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Messages - Tampa

Pages: 1 2 3 ... 16
Personal Tragedy, Passion for Public Service Inspire Fire Rescue Rookie

Jason Fabrizi always wanted to be a firefighter.

When his dad, Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason J. Fabrizi, died in an enemy ambush in Afghanistan in 2009, it bolstered the son's determination. "I took a bad thing and turned it into a positive," he says.

This fall, Jason formally joined Hillsborough County Fire Rescue as a firefighter/EMT. He is assigned to Station #1 in Progress Village, not far from East Bay High School, his alma mater.

While in high school, Jason attended Hillsborough County's Summer Youth Fire Academy, two weeks of intense training for teens with an interest in becoming firefighters. If it was possible to make Jason even more eager to join the profession, this did it. "It solidified my passion for wanting to become a firefighter," he says. "Being exposed to the fire service like that makes somebody like me absolutely love the job."

After the Youth Fire Academy, Jason joined the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Cadet program. The year-round educational program introduces young adults to careers in fire and emergency medical services.

He went to EMT school in 2018 and began taking fire academy courses at Hillsborough Community College in January. In April, he completed the program.

An Oct. 11 graduation ceremony marked completion of Fire Rescue's five-week orientation program. Thirty-eight other recruits joined Jason, 19, in crossing the stage at Riverhills Church of God on Sligh Avenue to become Hillsborough County firefighters.

Jason's next goal? After focusing on fire suppression for his first year with Fire Rescue, he hopes to train to become a paramedic. Meanwhile, he'll volunteer to mentor teens in the Cadet program. "I want to be that person that I needed when I was younger," he says.

Top photo: Bailey Rader pins her boyfriend, Jason Fabrizi, with a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue badge.

Source: Personal Tragedy, Passion for Public Service Inspire Fire Rescue Rookie

Tampa / Featured Job Real Property Appraiser
« on: November 12, 2019, 10:06:10 AM »
Featured Job Real Property Appraiser

Ideal Candidate Profile

The Hillsborough County Geospatial & Land Acquisition Services Department is seeking an experienced Real Property Appraiser to appraise and determine the fair market value of real estate for eminent domain and property acquisition in Hillsborough County. The ideal candidate will have extensive knowledge and experience related to buying and selling property in a public sector setting, with considerable experience in eminent domain activities, including direct involvement with the litigation process. The individual will have advanced abilities in communication and negotiation, as well as in strategic planning, and will be sensitive to community and organizational needs.

Job Overview

Performs professional and administrative duties in property appraisal to determine the fair market value of real estate for eminent domain and property acquisition in Hillsborough County.

Salary: $58,385.60 - $93,392.00/year

Apply Now

Source: Featured Job Real Property Appraiser

Tampa / Equestrians Take Reins in Trail Restoration
« on: November 11, 2019, 05:07:34 PM »
Equestrians Take Reins in Trail Restoration

Local equestrians have traversed woods on the north side of Rhodine Road since before the County developed Stephen J. Wortham Park in the 1980s.

Now, about four years after members of the Triple B Riding Club and other horseback riders opted to take their mounts elsewhere, they have returned to help the County restore the park's horse and hiking trails, and clear an area reserved for horse trailers.

Best Horseback Riding Spots

The volunteers are determined to remove brush that has grown across the trail, and preserve part of the rural character of this slice of eastern Hillsborough County. "As equestrians, we're getting pushed out of many old riding areas," says club President Susan Vaisey. "That's why we're here. We want to maintain trails and space for future generations."

A dozen or so Triple B members and other equestrians who live near Wortham Park are wielding machetes, pruning shears, and muscle to slash weeds, trim trees, and remove branches blocking the trails and parking lot. The work is hard, but rewarding.

Susan lives 10 minutes from the park. Although many of the club's horse-riding excursions involve overnight camping elsewhere, Wortham Park is a convenient alternative. "You don't have to make a day or weekend commitment," she says.

The 1-mile loop trail and cross trails at Wortham Park are particularly appealing because many of them are covered by a canopy of pine and oak trees. Saw palmettos and other understory plants add visual appeal, and provide habitat for gopher tortoises, box turtles, and foxes, among other creatures.

