Myrtle Lake Baptist Church, 2017 Reigler Road in Land O’ Lakes, recently hosted a fun, family event. The Big Event II featured games, food, drinks, live music, local vendors and a movie under the stars. Chance drawings took place throughout the day for prizes, such as Apple watches, a bike, restaurant gift cards, and a television. The free event was open to the public, and its goal was to give the community a chance to learn about the church, and give the church a chance to be involved with the community.
Dozens of children in kindergarten through fifth grade tested their knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics recently at the Dr. Seuss Silly Science Party, hosted by the Zephyrhills Public Library, 5347 Eighth St. The summer reading program, presented by Seffner resident Tanci Mishler, featured several hands-on STEAM stations, with experiments primarily based on Dr. Seuss’s books. Participants tried their hand at balancing acts, center of gravity tests, counting, measuring weight, engineering and the arts. The free event was funded by the newly formed nonprofit group, Friends of the Zephyrhills Public Library.
The Land O’ Lakes Branch Library, 2818 Collier Parkway, recently held its Summer Reading Club Blast Off party. The event featured dozens of attractions, such as water activities, Pasco County Utilities and Fire Rescue Touch-a-Truck, Pasco County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, dance parties, face painting, crafts, a bounce house and a mobile science center. Branch manager Robert Speich described the annual kickoff party as a way of getting patrons excited about summer reading, as well as letting the community know about the many programs and activities the library will have available throughout the summer.
As Father’s Day approaches, we set out to capture some special moments between dads and their kids, in The Laker/Lutz News coverage area. Such tender exchanges can happen when a child is tiny, or a full-grown adult. We salute those dads who are never too busy to go fishing with their kids, or attend dance recitals, coach Little League, or do the millions of other things that dads do. Happy Father’s Day to you. Enjoy your day.
Seniors from Cypress Creek Middle High School made history when they graduated on June 5, becoming the first class to graduate from the high school in Wesley Chapel. But, these graduates were among thousands picking up diplomas from schools across The Laker/Lutz News coverage area. Whether they graduating from a small private school, from a large public high school, or a sprawling campus — these graduates have finished one chapter of their lives, and are onto the next.
For those passing by, Pin Chasers in Zephyrhills may look like a typical bowling alley.
But, for those within the center, at 6816 Gall Blvd., it’s a social hotspot.
Throughout its 60-year history, Pin Chasers — owned by the Perrone family — has been a gathering place for generations of people.
The 32-lane bowling center provides ample opportunities for bowlers to test their mettle and show off their skills.
But, it’s also a place where people meet to throw back a beer or two. Or, host birthday or holiday parties.
Some have even been married there.
Aubrey Ogilbee, Pin Chasers’ sales and marketing director, grew up in Zephyrhills and spent a lot of time hanging out at the alley.
She went to see her grandmother, Fran Rebenski, who was the bowling league secretary for years.
By 2002, Ogilbee was competing on her grandmother’s team.
One thing led to another and she went to work for Pin Chasers, where she has remained for more than a decade.
And now, her 12-year-old son, Hayden Lopez, is continuing the family tradition. He’s been growing up inside the bowling center’s walls, just like his mom did.
Longtime employee Amy Higgins, who is now the general manager, often brings her 4-year-old son, Orion, along to work.
He adapts well to the environment: Even the hustle and bustle of the busy alley can’t keep him from napping on the lobby couch.
Pin Chasers is one of those places where everyone seems to have a story to tell.
On a recent Friday afternoon, three women were finishing their lunch, getting ready to roll another game.
Martha Colon, of Tampa, was there with her sister Liz Douglas, of Wesley Chapel, and their friend, Regina Trader, also of Wesley Chapel.
The ladies call themselves ‘The Golden Girls.’
They recount that their adult children say they don’t know how to have fun — but their laughter, teasing, hooting and hollering echo throughout the place, defying their children’s claims.
Meanwhile, at one of the pool tables near the lobby, Angie Blair, of Zephyrhills, and Carl, her husband of 35 years, are working on their game.
They’ve caught the fever again, after a 20-year hiatus.
Angie says she rusty, but claims that Carl “still has it.”
Over at the bar, a regular has dropped in.
Ken Kenyon, of Dade City, has been bowling at Pin Chasers since 1986.
As he sips a beer, he strikes up a conversation with William Teets, of Wesley Chapel, who was there drinking a Coca-Cola.
Kenyon has half of his beer left, as he begins to make his exit — running into Ogilbee on his way out.
The two give each other a hug.
Kenyon has known the sales and marketing director since she was just a year old.
He’s been close to her grandparents for decades.
They met when they were bowling on the same league.
That’s just one of the many lifelong friendship Kenyon says he’s formed because of Pin Chasers and bowling.
Published June 05, 2019
Little 3-year-old Remington ‘Remi’ Lily Solano has been described as a loving and affectionate child, a beam of light that could make anyone smile.
She enjoyed swimming, and going to school, where she would eat hot dogs for lunch nearly every day.
She loved being outdoors and playing with her neighborhood friends, on the quiet dead-end street, Torvest Court, in the Suncoast Pointe subdivision in Land O’ Lakes.
She was doing what she loved doing the best on the evening of May 29 — riding her purple tricycle.
That’s when a neighbor backed his SUV out of his driveway and struck the young girl, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The child was flown to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, where she passed away as a result of her injuries.
Two days later, dozens of family and friends, gathered outside the family’s home for a sunset candlelight vigil, to honor the little girl who would have turned 4 later this month.
Remi’s heartbroken family, parents Kasey Clark and Casey Solano, her big brother Londen, her aunt Tiffany Clark, and her grandmother Genevieve Clark huddled together — protected by layers of family members, close friends and grieving community members, offering solace for their unimaginable loss.
Between tears, they found the strength to share their favorite memories of the little girl, whom they affectionately called, “Remi the Pooh.’
At the vigil’s conclusion, the family asked the crowd to raise their candles — to light the way for Remi and to remember the little light who once beamed so bright.
Published June 05, 2019
The New River Branch Library, at 34043 State Road 54 in Wesley Chapel, is hosting a variety of activities and crafts on Wednesday evenings, geared toward students in grades eight through 12. Recently, the library had a Teen Game Night, where those attending played classic board games, such as Monopoly, Battleship and Mario Kart. They also had a chance to enjoy snacks and meet potential friends. For more information, call (813) 788-6375.
Hundreds gathered at The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive in Wesley Chapel, for the March of Dimes’ biggest annual fundraiser event on May 11. The Suncoast March for Babies, a 3-mile walk through The Shops at Wiregrass, raised more than $40,000 for the March of Dimes. This year’s ambassador was Chloe Rose Gray, a 4-year-old Tampa Bay girl who was born prematurely at 28 weeks, and spent 96 days in the neonatal intensive care unit. Funds raised from the walk help the March of Dimes on their mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
The middle school students enrolled in the criminal justice program at Cypress Creek Middle High School, in Wesley Chapel, recently got a first-hand look at what it takes, physically, to become a law enforcement officer.
The students participated in a timed fitness test, modeled after the same course that is given to candidates in the police academy. The test, known as the PAT (Physical Abilities Test), featured simulated calls to dispatch, entering and exiting a vehicle, a couple of 220-yard sprints, an obstacle course, and the firing of a dry weapon with each hand. The students had six minutes and four seconds to complete the course.
The school’s Criminal Justice Academy is the first of its kind geared towards middle school students, and focuses on the exploration of criminal justice and the skills required to enter the field of law enforcement.