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LOCAL • REAL ESTATE • BUSINESS • SPORTS • DINING • ENTERTAINMENT VOLUME 6 NUMBER 2 • FEBRUARY 15, 2007 - MARCH 15, 2007

At 200+ Locations In Plant City

PLANT CITY EDITION

SUMMER PIPPIN 2007 Strawberry Festival Queen


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 2


FEBRUARY 15 - MARCH 15, 2007

feature 32-36

local

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The Strawberry Festival Queen Pageant is a family tradition each year. Many grandmothers, mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters and cousins have competed each year with wonderful support from their families. This year, we tell you about a family of beauty queens, how they have prepared for the pageants over the years and the advice they have for the current Queen and her Court.

sports

116 & 118 We welcome home a Plant City Native who left to play baseball professionally, and has now returned to coach our Plant City Raiders into a great season! Read about his experiences since he’s been away, and hear the plans he has for our team in the future. Welcome home, Mike Sodders!

business profile Platinum Bank

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We go behind the scenes and share with you all this company has to offer, not only to businesses, but to individuals, as well.

In honor of Black History Month, we tell you all about the Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities, as well as sharing Ms. Evelyn Lampkin’s story, a sweet lady most of Plant City recognizes from the past and present. Also check out our coverage of the Plant City Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman’s Banquet and the Circus that recently came to town!

dining & entertainment

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A brand new and hilarious act came to the Red Rose Dining Room at the Ramada this past month, and we were there to share in all the jokes! Check out our review of the Godfathers of Comedy, as well as the results of the 2006 Focus Magazine Readers Choice Awards. We tell you all about the restaurants YOU, our readers, chose to receive the “best” awards.

130-137 ....... RCA Awards 140-141 ... Movie Reviews 144 ............ Dining Guide 146 ...........Entertainment 150-125 ....Event Calendar 156 ...............Just for Fun

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

spotlight

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Our Spotlight Interview this month is with Jim Rodriguez and Bill Bowers from Turkey Creek Assembly of God, who head up one of the largest and most delicious Strawberry Shortcake booths at the Strawberry Festival. Thousands of people have enjoyed shortcake from these guys, and they tell you why they continue to run the operation year after year.

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This is an exciting issue for all of us, as we are looking forward to the 2007 Strawberry Festival! You don’t want to miss this special section, in which we share stories on everything from the volunteers who keep the festival running each year to our coverage of the Strawberry Festival Queen Pageant and our introductions of the new Queen and her Court!

ON THE COVER FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 4

2007 Strawberry Festival Queen Summer Pippin. Photo by Mike Floyd.

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 EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Emily Allen Kristel Williamson OFFICE MANAGER DeDe Floyd dede@floydpublications.com CREDIT MANAGER Bob Hughens bob@floydpublications.com SALES Tania Summers tsummers@floydpublications.com Erica Snyder esnyder@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, Daniel Sperry, Heather Davis, Cheryl Johnston CONTRIBUTORS Sherry Nueesch, Gil Gott, Al Ruechel, 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:

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


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 5


letter stop!

Berry Patch Kids Fine Children’s Apparel & Gift Boutique

FROM THE EDITOR

We Have All Your Strawberry Festival Outfits & Accessories For Your Little Ones!

Expect the Best...

Quality Selection & Service

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

Well, the much anticipated Florida Strawberry Festival is only a couple weeks away. The many employees and volunteers who have put in countless hours for the last year can attest to the fact that “It’s More Than Just Shortcake!” is much more than just this year’s theme. To them, in order for the Festival to have become one of the top 100 events in all of North America, it has become a way of life. We have spotlighted those volunteers in a story you can find in our special Strawberry Festival section.

