May 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

May 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue…

Check out the Sew’n Sews baby shower benefit, meet the new SCC Activities Director, enjoy Faye McKeown’s art, go Trail Blazing, learn about CA Club facility use, take off in a B-29, clean up with the Boy Scouts, bounce back Ping-Pong style, prepare for hurricane season, travel to Beguiling Bath, meet a real straight shooter, spend some time with the Immortal Tara, discover an amazing art talent from Sarasota, and send our Snowbird friends off in style.

And, be sure to check out the SCCCA Club News, Kings Point News, Military News, Sports, Arts, Faith & Service, and Community News sections to help you plan your month.

Read the May 2022 Issue of The News

April 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

April 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… Mark your calendar for Earth Day, shoot hoops with Senior Basketball, immerse yourself in Van Gogh in Sarasota, hear what ClubLink is planning in the community, catch up with residents who won ribbons at the state fair, learn why...

March 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

March 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We honor standout members of the SCC Security Patrol, uncover a Hoot of a Story, learn how to connect with the Long Range Plan, travel back in time to the Renaissance Festival, play some Games Highland Style, have a Great Time at...

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s ArkBy Andrea L. T. Peterson Peppered with references from the cultural milieu in which many of us and our children were raised, Laurie Zaleski’s Funny Farm is both a heartbreaking and a heartwarming...

SCC Beautification Corporation

SCC Beautification Corporation

SCC Beautification CorporationCreating a First Impression of the Greater Sun City Center Area By Diane M. Loeffler, Photos by News Staff First impressions count. If you walk in the lobby of a hotel and see run-down furniture, a dirty carpet and...

Books At Bunkers Bar & Grill

Books At Bunkers Bar & Grill

Books At Bunkers Bar & GrillBy Andrea L.T. Peterson What a beautiful afternoon for an outdoor book signing! Sun City Center resident Michael H. Blaine, author of The Invisible Walls of Dannemora: Inside the Infamous Clinton Correctional...

The Information Center

The Information Center

The Information Center A Place for Prospective Buyers, New Residents and All of the Rest of Us    By Diane M. Loeffler The Information Center sits at the southeast corner of Cherry Hills and North Pebble Beach. Some people think of it as our...

April 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

April 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue…

Mark your calendar for Earth Day, shoot hoops with Senior Basketball, immerse yourself in Van Gogh in Sarasota, hear what ClubLink is planning in the community, catch up with residents who won ribbons at the state fair, learn why you should attend the Long Range Planning focus groups, see winning shots from the photo club competition, meet “Mr. Fountain,” get to know a Resident of Distinction, cruise by the Clearwater Sugar Sand Festival, reminisce with a local radio star, make some local Family Connections, hear football stories from real “Troopers,” and go Full Throttle with “Lites” Leenhouts.

And, be sure to check out the SCCCA Club News, Kings Point News, Military News, Sports, Arts, Faith & Service, and Community News sections to help you plan your month.

Read the April 2022 Issue of The News

April 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

April 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… Mark your calendar for Earth Day, shoot hoops with Senior Basketball, immerse yourself in Van Gogh in Sarasota, hear what ClubLink is planning in the community, catch up with residents who won ribbons at the state fair, learn why...

March 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

March 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We honor standout members of the SCC Security Patrol, uncover a Hoot of a Story, learn how to connect with the Long Range Plan, travel back in time to the Renaissance Festival, play some Games Highland Style, have a Great Time at...

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s ArkBy Andrea L. T. Peterson Peppered with references from the cultural milieu in which many of us and our children were raised, Laurie Zaleski’s Funny Farm is both a heartbreaking and a heartwarming...

SCC Beautification Corporation

SCC Beautification Corporation

SCC Beautification CorporationCreating a First Impression of the Greater Sun City Center Area By Diane M. Loeffler, Photos by News Staff First impressions count. If you walk in the lobby of a hotel and see run-down furniture, a dirty carpet and...

