St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Construction begins on new group home

Published October 3, 2003

BRANDON - The Hillsborough Association for Retarded Citizens broke ground Thursday on a new group home for the developmentally disabled.

Construction on the home, which is next door to HARC's 30-year-old facility at 817 W Wheeler Road, is expected to last about seven months, said David Rosynsky, HARC's director of development.

The new home will house six residents - all in their teens and 20s, and all suffering from disabilities such as mental retardation and cerebral palsy.

"Once they move in, the old house will be demolished, and we'll turn that area into a recreation park for them," Rosynsky said.

Rosynsky said the $400,000 home, designed by students at Tampa Bay Tech High School, is still about $100,000 away from being fully funded. HARC is still accepting donations, he said.

For more information or to make a donation, contact HARC at 273-6364.

Rotary Club gives charity a new definition

RUSKIN - The SouthShore Rotary Club is planning to hand out nearly 400 dictionaries to fifth-graders at three local high schools over the next three weeks.

Students at Bevis, Gibsonton and Ruskin elementary schools will receive 396 dictionaries on Oct. 7, Oct. 14 and Oct. 23.

"We're giving every fifth-grader their own dictionary," said Donita Martin, chair of the project for the SouthShore chapter.

Students at Apollo Beach Elementary received 144 dictionaries last week.

The local effort is part of a larger project encompassing other Rotary clubs in west central Florida. In all, 21,000 students in 175 schools will receive their own dictionaries at a cost of more than $31,000.

The Riverview Rotary Club is planning to give away almost 700 dictionaries to fourth-graders at Symmes, Riverview, Ippolito, Sessums and Boyette Springs elementary schools in the next few weeks, but no dates have been set.

Fashion show profits to help kids share talent

RUSKIN - The Ruskin Junior Woman's Club is hosting a fashion show Saturday to raise money for several local elementary schools.

The show will run from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Beautiful Southern Comfort Bed and Breakfast Resort, 2409 Ravine Drive West, Ruskin.

Club members will serve as models. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to try on and order the clothes they like, said Barbara Tyler, one of the fashion show's organizers.

"It's all wash and wear, mix and match," she said of the clothing. "We're going to show women how to put a wardrobe together and dress for their different body shapes."

Money raised by the show will go toward purchasing pumpkins for classes at Ruskin, Cypress Creek, Apollo Beach and Wimauma elementary schools. Students will decorate the pumpkins, then donate them to local nursing homes.

Tickets are $15. For more information, contact Amber Council with the Ruskin Junior Woman's Club at 645-0830.

Vandalized churches get $500 grants

BRANDON - Two churches vandalized in August will get $500 grants from a New York-based trust established by a division of the Steinway piano company. The Boston Piano Religious Trust announced the grants late last week, a month after leaders of Apostles Lutheran and First United Methodist found their churches damaged by fire, graffiti and broken windows.

Karl Freudenberger, 22, has been charged with the vandalism, which left thousands of dollars in damage. He remains in jail on $109,000 bond.

John Heagney, trust administrator, said the trust was established in the mid-1990s following a rash of arsons against black churches in the South. It was later expanded to benefit any religious congregation victimized by a hate crime, vandalism or arson. More than 100 grants have been awarded to date.

"We're just trying to say, "There are people out there who care about you and want to see you move on,"' Heagney said. "I wish we didn't have to give any, but the people who commit these acts are still out there. So unfortunately, I think we'll be in business a long time."

Desalination opposition cheers investigation

APOLLO BEACH - Leaders of the group that fought to keep Tampa Bay Water's $110-million desalination plant from being built on Big Bed Road lauded County Commissioner Pat Frank's recently announced plans to seek a grand jury investigation into Tampa Bay Water's handling of the project.

And if Frank can't get support for the investigation, leaders of Save Our Bays and Canals (SOBAC) vowed to send a petition to Gov. Jeb Bush, asking him to investigate problems that have kept the plant from operating at full speed.

Plant operator Covanta missed Tuesday's deadline to get the plant running. The company blames the delay on expensive filters that are clogging faster than expected and on questions over how to discharge the remains of chemicals that clean the filters.

Like Frank, SOBAC opposed building the plant on Tampa Bay next to TECO's plant. It was chosen over a site on the Anclote River. "Covanta didn't have the experience to do this project," said SOBAC President Dominick Gebbia. "And this is the wrong location. All the things we warned about are coming true."

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.