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LOCAL • REAL ESTATE • BUSINESS • SPORTS • DINING • ENTERTAINMENT VOLUME 5 NUMBER 12 • DECEMBER 15, 2006 - JANUARY 15, 2007

PLANT CITY EDITION

Rick Lott

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

Big Decisions for the CITY OF PLANT CITY T H I S M O N T H ’ S F E AT U R E

plus: LOCAL STORIES / BUSINESS PROFILE / HEALTH / SPORTS DINING & ENTERTAINMENT / EVENTS AND MORE

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At 200+ Locations In Plant City

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 2


301

†††PLUS TAX, TAG & TITLE. PAYMENT BASED WITH $3,000 CASH OR TRADE PLUS TAX, TAG & TITLE. 72 MO., 6.49%. WITH APPROVED CREDIT. INCLUDES REBATE. ALL PRICES PLUS TAX, TAG & FEES. PAYMENTS WITH TAX, TAG & FEES DOWN. PICTURES ARE FOR ILLUSTRATED PURPOSES ONLY. ALL CARS ARE SUBJECT TO PRIOR SALE. †LIMIT ONE PER FAMILY. †PRICE WITH OWNER LOYALTY. *SPECIFIC MODELS ONLY. SEE DEALER FOR DETAILS

EXIT I-4

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PLANT CITY HWY 60 RIVERVIEW APOLLO BEACH SUN CITY CENTER

BRANDON

HWY 39

www.LottMather.com 2900 James Redman Pkwy. Plant City

LUNCH ON US! COMPLIMENTARY $10 RED ROSE BUFFET LUNCH CERTIFICATE WITH A TEST DRIVE

(866) 760-9842

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 3


DECEMBER 15, 2006 - JANUARY 15, 2007

feature

local

40-44

sports

88

The Plant City Lancers is an organization that started over twenty years ago with a humble beginning and has grown into one of the most successful soccer programs in the country. Flip to the sports section this month to read about their journey to bring them to where they are today.

business profile Walden Lake Golf and Country Club

dining & entertainment

102-116

This month Focus Magazine brings you inside the Red Rose Dining Room to be a special guest at The Flamingos concert. This phenomenal doo-wop group with hits from the 1950’s lit up the excitement in the room as they performed songs such as, “I Only Have Eyes for You.” Be our honorary guest at the performance by flipping a few pages over to the Dining & Entertainment section.

102 ...........Dining Review 104 ...............Just for Fun 106 ...........Entertainment 108-109 ... Movie Reviews 110 ............ Dining Guide 114-115 ...Event Calendar

Photo by Sophia Dedon

84

It is difficult to believe that 2007 is almost here. However, the city has long since been planning for this time to arrive. Our writer brings you the inside scoop from City Hall and the commissioners of everything that is in the works for the new year. Make sure you check out this extensive feature so that you will be in the loop about what is going on in your community.

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With the Christmas atmosphere floating throughout town, it seems that generosity has filled many of the hearts of Plant City residents. The entire city came together with Bill Heard Chevrolet and the Plant City Rotary Club as $48,000 was raised for three Plant City girls suffering from cancer. Not to mention, over $20,000 was raised for the South Florida Baptist Hospital through the Lights of Love tree lighting. The wonderful thing about Plant City is they keep on giving, even after the holiday season has passed.

7 ...................... Talk of the Town 10 ..............................Chamber 14 ......................... Tell Your Tale 17 ................ Artist of the Month

spotlight

46-48

For some reason or another, everyone in town knows the name Rick Lott. Between his business adventures and his active involvement in the community, he represents our community well. Take a step into the life of Rick Lott as you read about where he came from and what brought him to where he is today.

HEALTH

EXTRAS

92 ....................... Dr. Dunn 94 ............... Sherry Nuesch 96 ..................Dr. Carrozella

98 .................. Auto Review

HOME GUIDE

99 ..................... Al Ruechel

59 ... Cover-Blackburn Realty 72 ....... Walden Lake Review 74 ........... Real Estate Article

ON THE COVER FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 4

MAGAZINE PUBLISHER Mike Floyd mike@floydpublications.com EDITOR IN CHIEF Linda Floyd linda@floydpublications.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Kristen Toney ktoney@floydpublications.com MANAGING EDITOR Sophia Dedon sdedon@floydpublications.com CREDIT MANAGER Bob Hughens bob@floydpublications.com SALES DeDe Floyd dede@floydpublications.com Tania Summers tsummers@floydpublications.com Erica Snyder esnyder@floydpublications.com Shannon Davis sdavis@floydpublications.com ART DIRECTOR Stefanie Burlingame sburlingame@floydpublications.com GRAPHIC DESIGN Anthony Sassano asassano@floydpublications.com DISTRIBUTION Tony DeVane PHOTOGRAPHER Billy Friend STAFF WRITERS Brian West, Debbie Bowers, Joe Bowles, Sherry Baldwin, Holly Mallalieu, John Garrod, Daniel Sperry, Heather Davis, Cheryl Johnston 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 sdedon@floydpublications.com. 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:

100 ..........................Travel

Rick Lott, a Man of Many Hats.

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


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 5


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Open

letter FROM THE EDITOR

“Mankind is a great, an immense family. This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.” Pope John XXIII

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Or, as Harlan Miller put it, “I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.” Wouldn’t that be great? I think that’s one of the things I love best about it, the general feeling of good will toward your fellow man. Of course, you may see it differently if you’re in a long line at a mall check-out counter, or if someone just swung into the parking space it took you thirty minutes to find. But as a general rule, I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when Christmas approaches, with its promise of close family gatherings, savory aromas coming from everywhere, and young children excited by the magic of Santa Claus. My procrastination is showing this month, though, because it’s already December 9th and I haven’t even started my shopping yet. At least I’ve had my tree up since November 22nd, but that was because I wanted to put that envelope on it I talked about last month. Oh, and I have baked some Christmas cookies with my six-yearold grandson, but due to both of us being inexperienced in that field, his attention to it was short lived. We kept having to dig the dough out of those cute little cookie cutters and the cookies weren’t looking much like the shapes we had in mind, and then the icing nozzles were too hard for him to push down while at the same time, controlling the flow of the icing. And you can forget about the sprinkles! If they made it on the cookie at all, it was kind of in a big pile in one place. Neither one of us could seem to sprinkle just a little right where we wanted it. But you know, even though we only got a few Christmas cookies baked that looked okay, they tasted good, and something happened beforehand when we were shopping for the stuff to make them that was really what it was all about. Two things, actually. In the grocery store, on two separate occasions, my grandson came up to me, hugged me around my legs, and said, “I love you, Grandma. This is the best time we’ve ever had, huh, Grandma?” It shocked me that something as small as going to the grocery store for cookie makings would make him feel that way, when we’ve been to Disney World, skiing in Tennessee, boating, to birthday parties and many fairs and festivals riding rides, etc. But us shopping for cookie stuff obviously made a bigger impression on him. The second thing was that he wanted to give one of our containers of cookies to “the poor people who don’t have anything.” I thought that was the sweetest thing, and I’m going to have to agree with him...that night was the best time we’d ever had. There were kids in Plant City who were having a good time at the Lights of Love tree lighting in McCall Park in downtown and on the night of the Christmas Parade, and you can read about them in our local section. Don’t miss our feature this month on plans for our great little city in the upcoming 2007 New Year. We at Focus Magazine would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, a happy holiday season and a safe and happy New Year. After all, we all have already been given the greatest gift ever, that of eternal life. As George W. Truett once said, “Christ was born in the first century, yet he belongs to all centuries. He was born a Jew, yet He belongs to all races. He was born in Bethlehem, yet He belongs to all countries.” Thank you and happy birthday, Jesus!

Linda Floyd

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LOCAL

AROUND TOWN

TALK

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hank you to UPS for supporting the community by donating $7,000 to the Plant City Lancers soccer team! The Lancers applied to receive $2500 but earned the extra donations because of their active involvement with the community through volunteering.

Thank you to Plant City resident Ray Henderson for sponsoring the essay contest at Plant City High School. Mr. Henderson encouraged seniors to write an essay about what a veteran means to them. Although Mr. Henderson originally promised $1000 in prize money, the family could

of the

town

not select one individual winner and all twelve of the participating students received a prize, making it a grand total of $2000. A $600 first prize went to Rebecca Smith; $300 second prize went to Elizabeth Starnes; $200 third place prize went to Martin Girling. Nine students were awarded

$100 for honorable mentions: Adam Batley, David Byars, Ryan Consolver, Brandon Godin, Rusty Hartline, Jessica Joiner, Tim Lovett, Dhara Patel and Kristen Smith. Mr. Henderson served in the Air Force, and his six siblings were active in the armed forces, collecting over 70 years of service

to the U.S. Armed Forces. Mr. Henderson invites other Veterans interested in helping to sponsor the Veterans Day Essay Contest to call Sherrie Mueller at PCHS at 813-757-9370 x 238. The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) chapter in Plant City is looking for single men to participate in their annual Bachelor Auction on February 9. If you or someone you know will make a great candidate, please call Gail Lyons at 813-659-2165 for more information. The new line-up for the Strawberry Festival concerts in 2007 has been announced and is better than ever! This year, tickets can be purchased online and printed at home, just visit www.flstrawberryfestival.com. Artists this year will include: George Jones, Clint Black, Barbara Fairchild & Bill Anderson, Mark Lowry, Casting Crowns, Joe Nichols, Martina McBride, Lee Greenwood, LeAnn Rimes, Ray Price, Randy Travis, Little Richard, Kenny Rogers, Oak Ridge Boys, John Anderson, Big & Rich & Cowboy Troy, Bellamy Brothers, Hootie & the Blowfish, Josh Turner and Montgomery Gentry.

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

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 7


LOCAL

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Story by Daniel Sperry Photos by Billy Friend

Christmas Comes to Plant City ANNUAL PARADE IS A HUGE HIT WITH RESIDENTS

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udging by the crowds that filled the sidewalks and yards down Reynolds Street and through downtown, the annual Plant City Christmas Parade was a huge success. It was like Gasparilla came to town as more than 150 floats lined up in the hours before dusk to get ready for the big night. As the sun set, the excitement began to build. Adults and kids alike were ready to see this year’s floats, and of course, to catch a glimpse of Santa Clause at the end. The first cars in the parade were filled with local politicians. Buddy Johnson, Supervisor of Elections, was there, along with Plant City officials and representatives of Charlie Christ, who had a float thanking voters for their support in this year’s election. Both Jackie’s and Ms. Dixie’s Dance Studios featured floats with students of all ages dancing and waving at the crowds. Wal-Mart

and Lowe’s also had floats and had employees come out and participate in the parade. For the kids, it was like Halloween all over again. They lined the streets with bags and buckets hoping to catch some of the candy and beads that were being liberally distributed to the crowd. “I could have skipped Halloween,” said one mom who was at the parade for the first time. She held up a plastic grocery bag which was overflowing with candy. “This is more than my two kids got together in October!” There were floats of all shapes and sizes at the parade. One featured the Grinch who stole Christmas, complete with people dressed up as the Grinch and the Who’s. Another float featured people dressed as a Christmas tree and as presents. They said they gave out more than 100 bags of candy as they went down the parade route.

The Heart of Plant City girls in the parade

Many local churches participated in the parade this year. The carols being sung by some of the choirs could be heard a half mile away. One church had a living Nativity display, followed by a crucifixion scene, depicting Jesus’ birth and death. “It’s really important to us to remind people of the reason we celebrate Christmas,” said one member. “It seems to get lost in all the commercialization that comes this time of year.” Several schools’ marching bands came down the parade route as well. Their routines were extremely well-rehearsed and seemed like something that would be seen in a professional competition. The synchronization as they marched was nearly flawless. As usual, the kids were screaming for beads and

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 8

candy. One six-year-old had so many beads around his neck by the end of the night, he could barely walk. His dad laughed as he lifted the boy onto his shoulders. “You weigh a ton,” he said. The boy could not have been happier. Local restaurants benefited from the parade. The new IHop, just south of downtown, was packed after the event. Staff members said it was the busiest they have been since they opened, and other restaurants near the parade route also had full parking lots after the parade ended. The parade lasted for more than an hour as it wound down its new route. The grand finale featured Santa, riding on top of a massive truck. The shrieks from the children as he came into sight were a reminder of how exciting Christmas can be. “It’s just a man dressed up as Santa,” said 4-year-old Sage Colello, with a frown. “Are you sure about that?” asked her mom. Sage’s eyes grew wide. “Maybe it is Santa,” she answered, then laughed and started jumping and yelling with the other kids to try to catch Santa’s eye as he went by.


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 9


LOCAL

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SEND COMMENTS TO SDEDON@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM Story By Bruce Rodwell

Chamber of Commerce WOW!!! How about the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce PIG JAM? Were you one of the 10,000 people that attended this, the Chamber’s 4th annual event? The weather couldn’t have been better. People joked about it being “Chamber of Commerce weather,” and it sure was. There was live music, games for the kids, televisions to watch the college football games and, of course, the main attraction….barbecue, and plenty of it. A total of 51 professional teams and 26 amateurs competed in the day long event. A $15,000 purse was split among 10 professional winners. Hats off to Chris Sparkman and Jodi Smith, who were once again the co-chairs for this fantastic event.

★★★★★★★★★★ A tip of the Chamber hat to Paul Baker and Chris Prevatt, the Bill Heard Chevrolet team, and the Plant City Rotary Club for their efforts to help the families of three Plant City teens in their battle against cancer. A fund raising event was held at the Bill Heard Chevrolet dealership on Park Road on November 12th. The event raised over $48,000.

★★★★★★★★★★ On November 2nd the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held their annual BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARDS BANQUET in the Red Rose Ballroom at the Ramada. Congratulations to the winners: Boggs & Butcher Engineering, LLC – in the Growing Business Category Central Florida Custom Homes, Inc. – in the Small Business Category A.Camacho, Inc. – in the Mid-Size Business Category South Florida Baptist Hospital – in the Large Business Category A special award for Exemplary Community Contribution was presented to PLANT CITY PHOTO ARCHIVES.

★★★★★★★★★★ You will not want to miss the January 7th program at the BRUTON MEMORIAL LIBRARY. It features Maurice O’Sullivan and his topic is “Reinventing Paradise: Writers in the Sunshine State.” The program starts at 7 p.m. You can call the library at 813-757-9215 for additional information. Now that you have that Thanksgiving turkey under your belt and no doubt will be attending many festive holiday parties, you may want to consider a science-based fitness program that is available at the PLANT CITY YMCA. If you are looking to shapeup, shed those unwanted pounds and become

more fit, then this could be the program for you. This individualized program will tell you how many calories your body needs, how long and how hard you should exercise and teach you to combine nutrition, exercise and the time you have available to reach your goals. Call the YMCA at 813-757-6677 for all the details.

★★★★★★★★★★ The local PLANT CITY TOASTMASTERS CLUB is looking for people who want to learn the skills and confidence needed to effectively express yourself in any situation. Whether you are a professional, student, stay-at-home parent or a retiree, Toastmasters is the most efficient, enjoyable and affordable way of gaining great communication skills. By learning to effectively formulate and express your ideas, you open an entirely new world of possibilities. You will be more persuasive and confident when giving presentations at civic clubs, your church group, and you will improve your one-on-one dealings with your friends and neighbors. The group meets every Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. in the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce offices, 106 North Evers Street. For additional information, call Joanna Franz at 813-752-2271 or Dr. Hal Brewer at 813752-4949.

★★★★★★★★★★ If you haven’t purchased your Christmas tree yet, check out the OPTIMIST CLUB tree lot at the Plant City High School on Alexander Street. The Optimist Club is a huge supporter of Plant City’s youth programs. This tree sale helps provide funds for these programs for our kids.

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WHEELS located in Plant City? This is an independent, non-profit, nondenominational corporation. It is totally volunteer with no paid staff. The Plant City Meals on Wheels served their first meals in 1990 and they now have seven routes with more than 80 volunteers. Anyone who is homebound, generally senior citizens, in the area bounded by Forbes Road on the west, Polk County line on the east, highway 60 on the south and Knights-Griffin Road on the north can be served. If you or someone you know needs to receive this service, call 813-754-9932. A volunteer will visit the person to determine eligibility. You can help! Give two hours a week (10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) to drive and deliver meals. Or you can give two hours a week to accompany a driver and help deliver meals. If you would like to volunteer, call the office at the number above.

★★★★★★★★★★ NEW MEMBERS OF THE GREATER PLANT CITY CHAMBER: WINN DIXIE DAIRY MANUFACTURING: This Plant City facility employs 150 associates and services over 400 Winn Dixie stores. Their sales total $150 million dollars. Jerald Grey is the Plant Manager. This facility manufactures milk, orange juice, drinks and frozen ice cream products. CHRIS WELBON KARATE CLUB: Chris Welbon is the owner/instructor of this new business located in the new plaza on the corner of Alabama and South Collins Streets. The Club offers several different programs for ages 4 through adult to make your martial arts experience enjoyable and satisfying.

Don’t forget the fishing seminar, which will be held December 19th at the BILL HEARD CHEVY SHOWROOM, 2002 North Frontage Road, Plant City. It’s a great way to learn all about fishing from the experts. The seminar starts at 6:45 and runs till 8:45 p.m. There are prizes and refreshments for those attending. For more information, call Chris Prevatt at 813-359-5018.

LARK PHOTO & FRAMING: This new shop is located in the shopping center on Jim Redman Parkway between Staples and Oasis Car Wash. Mark and Lucy Schultz are the owners of this business and have over 30 years experience in photo and custom framing. A photo and art gallery is also located in the store.

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HERE ARE SOME DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR:

Tickets for the concerts at the FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL went on sale December 11th. Advance prices are good through February 28th. Tickets for gate admission, concerts and strawberry shortcake can be ordered online at www. flstrawberryfestival.com.

Dec. 17 – The First United Methodist Church presents “Emmanuel…Celebrating Heaven’s Child.” Performed by the Chancel Choir. This event takes place in the Church sanctuary at 7 p.m.

