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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009






30 YEARS For over 30 years, our staff at Florida Insurance Center has become more than just an organization of professionals – we are a family. In turn, we treat our customers as if they are a part of that very same close-knit group of individuals. We at Florida Insurance Center, Inc. are dedicated to building and maintaining positive relationships with every customer we encounter, and tailoring our services to best fit the unique needs of each client and business. As a full-service insurance agency, you can rest assured that you will receive the best representation available and prompt compensation when a loss occurs. Small enough to provide the service you want‌ Big enough to give you the protection you need.


july 2009


foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


TABLe of contents volume 8 issue 7 — JuLY 2009

MAGAZINE 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd. Plant City, FL 33563 Phone 813.707.8783 • Fax 813.764.0990

Publisher Mike Floyd Editor in chief Aaron Oberlin Office Manager Dede Floyd



If you haven’t seen it lately, then you’re missing out. FocusTV brings local news on a weekly basis to your computer monitor. Want to know what is going on in Plant City? Log on to www. Every Wednesday, a new episode airs. Don’t be the person out of the loop.

Credit Manager Holly Dedon Sales Sophia Hyde Tammy Simpson Production Coordinator Susan Riff Production Anthony Sassano Joe Pellegrino Editorial Assistant Kevin Tall

49 51 94 112


Plant City – it is one of those towns where it seems like everyone knows everyone. We love our small-town feel, and Valrico State Bank understands that. The tellers and management staff know all of their customers, and they know how to keep it local.

Business Focus

For anyone who is looking where to find a specific service or product, they should check out this section of the magazine. FOCUS profiled, in great depth, six local businesses with something amazing to offer.

Distribution Doug McGee Belva DeVane Photographers Suzanne Gallagher Billy Friend Lori Blaser Staff Writers Cheryl Johnston Ruchelle Owens Tracy Cox Kasey Miller Carolyn Miller Brian West Joe Bowles Krystel Knowles Laura Estes contributors Al Ruechel Bruce Rodwell Gil Gott Sherrie Mueller Jo-An Lusk Nate Davis Natalie Sweet Editorial Interns Tanya Albert Michelle Stark Phil Neary


Traci Durrance is the athletic director of Plant City High School. She has worked many years for the school system. Her story is inside.


Florida summers bring heat in a way that few other states can understand. So its no wonder people rush to the beaches and pools for a dip in the water. But when you’re hot and hungry, perhaps nothing is more satisfying, and relieving, than ice cream. Check out this month’s dining profile on a place guaranteed to cool down your yearnings.

standards of accuracy The goal of the writers at FOCUS Magazine is to provide heart-war ming stories that are accurate from the start. Being human, however, we sometimes make mistakes. Please forgive us. So if you notice anything that is incorrect, then please do not hesitate to contact the editorial department and infor m it about the fact error. To do so, call (813) 707-8783 or e-mail editorial@floydpublications. com. The staff will fix the error in a timely manner. Readers who wish to respond to an article – not correct facts – can do so by writing a letter to the editor. If you need any other type of assistance, then please view the directory for the appropriate department. The staff at FOCUS Magazine is committed to serving their consumers and customers to the fullest of abilities. You’re paying attention to our words. Let us pay attention to yours.

FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Plant City businesses, restaurants and many local venues. Letters, Questions and Comments can be sent to us at Advertisers warrant and represent the descriptions of their products advertised are true in all respects. Focus Magazine assumes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers. All letters and their contents sent to Focus Magazine become the sole property of Floyd Publications, Inc and may be reproduced thereof. All views expressed in all articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Floyd Publications, Inc. Use or duplication of material used in this publication is prohibited without approved written consent from Floyd Publications, Inc.

published by:

floyd publications, Inc.


july 2009

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july 2009

letter from

the editor


A fter the 2008 stock market crash, theories of how the United States should stimulate the economy circulated like debris during a tornado. It was a mess. From all sides of the political spectrum, and from every corner of the public realm, people pushed their ideals; no one knew what was best. Some cried bailout. Some rebuked the proposal, shouting “socialism!” Others pleaded for a stimulus package, hoping that extra money in American hands would encourage consumerism. Some argued that would encourage people to squirrel away their government check, hiding it under the bed in case of a rainy day. Then came a quieter voice, one that still attracted attention from major media outlets. It said that no one should step in, letting the financially weaker institutions fall. It’s ironic: conservatism merging with the theory that only the strong survive. See, recessions are like northern winters. Some bring light snow, nothing to fret. Others bring inclement weather filled with squalls, blizzards, and deep freezes that knock over or kill trees that have stood for generations. In a situation loaded with the most inclement conditions, only the strong remain standing when the weather subdues. Only the well-rooted trees continue to grow when the spring brings warmth and smiling faces. But then there is a problem with that ideology. What happens to small businesses – the mom-and-pop stores and the medium-sized businesses – when corporate America buys things up in bulk and sells at a price no one else can match? That doesn’t encourage entrepreneurialism. Like I said, a mess. Honestly, I’m not sure what will work out the best in the future. I’m not an economist, and I’m not a political analyst. But I do know this: If companies wish to keep their doors open, then people need to be spending money in them. FOCUS doesn’t dabble in economical strategy, but the above sentence just makes sense. So in this month’s issue, we decided to profile several local companies that offer great products and services at reasonable prices. Turn to our Business FOCUS section, and read about some local companies with which you might want to spend your money. Like some pundits claim, it’s good for the economy.

Aaron Oberlin Editor In Chief

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Plant City’s Own Casey Stidam Performs Every Friday Night Beginning June 20th Karaoke on Sat Nights July 24– Destination Unknown feat. Megan Castillo and Jon Yencho Delicious Menu from Wisdom BBQ and Seafood Tasting Room Open Daily 11-5 for your Enjoyment

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july 2009

Ralphie Named Ralphie Boy after Ralph Cramden

He is a 12 year old German Shepherd mix.

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His owners are Fred, Mark, Diane, Kristen, Ray and Kay.



He loves chicken and cheese as treats.



Ralphie is loved so much that his owners built him a custom dog house complete with windows and a screen door. His owners feel so blessed to have Raphie even though he only has three legs it doesn’t slow him down at all.


DOUXO Products by Sogeval. They are terrific new products to treat seborrhea and allergic skin problems in dogs and cats by bringing a revolutionary new molecule and unique formulation. Call the office for more information.

Animal Wellness Center

Low cholesterol items: Smoked Turkey Wings Smoked Turkey Necks Fresh Turkey Tails & Gizzards Smoked Turkey Tails Fresh Goat Fresh Mullet/Catfish/Perch Fresh Dressed, Grade A, Premium, Ice-Packed Poultry Leg Quarters 40-lb. box Fresh IBP Small and Med. Spare Ribs Fresh IBP Lite Spare Ribs “Great for Barbecuing” Fajitas by the package or the box

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GROCERY Paradise Fruit in 5-lb. box (available All Year Round)

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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


local talk of the toWn

In June, one of Redken’s top platform artists, Shannon King of Chicago, visited The Artistry and instructed the ladies with the latest styling techniques. Redken is a leader in the hairstyling industry.

La’Tosha Lewis, recreation supervisor for the City of Plant City Recreation and Parks Department, has been awarded a Child Development Associate credential in recognition of outstanding work with young children. The credential was awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition in Washington, D.C., which represents the early childhood education profession. Here she is pictured with some of the children in her program on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

Plant City recently added two captains to the police department, hiring Mike Floyd and Susan Pruett. The Catch more on this story two have years of experience in law on FOCUSTV Episode 37 enforcement, and it is the first time a at woman has ever been named captain in Plant City.


july 2009

Pictured here are The Lions Club officers for 2009. From left to right are Second Chair Gail Lyons, President Charles Harris, First Chair Kelleigh Klein, and Third Chair Carrie Gifford. The Lions Club enjoyed dinner at an induction ceremony for the occasion at the Holiday Inn Express, off exit 24 of I-4.

local talk of the town Vietnam veteran, University of Florida graduate, FOCUS reporter, and Dover resident Felix Haynes has published an historical novel to capture what it was like to live through the Vietnam War.  “I wrote ‘No Substitute for Victory’ to tell the story of living the wonderful life of a Florida student and Army ROTC cadet while looking  ahead to very likely service in Vietnam,”  Haynes said.  Haynes, an administrator with Hillsborough Community College, holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from UF. He attended the U. S. Military Academy’s Military History Fellowship in 1994 and subsequently developed and taught a course in American Military History. Published by Vantage Press, the book is available at most area bookstores and online from, borders. com, and barnesandnoble. com.

Jules Burt will bring her High Heel Hike to Plant City on Aug. 22. It is a fundraising event for Generation Rescue, which is Jenny McCarthy’s and Jim Carrey’s organization that researches the causes and treatments for autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and chronic illness. At the event, people will find out who will be crowned the first-ever High Heel Queen Plant City. Teams up to ten are encouraged. The team or individual raising the most donations for
Generation Rescue wins the title of Queen, Teen Queen, and Princess. For more information, visit www.

Rick Bunnell, the vice president of distributions for the grocery chain Albertsons, hands Kelleigh Klein, executive director of the United Food Bank, a check for $30,000 on behalf of the grocery chain. Albertson’s has a history of giving back to communities, as one of its core values is “Individually and collectively, we pledge to be active and responsible citizens of our communities.”



Sister’s and Company is hosting the Feed Our Families Fashion Show at the Red Rose Inn and Suites on July 23 at 6:30 p.m.  The event benefits the United Food Bank.  Tickets are $30 each, and a table of eight is $300, including program recognition. In addition, the event is a part of a national recognition for organizations and individuals who are feeding the hungry in their communities.  Sister’s and Company would like the United Food Bank to receive this national recognition.  To nominate the United Food Bank, simply log on to and enter your information.

foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009



local focus this year’s Leadership class was City Commissioner and Vice Mayor Dan Raulerson. We learned that Mayor Rick Lott was going to be out of town during one of the city commission meetings, which meant that Raulerson would be responsible for leading the meeting in Lott’s absence. Since attending a city commission meeting is a requirement of the class, we surprised Raulerson by attending together as a group, complete with our Leadership Plant City shirts. Following the completion of the Leadership class, the chamber and Leadership alumni evaluated the previous year’s class to discuss ways to improve – everything from the timing of the breaks through the day, to the value of each day’s schedule. Kelleigh Klein is the chairperson for Leadership Plant City and attends the majority of the classes with the participants. She said, “Leadership Cindy Gutowski gets passed through a web of rope during one of the team building exercises at Camp Cristina. Photo by Erin Brown Plant City provides participants with great opportunities to learn more about our community, network with other business leaders, and gain opportunities to engage in leadership roles within our community.” If you’re interested in attending day, participants are split into teams. Some of the class highlights S to r y by b r i a n w e S t Each team must develop a skit to be included visits to WFLA News Leadership Plant City, call the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce at Sponsored by the Greater Plant performed at the dinner celebration. Channel 8, Stepping Stone Farm, CF City Chamber of Commerce, Lead- It makes for a great way to “break Industries, Durant High School for (813) 754-3707. Class size is limited ership Plant City provides an oppor- the ice” and allows everyone to get to lunch prepared by the culinary arts to about 20 and they often have to tunity to an orientation of Plant City. know each other. students, and a trip to the Camp Cris- turn people away who’ve waited too It’s not a new concept. In fact, many Then, typically the second Tuesday tina YMCA campus in Riverview, for late. Catch more on this story chambers across the country have of each month, participants meet a day of team-building exercises. on FOCUSTV Episode 33 similar programs. Leadership Plant at the chamber for breakfast and a I had the opportunity to participate at City began in 1983, and as you could quick rundown of the day’s activities. this year, and I’m imagine, it has evolved quite a bit in Each month’s class is themed and glad I did. I’ve 20-plus years. each day is planned with careful at- lived in Plant Today, Leadership Plant City runs tention to the details. In addition to City all my life, September through May, skipping the structured monthly classes, each but I learned March for the Florida Strawberry participant must also complete a short so many things Festival. During the first meeting in list of activities that include volunteer about our great September, participants spend the service to the chamber, attending a community that afternoon at the chamber getting to city commission meeting, attending I don’t think know each other, understanding the a chamber breakfast, and a choice I’d have ever expectations of the class for the year, of ride-a-longs with either the Plant been exposed to selecting shirts to wear during each City Fire Department or Police otherwise. We class (it helps to identify the class Department. The only stipulation for also had a lot of participants during the field trips), these extra requirements is that they fun along the and ending with a dinner celebra- must be complete prior to the gradua- way. One of the The 2009 Leadership Plant City class presented its “cut up” photo to tion. Just prior to the end of the first tion ceremony in May. participants in Vice Mayor Dan Raulerson. Photo by Erin Brown

Every Friday, a new episode of Coffee Talk airs on Here, hosts Sandee Sytsma and Bruce Rodwell interview orthopedic surgeon Scott Goldsmith. You can view the interview on Photo by Aaron Oberlin

It’s about you

Focus TV was there to cover the induction of two new captains for the Plant City Police Department. You can view it on episode 37 at Photo by Aaron Oberlin

An orientation to Plant City Leadership Plant City offers a great way to learn about the community.

development of Focus TV is just media occurred. another part of the evolution of More than media in the quaint city. In fact, it is seven years a microcosm for the history of media, ago, FOCUS which has gone through centuries was born. A of changes. Did you know that in more modern the early 1900s, publishers frowned form, loaded upon pictures in newspapers? Now with photos they are the focal point. and a new angle, S to r y by J e n B e s t e When a newspaper first came to FOCUS pubA new source for local information and there is a story about something Plant City, it was the South Florida lished only positive is at your fingertips, and all you have that happened in Clearwater. Plant Courier in 1884. In fact, that was stories that benefited the people of to do is type “” into City is an hour away from Clear- before the city was called Plant City, this town. The people of Plant City 36 the Web address section of your In- water,” said Mike Floyd, owner and and that was one year before the embraced it. Now, the magazine has ternet browser. You can even search producer of Focus TV. “I don’t care town was incorporated. Since then, enhanced its product with Focus TV. “Focus Plant City” on Google. about who won the football game in the newspaper has undergone several As you turn through the pages, look What you will find is Focus TV, a Clearwater. I care about what is go- name and ownership changes (turn for the Focus TV icon at the end weekly show that informs you about ing on with my neighbors and friends. to page 46 and follow a multipart of a story. It will tell you where to what is going on in Plant City. From I care about story about the find television coverage of the story Little League baseball scores to up- what is hap- Focus TV can film an advertisement history of The you are reading. Don’t miss out on a dates on your city council, Focus TV pening here for you and load it on the FOCUS Courier). chance to be right in the action and offers shows with information about in Plant More recently, feel like you were there. magazine’s Web site. You can even things that pertain to you. City.” another change “You turn on the 10 o’clock news T h e in Plant City’s use the ad wherever else you want.

Focus TV brings coverage of the latest happenings in your community.

june 2009


july 2009


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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009



local focus

Karate students kick it at Nationals Local karate instructor, Chris Welbon, sent his students to a national karate tournament and brought back more medals than total people sent. S t o r y by S u z a n n e G a l l a g h e r

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The tournament team from Chris Welbon Karate Clubs brought the spirit of Plant City to the Amateur Athletic Union’s (AAU) annual Karate National Championships at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale from June 15-20. Although it’s called Nationals, athletes traveled from as far away as Hawaii, Ireland, and Slovenia to compete among 1,500 martial artists from more than 70 karate clubs in kata, kubodo (weapons), and kumite (sparring). Chris Welbon Karate Clubs sent 28 of its own athletes, ages 8 to 51, from Plant City to compete for the title of National Champion. Chris Welbons’ students, who comprised one of the largest teams at the competition, won more than 40 medals. Their names and awards are listed below: Ruby Aman, 48, Gold (3), Kata, Kobudo, Kumite Kyle Austin, 12 , Gold, Kumite Mike Booher, 46 , Laura Booher, 15, Bronze, Team Kumite Alexander Brousseau, 8, 4th Kata, Kumite Jonathon Cain, 11, Bronze (2), Kata, Kumite Izzy Camacho, 51, Bronze, Kumite Anyssa Castillo, 8, Gold, Kumite Erika Chinander, 13, Silver, Kumite and Bronze, Team Kumite Brett Chinander, 14, Silver, Kumite and Bronze, Team Kumite Jordan Deshong, 14, Bronze, Kumite

Brent Fry, 15, Gold (2) Kata, Kubodo Yih-Ching Gallagher, 8, Silver, Kata and Gold, Kumite Emmarie Gaudet, 8, Bronze, Kata and Gold, Kubodo Kenny Hidalgo, 10, Silver, Kumite Kyle Queenan, 13, Silver (2) Kata, Kumite Billy Poorman, 17, Gold (2), Kata, Kumite Shari Mitchell, 31, Gold (2) Kata, Kumite Tyler Ritchart, 11, Bronze, Kata and Gold, Kumite Alexander Smith, 8, Silver, Kumite Clark Smith, 41, Silver, Kata and Gold, Kumite Cameron Turley, 9, 4th, Kata Brian Warren, 15, Bronze, Kata and Silver, Kumite Michael Wilson, 16, Silver, Kata and Gold, Kumite Chris Wilson, 14, Bronze, Kumite Abigail Wolford, 10, Gold, Kata and Silver, Kumite Blake Wolford, 8, 4th,Kata Holly Wolford, 13, Gold, Kata and Bronze, Kumite Team members Izzy Camacho and Amy Booher served as coaches. Team member Mike Booher and Sensei Welbon served as tournament referees. Chris Welbon Karate Clubs will send some of the athletes from Plant City to compete at the 43rd AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa this summer.

local focus

Steve Hurley, owner of Stingray Chevrolet, welcomes everyone to the Road to Freedom fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Brenda Rouse

Road to Freedom

to house the event furnished with balloons, but they also hired a valet service as well. Their employees offered a helping hand wherever needed. What a great group. Candy Green and The Honey B’s, sponsored by Betty Patton and Gil Gott, entertained the guests by singing owners of the dealership, were won- and playing light rock numbers along derful hosts. Having cleared their with Oldies but Goldies. Couples showroom of beautiful new cars, and lured by the beat of the music rocked using a Fourth of July freedom theme, out to the faster songs and swayed they hung clusters of red, white, and gently to the slow, sweet melodies. blue balloons with streamers from the The Spring Boutique brought gently massively high ceiling. Tables covered worn items of clothing, jewelry, and with navy table cloths, having been other pretties for guests to purchase. loaned for the event by the Tampa Convention Center, held a balloon bouquet in the center. The Hurleys are truly good neighbors to this community. Having grown up in Lakeland, it was like coming home to Steve Hurley after spending many years in San Antonio. Susan grew up in Texas, so this is a new experience for her to be away from her home state. They are fitting in nicely in Plant City and have jumped in with both feet. Steve grabbed a wet rag and began wiping down the chairs, which were quite dusty, and Susan offered her services in setting up raffle prizes. Linda Lawson addresses the crowd at the Road to Freedom fundraiser held at Stingray Chevrolet. They not only extended an invitation Photo courtesy of Brenda Rouse

