Bay Crest Civic Association

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Meetings and Events

Hillsborough County Emergency Management

Preston Cook

For our August meeting, we hosted speakers from two critical departments of Hillsborough County government. The first presenter was Mr. Preston Cook (at left), the Director of County Emergency Management, who spoke of the mission, daily operations, and functions of this very important agency. Following this, Mr. Ira Pyles, the Manager of 9-1-1 Administration, a response team which brings immediate help in rescue or health emergency situations. Both agencies are critical to our daily safety and well-being, more in focus now as we enter the middle of the 2017 hurricane season.

The Office of Emergency Management oversees preparations and responses to natural or man-made disasters from a new and state-of-the-art County Emergency Operations Center, plans and conducts emergency training, and coordinates with state and federal emergency agencies.

The 9-1-1 office administers a uniform address numbering and street naming system, providing addresses for residential and commercial buildings and coordinating the naming and renaming of all streets. It also assists the public, emergency agencies, and County agencies with address and street location information. It also enforces the 911 ordinance that mandates that every structure has its address posted, and assists the County's emergency dispatch centers with updating their address databases and other administrative needs.

Mr. Cook described many types of emergency response, including natural and man-made, and the interface with other local agencies, including social services and police/emergency responders in several municipalities, USF, the airport and others. They also respond to biohazards, aircraft and sea emergencies, and any large public gathering that may be a trouble spot, such as the Republican Convention a few years ago. Mr. Pyles described the intricacies of the 9-1-1 system and how cell phones have created new challenges to locating an emergency call.

Both speakers responded to numerous questions throughout their presentations.


Code Enforcement: Helping Bay Crest Park

Gene Minkel

The Hillsborough County Code Enforcement agency enforces land and property codes in an effort to eliminate conditions that threaten life, health, safety, and general welfare of residents. The department investigates complaints about possible violations, and monitors that certain categories of businesses such as pain clinics and locksmiths are com-plying with all regulations.

For our May meeting, we were pleased to have Mr. Gene Minkel, County Code Enforcement Supervisor, and Mr. Doug Denemark, the inspector for our area (Mr. Minkel is pictured at left) These gentlemen have always been most responsive to the needs of Bay Crest Park residents, whether answering questions, investigating complaints, or issuing citations for violations. They described the mission of the department, daily operations, and how code complaints are investigated and resolved. They also discussed the most frequent violations in the County and how they affect the quality of life and safety of all, including effects on property values. In addition, there was an extended question and answer session on a variety of code violations.

Suspected code violations may be reported in several ways, including telephone, email, and over the Hillsborough County website, www.hillsboroughcountv.org. Reports may also be registered anonymously.

Many thanks are due to this fine agency and the service it provides to Bay Crest Park every day.

We Host a Trainer and Dog from Southeastern Guide Dogs

Herb and Jett

For our February 23 General Membership Meeting, we were pleased to have Mr. Herb Fecker, a senior volunteer at Southeastern Guide Dogs and his Ambassador Dog Jett. Jett is a "Goldendor" Golden Retriever/Lab mix Therapy Dog weighing about 85 pounds. Both are pictured at right.

At Southeastern Guide Dogs, the mission is to create and nurture partnerships between visually impaired individuals and guide dogs, facilitating life's journey with mobility, independence and dignity.

Herb gave an overview of the mission of Southeastern, how dogs are selected, raised and trained, and descriptions of differing types of service dogs. Dogs may be used as guides for the blind or disabled or as Therapy Dogs in institutions or in visitations to schools, nursing homes, and hospitals. They also provide service dogs for veterans with PTSD and facility therapy dogs that live with staff members and provide comfort at military healthcare facilities.

Southeastern is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has provided guide dogs to people with visual impairments since 1982. Founded and based in Palmetto, Florida, they employ the latest in canine development and behavior research to create and nurture partnerships between visually impaired individuals and extraordinary guide dogs. Southeastern Guide Dogs has the distinction of being dually accredited by the two premier, global accreditation bodies: the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) and Assistance Dogs International (ADI). There are currently over 450 active guide dog partnerships. Since inception, nearly 3000 guide dog teams have been formed. The organization continues to place more than 100 dogs each year. All dogs and services are offered to recipi-ents at no cost. Funding is provided totally by donations and special events; there is no government funding.

Additional information on this great organization can be found at www.guidedogs.org. At the conclusion of the presenta-tion, Herb had a great Q&A session that included participation by Jett.

Behind the Scenes of TV Weather with Special Guest Paul Dellegatto

Paul Dellegatto

For our November 17 General Membership Meeting, we were pleased to have Mr. Paul Dellegatto, Chief Meteorologist for Fox Channel 13 in the Tampa Bay Area. A native of Natick, Massachusetts, Paul attended one of the most prestig-ious meteorology schools in the country, Lyndon State College in Vermont. He later graduated from the University of Rhode Island with degrees in Meteorology, Geography, and Marine Affairs.