Did you know we have a MEALS ON

Jan. 4 – Presentation at Bruton Memorial Library, 7:00 p.m. Details above. Jan. 6 – Life drawing class/workshop with live models. Sponsored by East Hillsborough Art Guild. Takes place at the Women’s Club, 1110 North Wheeler Street. Call Eleanore McDade at 813-752-0179 for additional information. Jan. 6 - Bike Fest in downtown Plant City. Starts at 5:00 p.m. Jan. 7– Community event at the Wesley Centre. Comedy & music performed by Chris Michaels, who is a featured entertainer at Sea World. Cost is $10 adult and $5 child. Price includes dinner and the show. Call Michele Pruyn for reservations at 813-754-3519. A great last minute Christmas gift. Jan. 7 - East Hillsborough Art Guild reception at Bruton Memorial Library. Jan. 8 - East Hillsborough Art Guild presents caricature artist Sue Ann Graves at the Chamber public meeting room. Starts at 7 p.m. Jan. 10 - Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Contact Breakfast at the Ramada. Starts at 7:30 a.m. Call the Chamber to RSVP at 813-754-3707. Jan. 13 - Antique Street Fair in downtown Plant City from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 13 - Florida Opry at 1914 High School. Starts at 7 p.m. Call Myrle Henry at 813752-4094 for information. Jan. 13 - Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade. Starts at 1 p.m. Jan. 18 - Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at the new offices of FOCUS magazine, 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd. Starts at 5:15 p.m. Call the Chamber at 813-754-3707 to RSVP. ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE GREATER PLANT CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, WE WANT TO WISH YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A NEW YEAR FILLED WITH JOY AND PEACE.

Dec. 19 – Fishing seminar at Bill Heard Chevrolet 6:45 p.m.

SUPPORT OUR GREATER PLANT CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEMBERS. BUY THEIR PRODUCTS AND USE THEIR SERVICES. IT JUST MAKES SENSE! FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 10


Happy Holidays From all of us at 813.717.7700 1505 South Alexander Street Suite 102

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 11


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Come get your beautiful jewelry for the holidays. Free gift wrapping

Get everyone on your list gift certificates from Katie Male & Female

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 12


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Story by Sherry Baldwin Photos courtesy of the Layton Family

With Heart and Soul

PLANT CITY WOMAN FOLLOWS HER DESTINY

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sk Christy Layton Poulin, DVM, about her choice to enter the field of Veterinary Medicine and she points to a scar on her forehead. This scar, as she went on to share, was the result of a horse riding accident that occurred when she was 13 years old. Also injured in the fall was her beloved horse, Miami. Following the instructions of her Veterinarian, Dr. Poulin nursed Miami back to health and her interest was sparked. Growing up in Plant City, Dr. Poulin also spoke about how much of her free time was spent working with animals in varying capacities. She participated in 4-H, Future Farmers of America, the American Kennel Club and became involved in showing Appaloosa horses at age 14. Not surprised by her career choice, Dr. Poulin’s parents, Ron

and Barbara Layton, also described how, “Christy would treat the animals that her sister, Renee (Layton Stone), brought home. Christy has always put her heart and soul into her animals,” stated the Laytons. Renee further added that her sister’s interest in the details of veterinary medicine (and procedures) also made for some “pretty interesting dinner conversations.” This natural progression of working with animals continued as Dr. Poulin graduated Plant City High School and was later accepted into the University of Florida’s (UF) College of Veterinary Medicine. She credits the support of her family and friends with helping her to not only achieve her goal of becoming a Veterinarian, but also with the recent opening of her own practice here in Plant City, Timberlane Pet Hospital and Resort.

Dr. Poulin (as a teen) with her horse Miami’s Big Sirprize

“To this day… weekly, sometimes daily, I am reminded that my decision to become a Veterinarian was my destiny,” stated Dr. Poulin. Outside of her practice, Dr. Poulin’s work with the United Animal Nations (UAN) - Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) has taken her to aid animals in an area hit by

Hurricane Charley. She is involved with the Great American Teach-In and is associated with a variety of local animal rescue groups. Dr. Poulin and her husband Chris currently reside in the Plant City area with a menagerie of animals, including her “companion through Vet School,” an Australian Shepherd named “Tessie.”

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 13


LOCAL

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Story and Photo by Holly Mallalieu

����������������������� Local Videographer ��������������������� WINS HERSHEY’S CONTEST There are a good number of people who can say that during their lives, they’ve had the exciting opportunity to meet someone famous. But not only has Ben Rawnsley met more well-known actors, actresses, and directors than your average person by far, he has, in fact, worked with them! What’s more - he may as well be considered a “celebrity” himself…

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Animal Wellness Center

It was approximately 40 years ago when it all started. A good friend of Rawnsley’s threw out the idea that Ben should try modeling, and the two were soon on a plane headed straight for the Windy City. After landing an amazing opportunity for such a beginner as an actor in three McDonald’s commercials, he and his wife relocated and bigger doors began to open. From there on out, Rawnsley’s life as an actor flourished and he was soon receiving parts to play in TV series, soap operas, movies, and countless more commercials, not to mention modeling as well as working with big name celebrities. See if a few of

these don’t catch your attention… “General Hospital,” “The Young and the Restless,” “Golden Girls,” “Dallas,” “A Team.” Or maybe stars such as Tom Hanks, Lana Turner, Tom Selleck, Gary Marshall, and the list goes on and on. He worked with them all. It seems a shame to give such a broad account of such an exciting life! Rawnsley now partners with Sean Sanczal as local videographers (SanRay.com). This past year he happened to notice Hershey was hosting a contest for a commercial, judged by Peter Segul, and the two decided to give it a shot. After submitting their commercial featuring two men and a humorously emotional moment over a Hershey’s chocolate bar, they found out they had received first place of $10,000 among hundreds of entries! What an unbelievable accomplishment to claim. Ben Rawnsley is a wonderful addition to our community, and although he is still in the business of TV productions, we’re glad he decided on Plant City over Hollywood to be his home.

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Ben Rawnsley stands in front of a wall in his house covered in pictures of all of the celebrities he has worked with over the years. In the background you can see Rawnsley with Tom Hanks, as well as an autographed shot of Tom Selleck FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 14


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Story and Photo by Debbie Bowers

A Fallen Hero Is Remembered MEMORIAL MONUMENT LOOKING TO FIND A HOME

Ricky Childers, a Tampa homicide police detective, investigated the horrific crimes that seem unfathomable to understand. Childers had a quiet demeanor and a love for his wife and family. He coached a little league team in Plant City as he sought to see the youth succeed in life. At the age of 46, Childers and two other police officers were gunned down and killed by Hank Earl Carr. With his whole family in shock and sorrow, a group of individuals gathered and devoted their time and efforts to raising a fund for a memorial monument. Seven years later the 6 foot tall black granite monument still stands in the grassy field of Sweet Dream Memories, a head stone and engraving business owned by David Wilson in Plant

City. Engraved on the monument is the face of Ricky Childers. Childer’s mother, Jean Turner requested the monument be erected at either McCall Park or Union Station Depot. The commissioners affirmed an earlier decision that the memorial to Childers should be placed at the police training academy at the Plant City campus of Hillsborough Community College. After years of sorrow Mrs. Turner and her son, Randy Childers, have decided to pursue communications with the police academy and the Hillsborough Community College in hopes of having the monument placed on their grounds. “We would like to extend this invitation to any families who have lost po-

lice and fire officers in the line of duty. It would be a wonderful way of honoring them with their names engraved on the monument. Any individuals or family members interested should contact me at 813-777-3418,”commented Randy Childers. It has been a long time coming, but maybe now the memorial monument of Ricky Childers will be laid to rest in a very appropriate area where his career first began.

Mrs. Jean Turner (mother of Ricky Childers) and brother Randy Childers stand with honor next to memorial monument

2005 Finalist SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Brandon Chamber

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 15


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Story by Holly Mallalieu Photos courtesy of Chris Prevatt

Thank You, Plant City

FROM BILL HEARD CHEVROLET AND THE PC ROTARY CLUB FOR COMING TO THE AID OF 3 PC TEENAGERS These girls’ names also stand for something else. Apparent by what happened in our town one weekend in November, they represent the overwhelming heart that the people of Plant City have for helping one another.

Megan Prevatt and Alexandria Morse volunteered at the registration table

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randi Redmond, Alexandria Prescott, and Megan Carpenter. These three names represent something tremendous. First of all, as our entire community knows, they are the names of three beautiful teenage girls who have fought, long and hard, sicknesses threatening to their lives. Brandi Redmond, 15, lives with a form of cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Alexandria Prescott, 16, suffers from a genetic neuromuscu-

lar disease, which attacks the DNA. Megan Carpenter, 17, battled with cancer-adrenal cortical carcinoma of the adrenal glands for 5 1/2 years. On November 15th, here in Plant City and near to her close friends and family, Megan passed away. Her fight against cancer and the struggles of the other two girls inspired last month’s fundraisers. Our prayers are certainly with those who knew her.

The Keely family came out in support of the girls

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 16

On Sunday, November 12, Bill Heard Chevrolet and the Rotary Club of Plant City hosted a fantastic fundraiser for these three girls and their families. For being the largest Chevrolet dealer in the country, ours is certainly using its facility for great use. Chris Prevatt, the dealership’s public relations director, headed the event, which had an absolutely outstanding turnout. “There’s no way to possibly thank everyone,” he said. “Bill Heard Chevrolet and the Plant City Rotary Club want to send a big Thank You to the whole city of Plant City for everyone’s open hearts, whether through volunteering or monetary donations.” Prevatt emphasized the number of volunteers that day, saying there were 300 at least. These included many students from our local schools; Plant

City High’s FFA Club, cheerleaders, baseball players and football players, along with some of Durant’s students, many of them yearbook staff. The teenagers volunteered all day long, each of them staying right until the last piece of equipment was put away and everything was picked up. The Plant City Recreation and Parks Department also provided eight full-time workers for the day. Megan Carpenter’s parents, Chip and Dana, her grandparents, and brother took time away from her bedside to attend the event. Her family was amazed by the community support. “Everyone wanted to help and do something. I was touched by everyone in the community and their support. They did a great job,” Chip Carpenter said earlier that week, before his daughter died. Brandi Redmond, who is battling lymphoma, attended the fundraiser with her mother, Glenda, stepfather Tony Gilliam, and other family members. She played miniature golf with her boyfriend, Eric Wenczel. The fundraiser was crowded with things to do. There was food, a

(L to R, front row) Glenda Redmond, Brandi Redmond, Dana Carpenter, Jamie Stein, (Back Row) Tony Gilliam, Eric Wenczel, and Chad Carpenter


THANK YOU, PLANT CIT Y continued from page 16

PCHS baseball players and cheerleaders volunteered at the event

miniature golf tournament, barbecue, silent auction, and many children’s activities such as arts and crafts. Mark Sprouse entertained on his guitar from 11 am until 6 that evening. The high school FFA club ran a silent auction with over 60 items. This alone raised $6,950! If you passed by Bill Heard during the weeks surrounding the event, you would have noticed the outside glass painted with names of many different businesses. This was the windowpane sponsorship held for the event, which raised $28,000! Even the massage clinics of Plant City did their part in raising money for the three girls! Set up inside of Bill Heard were four booths with three chairs and one table for on-thespot professional massages. This in itself raised over $500. “What a great community!” Prevatt couldn’t help saying when talking about all of this. Besides Sunday’s event at Bill Heard, Beef O’ Brady’s hosted a Motorcycle Poker Run for 40 riders that Saturday the 11th. The first and second place winners of this, Lloyd Cribbs and

Fred Roach, generously donated back their prize monies of $500 and $250. Other notable people to recognize include Joey Wiggins of Gulf Coast Tractor and Mike Arndt and Katina Mott of Plant City Minute Man Press. Wiggins’ super generous donation was given one of the first days for the community fundraising challenge and his support was shown with his tractor parked in front of the store. Mike and Katina donated a monumental amount of time toward the event. Total proceeds from the combined events came to $48,000, and was split three ways to each recipient’s trust fund.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous holiday season! From your friends at Railroad and Industrial Federal Credit Union.

Besides the money, well-wishers offered prayers and words of support for the families. Heartfelt response to the needs of these three girls and their families show what a wonderful place Plant City is to be a part of. With a surplus of volunteers and excellent attendance (there were 3,000 people on Sunday alone!), the outcome of the weekend was spectacular.

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Mark Sprouse provided entertainment from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

�������� FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 17


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Story and Photos by Daniel Sperry

Plant City Pig Jam Is Smokin’ Hot TURNOUT WAS GREAT FOR ANNUAL EVENT

Grand Champion Award, going to the best professional BBQ of the day. Additional cash prizes were awarded for best ribs, pork, beef brisket and chicken. There were also prizes for amateur and kids’ competitions. The 2006 Plant City Pig Jam was organized by the Plant City ChamThis vendor’s stand called “It’s All About the Pork” lives up to ber of Commerce its name as the owner poses next to his biggest benefactor and sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Proceeds from the ho has the best BBQ in Hillsevent went to benefit various Chamborough County? That is what ber programs. the organizers of the annual Plant City Pig Jam planned to determine One family said that they have never on November 18th at the annual missed one since the first. “We just Plant City Pig Jam. The parking area love it,” said Pat Fox. “The kids have was packed and one of the attendants a blast, and we end up eating way who was directing traffic said that the more than we should.” turnout this year was much greater than last. The weather was warm, the Organizers said that they were very skies were clear and from the minute pleased with how the event turned people stepped out of their cars, the out this year. There were more people sounds of country music could be interested in participating than ever heard drifting over from the event. before, and the other activities all came together smoothly. They were “Last year, it was really cold,” said especially pleased with the turnout James Sawicki, who was there for the and with the quality of the food that second year in a row. “There weren’t was being prepared. as many people.”

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This year, there were more than 100 booths set up where BBQ, ribs and chicken were being cooked all day long. The area was filled with smoke and the smells of cooking food. Several booths had long lines stretching down the concourse as word spread among the visitors about which vendors had particularly good fare. Prizes were awarded in several categories, with the largest, a $3,000

At the back end of the field, a special area was set up to provide entertainment for the kids. One of the most popular attractions was a bungee ride, which allowed people to strap into a harness and leap 30 feet or more into the air. Because of the way the bungee cords and harness were designed, kids could perform flips and other acrobatics as they flew through the air.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 18

Kids also had a blast competing with one another to make it to the top of a giant rock wall. Inflatable jumpers were also available for the younger children. HomeBBQ won the professional grand prize this year for best overall taste in all four categories, even though they did not take the top prize in any individual category. Music City Pig Palace was awarded top prize for their chicken, while Smokey Mountain Smokers got the top prize for beef brisket. The awards for best ribs and pork went to Smokin’ Triggers and Gator Grates respectively.

year. Everyone who attended and participated seemed to be having a terrific time. “I just decided to participate on a whim,” said Robby, of Big Gulp’s BBQ. “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m exhausted, but I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun!”

In the amateur division, the top prize, as well as best beef brisket, went to Is It Ready Yet? Poppell Insurance ran away with best chicken honors. Tastiest pork was attributed to Breasts and Butts BBQ, and Big Pig Brood had the best ribs of the day. With free admission, and only $3 for parking, the annual Pig Jam was unquestionably a huge success this

Everyone was enjoying themselves, even this vendor who was handing out free samples

A father and son use their Pig Bucks to buy from the wide selection at one of the vendors


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 19


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Story and Photos by Sherry Baldwin

The Ammerman Family Farm

HOLDS SEMI-ANNUAL EXOTIC PET YARD SALE AND SWAP

“Held in the shade of Grandfather Oaks,” the Ammerman Family Farm in Plant City recently hosted their semi annual Exotic Pet Yard Sale and Swap. As Jon Ammerman explained, his father Don first began operating the family farm in 1961. Today, the yard sales help with the ongoing costs of operating the farm. Ammerman also shared that the event was expected to draw an estimated 1,000 people throughout the day. In addition, 150 local and out of state vendors traveled to the popular event to display their animals and/or wares. On sale was a large variety of exotic birds, rabbits, miscellaneous small animals, cages and other related items. Many of the vendors, such as Jean Pattison of Lakeland, were eager to share their

expertise as well. Pattison, who has lectured all over the world on African Parrots, has earned the distinction of being called the African Queen. “African Grey Parrots are considered great imitators and have a pleasant vocalization,” shared Pattison. Another vendor, Jose Echevarria, from Kissimmee, offered not only a variety of birds for sale, but original artwork also. To assist with the dietary needs of customers’ pets, Kevin and Dawn Evans of Davenport sold a line of popular pet foods, while Leo and Kay Zawacky gave enthusiasts the opportunity to purchase from their line of Caribbean clothing, jewelry or wind chimes. It was also not unusual for customers to be seen traveling around the

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 20

farm with their own little furry or feathered creatures in tow. Customers like Dianne Hlukboky, from Tampa, chose to enjoy the day while being accompanied by her Mini Macaw named “Sweetie Pie.” Hlukboky explained that this often helps increase the socialization skills of the pet. Overall, the event was considered a real success and future such events have already been calendared. For more information, please contact: Don Ammerman, Owner, The Ammerman Family Farm, (813) 752-2230.

Plant City residents Nina and Kristin McNamar of the Critter Trader at recent Ammerman Pet Yard Sale

Dianne Hluboky, of Tampa, along with her Mini Macaw named Sweetie Pie enjoying the day at recent Exotic Pet Yard Sale


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 21


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Story and Photo by Holly Mallalieu

Teen Leaders Club

KIDS FOCUS ON HEALTHY TOPICS TOGETHER AND HAVE FUN

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uesday nights at the YMCA Youth Extension site are no longer quiet when all of its afterschool kids are done and gone for the day. Now, the Teen Leaders Club, a diverse group of guys and girls, meet there to socialize, share, learn, and grow together each week. Jenny Brewster is in charge and has been enthusiastically leading the group since it started at the facility at the beginning of this school year. Many YMCA’s across the country hold Teen Leaders Clubs, and she is so excited Plant City’s branch has now taken it on. “It’s a great opportunity for kids,” she said. The club is open to teenagers ranging from 6th to 12th grade. As of now, there is a wonderful clan of 12 that come

regularly to the Plant City branch, ranging from ages 11 to 14. The Teen Leaders Club is based on four main components: volunteering, socializing, administration, and staying fit. Each member must meet a personal physical fitness goal to attend camp, and, in their weekly meetings, the 12 discuss ways they can avoid inactivity, and together plan which sports they want to do together. They emphasize building spirit, mind, and body, and the importance of having balance in all three areas in life. Besides their weekly rendezvous, the Teen Leaders have many opportunities to do things together; such as one week in the summer the club attends a camp in North Carolina,

where they learn important leadership skills and even history of the YMCA and its principles. There is also a State Rally in the spring. With these events comes the chance to meet so many different people from various places. The kids have the opportunity to make great

friends, not only in their immediate area, but on a larger scale, as well. Teen Leaders Club is an excellent addition to the opportunities for teenagers in our community, and we hope it continues to grow!

