Thank you.

Thank you.

By E. Adam Porter, Editor

 

Out of an abundance of caution, in these challenging times, for the good of the community, we have all come together to read sentences that begin like this entirely too much over the past month or so. Let’s start over with what really needs to be said: THANK YOU.

Thank you to the phenomenal health care workers whose professional and personal lives have been turned upside down, who go to battle every day, fighting a war with, at least for now, no clear end in sight. You wield all the best weapons at your disposal: education, wisdom, wit, grace, patience, love, and an indomitable spirit. And you keep fighting even when you don’t have everything you need. We love you. All of you. 

Thank you to our law enforcement, who put their lives and health on the line to take care of us, to help the sick and the scared, those who have been victimized, while also dealing with the belligerent, the ignorant, the afflicted, and the evil. Thank you to all the first responders who show up as fast as they can when we are in the worst moments of our lives, who offer aid and comfort in our times of fear and pain. And a special “thank you” to our all-volunteer Emergency Squad and Security Patrol. Each of you is amazing.

Thank you to our military for showing all of us the meaning of duty, honor, and sacrifice. Later this month, we were scheduled to gather, as we do every year, to commemorate those who gave the last full measure of devotion in service to our country and her people. Like many things in this time, that service has been canceled. But nothing will rescind the respect and appreciation we have for those who faithfully served. 

Thank you to our teachers who routinely go far and above the call of duty to educate and protect our children. Teachers who, in these past weeks, have been asked to do even more and found a way to make it work. Parents are working, kids are confused, worried, and scared; and no one knows quite how to use the new technology. They all come to you, at all hours of the day and night. You are therapists as well as educators, and now you are web developers, video producers, and tech support. We see you, teachers. 

Thank you to the tireless volunteers who have poured their talent, time, and effort into meeting so many needs, closing so many gaps, and creating so many smiles. Making and delivering food, sewing and distributing masks, building PPE, picking up necessities, looking for opportunities and always going above and beyond. 

Thank you to the staff, volunteers, and correspondents, and readers who help build The News every month. Thank you to all the journalists out there taking risks to deliver the story. You rarely get mentioned as “essential workers,” but you’re always there. In the middle of the protests, at the hospitals, out in the community, anywhere there’s a story that needs to be told. 

Thank you to local, state, and federal decision-makers who are trying to do an impossible job, without precedent, working without a net. No matter what you do and when you do it, people will say it’s too much or too little. Right now, the big question is “when.” Like as not, it will be both “too late” and “too soon.” You know that, and you have to choose anyway. 

Thank you, business owners. When you started your business, investing all that money, blood, sweat, and tears, you probably didn’t have “Worldwide Pandemic” penciled in the margins of your business plan. And yet here we are. Some of you were forced to close. Others remained open. Nearly everyone has lost a catastrophic amount of business. Many of you have been forced to cut payroll, to lay off or furlough workers. I see you there, sitting up late, wondering how they’re doing, and how you’re going to get through this. 

This is a good spot to offer a huge THANK YOU to our advertisers. Some of you have been with The News since the beginning. Others came along later and stuck with us. Many of you have become our friends. You represent lifelong dreams, private practices, family businesses, and big corporations, the “backbone of America” and the “infrastructure we can’t live without.” To us here at The News, you represent the resources that allow us to do what we do: Deliver positive news, fun opportunities, and current events to the residents of Sun City Center & South Hillsborough County. Thank you for helping us make this happen. 

Thank You to our “essential workers.” I’m guessing, about six weeks ago, you did not realize just how “essential” you are. But we knew. We have food to eat because of you. Our family and our pets are safe and healthy thanks to the risks you are taking every day. Our homes are pest-free, our mail is in the box, our power is on, our trash is gone, and our A/C is working. It’s Florida. It’s May, and summer’s coming… There is no price that can be placed on working air conditioning. To all of you “essential” workers, listen, that word just doesn’t cover what you mean to us. 

Speaking of essential people, Thank You to our artists, musicians, writers, and entertainers who make life – especially life in quarantine – sweeter, brighter, and better. By sharing your talent and hard work, you have given us a priceless gift. Thank you for immersing us in beauty, awe, and transcendence. Thank you for entertainment, for laughs, for illustration, for understanding… for a story to share, a melody to sing, and the rhythm to dance.

