Students at Premier Martial Arts Lutz are being empowered with lessons that have remained firm for over a thousand years.
This martial arts school helps its students develop the personal skills that are necessary to build a successful life, as well as learn how to take on any task, in an environment that fosters inclusion and social belonging.
Its unique curriculum combines the styles of Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Krav Maga and kickboxing to help its students become well-rounded martial artists and human beings.
“A lot of kids don’t get that ‘training’ much anymore where they learn discipline, respect, self-confidence, etc.,” says Deb. “If we can instill some of these values along with martial arts, then it’s a huge win for our students.”
Premier Martial Arts Lutz offers both kids and adult classes. Its adult classes focus on the highly effective self-defense arts of Krav Maga and kickboxing.
Krav Maga is a technique taught to give you reality-based self-protection techniques, tactics and mindset designed to keep you safe. It also is a fantastic way to burn body fat and improve your level of conditioning.
For its kid classes, the martial arts school trains children’s muscles and minds.
One of Dan’s favorite parts of the kid classes are the “mat chats.” This is when the kids will sit down on the mat and discuss a positive topic such as kindness. He and his team will then assign homework for the kids to accomplish during the week that’s relevant to the topic discussed, such as performing five acts of kindness.
“In such a short amount of time, we are already seeing the change in our students,” says Dan.
Dan and Deb both know first-hand how powerful that change can be.
They were first introduced to the practice when their son was in first grade. He was extremely shy and they decided to try martial arts to build his self-confidence.
Their son began to open up and flourish. He ended up spending six-and-a-half years in karate and earned his black belt. He then went on to graduate high school at 16, study abroad at 18, graduate college at 20, and the day after graduating college, moved into his own place.
“I really feel that martial arts helped give him self-confidence, discipline, and definitely brought him out of his shell,” says Dan.
“We thought, if we can help other kids like our son… that’s the positive difference we want to make in this community.”
For more information on Premier Martial Arts and to learn more about its free introductory class, go to PremierMartialArts.com/landolakes/.
The residential community is collaborating with The Wesley Chapel Theater Group, a new group for Wesley Chapel residents that is banding together to create a community theater for adults.
Avalon Park Wesley Chapel is allowing the theater group to use its welcome center as its temporary home for all the group’s meetings and rehearsals.
“One of the most important parts of building a town is supporting the community it is comprised of,” said Stephanie Lerret, senior vice president of marketing for Avalon Park Group.
“It is our pleasure to support local, grass-roots organizations that build up the arts, especially when it provides opportunities to meet and build relationships with neighbors,” said Lerret.
One of those neighbors — and a resident of Avalon Park Wesley Chapel for the past five years— is Rodney Bueno, artistic director for The Wesley Chapel Theater Group.
Bueno explains how the group got started a couple months ago when one of its members started a Facebook page for theater lovers in the Wesley Chapel area.
“We were really looking to meet and just discuss our love for theater, and maybe get into some script readings and put on little skits for each other,” says Bueno.
“With COVID coming around, everyone re-evaluated their life and there was something missing and for us — it was performing again. We just wanted to bring that spark back to our lives and then bring it to the community.”
That love for the arts ended up turning the group into an official theater company.
The Wesley Chapel Theater Group is currently working on its first introduction performance, which consists of three short plays from local director/writer Marc Saunders.
Bueno says he’s extremely grateful for Lerret and her entire team at Avalon Park Wesley Chapel for allowing his group to use the welcome center for its meeting space.
“I’m very happy about it. It feels like home… It’s definitely nice to bring something that I love to the community I live in. I hope to do that for a long time because I plan on living here for a long time,” says Bueno.
“We were excited to learn about Rodney’s desire to bring community theater to our area and are more than thrilled to support it by providing a venue for practice, performances and also by promoting the group throughout our various avenues,” said Lerret.
Bueno says the local community can help support the theater group by following its Facebook page (The Wesley Chapel Theater Group). The group also is looking for behind-the-scenes volunteers who can help with stage work, as well as finding sponsorships.
Why families choose Avalon Park
In addition to quality builders and frequent community events, families choose to live in Avalon Park Wesley Chapel because it offers so much more than just another subdivision with homes and amenities.
“We are not just developers — we are building a brand new town,” said Stephanie Lerret, senior vice president of marketing for Avalon Park Group. “We’re bringing together everything a family needs to enjoy life today and in the future.”
Few communities offer the recreational activities found at Avalon Park Wesley Chapel, including two amenity centers with a zero-entry pool, splash pad, spa, and picnic area, as well as a new amenity center being built in the new Westgate Village, in the northwest section of the development.
Avalon Park Wesley Chapel has been welcoming families since 2012, when this community on State Road 54, a few miles east of Interstate 75, began building its first homes. Today, over 2,000 residents enjoy unique amenities, neighborhood schools, and a convenient location with easy access to Tampa, Lakeland and Orlando.