Bianca Hernandez, Brooke Kohr, Brandon Peterson, Daniel Greco, Katelyn Kent, Samantha Cluney, Jordan Johnson, Allyson Case, Chance Volden, and Brandi Kohr

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 22


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Story by Daniel Sperry Photo by Sophia Dedon

Race Downtown to the Information Superhighway FREE WIRELESS INTERNET COMES TO PLANT CITY Next Saturday, if the weather is nice, it might not be a bad idea to plan to take a walk in McCall Park. There are new shops to browse and restaurants where one can grab a quick bite. But anyone who comes should make sure they bring their laptop. That’s right, a laptop. Grab a cup of coffee, shop, and then take a rest on one of the benches in the park. Open up the laptop and be prepared, because Plant City is on the cutting edge of technology as free Wi-Fi Internet access is being offered downtown. The neighbors will be jealous. Plant City’s decision to introduce free wireless Internet puts them in the same league as Tampa and St.

Petersburg, leaving other towns in the dust. Plant City officials said that they felt like this would be a good thing to do for the city. With more and more jobs demanding that people be constantly accessible by email, this is one way to bring the downtown area to life. This is the first step in a possible long-term plan to offer wireless Internet to residents throughout the city. Officials say that there would be a cost, but lower than what can be found through local cable or telephone companies. For now, though, residents can enjoy all the benefits of highspeed internet, without being

trapped in their home or office. Students can make use of the technology to research their homework. Adults can check their email, sports scores, or just get some work done while enjoying the fresh air. Wireless Internet may come as a surprise to some, but one man who was sitting in the park sees it differently. “People think Plant City is completely rural, but now there’s nothing anywhere else that we don’t have here.”

Emily Allen takes advantage of the new WiFi available in McCall Park

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 23


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Story and Photos by Cheryl Johnston

Patriotism – Pass It Down BOY SCOUTS HONOR LOCAL VETERANS

commending them for their efforts to honor Sgt. Connell. “The mere mention of his name brings tears to my eyes. He was a smart, tough, steely-eyed point on ambush attacks. Everyone wanted to serve with him. … I’ve thought of him every day of my life.”

The Webelos (4th-5th graders) of Plant City’s BSA Troop 14 salute and pledge in honor of deceased veterans

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lant City’s Boy Scout Troop 14, based at Evangelical Presbyterian Church, is determined to honor veterans for their sacrifice. Inspired by their Scoutmaster Gary Sawyer and volunteer assistants, the 4th-5th grade Webelos Scouts planted 160 flags on graves at the 3-acre Turkey Creek Baptist Cemetery on Veteran’s Day. Along with a crowd of 40, the boys learned about the history of honoring veterans and sacrifices for one’s country. The troop’s connection to the cemetery began in 2002 when the Sawyer family took an interest in restoring the flagpole area and one gravesite in particular. For their Eagle Scout projects, brothers Andy and Casey Sawyer worked to add specially engraved marble slabs at the flagpole base, purchase new American and POW-MIA flags, and repair the grave of Sgt. Charles Anthony Connell, a Silver Star/Purple Heart recipient killed in combat in Vietnam. The Webelos performed color guard duties, raising the new flags, and then lowering them to half mast in honor of all veterans. Scoutmaster Sawyer explained to the boys, “We are here to honor our veterans. You have everything you have today and ever will have

because someone went before and sacrificed. Our soldiers leave their homes and families to protect us and assist other countries. It’s our duty to remember them and their costly sacrifice.” Seven veterans’ gravesites were particularly honored with bronze service medals of their military branch. The boys heard the story of each soldier’s life and death, then planted the flag and medal. Those seven valiant men were: Cpl. Willard Parrish, WWII paratrooper, was shot at age 27 in the line of duty in Germany trying to help a depressed gun-crazed friend.

Cpl. James Lisenby (1944-1968), awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, was wounded in Vietnam, volunteered to return and was killed. His headstone is engraved with a guitar and the words, “God gives us love. Someone to love He lends us.”

highly decorated Vietnam Vets with a Distinguished Service Cross, two Bronze Star Medals with Oakleaf Clusters, a Purple Heart, and an Air Medal. These three acres of hallowed ground contains veterans’ graves from the Confederate and Spanish-American Wars, WWI, WWII, the Vietnam War and first Persian Gulf conflict. 160 lives paid the ultimate sacrifice, and probably all would do it again. Let us never forget the cost they paid for our freedom.

Pvt. John Miles (USMC) was killed in Vietnam in 1966 by friendly fire upon returning from patrol. Pvt. Emory Cannon (1946-1968) was an Army infantryman killed in Vietnam with 3 others while moving cannon shells. His headstone reads “Emory – Yes, Lord!” 1st Lt. Richard “Ricky” Michael Speer (Co.D, 2nd Batt., Calvary Div.), died at 22 as one of the most

Mission accomplished as new flags are raised by Webelos of BSA Troop 14

Sgt. James Hodges was killed at age 20 in 1950 as our troops attacked near Seoul, early in the Korean War. Casey Sawyer also replaced the photo inset on the headstone broken by an errant football during a church game. Sgt. Charles “Stormy” Connell, US Army recipient of Silver Star and Purple Heart medals, was killed in combat at 19 in 1970. Another veteran helped arrange for a proper government headstone and 36 years later he finally has one. David Hess, who served with Stormy, wrote a letter to the scouts

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 24

Eagle Scout Casey Sawyer with photos of seven honored with service medals placed on gravesites


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Story and Photos by Daniel Sperry

The Great American Teach-In

ARTISTS AND CIVIL SERVANTS INVADE PLANT CITY SCHOOLS was filled with opportunities for teachers and students to be introduced to a wide variety of careers. TECO showed up with their heavy equipment and taught the students how the simple machines they are learning about in science class combine to form a complex machine that fixes power lines.

Jules Burt introduced Mrs. Hinton’s first graders to painting, and each child had a unique creation to take home with them

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ypically, the thought of six and seven-year-old children armed with acrylic paint will make the hair stand up on the back of parents and teachers necks. When the paint comes with a local artist, however, a potential mess becomes a masterpiece.

Jules Burt joined the first graders at Cork Elementary as part of this year’s Great American Teach-In. She provided the students with oversized t-shirts and poster board and introduced them to pop art. “You know why they call it pop art?” she asked. “It’s because the bright colors pop out at you.” The kids were thrilled with the experience, and their creations were exceptional. For more than an hour, Burt worked with the children, showing them techniques and tips and broadening their minds to the world of art. Expanding the minds of students is one of the goals of the Great American Teach-In. Across the country, people from every walk of life are welcomed into schools to talk to the kids about what they

do. Some spend a few minutes; others spend half the day doing demonstrations and interactive lessons. As an annual event to celebrate American Education Week, the Teach-In introduces students to parts of life that they may not know about otherwise. People talk about their hobbies, careers and travel experiences and the teachers relate these lessons to things that are taught in the classroom. American Education Week was introduced in 1921 in response to the distressingly high numbers of illiterate soldiers in the military. Since then, it has grown into a major highlight of every school year.

Horse Feathers 4H Horse Project introduced kids to the science of livestock and even had a pony for the students to examine and touch. “Their hooves are like your fingernails,” said Alice North, as she held up the pony’s leg. “They are constantly growing and have to be taken care of.” A local veterinarian spent time in one of the classrooms talking about animal medicine. All the subjects the students cover in class, from English to Science, come together to make a successful vet. Communication with pet owners is just as important as the math and science of knowing how to treat the animals. Members of the National Education Association encourage people to get involved in the

Students were thrilled with the chance to examine one of Alice North’s ponies up close

Great American Teach-In. It makes no difference whether or not someone has a college degree or is a successful business person. They believe that every adult has experiences and ideas that are beneficial to students. American Education Week takes place each year during the week before Thanksgiving, and anyone who wants to get involved is invited to contact a local school. One teacher commented that these days are the ones that the students talk about for the rest of the year. It does not matter whether you show your favorite recipe or demonstrate a science experiment. Every single person who gets involved enriches children’s lives and makes an impact that will last for years.

One of the goals of the event is to inspire students to keep focused and looking ahead toward the future. It reinforces that the dayto-day life in the classroom is leading them toward the grownup world. Whether they want to be a doctor or an artist, school is an integral part of the path that leads to their dreams. At Cork Elementary, the school

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 26

Veterinarian Christy Poulin from Timberlane Pet Hospital and Resort visits Mrs. Plunk’s first grade class


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Story and Photos by Heather Davis

Capturing the Hearts and Minds OF OTHER CULTURES

Only a select few of us are ever given the chance to travel the world visiting indigenous tribes and cultures. It is through the work of artists, photographers, and documentaries that most of us are ever exposed to other people and places. Thankfully, we have artists such as Teressa Odom whose work exposes us to such things. Assorted paintings from Teressa Odom’s Tribal Collection Teressa Odom is a self taught Plant press herself creatively. City artist whose current collection highlights and focuses on indigeIt is through her current Tribal nous people from around the world. collection that Teressa is hoping Her current collection stemmed to open up minds and create an from a love and appreciation for the awareness of primitive cultures and beauty and diversity of other cultribes. Teressa feels that by being tures. Teressa drew inspiration from exposed to the beauty of other documentaries, National Geographcultures through art, it may help ic, and works from photographers. preserve a way of life and land that is being threatened by globalizaAs a young girl Teressa always tion and by other means. enjoyed drawing, beginning with sketches of horses and later clothTeressa has also worked on other ing and fashion. Her interest in collections including nudes, abfashion led her to pursue an AS stracts, and fashion. She is curdegree in Fashion Design. Teressa rently working on a collection of began seriously painting six years hand-made purses and custom ago, searching for a means to exmade t-shirts for a boutique in Ybor City.

Teressa’s Tribal collection was on display at the Gold Dragon Gallery in Tampa, as well as being published in the New Art International, 2005 edition. Her collection can be currently viewed at Tre Amici at the Bunker in Ybor beginning November 30th. For more information on Teressa Odom and her work you can visit www.tampaartist.com. Teressa Odom in front of Young Budhist Monk painting (China)

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 28


Merry Christmas

From all of us at 1204 N. FRONTAGE ROAD

JUST WEST OF PARK ROAD IN PLANT CITY • Call For Appointment

813-927-1288 or 813-967-5352


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Story & Photos by Kristen Toney

The Audio Sleep Mattress A NEW INVENTION FOR ALL AGES!

had recently written a patent for a product his wife had invented called Tummy Comfort. Solomon loved Blackmon’s idea, wrote the patent for the Audio Sleep Mattress within a matter of days, and within an unheard of two weeks, Blackmon had his patent.

Kevin Blackmon takes us back through the process of designing the Audio Sleep Mattress

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re you one of those people who must fall asleep to some kind of noise? Perhaps you leave the TV on, or have a sound machine or CD player that is set on replay. Some people simply sleep better when sleeping with sounds. Kevin Blackmon has discovered an untapped market that is sure to be exciting for anyone who uses a musical or sound device each night.

down on paper. So it was kind of crazy,” Blackmon laughed. He first named the idea the Musical Mattress, and as he showed the hundreds of sketches he made in those wee morning hours of sleeplessness, one can tell Blackmon is a man who pays a lot of attention to detail. The name finally evolved into the Audio Sleep Mattress.

The idea Blackmon is speaking of is the Audio Sleep Mattress, a top-of-the-line Ultra Orthopedic© mattress that comes in all sizes (even for a crib), holding internal speakers with connections for any of your portable music devices; CD player, MP3 or iPod.

Kevin is the son of life-long Plant City residents Norman and Joy Stanley Blackmon. “I was raised in a good home, but a lot of times when I was young we didn’t have money,” said Blackmon. “We lived paycheck to paycheck, and we had a lot of love. But I look back on those times and remember when I was young and said, ‘I’m going to find something that’s going to make a lot of money for my family one day.’ I knew there was a way to make this happen, and I hadn’t given up on my idea, but I wasn’t sure how it would all work out.”

“I was waking up every night and making these sketches, trying to get what was going on in my head

It was then Blackmon reconnected with the father of his daughter’s school friend, Mike Solomon, who

“I was searching for an idea that no one else had, but everybody else would want,” Blackmon remembers. “This was even back before the MP3 and iPod craze hit, and I was just thinking about this for a CD player.”

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 30

The amazing thing about this inventor is, Kevin Blackmon has no experience in this field whatsoever! He has specialized in warehouse services, supervisory and highway safety equipment, and is now a full-time landscaper. With a heart for children and teens and a love for music, he originally had babies in mind when the invention began to take shape. Then his thoughts moved to teens, and then he decided the mattress would be good for anyone! “It’s a new, cutting edge product,” Blackmon enthused. “It’s great not only for educational purposes, but also for entertainment purposes. Nobody else has this product!” Benefits such as a peaceful night’s rest without having to climb out of bed and adjust the sound on your CD player, and comfort and security for a newborn baby alone

The Blackmon Family: Kevin and wife Renee with children Donnie and Lauren

in their crib are only the beginning when it comes to the Audio Sleep Mattress. If you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift that can’t be purchased just anywhere, this is the answer for you. Blackmon is also able to manufacture and ship quickly, as the location of his manufacturer is right in Riverview. With dozens more ideas in that sketchbook of his, one can bet we haven’t heard the last of Kevin Blackmon. “My dream hasn’t come true yet,” he said. “But it’s on its way.”

Kevin Blackmon with the crib version of his Audio Sleep Mattress


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 • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 31


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Story and Photos by Daniel Sperry

Tears and Cheers Mark Veterans Day PLANT CITY COMES OUT IN FORCE TO HONOR SOLDIERS

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ears streamed down faces. Sobs mixed with laughter. Flags flapped proudly in the wind as cheers filled the air. The soldiers came home. They arrived in Plant City on Veterans Day after spending a year or more fighting in Iraq and Kuwait.

Tadlock served at the end of World War II and was one of the attendees at the Plant City Photo Archives Veterans Day reception. More than 80 people attended the downtown event where refreshments were served from 9 to 11 a.m. The archives displayed hundreds of military pictures from the various wars in which Plant City residents have been involved.

“I can’t wait to see my daddy,” said one little girl as she waited for the buses to come. “I miss him so much.”

At ten o’clock, everyone made their way to the street and waited for the more than 50 men and women in the National Guard to pass by on their way home from Iraq. Everyone applauded and waved at the dark-tinted windows of the four busses as they passed.

Three major events took place in Plant City to honor all service men and women. Starting on Saturday morning at Walden Lake Park, organizers from Project Care Unlimited began setting up tents and booths for a special day of music, prayer and poetry reading in remembrance of the military. Meanwhile, in downtown Plant City, the Photo Archives opened their doors for a special reception for veterans. They waited there for the buses of soldiers to pass by on the way to the Armory where more than 500 people were anticipating the arrival of National Guard troops returning home. The reception at the Armory was expected to be nothing short of a hero’s welcome. POETRY AND PRAYER At Walden Lake Park, Ella Rollinson Salter shared her feelings about Veterans Day. As the head of Project Care Unlimited, she wanted to provide an outreach into the community to honor all veterans, past present and future. “We are going to be doing things all day,” she said. “And throughout, we are going to be offering our prayers for the military.” The event ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and featured a variety of outlets for

“It wasn’t like this when we came home,” said a vet who served in Vietnam. “I’m glad things have changed.”

A woman embraces her husband as she and their children welcome him home from Iraq

expression. The feature of the event was poetry readings by Salter and others. The poetry focused on empowerment and spirituality, which she believes are an integral part of healthy living. “We are all about helping people,” said Salter. “I believe that God gives us the power to overcome all obstacles in our lives.” Few people face the obstacles that are encountered by families of the military. Children have to deal with one or both parents being far from home and in danger. Spouses deal with managing their homes alone and parents deal with the constant fear of losing a child. “I think that oppression and depres-

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 32

sion are tools that Satan uses to bring us down,” said Salter. A centerpiece of the event was a special tribute to the military. The Star Spangled Banner was sung, along with God Bless America, and a special prayer was offered in support of veterans. PAST MEETS PRESENT Grady Tadlock moved slowly past the rows of black and white pictures with his wife. Every so often he would pause, occasionally pointing to a particular picture and commenting on it to his wife. “I had a buddy in the Navy,” he said at one point. “I think this might be him.”

The Photo Archives remained open throughout the rest of the day on Saturday so that anyone could browse the displays. A HOMECOMING TO REMEMBER People poured into the Plant City Armory. The surrounding parking lots were packed full of vehicles. National Guardsman Abraham Cancino was trying to direct traffic on Airport Road. “I can’t believe there are so many people,” he said. “I can’t keep up with them all.” Hundreds of people filled the parking lot as they awaited the arrival of the troops. Many had signs so their loved ones could find them. Most had flags. The atmosphere was charged with anticipation.


TEARS AND CHEERS continued Wives and girlfriends were dressed in their best and nervously awaited their husbands and boyfriends. There were nearly as many children as adults, waiting for their moms or dads to come back home. “It’s been so long,” said one woman who was looking for her husband. She kept rubbing her hands together. “I’m beside myself with emotion. I can’t believe he’s finally coming home.”

the men and women they were waiting for.

This boy, along with many other kids, were eagerly awaiting the return of a mom or dad on Veteran’s Day

At about 10:45 the busses arrived, and the roar of the crowd was deafening. As the doors opened and the troops began to emerge, the crowd became a press of bodies as people shouted names, trying to find

The reunions were the stuff of movies: brothers hugging each other tightly; a mother with shining eyes clinging to her son’s arm; a woman surrounded by her family; and of course, the kisses. This was a time when the normal rules of public affection no longer applied, and from the police and firefighters to the bystanders and reporters, it was a challenge to find a dry eye anywhere. It was a powerful reminder of the sacrifices that are made by those who serve. The 2006 Veterans Day in Plant City was truly a day to remember.

This girl made a sign to welcome her uncle home after a year away in combat

Live gospel music accompanied the poetry ready at Walden Lake Park in honor of Veteran’s Day

Two young friends made matching signs to welcome our troops home

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 33


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Story and Photo by Samantha Szapanos

The Lights of Love ONE NIGHT WITH LOTS OF LOVE

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s Christmas approaches, Plant City hosts many thrilling events for the community. The 8th annual Lights Of Love was one such event. With the lighting scheduled at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, November 30th, the ecstatic guests shuffled into McCall Park. As they waited, the First Baptist Church Children’s Choir sang many traditional Christmas songs. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Mayor John Dicks. After he opened, Reverend Richard Bills, Chaplain for the South Florida Baptist Hospital, said the invocation. Special music was presented by Pete Battaglia and Amber Davis. The lights not only displayed a

wonderful view for its audience, but they also had several meanings. Each of the colors of the lights was sponsored in honor of people and the proceeds benefited the pediatric center of SFBH. An estimated $20,000 was raised from the event. The countdown started and everyone gleamed. Then finally, the lights flicked on and the crowd cheered. “It’s a passion to do this,” explained Frank Kimmel, the director of the Florida Garden Railway Society. “It’s our passion, our hobby. We love it! If it ever became a job, if we ever got paid for this,” he said, “we wouldn’t do it!” Preparation for the event began weeks before. The General Services Department of the city puts

up all the Christmas decorations in downtown. It takes all eight people in GSD an entire day to put the wreaths up and several days to do McCall Park and the other downtown decorations. “Many of the decorations we made ourselves,” said Wally Miller of the GSD.

as the tree was lit. With all the long hours of hard work finally done, A GSD employee comments that “It was all worth it in the end.”