Fundraising event to benefit The Spring. S to r y by L i n d a L aw s o n

Two weeks of nothing but canned vegetables is not my idea of good nutrition and surely sounds boring. Recently, with incidents of domestic violence up and donations down, The Spring and Hillsborough County’s Domestic Violence Shelter had only some donated canned veggies to offer their clients. Quite the contrast, ticket holders, sponsors, and patrons of Road to Freedom fundraiser for The Spring enjoyed prime rib cooked to perfection, baked potato, southern-style green beans, salad, hard rolls, decadent chocolate cake, and iced tea. The Publix store on Jim Redman Parkway was instrumental in obtaining red and white wine donated by Southern Wine and Spirits. Beer made by Mike Sweet along with the wine was available by donation. Approximately 100 diners gathered June 27, at 6:30 p.m., at Stingray Chevrolet on North Frontage Road in Plant City. Steve and Susan Hurley,


july 2009

A “Tour of Tables” highlighting the many facets of The Spring’s services offered to clients was previewed by the guests. For each table visited, they were presented with a ticket to use on their choice of raffle prizes. Strawberry Festival Queen Lauren Der and her court sold tickets for one dollar each for a 50/50 drawing. A pot of $284 was shared with a lucky guest. After food expenses, approximately $3,200 was raised to help The Spring. The Friends of The Spring’s goal was to create community awareness regarding the needs of victims of domestic violence served by The Spring. Making money to help with the clients was a bonus. The Road to Freedom committee members include MarDee Buchman, Mellie Mabry, Hal and Lynn Brewer, Betty Patton, Gil Gott, Candy Owens, Lou Baird, Jim Cain, Diana Thompson, and Linda Lawson. The Spring CEO Joanne Lighter, Brenda Rouse, and Kathleen Alley of The Spring met with, guided, and worked alongside the committee. If you missed the event and would like to make a donation to the Road to Freedom benefiting The Spring, then please call Linda Lawson at (813) 679-3370. For information regarding The Spring and its services, please call The Spring at (813) 247- 5433, for a counselor call (813) 247-SAFE(7233), or log on to

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Dr. Pat Almerico, DDS 704 N. Alexander St • 813-752-5554 foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


local focus

Local teacher wins countywide award Lynn Connor has been teaching for more than 10 years, and her peers have recognized her quality of work.

responsible behavior and act like relationships. aspiring professionals,” said Connor. Once the program is completed, The dedicated students study Mon- students are eligible to take the state day through Thursday, from 3 p.m. to board exam to become a licensed S to r y by Ruc h e l l e O w e n s 9:45 p.m. Aside from their regular cosmetologist. Connor’s instruction Stunned and amazed are just two students the Florida law, as it pertains duties, students in the program are boasts an impressive 98 percent pass words Lynn Connor uses to describe to cosmetology. It also helps students actively involved in the community. rating. the feelings she had when she was create resumes and connects them to They have worked with people in a “We have an eclectic collection awarded the Outstanding Adult possible employers. Guest speakers skilled nursing facility, distributed of award-winning student stylists Education Teacher of the Year for are a frequent addition to the summer information at the city’s car and bike seeking to be professionals in the Hillsborough County. course. OnSite Accounting, Edward shows, and most recently volunteered cosmetology field,” said Connor. Nominated by Steve Barta, assistant Jones Investments, and the Chamber as hostesses for the Women’s Club. It is this desire for excellence and principal for Adult and Commu- of Commerce are a few of the orga- They were also participants of the dedication to high expectations that nity School, Connor was invited to a nizations known to assist students business expo at the Trinkle Center, solidified her win for Outstanding breakfast, where she was presented in preparing for their career. Life and for the past two years, a team Adult Teacher of the Year. With a the award, in honor of all nominees coaches and a panel of professionals has represented the program at the new term beginning in August, Conthroughout the county. ensure students are setting appropri- annual Relay for Life, held at Plant nor said that if “someone wants to “I had no idea I was even in the ate career goals, and are taking the City High School. Connor also men- start the program, it’s hard for me not running,” says Connor of her win. “I proper steps in becoming gainfully tions the advocacy opportunities that to let them in.” was speechless that I received this employed. naturally arise when stylists become The Salon at 1 Raider Place can be honor because I consider it a privilege “I want students to maintain involved with various people and form reached at (813) 707-7147. to teach my profession.” Connor teaches cosmetology at Plant City Adult and Community School, a 1,200-hour program that runs a little longer than a year. She was hired to teach the nail program in 1990 and worked until 1996, advancing to assistant cosmetology instructor. She took a break in 1996 to focus on her business, Tip-to-Toe, and family. She resumed teaching in 2004. The program contains five courses and a business class, which is always held in the summer. The different sections are always rotating and students are accepted every new term. Programs cover not only hair care, but also disinfecting procedures, skin care, nail care, and the salon, called The Salon at 1 Raider Place, which is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. All highly affordable services are provided by student stylists who have advanced to the “A team,” as Connor calls them. These students have more experience and more freedom but also continue to test and keep their theory knowledge fresh. The summer business course teaches Lynn Connor receives the award for Outstanding Adult Education Teacher of the Year for Hillsborough County. Photo courtesy of Lynn Connor


july 2009
















foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


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FOCUSTV foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


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Tony Belmont and George Galfo were at the Red Rose Inn and Suites raising money for charity. Photo by Krystel Knowles

A famous Cadillac, a renowned singer It was a night of the golden years of rock ‘n’ roll at the Red Rose Inn and Suites on June 13. The original Buddy Holly – a famous rock ‘n’ roll singer and songwriter in the ‘50s – 1957 Cadillac was in attendance for people to view. It was part of an effort to raise money for the Plant City United Food Bank. For $10, people were able to get their picture taken with the famous Fleetwood. Tony Belmont, of the Belmonts, drove the car to the Red Rose. George Galfo’s Mystics were also at the Red Rose Inn. The band’s song, “Hushabye” went No. 1 on the charts in the nation 50 years ago – June 13, 1959. They were there celebrating the song’s 50th anniversary. “I decided to participate in the car showing because I enjoy raising money for charity, and I am also here to celebrate George Galfo’s Mystics 50th anniversary,” said Belmont, who added that the Cadillac is only used to raise money for charity and to transport famous people.


july 2009

The Buddy Holly Cadillac is famous nationwide, having transported more than 1,000 rock stars to and from their destinations. One of the most famous groups of people transported in the vehicle were the Beatles, who used it to be transported to their Shea Stadium concert in 1965. Currently, the Cadillac has 436,000 miles and is going to get a little bodywork and paintwork in the near future to preserve the vehicle’s appearance. Belmont said the vehicle was Buddy Holly’s dream car and had it delivered to Lubbock, Texas in 1956. The night was capped by a performance by the Mystics in the Red Rose Dining Room at 8 p.m., and after their performance, people were able to get an original poster signed by Galfo or Belmont. It was just another fun-filled, Vegasstyle weekend at the Red Rose Inn and Suites.


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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


local focus

James Emory, Blake Emory, and David Rothman stand at the base of an enormous mural they painted in downtown Plant City. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

A mural society S to r y by a a r o n o b e r l i n

Anyone passing through downtown Plant City recently might have noticed a vibrant addition to the quaint district. It’s hard not to see it, as it stands at least two stories tall. On the corners of Reynolds and Evers streets, three men have been painting a mural on the side of Hannah’s II, Antiques and Collectibles. “I had seen the guys painting down the street, and I thought it would be something good for Plant City. You know, build it up a little bit,” said Ed Haynes, owner of Hannah’s II. “So I said, ‘What the heck?’ I’ll go ahead


july 2009

and put this mural up, and everyone has been going crazy about it.” Not only is it extremely tall, but it is also at least 40 feet wide. Such a large mural caught many passersby’s eyes, and while the artists were painting several people stopped to ask, “What is it?” “It’s a Norman Rockwell reproduction, and of course we had to take it to a whole new level and do something original with it,” said Blake Emory, one of the three artists who worked on the mural. “Like every painting we do, we are trying to take it to a whole

While Dr. Brothers worked on their painting, people would stop by to compliment the work. Here, a young lady asks for an autograph. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

new mental realm of understanding. People can look at the art, and really it is in the eye of the beholder to see what you see and feel what you feel from the art itself.” Blake, along with his brother James Emory and friend David Rothman, form the artisan trio Dr. Brothers. The Emorys hail from Plant City but have painted murals as far away as Seattle and New Mexico. They have even

painted here in Plant City at AAA Jewelers and Reggie’s Laundromat. “With a whole crew, we can knock out a mural this size in a week,” said Blake. Anyone who is interested in reaching Dr. Brothers, call (813) 359-3502. Catch more on this story on FOCUSTV Episode 38 at

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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


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GETTING MARRIED? WON AN AWARD? DELIVERED? GOT A PROMOTION? Call 813-707-8783 Ext 24 To Share Your Good News With all the obstacles at McCormick’s, it isn’t uncommon to see wakeboarders go for the gusto. MAGAZINE

Fun for everyone S t o r y by a a r o n o b e r l i n

The family would like to say thank you for your kind donations to the memorial fund at Textures Hair Salon for Patti Gildea’s son,

Charles Mullen Special note to the person who stole almost all the donations from the drop box. May God help you. You are one of the lowest life forms on earth. - Uncle Chuck


july 2009

Along the quiet streets of Seffner, families live regular lives. They attend church on Sundays, work Mondays through Fridays, and cook dinner and eat together in the evenings. Behind these calm roads, people from all around travel to McCormick’s – a waterskiing, wakeboard, and cable park – to fulfi ll their urges for some excitement. Whether an action junkie or someone interested in giving water sports a try, McCormick’s offers a fun-fi lled environment for people of all ages. “I love it out here,” said Chase Harrington, an experienced wakeboarder who made his way to Seffner all the way from Sarasota. “This is my first time out here, and there are some challenging boxes and rails.” “When you come out here, you can learn to water ski, you can learn to wakeboard, and you can do either one of those behind a boat,” said Mike McCormick, owner of McCormick’s. “You can even play on our climbing wall or our trampoline. Or you can

go behind our cable ski, which has a beginner and main cable.” With the cable ski, up to nine people at a time can ski or wakeboard at a time, as opposed to one person behind a boat. The beginning cable is 15 feet long and pulls a skier at a slow place so he or she can get comfortable to the ride. Once someone feels ready to progress, they can go to the main cable, which is 35 feet long and pulls significantly faster. With so much to choose from, McCormick’s is not only a place for novice and good wakeboarders and skiers, but it is also a place where some professionals have come to train and have a good time, including professional wakeboarder Amber Wing. She recently placed second at the first stop of the Pro Tour held in Texas. For more information on McCormick’s, visit or call (813) 681-4441. Catch more on this story on FOCUSTV Episode 39 at

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2000 East Baker Street • Plant City, FL • 813-752-4171 • foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


local focus

The Internet café on the orthopedic fl oor allows patients to surf the Web outside of their room, and, yes, patients can access the Internet in their rooms also. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

New addition to hospital A new medical unit brings more services to the people of Plant City. Plantation shutters, soothing green walls, fold-out sleeper sofas, flat-screen TV’s, Internet access, and monogrammed bathrobes sound like amenities at a boutique hotel. In reality, they are features of South Florida Baptist Hospital’s new orthopedic unit. South Florida Baptist Hospital has renovated the fourth floor of its north wing to accommodate orthopedic patients in 10 private rooms, giving the people of Plant City more options when it comes to medical services. But the experience begins before the patient even arrives on the floor. Each Monday, the Same Day Surgery Center offers a two-hour class for patients who will undergo South Florida Baptist Hospital is a 147-bed acute care facility that provides a full range of diagnostic, surgical, therapeutic, women’s and rehabilitative services.


july 2009

knee, hip, or shoulder replacement surgery. Patients meet with a physical therapist, a patient care coordinator, a perioperative nurse, and a registrar to learn what to expect before, during, and after their procedure. The patient orientation classes began in 2005, and 319 patients have attended the class since its inception. “Patients undergo a pretty aggressive physical therapy program,” said Lisa Larkin, who coordinates the patient orientation. “Sometimes it begins as soon as in the recovery room.” John Hood, a patient who recently underwent hip replacement surgery, smiles with his physical In addition, the patient rooms on the therapist while he takes his morning walk. Photo by Aaron Oberlin orthopedic floor were designed large “These features improve the atmoAccording to the American Acadenough to accommodate equipment so that physical therapists may come sphere and the patient experience, emy of Orthopedic Surgeons, from to the patient rather than the patient creating an environment that is more 2000 to 2006, knee replacements having to go to physical therapy. The conducive to healing,” explained Jack grew by 65 percent, while hip replacements jumped 76 percent. Of course, unit includes a practice staircase also. Vasconcellos, director of operations. “The new unit allows us to expand these are scheduled surgeries and In addition to necessary recovery and rehabilitation resources, patients our orthopedic program,” added patients often choose their surgeon have access to an Internet and media Steve Nierman, COO. “Hip and and hospital. café, complete with orthopedic knee replacements have proven to be Log on to FOCUSTV July 22 ergonomic furniture, computers and extraordinarily successful, resulting in for more on this story. TVs. Fold-out sleeper sofas in patient tremendous growth in the number of rooms enable family members to stay patients choosing to have these joint replacement surgeries. with the patient.

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Laurie Hofts holds a shirt promoting Navaeh, a Christian band from Plant City. Photo by Krystel Knowles


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Bringing people together one song at a time S t o r y by K r y S t e l K n o w l e S

Laurie Hofts, 48, is a volunteer band manager for the young adult band Navaeh. Hofts became the band manager because she wanted members of youth groups once they get older to continue being part of something fun and productive. Hofts has worked with youth groups for a long time and saw that youth transitioning to adulthood needed a place to be with other young adults. Hofts said the band was named Navaeh because it is a nice catchy name and it is heaven spelled backwards. She said the band came together about one and a half years ago. “We all started as a bunch of misfits who just wanted to create music,” said Hofts. The band currently plays

at different churches, festivals, and wherever they get the change. Hofts said she enjoys being the band manager because she gets to help mentor the band members as young leaders. She likes providing the young adults with positive feedback and support for their music. “I am so proud of them because they have composed some of the songs they play. We are hoping to have a CD of their music in the future,” said Hofts. Hofts believes in the band. These young adults have a heart for music and a passion for God. Navaeh songs promote Jesus, God, and making right decisions in everyday life. “I want this band to go a long way, and I believe they will,” said Hofts.

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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


local focus choir’s parent organization, Music Toney, describing her reaction. for Life Institute, funds shelter, food, The children receive education clothing, education, and health care while on tour. Chaperones, like for Africa’s most vulnerable young- fourth-grade teacher Kari Penrod, sters. Many have lost one or both also provide cultural experiences parents to AIDS or other diseases. for the eager learners. Reading is a All are victims of extreme poverty. favorite pastime during bus travel Th rough literacy and formal school- and storybooks inspire their creative ing programs, the children return to imaginations. build a better future for their African The Choir has shared Africa’s story brothers and sisters in the nations through motion picture soundtacks of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, South from “Blood Diamond,” “Hotel Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana. Many Rwanda,” and Oprah Winfrey’s former choir children are raised to “Beloved.” Despite the tragedy they’ve become Africa’s next generation of experienced, these gifted youngsters leaders. radiate hope through cappella harThe African Children’s Choir recently performed at Plant City Church of God. During the show, Choir 31, one of three currently monies and rhythmic synchronized members of the choir took time for a prayer. Photo courtesy of African Children’s Choir touring America, Canada, and the dancing, sharing their message at United Kingdom, will have per- large and small venues worldwide. formed more than 200 shows between The African Children’s Choir kids its April 2008 arrival in the U.S. and have charmed notables like Kofi its departure after this winter’s Jour- Annan, Nelson Mandela, Bono, ney of Hope theatrical production and many other celebrities in highly detailing one choir’s journey out of publicized events like American Idol war-torn Uganda. Gives Back and the United Nations S to r y by C h e r y l J o h n S to n Local families host three children UNAIDS Summit. plus a chaperone in their homes, But volunteers are success keys in There is a good chance that if you The African Children’s Choir is becoming “aunties and uncles” by Music for Life’s various enrichment spend much time watching TV or a Christian charity established 25 providing meals, beds, and child- and outreach programs. Online at browsing YouTube, then you have years ago during Uganda’s bloody friendly entertainment void of televi- w w w.a fricanchi ld, discovered the amazing African civil war. Human rights activist Ray sion, computer, or electronic games. visitors can purchase music, make Children’s Choir and its musical Barnett provided help for thousands Together, they play sports or board donations, or apply to experience message of hope. of displaced and orphaned children games, swim, read aloud, or converse. fi rsthand the beauty and hope of Last month, almost 800 morning after being inspired by one small boy’s To everyone’s delight, the bilingual Africa through service opportunities. service attendees at Plant City Church singing, and Barnett’s group became children communicate precisely in Lyrics from one of The Choir’s of God enjoyed an up-close encounter determined to show the world that English flavored with lilting accents trademark songs best remind why: “It when the 26 children from Choir 31, “Africa’s most vulnerable children and proper pronunciations. takes a whole village to raise a child.” ages 7-12, visited on June 28. The have beauty, dignity, and unlimited Since many Africans are strict choir’s rock-the-house performance ability.” parents with high mesmerized the congregation, which To make a permanent and continuexpectations for beresponded in spontaneous standing ing difference, the team selected havioral compliance ovation very early in the hour-long Ugandan children for training and and regard for others, musical set. new culture readiness, a four-month host families express J.D. Woodside, PCCG worship long process. Then the children delight when describarts pastor, expected the exuberant traveled from their African homes to ing the children as response. tour church communities throughout joyful, peaceful, and “These radiant children have a joy North America. That fi rst choir’s respectful. Rather and strength that comes only from proceeds built an orphanage in Kamthan a sacrifice, hostGod,” Woodside said. “Seeing them pala from which the second choir ing proves to be an sing, dance, and worship with com- was selected. Then began the legacy incredible blessing. plete abandon sheds new light on the established in 1984. “To witness such joy They will be at the YMCA on Compton Drive in Tampa Matthew 18:3 verse – ‘I tell you the Today, through the power of song, from kids who have on Sunday morning at 10am. Take a friend or two with truth, unless you change and become more than 700 children are or have been through so much you to see their incredible performance and their pure, like little children, you will never been choir members and almost 7,000 unadulterated joy. Check it out on the web at was a humbling expeenter the kingdom of heaven.’” children are currently supported. The rience,” said Kristen

African Children’s Choir They are more than children. They are more than a singing group. They are faces of hope.


july 2009

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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


local focus

Plant City women teaches in Africa S to r y by C h e r y l J o h n s to n

Waneda Brownlow resigned from the Cork Elementary faculty last August to take a new position in Africa. Today, instead of helping first-graders read, she’s teaching teachers to reach children. Her expanded vision reaches from the Plant City community to a new continent, and this courageous woman couldn’t be more content. Brownlow, a breast cancer survivor now three years, spent 35 years with her late husband Lamar in Christian ministry prior to his death in 2006. For 23 of those, they were foreign missionaries in five countries. As a widow, Brownlow dreamed of returning to career missionary work. In His perfect time, God ordered her steps halfway around the globe to Africa. After the Church of God World Missions department approved her application, Waneda sold her home, stored precious keepsakes, and flew over the ocean to Eldoret, a small town in Kenya. Her mission: to teach African leaders instructional methods for training their regional and local teachers of children. As Children’s Ministry Coordinator – Africa, Brownlow utilizes skills

learned at Lee College and implemented in her Cork classroom. Often, the leaders she trains have never encountered the principles of age-appropriate, well-organized lesson plans, learning modalities, pacing, questioning techniques, scaffolding, scope and sequence, behavior management, and benchmark goals. When they leave Brownlow’s workshops, they’re anxious to incorporate her methods into their own schools, churches, and brush arbor gatherings where curious minds crave knowledge. Since November, Brownlow has taught more than 60 teachers from 33 countries across the middle of the continent. Interdenominational teamwork is not uncommon. Recently, 13 teachers from the pre-colonial Anglican Church studied teacher development strategies in a one-day seminar. When they offered thanks, Brownlow learned that through those 13, more than 20,000 children would be reached. As for cultural differences, Brownlow has had no difficulty acclimating. “We are more alike than different,” Brownlow said. “We love our families