For more information about Avalon Park, call 813-783-1515, email , or go to AvalonParkWesleyChapel.com.
The Dade City Monarch Butterfly Festival celebrated a winged creature that is perhaps North America’s best-known butterfly.
The Dade City Garden Club and Dade City Youth Council teamed up to present the festivities, which took place on Oct. 23, at Hibiscus Park in Dade City.
Those wishing to do a little shopping could choose from native plants, handcrafted jewelry, pottery and other items.
There were educational displays and presentations on monarch butterflies, raffles and plenty of hands-on activities for the kids.
Dade City was proclaimed a “Monarch City USA” back in 2019. The designation refers to the city’s efforts to maintain the survival of monarch butterflies.
For more information about the Dade City Garden club, visit DadeCityGardenClub.com.
Note: See a short video with scenes from the festival at https://business.facebook.com/LakerLutzNews/videos/923321675272194/.
Published November 03, 2021
The 10th annual Paulie Palooza Music Festival featured live music, of course, but it also had food trucks, silent auctions, prize drawings and more.
The festival, sponsored by Gulfside Healthcare Services, took place on Main Street Zephyrhills on Oct. 16, from noon to 9 p.m.
Performers for the music festival included Clancee, The Time Travelers, David Teague, The Sand Spurs, Southern Nights, and Kind Villain.
The event was created by Paul Correia in 2012 to honor the memory of his father, who passed away while under Gulfside Hospice care, in 2010. All proceeds raised from the event go to benefit Gulfside’s hospice program, which provides patient care and bereavement services to more than 650 patients and families daily, in the local community.
Gulfside Healthcare Services is a nonprofit organization, which has been serving the community for more than 30 years.
Its three lines of business include Gulfside Hospice, offering care for patients at end of life; Gulfside Palliative Care, providing treatment options for those with chronic illness; and Gulfside Home Health, helping patients stay independent through skilled nursing and rehabilitation at home.
For more information about Gulfside Healthcare Services, visit Gulfside.org, or call 800-561-4883.
Note: See a video of the event on our website and Facebook page.
Published October 27, 2021
Residents of Rosecastle of Zephyrhills, a retirement and assisted living facility, recently got tattooed.
Temporarily tattooed, that is.
Take Solace Studios, a tattoo and piercing company in Zephyrhills, brought beer, wine and hard ciders, along with a bunch of temporary tattoos, fake glitter stickers and brow henna, to surprise the Rosecastle residents.
Riley Courtwright, owner of Take Solace Studios, and Michelle Hurst, executive director of Rosecastle of Zephyrhills, organized the July 30 festivities.
Courtwright was inspired to create the event after she saw a social media posting of something similar in a retirement community in Texas.
“When I saw the photos, I knew I wanted to do the same thing,” Courtwright said.
Hurst, a piercing client of Courtwright’s for years, was enthused when Courtwright pitched the idea.
“We started to plan it out, and then COVID hit. When things finally calmed down a bit with COVID this year, we got in there as soon as possible,” Courtwright said.
Courtwright and Take Solace Studios staffers Matthew Chivers, Isabella Brunk and Shaun Sikat took part. Chivers is a tattoo artist; Brunk, a cosmetic tattoo artist; and Sikat, Courtwright’s business partner.
Courtwright worked with the fake piercings. Chivers applied the temporary tattoos. Brunk took care of the brow hennas. Sikat served drinks.
Courtwright said her entire staff wanted to be there, but because of COVID and social distancing, the retirement and assisted living facility asked her to limit the numbers.
“I’m so truly blessed to have a staff that was really willing to do this. They asked on their own to give up working a very busy day of making money to go spend time with the residents at the retirement facility for free,” Courtwright said. “I’m very aware as an employer how rare it is to have an entire staff share that same genuine generosity.”
The event was particularly meaningful to Courtwright, whose mother battles with dementia.
“My heart’s a little partial to the senior community,” Courtwright said.
She said she wasn’t sure what to expect going into the event, and was pleasantly surprised by the receptive response by the residents.
“When you think about the older generations, there’s definitely that gap of acceptance on body modifications and tattoos,” Courtwright said.
“I didn’t really know how they were going to take it, but it was all smiles…the residents just had the most amazing time,” she said.
Creating and showing others the “softer side” of the tattoo industry is Courtwright’s main mission with Take Solace Studios.
“The industry overall kind of has a reputation and I think it’s because no one’s really ever gone out of their way to mend that,” Courtwright said. But, she added: “The tattoo industry really can offer a lot of good.”
For instance, Take Solace Studios does free tattoo coverups of anything racial, gang-affiliated, hatred and so on. It also does free cosmetic tattooing for cancer survivors and free microblading for lupus patients.
“We’ve spent the last two years doing as much good as we could,” Courtwright said.
Courtwright wants to continue doing good for the community, and is already planning on coming back to Rosecastle of Zephyrhills.
And, Rosecastle isn’t the only place they plan to go.
