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Federal Prosecutor

ASHLEY MOODY Seeks Judicial Seat



FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 2

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 3


LOCAL 7-34

A plethora of exciting things are happening around town right now. The school year started back, beginning with a New Teacher Breakfast hosted by the Plant City Chamber of Commerce for all the local teachers who will be teaching in the Plant City area for the first time. The Durant High School Marching Band has been offered a chance to play at the Fiesta Bowl and is trying to raise $300,000 to cover expenses. Johnnie Byrd’s Research Institute has been making significant progress on finding a cure to Alzheimer’s, as well as their new seven-story building being nearly completed. Local businessman Johnny Knotts was presented the opportunity to serve as a pit official for the IMSA and work on Porsche racecars. Just turn a couple pages over to find not only these stories, but also several others concerning the exciting activities in Plant City.


In honor of Labor Day, Focus Magazine takes a moment to pay tribute to the blue-collar workers of Plant City. While most people continue with their daily lives, there is a special group of people in Plant City who keep this town running. Learn about aspects of these jobs you very well may not have realized and why these people love doing their jobs day after day. Because they have given their lives to fields that seldom receive recognition, Focus thought it was time to give credit where credit is due.


Ashley Moody is well known throughout Plant City not only for her deep family roots in the area, but also for her active involvement in the community. It seems like just yesterday she was Strawberry Queen, and now this 31-year-old United States Federal Prosecutor is pursuing the position of Hillsborough County Judge. Take a moment to get to know Ashley a little better, find out what has been going on in her life recently and laugh with her over stories of her teenage years.

around town. This is Part Two of three sections that will feature the businesses you trust. Read this second issue with the special articles and then look forward to one more in the future.


This section is dedicated to buyers, sellers and owners.


The Plant City Family YMCA hosted a Wednesday night volleyball league in conjunction with the Plant City Recreation and Parks Department. This league has provided a way for adults to be able to get fun physical activity and also be involved in a sport. This is the first time the city and YMCA have joined for a venture such as this; with the success they had, there will most likely be more to come.


The dining review this month is on Jamrock Caribbean Cuisine, a new restaurant that recently opened in Plant City. Read about the options there ranging from curry chicken and goat to sandwiches and plantains. For the entertainment this month, our writer tells you about the new Singles Night at the Ramada Inn Red Rose Dining Room. This is a great opportunity to reach out and meet new people.

ON THE COVER Ashley Moody, home-town Plant City girl running for a Judicial Position. Story on page 46. Photo by Mike Floyd


This month you have the chance to get to know 16 businesses that are here for you. Read the story behind the companies you frequently see FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 4


PLANT CITY EDITION PUBLISHER Mike Floyd EDITOR IN CHIEF Linda Floyd EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Kristen Toney MANAGING EDITOR Sophia Dedon OFFICE MANAGER DeDe Floyd CREDIT MANAGER Bob Hughens SALES Tania Summers Terrie Cameron Shannon Davis ART DIRECTOR Stefanie Burlingame GRAPHIC DESIGN Anthony Sassano DISTRIBUTION Tony DeVane PHOTOGRAPHER Billy Friend STAFF WRITERS Brian West, Ken Lawrence, Debbie Bowers, Sherry Baldwin, Holly Mallalieu, John Garrod,Daniel Sperry, Heather Davis, Cheryl Johnston, Kurt L. Moore CONTRIBUTORS Sherry Nueesch, Gil Gott, Johnnie Byrd, Shelton Keely, Michael Cameron, Bruce Rodwell

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.

published by:


floyd publications, inc. 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd. • Plant City, Florida 33563 Phone 813.707.8783 • Fax 813.764.0990

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 5


“Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” Sam Ewing

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It has been said the workers of today do not have the same type of work ethics that were displayed just a generation ago. We have all heard people say, “You just can’t get good help these days,” and I believe that’s truer than it used to be. There are probably a lot of different causes for it. Today’s generation never had to live through a depression like their great-grandparents did. I’m sure there’s something about going hungry that produces people with a good work ethic. I believe another cause is that our children today get so much and actually have to work for so little. I’m not saying that’s all bad; we, as parents, all want to give our children as much as we can. It’s human nature for a parent to want for their children more than they had themselves. I know one year my husband and I got a “Sprite” motorcycle with a lawnmower engine from Western Auto for one of our sons on Christmas when he was five years old. I recall his Kindergarten teacher calling me aside after Christmas break was over to express her concern that if he always gets everything he wants, what is there going to possibly be left for him to want when he is ten? Because of my deep respect for her, this truly bothered me. I didn’t know if we had done what was best for our sons by giving them as much as we could at Christmas, and mostly, any other time they wanted something. After discussing it with my husband, he convinced me what was most important is that they knew we did it out of love; if they knew we loved them the rest didn’t matter. I guess that turned out to be true, because they both grew up into mighty fine men, if I don’t say so myself. Our feature this month is about a lot of people who still display that work ethic of old; the blue-collar workers that keep Plant City running. We’re talking about the sanitation workers, bus drivers, hospital workers, police officers and firefighters who have to work whether it’s Labor Day or not. In our spotlight interview we talk to Ashley Moody, a U.S. Federal Prosecutor who is running for a Hillsborough County judge position from Group 45. She tells us that her parents instilled a strong work ethic in her, impressing upon her the need to make whoever hired her proud and to make sure they never regretted that decision. Toward that end she has always tried to work hard.


So, while times do change, I think that a good work ethic is still alive and well in Plant City, and we hope you enjoy reading about some of them.


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 6

Linda Floyd

CORRECTION In our last issue, we stated the Camellia Rose Tea Room had catered the Pregnancy Care Center’s Tea of Significance. While Camellia Rose did offer their services through the tea tasting, the event was actually catered by Cox Catering out of Tampa. We apologize for any misunderstanding caused on this issue.




of the

town Congratulations to the PC Outlaws machine pitch team who won the USSSA Baseball World Series in Thomson, GA., as well as Chelsea Baker, the only girl to ever compete in the 20-year history of this tournament, who was also named to the All Tournament Team.

Congratulations to Dawn Flood for receiving the distinguished honor of a 2006 Poetry Ambassador, and also receiving the official 2006 Commemorative U.S. Poetry Ambassador Medal.

Congratulations to the Walden Lake Swim Team, who just completed another successful season. The 50 swimmers on the team participated in ten meets around Tampa Bay and three regional invitational meets.

Congratulations to the Plant City 9-10-year-old AllStar softball team who won the state championship. They would also like to thank the community for all of their help and support.

Congratulations to Fred Johnson who received an appreciation plaque from the PC Chapter of United Daughters of Confederacy for selling their cookbook, Suppertime in the Old South.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 7




Story and Photos by Sophia Dedon

Local Area in Need of Foster Parents HOW YOU CAN HELP

at the meeting was the desperate need for foster families in the area. “The need for help doesn’t exist just at Christmas,” said Jim Davis of HKI. “These kids are no different than all other kids, and they deserve the same amount of love.” Many people think that in order to become a foster parent you have to live in a made-forTV family with two perfect parents, a golden retriever and a white Foster parents don’t have to be a “made-for-TV-family,” just willing to give a child love while they are picket fence, but that is separated from their parents. a distorted perception. he life of a child is so fragile. You only need to be willing to open Too often children experience your arms and heart to children in traumatic circumstances at a young need. There are single parent foster age; circumstances that affect the homes, as well as mother-daughrest of their future. In Hillsborough ter teams and even non-married County alone, there are over 4,700 couples who are foster parents. children in the system who have been removed from their primary When a child is in a painful situahomes. Of those children, 1,200 are tion, the first priority of the agenin foster care. These experiences cies is to place them with extended will come to determine certain family members. When those are characteristics of each child’s not available, they strive to keep as personality or behavior. Most of many consistencies in the children’s the children in protective services lives as possible. Allowing them to and foster care have been removed stay at the same school, in the same from their biological parents due to community or attending the same domestic abuse, substance abuse, church are all important factors. abandonment or neglect. However, However, these things are only Hillsborough County still struggles possible if there are people in those to provide enough homes for these communities willing to open their children in desperate need of a famdoors to these children. ily environment. Maybe opening your home to foster On Tuesday, July 18, the Plant City children is something you have Family YMCA partnered with Hillsconsidered, but never pursued. It is borough Kids, Inc. to host an open a decision that will not only impact house for individuals interested your life, but change the life of a in learning more about fostering child. Although desperately needed children. Several agencies that help in this area, the role of a foster parplace children in homes were repent is not to be taken lightly. It is resented, all willing to answer the a decision requiring much thought questions and concerns of potential and preparation, but is well worth foster parents. it in the end. If you would like to learn more about becoming a foster One of the main points covered parent, please call 813-225-1105.


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 8

There are over 1200 children in foster care in Hillsborough County in need of loving homes and hearts to open up to them.

Children can be taken in by themselves or as siblings.


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 9




Chamber of Commerce Only two and half months left to get your tickets for the 2006 HARLEY-DAVIDSON DYNA WIDE GLIDE motorcycle. This fantastic “bike” will be given away by the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce at the Plant City Bike Fest on October 7th. Proceeds benefit the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Unity in the Community Pediatric Prescription Fund and the United Food Bank & Services of Plant City. Tickets are $20 each or buy six at the same time and get one free! They are available from all Chamber members or at the Chamber office, 106 North Evers Street in downtown Plant City. There is still time to enroll in LEADERSHIP PLANT CITY 2006-2007. The Chamber is accepting applications for the upcoming class that will begin with the September 22nd Orientation. For more information on this unique and exciting program, call the Chamber office at 813-754-3707. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about our community: join the Class of 2007. Do you have your ticket for the Annual YMCA STRONG LEADER BANQUET being held August 24th at the Ramada Inn Red Rose Ballroom? This year’s Strong Leader recipient is Cindy Churchill. For additional information, call Scott Warren at our Plant City YMCA 813-757-6677. On August 1st the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce hosted a NEW TEACHER COFFEE for the new teachers in the 23 schools in Plant City City/ East Hillsborough County. Close to 200 brand new teachers attended this event which was held in the New Expo building on the Strawberry Festival Grounds. Major sponsors for this year’s event were the Florida Strawberry Festival, AmeriCare, Bright House Networks, South Florida Baptist Hospital, Gulf Coast Turf & Tractor and Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union. Each of the new teachers were given “goodie bags” filled with items from various Plant City businesses. This event was a great welcome for our new teachers. The PREGNANCY CARE CENTER OF PLANT CITY will hold its Annual Celebration of Life Banquet at Cronin Hall, St. Clement Catholic Church, 1104 North Alexander Street on Monday, September 11, 2006 at 6:30 p.m. Social

time will start at 5:45 p.m. This year’s speaker is Thomas Glessner, founder and President of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates. Sponsorship opportunities are available by calling the Center. Individual reservations are $40. Tickets and sponsor information is available by calling the Center at 813-759-0886. On September 22nd and 23rd the FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY will present a mystery play at Magic Moments. The cast is made up of local talent and is always loads of fun. More about this next month. Did you know the PLANT CITY RECREATION & PARKS DEPARTMENT has a Jazzercise program? This is for young adults through seniors and it is CoEd. It’s a fun way to fitness and total body conditioning. Each class is one hour. The classes are held at the visitor center, 403 Dort Street. Call Donna Breting at 813-986-4261 for information.

Have you visited the new PLANT CITY TENNIS CENTER? This state-of-theart facility is located at 120 North Wilder Road, just North of US92/Baker Street, East of Park Road. It is part of the Ellis-Methvin Park complex. It offers four hydro-grid soft surface courts and four cushioned hard surface courts. There is even a pro shop. A full slate of offerings for youths to seniors is available. For facility information, contact Shane Johnson, tennis supervisor at 813-707-7485 or you can e-mail him at sjohnson@plantcitygov. com. Lessons are available and Shane will give you all the details. On August 19th, the 4th Annual “Summer Rhapsody” will be presented in the Fellowship Center of the First Baptist Church. There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner, with the performance beginning at 7:30 p.m. The performance includes an evening of music, song and readings. All donations and proceeds directly benefit the renovation and preservation of the 1923 Cornerstone Center. Dodie White is directing the entertainment. Call Marsha Passmore at 813-754-2301 for additional information.

of this fund raiser, which benefits the South Florida Baptist Hospital Parish Nurse program, Wellness on Wheels and Children’s Health Fair, to name a few. The date for this great event is Thursday, September 28th. There will be lots of great food, a live band and a silent auction. As the name implies, dress for the evening is denim. It carries a western theme. Cost is $50 per person and tickets can be purchased by calling Judy Martin, Executive Director of the SFBH Foundation, at 813-757-1277. If you are a strawberry grower or just interested in learning all about strawberries, you will not want to miss the Annual AGRI-TECH sponsored by the Florida Strawberry Growers Association. This two day event will take place August 29th and 30th at the Trinkle Center. Call Erin Best at 800-958-5538 for information and complete details. EVENTS TO PUT ON YOUR CALENDAR: August 17-18 – AARP Safe Driving class at the Bruton Memorial Library. Class starts at 9:00 a.m. and runs until 1:00 p.m. Call 813-716-1678 for additional info and to enroll. August 19 – Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Strawberry Classic Car Show in historic downtown Plant City. Starts at 4:00 p.m. Great family event. August 19 – Summer Rhapsody at the Fellowship Center of the First Baptist Church. August 22 – Wish my beautiful wife, Margaret, a HAPPY BIRTHDAY. August 24 – YMCA Strong Leader Award Dinner honoring Cindy Churchill. Takes place at the Ramada Inn Red Rose Ballroom at 6:30 p.m. August 28 – City Commission meeting at City Hall, 7:30 p.m. August 29-30 – Agri-Tech 2006 at the new Trinkle Center. Call Erin Best at 1-800-958-5538 for details. September 2 – Bike Fest in historic downtown Plant City. Begins at 5:00 p.m.

of Plant City annual Celebration of Life Banquet. St. Clement Catholic Church. Call 813-759-0886 for tickets. September 13 – Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Contact Breakfast. Ramada Inn Red Rose Ballroom. Starts at 7:30 a.m. Guest speaker is Walt Belcher, TV critic for the Tampa Tribune. Call the Chamber at 813-754-3707 to RSVP. September 19 – Bill Heard Chevrolet & Harold’s Outdoor Products fishing seminar, held at Bill Heard, Park Road, Plant City. Starts at 6:45 p.m. Call Chris Prevat at 813-359-5018 for additional information. September 21 – Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at the Tile Barn, 1103 Goldfinch Drive (behind Buddy-Freddy’s). Starts at 5:15 p.m. Call the Chamber at 813-754-3707 to RSVP. This is a free event and open to the public. September 21 – Republican Party “Meet & Greet the Candidates” at the Ramada Inn. Sponsored by the Plant City Federation of Republican Women. Call Judy Whitson at 813-436-6815 for additional details. September 22-23 - Annual Friends of the Library mystery theatre at Magic Moments. Call Pat Eifler at 813-267-0593 for information. FUTURE DATES TO REMEMBER: October 13 – Plant City Lions Golf tournament at Walden Lake Golf and Country Club. Call Jodi Smith at 813-754-3707 to sign up. November 18 – Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Annual PIG JAM at the Randy Larson Four-Plex. You will not want to miss this great family event. Remember to call the Chamber office at 813-754-3707 to have your organization’s event placed on the COMMUNITY CALENDAR. When you do this it accomplishes two things: 1.You will be able to determine if your date conflicts with other organizations, and 2.This process lets our Chamber members (which now number over 725!) and the community know of your event so it can be talked about, promoted and planned for.

September 4 – Labor Day. Chamber office closed. You will not want to miss this year’s DIAMONDS & DENIM gala, which will take place at the new Expo building on the Florida Strawberry Festival grounds. This is the tenth anniversary

September 11 – City Commission meeting at City Hall. 7:30 p.m. September 11 – Pregnancy Care Center


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 10

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813-927-1288 or 813-967-5352 FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 11



SEND COMMENTS TO SDEDON@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM Story by Debbie Bowers Photos by Julia Armstrong

Hope For Those In Need



uffering with a mental illness is debilitating and daunting. These disorders can profoundly disrupt a person’s thinking, moods, ability to relate to others and capacity for coping with the demands of life. Mental illness afflicts people of all ages, races, religions and incomes. They do not result from personal weakness, lack of character or upbringing.

The Panos Center, located on Palmer Street in Downtown Plant City.

Mental Health Care, Inc. (MHC) is a private, non-profit organization which has served individuals of Hillsborough County for more than 50 years. The organization provides help for an expansive array of mental health issues, including needs such as training parents to care for disturbed children and

crisis intervention for those at risk of injuring themselves. A goal of MHC is to provide the use of medication, advanced counseling therapies and effective community based programs to help individuals remain in their community where they truly belong. The mission and vision of MHC is to ensure each child and adult with mental illness receives the finest mental health care available and achieves their maximum potential, regardless of their ability to pay. Adult Community Services at 301 North Palmer Street was established 10 years ago to provide psychiatric stability through medication management in an outpatient environment, monitored by psychiatrists and nurse practitioners.


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 12

HILLSBOROUGH Community College

ing a therapeutic environment for them to attain and maintain their optimal level of independence,” reports Sybil Anderson, Program Supervisor of Medication Clinic and Social Rehabilitation. The Panos Center concentrates on Left to right: Connie N., Lynn R. and Mary M. at the Adult Community Services center on Palmer Street. mental health treatment to children, Palmer Street Social Rehab adults, families and elders. The Program, located at 1403 West criteria includes treatment planReynolds Street, provides strucning, individual counseling, tured therapeutic activities for medical management, and supconsumers. The program goals are port group presentations. The to improve socialization, commuagency was established in 1985 to nications, coping and relaxation provide outpatient psychiatric and skills, as well as heighten personal counseling services. David West, care, daily living skills and emProgram Manager for Family Reployability. source Centers said, “At the Panos Center, we are very proud of our “Participating in the Plant City’s 21-year history as the premier proMedication Clinic and Special vider of community mental health Rehabilitation programs enables outpatient psychiatric and counselour consumers to remain psychiing services to the children, adoatrically stable in the community, lescents and adults who reside in enhance their socialization skills Plant City and East Hillsborough and opportunities, while providCounty. With a dedicated staff of

licensed mental health professionals, we will continue daily to strive toward excellence in the provision of mental health and behavioral health care to the residents of Plant City and East Hillsborough County.” Taylor and Nick W. play in the children’s area.

Children’s Community Services is also known as the Family and School Support Team and has been in existence since 1995. FASST is a voluntary program of support for children, youth and families. Children and families are seen at FASST through referrals made by Plant City community schools, parents, and community resources. Services offered are determined by each family based upon individual strengths and needs. More than 10 million adults and three to five million children ages five to 17 are affected with mental disorders. Mental illness can be

daunting, but with the proper care and support, each individual can begin to heal though medication, counseling and encouragement from family, friends and professional staff. If you or someone you know living in Plant City is suffering from mental illness or depression, contact Mental Health Care at 813-272-2244. With the help of caring, professional staff members at MHC, citizens of Plant City plagued with these illnesses can gain confidence and begin to experience a new celebration of life.


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Story by Holly Mallalieu Photo courtesy of the Evans family

Beth Evans



t’s nice to come across a bornand-raised Plant City person every once in a while. With this town growing in every direction, they’re sometimes hard to find. Beth Evans was not only born in this town, but her family is solidly rooted here. She is one of our genuine Plant City natives.

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Animal Wellness Center

It was no surprise when Evans related she has no plans to move away from Plant City. How could she leave the place that holds so much of her history? Both of her grandparents were born in the community. Evans’ great-grandfather, W.R. Martin, Sr., was among the charter members who built Knights Methodist Church (now Knights Community Club), where she, as well as the rest of her family, is very involved to this day. During her junior high years at Tomlin Middle School, she remembers shopping at Tatum’s, or

Hookers Department Store (now the Frenchman’s Market). Evans worked at Plant City Growers Ace Hardware, which her grandfather managed for 45 years, along with her grandmother, mother and brother. She says Plant City has changed a lot, but it’s still the same town and she loves the hometown feel. Now a Registered Nurse at Moffitt Cancer Center, Evans has been married to her husband, Cliff, for 25 years, whom she met at, of all places, our very own Strawberry Festival at the FFA Pole Barn. She has two girls, 21 and 17, who both attended Plant City High School. Evans is also the President of the Knights Community Club. With four generations of family from this town, Beth is where she is supposed to be, and Plant City is glad to have her!

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Beth Evans FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 14




Story by Kurt L. Moore Photos courtesy of Durant Band Boosters



o, this is not about a party. This is about the Durant High School Band marching and playing their way to the Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Arizona Fiesta Bowl National Band Championship and the Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade this upcoming New Year’s Day. The Durant Band, six-time state marching band finalist for the state of Florida, is a band that has proven its performance capability throughout the years. Top-flight instructors, coupled with an active band booster organization and a bunch of talented high school kids, produce excellence such as this. This is a band Plant City and the surrounding area can take pride in. The band is scheduled to head for

Arizona to the New Year’s National Band competitions, but first they must raise enough money to be able to go. There are approximately 200 persons, including band members, chaperones and other personnel making the trip, and they must be able to be lodged and fed during their stay. Their goal is to attain around fifteen hundred dollars per individual, totaling about $300,000. The band, through their band director and band booster organization, is seeking business partners to help defray expenses. This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and an opportunity for the Durant High School Band to possibly bring home a national championship trophy.

Drummer in front and great multitudes followed him. The Durant Band follows and marches to the cadence of one of their drummers. This photo was taken during their recently held band camp.

Show your pride in Plant City, its people and especially its young people. Call Dan Dubay, Durant School Band Director at 813-7579075, (Ext. 244) and offer your support and help. These kids have spent many hard hours, days and

weeks to achieve what they have, and they may well be recognized for their hard work. In helping them go to the Fiesta Bowl National Band Championship, you will earn your stripes too.

2005 Finalist SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Brandon Chamber

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 15




Story by Sherry Baldwin Photos courtesy of PCE

Plant City Entertainment, Inc. PRESENTS THE MUSICAL “GUYS AND DOLLS” Beginning (with rehearsals) in September, PCE will be moving to the John R. Trinkle Building as they start their new season with another fabulous musical, planned for November. The audience was then invited to become further involved with PCE, and it was on with the show.


lant City Entertainment, Inc.’s (PCE) recent production of the musical Guys and Dolls was a clear example of why people love live stage performances! That is especially true when it comes to musicals. Guys and Dolls debuted on Broadway in 1950, was revived and at one point even made into a movie. Whether it is the subject matter or the fabulous musical numbers (or a combination of both), to this day it has remained a favorite among audiences. This includes those gathered recently at Hillsborough Community College’s Plant City campus for PCE’s production. Just prior to the beginning of the performance, the nearly “packed house” crowd was warmly welcomed by PCE’s 2005-2006 President, Dodie White. Expressing real gratitude, White added, “There are a thousand places you could have been tonight and you chose to come here.” She also explained the change in venue for next season and spoke of how the night’s audience would become a part of history. White shared that PCE was finishing up their 26th year on stage and that weekend’s performances would be their last ever in the Hillsborough Community College Auditorium.

For a little bit of background: Guys and Dolls was set in 1950 New York City. It was based on the story and characters of Damon Runyon and used the music and lyrics of Frank Loesser. The story details gambler Nathan Detroit, played by Nick Folkes, and his attempt to obtain the money needed to secure a location for his floating craps game. Therein lies Detroit’s first problem, which causes him (in true gambler form) to make a bet with a man named Sky Masterson, played by Justin Batten. The bet, which Detroit is confident he will win, involves Masterson and a woman named Sarah Brown, of the Save a Soul Mission, played by Krysteena Wakefield. If Masterson can convince Sarah Brown to accompany him to a café in Havana, he wins. While Detroit thinks it’s a sure bet and there is no way Sarah Brown will involve herself with Masterson – she does. Detroit’s life

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 16

is further complicated by his inability to commit to his long time girlfriend, Miss Adelaide, played by Fiona Supple-Worthington, an absolute audience favorite! In the end, everyone wins—most especially the audience. Outstanding performances by the cast included: Carla Astudillo, Justin Batten, Selena Brewster, Bob Campbell, Shelby Catalano, Maurice Cecchini, Clark Colvin, Tyler Cook, Adam Deagan, Olan Deguzman, Tylynn Eben, Anita Fine, Bunny Fitzgerald, Nick Folkes, Taylor Frost, Van Frost, Jonathan Gonzalez, Rob Goodwin, Tyler Hollis, Bjorn Jiskoot, Jr. , Ed Mason, Mara Mason, Susan Miller, Thom Miller, Brian Morgan, Jennifer Morgan, Carol Mutert, Lindsey Mutert, Joshua Partin, Amber Roberts, Fiona Supple-Worthington, and Krysteena Wakefield. Not to be over-

looked was The Production Crew including: April Smith, Director, Josh Mange, Assistant Director, Karen Stone, Music Director, Courtney Kyle, Stage Manager, Wesley Morgan, Pianist, Justyn Dansby, Costume Designer, Betty Roney, Assistant Costume Designer, Teala Longoria, Choreographer, and Tom Mitchell, Set Designer. The Production Crew also included: Lou Baird, Jean Dansby, Conner Frost, Russell Jones, Reggie Kirkland, Audrey Montella, Joseph Murphy, Chip Sorenson, Lisa Stark, Chris Stone, Triana Trevino, Corey Wade and Carolyn Woodard. A real team effort, there were also several who did double duty as both cast members and part of the production crew. P.S. Hats off to PCE for not underestimating the importance of casting!

Plant City Entertainment cast of Guys and Dolls.



Story by Heather Davis Photo by Jonathan Davis



isiting Murphy Elliot’s studio is like traveling to our galaxy and perhaps into our future at the speed of light. In the past five years Elliot has completed 80 paintings that transport you into what he refers to as “Tomorrow.” Through these paintings, our minds are opened up to the beauty and the splendor of our galaxy and the possibilities within. Elliot’s love for painting and drawing began as a young child while growing up in Delaware. He also exhibited an extreme interest in space, at one time contacting all fifty states about their space programs and receiving back a stack of information over four feet high. Elliot began his art studies under the watchful eye of Jack Lewis and, at 17, received his first award for an oil painting that hung in the Brandy Wine Museum of Art. At the same time, Elliot was awarded a scholarship to the Philadelphia College of Art. Following in his father’s footsteps, Elliot started a house painting business using techniques taught to him by his father, such as wood graining and other traditional faux finishes. He soon obtained Master-painter status and has completed over 14,000 painting jobs.

