Lutz News-Lutz/Odessa-February 10, 2016

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Care center to open in August; Skilled laborers in high demand; He calls cats purr-fect companions

Transcript of Lutz News-Lutz/Odessa-February 10, 2016

  • LAKERLUTZNEWS.COM

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    By Kevin Weisskweiss@lakerlutznews.com

    A new $13 million assisted living centerin Lutz is under construction, and set toopen in August.

    Angels Senior Living at Lodges ofIdlewild, located at 18440 Exciting IdlewildBlvd., in Lutz, will have 94 units to serveabout 100 residents, according to DanielAlmendares, corporate operations managerat Angels Senior Living.

    The 85,000-square-foot facility expects to

    Care center to open in August

    Skilledlaborers inhigh demandBy B.C. Manionbcmanion@lakerlutznews.com

    Its no secret that when the economytanked, construction companies and relatedindustries were hit hard.

    When everything crashed, we all had toreally pare down. Our staff went almost inhalf, said Linda Cox, CEO of Cox FireProtection Inc. Construction just came to ascreeching halt.

    The economy has been picking up, buttheres a shortage of skilled laborers, saidCox, whose company has been involved innumerous northern Hillsborough and Pascocounty projects.

    Now that construction is moving again,opportunities for work are increasing, Coxsaid.

    Projects that had been put on hold, nowhave funding again, she said. And, there arenew initiatives, too, across the Tampa Bay re-gion, she said.

    If you ride downtown (Tampa) and lookat the tower cranes, thats just a really goodindication of how the industry is going.Theres a lot of really exciting stuff happen-ing in Pasco County, too, said Cox, whosecompany does sprinkler systems and alarmsystems, primarily in commercial construc-tion projects, including hospitals, schoolsand other large construction projects.

    We work primarily through general con-tractors, or directly for owners, she said.

    But now, companies like hers are facing adifferent problem.

    Were just not replacing the skilledwork force as quickly as people exited it,Cox said.

    After the economy crashed, she said, alot of Baby Boomers said, Well, OK, Imoutta here and retired.

    Others switched to different lines ofwork and havent re-entered the construc-tion force, she said.

    Over the summer, we actually had to tellour sales team, dont bid any more work, be-cause we cant staff it. We could have soldmore work than we had crews to staff which is a wonderful thing and a terriblething, Cox said.

    The problem isnt limited to the TampaBay region.

    The Construction Labor Market Analyzeroffers projected employment needs, bystate, in numerous categories throughOctober 2018.

    Here are some of the projected needs forFlorida:

    Boilermaker, 15,349 Carpenters, floor covering: 17,933 Carpenters, scaffold builder: 16,897 Concrete finisher: 19,097 Electrician: 18,841 Plumber: 15,485 Roofer: 18,147 Pipefitter, sprinkler system: 8,211To help address the labor shortage,

    theres a push on to try to increase appren-

    ticeships, Cox said.Cox said her husband, Ron, recently has

    been appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, to sit onthe Governors Apprenticeship Council.

    The Associated Builders and Contractorsis very active in the apprenticeship arena,running a large program that involves ap-prenticeships available in areas such aselectrical, plumbing, masonry, heating venti-lation and air conditioning, and fireprotection, Cox said.

    Theres also a need to raise awarenessabout opportunities available for skilled la-borers, she added.

    To that end, The Associated Builders andContractors is working with local districtsto ensure our industry is represented as avaluable career path for students enteringthe work force, Steve Cona III,president/CEO of Associated Buildings andContractors, Florida Gulf Coast, said viaemail.

    Its a message that needs to be reiterated,Cox said.

    In our generation, a lot of kids just sortof followed along in the family footsteps,and construction was just sort of a viableoption for a lot of young men, she said. Andthen, the trend really in high school beganto be, If you are a bright student, college isthe right pathway for you.

    But, the message that needs to be sharednow with young men and young women is that college isnt the only path to abright future, Cox said.

    There are some other equally lucrative,professional kind of avenues that dont re-quire four years of college and $100,000 ofstudent debt, she said.

    PHOTOS COURTESY OF LINDA COXJimmy Roberts, an apprenticeship graduate, is shown here during a statewide competitionduring the final year of his apprenticeship.

    Johnny Dover, works on a ladder at a jobsite. The shortage of skilled laborers is creat-ing issues for companies that are unable topursue additional work, because they donthave enough people to complete the work,says Linda Cox, CEO of Cox Fire Protection.

    COURTESY OF ANGELS SENIOR LIVINGOnce it is complete, the assisted living center should look similar to this prototype. The sen-ior living center is set to open in August 2016.See CENTER, page 11A

    By Kathy Steeleksteele@lakerlutznews.com

    The license plate on his car readsBigCats.

    But, when it comes to cats, DennyMitchell doesnt care whether theyre big,small or medium. He loves them all.

    And, he wants to persuade others thatthey should love the furry felines, too.

    While dogs may be a mans best friend,the way Mitchell sees it: Cats are our bestcompanions.

    Two years ago, Mitchell took his passionfor cats on the road.

    He educates and entertains audiences,generally from age 8 and older, at libraries,senior centers and civic groups with his mu-sical tribute All About Cats.

    On Feb. 27 at 2 p.m., he will bring hismusical show to the Lutz Branch Library, at101 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road in Lutz.

    The Friends of the Lutz Branch Library issponsoring the event, which has free admis-sion.

    Mitchell, owner of Meowser Productions,spent more than a year composing musicand lyrics, and crafting a slide and videoshow to cover the history and habits of cats.

    He brings his keyboard and sound sys-

    tem. A robotic, white-furred cat, namedTallulah, also accompanies him arriving ina pink cat carrier.

    Tallulah rests regally atop a purple pil-low, where she purrs, meows and washesher face with slow paw swipes.

    She sets the mood, Mitchell explained.

    He sprinkles his performance withhumor and original songs though some-times he also sings Memory, theshow-stopping tune from the musical Cats.

    Mitchell researches his facts.Among his nuggets are: Cats date back 35 million years. The Egyptian word for cat is mao,

    meaning to see. In ancient Egypt peoplewere fascinated by a cats eyes.

    Cats, per pound, are 12 times strongerthan humans.

    Adult cats have 244 bones; humans,206.

    A cats field of vision is about 200 de-grees.

    He calls cats purr-fect companions

    KATHY STEELE/STAFF PHOTOSDenny Mitchell is a devoted cat aficionadowho sings the praises of cats literally athis musical tribute show, All About Cats.

    Want to know more?You can see live cams of Big Cat Rescueskitten rescue operation by going toExplore.org/bigcatrescue.

    You can also visit Denny Mitchells web-site, MeowserProductions.com, to find linksto area nonprofits and about adoptionevents.

    See CATS, page 11A

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