Finally, thank you to everyone reading this. The opportunity to share good news is not something that comes along often in the media business. Being part of a positive community news publication is a unique blessing, and I’m grateful.

Be well. Stay safe. Thanks for reading.

Thank you.

Thank you.

By E. Adam Porter, Editor Out of an abundance of caution, in these challenging times, for the good of the community, we have all come together to read sentences that begin like this entirely too much over the past month or so. Let’s start over with what...

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… We review COVID-19 updates and get some information on testing, thank our SCC Emergency Squad and Security Patrol volunteers for staying “on the job” through the pandemic, and take a look at how some of the talented and creative...

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community VolunteersPlease help if you can, and if you need help, keep reading. A huge thank you to those who participated in our efforts to feed health care workers, first responders, and volunteers in the Sun City Center area. Over 270...

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites  Hillsborough County, Fla. (April 1, 2020) - Joining communities across the nation, Hillsborough County will open quarantine and isolation sites at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 2 to house residents...

Life as we know it

Life as we know it

Life as we know it By E. Adam Porter, Editor   One thousand feet above the Fryar Drop Zone, the sky fills with deployed canvas. The crowd below cheers. Cameras flash, and smartphones film the final jump for the U.S. Airborne class graduating on March...

The APRIL 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The APRIL 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Get the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic response from the CDC, Hillsborough County, and other local and state agencies and organizations. Learn how to outsmart scammers with tips gleaned from the Elder Care Summit. Celebrate...

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Please help if you can, and if you need help, keep reading.

 

A huge thank you to those who participated in our efforts to feed health care workers, first responders, and volunteers in the Sun City Center area. Over 270 pizzas have now been delivered to feed approximately 1,000 med techs, CNAs, LPNs, RNs, caregivers, dietary workers, housekeepers etc. who are on the front lines protecting Sun City Center residents and patients.

With estimates of over 30% unemployment, our food banks have been hit hard and we will be partnering with Inspired Living of Sun City Center to help replenish Feeding Tampa Bay’s inventory.

If you are interested in helping, on April 23, residents can drive in and drop of non-perishable items under the Kings Point North Clubhouse Portico from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. The drop off will be contactless and Inspired Living will pick up the items from the Portico to drop off that evening.

Non-perishable food items suggested include: canned meat, tuna, salmon, peanut butter, jelly, canned or dry soup, canned stews, tea bags, ground coffee, canned pasta or vegetables.

 

Food Assistance for Seniors

Hillsborough County residents age 60 and older can apply for food assistance through Hillsborough County Aging Services. There is no income requirement to participate in the federally funded program. For more information on receiving meals and to apply, call (813) 272-5250.

Thank you.

Thank you.

By E. Adam Porter, Editor Out of an abundance of caution, in these challenging times, for the good of the community, we have all come together to read sentences that begin like this entirely too much over the past month or so. Let’s start over with what...

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… We review COVID-19 updates and get some information on testing, thank our SCC Emergency Squad and Security Patrol volunteers for staying “on the job” through the pandemic, and take a look at how some of the talented and creative...

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community VolunteersPlease help if you can, and if you need help, keep reading. A huge thank you to those who participated in our efforts to feed health care workers, first responders, and volunteers in the Sun City Center area. Over 270...

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites  Hillsborough County, Fla. (April 1, 2020) - Joining communities across the nation, Hillsborough County will open quarantine and isolation sites at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 2 to house residents...

Life as we know it

Life as we know it

Life as we know it By E. Adam Porter, Editor   One thousand feet above the Fryar Drop Zone, the sky fills with deployed canvas. The crowd below cheers. Cameras flash, and smartphones film the final jump for the U.S. Airborne class graduating on March...

The APRIL 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The APRIL 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Get the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic response from the CDC, Hillsborough County, and other local and state agencies and organizations. Learn how to outsmart scammers with tips gleaned from the Elder Care Summit. Celebrate...

