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Santa & Mrs. Claus FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 1

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703 South Evers Plant City Phone: 754-3547 FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 2

contents LOCAL 7-36

a state, including signatures of Plant City residents.

History seems to be a running theme of this month’s magazine. In this issue, the 100th anniversary of the Knights Community Club is celebrated. Brewington’s old-fashioned full service gas station closes its doors just to open the gateway to helping others nationwide. A group of veterans had their annual meeting to reminisce about the Korean War and its effects and of their almost forgotten place in our history.


FEATURE 40-47 Don’t get “malled” this holiday season, buy locally! Beginning on page 40 is a guide to local shops that carry great gifts for this holiday season without having to make a trip to the crowded, distant malls.

SPOTLIGHT 48-50 Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus! For more than a decade, Gary and Gina Blake have been taking time out of their busy schedules to frequent the sick children at the South Florida Baptist Hospital. With bright smiles and giving hearts, they warm the spirits of children cooped up in the hospital during the holiday season. They also appear yearly at Christmas Lane and a variety of other places

DID YOU KNOW? 54-55 Part 2 of his series, Gil Gott with the Plant City Photo Archives shares with us the history of Hawkins Corner and this founding family. Read about their escaping the invading Indians as the children hid in trunks. Also included is an actual copy of the original petition to make Florida

This section is dedicated to buyers, sellers, and owners.

FEATURED HOME 76-77 Built in 1903, the McDonald Home is a Hillsborough County designated Historical Landmark. The McDonald lineage dates back to the 1800’s and the first Mr. McDonald was one of the original founders of this area. His grandson built a turn-of-thecentury home in Hopewell that still stands today, more than 100 years after its origination.

SPORTS 91 The Plant City Raiders faced the Bloomingdale Bulls, and although it did not end in victory, the Raiders put up a hard fight.

DINING & ENTERTAINMENT 103-116 The attendees of the Hoe Down at the Plant City Cornerstone had a fun time really “gettin’ down.” Read about the exciting event that took place in the heart of Plant City

ON THE COVER Gary & Gina Blake as Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Story begins on page 48 Photo by Rainbow Lane Studios


PLANT CITY EDITION PUBLISHER Mike Floyd EDITOR IN CHIEF Linda Floyd MANAGING EDITOR Sophia Dedon OFFICE MANAGER DeDe Floyd CREDIT MANAGER Bob Hughens SALES Tania Summers Suzanne Gross Jennifer Chamberlain ART DIRECTOR Phil Ransdell GRAPHIC DESIGN Stefanie Burlingame DISTRIBUTION Tony DeVane PHOTOGRAPHER Billy Friend STAFF WRITERS Brian West, Kristen Toney, Lynne Warren, Ken Lawrence, Willa Warren Laverne Stevens, Amy Ellis, Connie DuBois, Dawn Marie Simpson, Debbie Bowers Devin Dygert, Joe Lane, Brenda Paul, Sherry Baldwin CONTRIBUTORS Sherry Nueesch, Gil Gott, Jim Brown, Shelton Keely, Michael Cameron, Al Cohen

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.FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Plant City businesses, restaurants, and many local venues. It is also distributed to 10,000 homes.

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floyd publications, inc. 702 West Mlk Jr. Blvd. Plant City, Florida 33563 Phone 813.707.8783 Fax 813.764.0990

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 4




“There are three words I like to repeat to myself: glass half full. Just to remind myself to be grateful for everything I have. ”. GOLDIE HAWN IN “GOOD HOUSEKEEPING”


have always been quite the optimist and have never been a worrier. In fact, my husband says that I don’t worry about anything. While that may be true most of the time, I think that’s just the way I was born. On the other hand, I have known a couple people who worry about absolutely everything, letting it consume them to such a point that they become a drag to be around. At least three or four times a week I go by this church that has a small marquee out front that reads: I’m too blessed to be depressed. I usually think to myself, “Amen, brother”. Robert Fulghum, the great author I’ve mentioned here before said, “If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.” It really helps to remember that. As we all go along in our everyday lives, little things happen to all of us that throw our plans out of kilter. One day, where I used to work, a lady’s car was stolen out of our parking lot. She was so upset that she was on the verge of hyperventilating. I asked her, “Do you have a place to live, food to eat, a job? Are your children healthy? Somewhere, someone today is being told that their child has cancer, or some other fatal disease. It’s not you.” It helped to calm her right away, because she did have insurance, and as my sister used to say, “It’s just a hunk of metal.” Thinking of things in that light helps me to put them into perspective, because to me, the absolute worse thing in the world is something happening to your child. I can think of nothing that would be as heavy a burden, and if your children are healthy, you have a home to live in, food to eat and faith in God, what more could you ask for? In our Local section this month we bring you the story of Helen Doepke, a lady who feels the same way and thinks of life as a gift as she celebrates her 93rd birthday this month. We also report on the Johnnie B. Byrd, Sr. Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute, named after the Plant City attorney and politician’s father who succumbed to this disease. We also tell you about the students at Trapnell Elementary who reached out to help those ravaged by the recent hurricanes. At this time of year, with Thanksgiving almost upon us and Christmas not far behind, it’s a good time for us to reflect on how much we all are truly blessed. As we sit down with our families on Thanksgiving next week I hope that all of us can appreciate how thankful we should be that we have them, because families are really the most important thing. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving and we hope you enjoy these stories and, as usual, thank you for your support and readership.

Linda Floyd

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 6



TALK Focus Magazine wants to know what is going on in YOUR life. People have exciting things happen to them everyday and sometimes wish they could tell everyone. Well, now you can. If you have an announcement you would like to share with Plant City, tell us, and we will put it in our Talk of the Town section. There are drop-off boxes and notepads located around town for your convenience. Right now, a few box locations are Fred’s Farmer’s Market, Grandpa Johnson’s, Natural Creations, The Whistle Stop Café, and Manhattan Mortgage. More locations are to come, so keep your eye out for the Talk of the Town boxes. If you would prefer to call in your exciting news, the number is 813-707-8783 x 21. Focus Magazine cares about you and wants to share in your excitement.

of the


The 37th season of Plant City Recreation & Parks Department/ Optimist Club Youth Basketball Program registration is set for the entire month of November. Register at the administrative office at 1904 S. Park Road. There are age groups ranging for children 8-16, as of March 1, 2006. The season is from Jan 3 to February 28 and the cost is $20. Visit www.plantcitygov. com/rec for more information. South Florida Baptist Hospital opened a second Rehabilitation Outpatient Center at the Walden Lake Medical Arts Center this fall. Now patients who have been in a car accident, had a stroke or have an injury and need therapy will not have to go to the hospital. All the UPS Stores and Mail Box Etc outlets are designated as Toys for Tots drop off locations for November and December. In December, the UPS store, in conjunction with the Leo Club of PCHS, is offering gift-wrapping. All proceeds go to the Lions Camp for the visually and physically handicapped.

Mike Sparkman and Sparky’s Oil Company, Inc were recognized by the Hillsborough Educational Foundation as the winner of the 2005 Business Partnership Award. Parson Chiropractic is celebrating their 3-year anniversary and has added 3 new treatments that are not found anywhere else in the area. Summer and Kevin Smith had a baby girl named Taylor Breanne Smith on October 28 at 2:37, weighing 7 lbs 11 oz and she was 20 ½ inches long. Congratulations! Dr. Gregory Nedurian just opened up his own practice on 2004 W. Thonotosassa Rd. Suite 102. He was previously an Endo Vascular surgeon at South Florida Baptist Hospital. The Walden Lake swim team just ended their fall season with an awards banquet at the pool. They competed in three meets and the 38 swimmers did quite well.

As part of Youth Appreciation Week, the Optimist Club of Plant City honored four local high school students for their accomplishments. Congratulations to Kyle Eason, Amanda Haynes, Jordan Newsome, and Staci Watson. A new mobile PET/CT Scan Fusion Imaging is now serving outpatients at South Florida Baptist Hospital. This molecular imaging system is designed to help doctors detect and monitor treatment of cancer and other diseases, including heart disease and neurological disease, more accurately and earlier. The UPS store is celebrating its 1 year anniversary of new owners Betty & Bradley Siebenthal. Local author Ricky Keck just had his first novel published entitled Critical Response that is about a team of military and civilian specialists trying to stop a terrorist. Visit www.RLKeck. com to find out more about this book.

Plant City Children’s Theatre presents

The Nutcracker TOMLIN MIDDLE SCHOOL Saturday, December 10th, 10:30am and 1:00pm $5 paid in advance • $10 at door Tickets at Plant City Children’s Theatre, 507 N Wheeler & Hardee’s Fashions, 1501 N. Wheeler • 752-1621 FREE ATTENDANCE FOR ALL HANDICAPPED, CHILDREN’S HOMES AND NURSING HOMES SILENT AUCTION 9am & 3pm Over 150 Baskets and Trips including Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens, Yankees Luncheon, Super Bowl, Outback Bowl *Nutcracker attendance not required for auction

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 7




Story & Photos by Joe Lane



nights Community Club recently celebrated its onehundredth anniversary with a festive open house. The old converted church came alive with the gathering of people. They opened up things with a hymn, All Hail the Power. After the opening song, we were welcomed by the Strawberry Connection Cloggers. Next came the twangy sound of a banjo and then a piano. To wrap things up there was a white elephant to raise funds for the club. The idea to build a church came from Reverend A. M. Gardner in December, 1904. Since its early days, it has also been used as a community center. The first club was the Knights Homemakers Club in 1934 or 1935. It was a meeting place to educate homemakers and to provide community welfare. The 4H club has met here, as well. In 1973 the church disbanded, and the building was sold in 1975. It

became Knights Community Club the following year. Today the Full Gospel Fellowship meets in the building on Sundays. The building is surprisingly well preserved. The Knights Community Club has worked hard to keep it in good condition. They have collected information on the building and the families who started it. The club consists mostly of the descendants of the original founders. They have pictures of the previous owners, with newspaper clippings and stories of individuals who were part of the club and church in the past. It’s like a museum. The building used to have an outhouse. Over time, various modern conveniences have been added. The most recent is heat and air-conditioning, installed by the church that currently rents the building. Mildred Carlton Adicks recollected her childhood growing up

in Knights Methodist Church. Her grandparents were married there. They were pioneers from the early 1900’s. She recalls the “revivals and guest speakers. The pastor was on a circuit. They called them ‘circuit riders’. The church couldn’t afford a full time pastor. We shared with Cork and Kathleen. The pastors were trainees from Florida Southern University. We were their practice.” She used to go to the youth group every Sunday evening. It was small but close knit, about a dozen youth. They went on outings, going to Silver Springs, and held activities such as ice-cream socials and other “home-made fun”, as she calls it. Her husband, Dick Adicks, calls it “pre-electronic fun”. He taught English and American history at Plant City High School. Eventually, as times changed, the church withered and stopped growing. Members went to the Methodist church in downtown Plant City.

The club isn’t limited to a page of history. They stay involved in the community. In May of 1990, they had a traffic light put up at Knight’s Griffin and Hwy 39. They had Hwy 39 re-paved. They protested the building of a jail and a drag strip in Plant City. When Knights Elementary became too small, the club helped to build a new school to keep the school in the community. They declared the old school a recreation center for activities and fund-raisers, even square dancers and cloggers meet there. Interested in joining? They meet four times year. Membership is five dollars a year, ten for families. The club is off the beaten path… but only by a hundred feet. It is on McLin Drive off Hwy 39, just before Knights Griffin. The building is also available to rent for community events.

Mildred Carlton Adicks, her husband, daughter and grandchildren. Three generations come to re-live the past and renew the future. FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 8

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Chamber of Commerce Do you plan to attend the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce THIRD ANNUAL PIG JAM at the Randy Larson Four-Plex located at 1900 South Park Road/1401 Albertson’s Drive in Plant City? It will take place Saturday, November 19th from 10 AM to 5 PM. Professionals and amateurs will be testing their culinary skills in the barbeque competition. The PIG JAM is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Prizes will be awarded in each of four food categories which include BBQ Ribs, BBQ Pork, Beef Brisket and Chicken. This is a great family fun filled event complete with bands and kids activities. Come on out and get to taste some great barbeque cooked right before your eyes. Chris Sparkman is the Chairman of this event and Jodi Smith, cochairwoman. The Chamber members have been working hard putting this event together and it promises to be a huge success. Y’All come!!! ❖ November 23rd through November 27th brings the INTERNATIONAL SOFTBALL FEDERATION III JUNIOR GIRLS WORLD CUP to Plant City Stadium. This is for girls ages 16 and under. This is a Fast Pitch Event. In addition to teams from the United States, teams from Canada, China, Mexico, Ukraine, Venezuela, Great Britain, and Jamaica are expected to compete. All five fields will be used in the competition. The opening ceremony will take place on November 23rd at 6:00 PM. Games will take place each of the five days. The championship game for the Junior Girl’s World Cup is Sunday, November 27th. Additional information on this wonderful event taking place right here in Plant City can be obtained by calling the International Softball Federation offices at 813-864-0100, extension 228. ❖

On December 1st the annual LIGHTS OF LOVE event will take place in downtown Plant City at McCall Park from 5:30 till 7:30 PM. Individual lights for the Christmas tree can be purchased by calling Judy Martin at 813-7571277. Proceeds from this annual spectacular will benefit the South Florida Baptist Hospital’s Pediatric Care Unit. The lighting of the tree will take place at 6:45 PM. This event is sponsored by the City of Plant City and South Florida Baptist Hospital. ❖ Time to get ready for the annual PLANT CITY CHRISTMAS PARADE. Can you believe this year’s event will be the 22nd year of this great spectacle? It’s true! The parade will begin at 6:30 PM on Friday, December 2nd and the floats, bands, organizations and clubs will form at Alsobrook and Collins Street and will proceed down Collins Street to Reynolds Street, disbursing at the Courthouse. This event draws a huge crowd, so plan to arrive early for the best spot to take it all in. Fran Neilsen and Frank LaBarbera are co-chairmen again this year. ❖ Save the date of Saturday, December 17th. On this date the HIGH ROLLERS CAR CLUB will present their 19th annual Car and Truck Show and the 5th annual MASON DIXON CHRISTMAS WISH, INC. SHOW. The show will start at 9:00 AM and run until 2:00 PM, when awards will be presented. There will be live entertainment by the Dukes, a silent auction and for the kids, Santa will be there. This promises to be a fun filled day for the whole family. Come on out and meet Mason Dixon from Q105. All proceeds will be donated to Mason Dixon’s Christmas Wish Charity.

The regularly scheduled Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Strawberry Classic Car Show will be held from 4:00 to 9:00 PM .All of the fun will take place in McCall Park in historic downtown Plant City. Plan to attend. You will not want to miss this one! ❖ Stop by the new location of the PLANT CITY PHOTO ARCHIVES, 119 North Collins Street and take a look at the historic photographs, collections and preservation and exhibit gallery. You may even find your smiling face looking back at you. The exhibit gallery hours are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM. It’s a look back in time and well worth the visit. ❖ The Chairman of our Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, Rick Lott, issued a challenge to Susan Wilson, Membership Director and Doug Gibbs, Vice Chairman of Membership to increase the Chamber’s membership to 705 members. I am pleased to report they have achieved that goal and they are still signing up new members. Way to go Susan and Gibber!

Dates For Your Calendar: November 17 – Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at Alligator Bob’s, 1609 Crystal Springs Road, Zephyrhills. Starts at 5:15 PM. Call the Chamber at 813-754-3707 to RSVP. November 17-18 - Plant City Entertainment presents “A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’ at Hillsborough Community College. Curtin time both Evenings is 8:00 PM. For ticket information call Frances Hardee at 813-754-4929. November 19 – Third Annual Greater Plant City Chamber of

Commerce PIG JAM at the Randy Larson Four-Plex, Park Road & Albertson Drive. Starts at 10 AM. November 19 – Strawberry Classic Car Show in downtown Plant City. Starts at 4:00 PM November 19 – Florida Opry at the 1914 High School. Starts at 7:00 PM. Call 813-752-4094 for additional information. November 23-27 – International Softball Federation Junior Girls World Cup Fast pitch tournament. Call 813-864-0100 for information. November 24 – HAPPY THANKSGIVING (Chamber office closed the 24 th. and 25 th). November 27 – Ammerman’s Exotic Yard Sale. Exotic birds, rabbits, small animals, and related items. Sale starts at 9:00 AM. At Ammerman’s Family Farm, 4902 North Charlie Taylor Road, Plant City. Call 813-752-2230 for additional information and details. December 1 - Lights of Love celebration, McCall Park, downtown Plant City. Starts at 5:30 PM. December 1 - Christmas showing of Fine Arts sponsored by the East Hillsborough Arts Guild. Takes place at Walden Lake Golf & Country Club from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. December 2 - Plant City’s annual Christmas Parade. Starts at 6:30 PM. December 3 - Bike Fest and Winter Wonderland, McCall Park, downtown Plant City. Starts at 5:00 PM. Great family entertainment. Come see the beautiful Christmas decorations. December 4 - Tribute to Frank Sinatra starring Walt Andrus and the Paramount Swing Orchestra at the Wesley Centre, 303 No. Evers St., Plant City. Call 813-754-3519 for ticket information.




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Story & Photos by Dawn Marie Simpson

Visualize Whirled Peas L

ike many other northerners in the sunshine state, Reis and Jo-Ann James moved from New York to Florida just a short six years ago. Yet, unlike many other northerners, the James family moved to Florida to heed an evangelic calling. Following a strong feeling to “plant” a church in this southern community, the family settled on Plant City. Since then the James family has seen their evangelic vision come to fruition in their recent formation of the Destiny Church. In keeping with the often quoted verse in Ecclesiastics, Pastor Reis James now sees this as a time of harvest, a time to collect those seeds that they have carefully planted over the last six years and raise a benevolent army for the Lord.

While they are extremely concerned about their local community, they also have a soul on fire for those in thirdworld countries, such as: Haiti, Dominican Republic, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, South Africa, India and the former Soviet Union – Russia. For many seasons they have traveled throughout tumultuous nations of the world with the Word and Spirit of God, conducting crusades and seeing God work his holiness before their eyes. Through their inspired and dynamic missionary work, Pastor Reis and his wife have touched the lives of thousands. Their work has been accomplished in tandem with the outreach of Force of Faith Ministries, the “parent” ministry of Destiny Church of Plant City. In the

process, they have also distributed bibles and literature to thousands.

website for an up-close look at who they are and what core values they hold. You can visit them at www. Don’t forget to check out their awesome pictures of their crusades.

Now is the time to start the church and Reis and Jo-Ann are bringing all of those years of ministry and experience to Plant Here’s a couple that are true soul friends. They each share their City and Destiny greatest joy and deepest fears, Church. confess their worst sins and Currently the Destiny Church holds its services at 10:00AM on Sunday’s at 1112 N. Wheeler Street at the Plant City Garden Club. They welcome everyone and there is something for everyone to get out of the service and they urge those interested to browse their

clarify their highest hopes and most unarticulated dreams with each other.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 13


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Story by Dawn Marie Simpson Photo by Debra M. Hill

A Picture Can Paint 1,000 Words C

herie Webb was born in 1960. She was educated in Pennsylvania where she attained her Art Degree. Inspired by the vivid contrasts of nature & wildlife, this passion grew into becoming her niche.