Books At Bunkers Bar & Grill

Books At Bunkers Bar & Grill

Books At Bunkers Bar & GrillBy Andrea L.T. Peterson What a beautiful afternoon for an outdoor book signing! Sun City Center resident Michael H. Blaine, author of The Invisible Walls of Dannemora: Inside the Infamous Clinton Correctional...

The Information Center

The Information Center

The Information Center A Place for Prospective Buyers, New Residents and All of the Rest of Us    By Diane M. Loeffler The Information Center sits at the southeast corner of Cherry Hills and North Pebble Beach. Some people think of it as our...

March 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

March 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue…

We honor standout members of the SCC Security Patrol, uncover a Hoot of a Story, learn how to connect with the Long Range Plan, travel back in time to the Renaissance Festival, play some Games Highland Style, have a Great Time at the State Fair, raise money for the Emergency Squad with Jack’s Shack, catch up with the RN Club, meet a new music director, make some Family Connections, learn how to avoid the latest scams, celebrate 105 years, travel for the birds, remember women who would not be silenced, and commemorate a resident who helped make SCC a great community.

And, be sure to check out the SCCCA Club News, Kings Point News, Military News, Sports, Arts, Faith & Service, and Community News sections to help you plan your month.

Read the March 2022 Issue of The News

April 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

April 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… Mark your calendar for Earth Day, shoot hoops with Senior Basketball, immerse yourself in Van Gogh in Sarasota, hear what ClubLink is planning in the community, catch up with residents who won ribbons at the state fair, learn why...

March 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

March 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We honor standout members of the SCC Security Patrol, uncover a Hoot of a Story, learn how to connect with the Long Range Plan, travel back in time to the Renaissance Festival, play some Games Highland Style, have a Great Time at...

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s ArkBy Andrea L. T. Peterson Peppered with references from the cultural milieu in which many of us and our children were raised, Laurie Zaleski’s Funny Farm is both a heartbreaking and a heartwarming...

SCC Beautification Corporation

SCC Beautification Corporation

SCC Beautification CorporationCreating a First Impression of the Greater Sun City Center Area By Diane M. Loeffler, Photos by News Staff First impressions count. If you walk in the lobby of a hotel and see run-down furniture, a dirty carpet and...

Books At Bunkers Bar & Grill

Books At Bunkers Bar & Grill

Books At Bunkers Bar & GrillBy Andrea L.T. Peterson What a beautiful afternoon for an outdoor book signing! Sun City Center resident Michael H. Blaine, author of The Invisible Walls of Dannemora: Inside the Infamous Clinton Correctional...

The Information Center

The Information Center

The Information Center A Place for Prospective Buyers, New Residents and All of the Rest of Us    By Diane M. Loeffler The Information Center sits at the southeast corner of Cherry Hills and North Pebble Beach. Some people think of it as our...

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

By Andrea L. T. Peterson

Peppered with references from the cultural milieu in which many of us and our children were raised, Laurie Zaleski’s Funny Farm is both a heartbreaking and a heartwarming memoir. It is a tribute to a mother’s love and determination as well as the resilience of children.

Living on a huge farm with more than 600 animals and dozens of temporary and short-term volunteers to share the care-taking responsibilities while she attended to her own successful graphics business isn’t exactly the life Zaleski had imagined when she was a child. Nor did it quite fulfill the promise made to her mother that she would someday have such a farm where her mother could spend work-filled, peaceful days tending to any and all animals that touched her heart.

But I’m getting ahead of myself! When Zaleski was still just a toddler, her family was living a fairytale life. Until they weren’t. When it all fell apart amidst domestic abuse and violence and betrayal, the author’s mother Annie took Laurie, her siblings, and anything essential they could fit in their car and left. Determined not to return to the nightmare that appeared to be an idyllic life to the outside world, the family took up residence in a beaten-up shack—basically four walls and a roof. To make ends almost meet, Annie worked several jobs, among them, cleaning out the cages at the local animal control.