Paul worked at a number of locations, including Ithaca, NY, Boston, Portland, ME and Winston-Salem before coming to Tampa in 1990. Among some notable career achievements, Paul helped develop the USA Today's familiar color weather page. He also provided meteorological information for the Boston Red Sox, more than 50 radio stations across the coun-try, and public works departments across the northeast.

He has been with WTVT in Tampa since 1990, becoming the he chief meteorologist when the legendary Roy Leep retired in 1997. He is now the longest tenured chief meteorologist in the area. He was the first meteorologist in the country to show the various "spaghetti" models that illustrate the complexity of tracking tropical systems.

In the program, Paul entertained and informed with his easy and cordial personality. He demonstrated a wealth of information about numerous hurricane threats over several decades, and told anecdotes about experiences in forecasting many major storms, including the infamous "no-name" storm of several years ago. He also told us how he schedules his day, preparing for the many "three and a half minute" weather segments through the evening hours. He was also kind enough to bring three Fox Channel 13 umbrellas for door prizes. One of these he awarded based on an answer to a weather trivia question.

He answered numerous questions during and following his presentation. Many thanks to Paul, for both his cordiality and the knowledge that keeps us all safe.

Hurricane Hunters-Keeping Us Safe During Storms

Kevin Doremus

At our May 26 meeting, we were privileged to have a program presented by LT (jg) Kevin Doremus, a Hurricane Hunter pilot for the NOAA Operations Center based at MacDill AFB. He was joined by LT (jg) David Keith, a NOAA meteorologist and pilot currently being trained to fly the storm seeker missions. NOAA is the federal agency that provides "Eyes in the Sky" during threatening weather periods. With the onset of another annual "hurricane season" beginning in June, this was a particularly meaningful topic for our residents.

LT Doremus is a Boston native and a graduate from the Florida Institute of Technology. He is a Twin Otter and Turbo Commander Instructor Pilot for NOAA. He has been flying with NOAA for over five years and has logged over 2,000 hours flying a variety of scientific research missions. Kevin and David conducted an interesting and educational program on storm center operations, and provided samples of the electronic dropsondes, which are discharged into a storm by the hunter aircraft as they fly a precise pattern within a hurricane or tropical storm.The dropsondes record wind, barometric pressure, temperature and other data which is transmitted directly to the National Weather Service in real time. These data provide NWS with information to do computer modeling of the path and intensity of storms. Both speakers answered numerous questions following the formal presentation.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides a wide range of specialized airborne environmental data collection capabilities vital to understanding the Earth, conserving and managing coastal and marine resources, and pro-tecting lives and property. NOAA's fleet of nine manned aircraft is operated, managed and maintained by the Aircraft Op-erations Center (AOC) at MacDill, part of their Office of Marine and Aviation Operations. The Hurricane Hunter aircraft ("Miss Piggy" and "Kermit") are specially equipped Lockheed Orion P3 aircraft, which have outstanding endurance and range. AOC serves as the main base for an aircraft fleet and provides capable, mission-ready aircraft and professional crews to the scientific community. AOC is committed to the safe, efficient and economical use of NOAA aircraft and has more than four decades of experience developing, coordinating and successfully and safely conducting airborne environ-mental data gathering missions.

Tampa International Airport (TIA) - Bigger and Better Than Ever

Janet Zink

TIA Construction

At our February 25 meeting, we were privileged to have a program presented by Ms. Janet Zink, Assistant Vice-President for media and government relations for Tampa International Airport. Ms. Zink (photo at left) gave us a fascinat-ing look at progress in the current nearly $1 billion dollar improvements and renovations being made to what many think is "the beat airport in the world."

In late 2011, TIA officials began the process of updating the Master Plan for the airport's 3,300-acre campus. The final plan, approved in 2013, outlines three phases of expansion to accommodate 35 million passengers each year, more than double the current number of annual passengers. It allows a "build as demand dictates" approach to growth, with phases based on passenger volume. The first phase takes care of immediate needs to decongest the curbsides, roads and Main Terminal. It includes a 2.6 million-square-foot consolidated rental center near the entrance to the airport, a 1.4-mile auto-mated people mover and an expansion of the Main Terminal. The $953 million project is expected to create or save nearly 9,000 construction-related jobs.

Huge progress is being made, with the new car rental center rising from the ground, as well as the track and station con-struction for the new "people mover." Janet indicated that passengers would be able to check baggage, print boarding passes and proceed directly to their gates after returning rental cars. Picking up rentals would be equally easy, with the rule of "no walking more than 700 feet" to do any airport activity. The renovation also adds numerous new restaurants and shops, with new conveniences at both airside and main terminals. The remaining photo at right shows a future extension of an existing terminal.

In Tampa, we are delighted to have the foresight and vision of a great Hillsborough County Aviation Authority team, as we look to our bright economic future.