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Oil and pastel medium is Cherie’s choice because it offers versatility, strength of color, and range of effects. The slow drying time of oils suits her style of working and timeline of creativity. Realism and anatomical accuracy are, for her, essential building blocks to creating works of art. Through this attention to detail, Cherie can slowly build up the essence of the subject and endeavor to bring a spark of life to the canvas.

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Cherie predominantly paints wildlife and portraitures, as these are the subjects she’s most passionate about; however she senses that God gives her visions while she dreams. She asked, “How else could I arise with a beautiful vision of angels in heaven on canvas and be able to paint it with ease?” For anyone that window-shops by her storefront, “Ms. Cherie’s Art & Frame”, you will see an array of her labor on canvas.

Webb is an avid supporter of the arts and believes that it’s important to share that with everyone, especially the youth. Therefore, she has taken on the challenge of teaching not only the basic strokes, but also the in-depth perception of textures in her small studio every week. One of the interesting facts about Cherie’s classes is that everyone learns at their own pace. I found many of Cherie’s students to be beginners and they shared that they found her style of teaching and her one-on-one attention to be a springboard into the world of painting. Cherie’s enthusiasm for the arts isn’t just a “one stroke.” She’s also affiliated with the Plant City Art Council and President of the Junior Art League. If that’s not enough to keep her busy, Webb can be found at specialneeds learning centers where she gingerly holds the hands of the lessexperienced & motivates them to feel like Picasso, if only for a day.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 14




Story & Photos by Dawn Marie Simpson

What Do You Want On Your Tombstone? LORRAINE HARRISON


orraine is the secretary and wife of the owner at Master Craft Memorials. She told me she wasn’t “dying” to get into the tombstone business but when she married her husband Rudolph - it seemed fitting to engage with the family business. Lorraine wears many hats in her everyday life. She is affectionately known as mother, friend, and sister, but she also wears an unusual hat called “tadophile,” which describes someone who engages in tours of cemeteries & photographs tombstones for historical purposes. There’s something serene about the aboveground tombs which hold their occupants in perpetual sleep. Lorraine simply observes and catches

the moment in time with her trusty camera. Lorraine began her fascinating hobby for graveyard tours and photography in the early 80’s. Now that she understands the meticulous process of creating tombstones, she appreciates not only the sentiment, but relishes the design and creativity that is put into them by the survivors. Taking photographs of tombstones takes skill; and through trial & error Lorraine learned the ropes. She found when snapping photos, mornings or early evenings are best because everything is dry. (Moisture on the tombstone causes dark shadows) When photographing during

the day, she figured out to do it when the sun was at an angle & not directly hitting the front of the tombstone because this prevents shadow casting. Her favorite graveyard tour was in New Orleans. Lorraine found winding throughout the city magnificent cemeteries standing as further testimonies to the rich architectural history of Louisiana. Most appealing to her are the statues that stand throughout the cemeteries like the weeping angels.

giggled at that and said, “An epitaph is not an appetizer. An epitaph is something that goes on a tombstone. How could you say a shrimp cocktail?” I said, “While I’m standing there reading my epitaph, I’d like a little something to snack on.” Lorraine was more gracious than I and offered the verbiage for hers, “Place my body in this spot, lay all my faults to rest; send out this message: I was blessed.”

Lorraine asked if I had my choice, what I would have for my epitaph. I thought, who cares as long as I’m standing there reading it! Actually my first answer was a shrimp cocktail. Lorraine

Lorraine said “If your camera has an automatic flash cover it with your finger, particularly if you’re shooting a light-colored tombstone; this allows a better view of the details.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 15




Story and Photos by Lynne Warren

Breast Cancer 3-Day AN AMAZING JOURNEY


hirteen years ago my mother passed away as a result of breast cancer. Since then I have made contributions to organizations like the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Several times I have paid my entry fee and participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, a 5 kilometer run to benefit the cause. This year though, I decided to do something bigger, something more challenging than just writing a check or jogging 3 miles. A few months ago I heard that a friend, Devony Scott of Sisters & Company in Plant City, was planning to put together a team to participate in the Breast Cancer 3Day. The 3-Day is a 60 mile walk spanning 3 consecutive days. Proceeds from the event benefit breast cancer research, treatment, and prevention through the Susan G. Komen Foundation. 3-Day events are held in several cities across the United States each year, and the Tampa Bay area is fortunate enough to have been selected as one of the host cities. In order to participate, potential walkers must raise a minimum of $2,100. I went to the 3-Day website and signed up before I lost my nerve. I joined Devony’s team and set my mind toward fundraising and training. I have a real aversion to asking people for money, so the thought of soliciting my friends, family, and business associates was plenty painful. But, I kept thinking how fighting breast cancer, and dealing with chemotherapy and radiation are much more painful. I can do this, I can do anything I set my mind to – at least that’s what I kept telling myself. It must have worked, because with only a few days of really working at fundraising, I had most of the donations I needed. With the task of fundraising nearly complete, I moved my focus to

training. I have been a runner (albeit a slow one) for nearly 10 years, and have run a couple of full marathons – 26.2 miles – and a whole slew of half-marathons. I run between 3 and 5 miles a day, nearly every day, so I figured I could manage to walk 60 miles over the course of 3 days. Walking, however, is very different from running. Because of the longer strides, walking uses muscles and taxes joints differently than running. I had sore muscles and blisters in places I’ve never had before. But, again I kept telling myself, all the blisters and sore muscles in the world don’t compare to the pain of breast cancer, chemo, and radiation. At 4:15 AM the morning of Friday, October 7, I rolled out of my nice, comfy bed, gathered my duffel bag, and headed to where I was to meet my three teammates. At 5:00 AM we were rolling toward Clearwater where the 3-Day was to commence. After opening ceremonies in Coachman Park, nearly two thousand walkers – many breast cancer survivors, others like me walking in memory of victims of the disease – set out on a journey that would tax them both physically and emotionally. The first day, the longest of the three, was to take us nearly the entire length of the Pinellas Trail and through several communities, for a distance of 23 miles before our first night at camp in St. Petersburg. Most of the day, I walked with one of my teammates, Karina, who walked at about my same pace. We talked, and laughed, and walked together for 20 miles. Somewhere around lunchtime she began feeling a blister coming on, so we stopped at medical tents throughout the rest of the route to wrap and re-wrap her toe to minimize the discomfort. At the 20 mile pit-stop, the medical team told Karina she wouldn’t be able to walk the last 3 miles, and

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 16

Team Power of Pink at opening ceremonies. L to R: Katrina Sloan, Lynne Warren, Cherry Baily, and Devony Scott

they sent her to one of the sweep vans to be taken to camp. OK, here I am: mile 20, my feet hurt like crazy; I have no-one to talk to for distraction, and have 3 miles to go. I figured I’d better start walking, and walk as fast as I could if I was going to make it to camp without giving up. Again I told myself that nothing I was feeling even began to compare with the pain of breast cancer, chemo, and radiation. I hoofed it the rest of the way to camp, anticipating a nice restful evening snuggled in my tent. Well, so much for rest, snuggling, or comfort of any kind. The place

we camped was wet from the rain of the previous day. So wet in fact, water was standing in many places. The ground was pretty wet even where my tent was to be pitched. I had taken a tarp to put over the tent in case of rain, but I figured my best bet was to put it inside on the floor to keep the water from soaking through. It worked pretty well, and I was all settled in for the night, but my mind was still in overdrive, and I wasn’t able to sleep. At about 2:00 AM, the rain began. It kept raining until 2:30, and then started again at 3:00 for another half hour or so. Slowly, rain began dripping through my tent. I rolled

Day 2 and it looks like I’ll not only be tired, but walking without a partner – without any distraction from the fatigue and pain. Karina had gone home, and my other teammates walked at a slower pace than I. So, after packing up my wet tent, and my wet belongings, I hit the road. On the slate for today were 20 miles, and the promise of more rain. I figured I’d utilize my ‘walk fast strategy’, and get the miles over with as quickly as possible. Just after lunch, and of course just after changing into dry socks, the rain began and it rained steadily for about a half hour. I plodded into the next pit stop, wet, tired, and with really, really sore feet. So far, no real blisters to speak of though and no pains I couldn’t deal with. So, I set out to cross the Friendship Trail Bridge and finish the last 6 miles before reaching camp for the night. Piece of cake! Nothing compared to breast cancer, chemo, and radiation – at least that had become my mantra by now. Day 3 was the shortest, with only 17 miles to go to Al Lopez Park, and the finish line. Walking alone again, I figured to start early, walk fast, and hopefully meet some folks along the way with whom I could talk for a little distraction. By now I had developed a couple of blisters, I think from the wet socks on day 2, but nothing I couldn’t handle. At this point I began to feel like a barn crazy horse. Nothing was going to stop me from finishing, and nothing was going to slow me down. Mid-day, just pulling out of one of the last pit stops, and with about 4 miles to go, I met up with Christine Weisser. I had been walking really fast, and was near the front of the pack with almost no other walkers in sight. Christine was just ahead

of me, and had stopped to re-tie her shoes. I caught up with her, and we began to talk as we walked. A breast cancer survivor, Christine was a real inspiration. We conversed throughout the last few miles, and they passed with amazing speed. Those last four miles passed nearly as painlessly and quickly as the first four on day one. Christine and I walked across the finish line at about 1:00 PM on Sunday, October 9, with only 25 or so walkers ahead of us. What a journey! All in all, the nearly two thousand Tampa Bay 3-day participants raised over 5 million dollars toward the fight against breast cancer. Along the way, we made new acquaintances and learned a lot about ourselves and what we can do if we really set our minds to it. Many folks were not able to complete the entire walk, but gave it all they had, and regardless, the money they raised will still help in the fight to eradicate this awful disease. Maybe one day, no one else will have to endure the pain of breast cancer, or chemotherapy, or radiation. Maybe one day, no one will have to lose their wife, mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother, or anyone else to breast cancer. Until then, I will continue, along with many others, to support events like the Breast Cancer 3-day, the Relay for Life, and the Race for the Cure. Whatever the cost, whatever the pain or discomfort, none of it compares to the pain of breast cancer, chemotherapy, or radiation! For more information on the Breast Cancer 3-Day events, visit the website at


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up, along with my duffel bag, sleeping bag, and all my other possessions in the green, plastic tarp trying to keep dry and to get a little sleep. Feeling like a green burrito, I still wasn’t able to sleep, so I lay awake until sometime around 4:45 when I finally drifted off. Too bad wake up time was 5:30 AM. I just kept telling myself to remember that breast cancer, chemo, and radiation are much worse. I can do this!




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Please this paper!

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 17




Story by Ken Lawrence Photos by Ken lawrence & Sophia Dedon



he name Brewington in Plant City has been synonymous with the vehicle repair business for the past 69 years. Unfortunately, the repair operation has been sent off to that Big Garage in the Sky, when three months ago, Brewington’s decided to devote full attention to the towing and recovery business. The cost of insurance for underground gasoline tanks became too prohibitive and after the family operation looked at the long term future of the full service gas station, they decided to close up shop. The tanks were dug-up and disposed of. That does not mean that Brewington’s will cease to exist. The towing and recovery business has never been better, with most major Auto Clubs having towing contracts

with Brewington’s, and this has been augmented with a major contract for hurricane relief, not only in Florida, but throughout the southeast.

been a strong relationship with Brewington in which the Plant City firm has now been placed on Garner’s “A” list of sub-contractors.

Last year just after the first of many hurricanes, Charley, hit the state, David Brewington, owner of the towing company, received a call from Garner Environmental Services of Texas which had been selected by the State of Florida to co-ordinate relief.

Move ahead to this year’s storms which hit the upper gulf states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas and just recently Florida once again.

Last year, Brewington supplied several flatbed trucks to haul large generators, forklifts and other heavy equipment around the state to hurricane ravaged areas. The result has

David Brewington on the phone with people concerning hurricane relief for Wilma.

While the old gas station closed down, the large tanks were removed from underground.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 18

Brewington has been working 24/7 with 16 flatbed trucks hauling heavy equipment from place to place. David Brewington tells FOCUS that his crews were the first to provide electricity to Port Arthur, Texas, after Hurricane Rita. Their generators were supplied to local hospitals, police and fire departments, as just one example of the service provided. Following Wilma, which cut yet another path of destruction across Florida, Brewington’s was dispatched to West Palm Beach, where dam-

age was extensive and people were powerless for several days. The key to the Brewington family’s success is summed up in three words, Service, Service, Service. “We have no product to sell, other than service” David Brewington tells FOCUS. “We also try to be good to our employees and they in turn are good to us”. Case in point is Shaun Size, Brewington tow truck driver and Hillsborough County volunteer fireman. His friendliness to customers, experienced twice by your writer, has been second to none. While the Brewington Service Station has closed for good, David and his family plan to continue the tradition of service to people through whatever other business ventures they may add to the towing company.

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Story by Dawn Marie Simpson Photos by Debra M. Hill SEND COMMENTS TO SDEDON@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM

Plant City Shows Katrina the Money! POCKETFUL OF CHANGE IN HOPE OF A MIRACLE


ou had to be at the Lord of Life Fall Festival to experience the exciting, yet poignant moments of the event. The proceeds were being split between repair for their roof as a result of last year’s hurricanes and the other half was designated to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans are matching $1.00 for every $2.00 that was raised.

Before the Cub Scouts burned the flag, the white & blue field representing the 50 states was cut from the red & white stripes, which represent the 13 colonies. Each section is then spoken of briefly by the Scout Master, followed by a scout who dutifully tosses the flag section into the fire - followed by a salute. It was a somber moment for the scouts and onlookers alike.

Cub Scout Pack # 733 was not only adorable, but these little men had a mission, which was to properly retire Old Glory. There is a flag etiquette which requires that the American flag be flown in specific ways. When the flag isn’t flown correctly, it’s considered a sign of disrespect; the same is true of flying a worn-out flag.

In addition to the ceremony were games for all ages, a bake sale that sold an array of desserts and great raffle items. I can’t overlook the honor, spirit and resources of the Plant City folks as they came forth to give the gift of life, a pint of blood. Yes, Rev. Russell Martin had a fantabulous idea of asking the Blood Mobile to

be on-hand. These blood heroes donated without shedding a tear. You know, sooner or later, virtually all of us will face a time of vulnerability in which we will need blood. And that time is all too often unexpected. If you ever get a chance to donate, please do. Music from the “Jesters” resounded in the crowd and they were stunning!!!! The band also had volunteers from the Contemporary Praise Team that plays at Sunday service at 8:30AM. All are welcome to visit the Lord of Life Lutheran Church at 2104 Mud Lake Road. For information on special events and celebrations, feel free to contact the lovely Kay Secord, Church Secretary at 752-6064. Tena Matthews just clowning around with her niece.

We built this bank one satisfied customer at a time. If you think the big banks are getting bigger at your expense and are treating you like a number, it’s time you give Sunshine State Federal Savings a call. We offer small town service that is second to none. After all that is how we built a business that has been dedicated to Plant City for over fifty years. We are not a bank, we’re better.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 20




2005 Business of the Year Awards CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS!

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 22



Continued from page 22

Small Business of the Year, Simmon’s Engraving

Special Business of the Year, Outback Steakhouse

Large Business of the Year, Bill Heard Chevrolet

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 23




Story and Photos By Ken Lawrence-Senior Writer



eople with this deadly disease were once called “crazy”, “demented”, “fools” and the list of unkind names went on. The disease was diagnosed as dementia and in 1906 a specific type was categorized as Alzheimer’s, named after the German psychiatrist who discovered the devastating affliction. There are not too many families in America today who have not been directly or indirectly affected by Alzheimer’s. One of those was popular Plant City attorney and politician Johnnie Byrd, whose father suffered with the disease for several

years until he passed away in 1998. Shortly after, while he was Speaker of the House at the Florida Legislature, Johnnie Byrd convinced state lawmakers to approve a project to build an Alzheimer’s research center. The campus of University of South Florida was chosen for the permanent structure and if you drive along Fletcher Avenue, across from University Community Hospital, you will see that construction has begun this year, with completion expected in early 2007. Meanwhile, using federal and state funds, the Johnnie B. Byrd, Sr. Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute has been in operation since

2002, operating out of a temporary facility on Amberly Dr in New Tampa. The Board of Directors is composed of some top people in business, education and science and locating the CEO and scientific director was a major coup for the Byrd Institute. His name is Huntington Potter, a world class researcher who came from Harvard University, studied, taught and conducted research at that venerable institution for some 30 years. Dr. Potter is also on the staff at USF, as a researcher on biochemistry and molecular biology.

In an interview in his new law office in Plant City, Byrd and Stitzel, Johnnie Byrd told FOCUS that “After my Dad died, I made a commitment to take down the beast (Alzheimer’s)”. The former House Speaker says there are upwards of half a million Floridians who are victims of some form of brain debilitating disease and just from a financial perspective alone, “It’s a huge financial drain on the State of Florida”. Johnnie Byrd says the work at the institute named after his late father is already gaining international recognition. As a result “There is research about Alzheimer’s going on all over the state and elsewhere around the world, with good collaboration among the researchers.” The Johnnie B. Byrd, Sr. Center does not conduct experiments using controversial stem cells. Dr. Potter tells FOCUS that he’s convinced the science community will “find a way to resolve that issue within the next five years”. Dr. Potter says up until the present, slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s by one or two years is all that has been accomplished. We have a long way to go, but victims, their relatives and friends should continue to hold out hope that one day a vaccine or cure can be found. Who knows, it may come out of the Johnnie B. Byrd, Sr. Alzheimer’s Research Center.

Dr. Huntington Potter and Johnnie Byrd, Jr. following planning meeting

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 24




Story and photos by



omeone once said, “Life is 10% circumstance and 90% attitude.” Dealing with the unexpected does not come easily for anyone, yet there are those who use their circumstances to become an inspiration to others. Cindy LeeJean Whittaker was that inspiration to all who knew her. Cindy was born and raised in Plant City. After marrying her high school sweetheart, Ted, they moved to Atlanta for a time while she pursued a decorated career with IBM. In 1995, the family returned to Plant City after Cindy suffered a stroke, resulting in her losing the ability to speak and use her right arm and leg. Through constant therapy and Cindy’s positive attitude, she eventually began to live an almost completely self-sufficient life. Amazingly enough, she discovered a new passion: painting beautifully detailed floral works of art…with her left hand. Her speech was quite limited, but one statement that everyone around her could understand was “I can do it”, and she emphasized this to her friends and family

over and over again, up until her passing on January 13 of this year. On October 1, a gathering of Cindy’s friends and family sat in the covered pavilion of Rodney Colson Park in Seffner. A cool morning breeze flowed through the assembly as those present shared, through their tears, the precious memories of the woman who touched their lives. “We were up here looking at this memorial the other day,” Ted Whittaker said with a choke in his voice. “And a man came up to us. He said he and his team were here the other day and they sat and read it. Each one of the boys decided to adopt Cindy’s quote of ‘I can do it’, and that’s now the motto for their entire track team.” The memorial now stands unveiled, reflecting Cindy through photos, her paintings, and the beautiful words of her husband. Clearly visible to all who enter the park, no matter who the reader is, the message is clear: when life takes a devastating turn that you never anticipated, look to the heavens and say, “I CAN DO IT.”

