I am genuinely excited about the additional attention our website — NTNeighborhoodNews.com — has been attracting since we first started promoting it in this space and since many more of you have been checking it out for all of its exclusive, new information and content.

First of all, senior news reporter Sean Bowes has done a great job of breaking several news stories on our website that occurred between the times we went to press with an issue, including filing the first report on an overturned truck near our office on Amberly Dr., breaking the news that the I-75 widening project had begun around the intersection of the interstate and Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. (see updated story on page 6) and filing some of the first reports on the arrest of a Freedom High student who made a bomb threat and the even more recent apparent suicide of a New Tampa teen (see page 10). Sean continues to work on and file new on-line news reports virtually every day, so it’s always worth a quick glance.

I’ve also enjoyed commenting and reporting on some between-issue events myself in “Gary’s Neighborhood Blog,” which has featured everything from an opportunity to challenge me in “Words With Friends” on Facebook to win great prizes to a recap of the recent Wesley Chapel Health & Wellness Festival (see page 38), which was held the day after we went to press with our last Wesley Chapel issue.

In other words,, if you wanted to know how the Festival turned out, you would have had to wait until 2-4 (depending upon which of our issues you receive in your mailbox) weeks before you would have seen anything on it in print if you didn’t visit our website and see the much larger gallery of pictures we are able to include online than we ever are in a printed issue of the publication, where space is at such a premium. As you may realize, there are no limits as to how much “space”  a story can take up in cyberspace.

And, thanks to marketing and website director Ashley Knoblach, we have even included several web-only contests, where you can win great free dining and spa/salon prizes, but only if you visit our website!

Since we’re on the subject of winning, this issue was supposed to be where we named our winning restaurants and our readers who won prizes in our annual Dining Survey & Contest. But, due to an unexpected surge in entries the last week of the contest (it ended Thanksgiving weekend), we will first post those winners on-line, rather than do so in this very-packed issue.

But, by around the time you receive this issue, we should be able to post all of the winning restaurants AND all of the readers selected at random from among all of the correctly-filled-out entries we received (more than 300!) at NTNeighborhoodNews.com.

Of course, those Dining Survey & Contest results also will appear in our December 17 Wesley Chapel issue and our January 3, 2012, New Tampa edition. Any readers named as prize winners can expect their prizes mailed to them by around the time the January 3 issue hits mailboxes in zip code 33647.

You also can still expect to see a big expansion of our dining coverage on-line, as I will begin featuring many of my favorite restaurants located outside of New Tampa and Wesley Chapel on the website, with the intent of creating a unique Tampa Bay area dining and entertainment guide. Look for it — and more opportunities to win great dining prizes — in early 2012!

In this issue, you’ll also find our Holiday Gift & Dining Guide (pages 32-33), which will not only run again in our december 17 Wesley Chapel edition, but will also appear on our website right up until Saturday, December 24. Of course, the Guide includes only those wonderful business who advertise with us and sent us information for it, but we can still add businesses to our on-line edition for a flat fee of $25.

Call Nikki at 910-2575 to get your business included today!

Nikki also has been working on a guide to things to do for New Year’s Eve in our area, but at our press time, most of our restaurants and bars had not yet set their plans for brining in the new year. But, you can look for an on-line guide on our website!

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