When you consider everything that has to be done in order to organize and prepare for all the various competitions and exhibits of agriculture, commerce, horticulture, fine arts, livestock, homemade goods and crafts, it can make your head spin. Throw into the mix scheduling all that top-named entertainment they have every year, the ride-filled Bluegrass Shows midway, the FiTec competition, the Grand Parade and everything else that makes our Festival so wonderful. One of those things is the annual Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Pageant, which awards scholarships from various sources to the winners. Our congratulations go to this year’s winners; Queen Summer Nicole Pippin, First Maid Alexandra Blythe Watkins, and court members MacKenzie Paige Clark, Kyndle Michelle Hampton and Tara Renee Parker. Be sure to read our recap of the pageant and our story on the “Royal Family.” Of course, King Strawberry is the highlight of the Florida Strawberry Festival. Every conceivable delightful concoction imaginable, from shortcake, pies, cakes and cobblers, to milkshakes, jams and jellies, flats of the fruit, and even whole plants are for sale. There is strawberry jewelry, strawberry embroidered clothing, and strawberry adornments of every kind you could think of. But that’s only a fitting tribute for this humble little fruit that has made Plant City the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World!

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This is one of our largest issues every year, with us trying to provide you with all the available Festival information you could possibly need, from which entertainers are going to be there and when, the entire Festival schedule, to what’s new in 2007. Even our feature this month provides you with a fun look at the phenomena of mother and daughter Festival Queens. This upcoming month promises to be filled with rare opportunities for family fun and camaraderie, and we are so blessed to have the Florida Strawberry Festival right here in our own back yard! As always, we thank you for your support and readership, and have a great time at the festival!

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 6

Linda Floyd. Due to the dates of the Florida Strawberry Festival, the distribution of the March issue of Focus Magazine will be delayed.

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LOCAL

TALK

Students from Plant City High School recently participated in a regional poetry contest. Seven students had poems selected to be published by Creative Communication. The poems will be published in the anthology “A Celebration of Young Poets.” Students receiving this honor include Elizabeth Duque, Christina Gatlin, Mariah Hamilton, Brittany Joiner, Matt Lawrence, Chase Thompson and Dallas Thompson. Congratulations to these talented students! Plant City native James Tyler Howell, currently attending Belmont in Nashville, Tennessee, will be graduating as a Second Lieutenant on May 11, 2007. This April, Howell will be traveling to Roanoke, Virginia to receive “The George C. Marshall Award,” the highest award given to soon-to-be Lieutenants, and

of the

town

afterwards he plans to attend flight school. Howell’s parents, Steve and Kathy Howell of Plant City, are excited about their son’s achievements, and we are too! Congratulations, Tyler! The South Florida Baptist Hospital

Auxiliary presented a check for $50,000 to the Hospital in support of the cost in capital equipment used for patient care areas. Along with

the check presentation, the Auxiliary installed new officers and honored

the Auxilian of the Year, Leola McDonald, who has been a member of the Auxiliary for 16 years. “The Auxiliary’s support of the hospital helps make us a great organization,” commented hospital COO Bill Ulbricht. “We cannot operate without them. They do an outstanding job and provided 33,462 hours of work for the hospital in 2006.” We look forward to hearing more about the continued local support from the Auxiliary and South Florida Baptist Hospital! The firm of Edwards, Platt, Raulerson, Coakley & Company, P.A. CPA’s announces that Cara Reinhold, a member of the Firm, has passed the Uniform Certified Public Accounting Examination. Ms. Reinhold is a graduate of the University of South Florida, is a Senior Staff Accountant with the Firm and practices in the Business Consulting Group. Congratulations to Cara! 12 students were presented with the Jan Henrick Achievement Award, dedicated to honoring students who have turned their lives around in some way. Mr. Kevin Bohne (husband to the late Jan Henrick, who passed away due to cancer in 2004) and Mr. Rick Henrick (brother of Jan Henrick) awarded each student with a $150 gift card to Wal-Mart

Focus Magazine wants to know what is going on in YOUR life. People have exciting things happen to them every day 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 couple box locations are at Grandpa Johnson’s and Natural Creations. 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 24. Focus Magazine cares about you and wants to share in your excitement.

during the event. Congratulations to the winners: Marissa Adum, Arlene Echevarria, Mariah Hamilton, Andres Medina, Angelica MirandaVargas, Will Mitchell, Francisco J. Nunez, Virginia Schultz, Richard Serrano, Gavin Stephenson, Fabian Williams and Jesse Wilson.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 7


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Story and photos by Sherry Baldwin

Enthusiasts of All Ages Unite AS THE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN

a blessing was offered by Roman Catholic Priest Fr. Jerry Hogan. Known as the “Circus Priest”, Fr. Jerry acts as a Chaplain for the many circuses traveling across America. Fr. Jerry, who is well known by regular circus goers, is said to be carrying on a tradition that first began in the mid 1920’s.