These Ugandan mothers told Waneda at convention that she was the first teacher to sit with them on the mat, and the first teacher to embrace them. Photo courtesy of Waneda Brownlow


july 2009

and especially our children. We want the best for them, so they can be all they were born to be.” Daily life includes plenty of walking, cultivating garden vegetables with several missionary housemates, studying, and interacting with the locals. She has no car and no fast food, which might explain her 12-pound weight loss since the move. Delicious meals now consist of steamed cabbage, seasoned rice, flatbread with lentil soup, and ugali, which is a dish similar to grits, eaten with kale but without utensils. When not traveling, Brownlow regularly visits 26 children in an Eldoret foster home. Three sisters survived their father’s death by AIDS and their mother’s suicide with Waneda Brownlow holds Moses, an infant who was abandoned two of five children just before last Christmas. Brownlow frequently stops by to help by poison. Another him out. Photo courtesy of Waneda Brownlow infant, Moses, was abandoned just before Christmas. potential rather than problems. “Not only are the people gracious, Brownlow stops by often to play, do hospitable, and joyful,” Brownlow housework, and offer speech therapy. Brownlow’s own children, residents said, “but they value any opportunity of Plant City and Valrico, are thrilled for education. I’m humbled by this to have mom here for several weeks ev- privilege.” Notice the faces of her new African ery six months. They also understand her important work and her talents for friends – beautiful smiles, bright eyes, teaching any age of students. So they and hopeful hands eager to help, to simply make good use of Internet and work, to reach for their best potential. Perhaps their passion for life and postal services. Brownlow’s responsibilities might learning is the best motivation any seem daunting. She definitely ap- teacher trainer could have – notice preciates prayers for the families Brownlow’s smile. Her heart has God will reach. In Kenya alone, the found a home. denomination has 700 congregations. Brownlow, however, focuses on

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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


local focus

The Superhuman Experiment S to r y by P h i l N e a r y

About two years ago, Amanda needed to know what it was about to Stevens consulted George Pulliam get the right feel.” That persistence paid off in just and Jesse Starr to have some shirts about every way possible. screen printed. As George and Jesse became more George and Jesse, owners of Starr Design Incorporated in Plant City, and more intrigued with the (X), they became curious when they saw an “X” were drawn into Steven’s experience in an underground experiment. in parenthesis on the shirts. In learning more about her experiSo they started to inquire about the mysterious (X), started asking ence, they came to the conclusion that questions, started becoming more it would make an incredible comic and more interested in what exactly book. “It took us awhile to catch on, but Stevens was involved in. “It was one of those things where once we got it, we realized it would we had to dig,” George said. “At first, be an awesome idea for a comic book,” we really didn’t know what was going George said. But it wasn’t just an idea thrown on. Since we were going to be doing creative things for her, we kind of out there for the sake of amusement. It wasn’t something that would just blow over after a few days of pondering. “We decided we were going to take that real story and elaborate on it in a comic book type scenario,” Jesse said. “It’s a hybrid of reality and the comic book world. It’s something no one’s ever done before.” So the group collaborated. As ideas evolved, so did the following of the comic book, which would eventually be known as the Superhuman Experiment. Incredibly, Jesse hadn’t even written a comic book before. “I wasn’t ready, but I just did it,” Jesse said. “It’s a matter of just doing it. I’ve always been able to draw.” In January of 2009, Amanda Stevens holds up a promo card for the Tampa Comic the group released Con. Photo courtesy of Amanda Stevens the first full book


july 2009

Jesse Starr, Amanda Stevens, and George Pulliam sit at a booth promoting their comic book called “Superhuman Experiment.” Photo courtesy of Amanda Stevens

of the forthcoming Superhuman Experiment series, known as “(X): ORIGINS. The Origins of The Superhuman Experiment.” “It’s like when you read Spider-Man and he gets bit by a radioactive spider and becomes Spiderman,” Stevens said. “It was an intro to the actual story.” So on went the already successful series, supplying a new edition every two months. The second book, called the “Superhuman Experiment: (X) Ultimate Reality,” debuted at Tampa Comic Book Convention on July 12 and will be distributed nationwide. The Superhuman Experiment started doing conventions during the middle of last year and has since developed into a new genre that combines reality with a comic book world. It has grown nationwide. “People really started catching on to

what it was we were doing,” Jesse said. “It’s been crazy.” Stevens became an extremely popular figure in the comic book and sci-fi world, and Jesse became one of the top comic book artists around. And, to think, it all started with the inquiry of some T-shirts. “It was never intended to be a comic book,” Stevens said. “It was only when George and Jesse were inquisitive about the (X) on the shirts.” That begs the original question. What exactly was the (X)? More importantly, what exactly was the superhuman experiment? What did the comic book entail? “It’s hard to explain without going into great detail,” Jesse said. “It’s kind of something you have to see for yourself.”

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local focus

And the winner is… Before her passing, Betty Chambers set up a way to recognize virtuous young ladies. S to r y by A a r o n O b e r l i n

Dub and Pec McGinness presented Ali Boggs recently with the first Betty Chambers Memorial Scholarship at the Plant City High School Awards Ceremony. The award comes with a $1,000 scholarship. The award will be given out every year following. Although Betty Chambers was not around to see the award bestowed, she was able to set up her scholarship and the requirements before her death. “I want to establish a scholarship for a female student who has outstanding grades, excels in sports, and has family values,” Chambers had said to

her daughters, Pec McGinness and Sherrie Mueller. In her own life, Chambers possessed the same virtues for which she wanted to award a PCHS student. Chambers was a salutatorian of her graduating class and a four-year letterman on her high school basketball team. She was crowned Miss Byron, representing her home town. She was even active in her church and community while raising a family. Boggs was certainly a good choice for the award, as she has accomplished several laudable things herself. As the first recipient of the award, she

Dub and Pec McGinness present Ali Boggs with a $1,000 scholarship. Photo courtesy of Sherrie Mueller

exemplified the values that Chambers was looking for in a winner. The daughter of Steve and Sheryl Boggs, Boggs lettered in both volleyball and basketball. She ranked in the top 3 percent of her class and

was named a Tampa Tribune Scholar. Boggs was named a Senior Superlative and was crowned Prom Queen. She is active with First Baptist Church. She plans to attend the Florida Institute of Technology.

foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


local focus

Fellowship summer kickoff Event offers a place to have fun and be free from vices. S to r y by K r y s t e l K n o w l e s

First United Methodist Church of Plant City held its summer kickoff event for young adults between the ages of 18 to 35. The series of events are designed to give young adults the opportunity to mingle, spend time with friends, and be able to have fun without having to spend a

lot of money. The first event was a movie on the lawn; it consisted of a young adult band, popcorn and refreshments for sale, and a movie. The events are for all young adult community members. All the funds raised from the summer events are to fund future social events.

Laurie Stephens, 29, church member, was asked by other church members to create a summer event schedule for the young adults. “I want the young adults to get involved with the church and have fun,” said Stephens. Her goal is to give young adults who just come out of high school a safe place to meet people their own age. “The young adults can watch a movie, eat popcorn, drink soda and watch a live band perform for less than five dollars,” said Stephens. “This is a fun,

clean event, and we are not pressuring people to become part of our church. This is the youth alternative outside the bar scene,” said Stephens. Pete Stephens, Laurie’s husband, said he supports these series of events because it gives the youth a fun and safe place to spend a weekend afternoon. For more information about future events, call First United Methodist Church of Plant City at (813) 754-3519.

More than 30 guests attended the first kickoff event from First United Methodist Church of Plant City. Photo by Krystel Knowles


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local Did you know?

The old Herring Drug Store had the Plant City Courier office in the south portion of the building – where the chair is. Photo courtesty of Plant City Photo Archives

The Courier Plant City’s Hometown Newspaper 1884 - ? Part Two, this story is continued from last month S u b m i t t e d by P l a n t C i t y P h o to A r c h i v e s

Wayne Thomas had only owned chamber of commerce, was “a live The Courier a short time when, in July body of Plant City men.” 1910, an early morning fire ravaged Thomas also took up the cause the newspaper plant and the new and editorialized in favor of the presses and equipment were heavily establishment of Plant County – damaged – and all early copies of The breaking off from Hillsborough as Courier, some dating to 1884, were Pinellas would do. Although there lost. was much support for Plant County, Thomas published a few issues from the state legislature voted against it. a Lakeland print shop, but he worked Wayne Thomas remained as quickly to rebuild, repair, and reopen publisher of The Courier for a number his printing plant in Plant City. By of years, perhaps until 1927. Other mid-August, the plant was ready and editors along the way include Fenton the Aug. 12 issue of The Courier was M. Prewitt, who, along with G. R. in the restored plant. Young Wayne Patten, was associated with the Plant Thomas was publishing again and City Enterprise, a newspaper published continued to promote the town and from 1926 to 1943. One continuing castigate those who were lackluster. element of The Courier was Irene In February 1911, he was elected Merrin, a daughter of William Frank vice president of Plant City’s Board Merrin, who was the society editor of Trade and set out to revitalize for The Courier for more than 50 years, the organization. By 1914, Thomas retiring in 1974. commented in The Courier that the The story of The Courier picks up in Board of Trade, a forerunner of the 1944. Augustus Paul Cooke (“A. P.”)


july 2009

Kathryn Cooke, former editor of The Courier, receives the 1968 Woman of Achievement Award from the Plant City Business and Professional Women’s Club. Photo courtesty of Plant City Photo Archives

was from Cooperstown, N.Y., and came to Plant City to do some public relations work for the Peninsular Telephone Company. He later worked for The Tampa Tribune and served as state editor. He left to serve with the Office of Price Administration during WWII. A. P. and Kathryn Cooke, an accomplished newspaper woman herself, returned to the Tampa area and in 1944 they bought The Courier. A. P. Cooke then spearheaded a oneman drive to raise money to purchase, from the W. B. Herring estate, the block of land that was used by physical education classes from the nearby Plant City High School. In his “Just Roaming” columns, Cooke would promote the purchase, and the response was overwhelming. More than $3,000 was raised, and Cooke purchased the property and deeded the field to the Hillsborough School District, and about 1945 it became Cooke Courier Field. At this time the Cookes operated The Courier out of a brick building on South Evers Street, and in 1949

constructed a new building at the northwest corner of Drane and Thomas streets; there The Courier remained for many years after. A. P. Cooke published and edited The Courier from 1944 until he died from cancer in 1952. Shortly after his death, a cancer laboratory was founded in Lakeland and, as a memorial, was named for A. P. Cooke. Kathryn Cooke took over as publisher and editor and, although later selling the paper, which was resold several times, she remained with The Courier in some capacity until the 1980s. In 1968 Kathryn Cooke received the Woman of Achievement Award from the Plant City Business and Professional Women’s Club. Many changes were to occur in the years that followed. Watch Part 3 of this story in the next FOCUS magazine issue in August 2009. Sources: Quintilla Geer Bruton and David E. Bailey, Jr., Plant City; Its Origin and History, 1984, Plant City Photo Archives, T he Courier.

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local chamber column

GREATER PLANT CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE S u b m i t t e d by B r uc e R o d w e l l

It’s signup time again for the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program. The goal of this tuition-based program is to prepare current and future leaders of the Plant City area for decisions that must be made as the city grows and develops. For class members to better understand the elements that comprise the community, Leadership sessions take place at various business and city locations throughout the area. The program is under the direction of the Chamber Board of Directors, managed by Leadership class alumni, and coordinated by Chamber President Marion Smith and staff. Anyone who is interested, or is an employer who would like to have key employees participate in this program, call the chamber office at (813) 754-3707 for an application. Applications must be submitted no later than Sept. 4. ······························································ Plant City Entertainment, Inc. is presenting Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes.” The show follows the hilarious antics aboard an oceanliner bound from New York City to London in the 1930s. Billy Crocker is a stowaway in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, who is engaged to Lord Oakleigh. Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy No. 13, Moonface Martin, aid Billy in his quest for Hope. The show is filled with memorable musical standards such as “Anything Goes,” “You’re the Top,” “Friendship,” “It’s De-Lovely,” and “I Get A Kick Out Of You.” This fabulous community theater production of 40 singing and dancing cast members is being directed by April Smith, musically directed by Kristen Holloway, and choregraphed by Teala Longoria and Amanda Holland. The performances will take place July 17, 18, 19, 24, and 25 at Cornerstone Community Center, 315 Collins St. The show will start at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and at 2 p.m. for the Sunday afternoon


july 2009

matinee. Doors will open at 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $10, with discounts available to seniors, students, and PCE members. Tickets will be available at the door prior to each performance. Group rates are also available by calling Hardee’s Fashions at (813) 754-4929 approximately two weeks before the performance dates. Individual advance tickets may also be purchased at Hardee’s Fashions, 1505 N. Wheeler St. ······························································ Don’t forget the Strawberry Classic Car Show, which will take place on Saturday, July 18 in downtown Plant City. This is a great, family-fun event and a chance to view some classic automobiles. The fun gets underway at 4 p.m. and goes on till 9 p.m. ······························································ South Florida Baptist Hospital is branching out of Plant City for the first time. The hospital has opened what it calls the Community Health Resource Center in FishHawk Ranch, off Lithia-Pinecrest Road. Steve Nierman, COO of SFBH, has noted an increase in residents from that area using the Plant City location and Marketing Manager Shannon Mitchell wants to tap into that market. The new facility is located in Park Square, 17004 Dorman Road. At present, the facility will be open on Thursday’s from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Family physician Dr. Roh Afridi will hold office hours at the clinic, and other physicians with privileges at SFBH are expected to do the same. Lectures are being planned and will be held across the street from the clinic at the Palmetto Club. On Aug. 11, an infant child/CPR class will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For information on this new location, call (813) 757-8511. ······························································ Would you like to learn to dance? On Monday evenings, from 7 to 9 o’ clock at the Red Rose Inn and Suites, you can do just that. Susan Staton will

help you gain confidence and teach you all the classic dances. She offers step-by-step instruction. Each session is $10 per person. No partner is needed. Private or small group lessons are also available. Call (863) 604-5060 for additional information. ······························································ The Bruton Memorial Library is offering several programs this summer. On July 20, at 7 p.m., a program on beading, with Perry Parrish and Cheryl Worsham and co-sponsored by the Arts Council of Plant City, will be offered. On July 22, learn all about scrapbooking using MS Publisher. This program will start at 11 a.m. And on July 29, the library staff will present a program on artist trading cards. You can learn to create miniature works of art to keep or trade. Every Tuesday and Thursday in July at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., there are programs for children. Call the library at (813) 7578215 for additional information. ······························································ Want to look over some great motorcycles? Plan to attend the chamber’s Bike Fest, which will take place Saturday, Aug. 1. This event starts at 5 p.m. in downtown Plant City. There will be great family fun with plenty of food from the various vendors. ······························································ Dinosaur World, located on Harvey Tew Road, which is north on Branch Forbes Road off exit 17 of I-4, is holding “DOUBLE DINO DAYS.” Anyone who attends the park during the month of August will receive a complimentary pass to come back in December. Now that’s a bargain. ······························································ On Aug. 12, the chamber’s annual Salute to Agriculture Contact Breakfast will take place at the Red Rose Inn and Suites. United States Congressman Adam Putnam will be the guest speaker. Call the chamber office at (813) 754-3707 to RSVP. The breakfast gets underway at 7:30. ······························································

On Aug. 15, another Strawberry Classic Car Show will take place in downtown Plant City. Starts at 4 p.m. and goes on till 9 PM. Lot’s of fun for the whole family. ······························································ Kudos and a huge tip of the chamber hat and to chamber board member, Rick Bunnell, general manager of the Albertson’s distribution center on Park Road. Bunnell was responsible for securing from Albertson’s, Inc. a donation in the amount of $30,000 for the United Food Bank of Plant City. The UFB has been one of Bunnell’s passions from the first time he came to Plant City. He also serves on the United Food Bank Board of Directors. The UFB served 12,848 clients in 2008. That was a 36 percent increase over 2007. The dollar figure in groceries provided to those clients in 2008 was $382,000. Everyone who receives assistance from the UFB must have a referral. Referrals come from the Department of Children and Families, Neighborhood Service Center, local churches, local schools, South Florida Baptist Hospital, The Spring, and more. Anyone who can help with a donation of food and/ or money, the UFB would be most grateful. It is located on E. Alsobrook St., Unit No. 8. The phone number is (813) 764-0625. Its motto is “A Hand up, Not a Hand-Out.”

local chamber column

A bird’s eye view of Plant City Airport. Photo by Erin Givens

Airport supports Plant City growth for 61 years After 61 years, the airport has grown to meet many needs beyond With two other area airports strawberries at lower cost and greater nearby, what was the original need for convenience than can be found at larger airports. a separate Plant City airport? Today, Plant City airport, located Hint: What major area cash crop perishes quickly unless it is refriger- two miles southwest of Plant City’s ated and shipped very soon after downtown at 4007 Airport Road, has grown to be a base for 78 aircraft picking? Yes, in March 1948, Plant City Air- and for the many industries in the port was built to ship – you guessed industrial park surrounding it. Airplanes take off and land nearly 50,000 it – strawberries.

S u b m i t t e d by F e l i x H ay n e s

Martin Pure, airport manager, stands in front of the newly acquired twin-engined Piper Aztec. Photo by Erin Givens

times per year – 131 per day – from its 3,950-foot asphalt runway. With regular daily hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., pilots can operate runway lighting from their aircraft and make special arrangements to land and takeoff at night. The airport’s owner, Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, contracts with a local fixed base operator, Plant City Airport Services, to manage the airport. “Perhaps the most exciting service offered by Plant City Airport Services,” says Airport Manager Martin Pure, “is flight training for those who want to learn to fly. Pilot wannabes can earn a private pilot’s certificate in four to six months, although candidates with busy schedules may find it takes up to a year.” Flight training begins with a 30-minute discovery flight, which costs as little as $49 and counts as part of the required in-flight hours for the program. The next portion of flight training includes two parts, in-flight instruction, scheduled one-on-one with an instructor pilot at times convenient to the student, and a ground school, in which future pilots learn navigation, aerodynamics, meteorology, and Federal Aviation Authority

regulations. Ground school can be completed by either independent study, using DVD’s, or on a scheduled basis. Students can pay on a lesson-by-lesson basis, and convenient payment plans, with discounts, are available. Plant City Airport Services provides all the services needed by local commercial and private aviation, including gasoline for propeller and jet aircraft, hangars and tie-downs, onsite aircraft maintenance, and aerial photography. Pilot services include a lounge/snooze room, restrooms and showers, and a weather room. One Plant City Airport service that is perhaps not well known is in-state travel by renting an aircraft with a pilot and paying the cost of gas. For last-minute travelers, this service can save quite a bit of money, as well as commuting and waiting time, over flying commercially from Tampa International Airport. To return to a lapsed Plant City Airport annual tradition of showcasing all the airport’s services for customers and the public, Pure has scheduled “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” an open house and air show. “We want everyone to come out and visit our growing airport on March 27, 2010,” said Pure. foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009



july 2009


foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


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*FOCUS dedicates the following feature to local businesses. Letting you know where to go for the best services and products in your community. THIS IS A PAID ADVERTISEMENT SECTION

Southside Farm and Pet Supply

3012 S. James L. Redman Pkwy. Plant City, FL 33566 (813) 752-2379

A family business with family values While Lauren and Erica Der’s names are no strangers to the Plant City community, her parents have not always shared the same claim to fame. However, if you are familiar with Southside Farm and Pet Supply, then you know the Ders better than you may think. Dennis Der started the business in 1978 when he was just a senior at Plant City High School. Over the last 31 years, Southside Farm and Pet Supply has grown up and prospered – much like the Der children – in what has seemed like the blink of an eye. Dennis’s youngest daughter, Lauren, an employee of the store since her freshman year in high school, states proudly that “the store is like a member of our family, and I think it’s

very important for me to give back to something that has done so much for myself and my family as well.” Lilly, the family’s faithful yellow Labrador, has proven to be quite a positive addition to the company’s staff of 10 employees and is always greeted with a smile from patrons in the store. While the business has been family owned and operated since opening its doors in 1978, it has not always resided in the same location. Prior to October of 2007, the company was situated in a smaller building – which really isn’t small at all – next to its current location, which now houses Southside Farm’s veterinary clinic, grooming service, and selfserve dog wash. Yes, the name says

On the side of the building are just some of the things offered at Southside Farm and Pet Supply. You can wash your pet, get him or her groomed, and take your pet to the vet. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards


july 2009

it all – as opposed to going through the hassle of making a mess all over your clean house, you can park your car outside and pay only $4.99 to hose your pet down in a shaded cage-like area that proves quite convenient for a quick and hassle-free bath for your four-legged companion. The veterinary clinic is full-service, with two veterinarians on-location at all times. The expansion into the new building, which is approximately four times the size of the old space, was a much-needed change for the company. It has allowed the Ders to expand their selection of supplies to include more brands as well as a huge variety of western wear. The clothes include a multitude of designers

including Wrangler, Cruel Girl, and Cinch. With more than 1,000 boots in stock to choose from, the Ders proudly carry well-known lines such as Justin, Tony Lama, and Ariat to name a few. Aside from clothing and boots for men, women, and children, the western wear department at Southside Farm includes an array of accessories including cowboy hats, jewelry, belts, and much more. While the business did not carry western wear prior to October of 2007 when they changed buildings, it is now the company’s biggest seller. The store itself is a giant structure, boasting more categories of supplies than this article can do justice. To name a few, Southside Farm and Pet Supply provides its customers

Southside Farm and Pet Supply is located at 3012 S. James L. Redman Pkwy. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

with truck accessories, western wear, cattle and farm supplies, hunting and wildlife supplies, novelty items, and pet supplies for a variety of animals including dogs, horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, and more. With such a selection, it’s no wonder the group needed more space. When it comes to involvement with the community, Southside Farm and Pet Supply has made its presence known in more ways than one. Aside from being an active member of the Plant City Chamber of Commerce, the organization is very involved with the livestock shows at the festivals (including the Florida Strawberry Festival and the State Fair) and helping students who show their animals. Southside also participated in building a fishing facility in Bailey’s Pond that will be stocked and ready for use in the near future. One of the most crowning moments for Southside Farm was Dennis’s vision for Freedom Fighters – a program to provide outdoor opportunities, like hunting, for injured soldiers. He and his staff got a deer hunt in Texas together and worked with several different organizations to donate clothing and supplies for the trip. Even customers donated items such as cards filled with words of encouragement for the soldier who had been wounded in Iraq in 2006. If anything was not obtained through donation, the company raised funds within the community. “Plant City has been good to our family for the last 31 years, and we are more than happy to be involved with the various activities and organizations to give back to the community and our country,” Dennis said with a smile. With such a positive attitude, it’s no wonder the business is celebrated within the city. These words are sure to be reiterated in another 31 years. Within the next few weeks, Southside Farm and Pet Supply will be hosting a back-to-school fashion show with sales and deals throughout the store on their wide assortment of western wear. For more information on this event or on the business in general, please contact them at (813) 752-2379.