Law Enforcement from the Air with the HCSO Aviation Unit

Kevin and Stu

At our November general meeting, we were pleased to have Deputies Sgt. Kevin Langiotti and Pilot Stu O'Shannon from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department's Aviation Unit. Sgt. Langiotti (at right in photo) is a command pilot and helicopter instructor with 25 years' experience and Pilot O'Shannon is a former Marine and helicopter pilot.

The organization has one command pilot and eight pilots, who are on call 24/7. They "cover" 13 counties and respond to disasters as well as criminal investigations. Normally, one person flies the craft and the other works the camera system. The Aviation Unit has flown more than 2,000 hours with four aircraft. Aircraft are maintained with required checkups after flying 100 hours. This unit has assisted in: 287 arrests, locating 315 missing persons and 70 stolen vehicles. The pilots search, mostly during in-progress calls, for criminal suspects as well as missing persons. Once a suspect has been located, the hi-tech infrared cameras are used.

The pilots showed the audience a video of one of the surveillances they participated in from a 3,000 ft. altitude. The pilots advised that If you hear a sheriff's helicopter, please help them by staying inside your home. They often work with the Sheriff's Canine Unit and scent is important for their operation. The pilots also informed us of their required flying conditions, which must include a ceiling of 800 ft. for good visibility. Clouds can affect not only flying conditions visibility but also the infrared technology used in the cameras.

Our speakers closed the presentation with a lengthy question and answer session. We are fortunate to have consummate professionals such as these men guarding our neighborhoods and helping to control crime.

Parks, Recreation and Conservation Program at August Meeting

Kyla Booher

Rick Valdez

For our August 2015 General Membership Meeting, we were pleased to have two managers from the County Parks, Recrea-tion and Conservation Department, Ms. Kyla Booher and Mr. Rick Valdez (shown in photos).

This was the first time Bay Crest has invited representatives of "Parks and Rec" to a general meeting. It was a highly informative and interesting meeting, with a slide show followed by numerous questions from the audience. Kyla spoke first, describing the mission and overall administrative operations of the department. Rick followed with a general discussion of County Recreational facilities and programs.

As shown in their photographic presentation, our beautiful Hillsborough system of parks offers boating, bicycling, campsites, canoeing, concerts, cultural happenings, festivals, hiking, horseback riding, meeting facilities, nature study, picnic shelters, swimming, nature programs, and more. They also spoke about many future expansion plans and on-going construction projects.

Most citizens probably cannot envision the size of the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Depart-ment. It is one of the largest operations in both the state and the southeastern US. It provides programs, events and ac-tivities to County residents on a year-round basis. A very large and diverse activity, it is charged with operating more than 176 neighborhood parks and playgrounds countywide, 265 athletic fields, 40 recreation centers, 10 regional parks, more than 727 miles of trail, and more than 61,000 acres of preserved lands acquired through the Jan K. Platt Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program (ELAPP).

All About the County's Pet Resurces Department at May Meeting

Steve Scanlon

For our May 28 General Meeting, we were pleased have a program which discussed the County's Pet Resources De-partment, formerly known as Animal Services. Our speaker for the evening was Mr. Steve Scanlon, a 30-year veteran with the department. Steve (pictured at right) is currently a Field Supervisor who has also served as an Animal Control Of-ficer and then as an Animal Abuse Investigator.

Pet Resources is responsible for the humane treatment of animals and public safety within Hillsborough County. The Pet Resource Center is the only "open-admission" facility in the County. It accepts domestic animals regardless of breed, size or medical condition. The public is invited to visit the center or to search online to view hundreds of adoptable animals.

Steve provided a wealth of information about animal control, including insights on animal care and health, reporting animal abuse, dangerous animals, hoarding, identification, licensing and micro chipping. He also addressed spay and neuter programs, adoption programs, and the operation of the department offices and kennels on Falkenburg Road in East Tampa. He also addressed Pet Resource programs and events where minimal cost adoptions are featured.

With an extensive question and answer period following the presentation, Steve also addressed the department's inter-face with law enforcement agencies to find and stop illegal dog- and cock fighting events held covertly in Hillsborough and surrounding counties. He also discussed the County's "no tethering" law and actions citizens should take if they witness abuse. He discussed a typical abuse occurrence in our area, that of leaving a pet unattended in a hot car.

A Journey Through Maritime History at February Meeting

American Victory

At our February 26 general membership meeting, we were honored to have representatives from the SS American Victory and Maritime Museum in the Channelside area of downtown Tampa.

Mr. Tom Procopio, Operations Manager, and Mr. Ron Hubbard, volunteer and navy veteran, presented interesting facts about one of the many ships that contributed heavily to our WW II winning efforts.

