Local man is named minority business person of the year

Brian Butler was the only employee of his company — Vistra Communications — when he launched the business out of his home in Lutz in 2007. It wasn’t exactly the best time to launch an ambitious plan. The real estate market crashed and the nation’s economy cratered. “I started my business in the toughest economy we’d seen in 30 years,” he recalled. There were days when he considered … [Read more...]

There are plenty of ways to help this season

If you would like to help someone else during the holidays, there are plenty of ways you can do that. Here’s a look at some of the efforts underway that could use more support. Donate a Bicycle This effort, spearheaded by Caroline Contractors LLC, is seeking donations of money, bicycles or helmets. Those wishing to donate bicycles or helmets can drop them off at these locations: … [Read more...]

Kids share kindness, through cookies, around Tampa Bay

Eleven-year-old Angel Rosas and her 6-year-old brother, Ronaldo engaged in a somewhat unusual project over the summer. They baked 1,500 cookies and delivered them around the Tampa Bay area. It was their way of spreading kindness, and unconditional love, to those they encountered. Their mom, Christine, came up with the idea for the project. But, the kids were involved in everything … [Read more...]

Freedom student is going to West Point

A Freedom High student recently received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point. Dean LaGattuta received word that he’d been accepted into the prestigious service academy on Jan. 20. He accepted the appointment on Jan. 31. Ironically, LaGattuta, 18, was visiting the West Point, New York campus when he received the good news. “It was just complete disbelief. I really … [Read more...]

Student is military academy nominee

Dean LaGattuta’s interest in attending a U.S. Service Academy first piqued when he was an adolescent and he learned his grandfathers, on both sides of his family, served in the Navy. His interest in joining the service deepened through watching programs on the Military Channel and History Channel. “The family legacy and then getting into military history really sparked my interest in serving … [Read more...]