Once again, following in his father’s footsteps, Elliot moved with his family from Vancouver, Canada to Plant City, where he has lived and painted for the past five years. Even though Elliot displays great talent as a decorative house painter, his real passion lies in painting on canvas. This talent, combined with his love for space technology and travel, has resulted in his collection of space paintings today. An underlying theme of asteroids is present throughout most of Elliot’s paintings, giving attention to the benefits and hazards of asteroids, as well as to their resource potential. Elliot’s use of vibrant colors, such as dark deep blues, rich reds and oranges, and cool greens all give the paintings a quality of richness and depth which belies the notion of space as being black and void. Many of Elliot’s paintings begin as images or a thought, but can also evolve as the painting itself evolves. A sampling of Elliot’s work will be on display at the Bruton Memorial Library in the month of September. If you visit, prepare to be transported at the speed of light to our galaxy and into “Tomorrow.”

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Murphy Elliot standing in front of his mural titled “Pirates in the Cue.”

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Story by Sophia Dedon Photos by Billy Friend


The concert kicked off with This Day On. Lead singer Mike Garafolo kept the crowd’s enthusiastic attention with his eccentric, hyper performance as he danced around the entire stage, even jumping into the crowd and wildly dancing with them. This local band from Tampa successfully got the show off to a great start. Their music is described as melodic rock and roll that Jonah33 delivered not only powerful music but a life-impacting message as well. sings about life’s experiences and how a relationship with n Friday, July 21, three God puts them into perspective. powerful bands rocked the It’s not hard rock with screamhouse at Plant City Church of ing, but it’s far from sounding God. This Day On, The Turning like pop. Their sound is great and Jonah33 played a concert in and they have the ability to make conjunction with the youth event their audience want to get out of Vision Quest being held at the their seats and jump around. church.


Vision Quest 2006 was an event bringing in special guest speaker Tim Staier to deliver messages to over 600 youth. There were also various dance and drama competitions the students participated in over the weekend. After the sermon was finished on Friday night, the door opened as youth and adults made their way to the pews to get ready for the concert.

After This Day On pumped everyone up, The Turning came on to keep the excitement rolling. This group from Nashville recently released their debut album, “Learning to Lose.” Their single “Out of My Hands” is climbing the Christian charts. If you listen to Christian radio, there’s a chance you’ve heard it with the successful air play they’ve been receiving. The pop-rock sounds

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 18

and punky look give this band the ability to bridge many different music tastes, allowing them to appeal to a large audience. Most of the youth in attendance were crowded around the stage jumping and dancing to the rhythm of the beat. During the intermission between bands, the testimony of Jonah33’s lead singer, Vince Lichlyter, was played on the screen. The story was told of how he turned his life around from being about selling pot and living on the streets to being in a band that praises God. His testimony has a large impact on the hearts of many teenagers he has ministered to since he started touring with the band four years ago. Of the four band members, three are from Arkansas and one is from Texas. When they combine their separate talents into one accord, the sound quickly grabs your attention and captures your heart. The lyrics are not watered down or irrelevant to life. They are words that directly impact life

and a relationship with God. After playing a few songs, Lichlyter stopped to speak a word to the students. He talked about identifying who you truly are. “Too many of you define what you like and who you are by what MTV says you should,” said Lichlyter. Not afraid to step on the toes with a message that impacts, Lichlyter touched the lives of those listening through both song lyrics and spoken words. When Jonah33 finished their final song, they were brought back by a demanding encore of shouting teenagers. They “brought down the house” as they used the remainder of their energy to play one last song. When it was all over, everyone in the crowd left pleased. Jonah 33 had sparked the interest and attention of those in attendance. Though the paths of these three bands may not cross again, those that came out to Plant City Church of God that evening certainly enjoyed it while it lasted.

The first band of the night, This Day On, got the crowd pumped up.


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CARPORT FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 19




Story by Brian West Photo courtesy of Johnny Knotts

From Fan to Official


Knotts became really interested in Porsche after attending the 24 Hours of Daytona. Knotts said, “I remember seeing all the big V-8s looking like they had been beat up for the past 20 hours, but all these little Porsche 911s weren’t missing a beat. That Johnny Knotts has been given the opportunity of a lifetime to be a pit official for the IMSA. got me, and He is pictured here with his daughters, Lexi and Marlee and Roger Penske’s Porsche. I’ve been s a young boy, Johnny Knotts Hours of Sebring at the Sebring a Porsche fan and owner since.” grew up playing organized Raceway. Knotts said he rememAnd the more Knotts learned football and basketball. But over bers coming back from the race about racing, the more of a fan the years, he developed an interest and telling his mother, “You just he became of Porsche. In 2001, in sports cars. His first sports car cannot believe how beautiful these Katrina, Knotts wife, got him was a Datson 280ZX. In 1987, a cars are.” Knotts was hooked on a ticket for Christmas to attend friend invited Knotts to see the 24 cars and racing, and he’s been the Porsche Driving Experience;



a high-speed driving school in Atlanta, GA. Hurley Haywood was one of the instructors. Haywood has been a driver for Porsche for years. He was a five-time winner at the 24 Hours of Daytona, three-time winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and three-time winner at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Knotts learned some of the fundamentals of driving a race car like threshold braking and heel-toe shifting, and said it was the experience of a lifetime. Last year, Katrina, a dental hygienist, was working with a patient who mentioned he was looking for a couple of pit officials. One thing led to another, and now Knotts is a pit official for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and he’s traveling the country, rubbing shoulders with the likes of racing legend Roger Penske. The opportunity is almost overwhelming for Knotts. He’s incredibly thankful, understanding what it’s like to be a fan, wanting to as close as possible and directly involved. He’s probably more of a fan now than he’s ever been.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 20

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 21




Story and Photos by Daniel Sperry


customers. Almost every customer is greeted by name. Often, they do not ask for anything, Noriega just shouts their order to Rocky and then glances back. “Right?” she says. Invariably, they nod. But there are problems. “The floor is buckled in the middle,” Noriega says. “It’s hard for Rocky to get the dolly over it when it’s loaded up.”

The current Antioch Feed Store.


because we can’t have air conditioning.”

“Everyone is looking forward to it,” Noriega says. “My customers just run in and out right now,

Stepping into Antioch Feed Store is like stepping back in time. Noriega sits behind the counter and rings up her customers, while store employee Rocky pulls bags of feed and supplies from the back and wheels them out for the

rystal Noriega is excited, and so are her customers. After living in Antioch for 38 years and owning the store for two, she has made a commitment to improving her business.

Asked why there is no air conditioning, Noriega simply points at the walls. Sunlight and summer airflow in between the slats. “I can’t get insurance, either,” Noriega says. “I have a million dollar investment, but no one will insure it because it’s too old.

though. She has already paid $50,000 to an architect for plans to develop the land next to the building, which also has an attached diner. “The restaurant will go over there, as well as the store,” she explains. Then the plan is to tear down the old store and build one more structurally sound with a western wear store upstairs. Improving the property is important to Noriega, but equally important is preserving the memory of a well-loved landmark. “People love to drive by this place,” she says. “I want the new store to look as similar as possible to this one.” Noriega says she wants to build on the history of the building, not lose it.

She is thrilled about the future,

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 22


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Story and Photo by Heather Davis


First meeting of the Historic Downtown Plant City Merchant’s and Business Association


t has been said that the downtown is the heart of the community. With the development of many businesses on the outskirts of town, it is a challenge to keep the community’s interest focused in downtown’s direction. Fortunately here in Plant City, interest

in our downtown is alive and well. The desire to build upon that interest led to the creation of the Historic Downtown Plant City Merchant’s and Business Association.

The Plant City Merchant’s and Business Association made its beginnings on March 22, 2006, at Plant City’s Chamber of Commerce. Since that time, the Association has been involved in a membership drive targeting all downtown businesses. At the time of its first meeting on May

5, 32 members had joined. This number includes thirteen antique stores, eight retail establishments, six restaurants and bars, and five professional businesses. Many more downtown businesses are expected to join as the membership drive progresses. The mission statement of the Association is “To Promote Business in the Historic Downtown.” This topic was heavily discussed during the Association’s first meeting held at the Chamber, led by President Dave Shultz of Patricia’s Antiques, and Vice President David Simmonds of Olde England Antiques. The downtown is host to several successful events such as the Car Show and Bike Night. It is the

Association’s desire to build upon and improve these events. Up for discussion was the revival of the successful monthly Antiques Fair, along with several other newly planned events. Also discussed were various ways of advertising, such as improving or adding new signage directing visitors to our downtown, visible billboards and newly improved downtown walking maps. Proposals were also made to develop a website and a video for downtown that is linked to the Chamber. With the development of the Association, many new and exciting things are coming downtown’s way, all geared to build upon and create a stronger downtown, resulting in a stronger community.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 24

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 25




Story by Sophia Dedon Photo courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Institute

Johnnie B. Byrd, Sr. Alzheimer’s Institute MAKES PROGRESS AGAINST THE DISEASE


early one year ago, Focus Magazine reported on the Johnny B. Byrd, Sr. Alzheimer’s Institute and their fight to find a cure for the devastating disease. It has now become obvious a follow-up article is well-needed; the institute has experienced exciting breakthroughs this summer that deserve to be recognized. In a study published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, researchers report tests of the new vaccine on mice show promise of reversing memory loss and seriously slowing the effects of Alzheimer’s on patients. The groundbreaking research was done by investigators from the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, the University of South Florida and the University of California. In the study, these research associates injected mice that had been

diagnosed with Alzheimer’s with white blood cells from normal mice. When the mice were tested several months later, their memory performance had improved, even up to the level of normal mice. “This adoptive transfer vaccine approach is important not only for the long-term benefits it provides, but also for what it doesn’t provide – harmful side effects,” said Gary Arendash, Ph.D, a principal investigator on the study and a Byrd Institute researcher. The new vaccine created by Byrd Institute researchers and their collaborators did not induce an inflammatory response in either the blood or brain of Alzheimer’s mice. Not only did their studies produce these groundbreaking results, but another study also showed they are well on their way to finding a cure for the disease. Researchers at

the institute have determined that Alzheimer’s mice placed in a mentally-enriched environment outperform similar mice in traditional environments and behaviorally match those not suffering from the disease. The study demonstrates that living a life full of mentally challenging activities can slow and even protect against the development of Alzheimer’s disease. “What we are seeing in this research is that mice having the same characteristics as humans with Alzheimer’s are able to perform well, even at the same level as mice without Alzheimer’s, if housed in a mentally challenging, cognitively enriched environment. The mental stimulation provided in this environment appears to stymie mental impairment. After months of mental stimulation, it was impossible to differentiate these mice from the behaviorally

normal, healthy mice,’’ said Huntington Potter, Ph.D., investigator on the project and chief executive officer of the Byrd Research Institute. “If individuals with Alzheimer’s can benefit from living in a cognitively-enriched environment, then these individuals could live fuller, longer and more productive lives. Finding a cure for Alzheimer’s will be accomplished in steps and research into mental exercises is one very important step,’’ said Potter. The institute was founded in 2002 with the help of Johnnie B. Byrd, Jr. He lost his father to the disease in 1998 and vowed he would do everything in his power to find a cure. At the time, he was the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. Byrd is a longtime Plant City resident and currently practices law at the offices of Byrd and Stitzel in downtown. He said, “My dream is that one day my grandchildren will only know Alzheimer’s as a thing of the past.” Another exciting update from the institute is in May they celebrated the “topping-off” of the institute’s seven-story state-of-the-art research building. The event celebrated the placement of the roof. Both Johnnie Byrd, Jr. and State Representative Rich Glorioso, District 62, of Plant City were in attendance, as well as researchers and scientists from around the state. Plant City thanks Johnnie Byrd and everyone affiliated with the institute for all of the progress they are making in the battle against the Alzheimer’s disease.

The new Johnnie B. Byrd, Sr. Alzheimer’s Research Center will be a 7-story state-of-the-art facility located on Fletcher Ave. in Tampa.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 26







1802 W. Reynolds (Just East of Fairgrounds)

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 27




Story by Cheryl Johnston Photos by Gary Sawyer

Building a Legacy FOUR EARN TOP RANK


common bond connects American notables like William DeVries, Gerald Ford, John Koncak, James A. Lovell, Jr. and Donald Rumsfeld. They share a motto, earned rank and a symbolic bird. These men, among more than one million others, are in an elite group where, since its initiation in 1911, only four percent have achieved the nationally known organization’s highest rank. They are Eagle Scouts, who live by a code emphasizing honor, loyalty, courage, cheerfulness and service. Plant City’s Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 14 added four recipients to an Eagle Scout Court of Honor at Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). Joshua Bowden, Antony Kuck, Kirby Reynolds and Jonathan Casey Sawyer received their newest pin, accompanied by encouraging words, plaques and gifts from local dignitaries, as family and friends proudly celebrated. Each boy fulfilled requirements for leadership, service and outdoor skills by earning at least 21 specific merit badges of the 120 available. These signify mastery of certain Scout craft skills and help increase

skill in an area of personal interest. The goals of Scouting – citizenship training, character development and personal fitness – were achieved through dedication, hard work, perseverance and community service projects. Joshua Bowden, a new graduate of Chamberlain High School, earned 27 badges. His Eagle Project involved replacing the ramp and rails at the EPC Office entry. This serious guitar player (acoustic, electric, and bass) also hopes to use his culinary arts training in the Army, where he’s now stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Antony Kuck, 18, hopes to enter the Coast Guard Academy to study engineering and marine biology. He earned 26 badges and lifetime membership in The Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s National Honor Society. For his Eagle Project he planned and constructed a regula-

Plant City’s newest BSA Eagles proudly display awards. Left to right: Josh Bowden, Casey Sawyer, Kirby Reynolds and Antony Kuck.

tion-size volleyball court for the youth at Brandon’s Westminster Presbyterian Church. Also a published poet and wildlife photographer, Antony was pinned by his grandfather and mentor, Walter Kuck, himself an Eagle Scout. Kirby Reynolds, 18, a 2006 graduate of Durant High School (DHS), plans to study computer engineering at HCC and USF. He earned 21 merit badges and for his Eagle Project he built a gazebo for rest and meditation at the EPC property. Casey Sawyer, a current Troop 14 Guide and 16-year-old junior at DHS, also runs track, cross-country and wrestles for his school’s teams. With EPC youth, he’ll participate in a summer mission trip to Mississippi for hurricane relief efforts. Casey earned 26 badges and his Eagle Project included a fundraiser for and restoration of Veterans’ gravesites at Turkey Creek First Baptist Church Cemetery. His dad, Gary Sawyer, is Scoutmaster for Troop 14.

Three Eagles in the Sawyer Household – Dad and Scoutmaster Gary Sawyer is centered between sons Casey (left), the newest family eagle, and Andy (right), who earned his Eagle award in 2003.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 28

Along with kind words and awards from scouting and community lead-

ers, the patriotic ceremony also featured video of troop activities. Each recipient shared words of gratitude for support of family and scouting mentors. Lee Greenwood’s song “Proud to Be an American,” ended the program, where afterwards several hundred guests enjoyed delicious refreshments prepared by Franz Schultheis. According to The Times Leader newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, “The BSA has something going for it that all the government welfare programs in America can’t match: success. Besides families and religion, Scouting is probably this country’s single best program for building character in boys, and has been for nearly a century.” Thanks to supporters of Troop 14, young men like Josh, Antony, Kirby and Casey are achieving success. Well-deserved awards, offered with pride and received with humility, encourage all of us to do more in service to our nation and fellow man. To learn more or help boys get involved, check the national website –

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 29




Story and Photos by Kurt L. Moore



new office was opened in May of this year in Plant City, across the street from the Strawberry Festival Headquarters on the corner of Woodrow Wilson and Reynolds. The building is not new, but it has been home to the House of Prayer Holy Outreach Ministry of Plant City since 1997. The church provides space for the office of the House of Prayer Economic Development Inc., (H.O.P.E.D). The Lakeland office of H.O.P.E.D., a 501(c)(3) corporation, was founded by Bishop Walter J. Wright in 1998. Its core purpose is to provide an outreach to the area-wide community directed mainly toward people in need of assistance.

and families in several different categories. They provide a food pantry program, a spiritual program, a literacy program, an entrepreneurship program, an emergency food and shelter national board program and the Let Employment Work, or L.E.W. program. These programs are wrapped around the single idea of being able to assist an individual or family in need with total help until the crisis in their lives has passed. The bread-winner of the family being laid off can, in many cases, spell economic disaster for a family. This is where H.O.P.E.D. steps up to the plate and helps the family stay on its feet until things resume back to normal and the family is more able to survive on their own.

Rudy “Danny” Rogers, M.A., is a former University of Colorado Football player and the Executive Director of H.O.P.E.D. Danny, as he prefers to be called, says the orgaization has been instrumental in helping countless individuals and families in the Lakeland, Florida, area since 1998. They have a proven track record and are now seeking to help as many people in the Plant City area as they can possibly reach.

The Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program is overseen by the office of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known more familiarly as F.E.M.A., and contains government guidelines that H.O.P.E.D. must adhere to. The program is designed to assist with emergency food, shelter, rent or mortgage payments and assistance with utilities.

H.O.P.E.D.’s mission is to aid in the development of healthy individuals and a better future for our community and society. To accomplish this goal, they help individuals

H.O.P.E.D. also provides a literacy program designed to eradicate illiteracy in the community. Assistance is provided for individuals who desire the knowledge to read

and write. The program extends to mathematics, as well as other areas of academic study. The L.E.W. or Let Employment Work program, administered by H.O.P.E.D., is designed for individuals who lack job training or have other barriers to employment, including ex-offenders.

“Danny” Rogers, M.A., a former football player for the University of Colorado, Is the executive director of House of Prayer Economic Development, Inc.

Young persons aged 14 to 17 can get assistance developing and learning about employment opportunities through H.O.P.E.D.’s Entrepreneurship Program. It provides these young people with the knowledge to develop and operate a business of their own and gives them an economic edge when they leave school and enter the world of business. Bishop Walter J. Wright founded H.O.P.E.D. Inc. in Lakeland

The Food Pantry in 1998. Bishop Wright was born and raised in Plant City and is in tune with the area and the people here. program is to help individuals and families vided with the added benefit of an on a temporary basis and provides inter-woven spiritual program. The food and meals until the temporary individual is helped to develop his situation is resolved. or her assertiveness techniques and it also helps develop empowerment All of these programs are protraits. The office of H.O.P.E.D. is located at the corner of Woodrow Wilson and Reynolds streets in Plant City. Their Lakeland office is located at 801 West Second Street. Information will be given by calling 813754-2454. If you are in need, or you know of someone in need, call H.O.P.E.D. They may be able to help.

The House of Prayer Holy Outreach Ministry of Plant City sits at the corner of Woodrow Wilson and Reynolds streets. The church houses the offices of H.O.P.E.D. Inc.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 30

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.

Plant City (Main Office) • 102 Baker Street • 813-752-6193 Walden Woods • 2400 Jim Redman Pkwy • 813-754-1844

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 31




Story and Photos by Cheryl Johnston


Durant High School principal Pam Bowden points to a Plant City Archives Photo of her father, the late James L. Redman, in a 1946 photo of “Kids’ Day” at the original Plant City High School.


ur town believes teachers of East Hillsborough County are the best. For more than 20 years, the Plant City Chamber of Commerce has hosted the “New Teacher Coffee,” (NTC) to the delight of teachers new to the profession or new to Hillsborough County. Coffee is too small a word to describe the August 1st welcome at the Strawberry Festival ground’s new exhibition building. Feast and Christmas might be more appropriate. For two hours, approximately 300 new teachers and their principals from 23 area schools were honored by community notables, education supervisors, 104 local businesses and chamber volunteers. Breakfast delights and gifts galore let them know just how special we think they are. Ask almost anyone about a schoolteacher who inspired them. Most will describe specifically an incident when the teacher went the extra mile to listen, to help and to show extra compassion. Teachers do not take the responsibility for opening doors to knowledge lightly. The majority work untold extra hours preparing lessons, grading papers, phoning parents, gathering supplies or attending school events to watch “their students.” Continuing education courses also require

sacrifices of time, energy and money to maintain certification and polish their teaching methods. But ask a teacher to describe their work or their students and watch their face light up.

Julia Cuyler is an experienced teacher new to Hillsborough County at Durant High School, where 36 were hired. She was “excited that everyone has been so helpful. But I’ve never experienced treatment and appreciation like this breakfast before. Thank you for making us feel so important.” The new teachers entertained all with their creative “school cheers.” The judges awarded the grand prize to Turkey Creek Middle School’s Gobblers, but couldn’t fail to give honorable mentions to three elementary schools: Nelson for originality, Cork for passion and J.S. Robinson for props with their “Saddle Up for Success” cowboy and Edwin Cortez pony show.

Danny Coton, Chamber Chairman, and Anne Haywood, Bruton Memorial Library Director and NTC chairperson, emceed the festivities. Both credited Amy Nizamoff for tremendous organizational talents. Mary Ellen Elia, Hillsborough County School Superintendent, expressed admiration by complimenting Plant City’s tradition, which is now the county’s model other areas hope to imitate. Barbara Franques, Area 6 Director, shared from her 36 years of county teaching experience to explain historic posters displayed by Plant City Photo Archives. The 1920 “Burney Bus” which trans-

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 32

ported children from Coronet into town and a portrait of E.L. Bing illustrate education has long been valued here, no question. Chamber volunteers arrived early, transforming the hall into a beautiful banquet setting where educators enjoyed a morning of food, conversation, donated prizes, and groups’ performances. Many business representatives helped pack the “goody bags” so they could express gratitude to the teachers personally. Smiling teachers shared incredulous appreciation for such special treatment, excited to meet each other and the volunteers who created the lovely tribute. Plant City is committed to education and now puts money behind the commitment. The chamber’s new Education Initiative presented $500 checks to each school serving our community’s children. Sponsors

contributed wisely and generously because their organizations may soon employ our own local graduates. In fact, it’s amazing to learn how many teachers now teach where they or their children attended school. This town is such a great place to live and work in, few leave of their own accord. Events like the New Teacher Coffee and citizens who give so willingly are what makes Plant City great, and each year the best teachers in Hillsborough County help to make it even more so.

Representing Hillsborough County Schools administration, Jennifer Faliero, Barbara Franques, Mary Ellen Elia, pose with Danny Coton and Anne Haywood.

Marshall Middle School new teachers and principal Josie Sanders (far left) pose with goody bags and roses from sponsors.




Story and Photo by Sherry Baldwin



n April of 1999, Plant City resident Mary Batten’s life was forever changed when her precious five year old son Devon accidentally drowned. Understandably grief stricken, Batten first questioned her own future. She then looked for places to direct her energies while at the same time searching for answers. Most importantly, “Why had her son drowned?” As she searched, she discovered similarities with other drowning cases involving children. She further became aware of the fact that information obtained from drowning prevention studies was not being disseminated to families and caregivers. Batten believed this information could save lives. Mary Batten then found her voice. During a Drowning Prevention Symposium at the University of South Florida, she listened to one speaker after another. When given her turn to speak, Batten challenged the group by asking, “Where were you when my son drowned?” At the conclusion of the conference she made connections with people who believed as she did. Batten found it to be a difficult but truly cathartic experience.

In Devon’s memory Mary Batten also founded the not for profit organization Swim for Life. The primary focus is “drowning prevention and water safety for parents, caregivers and children 12 and under.” Batten is motivated by her belief that she “has the information people need.” She shares this information through presentations and puppet shows in a variety of settings. She has also procured funding that provides swimming lessons for area children. In addition, she offers CPR certification courses to the public. Her involvement with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington D.C. allows her to continue to speak on behalf of everyone’s children. It appears Mary Batten has accepted the challenge thrust upon her that fateful day in 1999. Filled with emotion she exclaimed, “I’m not just out to save one kid.” “I want to save them all – one…is not enough!”