An aerial ballet performance by Artist, Rebecca ‘Miss Rebecca” Starr.

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ircus Pages recently began their 200 city tour with two performances at the Sumpter L. Lowry Armory in Plant City. With an expected crowd of somewhere between 1,200 – 1,500 people, Circus Pages’ Ringmaster, James Earhart, shared that this is their “first stop for the season” which runs through mid-October. Earhart, who is also the son-in-law of the Circus’ owner, Jose’ Pages, described Circus Pages as being, “all family, clean fun, with animal acts that are not typically seen at smaller circuses.” At the start of the Plant City performance,

Prior to the start of each performance, Ringmaster Earhart was accompanied by daughter Kayla, age 4, as they led the crowd in a singing of the National Anthem. His 6 year old son, Jimmy, also entertained the crowd as Jimbo the Clown. There were pony rides and several animal acts including tigers, Australian camels, horses, a canine review and rides on Daisy the Elephant. The audience also enjoyed a variety of other performances such as juggling, as well as aerial ballet and contortionist acts by San Diego native “Miss Rebecca” (Rebecca Starr). Victoria Costello, friend and fellow performer, wowed the crowd with what is referred to as aerial silk, which is said to “defy the laws of gravity and physics.” Another family act was that of the Ybarra Family. As trampoline artists, Jeane Ybarra described that her family, including husband Ignacio and sons, Ignacio Jr., age 18, and Johnnathan, age 15, enjoy a “nice lifestyle” traveling with the “Circus Pages”, among others. Face painting

Enjoying an evening at the Circus, Lilly and Svend Kristensen of Brandon along with winter residents Peg and Wayde Earl, of Lake George, New York.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 8

and a myriad of circus souvenirs and foods were also available for a small cost. This included the ever popular circus peanuts, which Ringmaster Earhart explained were “special ordered” at the request of the crowds each year. As is always expected, the audience was filled with adults and children of all ages. This included members of what is called the Circus Fans Association of America, Inc. Audience member, Peg Earl, explained that she and her husband, Wayde, are members of Circus Fans. They travel to a variety of venues to enjoy their passion and meet with other circus enthusiasts along the way. An introduction was then made to audience members Svend and Lilly Kristensen. The Kristensens shared how, in 2001, they retired after traveling the world for 28 years with their Leopard Act known as “Lilli-Ana’s Leopards.” Originally from Denmark, the Kristensen’s now reside in Brandon with the last three of their eight leopards. These cats are now comfortably living out the remainder of their “pampered lives,” according to Lilly. Also visiting for the Plant City performance was Ringmaster Earhart’s mother, Cheryl Connor of Arizona. Sharing several anecdotes from his childhood, it was clear that she believed him to be well suited for his chosen profession. She

Six year old “Jimbo the Clown” entertains the crowds at recent Circus Pages’ event.

also feels that the children (who are home schooled while on the road) will receive many great benefits from this lifestyle as well. As they journeyed on to their next stop, the members of the Circus Pages were looking forward to the same enthusiasm they received while visiting Plant City. This will help propel them through the approximate 18,000 miles they will travel throughout the season. For more information on Circus Pages, you may visit them on the web at: www.circuspages.com

Helping out between sets is Circus Pages’ performer, Jeane Ybarra.