Parks & Recreation oversees Wortham Park. Conservation & Environmental Lands Management is heavily involved in the restoration, with help from individuals and groups such as Triple B Riding Club.


Triple B Riding Club President Susan Vaisey, left, and Cathy Moore move toward a trail entrance at Wortham Park.

It's the type of partnership between volunteers and County staffers that is essential to managing the 80,000 acres of parks and preserves in Hillsborough County.

Residents who want to help establish and maintain trails at Conservation Parks and Preserves may volunteer with the Trail CATS (County Associated Trail Stewards) program. There are roles for individuals, families, and groups with varying interests and abilities. Volunteers help inspect trails, blaze and trim pathways, and erect signs.

The Wortham Park trails are among options in the 2019 Hiking Spree, which encourages residents and visitors to enjoy nature and get exercise in County parks and preserves.

Top photo: Triple B Riding Club member Cathy Moore trims an oak tree.

Source: Equestrians Take Reins in Trail Restoration

Tampa / Prescribed Burns Help Prevent Wildfires
« on: November 10, 2019, 10:37:20 PM »
Prescribed Burns Help Prevent Wildfires

Where there's smoke there's fire, and that's a good thing when it comes to managing Hillsborough County's conservation lands. The concept of prescribed fire is a time-honored land management tool offering many benefits.

All of Florida's natural habitats have evolved over thousands of years with the help of fire. Without prescribed fire in today's world, these habitats would become overgrown and lose many of their natural characteristics.

County residents who live near preserves and conservation lands should rest assured that while the sight of smoke can be alarming, the reduction in forest fuel that results from prescribed burning also helps to protect property from the threat of wildfires.

It doesn't take much for forest fires to spread, as is evidenced by the wildfires that have devastated many states in recent years. Prescribed burning helps minimize the fuel that contributes to wildfires.

Prescribed burning also helps the land retain nutrients that nourish the new plant life that takes root in the burned areas. The elimination of overgrowth gives way to new growth. Prescribed fire is the orchestrated rejuvenation of conservation lands.

Another benefit of prescribed burning is the control of disease and pests among forest vegetation.

Unlike uncontrolled wildfire, prescribed fire is rarely harmful to wildlife.

So the next time there is smoke rising from a preserve, it's likely the good fire of a prescribed burn protecting land and property from the destructive forces of uncontrolled wildfire.

Check here for the latest prescribed burn in Hillsborough County.

Source: Prescribed Burns Help Prevent Wildfires

Tampa / Hillsborough County's Hiking Spree - Now with Dogs!
« on: November 10, 2019, 04:53:03 AM »
Hillsborough County's Hiking Spree - Now with Dogs!

Hillsborough County's Hiking Spree has gone to the dogs.

The annual Hiking Spree encourages people to exercise, explore the outdoors, and experience nature through the County's numerous parks and preserves. Last year's Hiking Spree drew thousands of participants who hiked on their own, with a group or through one of the County's guided park staff hikes.

This year, hiking organizers are encouraging the public to take their dog for a hike, including the Nov. 9 kick-off at Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park. Leashed dogs are welcome at all Hillsborough County parks, and organizers are expecting dozens of dogs for the Nov. 9 event.

The kick-off event will include games, nature arts and crafts, outdoor workshops, and classes on orienteering, knot tying, how to make your own hiking stick and more. A variety of hikes will be offered, including a plant ID hike, birding hike, bug walk, and kids hike.

This year's Hiking Spree trail list features 24 trails at 21 locations throughout the county. Trails range from less than a mile to more than 4 miles, and from easy to strenuous. Complete at least eight between Nov. 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020 and earn a patch, a medallion for a walking stick or a dog tag.

Participants are encouraged to post photos from their hikes using the hashtag #TakeAHikeHC.

The 2020 Hiking Spree also will feature Trail Magic - free prizes ranging from hiking supplies to massage gift certificates. Clues to the hidden Trail Magic spots will be given out each week through Hillsborough County's social media accounts.

Registration for the Hiking Spree is available online. Cost is free, though there is a $2-per-vehicle fee to enter some parks.

Source: Hillsborough County's Hiking Spree - Now with Dogs!