Kimmel was filled with joy as he watched many children jump up and down and point James and Mary Graham gaze upon the nicely lit Christmas tree

PROUDLY SERVING PLANT CITY SINCE 1988

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 35


Making Friends for Life One Customer at a Time Story by Brian West Photos by Sophia Dedon and courtesy of J & G Jewelers

the store, including changing batteries and bands on watches, as well as welding chains, replacing lost gemstones, and sizing rings on jewelry. They also make custom items. Bill Bryan, a certified goldsmith, can work from a picture or drawing to make custom jewelry. J & G provides courtesy gift-wrapping for all purchases and tops off each gift with a custom made bow. J & G carries a wide variety of items, with prices ranging from $10 to the thousands. Gladys prides herself in stocking a wide variety of the world’s latest styles; some of which include unusual gemstones, a rainbow variety of colored diamonds, designer sterling silver, rose gold, platinum, 10K and 14K yellow and white gold, and brand

Jay and Gladys Jones of J & G Jewelers

Gladys Jones has been in the business in Plant City for more than 40 years. She is a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America. She began working for Bill Gunn Jewelers right after she graduated from Plant City High School. When Bill Gunn retired, her husband, Jay, encouraged her to open her own jewelry store. In 1983, they opened J & G Jewelers on the south side of town with just three showcases. After one year, Gladys relocated to 304 East Baker Street. In 2005, J & G moved to the larger corner location of the same building. J & G Jewelers operates as an old-fashioned jewelry store. Unlike many other jewelry stores, they continue to do most repair work in

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 36

Gladys Jones at the Jewelers International Showcase


1st Lt. James “Robbie” Jones and Sgt. William “Tony” Pippin

name watches. All of these selections come in rings, necklaces, pendants, earrings, brooches, bracelets, anklets, and toe and thumb rings. Gladys says that the Circle of Love and the Journey of Love diamond sets are the most popular items for this Christmas season. Gladys and two of the store’s buyers, Angela Jones and Eric Barber, enjoy traveling to jewelry shows around the country to find the latest jewelry fashions, gift ideas and unique packaging for gifts. J & G has a curio cabinet full of Limoges-style trinket boxes of all types, along with the assortment of fine jewelry. The Jones family enjoys helping others in the community. They are supportive of our country’s heroes, including our military, firefighters, police and sheriff’s departments. Gladys’ son Robbie and her son-inlaw Tony serve in the U.S. Army. Robbie is currently in Iraq, otherwise he would be at J & G Jewelers helping with the holidays. J & G donates to various programs, including local churches, schools, and civic organizations. They also donate gifts to children every Christmas for Peace River Center recipients.

Angela Jones, Gladys Jones and Eric Barber

Celebrating Jay’s retirement from CSX in July 2006

J & G Jewelers has been very successful over the years, and it is definitely a family-run business with everyone having a role in its success. The immediate family members working at the business include Jay, who retired from CXS in 2006. Several people work at J & G part time, in addition to their full-time jobs. One such individual is their daughter Angela who is a Program Supervisor at Peace River Center in Polk County. Tony and Aimee Pippin, their son-in-law and daughter, will be helping out during the holidays while Tony is on leave from the Army. In addition to the immediate family, Wilma Spencer, Nonie Roberts, Sandy Hawthorne, Danya Conrad, and Eric Barber round out the crew. Gladys says that she truly enjoys her business and does not believe in inflating prices, “I do not want merchandise to sit in my showcases. I enjoy seeing people smile as they leave J & G. We work to meet the needs of people who come through our doors.” Her motto is, “Plant City is like a big family to me, whether I am meeting someone for the first time or fiftieth time.”

Gladys Jones helps a customer pick the perfect ring FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 37


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Wishing You and Yours Many Wondrous Blessings This Holiday Season! Dr. John A. Busciglio Orthodontist

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The midtown project is also something of significance for the City of Plant City. Ideally, the midtown area should complement downtown. The more people that are living in the midtown area, the better off the downtown area will be. The City Commission is currently conducting a conceptual study of the midtown area, which is roughly defined from the railroad tracks immediately north of Knott’s Hardware, south to Waller’s, west to Badcock, with a slight jog west, then north back to the railroad tracks. There are several spaces available in the area that are currently not developed, or that could be put to better use. The City Commission is considering changes to the zonings in the area to allow people to live in the area, work and entertain themselves, which would complement downtown. But this also isn’t something that will change overnight, or even by next year. It could easily take 10 years to see a significant change, if things move quickly.

Development also creates other needs. Barbara Franques, Area Director for Hillsborough County Schools, recently announced that they have a contract on land located east of MacIntosh Road between I-4 and Highway 92. The land will be used to build a new high school that will provide relief to both Plant City High School and Durant High School. The school is slated to be open for the 2009-2010 school year. Dodson and Lott both agree that although the new high school is a good thing for the area, the city still has a need for a new middle school. There are also needs for improved infrastructure. One such project is the Waste Water Facility Upgrade and Expansion. This is a 55 million dollar project to increase the current operation reliability of the Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) from 6 million gallons per day to 10 million gallons per day. The expansion is necessary to provide service to both new and existing customers. The existing facility is operating at 70% of capacity and is in need of major structural and treatment upgrades to handle the potential demands. The WRF will be expanded through the construction of a pipeline from the WRF to Wilder Road at Cherry Street.

A lot of cities have learned that to have a thriving downtown, you have to have traffic, both from people living there and people traveling there. Realizing there are several lots that are currently undeveloped, and that there is a need to create more The recently completed landscaping along Park housing in the downtown area as well, the city comRoad is just one example of the many steps being taken to give Plant City a beautiful image. mission approved an increase in the ceiling heights in the area in an effort lure this mixed-use developGrowth and improvements come at a price. Impact ment. This would allow retail spaces on the bottom fees are slated to increase in 2007. Currently, the floors and living spaces above. Savannah, Charleston, and Ashville have impact fees for a detached single-family residence in Plant City are $8335. been very successful in developing their downtown areas through smaller Beginning in August 2007, the school’s portion of the impact fees will mixed-use communities with green spaces (parks), office space, and living increase from $2000 to $4000. This will bring the total for the impact fees spaces close together, the same direction Plant City is taking. to $10,335. Consultants actually made a recommendation to raise the total to $11,420, but the city has not approved the balance of the recommendaThe city also adopted a “big box” ordinance to protect itself from busition at this time. But the new fees will place Plant City at the top of the nesses with large concrete block structures that typically don’t put much fees list for cities within Hillsborough County. By comparison, in 2006effort into individual designs to complement the look of the existing 2007, the City of Tampa has impact fees totaling $9,845, while Temple structures. The new Wal-Mart slated for the southeast corner of Park Road Terrace’s fees total $5,746. However, Plant City’s total is still lower than and Sam Allen Road is a good example of how businesses can make slight the Cities of Lake Wales, Lakeland and Winter Haven. It should be noted modifications under the ordinance and still meet their own needs. The that 28% of the city’s General Fund budget is funded through property rendering for the new Wal-Mart shows brick walls and trim and differing taxes, and the City’s millage rate has remained at 4.7 mills for 18 consecuelevations in the roof lines. It makes a huge difference in the overall look tive years. of the building. The downtown Wi-Fi network project is also slated for 2007. At this time, Parking downtown can also be an issue. The city is working with consulthe high-speed internet coverage area includes City Hall and the McCall tants to study the area with a portion of the study to cover parking. The Park area. The city has budgeted $10,000 for potential future expansion city has several pieces of property that could potentially be used for adareas that might possibly include Plant City Stadium and the Randy L. ditional parking, possibly even a parking garage at some point. Larson Four-Plex, and Sansone Park.

Land is being developed throughout the city to be used as large residential areas. FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 42


y a d i l o H s g n i t e Gre from

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They’re evaluating the possibility of implementing the system in open-air recreation and public gathering environments, so there may be other areas considered.

also be arriving soon in the location formerly occupied by Taco Bell on James L. Redman Parkway. Village Inn and Starbucks Coffee will be under construction soon on the site immediately north of the McDonald’s on Thonotosassa Road.

Roads and roadwork will have a significant impact to the more than 8,000 housing units that have already been approved by the city. Of those, there are about 5,000 single-family units and 3,000 multi-family units on over 4000 acres.

In 2005, five million dollars was awarded for the construction of a new court house in Plant City. The court house project is in the Professional Services Consultant procurement process and is expected to be completed by March, 2007. Construction is scheduled to begin in July, 2009 and completed by February 2011.

Lakeside Station, the largest of these approved developments, was scheduled to get underway in November 2005, which was even a later start than originally anticipated, but a year later there still isn’t any activity on the property. Bill Dodson, City Commissioner, said, “I believe they are trying to find a partner for the devel-

opment.” In addition to Lakeside Station, which consist of more than 2800 housing units, there are several other developments that have been approved, with many that are already under construction; North Park Isles – 947 units on 397 acres, Eagle’s Crest – 505 units on 368.7 acres, County Line Farms – 507 units on 131.85 acres, and Eastland Estates – 414 units on 103 acres, just to name a few. There are also several commercial projects that have been approved and are currently in the pipeline. Several of the projects are on the south side of town next to Lowe’s. The Villages is a mixed-use retail space and townhouse development between Wal-Mart and the Lott-Mather dealership. This location is being developed by Donna Jean Crocker. City Crossing was just completed at the corner of James L. Redman Parkway and Charlie Griffin Road which will include Panera Bread. Panera Bread is a specialty soup and sandwich shop that also serves baked breakfast items such as rolls and croissants. The home located directly in front of Lowe’s that didn’t sell when the property for Lowe’s was purchased – an apparent holdout – has sold and will be razed to make room for 9,000 square feet of retail space called Redman Plaza. Duncan Donuts will

Recently, the city received a significant announcement. St. Clement’s Catholic Church of Plant City was awarded a grant for more than eight million dollars from Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The grant will allow the church to build a three story building with 68 onebedroom units of affordable housing for the elderly with very low income. Those interested in becoming residents must be at least 62

years old. St. Clement’s is located on North Alexander Street about a quarter mile south of I-4. The housing units will be constructed on the south end of their existing property, north of the GTE Federal Credit Union. Construction is expected to be complete by 2009. All in all, there are many good things coming to Plant City; many that are already in the pipeline and many that are just around the corner. Doug Gibbs, a Realtor with Jack T. Gibbs Realty, said, “The commission we have in place right now is doing a very good job of looking down the road with the decisions they make. They understand how the decisions they make today will affect what happens with the city in the future.” The City Commission has a workshop once or twice a month on these types of subjects, and it appears those efforts are paying off. Any way you look at it, Plant City has seen a lot of growth over the past few years and much more is on the horizon. It’s a great place to live and raise a family and it’s only going to get better.

The Villages is a mixed-use retail space and townhouse development being developed by Donna Jean Crocker. FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 44


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 45


RICK LOTT’S Hard Work Ethic

Does Bring Success

FOCUS

Rick Lott spent his childhood years growing up in Plant City. But shortly after high school, he moved out of town and began a very successful career working in the copier and office document industry. Since then, Lott has become involved in several businesses in the area; Benefit Resources, Lott-Mather Buick GMC Pontiac, Matrix Medical, Now We’re Cookin’, and Zeno Office Solutions. We recently talked about his family, how he was raised by his parents, his wife and children, and success Danka. PLANThis CITY EDITION • December 15, with 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 46


Focus: Tell me a little about your family. Lott: Well, I’m a fourth generation Plant Citian; obviously my kids are the fifth. My father, Ronald, worked for Tampa Electric for almost 40 years. My mother, Lena, worked here in Plant City for the post office and for about the past 20 years she’s worked for the post office in Seffner. She’s 70 years old and still works in the post office, so maybe I get some of my work ethic from her. My parents were high school sweethearts and both graduated from Turkey Creek High School. My brother, Mike, is a strawberry farmer and I always say that he’s the smart one in the family because he only has to work 8 months out of the year. My sister, Teresa, works with me at Zeno [Office Solutions]. I’m the middle child. Mike is the oldest and Teresa is the youngest. As youngsters, we grew up in Cork. In Cork, we lived on Sam Allen road next to the Cork Methodist Church in the house that is now their Pastorium; right across the field there. We were raised at Bethany Baptist and were all baptized there. We lived right behind the Ramada Inn on Wheeler Street when we were in middle school, and in high school we grew up in Dover. So we moved three times; Cork, to Plant City, to Dover. I was raised by the community. Not just my parents. I wanted my kids to have that same childhood experience. Joe Newsome was my Sunday school teacher when I was a kid, and he’s my Sunday school teacher now. From Ray Clark in the agriculture department at the high school to Jacques Waller, all these people had a huge part in who I am today – good or bad. Focus: How did you meet your wife? Lott: My best friend at the time, Kevin Scmidt, was my stock broker. I saw her after a Bucs game. She had on a pair of blue shorts with white tennis shoes and a Gator shirt. I looked at Kevin and I said, “See that girl right there. That’s my future wife.” He said, “Sure, Rick.” So I went over and asked her friend what her name was. She said her name was Diana. I said, “Well, Lady Di. I’m going to marry her.” Then she looked over at me and I said something like, “Go Gators!” We started talking and we’ve been together ever since. It’s been an incredible 18 years and she is my best friend. Focus: You have four children? Lott: Yes. Trent is 13 years old. He’s a future Senator. He’s got the name for it. Ericka is 10 years old and her ambition in life is to play professional soccer and be on the Olympic soccer team. Chase is 9 years old. He’s the smart son; he says he wants to hang out with me the rest of his life. The fourth is Rex. Rex is 5 years old and he’s our wild child; great personality. So who knows? He is number four and is the typical fourth child. Focus: Are you still coaching soccer? Lott: Yes. I’ve been coaching for 8 years. That’s why I built the soccer

field in the back yard. We play soccer year round. Three of my four kids play travel ball. Trent plays for a Brandon club and Ericka and Chase play for Valrico and Ericka is also one of ten kids that play on the under 13 US National Team. She played in the World Youth Cup in Sweden this past year and she played in Germany and Denmark and she’s going back again this year. When I was growing up, my dad used agriculture to teach me work ethics and character. That was his mechanism. He farmed cattle and orange groves. His idea of giving me character was dropping me off in the orange grove on a Saturday morning and he’d leave me with a job to do and he’d pick me up that night – usually when the mosquitoes were eating me up. There was no excuse for not having the job done; whether I ran out of diesel or the tractor broke. I had to have the job done. I had to find a way to make it work. It was a great lesson. So I’ve tried to do the same thing with my children through sports because I’m not involved in agriculture and the businesses that I’m involved with aren’t really acclimated to kids. So I use sports to help teach those life lessons to my kids. And it’s been successful. My daughter’s team, the Valrico Cyclones, has won the regional championship, the state championship, and they’ve been national champions. We’re all traveling to San Antonio, Texas, in January to play for the national championship again. We have a great group of kids. They’re a U-11 team, so all the girls are 10 or 11 years old. They’re building relationships with one another, and they really do watch out for one another, too. You never know how life is going to turn around. I have friends in this town that when we see each other we’ll talk about a baseball game when we played in little league together. Dennis Sweeney is a childhood friend of mine. He works in Code Enforcement with the city. He and I played on CFI together. We’re all the time rehashing childhood dreams together, but of course, he was a better athlete than I was. Focus: How did you end up working with Danka? Lott: When I graduated high school, I was searching for what I wanted to do. I went to work for a company in Lakeland called Accent Business Products. They were in the copy machine business, but I’d never even seen a copier before; this was in 1979. I thought it was the most amazing technology. I went to work there as the tank cleaner for $3.15 per hour. The technicians would bring in these tanks full of liquid in a reservoir and my job was to clean them out. I worked my way into the warehouse, and then I was a technician. But I couldn’t fix anything, so they put me in sales. That’s where I found my niche. I was pretty good at communicating with people and I did very well with it.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 47


In 1980, I moved to Tampa and went to work for another copy machine company. I got lucky because a man by the name of Dan Doyle, the founder of Danka, came to town and bought the company I was working for. He started Danka right there. There were 20 of us and we had about $500,000 a year in sales. Over the next 16 years we took the company to over 23,000 employees and more than 3.3 billion dollars in sales. I was the director of acquisitions for the last 9 years with them. It was a good learning experience for me. Every situation was different. Each company had its own set

Focus: Where did you get the desire to become involved in politics? Lott: If you go back to my childhood, I was the kid that if you asked him, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would have said, “The President of the United States.” I just always thought that’s what I wanted to do. But I’ve always been fascinated with politics. Mike Sparkman and Rich Glorioso both had a role my decision. But I’ve also been influenced by the things happening around me. I moved to what was Temple Terrace from Tampa, and its population exploded. Then I moved to Carollwood Rick Lott with wife Diana and four children: Erika, Trent, Rex and Chase

of rules and regulations and I had to blend it with Danka’s. We were quite successful. In 1992 and 1993 we were the number one stock in America. Then in 1993, our first child, Trent, was born. In the delivery room I made a promise to him and my wife that before his 3rd birthday I would come off the road. I was traveling 5 and 6 days a week doing acquisitions. Probably one of the proudest moments of my life was 17 days before Trent turned 3 years old, I retired from Danka. For the next few days I followed my wife around to all the parks with her friends and the baby. Then my wife in so many words told me it was time to get my own life. I got the hint and started making acquisitions again. That was the beginning of Zeno. I called Tom Frederick, who was the number one sales manager that I worked with at Danka and asked him to come over. We teamed up and he focused on sales and I handled the acquisitions and operations. One thing that was kind of neat was that my second acquisition was the company in Lakeland that I started working for at $3.15 per hour when I was 18. Most of the employees were still there, and when the owner of the company was introducing me, Nancy, a woman who was there when I worked there said, “Hey! Aren’t you the tank cleaner?” So to this day I’m still the tank cleaner. Today, Zeno is the second largest independent distributor of office equipment in the nation. I’m very thankful and proud of our team.

and its population exploded. Then I moved to Brandon and the same thing happened. Then I moved to Valrico and within 3 years it exploded. Now I’m back in Plant City and its happening all over again. So literally from looking and learning from the mistakes that those areas made, I wanted to do two things; to try to keep Plant City an affordable place to live and raise a family and try to have planned growth. Focus: Tell me one of your most embarrassing moments. Lott: I took my wife on a ski vacation for our first anniversary. She went along with it. We went to Colorado. I take her to a nice restaurant. Everything is romantic and I gave roses and then I gave her the anniversary gift I’d gotten for her. I had planned the perfect night, I thought. Then she smiled at me and told me our anniversary wasn’t until three months later, but she really loved the vacation and couldn’t wait to see where I was going to take her for our actual anniversary. ”

Given all his success in life, I’d describe Lott as very down to earth, and approachable. But that’s typically what you get when you’re a self-made man with a true love for your family and a passion for your home town.


