Lutz News-Lutz/Odessa-July 23, 2014

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Interest sparks in making electric cars; Trolley rolls into mobile food service market; Coins offer glimpse into history, politics

Transcript of Lutz News-Lutz/Odessa-July 23, 2014

  • Lutz NEWSF R E E

    Lutz NEWSSERVING LUTZ/ODESSA J U LY 2 3 , 2 0 1 4

    By B.C. Manionbcmanion@lakerlutznews.com

    When Steve Azzoli pulls his bright bluecar into an auto parts store and pops openhis hood, he invariably draws a crowd.

    Thats because the retired Land O Lakesman is tooling around in an all-electric car,and people want to take a look.

    Azzoli got the car for his project in 2011,and didnt get the parts to convert it into anelectric vehicle until the middle of 2012.

    It took six months to restore the car andanother 18 months to convert it.

    Rebirth Auto of St. Petersburg helpedAzzoli get the right battery system andmotor controller, while Diamond AutoWorks Inc., in Lutz did the bodywork, weld-ing and fabrication work, and car painting.

    Diamond Autos Bobby Boles said whenAzzoli first told him what he was planningto do, he thought he was crazy. But Boles fig-ured if Azzoli was willing to invest so muchin the electric car project, Azzoli must knowwhat he was talking about.

    The bodywork made the car more aero-dynamic, Azzoli said.

    Since completing the project, Azzoli hasdriven 5,700 miles without using a drop ofgas. He estimates he saves about $300 amonth with his electric car.

    Beyond saving money on fuel, hes alsospending less on maintenance.

    The project cost about $23,000, butAzzoli said that is less than what it wouldcost for a Chevrolet Volt, a popular gas andelectric hybrid car. He also notes his car getsmore mileage per charge than a Nissan Leaf,another popular electric car.

    Before a recent upgrade that reduced theweight of his car, Azzoli said he was gettingabout 200 miles a charge. Azzoli recently re-moved about 150 pounds of steel, andchanged his battery boxes from steel to alu-minum. Once he does some more testing,

    hell know how much the mileage betweencharges has improved.

    Azzolis next project will be to changethe 14-inch tires to 16-inch tires, improving

    B.C. MANION/STAFF PHOTOSteve Azzoli said his electric car creates a buzz when people take a look under its hood. Heinvested about $23,000 on the car, but gets 200 miles per battery charge, and doesnt haveto spend a dime on gasoline.

    See ELECTRIC, page 12

    By Michael Murillommurillo@lakerlutznews.com

    When the owners of Lutz Mail Depot onDale Mabry Highway found that customersenjoyed spending time at their business andsocializing, they wanted to provide a smallcafe so they could sit and eat.

    While brainstorming that idea, they con-sidered launching a traditional food truck.But then they got really creative.

    We thought, lets do something coolwith this and lets do something thats kindof interesting and unique, said GregSkibbee, who owns Lutz Mail Depot withhis business partner, Paul Fischer.

    Make way for the trolley.Skibbee and Fischer converted

    a working, 35-foot motorized trol-ley from Paris, Texas, into theRoute 66 Kitchen & Dining Car, amobile food service vehicle thatwill sit outside their business dur-ing the week serving food, and hitthe road throughout Florida onweekends. It officially opened forbusiness last week.

    While converting a trolley intoa food truck is an unusual concepton its own, Skibbee explained thattheres more to it than that. Atmore than twice the length of atypical 17-foot food truck, theycan offer something missing frommobile food vehicles: inside seat-ing.

    Between eight and 10 patronscan eat inside the trolley, andawnings will provide shade forcustomers who use tables andchairs outside.

    In addition to getting the trolleyready for inside customers and dec-

    MICHAEL MURILLO/STAFF PHOTOGreg Skibbee and his partner at Lutz Mail Depot, PaulFischer, have put around $125,000 into their Route 66Kitchen & Dining Car. The trolley/food servicevehicle is now parked in front of their business duringthe week, and will travel the state on many weekends. See TROLLEY, page 12

    By B.C. Manionbcmanion@lakerlutznews.com

    Richard Schmetischs fascination withcoins began when he was about 8 years old.

    His dad took him to a flea market, and asthey browsed through tools and lawn mow-ers, Schmetisch spieda coin dealer. And sohis passion began.

    I just went,Wow! the now 51-year-old Land OLakes man said. Ithink coins interest alot more kids thanadults.

    Schmetisch beganby collecting wheatpennies, buffalo nickels and Mercury dimes,but has branched into more sophisticated

    Coins offer glimpseinto history, politics

    See COINS, page 12

    Richard Schmetisch

    B.C. MANION/STAFF PHOTOSCollectors can purchase coins from other collec-tors during the Tampa Bay Coin Club meetings,which are on the second Tuesday of the month at7 p.m., at Forest Hills Park Community Center.

    Trolley rolls into mobilefood service market

    Interest sparks in making electric cars

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  • By B.C. Manionbcmanion@lakerlutznews.com

    Sarah Robison took a prize-winningphoto last fall when she was visiting a parkin Rochester, New York.

    The 11-year-old was admiring someCanada geese when she noticed a youngdeer just a few feet away. The young shutter-bug knew that she had only an instant toreact, and she took advantage of that mo-ment. She took out her iPad and capturedthe shot.

    The result was a prize-winning image inRanger Rick magazines Your Best Shotsphoto competition. As a winner, her photo-graph captured one of six spots in a photodisplay in the August issue of the childrensmagazine, published by the National WildlifeFederation.

    Other photos in the spread include aswamp scene in the Everglades, a polar beartaking a plunge at the Columbus Zoo inOhio, a hummingbird in a backyard gardenin California, some wild mushrooms in thewoods, and a giant mola fish off the coast ofNew Hampshire.

    Robison is thrilled that her photo was se-lected.

    I love taking photos. Thats my hobby,she said.

    Her parents, Randy and Deborah of Lutz,are delighted by Sarahs achievement, andcouldnt be more proud. Her grandmother,Gloria Russell of Land O Lakes, said Sarah hasbeen interested in photography for years.

    Even when she was small, she used totake pictures with my camera, Russell said.

    Shes also had an interest in nature sinceshe was quite young, said Deborah Robison,who homeschools Sarah.

    Sarah Robison recalls her mother readingher Ranger Rick stories when she was small.Now that shes older, Robison thumbsthrough the magazine herself, learning facts

    about animals.Robison loves animals and wants to be-

    come a veterinarian when she grows up.She also plans to continue pursuing photog-raphy, which she intends to keep as