One of several Victory ships due to be scrapped, the SS American Victory was rescued in October 1998 for preservation as a museum ship and memorial. She arrived at Tampa under tow in September 1999, and is now on display and included in the National Register of Historic Places. Guided and self-guided tours of the ship are available, with only a few areas off limits. Photos of her dry dock restoration are hanging in the mess hall. Several rooms, such as the captain's quarters and galley cold storage, have been restored and are decorated in original period memorabilia.

For this informative meeting, the speakers gave us an in-depth look at the ship and its history, with numerous stories and a slide show. Of 534 Victory ships completed, only three remain working: American Victory at Tampa, SS Lane Victory at Los Angeles, and SS Red Oak Victory at Richmond, California. In Tampa, the ship is also used as an operating base for a local United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps unit.

Our ship has been upgraded with modern VHF radio and radar (visible on the command deck), and more modern electronics have been added to the electricians' quarters and radio room, but she is otherwise generally in her historic form. Her 3-inch bow mounted deck gun is still in place, although it has been demilitarized. The museum "crew" takes pride in the fact that she is a seaworthy vessel. In addition to her floating museum role, American Victory still sails for "Living History Day Cruises" and other private events.




Administrator Mike Merrill Discusses Transportation Pans

Mike Merrill

At our November 20 General Membership Meeting, we were pleased to present our County Administrator, Mike Merrill, who gave us an overview of the County's planning and budgeting to deal with transportation issues. Mike, who reports to the Board of County Commissioners, spoke of the many problems facing commuters in Tampa and the surrounding suburbs, due in large part to the physical size of the county and the 7000 miles of roads to be maintained.

He spoke of all modes of transportation, including automobiles, busses (including HART Metrorapid, Connectors, and plans for express-lane vehicles), proposals for light rail, a "people-mover" in current Tampa International Airport construction plans, and other options. In all cases, he discussed the immense cost of all alternatives, including noting that the cost of rail was approximately $100 million per mile.

Mike also discussed the recent failure of the Greenlight Pinellas campaign to add rail and expand existing bus services in Pinellas, and compared the Pinellas situation with Hillsborough. In Pinellas, the service areas are north-south and more compact, compared to the large "spider-web" services areas in our county. He noted that the long-range solution to improving transportation in Hillsborough is to address all options, with emphasis on providing bus service to those that have few other options to commute to work or school. Some options include express-only bus lanes on main highways, greater use of designated lanes for multi-passenger vehicles, and additional use of toll roads to assist with improving revenue from the overall system.

In summary, Mike made a point of the solution being multi-faceted; the system must use all resources, including cars, busses, trains and other options-but always being mindful of the ever-increasing cost of construction and decreasing choices in right-of-way land acquisition. Mike concluded the meeting with a lively question-and-answer session.


Officer Installation

Commissioner Murman Installs 2015-2016 Officers and Directors

Our District I County Commissioner, Sandy Murman, again honored Bay Crest Park by agreeing to perform the installation ceremony for our newly-elected Officers and Board of Directors for the next two-year period (2015-2016).

According to Civic Association bylaws, nominations are made in even-numbered years for officer and board positions in which volunteers serve for a two-year term. A Nomination Committee selects a list of candidates which is published in the May newsletter, and again in August. A vote is taken at the August membership meeting, and candidates installed in November. In the photo shown at right, Sandy is administering the oath of office, as she has done for each of the last several election periods.

Those appearing in the left photo are (left-to-right): Scott Purol, Jann Poulos, Jay Lovelace, Norm Coffman, Gene Milas, Ken Broome, Theresa Shell, and Todd Moran. Board members John Housand and Paul Sullivan were unable to attend the meeting.

HCSO Logo

Gang Activity in Hillsborough County Discussed by Sheriff's Department at August 28 Meeting

At our August 2014 General Membership Meeting, we were pleased to have three senior Sheriff's Detectives discussing organized gang activity in Hillsborough County. Gangs are pervasive around the country, and unfortunately we also have a number operating in Hillsborough and neighboring counties. We do not currently have significant activity in Bay Crest, though vigilance is always necessary.

The detectives, who are not identified or pictured because of their undercover work, discussed all phases of gang organization, including names, colors, signs and membership qualifications of several groups in the county and west Florida, and in many cases, their affiliations with larger national groups and prison gangs.

By definition, a gang is a formal or informal on-going organization, association, or group of three or more persons who have a common name or common identifying signs, colors, or symbols and have members who individually or collectively engage in criminal acts.

Gangs are notorious for being involved in a variety of acts that are not as innocent as just "hanging out." Activities you may find gangs involved in include grand theft auto, burglaries, criminal mischief, weapons possession, drug sale and use and loitering, Violent crimes, such as battery, aggravated battery and even murder, are always possibilities when confrontations arise between rival gangs.

Hillsborough County gangs are not necessarily "turf" oriented. Gangs are extremely mobile, especially when members are out committing property crimes or visiting events or locations such as movies, shopping malls, dances, and other social events. Members may hang out in areas where they feel they will not be hassled by law enforcement.