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SEND COMMENTS TO K TONEY@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM Story By Bruce Rodwell

Chamber of Commerce Save the date….Saturday, February 24th. On that day your PLANT CITY YMCA will celebrate its fifth anniversary at its location on YMCA Place. There will be a 5k run at Walden Lake, a flag dedication, and a community open house complete with hotdogs and hamburgers. Come and join the fun and learn all about your Plant City Family YMCA. The 5k run/walk, known as the Walden Lake Classic, will start at 7:45 AM from the Plant City YMCA. Participants will walk to the starting line at the entrance to the Paddocks. Then you can enjoy a scenic walk or run around Walden Lake. The 5k will end at the YMCA. Awards will be given for the fastest finishing times. If you prefer to walk instead of run, the walk starts at 8:30 AM with a kids’ run at 9:15 AM. You can register at the YMCA to participate in this fun event. ★★★★★★★★★★ Are you a woman that likes to be involved in our Plant City community? If so, you should contact the GFWCWOMAN’S CLUB OF PLANT CITY, INC. Their slogan is “Community Improvement through Volunteer Service.” As a member of this fine organization you will have the opportunity to work with women on an international, state and local basis serving the needs of our City. When you join this group, you become a member of the oldest and one of the largest women’s volunteer organizations, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC). By becoming a member you will have the opportunity to become involved in the Plant City community while you develop friendships and enhance your personal growth. For more information, call Alise Sollenberger, President of the local Club, at 813-659-3397. ★★★★★★★★★★

Speaking of volunteering, the Plant City Chapter of HABITAT FOR HUMANITY is looking for additional volunteers. This non-profit, ecumenical Christian organization is dedicated to eliminating sub-standard housing right here in Plant City. Their belief is that every person has the right to a decent shelter. They build homes for qualified applicants regardless of their religious beliefs and they welcome volunteers and financial supporters from all backgrounds. No matter what your talent, Habitat can use you! You can help with paperwork, publicity, food, photography, phone calls, construction and special events. Call the Plant City Chapter at 813-717-7946 for information. You can also log onto their website at www.phabitat4u@yahoo. com for even more information. ★★★★★★★★★★ The Plant City Recreation & Parks Department is again offering START SMART GOLF DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM. This will be the 4th year of offering this program, which is for children 5-7 years old. It is a developmentally appropriate introductory golf program that involves the parent. Start Smart Golf teaches young children who have never played golf. It teaches parents how to teach their child golf using fun, developmentally age appropriate equipment. Registration continues through February 21 and the program runs from February 27 to March 15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 7 PM. For more information call Deborah Haldane at 813-659-4200, extension 4343. Or you can contact her via e-mail at dhaldane@plantcitygov.com for more information on this great program.

first class entertainment. You will not want to miss all the great events. There is something for everyone each day. Parade Day is Monday, March 5th, with the parade starting at 1 PM. On that day a wristband purchased at the Midway for $17 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price.

March 15th. The title of this program is “Loosing It All to Sprawl: How Progress Ate My Cracker Landscape.” Bill Belleville will share his personal story of the battle for his rural landscape and places the experience in the context of Florida development. Florida is one of the nation’s fastest growing states and sprawl spreads into the countryside, consuming not just the natural lands, but Old Florida neighborhoods. Come and hear Mr. Belleville. The program is free and starts at 7 PM.

★★★★★★★★★★ ★★★★★★★★★★ Last month I mentioned the AARP DRIVER SAFETY PROGRAM. The next classes will be held in the Community Conference Room at South Florida Baptist Hospital on March 8 and 9. Call 813-754-4444, at the prompt press 1 and then press 2. This will take you to the person that does the scheduling for this great program for seniors. ★★★★★★★★★★ The PLANT CITY RECREATION & PARKS DEPARTMENT is sponsoring the 2007 College Softball Series on March 3rd and 4th. Teams from Michigan State, Leigh University, St. Joseph’s and Harvard University will be competing. These games are free to the public and will take place at the Randy Larson Four-Plex. For information call Larry Langston at 813-6594200, extension 4302.

On Friday, March 16th the UNITED FOOD BANK OF PLANT CITY will hold its 2nd annual Golf Tournament at Walden Lake Golf and Country Club. Sign up as an individual player or bring your own team to support the Food Bank. Your registration fee will help insure that the truly needy are served with food and other necessities. Registration is at noon with tee time at 1 PM. The format is a 4-person scramble. There are sponsorship opportunities available. Call John McCaughey at 813-757-9110 for additional details. ★★★★★★★★★★ Put an exciting date on your calendar…..MAY 3RD. I know it is a long way off, but you will not want to miss THE GREATER PLANT CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUSINESS EXPO & TASTE OF PLANT CITY.