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Mary Batten, of Plant City, founder of Swim for Life, Inc.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 33




Story by Cheryl Johnston Photos courtesy of Migone Entertainment



hances are if you’ve channel surfed Saturday night TV, you’ve encountered XTremo TV Show on the Telemundo station, which offers programming for the Hispanic market in the Tampa Bay area. If you’re searching for upbeat fun, this show shines. Even if viewers don’t speak or comprehend Espanol, the 30-minute, 6:00 p.m. weekly spot entertains with personality, upbeat music and adventure attempts. Many regular viewers tune in simply to see what extreme activity the show’s host will try next. Karina Rodriguez is the attractive, 21-year-old bi-lingual host with personality plus, who began her career in radio first at age 15 in Mexico with the encouragement of her grandfather. Specializing in Top 40 Latino tropical and pop music, XTremo features music videos, artist interviews and Karina learning extreme stunts like skydiving, jet skiing, paintballing and figure skating on ice. Each week she attempts a different stunt. She also hosts the La X Radio Show on WQXM, (1460AM) as “La Munequita”, or “Little Doll”. Rodriguez says living in Plant City is a joy because it’s a quiet, tight-knit, family-oriented community. Advice she would offer to young people interested in television or radio careers is “learn everything about the industry, the technology, and performance skills.” Keep your eyes on this young show host with the most – she’s headed for super-stardom because she’s great fun to hear and watch. Xtremo is directed and produced by Migone Entertainment, owned by Remigio Sanchez, whose entrepreneurial family moved here from Ohio twelve years ago to

begin manufacturing the Nature’s Fruit ice cream brand. He is fascinated by technology, especially computers and video equipment. He learned to operate various film and sound editing programs by trial and error, experimenting and reading manuals. One XTremo weekly edition requires taping four to five hours of raw film footage, which is edited, reorganized, and music enhanced for the finished product we see and enjoy.

many watchers see a growing market for relevant English and Spanish language programming to capture the younger, acculturated bi-lingual viewers. For assistance and some great ideas for reaching your target audience, contact Migone Entertainment, Inc., at (813) 600-0052. Karina Rodriguez skydives in tandem with instructor

He suggests keys to the industry are knowledge and education, “Read and educate yourself to different approaches by different people. Study technology, take classes, and gain hands-on experience with equipment.” The creative challenge of finished productions makes the investment worthwhile. Sanchez is searching for property and hopes to establish a production studio in Plant City in the near future. It is quite an understatement to say Hispanic television and the advertising it makes use of is a booming business. According to Multichannel News and Broadcasting Cable magazines, there are now 75 networks, both Spanish language and English language, catering to Hispanic viewers. Seven of the ten fastest growing Hispanic populations are in the South. Approximately 57% of all Hispanic households are bilingual and enjoy media in both languages. Sanchez also assists local businesses and political candidates with radio or television ad production to reach the sizeable Hispanic market. Advertisers spent more than 3.3 billion dollars in the U.S. in 2005 on network and local TV targeting Hispanics. According to Hispanic Business magazine (December 2004 issue),

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 34

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 35


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 36

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 37

Lake Morton Plaza It’s all about the lifestyle.

t Lake Morton Plaza, we are creating changes to fit your lifestyle. From our A caring staff to our newly renovated apartments, we offer our residents the best retirement living experience. Walk through our colorful hallways and explore their unique themes. Enjoy the view of downtown Lakeland from the comfort of your apartment, take a walk around Lake Morton, or visit the wonderful Hollis Gardens. Afterwards, come and enjoy a delicious meal in our elegant Royal Palm Dining Room, with superior service by our attentive personnel. At Lake Morton Plaza, we like to make you feel at home. We welcome Veterans and we work closely with the Veteran Service Office of Polk County.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 38

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 39



In Honor of Labor Day Stories and Photos by Ken Lawrence, Kristen Toney and Sophia Dedon

Labor Day’s Beginnings While Floridians are blessed with fine weather throughout most of the year, hurricanes excluded, most parts of America view Labor Day as the time to close their cottages, cover the pools, put away the swimming gear and start looking forward to several months of cool, then downright cold, weather. For children in most states, it also means that school usually starts the day after Labor Day, except here in Florida. That’s not what Labor Day is really about. Its history goes back to around 1882, when a gigantic parade was held in New York City on September 5th of that year. The New York event was originally organized by the Knights of Labor and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, forerunners of the AFL/CIO. They were later joined by other labor groups across the country. One of these events in 1886 resulted in serious rioting in Chicago. The founder and long time president of the American Federation of Labor noted many years ago that Labor Day differs in many ways from other National Holidays in the USA. Samuel Gompers once stated “all other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day is devoted to no one person, living or dead, to no sect, race or nation.” Given today’s trials and tribulations around the world, those words of Samuel Gompers have plenty of meaning. The U.S. Department of Labor describes the Labor Day holiday as “a time to pay homage to laborers, those who work hard to support themselves in the American economy. Over the decades, immigrants have been among the hardest working of all in this country, often taking on harder jobs for less pay. This commitment has benefited all Americans and should be honored and remembered on this day.” The many employees in our community who deserve recognition could fill several issues of Focus Magazine. Therefore, it was not easy to choose the folks whose names and jobs we’re highlighting this Labor Day issue. To those passed-over we say your contributions to our unequalled standard of living are nonetheless important and in future we’ll be writing about your professions as well. To all, enjoy Labor Day weekend. You deserve it.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 40

Air Conditioning

Story & Photo by Kristen Toney

During last year’s hurricane season, many of us experienced the Florida-style anguish of being without our air conditioning. Once the power came back online, we all rushed to crank our thermostats down. “In Florida, when someone calls with an air conditioning problem, they don’t want to hear anything but when you’re gonna be there and when you’re gonna fix it,” said Roy Cheatwood, Vice President of Payne Air Conditioning and Heating. “We make sure they are taken care of as quickly as possible. No one wants to suffer in the heat, especially this time of year.” The air conditioning in your grocery store, your bank or your home does not function on its own. Each time you feel that rush of a cold breeze after the stifling heat of the day nearly brings you to your knees, it’s because of those who are on the clock for your coolness.

Bus Driver

The staff of Payne Air Conditioning and Heating is “there when you need them.”

Story & Photo by Sophia Dedon The responsibility of a bus driver is not to simply steer the wheel. Above all, drivers are to look out for children’s safety, which can be very difficult when driving in the rain with 30 shouting children behind you while cars fly past you on the interstate. Parents often get annoyed with noisy, fighting children in the backseat, much less having to be the sole adult supervisor for dozens of children simultaneously. Clarice Redden has been a magnet school bus driver since 1999. “I love my job,” said Redden, “had I known what I know now, I would have been a bus driver a long time ago.” Her reasons are you get to go home for the middle of the day, not to mention you don’t have a boss standing over you. But most of all, she enjoys the time she gets to spend with the kids. your coolness. Clarice Redden has been driving buses since 1999.

City Landscaping

Story & Photo by Kristen Toney

You may pay a yard service to handle your lawn, or you may do it yourself. But what if you were personally responsible for the grounds maintenance on all the city properties in Plant City? Not to mention things you may notice but never give a second thought to: medians, I-4 entrance ramps, your neighborhood park… With 43 people in the Parks Division making up seven crews, their normal locations include cemeteries, tree-trimming, the Stadium and all of downtown, just to name a few areas. After mowing, edging, weeding and finally blowing away all excess trimmings, working along with those at Storm Water, these individuals keep Plant City the beautiful town we know and love. “We have to give credit to those crews who work out there every day,” said supervisor Emilio Mendoza. “The city has been very supportive of the Parks and Recreation Division, and we all appreciate that.”


Elton “Butch” Giddens, Field Supervisor (left) and Emilio Mendoza, Superintendent of Parks Department.

Story & Photo by Kristen Toney Central Florida Custom Homes and Millennium Homes and Development, Inc. make up some of the construction community here in Plant City. However, before they are able to begin a project for a resident of our town, they must first have the approval of the Plant City Building Department. Jesse Carr is the head of the department, and he says the amount of growth in the city just within the past ten years is incredible. “There’s a major housing boom right now,” he commented. “We also just got the plans for the new Wal-Mart...I’m sure they’ll break ground by the end of the year.” Carr wants Plant City to know he and his staff are available to anyone. “If you come in and need to talk with one of us, you’ll see us. If you call us and leave a message, you’ll get a call back. It’s that small-town courtesy and friendliness we believe in, and that’s how we work.”

The staff of the building department is here to serve the people of Plant City.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 41


Story & Photo by Sophia Dedon While sitting in their desks, students tend to be listening to the teacher or daydreaming, rather than realizing the fact that someone cleaned the desktop so they wouldn’t become ill from the germs. On rainy Florida days, the mud in the hallways doesn’t disappear on its own, someone has to come behind and mop up the mess. The list goes on for the many tasks included under the title “custodian.” Carlos Velez has been a custodian at Marshall Middle School for 14 years and is all too familiar with the job description. “We do everything,” said Velez, “It’s like an under-appreciated housewife; you rarely notice the work they do, but they keep everything running.” Too often, the jobs no one else will do fall in the custodians’ lap, whether it’s cleaning up vomit or checking for bombs. However, without them, the living conditions would be uninhabitable, therefore we extend to them our gratitude. Carlos Velez has been a custodian at Marshall Middle School since 1992.


Story by Kristen Toney

If you awake one morning to a dark room and a dead alarm clock, most likely your power has gone out. No blow dryer, no microwave breakfast…we rely so much on our electricity! Tampa Electric Company (TECO) provides power for all of Plant City. With crews on either 16 or 24 hour shifts each day, Field Supervisor Carmen Booth says all the work TECO’s employees do is based on the customer’s needs. “We want people to know we are there for them,” Booth stated. “It’s not just a job for us.” During this time of year it’s especially pertinent residents keep an eye out for downed power lines during or after storms, and if you are running a generator, make sure you disengage it when you see TECO out working on your lines. An improperly-hooked generator for a lineman is as lethal as a downed power line for you.


Story & Photo by Ken Lawrence A firefighter today spends very little of his or her time at the scene of a conflagration. More than 80% of a firefighter’s job is responding to accidents, especially traffic. Meet Chip Sorensen, whose family moved from Chicago to Plant City several years ago. Chip dreamed of being a fireman since he was a toddler. “It’s been a family tradition,” he tells Focus. His father, uncle, grandfather, great uncle and other relatives were traditional ‘smoke-eaters.’ One of his duties is that of a driver. Whether it’s an ambulance or the long ladder truck, Chip is behind the wheel when an emergency is called-in. “This job has much meaning to me,” he says. “A firefighter is there to help people when they need it and we all understand there are risks involved each time we’re called out.”

Chip Sorensen with the PCFD Ladder Truck.

Letter Carriers

Story & Photo by Sophia Dedon

In 1977, Bill Newsom began his job as a clerk at the Plant City Post Office. Two years later he became a letter carrier, riding his bike around downtown, delivering mail. Over the years, he witnessed the industry change. Whereas he used to be able to get to know the residents and add a personal touch to the job, now most of the delivery work is fast-paced and time driven. “I like my job because I feel like I can serve,” said Newsom, “I deliver letters from other countries, especially soldiers writing home from the Middle East, and people writing from prison.” We don’t realize how the mail provides a form of communication to unite us with those who are distant. The unofficial motto, “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” describes the many workers just like Newsom. Bill Newsom has been working for the Plant City Post Office for 28 years.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 42

Police Officers

Story & Photo by Ken Lawrence There are not many of us who have not muttered something profane under our breaths when a policeman issues us a traffic citation. Yes, that 100 bucks, or whatever, can be annoying, but were it not for police, our society would be facing anarchy, as is evident throughout much of the so-called Third World today. Here in Plant City, the police force is highly respected because the man at the top, Bill McDaniel, has long ago removed the one time stigma of the local police force being a typical small-town operation.

Lieutenant Gerry Stwan preparing to head out to meet his day-shift patrol.


The quality of the men and women in black is equal to any force and a good example of that type of person is Lieutenant Gerry Stwan, a Brandon native who has been on the Plant City Police Force since 1991. Gerry Stwan says he echoes Police Chief McDaniel’s view that “everyone, no matter the circumstances, must be treated with respect and dignity.”

Story & Photo by Sophia Dedon

When the average American’s car breaks down, they simply think they need to take it to the mechanic and get a tune-up. In today’s world, with the effects of the computer age, cars are not as simple to work on as they once were. Because auto repairmen have to frequently attend classes to stay up-to-date on the changes in the industry, the title “mechanic” does not suffice, hence they are called technicians. Having opened his own repair shop 35 years ago, Frank Powell, owner of American Auto Service, has witnessed a dramatic change in the car industry. “Every car that comes in is so different,” said Powell. “We have to hook the cars up to diagnostic equipment, which is a computer that tells us how the car is operating.” Therefore, it’s nearly impossible for the average person to fix their own car, which makes us thankful we can trust our vehicles in the hands of qualified technicians.

Sanitation Workers

Frank Powell has seen the automobile repair industry change dramatically with the arrival of the computer age.

Story & Photo by Ken Lawrence There is a saying that a person can be judged by the type and amount of garbage they leave by the curbside. If that’s the case, then Everett Hackney must have the “scoop” on many residents in Plant City. Everett is a sanitation worker for the city, and five days a week he picks up trash throughout the city. “I like my job,” says the six-year veteran of the Sanitation Department, whose only complaint is the heat, especially at this time of the year. Everett says he and his colleagues go through gallons of Gatorade and water every day, but there are times, especially at high noon, when the heat can be almost unbearable. He tells Focus that in spite of the heat the job is good, especially because of the people he works with.

Everett Hackney (left) collecting trash in Walden Lake.

Public Works

Story & Photo by Ken Lawrence

There are so many interesting stories about folks who have either lived in the Plant City area all of their lives, or moved here at an early age. Such is the case of Jon Stroud, employed by the city of Plant City in the Waste Water Collections Department, the operation that handles the millions of gallons of sewage each and every day. Jon and his twin sister were born and raised in the Austin, Texas area. They later moved to Plant City where he began as a Maintenance Assistant in the Public Works Department and within a short time, two years to be exact, was promoted to Waste Water Collections Foreman. He now holds the responsibility for eight fulltime people. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had in 25 years of working in various types of construction”, says Stroud. “I never had a paid holiday until I became a city employee, and the job has given me long term stability”.

Jon Stroud with one of the many tools to keep the sewers moving.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 43

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F e d e r a l

P r o s e c u t o r


J u d i c i a l

S e a t

The Moody family has deep roots in Plant City. James S. Moody Sr. was a state legislator and Hillsborough Circuit Court Judge. Judge Moody’s son, James S. Moody, Jr., is currently a United States District Court Judge. Ashley Moody, the daughter of James S. Moody Jr., is currently a United States Federal Prosecutor, and now has her eyes set on being a judge. The Florida Legislature recently approved four additional judge positions in Hillsborough County and Ashley is running for Group 45.

Story by Brian West Photos by Mike Floyd, Kristen Toney and courtesy of Ashley Moody

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 46

Focus: Who do you take after; your mom or your dad? Moody: Both. People say I look exactly like my mother. Sometimes people will come up to me and they’ll say, “Oh, I can tell you are your father’s daughter.” And I’m thinking no way, because you haven’t met my mother. Focus: What about your personality? Moody: I think it’s a complete mixture. My mother is more outgoing; extroverted. She is much more of a feeler. [Laughing] When I’m visiting neighborhoods with my mother, campaigning on the weekend, usually in every conversation I have to say, “I’m sorry. My mom likes to talk a lot.” My mom is a great asset to the campaign. She loves to meet new people and she loves to talk about me. She’s a fantastic lady. She was Homecoming Queen at the University of Florida and she was Miss Panama City. She’s a really neat person. Although my father has become more outgoing in his later years, he’s usually more reserved and more of a thinker. He does not think out loud. If he says something, he’s thought about it for days. They’re both very good people. I think I’ve been afforded a lot of great opportunities because of them. Focus: Does your mother work? Moody: Yes. She is the team leader of the Senior Advocacy Unit at Bay Area Legal Services. They provide legal services for people who can’t afford legal help. Focus: So everyone in your family is involved in law somehow. Moody: Everyone except my sister. She’s the black sheep of the family. She will be a doctor next year. I also have a step-brother who’s not involved in law; Ryan. We call him the red-headed step child because he’s red-headed and he’s a step child. We call him that or the little Leprechaun. He loves that. Focus: Do you think growing up around so many lawyers had any influence on your decision to become a lawyer? Moody: I’m sure it’s had a tremendous impact. I think a lot of people go into the field their parents are in when they see how much their parents enjoy it and it becomes comfortable for them. I don’t know. I’ve wondered what I would be doing if I hadn’t grown up around lawyers and judges. But I think my personality fits this field of work. Focus: Your grandfather was a judge and now your father is a judge. How much did this impact your decision about being a judge? Moody: I knew that at some point in my career, I’d be involved in some type of public service. Community service is very important in my family. It’s almost expected. Not necessarily that our careers should be in public service, but that we should be involved in some way. Plant City has had a lot to do with who I am today. I truly believe that, and I think everyone has a responsibility to their community – to recognize the opportunities you’ve been given and give back in some way, whatever way that may be. Focus: When did you know you wanted to be involved in law? Moody: When I was young I thought I wanted to be a brain surgeon. I didn’t know what they did but it sounded really cool. By the time I made it to high school, I thought wanted to be a fashion merchandiser. I didn’t know what fashion merchandisers did either, but that sounded cool, too. By the time I was working on my undergraduate degree, I had an idea about what I wanted to do. My undergraduate degree is in accounting. I actually worked at Price Waterhouse for a short time after I got my undergraduate degree, before I went back to get my masters. Focus: Did your father or anyone in your family ever try to influence

Ashley Moody during her days as a cheerleader.

your decision to pursue a law degree? Moody: No, never. It didn’t matter what I wanted to be, my parents would have supported my decision. My parents just always told me that whatever I did, I needed to do the best job I could do. I believe that if you’re given the opportunity to do something—someone made the decision to hire you—then you should give it your full effort and make them proud of you. You don’t ever want the person who took a chance on you to regret their decision. I’ve always tried to work hard. My father made the decision to go into law, but I doubt my grandfather tried to influence that decision. I can’t imagine ending up in a career just because of my parents, and then hating that decision. Focus: Well, there can’t be many people who have had three generations of judges in their families. Moody: It really isn’t the emphasis, but there is something neat about the whole thing. The night my grandfather died, we all went to their house on Collins Street. At a time like that, everyone hasn’t hit the grieving stage yet. Everyone was milling around the house, not really knowing what to do. So I started going through a dresser drawer in the hallway and found my grandfather’s gavel. It was tarnished and dated 1957. As we were walking around the house I carried it in my hand, knocking it on things. I carried it around most of the night. After they took my grandfather’s body away, my grandmother told me I could hang on to the gavel. So I put it in my office at Holland and Knight and it’s been in every office I’ve had since. It’s such a neat thing to have something that he used everyday, and right here in Tampa. Focus: How did you become interested in running for judge at this time?

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Moody: Someone came to me one day and told me there would be an opening coming up and asked if I’d consider it. I thought about it long and hard. I love my work now. There’s nothing more exhilarating than standing up in court and saying, “My name is Ashley Moody and I represent the United States of America.” It just gives such a sense of satisfaction. I like being a federal prosecutor. At the end of the day, I really feel like I’ve made a contribution. However, now I have legal experience in both civil and criminal law and I believe that experience would be best utilized in the judicial system. Focus: Was there a time growing up that you remember getting into trouble for something? Moody: One night, Jennifer Schneider (formerly Jennifer Smith) and I spent the night with Aimee Solomon (formerly Aimee Sparkman). We decided we were going to sneak out of the house in the middle of the night. We just walked around Walden Lake. What else was there to do when you’re 12 or 13 years old? We went inside a house that was being built and the next thing we knew, lights were flashing outside. It was the police. We looked at each other and took off running. When we got to a fence, Jennifer didn’t make it over before the police caught up. Aimee and I made it back to the house and a few minutes later the phone started ringing. We didn’t know what to do so we got in the bed and pulled the covers up. We put a teddy bear in the bed where Jennifer was supposed to be. The next thing we knew, Mr. Sparkman was knocking at the door. So he comes into the room and says, “Where’s Jennifer?” We yawned like we were waking up and we pulled back the covers where the teddy bear was and acted surprised when we didn’t see Jennifer lying there. Needless to say, he wasn’t fooled. The next morning all the parents were at the house and they brought us out one by one to tell them what happened so we couldn’t change our stories. We were separated from each other the whole night. It was very good training for the trials I’m in now. We still laugh about that today. But I think if you were to ask my parents about me, they wouldn’t have too many complaints. Focus: Tell me something interesting about yourself. Moody: I won a chicken wing eating contest two years in a row when I worked at Holland and Knight. The firm had a chicken wing eating contest every year. I don’t remember, but I think most of the people that competed were from the firm, but maybe not everyone. We competed in pairs – a guy paired with a girl. There were three events; guys, girls, and pairs. They’d have everything spread out on tables for us and there were about 20 people in the competition. We had 30 minutes to eat all the chicken wings we could eat. The first year I think I ate 37 wings in 30 minutes. I clearly won the girls competition and my partner only ate about 22 wings. I would have won overall, but a guy that was about 6’4” tall and 220lbs. ate one wing more than I did. The second year I ate 46 wings. So I won two years in a row. I don’t even like chicken wings that much, I’m just very competitive. Focus: How has the campaign been to this point? Moody: It’s been great. We walk

in neighborhoods every Saturday. The sad part about the campaign is that my father, because he’s a federal judge, can’t participate in any way. And I know that it’s tough for him. Imagine not being able to help your own daughter. Even though I wish I had his help, I respect him for following the rules. Ashley is a pure joy. She’s very friendly, non-assuming and down-toearth. In her years as a lawyer, she’s clearly made the most of her time practicing law, both for Holland and Knight and as a Federal Prosecutor. She’s been recognized by The Tampa Bay Review as one of Tampa Bay’s “40 under 40” distinguished lawyers. The election will take place on Wednesday, September 6, 2006. Who knows? There may just be a third generation of the Moody family presiding over a courtroom – maybe even right here in Plant City! That would be special.

Back to school can be a bummer. You’re still wishing it was summer. No time to hit the pool or beach? A golden tan is still in reach, come in today to

609 S. Alexander Street • Plant City, FL 33563



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Story and Photos by Plant City Photo Archives, Inc.


In addition to the store and pumps, Jones Corner was the Trailways Bus Depot. The bus stopped daily at Jones Corner and served travelers enroute to places such as Punta Gorda and locals commuting to work in Tampa. In another building at Jones Corner, to the far left in this photo, Corbin Yates operated his rural barbershop. These buildings, too, were replaced when Highway 60 was


he Jones family is steeped in local history. The family was well known throughout the Plant City area, and they called Turkey Creek home. The family had long been established in the area around Turkey Creek Road and Highway 60, and at one point Sonny Jones’s father and mother operated a grocery store on one corner and an automotive repair shop and café across Highway 60. Mrs. Jones prepared many meals in the café for workers on their way to or back from the phosphate mines. And, in addition to running the store and the garage, Mr. Jones worked his small grove and produce farm bordering Turkey Creek. The Jones children grew up working in the grocery. This photo of James A. “Sonny” Jones was taken around 1951, when he and his wife Betty operated the

store, Jones Corner Grocery, at the southeast corner of Turkey Creek Road and Highway 60. Sonny Jones attended Florida Southern while running the grocery and graduated in 1953. He later became a highly successful educator, and he is remembered as one of Plant City’s beloved school principals. Jones Corner was constructed originally as a two-story building about 1925. The building in this photo was built in 1946, when Highway 60 was widened, and part of the original building was salvaged and moved farther south, where it still stands. You might say Jones Corner was a model for the modern convenience store, including a grocery store, a feed store, an icehouse and “Pure” gas pumps. And, as the general stores were years ago, it was a gathering spot for the locals.

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widened to four lanes in 1961. And that new building was demolished in the early 1990’s when Jones sold the property to Amoco.

Sources: James and Betty Jones, Plant City Photo Archives Oral History Project 2006, and Plant City Photo Archives, Inc.

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Blackburn Realty Story & Photos Submitted by Jean Carnahan

Linda Blackburn

The offices of Blackburn & Associates.

It does not take 6%-7% to sell your home!

Bryan Baker

Amber Blaszyk

Melissa Brock

Jean Carnahan

Jim Clark

Patricia Colon, Office Manager

The little office that could…succeed! Exceeding 14 million in sales already for 2006, Linda Blackburn established her real estate office in 2001. She had a vision that selling homes could be achieved with 2%-4% commissions. Over the past five years, she has proven her vision: earning a fair profit doesn’t require sellers to turn over their equity at closing. Lower commission rates mean everyone wins. Blackburn & Associates Realty, Inc. was built on passing savings on to the sellers. They continue to strive in seeing their clients receive the best customer service in town. Their marketing strategy could outweigh any other realty office in Plant City as a result of their advertisements in six magazines such as Focus, Plant City Real Estate, Brandon Real Estate Guide, Lakeland Real Estate Guide, Harmon Homes and Neighborhood Homes. Using the Internet, they are creating an interactive website to draw national and local buyers to this community.

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Doug DeArmond

Lucy Hernandez

Geoff Gilliece Don’t lower the price of your home…get a lower commission rate! Now that the market has changed to a buyers market, Blackburn & Associates continues to change, as well. They succeed daily by bringing the maximum amount of exposure of their seller’s homes to potential buyers. This continues to prove the point that it doesn’t take a high commission rate to sell your home in order to achieve success in this business.

Angel Johnson

Anthony LaMattina

They work closely with local builders in the area, and they excel in helping home buyers find their most important investment at the right size and price for each individual. Don’t be fooled into thinking Blackburn & Associates is like other discount realty offices. Blackburn & Associates gives full real estate services at lower commissions.

Curley McKenzie

If you would like to know more about the company’s work, don’t hesitate to call the office at (813) 752-8852 or simply drop in. Their office is located at 4475 US Highway 92 West, right here in Plant City. You may also visit them online at You will find their staff truly cares about your needs. You’re not just another closing to Blackburn & Associates Realty, Inc.

Linda Shepard

Troy Snetting

Jan Stallings

Susan Tufts

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Dr. Vinyl of West Central Florida Leather and Vinyl Care and Repair Story by Cheryl Johnston Photos courtesy of Sean Gonzalez Dr. Vinyl of West Central Florida is the franchise Sean purchased four years ago and operates with friend, Tom McCurdy. The mobile service van travels to homes, marinas, airports, restaurants, professional offices, furniture showrooms, auto and boat dealerships and places of employment to repair, replace or restore damage and discolorations in leather, fabric and vinyl upholstered products. Examples of services include: +

+ + + + +

+ Tom McCurdy (left) and Sean Gonzalez, owners of Dr. Vinyl of West Central Florida.

Dr. Vinyl’s most appreciative customer was perhaps the gentleman whose Doberman puppy chewed holes in his leased Ford Expedition’s leather seats. So pleased in fact, he rewarded Dr. Vinyl’s owner, Sean Gonzalez, with a $50 tip and called for additional service the following year before the car’s lease expired. The $200 invoice had saved this customer $1,500 for replacement cost. “We literally filled every tooth mark,” chuckles Sean.

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Upholstery repair, restoration and new installation (vehicles, jet planes, office furniture, hotels, etc.) Striping and graphic work on cars, boats, planes, motorcycles, jet skis, etc. New car warranty work for Bill Heard Chevrolet and other area auto dealerships Pre-owned auto interior vinyl and leather damage repair Chemical treatment which restores life, luster and color to vehicle trim moldings Deodorizing fog treatment to clean vehicle air vents, eliminating cigarette or moisture odors Kits to change interior upholstery from cloth to leather (almost one-third the average cost) Glaze and cloud correction for plastic vehicle headlights common to certain brands

Eventually, Gonzalez and McCurdy plan to establish storefront operations in their west central Florida territory to house repair facilities and market vehicle performance products. Since Dr. Vinyl is the only company of this type which warrantees products and service for a year, they have almost no competition. Evidence of the affordability fac-

armrest before

armrest after

tor comes in the long list of repeat commercial customers such as Outback Steakhouse, Applebee’s, O’Brien’s, Peso’s and many others. The upscale Galatis Yacht Sales, whose wealthy customers expect perfection, also regularly use Dr. Vinyl’s services. Another satisfied individual customer is the teenager who borrowed his dad’s car for the evening. When he saw the cigarette burns his friends left in the leather upholstery, he panicked. Then he remembered hearing about Dr. Vinyl and their services. Sean and Tom saved the student from embarrassment and apologies to a predictably unhappy father. A key selling point for Sean when he purchased the franchise was the guarantee to customers to “meet or exceed your expectations more than 94% of the time, as we repair or restore to new and stronger condition than prior.” Business owners have peace of mind when products and services they represent have commitments like this.

dash kit before

dash kit after

These age 20-to-30-something young men from Brandon are now extremely excited about a product unveiled at the recent Dr. Vinyl convention. Once applied, the treatment is guaranteed to eliminate the need for waxing vehicle painted finishes. Owners simply spray with water only and wipe dry for a shiny clean, showroom quality appearance. Both Sean and Tom enjoy cars, sports and fishing, and know their customer base will expand greatly as they promote this work-reducing product. Dr. Vinyl is a name you can trust, so tuck this phone number and services list away for future reference. Affordable repairs to upholstery and special services to enhance the appearance of vehicles are just a phone call away. Depending on the project, repairs and restoration are usually accomplished from within 30 minutes to several hours. Sean and Tom provide a quick response to your request and might even have another great repair story to share with you. Dial (813) 681-4002 to schedule appointments.