Life as we know it

Life as we know it

Life as we know it

By E. Adam Porter, Editor

 

One thousand feet above the Fryar Drop Zone, the sky fills with deployed canvas. The crowd below cheers. Cameras flash, and smartphones film the final jump for the U.S. Airborne class graduating on March 20, 2020. Back on terra firma, these newly-minted Airborne soldiers move into formation and march to the parade ground, where they are welcomed by enthusiastic family members eager to pin on the wings that are the emblem of this singular achievement.

Second and third generation Airborne soldiers receive priority, as their parents and grandparents who served before them come forward to bestow the physical representation of their legacy. Then, other names are called. Mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends advance in small groups to greet their soldiers and pin on their wings.

At their turn, four people step from the crowd, two adults and two small children running ahead to greet their big brother across the field. They come together, and Mom reaches up, tears in her eyes, pinning wings on her eldest boy, knowing they will have only one day together until he moves on to his next duty station, where there will be more training and, perhaps, a deployment across an ocean. Another deployment.

All across the parade field, this scene repeats. Handshakes, hugs, words of appreciation, congratulations, and pride. Little brothers and sisters fling their arms around their heroes, peppering them with questions: How does it feel to jump? What was it like up in the sky? Are you going to war? So many questions…

I stand back and watch the scene, my eyes full of pride, marveling once again at the man my eldest son has become. Poised, confident, and squared away. I blink back tears, and the scene blurs, shimmers… and disappears…

Because it never happened.

Instead, the coveted wings were passed out in an informal setting, just a few soldiers and NCOs, freshly scrubbed hands and tense expressions. All around them, life at Fort Benning was changing. And life outside the gates? Not a clue. No one had been allowed to leave for a week.

Similar scenes have played out across the United States and across the world in recent weeks. The novel coronavirus has upended and suspended life as we know it. Memories that might have been made will never be. Walls where photos might have hung will remain empty, waiting for the next opportunity to experience something timeless. People who planned a fun spring break full of relaxation and family time are in the hospital or sick at home. Others, hoping to avoid this fate are self-quarantining, trusting social media to offer some semblance of connection. Hotels are closed. Flights are canceled. Beach access has been roped off.

Clubs, groups, businesses —even entire states — have closed down all but “essential” services. Educators across the country are desperately trying to learn how to teach using technology they had never seen before yesterday, and parents are trying to figure out how to help their kids learn from home, when many of them have to return to work.

Others have no work to return to. Stores, restaurants, service businesses, and many companies, large and small, have closed their doors, or they have found some kind of accommodation to make it worthwhile to keep the doors open. Curbside service, reduced hours, online sales, and the omnipresent “social distancing.”

Life is definitely different these days. And, in that difference there is legitimate fear, understandable concern, and ample opportunity. With each day, medical professionals and infectious disease researchers are learning more about how to fight this silent, faceless menace. They have cautioned all of us to follow a few simple guidelines. Chief among these is, “Don’t panic.” Our infrastructure is sound, and no one benefits from a freaked-out populace acting as if the apocalypse is upon us.

There are strange stories coming out of Thailand, footage of “gangs” of rival monkeys fighting in the streets over a single scrap of food. The tourists who generally keep them fat and happy are gone, and the monkeys are experiencing sudden scarcity of a kind they have never seen. Similar behavior has been observed in the toilet paper aisle at American grocers. We have to be better than that. Stores are getting new shipments almost daily. There is no need to hoard. American businesses like 3M (respirators) and GE (ventilators) are ramping up the manufacturing of key medical supplies. Large retailers are offering to hire laid-off or furloughed workers, so they can get products out faster, and those people have cash to pay their bills.

If we look for it, there is good news out there, hope shining among the toxic cloud of fear, uncertainty, and disease. If we choose to take a collective breath, keep our heads, follow the simple suggestions from the CDC, and look out for each other, this will pass. Our community and this nation will likely operate differently for some time, and it will probably look different even once all this is over; but in the meantime, we all get to choose, individually and collectively, how Life in the Time of Covid-19 plays out.

Already, examples of the right way to do this are all around us. People offering to pay for strangers’ groceries, sharing essentials, and reaching out to check on friends they have not heard from in a while. Local musicians are playing impromptu concerts in their driveways. Members of groups, kept away from public facilities, are meeting virtually, laughing and sharing stories.