★★★★★★★★★★ Attention all Masons. The Plant City Masonic Lodge holds its regular meetings on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. Dinner is at 6:30 and the Lodge meeting starts at 7:30.

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Are you ready for the FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL? It starts March 1 and runs through March 11. There is a great line-up of

The BRUTON MEMORIAL LIBRARY continues its series on Florida’s Changing Landscape in Fact, Fiction and Song with a program on

It was decided to merge these two great events into one. It will be held at the Trinkle Building at Hillsborough Community College. Watch this column for more details as the date gets closer.

SUPPORT OUR GREATER PLANT CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEMBERS. BUY THEIR PRODUCTS AND USE THEIR SERVICES. IT JUST MAKES SENSE!

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 10


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1204 N. FRONTAGE ROAD

JUST WEST OF PARK ROAD IN PLANT CITY Call For Appointment

813-927-1288 or 813-967-5352 FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 11


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Story and Photos by Sherry Baldwin

The Community Joins Together for 21ST ANNUAL DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. PARADE AND FESTIVAL

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cross the country, the month of January was filled with wonderful events celebrating the life and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Locally, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural Arts Festival, hosted by the Improvement League of Plant City, Inc. included A Step Competition, Various Concerts, a Leadership Breakfast and Senior Citizens Luncheon. Appropriately themed “Diversity at its Finest,” this year’s 21st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Festival also gave community residents the opportunity to come together as one. According to Liesta Sykes, Parade Chairperson, “More than 65 units were registered to participate, including some who traveled from other areas of the state.” She also added that, “Thanks to the generous support of sponsors, there was no registration fee for this year’s participants.” Sponsors included Sunshine State Federal Savings & Loan, the City of Plant City Recreation and Parks Department, Hillsborough County School District, the Plant City Police Department,

Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Chairman Doug Gibbs

Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce. Under a beautiful sky, spectators lined the streets waiting patiently for the parade to arrive. Led by Florida National Guard members, the parade included the Chief of Police, members of the Plant City Police Department, various school bands, church groups, businesses and local dignitaries, all representing themselves proudly. And, of course, to the delight of both young and old(er), the parade participants made sure that candy and beads were plentiful. Local residents such as Irma Fisher, Veronica Davis, Patricia Gamble and Donna Murray, sat comfortably alongside the route enjoying the day together. Friends Chris Gainer and Jasmyn Hendricks, both local high school students, shared that they will further celebrate Dr. King’s legacy by attending a family get-together. Traveling down Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, the parade ended at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center. There it was met by a variety of activities, food and craft vendors. Among the vendors present was first time participant, Ashley Allen, of Cocoa, Florida. Excited to be a part of this important event, Allen offered an assortment of African art and jewelry for sale. Other vendors, such as those who had driven over from St.

St. Luke’s Missionary Baptist Church Youth Ministry march proudly at recent Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in Plant City.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 12

Jr. Miss Plant City, Arsana Wiggins along with 1st Runner-up Alexis Gettens at recent Parade celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Plant City Mayor John Dicks, along with City Commissioners Rick Lott and Bill Dodson at recent Parade honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Petersburg, offered beautiful items like hand made baskets and carved wooden artwork. Local food vendors, Jamrock Caribbean Cuisine and B & B BBQ, were enjoying a brisk business from those who were seeking the source of the wonderful smells wafting through the air. At the corner of Maryland Avenue and MLK, the Plant City Masonic Lodge 206 F & A.M./P.H.A., sold delicious food items as well. According to the Lodge’s Sr. Warden Jon Belk, proceeds will be used to help fund a variety of projects, including assisting the needs of a local child. Additionally, the Festival included a wide range of musical entertainers. Wild 98.7 radio station and even the Sheiks from Busch Gar-

dens were on hand to help celebrate the day. No age group overlooked, children were given the opportunity to take a turn on one of the many (and ever popular) inflatable moon walks or slides. There was even a small train that the younger ones could hop a ride on. In the spirit of unity, hundreds of families and friends enjoyed the day out together. This included Jacarri Durant, a 3rd grader from Trapnell Elementary School. Jacarri shared that he started out his day by participating in the parade, along with members of his church, the Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church. He was looking forward to enjoying the rest of his day with family members. Overall, organizers considered the event a real success and plans were already in the works for next year.