Franchise operators update their skills through periodic Dr. Vinyl training programs and new approaches to service.

leather seat before

leather seat after

leather before

leather after

freightliner before

freightliner after

chair before

chair after

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Hillsboro Bank Community to the Core Story by Cheryl Johnston Photos by Sophia Dedon

L-R Gary Boothe-President/CEO, Pam Warnock-Senior Vice President/COO, Nick Pressley-Vice President/Senior Lender

Hometown banking in Plant City is alive and thriving at Hillsboro Bank, whose motto is “Growing with the Community”. Customers immediately detect a difference, from the spacious parking lot and lobby of the brick building on Alexander Street, to the greetings from several of the 15 employees. They sense that a pleasurable banking experience awaits. Employees value opportunities

The friendly staff at Hillsboro Bank will always welcome you with a smile.

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to efficiently handle financial transactions and build lifelong friendships with customers who are neighbors, because Plant City is “home.” At our only locally-owned bank, personal touches like friendliness, respect, communication and confidentiality are the norm. Hillsboro Bank was established in 1998 when two groups of businessmen joined

Debbie Crosby, Personal Banker Manager, always takes the time to thoroughly answer any concerns the customers may have.

The tellers, such as Dalila Quezada, help to make banking both convenient and simple for the customers.

forces because Plant City needed a homegrown bank, firmly entrenched in the community, who understood the unique needs of customers in a growing, agriculturalbased area. The nine directors have deeply-rooted family heritage here. They considered themselves blessed to live in this town and hoped to grow a bank to “give back to Plant City.” Gary Boothe, the bank’s president, graduated from USF in 1970 and worked initially in the farm equipment business. Later, working for Sun Bank when it purchased the original downtown Hillsboro Bank location, Gary had hopes “the good Lord would help a group of local business owners to begin another community bank.” With that dream in mind, Gary personally kept the name registered for six years before Hillsboro Bank was established at the present location across from Plant City High School. Zoning helped determine the best location and the merger of Barnett Bank with Bank of America helped determine timing. The new bank was profitable by its sixth month and Gary remembers the exact amount of profit - $623.18. With the help of loyal customers and the small business owners it serves, growth and profits continue to increase. In fact, an October groundbreaking ceremony is planned for the new branch, cornered at Bloomingdale and Bell Shoals in Brandon. Two unique aspects of Hillsboro Bank are its reputation for community involvement and its highly qualified staff. Teamwork between directors, officers and staff means customers get full attention. “We hire talented people, trust their judgment, and allow them to serve folks effectively. We implemented their valuable design ideas.

Pam Warnock, Senior VP/COO, works hard to make Hillsboro Bank the efficient bank it is with a personal touch.

We challenge ourselves to answer every phone call before the third ring.” If you like to be on a first name basis with your banker, this is your bank. Hillsboro is interested in their customers’ lives and not strictly their money. Depositors are more than their financial transactions. They’re gems. They are extended family. “Our hearts are here in Plant City,” says Boothe. When Dick Shiflett, brother to employee Debbie Crosby, suffered from cancer several years ago, the staff formed a Relay for Life team to benefit research. “It was such a bonding experience. We’ve participated each year since. Many customers have also confronted disease or illness. Personal tragedies can connect us so we can encourage each other. Isn’t that what a community does? When customers walk through the door, they are our top priority. We care about their lives.” Boothe offers sound advice for managing money wisely. “Pay yourself. Put some money away through savings and investments, even small amounts. Live within your means to protect your credit. If you experience difficulty paying bills, talk to your bank so they can help with solutions.” He also adds, “If you’re happy where you’re banking now, stay there. If not, please give us a chance to earn your business and friendship.” Convenient hours include 24-hour ATM service. Check out or phone 813-707-6506 for prompt, top-notch personal attention. Better yet, visit 509 West Alexander Street to mention some good local news. Then, watch this home team smile!

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Tile Barn

Interior Decorating is Not Just for the Elite Story submitted by Pam Brester Photos by Kristen Toney provide a complimentary design consultation along with a design purchase! “Your home is your haven; you tell us what kind of feeling you want in your home and we’ll make it happen,” said Pam Brester, Interior Designer and co-owner along with Hiram Oyola. “Designer Showcase Packed with Huge Selection!” Tile Barn Carpet & Interiors is what the name states: a showcase packed with home furnishings, artwork, lamps and other accessories, along with wood flooring, porcelain and ceramic tile and a huge selection of decorative listellos. Brester and Oyola opened the new 14,000 square foot showcase in August of 2004. Oyola established Tile Barn & Carpet originally in February of 1996 and gradually grew together with Brester,

Pam Brester and Hiram Oyola are the owners of Tile Barn Carpet & Interiors. They are here to serve you!

A trip through Tile Barn Carpet & Interiors is like flipping through the pages of a Better Homes & Gardens magazine and looking at how the rich dress their homes. In fact, the only difference between the two is that you don’t have to be rich to feel rich. There is no need to burn out the brain cells trying to make your home look gorgeous. This company has a professional staff that will visit your home and turn your need into your satisfaction; they offer fully warranted installations, the quickest service you will find in this area, and you have nothing to lose because they FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 58

When it comes to the perfect tile for your home, follow the examples the store has laid out for you, or choose your own tile design.

combining 25 years of experience in the industry into a fourth location in Plant City at 1103 Goldfinch Drive (off Exit 19-Thonotosassa, behind Buddy Freddy’s). “We service the ‘do-it-yourselfers’ who want the conve-

nience and ease of selecting the merchandise and running back home to install it that very same day,” said Hiram. “Everybody has a dilemma that With thousands of fabric styles to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect match for your decorating dilemma. they want to solve,” said Brester. “It’s that dilemma that becomes our personal challenge.”

egg, just waiting to grow in value.” Pam also suggests her clients begin redecorating early on so the changes can be enjoyed before any move is made; not just a redecoration for the sake of selling. Pam pointed out that research shows people who make their own selections by themselves tend to grow tired of their surroundings within a short period of time, and want to constantly change their interiors more often, as opposed to clients who use the expertise of interior designers. Those clients actually feel so comfortable in their own surroundings; it takes about 10 years before they even consider changing anything. “Unique Accessories to Make Your Interior Special!” Unique accessories and out-of-the-norm room arrangements make your interior special! By blending the color palettes of each room together, you allow the home to flow easily from room to room. This also allows room updates to be completed gradually and successfully. Often times, this professional staff has decorated a home from the inside to the outside, coordinating the details right down to the front and back lanais/porches. Check out Tile Barn on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Appointments may be made after hours if needed. Call them at (813) 719-2246 for all of your decorating needs.

All of the store’s consultation areas are strategically placed in order to give the clients and designers freedom of creativity.

“Major Design Projects in Surrounding Area” Some of Tile Barn & Interior’s major design projects include the Church at the Mall in Lakeland, MacDill Air Force Base, Dr. Gross’s new location in Ybor City, the Keebler Company in Brandon, the Coral Reef in St. Petersburg and a project in Rich and Judy Glorioso’s home, not to mention the most recent: a fabulous new dance floor in the Ramada Inn’s Red Rose Dining Room! “Our Home is Our Investment!” “It is not out of the ordinary for the average person to use a designer to help them make proper choices instead of costly errors,” commented Brester. “Today’s homeowner is fully aware their home is their investment and retirement nest

These are just a few examples of the beautiful wood floors you could have throughout your own home.

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McGrath Poppell Real Estate Story by John Garrod Photos by Mike Floyd & Sophia Dedon Finding a real estate broker in Florida is not difficult. There are free magazines at the entrance to every supermarket you find, listing houses and brokers vying for your business. Figuring out who you want to handle your transaction is a big decision, though. That’s why a good reputation and a solid track history are key assets to a real estate brokerage. With corporate America swallowing up every other little guy around, it’s nice to know there are still locally owned and operated businesses that can make decisions within minutes, if not seconds, when their customers call. Individuals making one of the most important investment decisions in their life need to have some answers today; the sooner the better. McGrath Poppell Real Estate’s home office is a beautiful red brick The staff at McGrath-Poppell is involved in the Plant City community and emphasize the importance of being active in the small town.

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building located Festival, the at 507 West Dr. company Martin Luther sponsors loKing Boulevard. cal youths Their green awparticipating ning is reminisin the livestock exhibits. cent of the green and yellow signs Several of adorning homes the individual for sale throughagents supout the area. port the youth Since 1994, this on their own, location has as well. “We been the base of like to put operations for the back into the company, which community now employs a that supports The offices of McGrath Poppell are located at 507 W. Dr MLK Blvd. dozen agents and us,” says two full-time ofJoyce. fice workers. McGrath Poppell covers all of Hillsborough McGrath Poppell handles not only residential sales, but County and parts of Polk and other surrounding counties. also commercial properties and vacant land. They have “Our agents are willing to go the extra mile for clients, two bi-lingual agents and a very helpful website, www. wherever they may be,” says office manager, Trish Joyce. On the website, you can learn about the brokers themselves, browse through properties Trish Joyce is a Plant City native. So are partner Lou Mcfor sale, and even get an estimate of value for your own Grath and partners Eleanor Poppell and Jon Poppell, who house, in case you’re thinking of selling. is also licensed as a Sales Associate with the company, as well as several other associates and staff. That gives them McGrath Poppell & Company is always looking for fresh a bit of an edge sometimes, says Joyce, because the agents new faces in their industry, even if those new individuals know the area so well. “We’re hometown friendly,” she were not born here! Everyone is always welcome to stop says. “We have people here who are fourth and fifth genby and get eration Plant a good ole City natives.” hometown The company “Hello!” takes an active role in McGrath the communiPoppell ty, sponsoring Real Estate Little League is located teams, local at 507 West high school Dr. Marathletics and tin Luther activities, and is actively King Bouinvolved in levard in numerous Plant City Chamber of and their Commerce phone numevents. Durber is (813) ing the annual 754-8888. Strawberry (L to R) Trish Joyce, Lou McGrath, and Eleanor, John and Mark Poppell. FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 61

Dukes Chiropractic Health Clinic, P.A.

Healing Alignment for Mind, Body and Spirit Story by Cheryl Johnston Photos by Sophia Dedon & courtesy of Dr. Dukes Dr. Brenda Dukes is passionate about natural healing, people and Plant City. These three passions, along with a desire to honor God’s plan, led her to open Dukes Chiropractic Health Clinic, P.A. Since 1985, thousands of patients have experienced benefits of this comprehensive wellness approach to optimum health.

art, science and philosophy. Last year, approximately 23 million people found effective, safe and gentle relief for medical conditions too numerous to list. Chiropractic respects the body’s natural healing and recuperative powers to offer your family choices for drug-free, surgery-free health care.

Chiropractic, today’s most regulated and most widely used natural health profession, is a century-old healing

From the eighth grade, Dr. Dukes knew she was called to the medical profession. Photos of her with

“Candy Striper” hospital volunteers at South Florida Baptist Hospital are displayed in the local archives. After her PCHS graduation, family faith in divine healing and prayer led to Oral Roberts University for Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and chemistry. Fascination with the body’s ability to heal itself through natural methods and continuing research resulted in Doctorate of Chiropractic and Diplomate of Neurology degrees. For 22 years Dr. Dukes has served

Visit the Dukes Chiropractic team, (L-R) Maria Avalos, Dr. Brenda Dukes, Patricia Green and Brenda Chandler, LMT, today.

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Family is very important to Dr. Dukes. (Top Row: Dr. Brenda Dukes, Stephanie Conrad, Jason Conrad holding Shaylee Conrad, Lori Swindle, Jonathan Swindle. Bottom Row: Larry Swindle, Anna Beth Conrad, Debbie Swindle, Madilyn Conrad, Ilene Dukes and Foster Dukes.)

patients locally, nationally and internationally who credit her care to life-changing improved health. Even though Americans have access to the finest doctors and medicines, the World Health Organization lists our country as one of the sickest nations. Drug resistant diseases, coupled with the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, have potential to create worldwide medical crises. Immunizations and vaccines create other difficulties. If you’d like relief from the following conditions and more, contact the clinic and begin the journey to reclaim wellness: frequent headaches, painful joints or muscles, allergies, sinus infections, sleeplessness, anxiety, spinal or nerve problems, ear infections, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, pregnancy discomfort or pain in general. Chiropractic adjustments, along with massage therapy, can restore balance, performance and energy. Infants and children also need and benefit from chiropractic adjustments. The staff listens carefully to those in pain and helps patients understand how environment, lifestyle and mindset affect health.

Medical textbook Gray’s Anatomy (29th edition, pg.4) teaches, “The nervous system controls and coordinates all organs and structures of the human body.” Maintaining spinal and nervous system health is the priority of chiropractic medicine. Without this treatment, people chase symptoms and not causes. Dr. Dukes is proud of the referring physicians who send patients to the clinic for total healing. Industry is discovering the economic value of spinal care and natural health education. Invite Dr. Dukes to present documentation proving the benefits to your company or employer. Dukes Chiropractic Health Clinic, P.A. is not a spa, although massage therapy and rehabilitation are integral parts of treatment. “As a staff, we pray for our patients – for their healing and their lives.” The clinic also invests time and energy in

our community by sponsoring events like Relay for Life, New Teacher Breakfast, Pregnancy Care Center fundraisers and others to benefit charitable causes. Dr. Dukes “thanks the Lord for blessings that allow us to do more. Our motto and desire is ‘To Love, to serve and to give out of abundance.’ We do not take lightly those who come into our path. Our goal is that they are helped, whether here or wherever, to achieve a state of total wellness.” Mission-minded and purpose-focused describes Dr. Dukes. Recent joys were a trip arranged by Ukraine’s Health Minister, where for two weeks in four cities, she took the message of chiropractic healing to more than 1,000 doctors who performed 3,000 adjustments on Ukrainian citizens. Your first step to better health is chiropractic care. Research the great news at, then take that step by scheduling an appointment. Gift certificates are also available for family, friends or colleagues. Prayer request calls are also encouraged. Visit 2401 Walden Woods Drive or phone 752-2524 or (800) 309-DUKE. Make today your healthiest step forward.

Dr. Dukes is very helpful with patients in explaining what their spinal injuries are.

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Animal Wellness Center of Plant City

Story by Sherry Baldwin Photos by Sherry Baldwin & courtesy of Animal Wellness Center There is one thing Dr. Jennifer Conner and her staff at the Animal Wellness Center of Plant City know for sure; clients consider their pets to be members of the family. The commitment today’s pet owners make to their pets includes a great deal of preventative care and treatment for diseases and injuries that wouldn’t have been considered years ago. Pet owners want their pets to be happy and healthy for many years. To address those growing needs, things such as annual blood work and other diagnostic techniques have allowed the detection of health changes that may be

addressed through treatment at an earlier stage of life, thereby, not only extending the quantity, but the quality of the animal’s life. Dr. Conner and the staff of the Animal Wellness Center provide full spectrum general wellness treatment, as well as routine and emergency surgery for dogs, cats, ferrets and other “small furry creatures” like hamsters, gerbils and rabbits. Dr. Conner believes fully in providing the highest level of customer service, along with the best possible veterinary care. She has expanded her practice to

include the latest advances in diagnostic equipment, including in-house blood analysis and a new x-ray processor. Since Dr. Conner is in general practice, she sees a wide variety of diseases and injuries. She does take a special interest in orthopedics, dermatology and ophthalmology. Dr. Conner and staff will happily discuss all treatment options, answer questions and provide referral information when applicable. Ensuring the client is well informed and comfortable with the treatment is just as important as the treatment

From left to right: Animal Wellness Staff Jen Crowley, Liz Kuhlmeyer, Dr. Jennifer Conner, Lynn Anne Castleberry and Jami Bender (not pictured) FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 64

Dr. Conner (left), assisted by Liz Kuhlmeyer, in surgery.

itself. She also feels it is important to maintain a good working relationship with other local veterinarians, including specialists at Florida Veterinary Specialists and the University of Florida. The clinic is fully stocked with a complete selection of flea and tick prevention, heartworm prevention, shampoos and ear washes. Nutritional items include Science Diet prescription diets along with IVD brand food, especially for dermatology patients. Micro-chipping is also offered and encouraged. The entire staff of Animal Wellness Center is very experienced and dedicated. This includes Lynn Anne Castleberry, the first voice you are likely to hear on the phone and are greeted by once inside the clinic. Lynn Anne helps guide pet owners through everything from appointment scheduling to the easing of owner’s concerns when an animal has just gone through a surgical procedure. Lynn Anne also maintains the new computerized records system, the new filing system and other clerical and accounting matters. Dr. Conner’s veterinary technicians are Jen Crowley and Liz Kuhlmeyer. With many years of experience working with animals in a professional setting, they each assist Dr. Conner in every aspect of patient care. They provide nursing care, venipuncture, operate the blood

Newman Conner enjoying his first birthday.

analysis machine, obtain and develop radiographs, perform microscopic cytology and comfort and restrain animals for examinations and procedures. Jen and Liz also weigh, take vital signs and start diagnostic testing prior to Dr. Conner seeing the animal in an effort to make the visit quick and easy for both the pet and the client. Animal Assistant, Jami Bender is also a vital member of the team. She is responsible for the daily care of hospitalized animals, such as monitoring their condition, feeding, and walking them. She also aids the veterinary technicians with preparing animals for surgery, as well as maintaining the cleanliness and sterility of the surgical suite and instruments. The Animal Wellness Center assists many community organizations such as: Buddies thru Bullies, an English Bulldog Rescue group, Bay Area Greyhound Adoption and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Polk County. They feel they are privileged to be able to work with animals in their daily lives and wish to give back to animals that are less fortunate. In order to provide the best customer service, the staff at The Animal Wellness Center prefers that pet owners set scheduled appointments, but they also understand that emergencies occur.

Jen Crowley (right) assisting Dr. Conner with a new puppy examination.

They do accept walk-in patients and no one is ever turned away. Appointments are scheduled daily as early as 8:30 a.m. and as late as 4:30 p.m. In addition, ask about the early drop off and late pickup for families whose work schedules do not allow them to make a traditional appointment. You can make arrangements to drop your pet early in the morning and pick it up at the end of the work day after Dr. Conner has had the chance to exam it and render treatment. Following in the footsteps of Dr. James McFarland, who practiced at the same location for almost 50 years before Dr. Conner took over in 2002, has been quite an experience. Dr. McFarland had built a solid reputation and a very loyal client base. Dr. Conner feels honored to have been allowed to treat the last generation of Dr. McFarland’s patients and continue to bring in the next generation of Plant City’s animal companions. She is very appreciative for the warm welcome she received upon taking over the practice and hopes to continue building upon the traditions of excellent veterinary care, customer service and community involvement. The Animal Wellness Center of Plant City is open Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.5:30 p.m. They are located at 3109 SR 574 West. For more information please call 813-752-2869.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 65

Brandon Spine Center

Bringing Healing to Those with Extreme Pain Story & Photos by Kristen Toney

said Dr. Parson. He recalls how he had sent several of his chiropractic patients out for spinal decompression and the amazing results they had received. “We decided to take the plunge and work specifically on patients with severe back issues due to disc problems.”

Dr. Parson with his staff: Gayle Wilkinson (center) and Jenny Russell

Over three years ago, Dr. Shane Parson opened up Parson Chiropractic in Plant City. Just this past February he sold his practice to fellow chiropractor Dr. John Souther, and moved on to a bigger dream. “In my practice I was seeing many patients with severe disc problems that went beyond the scope of regular chiropractic,”

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With years of experience in the Chiropractic field, Dr. Parson has now taken his expertise to the next level in opening Brandon Spine Center, a practice entirely focused on new technology called Spinal Decompression TM. Dr. Parson employs the DRX9000, the only true spinal decompression machine trademarked and FDA approved. The DRX9000 is also the machine used in research that shows an 86% success rate.

“In layman’s terms, it will realign that disc that’s bulging or herniated,” Dr. Parson stated. “It’s basically pulling the disc space apart and sucking the disc material back into its proper alignment. When it heals like that, you’ve naturally fixed the problem, as opposed to covering up with drugs or cutting parts of it out with surgery. With an 86% success rate, it’s

proven very effective!” In general, anybody with low back pain, sciatica, chronic back pain, any kind of disc problems or a failed back surgery can be candidates for this procedure. However, each patient must be evaluated when they come in to see if they actually qualify. If you or someone you know is considering it, no need to worry about whether you qualify or not; that’s up to the doctor. Parson feels strongly about his clinic and their standards. “Our saying here is ‘where patients come first.’ When we accept a patient into care, it’s all about them. We have a satisfaction guarantee here. You won’t find that in any other doctor’s office anywhere. We can’t guarantee you results by law, but we can guarantee your satisfaction. If you’re not completely satisfied with your care, we refund the money 100%.” Other treatments also employed are cold laser therapy, helping the disc area heal more quickly. Muscle stimulation is used to help the muscles heal, as well as ice and various other treatments. Parson has a warning for anyone suffering with back pain. “We as humans try to put things off; don’t do that! Things cost more and take more time the longer you wait. It’s the difference between having a cavity and a root canal.”

Dr. Parson makes sure his patient, Nancy Deaner, is comfortable.

To learn more about back pain and its treatments, on Friday, September 8 at La Quinta Inn from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Dr. Parson will hold a seminar on back pain. It is free of charge, but there are only 20 spots available, and you must call his office to reserve your spot. The first seven callers will receive a $45.00 gift from the Brandon Spine Center.

“Our whole business model, everything we do is about the patient,” Dr. Parson stated firmly. “I don’t base any decisions on anything else. I’m going to tell them exactly what results I think they’re going to get if I rule them a good candidate. And then I’m going tell them how much it costs. If they want to do it they can do it. If they don’t, that’s fine.”

“Because technology is so good and our ability to screen patients is so good, if one of the Focus readers qualifies for spinal decompression, they will receive three complimentary treatments,” Dr. Parson offers. “If they are happy and decide to go on, we’ll make the financial arrangements then. If not, that’s fine. All Focus readers must call, mention this article and reserve their appointment by August 31.”

If you or a friend would like more information, call the Brandon Spine Center office at (813) 571-2008 and they will send you a free information kit including a report full of research performed on spinal decompression, a DVD showing how the procedure works and how it has helped current patients of the Center. Also, give the office a call for a complimentary qualification evaluation to find out if you may be a candidate for spinal decompression.

The DRX 9000 is the only true spinal decompression machine trademarked and FDA approved.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 67

Pong Lai Martial Arts Training Center Story and Photos by John Garrod

Students working on their kicking skills.

Mike and Huong Courcelle, owners of Pong Lai Martial Arts Studio.

Michael Courcelle is proof dynamite comes in small packages. The owner and instructor of Pong Lai Martial Arts Training Center stands only 5’4” tall, but when he’s popping off knuckle and fingertip pushups with ease during a warm-up, you begin to get the idea there’s more than meets the eye. Pong Lai Martial Arts School has been open for two and a half years, but Mike has been studying martial arts for 26 years. He teaches Chinese Kung Fu, an art that the Chinese prohibited to be taught to any non-Chinese persons until the late 1960’s. He specializes in the Praying Mantis style, and also incorporates Kenpo Karate, the Shaolin Fist and other arts into his training regimen. For those who are looking for an excellent, low impact, slower form of exercise he also offers Tai Chi classes. “That’s part of what makes us unique, the different styles that we teach here,” says Mike. “Chinese Kung Fu is not as well known as Tae Kwon Do and other arts. Kung Fu is a complete martial art that utilizes striking techniques as well as throwing, joint-locks, pressure points and classical Chinese weaponry,” Mike adds. He feels that the mix of styles taught at the Pong

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Mike Courcelle performing a demonstration.

After warm-up, students practice basic blocks and punches.

Lai studio exposes the students to a broad range of techniques and strategies, which enhances self-defense knowledge and capabilities. The students are most important to Mike and his wife, Huong. “Our students are like extended family to us. We really look forward to seeing each one of our students come through our door prior to their lesson. It’s great to see people shed pounds, become more fit and focused and gain self-confidence. We’ve had parents come in and thank us because their children have become more respectful and cooperative outside the studio.” Mike teaches his students that self-discipline and excellence go hand-in-hand in every aspect of their lives. “Good character will take you much farther in life than any punching or kicking technique ever will.” Before a child can be promoted in the studio, a parent and a teacher must confirm the student is “toeing the line” at home and school. Younger students get a task sheet of chores and responsibilities to do at home. He teaches classes for adults and children ages five and up.

Mike parries his student’s staff attack using his swords.

The Courcelles find ways to make the learning fun. “We’re not one of those ‘dungeon schools’ where it’s all about technique. We have fun. I want people to be able to escape from the stress of the day and enjoy camaraderie and encouragement in our studio without feeling intimidated.” Mike says the biggest obstacle his school faces is the hectic schedule of modern life. “People are busy, and unfortunately much of what gets left behind is self-improvement. It takes time to become skilled in a martial art, and many people are looking for things that are instantly gratifying. They aren’t willing to invest the time in themselves.” He says those who apply themselves, however, find the rewards of the training far outweigh the hard work they put into it. He backs that belief with a 30 day money-back trial offer. Mike instructs students on how to defend themselves against attackers.

Mike offers anti-abduction training for women and children, and has found some local churches open to hosting free seminars. “I am a strong believer in community involvement. I would like to be able to help more children by working with the local PTA’s and other organizations.” Mike has encountered a lot of apathy from people concerning child anti-abduction training. “I think there’s a certain amount of ‘small-town’ attitude that it won’t happen here.” Yet with dozens of registered sexual offenders and predators in the area, he believes you just can’t be too safe. For a free introductory lesson and to see how Martial Arts training can benefit you and your family, call Pong Lai Martial Arts Training Center at (813) 719-9892. They are located at 1852-1854 Jim Redman Parkway (in the corner of the Strawberry Plaza near Staples).

Mike blocks his students staff attack using one of his swords and counter attacks with a strike to the knee using his other sword.