The detectives´ presentation was extremely interesting and informative, and gave Bay Crest residents an excellent overview of this crimal element at work in our society. As always, our own alertness and attention to suspicious individuals or activity is the best crime deterrent. Also, any neighborhood graffitti should always be reported promptly to the Sheriff's Department, who can usually use it to identify a specific gang.

Hurricane Readiness Discussed at May Meeting

At our May General Membership Meeting, we were given an informative presentation by Mr. Ted Williams, Emergency Management Specialist with the Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management.

He emphasized that the most useful information for all residents is knowledge of the situation. For instance, know the three classifications of a tropical storm (Tropical Depression: 39 MPH winds; Tropical Storm: 39 - 73 MPH winds; Hurricane: 74+MPH). Also, he emphasized that the devastating Hurricane Andrew occurred during a "slow season". All Bay Crest residents are in an Evacuation Zone A and need to have an evacuation plan.

There are several hazards from a storm, including storm surge, wind, tornadoes, rain and inland flooding. Storm surge devastated Louisiana in 15 minutes, with 90 percent of fatalities occurring from storm surge. For 2013, there were 20 tropical storms and two hurricanes. The 2014 forecast is for nine named storms; three hurricanes; and one or two major hurricanes (it only takes one!). Mr. Williams emphasized "You should hide from the wind (flying debris), but you must run from the water."

Following the presentation, everyone was given a complimentary tote bag with department logo (made from recycled materials), an official 2014 Disaster Planning Guide, a Suggested Shopping List for emergencies, Special Needs Shelters, and numerous other printed materials, including lists of what items to take in event of an emergency evacuation and what steps to take to prepare for a storm.

Following the program, Mr. Williams and two associates answered questions from the floor, and they had additional one-on-one discussions with residents at the conclusion of the program.

The Emergency Management Office, now a division of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, maintains a website at www.hillsboroughcounty.org/emergency, or you may call the department at 813-236-3800.

"Scams, Schemes, and Scoundrels" at the February 27 Membership Meeting

Debbie Brown

At our February General Membership Meeting, we enjoyed a diverse presentation from Ms. Debbie Brown, Consumer Protection Agency Investigator and Community Education Coordinator.

Debbie gave us an outstanding and informative program which detailed the many schemes that currently exist to separate us from our money. Included in the slide show and discussion were illegal locksmithing, identity theft, door-to-door soliciting, unlicensed contracting, telephone sales and cold-call soliciting, telemarketing scams, credit card "skimming," tax refund fraud and other topics.

She also discussed many legal cases pending against high-profile offenders, particular those involving tax fraud and phoney "pain management" clinics and prescription mills.

In addition to the fine presentation, she provided numerous free brochures and informational materials for our residents to take home. A lengthy general question-and-answer period followed the program, and Debbie was kind enough to stay to answer specific resident questions following the formal presentation.

This is Debbie's second visit to our neighborhood. At a past meeting, she provided us an excellent program on Identity Theft. Debbie is shown in the photos at right.

The Consumer Protection Agency's departmental website can be found at www.hillsboroughcounty.org, or you may call 813-903-3430 for information on any topic, or to file a consumer complaint with the agency.

Annual Bay Crest Picnic and Family Fun Fest Held October 12

Clown and child at annual picnic

The Bay Crest Park Annual Picnic, the Family Fun Fest took place on Saturday, October 12 at the Hoopers Hollow picnic grounds adjacent to the Shrine Temple on Dana Shores Drive. This event marked the 50th anniversary of Bay Crest Park and our Association.

Over 200 Bay Crest residents took advantage of a beautiful fall day to participate in the event. There was good food, drink, music, entertainment and many, many door prizes. A delicious barbeque meal was again prepared and served by Sonnys. The event was chaired by Association Vice-President Theresa Shell, who coordinated many volunteers and sponsors during the day and for weeks leading up to the event.

Thanks to the volunteers, friends and sponsors who made the event possible through their generous gifts of merchandise and time. Thanks also to those who brought many delicious desserts.


Residents Updated on New County Trash/Recyclables Collection Program

Kim Byer

Beginning the week of September 30, 2013, Hillsborough County was due to roll out a new system of automated collection of garbage and recyclables in the County's Solid Waste service area, including Bay Crest Park. Wheeled carts - a 95-gallon gray cart for garbage and a 65-gallon blue cart for recyclables - were to be delivered to homes beginning in August.

For our August quarterly membership meeting, we were joined by Ms. Kim Byer (photo right), who is Hillsborough County's Transistion Manager for the new collection program. She gave an excellent and informative presentation that explained all phases of the new program, and she also provided examples of the larger-size new container carts at the meeting. There was ample opportunity for all residents to assess the container sizes they need and to ask any questions about the system. Ms. Byer also remained after the formal program to answer numerous questions from residents.