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Story and Photos by Sherry Baldwin

The Improvement League of Plant City Hosts 7TH ANNUAL STEP TEAM COMPETITION

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statewide Step Team Competition was recently held at Marshall Middle School in Plant City, as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural Arts Festival. The event was hosted by the Improvement League of Plant City, Inc. with proceeds going to help with their continuing efforts to serve the community. Among those participating in the competition were teams representing Durant High School, Plant City, George W. Jenkins High School, Lakeland, and Seminole High School, Sanford. Teams from Tampa included Alonso High School, Greco Middle School, Progress Village Middle Magnet School, as well as Tampa Bay Tech High School – who was represented by both a boy’s team and a girl’s team. According to Event Chairperson and Improvement League Board Member, Janell Johnson, this is the 7th year for this competition. Johnson further added that, “The major change for this year was the fact that winner takes all,” referring to the fact that the 1st Place Step Team’s school will not only receive a trophy, but a check for $1,500 as well. To get a better understanding of the competition itself, it was explained that “Stepping” is believed to have originated in Africa. AfricanAmerican Greek Fraternities and

Sororities across the U.S. were then credited with developing it into the phenomenon it is today. Nationwide, step teams have become extremely popular among students of all ages. They have also become broader in appeal, with team members often representing a variety of racial/ethnic groups. Through their participation with a step team, members are offered the opportunity to become part of something that promotes hard work, discipline, teamwork, selfmotivation and self-esteem. As is customary, teams at the recent competition combined dance steps, drill team precision, cheerleading and “call and response”, with great enthusiasm and boundless energy. Much creativity went into not only the routine, but also in the props used and costumes worn by these team members as well. It was further clear that each team worked hard choreographing something that would make them uniquely different from their competition. This made for a truly entertaining experience for everyone involved. Among those participating was the only school representing the Plant City area, Durant High School. Headed up by Durant High School science teacher, Maria Walls,

the team was made up of 11 girls and one boy, hence the name, “Old Skool Girlz and the Boy.” Dressed in school uniforms as costumes, the team even added a little bit of Double Dutch to their routine. Throughout the evening, a panel of guest judges was given the arduous task of carefully scoring each team’s performance using the following criteria: appearance, originality, synchronism and difficulty of routine. Once all of the scores were checked and double checked the winners were announced. Winning both a trophy and a $1,500 check made out to their school was the Tampa Bay Tech Girls. Closely

behind was the Tampa Bay Tech Boys’ team taking home the 2nd Place Trophy. The 3rd Place Trophy went to Greco Middle School, which was quite impressive due to the fact that they were competing against mostly high school teams. In addition to the competition itself, Wild 98.7 Radio was on hand with “give-aways” such as t-shirts and CD’s. A whole host of other prizes, including theme park tickets, were given away to audience members as well. Overall, the competition was deemed a real success and there is no doubt that those who participated are already hard at work on routines for upcoming competitions.

Tampa Bay Tech Girls take 1st Place at recent Step Team Competition held in Plant City.

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Story and Photo by Samantha Szapanos

For Emily Dixon “LIFE IS NEVER KNOWING”

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verybody has a story; some are ecstatic to talk about them, and some are not. If you have lived in Plant City for most of your life, one could conclude to knowing most people around here and their history. Even if you have lived in only two places in your life, Plant City could be the most precious. It is for Emily Dixon, who feels, “Life is never knowing.” Mrs. Dixon is a 67 year old woman who moved to Plant City in 1977, exactly 30 years ago. She said she moved here for a new beginning, leaving her home town of Dallas, Texas with her then fiancé, Keith Dixon. “That ride, oh boy, that ride, was the longest ride of my entire life!” stated Emily. They were married on February 20th of 1978. Emily explained how it was a “small as can be wedding.” Not knowing too many people around town, they made the best of it!