Expansion Project Connects County Water System to North Palm River Area

More than 300 households just southeast of downtown Tampa have access to clean, safe drinking water and enhanced fire protection because of a recently completed Hillsborough County water service expansion project. Between mid-2017 and mid-2019, Hillsborough County installed more than 5 miles of new pipelines and 90 fire hydrants in the area generally north of Causeway Boulevard, east of 54th Street, south of 12th Avenue, and west of 70th Street.


Hillsborough County installed water pipelines and fire hydrants in this area of north Palm River.

Before this project, the north Palm River area lacked access to a municipal water supply. The community was developed over 50 years ago and homes relied on individual shallow wells.

To help residents connect to the new system, the County acquired a $2.5 million Florida Department of Environmental Protection grant to cover the cost of plumbing from the meter box to each individual residence - an expense usually paid by the property owner.

Championed by Hillsborough County Commissioner Lesley "Les" Miller Jr., the $14 million North Palm River Water Expansion Project provides residents with access to high-quality municipal drinking water, and improved fire protection.

Learn more about Hillsborough County water quality and services

Top photo: Hillsborough County completed a project in 2019 that installed 5 miles of new pipelines in order to expand water service to properties in the North Palm River area and provide residents with high-quality drinking water.

Source: Expansion Project Connects County Water System to North Palm River Area

Tampa / Florida Friendly Yards Save Water and Money
« on: November 08, 2019, 05:22:56 PM »
Florida Friendly Yards Save Water and Money

Does your yard need help? Tired of seeing your dollars go down the drain each time you water your yard? Hillsborough County Extension Service can help you save precious resources.

Proper irrigation techniques help conserve water, ensure yards get the right amount of water, and keep utility bills in check. A Hillsborough County Extension expert will even come to your house to analyze your irrigation system.

Among the things they'll check are:

  • The irrigation system's water sensor

  • The direction of sprinklers to make sure they're watering plants and turf, not sidewalks

  • The grass to make sure it is cut to a proper length for maximum nutrient absorption

  • Leaks in the system

  • They also show you how to operate your irrigation system's remote panel.

Adjustments also are necessary as seasons change, because landscapes require less water in cooler months. New turf needs more water than established lawns, and rain, drought, and cloudy days affect irrigation requirements.

Throughout the year, Florida Friendly Landscape professionals offer a variety of workshops to help your landscaping flourish. For a complete listing of Extension classes and workshops, click here.

Source: Florida Friendly Yards Save Water and Money

Featured Job: Public Relations Strategist (Media Relations Strategist)

Ideal Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate is detail-oriented, with a sound knowledge of English and Spanish grammar, punctuation, spelling, and proofreading. Has considerable knowledge of the principles and practices of public relations/media relations strategy development. Is able to write and edit news releases and articles. Excels at writing and planning media pitches. Is able to create and manage custom digital content. Possesses a thorough understanding of the local, regional, and national media markets and respects deadlines. Is able to use considerable initiative, think independently, and exercise sound judgment. Is able to handle extremely delicate/sensitive relationships and complex situations, information, and materials. Has a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of social media platforms, influencers, and target audiences. Possesses a working knowledge of SEO. Is able to manage content and program development end-to-end. Has considerable knowledge of crisis communication strategy and execution.

Job Overview

The media relations strategist: Develops media relations campaigns and strategies related to special events, programs, and county initiatives. Responds to media in an efficient and timely manner. Provides public and media relations guidance and training to departments, including counsel related to media relations strategies, communications plans, social media, and events. Develops proactive media outreach strategies including news releases, pitches, collateral development, web content/brand journalism, and overall messaging. Tracks, monitors, and evaluates activities, placements and accomplishments. Collaborates with internal and external publics as needed to ensure effective, well-executed public relations and marketing programs.

Salary: $53,060.80 - $84,905.60/year

Apply Now

Source: Featured Job: Public Relations Strategist (Media Relations Strategist)

Tampa / Hillsborough County Honors Library Services as Library of the Year
« on: November 07, 2019, 05:14:41 AM »
Hillsborough County Honors Library Services as Library of the Year

For over 100 years, the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library has provided the highest quality of service and information resources to the public. In 2018, it modernized its staffing model for improved customer service, and eliminated overdue fines. Additionally, the Library's innovation initiatives have yielded $1 million in savings. Courtesy of these accomplishments, The Florida Library Association recognized the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library as its 2019 Library of the Year.