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114 E. Parker St. Lakeland 863-683-8182

2410 W. Baker St. Plant City 813-754-7798

Hours: Mon-Fri 9-5 & Sat 10-4

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 49


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 50


SEE OUR NEW OFFERS BELOW! PLANT CITY .....Plant City Crossings 2621 Thonotosassa Rd. .....752-6631 APOLLO BEACH ................................Apollo Beach 220 Apollo Beach Blvd ..............................645-1499 BLOOMINGDALE ..... Royal Oaks Shopping Center 3248 Lithia-Pinecrest Rd ........................... 654-8113 BLOOMINGDALE ...... Just S. of Bloomingdale Ave. 3513 Bell Shoals Rd. .................................645-9292 BRANDON ....................................In Front of Publix 913 W. Brandon Blvd. ................................684-4499 BRANDON ............................. Lake Brandon Village 11393 Causeway Blvd. ..............................643-6944 FISHHAWK ...............................................Fishhawk 16707 Fishhawk Blvd. ...............................654-7991 PLANT CITY ............................Plant City Crossings 2621 Thonotosassa Rd. ............................752-6631 RIVERVIEW .......................................Goolsby Point 11697 Boyette Rd. .....................................672-1832

20% OFF

ENTIRE ORDER

Shirts & Dry Cleaning Valid on incoming orders only. No exceptions. No combining coupons. Expires: January 15, 2007

20% OFF

ENTIRE ORDER

Shirts & Dry Cleaning Valid on incoming orders only. No exceptions. No combining coupons. Expires: January 15, 2007

20% OFF

ENTIRE ORDER

Shirts & Dry Cleaning Valid on incoming orders only. No exceptions. No combining coupons. Expires: January 15, 2007

SEFFNER ................................... North Grove Plaza 1515 Parsons Ave. South ..........................684-5897

20% OFF

VALRICO ...........................................Valrico Square 1985 E. Brandon Blvd. ..............................654-2324

Wedding Gowns, Comforters, Blankets, Alterations, Drapes

VALRICO .......................... Shoppes Brandon Farms 2511 E Brandon Blvd. ................................643-4825

Minimum Order $5. Valid on incoming orders only. No exceptions. No combining coupons. Expires: January 15, 2007

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 51


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 52


Crescent Jewelers

A.

B.

Journey Prices From $299

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A. 65432 14KY 1 CT TW Journey diamond pendant, $2276. Chain CH164 14KY 16” sold separately. (Mounting only 83548, $98.) B 65433 14KY 1 CT TW Journey diamond earring, $1939 per pair. (Mounting only 83549, $136 per pair.) Items may be enlarged as much as 150% of actual size to show detail

Visit our store at Lithia Crossing to see our wide selection of fine jewelry.

3450 Lithia Pinecrest Road Valrico, FL 33594

Lumsden Rd

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Winn Dixie

Bloomingdale Ave

Albertson's

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Little Rd

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S. Dover Rd

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Bell Shoals Rd

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John Moore Rd

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FishHawk Ranch

Prices may vary.

Special Holiday Hours: Wed. - Sat. 10a.m. - 8p.m.; Sun. 1p.m. - 6p.m.

Call 813-643-1040 for more Information

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 53


HISTORY

DID YOU KNOW?

SEND COMMENTS TO SDEDON@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM

Story and Photos by Plant City Photo Archives, Inc.

Plant City and Social Teas JANUARY IS NATIONAL HOT TEA MONTH

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ith the weather changes, and the brisk, chilly days and cold nights we’ve experienced, it isn’t difficult to imagine slowing our pace a bit to indulge in a nice cup of hot tea as we move toward the holidays and the new year. Having tea with friends has been a social favorite in Plant City for many years. Many early restaurants were “tea rooms,” such as the little tea room in the Wright Arcade Building in the 1930’s. That tea room closed for the hot summer months and reopened in the fall, when the social season

got under way again. Around 1947 the Harvley Women’s Club met in the old Hotel Colonial and would hold a fashion show around a tea table. Although men were not regulars at these social teas, (in 1947 Plant City men had a regular men only “coffee club”), when U.S. Senator Holland visited Plant City in 1958, Ben and Lois Rawlins entertained the Senator and his wife at a tea held at the Hotel Plant. Photos in our collection show a sampling of social teas held in Plant City, including the Beta

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 54

Sigma Phi Sorority Tea held in 1961, the Garden Club’s “Harvest Tea” held in 1963, the Plant City Woman’s Club tea held about 1966, and the Business and Professional Women’s Club Golden Anniversary Tea held in 1969. Saturday, January 20th is the “Progressive Tea, Lunch, & Tour.” Plant City Photo Archives is sponsoring a Progressive Tea and Tour of historic homes on Saturday, January 20, from 11am to 2pm, and lunch is included. All three homes are in the Historic District along Collins Street. The event begins with

hors d’oeuvres at the first home, finger sandwiches and punch at the second, and tea and dessert at the home of Dr. John and Sally Verner. There will also be piano music by Dr. Teo Kulyk, a “hat contest” judged by Susan Kolker, Irma Moody, and Dr. Hal Brewer, and chances at door prizes. For information call the Photo Archives at 754-1578. Sources: Plant City Photo Archives, Inc., Plant City Photo Archives’ “Oral History Project 2006”, and Quintilla Geer Bruton and David E. Bailey, Jr. Plant City; Its Origin and History.


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 56


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 57


Merry Christmas From all of us at

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 59


1607 S. Alexander Street Suite 102

813-752-2087 813-759-1200

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Enjoy fabulous views from sunrise to sunset over Lake Lester on this 3.13 acre waterfront lot. Surrounded by well maintained, prestigious homes.This is a perfect building lot near all amenities on approx. 55 acre lake used for fishing, water-skiing, etc. Priced to sell at $425,000.

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Two 1 Acre Lots on Varn Road • North Plant City 4.93 Acres on Brock Road • Northwest Plant City

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Located close to interstate in city limits. Almost new 4-bedroom home reduced to $345,900. �����������������������

Beautiful 3/2/2 with 1871sf on quiet cul de sac. Formal living & dining areas. Split bedroom plan. Interior laundry. Screened back porch. Fenced yard. Large family room adjoining kitchen. $285,000 Owner says sell!

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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.

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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 $397,900

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15, 2006 - December 15, 2006 • PG 60

Beautiful 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath Custom Home 2.77 A featuring Designer Cabinets, Granite Countertops, Crown Molding & flexible floor plan ideal for teens or In-law suite. The pasture is Multi-fenced & irrigated. The barn has electric & water. All this & a new Pool. It’s a STEAL at $499,900

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Wishing You A Happy Holiday Season From Our Family To Yours

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Located on quiet stretch north of I-4. 1 acre parcels to 3+ acre parcels. Priced from $99,900 with motivated seller.

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Live the good live in this Golf Course Condo. Located on the 9th green, home features a 2/2/1136 Sq.Ft.La, screened lanai, 2 car garage, wood laminate flooring and beautiful oak trees. Priced at only $219,000. ���������������������������

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with 2792sf on .89 acre. Remodeled kitchen with KraftMaid maple finish cabinetry, cambria quartz countertops, stainless appliances. 18” tile. New roof. $399,000 Motivated! ����������������������������������

You will fall in love with this wonderful home on large Cul-de-sac lot in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Walden Lake. This home has 2 Double-sided Fireplaces, over 2800 sq’ of living area, 4 large Bedrooms, 2 1/2 Baths, new Roof and a Pool. A must see at only $365,000

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Seller’s transfer is your opportunity to own this LOVELY 3 Bdr 2 Ba Home with gleaming floors. Formal Living & Dining Room, Family Room & Study, Screened Lanai all on a large lot in Quiet Neighborhood. $239,900

26+/- Acres of Residential Land close to I-4 in Plant City. Potential for Single Family Residential Development or possible commercial development. Verification from city and county a must.Priced to sell at only $699,900.

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with this striking home. Wood floors encompass the core of the living area leading into the split 3 bedroom PLUS den. Upgraded appliances in this eat-in kitchen. New A/C, side load garage, large fenced yard and MORE

home just outside city limits with NO DEED RESTRICTIONS !!! Over 3300 sq. ft. of A/C area with split bedrooms - large master with jacuzzi and sep. shower. Home has Florida Rm with large gas fireplace, Media Center, Living Room, Dining Room, and a Family Rm. Roof, A/C, Spa Heater, etc have been replaced in last 5 years. Large Pool with 4 gazebos and Heated Spa

Charming Walden Lake Block Home with Large Screened Lanai, 3 Bedrooms, 2 Baths & 2 Car Garage. This home features Tile F\loors, Neutral Carpet, Split Bedroom Plan, Family Room, Living Room, Cathedral Ceilings, Indoor Laundry & Leaded Glass Front Door. New flat top Range & Dishwasher. Make this your Address in time for the Homestead Exemption.

Call Janet Calvello @ 813-967-1939

MLS # T2201010 3/2 mobile home on 1 acre for $140,000 and/or MLS # T2207472 vacant land 8.8 acres for $339,900. Beautiful property, perfect for farming or building. Buy one or both

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...because your move matters FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 61


For “Another Sweet Sale” Call 813-758-9586. Call Us For All Your Real Estate Needs! ���������������������������� �����������������

Beautiful 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath Custom Home on 2.77 A featuring Designer Cabinets, Granite Countertops, Crown Molding & flexible floor plan ideal for teens or In-law suite. The pasture is Multi-fenced & irrigated. The barn has electric & water. All this & a new Pool. It’s a STEAL at $499,900. Call Angel @ 546-9863

Executive 5 Bedroom 3 Bath 3 Car Garage Home w/Spectacular Waterview! The enormous Kitchen is a Gourmet’s Dream w/Granite Countertops & Wood Cabinets. Family Room w/Fireplace. Pool w/large Lanai area & Brick Pavers. Priced to SELL at $450,000. Call Natalie at 758-9586

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You just have to see this Beautiful 3/2/2 Home w/Decorator Touches galore. Gormet Kitchen w/Stainless Steel Appliances & NEW designer Cabinets w/Granite Countertops. The Master Bath is a dream with NEW Decorator Tile & Old World Vanity. Call now to move right in! Only $239,900 Call Natalie 758-9586

Seller’s transfer is your opportunity to own this 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath home with gleaming floors. Formal Living & Dining, Family Room & Study. Screened Lanai and large lot in quiet neighborhood. You’ll need to act fast to get this one! Reduced $239,900. Call Natalie @ 813-758-9586

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You will fall in love with this wonderful home on large Culde-sac lot in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Walden Lake. This home has 2 Double-sided Fireplaces, over 2800 sq’ of living area, 4 large Bedrooms, 2 1/2 Baths, new Roof and a Pool. A must see at only $365,000 Call Natalie 758-9586

Gorgeous Remodeled Pool Home in desirable Shadow Run in Riverview on over 2 Acres. 4 Bedrooms, 2 1⁄2 Baths, all new Kitchen Appliances, Granite Countertop, New Light Fixtures, Ceiling Fans & much more! This home has it all! $499,900 Call Natalie at 758-9586

Wonderful home in Paddocks neighborhood of Walden Lake. Feels larger than it is with its fleaming laminate wood floors, great room model with separate dining room and much more. You have to see this one! Reduced to SELL $210,000. Call Natalie at 813-758-9586

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Lovely Home on CUL-DE-SAC/CONSERVATION lot in the Silver Brooke Community of Walden Lake. This distinctive split plan home with 1660 sq’ features 9’ ceiling, Fenced Yard, NEW floors, carpet & exterior paint. This is a great home. NEED WE SAY MORE! Offered for $225,000 Call Carrie @ 767-3459

Gorgeous property in growing area of Plant City ready for you to build your dream home. Bring your horses and spread out on over 2 Acres of Beautiful Land. A Great Price at $142,500 Call Carrie Lang at 813-767-3459

Beautiful Desireable Lindsey 2 Home only 1 year young. You will be amazed at the double-entry doors, volume ceilings, split bedrooms, 2 car garage and Master Suite with garden tub. All this on a huge corner lot with no backyard neighbors and Ready to Move Right In! $199,000 Call Angel 813-546-9863

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 62

Hurry! Great custom built ranch style home w/many upgrades. Save money on energy w/double paned windows, 2 hot water heaters & multiple zoned A/C. Sits on a beautiful private lots w/lots of Florida wildlife in the backyard. $364,900. Call Angel Miller @ 813-546-9863


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Stop In For a Preview of our Beautiful New Salon.

3 Exec. Stylists & 1 Nail Tech Needed for New Busy Salon.

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Call Hiram 813.717.7779

The PLACE for HAIR,

NAILS & SKIN CARE ��������������������

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Berry Kurtz - Stylist Lisa Edwards - Stylist Diann Gillespie - Sylist Megan Register - Stylist Christal Maxwell - Nail Technician Carla Youmans - Nail Technician Joann Register - Nail Technician

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HOME HOME ON THE RANCH Thereʼs 13 acres surrounding this 3 bedroom 2 bath home with inground pool. Completely fenced with a small pond. Huge barn and feeding pens. Property may be divided. Call for the details. #604

WHAT A GREAT VALUE! It all adds up to a great deal! Check out this 2 bedrm 2 bath home in Walden Lake. Ready to move into today. New tile, extra large bedrm and a kitchen you have to see to believe. PRICE REDUCED TO $189,900. Call today for a showing. #611

COUNTRY LIVING can be yours in this well maintained 3 bedrm 2 bath block home on 1.2 acres in the Walden Lake School district. Fenced back yard with a detached Garage/Workshop. $225,000. #605

BRAND NEW & WAITING FOR YOU! This 3 BR 2BA home has a great floor plan & is still under construction so you can choose colors. Great Rm with fireplace. Master Suite has his & her walk-in closets, garden tub & separate shower. Scrnd Lanai. High & dry acre lot. $339,000. #607

RENTALS AVAILABLE!

JUST TAKE A LOOK!

Beautiful 3 BR 2 BA single family condominum in the gated village of Laurel Lake in Walden Lake West. Impressive entry leads to expansive Great Rm with formal dining rm.. Luxurious mastersuite, vaulted ceilings, plant ledges. Many more features including a screened lanai with heated pool and spa. $293,900. #610

PERFECT FIRST HOME Your family will love this very nice, well kept 3 bedroom 2 bath block home with lots of updates. Formal living room & family room with fireplace. Spacious eat-in kitchen. Itʼs yours for just $174,900. Donʼt wait to see this jewel. #608

FIX IT UP OR... tear it down. This 3 bedroom 1 bath frame home needs lots of work. It sits on 2 acres with scattered oaks. Could possibly be divided. A great value for $170,000. Call for location today! #609

Brand New 3BR/2BA Home for $1150 Per Month Adorable 2 Bedroom Home for $800 Per Month Both Homes Available Immediately Good Credit Required. No Pets. Call Ronnie for Additional Info

NEED HELP? No Job Too Small

Tile Installation • Drywall • Siding Construction & Re-Modeling Tree Trimming & Removal Handyman Services Residential & Commercial Interior/Exterior Painting

We Do It All.

Licensed & Insured The Finishing Touch 813.833.9909 FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 67


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 68


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CARPORT FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 71


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The Walden Lake Review T

he Walden Lake Community Association Board met on the 13th of November. Jan Griffin, the Association President, said there were not many issues to handle at the meeting. She told me that the Neighborhood’s Lighting Contest will be judged on December 15th & 16th, so stay tuned for the report on the winning neighborhoods. Many of the Walden Lake neighborhoods have gone over and above with their decorating and it’s so nice to see the spirit of the holidays. One issue that Jan asked me to mention was this is the time that we begin to see some vandalism in Walden Lake. She said that the board’s position is to

prosecute any and all issues, whether big or small. Monte Guthrie has resigned from the board due to health issues. The board has voted to appoint Bob Norton, the current Clubhouse Woods president, to fill Mr. Guthrie’s unexpired term. The term will be up in April, at which time, Mr. Norton will have to be reelected or the association will vote in a new board member. The revised flood maps are now out and are available to view at the Engineering Department at City Hall. I spoke with the city engineer, Brett Gocka, and he tells me there was very little change from the previous flood

maps and that Walden Lake remains basically the same with minor changes. The flood maps are also posted on their website http://www.eng.plantcitygov. com. There will be a public meeting in January (date TBA) on the new flood maps and how the city will go forward regarding this new information. The Walden Lake Golf & Country Club’s membership continues to grow with 35 new members this past month. The over-seeding is taking effect and the course is looking gorgeous. The Gibson Golf Academy has hired Meg Chimino to teach clinics and private lessons. Meg is the Plant City High School Girl’s Golf Coach

and a former Division 1 player at Auburn University. For lessons, call 752-1171 Ext 224. The WLGCC is having a New Year’s Eve Party from 8 PM to 1 AM. There will be live music, cash bar, cocktail hour with happy hour prices, prime rib dinner and party favors. They are also planning to project Dick Clark’s Time Square New Year’s Eve Celebration and Ball Drop. Call 752-1171 to make your reservation for a night of fun. The Association Board would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 74

The Yard Mowed lawns, trimmed shrubbery and clean windows are a start. Planting a few flowers or plants can do a lot to a front yard. Fertilize and water the lawn and plants thoroughly 2-3 weeks before putting the house on the market. Clean up oil spots on the driveway. Make sure the garage door opens easily. Swimming pools should be clean along with the pump and filters. Clean up and throw away any junk or items lying around the yard. Now is a good time to have a yard sale, get rid of those items that you don’t plan to take with you. Do these before you put your house on the market to greatly reduce the “detrimental clutter look.” Start packing away little things that you don’t use everyday. Recycle magazines, newspapers, bottles, cans and so on. Pet droppings can easily turn the buyer back to the front door. The Exterior If your house could use a paint job and you don’t have the time or money, sometimes hosing it off (from the bottom up) and repainting the trim will update the entire facade. At least paint the side facing the street. A clean front porch with a fresh looking front door that opens smoothly is a must. Any broken windows should be fixed now as they will most likely be before closing. A few gallons of stain or paint can add real impact to a fence. The Interior Inside, everything should be spotless. Spending $100 to have someone do heavy “spring cleaning” if needed can bring a return many times over in the sales price and time on the market. A fresh coat of light colored paint on the walls is always recommended. Painting only the trim and the doors will add a lot. Check to see that all doors open and close freely. Oil any squeaky doors. Replace any burned out light bulbs. Brighter lights enhance many rooms. Steam clean the carpets if new carpeting is not possible and to help eliminate any pet odors. Wash and wax linoleum floors. Repair or replace damaged or missing tiles. Bathrooms should sparkle. Remove soap scum and mildew. Replace old looking toilet seats. Kitchens should be clean and bright. Clean oven and stove top. Exhaust fans should be free of grease and dust. Clear all unnecessary objects from the countertops. Keep curtains and blinds open and interior lights on for a bright warm cozy feeling. Store stuff and clutter under beds, not in closets. Focus Rooms Buyers react most strongly to kitchens, bathrooms and closets, so it pays to concentrate your efforts here. Sometimes just switching door handles, knobs, and light switch plates is a dramatic improvement. Replacing new shower curtains and sink faucets can pay off. Tip Preview the competition’s open houses to see what you are up against in both pricing and condition. Potential buyers will be previewing these and more. In General Try to look at your house “through the buyer’s eyes” as though you’ve never seen it before.


