Bay Hope Church plans big expansion

When Van Dyke Church began in 1985, it met in the cafeteria at Claywell Elementary School in Northdale, and the church was named for its planned future location, on Van Dyke Road in Lutz. It never did build on Van Dyke Road, though, because the land was taken through eminent domain for the Veterans Expressway project, said Matthew Hartsfield, the church’s pastor. Instead, the church was … [Read more...]

Burglars can’t steal softball league’s spirit

Lutz Softball Inc., formerly known as the Lutz Leaguerettes, isn’t going to let a recent burglary ruin its season. While still picking up the pieces from a March 8 break-in, the league is moving forward with practices and games, as usual. “We are not going to have the girls suffer,” said Mike Cook, president of Lutz Softball. “We’re still going to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, … [Read more...]

Sunsets restaurant to replace Hot Rod’s BBQ

A down-home, comfort-style restaurant – named Sunsets – is expected to open in May on the former site of Hot Rod’s Country BBQ. The popular dining spot in Lutz, locally famous for selling what it claimed to be ‘swamp bat,’ closed in 2013. Since then, rumors and speculation have swirled around just what would replace Hot Rod’s. A wrecking crew took down the old restaurant in March, … [Read more...]

A breakfast sandwich, with a side of nostalgia

When Laura Lewis saw the Dunkin’ Donuts going up on U.S. 41, in Lutz, she couldn’t wait until it opened, She wanted to enjoy a bite to eat there, and to reminisce. So, once the shop opened, at 17514 U.S. 41, she and her friend Carolyn Smith headed over there for breakfast. The shop serves hot coffee, iced coffee, hot tea, iced tea, espresso-based drinks, sandwiches, donuts and other … [Read more...]

Awards keep rolling in for Lutz robotics program

The Lutz-based Trinity Dragons swept the Florida Vex Robotics State Championships last month, securing multiple bids to represent the state in April’s world championships. On Feb. 17, Team 6430 outscored 56 other high school teams to claim both the Excellence Award and the Tournament Championship Award at the Florida State Fairgrounds. A week earlier, the Dragons’ elementary squad, Team … [Read more...]

Woman’s club offers giant flea market

Donations are still rolling in for one of the Tampa Bay area’s most popular flea markets. The annual GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club flea market is scheduled for March 3 and March 4 at the Historic Old Lutz School, 18819 U.S. 41 in Lutz. Events hours are from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., on both days. Club members have been gathering and sorting thousands of donated goods since Feb. … [Read more...]

Heroes for Hire playing the right tunes

Being a boy band with a first release on iTunes is heady stuff. But, Heroes for Hire is getting used to the attention, playing their brand of edgy, alternative rock at venues such as Skipper’s Smokehouse, New World Brewery and Buckets. Louis Mittens, 15; Ben Hense, 13; Ryan Romero, 15; Corey Fox, 15; and, Josh Morin, 14, came together as a band at Jim Chambers Music Box. Chambers is … [Read more...]

Managing challenges faced by teens

From social media to social pressures, the challenges of a teen are unlikely to go away anytime soon. The stresses aren’t going away for parents, either. To help navigate those issues, the Steinbrenner High Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) hosted its fifth annual “World of a Teen” program on Feb. 7, inside the school’s auditorium. An estimated crowd of more than 250 people … [Read more...]

Truflight expansion will add 100 jobs

TRU Simulation + Training makes flying as real as it gets for pilots getting a virtual experience of soaring into the skies. The company manufactures flight simulators, and provides the commercial and military markets with pilot training. The subsidiary of Textron Inc., also provides FAA-certified Part 142 OEM-supported pilot training. TRU Simulation + Training celebrated the opening of … [Read more...]

Lutz gardener cultivates generosity

Eighty-five-year-old Elaine Pittman’s love affair with gardening began 7 1/2 decades ago. “My father gave me my first piece of a garden on Long Island when I was about 9 years old. “Every spring, I would go to all of the neighbors around the block and ask for the little seedlings that they didn’t want. I had snow-on-the-mountain and bachelor buttons, and you name it,” said Pittman, who … [Read more...]