The cart for recyclables heralds an expanded recycling program that will be convenient and easy - no more sorting into separate colored containers, and an end to lifting and carrying heavy bins. The improved service will still include two garbage collections every week, one recycling collection every week, and one yard waste collection every week. Yard waste will still be collected manually, in containers and cans supplied by customers, or bags and bundles.

Also attending the meeting was Ms. Sandy Murman, our District 1 County Commissioner.


Big Cat Rescue Program Informs and Entertains at May Meeting

Dennis MitchellOur program for the May Association meeting was an informative and entertaining summary of the goals and operations of Big Cat Rescue, a notable animal sanctuary in Tampa. A 12-year volunteer at the sanctuary, Mr. Dennis Mitchell (photo at left), spoke to the group, explaining the goals and operations of the notable sanctuary. In addition to an interesting and educational slideshow, Mr. Mitchell entertained and informed our group with numerous tales of big cat rescues and several humorous stories about the big cats.

Big Cat Rescue is the largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. They are home to over 100 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars, and other species, most of whom have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, saved from being turned into fur coats, or retired from performing acts. Overall, the organization has 14 species of cats, many of which are endangered, threatened, or now extinct in the wild.

The sanctuary has been in operation since 1992 as a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization. Income is derived from private donations exclusively. Tours of the facility and educational programs are offered regularly, but cats are not used in performances of any kind, and they do not travel. Resident cats are kept in custom-built "cat-a-tats" which give them space in a natural environment. All funds received are used to feed and house the animals.

Further information about the sanctuary may be found at bigcatrescue.org.




Safer Neighborhoods Through Code Enforcement at February Meeting

Jim Blinck We were pleased to have a presentation from Hillsborough County's Code Enforcement Department at the Association's February General Membership Meeting. Making the presentation were Code Enforcement Manager Jim Blinck (photo at right), assisted by supervisor Gene Minkel.

The theme of the meeting was achieving safer neighborhoods through adherence to code, land use, and zoning regulations. These rules keep crime rates down and reduce or eliminate other unsavory influences in a neighborhood or community. Jim and Gene teamed up for a slide presentation on what homeowners and residents can do to assist the County in maintaining high standards of safety, cleanliness, and quality of life for our families. The team also addressed the "Dirty Dozen" most frequent code violations in the County.

During the program and following, residents asked questions of the Code Enforcement Investigators on a variety of topics. Specifically, questions were asked about illegal vehicles and parking on sidewalks, storage "pods," swimming pool safety, minimum clearances and setbacks for boat and RV parking and many other topics. The presenters finished the evening by offering business cards, contact information and promotional refrigerator magnets to the group. In all, it was an enjoyable and informative evening.

13th Annual Holiday Boat Parade a Spectacular Light display

Boat Parade EntryDespite a chilly, "see your breath" night, a colorful parade of 13 brightly decorated boats took to the Bay Crest canals Saturday evening, December 22. This year's event marked the 13th staging of the parade. In addition to the boats, eight residents also entered a dock decorating contest. Thanks to the generous merchandise and gift certificate donations of many businesses and individuals, a prize pool valued at over $2000 was available for boat and dock decorating winners. Overall, more than 30 businesses contributed.

Prizes were given for Best Overall Boat and First through Third Places, and also for First through Third Place Docks. Rick Noll's entry, "Tall Christmas Tree with Lots of Lights," took Best Overall for boats, and Bill and Joni Martin's property took first place for dock decorating.

Chairman John Housand and a tireless group of volunteers presented another seasonal spectacle for neighborhood residents. Donna Corona chaired the dock decorating effort. As is the tradition, this was a wonderful opportunity for residents to have parade-watching parties and backyard cookouts, along with many visitors coming from outside Bay Crest to view the event.

Many thanks to the Parade Judges and the Boat Parade and Dock Decorating committee, Donna Corona, Renee Hughes and Barbara Housand.

Sheriff Presents a Program on "Intelligence-Led Policing" at November Meeting

CRD Jeff CarsonIn 2009, Hillsborough Sheriff Sheriff Gee launched Intelligence-Led Policing (ILP) at the Sheriff's Office. This created an intelligence fusion center to compile, analyze and route crime information to the appropriate area for action. ILP is a model of policing in which intelligence serves as a guide to operations, rather than the reverse. Problem areas are dealt with through strategic analysis and focus, so that the Sheriff's Department can be proactive, rather than reactive, to crime occurences.

With the assistance of our District III Commander, Major Ray Lawton, we were pleased to have a presentation from our Community Resource Depity, Jeff Carson (see photo) on the topic of ILP. Jeff showed a brief Sheriff's training video and then dsicussed ILP in detail. In the few years since ILP implementation, crime frequencies have been significantly reduced in the County. The presentation was followed by a brief question-and-answer period.