The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners honored the Library and its staff with a commendation during the Quarterly Awards on Oct. 3.

Other recognitions included:

  • Florida SBDC's Outstanding Partner of the Year and Game Changer Award to Economic Development, Florida SBDC's Minority Owned Business of the Year Award to Cordova Transport, Florida SBDC's Volunteer of the Year Award to Jerry Joyce, and TiE's Community Champion Award to the Economic Development Innovation Initiative, also known as EDI2.

  • Firefighter of the 3rd Quarter Award to Fire Medic Matthew Henderson.

  • American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Award to Fire Rescue.

  • A proclamation declaring October 6 to October 12, 2019, as Fire Prevention Week.

  • A proclamation declaring October 2019 as Head Start Awareness Month.

  • 2019 Florida Water Environment Association (FWEA) Collection System of the Year Award in the Large Category to Water Resources.

  • A commendation to Rick Tschantz.

  • Commendations to the Sunshine Line and Driver Dorcas Figueroa.

  • James E. Huger Award to Felicia Crosby-Rucker, director of Homeless Services.

  • National Association of Counties' 2019 Achievement Award to Pet Resources.

Additional recognition recipients are listed on the County Proclamations and Commendations webpage.

Photo: The Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library receives a commendation from the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.

Source: Hillsborough County Honors Library Services as Library of the Year

Tampa / Cute Puppies Debut on Video!
« on: November 06, 2019, 11:56:27 AM »
Cute Puppies Debut on Video!

When Hillsborough County Pet Resources saved 352 dogs from a local pet breeder accused of animal neglect, the department also took over the responsibility of feeding and caring for them.

Make that 353 dogs ….. 354 ….. 355 ….

Many of the rescued dogs were pregnant, and for some, birth was imminent. Pet Resources has set up a separate maternity ward for expectant moms, some of whom have had puppies since the Sept. 23 rescue.

None of the dogs or puppies will be available for adoption for weeks while the case is ongoing, but in the meantime, the puppies are showered every day with love and attention.

Watch Video

Source: Cute Puppies Debut on Video!

Tampa / Featured Job: Engineering Associate (Traffic Engineering)
« on: November 05, 2019, 04:37:47 PM »
Featured Job: Engineering Associate (Traffic Engineering)

Job Overview

The Engineering Associate will be responsible for inspecting traffic sign & markings, signals and developing work orders and maintenance repair estimates based on observed deficiencies and determining repair/replacement strategies. This will include analyzing traffic reports and onsite inspections. Documenting and maintaining records. Close coordination with management, maintenance and construction service units, other staff and consultants will be required. Performs engineering inspection work as a team member in the field and the office.

Minimum Qualifications

A Bachelor's degree in Engineering.

Ten years of experience inspecting traffic sign, markings and signals


An equivalent combination of education, training, and experience that would reasonably be expected to provide the job-related competencies noted below.

Possession of a valid driver's license.

Salary: $53,060.80 - $84,905.60/year

Apply Now

Source: Featured Job: Engineering Associate (Traffic Engineering)

Tampa / Reimagine Your Neighborhood with Hillsborough County
« on: November 04, 2019, 10:00:58 PM »
Reimagine Your Neighborhood with Hillsborough County

Wanting ideas on how to take your neighborhood to the next level? Not involved as much as you'd like to be or looking for ways to branch out in your community? Whatever you're looking for, the 16th Annual Neighborhoods Conference on Saturday, November 2, is calling your name. The conference is the perfect time for you to meet with hundreds of influential leaders and decision-makers from across Hillsborough County who can help you and your community.

The conference is offering more than a dozen workshops that cover topics ranging from discovering the ins and outs of local code enforcement and disaster planning to learning how to engage your community as a leader and through online tools.

Between the workshops, attendees can visit with on-site vendors and learn about the services available to their community. The vendors will include local and national businesses, as well as Hillsborough County and various city departments and agencies.

At the end of the day, Hillsborough County will announce the winners of the 2019 Neighborhood Recognition Awards, recognizing high-achieving neighborhoods and standout community leaders.

To register today, visit the 16th Annual Hillsborough County Neighborhoods Conference here.