Cindy’s family admires the memorial that will inspire countless park visitors

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 25


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 26




Story and photos by Kristen Toney



gh, Mondays. Not many people are incredibly fond of them. But for those who attended this year’s Kids Karnival, Monday was not nearly as dreary as normal. After school and a few hours at home, hundreds of Plant City kids headed for the Train Depot with their parents in tow, eager to enjoy games, food, and all-new activities planned especially for this year’s event! Formerly known as Kids Night Out, Kids Karnival has been planned and carried off by the Junior Women’s Club for approximately seven years as one of their three big fundraisers. While the Baby Parade and Little Miss Plant City both draw a wonderful audience, Kids Karnival is an event that focuses on not only the community, but also the family as a whole, which is one of the big draws for the scores of people who come out yearly to enjoy the festivities. And this year there seemed to be more to see and do than ever! The fun began at 4:00, with alternating music shows from various schools, games set up around the entire square, and food, food, food! 4th Grader Sydney Nelson took her turn center stage playing the violin with the 4th and 5th Grade Stringed Instruments group from Knights El-

ementary School, while her parents and little brother cheered her on. “It was really fun,” she said. The Dover Chorus soon followed, performing songs complete with hand-motions and drawing a huge applause. The Plant City Fire Department was on hand to allow kids and their parents to get up close and personal with a fire truck, along with the Plant City Police Department, showing kids how they can stay safe no matter where they are. PTA’s from the schools around Plant City were set up with games, face-paintings and craft-making, and there was much more to do! From the moonwalk to the clown who could form balloons into shapes that made every kid’s jaw drop, there was definitely something for everyone. “It’s really come together well,” said Lora Parson, member of the Junior Women’s Club. “Everyone seems to be having a great time, and we’re thrilled with that!” There were quite a few new additions to all the excitement this year. Two bikes, one girl’s and one boy’s, were up for winning to any of the kids who participated. I9 Sports came out to the event for the first

Some of the fabulous gift baskets that were displayed and won at the Karnival

time, ready to teach kids about the benefits of sports and that it’s great to have good character and sportsmanship when you’re in the game. And a big draw this year was having Spirit FM at the event, giving the kids an opportunity to be a DJ for a whole day, live on the air! Now, what kid wouldn’t love that? The gift baskets that were set out to be taken home by some very lucky individuals have always been a big hit, but they were bigger and better than ever; from art-themed baskets to movie baskets complete with popcorn and everything else you need to catch your favorite flick…all the way down to the no-expense-spared totally Barbie basket. So where do all the proceeds go? All of the money raised from Kids Karnival, the Baby Parade and Little Miss Plant City goes right back into the schools in our community through the Junior Women’s Club Shoe Project. These ladies go into

Hundreds came out to enjoy this year’s Kids Karnival

our schools and measure the feet of children who simply need a new pair of shoes. Then they fulfill the need with a brand new pair of shoes for each child. “You know, we hear so many stories of how much these kids love their new shoes,” commented Michelle Wegner, who was in charge of this year’s event. “The teachers say that they come in to school and want to show everyone their new shoes. It’s wonderful! It’s the reason we do all of this.”

This clown didn’t have time to catch his breath, the kids loved his balloons! FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 27




Story and photos by Kristen Toney



fter watching the horrific images spawned by Hurricane Katrina, many felt the need to give in any way to bring relief to those in need. Nicole Knotts, staff member of Trapnell Elementary School, came up with an idea, and the children soon caught on more quickly than anyone anticipated. “I wanted to do a can drive to help,” Knotts said. “We decided that the best way to proceed was to get the student council involved, and the results were just incredible! It was amazing to watch these children give.” A total of 1,479 cans were brought in by the students, with one class totaling out at 896 cans, 850 of which

were brought in by 5th Grader Kayli Bassinger, President of the Student Council.

prayers are with you.”

“I got donations from my dad and all his business partners, and then I could go and buy more,” Bassinger explained.

When all was The Student Council of Trapnell Elem. came together to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. comher,” Smith commented. “I just pleted, teacher Amanda Long perthought we could help her.” sonally delivered the supplies to the heart of the hurricane devastation. After the final total was reached, “The people were so grateful…they PTA board member Stephanie couldn’t believe everything we Bassinger matched the amount, brought!” which was also matched by the PTA itself. $140.00 was raised for Ashton Throughout the hurricane fundraisand her family. ing, student Erin Smith had another cause close to her heart. She began “I want to thank everyone who making bookmarks and selling them helped,” Knotts said. “I think it was to benefit Ashton Bass, the tiny the least we could do…but I believe Plant City girl struggling through a it meant so much more to those in grueling illness. “I don’t really know need.”

Within days the entire school was on board. Happy Grams (a lollipop attached to a smiley face cut-out) sold to students, bringing in an astounding $300, and inspiring the PTA board to donate $1000.00 to the cause. Student Savannah Mew and her mom April, a PTA member, donated items for gallon-sized bags which Bassinger also prepared, including handwritten notes, each which read, “Our thoughts and

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 28

Moon Walks • Birthdays • Graduations • Weddings • Festivals • Church Events

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Story and Photos by Sophia Dedon



n a world that depends on computers as much as America does, the necessity of handheld books seems to decrease. Many students don’t even have dictionaries in their homes because frankly, they don’t see a need for it. The question of, “why spend money on dictionaries and encyclopedias when you can just get it online,” seems to overrule the old mentality of every student needing a personal dictionary. Well, the Plant City Rotary Club, like many others, feels that although computers do enable students to have greater access to information, students still need dictionaries. Not to mention, there are still many families in today’s society that have yet to afford a computer. For that

reason, the Plant City Rotary Club bought a plethora of dictionaries and distributed one to every student in the 5th grade at Springhead Elementary. The Dictionary Project is an international effort by all Rotary clubs to provide a dictionary to every student in their community. The project is designed to “aid teachers in their goal to see all their students leave at the end of the year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers.” The teachers at Springhead Elementary were especially excited by this donation because the dictionaries contained more than just definitions. There were maps, diagrams and even a section with

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the alphabet in sign language. Not only was there a map of Florida, but extensive information about this state. This is especially useful to the students because all 5th graders have to do a report on Florida and the dictionaries will most certainly help them when that time comes. The Rotary Club of Plant City has always actively served the community and this project is simply one example of its many endeavors. The city of Plant City is thankful for everything the Rotarians do for the community, especially when they are impacting the lives of our youth.

On of the Rotarian members is handing free dictionaries to fifth graders at Springhead Elementary.



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Story & Photos by Kristen Toney



hotos tell a story in a unique way. Your favorite photos are on your desk at work, your mantel at home, your grandma’s bookcase or in their own scrapbook. Many people say if they could take one thing from their home in an emergency situation, providing their family was already safe, their photos would be at the top of the list. In the year 2000, Ed Verner came into possession of the collected works of late photographer Bill Friend, and Verner had big plans for those photos. He asked Gil Gott of the Historical Society and attorney Robert Trinkle to embark with him on a journey dedicated to preserving the community’s heritage. It began with 7 boxes filled with negatives, totaling approximately

35,000 photos between them. A small space was soon on loan in the Lee Building downtown, and although the area was tight, they were able to give tours to various groups; from Boy Scouts to intrigued citizens. Word got around, and the organization soon outgrew their space. On Thursday, October 6, the Archives held a grand opening to celebrate their new location at 119 North Collins Street (in the old Hillsboro State Bank building). “It came together wonderfully,” said Verner’s wife, Amanda. “It’s so neat to hear people’s memories as they look at the photos!” Shots of football games, the old Roselawn Hotel on the corner of Reynolds and Palmer, and the original Dairy Queen are only a few to be named as one

peruses the collection. Individuals such as Jack and Margaret Gibbs are seen, and there is also an entire officer’s wall displayed. The collection includes over 26,000 photos which have been digitized and entered into a searchable database in order to better serve the community on a daily basis. On Veteran’s Day, a free exhibit featuring strictly WWII photos was held with the help of Mrs. Betty Watkins. Men featured and their families were in attendance to commemorate the day and those it honors. The Plant City Photo Archives are open Thursday-Saturday, from 10:00-4:00. Stop by and enjoy a journey through Plant City’s treasured memories! Jim Shump studies the pictures of Plant City’s past.

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Integrity • Professionalism • Experience • Privacy FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 32




Story by Dawn Marie Simpson & Rolando Cruz Photo by Dawn Marie Simpson

Those That Feel Forgotten L

ike a graceful but endangered species on the edge of extinction, the men and women who served in the U.S. Army conflict of Korea (1950-53) gathered at the Holiday Inn Express on North Park Road, to bond and reminisce over their shared experience during war time.

Each year they gather at a different location to share memories and partake in the area’s attractions and regardless of their almost forgotten place in our history, the stories of these Veterans are rich and touching. One of the gentlemen I found extremely interesting was Richard M. Bassett, the author of “And the Wind Blew Cold.” In his book Bassett recounts the stories of the American

POWs in North Korea. Richard, who was one of the most prominent men present at the gathering, is a Clemson University graduate who spent most of the war years as a Prisoner of War in Korea. While in prison, Bassett suffered through torture, interrogations, and punishment for such things as reading his Bible. When Richard was released he had only three things to his name, his Bible, dog tags and eating spoon. Today the Bible and spoon are in traveling exhibits and the dog tags proudly drape the light switch in his home office.

tive life; it wasn’t easy. Career-wise he went on to mesmerize students as he taught American History. His wife had the challenge of re-training him to savor his meals without surrounding his plate to protect it. To this day he must position himself in a chair where he can gain a full view of someone approaching him. For Richard the war is still a haunting that surfaces nearly every evening in his nightmares. These admirable men & women finally received part of their long overdue tribute when former President Bill Clinton and S. Korean

President Kim Young Sam dedicated the Veterans Memorial on July 27, 1995 with a ceremony and statues of battle-ready soldiers wading through a carpet of low shrubs, past a wall of faces etched in stone, and forward toward their objective - an American flag waving high. November 11th still preserves the historical significance of Veterans Day and helps focus attention on the important purpose of this holiday: A celebratory day in the year to honor America’s veterans for their willingness to serve, love of country, and their sacrifice for the common good.

Upon his return from the war, Bassett made every attempt to move beyond the pain and into a producThe gang gave the signal for what they wished most, during the Korean War....”Peace.”

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Call now for information about upcoming Spring Semester

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First Baptist Church, Plant City • 813-750-4878

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 33




Story by Dawn Marie Simpson Photos by Debra M. Hill



veryone donned casual footwear for the Plant City’s Annual Garden Club Tour. Since the tours were self-guided I didn’t have to follow a set path, which was wonderful for someone like myself that lollygags around nature. If you join the Garden Club, you fall under an umbrella which is governed by the Florida Federation. Members of this club have the opportunity to learn interesting landscape designs and study Horticulture. The Federation keeps members abreast of legislation that pertains to the environment and water conservation. In fact, the current President of the Florida Federation has made water conservation a special emphasis for 2005. As a result, the Boy Scouts of Troop #734 sold decorated rain barrels during the garden tour at the Snyder’s home.

service. During the summer, several weeks of youth camps are held, educating the kids about environmental issues. My day began with arriving at 1803 North Walden Place, the quaint palace to Jim and Deanne Beier. Their gardens were small but quite cozy. Their gardens have a hint of Indiana charm and southern comfort and are chock full of hand-carved wooden wildlife figurines. The most interesting items in their gardens were hand-made mosaic steppingstones, planters and outdoor lounges, which were surrounded in beautiful color. Then I was off to… 2504 Clubhouse Drive, home of the Snyder family. Their succulent gardens were quite tranquil. Mikie and Dean Snyder’s gardens drew visitors to their lush backyard on a red brick pathway that meandered through their ornately designed foliage. There were many places to recharge your

mind and reflect on the natural beauty while sauntering through their wooded backyard. 2506 Clubhouse Drive… George and Cassandra Banning have toiled for eleven years and it shows magnificently in their labor of love. Their masterpiece of beauty is reflected in their attention to detail. From the slated pathways, to elaborate water fountains, to the strategically placed speakers with the London Symphony piped through the entire secret garden; this was a must-see garden. Next stop……812 Mahoney Street. If you’re interested in a tropical get-away but don’t have the time to travel abroad, then this is the historic home to visit and it’s in Plant City’s own backyard. Paul and Kathleen Wood have created their own Caribbean-style garden with full-embodied plants of all varieties. And with their use of innovative materials their garden makes an

interesting place to kick back and reflect in peace and solitude, surrounded by a dark blue lagoon style pool with a private tiki bar. Just down the back alley was ….801 W. Baker Street. If you wanted to see all four seasons at one time, then this was the hot spot to browse. The Broxton’s have created a garden for each season that will tickle your fancy. The Broxton’s pooch, “Baker,” named after their street, has a phenomenal urban garden to sniff and roll around in. Baker is teeny and his master’s gardens are designed to accommodate such a small pup. Their gardens have lavish color, texture and heights. They even managed to include a wood deck with a canopy. Touring these gardens inspired everyone to run to their nearest nursery to create their own signature garden in hopes of being chosen for the prestigious garden tour for 2006.

If you were unable to attend the tours and are interested in these unique rain barrels, you still have the opportunity. Please call Cassandra Banning at (813) 759-1638 for more information. Each barrel is hand-painted with many hues of colors and designs, and they make great Christmas gifts. If you choose to purchase one, you will be assisting the Scouts who want to attend Daniel Boone Camp where they work on environmental skills. The Federation sponsors programs which teach our community about the environment, utilizing several mediums such as poetry and essay contests. Wekivia State Park, which is located between Apopka and Orlando, is the nesting home of the youth camps. The Garden Club built the cabins, which are also used by the forestry The Snyder family wasn’t home when I arrived so they didn’t see me plant myself in their garden for a spell.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 34




Story and Photos by Debbie Bowers



oungsters were welcomed to the Annual Children’s Health Fair, presented by South Florida Baptist Hospital, on Saturday, October 8, 2005, in the Author Boring building at the Strawberry Festival grounds.

non-profit organizations, gave of their time and education.

This year’s “Beach Party” theme emphasized water, beach and sun safety. Upon entering the building younger children had a choice of a free stuffed marine animal. Older children received a tie-dyed baseball hat, to protect faces from the sun’s harmful rays. The Health Fair focused on children’s height and weight, vision, allergy and asthma ailments, in car and pool safety, neo-natal care, and related issues. Staff and volunteers from SFBH, along with the other

Children and families were seen munching on peanut butter stuffed celery, yogurt smoothies, cheese and crackers, apple slices, and many other healthy snacks. Bike helmets, CD’s, and coloring books were just a few of the freebies. The hospital held drawings for bicycles which were donated by the Plant City Kiwanis Club. Wheel of Wellness, a Moonwalk, “Germ Busters” handwashing activity, bicycle give away, and Disney Radio show were just a few of the fair activities. Pong Lai Martial Arts, a favorite with the older children, emphasized the importance of concentration, exercise and self-defense. YMCA volunteers and Swim For Life chal-

lenged children and families to heed safety, supervision and pool rules while swimming. Bruton Memorial Library featured a game and gifts to reinforce the importance of reading. Many state and local health and human service agencies provided information on outreach programs. They also promoted free medical assistance for qualified families. Stella’s Kids, a kid friendly atmosphere specializing in Pediatric care will open in January 2006 at SFBH and will provide a compete venue of medical care. Why Weight? A weight management program for kids isn’t just about dieting. It also involves regular exercise, portion control, making

3-year-old Russell Canton at the “Germ Busters” hand washing booth at S.F.B.H. Annual Children’s Health Fair.

healthy food substitutes, eating in moderation and enhancing self-esteem. The class meets for two hours per week. Registered dieticians, certified health educators and exercise specialists staff the program.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 35




Story and Photos by Debbie Bowers



hose of us who live alone ultimately come to a period in our lives when our children begin to insist that we must relocate, either to be nearer to them or someplace where help and care are provided if an emergency arises. To many this situation could be an adversity, but to Helen Doepke it was a challenge and a blessing. Helen, a youthful 92-year-old woman filled with purpose, love of life, and a strong commitment to God, had resided for 24 years in a lovely community on the west coast of Florida. Her life was filled with good friends and activities she relished, including pool aerobics, exercise classes, and playing bridge, to name a few.

In February of this year, Helen’s son and daughter-in-law assisted in finding a lovely home in Plant City near her family and the YMCA. Soon after, she joined the YMCA determined to make new friends and remain slim and fit.

Through prayer and divine guidance Mrs. Doepke entered the field of her dreams, fashion, and ended her career with 9 years as the manager of a boutique in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Mrs. Doepke stated, “By joining the YMCA I have become active in the wonderful exercise programs. I am grateful. Maintaining health, activity and vigor is a blessing. We have only happy years before us; active fruitful years with joyous opportunities to help and comfort those who may especially need it.” Ann Stewart, Wellness Center Coordinator for the YMCA stated, “Helen models the way we all should live our lives.”

Mrs. Doepke stated, “Life is a gift, but age is an art. Only one person is responsible for this, and that is I. It is inevitable we will come to terms with our life.”

Happy Holidays! 813.717.7700 1505 South Alexander St. Suite 102 Plant City, FL 33563

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 36

Mrs. Doepke will celebrate her 93rd birthday November 16 with her family. Happy Birthday, Helen! Helen Doepke enjoys exercising in the YMCA, her favorite place.



9:55 AM

Page 1


comes a l l Ste

Watch for the new star in children's healthcare opening in Plant City in January 2006: St. Joseph's Children's at South Florida Baptist Hospital. This kid-friendly setting will link your child's medical care to the only hospital in Hillsborough County that specializes in children, with services that include: More than 15 Pediatric and Family Practice physicians on staff

1 Pediatric Cardiologist

3 Pediatric Hospitalists

Access to more than 80 Pediatric specialists and subspecialists through St.Joseph's Children's Hospital 15 specially trained Pediatric Nurses

5 Neonatal Nurse Practitioners

13 specially designed Pediatric patient rooms

10 Pediatric Care Techs

Complete Child Life Program with Child Life Specialist

301 N. Alexander Street Plant City, FL 33563


W W W. S O U T H F L O R I D A B A P T I S T. C O M

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 37


Affordable Vaccines for Cats & Dogs Affordable Spay & Neuter

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 38





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OPEN HOUSE Dec. 3rd from 2pm to 6pm 1009 N. Merrin Street, Plant City ������������������������������ ���������������� ���������������������������


A Christmas Gift of...