Dennis Der and his daughter, Lauren, welcome you to Southside Farm and Pet Supply. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

Need boots? How about belts? Amazing deals on a wide selection are available. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

AAA Insurance Giving you more for your insurance dollar Making a decision on personal insurance – health, life, auto, or home – never comes easily. American consumers are bombarded with advertisements through magazines, billboards, radio, and television on a daily basis. People have become so overwhelmed with loads of insurance information that it seems to be almost more hassle than it’s worth when making a final decision. In fact, Geico and its clever marketing tactics including the cavemen and the gecko are one of the most widely recognized brands in the country. Luckily for Bart Borders, he became a local independent insurance agent for another well-known corporation across the board… the American Automobile Association, better known as AAA. Borders was raised in Plant City and has enjoyed watching the city evolve, growing in both size and structure over the years. He attended Plant City High School and graduated from the University of Phoenix with a bachelor’s degree in business management, gearing him toward a career in the insurance industry. Borders also takes part in giving back to the community by being an active member of the Plant City Chamber of Commerce and by coaching many youth sports teams throughout the years. He is also associated with the Boy Scouts of America. Now a 38-year-old man with a wife and four children, Borders is proud to remain a part of such a wonderful community. Bart’s words speak for themselves when he proudly says, “In the small town atmosphere of Plant City, business clients become much more than that, they become friends.” While the business is extremely new to the area, having just opened its doors in May of this year, Borders has nothing but high hopes for his agency. He and his associates specialize in all aspects of personal insurance including home, automobile, life,


july 2009

(813) 752-2223

Brett Chinander competes with bo staff at an AAU karate tournament. Photo by Suzanne Gallagher

Bart Borders is happy to be serving the people of Plant City. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

and health. Furthermore, they offer commercial automotive insurance, general liability, and workers’ compensation. Borders is a licensed agent with almost a decade of experience in the insurance industry, both of which are positive credentials to maintain when opening your own office. “I’ve been in the business long enough and figured it’s as good a time as any to venture off for myself,” Borders said. Confidence is something that Bart does not lack, which is absolutely necessary in the dog-eat-dog world of insurance. With the abundance of agencies available to choose from today, some of which will even compare your rates with other agencies, it is a mystery how they all can stay afloat. Sure, insurance is a legal necessity – but not everyone takes that seriously when they are living from paycheck to paycheck. With a trusted name such as AAA and an independent agent so in sync with his neighbors, it’s safe to say Bart Borders will be around for quite some time.

AAA is a name that is not only nationally recognized, but the organization has been respected and trusted for more than a century. When it comes to insurance services offered through AAA South, they include automobile, flood, home/ mobile home, renters, umbrella, recreational vehicle, motorcycle, boat, home warranty, mortgage disaster, and even golf cart insurance. With so much to choose from, it’s no wonder AAA has been in business for so long. Also, it was recently discovered that customers who switch their automobile insurance to AAA save an average of $602 annually. Who can resist savings like that in times like these? Borders’s office is located in the top of the Plant City Financial Center off of Thonotosassa Road. For more information on AAA Insurance and the services offered by your local agent, please call Bart Borders at (813) 752-2223 or visit www. Borders’s office is spacious, making customers feel at home when they need insurance service. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

Borders’s office is located in the top of the Plant City Financial Center off of Thonotosassa Road. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


Bowman Avenue Cleaners

1503 Bowman Ave. Plant City, FL 33566 (813) 757-9646

Laundry made easy Three wonderful smells: freshly cut grass, peanut butter cookies baking, and clean laundry. Upon entering Bowman Avenue Cleaners in Plant City, I was enamored with the refreshing scent that surrounded me. It’s a good possibility that the customers who had been dropping off their loads to be dry cleaned thought I was crazy as I stood with my eyes closed, taking in the aroma. As I turned, I was surprised to see owner/ operator Rob Vetzel on crutches with his foot wrapped in ace bandages. “Am I here on the right day?” I said hesitantly. Vetzel laughed heartily and said, “Of course. I broke my foot on Saturday, no worries, come right in.” Good spirits is an understatement

when it comes to Vetzel’s attitude toward his current position. He was glad to give me as much information as I needed, and afterwards, he had his manager Mariel Quiroz take me on a tour of the facilities. After working at UPS for seven years, Vetzel decided it was time to move on and work on his own. The business known as Bowman Avenue Cleaners has existed in Plant City for nearly two years now, but don’t think that means the staff ’s experience is limited. Vetzel has owned a business called Door-to-Door Dry Cleaning for the past 14 years, which travels from Orlando all the way to Sun City. He built his own dry cleaning plant five years ago, which people would often mistake for a business

The staff works diligently, cleaning a high volume of clothes a day. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards


july 2009

Mariel Quiroz and Carolyn Hampton stand proud in front of the business. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

and bring their laundry in to be cleaned. This convinced Vetzel to install counters and buy a building within walking distance of the plant to house his store. Shortly thereafter, Bowman Avenue Cleaners was born. Between both Bowman Cleaners and Door-to-Door Dry Cleaning, Vetzel has a following of more than 1,000 consistent customers.

While Bowman’s has a limited selection of products to choose from, such as lint roller refills and fuzz removal combs, the business is better known as a full-service cleaner with a variety of services including alterations, shoe repair, and dry cleaning for all sorts of material, including wedding gowns, comforters, and drapes.

Bowman Cleaners provides high-class dry cleaning. The staff is well-trained. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

The company’s prices are more than reasonable, charging a constant rate of $1.29 for laundry/business shirts. Vetzel is also working on a special for the remainder of July and August for every Wednesday, when all pieces of dry cleaning will be $2.99 each – excluding only leather, suede, silk, and beaded items, as well as comforters. The business is constantly looking for ways to help its customers in any way possible, especially since the loyal staff of 11 looks upon their customers more so as friends. “We know our customers by name, which is the best part of being in such a small-town atmosphere,” Vetzel said with a smile. Bowman’s is also family-owned, as Vetzel’s mother, Carolyn Hampton, works in the shop regularly. While he is originally from

Brandon, Vetzel spent seven years of his life in Plant City and loves playing an active role in the community. A member of the Plant City Chamber of Commerce, he also donates to Plant City High School and is a defensive coach for the football team at Newsome High School. He also used to coach at Durant and continues to coach youth football at Pinecrest. Bowman Avenue Cleaners is conveniently located off of North Alexander Street in Plant City. The business is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Rob’s Door-to-Door Dry Cleaning service is still very much active, offering free pickup and delivery to his customers. For more information on pricing and services rendered, call (813) 757-9646.

Rob Vetzel greets all his customers with a smile. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


Physician’s Weight Loss Center

605 E. Alexander St. Plant City, FL 33566 (813) 719-3600

Shed the flab and feel simply fab Alongside obesity, a rising epidemic in the United States, continues to be laziness. It has become too convenient for Americans to retrieve information online, entertain ourselves via television or game system, and to indulge in an abundance of fast food restaurants that seem to be growing exponentially by the day. With all of these luxuries to prevent the population from eating properly and exercising regularly, often a motivating factor is necessary to get back on track to living a healthy lifestyle. Luckily for the residents of Plant City and surrounding communities, Physician’s Weight Loss Center is here to help. While the Physician’s Weight Loss Center franchise has been in existence for more than 30 years, the Plant City location opened its doors in February of this year. The business is owned and operated by Dr. LaRue Richter and his wife Peggy, both of whom still maintain professions outside of the center.

Clients at Physician’s Weight Loss Center have lost a total of nearly 1,500 pounds. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards


july 2009

Peggy is a nurse at the South Florida Baptist Hospital and Dr. LaRue has his own internal medicine practice nearby. Prior to opening the center, the husband-and-wife team had worked closely with a number of patients who were either obese or had a form of diabetes. It became frustrating working with clients who were suffering from these conditions when in reality they just needed to adjust their lifestyle in order to overcome the issues. So the two opened the Physician’s Weight Loss Center in order to educate and assist people in leading a better, healthier life. “Our practice is centered around serious weight loss for people who are serious about weight loss,” Dr. LaRue said firmly. Peggy elaborated by saying, “It is hard for humans to keep up mental intensity for long periods of time. That’s why it’s necessary to put yourself in the mindset to prepare for it. We are here to assist our clients with just that.” The center’s staff totals five employees, including Dr. LaRue and Peggy. Lauren Sapp and Lucy Andreu are staff counselors who have trained thoroughly through the company in order to assist clients in the most thorough way possible. Rose Godinez is the office manager and a medical assistant to Dr. LaRue at his practice. Rose is also a patient at the center, having lost 47 pounds since she started the programs. Mollie Genrich is another happily satisfied client at the center. As a nurse with Peggy at the hospital, she was very interested in the center when she found out it was in the works. She became one of their first patients. Besides knowing Peggy, Mollie was overweight for a while and also had arthritis in her knee, which proved to be the final factor in

Physician’s Weight Loss Center is conveniently located in the old Bill Heard plaza, which is behind Wal-Mart. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

participating in the programs. Since her start in February, she has lost considerable weight and inches, and her cholesterol has decreased by 50 milligrams. “They’re very encouraging, friendly, and available,” Mollie says of the Physician’s staff. Currently, she has kept the weight off and says she is only tempted to cheat when “I cook for my family. I just go outside so I don’t smell it,” Mollie said with a smile. A personal friend of Dr. LaRue since high school, Coleman Davis is another patient at Physician’s Weight Loss. After years of being pushed by his doctor to commit to a program, Davis decided to heed his

advice. He is now in his 18th week at the clinic and has lost 40 pounds. This was achieved on one of the lower programs because Coleman was a healthy candidate from the start. It is quite evident the staff at the Physician’s Weight Loss Center views clients as more than just a paycheck, they become part of a family and support group who only wants to see them succeed and be happy. The center offers a variety of programs specifically tailored to their clients’ needs, such as Low Fat High Energy and Controlled Carb programs. The initial consultation is free of charge, and clients come back to the center on a regular basis to receive counseling and motivational

support. The center offers behavioral modification classes once a month, which are included in a client’s program. Clients are encouraged to bring a friend to the class to share in their experiences. The center offers herbal supplements, multivitamin and mineral supplements, protein supplements, and meal replacements to ensure their patients are on a balanced track to efficient weight loss. Peggy has spoken at First Baptist

Church to aerobics classes in the past to educate individuals on living a healthy lifestyle. As the only office dedicated to safe, effective weight loss in the Plant City area, the Physician’s Weight Loss Center is constantly looking for ways to become more thoroughly involved with the community, including health fairs, fundraisers, and sponsorships. For more information on the center and its services, call (813) 719-3600 to speak with a trained professional.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Peggy Richter goes over results with Mollie Genrich. TOP-RIGHT. The staff at Physicians Weight Loss Center welcome you in. BOTTOM-RIGHT Physician’s Weight Loss Center offers herbal supplements, multivitamin and mineral supplements, protein supplements, and meal replacements. BOTTOM-LEFT Coleman Davis, a client at Physician’s Weight Loss Center, has a consultation with Dr. Larue. “More than anything, you have to be ready to enter the program and commit to seeing it through, which I was,” Davis proudly states. Photos by Elizabeth Edwards

foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


RED ROSE INN & SUITES Experience what it’s like to live like royalty

2011 N. Wheeler St. Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 752-3141

Mrs. Evelyn and Batista Madonia Sr. are the owners of the prestigious Red Rose Inn and Suites.

Whether you are looking to escape from the daily grind or seeking a nice night of entertainment in your own backyard, the Red Rose Inn and Suites has the perfect venue for you. Everybody loves a mouth-watering meal, and it’s no secret the Red Rose Dining Room offers five-star cuisine. Like dancing? How about a night’s stay in a chic suite? Mrs. Evelyn and


july 2009

Batista Madonia, Sr., the owners of the Red Rose Inn and Suites, deliver a retreat that has it all. Chances are that if there are amenities and activities you enjoy, then the Red Rose can provide them. Conveniently located off exit 21 of the I-4 corridor, people between Tampa Bay and Orlando frequently

find retreat at the Red Rose Inn and Suites. This elegant hotel provides patrons with a posh yet cozy atmosphere, making a stay at the high-class hotel one to be remembered. Jennifer Locurcio, a resident of Auburndale, travels to the Red Rose several times a year, saying that

the entertainment is first-rate and worth the trip. She especially loves Ralph Allocco and Second Wind, the executive band for the hotel. The group is a singing trio with a repertory of ballroom classis and Billboard ballads, such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Locurcio saw the singing trio for the first time

last year, and “we’ve been coming back ever since,” she said. With prime performers in a premium location, some people may be put off by the Red Rose, thinking it might cost too much. However, the management staff offers several specials and packages that make a stay-cation at the suites one that is easy on the pocketbook and peaceful on the mind. Visitors can even discover deals that offer champagne and roses in their rooms, an exquisite way to show a loved one they are adored. And because the Red Rose is a hotel, it accommodates the tastes and preferences for all kinds of people. Take the gastronomy; the restaurant caters to many different appetites on a daily basis. When people go to another restaurant, they go for one specific thing – Italian restaurants for Italian food, German restaurants for German food, burger stands for burgers. When patrons browse the menu at the Red Rose Inn, entrees and sides of all genres beg the palate to savor them. Seafood – fresh every day. Prime rib – succulent. Italian – the executive chef, Matteo Casini, hails from Italy and stems from generations of chefs. For first-timers, try the prime rib, grouper, or Linguine Frutti Di Mare. Guaranteed to satisfy, these courses attract locals regularly for a fine-dining experience. Casini said the Linguine Frutti Di Mare is about as traditional as it gets when it comes to Italian cuisine, taking characteristics of the Mediterranean Sea and incorporating it with pasta. It is linguine with shrimp, crab, mussels, and calamari in a sweet tomato sauce. Interestingly enough, Casini’s culinary skills extend far beyond Italian recipes. His craft excels in all realms of fare, and it all tastes delectable. What’s his secret? “For my family, the one time we would all be together was dinnertime. It could be just Sunday night, or if you’re really lucky, then a couple nights a week,” said Casini. “That really is what showed me that no matter how many differences you have between each other, you can sit down a have a meal and work it out.

If it’s seafood and pasta you desire, look no further. Just look at this lobster and linguine.

Meals have given me a lot of comfort, so I look to put that into my food and help people relax, forget about their day-to-day problems, and enjoy the company they have and the food as well.” While dining, patrons listen to Destiny, the Red Rose’s house band. Having played at the hotel for the last five years, the soothing sounds of Destiny add class to any dining experience. In front of Destiny, a hardwood dance floor invites diners and guests to dance. Sweethearts embracing to “My Girl,” friends shaking to “Mustang Sally,” these are the nightly sights at the Red Rose Dining Room, truly a place to create fond memories. Music lovers should also know that they can enjoy a sumptuous seafood buffet while they listen to the sounds of Jody Marsh and Free Time Jazz, who plays every Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Don’t know how to dance? Don’t worry, lessons with Susan are available every Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and you don’t even need a partner. Call (863) 604-5060 for more information on dance lessons. See, there is something for everyone at the Red Rose Inn and Suites. Don’t miss a chance for an extraordinary time. The amiable staff awaits your call. Dial (813) 7523141 today.

Sign up for a package deal when staying at the Red Rose Inn and Suites. For example, try a romantic getaway that comes with champagne in your room.

foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


Fairfield Inn and Suites How suite it is Whether traveling for business or pleasure, it is always nice to feel like you are home away from home. The friendly staff at Fairfield Inn and Suites Lakeland/Plant City is dedicated to making its guests’ stay as comfortable and luxurious as possible. While you may feel that this credo is – or at least should be – echoed in hotels throughout the world, the Fairfield Inn and Suites definitely goes the extra mile to ensure customer happiness, not just satisfaction. My first thought upon entering the lobby of this establishment was how beautifully the color scheme and décor accentuated the atmosphere, as vibrant navy blues, greens, and tropical oranges seemed to jump off the walls. Yamileth, an employee at the front desk, greeted me with a warm “hello” and assured me that General Manager Cindy Robinson would be with me shortly. As I wandered around the lobby snapping photos of the eclectic space, Yamileth showed me the hotel’s business library, which conveniently consisted of two computers, a printer, and a fax machine – all of which are complementary for guests at the Fairfield. The hotel also offers free wireless Internet to its patrons, with a hard line wire in every room available, including standard doubles, standard kings, and the king executive suite, which is sure to make you feel like royalty in such an abundant space. In addition to the technological amenities, the hotel provides guests laundry services, a fully equipped exercise room, and a beautiful patio area complete with a swimming pool and spa open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily. The exercise room houses two treadmills and an elliptical machine, all of which have personal TV’s attached to the front. Headphones are provided as well in order to ensure a peaceful workout for patrons. Weights are also available to those looking for a more thorough workout


july 2009

4307 Sterling Commerce Dr. Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 757-6202 (800) 228-2800

The rooms at the Fairfield Inn and Suites will make anyone feel like royalty. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

The lobby is cozy and welcoming, ensuring visitors a lovely stay at the Fairfield Inn and Suites. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

session. An early-morning workout can be followed up with a trip to the hotel’s complementary breakfast buffet, complete with a beautifully arranged assortment of fresh fruit, bagels, muffins, cereal, eggs, yogurt, and multiple refreshments. The buffet’s signature item is the Jimmy Dean bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit, which can always be found fully stocked on display. While the establishment only opened its doors in January of 2009, it is no surprise that the Fairfield Inn and Suites Lakeland/Plant City was recently ranked among the top 50 hotels in the country, based on guest satisfaction scores. Aside from their variety of patron accommodations, the staff of 25

holds meetings every day to ensure that all areas of customer service are being met and that if there is room for improvement in daily routines, the necessary changes are made. The employees at the Fairfield Inn and Suites are composed of engineers, front desk staff, housekeeping, and management. While the hotel’s general manager has been in Plant City for 12 years, Robinson is a Tampa native and no stranger to the community. She has been in the hotel industry since 1988 and, impressively, still houses a staff of almost 10 loyal employees who have been with her since 1997, when she began her work in Plant City. The Fairfield Inn is a member of the Plant City Chamber of Commerce, which

recently provided a leadership class from which Cindy graduated. “It definitely brought me more intouch with the community, which is always a great thing,” said Robinson. She continued to state that “Plant City is a community that is so tight, faithful, and loyal. It especially helped when we opened the hotel. If we needed resources, we never had to look far.” The establishment has been actively involved in the community since opening its doors. They have participated in a food drive for the United Food Bank, where if a guest brought in a bag of food, they were rewarded with a free night’s stay. Fairfield has also sponsored events such as local golf tournaments, the Margarita Ball for the chamber of commerce, and the Celebrity Chef Dinner for United Food Bank. The group also has partnered with the Outback and Applebee’s in Plant City to give discounts to guests who show their room keys at the restaurants. In

addition, if guests brings their dining receipts back, then they are given reward points through the hotel. This summer, the hotel is looking toward a new promotion that will reward guests with a $20 gas card if they stay two consecutive nights. If you are looking for an escape from the ordinary, Fairfield Inn and Suites is definitely your stop. The hotel has definitely brought a different level of class to the area, with beautiful furniture and accents throughout the establishment that make you feel as if you are in a bigcity venue. The location, which is owned and managed by Shaner Hotel Group based in State College, PA., also provides convenient access to both Plant City and Lakeland. If you want to feel like you are on vacation without the expenditures, Fairfield Inn and Suites is your one-stop destination. For more information on the hotel, visit com/TPAPC or call (813) 757-6202 for details on rates and more.