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 75


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 76


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

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 77


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 78


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 79


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 80


FREEMARR HOMES, INC. “Your Quality Home Builder” �������������� Prime Plant City Location Single Family Homes from the Low $200ʼs 1,467 to 1,950 s.f. of living space Standard lot 60ʼ x 110ʼ

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 81


MONEY

INVESTING

SEND COMMENTS TO SDEDON@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM Submitted by Edward Jones

Consider These Yearend Financial Tips

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f you’re like most people, you’re probably amazed at how fast the year went by. But while you’ve still got a few weeks left in 2006, take the time to consider some year-end financial moves. Here are a few to think about:

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• Review your investment strategies. Your life can change significantly over the course of a year. You may have gotten married or remarried; you might have had a child or grandchild; you might have decided to change jobs or open your own business - the list could go on and on. And for every single one of these changes in your life, you very well might need to change your investment strategies.

During this season

• Add to your retirement plan. If you have a 401(k), 403(b) or 457(b), your employer may allow you to make extra contributions before the end of the year. Since you typically make these contributions with “pre-tax” dollars, the more you contribute, the lower your taxable income may be. And of course, your money grows on a tax-deferred basis.

of giving, please

remember to give

• Sell off some of your “winners.” The stock market had a pretty good year in 2006, so you may well end up with some large net capital gains. If that’s the case, you might want to consider selling some stock to generate a loss before year-end - a move that could reduce the amount of tax you pay this year. Keep in mind, though, that if you do sell stock to generate a loss, the IRS’ “wash sale” rules will prohibit you from purchasing substantially similar stock within 30 days before or after the sale that generated the loss.

generously to your local charities

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• Make a charitable gift. By making a gift to a charitable organization, you’ll help a group whose work you support - and you’ll also help yourself. You’ll get an immediate tax break for your contribution, and, if you give an appreciated asset, such as stock, you’ll avoid having to pay the eventual capital gains taxes when the stock is sold. Plus, you’ll be removing an asset from your estate, thereby reducing the likelihood of incurring estate taxes. Before making any moves, though, check with your tax professional. • Put extra money to work. If you have a large amount of cash to invest, and it’s “sitting around” earning interest, you might want to shift some of the income to next year by investing in a short-term Certificate of Deposit or Treasury bill that matures in 2007. • “Grade” your investments’ performance. It’s a good idea to review your investment portfolio at least once a year - and the end of the year is as good a time as any. As you look over your year-end statements, ask yourself if your investments have performed as you had anticipated. While no one can predict the future, the best investors plan for, and often achieve, a certain rate of return - or at least a return that lies in a fairly narrow range - each year. How do they do it? By understanding their investments - and by choosing a mix that best reflects their individual risk tolerance and time horizon. So, if each year you find yourself “unpleasantly surprised” at your portfolio’s performance, you probably need to make some changes.

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1406 W. Knight Griffin Rd Planty City, FL

752-3306

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 82

By taking these steps before 2006 ends, you just might make 2007 a happy new year.


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Money Market

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LOHKAMP Insurance Group, Inc. Melissa D. Lohkamp ������������������������

Specializing in Truckers & Contractors ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������

office: 813.752.5230 cell: 813.389.3753 fax: 813.752.2303 607 S. Alexander St. Suite 206 • Plant City, FL 33563 l o h k a mpins@aol.com

*Current historical 7-day taxable money market yield available on 12/01/06. Effective yield assumes reinvested income. The rate on the money market fund will fluctuate. An investment in the Fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although the Fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in the fund. You should consider the investment objective, risks, and charges and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other information. Your Edward Jones investment representative can provide a prospectus, or visit our website at: www.edwardjones.com, which should be read carefully before investing.

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

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 83


MONEY

BUSINESS PROFILE

SEND COMMENTS TO SDEDON@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM

Story by Sherry Baldwin Photos by Sophia Dedon

Walden Lake Golf and Country Club Also on site at Walden Lake is the Gibson Golf Academy. Well known in the golfing world, with over 20 years experience in both teaching and playing golf, PGA Professional Jeff Gibson welcomes all ages and skill levels to participate in golf clinics and/or private instruction. Those interested in obtaining further information are asked to call 813 752-1171 ext 226.

The new owners include: (Back Row) Tim Bussell, Steve Mercer, Larry Williams, Earl Brantley (Front Row) Dale Missildine, and Doug & Tabia Cowell

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xciting change is still underway as the new owners and staff at Walden Lake Golf and Country Club, located in Plant City, prepare for the fast approaching new year. For those interested in obtaining information on membership availability, Membership Director, Sheree Lewison, eagerly awaits the chance to discuss your personal and/or corporate needs. Whether it is: Golf Family, Single Golf, Social, Tennis or the Gold Membership (use of all of the property), Walden Lake Golf and Country Club truly offers something for everyone. As a semi-private golf course, Walden Lake club members are

given tee time preferences. However, the public is also welcome to play golf on one of the two fabulous par 72 championship golf courses as well. “The Lakes course has a special greens surface called Champions Bermuda and is the best in the area,” stated Facility Manager and part owner Steve Mercer. “The Hills course is over-seeded with a winter grass that makes them putt like the Bent Grass greens up north,” added Mercer. Mercer also explained how over-seeding insures that the greens will remain beautiful even during the seasonably cooler months. There is also a driving range that is open to the public 7 am – 5 pm daily as well.

Walden Lake Golf Course includes two 18-hole courses

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 84

The greatly expanded Pro Shop includes products from famous manufacturers such as: Titleist, Taylor Made, Cobra, Mizuno, Adams, Callaway, Ping and others. For your gift giving needs, gift cards are also available. The cards can be used anywhere on the property for golf, cart rental, merchandise, food or beverage. Whether you are buying for yourself or giving as a gift, the Walden Lake Pro Shop staff will gladly assist you. Also, as an added convenience, the new Golf Club Repair Shop on the grounds is now open. According to Mercer, the shop is geared toward those interested in having their golf clubs “gripped, repaired or for custom club fitting.” Another change at Walden Lake Golf and Country Club is that Bogey’s Bar & Grill is open to the public. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days per week, Bogey’s

has a “little bit of a sports bar feel,” stated Mercer. Flat screen TV’s meet fine dining at Bogey’s. Mercer further added, “We have the NFL Ticket on Sundays and the NFL Network for Thursday night football. It is a great place to eat and enjoy the country club atmosphere.” Always looking forward, the owners and staff at Walden Lake are also preparing for an open house in the spring of 2007! Walden Lake Golf and Country Club is located at 2001 Clubhouse Drive, Plant City, FL. For more information please call 813-752-1171. You may also visit them on the web at www.waldenlakegolf.com.

Bill Kagel, Sales Manager for Special Events

Walden Lake Golf and Country Club is going through several improvements with the change in ownership


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 85


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Lic #SCC131149898 Bonded & Ins.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 86

Quality Concrete Coatings Inc. ������������������������

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EPRCCPAs

Your Future Success Is Our Business

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������������������������� ���������������������������� ���������������� Plant City - “Sciatica has puzzled doctors and frustrated patients for years. But now space travel and modern technology may have finally cracked the back pain and sciatica code.” Those are the enthusisiastic words of Dr. Shane Parson, D.C. Dr. Parson has been using non-surgical spinal decompression - an amazing space-age medical breakthrough to treat back pain, disc herniations, and sciatica...for over seven months now. “I was shocked at the results spinal decompression gets in such a short time. And how long those results last... without the side effects of drugs or risk of surgery. I was also shocked that so few doctors in the country were willing to invest in this amazing new technology” commented Dr. Parson. “But the best thing is I am able to offer this medical breakthrough to so many low back disc herniation and sciatica sufferers

right here in Plant City.” Due to his tremendous success with back pain, herniated discs, sciatica and pain radiating into the legs Dr. Parson has made available a free report to anyone suffer��������� ing with these painful condi���������� tions. “I just wanted back pain sufferers to know they have an option other than drugs and surgery... an option that really works. I wanted to let ��������� them know there is finally REAL hope...that hope is detailed in my free report.” To get your free copy of Dr. Parsonʼs revolutionary new report, “How Space Age Technology Is Solving Back Pain Without Drugs Or Surgery!” just call toll-free 1-888-238-6541 and listen to the 24 hr recorded message or request it at www.EasyDiscInfo.com Supplies are limited -

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 87


SPORTS

SOCCER

SEND COMMENTS TO SDEDON@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM

Story by Joe Bowles Photos courtesy of the PC Lancers

Plant City Lancers KICK-OFF NEW SEASON

T

he emergence of the Plant City Lancers as one of the most respected soccer organizations in the state did not come about quickly or easily, says Michael Langston, an original member of the first Lancers team in 1984, and one of the club’s coaches from 1987 to 2004. Although the details are a little sketchy, the idea of forming the Plant City Lancers came from the joint efforts of three fathers, Lloyd Langston (Michael’s dad), Richard Calhoun, and Donald Pritchard. These men were guided by Jack Holland, presently the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department for the City of Plant City, in the formation of a competitive travel club that became known as the Lancers. Langston had played on a previous team, the Antioch Soccer Club, competing as a nine-year-old in a sixteen and under league. The first year’s uniforms consisted of white tee shirts with hand written numbers. The total number of goals scored in the first two years was one. The experience gained by that young team, however, proved to be invaluable. Later, Langston and a few of his teammates merged with a few players from Plant City youth soccer league to form the first Lancers’ team. Kelby Lynn and Linda Trottier were the first coaches and Jack Holland helped organize the officiating. The next year the Lancers had already expanded to three teams.

league are chosen to be members of the various teams that make up the Lancer organization.

The original Plant City Lancers team, formed in 1984

Today, Chris Black, the President of the Plant City Lancers’ organization, is a former high school player and the current coach of the fourteen and under team. As president, Chris oversees eleven teams that includes three girls’ teams from ages 9 through 18. The Black family has been a part of the Lancers from the beginning. In addition to Chris’ involvement, his son is a Lancer player, his brother Alan was a member of the original ’84 team, and his father, Jim, was one of the coaches in the early going, as well as being the soccer coach at Plant City High School for five years. His tenure was highlighted by the

school’s first playoff appearance. At a time when competitive youth soccer was in its infancy, the founders of the Lancers could not have predicted the popularity of soccer as a participation sport for youth. Participation in recreational youth soccer programs in the United States involves more that 18 million youth and is second only to baseball in the number of participants. The success of the Lancers is due, in part, to the popularity of the city’s recreation league, headed by Jack Holland. Each year, some of the more highly skilled players from the 1600 youth in the city’s

2006 Plant City Lancers 18 and under team

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 88

Last month, all of the Lancers’ clubs began their season on an optimistic note. The 10 and under girls’ team, coached by Jim Black, and the 11 and under boys’ team, coached by Stephen Rossiter, have unblemished records after three games. Two teams also have the distinction of being ranked nationally. In competitive youth soccer, the top 250 teams in the United States within each age group are considered “premiere” teams, according to Rank.com. The 18 and under team coached by Rolando Gomez and Felipe Sandoval is ranked at 204 and the 14 and under team coached by Black is ranked at 128. According to Black, all club activities in the past have been carried out by volunteers with the support of the Plant City Parks and Recreation Department. Next month, however, the Lancers will hire their first full time trainer, Jack Dirkanian, who comes to them with a wealth of soccer knowledge and experience. This giant step is further proof of the success of the Lancers and of soccer in our area. For those who pioneered the development of the Plant City Lancers 22 years ago, it is a testimony to their investment of time and energy in developing one of the most respected soccer organizations in Florida.


������������������� ����������� FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 89


SPORTS

ATHLETE OF THE MONTH

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Story and Photo by Holly Mallalieu

HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE OF THE MONTH

JUSTIN HALLMAN Football season may be over, but we still want to recognize a very noteworthy athlete, Justin Hallman. Although Hallman does not lack in his sports ability, skill alone is not all it takes to be considered outstanding. Ask anyone-on and off the field-and you will be sure to hear about his definite likeability and willingness to help. “He’ll be hard to replace,” said Coach Kelley, who has been his varsity coach for four years now, “because of his leadership on the team. He was like a coach on the field…directed a lot of traffic.” Hallman’s coach only had great things to say about him. He praised him for being such a vocal leader, helping to keep the team working together even when it got tough out there, and just being an all-around good guy in and out of the game. Hallman, #48, played F/S (free safety) on defense. Before high school he had two years of Little League football for Antioch under his belt. That, plus four years of being prominent on the Raider team, has made him a more than pretty good player. Now that football is over, Hallman is also on the varsity wrestling team at the high school, under Coach Ferrario. In fact, he’s the captain this year. Like football, wrestling has been a part of his high school life for the past four years, as well. In his spare time he runs to keep in shape between practices and matches. In his senior year, Justin Hallman isn’t sure as to whether sports have a part in his future plans or not. One thing is for sure, though - he has done, and is doing, a great job with them in high school.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 90


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 91


HEALTH

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Submitted by Dr. Jeffrey Dunn

‘Tis the Season FOR LASER HAIR REMOVAL

in large numbers. Last year, 1.4 million laser hair removal procedures were done, a 1,173 percent increase when compared with only 110,000 such procedures in 1998, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Inc. Why has laser hair removal’s popularity soared? Most people feel that the procedure offers speed and accuracy in getting rid of unwanted hair with minimal discomfort– and that the convenience and the lasting results are worth it.

T

ired of plucking, tweezing, waxing, shaving or electrolysis? Laser hair removal may be the perfect solution for you, and the winter months are a great time to have the process done. Both men and women are undergoing laser hair removal today

Gentle and effective, laser hair removal can remove hair on all areas of the body including the entire face, with the chin and upper lip area being extremely popular among both men and women. The chest, arms, underarms, belly, bikini line, legs, back and shoulders are also common areas to treat. Basically anyone with unwanted hair is a good candidate for laser hair removal, although the most dramatic results occur in patients with light skin and dark hair. Laser hair removal is performed in a series of treatments, typically five to eight, depending on the area being treated. Treatment

times also vary, with small areas such as the upper lip taking approximately 10 minutes, and larger areas such as legs taking 30 to 60 minutes. Laser hair removal is a clinicallyproven, safe treatment option. During the process, a laser emits a low energy beam of intense light that safely passes through the skin. This light is attracted to and absorbed by the pigmented part of the hair follicle, the melanin. The light energy turns to heat energy, which loosens the hair and disables the cells responsible for growing new hair. This process is called selective photothermolysis. It is selective because it targets only the hair and not the skin. Most people realize laser hair removal works; however, they are concerned that the treatment might be painful. In fact, patients typically experience minimal discomfort. The sensation from laser hair removal has been described as feeling similar to a rubber band being snapped against your skin with an awareness of heat. If a patient does experience any discomfort, a laser technician can usually offer a topical

anesthetic that numbs the skin or ice packs. Depending on the type of laser being used, a cool laser tip, gel, or spray is always used to increase comfort as well, which provides an additional anesthetic effect. After the laser hair removal treatment, side effects are minimal, although the treated area may be red and feel similar to a sunburn for a short time. Patients may resume normal activities immediately after treatment. If you are interested in undergoing laser hair removal, the winter months are an ideal time to begin the treatment series. While undergoing the process, it is crucial to keep the treated areas protected from the sun, which is easier to do during the colder winter months when people tend to wear more clothing. Also, there is not as much temptation to sunbathe at the beach. The winter months also provide the time necessary to complete the series of treatments, so that by the time swimsuit season arrives, those winter clothes can be unwrapped to reveal the smoother, sexier results you want to show off.

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Christmas Pets On Their Way!

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813.719.1129 www.fancypet-petstore.com

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 92

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 93


HEALTH

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Submitted by Sherry Nueesch

Unsafe at Any Meal

O

n Thanksgiving Day the Tampa Tribune’s lead editorial was titled, “Despite What Science Cooks Up, Butter Is Better Than Margarine”. I have written about this before. I think this subject needs revisiting. Heart disease really began to be a problem in the 1950’s. You would think that we ate more saturated fats back then as compared to now. That assumption is dead wrong. The truth is we eat far less fat from butter, lard and beef tallow and way more polyunsaturated oils now. Since the 1970’s we have eaten twice as much margarine as butter. According to Dr. Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health, “Lard and butter aren’t public enemy number 1 anymore. The major cause of heart disease has now been exposed. The new enemy is trans fats.” Actually, it has been the enemy all along. Trans fats were always the problem. The research was around 60 years ago. Thankfully, there were a large group of researchers who refused to give up and continued to hound the government to expose the dangers of trans fats to human health. One of those researchers is Dr. Walter Willett at Harvard. Along with a host of others, Dr. Willett was finally successful in getting the government to call for a ban of trans fats. In 2002 the National Academy of Sciences announced that trans fats have “no known health benefits.” The government now acknowledges that there are no safe levels of trans fats in the diet. All foods manufactured in America must now print in the ingredient list the amount of trans fats contained in their foods. Why? Because they are harmful to our health.