Holiday Jewels

to decorate the one you love.

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1705 Jim Redman Pkwy • Plant City, FL 33563


Hours: Tue. - Fri. 10:00-6:00, Sat. 9:30-4:00

Holiday Shopping


Don’t get “malled” this holiday season! Buy your special gifts for your loved ones at local shops. There are so many special ideas that these merchants can help you with to make this season’s gifts the best ever! No need to hit the crowded, overpriced malls. Check out the special offers and unique gifts that the stores in your community have to offer.

The Artistry For a really special gift for that hard to please person this Christmas, why not give them a gift certificate from The Artistry. They offer all hair and nail services, in addition to their esthetic services such as facials, ear candling, permanent make-up, microderm abrasion, body wraps, paraffin treatments and waxing. They also offer various massage

services: Swedish, therapeutic deep tissue, stone and salt glow. There are numerous packages starting with the Rejuvenate (half hour) all the way up to the Grand Artistry Spa package (five hours). This is a gift anyone would be pleased to receive!

Happy Holidays! 1505 S. Alexander St., Suite 102 813-717-7700

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 40

813.717.7700 1505 South Alexander St.

The Athletic Club E

xercise is not a luxury; it is absolutely required to maintain all aspects of good health. A gift certificate for a membership, a discount off a membership or personal training sessions is a perfect gift idea to help your family or friend get well or simply stay healthy. With everything from

educational classes, Body Sculpting and Aerobics to Cardio, Free Weights and Personal Training, we have the perfect gift for anyone. Call or visit our Health Club for a tour! 1418 South Evers Street 813-717-7773

Baird’s Framing D o your Christmas framing now. Fine art framed ready to go under the tree, now discounted for added savings. We frame all your possessions with the finest quality materials to preserve them for many, many years. Large or small, everything is of equal importance. Put your family treasures in a shadowbox

or collage for your great-grand children to enjoy and learn about their heritage. I mount and laminate for your business, too. Special prices for large multi orders, also.

107 Reynolds St. E. 813-752-6616

Berry Patch Kids B

erry Patch Kids, fine children’s apparel and gift boutique, offers the best in selection and service since 1997. The most beautiful holiday wear, special occasion, pageant wear and gifts for your little ones are their specialty. Now offering heirloom cradles and unique rock-

Brown’s Jewelers F or the most appreciated jewelry this holiday season, visit Brown’s Jewelers. Their high-volume stock includes diamond rings, wedding sets, pendants, bracelets, earrings and other jewelry of handsome design. Plus, an extensive variety

ers. Layaway, baby gift registry and complimentary gift wrap are always available. Located in historic downtown and open Monday through Saturday. 201 Collins St 813-764-9797

of gift items can be found. To be assured of quality merchandise at a reasonable price, along with friendly service, visit them soon; they will be happy to see you! 1705 Jim Redman Pkwy 813-754-2360

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 41

Curves for Women G

ive the gift of health this season. Can you think of a better gift than to help the women in your life get healthy? Give them a jump start on their New Year’s resolutions. Help them to come to Curves. We are celebrating six successful years in Plant City. We have a tried and proven way to help

women successfully lose weight and get healthier. Gift certificates are available. 1822 James L. Redman Pkwy 813-719-1822

Elite Home Fitness W

ell, it’s that time of year again. Holiday parties fill everyone’s schedule and along with the celebrating come the dreaded extra pounds. Why not start the new year off right with a complete physical fitness program from Elite Home Fitness? Mike Gartz, certified personal trainer with 15 years

experience, will design a personal fitness regime for you based on your current health condition and goals you want to achieve. Best of all, Mike will come to you at your home or office. What could be easier? Call Mike now at (813)786-1541 to get started on a new year!

European Hair Design E

uropean Hair Design, conveniently located in Walden Woods Village, just north of WalMart. Our stylists are unique and have many accomplishments. To tantalize your spirits may we suggest a pedicure, or a set of gel nails from our very own Joanne Register, well known in Plant City for her make-over for that special occasion.

Visit us for hors d’ oeuvres every Friday in the month of December. We will have Christmas specials each week. Announcing our new collection of Raviani Handbags. Certified Gemologist and master gold jeweler will be on hand with his exclusive collection of fine jewelry for that special one in your life.

Walden Woods Village 2412 James Redman Pkwy. 754-4141

Home & Garden Party I

am so pleased to present Home and Garden Party to this area of Florida. We are brand new here and are looking forward to helping Plant City with home decorating needs. Every month new specials are offered. Seasonal catalogs offer exciting new products in addition to the favorites. Please see the ad in this

issue for a discount offer. I am sure this will help with your Christmas shopping! Please call Sue Beckford at 813215-1890 for a catalog, or to view our online catalog go to www.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 42

You invested a lot in your home. Now that you’ve sold it, use the proceeds to invest in the next phase of your life. I can work with you to create and implement an investment strategy designed to help you live the retirement lifestyle you desire. Call me today to schedule a complimentary portfolio review.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 43

Jackie’s Dance Theatre Give the Gift of Dance Clogging, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Gym, Tap, Musical Theatre, Voice, Acting, Ballet, Pointe, Cheerdance, Expert Pre-School

Bring this ad and receive SPECIAL RATE by December 24 507 N Wheeler, 752-1621 813-752-1683

Knotts Team Sports W

e would like to wish each of you a Safe and Happy Holiday Season. Please stop by and see us for your sports Christmas presents. 2006 merchandise arriving daily and great sale prices on closeout items. Your Little League Headquarters.

901 W MLK Jr. Blvd., Plant City, FL. 33563 813-754-2588 Monday – Friday: 9 am – 5 pm Saturday: 9 am – 1 pm

Marian Jones Accents M

arian Jones Accents has been in business in downtown Plant City for over seven years. We carry a line of collectibles, including Faerie Glenn, Dreamsicles and Enesco. We have a wide gift line of apples, strawberries, pineapples, decorative plates and racks, angels, mermaids, jewelry, figurines and

lots of holiday items. Why pay mall prices when you can shop right in your hometown and get quality products for a hometown price. Shop our store to get that UNIQUE gift. 101 S. Evers St 813-754-3377

Merle Norman Looking for some unique gift ideas for this holiday season? Check out Merle Norman’s “wrap stars”! Our “Spotlight” options make giving easy with sets that everybody wants, at prices you’ll like! Spotlight Skin features four moisturizing and agedefying essentials that come in a portable, red patent cosmetic bag. Spotlight Color touts the perfect touch-up trio of pressed powder, mascara and lip gloss in a sleek,

red patent clutch. Spotlight Lips contains five gorgeous glosses for glow on the go. We’ll be happy to customize your gifts or add a gift certificate to sweeten the mix. Come see our spectacular lineup, and wrap up your holiday shopping in one easy step at Merle Norman! 1514 S. Alexander St. Suite #102 813-752-4718

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 44

Mustang Ranch W

ho’s got your Christmas shopping all wrapped up? Mustang Ranch Western World! Finally phoenixed from June’s fire, Mustang Ranch opens again Saturday, November 26, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Come celebrate this blessing and enjoy gifts, prizes, specials, and favorite Western gear for riders, cattle men, and growers. New Christmas

goods include hats, boots, saddles, tack, camouflage, PBRA and leather goods, fine jewelry, home wares, toys and superb animal health products. Also, our landmark log complex awaits your holiday parties and weddings! 120 E. Hwy. 60 at Hwy 39 813-737-1978

Natural Creations S

ave gas money! Shop at Natural Creations and save yourself the hassle of traveling to distant and crowded malls. Men, buy your loved ones something they can really use, a gift certificate from our full service salon. Added to our long list of services is a new technique for hair extensions, just in time for the

holidays. Support a Plant City based business like Natural Creations and keep our economy thriving. 1309 Collins St. S. 813-719-1149

Parksdale Farm Market P

arkesdale Farm Market is a family owned business started nearly 40 years ago. They specialize in strawberries, fresh produce and citrus. Their gift fruit department ships over 5000 boxes of sweet seedless navel oranges and red grapefruit all over the US and Canada. They offer huge savings if ordered by December 10th. Citrus

is the perfect gift…one size fits all! They also have over 2000 poinsettias during this time in all sizes and colors. 3702 US Hwy 92 W. 813-752-0502

Plant City Window Tint N

eed an idea for something special for christmas? How about a gift certificate for window tinting? We are going on our fifth year here in Plant City and we have provided protection for Homes, Businesses and Automobiles with LLumar Window Film. Window Tint is a gift that will last a very long time and

will provide 99% UV protection and up to 79% heat rejection, depending on the application. Come see us for “Quality Work at Competitive Prices” Kim Murray- Owner and Installer 622 S. Collins 813-707-0496

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 45

Remedi Spa

& Chiropractic Center


emedi Spa & Chiropractic Center combines wellness, cosmetic and laser services to help you look and feel your best. Remedi’s experienced esthetician performs laser hair removal, IPL photofacials, skin rejuvenation, clinical microdermabrasion and facial peels. Mesotherapy, a procedure that eliminates cellulite and dissolves fat, and Meso-Lift, which tightens sagging facial skin. Owner and chiropractic physician

Jeffrey E. Dunn provides chiropractic care. Other wellness services include massage therapy and acupuncture. Retail products available include nutritional supplements, SkinCeuticals skincare and gift certificates. 1701 S. Alexander St (Village of Walden lake) 813-752-2440

Scrappers Delight Scrapper’s Delight is Plant City’s only specialty scrapbooking store. Scrapper’s Delight is located in the Southern Hospitality Plaza and has been open for a little more than a year. We carry a nice selection of unique scrapbooking papers, stickers, albums, and everything you need to make the perfect keepsake. We carry scrapbooking items for Plant City and

Durant High Schools, and also for Plant City Dolphins and Turkey Creek Trojans football teams. Whatever your scrapbooking needs are, Scrapper’s Delight will take care of you. We help you make unforgettable memories. 1705 James L Redman Parkway (813) 754-6755

Sisters & Company S

ister’s & Company is where you will find fabulous gifts, beautiful accessories, and clothes you’ll love. With gifts from $5 - $500, there is something for everyone at Sister’s! Shown are His story inspirational Bracelets, just one of many new styles available in our new inspirational jewelry line. Just ask us about all the special things we can do for

you! We offer free gift-wrapping, holiday layaway, and shipping. With hundreds of products, ten years of customer service experience, and three store locations, you are sure to find a special gift of treasure at a store near you. For more information call 754.0990 ext 291. 104 E. Reynolds St.

SPS Salon & Spa N

ew for Christmas at SPS Salon and Spa is the Sabai therapeutic stone massage. Sabai’s synchronized therapeutic massage with micronized minerals Malachite and Zincite distresses your entire being…mind, body and spirit. As you completely unwind, pent up tension, fatigue and pain are gently

vanquished, resulting in blissful relaxation. Come into the salon and customize your own Sabai spa journey to create the perfect holiday gift. 4132 Bugg Rd

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 46


Superior Products


se What The Professionals Use! Superior Products offers a complete line of high quality detailing and cleaning products. They provide products exclusively to Automotive Dealerships, Carwashes, Detailers and R.V.Centers. Now, for the first time, they are offering beautifully decorated Gift Buckets and Stocking Stuffers to the public.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 47

S p o t l i g h t

I n t e r v i e w

n i e v e i l e B u o Y o D ? s u a l C a t n Sa

The Blake’s make the holiday season brighter for everyone as Santa’s helpers

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 48


Interview by Brian West

ary Blake was born in Duluth, GA and has lived in Plant City since he was 14 years old. His wife, Gina, has lived here all of her life. Gary is a heavy equipment operator for Mosaic (formerly IMC), and has been with them since 1979. His wife Gina works for South Florida Baptist Hospital as a Registration Clerk at Swindle Diagnostic Center. Gina was a volunteer at the hospital at the age of 13 and has been working there since 1989. They even got married at the hospital. Gary and Gina ride their Harley with friends and try to attend Bike Fest each month in downtown Plant City. People who don’t know them would surely describe them as average people. But Gary and Gina have a special gift that many people may not know about. They spend many days and nights together during the holiday season working area events as Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

How did you get started as a Santa impersonator? Gary: I got started doing Santa because I have always loved children. My first Santa “gig” was during Christmas, around 1985. I thought it would be nice to dress as Santa Claus and visit the daycare my niece was staying at. I dressed up as Santa and went to her daycare and knew I had pulled it off when my niece didn’t recognize me. Then I talked with my sister and she asked me to do Santa for her children. I thought it was going good when her children didn’t recognize me, either. Then the parents of other children I started visiting would tell me to tell their children things like, ‘Clean your room.’ Each time I’d get a look from the child like, ‘How did Santa know I hadn’t been cleaning my room?’ And the children thought it was really special that Santa would come to their house. I’m a people person. I like people and I love children. In 1989 I met

Gina. She was working for the hospital and she said she thought I should do Santa for the employee Children’s Christmas Party at the hospital. That was in 1990. I’ve done it every year except one year when I injured my back at work. I’ve actually watched some of the doctor’s children grow up over the years. In fact, I hadn’t realized how much time had gone by until we went to a high school program and I heard Dr. Gutowski’s son’s name called. So here’s this young man that I remember visiting Santa as a child walking across the stage and he’s 18 years old! Do you have a favorite story about visiting the hospital? Gary: We’ve been doing Mr. and Mrs. Claus at the hospital since 1990 and for most of our friend’s children. The entire Christmas season we have appointments. We go to our friend’s homes and take pictures. I try to be a personal Santa Claus. I have done Christmas Lane

in Dover for the past 2 years. When a child comes to me, I try to become friends with them. We raise our children to be afraid of strangers and one of the strangest things a child can see is someone in a bright red suit with all this hair and glasses. So I try to be friendly with the children; something positive for them. There’s enough bad stuff in the world already, so if I can do something to make a child smile it’s been worth while. I have so many stories I could share with you. At the hospital we always do Mr. and Mrs. Claus at the employee Christmas party. Each year they have this unique way of bringing us into the party and we never know what it’s going to be until we get there. When we get there, I’m hugging people and shaking hands and then we’ll see each child one-by-one. Afterwards we go upstairs to the pediatric ward and sometimes there are babies there without parents because the parents

Photos by Rainbow Lane Studios & Courtesy of Gina & Gary Blake

have to work. So we’ll go in and leave a little present of some kind like a stuffed animal or something. We’ll also take a photo of Santa by the bed and leave the picture in the room. At this one particular time, we stepped off the elevator and there are these parents there pleading with this child, ‘Come on. You’ve got to eat. You’ve got to eat!’ When the child saw me he just sat there in awe. So I walked over and tried to talk to him. As he was standing there looking at me, he’s opening his mouth and they’re feeding him. So I tell him, ‘You’ve got to eat so you can go home. Santa Claus is coming to your house.’ So we went on down and made our rounds and we were about to get back on the elevator when the mom came up to us crying and said, “Thank you so much. If he not started to eat they were going to have to put IV’s back in and he was going to be here through Christmas.”

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 49

Plant City’s Santa & Mrs Claus S p o t l i g h t

Tell me about your work at Christmas Lane? Gary: Christmas Lane is a Christmas display done by Lane Wetherington. Lane begins working in November each year to put the Christmas decorations up and it’s open to visitors beginning about the second week in December and runs through New Year’s. It’s like a small amusement park and volunteers put it all together. They have 2 or 3 different Santa’s there and I’ve been doing it for the past 2 years. We try to set it up so I can do it for about an hour then take a break and come back out. Well, I ain’t got the heart to do that. There’s children lined all the way down the lane there. When there are children standing there in line, I can’t just get up and walk away to take a break, so I just sit there. So this lady comes over with a child who was probably an adult, age-wise, but was clearly disabled in some way. So she lifted him up in her arms and I told her to bring him on up to me. The child was all excited and she said she’d put him beside me. I told her no, that he was going to sit in Santa’s lap. So I talked to him and we did pictures and everything and he was so excited. It just made my day. He couldn’t talk, but he was so happy. So just to be able to share a moment with him just made my day. Are there other events you do where people can come see you? Gary: Yes. We do Lights of Love downtown at McCall Park each year. The South Florida Baptist Hospital has a foundation called Lights of Love. They get a large Christmas tree for downtown and people

I n t e r v i e w

in a brand new fire truck. This was tough for me. I’m excited because I’m riding in this brand new truck, but I can’t blow my cover as Santa. I can’t even tell my boy how excited I am, because my arrival is a secret.

can purchase lights on the tree in memory of a loved one. All the proceeds go to the foundation. But they also make arrangements for Santa to be there. TECO provides a computer and a camera so the children can have their picture taken while they’re in Santa’s lap. Our children always come with us for this. They dress as Santa’s helpers. When did your children get involved? Gina: When we got married, my daughter, Krysteena, was 4 years old, and my son, Kyle, was 2 years old. So when we did the hospital Christmas party, we had to work really hard to keep the secret from them. But as they got older it got more difficult to keep it from them. So one year we got an idea. Gary boxed up his Santa suit and mailed it to the house with a letter from Santa. The letter said Santa was really busy and needed helpers so I’m sending you this suit and I hope you’ll accept it and be my helper. We opened

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 50

it with them and Gary said, “Oh, my gosh! Kids, do think we should do it?” Kyle was jumping up and down saying, “You gotta do it daddy! You gotta do it!” So we swore them to secrecy and the letter even had a line to sign on to make it official. Then Kyle said, “Dad, we could even help you and be elves.” So we all refer to ourselves as Santa’s helpers. Have you done this for family occasions? Gary: Gina’s family has a Christmas party each year. The first year I did Santa for Gina’s family, no one knew that I was Santa. People are always coming and going at parties, so I snuck out and went to the Cork-Knights Volunteer Fire department to get dressed. We have some friends there. The party invitation included letters to everyone in the family asking them to bring gifts with their child’s name on it. I had 2 giant bags of gifts. Now we get ready to come to the party and were

So we get by the driveway and turn the sirens on. My fatherin-law and everyone are wondering what’s going on. It’s being video taped and there’s 150 people at this party. And remember, no one knows I’m Santa. The reason I’m sharing this story with you is because here I am; I’m grown, playing Santa. I watch the video of this and it gets to me. I believe there is a part of everyone that wants to believe there really is a Santa Claus; that Santa is real. When I watch the video, I have to stop and remember that it’s me as Santa, because it looks so real. The first year I did Christmas at Christmas Lane, Lane Wetherington came over to me, took a look at me and said, “Gosh! You’re him. You’re really him.” That really was a compliment to me. I’ve met many people in my life, and everyone has a story to tell. But I must say, this is one very special family. It’s clear that they are full of the Christmas spirit all-yearround in the way they appreciate each other, their loved ones, and those whose lives they touch in that special way as they work to keep everyone believing in the magic of Christmas. I would strongly encourage you to make the time to take your family to Lights of Love or Christmas Lane this year and give the Blake’s a chance to brighten your holidays. Thank you very much for all you do. Happy Holidays!