Visitors can use top-of-line workout equipment during their stay at the Fairfield Inn and Suites. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

The Fairfield Inn and Suites is located at 4307 Sterling Commerce Dr. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

Yamileth and General Manager Cindy Robinson welcome you to stay at the Fairfield Inn and Suites. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


Village at Park Road Discover luxurous living at affordable prices A luxurious apartment subdivision where residents enjoy high-end living at affordable prices awaits you at Village at Park Road. Built in 2000, the luxurious apartment complex is currently going through some more upgrades to continue providing current and future residents with only the best in amenities. According to Tracy Hannabery, the community manager at Village at Park Road, the property has been under new management since April 1 and is making improvements to an already impressive apartment complex. “An estimate of $40,000 was spent to renovate the fitness center – there are TV’s in every machine,” said Hannabery, adding that the goal is to provide the residents with a fitness center that has a lot of variety to accommodate everyone’s fitness needs. But fitness is only a small part of the upgrades. Currently, the pool and

clubhouse are being renovated and management is planning to continue making even more improvements. Presently there are seven- to 12-month leases and a great movein special of $99, which covers a background check and credit check. “We can do the background check and credit checks in less than 15 minutes. The customers get a quick response,” said Hannabery, who welcomes everyone to live in these lavish apartments once they are approved. Village at Park Road is pet friendly and accepts up to two pets per apartment with a one-time pet fee. The location is ideal for pet owners because of a vast amount of grass, a lake view, and a large subdivision for long walks. Although most dogs are approved, there are some breed restrictions and weight restrictions. But the creature comforts don’t stop there. To make sure everyone has a dwelling suitable for them, Village at Park Road has three

A friendly neighborhood welcomes you to Village at Park Road. Photo by Krystel Knowles

An enormous pool provides residents with a great place to lie out and get a tan. Photo by Krystel Knowles


july 2009

(813) 719-1850

different floor plans, ranging from one-bedroom apartments to threebedroom apartments. The prices are extremely competitive and affordable for the quality of the apartments and amenities Village at Park Road has to offer, which has influenced many tenants that this is the place to stay. “Many people have lived at their current apartment since 2000 because they benefit from the facilities, location, and competitive prices,” said Hannabery. Village at Park Road has lake-view apartments where residents enjoy a beautiful view of the sunset or sunrise and of the moon and stars. In addition to the lake views, there is also a conservation area that is inhabited by beautiful, wild birds.

The exclusive qualities Village at Park Road has to offer are spacious decks and private balconies, utility rooms with extra storage space, dual master suites to provide residents with even more privacy, plush carpeting, spacious nine-foot ceilings, impressive walk-in closets and linen closets, fire protection system, large windows to create a ventilated ambient, separate dining area with a window, and more. A designer bar, microwave, strong garbage disposal, and powerful dishwasher accentuate the kitchen, along with a high-end, frost-free refrigerator that comes with an icemaker. Some optional features are gas fireplaces to create a romantic atmosphere during the winter and

private garages with door openers. A comfy clubhouse offers a nice play to spend an evening, featuring an immense pool, landscaped sundecks to enjoy the surroundings, a-top-of-the-line health and fitness center with an individual equipment station to make guests’ workouts enjoyable, a business center with private conference room, and a nice place to lounge. On site there is a nice playground, along with volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts to

provide the residents with a variety of different activities. But the amenities aren’t the only things that make Village at Park Road an immaculate place to live. The management is committed to providing every guest with excellent customer service and 24hour emergency management and assistance. “We differentiate ourselves because of our customer service and quality apartments,” said Hannabery.

The clubhouse is available for all tenants to congregate and chat. Photo by Krystel Knowles

A view of a lake is available in the backyards of many apartments. Photo by Krystel Knowles

A spacious living room allows tenants to relax. Photo by Krystel Knowles

foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


Florida Pools

150 Ed Scanlon Lane Seffner, FL 33584 (813) 839-7665

Make this summer a splash

Florida Pools built the pool behind City Commissioner Mike Sparkman’s home. Photo courtesy of Florida Pools


july 2009

Longtime Plant City business owner, Robert Sicignano, has lived by one motto his entire life: If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Sicignano has worked in the pool industry since 1990 when after two years he went to work for a local pool contractor. A couple of years working in the field and learning the tricks of the trade in building pools, he decided to go into business for himself and cater to a community in need of reliable and hardworking builders. “I decided I was better off getting my own license and to become independent,” said Sicignano. From that moment on, he started what is known today by Plant City residents as Florida Pools and has been servicing this community for several years. “Plant City is a unique community, because it has a small town flare and the people are down-to-earth, honest and hard workers, I try to apply those same values to my business,” said Sicignano. Florida Pools is not like any other pool contracting company as they offer many services not found in the area. Not only does he own two pool stores, one on MLK and the other on Kingsway Rd., but Sicignano’s contracting business also offers three types of pools: concrete, fiberglass, and in-ground vinyl liners. The economy has really changed Florida Pools because more and more people are focused on remodeling and upgrading rather than investing in a brand new project. If in fact the customer desires a new pool, Florida Pools can help make the process smooth and easygoing with its friendly staff and loyal, hardworking, and trustworthy builders. Once the decision is made to remodel an outside pool or patio, there are so many products the customer may choose, but Florida Pools can help with a variety of product lines from which to choose. The company builds screen enclosures, installs

saltwater generating systems, and can even install state-of-the-art color and fiber optic lighting. Sicignano says they are “carved rock specialists” and can also do some masonry work. For your deck remodeling needs, they handle all deck resurfacing, and even waterfalls to spruce up an existing deck feature. If your pool heaters need tending to, then Florida Pools specializes in repairs and installations of solar heating systems, gas heaters, heat pumps repairs, and even leak detections. At the Florida Pools stores, they offer free water testing and all of the pool chemicals and supplies you could possibly need for maintaining your pool this and every summer.

Sicignano said they will be working on offering more buying for the customer on their online store in the near future, but for the time being take advantage of their summer specials. “I am offering a special discount for the readers of FOCUS Magazine. It is called ‘The Affordable Paradise 2009.’ It’s a specially priced pool and a really great deal,”said Sicignano. Remodeling your pool or building new doesn’t have to be a struggle. Take it from the man who said he would do it himself, and let him put his many years of hard work and dedication to the pool service industry into making your summer remodeling projects a little easier.

The fountains at Plant City Mayor Rick Lott’s house are fit for a king. Photo courtesy of Florida Pools

The pool in Dennis Brownlee’s home is immaculate. Photo courtesy of Florida Pools

foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


712 E. Alsobrook St. Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 707-6717

The Breeze Bringing beauty to you in more ways than one Females in warm climates everywhere can agree on one thing: While summer may be great for getting a bronzed skin tone (if your schedule allows), the sweltering season is otherwise a woman’s worst enemy when it comes to maintaining beautiful hair, nails, and skin. Like any good business should, The Breeze in Plant City knows exactly what its clients need to beat the summer heat and to continue looking and feeling

fabulous. Formerly Natural Creations, the salon decided to change its name in November of 2008 after being purchased by Angela and Jody Killebrew. The husband-and-wife team renamed the salon The Breeze because they wanted to make the business their own and to improve it in areas otherwise lacking, such as the variety of services offered. The two also wanted the salon to exude a laid-

Another happy customer at The Breeze gets her nails done. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards


july 2009

back atmosphere that would endear customers to come in, relax, and be comfortable. The Killebrews know that quality customer service breeds loyal customers, so they have also focused their efforts on making their staff more aware of their customers’ needs. With a staff of seven licensed employees currently under their wing, the Killebrews have faith that the salon will succeed better than ever. While the new title is still making

its presence known within the community, the salon itself has been a part of Plant City for 10 years. “One of the things I love about the job is that I grew up in the area and went to school in Plant City,” Jody said. “I’m constantly bumping into people who I know and old friends, so it really feels like home and that we belong.” The Breeze and staff have made it their mission to make the salon

There are several tanning beds available for people who are looking for the perfect bronze. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

more customer-service oriented and to provide a more well-rounded list of services to their clients, including the additions of a spray-tan booth, a teeth whitening machine, and a foot detoxification tub. Both Angela and Jody are advocates when it comes to attending conventions on the industry and coming up with new and innovative ideas to better service their clientele. In the meantime, they are happy that the salon is the only one of its kind in the area to offer hair, nails, and tanning under one roof. More specifically, The Breeze provides a vast array of services including eyebrow and bikini waxes, facials, hair cut/color/styles, manicures, and pedicures, as well as five tanning beds from which to choose. Four of the five beds are 10-minute sessions while the final one is still only 15 minutes – an advantage to anyone trying to get a quick base tan with limited window space during their hectic day. The bulbs in the beds are a combination of 160-watt to 180-watts, each emitting more UVA rays than UVB, which any seasoned tanner knows is beneficial because UVA rays are less harmful than the latter.

In addition to providing patrons with an array of luxurious beautification services, The Breeze gets involved with the community in more ways than one. For example, the company donates to local organizations in the community whenever possible. The salon’s better known practices include art shows to support the local art community. In February, The Breeze held an art show that was free of charge to the public and served as a venue for local artists to showcase their pieces. The salon has close ties with a group called ArtCore, a local organization that joins with The Breeze to put on shows in the community. The next show the salon puts on will involve Moffitt Cancer Center, which has shown compassion and care to the Killebrew family for many years. “We like to give back to the community whenever possible,” Jody said. “I love the atmosphere in the shop and that we all have a personal relationship and common bonds with the people we are attached to in the community.” With an attitude like that, The Breeze is sure to remain a part of Plant City’s family for many years to come.

Need a tan in hurry? The spray tan is quick and convenient. Photo by Elizabeth Edwards

foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


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Stephen W Shouse, Financial Advisor, AAMS 1514 S Alexander Street Suite 206 Plant City, FL 33563 813-752-9400

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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


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As an adult, you’re fortunate if you still have your parents. However, as they get older, you may well have to assist them in some key areas of their life. Specifically, they may need you to get involved in some of their financial issues. And if you do, you may need to focus on two areas: leaving a legacy and managing finances during retirement. While initiating these conversations may not be easy for you, it is important, and you may find your parents more willing to discuss these issues than you had thought. In any case, if your parents haven’t already done so, encourage them to work with an estate-planning professional to develop the necessary legal documents, which may include wills, trusts and financial durable powers of attorney. These documents and services can be invaluable in helping individuals find efficient ways to pass assets from one generation to the next. An estateplanning attorney can identify which arrangements are the most appropriate for you and your family. In your discussions on leaving a legacy, you may also want to bring up the topic of the beneficiary designations that may appear on your parents’ life insurance contracts and qualified plans, such as 401(k)s and IRAs. If the family picture has changed in recent years, and your parents had intended to change these designations, they should take action sooner rather than later. While your parents need to deal with the legacy issue, they still may have plenty of years of living ahead of them — and they might need help managing their money during these years. For starters, you may want to

have a discussion about their savings, investments, insurance and so on, and where these assets are held. Are they kept in banks or investment companies? Do your parents have safe-deposit boxes? This knowledge could be valuable if you ever become involved in managing or distributing your parents’ resources. Also, you might want to talk to your parents about the income sources they may be drawing from during their retirement. For example, how much are they taking out each year from their 401(k)s and IRAs? They don’t want to withdraw so much that they deplete their accounts too soon, but at the same time, they would no doubt like to maintain their standard of living in retirement. You may want to suggest to your parents that they evaluate their investment portfolio for both growth and income potential — because they will need both elements during a long retirement. If your parents aren’t already working with a financial advisor, you may want to encourage them to do so. Managing an investment portfolio during retirement is no easier than doing so during one’s working years — and there’s less time to overcome mistakes. A qualified financial advisor can help your parents choose the right mix of investments that can help meet their needs. During the course of your lifetime, your parents have done a lot for you. You can help pay them back by doing whatever you can to assist them in managing their financial strategy.

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Background: I’m a fifth generation Floridian. I lived in the Cork area my entire life. I love agriculture, fishing, softball, basketball, and anything involving the University of Florida. I’m married to Jennifer. We have two children: Aly and Clay. I work for First Community Bank of America. Aspirations: I strive to be a successful husband, father, friend, and banker.

Inspirations: My inspirations are God, family, and friends. Successes: I feel I am successful at being a husband, father, and friend – everything else falls into place. What’s next? To continue to be an influence on my family, my children, and their involvement in the FFA – the best youth organization in the world. To continue to be a loyal friend.


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Background: I am originally from Louisville, Kent. I graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky with degrees in business management and marketing – Go Cats! Shortly after college I met my lovely wife Casey, and we were married in July of 2003. We decided to move to Florida and upon driving through Plant City we immediately knew this was where we wanted to settle, start a family, and begin a business. With my wife’s support, I started Advantage Restoration in 2005. My business is a full-service cleaning and restoration firm that cleans carpet, tile and grout, air ducts and restores structures damaged by fire, water, or mold. In April of 2007, Casey and I were blessed with the birth of our son, Noah. Aspirations: To be the best family man I can be while continuing to grow my business. I also want to be an active citizen and leader in Plant City in order to give back to the community that has given so much to me and my family. Inspirations: God, family, and friends. God has continued to bless me with people who both support and

inspire me on a regular basis. One of the most inspirational people in my life is my 2-year-old son, who recently said, “My daddy is my friend.” That comment inspired me to spend as much time with my family as I can. Successes: One of my first successes was becoming an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. This along with a supportive family provided me with a solid foundation to continue to achieve. My family taught me to always give one hundred percent no matter what the task at hand was. I also learned that there are no real problems, just challenges that require the correct level of time and energy to determine the solution. What’s next? Thanks to great employees, loyal customers, and a supportive community, Advantage Restoration continues to grow. This summer we will be starting a new division, which will offer preventative inspections of homes. Our focus will be to help prevent water, fire, and mold losses before the damage occurs. I am also looking forward to a new addition to our family in January.

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This is a special advertising section

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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


A GREAT INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY... Can be yours with this charming ranch style duplex. Unit A is a 2Bd/1Ba w/wall units. Unit B is a 3Bd/2Ba w/central heat & air. Both units have ceramic tile throughout for easy maintenance and washer/dryer hook up. Short Sale! Only $46,000 #5

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A GREAT INCOME PRODUCING OPPORTUNITY. Duplex located in central Tampa has two units with central heat/air and ceramic tile throughout for easy maintenance. Owner says sell! Short Sale! Only $55,000 #6

CALLING ALL INVESTORS! Here’s a perfect opportunity to purchase a well maintained triplex in Tampa. Three units with 3Bd/2Ba, washer/dryer hookup, utility room. Roof replaced in 2008. Owner says make an offer! Short Sale! Only $129,900 #3

TWO CAN LIVE AS CHEAP AS ONE Home with live-in potential. Each unit consist of 2 bedrooms and one bath & inside laundry room. Conveniently located off Memorial Blvd., close to bus transportation. Only $37,125 #54

BREAKS YOUR HEART! SHORTSALE but what a deal! 2 dwellings - Nostalgic 2 story 3Bd/1.5Ba, den & 2 FRPL and 4 unit Apt house! 2 lots all for $94,900. Hurry! #73

LET REAL ESTATE WORK FOR YOU! Money-making (5 units) (1) 2 bedroom 2 bath unit rents for $200/week, (2) 2 bedroom 2 bath units rents for $175/month, (2) 1 bedroom 1 bath units rents for $145/month. Call now for details! $120,000. #52

HISTORIC DOWNTOWN PLANT CITY - 1440 SF Retail space plus canopy & storage. Ideally located w/ ample City parking, brick facade. New CH/A, newer roof. Make this your office or Shoppe. $249,900. #1

SWEETHEART DEAL! 2Bd/2Ba singlewide mobile home is situated on .59 acres, conveniently located near Airport Rd in Lakeland. Priced at only $95,000. #49

HUMBLE HOME Welcome guests into cozy 2Bd Bungalow, w/gracious LR, huge DR & remodeled kitchen. 2 ½ huge city lots on corner! 1/3 AC, 3 sheds & 2 C Cpt. A great value @ $69,900. #56

A SMALL SNUG SETTING SURROUNDED BY CENTURY OLD TREES – 2Bd/1Ba home is move in ready w/freshly painted interior, new carpet, new cabinets in kitchen & bath. Newly installed metal roof. Enjoy a picnic under cover of this large screened patio. Beautifully wooded grounds provide shady comfort with plenty of room for parking. Only $105,000. #83

PUT YOUR NAME ON THE MAILBOX – Move into this 1556 SF like new 4Bd/2Ba, Short Sale! Soaring ceilings, all appliances, split bedroom plan and sunny eat-in kitchen. Only $124,900. #96

ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES – In this Walden Lake East 3Bd/2Ba, 1724 SF w/fireplace, fenced yard and whirl pool tub in second bath. $160,000. #95

RENTALS LAKELAND RENTAL – 3Bd/2.5Ba, 1321 SF, brkfst rm, sep formal dining rm,kitchen appliances, utility rm, community pool, & pets are allowed. Please call for more info. $990/Month. $990/Month (Fieldstone Dr.) COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL 3Bd/2Ba, 1144 SF home is located walking distance to Plant City Hospital & medical offices. Built in 1989, features separate family, dining and inside ldry. Kids’ll love fenced back yard w/plenty of play area & above ground pool. Priced at only $79,000.#55

2 STORY TOWNHOME FOR RENT – 2Bd/1.5Ba, 992 SF, eat-in space in kitchen, screen porch, ½ bath downstairs. No pets allowed. Please call for more info. $550/Month.