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Buick, Pontiac and GMC Dealership Customer Satisfaction in all Departments Story by Kristen Toney Photos by Kristen Toney, Sophia Dedon and courtesy of Lott-Mather Towards the end of the 90’s, as the owner of the Bob Sapp Oldsmobile dealership began to prepare for retirement, Bill Mather, a Tampa resident who had been in the car business for years, met with now City Commissioner Rick Lott to talk of a Rick Lott (left) and Bill Mather are the owners of Lott-Mather. business partnership geared towards the dealership. In 2000, Bob Sapp Oldsmobile became Lott-Mather. Now, with their Plant City location, not to mention their two other dealerships in Winter Haven and Haines City, there’s nowhere to go but up for this company. Bill Mather and Rick Lott’s goal is for their employees to exceed the customer’s expectations in all areas of the operation.

three of our lines built with superior workmanship, I feel there is a product at Lott Mather Buick Pontiac GMC able to meet anyone’s needs.” Lott-Mather boasts the best-trained mechanics By far the best feature between Tampa and Orlando. at Lott-Mather is their personnel; Joe Platt, service advisor, can speak for this fact himself. “I’ve been here almost a year now, and I’m impressed with the integrity and honesty of the individuals I work with,” he commented. Those who work in the Body Shop are meticulous “One of our mottos is when it comes to their customer’s vehicles. to treat every customer as we would want our mother to be treated.”

Lou Costanza is the general manager of the dealership. “We have a good customer base and a great team in place,” he commented. “Buick naturally is a car that has been known and loved in our parent’s generation, but their new products are out, and easily comparable to Lexus or any other fine automobile on the market. Baby boomers are a big part of our clientele, and GMC is the vehicle they tend to choose. The products Pontiac is coming out with are for your sportiertype customers. With the new GM line on the market and all The staff of the front office, along with the salespeople of Lott-Mather.

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With a body shop and service department geared towards all makes and models, the best-trained technicians between Orlando and Tampa and managers with years of experience behind their name, you can’t lose when taking your vehicle in for a service or repair. And when it comes to those pesky oil changes that cost so much and seem to take up your entire day, why not drive right up the road to the home of the $12.95 oil change? Hand car washes and full details are also available, starting at $7.95. Larry Bryan is the dealership’s Service Manager. “We’re focused in the direction of high quality customer service, honesty and competitive pricing,” he stated. “We want to bring in the new customers and keep the old ones.”

Before any car leaves a service or body appointment, it is given a detailing by the staff.

General Manager Lou Costanza.

Todd Balog is the Manager of the Body Shop. “Having been here since 1988 when the dealership was Bob Sapp Oldsmobile, I like the fact that this dealership is hometown. When people come in, they’re not just a number.” The GMC product itself is a bargain, especially now with Buick offering a four year 50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty, and the best gas mileage to be found on larger vehicles. “The Pontiac Solstice, the little convertible, we can’t keep them on the lot!” Costanza said. “The Pontiac G6 hard-top convertible is just really starting to take off. And naturally around here pickup trucks are a big sell. We also do very well with pre-owned vehicles. When we buy or trade a car, it goes through a rigorous 100-point inspection before it hits the lot. If it doesn’t meet the criteria, it doesn’t reach the lot.” Not only is Lott-Mather a community business, they are a community supporter. They have sponsored school sports

The staff of the Body Shop.

The staff of the Parts Department.

teams, Little League, Boys and Girls Club and the list goes on. During soccer season, Rick Lott himself can be seen coaching one of the many children’s teams here in Plant City. “I think it’s the quality of our work that brings people back, and the way they are treated,” stated Costanza. “If they want to come to a local place where the overhead is low, we’re gonna make a deal with them. We’re up front. We tell them what we can do and what we can’t do. And people like the honesty.”

The staff of the Service Department.

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Walden Lake Business Services Story & Photos by Sophia Dedon There’s a lot more to Walden Lake Business Services than the name implies. Under the company banner you will find a host of business support services, including accounting, tax and para-legal assistance. They will even help you to incorporate your business! In addition, they have a division that handles immigration paperwork and intervention. Owner Ann Durland and her husband, David, started the business as a side venture about five years ago from their Plant City home. She was a full time employee at a Fortune 500 company and doing taxes as a side business at the time. Before long, she was able to leave her corporate job, and the company WLBS’s office is conveniently located just east of downtown Plant City on Baker Street.

As the sign and the smiles indicate, the staff at WLBS is always looking for new ways to help your business.

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soon grew large enough to warrant a full-size office just east of downtown Plant City. The company now employs almost a dozen office personnel and even more in field crews.

floors and generous working spaces.

There is definitely a family atmosphere inside their new office. Gracie Reynoso came to WLBS through her brother, who works under Joe Diaz in the Walden Lake Construction “We specialize in supporting the small business person, esServices division of the business. An architectural student, pecially construction sub-contractors,” says office manager Gracie looks upon the Durlands Donna Rainey. Clients apprecilike family and the company as a ate that WLBS can handle their tremendous opportunity for her office paperwork so they can to learn. “I love coming to work concentrate on doing what they here. We’re happy to be here, and do best. WLBS does quarterly taxes, corporate reporting and I think our customers sense that payroll, as well as general when they call.” The construcbookkeeping for a wide variety tion operation builds residences in of business types throughout virtually all price ranges, but curthe state. Their clients include rently they are working on some high-end homes in Hillsborough every type of business from a County and Manatee County. The bridal boutique, car lots and a check cashing store, to hunconstruction arm reaches much dreds of sub contractors in further than the business support What’s in a name? Walden Lake Business Services’ Central and South Florida. services, building houses as far also has its own construction company. away as South Florida. Walden “We look at our company as a 360-degree service,” claims Lake Construction Services does all phases of building, including concrete and framing, for commercial and residential Constance Wilkins. Ann Durland, president of the company projects. adds, “We consider our motto as ‘Can Do’, and our diverse services prove it on a daily basis. Our client base grows from word of mouth and recommendation from current companies “I’m a Florida native,” says Ann, “and I was raised in South that we have helped.” Florida. When I came to Plant City, it was a bit of a culture shock, but in a good way! I love it here. People really do Evidently, they’re doing something right; Ann was recognized look out for each other. And the growth here is a real source of strength and a source of our optimism for the future of our as having one of the Top 50 Women-led Businesses in Florida business.” by the Commonwealth Institute of South Florida and Florida International University. “We’re a little amazed, when we look back on the days of working out of our spare bedroom, crowdWalden Lake Business Services is located at 304 East Baker ed in there,” says Ann. Their current office, at 304 East Baker Street in Suite D. You may also reach them at (813) 752-3070. Street, must be a nice contrast; bright, airy, with beautiful tile

Donna Rainey, Gracie Reynoso, and owner Ann Durland are just a few of the friendly faces of Walden Lake Business Services.

Gracie and another employee review a current construction project.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 73

Millennium Homes & Development, Inc. Story by Kristen Toney Photos by Kristen Toney & Submitted by Millennium Homes According to Rodrigues, there are a few things that make Millennium stand out from other builders. “We’re very easy to work with. You can contact us directly without having to go through some kind of a phone chain, and we’re either going to call you back right back or be there.” Another positive aspect of this builder is their originality. “We don’t build cookie cutter type stuff. We do custom work. And we really don’t look for the cheapest guys out there; when it comes to our subcontractors, we want the guys who do great work,” said Rodrigues. If you are currently in the market for a new home, now is the perfect time to be thinking about it. The best time to begin to build is in the fall, because that is when the weather begins to dry out. “If you start in September, basically you’ll have a dry run and less delay due to weather during the building process,” Rodrigues stated. From the time the permit is in the hands of those at Millennium Homes, it should take approximately five to six months for your home to be fully completed. How can they wrap things up so quickly?

The staff of Millennium Homes

When Joe Rodrigues was working for MI Homes about four years ago, it occurred to him how strong the home-building business was, and the opportunity he had to gain a greater freedom working for himself and not a large conglomerate. After the idea was conceived, it did not take long for Millennium Homes to make its appearance. An example of Millennium’s craftsmanship

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The office staff works together for the benefit of each customer

From left to right: Barry Watson, builder; Janice Rodrigues, designer; Joe Rodrigues Senior, service person and builder

Rodrigues looks at it this way: “In this business, people respond if you are basically a strong payer. We don’t cut corners to go quickly, we just schedule well and pay on time. And our subcontractors respond and get on the job fast. If you have 10 days in between two phases of your building, 10 days is lost, and 10 days here and there add up pretty quickly.”

All these things are made possible by the staff of Millennium Homes, which is a family owned and operated business. Janice and Joe Rodrigues, Sr. are the parents of Joe Rodrigues. Joe Sr. works in building, while Janice does all the designing for their new homes. Melanie Hancock is not only Joe, Jr.’s wife, but also the bookkeeper for the office, an aspiring attorney and expecting the couple’s first child this January.

Even with homes in Brandon, Lakeland and Tampa, Plant City remains the first love of Millennium Homes. Their monetary donations to charity are made here, they are involved in First United Methodist Church here and they sponsor two softball teams here. One of their employees is Ilene Chavez, the first runner up for Strawberry Queen this year, and Millennium Homes was her sponsor. Their help for our community doesn’t stop with sponsorships and donations. Millennium Homes has two spec houses in the new subdivision of Highland Creek, which they will be paying all the closing costs for, making these homes incredibly affordable for people in need.

The family works alongside others with years of experience in the business. Barry Watson has been in homebuilding for 20 plus years. Zenaida Hare is office manager, and attends the University of South Florida studying Communications. Rachael Simmons is also a USF student who is obtaining a nursing degree, and Ilene Chavez works in the office as well, while attending Hillsborough Community College for Business. For a chance to see one of Millennium Homes’ projects, check out their new models opening in the Alafia Creek subdivision on Trapnell Road, Springfield on Sparkman Road or Southern Acres on Turkey Creek Road. For more information on their business, call them at (813) 757-9727, or visit them at

A recently completed project of Millennium Homes

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Gulf Coast Turf and Tractor Story and Photos by Sherry Baldwin Recognizing an area of projected growth, several years ago Kubota Tractor Corporation began looking to expand to the Central Florida area. At the same time, Mike Rowe was exploring ownership of a Kubota Dealership in the Tampa Bay area. A match was made and in 2001 the doors of the Gulf Coast Turf and Tractor opened at its current Plant City location. Having worked for Rowe, and sharing many of his same business and customer service philosophies, Joey Wiggins later accepted his current position as General Manager of the Plant City dealership. With him came not only many years of management and

customer service experience, but also a love for the Plant City community – his own hometown. Upon his arrival at Gulf Coast, Wiggins was met by a highly experienced and dedicated staff. In fact, most have been there since the first key unlocked the door. It is this staff, as well as a long list of satisfied customers, that has propelled Gulf Coast into the successful dealership it is today… number one in the State of Florida! Upon arrival at Gulf Coast, you will be greeted by a motivated and knowledgeable sales team-- ready to assist

Gulf Coast Turf & Tractor Office Manager, Jaime Castiglione.

Gulf Coast Sales Manager, John Scarbrough. FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 76

Gulf Coast’s Receptionist, Jackie Fadeley.

Gulf Coast Turf & Tractor, General Manager, Joey Wiggins.

at any level. This includes “matching the right equipment to each customer’s application,” Wiggins stated. When asked just “who” shops at Gulf Coast, you will get a response as broad as the products they carry. First there are homeowners looking to purchase a riding mower or maybe a small tractor for those with a little larger homestead. Business owners also turn to Gulf Coast for everything from zero turn mowers to tractors and construction equipment as well. Gulf Coast Turf and Tractor has also established great rapport with area farmers who may be looking to expand their fleet. This includes not only strawberry farmers but the growing number of blueberry farmers in the area as well. Once a selection is made, prospective buyers have the option to have the equipment driven over to their own property for a demonstration. This is truly an opportunity to try before they buy! Another popular item, especially among women, has been the Kubota RTV Utility Vehicle. According to Wiggins, the RTV is equipped with a variety of safety features making it one of the safest on the market. Used by homeowners, business owners and hunters, the RTV is highly versatile. In addition, special options such as things like lift kits, larger tires, chrome wheels and winches are available. Also, for those who want to take it to the woods, it even comes in camouflage. Gulf Coast’s commitment to their customers doesn’t end when the sale is complete. Assisting with all your service and maintenance needs, regardless of make or model, is a Service Department that includes a highly skilled team of Certified Service Technicians. Wiggins also announced that, in order to accommodate a growing business, the service facility will be expanded next year. Not to be left out is the Parts Department, which is one of the largest in the State of Florida. If for some chance a part is not found in stock, Gulf Coast has airfreight capability. Of course, also vital to the team at Gulf Coast Turf and Tractor is a dedicated office staff. They keep things at the dealership running smooth and efficiently.

Left to right: Gulf Coast Service Department Manager Douglas Urban, along with Certified Technicians John Arnold, Jamie Kennedy, Jeff Webb, Tom Smith, Steve Cerimeli (kneeling) and Ed Brodzik (not pictured).

Gulf Coast Parts Department’s Mark Fielding alongside Parts Manager Warren Silverman.

Wiggins also stated that among the philosophies he and owner Mike Rowe share is the importance of giving back to the community. It is for that reason Gulf Coast Turf and Tractor has proudly committed to the Plant City Chamber of Commerce, the Plant City Department of Parks and Recreations and a whole host of other groups and organizations. “It is a pleasure to work in a community that supports its local businesses,” stated Wiggins. Adding, “It is even more of a pleasure when you are in a position to give back and support that same community.” Gulf Coast Turf and Tractor is located at 404 North Frontage Road, Plant City, 33563. For more information you may call 813-764-0603 or visit them on the web at

Gulf Coast Turf & Tractor Sales Staff Joel Earley, Johnny Cone, Clint McDonough, Mike Belderes, General Manager Joey Wiggins and Pat Rainey FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 77

Professional Property Management Services, LLC Experience You Can Count On Story by Sherry Baldwin Photos by Sherry Baldwin and Courtesy of PPMS tance with regulation compliance, proper record keeping, and aid with association meetings. This would include everything from meeting notices, agendas or minutes, and they can even provide a boardroom/conference room space for the meetings to be held. Through their property management they offer: regular inspections of common areas and facilities, the obtaining of competitive bids for necessary repairs and maintenance, issue violation notices as well as maintain and upkeep community common areas. PPMS financial services include assistance in: budget preparation, insurance reviews, preparation of required financial statements and 1099 forms for vendors, as well as the collection of dues, fines and assessments.

Nate and Natasha Davis with their daughter and future Plant City business leader Jaida.

As a long term business owner, 5th generation Plant City native Gail Calhoun McGrath began to notice many property developers were looking to create homeowner associations within their new developments. In addition, existing associations were looking for help as well. As a result, her new business, Professional Property Management Services, LLC (PPMS) was born. As two of the only licensed Community Association Managers (CAM’s) based in Plant City, Gail McGrath and her son, Nathan Davis, help guide developers through the process, including what is known as “Developer Turnover”, and they are just as prepared to help older Homeowners Associations. From stepping in, to helping the developer with all his/her duties in organizing and creating a new homeowners association, to loyally assisting Board Members and associations that are already in place. In fact, they offer continued support at a variety of levels, including administrative, financial, and property management/maintenance. Through administrative services they will provide assis-

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 78

Also, PPMS offers an almost entirely different division of service. Through their Property Management they utilize their skills to manage and care for various rental properties, from individual homes to townhouses and apartment buildings. Beginning with finding an eligible tenant with full background checks and screening, to managing the occupied space and actions associated with it. The management at PPMS realizes you have “worked hard to

Natasha and Nate Davis, with Jaida, Kendall Wetherington, Gail Calhoun McGrath and Carol Creech.

Gail Calhoun McGrath, owner of PPMS located in Plant City.

obtain your rental properties.” Professional, as well as personal experiences as investors themselves, allows them a greater understanding. For many years McGrath herself has been an investor and property manager of residential and commercial buildings, leaving her with a wealth of knowledge she is able to put to work for her customers. Professional Property Management Services also prides itself in building a top-notch staff that includes McGrath’s son, Nathan Davis. After obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Florida, Davis spent several years working in the insurance industry as a marketing specialist. As current Acting Manager at PPMS, Davis described this new venture as one that takes the “holistic approach,” offering a variety of services. As a licensed CAM, Davis is also fully prepared to guide developers and homeowners through the association process. Furthermore, he is readily available to use his skills to employ the best marketing and advertising tools to bring in new property owners, and tenants. Kendall Wetherington, who McGrath kindly referred to as Carole Creech heads up the Financial Department at PPMS.

Acting Manager of Professional Property Management Services, Nate Davis.

her right hand person, takes care of the everyday tasks of the office. This includes helping new tenants sign leases and understand the rules of their new homes to answering questions via phone or email from perspective clients. Carol Creech, the Bookkeeper at PPMS, comes to the table with many years experience in Community Association Management (CAM). She leads the financial department with all the bookkeeping skills to run multiple large homeowners associations and manage numbers of privately owned homes, townhouses, or apartments. In addition to the many years of combined experience, the team at Professional Property Management Services, LLC also holds the following state licenses: Community Association Manager, Title Insurance License, General Liability Insurance License, Real Estate License and Mortgage Broker License. Professional Property Management Services, LLC is located at 1501 South Alexander Street Suite 101. For more information please call 813-7471128 or visit them on the web at www.

Kendall Wetherington, PPMS staff member and “right hand person” to owner Gail Calhoun McGrath.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 79

A Healthy Glow by Katie Pampering for Face and Body Story and Photos by Cheryl Johnston

New business, new beginnings and a new opportunity to grow a lifelong passion for helping people put their best face forward combined on July 24th with the opening of A Healthy Glow by Katie. Owner Kay Connell Mullis, along with son James and his fiancé Kerry Brown, are busy adding final touches to the salon’s soothing interior. Word of mouth advertising already has customers quickly booking appointments for facials and therapeutic skin care. Actually, business ownership and management are not new to Kay Mullis, a third generation Plant City native. She’s long been involved in sales and enterprise here, including a family owned plumbing business. Her passion for skincare and makeup developed as a teen working in a clothing store. She discovered Merle Norman products at a nearby shop and spent lunch hours experimenting with makeup types and colors. She recalls riding her bike a long distance each month to Tilley’s Beauty Salon to have her eyebrows tweezed. Now her business blends her skincare passion with her love for people. Kay delights in helping client friends and family feel confident because they look their best. Kerry compliments Kay’s skills. “She always sees the best potential in people. She helped me update makeup and establish a skin care regimen to correct sun damage. I’m amazed at the results and excited about how she’ll help others.” Quality products combined with a customer’s dedication to the skincare regimen produce dramatic results. A Healthy Glow proudly represents the Dermalogica botanical skin care line, proven in Salon’s entrance offers privacy.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 80

fine spas and salons worldwide. Kay frequently attends post-graduate International Dermal Institute trainings for the latest techniques. With “face mapping” she determines treatment needs for different skin types, and especially enjoys helping young people with acne-prone skin. A Woods Lamp, which details blemishes, helps her plan effective applications for skin conditions or problems including allergies, sun damage or rosacea. If ambiance indicates success, there’s no doubt A Healthy Glow will be a hit. The private setting is tastefully decorated in calming colors with Victorian antiques. Music and attractive lighting relaxes patrons of either gender, while Kay pampers their skin. Men’s skin care is now a huge market segment and includes regimens and products specifically designed for males. Treatments for blemishes on the back are also popular. Kay’s face beams when she describes the new “Skin Brightening System” because clients experience amazing improvement. Also, be sure to check out the unique, affordable jewelry offered for purchase.

event makeup for weddings, pageants, formals or any other special occasions. Kay’s 25-year-old only son and company vice-president, James Mullis, is also excited about business potential in their beloved Plant City. He is “my strong supporter, confidante, best fan and best critic,” says Kay. “Together, with God’s help, we’ll provide excellent service to our clients. We look forward to seeing long time friends and building new relationships, helping folks relax as we treat their skin to great care.” This month’s special features a 30minute facial plus a skin care kit for only $60.00. A Healthy Glow by Katie is located in the Walden Oaks Center, just east of the Alexander Street Shell station, directly behind Integrity Mortgage. The salon’s entrance and signage is on the building’s southernmost side front Men-

Dermalogica botanical skincare products are proven in spas worldwide.

donsa Road. Please visit or call Kay Mullis at 759-8141 to schedule convenient appointments for yourself, or as gifts for friends and family. Everyone admires beautiful skin. Let your healthy glow begin today!

Future plans include massage therapy. In fact, a position is available immediately for a licensed therapist. Another service by advance appointment includes permanent makeup application for eyebrows, upper and lower eyeliner and lip enhancement. Soon the salon will offer Katie (right) with future daughter-in-law, Kerry Brown ordering more jewelry for customers.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 81

Brooks Land Surveying, Inc. Story and Photos by Sophia Dedon When someone owns acres of land, they know where their property begins and ends generically, but the specific defining lines are often a secondary matter, only relevant if planning to put up a fence or some other improvement. However, to the staff at Brooks Land Surveying, Inc., specific property lines are a primary matter. For 25 years, Danny Brooks has been operating his land surveying company. Having started as a one man operation, he obviously knows the field well considering he now has 13 employees working at Brooks Land Surveying. They deal with all types of surveying, some examples being private property, subdivisions, acreage, construction, and land development. Brooks initially started the company in 1981 in Plant City. He later decided to move the business to Brandon because of the growth they were beginning to experience. Having lived in Plant City his entire life, Brooks has finally moved his company back home. The new office is located at 115 S. Palmer Street in downtown, Bill Friend’s old photography studio.

Although the office was located in Brandon, Brooks has always done survey work across East Hillsborough County. In fact, one aspect that clearly separates Brooks from other land surveying companies is that they have more extensive records of the Plant City area. Their files and knowledge of this area go as far back as the 1960’s. Brooks has a good knowledge of all the surveys that have been done in the area since that time. His extensive experience in the field has also allowed him to witness the dramatic changes in the industry. It used to be someone with a tripod and long measuring tape. The equipment that the company uses today is all completely electronic, from the Global Positioning to maps generated on the computer. “We go further than the average surveyor,” said Brooks. Brooks Land Surveying does not hesitate to do extensive research or investigations on a property to define the specific lines. They are willing to do whatever it takes.

Some of the faces that represent the company are Danny Brooks, founder, Steve Infield, President, Nina Pulido, office manager, Jessica Gould, office staff, and Ron Bluefield, drafter. FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 82

such reasons as this, Brooks Land Surveying is the appropriate company to use because not only do they have the extensive knowledge of the Plant City area, but they also are willing to invest their time.

Brooks Land Surveying, inc. is located at 115 S. Palmer St in downtown.

They also do platting for people with land that they would like to divide. If someone comes in with 10 acres and would like it to be turned into 8 lots for residential homes, Brooks Land Surveying can take care of it for you. Steve Infield, who has been the president of the company for the past three years, shared that sometimes when surveying old properties in Plant City, the surveys were not done professionally in the past and surveying one property may lead to surveying an entire subdivision to make sure it is accurate. For

Brooks Land Surveying is made up by a team who work not only well together, but also efficiently. Their three survey crews do the field survey work, and then the information is submitted to the drafters who make a computer sketch of the property. Ron Bluefield, one of the people who handles drafting and the technical phases of surveying has about 30 years experience in the drafting field. Alongside Bluefield, Dave Houghtaling does auto-cad drafting and is a survey tech. Dennis Charles, Land Surveyor in Training and Project Manager, handles the construction projects. The office staff, directed by Nina Pulido, office manager, keeps the show running on a day-to-day basis. Family is very important to Brooks, which is why Jessica Gould, his granddaughter, and Lavon Infield, Steve’s mom, both work in the office as well. If you or someone you know is in need of land surveying, call Brooks Land Surveying today at 813-754-6620.

Ron Bluefield has around 30 years experience in the drafting field.

Founder of the company, Danny Brooks, reviews one of the drafts with President Steve Infield.

The survey crews go to the properties to do the field survey work using the most modern technology.

David Houghtaling does auto cad drafting and is a survey tech. FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 83



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For our community’s Buyers, Sellers and Owners

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1607 S. Alexander Street Suite 102

813-752-2087 813-759-1200





Call Julie Keene 716-3834




Come build your dream home on this 3.13 acre waterfront lot on beautiful Lake Lester. Surrounded by well maintained, prestigious homes. Enjoy the convenience of nearby amenities and serenity of the 40 acre lake used for fishing, water-skiing, etc. Rare find - Priced under $500,000.

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.90 Acre with 48x28 Pole Barn. Great block home, 1296 SF, spacious kitchen, huge family room, fenced yard, screened back porch, childrens playhouse with A/C. Must see easy access to 1-4. Priced to sell $225,000.

Had it with the daily commute and traffic? THEN THIS IS FOR YOU! Charming 3/1/1 on large corner lot. Short drive to downtown, universities and interstate. Less than 2 blocks to Hillsborough River



3 bedroom 2 bath w/ 2 car side-load garage sits on almost 1/2 acre waterfront lot. Extended screened lanai overlooks tranquil pond w/ no backyard neighbors. Large gourmet kitchen w/ eating area; and great room flow in this open floor plan.

��������� 3/2 home priced to sell on .68 acres with 2000 sq. ft. of gorgous living space, all updated tile and wood floor, $259,000 ������������������������������

is very clear at this is 3 bed/2 bath /2361 Sq.Ft.La and in perfect shape. Property has a 3 car garage, 3 carports, barn, storage shed, above ground pool w/deck and seperate 1 bed/1 bath GUEST HOUSE. All on just over 1 acre of fenced land. Priced at $474,900.00



��������������������������������� Highland Creek. 4/2 with 2525 sq ft., oversized 2 Car Garage on 2.35 Acres. No Backyard Neighbors! Beautiful screened lanai. Too many upgrades to list. Must see at Only $399,900 �������������������������

������������������������� 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths and 2 half baths custom built 3474 SF home. Oversized pool and lanai. Large gourmet kitchen, family room with brick fireplace, formal living room, dining room. 1 mile to I-4. ������������������������������������

�������������� This 3bed/2bath refurbished double wide just inside Polk Co. line is ready to move into! 1.3 ac. with new roof and fresh paint. 1,512 sq ft with Home Warranty. ���������������������������������




You will appreciate this smart and spacious home with 3Bd/2Ba, 3 car garage (one car garge attached and 2 car garage unattached), refreshing vinyl in-ground pool with attractive concrete decking and fenced yard!