The recommendation that no amount of trans fats is acceptable in our diet means that there is no justification for the use of this ingredient in food other than the profitability of the foods being marketed to consumers. The World Health Organization urged all members to outlaw trans fats in 1978. So far Denmark is the only country to officially do so. As most of you know, New York City has now banned trans fats from all restaurants in their city. Trans fats are linked not only to heart disease, but many other chronic diseases including diabetes, birth defects and cancer. Trans fats are just plain bad for you. Dr. Willett of Harvard writes, “Trans fats are the biggest foodprocessing disaster in U.S. history…In Europe (food companies) hired chemists and took trans fats out…In the United States, they hired lawyers and public relations people.” A list of just some of the negative effects of trans fats are: raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol, raises Lp(a), which promotes atherosclerosis and clotting, reduces blood vessel function, promotes obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, alters fat cell size and number and reduces cream in breast milk. It also reduces fertility and lowers birth rates, increases asthma, reduces immune response, disrupts enzymes that metabolize carcinogens and drugs, damages cell membranes and creates free radicals. Researchers agree that trans fats are double to triple the danger to human health as are saturated fats. As the Tampa Tribune reported, eating butter is better for you. I could write much more on this subject. There are many books and scientific reports which are loaded with information about the dangers of trans fats. The bottom line is that we should avoid them at all cost. Herein lays the problem. The food manufacturers are clever. According to the FDA, manufactured foods that contain less than one gram of trans fats per serving can claim to be trans fat free. What the food industry did was lower the serving size down so that the item contained less than one gram per serving. Remember, the recommendation is that we get NO trans fats in our diet in a day. Here

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 94

is where we have to be careful. Look at the label and read it carefully. If the label uses the words hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, do not eat it. This means there are trans fats in the food. I went to the grocery store and read the labels of a lot of manufactured foods. I found hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in the following items: Boxed cereals, non-dairy coffee creamers, breakfast bars and flavored oatmeal, cookies, crackers, most Hostess products, candy, chips, salad dressings, croutons, dressing mix, biscuits, pie crust, Parkay, country crock, margarine, taco dinner kits, instant soups, instant mac and cheese, English muffins, and frozen French fries of all kinds. Believe me, this is only a partial list. Add to that all the fast food and donuts and pastry products we buy everyday in restaurants and we are getting way more trans fats than our bodies need. Is it any wonder

that heart disease is the number one killer? The purpose of writing about trans fats again was to help get your attention. If a major US city is “outlawing” trans fats, there has to be a lot more people than just me who agree about the dangers of them in our diet. When you read the list of what they do to our bodies you can see that there is no place for them in our diet. Is avoiding them easy? No, but it can be done and it must be done, if for no other reason than our children. As an adult we can choose to eat what we may. Our children learn to eat what we feed them. So when the Tampa Tribune writes that butter is better than margarine, we should listen. It all goes back to the same premise, If God made it we eat it, if it’s manufactured by man we RUN. As always, to your health, Sherry Nueesch.


Want A Piece Of The Real Florida? ����������������� ������������������ ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������

Ask Us How!

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Serving Plant City for Over 15 Years

Call for details: 813-659-0370

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Happy Holidays

As always it is our pivilege to be part of such a wonderful community. We value and appreciate all your support.

ALLCARE REHABILITATION Outpatient Physical Therapy 1214 W. Reynolds St. Plant City, FL Phone: (813) 754-1062 Fax (813) 759-8254

~Allcare Rehabilitation, Healing Since 1990 ~

Aquatic Therapy • Sprains and Strains • Bone and Joint Injuries • Auto Injuries • Balance Disorders • Hand Injuries Neurological Conditions • Work Related Injuries • Wound Care • Sports Related Injuries • Spinal Injuries Pain Management • Work Conditioning & Rehabilitation • Wellness Programs

The staff at Allcare Rehabilitation wishes you a happy and safe holiday season.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 95


HEALTH

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Submitted by John C. Carrozella, M.D.

Health and Fitness Tips FOR SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS

The holidays are once again upon us…as are all the goodies and stress that go along with them. Holiday shopping and planning can stress out even the most relaxed person. Expectations on our time mount. Christmas and Holiday parties abound. How is one to survive?!! Planning is the key to making it through the holiday season with a minimum of stress and weight gain, which are the two things people worry about most STRESS!! There are many demands on our time during this season. How to fit in all the shopping, party going and decorating? How to handle difficult relatives and visitors? Plus the usual demands in our otherwise busy lives. Everyone worries about gaining weight during the holidays. It is a special time of year, yet you do not want to let all your hard work from the other 11 months be in vain. Most serious exercisers actually resign themselves to a 2-5# weight gain over the holiday. The trick is to keep things to 2-5# and not let it all get

out of hand.

HOLIDAY PARTIES

The holiday season is hectic for all of us. It’s a bit late to be trying to get all your shopping done before Thanksgiving to avoid the holiday rush, but here are some things to think about.

• Look at your calendar and decide how many you can/want to attend and plan accordingly

SHOPPING • Try to shop at off-peak hours if you are able. The stores are apt to be less crowded during week days. • Try shopping online. No stores involved and often things can be shipped directly to the recipient, thus avoiding a trip to the post office as well • Your northern friends on your gift list might appreciate some oranges from sunny Florida…. easy to order and once again easily shipped • Don’t wait until the last minute.

• Try to eat something before you head to your party. If you arrive with a full stomach, you will be less likely to nosh away for hours • Fill up your plate with veggies and lean protein, like shrimp, if it is available. Fill up on that first

• Egg nog can be a mine field of calories, but there are soy and low fat/non fat alternatives OFFICE TREATS • Make sure you head to work with a good healthy breakfast on board • Bring healthy snacks with you to work • Bring a healthy lunch as well

• Limit your sugary snacks

• Drink lots of water

• It’s better to enjoy a little of your favorites than to deprive yourself completely. If you skip it entirely, you may end up eating it anyway later

• Plan to go for a walk with a coworker at lunch or after work

• If you are going to drink alcohol, steer clear of sugary drinks. Mix liquor with seltzer or diet soda. Try opting for heart healthy red wine. Alternate your alcoholic choices with water, seltzer or diet soda.

• Ask for help if you need it.

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The holidays are a time to enjoy friends and family. Take the time to enjoy and be thankful for those in your life. Do the things you need to do to make the holiday season as pleasant for you and yours as possible. With everything in moderation it’s possible to enjoy yourself without gaining a lot of weight and still have a great time. Happy Holidays to all.

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

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

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

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

116 N. Kings Ave. Brandon, Fl 33510

(813) 490-1393

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 96

Certified: Board Certified D.O.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 97


EXTRA

AUTO REVIEW

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Story by Brian West Photos courtesy of Nissan

MAXIMA NO MORE NEED BE SAID

Nissan Maxima Provides Maximum Value T

he Maxima has been a part of the Nissan lineup for more than 25 years. In the beginning, the Maxima was just a reliable sedan. The body style changed from short and wide to long and narrow in the early 1990’s, and in the late 1990’s it became sportier. Today, the Maxima is marketed as a sporty sedan; performance being the most prominent thought of buyers, and it’s the flagship of the Nissan brand - and for good reason; this car screams value. If you haven’t at least ridden in a Maxima, I would strongly encourage you to consider driving one sometime. Just stop at the next Nissan dealership you pass and take a few minutes to experience a car that can satisfy the needs and desires of most drivers; performance, room, comfort, technology, etc. You name it, the Maxima has it: power, performance, and styling. There is ample room in the interior.

I’m 6’1”, so legroom is important to me when I have to ride in the back seat of any vehicle. To test for legroom, I sit in the driver’s seat and position it to be comfortable for me. Then I sit directly behind the driver’s seat. The Maxima rates very high here. There is at least 6” between my knee and the back of the driver’s seat, which means a great deal of comfort and roominess to everyone in the vehicle. However, if you think that back seat passengers will be fairly common, especially adult passengers, do yourself a favor and get the 4-door version. One unique option on the 2007 Maxima is the SkyView Glass-paneled roof. It is a single pane of class that runs through the center of the roof from front to back. The glass runs the entire length of the cabin with two separate sun shades that allow you to adjust the amount of light entering through the glass. It is unique, and eye catching, and it’s

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 98

sure to be one of the first things passengers will want to talk about. And of course, if you’d like a traditional sunroof, that option is also available.

to compensate for understeer or oversteer. You know its working because the vehicle handles so well through curves.

In 2000, the Maxima moved from 200hp to 220hp. Just 7 years later, the Maxima delivers a whopping 255hp from a 24-valve 6 cylinder engine. Trust me; this is more than enough to satisfy any driver’s expectations. Nissan created efficiencies over the past several years by using the same engine in several different models, with only slight modifications, so they’ve been able to tweak this engine to what it is today.

My wife and I leased a Maxima GLE several years ago. It was loaded with all the bells and whistles. We loved it. When my wife became pregnant with our first child, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of having to bend over to move a child in and out of a car seat, so I suggested we get an SUV. My wife still tells people that our Maxima was the best car she’s ever had – and I agree. If you’re shopping for something large enough for 4 adults, you’ll be mistaken if you don’t at least take the time to test drive a Maxima. Hands down, considering the overall package, I’d rate the Maxima at the top of my list of cars – ever. It is pure fun to drive and quite reasonable in price and performance. You just can’t go wrong with this car. The sticker on the model I drove was $33,900.

Handling in the Maxima is also exceptional. Nissan incorporated Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC). There are so many variables that come into play that VDC monitors and makes adjustments as necessary. Sensors detect if the Maxima is moving from its intended line of trajectory and respond immediately


EXTRA

AL RUECHEL

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By Al Ruechel

Who Wants Perfect Hair? I

know what you’re thinking. Ruechel’s hair looks absolutely perfect in that picture at the top of the page. Sure it does. And, for the most part, it looks great on the air. But if you knew what kind of machinations I have to go through every day to get that look, you’d be shocked. Now, before I go pouring out my soul, I happen to know that every human being feels the same about their hair. The grass is always greener on the other side of the hill and on every one else’s scalp but mine. We can’t all look like Judge Napolitano on the Fox News channel with a hairline that begins a quarter-inch above his eyebrows. Very few of us can jump out of bed and look like Cary Grant’s perfectly parted “do.” Even John Edwards occasionally has to toss his head gently to the right to make the hairs align like the stars in the heavens. And don’t even talk to me about George Clooney. Anderson Cooper doesn’t count either, because his hair is… is… what my hair used to look like at age 10… minus the gray. So, you might find these statistics from a major hair product manufacturer interesting. Only 27 percent of women and 34 percent of men are happy with the way their hair looks without styling. Most men, 62 percent, wish their hair was thicker.

Most men, 68 percent, say their hairlines have receded further than they would like. Most men, 61 percent, use some kind of hairdressing to control their hair. More men under the age of 40 use hairdressing than men over that age. Nearly one-third of men use hair spray on a regular basis. And here’s the killer! Nearly 60 percent of all men surveyed are somewhat to very concerned about hair loss. They should be concerned, considering nearly 70 percent of all men will suffer, and I do mean suffer, from some sort of male-pattern baldness. There were no questions in the survey about comb-overs or mullets. Hopefully, you now feel somewhat better about your hair knowing the rest of the nation is just as fixated as you are. That’s also the reason baseball caps exist. Forget cheering on your favorite team, it is all about covering up your hair. Out of sight, out of mind. And thank the good Lord that being bald is now in style, unless your head is shaped like mine, a dented ping-pong ball. We can’t all look like Bruce Gradkowski, quarterback for the Bucs. Gosh, it looks like a gemologist used diamond-rubbing powder. Rondi Barber looks good, too. In fact, I have not seen one African-American athlete who doesn’t look good bald. Don’t talk to me about John Gruden. His hair looks just like his kids’.

Here’s another confession from that survey. Fully 31 percent admit to spending 15 minutes or more on their hair every day. Good grief. Compared to me, that’s a hundred yard dash. Enough data. Now for my hair-care secrets. I’m sure you’ve been dying to know this. First, I use a hair thickening product. I change products about every three months or so, hoping to find something that will make my hair as thick as… thick enough so you can’t see through it. I change shampoos every couple of months. Horse shampoos do not make your hair thicker. I also use LA something. It’s yellow and doubles as a cleaning agent for my spark plugs. I use a blow dryer bending over so the hair begins the process of aligning itself. I use ionic heat versus ceramic heat because the hair attracts less static electricity. Can you believe I’ve swallowed all the advertising baloney?

Finally, yes finally, when everything is in place, I begin applying layers and layers of John Freida, moisture repelling hair spray. It’s good stuff, hurricane tested. It sells for four bucks a can at your local Publix. Not only does this stuff make my hair look good, if I am ever in a car accident, I can guarantee you no matter how smashed up my body will be, no single object will ever be able to pierce my helmet hair and not one single hair will be out of place. Ah, the fear of being captured in one’s natural state is such an incredible motivator.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 99


EXTRA

TRAVEL

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Story by Sophia Dedon Photos Courtesy of Gaylord Palms Resort

Freezing Temperatures in Florida SPECTACULAR CHRISTMAS FUN JUST 45 MINUTES FROM HOME

scenes and displays such as Santa in his sleigh with the reindeer, the entire Nativity scene, walk through trains, a church in the woods, a toyshop and dozes of animal and people figurines. To add to the excitement, they have also added ICE! Skating. Outside of the resort is an ice skating rink where you can having a blast skating around the rink to cheerful Christmas tunes. They even provide the ice skates for you!

Considering it is not uncommon to have temperatures above 70 degrees throughout the month of December in Central Florida, the weather never contributes to a Christmas atmosphere. This holiday season, if you are looking for somewhere to go to get into the Christmas spirit, then Gaylord Palms Resort has provided the perfect solution. Four years ago they began a tradition that has become a hit nation-wide. Every year they ship in over two million pounds of ice, along with a team of artisans from Harbin, China to sculpt the ice. The winter wonderland ICE! is then created. Harbin is world renown for its annual International Ice and Snow Festival where each year more than 2,000 sculptors transform 100 acres into a walk-through Ice Park. Each year, Gaylord Palms brings a handful of these artists to Orlando to create a spectacular display in their convention center. ICE! is a walk-through exhibit

featuring ice sculptures of every shape and size, many of which are larger than life. The enormous structure they use to house ICE! is artificially cooled to a freezing 9 degrees! Considering very few Floridians have clothing appropriate for such weather, they provide parkas for all guests to use. It is recommended that guests also wear long pants with closed-toe shoes and bring other warm apparel such as gloves, hats and earmuffs. ICE! is an ideal attraction to bring the entire family to, especially the kids. As you walk through the tunnels, trains and pathways of ice, you will truly be impressed with their capabilities. The most impressive ice structure of them all is the giant staircase with two slides for kids (and adults!) to have fun sliding down. When you walk into the room, you feel as if you have just walked into a castle at a magical winter fairytale land. The entire exhibit will take your breath away. As you peruse the exhibit room by room, you will enjoy phenomenal

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 100

ICE! will be at Gaylord Palms Resort until January 2. Make sure you take advantage of this unique opportunity for family fun before the opportunity passes you by. There are additional packages available with many other fun Christmas opportunities if you would like to stay overnight at Gaylord Palms. The cost to visit ICE! ranges from $9.99 to $25.99. ICE! Skating is not included in the admission price. For more information, please visit www. GaylordPalms.com/ice


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 101


D&E

DINING REVIEW

SEND COMMENTS TO SDEDON@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM

Story by Daniel Sperry Photos by Daniel Sperry and Brooke Colello

IHOP Please Plant City Diners

BRAND NEW RESTAURANT OFFERS GREAT PRICES, QUALITY exceeded expectations in these areas. They use fresh ingredients and adhere to strict standards of quality in preparation. The scrambled eggs are fluffy and cooked to perfection. The secret to their incredible omelets is the use of a small amount of pancake batter in the eggs. Then, of course, there are the pancakes themselves. IHOP offers a wide variety, with the corn cake pancakes being the newest.

Conveniently located just south of downtown, the new IHOP is a big hit with the locals

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lant City continued the trend of growth and improvement as a new restaurant opened up in the area. IHOP came to town and unlocked the doors to their newest operation just over a month ago. According to the management, they have enjoyed brisk business so far.

their signature pancakes for breakfast, with four different syrups to choose from: blueberry, strawberry, butter pecan and old-fashioned, to sandwiches and burgers for lunch, to a full menu of steaks, fish and chicken for dinner. And that’s just the beginning.

They attribute their success to their strategy of opening new franchises. They believe that this allows the restaurant to build on the well-known name and still allow them to have a local, community emphasis.

IHOP is committed to providing choices for every palate. They have a senior citizen menu with reasonably priced versions of their regular courses. They also have a full menu on the back of items for a variety of diets. They call this section “IHOP for Me!” and one of the servers says that it is very popular.

Without a doubt, Plant City residents have embraced the new restaurant. Day or evening, the parking lot is nearly full, and patrons are raving about the food. Dennis Miller said that he has eaten there at least once a week since the grand opening. “I just love it,” he said. “The breakfast is great, but the other meals at lunch and dinner are just as good. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality.” IHOP certainly has a diverse menu. Selections range from

For dinner, the steak is hard to beat. Reasonably priced, and cooked to perfection, it is the perfect alternative to a highpriced steak dinner at another restaurant. The kids will love IHOP as much as the adults. Crayons and coloring sheets keep them busy until the meals are served, and no child can resist the chocolate chip pancake with its whipped cream smile. At one of their busiest times, latemorning on Sunday, the parking lot was overflowing. Even so, the wait was only fifteen minutes and the food came out just a few

minutes after ordering. IHOP has so far avoided the problems with good quality service that often comes along with diner-style restaurants. The wait staff is efficient and friendly and customers rarely need to ask for a refill on their drinks. “I would definitely come back,” said Regina Jones. “It was really good!”

CRITICAL INFO IHOP 805 N Collins Street. 813-754-7400 www.ihop.com Child Menu Available Prices range $5-$15

A key lets diners know which items fit into the best category for them. Whether they are watching their carbs, counting calories or avoiding fat, there is a delicious choice that will fit their needs. Selection is not the only thing that is important to Plant City Diners. With a variety of restaurants from which to choose, the quality of food and service must also be exemplary in order to attract and keep customers. So far, IHOP has

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15, 2006 - December 15, 2006 • PG 102

A variety of well-prepared platters and fluffy pancakes has made IHOP an international success


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FLORIDA’S TRACTOR HEADQUARTERS - SALES - SERVICE - PARTS

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 103


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D&E Crossword:

JUST FOR FUN

by Calvin R. & Jackie Mathews

It’s Christmas Time!