ACREAGE & COMMERCIAL FORMER COURIER BUILDING FOR SALE –Zoned C1 (Commercial) this 6800 SF, CB Downtown Building offers so many possibilities! Lots of city parking & priced for quick sale, but call for info. $135,000. #48 IDEAL COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL! Hwy 574 - 1.33 AC, this highly visible corner site is perfect for retail, business office, warehouse, etc. Priced right @ $399,500. Please call for more info. #60 TERRIFIC OPORTUNITY FOR DEVELOPER –10 acre tract can be developed w/8units/acre or 5 duplexes per acre. Site recently annexed into City of Wauchula w/R-2 Zoning and Low Residential Land Use. Owner motivated – bring all offers!! $149,900. #76 BUILDING LOT IN DOVER –Pretty 60x120 ft lot, perfect for your home. 2 pretty canary palms enhances the chain linked front. Only $17,900! #45 16 Gorgeous 1+acre lots located in desirable Cork -Priced to sell from $51,900 to $99,900. Call to stake your claim on these wonderful country sites. #120-135


july 2009

RENTAL/VACATION EVERYDAY IN WALDEN LAKE 3Bd/2Ba, 1624 SF, LR, DR, brkfst rm w/carefree tile floors, split bdrm plan only $1550/Month! LAKELAND MOBILE HOME FOR RENT – 2Bd/2Ba on beautiful shady, nearly ½ acre lot in convenient area! Screened porch & shed only $595/Month!

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Gorgeous 2900 sq’ 4 Bedroom/3 Bath home featuring a Grand Foyer, Formal Living Room & Dining Room, an open floor plan w/an enormous Great Room. Enjoy the outdoors on your pavered lanai & sparkling pool. Call today for you personal tour. $350,000

You’ll have many happy days in this 2500 sq’ 4 Bedroom Walden Lake Pool home on the golf course. Beautiful Southwestern tile & wood floors throughout the home, newer AC & Roof for peace of mind. $290,000 Call Natalie 758-9586

4 Bedroom, 3 Bath Walden Lake custom built home featuring Living, Dining & Family Room w/Fireplace. Solar Heated Pool and lush landscaping for your outdoor fun. A must see at $257,500



2635 Sq’ of Living Area w/4 Bedrooms, 2 1/2 Baths & Huge Bonus Room in Walden Lake. Beautifully decorated & lovingly cared for on large fenced corner lot. Priced right at $219,900

Fabulous 4 bedroom, 3 bath waterfront home in desirable Forest Park. This home features a large living/dining room combo plus a large family room. You will spend hours enjoying the outdoors in the huge expanded screened lanai w/oversized Koi Pond & lush landscaping. $210,000

This unique home features a HUGE GOURMET Kitchen, open floor plan w/4 bedrooms in the main house. The attached guest house features another bedroom with bath and an enormous bonus room. All this and so much more on 1 acre lot. Call for your personal appointment.

You must see this wonderful 3 bedroom, 2 bath home featuring a new updated kitchen w/maple cabinets, corian countertops & stylish stainless appliances. Great property with separate workshop/den and additional bathroom. Call today! $159,900





Beautiful 5+ Acre Executive lots in the Gorgeous Gated Community of Alafia Ridge Estates. You will fall in love with this unique Equestrian Community with only 21 lots and plenty of wildlife. Close by you will find the Alafia River & Alderman’s Ford State Park, and horse trails. Call for information.

Exquisite 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath 2430 sq’ home in Plant City. Fabulous Kitchen w/Granite Countertops, 42” Cabinets & Stainless Appliances. Tons of custom features! Just waiting for you to move in! $275,000

This lovingly cared for home features gleaming pine floors, high ceilings, large formal dining room, living room, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths & updated wiring. Easy commute to I4. $122,500

3 Bedroom 2 Bath home on 1/2 acre lot w/fruit trees. Large workshop & fenced yard w/lots of fruit trees. Huge carport suitable for RV parking. Quiet street & easy I4 commute. $119,000



Search for homes at foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


real estate walden laKe review Custom Homes to build the office and construction buildings. No definite date has been set for construction to begin. The new and improved Web site is now up and running. Please visit www. to see the improvements. The board and management company are compiling data to add to the Web site to let everyone know that we have an outstanding community. There is much more to come to make this site interactive, along with and assistant city manager, said if the the individual neighborhoods having board is interested in reducing the their own link for HOA documents, speed limit, then they would need to events, newsletters, and more. petition the city. Marlene Merrin continues to be The grand opening for the dog park busy working on the enforcement of is scheduled for Aug. 8 from 9 a.m. to deed restrictions for various communoon. The community is welcome to nities in Walden Lake. Now that we come and see this new addition. The are in the rainy season, residents are Dog Park Committee would like to being cited for lawns that are in poor thank all of its sponsors and contribu- condition. tors for making this idea a reality. Please remember that when you The board unanimously passed have guests and they park in the parkthe vote to enter into negotiations ing area, they must put a large note for a contract with Central Florida in their windshields with your name

the latest in your neighborhood S U b M i t t e d by n ata l i e S w e e t

The Walden Lake Community Association Meetings are the third Monday of each month. The next meeting will be July 20 at 6 p.m. At a recent board meeting there was discussion about the speed limits in the neighborhoods of Walden Lake and how to go about getting approval from the city to reduce those speed limits. When the portable speed limit signs have been placed in various neighborhoods, some vehicles were clocked in excess of 70 miles per hour. Greg Howedel, board member

and address, stating that they are your guests. No one is happy when they get one of those gooey orange stickers. What is going on at Walden Lake Golf and Country Club? I had a chance to speak with the general manager, Steve Mercer, and he told me that the Hills course is closed for the summer and will reopen in the fall for the busier season and tournament play. Like most businesses in this economic downturn, the club has had to make adjustments and reduce costs as sales and revenue has decreased. The club is important to our community. How can residents help? Become a member, play golf, hold your special events there, and participate in special events held at the club. For event planning or membership information, call Michele Newsome at (813) 752-1171 extension 222.


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office 813.759.2274 cell 813.763.3910 foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009



Looking for peace and quiet? This is it. 8.3 acres with a Key West style home, metal roof and a wrap around porch. Oak trees surround the home to give you shade on the hot summer evenings. It also has a 24x48 barn/workshop, fenced and green-belted with plenty of room for horses or cows. Plantation shutters, a gas fireplace, a rear screened porch with a breezeway from the 24x24 two car carport to the home. Offered at $499,000. MLS #T2373494. Call Christine Weber at (813) 992-5872.


2 story home with master downstairs, French doors to screened lanai and solar heated pool and spa. Pool bath. Formal living room with fireplace, formal dining room plus a breakfast nook off of the kitchen. Updated granite counter tops. Lots of storage throughout. Majestic grandfather oaks cover most of the 2.2 acres. Partially fenced backyard. Easy access to I-4. Also 3.3 acres next door with D/W for sale see MLS #T2371431. Offered at $378,000. MLS #T2370749. Call Jean Bridgmon at (813) 478-3107.


If you’re a fussy buyer, head over to this 3BR/2BA beauty, located in the lovely neighborhood of Silverlake. So many upgrades that a separate sheet has been prepared to list them for you! Consider the remodeled kitchen with granite countertops, tile backsplash, 42” raised-panel cabinets, upgraded lighting, and full-wall pantry - then move on to the bathrooms with new Corian-topped vanities, upgraded lighting, and tiled walls surrounding the commodes. All windows replaced in ‘05 with thermal windows that tilt in to clean - and are coated with 3M security film! Garage door replaced with a 140 mph wind-resistant door; new roof in ‘07 with upgraded architectural shingles, 4 solar tubes give added light to the living room, hallway and kitchen. Call Lynne Halleran at (813) 763-1881


NOT A SHORT SALE. South East Tampa 1950’s home on a half acre lot. 2BR/2BA 1,128 sq. ft. living space. Large bonus room 15’4” x 10’2” has no closet, could be a den or office space. Original wood floors. Large workshop out back has concrete base. Well and Septic saves on water bill. The half acre lot has Oak and Citrus trees and is fenced for your pets. AHS Home Warranty is being offered. Buyer has option to get a FREE Termite Inspection and Clearance Letter. Offered at $110,000. Call Janet Moore at (813) 751-9890.


Custom built 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with office/den which boasts 10 foot ceilings. Beautiful large oak trees in the front and back yard for shade during your summertime cookouts. Hardwood floors throughout main living area, and tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. Master bedroom has a tray ceiling with an exceptionally large walk-in closet. Master bath has a garden tub, separate shower and dual sinks. Extra large laundry room and an over sized two car garage. Easy commute to Tampa, Brandon, MacDill, Orlando or Dover. Five minutes from I-4. Offered at $215,700. MLS #T2373447. Call Christine Weber at (813) 992-5872.


3/2/2 on 1.92 fenced acres. Great room w/fireplace and “real” wood floors. Open kitchen w/dining, large bedrooms. New roof ’03, A/C ‘07. Lanai (40 x20) w/ vinyl windows, 20 x10 workshop and 10 x 10 utility shed. SAVE! No deed restrictions, no water bill and no HOA fees! Offered at $249,900. Call Maddie Alford to preview (813) 382-8382.


SPOTLESS!!! You’ll appreciate the care given to this well-maintained 3 bedroom/2 bath low-maintenance home convenient to shopping, schools and entertainment. Offers a master suite with separate shower, walk-in closet for your wardrobe, family-friendly kitchen with breakfast area. Laminate countertops, closet pantry, tile flooring, all appliances including washer and dryer - you can move right in! Call Lynne Halleran at (813) 763-1881


Peace and serenity greet you when viewing this nine acre pasture complete with pond. 3 BR/2 BA 1,288 sq. ft. manufactured home has well, septic and electric in place. Zoned AS-1. Cable available. Call listing agent for details. Offered at #320,000. Call Janet Moore at (813) 7519890.


An Oasis for the upper echelon, this exclusive lake frontage property is available for sale. Premium homes are currently being built on these serene estate lots. The value is here and the savvy purchaser of this private fishing lake land will wake up to this view everyday. 2.30 acres; 1.5 upland. Close to Tampa so commute is not cumbersome, yet privacy prevails in this gorgeous setting. You must see it to believe it. Call Listing Agents for further details. Offered at $219,000. Call Janet Moore at (813) 751-9890 or Call Brenda Herring (813) 365-0353.


Designer touches complete the custom built three story home. Through extensive remodeling, this 1920 home has grown to be a showcase of yesterday’s charm combined with today’s modern conveniences. The home boasts richly detailed interior accents, coffered volume ceilings, crown molding, hardwood flooring, custom wood cabinetry and granite counters. Expansive kitchen/family room combo with walls of French doors and windows. Brick gas fireplace bordered by floor-toceiling custom shelving. The master bedroom and bath are located on the first floor and features a spa tub, separate shower, and double sink vanity. This grand home is sure to impress. A 12 month home warranty is being offered. Offered at $390,000. Call Brenda Herring (813) 365-0353 or Call Janet Moore at (813) 751-9890.


Tucked away on a private road in SE Plant City, this custom home sits on a beautiful 2+ acre conservation lot near the end of a cul-de-sac. Split bedroom plan 5BR/3.5BA + den, 3-car garage, screened saltwater pool & spa with oversized lanai, 10x20 utility shed & 17x19 bonus room! Hardwood flooring and ceramic tile are in the traffic areas. The kitchen features 42” wood cabinets, stainless appliances, solid surface counters, 2 convection wall ovens and a back-saving drawer-style dishwasher! Real wood fireplace, in-the-wall pest control. Call Lynne Halleran at (813) 763-1881


Unique single family “condos” in private gated community. Two homes featured. 2/2/2 on conservation lots. Orchid plan with (2039 sq. ft.) den/ study, 33X18 screened patio with pavers. Offered at $247,500. Aspen plan features open living/dining w/bonus den/study (1489 sq. ft.). Low monthly maintenance fees. Offered at $179,800. Call Maddie Alford to preview (813) 382-8382.

Call us for your Residential and Commercial Real Estate needs

1513 Jim Redman Parkway, Plant City



july 2009


Jimmie Robinson - 813-754-3586 ext 222


1513 J. L. Redman Pkwy Plant City, FL 33563

E-mail: • toll free 1-877-442-7001


Enjoy summer fun in this classic cottage overlooking Lake Louisa in Clermont. 2 BR/ 2 BA, sleeps up to 6, with a sitting porch for plenty of relaxation and all the basic necessities provided. Stay for weekend or stay for a month-rental rates: $125/night, $500/ week, $1500/month.

NEW ON MARKET Gorgeous two-story “farmhouse” built in 1997 and situated on 8.3 acres of pasture & grandfather oaks that is fenced and currently greenbelted. Home has 2 BR/2 BA, 1870 SF, gas fireplace, wrap-around front porch, screened back porch, metal roof and 24x48 barn/workshop plus 2 car carport. $499,000. MLS#T2373494.

GO BACK IN TIME Classic 1908 completely renovated with fresh paint and new wiring. Two-story 5 BR/3 BA with over 3800 SF living, 4 fireplaces, 2 clawfoot tubs, heart of pine wood floors, security system...and the list goes on! The infamous “Lion House” sits on a corner lot with a courtyard fountain area overlooking the brick streets of the historic district. $439,000. MLS#T2366167.




3 BR/2 BA brick home with wonderfully shaded 1/2 acre yard situated in family neighborhoodno HOA fees. Home features 2300+ SF living, brick fireplace and lots of room to entertain for family & friends. $209,900. MLS#T2313351


Office with land zoned M-AP plus city water and sewer. 2051 SF on almost one acre. Sold AS IS-bank owned. Only $179,900. MLS#T2371753.



Commercial building located near hospital and I-4. Currently in the remodel stage. Buy now and customize for your particular business. $360,000. MLS#T2330860.

One acre building lots located off of Sparkman Rd, yet convenient to town. Area of newer homes, with 3 lots to choose from at a great price! Hurry-they won’t last long! Only $38,900 each.







Perfect building lot in new community of larger homes. Ready for your dream home of 2400 SF living or more. $59,900. MLS#T2324771

1.68 acres in area of newer homes convenient to I-4. Restricted to homes of 2000 SF or more. Owner Financing Available. $72,500. MLS#T2339873.



Building lot with access to secluded air strip for the pilot in you-build your own hanger. $39,900. MLS#T2333753.

4 acres with pond. Great location for your new home and some privacy too! Great buy at only $125,000. MLS#T2334292.


6 acres of fenced property waiting for your dream home and some horses. 2 wells included. $252,000. MLS#T2373595


1.3 acres in Stone Hedge subdivision-waiting for your dream home to be built. Reduced to $84,900. MLS#T2347973

foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


Renee CoRzine

real estate mortgage


Realtor Multi-Million Dollar Producer

1607 S. Alexander Street • Suite 102


$220,000 OUTSTANDING 3/2/2, 1871 SF, Granite, Stainless Appl, Ceramic Tile, Move-In Ready, Solar Heated Pool, Fruit Trees, Fenced

$175,000 EAGLE GREENS IN WALDEN LAKE 2/2/2, 1364 SF, Granite, Wood Cabinets, on Golf Course, Split Bedrooms, Scnd Lanai





2/1, 1096 SF, Totally Updated, Hardwood Floors, Newer Roof & Windows & Appl, Utility Shed, Fenced

3/2/3, 1812 SF, CB storage bldg, Separate Guest House, Scrnd Porch, Fireplace, 3-Car Garage & 1-Carport

USDA – like the beef Home Flooring Center except totally different Free Estimate S u b m i t t e d by N at e D av i s

No Fancy Showroom • No Pushy Saleperson Just Low Honest Wholesale Prices

Tile • Carpet • Wood • Laminate Shower Tile



Larry Bradshaw, Owner 25 Years Experience




july 2009

There is a no-down-payment mortgage loan available. I swear. In case you have not heard, the hottest product in the mortgage market today is the USDA rural loan, and it is the only 100 percent financing option available – no down payment – besides a VA loan. The USDA rural loan product is unique as it requires no down payment, no monthly mortgage insurance, no prepayment penalty, and the rates are currently in the fives. You can even borrow more than the purchase price so long as the home appraises for that amount. The additional funds may be used to cover closing costs. Let’s break this down: • No Down Payment • No Monthly Mortgage Insurance • 30-year fixed rates

• No prepayment penalty • Rates in the fives • Can borrow more than purchase price to cover closing costs I know this may sound too good to be true, but this is a real government loan product that many Plant City addresses are eligible for. As a matter of fact, this loan program will specifically make it easier for you to sell your home since down payment and monthly mortgage insurance will not be a factor. Many parts of Plant City and a majority of Dover are eligible for the USDA rural loan. So if limited down payments have kept you from taking advantage of the best home-buying opportunity in history, call your local mortgage broker and ask about a 100 percent USDA rural loan.


#1 Lorraine Bennett Agent

Selling? Call me. My Listings SELL!




Reminiscent of French Country architecture, 4 B/R + Den, 3.5 Bath. Custom Pool Home showcases the fi nest luxury fi nishes. Pavered Drive, Walkway & Lanai, 5” Wood-Plank Floors, Crown Moulding, Custom Built-In Cabinetry, Soaring 10’ Cedar Beamed Ceilings, Gourmet Kitchen, Media Room. 1.9 Acres. $749,000





3/2 DWMH in South PC, about 1 mile north of SR-60. Built in 1997. Surrounded by custom homes. No Deed Restrictions. Good Condition! $95,000

4/2/2 ALMOST NEW Block Home. 2400+ Sq Ft. Built in 2004. BIG Kitchen. Neutral Ceramic Tile. Screened Patio. Gated Neighborhood. $215,000




3/2, 2179 sq ft Block Home on 1 Acre in North PC. Granite Counters & Oak Cabinetry, Flagstone Wood-Burning Fireplace, Bonus Room. $189,000

Walden Lake 5/3/3 Pool Home. Remodeled Kitchen w/ Cherry Cabinets, Center Island, Granite. Gas Fire Place. Outdoor Kitchen. Upgrades include Crown Molding, Chair Rails, Plantation Shutters, Custom Lighted Display Niches. $349,900


Sutton Woods, 3/2/2 + Den, Heated POOL Home. 1/3 Acre lot. Ceramic Tile & Laminate Wood Flooring. Tray Ceilings in Master B/R. Jetted Garden Tub & Double Marble Sinks in Master Bath. $231,000




Beautifully remodeled 4/3 Block Home on 7 Greenbelted Acres in South PC. 48X28 3-Bay Garage/Workshop. RV parking & Barn. 24X14 Guest Suite with private Bath & entrance. Fireplace. $324,900


(813) 716-3997


foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


real estate buying and selling


(813) 732- 31 1 3 CELL DOLPHIN REALTY

Hate Income Taxes? Contact me for a free, no obligation consultation about the income tax implications of your real estate transaction

Five Lots in Plant City

Large enough for your house, horse stables and more. Plenty of privacy and seclusion. Minutes from Brandon, close to shopping, and dining. Corner of Trapnell & Smith Ryals Rd.  Lot 1—17.8 acres. Asking $575,000  Lot 2—12.6 acres. Asking $415,000  Lot 3—8.5 acres. Asking $265,000  Lot 4—53.8 acres. Asking $1,620,000  Lot 5—20 acres. Asking $566,000

Legislative update

Additional Properties Available:

S u b m i t t e d by J o - a n Lus k

 Three Residential Lots in Historic District of Plant City

Dolphin Realty  208 Apollo Beach Blvd.  Apollo Beach, FL 33572

Luxury? It’s about how you

want to live.

Your Own Fishing Resort and Nature Preserve! 22 acres with 8 acre spring fed stocked bass lake, and a gorgeous custom built 3 BR 3 BA pool home. See MLS # T2368147, T2368270, and T2368264. Only $825K! Call me for info. See these other fine CUSTOM BUILT homes! 4BR/3BA 2800 sq ft 1.56 acre $349K # T2368321 6BR/5BA 6700 sq ft 2 acres $1,080,000 #T2356234 5BR/2.5 BA 2700 sq ft 2 acres, pool, $337K #T2357920 4BR/3BA 3400 sq ft 1/2 acre pool, gated $699K #T2355405 1 acre home site, lakefront, wooded, $100K #T2368274

For all of your Real Estate Needs Call:

Maggie Beard (813)299.7155


july 2009

The following update comes from my corporate office headquarters of NRT, which is owned by Realogy. This is important due to the belief that a stronger housing and real estate market is vital to the strength and stability of our local and national economy.