An animal lover, Annie often took the animals on canine “death row” home where she and her kids loved and cared for them, giving them a new lease on life. The shack wasn’t very hospitable to humans or animals, but it gradually became home. Fortunately, the land on which it sat provided much space for all manner of animal life, including horses and goats, that needed a home.

Their strange, animal-filled lives and their impoverished living conditions made the kids outcasts at school, but Annie began bringing some of the animals to school, first for show and tell, then as an educational tool, making young people aware of homeless—abandoned and abused—animals. Suddenly the school “joke,” the kid with pet goats and a cow, was a pretty popular kid!

Zaleski promised her mother that one day, when she was “a successful business woman,” she would buy a farm where her mother could comfortably live the animal-filled life she wanted.

It took almost 20 years for Zaleski’s career in graphic design to result in her own successful business and for the vision of Annie’s farm to begin to come to fruition. Regrettably, Annie saw the signatures on the dotted line, but succumbed to cancer just two weeks before moving onto the property that would become Funny Farm.

Using her graphics business made creating kids books about her menagerie of animals pretty easy, but, Zaleski said, a real book “was a whole new animal… What a learning process! I didn’t know what half of these jobs [in publishing] were.” Writing the book “was like therapy,” says the author.

In the photo: Laurie and Nemo by Matt Reeves

Zaleski still takes her story and animals to schools. What a sight to see her enter the school with a cow or a horse with a chicken on its back and a dog at its heels! With all of these odd animals living together, free-range—she hopes to illustrate that “just because we’re different doesn’t mean we can’t get along.”

An unexpected focus for the Funny Farm has become dogs with Megaesophagus, a disorder in which the esophagus is basically too narrow and everything consumed is immediately regurgitated. No food can pass, no nutrition can be absorbed. The first dog with this disorder to reach Funny Farm was given weeks to live. He lived for six years thanks to lots of TLC and a special chair called a Bailey Chair designed so that the dog can eat sitting up, like a baby in a highchair.

A strict vegan herself, who will “eat bark off a tree before she’ll eat chicken,” Zaleski says “we don’t talk politics, religion, or food! We’re not trying to make people vegetarian or vegan. We just want people to know where their food comes from.”

A refuge for animals and humans, Funny Farm draws supporters and volunteers from the strangest places! “People plan their vacations around us,” says Zaleski. “They follow us on Facebook! The love, love, love the animals.”

Boy Scout troops volunteer, members of Surfside (NJ) AA group volunteers. For some it’s pure pleasure, for some it’s therapy, for some it’s community service hours! Volunteers choose what chores they want to do. Who knew cooping manure could be relaxing and therapeutic!

For Zaleski, Funny Farm “is my church… Stress and problems melt away! It’s so joyous to see all the animals, who are not exactly natural allies, getting along like brothers and sisters! They’re so happy and appreciative!” For her, the bottom line is “Never give up! Every living thing deserves a chance!”

Now, boasting unique mix of pets, livestock and beasts of burden, a core of dedicated volunteers, a presence on FB, and 501(c)(3) status, Funny Farm, In May Landing, NJ (just a half an hour from Atlantic City and about an hour from Philly)–“full of animals and fit for lunatics”—is a modern day Noah’s Ark.

In the photo: Barn photo of Laurie with Adele the Chicken, Stormie the horse, Ducky the pig, Farley the dog, and Yogi the steer by Amanda Werner.

April 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

April 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… Mark your calendar for Earth Day, shoot hoops with Senior Basketball, immerse yourself in Van Gogh in Sarasota, hear what ClubLink is planning in the community, catch up with residents who won ribbons at the state fair, learn why...

March 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

March 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We honor standout members of the SCC Security Patrol, uncover a Hoot of a Story, learn how to connect with the Long Range Plan, travel back in time to the Renaissance Festival, play some Games Highland Style, have a Great Time at...