Major County Sewer Renovation Project Affects Bay Crest Park

At the Association's August meeting, Mr. Jim Hunsberger spoke to the group about a major renovation of sanitary sewers in our neighborhood and adjacent. The project, which started ahead of the original October 2012 plan, will involve installation of approximately 8,900 linear feet of 16 and 18 - inch diameter pipe starting just south of Hillsborough Avenue and heading south along Lagoon Drive. It will then proceed along a canal right-of-way behind the Home Depot, then along Memorial Highway southeasterly to just past Audubon Village Apartments and finally across Memorial Highway to the connection point in an existing undeveloped right-of-way (Dunbar Avenue). The proposed pipeline will replace existing 14-inch diameter force mains. The new piping will tie into the existing 12-inch main near the car wash and will convey flows to an existing 24-inch pipe located in the FDOT right-of-way just south of Hillsborough Avenue near Lagoon Drive.

Additionally, existing mains from three sanitary pump stations, Cherrystone, Wynwood and Bay Crest Master Pump Station will be replaced.

Mr. Hunsberger is the County's Project Manager for this upgrading project. He discussed the overall construction plan, time schedule, and impact to the Bay Crest Park neighborhood. He also to answered resident questions about the project, which is planned for work over about an eight-month period.


RNC 2012 Host Committee Rep Speaks at May Meeting

Aileen-JuliAileen Rodriguez, Director of Communications for the Republican National Convention 2012 Tampa Host Committee, presented an overview of the convention and its impacts on Tampa to residents at the May General Membership Meeting May 31. Aileen is pictured at left with meeting host and past president Juli Milas. The committee, which is totally non-partisan, has objectives of presenting Tampa to the conventioneers and media in the best light possible, maximizing a positive experience for all and giving Tampa a unique national exposure. Aileen provided details of the event and its economic and social impacts to the community. Economically, the event will outrank even the past Super Bowls.

Best wishes to RNC 2012 for a positive and productive meeting in Tampa in August!




Coast Guard Pilot Informs and Entertains at February Meeting

Kraig JonesA United States Coast Guard C-130 "Hercules" rescue aircraft pilot gave our residents an inside look at operations at the USCG Air Station in Clearwater, the largest air station in the United States. Lt. Kraig Jones (pictured) recounted his 17-year career in the service, and presented numerous stories of adventures and assignments in Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, Marine Environmental Protection, and logistics. Lt. Jones showed a brief video with an overview of the mission and operations, and then followed with an excellent presentation of personal experiences. A lengthy question and answer session followed, showing the high interest of residents.

The Clearwater Air Station hosts both C-130s and state-of-the-art Sikorsky HH-60J "Jayhawk" helicopters. The C-130 aircraft is a ideal platform for long range Search and Rescue, with over 14 hours of airborne endurance and large scanner windows built into the airframe side.

Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater has a rich history, and its operations have been at the heart of significant events in Florida and the Caribbean for many years. In the early 80s, its high operations tempo earned Clearwater two Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations, the Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Coast Guard Unit Commendation.

Our congratulations and thanks to this splendid service corps and their many duties which keep us safe.

12th Annual Holiday Boat Parade Brightens Bay Crest Canals

Boat Pic7A flotilla of 16 brightly decorated boats took to the Bay Crest canals Saturday evening, December 17, in this popular event, the 12th annual parade. In addition to a boat decorating contest, this year also featured prizes for dock decorations, with a prize pool of over $1700 in merchandise and gift cerificates generously donated by local businesses. Overall, about 25 businesses contributed.

Prizes were given for Best Overall Boat and First through Third Places, and also for First through Third Place Docks, plus Honorable Mentions. Buck and Nina Schrotels' entry, "Swans and Angels," took Best Overall for boats, and Al and Sandy Shingle's property took first place for dock decorating. A complete list of winners, prize donations and additional photos will be published in the February Bay Crest Newsletter.

Boat Pic2Boat Pic6Parade Chairman John Housand and a tireless group of volunteers, with great cooperation from the weather, presented another seasonal spectacle for neighboorhood residents. Donna Corona chaired the dock decorating effort. As is the tradition, this was a wonderful opportunity for residents to have parade-watching parties and backyard cookouts, along with many visitors coming from outside Bay Crest to view the event. In addition to the community-sponsored boat and dock events, several residents added to the festive atmosphere with substantial fireworks shows during and following the parade.


Bay Crest Resident Honored by FAA

Gil LeimbachLong-time Bay Crest Park resident and former Board member Gil Leimbach, Major USAF (Ret) was honored at a ceremony at the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regional headquarters in Lakeland on December 7. Gil received the "Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award" for 50 years as a licensed pilot. In fact, Gil has flown for 67 years, but the award extends no farther than 50. Gil served in Korea following the truce there and then in the Vietnam conflict, flying fighter planes in both locations. In Korea, he flew North American F-100 Super Sabres and in Vietnam he piloted McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantoms. The Phantom he flew in Vietnam nows sits proudly as a monument on MacDill Air Force Base property. Today he still flies, occasionally taking the stick on small Cessnas for a few hours. Gil also continues to serve Bay Crest by maintaining US flags at neighborhood entrances and performing flag lowering and raising on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and other commemorative occasions.