Source: Reimagine Your Neighborhood with Hillsborough County

Tampa / Satellite Offices Bring Targeted Resources to Local Businesses
« on: November 04, 2019, 04:11:23 AM »
Satellite Offices Bring Targeted Resources to Local Businesses

In 2008, Hillsborough County first partnered with the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce to bring business consulting and workshops provided by Economic Development locally to businesses in the Brandon area. Since then the specialized business services program has expanded to add SouthShore and Greater Temple Terrace chambers in 2012, South Tampa Chamber in 2013, Greater Riverview Chamber in 2014, and Greater Plant City Chamber in 2015.

The mutually beneficial relationship between the six chambers and the County annually supports Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County satellite offices at the chambers and outreach efforts to new and existing businesses in order to retain and create employment opportunities. At each chamber, County professional business consultants provide eight workshops a year targeting start-up and existing small business growth and weekly on-site technical assistance for individual business owners.

Whether growing, expanding, buying, selling, or starting a business, Hillsborough County has what entrepreneurs and small businesses need to succeed. In addition to the satellite offices, the Entrepreneur Services team, operating as the Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County, assists existing, emerging, and start-up small businesses at their main office, located in the Entrepreneur Collaborate Center, and at nearly a dozen monthly events throughout the county.

Source: Satellite Offices Bring Targeted Resources to Local Businesses

Tampa /
« on: November 03, 2019, 10:08:10 AM »

Hillsborough County is full of inspiring, iconic, and interesting places, and there are remarkable people behind them. In this occasional series we explore namesakes of some of the county's well-known buildings, parks, and roads.

Who was Dale Mabry?

Mabry, 1891-1922, was a pioneer aviator. A captain with command of the U.S. Army's 10th Balloon Company in World War I, he returned home to Florida after the hostilities but remained in the military service. He was at the wheel of Airship Roma in a test flight over Norfolk, Va., when the dirigible's steering failed and the aircraft crashed on Feb. 21, 1922. Mabry and 33 other men aboard the aircraft died. It was the worst tragedy in the young history of American aeronautics.

Why name a road for him?

At the dawn of aviation, pilots were revered. When the first segment of a road connecting Drew Field (now the site of Tampa International Airport) with MacDill Field (now MacDill Air Force Base) was completed in the early 1940s, it was named in honor of Capt. Dale Mabry. Mabry Elementary School, 4201 W. Estrella St., in South Tampa, also honors the aviator.

About Dale Mabry Highway

The north-south road is the longest road in Tampa, stretching from the Air Force base north into Pasco County. Dale Mabry Highway is a key artery for daily commuters, linking South Tampa with Carrollwood, Lutz, Land O' Lakes, and other communities. The road borders Raymond James Stadium, George M. Steinbrenner Field, and the original Hillsborough Community College campus.

See more Faces behind the Places



Tampa / Faces behind the Places: C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library
« on: November 02, 2019, 04:30:36 PM »
Faces behind the Places: C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library

Hillsborough County is full of inspiring, iconic, and interesting places, and there are remarkable people behind them.  In this series we explore namesakes of some of the county's well-known communities, buildings, parks, and roads.

Who was C. Blythe Andrews, Jr.?

C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. was owner-publisher of his family's Hillsborough County-based newspaper, the Florida Sentinel Bulletin. Beginning as a sports reporter, he worked in every department at the paper during his career. Andrews served on boards of the Hillsborough County Hospital Authority, Tampa Sports Authority, and Florida Arts Council, among other civic endeavors. He died in 2010.

Why name a library for him?

At the renaming of College Hill Library in 2011 to honor her late father, Andrews' daughter, Kay, said it was a fitting tribute because the library represents the written word and is a vital part of the community. "It has impacted many lives over the span it has been here, and it will impact lives over the next generations," said Kay Andrews, now publisher of the Florida Sentinel Bulletin.

About C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library

The previous C. Blythe Andrews Jr. Library was demolished two years ago to make way for construction of a new building at the same site, 2607 E. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The new library has meeting spaces, a recording studio, a computer lab, a children's area, a bookstore, and an archive with the Florida Sentinel Bulletin collection.

See more Faces behind the Places


Source: Faces behind the Places: C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library

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