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 51

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 53




Story & Photo by Plant City Photo Archives, Inc.

Pioneering Families, Hawkins Corner



artha Sue Ellen Hawkins Skinner is a seventhgeneration Floridian. It all started when her great, great, great, great grandfather, Reverend Samuel Knight, moved from Columbia/ Alachua County, (Alachua County was cut from the larger County of Columbia), to what was then known as the Ichepuckesassa area, now known as Plant City. Reverend Knight moved here in 1844 and homesteaded Knights Station. He was a Methodist Minister and started the first church in Plant City. Reverend Samuel Knight’s oldest

daughter, Fatima, married Enoch Collins, (after whom Collins Street is named). Fatima was the first of his three wives, with whom he had twenty-nine children. Enoch Collins is Martha Sue’s great, great, great grandfather. It was on March 3, 1845, that Florida was recognized as a state, and it was three of Martha Sue’s relatives that helped to make that so. On the eighth day of October 1838, in Mineral Springs, County of Columbia, Florida, forty-five men signed the official petition

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 54

for the purpose of forming a state constitution. Among them were Martha Sue’s two great, great, great grandfathers, Thomas Hawkins, (who married Nancy Sharpe), Thomas’s oldest son, Joshua Hawkins, and Joshua Sharpe. (A copy of the original document may appear here and is available in the Photo Archives.) Thomas Hawkins, who had homesteaded a four thousandacre estate in Suwannee County, never moved to Plant City. It was his son, Martha Sue’s great, great

grandfather John Wesley Hawkins, Sr., (1826-1878), who moved to Ichepuckesassa in 1855, and married Enoch and Fatima Collins’s oldest child, Eliza Collins. John Wesley and Eliza homesteaded a large portion of the property that sits at the southside of Trapnell Road and the eastside of S.R. Highway 39, the Hawkins original homestead. Martha Sue notes that life was seldom easy for John and Eliza, but it was Indian uprisings that proved to be the most difficult


times for them. Angry and vengeful, the Indians would converge upon the homes of the whites to take whatever they could, however they could. Many times they beat the whites and stole their children to make slaves of them. One afternoon, while alone at home with her children, Eliza was hoeing in the garden and looked across the clearing to see Indians coming out of the woods. She reacted quickly by grabbing her two children, running with them into the house, and hiding them in trunks. The Indians came into her house, ransacked it, took what they wanted and left without ever knowing that there were children in the house. So it was during the third Seminole Indian War that John Wesley Hawkins, Sr. joined the United States Cavalry, (mustered in December 1, 1855, and mustered out January 1, 1860), and served as a private in Captain S. L. Sparkman’s Company, Mounted Volunteers. John Wesley and Eliza’s son, John Wesley Hawkins, Jr. married Sarah Rebecca Sparkman. They homesteaded an area of land on the eastside of S.R. Highway 39 that now sits between Sparkman Road and Kilgore Road. John Wesley Hawkins, Jr. and his wife Sarah had five children Lillian, Stephen, Marvin, Byrd, and Ella Ethel Hawkins. In 1885, to the family’s grievous misfortune, John Wesley, who had been out to help


with a barn raising, got caught in a heavy, cold rain on his way home. He died from pneumonia a few days later, on May 15, 1885, at the young age of thirty-four. And three months later, tragedy struck the Hawkins’ home again when on August 8, 1885, little seven-month old Ella Ethel passed away. One must wonder how Sarah could deal with so much grief in so short a time. The property where Martha Sue now lives, known as Hawkins Corner, was once owned by The Virginia Railroad Trust. The State of Florida had given the land to the Trust. The Virginia Railroad Trust eventually sold the land to the Warnell Lumber Company for its timber. The Warnell Lumber Company hired farmers and men from the area for its operation, the wage being a dollar a day. The company paid the workmen at the end of each day, giving them the option of taking their entire earnings, or placing some of it in escrow. Following the death of his father, Stephen M. Hawkins stepped into the role of supporting his mother and his siblings; he was one of the young men who acquired a position with the Warnell Lumber Company. And with dreams of a life with the woman he wanted to marry, Miss Ellen Tomberlin, Stephen opted to take fifty-cents a day, leaving the remaining fifty-cents in an escrow account. So it was, that around 1902, when the Warnell Lumber Company had finished clearing the

land, Stephen purchased eighty acres from them. And in 1903 Stephen and Ellen Tomberlin Hawkins built their first home on a section of land that sits just to the south of Trapnell Road, on the westside of S.R. Highway 39, where Richard and Martha Sue’s home stands today. Martha Sue affectionately refers to Hawkins Corner as Dollar Acres, because her grandfather paid $1 for each of the acres. (An interesting historical note: S.R. Highway 39 was once a narrow dirt road called Hopewell Road. It became known as S.R. Highway 39 around 1960.)

Martha Sue says: “My 4th greatgrandfather, Rev. Samuel Knight, had 10 children; my 3rd greatgrandfather, Enoch Collins, had 29 children. So, just through their lineage I am related to many folks in these parts. So, I have to be careful who I might have a slight difference of opinion with, because if they, too, can trace their lineage to early Plant City, the chances are we are “cuzins”.

Sources: Plant City Photo Archives, Inc., Martha Sue Hawkins Skinner, and Plant City Photo Archives’ Oral History Project 2005.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 55

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 58


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For our community’s Buyers, Sellers and Owners

As the seasons of your life change, so may your real estate needs. �������������������������������������������������������������� ������ ���������������������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������� �������������������������� ����������������������������� �������������������������������

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Wishing you blessings at Thanksgiving

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 59

Walden Lake Realty, Inc. There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than GRATITUDE! It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that duty is sufďŹ ciently rewarded by performance!â€? Joseph Addison

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as our Blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving!

���������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������������������� �����������������������������������������

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WALDEN LAKE RENTALS ����� �����������




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Call Becky for info & showing office

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752-2087 or 376-2100

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� � � � � � �


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Whether you own a house or mobile home, our experienced staff will provide you with quality merchandise and expert service at a fair price.


���� ����� ����� ������� ���� ��� ����� �������� ��������� ��� ����������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������������������������������


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 62

AWNINGS StormGuard™ Awnings provide complete protection and feature lock-down for added security.

AWNINGS SeeView™ Awnings give the protection without eliminating the view.

In business now for over 15 years! Family Owned & Operated. WE LOVE SPECIAL ORDERS. • Code Approved Windows • Window Rooms • Screen Rooms • Carports • Awnings • Wood Paneling • Steps • Alcoa® Vinyl Siding • Skirting • Doors • Roof Overs • Metal Roofing • Shower Stalls • Complete Line of Plumbing • Trim Moulding • Vanities • Kitchen Cabinets • Antiques




Open Mondays Through Saturdays: 8:30-5:00 (Between Lakeland and Plant City)

2670 Highway 92 East, Plant City, FL


Blackburn & Associates Realty LISTING HOMES FOR 2% or 4%

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 63

Blackburn & Associates Realty LISTING HOMES FOR 2% or 4% ����������������

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Listing homes for 2% - 4%

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Blackburn & Associates Realty LISTING HOMES FOR 2% or 4% ����������������

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Great entertaining starts with a spectacular kitchen. Why isisititthat thatguests guestsalways always seem seem to to gather gather in in the the kitchen? kitchen? Why Perhaps because it’s the center of the home - a warm and welcoming space that invites everyone to enjoy your hospitality. Decora` cabinetry makes it easy for you to create the perfect kitchen, beautifully equipped to welcome guests and family in style. Choose from an array of cabinetry designs and finish colors to express your personal taste; then add the thoughtful amenities, like tray and platter storage, wine racks, stem glass holders and linen drawers, that suit your entertaining style. Quality cabinetry from Decora` - where it all begins.

911 S. Woodrow Wilson Street • Plant City, FL 33563 • 813-764-0259

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pressure washing

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813-785-0189 Free Estimates Senior Discounts Available

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 66

We accept & Debit Cards

INTERIORS by Decorating Den is now in your neighborhood From design to product selection through final installation, we do it all! And the best part is, you donʼt even have to leave home! We come to you!

• Window Treatments • Custom Bedding • Floor & Wall Coverings • Upholstery & Fine Furniture • Lighting & Accessories NOW THAT WEʼRE HERE, LET US COME TO YOU! • Residential • Commercial We truly • Churches give God all the honor, • Ministries praise & glory for our • Staging for Real Estate business! • We work with any budget Prayers & Blessings • 36 years experience to all!

Barbara Jean ���������� Kulyk Barbara Jean Kulyk Barbara Jean Kulyk


alden Lake

Call today to schedule your complimentary in-home consultation


Pretty Package of a home with lots of spreading out space open family room to kitchen to dining areaplus 3 nice sized bedrooms, 2 baths, a Florida/3 season room and laundry room (no A/C), a screened porch and shed/workshop plus a large backyard! The “relaxing” front porch is extra large, screened and shaded by a grand old oak tree! This could be the home for you! #126 Call Barbara Jean at 813-781-1915 $169,900


Barbara Jean Kulyk Cell: 813-781-1915

Walden Lake R E A LT Y, I N C . R E A L T O R S ®

Call Barbara Jean at


for more information

True 5 bedroom, pool home with lots of living space. Located in prestigious Walden Lake in Plant City Florida, this golf course beauty awaits the buyer who appreciates comfort as well as value with 3460 Sq. Ft. under air conditioning, this mammoth home affords shared family living as well as individual privacy. The 5 true bedrooms are generously larger than most homes with the grand family room, living room and office/den following suit! There are 4 1/2 bathrooms startegically located throughout, including a full outdoor pool bath! If you think big when it comes to your home requirements then this one’s for you! Offered at $449,900 Call Barbara Jean at 813-781-1915 for the Grand Tour! #127


The Entertainer -Beautifully maintained home in prestigous Forest Club of Walden Lake in Plant City! With newer roof, brand new plush carpeting and meticulous maintenance, this 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage home is ready to move right in! Enjoy the luxury of space in all of the main rooms including living room, formal dining room, family room, kitchen, dinette and flexible bonus room with adjacent (relaxing) hot tub room! The beautiful backyard is handsomely fenced and the attached workshop/utility shed electric available) is a plus! Don’t miss this Walden Lake value. Offered at $349,500. Call Barbara Jean to sell 813-781-1915 #124

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 67

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• Meets or exceeds all current building codes • Tested & withstood 125mph wind loads • All rooms meet local wind load codes for hurricanes • Lifetime Warranty


• Supervision over all personnel & projects • Attention to fine finish & detailing • Prompt response to all inquiries • Obligation free quotations & consultations

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 68

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 69

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Happy Holidays from

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Wood Flooring • Quality Intallations

1103 Goldfinch Dr. (off of Thonotosassa)


Fine Children’s Apparel & Gift Boutique

Expect the Best... Quality Selection & Service

We Have You Covered!

gan “Wood Ele

Berry Patch Kids

������������������������ ������������������ (813) 215-1890

����������������������������� �������������������������� ���������������������������� �Receive $20 in

FREE Merchandise with your purchase over $100

New Arrivals...

Holiday Wear, Pageant Wear, Accessories & Gifts

Located Downtown Plant City 201 S. Collins Street • (813) 764-9797 Hours: Mon - Sat • 10:30 to 5:00 • eve. appts upon request PHOTO BY: CHERYL TURNER PORTRAITS

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 71




Story by Ken Lawrence-Senior Writer

The Walden Lake Review H

allelujah! The residents of Walden Lake now own the polo field and adjoining conservation area off Griffin Blvd East. Tom Daramus, Manager of the Walden Lake Community Association, tells FOCUS that the deed has been filed with Hillsborough County and there is no longer any doubt as to ownership. It ends several years of negotiations between the Association and WCI, the main developer of Walden Lake. The Tampa Bay Polo Club will have a ten year right to use the field between December and April each year, with advance notice, but Tom Daramus says it’s doubtful they’ll ever exercise that right because the Polo Club has newer facilities off Jap Tucker Road.

Meanwhile, a committee of Walden Lake residents is preparing a report as to how best to use the polo field. It could possibly be ready by the time of the annual meeting next spring. If you have any ideas, inexpensive ones, call Tom Daramus at 754-8999. One idea being considered is to restore horse riding trails through the 50 plus acres of woods south of the polo field, for walking or jogging. They would not be paved as are the other paths. Congratulations to Association President Jan Griffin and her Board for a job well done in obtaining the property. The cost? ZERO. A Little Bit of This and That Walden Lake homeowners will have to open up their wallets just a wee bit more next year as Association

rates will increase by $6.00 for the year. Class “A” dues, covering most homes, will be $376.00 for 2006, payable either in whole or half in January and the remainder in June. Class “B” rates for condos and townhomes will be $282.00. It’s a very modest amount given increases in fuel costs, especially. Local Association dues of $20-$25 a year, approximately, will be additional. Bleak news about the Walden Lake Golf and Country Club! Our sources say yet another potential buyer has backed out. This uncertainty has not helped membership which is far from what it used to be. We can only hope that another suitor with money to spend to renovate the Club is not too far away. A Walden Lake resident who has decorated her home in a

Mediterranean flair has received so many compliments that she has decided to offer her services to help other homeowners produce the same fantastic look. Her name is Danette Crowell, a former international model who picked up her expertise while traveling the world. If you are interested in Danette’s services, call your writer at (813) 716-0187 and I’ll put you in touch. Her work is nothing short of spectacular. More applause! This time for the Walden Lake maintenance crew who worked feverishly to clean up the mess of branches, moss and other debris following a tiny taste received here from Hurricane Wilma. They’ve had plenty of practice, given Hurricane Mean Jeanne from last year which blew down some 300 trees in Walden Lake. ‘Till next month!



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�������������������� COUNTRY LIVING AT IT’S BEST! Looking for that Peaceful Location! Look No further! 1 Acres MOL in the Country. Almost 3,000 square feet of Living Area, 4 Bedroom plus 5th Bedroom or Office, 3 Full Baths, Great Room with Fabulous Fireplace, Extra Large Kitchen & Formal Dining Room, 12 X 20 Workshop with Separate Electric. $359,900 Call Natalie To See! 758-9586

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Call Natalie 813 758-9586

Walden Lake Wow! Lovely Golf Course Home on large Pond overlooking the 18th Tee. Fabulous custom kitchen with corian countertops. French doors from 4 rooms lead out to the solar heated pool and spa. 13X15 Luxurious Master Bath. Large Family Room. Formal Living and Dining rooms. Tile Roof, 3 Car Garage, Security System and many more upgrades to mention. All this in one of the most desireable Walden Lake neighborhoods. $399,000 Call Natalie before it’s gone 758-9586

Looking to Sell Your Home. Confused By What it Will Cost You? I will get top dollar for your home & review all the costs with you before you list.

Check an Agents Policy Before You List! Natalie’s Policy is Win Win! I NEVER Charge Junk Fees! (Many Realtors charge additional fees over the listing commission which means more costs to YOU)

I Believe a Hard Working Buyer’s Agent Deserves Fair & Equal Compensation


(When listing your home, you should know what is being offered to a Buyerʼs Agent and why an agent will not share the commission ��������equally) ��������������

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 72


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Story by Shelton Keely


Contingencies & Negotiations in Real Estate Contracts S ome buyers make an offer to buy a home before they even list their own home for sale. However, they need to sell their present home in order to come up with the down payment to make the purchase. So they make their offer “conditional” on the successful sale of their own home.

That is a “contingency.” Actually, it’s a major contingency. Contingencies are important in real estate contracts because they limit a buyer’s or seller’s responsibility to fulfill the contract and close the deal. Some are major, some are minor. Some contingencies are frowned on and others are not. Other contingencies are “normal.” For example, in a seller’s market most sellers would not accept the contingency listed above. A potential buyer with a home to sell should already have their home listed AND have an accepted offer from a “ready, willing and able” buyer. Other contingencies make perfect sense. For example, a buyer might want to make their purchase “contingent” upon their ability to obtain financing. Most all contracts fall under this contingency. If they can’t get the loan, they can’t buy the house anyway, so it is a contingency that make sense. In addition, there are loads of inspections. Buyers will often want to make sure the property passes these inspections, so these become additional contingencies and that is what makes a real estate contract different than most contracts. Most contracts are set at the time of offer and acceptance. They are

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a “done deal” and both parties are liable to fulfill their obligations no matter what. If either party attempts to renegotiate any point, the other party can “void” the original offer and acceptance.


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Real estate contracts have specific clauses which allow renegotiation in limited areas. For example, a real estate contract may require a buyer to get his home inspection completed in ten days. It allows the buyer three days to review the inspection and report any problems to the seller. If no problems are reported, that contingency automatically disappears. Suppose the inspection is performed within the required time frame, it shows a cracked tile in the corner by the fireplace, and the buyer reports that problem to the seller. What happens next? The buyer and seller renegotiate that aspect of the deal. It’s a legal contingency. It is subject to renegotiation. The seller may decide to replace the tile, or he may decide not to replace the tile. The buyer decides whether or not it is worth losing the house over a broken tile or not. The seller decides whether it is worth losing a buyer over a small thing like a broken tile. That example was purposely minor. The problem could be a faulty roof. That would require more serious thought. Contingencies are a part of real estate contracts and so are renegotiations, but only in limited areas and according to the contract. Some buyers and sellers never fully read the contract--be sure to read yours. Shelton Keely Broker-Associate Walden Lake Realty, Inc.