In the delightful Paddocks neighborhood you will find this lovely home with it’s gleaming laminate wood floors. Great Room model with separate Dining Room and Much More! You have to see this before it’s gone! $230,000

Call Carrie Lang @ 813-767-3459

When it comes to Real Estate...

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 86

...because your move matters ����������������������������� Remodeled from the tile roof to tile floors. Spacious 2 Bedroom + Den. This model perfect home has been completely updated with new kitchen, floors, walls and baths. This home is a must see! �����������������������������


brick paver patio area w/built in Bar-B-Q grill, screened lanai and beautiful landscaping all on an acre of land. Manufactured home has 3 beds/2 baths and 938 Sq.Ft.La. Great location in the Dover area and priced at only $179,900. ���������������������������

��������������� When thinking of selling your home Free market evaluation Call Davy Miles @ 813-376-4444

������������������������ New on the Market. 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath Home with 12 BEAUTIFUL ACRES in a very Prime Area of Plant City. You don’t want to miss out on this one. Call Today for your Appointment! $595,000 ���������������������������������


Move right into this wonderfully maintained 3 Bedroom 2 Bath Home on a large Corner Lot in the Silver Brooke Neighborhood. Tile Floors throughout, Great Room/Dining Room, 2 Car Garage. This Home is for the Pickiest of Buyers! $225,000


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�������������������������������� 4 /2 - 2331 sq.ft. home in Walden Lake. Great Room, Formal Dining Room, eat in Kitchen with view to a lovely pool area with screened lanai and fenced in backyard. Well maintained and Seller welcomes offers. Reduced to $319,900. ������������������������������





Call Janet Calvello @ 813-967-1939


Call Jayne Rawnsley @ 813-763-0495

with spa & California style pool, in golf & country club community of Walden Lake. 3BD/2BA, split, 3 car garage w/workshop. All kitchen appliances inc washer, dryer, central vac, beautiful stained glass accents front entrance door, screened lanai, lg treed yard, white vinyl fences, security sys, 1 yr home warranty, $338,000.

New intimate subdivision w/quick access to 1-4. This better than new 2-story, 2198sq.ft, 4Bd/3Ba home has eat-in kitchen, formal dining and large family room, granite counters, hardwood floors, designer carpet, volume ceilings, upgraded lighting and stainless steel appliances. If you must have perfection, this one’s for you! Offered at $349,900.


Close to I-4 and Plant City restaurants. 2 bed,2 bath condo/townhouse with 1180 Sq.Ft.La. located in Cedar Run. Monthly maintenance includes water, sewer, trash, lawn and community pool. Great location, open floor plan and fenced terrace. Priced at only $139,900.


Ready to move in, 1 acre w/ 4/2 1700+ sf. mobile. Great room, remodeled mstr bath with tile. A/c replaced in ‘05. Roof 3-4 yrs old. 30 x 30 workshop, 44’ x 66’ concrete pad. More money for your $ at $152,000.


is evident in this 3BR/2BA home. Beautiful wooden kitchen cabinets-MBR has dual double hung closets & garden tub bath. All windows are solar tinted. Corner FP. Wonderful one-owner Walden Lake home.THIS ONE IS FOR YOU! $243,500.

...Plant City is seeing RED



FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 87

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3 Bedroom 2 Bath Home with Great Room on Nice Lot. Live the wonderful life in beautiful Walden Lake with itʼs golf courses and miles of walking & biking trails. Seller is offering a 1 Year Home Warranty. This home is waiting for you and is priced to sell at at only $205,000. Call Natalie for more details at 813-758-9586.

GREAT PRICES GREAT LOCATIONS 2 New Subdivisions being built with many floor plans to choose from. 3-4 bedrooms with 2-3 bathrooms and 2-3 car garages. Youʼll LOVE your choices! Prices starting in the high $100ʼs! Call the Sweet Team for the Details! Natalie at 813-758-9586 or Angel at 813-546-9863.

This Home features gleaming hardwood floors, new tile in Kitchen and bathroom, Huge Master Bedroom Closets, Tons of charming built-ins. Wonderful screened lanai that overlooks the pool. All this on a huge city lot with covered CLASS “A” RV Storage and close to the Historic District. New Roof in 2005. Priced under Appraisal at only $250,000. Call Angel 813-546-9863 or Natalie 813-758-9586 for more details.

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Are you looking for that perfect Home? Ownerʼs transfer gives you the opportunity to own a home in the wonderful Emerald Forest neighborhood of Walden Lake. Over 2500 sqʼ of Living Area. 3 way split bedroom plan w/4th bedroom well suited for in-law or guest suite. Huge kitchen, formal living & dining rooms, large master suite & large fenced yard. This home even has hurricane shutters for your protection! Youʼll love living here! $340,000


Wonderful home in the Paddocks neighborhood of Walden Lake. This home feels larger than it is with its gleamining laminate wood floors, great room model with separate dining room and much more. You have to see this one! Offered for only $230,000. Call Natalie at 813-758-9586.


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This Fabulous 3 Bedroom 2 Bath home is located in Walden Lake on a Cul-desac. Great floor plan with loads of extras. Upgraded wood cabinets, recessed lighting and tray ceiling. Berber carpet and tile. This Home is just Waiting for YOU! $274,900 Call Angel Miller at 813-546-9863 for more Details.

Hurry! Great custom built ranch style home with many upgrades. Save money on energy with double paned windows, 2 hot water heaters and multiple zoned A/C. This home sits on a beautiful private lot with lots of Florida wildlife in the backyard. $399,900 Call Angel Miller @ 813-546-9863






Move right in to this wonderful home in the Silver Brooke neighborhood of Walden Lake. This special home is on a corner lot and has been maintained beautifully. Featuring tile floors everywhere, great room/dining room floorplan, 3 bedrooms & 2 baths $225,000 Call Natalie at 813-758-9586

Beautiful Hammock Lake & Golf Course home that has it all! 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths, formal living & dining rooms, family room with fireplace. Kitchen features center island & Corian countertops. Enjoy entertaining around your heated pool & spa in this huge lanai with an outdoor kitchen. A home like this rarely comes on the market!



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Beautifully decorated 3 bedroom 2 bath w/2 car garage home on conservation lot in Somerset. Formal living & dining rooms plus family room. Community pool, tennis courts & playground. Built in 2002 & cared for lovingly by the original owners. You just got to see this one! Price Reduced! $239,900

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 88

Delightful starter or retirement home in desirable area of Plant City. Relax on your screened patio overlooking beautiful pond or sit & read a book on the screened front patio. Open great room floor plan. Large air conditioned Florida room. New roof! This home is a must see for only $225,000

Youʼll be right at home in this comfortable 3 Bedroom 2 Bath home. Great Room with separate Living Room or Office/Den. Open Floor Plan, Fenced Yard, Lanai and New Roof Make this Property a Must See. $229,900. Call Natalie @ 758-9586


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 89

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 90


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


Lisa Potter REALTOR®

813-857-4768 Beautiful

3 bedroom 2 bath w/ 2 car side-load garage sits on almost 1/2 acre waterfront lot. Extended screened lanai overlooks tranquil pond w/ no backyard neighbors. Large gourmet kitchen w/ eating area; and great room flow in this open floor plan.

Call Lisa @ 813-857-4768.



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A lot of elbow room - 18.5 acres (mol) adjacent to 10 acres also listed for sale. Cleared pasture land, fenced. 2-story home with magnificant large windows to overlook stunning views of property. Bring the animals!!

��� � � � �� ����� Build your dream home - 1 acre lot available in the much desired Country Trails subdivision; an area of grand estate homes. Minimum of 1800 sq ft. Land survey and tree survey available.

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Room to grow - 1.48 acres in growing SE Plant City on corner lot; easy access to SR 60 and SR 39. Minutes to downtown Plant City. Build the home of your dreams; no deed restrictions.

Brand new for you - Over 2400 sq foot 4 bedroom/ 3 bath on an acre. Enter the oversized master bedroom thru elegant french doors; approx. 25” x 14”. 42” oak wood cabinets in kitchen with island. 16” tile in foyer, kitchen and baths.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 91


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 96

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

Jan Stallings ® Realtor

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 97




Story by Ken Lawrence

The Walden Lake Review T

he children are back in school for another year and, hopefully, some of the vandalism that has been reported to FOCUS will come to a stop. Residents, especially around Kipling Avenue, have reported a myriad of relatively minor issues, such as bikes being stolen from driveways and taken on ‘joy-rides’ and some other mischievous activities. One home was “egged” in Emerald Forest, possibly because the residents had complained about someone fishing in a pond behind their residence. Plant City Police Captain Daryl Wilson has told FOCUS in previous years that such things are expected to increase in number during the summer when kids are out of

school with time on their hands. In the future, the Walden Lake Community Association hopes to have made a decision as to what to do with the Polo Field off Griffin Boulevard. Suggestions have included ball fields, among other venues, and hopefully that will help in providing kids with more extracurricular activities. If the Community Association is to receive any financial assistance to replace the broken sprinkler system along Timberlane, at the back of Walden Lake along Trapnell Road, the money will have to come from the developer of Trapnell Ridge. Plant City Manager David Sollenberger released

an internal letter to FOCUS from city officials, stating the damage was caused by a private contractor hired by Lennar/US Home, the developers of Trapnell Ridge. Those at city hall state if there is to be compensation to Walden Lake Community Association, it should come from the developer and/or its water line contractor. Community Association Manager, Tom Daramus, says contact will be made with the developer to see if it will assist in repairing the sprinklers, which have not been needed so far, with all the rain we’ve been having. Speaking of Tom Daramus, he is also Chairman of the Monthly Plant City Car Show, held on the

third Saturday of each month. Next one is on August 19th. Crowds continue to grow in number and this fall there’ll be two attractive events. The National Street Rod Association will take part in the September 16th show. That should be fun. For General Motors aficionados, the Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac Club of Florida will hold its event at the Plant City Antique Car Show on Saturday October 21st. A tip of the hat to Mr. Daramus and his team of organizers for making the Plant City Car Show a popular event around Florida. Till Next Month!


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 99




Story by Shelton Keely

For Sale By Owner M

any FSBO’s say that the time, paperwork and everyday responsibilities involved were not worth the amount of money they saved in commissions. For others, the financial savings were even more disappointing. By the time they figured the amount of fees paid to outside consultants, inspectors, appraisers, title lawyers, escrow and loan officers, marketing, advertising...they would have been better off having paid the broker’s fee which would have included many of these charges up front. Selling a home requires an intimate understanding of the real estate market. If the property is priced too high, it will sit and develop a reputation for being a problem property. If the property is priced too low, you will cost yourself serious money. Some FSBO’s discovered the lost money as a result of poor decisions outweighed the commission. Before you decide to sell on your own, consider these questions and

weigh the answers of assuming the responsibility versus employing a professional. A little time spent investigating up front will pay off tenfold in the end.

Questions To Consider: Do I have the time, energy, knowhow, and ability to devote a full forced effort to sell my home? One of the keys to selling your home efficiently and profitably is complete accessibility. Many homes have sat on the market much longer than necessary because the owner was unwilling or unavailable to show the property. Realize a certain amount of hours each day is necessary to sell your home. Am I prepared to deal with an onslaught of buyers who perceive FSBO’s as targets for low-balling? One of the challenges of selling a home is screening unqualified prospects and dealing with low-ballers. It often goes much time, effort and expertise it requires to spot these people quickly. Settling for

a low-ball bid is usually worse than paying broker commissions. Am I offering financing options to the buyer? Am I prepared to answer questions about financing? One of the keys to selling, whether it’s a home, a car...anything, is to have all the necessary information the prospective buyer needs and to offer them options. Think about the last time you purchased something of value; did you make a decision before you had all your ducks in a row? By offering financing options you give the home buyer the ability to work on their terms and open up the possibilities of selling your home quickly and more profitably. A professional real estate agent will have a complete team, from lenders to title reps for you to utilize... they’ll be at your disposal. Do I fully understand the legal ramifications and necessary steps required in selling a home? Many home sales have been lost due to incomplete paperwork, lack of inspections or not meeting your

state’s disclosure laws. Are you completely informed of all the steps necessary to sell real estate? If not, a professional would be a wise choice. Do I have the capability of handling the legal contracts, agreements and any disputes with buyers before or after the offer is presented? Ask yourself if you are well versed in legalese and if you are prepared to handle disputes with buyers. To avoid any disputes it is wise to put all negotiations and agreements in writing. Many home sales have been lost due to misinterpretation of what was negotiated. Have I contacted the necessary professionals....title, inspector (home and pest), attorney and escrow company? Are you familiar with top inspectors and escrow companies? Don’t randomly select inspectors, attorneys, and title reps. Like any profession, there are inadequate individuals who will slow, delay and possibly even cost you the transaction.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 100


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Historic gas station on Wheeler & Cherry St. Antique air pump, kerosene pump, own a piece of the past with your new business venture here. A florist, professional office, artist, bring your imagination and $$$. Owner will assist with financing $210,000. Lease Option Brandon Home $219,000. Desireable Seaton Ct. Needs TLC, large lot, beautiful pool, privacy fence. Itʼs all here, equity here. Owner Transferred, Polk County 2005 Fleetwood home. Off Hwy 60 and almost 2600 sq ft. Value Here, Bring the pets and the family. $135,000 Need A Mortgage? Refinance? Reverse Mortgage? Our Mortgage Company Does It All Build your dream home on one of our building lots. Great locations. We can assist with financing on all our properties. Build on the Alafia River - 20 acres available



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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 101

FEATURED HOME The Mystique Of Mystic Oaks Story and Photos by Sophia Dedon

category of dreamers, look no further than Plant City.

To many people, the ideal location for a home is to be minutes away from the conveniences of city life, yet tucked away in a quiet, country atmosphere. Not to mention, living in a deed-restricted community where each lot is at least an acre is wishful thinking to many. If you find yourself in this

Drive North down Park Road, turn left on North Frontage and you will see a small road called Procchi that turns into Mystic Oaks Drive. This hidden community is the perfect location to live. Many of the lots are still available if you are looking for somewhere to build your dream home. If you prefer the convenience of moving into a brand-new already built home, there are two available.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 102

In neither of the homes did the builder cut any corners. The trim, molding, columns and even light fixtures are breathtaking. Very close attention was paid to detail in these homes. They have conveniences such as a radio you can operate from the kitchen that plays on speakers throughout the entire home. They are both around 3400 square feet and sit on over one acre of land, making them roomy on the inside and out. The first home is located at 2819 Mystic Oaks Drive. When ar-

riving in the driveway, one can already tell this will be a beautiful home. After walking through the double front doors your eyes will immediately notice the archways and columns that greet you at the entrance. As you tour through the house room by room you will notice every room is large, leaving plenty of room to lavishly furnish and still not look crowded. Take a few steps into the house, past the dining room and you will notice the gorgeous granite-countertop kitchen large enough to satisfy any chef. The walk-in pantry will certainly store enough food for any size family.

The second home, located at 608 Graceful Oaks Court, is just as beautiful, large and detailoriented as the first, but has its own special perks. When in the living room, one can’t help but notice the built in entertainment center already set up for a flat Screen TV. The kitchen is a cook’s dream, featuring beautiful cabinetry and granite countertops with a center island. The master

bedroom is great for anyone who prefers a spacious room with its own sitting area. The term “walk in closet” does not suffice for the size of this closet, closer to the size of a small bedroom. The three other bedrooms in the house are also the perfect size for any purpose you would want to give them. The most unique feature of this home is the bonus room that is

over 350 square feet. Dream away with what this room could be! This home also has glass doors that expose you to the back yard. There is potential to put a pool in if desired. Or, you can just enjoy the scenery of the pond. Both homes have a list price of $498,000. It would be money well-spent if you quickly hopped on board for this up-and-coming community. If interested, call Barbara Jean Kulyk of Keller Williams Realty today for a personal tour or more information. She is available at 813-781-1915.

The entire home is hard wood floors and tile, except the bedrooms. The master bedroom is 512 square feet, larger than a small apartment! The other three bedrooms are all over 150 square feet, more than enough for a child or a guest room. There is even an extra room with hard wood floors that would make a beautiful office with large windows facing the front lawn.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 103

VACATION LIVING YEAR’ ROUND There's room for the whole family in this 4BR 2BA home located on Lake Buffum where you can enjoy the lake view from your living rm, dining rm & scrnd lanai. There’s frontage on the lake and canal. Available today for $269,900. #602

FAMILY COMPOUND OR ... Investors delight. This 3 bedrm 2 bath home with an inground pool is surrounded by 13 acres completely fenced. The 50 x 100 Barn & cattle pens are an extra bonus. You can enjoy it all or divide. Call today for details. #604

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Ronnie Wingate

Nancy C. Wingate

Jessica Caton

Sharon B. Ours

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Eves: 659-0274

Eves: 763-0818

Eves: 763-0856


can be yours in this 3 bedrm 2 bath block home on 1 acre in Walden Lake school district. Fenced back yard with detached Garage/Workshop. This well maintained home can be yours for $225,000. #605


Chris Brunson Eves: 598-3787

Financing provided by Coldwell Banker Mortgage. 3000 Leadership Road, Mt Laurel, NJ/08064. Some restrictions apply. Please contact us for details

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 104

e v i t a r o c e D

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Estate Brokers USA, Inc 813-986-9141

������������ FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 105

���������� ��������� TILE BARN�CARPET & INTERIORS Let Our Professional Staff Assist You. Redecorate one room or the whole house. ���������������������������������������������� ������������������ ����������������� ����������� ����������������� �������� ������������������� �����������

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 106

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 107

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 108

Walden Lake Business Services Inc.

Contractors Noticing Services Inc. • Notice to Owner • Claims of Lien • Notices of Commencement • Notice of Non-Payments • Bond Claims • Lien Releases • Incorporations • Lien Satisfaction • Notary • New Business Start Up • Collections


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FINE TOUCH CLEANING ������������������������������ ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������

813-300-4763 • 813-757-0140 FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 109

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 110

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

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

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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




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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 111




Story and Photos by Sophia Dedon


The Vogel Realty staff (L to R) Patty Martinez, Kelley Vogel Blackburn, Tammy Piergallini, Judy Vogel, and Fallon McQuillen. (Not Pictured: Denni Avendano, Roger Avendano, Sue Dei and Karuna Khan-Gordon).


ith over 25 years experience selling real estate, it’s no wonder why Judy Vogel has experienced so much success since she opened her own real estate company, Vogel Realty, nearly seven years ago. Vogel Realty is a full service real estate company that provides residential, commercial, acreage, land, industrial and other real estate services. “The key to having a successful real estate company,” said Vogel, “is to maintain a good reputation.” The only way to earn a reputable name is to satisfy customers year after year, a concept that Vogel realizes and has always utilized. Most people selling a house are going through a major transition in their life; whether it is death, divorce, a move or other circumstances. Because Vogel understands the importance of building strong relationships with all of her clients, she becomes a friend, not

just a real estate agent. “Helping someone sell a home is a life-long commitment,” said Vogel. “It’s not about selling their home and getting them out the door.” Understanding her perspective on this may explain why several of her clients are using Vogel Realty for their fourth or fifth home.

One client Vogel had came back 15 years later when she was ready to sell her second home and wanted to use Vogel again. Obviously, she had left the impression of being a high-quality realtor, so much so her customer remembered her 15 years down the line. These quality attributes and Vogel’s way of selling real estate are practiced not only by her, but she has also passed these traits down to the other agents who work with her.

but also has a permitting division. They strive to exceed expectations by building positive, productive and harmonious relationships with their customers based on trust. They understand the process to have a permit granted can be time consuming and confusing. Therefore, they act daily as an agent during the process, tracking permits until they are completed. Otherwise, the process would be held up for weeks or even months. Some of the clients the permitting division works with are: Publix, Hess, Blockbuster, Race Trac, Sam’s Club, Starbucks and Bank of America. When you’re faced with the decision of who to use for your real estate or permitting needs, why should you choose Vogel Realty? According to Vogel the answer is simple. “Proven results,” she said. “Out of 8000+ agents in the area, Vogel is always in the top 100. We actually sell and close homes.” Vogel said the average real estate agent lasts two years, so obviously Vogel Real Estate is far better than average, with over two decades of experience.

“We realize when people come to us to help them sell their home, they are trusting us with their most valuable possession,” said Vogel. “We want to help them get the most money for their home and know they can trust the hands dealing with their property.” Vogel is a Certified Residential Specialist, a title only 4% of realtors nationwide can claim. Vogel Realty will help walk you through the entire process so you know what to expect. When going through such a transition in your life, you need to have someone who will help you feel secure. The process that may seem stressful to you is one Vogel is all too familiar with. This allows you to breathe freely knowing you can rest in the comfort of their knowledge and expertise. If you are in need of a real estate or permitting company you can trust, make sure you call Vogel Realty at 813-659-3306 or stop by the office at 1514 South Alexander Street, Suite 203.

Vogel Realty handles not only real estate You can count on Judy Vogel to close your home.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 112

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 113

Edward Jones to Hold Financial Planning Seminar for Women ( Plant City, Florida) -- “Smart Women Finish Rich” is the subject of a seminar to be given on Aug. 23rd by Michael Cameron, Investment Representative, in partnership with Van Kampen Investments, Inc. The seminar will be given at 6:00pm at 2501 Thonotosassa Rd. Admission is free, and reservations can be made by calling Darlene Schneck at 813-759-1491. “Smart Women Finish Rich” is both fun and educational, and was developed by Van Kampen on an exclusive basis with David Bach, the author of the New York Times best-selling book of the same name, Broadway Books, 2002. Bach also has written the best sellers titled “Smart Couples Finish Rich” (Broadway Books, 2001) and “The Automatic Millionaire.” Since its inception, the turnkey public seminar has been held in more than 1,000 cities nationwide. “Smart Women Finish Rich” also has been adapted into a PBS show hosted by Bach. “’Smart Women Finish Rich’ Provides women with seven simple steps to living a fuller, richer life,” said Scott West, Van Kampen’s director of marketing programs. “During the seminar, attendees learn how to start improving the quality of their financial lives right away by using proprietary tools such as The Values Ladder, The Latte Factor, and Financial ‘Baskets’ for their Retirement, Security and Dreams”. *** Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the fund carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other information about the fund. To obtain a prospectus, contact your financial advisor or download one at vankampen. com. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing. Keep in mind this program is intended to be used as a guide and is no guarantee of individual results as it is possible to lose money by investing in mutual funds. Returns, however, on all investment products will fluctuate. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate, and your investment value may be more or less than the original invested amount.

Michael S. Cameron 2501 Thonotosassa Rd Plant City, FL 33563

813 / 759 - 1491

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plant city FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 114




Don’t Bank on House Profits to Fund Retirement T

o enjoy a comfortable retirement lifestyle, you will need to build your net worth before you retire. You may be interested in knowing between 2001 and 2004 the typical household’s net worth, adjusted for inflation, grew 1.5 percent, according to a recent Federal Reserve study. The good news is the 1.5 percent figure, while not appearing large, actually represents a sizable gain in family wealth. The not-so-good news, from a retirement savings standpoint, is much of this increase in wealth came from rising home prices. Why shouldn’t you count on appreciated home prices to form a key pillar of your retirement savings? Won’t the value of your home just keep rising? Not necessarily. While it’s true housing prices have gone up significantly over the last several years, there is no guarantee this trend will continue. Housing prices have certainly fallen in the past - and they are likely to do so again. But just as importantly, even an extended period of rising home prices may not help you as much as you’d think. After all, to profit from your home, you have to sell it - but then you have to live somewhere else. And even if you decide to “trade down,” you’re likely to find that smaller homes have also appreciated quite a bit, so your sale might not net you nearly as much as you’d hope. To sum up: Your home may provide you with some of the money you will need during retirement - but not all of it. And that’s why you need to look beyond your house and into the world of investments. To help pay for a retirement that may last two or three decades, you must invest regularly - at every stage of your life. Two Investment “Platforms”

Essentially, you have two main investment “platforms”: your employer-sponsored retirement plan and your private investment accounts. And you’ll want to pay close attention to both of these platforms. For example, if you have a 401(k) plan at work, learn as much as you can about the various investment options available - and choose the mix of investments that can potentially provide you with the growth you need, given your individual risk tolerance. Because it offers both tax-deferred earnings and a chance to contribute pretax earnings, a 401(k), by its very nature, offers some key advantages in saving for retirement. But you are ultimately responsible for your 401(k) plan’s success - so study up on your choices, contribute as much as you can afford, monitor review your progress and make adjustments as needed. And while you are contributing to your 401(k) at work, you should also invest steadily in your traditional or Roth IRA. A traditional IRA offers tax-deferred earnings, while a Roth IRA has the potential to grow tax-free, provided you meet certain conditions. Finally, you will want to build a portfolio containing a diversified mix of stocks, bonds and other securities. Your financial professional can help you make sure that these investments work in conjunction with your 401(k) and IRA to help you take advantage to maximize your progress toward your retirement goals. So, if you aren’t already investing consistently, start now. The years fly by, and before you know it, retirement will be looming. When that day arrives, you’ll want to be prepared.