“As soon as we posted the photos from the event, another facility in Dade City asked us to do an event like that for them, as well,” Courtwright said.
She can’t wait.
“I just want to go to all the retirement homes now,” Courtwright said.
For more information on Take Solace Studios, visit Facebook.com/TakeSolaceStudios.
Published August 18, 2021
Mold can be a huge problem for homeowners, especially during the summer months when humidity is higher than ever.
That’s where ASAP Pressure Cleaning comes in.
The company not only helps to get rid of mold and mildew growth, it also provides an array of other cleaning services, including gutters and downspouts, screen enclosures, exterior paint prep, fences (vinyl, wood and metal), brick/block walls, pavers, pool decks, lanais and patios, decks and stamped concrete.
Batchelder defines pressure-washing as the use of high-pressure water that is sprayed from a nozzle to remove dirt, grime, dust, mold, pollen and other unwanted contaminants from hard surfaces, such as driveways, wood decks, pool decks, sidewalks and other outdoor areas.
According to Batchelder, the amount of water pressure used depends on what the needs are. Typically, high pressure is used for driveways and sidewalks, whereas soft wash is used on shingles and tiles.
ASAP Pressure Cleaning has been in business since 2012, working with both homeowners and commercial customers primarily in Pasco and Hernando counties.
Batchelder says what sets his company apart from other pressure-washing operations, besides being licensed and insured, is the level of expertise his team offers, and the equipment he owns.
“Our truck-mounted commercial grade pressure- and soft-wash equipment are commercial machines, not just basic units out of your local hardware store,” explains Batchelder. “We also have the ability to bring water to jobs, and can heat water up to 200 degrees for jobs that require very hot water.”
ASAP Pressure Cleaning has both day and night crews, giving it the ability and flexibility to accommodate when the customer needs the job done. Because of Florida’s high humidity, Batchelder recommends pressure cleaning your home every three months to six months to prevent mold and mildew buildup on walkways, decks, driveways and siding.
“I always make it transparent to my customers that my service is repeating. It’s pretty much always going to rain and be humid in Florida, so new mold and mildew buildup will always occur,” says Batchelder. “My goal is to clean and maintain, so that mother nature doesn’t take back over.”
ASAP Pressure Cleaning is currently looking to add more pressure cleaning technicians for both day and night shifts. If interested, call Batchelder at 813-501-2010.
Congratulations to Hope Services, a nonprofit in Wesley Chapel, for being applauded by Avalon Park Wesley Chapel.
Hope Services is a vocational service organization that seeks to find jobs for people living with disabilities. The nonprofit got its start in 2003, when executive director Cindy Bray was helping her disabled daughter, Danica, find employment.
“I went with Danica to a program helping people with disabilities find employment,” says Bray, “The program leaders thought I was Danica’s job coach. Long story short, I became their first job coach and worked there for almost two years, and then was encouraged to start my own nonprofit.”
And thus, Hope Services was born.
Bray and her staff offer many tools and resources for their clients, such as vocational and worksite evaluations, work incentives planning and assistance, work readiness/pre-placement training, on-the-job training, employment and supported services, and mental health counseling.
“The first thing we do is get to know our clients, understand their abilities and interests/goals for employment,” says Bray.
One of Bray’s favorite success stories is actually with her first client— a young gentleman who was soft-spoken with broken English, walked with crutches and living with polio.
“He was my toughest client, yet I was determined that if I could find a successful job for him, then I was on the right path,” says Bray.
Bray ended up finding him a job at a factory that produces parachutes for skydiving. The young man’s new job was to burn the threads of the harnesses once they were completely sewn. After he was hired, he looked at Bray and said “I knew you wouldn’t give up on me!”
“That is all it took to know I am making a difference in the lives of others,” says Bray.
From that experience, Bray learned that there is a job out there for everyone.
One of the most rewarding parts of Bray’s job is her weekly staff meetings. Every time her team meets, they share their “3:13 story,” which is a reference to the Hebrews 3:13 passage: “Encourage one another daily.”
“We aren’t able to get together daily, but when we are together, each member takes three minutes and thirteen seconds to share a success story. We either clap, or cry, in joy,” says Bray.
Bray not being in the field anymore gives her time to plan for the future of Hope Services.
One of those plans includes partnering with the new Wesley Chapel District Parks and Recreation center to start the nonprofit’s first vocational training pilot program this Fall. The nonprofit will have a 1,400-square-foot space with a full industrial kitchen. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they will have trainings to help the clients figure out what career industry they should pursue. The other two days of the week will be on-the-job training at local businesses.
Bray expects this program to cost around $75,000 and is always looking for private individuals, businesses and corporations to help support her vision.
If you wish to help support the nonprofit, Bray says you can contribute by working with Hope Services, partnering alongside for employment opportunities, donating, and/or volunteering your time and talents. Hope Services also is need of a van for transportation of its clients for its on-the-job training portion of the vocational training program.
For more information on Hope Services, visit HopeGetsJobs.com.