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s ArkBy Andrea L. T. Peterson Peppered with references from the cultural milieu in which many of us and our children were raised, Laurie Zaleski’s Funny Farm is both a heartbreaking and a heartwarming...

SCC Beautification Corporation

SCC Beautification Corporation

SCC Beautification CorporationCreating a First Impression of the Greater Sun City Center Area By Diane M. Loeffler, Photos by News Staff First impressions count. If you walk in the lobby of a hotel and see run-down furniture, a dirty carpet and...

Books At Bunkers Bar & Grill

Books At Bunkers Bar & Grill

Books At Bunkers Bar & GrillBy Andrea L.T. Peterson What a beautiful afternoon for an outdoor book signing! Sun City Center resident Michael H. Blaine, author of The Invisible Walls of Dannemora: Inside the Infamous Clinton Correctional...

The Information Center

The Information Center

The Information Center A Place for Prospective Buyers, New Residents and All of the Rest of Us    By Diane M. Loeffler The Information Center sits at the southeast corner of Cherry Hills and North Pebble Beach. Some people think of it as our...

SCC Beautification Corporation

SCC Beautification Corporation

SCC Beautification Corporation

Creating a First Impression of the Greater Sun City Center Area

By Diane M. Loeffler, Photos by News Staff

First impressions count. If you walk in the lobby of a hotel and see run-down furniture, a dirty carpet and tacky drapes, you probably won’t want to stay there. Likewise, if you drive into a town and see median strips that are barren except for semi-maintained grass and no landscaping along the sides of the road, you may think about buying a home elsewhere. The Greater Sun City Center Beautification Corporation (GSCCBC) provides the first impression for people considering purchasing a home in the area. Just as importantly, residents of Greater Sun City Center can enjoy looking at the fountain, flowers, bushes and trees every day.

What the Greater SCC Beautification Corporation Does

The Beautification Corporation is the reason why we have lovely landscaping along the median and roadsides from just east of Cortaro Drive to just west of US-301. This includes landscaping, the Sun City Center monument sign and the Blue Star Memorial sign. Without the Beautification Committee’s work, we would just have grass in those areas and wait for the state to mow it.

The GSCCBC hires people to repair and maintain the fountain and adjacent pond, the irrigation system, and other structures. It also hires and oversees the landscape company that trims bushes, mows the lawn, and prunes trees. The corporation also pays for new plantings. When possible, Florida-friendly plants are incorporated into the landscape. Irrigation is done with treated wastewater.

How the Beautification Corporation Is Funded

The corporation is a not-for-profit organization. It is overseen by five volunteers. Two are from Kings Point, two are from the Sun City Center Community Association and one is an “at large” member. Currently, John Luper is the president of the group. Presidents of associations (HOAs, COAs, POAs, etc.) vote. The number of votes an association president has is equal to the number of homes in their group.

Most of the GSCCBC funds come from the residents of Sun City Center Community Association and Kings Point whose homes were built after late 1991. Currently, these households pay about $3.44 a month (about $41 a year) to help maintain and improve the landscaping along the medians, roadsides and also the low lying, depressed, often wet land along the south side.

Residents whose homes were built before October of 1991 do not automatically contribute. They are encouraged to make voluntary contributions to the Greater Sun City Center Beautification Corporation. To do so, make a check payable to GSCCBC and mail it to GSCCBC c/o Vesta Property Services, 1020 Brandon Boulevard, Suite 207, Brandon Florida 33511. John Luper says, “We spend what we get. There is always something that needs to be done.”

Whenever possible, the corporation applies for grants to help cover expenses. All donations are welcome. The SCC Community Association and Kings Point Federation do not contribute to the beautification funds.

This sign celebrates the many clubs, civic groups, and veterans organizations that make SCC such a great place to live and play.