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Call Hiram 813.716.2416


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Frenchmanʼs Flea Market 106 E. Drane St. 754-8388 Mon-Sat 10am-5pm

Kim A. Allen (813) 719-8922

(Over 10,000 Sq Ft)

Open till 9pm the First and third Saturday of each month for the


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 115



Submitted by Dr. Jeffrey Dunn

Younger Skin Revealed Through Chemical Peels A

s you age, the accumulated effects of sun exposure, pollutants, acne and scarring can damage your skin and cause you to look older than you are. Such skin damage can be treated with a chemical peel, a non-invasive procedure designed to promote cell growth and produce smoother, clearer skin. Chemical peels involve applying a chemical solution to remove the outer layers of skin so that a smoother, more evenly pigmented, glowing layer of skin can appear. It can reduce or eliminate fine lines, correct uneven skin pigmentation, remove precancerous skin growths, and soften acne or treat scars caused by acne. The procedure can also treat wrinkles caused by sun damage and scarring, as well as skin blemishes common with age and heredity. Chemical peels can be performed on the face, neck, chest, hands, arms and legs. There are three basic categories of

chemical peels. Each type works differently and produces different results. In general, the stronger the chemical, the deeper the peel, and the more impressive the results. However, the deeper the peel, the more pain you’re likely to experience and the longer the recovery time will be. Light peels: Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), Betahydroxy acids (BHAs) Light or “lunch hour” peels are the mildest of the chemical peels. These peels include glycolic, lactic, and fruit acid peels (AHA) or Salicylic Acid (BHA). They exfoliate only the outer layers of the skin to smooth out fine wrinkles and/or rough, dry skin. They may also be used to improve the texture of sun-damaged skin, balance out skin pigmentation, or diminish some types of acne scars. The application of AHA and Beta lift peels are relatively fast and simple, and are generally performed in a physician’s office. No

anesthesia is required, since the patient only experiences a slight stinging when the solution is applied. There is no down time after these peels. A series of six peels is usually recommended for optimal results, typically spaced about a month apart. Medium peels: Trichloroacetic acids (TCA) & Jessner’s TCA and Jessner’s solutions are used for medium depth peels. These are generally used to treat skin with moderate sun damage, surface wrinkles, and/or uneven tone or pigment abnormalities. Generally, TCA and Jessner’s peels are performed in a physician’s office. Anesthesia is not usually required for medium peels because the chemical solution acts as an anesthetic. They may take several days to heal, based on the peel depth. Two or more medium peels may be needed over several months to obtain the desired result, although mild TCA and Jessner’s peels may

be repeated more frequently. Deep peels: Phenol acid Phenol acid is used for the deepest possible chemical peel. Phenol peels treat skin with coarse wrinkles, blotchiness, and pre-cancerous growths. Generally, phenol peels are performed in the doctor’s office or in a surgery center with anesthesia, and only require one treatment. Phenol peels should be used with caution because they can cause permanent lightening of the skin, and are not recommended for patients with very dark skin tones. Recovery may be slow and complete healing may take several months. Also, after a phenol peel, new skin may lose its ability to produce pigment, and will always have to be protected from the sun. Although a chemical peel will not prevent or slow the aging process, it may be the perfect choice to help you look refreshed, renewed and radiant.

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Vickie Tew and Bill Saunders

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 117



Submitted by Sherry Nueesch

Thinking About What You’re Thinking About


s I promised, I am going to write about the thinking thing again. I actually got a lot of feedback from readers over last month’s article. Most of the ladies shared with me they had never really given a lot of thought to their thinking. It was just something they did. They shared with me they believed the thinking part of life was out of their control. The overwhelming response I received was one of gratitude to now have more insight into their thinking, and the role it played in their lives. I can relate. I never gave thinking a lot of thought either. I am sure glad that someone opened my eyes to this “thinking thing” as I like to call it. It is a powerful tool to have in our lives when we learn we aren’t victims to whatever thoughts come into our heads. Our thinking does not have to control us. A thought is just a thought. A thought has no power unless we act on it. Just because something pops in our head does not mean we have to do something with it. This is where we have our power. According to Janet Jet-aal from “Communicate with Confidence,” we talk to ourselves at a rate of 600-800 words per minute. 75% of the words we say to ourselves are negative!!!! OUCH! Since

we already learned last month that our feelings come directly from our thoughts, then lots of negative thinking creates a lot of bad feelings. Left uninterrupted, bad thinking leads to bad feelings and bad feelings lead to negative behavior. I will speak for myself when my thinking is stinking and I’m feeling not so happy, I don’t make good choices. I usually have a bad attitude and it shows. When I’ve got the “stinking thinking” going on, I eat more, and it’s usually not celery sticks! It is hard to motivate myself to exercise when I’ve got “stinking thinking” going on. There are some important points to make here to help you understand thought better. The bad news is that you cannot control thoughts that come into your head. Once they are there, they are there. A good analogy would be birth. Once a baby is born, it cannot be unborn. When babies are here, they are here. The same goes for your thinking. Once that thought has arrived in your head, there is no undoing it. Unfortunately we don’t have a delete button in our brains to delete thoughts. There IS good news, however!!! You may not be able to control what thoughts come into your mind, but you do have the power to not leave them there. Your power is that you do have a choice. If you find yourself feeling bad, you can always trace it back to a thought. You have the power to choose to continue on with the “stinking thinking”, or to direct your thoughts onto something else. You can choose to move your thoughts in a different direction. When you understand the thought wheel, you know that your feelings are a direct result of your thinking. If you are feeling bad, you are doing some “stinking thinking”. For me this was a great big revelation. It helped me gain more

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 118

control over my reality. I learned I had a lot more control over my happiness levels. Changing our mind is all a matter of motivation. Keep thinking what you are thinking and you will keep feeling what you are feeling. If you want to feel better, choose to change your thinking. To quote author, Jane Nelsen; “When happiness is more important to you than anything else, you will be happy, because there will be no thoughts you will be willing to give up your happiness for”. When I wrote last month that I believed we could think ourselves thin, I believe we can. Don’t get this confused with wishful thinking. Wishing to be thin never has worked. If you will fill your head with good thoughts you will get

good feelings. Good feelings lead to healthy behavior. Good feelings lead to healthy choices. I will share with you how I change my negative thinking when it happens. It works for me all the time. It is my attitude of gratitude. Even when my mood is extremely low, I can still bring my mood back up by making a list of all the things in my life that I am grateful for. I won’t bore you with my list. You have PLENTY of your own. I believe what we pay attention to in life is what multiplies. What are you paying attention to? What are you thinking? As always, to your health, Sherry Nueesch

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 119



Submitted by Dr. Susan Ott

Oh No, It’s An Itis!!! Y

ou have just been to the doctor and they said you have tendonitis...or bursitis...or both...what the heck does that mean? Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon. Tendons are soft tissue structures that connect muscles to bones. Ligaments, on the other hand, connect bones to bone. A more precise term is probably tendonopathy, denoting a chronicicity to the injury. Likewise, a bursitis is an inflammation of a bursa. Bursas are potential spaces and usually sit between two structures, like between bone and skin.

We have tendons and bursas all over our bodies; therefore we can get tendonitis or bursitis just about anywhere. One of the most common places to

get tendonitis is in your elbow. Tennis elbow is a form of tendonitis involving what we call the common extensor tendon. It is a group of three muscles that allow you to extend your hand and wrist. The medical term is lateral epicondylitis. It usually presents as pain on the outside or lateral side of the elbow. Oftentimes it occurs from a repetitive tennis; however, it can also occur from a repetitive activity like painting with a paintbrush. Sometimes there is no one thing that causes the tendon to become inflamed. Another common place to get tendonitis is at the knee where the hamstrings (the big muscles in the back of your leg) insert into the top part of your shin bone (tibia). This is called a pes anserine tendonitis. Oftentimes, a bursitis will accompany a tendonitis. There is a bursa near

the pes tendon which often becomes inflamed as well. In the shoulder tendonitis and bursitis is a common problem also. Rotator cuff tendonitis and inflammation of the bursa that sits on top of the rotator cuff usually go hand in hand.

work in a more concentrated fashion. Sometimes surgery is used to treat some (but not all) forms of chronic tendonitis not responding to conservative care, but the majority of cases can be treated with above conservative measures.

So what is done to treat the itis? As these are inflammatory conditions, one of the first lines of treatment is an anti-inflammatory medicine. These can be used in conjunction with bracing (sometimes) and physical therapy. At times an injection will be used, as well. Most injections given for a tendonitis and/or a bursitis consist of a steroid and a local anesthetic. The local anesthetic will numb the area. The steroid is a very strong form of an anti-inflammatory. By injecting this medication, it can be put right at the problem area to



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Story and Photo by Holly Mallalieu

Student Of The Month TANAY TATUM

School is back in session and students are once again beginning to buckle down to their studies, ready to show themselves improved. Most of them, of course. Tanay Tatum, a 16-year-old junior at Plant City High School this year, is definitely one of the “most.” In fact, she stands out in many ways as a terrific, well-rounded student among the rest of her classmates. It’s no surprise Tatum ranks among the very top in her grade when all things are taken into perspective. Since the beginning of her freshman year, she has been actively involved in many extra-curricular activities, with Student Council being first on the list. This year Tatum will serve as President of the Junior Class, as well as being co-Junior Vice

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 122

President of Student Council. FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) has been another large involvement for her, and she has previously maintained positions in the club, such as historian and reporter. Tatum is also a member of the National Honor Society. Besides first-classing her way in academics, this active student also excels outside of the classroom. As basketball is one of her hobbies, Tatum has played for the high school team for the past two years, and is anticipating another season. Tatum will be playing on the girls’ golf team this year as well, although this is for the first time. It’s obvious that Tatum isn’t one to put off when it comes to her

future. As of now, she is planning on attending Duke University, and has her mind set on becoming an anesthesiologist. Tatum is a dynamic student whose future looks extremely promising. With her high school path unfolding so successfully, it’s a sure thing that she’ll do just as well after graduation. Keep up the good work!

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 123

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 124




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Story by Bob Hughens

I Can Do It I

n 2006, the oldest of the “baby boomer” generation born between 1946 and 1964 will turn 60 years old. The people in this age group all share one common characteristic. They have experienced the aging process. They have put on extra weight, have medical conditions that have to be treated with prescription medication and their bodies won’t let them do the physical things that they used to do. Why am I telling you this? Because I have been talking to a number of “boomers” over the past few months that truly want to get started on a fitness program, but are not sure what type of program is right for them. They are not sure how to set up their workout routine due to a variety of different physical limitations and restraints. Some suffer from arthritis, asthma, joint disorder, etc., and these physical limitations hinder their ability to do certain workout exercises and motions. One great way to get started is by starting a walking routine. If you’re new to physical activity, haven’t been active in a long time or are trying a sport or activity for the first time, it’s important to start out slowly and build up your activity gradually so you don’t get hurt. If you decide to start walking, begin by doing 10 minutes at a time. In a few weeks, you can increase your time to 20 minutes and then 30 minutes, 45 minutes, and eventually an hour. To realize health benefits, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, at least five days a week. If you’re starting a strength-training program, talk to a fitness instructor about how much weight to begin lifting, what exercises to do, and how often. Don’t forget to warm up with some simple stretches before your routine. For aerobic exercises, a good rule of thumb to see if you’re working at the right pace is the “talk test.” If you

can’t talk during the activity, you’re working too hard. Another guideline is the 10 percent rule. Don’t increase your program by more than 10 percent a week. So if you start out walking a mile, don’t go more than an extra one-tenth of a mile, or about two blocks, the following week. Always warm up before you begin a workout and do some stretching for your arms, legs, and back. Repeat the stretches after your workout. If you’re planning to exercise for an hour or more, drink more water than you think you need before, during, and after exercise to avoid getting dehydrated. If you exercise more than an hour, make it a sports drink to replace lost carbohydrates and electrolytes. People know their bodies better than anyone else. If you feel something is out of proportion to the level of exercise you’re doing, step back and evaluate yourself for light-headedness, shortness of breath, sudden severe headache, chest, stomach or any other pain. See your physician if these symptoms occur. The reason that I am focusing on these “boomers” this month is because I fall into this group. I turn 58 years old this year and I have taken a long hard look at my own physical condition. I have been on my training program for eleven months and have lost 51 pounds. I live a schedule in which I get cardiovascular workouts at least 3-4 times a week. I feel much better and my energy level has skyrocketed since beginning my program. I am nowhere near the weight I want to be at but I keep working at it. It is my hope that all of you “baby boomers” out there get on some type of fitness program that will make you feel better, gain a higher energy level and a better feeling about yourself. Remember, what have you done today to make you feel proud? See you next month!

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 125




Story and Photos by Daniel Sperry



wo men and two women move into position as the volleyball arches through the air. One man sets it up, the other man hits it over the net, the whistle shrieks. “More than one hit, a woman has to be included,” the ref calls out. The ball goes to the other team and play resumes. This is a typical Wednesday night at the Plant City YMCA. It is the new coed volleyball league, formed in partnership between the YMCA and Plant City Recreations and Parks Department. This is the first time both groups have worked on a joint venture like this together. Doug Barnette, Senior Program Director at the YMCA says it is important to both groups to offer activities like this to Plant City. “It’s an effort to increase adult sports in the community,” he says.

“Some people just don’t have the discipline to go work out every day, but if they are involved in a league like this, all of a sudden, they are looking forward to Wednesday night and their game.” The league began on July 12th and ran through August 10th, with the tournament on the 17th. There were six teams, which thrilled Barnette. “We didn’t know how many would sign up for the first session of the league.” There were four teams for the first week, five the second and finally six as they work their way into the end of the session. “We only accept entire teams,” Barnette says. “Two men and two women on a team.” In the future, he expects they will allow individuals to sign up as “free agents” and try out for teams, but for now, individuals who want to

Players practice before games to prepare their strategies

play are encouraged to come out to the games and meet the other players. There are often other people there who would like to form a team, but are short players. “A person could get onto a team that way,” Barnette says. Games are every Wednesday from 6:308:00 pm. Barnette says the games are very competitive. “This is league play,” he says. “It’s pretty aggressive.” There is a wide age range of players. Some are in their early

Doug Barnette, Senior Program Director, also referees games

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 126

Competition is very strong in the league

twenties, all the way up to late thirties. “We don’t have a team in the over-40 age group yet, but they are welcome to play.” Barnette says, adding that he expects to have more teams for the next round, which begins after this one ends. Watching the games, it is obvious that everyone is having fun. There are plenty of spectators cheering the teams on, and though the competitiveness is obvious during the game, afterward, everyone seems to know each other and have established friendships. “The friendships are really great,” says Barnette. “We are trying to open up ways for people in the community to develop friendships and have regular physical activity.” For more information contact the YMCA at 813-757-6677 or the Plant City Recreation and Parks Department at 813-659-4255.

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“I was in bad shape until I found Dr. Parson and this DRX9000. I could hardly straighten up and I was in pain all the time. It was ruining 60% to 70% of my life and now Iʼm all most pain free. It really works and if youʼre thinking about doing it donʼt waste your time thinking. Donʼt live your life in pain. This machine works, it really does! Iʼm glad I found them. The good Lord sent me over to the right man is the way I look at it. Do it, donʼt wait, lifeʼs too short to be in pain. Thank you.” – Robert White – Truck Driver – Tampa, Florida

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“I had a bulging disc in my back between L5/S1. I was in a lot of pain. The disc decompression and Dr. Parson have helped me a lot. Iʼve had to take no time off work for this. My other option was surgery to stop the pain going down my leg and the numbness in my left foot. Today Iʼm having my last treatment and no longer have the pain like I had. I was at a 7 or 8 (out of a pain scale of 10) for pain and now Iʼm a 1. For a fifty year old man thatʼs not bad!” – Michael Sanderson – Building Contractor – Plant City, Florida

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The patient and any other persons responsible for the payment has the right to refuse to pay, cancel payment for any other service, examination or treatment which is performed as a result of and within 72 hours of responding to this advertisement for the free service, examination or treatment.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 127




Story by Brian West Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company



or SEL), and 10 different exterior colors add to the look.

The front end of the Fusion is the most prominent feature on the exterior. The headlights have an inward slant and there is a contrasting chrome grill. The grill catches your attention due to the almost utilitarian design; flat, chrome, horizontal bars with the blue oval in the middle. The profile is also simple and understated; no distinct lines, just a straight-forward conservative approach. Three different wheel options – 16” and 17” – depending on the model (S, SE,

The interior is slightly bolder. In a word, I’d describe the interior as handsome. It complements the exterior nicely. Everything is aesthetically balanced right down to the simple analog gauges and the clock in the center of the dash. The center console has two tiers of storage. And something that’s becoming more common these days; the Fusion comes with two power points for your mobile accessories, such as cell phones and MP3 players. I liked this feature because I could keep my cell phone plugged in and charging and just close the console to hide the phone while I was away from the car. There’s room for five adults to sit comfortably. The Fusion is built on the Mazda6 platform, but stretched a couple of inches. It may not sound like much, but the extra inches make for plenty of room for passengers in the back seat. And there’s also plenty of room for

ord Motor Company is working hard to get your dollars. The past several years, Ford has begun reaching beyond its traditional approach to become more competitive in the automobile market, and so far it’s working. One of the latest vehicles to be introduced is the new Ford Fusion. The Fusion is Ford’s replacement for the now extinct Taurus. The Fusion is simply a no-nonsense sedan with straight-forward looks and performance.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 128

junk in the trunk with 15.8 cubic feet of space – before folding the seats down. The V-6 Fusion offers 221hp with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Coupled with the low weight, the acceleration is more than adequate for merging onto the highway or passing slower moving vehicles. And all Fusion models are equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes; an option that is hard to find in a vehicle without spending considerably more money. Given all the focus on fuel conservation and low emissions, you’ll appreciate this Ford. The Fusion is also the first midsize Ford sedan engineered to achieve a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) rating in the Green States. In addition, the 2.3L inline 4-cylinder engine with the 5-speed transmission is designed to meet California’s Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle tailpipe emissions; all great news for our environment.

The Fusion’s handling is tight, just like all of the other Ford products these days. You get the feeling the vehicle is made to last a lifetime. The tracking is exceptional on winding roads. When driving at night, the headlights provide the clearest ���eld of vision than most any vehicle I’ve driven lately, which is a great safety feature. The Fusion is a direct competitor to the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord, and for a domestic rival I’d have to say the Fusion should put up a good fight. This Ford Fusion was loaded with black leather interior, contrasting-color thread stitching and just about every option available. The sticker price was $20,955. Most dealers I’ve seen have several models available on their lots to choose from, with varying options. If you’re interested in the new Ford Fusion, please visit Jarrett Ford in Plant City and be sure to tell them you read about the Fusion in Focus Magazine.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 129




By Al Ruechel

It’s Sooooooo Hot! goes down and Mr. Sunshine just loves turning our skin into leather. But it’s hotter in St. Louis because the humidity is the key. And New York City, well, it claims to be number one in everything, so, of course, the heat is the worst in the now baked Big Apple

Hello! Can you say, “It’s hot!” Darned tootin! It was so hot Boston Red Sox fans left after the third inning because they say they couldn’t breathe. It was so hot in Chicago the transit buses and cop cars were all overheating. It was so hot in the nation’s capitol police let kids swim in the reflecting pool. Everywhere you look this summer it has been a real scorcher. Even in Florida, it’s hotter than normal. But where do you think it feels the hottest? It’s the old argument about heat and humidity. Florida is the hottest because the sun never

Baloney. Arizona. Now that’s hot! A couple of days ago it was 113 degrees. Not to worry, because it’s dry heat and anyone can live with dry heat. Sure you can, as long as you don’t mind having your skin looking like a miniature Grand Canyon.

105-degree range. Many folks up north don’t have air conditioners and haven’t learned the lesson of drinking plenty of fluids. Come to think of it, the real problem is that our human bodies don’t do so well having to adjust to frigid winter temperatures for several months and then readjusting to equatorlike conditions. Yes, there is such a thing as your blood thinning out after you’ve lived in a subtropical climate for some time.

When I was a kid in Iowa we used to bale hay in August. If you complained about the heat on the wagon, Grandpa would send you up to the barn to stack the bales. It was a nice and toasty 115 degrees, according to the old Burma Shave thermometer on the wall. Now that was hot! It was also a great excuse to grab a beer from Grandpa’s ice cooler. I hate beer, but on those occasions, I did as my elder ordered.

Test my hypothesis. How many cases of heat stroke are reported in Mexico City versus New York City? According to the WHO (World Health Organization), more people die from heat-related illnesses in North America than in Mexico. Check it for yourself! Mexicans take their infamous naps in the middle of the day because they know it helps them cope better with the heat. They do the same thing in sub-Saharan Africa. I spent time as a missionary in East Africa and never saw a single person suffering from heat exhaustion.

No doubt there are serious concerns when the heat index stays in

If you use sweating as an indicator of heat, then I’m in trouble. I

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 130

sweat all the time… in the car, on my bike, on the news set. It is just pathetic! I carry two bath towels in my car and a spare shirt and still I look like I just got done running a marathon. Charlie Crist sweats a lot, too. He usually brings a portable fan with him when he does TV interviews. I don’t blame him. Remember how bad Richard Nixon looked in his debate against JFK? Let’s face it. What’s hot and what’s not is all relative. The gals I work with think it’s always too cold in our air-conditioned building, so they run around wrapped in blankets. I’m begging to turn down the thermostat. You know those little metal cages they put around thermostats…they were created to frustrate us sweaters. Still, the true measure of whether it’s hot outside comes down to an old weather forecaster’s trick. Take one egg, crack on top of a car hood sitting in the afternoon sun and watch it fry. I’ve actually done this and it’s amazing. Now, when you can take an egg and crack it and place it on your forehead… thaaaaaaat’s HOT!

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 131




Story by Brandon Hyde Photos courtesy of Captain Memo’s

Captain Memo’s LIFE AT SEA


any times riding through the crowded streets and byways of Clearwater, one can look out at the sea. Every once in a while, a strange, almost frightening sight can be seen. A pirate ship. The mind will flash back to the horrific stories of Blackbeard, Captain Nemo and Jack Sparrow. Well, maybe not Jack Sparrow. But, there is nothing to fear, for FOCUS Magazine has unraveled the mystery of this ship and found its port of call. Captain Memo and his gang of outcast swashbucklers man this ship. They are not your everyday pirates, however. Instead of sword fighting, plundering and pillaging, these pirates bring joy and entertainment to the Tampa Bay area. They take on passengers (even the young ones), feed them their best, give them drinks and require no chores of them. Be taken back over 300 years to a magical ride upon Pirates’ Ransom to a world of sunsets, music and relaxation. Arriving at Pirates’ Ransom you are greeted by the finest pirates you have ever met. Genuinely happy to see you and serve your needs, they inform you right away of the necessities; restrooms and the bar. The bar is a curious little area that takes up the cabin of the main deck. Here, you can be served everything from cookies to chips and from water to beer, with the convenience of a restroom nearby. For the little ones there are hats and toy weapons passed around. When everything is checked, double checked and inspected, the ship is ready to make its voyage to the sea. Pirates’ Ransom passes beautiful homes, hotels and bridges as it moves along its path to Clearwater Beach. These sights, coupled with being surrounded by the trappings of a pirate ship with the sea breeze on your skin; you can now understand the heart of a pirate. It wasn’t about the gold. It was about the beauty and freedom of the sea.

The gold didn’t hurt, but freedom is what the heart desires above all else and pirates found that on the sea. Once into open water, dolphins, schools of fish and various other forms of marine life can be seen. For the night cruises, however, the best time of the day is when the sun begins to set. The clouds turn from white, to golden yellow, to bright pinks and purples. Completely riveting, everyone’s attention is drawn to the starboard side to witness one of the most beautiful sights on earth, the sunset over the sea. And now, the real fun begins with the pirates of the boat. Complimentary sodas and beer are passed around as the children are rounded up and told stories and allowed to “fight” with their water pistols. Music aboard the ship’s well-hidden speakers pumps through the crowd, songs that merge the nightlife and sea life into one. The boat is alive with its passengers as it makes it way around the bay; almost bobbing up and down it seems, to the rhythm of the music. Everyone then does a strange thing. They find themselves having painted mustaches, beards and goatees. Out of nowhere come eye patches, scars, cuts, and, best of all, pirate hats. Not only are you a pirate then, but a real pirate, complete with a mug of grog in hand, party song in your head, and a painted goatee to go with it, no matter what your gender. The rest of the voyage is an enjoyable one, whether you take to dancing or just relaxing, this boat ride has it all. The next time you begin to wonder about life upon the sea, look no further than a few miles down the road where pirates are nice, beer is free and the sunsets are beautiful. The ship cruises daily at 10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Call 727-446-2587 to reserve your tickets today.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 132

Children really feel like they are pirates when they are given a gun to shoot, even though it only squirts water.

Day cruises are offered at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.

The friendly pirates do many activities with the kids, making this a great day of fun for children.



Story by Johnnie Byrd, Attorney at Law

Having that Sinking Feeling? Y

ou’ve seen it on television and maybe even firsthand: a house or lake just disappears into the earth. Of course, we live in Florida - it’s a sinkhole. Is this event just “too bad” for the homeowners? Not in Florida. In the United States, sinkhole damage to a residence generally is not covered by homeowners’ insurance. However, since 1981, in Florida, insurers offering homeowner’s coverage have been required by law to provide coverage for damage resulting from sinkholes, both to the structures and for stabilizing the ground beneath covered structures. So, don’t worry, you’ve got coverage, if you can prove it! Florida has more sinkholes than any other state in the nation. Sinkholes are a naturally occurring phenomenon as rain and groundwater flow through the top layer of soil into the limestone layers that underlay most of Florida. The Tampa Bay area is particularly prone to sinkhole formation and collapse because the limestone in our area is closer to the surface, thus making the rock layer beneath the surface more vulnerable to erosion. Insurance claims from Tampa Bay homeowners for damages resulting from sinkholes have increased dramatically both in number and costs over the past 20 years. Although a sinkhole can form without warning, specific signs can signal potential development. Some potential indications of the presence of a sinkhole include: slumping or falling fence posts, trees, or foundations: sudden formation of small ponds or loss of water from same; sudden appearance of a crater or hole; wilting vegetation; discolored well water; structural cracks in ceiling, walls, and floors. If you have a suspected sinkhole claim, know this – the law is complicated and you should not look to the insurance company’s adjuster to look out for you. There are many issues to be addressed, such as the best method for remediation of sinkhole damage; how to prove property damage results from a sinkhole rather than from ground settling, soil type or other geological occurrence; and the responsibility to pay the costs for sinkhole testing and remediation, among other related considerations. That is why it is important


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to contact your attorney as soon as you suspect that you have a claim. Your attorney will make sure the insurer makes an initial inspection of the property once the sinkhole claim is filed. Your attorney will also make sure that the insurer provides coverage for the costs to stabilize the land and building and to repair the foundation, as well as repairs to the structure, up to the limits of the policy. Should the insurer deny the claim, the homeowner must engage his or her own engineering firm with experience in sinkhole claims. These firms perform several types of tests, including sampling soils, photographing damage and features of interest, boring into affected soil and house foundations, among several other tests. There are also engineering firms who repair foundations and other structures damaged by sinkholes. Methods of repair vary from the simple injection of grout into the hole to more advanced systems of engineered reinforced plugs, pins and porous concrete.

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The recommendations of the neutral evaluator are not binding, and further redress may be sought in court by either party. That’s why you should know your rights! [Johnnie Byrd is an attorney with the firm of Byrd & Stitzel, P.A. in Plant City, and litigates cases involving personal injury, wrongful death, property damages, criminal defense, marital and family law.]


���������������������������������������������������������������������� ��������������������� Thatʼs what we hear from many of our students! They Know that not all martial arts schools are the same! They appreciate receiving quality instruction in a friendly non-intimidating atmosphere! We are so confident in our program we even offer a money back guarantee! Call us today for a free intro class to see what we can do for you.