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

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15, 2006 - December 15, 2006 • PG 104


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D&E

ENTERTAINMENT

SEND COMMENTS TO SDEDON@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM

Story by Daniel Sperry Photos by Daniel Sperry and courtesy of Dave Wright

The Flamingos Rock the Plantation House DOO-WOP HISTORY COMES TO PLANT CITY

“I can’t believe they’re here,” said Nate Dickenson. “I had their records when I was a teenager, but never saw them live.” The evening began as guests arrived around 7 p.m. The lights were dimmed in the restaurant, and the stars on the ceiling glowed. As the gourmet meals were served, the house band and vocalists entertained the diners with live music. 4-year-old Sage enjoys the music from a distant generation

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t was like a blast from the past when the Flamingos came to Plant City on November 18th. They performed in the Red Rose Dining Room at the Ramada Inn Plantation House, and there was not an empty table to be seen. Famous for making the song “I Only Have Eyes for You” a hit in 1959, the Flamingos wowed the crowd with their classic doo-wop songs as well as several new numbers. Led by Terry Johnson, who joined the Flamingos in the late 1950’s, the band’s sound was as crisp and harmonious as any of their early recordings.

Some of the people in attendance were not familiar with the band. One Plant City resident said he did not know who they were, but when his waiter listed some of their songs, the man’s eyes widened in recognition. “Now I’m excited,” he said. The band has had a storied career. With two of the original members being drafted in the mid-1950’s, new members, including Johnson, were pulled in to help the band keep going. The changes proved to be tailor made for the band; their biggest hits came after Johnson joined them. The band splintered in the 70’s and 80’s and now two bands remain:

Terry Johnson (far left) and the Flamingos pour their hearts into “I Only Have Eyes for You.”

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15, 2006 - December 15, 2006 • PG 106

the Modern Flamingos, with original member Zeke Carey, and Terry Johnson’s Flamingos. Both bands have been successful over the years and have been featured on several PBS specials about the doo-wop era of rock and roll. The Temptations credited the Flamingos as a major influence in the formation of their sound. The Flamingos are releasing a special 50th anniversary album before the end of this year, which will feature their greatest hits. Johnson said that it is rare for a band from the 50’s still to be performing today, but he attributes their ongoing success to staying young at heart. Their fans were pleased that they are still rocking the night away. A Plantation House staffer said that the crowd seemed especially excited about the night’s performance. It is hard to argue with the success of a band like the Flamingos. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and the DooWop Hall of Fame in 2004, Plant City was fortunate to have such a great part of rock and roll history performing in its own backyard.

The Flamingos took the stage at 8 p.m. and introduced themselves. They began the concert with some of their early songs, punctuated by stories and anecdotes that kept the crowd laughing. After a brief foray into classic Italian-American music, including songs by Dean Martin and Louis Prima, they began a set of songs that most of their fans immediately recognized. When they launched into “I Only Have Eyes for You,” the crowd erupted in applause. The dance floor was immediately packed and several couples were even dancing at their tables. From that point on, the dance floor was full. One couple came out to dance to a song that had played during their prom at the high school where they were sweethearts. On this day, nearly 50 years later, they danced together again with tears in their eyes. They did not stop dancing together until the last song had been played. Clearly, the Flamingos created a night for Plant City to remember.

The Flamingos conclude their final number, leaving the crowd fully satisfied


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 107


D&E

MOVIE REVIEWS

By Brandon Hyde

1 Star - Don’t even bother 2 Stars - If you’re really bored and have nothing else to do 3 Stars - A definite movie rental, unless there is something better 4 Stars - Don’t pass it up 5 Stars - See it now!

Déjà vu Starring: Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, Bruce Greenwood, Genre: Drama, Crime and Mystery Rated: PG-13

Teaming for the third time with Denzel Washington, director Tony Scott finds himself at the top of his game with “Deja Vu,” a smart, explosive techno-thriller that remains interesting right up until its brain-twisting (but ultimately logical) ending. While there’s a hint of “Memento” and a bit of that high-tech “Big Brother is watching” theme, there’s also plenty that’s unique about the intricate and generally airtight script by newcomer Bill Marsilii and veteran Terry Rossio. Factor in a vivid New Orleans backdrop -- it was the first postKatrina film to shoot in the city -- and you are in for quite a riveting performance set in motion before the camera. The story starts off with a considerable jolt, provided by a bomb blast aboard a New Orleans ferry carrying hundreds of unsuspecting passengers. Brought in to investigate the act of terrorism is ATF agent Doug Carlin (Washington), who discovers that among the dead is the body of a young woman (Paula Patton) whom he has reason to suspect had direct involvement with the person or persons responsible for the tragedy. Unlike the last Scott-Washington matchup, “Man on Fire,” “Deja Vu” boasts a muscular, fastpaced story that won’t be overwhelmed by a need for speed approach in the form of rapid cuts and all that visual fusion that have become Scott’s stylistic trademark. But while capably addressing the commercial demands of a Bruckheimer movie, the script also has some fresh, penetrating observations to make about that mighty force known as destiny and the ultimate effects of messing with the past that will have viewers thinking long after the film has ended. In front of the cameras, Washington is absolutely the right man for the role. The audience is ready and willing to go wherever he’s planning to take them, even those who weren’t prepared for a little brain stimulation along with the joy of the stylistic visuals of an action film.

5 STARS

The bracing post-Katrina locations, especially some of the more devastated areas, provide a starkly tangible contrast to what life is really about. You are not on earth to watch movies and joy-ride around, there’s a whole lot in life to be thankful for.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15, 2006 - December 15, 2006 • PG 108


1 Star - Don’t even bother 2 Stars - If you’re really bored and have nothing else to do 3 Stars - A definite movie rental, unless there is something better 4 Stars - Don’t pass it up 5 Stars - See it now!

Happy Feet

Deck The Halls

Casino Royale

Starring: Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy Genre: Family and Children, Animation, Action and Adventure, Comedy Rated: PG

Starring: Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick, Kristin Davis, Kristin Chenoweth Genre: Comedy Rated: PG

Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen Genre: Action and Adventure, Crime and Mystery Rated: PG-13

5 STARS

2.5 STARS

4.5 STARS

Every couple of years, a Christmas classic is made and melts the hearts of millions. This is not it. With some un-comical jokes and De Vito being De Vito, this is no Home Alone for the 2006 season.

If you are expecting your normal blow ‘em up, knock ‘em out Bond, you might be a bit surprised. Although it still carries the tradition, we are looking at the new wave of Bond movies that reach below the surface.

Possibly the best family movie this year. With some stunning graphics, incredible music, a great story, and awesome humor, you can’t go wrong with Happy Feet.

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109 W. REYNOLDS PLANT CITY, FL 33563

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 109


D&E

DINING GUIDE

SEND COMMENTS TO SDEDON@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM ABC Pizza 114 N Alexander St 752-5146

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

Giraldo’s 2210 N Park Rd 754-4810

Maryland Fried Chicken 315 N Alexander 752-9200

Snellgrove’s Restaurant 109 S Collins 752-3652

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

Checker’s 2405 Jas Redman Pkwy 759-0151

Grandpa Johnsons BBQ 1305 Dr MLK Jr Blvd 759-0009

Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant 2613 Thonotosassa Rd 752-0057

Sonic 2901 Jas Redman Pkwy 754-0300

CiCi’s Pizza 211 Alexander St W 659-3400

Hole In One 410 N Alexander St 754-8062

Munchies 1707 James Redman Pkwy 757-5900

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

Hong Kong Buffet 213 Alexander St W 764-8255

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

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

China King Restaurant 2410 James Redman Pkwy 754-8098

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

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

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

Olde Town Pizzeria 3011 James Redman Pkwy 752-5800

Jamrock Caribbean Cuisine 1803 Jas Redman Pkwy 719-7625

Orange Blossom Tea Room 106 Evers St S 759-2247

Anna’s Restaurant 3410 Baker St W 754-6215 Apple Tree 2218 Jas Redman Pkwy 707-8109 Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar 1204 Townsgate Ct 719-1500 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

Church’s Fried Chicken 106 E. Reynolds 754-5200 Collins Street Restaurant 712 S Collins 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

Brooklyn Bridge Deli 1309 S Collins St 659-3621 Buddy Freddy’s Restaurant 1101 Goldfinch Dr 754-5120 Chicano’s Tex-Mex Restaurant and Cantina 110 E Reynolds St, Suite 100 754-5083

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China One 1862 James Redman Pkwy 707-8898

El Mirasol Bakery Cafeteria 1419 Collins St S 752-2108 El Rincon Mexicano 4109 State Rd 574 754-0620 Fred’s Market Restaurant 1401 W Dr MLK Blvd 752-7763

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15, 2006 - December 15, 2006 • PG 110

Joann’s Country Kitchen 12650 McIntosh Rd Thonotosassa 982-0739 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 Manatee Bay Café 119 S. Collins S 707-1450

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


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PLANT CITY December 16,

Saturday

Christmas In The Park will be held at the Dr. MLK Rec Center for kids ages 4-12. Beginning at 9 am, there will be food, fun, games, and more! Call 813-757-9195 or email llewis@plantcitygov.com for more information. Kids ages 6-11 years old are invited out to the Planteen Rec Center for a Kids’ Night Out Saturday. Filled with lots of fun, the cost is only $5 per person. The event is from 6-9 pm.

begins at 1914 Plant City High School and ends with dessert at the 1914 PCHS Banquet Room (1st floor). Pick up tickets beginning at 5:30 pm. For more information on the Tour, call 813-757-9226.

tickets and reservations call 813-752-3141 or visit www. RamadaPlantation.com.

December 20,

The A-2 Christmas Dance Party will be held from 7-9:30 pm at the Strawberry Square, located at 4401 Boot Bay Road. The caller will be Art Springer. For more information call 813-7520491 or visit www.floridadancing.com/strawberry.

Wednesday

The Strawberry Square Club is having its Christmas Party

The East Hillsborough Historical Society cordially invites you to attend The Thirteenth Annual Candlelight Tour from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The Tour will Highlight Plant City’s North Residential Historic District Homes of: Betty & John Briggs 905 Roux Street, Patti & Ray Brownlee 706 North Evers Street, and Debbie & Dale Hawkins 702 North Evers Street. There is also a Special Presentation of “THAT MAN PLANT” by the theater students of Ms. Dixie’s class. The cost is $15 per person and it includes the Tour, Play, and Dessert. The Tour

December 22,

Friday

December 23,

The Plus Christmas Dance Party will be held from 7-9:30 pm at the Strawberry Square, located at 4401 Boot Bay Road. The caller will be Sam Dunn and the Cuer will be Jimmy-Carol Griffin. For more information call 813-752-0491 or visit www.floridadancing. com/strawberry.

from 7-9:30 pm at the Strawberry Square, located at 4401 Boot Bay Road. The caller will be Gordon Cumming. For more information call 813-752-0491 or visit www.floridadancing. com/strawberry.

December

22-23,

Friday-Saturday The World Famous Platters will be in performance at the Ramada Plantation House in the Red Rose Dining Room. They will be reliving memories of the 50s and 60s with flawless entertainment and smooth melodies. The performance begins at 8 pm Friday and Saturday, but come earlier and enjoy 41/2 star dining. For

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15, 2006 - December 15, 2006 • PG 114

December 31,

Sunday

Saturday

The Strawberry Classic Car Show will begin at 4pm until 9pm in Historic Downtown Plant City. Call 813-754-3707 or visit www.plantcity.org for more information on the car show. The Mystics will be in performance at the Ramada Plantation House in the Red Rose Dining Room. They will be performing favorites such as “Hushabye” and other fabulous hits from the 50s and 60s Doo Wop era. The performance begins at 8 pm, but come earlier and enjoy 41/2 star dining. For tickets and reservations call 813-752-3141 or visit www.RamadaPlantation.com.

Event Calendar

December 25,

Monday

If you want to avoid the hassle of cooking a large Christmas Day meal, then make plans to attend the Christmas buffet at the Ramada Plantation House in the Red Rose Dining room. Seatings will be at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. For more information call 813-752-3141.

December 27,

Wednesday

CES (Crimson Eye Society) will be performing “War on Wackness” live at Taiga in Brandon (corner of Lumsden Road and Falkenburg Road) at 10:00 pm. There is a $5.00 cover fee. For more information, contact Slick by e-mailing Slickworthi813@yahoo.com.

Every year Ramada Plantation House offers great entertainment in Plant City to bring in the New Year. This year will be no different as there will be an exciting evening featuring “The Diamond Ring”--Gary Lewis & The Playboys/Destiny-- in the Ballroom, and “Three Coins in The Fountain”--The Four Aces and the Rat Pack Too-- in the Red Rose Dining Room. This is certainly an event that you do not want to miss. If you have yet to make plans for how you will bring in the New Year then call the Ramada Inn Plantation House today! For tickets and reservations call 813-752-3141 or visit www.RamadaPlantation.com. Strawberry Square, located at 4401 Boot Bay Road, will be hosting a New Year’s Eve Dinner and Dance. The Dinner is from 7:30-8:30 pm and the Dancing is from 8:30 pm- 12:30 am. For more information call 813-752-0491 or visit www.floridadancing. com/strawberry. The Walden Lake Golf and Country Club is having a New Year’s Eve Party from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. There will be live music, cash bar, cocktail hour with happy hour prices, prime rib dinner and party favors. They are also planning to project Dick Clark’s Time Square New Year’s Eve Celebration and Ball Drop. Call 752-1171 to make your reservation for a night of fun.

January 2,

Tuesday

The Plant City Adult & Community School (located at Plant City High School) offers classes for Nursing Assistant, Computer, Cosmetology, Con-


PLANT CITY versational Spanish, Drawing, Pottery and more. Quarter III classes begin January 3, 2007. Registration begins January 2, 2007. Office hours are Monday-Thursday, 1:00-9:30 pm, and Friday, 8:00 am- 4:30 pm. Call 813-707-7147 for more information.

January 6,

Saturday

The Bike Fest will be held from 5-9 pm in Plant City. Call 813-754-3707 or visit www. plantcity.org for more information on the Bike Fest. The City of Plant City Recreation & Parks Department will be hosting “2007 Men’s & Co-Ed Winter-Fest Kick-Off Softball Tournament.” This tournament will be open to all “C” teams. The games will be played at the Randy L. Larson FourPlex. The tournament will be a 3 game guarantee tournament with the top 3 teams getting awards. The cost for the tournament will be $155.00, and the registration is due by December 29th, 2006. For more information on the tournament, please contact Larry Langston at 813659-4200 ext. 4302 or by email at llangston@plantcitygov. com. You may also get information on the city web site at www.plantcitygov.com/rec/ softball. The Florida Strawberry Festival Junior Royalty Pageant will begin at 6 p.m. at Tomlin Middle School. Admission is $5. For more information please contact Donna Keal 813-754-6939.

January 7,

Sunday

There will be an art show at the Bruton Memorial Library from 3-5 p.m. A reception with refreshments will also be provided. The East Hillsborough Art Guild is hosting the event. For more information, contact

Event Calendar 3141 or visit www.RamadaPlantation.com.

December 31, Sunday Bring in the New Year with The Four Aces in the Red Rose Dining Room at the Ramada Inn Plantation House

Nancy Driscoll at 813-7579700.

January 8-12,

Monday-Friday

The Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City is offering a free class designed to empower parents to make a difference and connect with their children. The focus of the Parent Power presentation is to delay sexual activity until marriage. There is no cost, and the 90minute presentation begins each night at 6:30 pm at the Plant City YMCA. No reservations needed. Please call 813-659-0886 or visit www. whatisimpact.com/parentpower for more information.

January 13,

Saturday

The Florida Opry will be in performance at the 1914 PCHS Community Center beginning at 7 pm. For more information, visit www.plantcity.org. The Godfathers of Comedy will be in performance at the Ramada Inn Plantation House in the Red Rose Dining Room. The performance begins at 8 pm, but come earlier and enjoy 41/2 star dining. For tickets and reservations call 813-752-

The Walden Lake Country Club will be hosting an art sale featuring Kinkade, Cao Yong, Behrens. The art is a featured collection from Plant City resident Richard Moody. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. See page 79 for a list of canvases. For more information or a price list call 813752—9191 or 863-834-6497.

Recurring Events: Tuesdays: Escape to the Ramada Inn Plantation House’s the Red Rose Dining Room for a relaxing night of soothing sounds by Free Time Jazz from 6-9 pm. For reservations call 813752-3141 or visit the website at www.RamadaPlantation. com. Strawberry Square offers its A-2 APD/DBD Workshop from 11:00-1:00 pm. The Caller is Keith Stevens. For more information call 813-752-0491 or visit www.floridadancing. com/strawberry. Wednesdays: Escape to the Ramada Plantation House in the Red Rose Dining Room for a relaxing night of soothing sounds by Free Time Jazz from 6-9 pm. For reservations call 813-7523141 or visit the website at www.RamadaPlantation.com. Strawberry Square offers its C-1 Level Square Dance Workshop and Dance, from 1:00-3:00 pm and C-2 Level Square Dance Workshop from 10 am to 12 pm. The Caller is Art Springer. For more information call 813-752-0491 or visit www.floridadancing. com/strawberry.

Thursdays: Destiny will be in performance for Singles Night Out with special guest Ralph Allocco at the Ramada Inn Plantation House in the Red Rose Dining Room beginning at 8 pm. For reservations call 813-752-3141 or visit the website at www. RamadaPlantation.com. The Toastmasters Club will be meeting at 7:30 pm at the Chamber of Commerce. Call 813-754-3707 or visit www. plantcity.org for more information. Strawberry Square offers its Phase 2 Round Dance Class from 12 Noon-2:00 PM, and Phase 2 with Intro to Phase 3 Round Dance Class from 2:30 to 4:30 pm. The Cuers are C & L Lovelace. For more information call 813-752-0491 or visit www.floridadancing. com/strawberry. Fridays: Destiny will be in performance at the Ramada Inn Plantation House in the Red Rose Dining Room beginning at 8 pm. For reservations call 813-752-3141 or visit the website at www. RamadaPlantation.com. Strawberry Square offers its C-2 Square Dance Workshop and Dance from 10:00 am to12:00 pm. The Caller is Art Springer. For more information call 813-752-0491 or visit www.floridadancing. com/strawberry. Saturdays: The Rat Pack Too and Destiny will be in performance at the Ramada Plantation Inn House in the Red Rose Dining Room beginning at 8 pm. For reservations call 813-752-3141 or visit the website at www. RamadaPlantation.com.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 115


2006

READERS CHOICE

AWARDS HOSTED BY JULES BURT 1.18.07

2006 FOCUS

vote at www.focusrca.com FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15, 2006 - December 15, 2006 • PG 116


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • November 15, 2006 - December 15, 2006 • PG 118


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • December 15, 2006 - January 15, 2007 • PG 119



FOCUS PC 05-12 Dec 2006