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” – Brian Tracy At Edward Jones, weʼre grateful for your business and look forward to continuing to work with you to create and implement investment plans designed to help you achieve your long-term financial goals. YOUʼRE INVITED TO A HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE. Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2005 Time: 10:00am - 6:00pm Where: 2501 Thonotosassa Road R.S.V.P.: 813-759-1491

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By Al Ruechel

Why I won’t yield to hurricanes! I

hate hurricanes. Simple, short and to the point. Yes, I respect them. But I will not yield to the fear they can generate. It is daunting that in a few short hours my castle, my dream home, could be under 6 feet of water, all our family keepsakes and memories washed away or scattered into a million bits across the flattened landscape. Yet, I’ve come to accept them as the cost of living in paradise and don’t regret my decision to live where I do. Have to admit for the first ten or so years in Florida I didn’t think much about hurricanes because we didn’t have that many. In fact, I just bought plywood last year. Four times, count them, four times I put that stuff up

on my windows, splitting a gut along the way, heaving those 100 pound sheets up over my head and into the storage shelves I built. Our garage has cans of tuna, chicken, and even SPAM stacked up to the rafters, along with water and batteries and a dozen plastic tarps. If we had to survive on our own for two or three days, we’d be fine. I’ve got my two boxes of Raisin Bran Crisps and granola bars tucked away in my secret stash. We’ve got enough water and soda to last a week or longer. Who is kidding who? We live in a category “A” evacuation zone just off a creek on old Tampa Bay. My

kitchen floor is exactly 11 and a half feet above mean low tide. I’ve got a board painted with red and green stripes attached to my dock to measure storm surge. When the red disappears, I’ve got a carpet of water in my house. We’ve got a lot of big pine trees and oaks and vegetation that would shred to pieces should 100 mile per hour winds rush through our property. We plan on evacuating to Brandon, pets and all, to my wife’s parent’s home. I’ll be working. They will be safe. I’ll hold viewers hands as we watch helplessly together. Still, I must tell you, deep from within, the universe will remain in balance come Wilma or Fred or Charley or Francis or whatever. I don’t buy into those who think hurricanes are a way for God to punish the sinful. Nor do I think that God sits upstairs someplace, from a distance, rolling His celestial dice to see who gets clobbered. They are a part of God’s creation and His plan. They provide moisture and rain to areas that would dry up and blow away without this extreme re-balancing act. Sin ultimately leads to our deaths. We don’t need some spectacular event to staccato our mortal nature. These are the lessons I have learned from hurricanes and life in general. The things that are most precious, most memorable, have the greatest value in our lives are, at their appearance, the most fragile and fleeting. Yet, in truth these things are the most enduring because they are of flesh and spirit. If my home disappears and our pictures become water logged and the antiques

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 82

spoiled with water marks or broken glass, I will shed some tears no doubt. We will try to box and protect as many of those keepsakes as possible. But give up my Florida for what might be? No! I will not give up the days spent in our backyard watching the eagles perch across our creek, watching the Osprey struggling in flight, laden down with a ten pound mullet. I will not give up the hours spent fishing with my kids, camping on the back porch, exploring the mangrove forests, listening to the whippoorwills calling in the night, the shiners glistening like jewels in the tidal creek. I will not give up the hours spent cuddling our babies as twilight yields to darkness, singing to my wife as the moonlight streams through the slash pines and tallowoods, the frogs in full voice echo down the mangrove-lined creek. These are sights and sounds and smells etched into my memory forever far away from a category one, two or three storm. I’ve accepted the fact a hurricane could change the images of today I enjoy so much, just as I have accepted the fact that I’m getting older, I haven’t made a million bucks, and the networks aren’t waiting to discover me. And, guess what, I’m still happy and contented and blessed beyond belief. God has it all in control. He’s the captain of my ship. And as long as he gives me the wisdom and grace to know how to react to the things I can change and let lay things over which I have no control, hurricanes will never be more than an inconvenience for which I will prepare and respect.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 83


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 84

An 80 unit development of 2 and 3 bedroom quality built homes close to Plant City High School! Now forming an interest list for Phase 2. Call now for plans and lot information.






ou might think it’s a bit too early to start thinking about your holiday shopping, but your opinion isn’t shared by the nation’s retailers, many of whom are already beginning to inundate you with catalogs and advertisements. Of course, you enjoy giving presents to your loved ones, but if you go overboard with your spending, you could find yourself swamped by credit card bills. Can you avoid the “debt trap” and still be generous? Yes — if you make the right moves. Consider the following suggestions:


Let’s face it: Budgeting is boring. You probably don’t do it during most of the year, so why should you start at the holiday season? Because setting a budget, and sticking to it, can be your best debt-busting friend. So before you begin shopping, determine how much you can realistically afford to spend. Once you’ve established some self-imposed limits, you’ll be surprised at how creative you can be in finding nice gifts at reasonable prices.


— and check it twice. You may not have the luxury of basing your gift decisions upon who has been naughty or nice this past year, but you do have some control over who makes your final list. If you’re trying to save money, you needn’t feel obligated to go beyond your immediate family and friends. While you might really like to give gifts to everyone in your life, it just may not be practical.


There’s never been a better time to be a “comparison shopper.” With added competition from discount stores, many merchants are making concerted efforts to keep their prices down. And you have the vast expanses of the Internet to help compare prices on similar items. Here’s a hint, though: To be a really smart shopper, you’ll want to start early.


As you know, many retailers have big “after-holiday” sales to boost business during January, typically a slow month. Why not take advantage of these markdowns to buy presents for next year? By “stockpiling” gifts, you may be able to significantly reduce your holiday budget for 2006.


Once the holiday shopping season is over, you may want to start saving for next year’s gifts. By putting away even a modest amount of money each month, you’ll have several hundred dollars built up when the holidays roll around again. If you’re like most people, however, you might find it hard to spare even $50 a month or so for a holiday gift fund. After all, you have plenty of other expenses to deal with. And that’s why you should “pay yourself first” by having the funds taken automatically from your checking or savings account and placed in an investment account.* You may earn only a modest interest rate, but you’ll be removing these dollars from your normal channels of spending.

“DE-STRESS” YOURSELF… By following these basic suggestions, you can take a lot of the stress out of the holiday season — and that may be the nicest gift you can give to yourself. A systematic investment plan does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets. Such a plan involves continual investment in securities regardless of fluctuating price levels of such securities. The investor should consider the financial ability to continue the purchases through periods of low price levels.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 85




Story and Photos by Lynne Warren

Mia’s Place



uilt on history and charm, Mia’s Place is now the perfect setting for any event. Constructed in 1936, the old frame house located at 2201 Thonotosassa Rd. in Plant City was originally owned by the Shore family of Shore Fertilizer. The house remained in the family until it was purchased by Mia Roach in the mid 1990’s. Roach’s idea was to open a gift and antique shop in the historic residence. In 1997, after five months of renovations to the house, that idea came to fruition with the opening of Annie Marie & Co. gift shop. The shop was very successful and popular, but in 2002 Roach and her business partner decided it was time for a change. Both wanted to have a little more flexibility than a retail operation allows, and to have more time to spend with family. So, Annie Marie & Co. closed, and the transformation to Mia’s Place began.

accessories throughout the house each season, and as appropriate for each individual event. Clients may also bring personal items like photographs or family heirlooms to incorporate into the décor. Separate rooms that flow into one another add to the cozy and intimate feel, but the facility is actually very spacious, accommodating about 65 people. If additional space is required, tents may be set up in order to utilize the beautiful, grandfather oak shaded yard and gardens. In fact, several weddings have been held outdoors under a tent, with the reception activities inside the home.

services to their individual needs. Décor, seating arrangements, and food service set-up all vary by event. Charges are based on the client’s needs, with different levels of service available from strictly rental of the facility, to use of the kitchen, party planning, wedding coordination, full catering, post-event cleanup, and more. A

completely ‘turn-key’ event can be a reality at Mia’s, and for a reasonable price. A tour of Mia’s Place is the best way to determine if the facility will meet your needs. To arrange a tour and to discuss your event, contact Mia Roach at 813-759-6473.

Candles burning, personal touches throughout, a fire crackling in the fireplace… these are Mia’s specialties. When utilizing Mia’s Place for an event, clients can expect to walk in the door and not worry about much of anything. Roach works with each customer to personalize the facility and her

Roach has been involved in the hospitality business in one way or another for as long as she can remember, even as a child. This, combined with her desire to continue to share the home and its history with the community, made transforming the house on Thonotosassa Rd. into an event facility a natural transition. Mia’s Place provides not only a wonderful setting for nearly any event, but Roach also offers consulting and planning services, as well as catering. A basic amount of consulting comes included with rental of the facility. This combination of services takes much of the stress out of planning and holding an event.

One of the charming dining areas at Mia’s, set up reminiscent of a sidewalk cafe

Weddings, showers, parties, business meetings, and family reunions are just a few of the events that have been held at Mia’s Place. The interior is tastefully decorated and accented with antiques – and Roach changes the decorations and Antique furnishings in the parlor at Mia’s Place.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 86

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 87




Story by Devin Dygert Photo by Stephanie Humphry

Student of the Month RACHEL SPERRY


his month Rachel Sperry is our Student of the Month. Rachel was born April 29th 1988 and was raised in Plant City. She is a senior at Plant City High School and greatly involved in school and other activities. She has a brother who goes to FSU and is a junior and a younger sister in 8th grade at Tomlin. She is Jewish, which is sometimes difficult, “There is such a strong Baptist and Catholic faith here, so when my friends ask me if I want to go to church on Wednesdays, I just say no.” One of Rachel’s main activities is tennis. She’s been playing for Plant City High school since the ninth grade. When tennis season comes around she is practicing three hours a day and she has matches during the week on Monday and Thursday. Last year the team won districts, and Rachel, along with Staci Watson, was awarded MVP.

and the community, she always has a smile on her face and you can tell she loves helping others. Many of the clubs she is in deal with the community and giving back. She is in National Honor Society, SADD, Mu Alpha Theta, Civinettes, and CAC. The Civinettes is more of a service club dealing with the community, while CAC deals with what’s happening in the school and how to make it better, and helps create policies for school and ways to solve internal problems. She is also on the senior executive counsel, which is in charge of the “clickers; you go around making noises with them to drive the underclassmen crazy,” she told me. On the counsel she also deals with fundraisers such as Calendar Guy, a sort of spoof on Calendar Girl. She’s taken place in a lot of leadership activities which have really helped in business related things and will make her future much easier.

As far as studies go, “I’m more books smart, I study the night before or either the next day in class,” Rachel told me. “I just absorb whatever I hear, and then regurgitate.” Rachel is very involved in school

After high school she plans to enroll in the fall to go to college, hopefully in North Carolina. “I did really well on the math part of the SAT’s but the English part was on the other half of the scale. I’d like to get into

business or accounting or become an auditor,” Rachel said. Thinking of others, Rachel also posts scholarship information in front of the school for easy access to students. For students in a hurry, or anyone else for that matter, there is lots of information in the glass cases in the front of the school on scholarships, essay contest, and colleges.

This summer Rachel’s family is going to plan a trip abroad for her sister’s bar mitzvah gift. For Rachel’s gift they went overseas to Europe the summer after 7th grade. When I asked her how she felt about leaving high school she said, “It was fun while it lasted, but I’m ready to start a new chapter.”



Electrician/Maintenance Tech

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 88

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Story and Photos by Bob Hughens

21 for


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 90

I Can Do It (Part 5) W

ell, it’s that time again to report on what’s happening in the difficult world of weight loss and physical training. The raw truth is, I didn’t make my targeted weight loss goal of 280 pounds by the end of October. My disappointment in not making the goal caused me to rethink my commitment. I truly thought I was at the crossroads of my program where I had to make a decision to continue the program or just say the heck with it. You know how easy it is to quit when you’re faced with a difficult situation. You know you’re going to quit and you start making excuses to yourself as to why it’s the right thing to do. You say to yourself, “Hey, I gave it my best shot but it didn’t work out. Right?” In the beginning, the weight came off in big numbers. Then I seemed to hit a brick wall. The weight loss slowed to a crawl. I went from losing 10-12 pounds a week to 1-2 pounds a week. The temptation to cheat on the diet became greater. Although my trainer, Mike Gartz of Elite Home Fitness, continued to work with me, pushing me to succeed, I found it harder and harder to discipline myself to get out on the track and push myself. I didn’t hit my cardio workouts as hard as I should. I was ready to give up on this whole program and just go back to the way I was. Then I started watching a television program called “The Biggest Loser”. As I watched the people on the program, I realized they were facing the same obstacles that I’m facing right now. Yes, they committed to a program that was going to make their life better. Yes, they wanted to get healthier. They all wanted to live longer and have a better lifestyle for themselves. Wow! They all want the same things that I want. And it hasn’t come easy for them, either. They all dropped a lot of weight in the beginning. Then the weight loss slowed to a crawl, just like me. The thing that inspired me about each

one of those people was that no one quit. No one said, “Hey, I’m out of here. I can’t do this anymore.” They all stayed and kept fighting. I told myself, if they can do it, I can too. Then I listened to the words of the program’s theme song, “Proud” by Heather Small. In the song, she asks the question, “What have you done today to make you feel proud? Make a change. Do it today.” It made me realize why I started this program in the first place. The obvious was true; I wanted to be healthier and live longer. However, the main reason I started on this program was to live long enough to hold my first grandchild in my arms. Well, three weeks ago, I got a call from my daughter, Tiffany, who informed me that I was going to be a grandfather next June. Well folks, that did it. After hearing that news, it became apparent to me that some one was sending me a message. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in fate, but just as I was having thoughts of quitting, a greater power blessed me with my first grandchild due in the very near future. I’m here to tell you that nothing is going to keep me from that day when it comes. I’m back on the program again and even though it’s going to be harder than it ever was, I have a renewed commitment. I will make myself feel proud. See you next month.




Story and Photos by Bob Hughens

Bulls Crush the Raiders Two things were at stake when the Bloomingdale Bulls came to town to take on the Plant City Raiders at Raider Stadium on Friday, October 28. The Bulls were trying to snap a three game losing streak while the Raiders were trying to increase their playoff hopes. One happened and the other one didn’t. The Bulls defeated the Raiders by a score of 31-14 to improve Bloomingdale’s record to 4-5 on the season. It was a frustrating effort on the part of the Raiders that saw a combination of miscues and an offense that only showed a glimmer of hope during the third quarter of the game. Aside from the third quarter, the Raiders were shut down most of the night.


Raiders get the ball first and started from their own 20-yard line. After the ball is snapped over QB Jason Brown’s head back to their 9-yard line, Plant City is forced to punt. On their first possession, the Bulls are able to move the ball down to the PC 13-yard line and on fourth down and eleven, they kick a field goal with 5:12 left in the first quarter. Bulls 3-Raiders 0.

down. From there, Lawhorn hits Green again on a 20-yard touchdown pass with :36 seconds in the second quarter to go up by a score of Bulls 17-Raiders 0. Halftime: The halftime activities included a salute to the Raiders’ seniors escorted by their parents, relatives and friends.


Plant City starts off the third quarter with an onside kick, which they recover at the Bulls 43-yard line. As a result of the recovery, the Raiders have fourth and three and they go for it. A pitchout by Jason Brown to Jarvis Pope results in a 35-yard touchdown run to put the Raiders back in the game, 17-7. On the next kickoff, the Raiders go for another onside kick but the Bulls recover at the Plant City 47-yard line. With third and ten, Lawhorn hits Green for his third touchdown of the night with 7:50 left in the quarter to put the Bulls up by a score of 24-7. On the Raiders next possession, a holding penalty against the Raiders

creates a third and twentythree situation and on the next play, Jason Brown’s pass is intercepted by the Bulls at the PC 9-yard line. Jarvis Pope (26) follows his blockers for a Raider first down. After a fourth quarter and the game ends facemask with a final score of Bloomingdale penalty by the Raiders, QB Lawhorn Bulls 31 – Plant City Raiders 14. keeps the ball and runs it in from the 6-yard line with 4:55 left in the The Bulls’ QB Mike Green finished quarter. The PAT is good and the the night 7 of 10 for 162 yards. RB score is Bulls 31-Raiders 7. The Gary Lawhorn ended up with 121 Raiders answered with their final yards of total offense. Plant City score of the night when Raiders QB QB Jason Brown, Hillsborough Jason Brown hits Jarvaris Kitt on a County’s second leading scorer 40-yard touchdown pass to end the coming into the game, only rushed scoring for the night. Bulls 31-Raidfor 6 yards and no touchdowns. ers 14. Despite the win by the Bulls, their playoff hopes were thwarted when 4th QUARTER: Brandon defeated East Bay, which Both team’s defensive units are eliminated the need for a Monday able to shut down the scoring in the night playoff.

The Raiders can’t move the ball on their next possession and the Bulls get the ball on their own 26-yard line. On first down and ten from the Raiders 41 –yard line, QB Mike Green hits Gary Lawhon on a 41 yard touchdown pass with :09 seconds left in the first quarter. Bulls 10-Raiders 0.


After starting the second quarter from their own 20-yard line, the Raiders march down field to the Bulls 33 yard line. With fourth down and nine yards to go, the Raiders go for the first down but a 4-yard pass comes up short and the Bulls take over on downs. However, the Bulls can’t move the ball and they are forced to punt. A “roughing the kicker” penalty against the Raiders gives the Bulls an automatic first Mike Donaway (62), Nathan Jenkins (64) and Brandon Cornelius (92) bring down the Bulls running.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 91


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Plant Cityʼs premier tanning salon brings sunless tanning to the local area. The Tanning Salon is maintaining the high level of sophistication and professionalism that our clients have come to expect by adding the top rated Mystic Tan Booth to our salon. Call our certified tanning consultants for a session today.


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Gift Certificates Available!

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 92

MERLE NORMAN’S “DIGITAL WORLD” TAKES HOLIDAY BEAUTY TO THE NEXT LEVEL ��������� �������� ������������� ������������� ������������� ������������������� ��������������� �������������� ���������������� ����������������� ������������

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(L-R FRT TO BACK) MacKenzie, Judy, Hollie, Amanda, Debbie

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��������������������������������������������� Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios have been independently owned and operated since 1931.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 93

Quality health care is about more than diagnosing and treating . . .

It’s about listening, caring, explaining & encouraging. my whole life for a provider like Catherine, since “I’ve been looking she put me on bioidenticial hormones I feel like a new person. ” Catherine Vanella

Dr. Lowe is very concerned about the reason I’m there for the visit, she is very in touch with patients, her personality is enjoyable, and the quality of care is exceptional. I followed her to several clinic locations, I wouldn’t go anywhere else. John Gross

Catherine’s In-House Insurance has helped a lot of people who don’t have health insurance afford general medical care and office visits. She’s got a heart and really cares. Tammy Bean

Both providers always give me a sense that they are genuinely concerned about my health, and go above and beyond to get me feeling better again, I trust their judgment completely & would highly reccomend them. Connie Borgmann

Voted One of the Best Doctors in the Tampa Bay Area

Dolores Lowe, MD & Catherine Nutting, ARNP Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Our Staff “The Care Team” patients comments about how much they like the staff here, they say “Many ofit’sourreally personal, like family and that everyone is very nice.” Janice - Office Manager

Quality Family Health Care




of Plant City

listening caring explaining & encouraging

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The NEW Office


Hours: Mon.-Fri 8am - 5pm

Now accepting NEW Patients.

Merging Dec. 1st & Opening a New Office Jan. 1st

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 94







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Catherine Nutting of Quality Family Healthcare & Dolores Lowe Family Medicine will merge into a beautiful new office at 1708 W. Palmetto Jan. 1st. This facility will serve you better with more exam rooms, ample parking and is handicap accessible.