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Your expert’s written report of findings and recommendations for repair and stabilization of the affected property is the main bargaining tool with your insurance company. If you can’t settle, your attorney can pursue the claim in court. Beginning October 1, 2006, a new law requires the policyholder and insurer participate in an alternative to a lawsuit for resolving sinkhole disputes called a “neutral evaluation.” In this process, a neutral evaluator will hear both the homeowner and the insurer and render a non-binding report at the conclusion of the hearing. The report will indicate whether a loss is attributable to a sinkhole or other phenomenon.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 133




Story and Photos by Sophia Dedon

Cultural Cuisine Comes to Plant City JAMROCK BRINGS NEW FLAVOR

mission trip to Haiti once and loved them. It was very refreshing to taste the familiar flavor and remember how much I had enjoyed plantains. For those who may have never eaten them, they have the texture of a fried banana, but a very sweet flavor with a semi-crispy outside. The next foods I tested were the ones with which I was familiar: sweet potatoes, rice and peas, and salad. I enjoyed all three of the dishes, but was more interested in what was to follow. I then tried the curry chicken. Now I, of course, had eaten chicken before; I just didn’t know what curry chicken was like. Wow! I was impressed. The chicken was tender, fell right off the bone and the flavor was mouth watering. This gave me reassurance to try the goat, which I had never eaten before.

Beginning with the far-most left item and continuing clockwise, the meal consisted of curry goat, fried plantains, boiled dumplings, sweet potatoes, curry chicken, oxtail, and Jamaican rice and peas in the center.


urry goat and stewed oxtail are typically not the foods that come to mind when you think “Plant City.” It was for that very reason Lerhonda Anderson wanted to bring traditional Jamaican foods to the area. Jamrock Caribbean Cuisine is located in the Tractor Supply plaza behind Payless. In order to obtain a well-rounded opinion of the foods at Jamrock, I requested a plate with a variety of items from the menu.

When my lunch was served, it consisted of curry goat, fried plantains, boiled dumplings, sweet potatoes, curry chicken, oxtail, Jamaican rice and peas and a fresh salad. For those who don’t like to branch out, many of these foods may be too much out of your norm. However, when it comes to food, I always say I will try something at least once. I started with the plantains because I had eaten those on a

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 134

After taking a bite of the goat, I realized it tasted more like chicken than the last item I tried. Whoops! I had confused the two. In fact, when I was thoroughly impressed with the astonishing, fulfilling flavor of the “curry chicken,” I had actually fallen in love with goat. (That is not to say the curry chicken is not good, as well.) The last item on the plate... oxtail...hmm. It looked more like ham hock, which helped in my willingness to give it a try. Once again, similar to the goat, I barely touched it with my fork and it fell right off the bone. I took a bite and was floored. It was delicious! I “tried” bite after bite of the oxtail and discovered a new food I will add to my list of favorites.


813-719-7625 Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon-Thur 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri-Sat Breakfast, lunch and dinner served on Fri and Sat Only Lunch and Dinner Sun-Thurs

Price range $1-8 Not only does Jamrock offer traditional Caribbean foods, but they are also expanding their choices to accommodate children and adults who would rather stick to the American basics. Don’t hesitate to come to Jamrock because you hear the words goat and oxtail and think “ewww!” Sandwiches, Cubans and pretty soon, hotdogs and hamburgers will also be on the menu. Even soul food is available. Jamrock also offers a variety of Jamaican groceries and drinks for anyone tired of driving out of town for these products. Soft reggae music plays while you dine. Take-out, dine-in and catering are all available. Don’t let the mention of odd foods turn you away. Come give Jamrock a try. I promise you’ll love it!

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 135

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Doubtful Definitions



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for all your dancewear needs, including Ballroom shoes for men & women Toddler thru Plus Sizes Available

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 136

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 137




Story and Photos by Kurt L. Moore

Calling All Singles



he call for area singles has gone out from the Ramada Inn Plantation House in Plant City. A fledgling singles night has been newly christened. It has already started to show signs of marked success at the Polo Club Lounge inside the Ramada Inn Plantation House, located at the junction of Interstate 4 and Highway 39.

Singles night was the collective brainchild of several people who saw a need in the area for a special and interesting place for singles to meet. John O’Toole, the Ramada’s Polo Club Manager, heard the people when they spoke and designed a unique night during the week for singles to gather, visit, dance, eat and generally have a great time. The evening starts at 5:00 p.m. with appetizers and snacks, then progresses to an open-to-all dance lesson at 6:30 p.m. Susan Stanton, a veteran dance instructor, gives a half-hour lesson on one of many types of dance, and then holds a dance contest with the winners taking home something very nice. At seven, the band fires up and the evening comes fully alive with dancing and great music from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. The band, Destiny, along with Ralph Allocco of the famous Rat Pack Too, will soothe any jangled nerves you may have with their smooth, beautiful and individually styled music. Ralph Allocco pays tribute to Dean Martin; you will certainly enjoy a host of Dean’s hits and others, while spending a delightful evening listening and dancing to the strains of the Ramada’s exceptional multitalented musical group. The Polo Club Lounge also proudly sports a beautifully designed, brand new dance floor. The new floor is nearly two and a half times as large

as the old one, so you and your partner will not be bumping into other couples while enjoying a dance to the music of Destiny and Ralph Allocco. The Polo Club Lounge features fullmenu dining for singles night. David Rodas, the Maitre D, and his staff are there to make sure your every need is Patricia Woods of Clearwater has fun as she samples the many appetizers and snacks provided by The Ramada during its Thursday night singles gathering. taken care of. There are soft drinks, coffee and of course, your favorite alcoholic beverages, readily available from the bar. The staff will greet you with plain downhome, good neighbor friendliness. You are assured of having a good time on singles night. The tastefully designed but very relaxed atmosphere of the Polo Club Lounge is great for meeting people, getting to know them and having fun. There is no dress code and never a cover charge for singles night. It is a great way to spend an evening getting to meet and know someone new and possibly make a new friend. Appetizers and snacks start at 5:00 p.m., the free open-to-all-who-come dance lesson and contest at 6:30 p.m. and of course, the band Destiny along with Ralph Allocco of the Rat Pack Too will provide an entire evening of music and singing solely for your enjoyment.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 138

The first couples, comprised of area singles, take to the new dance floor for the very first time. The new floor is nearly two and a half times the size of the old floor.

Thursday is the night; the Polo Club Lounge at the Ramada Inn Plantation House is the place. Put on your best smile and let singles night melt away your worries and cares as you listen and dance to

fabulous music, eat great food, have your favorite drink and meet new and interesting people. Call 813-752-3141 for further information.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 139



Temps, Part-Time & Full-Time

Packers / Empacador / A

Duties Include:

-Examine & inspect materials -Remove completed & defective products -Measure & count materials -Package goods

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Deberes incluyen: -Examinar e inspeccionar los materiales y productos -Eliminar cualquier material defectuoso y colocarlo en areas designadas -Medir y contar los materiales -Empacar y preparar los materiales para almecenar y ser transportados

1st Shift/ 1er Turno 6:30am - 3:00pm

2 Shift/ 2ndo Turno nd

2:30pm - 11:00pm

3 Shift/ 3er Turno rd

10:30pm - 7:00am

M&N PLASTICS, INC. Apply in Person

2706 Turkey Creek Rd M&N Plastics, Inc. offers competitive compensation package.

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If you would like to advertise in this new section, please contact the FOCUS Sales Department

phone 813.707.8783 • fax 813.764.0990

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 140

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th us wi on of d e d i ov cti les pr wide sele a S ithout e W e a r , . T e e c n i lu Warre alized serv d great va o the look t n n a perso d plants, added house. I s e c i n a ak rv e. trees n, their se ʼs Ste anyon k c o t a o M m i the quest l of Louie mend m e o e f c re and highly d l u o w se ick Kinn s Steakhou y r a ʼ G Mack e i u o L



813-927-1288 or 813-967-5352 FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 141




By Brandon Hyde

Miami Vice

Rated R Action, Adventure, Drama, Crime Starring: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Gong Li, Luis Tosar

From the director of “Heat” and “Collateral” comes a continuing tale of Miami cops Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs. It’s a story of adventure and crime, taking us back to the days of the 1980’s. However, this film does not deliver the mullet magic the television se-

ries had in the 80’s. With lots of attitude, explosions, and fight scenes, it’s a guy’s film through and through. However, just because it’s a guy’s film and I am a guy doesn’t mean I enjoyed it. Immensely lacking was strong character development. There is no emotion attached to this film. It’s just another Hollywood filmmaker making a movie because he’s told to. Some of the scenery is stunningly beautiful, but the film is not nearly majestic enough to pull off the surroundings in which the movie takes place. Rating: 3 stars

The Ant Bully Rated PG Action and Adventure, Animation Starring: Jake T. Austin, Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts

1803 JIM REDMAN PKWY. ������������ � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � ��� � � �

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 142

Upon viewing this film in its opening minutes, one simple question has to be asked. What child has not destroyed an ant pile? It seems to be almost human nature to want to destroy their homes. In “The Ant Bully” the ants decide to fight back against their enemy, Peanut the Destroyer. In today’s age of animated films, some films are strictly children material; then there are some films that take on a multi-generational split, providing enjoyment

for both parent and child alike. The Ant Bully, although good for entertainment, was not all too sure about which direction it was supposed to take. Some moments lacked humor, some were extremely funny. Nonetheless, the film is great for family entertainment. A definite see to calm down the little ones and to teach them not to mess with ants, but to try to become one. Rating: 4 stars

Lady in the Water

Rated PG-13 Drama, Fantasy, Crime and Mystery Starring: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bob Balaban, Jeffrey Wright

This story is about a Story. This story is about Cleveland Heap. Most of all, this story is about us.

From the ingenious mind of M. Night Shymalan comes a new story full of today’s realities and fairy tale facts. With thought-provoking scenes and perfect flow of dialogue, this hour and a half film spawns the brain to ponder for nearly three hours on everything that transpired. Definitely Shymalan’s strangest story, this young director only gets better with every film. Written as a fairy tale for his daughter, every character has a humorous, and a not so humorous side. Lady in the Water can speak to everyone on all levels, because its meaning is one we all need to hear. We all have purpose in this life, no matter the talents you have. It’s not a film about a nymph that needs to return to her homeland, it’s about our hearts and minds and the peace we all seek. Rating: 5 stars

Monster House

Rated PG Horror, Science Fiction, Animation, Action and Adventure, Drama Starring: Steve Buscemi, Spencer Locke, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jon Heder

Every once in a while, a film comes along and crosses borders that have been set down. Comedies become tragedies, horror flicks become comedies (whether by choice or not), and westerns become sci-fi. Monster House fits in as a children’s film bordering on a horror film. When it is placed on rental

racks, there are going to be discussions on where to put it. With a humorous, yet not so humorous plot, three children are faced with trying to save the neighborhood from a house that is not so much haunted as it is alive. Funny and frightening at the same time, Chowder, Jenny and DJ battle this house with no help from adults. With great sounds and visual entertainment, Monster House delivers on all levels. It’s pure enjoyment to watch and be bewildered about. Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Complete packages or facility only rental. Our facility provides the perfect atmosphere for Weddings, Rehearsal Dinners, Class Reunions, Family Reunions, Office Parties, Service and Civic Club Functions. We are here to help you plan your event with as much or as little involvement as you desire. Magic Moments . . . Creating memories to last a lifetime! You’re welcome to preview our facility on Saturdays from 9am - 1pm

813-986-1230 The area’s newest and finest wedding and banquet facility is located at 2207 MudLake Road in Plant City, Florida (west of the YMCA). Call today for your private viewing and to discuss the endless possibilities to make your special day a “Magic Moment”! FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 143




Collins Street Restaurant 712 S Collins 752-0126

El Rincon Mexicano 4109 State Rd 574 754-0620

Manatee Bay Café 119 S. Collins S 707-1450

Snellgrove’s Restaurant 109 S Collins 752-3652

Alexander’s Café at S FL Baptist Hospital 301 N. Alexander St. 757-8451

Chicano’s Tex-Mex Restaurant and Cantina 110 E Reynolds St, Suite 100 754-5083

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

Maryland Fried Chicken 315 N Alexander 752-9200

Sonic 2901 Jas Redman Pkwy 754-0300

Anna’s Restaurant 3410 Baker St W 754-6215

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

Giraldo’s 2210 N Park Rd 754-4810

Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant 2613 Thonotosassa Rd 752-0057

Apple Tree 2218 Jas Redman Pkwy 707-8109

Checker’s 2405 Jas Redman Pkwy 759-0151

Grandpa Johnsons BBQ 1305 Dr MLK Jr Blvd 759-0009

Nana’s Deli 111 W. Reynolds St 659-4542

Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q 1102 Goldfinch Dr 757-3118

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

CiCi’s Pizza 211 Alexander St W 659-3400

Hong Kong Buffet 213 Alexander St W 764-8255

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

Arby’s Roast Beef Restaurant 1909 Frontage Rd S 719-3321 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 Bobber’s Beach House Seafood 226 W Alexander St 719-8187 Bogey’s Restaurant 2001 Clubhouse Dr 752-1171 Branch Ranch Dining Room 5121 Thonotosassa Rd 752-1957 Brooklyn Bridge Deli 1309 S Collins St 659-3621 Buddy Freddy’s Restaurant 1101 Goldfinch Dr 754-5120

Chili’s Bar & Grill 3001 Jas Redman Pkwy 764-8548

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

China King Restaurant 2410 James Redman Pkwy 754-8098

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

China One 1862 James Redman Pkwy 707-8898

Jamrock Caribbean Cuisine 1803 Jas Redman Pkwy 719-7625

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

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

Collins St Restaurant 712 S. Collins St 752-0126 Courtyard 106 E. Reynolds Street 754-0990 Curbita Inc. (Only speaks Spanish) 4109 State Rd 574 754-0620 Dairy Queen 1902 W Reynolds 752-2236 Denny’s Restaurant 2001 Frontage Rd S 752-3338 Domino’s Pizza 202 Alexander St W 759-9424 El Mirasol Bakery Cafeteria 1419 Collins St S 752-2108

Kazbor’s Grille 2212 James Redman Pkwy 752-2700 Kentucky Fried Chicken 2305 Collins St S 752-0437 La Esperanza Mexican Restaurant 113 Prosser Dr W 659-3940 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

Olde Town Pizzeria 3011 James Redman Pkwy 752-5800 Orange Blossom Tea Room 106 Evers St S 759-2247

Southern Bells Tea Room 2214 Thonotosassa Rd 754-5683 Strawberry Hut Sandwich Shoppe 1505 Wheeler St N 752-3779 Strawberry Town 3161 Paul Buchman Hwy 754-8265

Outback Steakhouse 1203 Townsgate Ct 759-4329

Sub Club 110 E Reynolds St, Suite 500 707-8606

Papa John’s Pizza 1829 Jas Redman Pkwy 719-7300

Subway 2305 Thonotosassa Rd 754-4550

Pesos Mexican Restaurant 2006 Reynolds St W 752-8841

Subway 2403 James Redman Pkwy 754-4878

Pizza Hut 2316 James Redman Pkwy 752-8222

Subway 2209 N Park Rd 659-0288

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

Waffle House 1201 Townsgate Ct 707-0190

Popeye’s Famous Fried Chicken & Biscuits 2005 Frontage Rd S 757-9742

Westshore Pizza 1701 S Alexander St 754-5600

Quiznos 1818 James Redman Pkwy 719-2999 Ramada Inn Red Rose Dining Room 2011 N Wheeler St 752-3141

Whistle Stop Café 102 S Collins 752-7340 Woody’s Bar-B-Q 203 Alexander St W 754-3229

Call the FOCUS Sales Department to advertise on this page ����������������������������� ������������

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 144


Grandma always says, “Better eat your veggies!”

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1401 W. Dr. MLK Blvd. Plant City, Fl. 813-752-7763 FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 145

Kids Eat Free Every Monday 4pm to Close

���������������������� HOME COOKED MEALS ALWAYS PREPARED FRESH Mon - Thurs: 6am - 8pm Fri - Sat: 6am - 9pm • Sun: 7am - 2pm

Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner Drive-Thru All-U-Can-Eat Salad Bar



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Any Family Feast

Any Purchase Of $40 Or More

Baby Back Ribs Dinner Includes 2 Sides & Garlic Toast

203 W. Alexander Plant City • 813-754-3229

203 W. Alexander Plant City • 813-754-3229

203 W. Alexander Plant City • 813-754-3229

203 W. Alexander Plant City • 813-754-3229

(Lunch or Dinner)


With this coupon. Not valid with other offers Offer Expires 9/15/06

With this coupon. Not valid with other offers Offer Expires 9/15/06

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109 South Collins Street Plant City, FL 33563

w/purchase of beverage

With this coupon. Not valid with other offers Offer Expires 9/15/06


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Ham, Egg & Chesse Sausage, Egg & Cheese Bacon, Egg & Cheese Cuban Toast....50¢ Biscuits & Gravy Lg...$2.19 - Sm...$1.59


Giraldoʼs Cuban Platter Includes 8 Cubans cut in 2” pieces and 20 Mini Stuffed Potatoes...$35.99 Mini Devil Crab Platter 30 crabs...$29.99 60 Crabs...$54.99 Mini Stuffed Potato Platter 30 Potatoes...$10.99 60 Potatoes...$19.99

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 146


All Sandwiches are 7” and served pressed on Cuban Bread


4” Sub of Choice & sm. Black Beans & Rice or sm. Spanish Bean Soup & 24oz Soda $5.45

GIRLADOʼS ORIGINAL CUBAN Ham, Cuban, Pork, Salami & Swiss Cheese Pickle, Mayo & Mustard

Ham & Cheese, Turkey & Cheese, Roastbeef & Cheese & Meatball & Cheese Toppings Available: Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle, Onion, Banana Peppers, Salt & Pepper, Oil & Vinegar


Black Beans & Rice - Reg...$1.99 Lg...$2.49 Spanish Bean Soup - Reg...$2.49 Lg...$2.99 Devil Crab...$1.49 Beef Stuffed Potato...$1.49 Pepperoni Pizza Sticks...$1.19 Corn Dogs...$1.29 Chicken Tenders...(1) $1.25 or (6) $6.99 Cheese Stix...(6) $3.49 Jalepeno Poppers...(6) $3.95 Fried Okra...$1.99 Homemade Brownies...99¢ Chicken & Yellow Rice - Reg...$1.99 Lg...$2.49

Visit our web site:




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

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 147




August 15, Tuesday

Beginning at 6:45 p.m. is the Fishing Seminar given by Harold’s Outdoor Products and Bill Heard Chevrolet. The seminar will be held at Bill Heard Chevrolet on Park Road. Call Chris Prevat at (813) 359-3707 for more information.

The Gospel Express is coming to Lord of Life Lutheran Church on Saturday, August 19, 9:00 a.m. until approximately 3:00 p.m. Young “rail riders” will have a blast singing songs and listening to stories of God’s love during this fun-filled adventure aboard God’s celebration train. Each attendee will receive a customized T-shirt for the trip. Any child between Kindergarten through 5th grade is eligible to attend at no cost. Please call the church office (813-752-6064) weekdays between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Don’t let your child miss the opportunity to join with others in a spiritual “rail riding” adventure. Call today to register.

August 17-18, Thursday and Friday

August 23, Wednesday

AARP will hold their Safe Driving Class at the Bruton Memorial Library. Classes start at 9 a.m. and run until 1 p.m. Call (813) 716-1678 for more information or to enroll.

Edward Jones will be holding a financial planning seminar for women at 6:00 p.m. at 2501 Thonotosassa Road. Admission is free. Make your reservation by calling Darlene Schneck at (813) 759-1491.

There will be a ribbon-cutting at Jamrock Caribbean Cuisine at 10:30 a.m. Jamrock is located in the Tractor Supply Plaza behind Payless on Jim Redman Parkway. If you plan on attending, check out our story on Jamrock on page 134 and plan to stick around for lunch.

August 19, Saturday The 4th annual Summer Rhapsody will be presented in the Fellowship Center of the First Baptist Church. There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner, with the performance beginning at 7:30 p.m. Including music, songs and readings directed by Dodie White, all donations and proceeds directly benefit the renovation and preservation of the 1923 Cornerstone Center. Call Marsha Passmore at (813) 754-2301 for more information. The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Strawberry Classic Car Show will be held in historic downtown Plant City. This event starts at 4 p.m. Chris Welbon Karate Clubs will have their grand opening/Plant City Safety Day from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Fire Station, Operation Compassion and Police Station will all be in attendance. There will be free classes on Stranger Awareness and Women’s Self Defense, as well as a dunk tank and prize raffle. Bring a few non-perishable items to donate to the food drive, and come out to 602 South Collins Street (across from the old police station) for a great day of safety and fun! For more information, call (813) 340-6122. Kid’s Night out will be from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Planteen Recreation Center and costs $5 per child, ages 6-11. The evening includes three hours of chaperoned activities, including movies, games, crafts and food. Contact Christine Washburn at (813) 757-9166 or e-mail her at for more information.

August 24, Thursday

begins at 9 a.m. at the John R. Trinkle Multi Purpose Center, sponsored by the Florida Strawberry Growers Association. For more information, call Erin Best at 1-800-958-5538. September 2, Saturday Bike Fest begins at 5 p.m. in Historic Downtown Plant City. September 4, Monday Labor Day September 5, Tuesday Strawberry Square will begin offering line dance lessons at their location at 4401 Boot Bay Road in Plant City. Betty Mullon will be teaching, beginning at 7 p.m. and running until 8:30 p.m. For more information, call Strawberry Square at (813) 752-0491 or visit their website at www.floridadanceweb. com/strawberry. September 9, Saturday

The annual YMCA Strong Leader Banquet will be held at the Ramada Inn Plantation House’s Red Rose Ballroom at 6:30 p.m., with special honors paid to Strong Leader recipient Cindy Churchill. For more information, call Scott Warren at (813) 757-6677.

The Plant City High School Class of 1981 will have their 25th Class Reunion at the Ramada Inn Plantation House. Go to to update classmate information or e-mail Pamela Hart Pippin at or Brenda Prevatte Hearn at

August 26, Saturday

September 11, Monday

The Plant City High School Class of 1986 will have its 20-year reunion. For more information, call Leigh-Ann Fuller at (813) 986-6471 or e-mail or The Plant City High School class of 1996 will hold its 10-year reunion with a dinner and dance taking place at the at the Tampa Club at 101 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa. For more information, visit

The Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City will hold their annual Celebration of Life Banquet at 6:30 p.m. at Cronin Hall on the St. Clement Catholic Church campus. Social time will begin at 5:45 p.m. This year’s speaker will be Thomas Glessner, founder and president of the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates. Sponsorships are available, and individual reservations are $40. St. Clement Catholic Church is located at 1104 North Alexander Street. Call (813) 759-0886 for more information.

August 27, Sunday


Attention all Young Women! You are invited to attend the Junior Women’s Club Annual New Member Tea. Beginning at 3 p.m., the event will take place at the clubhouse located at 1110 North Wheeler Street. Come learn about the Club and the many service projects we do through the community. Contact Kim Witt at (863) 409-6641 for more information.

The Turkey Creek Trojans are conducting registrations. Visit www. or e-mail

August 29-30, Tuesday & Wednesday For those who are interested in learning all about strawberries, Agritech

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 148

August 15-30 Registrations are in progress for the Youth Flag Football teams. Contact Danny Smith at (813) 659-4200 extension 4313 or e-mail him at The season runs from September through November, and games are played at the Otis M. Andrews Sports Complex.

Registrations are in progress for men (30 and over) and women (25 and over) Co-Ed Recreational Soccer Program. Call 813-659-4255 for more information. The season runs from September 8 through November 10, and games are played at the Otis M. Andrews Sports Complex. Tuesdays Bruton Memorial Library holds Toddler Time for ages 2 to 3 at 9:30 a.m. at 302 McClendon Street. Stories, finger plays and songs make up this 20-minute program. They also hold Story Time, a 30-minute program for ages 3 to 5, at 10:30. Call (813) 757-9215 for more information. Tuesdays and Wednesdays Free Time Jazz will be appearing at the Red Rose Dining Room at the Ramada Inn Plantation House, beginning at 7 p.m. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information. Thursdays and Fridays Destiny, the House Band of the Red Rose Dining Room, will be performing this evening at the Ramada Inn Plantation House. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information. Fridays The Strawberry Singles Club has dances from 8 p.m. until midnight on Fridays at the Stardust Dance Center at 1405 South Collins Street. The cost is $5 for members or $7 for non-members. Call (813) 752-9277 or (813) 759-2063 for more information. Saturdays The Rat Pack Too, the Signature Group of the Red Rose Dining Room, will be performing from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. at the Ramada Inn Plantation House. Opening for the Rat Pack Too will be Destiny, the House Band of the Red Rose Dining Room. Call (813) 7523141 for more information

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: Kristen – Event Calendar.

Breakfast Served All Day Everyday!


$ 95

Mon - Fri Only with Tea or Coffee Breakfast Only

Bike Rally Saturday, July 22 5pm-10pm

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$ 55

11 am - 2 pm with Tea or Coffee Mon - Fri Only


$ 95

Between 2 - 4pm Early Bird Special Mon - Fri - Only Tea or Coffee


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Every Day!


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Southern Home Cooking 712 S. Collins Street Plant City, FL • 813.752.0126

New Hours: Fri & Sat 6am-10pm Sun 7am-8pm • Mon-Thurs 6am-8pm Saturday BBQ Buffet 4pm-10pm


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�������� �������� ������������������ ������������������� �������������������� ��������������������� ��������� Small Animals • Birds • Reptiles Freshwater Fish • Supplies • Live Feed Science Diet • And More ��������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������ ���������������������� ������������������������������������������ ���������������������������������������������� ����� ����������� ����� ���� ����� ���� ������� ��������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������ ������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������� ����� ������� ���� �� ����������� ���� ��� ��������� ������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������ ���������������������������� ���������������������� Hours: Mon. - Friday 10am-7pm Sat. 10am-8pm

1514 S. Alexander St, Suite 108 Plant City, FL 33563


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 149

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Now Serving Full Seafood Menu Steak Specials Every Weekend $12.99 (Filet, NY Strip or Ribeye)

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 150



813-967-5352 813-927-1288 or 813-927-1288 813-967-5352 or

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • August 15 • 2006 - September 15 • 2006 PG 151

FOCUS PC 05-08 August 2006