Impact of SR-674 Road Improvements

The property alongside the road and in the medians all belongs to the state. Luper says, “We have an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation. If we want to take better care of the property than the state does, it is on our nickel. If something is damaged or removed, it is up to us to get it back to normal. The state won’t pay for it.” Our agreement with the Department of Transportation allows The GSCC Beautification Corporation to make improvements if two criteria are met. First, it gets the state’s approval. Second, the Corporation pays for any and all improvements.

Luper says, “We don’t own any of the property. We just want to keep it to a higher standard.” The state and county will leave it as unadorned grass. If we as a community want more, it is up to us. The GSCC Beautification Corporation will use all funds it receives to make the area more attractive.

Using the proposed plans for 674, the Beautification Corporation had its landscapers cap and bury some of the irrigation sprinklers. In the end, extended turn lanes, bike lanes, new sidewalks and paving took up more land than anticipated and much of the irrigation system was lost. The road was enhanced. However, landscaping was lost and the means of watering much of what remains was destroyed.

As a result of the roadwork on 674, Luper says, “Irrigation is a top priority. Currently we have six medians with irrigation not working. Much of the land was scraped and removed. It will cost over $55,000 to make those repairs. It is on us to maintain our improvements on state property and to replace trees and landscaping.”

A Little History

At one time, anyone driving into the area would go down a two-lane road with a grassy median. Later it widened into four lanes with the same type of median. In 1989, Al Hoffman was the only builder in the area. He and his company, most recently known as WCI, wanted the area to look nice so houses would sell. The GSCCBC was originally called the “Master Beautification Association.” All unsold lots owned by the developer on October 10 were classified as “Class A Members.” These Class A Members (one per household even if more than one person lives there) were to be required to pay an annual assessment to what was then called the “Master Beautification Association.” Aston Gardens and the Courtyards are also Class A Members. Since the developer could only make requirements for property he still owned, those with homes purchased before October 10, 1989 were not billed.

As long as WCI and, later, Minto were here, they took care of expenses for many of the repairs such as repairing the fountain. After they left, it was all up to the Corporation to finance. Whether you already contribute to the GSSCBC or not, you may wish to send a donation to the corporation. All monies received go to maintaining and improving the medians and the areas alongside the road.

HEADLINE PHOTO: This bright sign and beautiful water feature welcome residents, guests, and prospective buyers to Sun City Center. (Photo by Shelba Porter)

April 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

April 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… Mark your calendar for Earth Day, shoot hoops with Senior Basketball, immerse yourself in Van Gogh in Sarasota, hear what ClubLink is planning in the community, catch up with residents who won ribbons at the state fair, learn why...

March 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

March 2022 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… We honor standout members of the SCC Security Patrol, uncover a Hoot of a Story, learn how to connect with the Long Range Plan, travel back in time to the Renaissance Festival, play some Games Highland Style, have a Great Time at...

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s Ark

Funny Farm: It looks a Bit Like Noah’s ArkBy Andrea L. T. Peterson Peppered with references from the cultural milieu in which many of us and our children were raised, Laurie Zaleski’s Funny Farm is both a heartbreaking and a heartwarming...

SCC Beautification Corporation

SCC Beautification Corporation

SCC Beautification CorporationCreating a First Impression of the Greater Sun City Center Area By Diane M. Loeffler, Photos by News Staff First impressions count. If you walk in the lobby of a hotel and see run-down furniture, a dirty carpet and...

Books At Bunkers Bar & Grill

Books At Bunkers Bar & Grill

Books At Bunkers Bar & GrillBy Andrea L.T. Peterson What a beautiful afternoon for an outdoor book signing! Sun City Center resident Michael H. Blaine, author of The Invisible Walls of Dannemora: Inside the Infamous Clinton Correctional...

The Information Center

The Information Center

The Information Center A Place for Prospective Buyers, New Residents and All of the Rest of Us    By Diane M. Loeffler The Information Center sits at the southeast corner of Cherry Hills and North Pebble Beach. Some people think of it as our...