Step back, squint a bit, and it almost looks like life used to. Families taking walks. Playing games and sharing meals. People discovering new hobbies, dusting off old projects, and brushing up on forgotten skills. Person by person, house by house, community by community, we are all finding ways to come together and get through this. Life as we know it sure ain’t what any of us want it to be right now. The challenges and the risks are very real. All we can do is make the best of it. And maybe share a roll of toilet paper. Or two.

Thank you.

Thank you.

By E. Adam Porter, Editor Out of an abundance of caution, in these challenging times, for the good of the community, we have all come together to read sentences that begin like this entirely too much over the past month or so. Let’s start over with what...

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… We review COVID-19 updates and get some information on testing, thank our SCC Emergency Squad and Security Patrol volunteers for staying “on the job” through the pandemic, and take a look at how some of the talented and creative...

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community VolunteersPlease help if you can, and if you need help, keep reading. A huge thank you to those who participated in our efforts to feed health care workers, first responders, and volunteers in the Sun City Center area. Over 270...

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites  Hillsborough County, Fla. (April 1, 2020) - Joining communities across the nation, Hillsborough County will open quarantine and isolation sites at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 2 to house residents...

Life as we know it

Life as we know it

Life as we know it By E. Adam Porter, Editor   One thousand feet above the Fryar Drop Zone, the sky fills with deployed canvas. The crowd below cheers. Cameras flash, and smartphones film the final jump for the U.S. Airborne class graduating on March...

The APRIL 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The APRIL 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Get the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic response from the CDC, Hillsborough County, and other local and state agencies and organizations. Learn how to outsmart scammers with tips gleaned from the Elder Care Summit. Celebrate...

Saluting all who serve

Saluting all who serve

Saluting all who serve

By E. Adam Porter, Editor

 

The dogs started barking as he came up the walk. They are always excited to see him, as are his not-so-little-anymore brothers, who got to the door just seconds after the Golden Retrievers. My eldest son, Christian, was home for a visit. 

A year removed from finishing his six-year hitch in the United States Air Force, Chris had something on his mind to share with mom and dad. After a few compulsory minutes wrestling with his brothers, he sat down at the dinner table. I offered him a beer. 

So, I’m thinking about re-enlisting, he said. No preamble, just right into it. That’s Chris. Especially when he’s pretty close to a decision about something. Into the Army this time… he said. They have the job I want, and they’ll let me keep my rank. This was offered as tentative information, but I could tell his mind was, mostly, made up. More than mostly, it turned out. 

A few weeks later, I dropped Chris off at the recruiting office. He was scheduled to fly out for Basic Training early the next day. The first of many early days in his imminent future. And, now, we wait. It will be at least five weeks before we will hear from him. He’ll miss Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year’s. He graduates One Station Unit Training (OSUT) on Valentine’s Day. Where to next? Only the Army knows. 

As I sit here, recalling that dinner table revelation, my mind drifts back about twelve years, to the day a 14-year-old kid sat down across from me at a different dinner table in a different house with something similar on his mind. Dad, I think I might want to go into the military. He was tentative then, just feeling out the idea. At 14, four years until graduation seems like an eternity. I told him I would be proud of him, no matter what he chose, and that his mother and I loved him, and wanted him to do what was right for him. Do some research, we said. Talk with family members and friends who served. Take what the recruiters tell you with a grain of salt

As I write this, Chris has just begun his first day of OSUT, along with thousands of other recruit trainees. Unlike most of them, he enters training as a sergeant and a seasoned veteran. Which, I’m sure, the Army DIs will make sure he remembers. It’s their job to prepare these brave young men and women to join the approximately 1.4 million Americans serving in the United States Armed Forces. 

In addition to those currently serving in either active duty or the reserves, there are, depending on your source and the year, between 18 and 22 million military veterans in the U.S. population. Nearly half of these are over 65 years of age. Many volunteered, others were drafted. What every one of them has in common is that, when their country called, they raised their hand. 

On November 11, we come together as a nation to honor their commitment and their sacrifice. A service is planned in SCC at Community Hall. Many others will be held throughout the Tampa Bay area, across the country, and around the world. Like as not, my son will spend the day rucking through the woods with his platoon. 