In the photo, Gil proudly displays the attractive award plaque. Congratulations to Gil for his career and his many years of service to this country!

Water System and Environmental Concerns Addressed at November Meeting

Gil GardnerAn informative presentation was made to the Association on November 17 by Hillsborough County's Water Resource Services Department. They discussed the process that collects, transports, processes and purifies our water, starting with sanitary sewers and ending at the River Oaks water treatment plant at Waters Avenue and Sheldon Road.

Roger MazurkaThe presenters were Mr. Gil Gardner, WRS Section Manager, and Mr. Roger Mazurka, Sr. Utility Technician. They explained the overall water reclamation and distribution system for our neighborhood, and answered general questions as well as concerns about a recent sewage spill in our community. They addressed the lengthy County distribution system (4500 miles of pipe), the lift stations in our neighborhood, and the step-by-step process of filtering, removing trash, and sanitizing water at the facility. They also spoke of ongoing pipe maintenance projects and the repair process for broken lines. Mr. Gardner and Mr. Mazurka are shown in the photos above and right.


Hooshang BoostaniAlso attending the meeting was Mr. Hooshang Boostani, Director of the Waste Management Division of the County's Environmental Protection Commission, who explained recent concerns about soil and groundwater contamination in the Pam Callahan Nature Preserve area. The preserve was thought to be contaminated by ordnance materials from WW II-era military exercises and temporarily closed to public access.

Mary YearganAfter investigation, the agency concluded the area was not used for any type of weapons storage or use, and is safe for use. He and associate Ms. Mary Yeargan answered questions about the investigative process and the findings. Both gave a detailed report about the process used to investigate and review data. The area was one of a number of sites being reviewed by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Mr. Boostani and Ms. Yeargan are pictured above and right.

Special guests at the meeting included District 1 County Commissioner Sandy Murman and Sheriff's Deputy Dan Serrano.



Bay Crest Park "Family Fun Fest" Held October 12

Jumbo the ClownThe Bay Crest Park Annual Picnic, our "Family Fun Fest," took place on Saturday, October 24 at the "Hooper's Hollow" picnic grounds adjacent to the Shrine Temple and A La Carte Pavilion on Dana Shores Drive.

With a wonderful sunny and temperate Fall day, more than 200 Bay Crest residents and families participated in this popular annual event.

The event was chaired by Association Vice-President Theresa Shell, who coordinated food from Sonny's BBQ, live music and Jumbo the Clown and his magic show. This year we also contracted for an inflatable four-sided "Sports Court" for children to play soccer, baseball, basketball and darts. Others brought games and "corn toss" equipment, and Stephanie May set up and manned a creative children's arts and crafts table. As in past years, several volunteers worked to gather a number of door prizes from gracious donors.

Kids Watch Magic ShowAmong invited special friends of Bay Crest, we were proud to welcome County Commissioner Sandy Murman and members of the Hillsborough County District III Sheriff's Office, including Major Ray Lawton and our Community Resource Deputy Dan Serrano.

Thanks to our many volunteers, friends and sponsors for their generous gifts of merchandise and time. Thanks also to those who brought delicious desserts.







Commissioner Murman Speaks at August Meeting

Commissioner Sandy MurmanWe were honored to have District 1 County Commissioner Sandy Murman speak to our group at the August 25 General Membership Meeting (photo). She gave an interesting and informal presentation that covered many of the issues now confronting the Commission, including budget issues, panhandlng, childrens' programs, transit, tax revenue reductions and curtailment of many County services, and many others.

Starting the presentation, she also spoke in some detail about her career and the many projects and organizations she is involved with, many focusing on aid to children. Following the program, she took resident comments and questions during a question-and-answer session.

Concluding the program, Sandy distributed the latest Hillsborough County Hurricane Guide to the audience.

"Water-Wise" Workshop Presented

Virginia OverstreetFollowing Commissioner Murman's appearance August 25, a "Water-Wise" Workshop was presented to residents as part of a "double feature" for this Association meeting. Joining our group was Ms. Virginia Overstreet, Water-Wise Coordinator for Hillsborough County. Virginia (photo) presented a slide show and short video on water conservation topics for home gardeners, including plant and lawn care, Florida-friendly landscaping and micro/drip irrigation techniques. She spoke about a number of issues affecting plant growth, including initial choice of plant, placement in the yard, sun/shade requirements, watering needs and fertilization.

Virginia provided comlimentary rain gauges for all residents attending, and also offered a voucher to pick up a free micro irrigation starter kit at the Hillsborough County Extension Service. A number of residents signed up for the irrigation kit voucher. Following the prepared program, Virginia took questions from the audience, answering concerns about various gardening topics.

The Water-Wise Workshop programs are sponsored by the Tampa Water Department and County Water Resource Services.