• Make permanent the current temporary conforming loan limits • Continue to review and strengthen government efforts already underway to review and refine mortgage-lending practices.

Housing Industry Associations Endorse Business Roundtable Business Roundtable Submits Rec- Proposal “The National Association of Realommendations to Help Revive the tors and its 1.2 million members Housing Market Richard A. Smith, president and applaud the Business Roundtable for CEO of Realogy, is the chair of the its sound policy recommendations Business Roundtable’s Housing Work- put forth to reinvigorate our nation’s ing Group, which recently submitted housing market. The proposal they the following recommendations to announced today is consistent with the White House and Congress to the recommendations NAR has advocated and reflects the critical need stimulate the U.S. housing market: to continue efforts to bring stability • Keep mortgage interest rates at to the housing market,” said Charles historically low levels (below 5 McMillan, president of NAR, in a report to Yahoo! Finance. percent) for at least one year “The National Association of • Expand the current First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit incentive Home Builders supports the Busifrom the lesser of 10 percent of ness Roundtable’s efforts to promote the purchase price of the home policies that will stimulate housing or $8,000 to a higher limit of demand. NAHB looks forward to either 10 percent or $15,000 for all working with all interested parties in homebuyers, remove the income the business community, on Capitol restrictions and include all pri- Hill and in the Obama Administramary residence purchases for one tion to foster new ideas and policies that will help to get housing and the full year • Conduct a thorough review of economy back on track, particularly current foreclosure mitigation and at a time when the recovery is facing loan-modification programs in a number of significant challenges,” light of rising loan-modification said Joe Robson, NAHB chairman. re-default rates

Team Wainoris...Selling Plant City and Lakeland

Randall & Kathleen Wainoris

813-997-3000 863-608-1557

REALTOR® / Attorney at Law

REALTOR® / Notary

Multi-Million Dollar Producers



Enjoy country living in beautiful Plant City. 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath home with bonus room, l/r, d/r, f/r and huge country kitchen. Wonderful fenced property with multiple out buildings, shed, and large deck with pool! Just reduced to $129,900.

PLANT CITY CIRCA 1900 Charming two story colonial. 4 bed, 2 baths. New roof and a/c. completely rewired with new remodeled kitchen. Detached garage on a lovely corner lot. Asking only $159,000.


TOLL FREE: 888-488-2822 • FAX 813-659-0196

PANORAMIC WATER VIEWS! Incredible 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath pool home with spectacular waterfront views from virtually every room. Tremendous pool area with water falls and outdoor kitchen. Enormous master suite with sitting area and fireplace overlooking Walden Lake. Volume ceilings, gourmet kitchen, 2 wine cellars and custom wood work throughout. Asking just $879,000.


Plant City

Beautiful 3 bedroom 2 bath home with new granite kitchen in Walden Lake East. Asking only $139,900.


Wonderfully maintained manufactured home on beautiful one acre lot surrounded by premium homes. No deed restrictions. Reduced to just $119,000.


Team Wainoris Wants You!




Completely renovated pool home on beautiful property in Plant City. New granite kitchen, formal LR/DR, family room w/ stone fire place, 4 bed/2.5 bath plus In-Law suite with add’l bedroom, living room, bath and kitchen. Price reduced to $329,000.


Beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 full bath Lakeland pool home. Over 2800 feet of living area. Asking $218,000.


Incredible 4 bedroom, 3 bath pool home with 30x36 ft workshop. Large country kitchen. Formal L/R with fireplace. 4th bedroom with separate entrance: possible office/in-law suite. Great location, asking just $299,000.


Let us help you build your dreams! Beautiful one acre lot in established neighborhood off Knights Griffin, near 39, just $76,900. One acre building lots in North Lakeland: Dove Meadow Trail $39,000, Brookridge Trail $49,000. Call today!

When you drive up and down the streets in our community, you notice for sale signs everywhere......but are homes selling? Maybe not everywhere, but homes are selling here at Team Wainoris. Overall, inventories are definitely down compared to this time last year, but still substantially higher than 2005 or 2006 levels. Ironically, here at Team Wainoris, we are running out of houses to sell! How can that be? Well, with low interest rates and all of the government incentives out there, we just seem to keep finding buyers! Here is where you can help....... Let us sell your home! By selling your home, you will be helping our economy too! How? Perhaps your home sale will allow some lucky citizen to take advantage of the $8000.00 first time buyer tax credit! (That money will be put back into the economy!) Selling your home will also be a boost to local employment since many home buyers buy new furniture, obtain lawn services and often do many home improvements. If you were considering a more upscale home for yourself, now is also a great time for you to move up! The deals are great out there! If you sell your current home, you may be able to upgrade and buy that dream home at a price you never thought we would see again!! According to the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors as well as the Lakeland Association of Realtors, average home sales prices increased from April to May. Hopefully this trend will continue and today’s home buyers will be able to get in to the market at what will be historical low prices. Thinking of selling your home? We want you! Looking to upgrade or perhaps buy your first home? We can help you too! Interest rates are still low! Please call us today at Team Wainoris; you will be glad you did! *Please consult your tax advisor for your individual tax considerations.

Exit Realty is Growing WWW.TEAMWAINORIS.COM foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009



july 2009

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7905 Pierce Harwell Rd. Plant City, FL 33565

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(813) 230-2691 foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


sports PCHS coaching staff at PCHS and returned to the softball diamond as an assistant until 1997 when she was named as the Raiders’ head softball coach. In 2001, the Raiders captured their first-ever district softball championship, and followed that with two more titles over the next two seasons while making it to the regional finals twice. S to r y by J o e B o w l e s Durrance, a youthful 40-year-old Earlier this year, when Traci Dur- University of Florida. She had the who reminds one of Sally Fields with rance was named Plant City High opportunity to play softball at other her looks and bubbly personality, School’s athletic director, she imme- colleges but she chose to be a Gator spoke of the difficult transition from diately felt an obligation to her alma instead. At that time, the Gators did coaching to administration, “I loved mater to lead the athletic program in not have a softball program. coaching. I loved working with the a direction that would reflect her own Following graduation, Durrance girls, seeing them turn into young commitment to excellence. returned home to teach physical edu- women going off to college. I would Durrance, a two-sport athlete in cation at Tomlin Junior High School. have been content to continue my softball and volleyball at Plant City, After the second year of her 15-year coaching career, if not for a suggesgraduated in 1987 and headed to the tenure at Tomlin, Durrance joined the tion by my principal.”

Moving in the right direction As the new Raiders’ athletic director, Traci Durrance aims to put kids in college while managing winning sports teams.

Durrance is at home with the Raiders. Picture by Lindsay Barthle


july 2009

Buddy Raburn, former PCHS principal, suggested to her that she might be suited for a career in school administration. Durrance acted on Raburn’s suggestion, returned to the classroom, and earned her master’s degree in 2004. “It was a hard decision because I loved what I was doing, but I was ready for a change,” said Durrance. Her next goal was to be the Raiders athletic director. “I really wanted to be the athletic director at Plant City High Schools and to give back to the school and community what they have given to me.” On April 6, Durrance earned the opportunity to “give back.” Traci’s new job consists of the oversight of all the athletic programs, the management of the facilities in the entire school, including the maintenance of the buildings. She is also responsible for the monitoring and mentoring of teachers. Another aspect of her job is related to giving direction to the various sports coaching staffs and the selection of new coaches who will fit into the criteria that she feels is necessary to build a tradition that the school, students, and the community will be proud of. “With our coaches, we are looking primarily for educators, but we are also looking for key people who will care about the kids,” said Durrance. “People who want to work harder. People who will share the vision to be involved all year round, even helping our seniors get into college.” She also plans for more parent involvement. “We have great parents who lead our Booster Club, like Philip Balliet, Jack Prestwood, and Rick Lott. Plant City is one of the last high schools that still has a community feel to it, and we need to tap into that,” Durrance said. Durrance wants to make it clear that those who are involved understand the overall objective. “It’s not just athletics. It’s also about student achievement,” Durrance said. “I believe that we are moving in the right direction.” There are others who believe so too.

Elite Home Fitness Get in the Best Shape of Your Life

WE HATE OUR TRAINER. BUT WE LOVE THE RESULTS! Many Americans have the desire to get in shape, but the idea of joining a gym and disciplining themselves to go frequently prevents them from moving forward. Mike realizes people need convenience and accountability if they are going to live a healthy lifestyle. After 17 years experience in fitness clubs and personal training, Mike decided to start a different style of personal training, which has proven to be successful for many people in Plant City. Elite Home Fitness is a unique style of personal training where the trainer brings the workout to you at home. The program is completely personalized and designed to fit around your schedule. No matter how early or late, you can arrange to have a fitness program brought to your doorstep. Some appointments are as early as 5 a.m., others as late as 9 p.m. The wonderful thing about having a personal trainer come to your house is that you know you cannot make up excuses for not going to work out. If you have a set appointment for someone to come to your home, you will most likely be ready and accountable. When you decide to use Elite Home Fitness, the first thing you will notice is Mike is not just your personal trainer; he becomes a friend. The added benefits of having a fun and up-beat personality as your trainer make the work out less dreadful. Mike will push you to your limit and help you get the results you are looking for. “I can help people get into the best shape of their lives,” said Mike. However, to truly make a strong difference in your life, the changes cannot be solely physical. Although working out is a necessity, Mike also encourages his clients to keep a nutrition diary. He provides his clients with nutrition counseling so they can eat healthy, feel confident and look great. “I’ve helped people lose 60+ pounds,” said Mike. Mike can train all ages, shapes and sizes. You will certainly experience results with the one-on-one personal attention he can provide. Couples-training is also available where Mike can train both husband and wife at the same time so they can get in shape together. In today’s world, everyone is short on time and heav-

Linda Kingsley, I Hate My Trainer, but Love My Results! ily burdened with stress. This is a great way to relieve stress, gain energy and lose weight without inconveniencing your schedule. The workout usually lasts between 45-60 minutes. Each workout is designed personally for each client, including cardio, toning, strength training and stretching.

change people’s lives for the better and help them to enjoy life more. It makes you feel good when you help others feel good.”

“The reason I do fitness is because it is a gratifying business,” said Mike, “I get to help

Call Elite Home Fitness today at 813-786-1541.

If you have been procrastinating on getting in shape, you are really running out of excuses now. It’s time to make a change in your life and have fun doing it!

sports baseball

Tournament of Champions

Cubs 9-4, setting up the championship game the next day. The Cubs came away with the win and the title. “Our team played great the entire tournament. We sailed through our S to r y by J o e B o w l e s bracket until we met up with North At the end of every Little League 11-5 during the regular season, but Lakeland. At that point, it really season, the league champions from qualified for the TOC by winning the came down to a best two-out-of-three each age group compete against other year-end city tournament. tournament. Fortunately, we were league champions in their district in The Tournament of Champions able to win one more game. Our little what has traditionally been called began in Auburndale on May 28, as shortstop, Hunter Emerine, had a a strong team tournament. The the Cubs representing the Plant City great tournament. He helped turn proper name is the Tournament of American League, beat Lakeland four double plays. He was able to get Champions. City Orange 10-2. The Cubs then to balls that other kids his age aren’t This year, Plant City brought raced through the winner’s bracket able to. Our first baseman, Casey home one championship and three taking their next three games against Mawhinney, also had a great week. second-place finishes in District 4 Auburndale 17-10, Lake Alfred 17-3, In fact, all of our players hit the ball competition. and North Lakeland National 7-2. well,” said Macca. In the Machine Pitch baseball diviNorth Lakeland National survived In the Juniors baseball division, sion, which is for 7- and 8-year-olds, the losers’ bracket and met up with which is for 13- to 15-year-olds, Plant the Cubs, coached by Chris Macca, the Cubs again on June 5. This time, City was represented by the Mets, had the fourth best league record at North Lakeland got the best of the winners of their division with a season record of 15-1-1. The tournament got underway in Lakeland on June 5 when the Mets defeated Haines City 5-2. The next day Auburndale forfeited. Two more victories followed as the Mets took wins from Lakeland City Orange 16-3 and North Lakeland 4-1. The Mets eventually lost in the championship game to North Lakeland and had to settle for second place in the 12-team tournament. For the tournament, the Mets’ Evan Bowles was 11-for-16 with

Local teams fare well at strong team competition.

Plant City Machine Pitch Cubs capture District 4 TOC title. Top row coaches: Chris Macca, Daryll Rodgers, Doug Emerine, and Scott Obergfell. Next row down: Randi Willis,Matthew Del-Castillo,Jose Machado,Ryan Macca, Casey Mawhinney, Jacob Gonzalez, Connor Rodgers, Austin Obergfell, Eddie Davilla, and Hunter Emerine, Absent: Chad Young, Peyton Cherry. Picture courtesy of Stephanie Humphrey and Chris Macca


july 2009

four doubles and three triples. Kent Humphrey, Keven Long, and Bowles all claimed wins on the mound. In softball, Plant City played host to the Majors division, which is for 11- and 12-year-olds, beginning May 29. Plant City defeated Polk City 13-7 and then fell the following day to North Lakeland 17-0. Plant City rebounded to take a victory from North Lakeland 7-3, before losing in the championship game to claim second place. In the Minors division, which is 9- and 10-year-olds, the Plant City National team lost its opening game at Lake Alfred to Lake Wales 13-2. The team won its next two games in the losers’ bracket, taking victories from Polk City 18-15, and Plant City American 6-4 before falling short in the title game to Lake Wales. In All-Star district competition, Chelsea Baker, who plays for the Plant City Rays, threw a perfect game to win the 11-year-old District 4 Championship. She struck out 9 with no walks, compiling 44 pitches, 34 of those strikes. She also went 4-for-5 for the game with one home run. The Rays advance to Sectionals in Bradenton on July 24-26. For more information, go to www.

Plant City Juniors Mets capture second place at TOC. Top row: Coach Ricky Lara, Cody Carter, Michael Wilson, Quinton Broward, Kent Humphrey, Jacob Goad, Tyler Barnett, and Coach Joe Bowles. Bottom row: Leo Perdomo, Evan Bowles, Kyle Ryan, Michael Hash, Cody Smith, and Keven Long. Picture courtesy of Stephanie Humphrey and Chris Macca

Hometown Banking at its best!

Come and bank with your friends and neighbors

It's wacky july!

at the Place of Beauty

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Ask about our Mobile Day Spa Services for Spa Parties, Weddings, Corporate Events & more. foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


sports baseball

Andy Knotts congratulates Jeff Jacobsen for being July’s athlete of the month. Picture by Lindsay Barthle

901 West Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Plant City, Florida (813) 754-2588


Jeff Jacobsen S to r y by J o e b o w l e S

When Jeff Jacobsen, a three-year member of Plant City High School’s pitching staff, recently went to a college baseball summer camp, he had no idea that it would lead to a private tryout that would eventually result in an offer to attend Warner University on a scholarship. “The pitching coach, coach Wagner, said he liked how I threw and my arm action, so he asked me to come to a tryout in front of the head coach,”


july 2009

Jacobsen recalled when asked about the encounter. Jacobsen originally planned to attend Florida Southern College in Lakeland as a walk-on, but jumped at the offer from Warner. Head coach Jeff Sikes held a private tryout with Jacobsen along with a transfer student from Daytona State College. Jacobsen threw about 40 pitches before the coach told Jacobsen that he would call him later. After a few days,

Sikes called to tell him to get all his paperwork in because he was about to become a Royal. Warner University – formerly Warner Southern College – is a private school located five miles south of Lake Wales. The Royals are members of the Sun Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Last season, the Royals ended up as the No. 15 ranked NAIA school in the nation and accepted an at-large bid to participate in the NAIA Baseball National Championships. Jacobsen’s journey to Warner began at an early age by playing baseball with the Plant City Little League. By his own admission, however, he struggled. “In Little League, I stunk so bad. I was awful,” said Jacobsen. “The coach would try to hide me in the outfield. When I was 12, my Little League coach let me pitch and I did pretty good. When I was 13, I grew a little bit and I got a chance to pitch more.” In the seventh grade, Jacobsen played well enough to make the junior varsity team at Lakeland Christian School. From there, he attended three more schools before settling in at PCHS as a sophomore. In his first year as a Raider, he

became the team’s closer. As a junior, he pitched in relief and started a couple of games. By his senior season, Jacobsen became a steady starter, compiling a 3-3 record with an ERA of 2.22, striking out 45 batters in 53 innings. With size, 6’1” and 185 lbs., came speed. His fastball usually tops out in the high 80s mph. Jacobsen feels indebted to his parents, Jeff and Angela, who have encouraged him to apply himself at school. He graduated with a 3.08 grade point average and was involved in a number of school activities including Special Olympics. Jacobsen would like to become an education major with plans to one day become a high school math teacher. Although he excelled in math, he had a few problems in another subject area. “Spanish wasn’t my strongest subject,” Jacobsen said, “so I appreciate Ms.(Meg) Cimino for all the times that she stayed after school to help me study.” Jacobsen’s life over the past few years has been busy preparing for college, but he has taken time out to secure a part-time job at the Premiere Movie Theatre, as well as play a little golf and hang out with his favorite conversationalist, his grandpa Hazen.


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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


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L A N D S C A P I N G foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009



Senior of the

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Kelsey Horton Softball champ heads for the Swamp. S to r y by C h e r y l J o h n s to n

Kelsey Horton has imagined herself playing softball for the University of Florida since she was a pre-teen skilled enough to play travel ball. In August, she begins to live that dream. Her parents, Jim and Allie Horton, couldn’t be more pleased. The family has long been serious Gator fans. Now Horton will be the focal point of their more frequent trips to Gainesville. Horton played for Durant’s Lady Cougars throughout high school, where she holds records for most hits and most home runs in a season. For three years she was selected for the All-Academic Softball Team – two years for volleyball – and in 2008 as an All-State Softball First Team designate. Her extracurricular accomplishments, sportsmanship, and academic class status – No. 17 with a 5.78 GPA – also earned Horton a coveted Principal’s Award. Needless to say, she leaves the Cougars with a hole to fill. Horton also plays catcher and first base for the Gold Coast Hurricanes, a tournament club based in Plantation. Girls from the east coast and Iowa fly into Fort Lauderdale several


july 2009

weekends monthly to prepare for summer competitions across the country. This gold-level team, the highest in amateur softball, won the 2008 Gold National Title, the first team from Florida or the eastern U.S. to do so. “Winning the National Championship was the best. We weren’t expected to win, but fought so hard against great California teams,” said Horton. “Now our picture hangs in the ASA Softball Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.” Additionally, the Hurricanes traveled to Vancouver to play six Olympic teams – Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Japan, and Venezuela - just before the Beijing games. Athletically talented, most definitely, but Horton has other leadership talents, too. She served in Durant’s Senior Council, Leo Club, and as National Honor Society treasurer. Favorite classes like chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and math probably influenced her health science or medically related major choice. She hopes to work at Shands, the Gainesville teaching hospital, and volunteer for

Kelsey Horton’s slide scored the go-ahead run in the 2008 ASA National Championship game in Oklahoma City, where her team defeated the Corona Angels, from California. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Horton

charitable outreaches similar to those she helped locally. “I don’t know the direction I’ll go in medicine, but that is my main career plan. My mom is a senior RN at the Plant City Health Center, and my dad is a pediatric medical equipment technician, so it’s almost inevitable I follow in their path,” said Horton. She especially thanks educators who held her accountable and said, “I feel prepared for college classes.” She also credits her coaches for invaluable guidance, saying “my Gold Coast Hurricane coaches helped me transition into a more mature softball player, to think more about the game. They have set me up to be very successful in college softball.” Dawn Hough Andersen was another inspirer. Horton remembers

the volleyball coach her 10th- and 11th-grade seasons. “She was extremely tough,” said Horton, “but under her, we were district champions and class 6A State runner-up. Her passion for the sport transferred in her coaching.” In 10 years, she expects to be “settled down with a stable job and maybe even a family.” Whatever comes, Durant teacher Courtney Singletary is certain this young competitor will continue hitting the home runs of life, summing her up like this: “Kelsey made all the right choices, made lasting positive impressions, and made it a point to remain humble. She’s one of those students her community will never forget.”