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Submitted by Sherry Nueesch

Resolutions Are A Group Effort. A

s the holidays come and go again this year, it is time to start thinking about those resolutions. Resolutions are made about a wide array of areas in our lives. People resolve to do better. My focus, of course, is in the health and fitness area. It’s my favorite topic as you may have guessed by now. My question to you is where do you want to be next Christmas season when it comes to your health and fitness? Do you want to be healthier, more fit, or weigh a little less? Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Making changes in diehard habits is NOT easy to do. If it were, we would all be exactly where we want to be. We could make changes with little effort. I will be the first to admit that I don’t change well. Habits die hard, real hard. Nathaniel Emmons says, “Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters”. I think the best way to describe habit is rather like electricity. It follows the path of least resistance. Once habits are formed, our thought process will go there in nano seconds and we are already going down the same path before we realize it, lickity split! It takes work to overcome that kind of force. It is powerful, it’s automatic and it’s fast. Breaking free from that kind of force is a challenging task, but it can be done. One little baby step at a time. Pick one good habit that you want to create and just for today, do it. Tomorrow do it again. Say for example, you need to drink more water. It is recommended drinking 8 glasses

a day. If you fall short, why not start with one more glass than you drink now. It takes about 30 days to establish a habit. Just for today, drink one more glass. And guess what? You won’t do it everyday! You will falter. Welcome to being human. But when you wake up tomorrow you can say again, just for today, I will drink that extra glass of water. When you fall off, get back on. Don’t expect to be perfect. It’s like taking a bus from Florida to Chicago and you stop in Atlanta for awhile. Do you come all the way back to Florida to start again? No, you get back on that bus and continue on. Do the same thing with the water. Just because you skipped one day or two, there is always another day coming. After a while, drinking your 8 glasses of water a day becomes a habit. Try thinking of baby steps. That is how we learned to walk and that is how we make changes in our habits. One little step at a time. Whether it is weight loss, better eating, exercise or whatever positive change we want to make, one little step, one

day at a time will bring us closer to success. Change is hard but doable. It’s easier to walk down this road with a friend. Resolutions tackled as a group effort have a higher success rate. Surround yourself with like-minded people. You wouldn’t go to bars to try to get sober would you? So hang out with people with similar goals of health and fitness. “Twenty years from now you will be more

disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did,” said Mark Twain. What do you want to look back and see? Decide and then baby step your way there. It will be an incredible journey. What do you want to weigh next Christmas? And as always, to your health, and Happy Holidays to all of you. Love Sherry


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 95



Submitted by Dr Susan Ott

Sports Injuries in the Knee PART II: CARTILAGE INJURIES


his month I am going to discuss cartilage injuries of the knee. There are two kinds of cartilage in our knees. The first type of cartilage is the articular cartilage, or the cartilage that covers the end of the bone. The other type of cartilage is meniscal cartilage. There are two menisci in each knee, one on the inside (medial side) and one on the outside (lateral side) of the knee. The meniscus has many functions; however it is most simply explained as a shock absorber of the knee. Both the medial and lateral menisci are ‘C’ shaped. They are thick on the outer edge and thin on the inner edge. They are only attached on the outer edge so there is some movement to the structure. The meniscus often damages with a plant and twist injury. The athlete cuts to turn and the foot remains planted, transmitting a twisting force at the knee. When this happens, the thin inner edge of the meniscus can get caught between the femur (thigh bone) on top and the tibia (shin bone) on the bottom and a shearing force occurs. Typically meniscus tears are treated

surgically. Only the thick outer edge of the meniscus has a blood supply which has a direct effect on how the tear can be treated. If the meniscus is torn in an area with a blood supply, then it can be repaired. If it is torn where there is no blood supply the torn portion is trimmed back to a smooth stable edge. The reason they cannot be repaired if there is no blood supply is that without a blood supply there is no capacity to heal the injury. Meniscal injuries can happen by themselves or along with ligamentous injuries to the knee. In athletes there are typically two types of articular cartilage injuries. Often times athletes will have knee cap (patella) pain, otherwise known as patellofemoral stress syndrome or chondromalacia patella. This is typified by pain in the front of the knee, usually without any specific injury. The pain increases with activity, such as going up and down the stairs. This injury can usually be treated conservatively with physical therapy for muscle strengthening and bracing. The other type of articular cartilage

lesion is a traumatic lesion where a piece of the cartilage covering the end of the bone gets knocked off. Sometimes a small piece of bone will come away with the articular cartilage. This is called an osetochondral fracture. Unless the lesion is lined up perfectly, they usually need to be treated surgically. Usually the surgeon will make all efforts to return the piece of cartilage to the place it came from. This is not always possible, however, and sometimes the piece is removed. This procedure can usually be accomplished arthroscopically. There is another type of problem affecting the articular cartilage that is not so much an injury as a condition. I mention it because it can occur in athletes. This is called osetochondritis dessicans (OCD). It is similar to an osetochondral fracture; however, there is usually


no inciting injury. OCD occurs, basically, when the blood supply to a portion of the bone cartilage interface gets disrupted. Typically the athlete will present with insidious onset of knee pain and it is diagnosed on plain x-rays. Things taken into consideration when treating OCD include the age of the patient, the size of the lesion and whether or not it is displaced. Nondisplaced lesions are often treated conservatively. Dr. Susan Ott is an Orthopaedic Surgeon who specializes in sports medicine. She practices with her partner, Dr. John Carrozzella, at Sand Hill Bone & Joint. Please call 813-754-0817 for more information.


Fellow: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Fellow: American College of Surgeons Member: American Society for surgery of the Hand Certified: American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons

Team Physician for Florida Southern College National Healthcare Referral Network for USA Gymnastics & USA Swimming American College of Sport Medicine

• General Orthopedics • Total Joint Replacement • Partial Joint Replacement • Mini Incision Joint Replacement

• Sports Medicine • Fracture & Injury Care • Arthroscopic Surgery • Ligament Reconstruction

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 96

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Story by Jim Brown


American Online’s AOL Instant Messenger with 31 percent, and third was Yahoo Messenger with 7 percent. September 2005 saw a reversal of the top two, with AOL targeted 66 percent of the time, MSN 33 percent and Yahoo 1 percent. 87 percent of unique IM-targeted attacks were worms, 12 percent were viruses and one percent was client vulnerabilities, according to the research. 1803 JIM REDMAN PKWY. �������� � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � ��� � � �


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oo bad, that we have to constantly worry about becoming a victim in today’s world. I recently wrote to you all about Phishing and this month I am writing to you all about IM threats, because they are very real. For those of you who do not know computer jargon, IM is Instant Message. Most of you use them, (Aol Instant Messenger, Yahoo, and MSN) and many more. The problem is that people can sniff through messages you are sending, attack your machine and your data or plain out take over your machine. “Attacks you can do over IM are more powerful. You don’t just send messages, you can take over somebody’s PC,” Francis De Souza from IMLOGIC said. “IM is built for the very rapid spread of information,” he added. “Messages get where they’re going very quickly, but this means threats can also spread very quickly.” The most commonly targeted IM service over the past year was MSN Messenger, which was the focus of 62 percent of instances, according to IMLogic’s data. Second was

Many of these threats are executed by the user in what we call in the tech industry “social engineering “. Social Engineering is when you are tempted to click on something with some type of enticement, suggesting it is still within the power of users who employ common sense to protect themselves. Obviously this is a trick to make you vulnerable to the bad guys out there. S o the question of the hour is how to avoid becoming a victim. The sure shot way is not to use IM’s, but the realistic way for those of you who aren’t giving up your IM’s is to not click on anything in an IM window, keep an updated anti-virus program on your P.C., scan for spyware regularly and run your P.C. through a hardware firewall. If this is too much to handle, go back to pen and paper..LOL… Until Next time, Happy Computing Jim Brown Product Consultants Unlimited, Inc. 601 N. Michigan Ave. Plant City, FL 33563 813-717-7717 E-mail:




Story by Brian West Photos courtesy of Lexus

Conquer Your Range in a Rover



f you’ve ever watched a television show or a movie that takes place in Africa, you’ve seen a Land Rover. The Land Rover was the world’s original SUV. The first Land Rover, built by brothers Spencer and Maurice Wilks for the British car company Rover, rolled off the production line in 1948. The vehicle was engineered to reach rural British terrain where no other vehicle was capable. The Land Rover quickly became the work vehicle of choice for drivers of the military, agriculture and emergency services around the world. In fact, the company’s commercials in recent years showed a Range Rover turned on its side as two large men with sledge hammers pounded away at the undercarriage. Since its inception, Land Rover has expanded its product line, currently offering 4 different models, with plans to release 5 new models over the next 6 years. The Range Rover is the top-of-the-line model, both

in performance and price. In fact, the model I drove had a sticker of $81,000 and change. Yes, they are proud of their product. Now, this might be well out of the price range for most new car buyers, but you know what they say, “You get what you pay for.” To begin with, the Range Rover doesn’t look like any other SUV on the road. The lines are distinct, with simple, almost flat, body panels. One might even describe the styling as boring, but it is pure utilitarian. In fact, most of the vehicle’s style comes in the corners. The headlights and taillights are arranged in a clear glass design that softens the corners of the vehicle, while drawing your attention directly to them. Another distinction is a grill for air passing through the engine compartment just ahead of the driver and passenger door panels. On the interior, the Range Rover is nothing short of plush. The

Range Rover has leather interior with contrasting piping combined with enough wood trim to make anyone feel really comfortable. The Range Rover also offers some of the same popular features in many other vehicles, like a navigation system and a rear-view camera system using the 7” in-dash screen. Anyone with a boat or other trailer to hook up to would really love this. Imagine backing up to a trailer all by yourself. And the Range Rover is capable of towing 7700 pounds!

handled perfectly. The transmission for the Range Rover is designed with a feature that allows the driver to navigate a down slope without the worry of the speed of the vehicle. This setting forces the vehicle to travel no more than 2 mph downward while the driver concentrates on steering. Before any of these off-road features are used, the Range Rover also incorporates a lift system to adjust the ground clearance by raising and lowering the vehicle.

The Range Rover is engineered to be bottom heavy. The reason for this is to help prevent the vehicle from flipping over. Conquering tough terrain other vehicles can’t includes handling side to side slopes of up to 45 degrees. Most Land Rover dealerships have test tracks that allow customers to test drive the vehicle across these slopes; even stopping on the slope to take in the sensation. I took the vehicle across a 38 degree slope and it

One might expect more impressive acceleration and top speed for such a costly vehicle, but that isn’t what you get. The Range Rover is rated at 0-60 in 8.3 seconds and a top speed of 124 mph. But remember, this is an SUV, not a sports car. So, if you’re looking for a great SUV, with seating for up to 5 adults, look no further than the 2006 Range Rover.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 99




Story by Dawn Marie Simpson Photos courtesy of Jean Briggs

A Mystical, Magical Arabian Night G

ive thanks this year at a must-see holiday dinner attraction, opening on Thanksgiving Day. Whether you’re looking for a night out with your better half or a holiday show with the family, you’ll find plenty to embrace at Arabian Nights. The show combines magic and intrigue of a princess and her gallant prince amidst the splendor of wild horses with the glitz of Broadway and the excitement of the Wild West. The annual Holiday Show begins November 24th.

(which in layman’s terms means no rider), bareback riding, chariot races, reining, and trick riding. And darn it if another horse didn’t take a bow in front of me! Why can’t I get mine to do that trick on demand?

Located on Highway 192 in Kissimmee, a half-mile east of I-4 at Exit 64, this dinner attraction is designed with Moorish-themed architecture and centered on luscious landscaped acreage. You’ll find the equestrian arena climatecontrolled for your total dining comfort.

For those of you who don’t know who Walter Farley is, he is the author of “The Black Stallion.” Farley began to write the book when he was a high school student and completed it while he was an undergraduate at Columbia University. The Black Stallion books were extremely popular in the late 1940s and ‘50s.

From the moment you step into the castle, the excitement begins. You get a horse-eye view of a 60ft mural that shows the history of Arabian Nights, but don’t linger too long or you’ll miss the belly dancers and acrobats that really shake things up. Dressed in Arabian garb, the young performers not only showcase their svelte bodies, but also do so with swords on their heads and nose without slicing off a limb. We sat in tiered seating with over 1,200 visitors offering unobstructed views of the terrific performance. The show included dancing Arabians, liberty performances

One of the show stopping moments was Walter Farley’s Black Stallion. Although the Stallion appears smaller in stature than what you would think, he more than makes up for it with his talent and magnificent beauty.

Walter Farley’s interest in children was not confined to writing for them; he was very active in children’s reading programs. It is with great pride that Mark Miller, owner of Arabian Nights, furthers dreams by offering The Black Stallion Literacy Project. Miller believes when we teach children to read, we teach them to dream. They can then make their dreams come true. For more information on this program please visit The Arabian Nights cast showcases top talent from stage, circus and equine disciplines from around the

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 100

world. Stabled on property are a few of these horse breeds: Arabian, Shetland, Appaloosa, Percheron, Canadian Warmblood and one of my all time favorites, the Belgian.

and ask questions of the performers. This special experience also provides preferential seating in the first three rows, which gives you the best view possible!

Hanna Miller, Executive Director, outdid herself with the inception and implementation of the 90-minute production, which incorporates mega lights, snow and elaborate costumes, coupled with magic that would put David Copperfield to shame.

We savored our three-course dinner, which I dined on sumptuous salad, roll & butter, oven-roasted prime rib, and a specialty dessert. My photographer was torn between the grilled chicken breast; certified Black Angus chopped steak, or the vegetable lasagna. She settled on the lasagna, followed by a raspberry-filled cake. (There is a cash bar for cocktails)

My photographer and I were treated like queens with the VIP Experience, which you too can enjoy. The VIP tour gives a behindthe-scenes look at Arabian Nights. Guests enter the arena before the show, where they can pet the horses

Shows are held every night of the year. For the latest schedule and times, please visit or call (800)553-6116.


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 102

Years ago, most contractors used small tiles in bathrooms, allowing more grout joints and adding problems to the consumer and the applications were performed over green board. Thankfully, the industry has moved toward larger tiles, eliminating excessive grout joints and replacing green boards with a better and more reliable product (Wonder Board). Also there is a beautiful line of listellos, tumble stones and inserts, to create an exceptional look to any of your rooms. If you need a free estimate for your bathroom or flooring, please contact us or visit our showroom.

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Story by Sophia Dedon Photos by Brandon Hyde



or this month’s Dining Review, YOU make the call! That’s right, it’s that time again. Time for FOCUS Magazine’s annual 2005 Reader’s Choice Awards. This is your chance to vote for your favorite restaurant in nineteen different categories. You may mail your ballot to the FOCUS office Attn: FOCUS 2005 RCA Awards, 702 W. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Plant City, FL 33563. You may also fax in your ballot to Attn: FOCUS 2005 RCA Awards at 813-764-0990.

You may also log on online at www. to cast your votes for the 2005 FOCUS Reader’s Choice Awards. The categories are as follows: Best Cuban Sandwich Best Seafood Best BBQ Best Fried Chicken Best Oriental

Best Salad Best Mexican Best Hamburger Best Soup Best Down Home Cooking Best Breakfast Best Pizza Best Italian Best Strawberry Shortcake Best Milkshake Best Dessert

Best Steak Best Overall Service Most Romantic You may only vote for Plant City establishments, please. If they’re not in Plant City, we can’t count them. All votes must be in no later than January 1, 2006.The winners will be announced at FOCUS’ annual anniversary celebration in January. Be sure and vote now to MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT!

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 103



Word to the Wise: Myopic: Short sighted Sage Advice: Patience and wisdom go hand in hand.

Crossword: Here We Come A-Caroling

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 104

N O I T N E T AT PLANT CITY untyʼs The Lakeland Thunderbolts, Polk Co am is own professional Indoor Football Te back for another exciting season with


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 105




Story by Dawn Marie Simpson Photos by Debra M. Hill

Pick’n & Flick’n Behind the Outhouse. I

moseyed on down to the old time country fish fry at the Bar M. Ranch. My confidante for the evenin’ was the gracious Ms. Jeanie Burt. Decked out in a hot red glittery outfit with her walking cane, in case the need arose to pop a young’un on the head, she was eager to rope me in on the upcoming evenin’ events. I was served some down-home cookin’ that was finger-lickin’ good. I don’t know what comforted my belly more, the crisp hush puppies, the grits with hot tomaters dolloped on top, or the deep battered fish and slaw. (I steered clear from the beans cause no one likes to be gassy in public.) Jim Pollard, President of the nonprofit Plant City Cornerstone Chapel, Inc. introduced me to all the celebrities of the evenin’. He shared that the proceeds were delegated to the upkeep of the property, as well as a portion being shared with the community. First out of the stable was Candy Green and Band. Candy was a little bit country while her band members were a tad bit rock’n roll. They were a crowd pleaser and very original in sound.

in the 70’s by Dan Smith & Rick Hinson, who still pick’n flick in the meritorious band. Since their formation, Southern Star has had the honor to play at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. (They don’t just let anyone play there, ya know!) This travelin’ band is a hot ticket at every bluegrass festival they pick at – touring mostly throughout the southeastern countryside. You never know where these good ‘ole boys are gonna turn up, because when they’re not warming up the crowds for such legends as Birdie Higgins, Bill Monroe (The Father of Bluegrass), Jimmy C. Newman or Little Jimmy Dickens, you can hear them at private parties or find their CD’s on top of the music charts. For those young’uns out there that haven’t had the chance to hear what real bluegrass sounds like or even know what it is, let me enlighten you for a moment. The street balladry of those who began migrating to America in the early 1600s was the roots of traditional American music. As the early settlers began to spread out into the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina, and Kentucky, they composed tunes about their day-today struggles in the new land. Since

Mr. Randy Scott, all decked out in country attire would put the Lone Ranger’s outfit to shame. Not only was he a handsome fella, but also he MC’d the night away with luster in his voice, hollerin’ the announcements and singin’ some tunes that tickled everyone’s fancy.

most of these people lived in rural areas, the songs reflected life in the hills and this music was called “mountain music.” “Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys” had a different sound from traditional mountain music because of their powerful melody utilizing traditional acoustic instruments and featuring distinctive vocal harmonies. This music incorporated songs and rhythms from string band and country and blues music repertoires. While many fans of bluegrass date the genre back to the late 1930’s, when Monroe formed his Blue Grass Boys band, most believe that the classic bluegrass sound congealed in 1946, shortly after Earl Scruggs (a banjo player from N.C.)

By the 1950’s, people began referring to this style as “bluegrass music.” Bluegrass bands began forming all over the country, and Bill Monroe was then acknowledged as the “Father of Bluegrass Music.” The increased availability of the bluegrass sound kept the fire alive in Southern Star and encouraged them to move beyond the backyard band. Their wondrous sounds of bluegrass have aided in bringing this music out of modern day obscurity and entertaining the masses with a real down home culture of bluegrass.

The gang couldn’t wait to strut their stuff

The Strawberry Square Strutters exhibited a lot of energy and the crowd was in envy of their ability to “strut their stuff”. They wore bold colored outfits and the ladies’ poofy skirts flew up as the gentleman twirled them across the floor. But I must confess the highlight of my evenin’ was Southern Star – Blue Grass Legends, if you ask me. Southern Star Bluegrass was formed Southern Star did a warm-up behind Ms. Violet’s Outhouse

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 106

joined the band. Scruggs played an original three-finger pickin’ style on the banjo that energized audiences.