Tens of thousands of deployed Americans will spend the day set aside to honor them aboard ships with no land in sight, or in tents far from home, or on dusty roads somewhere in the desert or in the mountains of some global hotspot. Others will spend the day in tanks stationed along the DMZ in Korea, or in administrative buildings in Kuwait, England, or Germany. Some will be on training missions in undisclosed areas or piloting aircraft to enforce no-fly zones. They live and work and play on bases set behind tall fences, a world removed from civilian life; or they live next door, sharing the same roads, shopping at the same supermarkets, and sending their kids to the same schools as you and me. 

Over the past decade or so, it’s become cliché to “Thank a Veteran,” almost as reflexive as saying, “Happy Holidays.” While the impulse is good, we should be careful not to allow the well-wishes to become mundane. Honoring veterans, no matter when, where, or why they served, is the duty of every American. Whether or not we agree with the reasons or the wars, all of us who live in the Land of the Free should appreciate everyone who swore to “support and defend the Constitution, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”

It’s the least we can do for those who put the most on the line. 

NOTE: Statistics taken from Pew Research, Department of Defense, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the US Census.

Photo Credit: Military TImes (David H. Lipp/Air National Guard)

 

 

Thank you.

Thank you.

By E. Adam Porter, Editor Out of an abundance of caution, in these challenging times, for the good of the community, we have all come together to read sentences that begin like this entirely too much over the past month or so. Let’s start over with what...

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… We review COVID-19 updates and get some information on testing, thank our SCC Emergency Squad and Security Patrol volunteers for staying “on the job” through the pandemic, and take a look at how some of the talented and creative...

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community VolunteersPlease help if you can, and if you need help, keep reading. A huge thank you to those who participated in our efforts to feed health care workers, first responders, and volunteers in the Sun City Center area. Over 270...

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites  Hillsborough County, Fla. (April 1, 2020) - Joining communities across the nation, Hillsborough County will open quarantine and isolation sites at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 2 to house residents...

Life as we know it

Life as we know it

Life as we know it By E. Adam Porter, Editor   One thousand feet above the Fryar Drop Zone, the sky fills with deployed canvas. The crowd below cheers. Cameras flash, and smartphones film the final jump for the U.S. Airborne class graduating on March...

The APRIL 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The APRIL 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Get the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic response from the CDC, Hillsborough County, and other local and state agencies and organizations. Learn how to outsmart scammers with tips gleaned from the Elder Care Summit. Celebrate...

Candidate for Board Withdraws

Candidate for Board Withdraws

Candidate for Board Withdraws

BREAKING NEWS FROM THE SCC COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

 

Mike Burnham has withdrawn his name from the candidates running for the Board of Directors. Since the remaining three candidates — Eric Porr, Ron Matelski, and Bob Sullivan — are running unopposed, the “Meet the Candidates Night” scheduled for November 13 has been cancelled.

To learn more about the remaining candidates, be sure to read their interviews in the November issue of The News, here. Note: That issue includes interviews with all four candidates, because Mr. Burnham’s resignation was announced after the issue had been printed. 

Thank you.

Thank you.

By E. Adam Porter, Editor Out of an abundance of caution, in these challenging times, for the good of the community, we have all come together to read sentences that begin like this entirely too much over the past month or so. Let’s start over with what...

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… We review COVID-19 updates and get some information on testing, thank our SCC Emergency Squad and Security Patrol volunteers for staying “on the job” through the pandemic, and take a look at how some of the talented and creative...

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community VolunteersPlease help if you can, and if you need help, keep reading. A huge thank you to those who participated in our efforts to feed health care workers, first responders, and volunteers in the Sun City Center area. Over 270...

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites  Hillsborough County, Fla. (April 1, 2020) - Joining communities across the nation, Hillsborough County will open quarantine and isolation sites at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 2 to house residents...

Life as we know it

Life as we know it

Life as we know it By E. Adam Porter, Editor   One thousand feet above the Fryar Drop Zone, the sky fills with deployed canvas. The crowd below cheers. Cameras flash, and smartphones film the final jump for the U.S. Airborne class graduating on March...

The APRIL 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The APRIL 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Get the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic response from the CDC, Hillsborough County, and other local and state agencies and organizations. Learn how to outsmart scammers with tips gleaned from the Elder Care Summit. Celebrate...