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611 S. Alexander St • Plant City, FL 33563 • 813-754-3311 • foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


extra Al ruechel Fortunately, I have learned that when life gets difficult, God is there trying to teach you a lesson. He wants parents to care and get involved only when it makes sense. He wants me to keep the chopper in the hangar. He wants me to keep things in perspective and understand that intervening cheats my children out of valuable learning experiences that God has allowed. a change to play on the high school team while starting on a very successful club team. I was as pleasant to his coach as possible, worked hard to raise money for the team, didn’t miss a single game, drove my son home late at night so he could get five hours of sleep before the next school day. The problem was simple in my mind. The high school coach played him as an offensive striker when he was obviously a defensive player, not only because of his size, but also because of his strength. You don’t know how much I wanted to grab the coach as he was berating my son for not playing the striker position like he wanted. I was just busting to scream, “…for Pete’s sake S u b m i t t e d by a l r u e c h e l let my son play will you? It’s freezing I don’t remember anyone giving me I helped them make sure the letters and he’s been sitting on the bench this advice: once a parent, always a on the poster board were straight while you put in players who aren’t as parent. But like the sky is blue and and the words were spelled correctly. skilled as my son.” If your kids play any sports, then water is wet, it is a truism of life. I gave them some ideas on what to You always want what is best for investigate and how important it is you know exactly how I felt. The only your kids. You want them to get a fair to be able to explain clearly what you thing that kept me sane was that my son seemed to take it all in stride. He shake in life. You want them to suc- were researching. ceed and pray they don’t make some I helped my daughter build a sling was disappointed and a bit discourof the mistakes you made in life. to toss a potato in the air. I helped aged, but since he was doing so well The tough part is knowing when my son with one of his racers. I even on the competitive team he lumped it to intervene and when to sit back proofread some of their papers in high off. I never confronted the coach and tried my best to console myself with and watch for the outcome. That’s school. not too difficult to determine when Then come the hard decisions. My other parents feeling the same. The they are small. I admit to helping my oldest son played soccer for years. In helicopter stayed in the hangar. No kids with their science fair projects. high school, he was seldom given weapons fired, no harm done.

Once a parent, always a parent


july 2009

Now it’s my other son. He’s a great young man dedicated to his healthcare profession. It is obvious to me his boss is taking advantage of him. He hasn’t provided the learning opportunities he promised. He’s given my son responsibilities of a full-time professional with no financial benefits. And now, he’s stalling with an employment contract that allows for no negotiations and delays my son’s guaranteed future training and licensing. My blades have been spinning like crazy. It isn’t fair. He’s being pressured into a contract that is gravely flawed. My cannons are loaded. I want to give him my lawyer’s name. No, I want to come up there and grab his boss and shake some sense into him. Fortunately, I have learned that when life gets difficult, God is there trying to teach you a lesson. He wants parents to care and get involved only when it makes sense. He wants me to keep the chopper in the hangar. He wants me to keep things in perspective and understand that intervening cheats my children out of valuable learning experiences that God has allowed. But alas and alack, once a parent, always a parent. Translated: I’m allowed to worry and fret and pray, and I hope I keep my mouth shut before I embarrass them and myself.

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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


entertainment red rose

A fabulous Father’s Day S t o r y by L i n d a L aw s o n

The Red Rose Dining Room was packed with families taking Dad to an elegant meal. Photo courtesy of the Red Rose Inn and Suites

Fathers of every age, grandfathers, children, grandchildren, wives, and mothers flocked to the beautiful Red Rose Inn and Suites Dining Room on Father’s Day. Dads were the heroes of the day, sharing the limelight only with the sumptuous buffet. Prime Rib Au jus, carved turkey, barbecue ribs, pulled pork, broiled white fish, boiled shrimp, mashed potatoes, gravy, and a vegetable medley. A palette of delicious salads spread across a buffet to please every taste and fancy. And if that were not enough, a bounty of delightful hot breakfast foods and an omelet bar to please the most discriminating palate. Dads dressed in Sunday attire of suits and ties, with beautiful children in tow. Other’s looking as if they had spent a leisure morning on the golf course, dressed in neatly pressed

shorts, polos, and deck shoes. Children young and old, wives, moms, and grandmothers all came with a single purpose. It was a day to give honor to fathers, husbands, and granddads. Father’s Day at the Red Rose Dining Room is a wonderful way to say “thank you” for all the hard work on the job, for performing “honey dos,” tying on kite strings, teaching the little ones to ride their trikes and bikes. For showing great patience while teaching the teenager, who knows it all, how to drive the family car. Thanks for mowing the grass, trimming the hedge, and fueling the car because mom says these are man’s work. While the hero was dad, the focal point was the fabulous food. After

CONTInued on next page



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entertainment CONTINUED FROM PAGE 108 consuming all one could hold, and experiencing complete satisfaction to its fullest, all were finished. But wait! You must save room for dessert. Oh no! There’s no room for dessert. Just kidding! There’s always room for dessert. With choices of lemon meringue pie, coconut cake, pecan pie, carrot cake, red velvet cake, tiramisu, chocolate cake, who can refuse such decadence? A cup of coffee or hot tea and dessert is a great ending to an awesome meal shared with your favorite guy who you love. The delightful Genesis, of the musical group Destiny, sang classic oldies beautifully mixed with contemporary favorites such as Angels sounding exactly like Sarah McLachlan, the recording artist. Bruce Farr played the electric keyboard and joined Genesis vocally, the two voices blending seamlessly. If one closed their eyes, then they might think they were listening to angels sing. What a great accompaniment to a perfect day for the perfect man (well almost perfect).

Every day at the Red Rose Inn and Suites Dining Room is a perfect day. Impeccable service, beauty abounding at every turn; everything appointed lovely including the restrooms. Speaking of which, have you seen the restrooms? Oh! My!! Beautiful marble on the floors, the walls, everywhere! There are mounds of soft terry cloths to dry one’s hands. No paper towels! Thank you very much! Mrs. Evelyn and Batista Madonia, Sr., the proprietor and general manager, have that Midas touch. Everything Mrs. Evelyn touches turns to beautiful. If you haven’t experienced the Red Rose Inn and Suites Dining Room, then you are missing an elegant dining experience in a beautiful, yet relaxing atmosphere. Call (813) 752-3141 and make your reservations today. Tuesday and Wednesday are prime rib and seafood nights. Take your family for a special night out and enjoy. Bon Appetit! Take I-4 to exit 21, Red Rose is located at 2011 N. Wheeler St., in Plant City.

David Miller and his family enjoyed Father’s Day at the Red Rose Dining Room. Photo courtesy of the Red Rose Inn and Suites

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entertainment artist of the month

Practice makes perfect

sister. Before long she was painting on her own, every day from the moment she woke up at 5a.m. until she went to bed at 10 p.m. From the beginning, Bryant was not afraid to try anything and painted with the attitude “that if you think you can do it, you can do it.” She made it her you went to bed at night? Such was the case with self-taught goal to complete one painting every artist Debra Bryant. After experi- day and began a serious study of art encing a back injury that put her out books. Although Bryant was initially of work, she began painting with her

Self-taught artist combines talent with perseverance. S to r y by H e at h e r D av i s

Have you ever wanted something so much that it became your whole focus? It became your reason for waking up in the morning and the last thing you thought about before

drawn to painting wildlife, after taking a weeklong old master reproductions workshop with Frank Covino, she was hooked on painting portraits. Debra made it her goal to practice and learn everything she could about the technique and style behind portrait painting, something she continues to this day. As an artist, Bryant has been recognized and celebrated in many art shows, recently taking Best in Show at the Florida Strawberry Festival. She also finds real joy and satisfaction in teaching wildlife and portrait painting at the Center for Arts at Center Place in Brandon. Plans are in the works for several exhibitions of Bryant’s art work. She will be on display at the Plant City Chamber of Commerce in the month of August, Bruton Memorial Library for the month of September, and at the Center for Arts in December. Bryant’s fine artistic talent proves that it takes practice and perseverance to achieve anything you decide to do.

Here, a girl enjoys the beach. What is she looking at? That is for the viewer to decide. Photo courtesy of Debra Bryant

Debra Bryant stands amid several of her paintings. Photo by Heather Davis


july 2009

Bryant paints all kinds of things for people with different tastes. Photo courtesy of Debra Bryant

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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


dining ProFile

There is a wide range of ice cream flavors from which to choose at Queen V’s. Photo by Kevin Tall

Queen V’s ice cream Palace There’s only one way to cool down this summer – ice cream. S to r y by k e v i n ta l l

I immediately felt young again, price. Hand-dipped ice cream is availwalking into Queen V’s Ice Cream able, ranging from kid’s size to large Palace, no easy feat for someone with for $2 to $4. Add 75 cents for a waffle a lower back and knees that feel like cone and toppings are 50 cents each. mine do on a regular basis. Ice cream aficionados can choose The sweetest addition to downtown from several candy toppings – ButPlant City, Kevin and Vicki Strickler’s terfingers, M&Ms, Snickers, Reese’s old-fashioned ice cream shop – located – marshmallows, peanuts, or graham at 111 S. Collins St. – serves only crackers. Or they can take a trip to quality, Hershey’s brand ice cream in the sprinkles tower, where 50 cents a cute, clean, and cozy atmosphere. gets a happy customer an unlimited Having only been open a little more amount of the colorful toppings. than a month, Queen V’s has seen Also on the menu is the sundae steady business that should become option. Choose your flavor and your even better, according to employee size – small for $3.50 or large for Frankie Christensen. $4.50 – and then two toppings and “Everyone likes ice cream in the soon your treat will arrive, complete summer,” she explained. with whipped cream and a cherry on With the soon-to-be-finished top. I decided to enjoy a large Cookies addition of a party room, mainly for and Cream sundae with Reese’s cups children’s birthdays, the prospect of and Reese’s peanut butter on top, and more customer traffic seems likely. boy was it good. Beneath the flavor of The hand-painted ice cream mural the toppings, I could taste the quality that will decorate the wall is sure to of the Hershey’s-brand ice cream. It make many a magnificent memory for was delicious and made my trip comcelebrating children in Plant City. pletely worth it. Feeling young again But enough about the walls, it’s time may be nice, but satisfying my sweet to talk about ice cream. Queen V’s tooth was even better. serves up quality treats at a reasonable


july 2009

ABOVE Queen V’s recently opened in downtown Plant City, next to Snellgroves. BELOW “Sprinkles please.” No problem. Fifty cents gets you as much as you want. Photo by Kevin Tall

ABOVE A large sundae with Cookies and Cream ice cream, Reese’s cups and Reese’s peanut butter is topped with a cherry.

Queen V’s 111 S. Collins St. (813) 764-8888 Hours Monday – Thursday noon – 9 p.m. Saturday noon – 10 p.m. Sunday 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Advantage Academy of Hillsborough Where will your child attend school next year? Limited space still available for the 2009-2010 school year! Providing Students a Tuition Free, Quality Education in a Private School Setting

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Parent Information Nights: July 14, 20 & 27 at 6:00 p.m. held at Evangelical Presbyterian Church 1107 Charlie Griffin Road Meet Principal – Mr. Will Davis

Advantage Academy of Hillsborough 350 W. Prosser Street Plant City, Florida 33563 Phone: 813-567-0801 foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


entertainment calendar the Plant City garden Club meets at 10 a.m. on the second Monday of every month. for meeting location, call Cassandra banning at (813) 7591638.

FRIDAy, july 17

Charlie vegas and the new blues Combo are performing their authentic roadhouse music at the red rose inn and Suites. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 7523141 for more information.

SATuRDAy, july 18

is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information.

SATuRDAy, AuG. 8

the grand opening for the walden lake dog Park is from 9 a.m. to noon. food is available. for more info, e-mail betty at

Come enjoy a las vegas style show featuring ralph allocco and Second wind at the red rose inn and Suites at 8 p.m. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 7523141 for more information.

Come enjoy a las vegas style show featuring ralph allocco and Second wind at the red rose inn and Suites at 8 p.m. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 7523141 for more information.

WEDNESDAy, july 22

FRIDAy, AuG. 14

there is a computer class on creating greeting cards using Publisher at bruton Memorial library. it is free and starts at 3 p.m. Call the library at (813) 757-9215 for more information.

FRIDAy, july 24

the red rose inn and Suites is holding a las vegas style show at 8 p.m. featuring adult contemporary music. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information.

SATuRDAy, july 25

Come see Johnny alston’s rock & roll Motown revue featuring harriet alston and 2nd Chance at the red rose inn and Suites. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information.

FRIDAy, july 31

Come enjoy music at the red rose inn and Suites from house band destiny. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information.

SATuRDAy, AuG. 1

ralph allocco and Second wind are performing at the red rose inn and Suites at 8 p.m. for a las vegas style show. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information.

FRIDAy, AuG. 7

Charlie vegas and the new blues Combo are performing at the red rose inn and Suites. the red rose


july 2009

ralph allocco and Second wind are performing a las vegas style show at the red rose inn and Suites at 8 p.m. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information.

SATuRDAy, AuG. 15

the red rose inn and Suites is hosting a performance from P.J. leary and the las vegas Sounds, including “Monday, Monday,” a tribute to the Mamas and Papas. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 7523141 for more information.


the red rose inn and Suites is hosting a champagne brunch. Come enjoy complimentary mimosas and listen to live music. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 7523141 for more information.


dancer Susan Staton is giving dance lessons from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the red rose inn and Suites. Cost is $10 per person. Call (863) 604-5060 to schedule a session. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information. habitat for humanity meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of every month at keller williams realty, which is located at 1514 S. alexander St. Call rachael layman (813) 754-3066 for more information.

american business women’s association has a meeting at 11:45 a.m. / on the last Monday of every month at Carrabba’s italian grill, which is located at 1205 townsgate Court. for more information, call annie Carapezza at (813) 707-1221. east hillsborough art guild has a meeting at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of every month. it is in sanction with the gfwC woman’s Club, which is located at 1110 n. wheeler St. Call leo watson at (813) 719-6533 for more information.


arts Council of Plant City meets at 7 p.m. the first tuesday of every month, September through May. Meeting is in the Chamber of Commerce Public Meeting room at 106 n. evers St. Call Maggie Carlisle at (813) 752-6133. Come to the red rose inn and Suites for a prime rib and seafood buffet and enjoy live music. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information. gfwC woman’s Club of Plant City meets at 10:30 a.m. on second tuesday of every month at the gfwC Clubhouse, which is located at 1110 n. wheeler St. Call lynn Connor at (813) 478-1474 for more information.


Come to the red rose inn and Suites for a prime rib and seafood buffet and enjoy live music. the red rose is

august 10

located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information. hr Plant City meets at noon on the third wednesday of every month at the red rose inn and Suites, which is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call Janet kelly at (813) 754-5997 for more information. the improvement league of Plant City meets at 7 p.m. on the third wednesday of every month at 911 e. warren St. Call henry Johnson at (813) 7674374 for more information.


the red rose inn and Suites is hosting Singles night out beginning at 5:30 p.m. the event includes happy hour, a dance contest, music and more. the red rose is located at 2011 n. wheeler St. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information. gfwC Plant City Juniorettes, which is for girls ages 12 through 18, meet at 6:30 p.m. on the third thursday of every month. the gfwC Clubhouse is at 1110 n. wheeler St. Call nia ramo at (813) 754-2916 for more information. toastmasters international meets at 7:30 a.m. every thursday at the Chamber of Commerce Public Meeting room, which is at 106 n. evers St. Call Stan reynolds at (813) 309-0269 for more information. Plant City federated republican women’s Club meets at 6 p.m. on the second thursday of every month at the red rose inn and Suites, which is at 2011 n. wheeler St. Contact: diane Martin-Johnson / 986-4554

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foCUS Magazine Plant City july 2009


entertainment crossword T U I T C I C A










Dick, Jane and Sally

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Dick, Jane, and Sally P r o v i d e d by C a lv i n & J a c k i e M at h e w s


ACROSS 1. Morning 5. In that spot 10. __ pieces; fall apart 14. Variable stars 15. Preowned home on the market 17. Slight difference 20. Dick, Jane and Sally 23. Gibbon 24. Wedding number? 25. Debs, for one 26. Deliver an address 28. Beast of burden 29. Globe 31. Lessen 34. Provoke 35. Highlander’s tongue 36. Invite 39. “What’s the __?” 40. Suffix for crank or lank 41. Dick, Jane and Sally 48. Giovanni’s love 49. __ execution; governor’s order 50. Duck 54. Magnavox rival 55. Actress Hedy 58. Tee preceder 60. “Behold!” 61. Literary initials 62. __ carte 63. Contraction 65. Trial exam 67. Full Taurus 70. Grand homes 72. Plantation home feature 75. __ Parks 77. Have life 78. Arena cry 81. __ Legend 82. Dr. payer, often 84. Stories of a French house 86. Mug 87. Grand fixer 88. Farewells 90. Ohio, for one 91. Dick, Jane and Sally 97. Acid fighters 100. Narrow inlet 101. Understand 102. Holds 103. Give __ go; try 104. Favre of football 106. Arith. process 107. Barrier 110. Enchantress of myth 112. Large groups 117. One who “only has eyes for ewe”

119. 120. 125. 126. 127. 128. 129. 130.

30. 32. 33. 35. 36. 37. 38. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 51. 52. 53. 55. 56. 57. 59. 64. 66. 67. 68. 69. 71. 72. 73. 74. 76. 78. 79. 80.

Dazzle Dick, Jane and Sally Of the main artery Scorching Dramatic twist Yale hirees: abbr. Older kids Scout groups

DOWN 1. Peaceful ones 2. Powerful prayer 3. Bulb word 4. ABC, for one 5. Essay 6. Blood pigment 7. Birthright seller 8. Pealed 9. In a different way 10. Animal with an oxlike head 11. Not safe 12. Nevada/California lake 13. Lulu 14. Rests 16. Mount __ 18. Desire greatly 19. __ Park, Colorado 20. Pres. Arthur’s monogram 21. Sicker 22. Spurns 27. Part of an office phone no. 1









99. 104. 105. 107. 108. 109. 111. 113. 114. 115. 116. 118. 121. 122. 123. 124. 11


31 37






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90. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97.

Gandhi, for one Tempe univ. Pine Receiver of completed 1040s: abbr. ICU personnel Hockey great Connection Linear measure Spin No good Part of an X-O game City in New York Danny’s daughter Upper, e.g. Tight Condemns Out of town Bearded people Nag __ machine Lacking water Brontë heroine Outer covering Madame with offspring Youngster Desk toppers, for short Harris and Wynn __ Reagan








83. 85. 86. 89.

Star of TV’s “Maude” “__ was saying...” Shirt, for short Watch On a saddle Take off Opener Meatheads Extensive Andy’s pal Zip Help with the dishes 4th-largest nation: abbr. Coward’s namesakes Embankment Pass on 1997 U. S. Open champ One not to be trusted Fat Mosque prayer opener Red leader 10 pins in 2 attempts Rabbit food P. O. map divisions Show affection Costs __ and a leg House Place for a price Large container French coin Nylon mishap Pee Wee Noted sitarist __ out; defeated easily Present




by Calvin R. & Jackie Mathews

119 124

127 129


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Plant City Church of God is bringing Celebrate Recovery to you! Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered 12 step group geared towards helping people who have hurts, hang-ups, and habits find healing and wholeness through the true “Higher Power” Jesus Christ. It is aimed to help people grow stronger spiritually and emotionally as they face their addictions and compulsive and dysfunctional behaviors so they may walk their road to recovery. Beginning August 4th, meetings will be held every Tuesday at 7pm at the Plant City Church of God. For more information, contact the church office at (813) 752-4591 and ask for Celebrate Recovery.

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