook will be brighter, your boyfriend will be more affectionate, your boss will finally remember your name, the hair on your head will grow back and the hair on your back will fall out, and your gray outlook will turn green like a spring morning.

You'll start off with a shirt as pure and white as your granddaddy's dentures, and throughout the run, we'll coat your chafing thighs with Color Bombs of blue, green, pink, purple, and yellow until you come out like a tie-dyed hippy on the other side.

Each section of the run adds a new explosion of color to your clean, painter's palate until you cross the finish line into a final blitzkrieg of color.

This isn't just smoke and mirrors. This is non-toxic, non-rash-inducing, Kroger branded, colored cornstarch.* With corn subsidized by the government and processed in the good o'l US of A, these blasts of starch will change your color and your demeanor but never your safety or health.

Posted: 2/16/2015
Hillsborough County Celebrates First Community Housing Solutions Center

Hillsborough County, in partnership with Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI), will host an open house for the first Community Housing Solutions Center for homeless men and women in Hillsborough County on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. The Center is located at 3630 North 50th St. in Tampa and operated by Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office, Inc. (DACCO). Leadership from Hillsborough County, THHI, and DACCO will be present. The public is invited to attend.

The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners recently awarded DACCO funding to implement and operate a 75-bed Community Housing Solutions Center in December, prior to the onset of cold temperatures this winter season. Hillsborough County Homeless Services Department released a Request for Proposal (RFP) in October for a 75-bed Community Housing Solutions Center.

The Center is a 24-hour housing facility that moves people quickly from homelessness to housing and surrounds them with support and services. Some of the assistance provided on-site includes case management, educational services (GED or ABE classes), interviewing skills, coaching vocational services to assist with employment, clothing, and more. The goal is to help springboard clients to sustainable, decent, and affordable housing.

DACCO is engaging community partners to help with the Center’s support services including Tampa General Hospital, Hillsborough County School District, Department of Children and Families ACCESS, Metropolitan Ministries, and Catholic Charities.

Following the program, attendees are invited to tour the facility. For more information on DACCO, visit and for more information on THHI, visit

Background:Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI)
THHI collaborates with a wide range of partners including homeless service providers, government officials, advocates, and business and community leaders to engage and mobilize systems of care on a local, regional, and national level for effective prevention and intervention services for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Posted: 2/9/2015
DCF celebrates Black History Month with ‘28 Days of Amazing Children’

Adoption website to feature African-American children in need of loving families

TALLAHASSEE – In recognition of Black History Month, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and its community partners are recognizing the achievements of African-Americans by participating in a variety of activities across the state and kicking off its annual adoption campaign, “28 Days of Amazing Children.” The first of many events began on Sunday, Feb. 8th, in Miami featuring the Union Academy Choir and Band.

“February is a time to reflect on the significant contributions African-Americans have made in our country and our state,” Secretary Mike Carroll said. “By highlighting some of our youngest future leaders, we hope to encourage those considering adoption to take a moment to learn a little more about the children searching for their forever homes.”

DCF has partnered with the Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection to promote African-American Children through the “28 Days of Amazing Children” adoption initiative. The campaign showcases one African-American child, teenager or sibling group available for adoption every day in February.

Today, learn more about Markel – a thirteen year-old from South Florida. Markel is an athlete and plays both basketball and football. His favorite subject is reading and like most young teens his most cherished pastime is spending time with his friends.

Approximately 750 children in Florida's foster care program are available for adoption. The biographies and videos of children and teens available for adoption can be found by visiting

This Public Service Announcement, available for distribution, shows how a sibling group could complete a family and give wonderful children a family to call their own.

More Black History Month activities »

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