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Whatever happened about…

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By MELODY JAMESON

…Senior Med Center

Planning is moving ahead and specialists are joining in laying ground work for a medical services center focused on the senior age group, located adjacent to South Hillsborough’s first retirement community.

Whatever-happenedDr. Ken Barringer, retired psychologist living in Sun City Center and leader in the South County’s mental health coalition, as well as Bill Kearns, Ph.D., a gerontologist on the Department of Aging staff in the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine, have become part of the local advisory group formed about a year ago by Dr. Pat Crow, a retired physician in SCC, to spearhead establishment of the medical facility.

It is envisioned that the multi-aspect facility – providing medical services tailored for the age group, training young physicians in senior care and centralizing collection of pertinent research data – can be created through a partnership involving the USF College of Medicine and South Bay Hospital with the help of and for the benefit of South County seniors. Hospital Corporation of America, parent company of South Bay Hospital, has created a similarly focused center in North Florida but a contractual agreement between the university and the hospital has not yet been signed, said Bob Black, a member of the local planning group.

HCA/South Bay is scheduled to appear for an Administrative Law Court hearing in Tallahassee regarding its long competition with Tampa-based St. Joseph’s Healthcare network for state approval to build a new hospital on Big Bend Road. What may be the final hearing on the matter is set for mid-December.

…BOCC chairmanship

County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, whose large district includes parts of the South County including Sun City Center, has been named chairman of the newly constituted board of county commissioners.

Higginbotham, who lives in Plant City, was named the board’s chairman last week as the new board was formally seated following the November 2 general election. A graduate of the University of Florida with a BS degree in political science, the new chairman was elected a county commissioner in 2006, according to information released by his office.

…Ag Expo wins

Three graduate students aiming for advanced degrees related to aspects of agricultural research shared $1,000 in prize money after a panel of six judges reviewed posters demonstrating their areas of study and conclusions reached at the fifth annual Florida Ag Expo earlier this month. The Gulf Coast Research and Education Center at Balm, a part of the University of Florida Extension Service network, hosts the day-long exposition each year.

Top prize of $500 went to Vivek Kumar and a second award of $300 was presented Garima Kakkar, both students working at the university’s Tropical Research Center, Homestead. Third prize, $200, went to Sarah Smith, a student working at the Gulf Coast center east of Balm.

The three winning posters were chosen from among 14 entries.

Copyright 2010 Melody Jameson
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