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Hi, my name is Brian Olson. the General Manager of Citrus Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Dade City. We are not the biggest car dealer in the area, but we believe that when you want a new or used vehicle the size of the dealership doesnʼt matter – the experience does. At Citrus we are proud to offer a better selection at better prices than other dealers, and offer all of this in a highly relaxed, no pressure environment. This has been my philosophy at Citrus for 17 years. Our approach is not to take you hostage, and then hammer you into submission for a sale. Our salespersons want to take the time to get to know you and your needs so that we can help you in your auto purchase decision. You should buy a car because YOU want to, not because a salesperson wants you to. This approach is uniquely different in our profession, but that is precisely why we do it, and that is also why we have so many lifetime customers. You donʼt have to take my word for it. Come to Dade City and have a look for yourself. You are always welcome.

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����������������������������������������� ���� �������� �� ���� ����������� �� ���� ����������� Photos for illustration purposes. Offers are not combinable with any other advertised specials. Savings include all applicable incentives. Savings may require financing with Chrysler Financial WAC. PRICES DO NOT REQUIRE CASH OR TRADE. 1st monthʼs payment, tax, tag & title due at signing. 12,000 miles per year. See dealer for details.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 107

Historic Downtown Guide S H O P P I N G




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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 109


Movie Reviews by Brandon Hyde

Saw II

R, Horror, Science Fiction, Suspense Starring: Tobin Bell, Donnie Wahlberg, Shawnee Smith, Franky G.

Much like its competitive blockbuster “The Legend of Zorro”, Saw II just seems to fall about ½ inch short of being the cinematic enjoyment that its prequel is. Last year’s mercilessly unpleasant ”Saw” was an unexpected Halloween treat for horror fans fed up with the genre’s recent shift toward tongue-in-cheek. “Saw II,” directed

by a newcomer, Darren Lynn Bousman, delivers similar hard-core, practically humorless frights and hair-raising tension, but only after getting past a shaky beginning that plays more like a forensics-themed television show than a scary movie. What really kills the movie is that the same plot is delivered, which makes for a less surprising storyline. This year’s version of “Saw” relies on gore and blood to make its audiences squirm. When a suspense/horror movie has to support its weight off of that, the result is a lop-sided movie. Somehow, “Saw II” is not disastrous, but has very large holes. “Saw II” gives us a glimpse of what future Halloween thrillers will be like, but a strong hope resides with the fact they can always improve upon it. Rating: 3 stars

Legend of Zorro PG, Action and Adventure, Romance, Starring: Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rufus Sewell, Nick Chinlund, Adrian Alonso

The adventures of the cowboy-day batman continue in the long overdue sequel to the 1998 hit “The Mask of Zorro.” From the dry humor and explosive scenes, to its sensual, loveydovey moments, there was a lot there to compare the two. This sequel had much in common with its predecessor counterpart, but lacked in areas the first excelled it. It hurt to watch an aging Antonio Banderas still try to be the tough guy he portrayed several years ago. And, although Catherine Zeta-Jones has yet to age a day in the past 15 years, her acting ability can be considered mediocre at best. Most annoyingly of all is sometimes being very stingy with

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the plot, making the entire movie somewhat slow and not exactly edge of your seat. However, with the introduction of Don Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas) and his wife Elena’s (ZetaJones) child, a little live wire named Joaquin (Alonso), a new dimension is added to the bullet proof armor of Zorro called fatherhood. It adds some freshness to the otherwise predictable plot. There are some goods and some not so good’s littered throughout the movie. “The Legend of Zorro” is best for a night out looking for something fun but not too in-depth, because it just doesn’t reach that far. Rating: 3 stars

Prime PG-13, Comedy, Romance Starring: Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman, Bryan Greenberg, Jon Abrahams

In the day of Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, and Drew Barrymore romantic comedies, the last person you would expect to make a blip on that radar is Uma Thurman. But, then again, Prime is not exactly the normal love story. A plot consisting of a love affair growing between and

37 year old woman (Thurman) and a 23 year old male named Dave (Greenberg) is quite unordinary, but, not what would be called extraordinary for sure. But, if that were not strange enough, the psychiatrist (Streep) of the freshly divorced Rafi (Thurman) happens to be her new found lover’s mother! Prime just does not hit on all cylinders when it comes to drawing in its audience. Sitting in that theatre, no feeling of emotion, love or hate, surfaces for the characters. When all is said and done, the first thing through your mind is, “I sat through the whole thing without going to sleep?” Much akin to the reaction to this year’s World Series when many people screamed “Finally! It’s over!”, so does one have with Prime. Few scenes are manageable enough to bear, and even fewer than that come without Streep involved. She is the glue to this movie. Without her, the prime time to end this movie is when it started. Rating: 2 1/2 stars

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

Starring: Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Kris Kristofferson, Elisabeth Shue

What do you do with a race horse with a broken leg? Any person of age should know that. That is what makes Dreamer the stereotypical go-againstthe-flow-and-thingsgo-better-than-expected movie. Although it has its own feel to it, Dreamer comes off as too “run of the mill.” One huge heartbreak before things get better is normal, but there are two or three for every character, and that is one of the few differences the screen writers actually came up with. The causes for the drama are real enough; however, to spur the movie and it’s actors into a spiral down, and then a shoot-up is an emotional ride. Heartfelt and even sometimes moving performances by the likes of Russell and Fanning do make this movie enjoyable enough to watch

PG, Family and Children, Drama

as a family. This is definitely one of Disney’s better attempts at trying to establish non-cartoon family movies. The scenery that surrounds the entire movie is sadly what is best of all. Who can go wrong with horses, rolling hills and Kentucky bluegrass? Although, with the acting talents of Dakota Fanning and Kurt Russell, you’d think they would do just a smidge better. Rating: 3 1/2 stars

813-707-0243 • 2504 Walden Woods Dr., Plant City, FL 33566 Across the street from the “new post office”

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 111

Dining Guide ABC Pizza 114 N Alexander St 752-5146

Chancy’s Catfish Shack 2509 N Park Rd 754-3433

Fred’s Market Restaurant 1401 W Dr MLK Blvd 752-7763

Maryland Fried Chicken 315 N Alexander 752-9200

Alexander’s Café at S Fla

Checker’s 2405 Jas Redman Pkwy 759-0151

Frontage Sports Bar & Grill Days Inn 1301 S Frontage Rd 752-0570 exit 168 & 169

Norma’s Ybor City Cuban Shop 1305 Baker St E 754-6557

Grandpa Johnsons BBQ 1305 Dr MLK Jr Blvd 759-0009

Orange Blossom Tea Room 106 Evers St S 759-2247

Baptist Hospital

301 N. Alexander St. 757-8451 Anna’s Restaurant 3410 Baker St W 754-6215

CiCi’s Pizza 211 Alexander St W 659-3400

Apple Tree 2218 Jas Redman Pkwy 707-8109

China King Restaurant 2410 James Redman Pkwy 754-8098

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar 1204 Townsgate Ct 719-1500

China One 1862 James Redman Pkwy 707-8898

Arby’s Roast Beef Restaurant 1909 Frontage Rd S 719-3321

China Palace 1106 Collins St S 754-0990

Hungry Howie’s Pizza & Subs 208 N Alexander St 752-6113

Church’s Fried Chicken 106 E. Reynolds 754-5200

Hungry Howie’s - #200 2424 Hwy 92 E 764-0363

Courtyard 703 Collins St S 754-5200

Joann’s Country Kitchen 12650 McIntosh Rd Thonotosassa 982-0739

Arby’s Roast Beef Restaurant 201 Alexander St W 754-4881 Baker St. Café 1801 W Baker St (Hwy 92 W) 717-9785 Beef O’Brady’s Sports Pub 2418 Jas Redman Pkwy 757-0300 Bobs Sports Grill 226 Alexander St W. 719-8187 Bogey’s Restaurant 2001 Clubhouse Dr 752-1171 Brooklyn Bridge Deli 1309 S Collins St 659-3621 Branch Ranch Dining Room 5121 Thonotosassa Rd 752-1957

Heavenly Sinsations Inc. 1803 Jas Redman Pkwy 717-7512 Hong Kong Buffet 213 Alexander St W 764-8255

Curbita Inc. 4109 State Rd 574 754-0620

Kazbor’s Grille 2212 James Redman Pkwy 752-2700

Dairy Queen 1902 W Reynolds 752-2236

Kentucky Fried Chicken 2305 Collins St S 752-0437

Denny’s Restaurant 2001 Frontage Rd S 752-3338

La Esperanza Mexican Restaurant 113 Prosser Dr W 659-3940

(Only speaks Spanish)

Domino’s Pizza 202 Alexander St W 759-9424 El Buen Gusto Michaocano 3414 Baker St W 759-6635

Buddy Freddy’s Restaurant 1101 Goldfinch Dr 754-5120

El Mirasol Bakery Cafeteria 1419 Collins St S 752-2108

Collins Street Restaurant 712 S Collins 752-0126

El Rincon Mexicano 4109 State Rd 574 754-0620

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 112

Linda’s Crab Shack 202 Reynolds E 754-0492 Lin’s Express 2307 Thonotosassa Rd 719-6066 Long John Silver’s Seafood Shoppe 1805 Jas Redman Pkwy 752-1717 Manatee Bay Café 119 S. Collins S 707-1450

Outback Steakhouse 1203 Townsgate Ct 759-4329 Papa John’s Pizza 1829 Jas Redman Pkwy 719-7300 Pesos Mexican Restaurant 2006 Reynolds St W 752-8841

Strawberry Hut Sandwich Shoppe 1505 Wheeler St N 752-3779 Strawberry Paradise 4511 James L. Redman Parkway (813) 737-3866 Subway 2305 Thonotosassa Rd 754-4550 Subway 2403 James Redman Pkwy 754-4878 Subway 2209 N Park Rd 659-0288 Taco Loco Restaurant 14672 Dr MLK Blvd 659-0916

Pizza Hut 2316 James Redman Pkwy 752-8222

Tim’s Café 10903 Lithia Pinecrest Rd 737-4026

Plant City Restaurant & Drive-in 2005 W Baker St 752-9202

Twistee Treat 2301 Jas Redman Pkwy 707-9303

Ponderosa Steak House 1914 Jim Redman Pkwy 754-1129 Popeye’s Famous Fried Chicken & Biscuits 2005 Frontage Rd S 757-9742 Quiznos 1818 James Redman Pkwy 719-2999 Ramada Inn Red Rose Dining Room 2011 N Wheeler St 752-3141 Snellgrove’s Restaurant 109 S Collins 752-3652 Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q 1102 Goldfinch Dr 757-3118

Waffle House 1201 Townsgate Ct 707-0190 Westshore Pizza 1701 S Alexander St 754-5600 Whistle Stop Café 102 S Collins 752-7340 Woody’s Bar-B-Q 203 Alexander St W 754-3229

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 113

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Order your Holiday Platters Now

2201 N. PARK ROAD • PLANT CITY���813-752-7693

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Downtown Lee Building 110 East Reynold’s Street • Suite 400 Plant City, Florida 33563 (813) 759-1023

Fresh Chicken, never frozen, pressure cooked in pure peanut oil. THE DIFFERENCE IS DELICIOUS




Mon-Sat 11am-9pm • Closed Sunday


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Event Guide November 15, Tuesday The Bruton Memorial Library will be hosting the Native American Culture Program from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. There will be many activities, including Native American dancers, art & crafts, music & flutists, and miniature Native American dwellings. The emcee will be Dock Green, “Silver Hawk.” For more information, contact the library at 813757-9215

November 17, Thursday No time to get the flu? Make sure to get a flu shot. The South Florida Baptist Hospital will be offering flu shots at the Wal-Mart, located at 2602 James Redman Pkwy, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. It’s your best defense against influenza and its potentially serious effects on your health. New this year: flu vaccines for children 9 years of age and older. Parent or guardian is required to accompany the child. Supplies may be limited. Only Medicare B can be billed – no exceptions and no HMOs. For more information call 813-754-4444.

November 17-18, ThursdayFriday The Plant City Entertainment will feature “A Streetcar Named Desire.” See page 10 for more details.

November 18-20, Friday-Sunday Strawberry Square Dances, located at 4001 Boot Bay Rd will be having MultiLevel Weekend with Steve Jacquer. For more information, call 813-752-0491 or visit

November 18, Friday The Rat Pack Too will be appearing at the Ramada Inn Plantation House’s Red Rose Dining Room at 2011 N. Wheeler St. in Plant City. The show will start at 8:00 pm. For reservations, please call 813-752-5452, or visit their website at Scrapper’s Delight at 1705 C Jim Redman Pkwy. is holding a Scrapper’s Social. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and lasts until midnight. The cost is $8.00; dinner and drinks are provided. Call by Friday morning to reserve your seat. For additional information, please call 813-754-6755.

November 19, Saturday

Plantation House’s Red Rose Dining Room at 2011 N. Wheeler St. in Plant City. The show will start at 8:00 pm, also featuring Free Time with Johnny Love. For reservations, please call 813752-5452, or visit their website at www. Plant City Pig Jam will be at the Randy Larson Four-Plex. See page 10 for more details. The Strawberry Classic Car Show will be in Downtown Plant City from 4:009:00 p.m. Florida Opry at the 1914 High School. See page 10 for more details.

November 21, Monday No time to get the flu? Make sure to get a flu shot. The South Florida Baptist Hospital will be offering flu shots at Strawberry Square, located at 4401 Boot Bay Road, from 9 a.m. to noon. It’s your best defense against influenza and its potentially serious effects on your health. New this year: flu vaccines for children 9 years of age and older. Parent or guardian is required to accompany the child. Supplies may be limited. Only Medicare B can be billed – no exceptions and no HMOs. For more information call 813-754-4444.

November 22, Tuesday Strawberry Square Dances, located at 4001 Boot Bay Rd, will be having an All Position Plus beginner class by Sam Dunn beginning at 7:00 p.m. For more information, call 813-752-0491 or visit

November 23-27 International Softball Federation III Junior Girls World Cup will be at the Plant City Stadium. See page 10 for more details.

November 26, Saturday Strawberry Square Dances, located at 4001 Boot Bay Rd, will be hosting New England Thanksgiving Dance Party with Red Bates and Charlie & Leona Lovelace beginning at 7:00 p.m. For more information, call 813-752-0491 or visit

November 27, Sunday Ammerman’s Exotic Yard Sale. See page 10 for more details.

Bill Pinkney and The Original Drifters will be appearing at the Ramada Inn

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 116

December 1, Thursday Strawberry Square Dances, located at 4001 Boot Bay Rd, will be having Beginner Round Dance lesion with Charlie and Leona Lovelace, beginning at 7:00 p.m. For more information, call 813752-0491 or visit www.floridadanceweb. com/strawberry. The annual Light of Love event will be taking place in downtown Plant City at McCall Park. See page 10 for more details. Christmas showing of Fine Arts. See page 10 for more details.

December 2, Friday The Plant City Christmas Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. See page 10 for more details. Scrapper’s Delight at 1705 C Jim Redman Pkwy. is holding a Scrapper’s Social. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and lasts until midnight. The cost is $8.00; dinner and drinks are provided. Call by Friday morning to reserve your seat. For additional information, please call 813-754-6755.

December 2-3, Friday- Saturday The City of Plant City Recreation & Parks Department is hosting its 7th Annual “Winter Light Spectacular” celebration in Downtown McCall Park. The lovely park will be transformed into a holiday wonderland of animation and holiday nostalgia with scenes created by the Recreation Division with assistance of other departments and volunteers. There will be attractions for children on Saturday. For more information call Stephen Rossiter at 813-757-9166.

December 3, Saturday Strawberry Square Dances, located at 4001 Boot Bay Rd, will be having a Plus Dance with Art Sqringer calling and Pat Hagen cueing rounds. For more information, call 813-752-0491 or visit www. Bike Fest and Winter Wonderland at McCall Park in downtown. See page 10 for more details.

December 4, Sunday The First United Methodist Church, located at 303 North Evers Street, is hosting their monthly concert. Walt Andrews and the Paramount String Orchestra will be playing at 7:00 p.m. The cost of the concert is $20 per person. For more information call FUMC at 813-754-3519,

or visit the website at, or email

December 9, Friday The Rat Pack Too will be appearing at the Ramada Inn Plantation House’s Red Rose Dining Room at 2011 N. Wheeler St. in Plant City. The show will start at 8:00 pm. For reservations, please call 813-752-5452, or visit their website at

December 10, Saturday The Ramada Inn Plantation House’s Red Rose Dining Room at 2011 N. Wheeler St. in Plant City will be hosting the “Red Rose Dining Room Christmas Show. The show will start at 8:00 pm. For reservations, please call 813-7525452, or visit their website at www. The Plant City Children’s Theatre will be presenting The Nutcracker at Tomlin Middle School. Shows are at 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. The cost is $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets are available at the Plant City Children’s Theatre at 507 N Wheeler or by calling 813-7521621. There is free attendance for all the handicapped, children’s homes and nursing homes.

December 16, Friday The Rat Pack Too will be appearing at the Ramada Inn Plantation House’s Red Rose Dining Room at 2011 N. Wheeler St. in Plant City. The show will start at 8:00 pm. For reservations, please call 813-752-5452, or visit their website at Scrapper’s Delight at 1705 C Jim Redman Pkwy. is holding a Scrapper’s Social. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and lasts until midnight. The cost is $8.00; dinner and drinks are provided. Call by Friday morning to reserve your seat. For additional information, please call 813-754-6755.

December 17, Saturday The Mystics will be appearing at the Ramada Inn Plantation House’s Red Rose Dining Room at 2011 N. Wheeler St. in Plant City. The show will start at 8:00 pm, also featuring Free Time with Johnny Love. For reservations, please call 813-752-5452, or visit their website at To all organizations, churches, clubs, sports teams, lounges, businesses: If you would like your happening or event to be listed in this column, please e-mail to:, or fax it to 813-764-0990, Attn: Sophia – Event Calendar.

Visit our web site:

MEATS WIDE SELECTION OF HAMS 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

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

WIDE SELECTION OF: #10 Can And Gallon Size Items Martin’s Potato Bread Entenmann’s Bakery products Goya • Lisy • La Costena • San Marco’s and La Dona Tortillas

Leg Quarters 40-lb. box Fresh IBP Small and Med. Spare Ribs Fresh IBP Lite Spare Ribs “Great for Barbequeing” Fajitas by the package or the box.

PRODUCE SPECIALIZING IN SPECIAL CUTS OF MEAT No Order Too Big Or Too Small Largest Spice Selection In Town One Stop Shopping for all your large parties, family reunions and church events

SPECIAL SERVICES AVAILABLE INCLUDE: Western Union, Money Orders & Wiring Sevices Plantains, Green Bananas (by the box or lb.) Fresh Local Produce Daily Fresh Greens Available Daily

Walker Plaza, 617 N Maryland Ave. Plant City, FL 33563 ATM Available at Customer Service TECO Payments Accepted

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 117

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15 - December 15 • 2005 PG 118

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FOCUS PC 04-11 Nov 2005  

FOCUS Magazine, Plant City, November 2005

FOCUS PC 04-11 Nov 2005  

FOCUS Magazine, Plant City, November 2005