Mr. Dixon says, and surely everybody who knows Emily would agree, that Emily is very committed to writing short stories and is known for baking the best apple pie in her neighborhood. “I never wanted to publish any of my stories. I just like them for my grandbabies” Emily explained. “They really enjoy them.” Emily and Keith have two children. Both are grown with kids of their own, but they still get to spend almost every holiday with their parents in their hometown of Plant City. When asked if she ever thought of leaving Plant City, she chuckled, “Oh, of course not, dear. The Strawberry Festival is coming up!” she continued. “Being here for 30 years and being 67 years old, I think I’ll stay right here.”

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 14


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Story & Photo by by Jeff Neely

Rep. Rich Glorioso

SPENDS HOLIDAY TIME WITH FOSTER YOUTH

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n the midst of the holiday madness this year, a local leader found the time to share in the lives of 13 youth who are transitioning from foster care to adulthood. Rep. Rich Glorioso, a Plant City resident who was recently reelected to the Florida legislature, took part in a new project in Hillsborough County this year called Walk a Mile, which spanned the months of November and December. The purpose of the project, organized by the Tampa-based organization, Connected by 25, was to pair policymakers from around the area with young adults who are “aging out” of the foster care system for a chance to dialogue

and learn from each other.

tional Guard and Glorioso spent 27 years as an Air Force pilot.

Glorioso and his match, 17-yearold Indianette Negron, originally met in June during a bill-signing in Tallahassee. Negron and a group of fellow foster youth had traveled to the capital to witness Gov. Jeb Bush sign into law a bill spearheaded by Glorioso.

When Walk a Mile began, it was a natural fit to pair the two for the project. As part of the project, Negron and Glorioso maintained contact by telephone or e-mail.

Among the provisions, the new law expanded services available to children who automatically exit foster care when they turn 18 to give them greater educational opportunities and extend Medicaid coverage until their 20th birthday. At the meeting in Tallahassee, Glorioso and Negron found they had something in common. Negron is planning to join the Na-

Glorioso also made a special trip Dec. 18 to the Connected by 25 office to meet with Negron and 12 other youth for a candid roundtable discussion about foster care and the challenges facing teens as they move from state custody to life on their own. He offered them some words of wisdom. “Remember, whatever education you’re doing right now, it’s just building a bridge to the future.”

Glorioso and Indianette Negron share an embrace for the start of Walk a Mile, a project bringing together local leaders and foster care youth.

2005 Finalist SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Brandon Chamber

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 15


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Story and Photos by Emily Allen

The East Comes to the Planteen YOGA, TAI CHI AND BELLY DANCING

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he Planteen Recreation Center has started the New Year off right with new classes that appeal to every age group. Experienced teachers give a taste of relaxing and fun ways to exercise and stay healthy.

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 SEFFNER ...................................................................North Grove Plaza 1515 Parsons Ave. South ......................................................... 684-5897 VALRICO ..........................................................................Valrico Square 1985 E. Brandon Blvd. ............................................................. 654-2324 VALRICO ......................................................... Shoppes Brandon Farms 2511 E Brandon Blvd. ............................................................... 643-4825

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 16

Gina Belli, who has practiced Yoga for 12 years, teaches traditional Hatha Yoga Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. In her class, she focuses on entire body, non-strenuous stretches and poses that bring a calmer sense of mind. These benefit the body by lengthening the spine and freeing up the nervous system from compaction. “Yoga puts your body back into alignment. It is the oldest discipline, and I recommend it to everyone,” she says. It even has some hidden health benefits. Belli explains that, “I did Yoga even when I was pregnant. The day I went into labor, I delivered in 12 minutes!” Another way to improve and maintain health is Tai Chi. Joe Crossfield avidly practices Taoist Tai Chi and has been a member of the International Taoist Tai Chi Society for seven years. He explains that “Tai Chi is excellent for those who struggle with balance and flexibility.” People who have had problems with Parkinson’s, knee surgeries or hip replacements find Tai Chi as a form of rehab, regaining strength and longevity. Crossfield’s classes are held Tuesday nights and focus on the 108 zeroimpact, continuous-motion moves that act as “moving meditation.” Crossfield explains, “My goal with this class is to inform people of the benefits of Tai Chi and Joe Crossfield directs produce the Tai Chi class in the ‘homefirst 17 of 108 continuousgrown’ motion moves.

Gina Belli flawlessly executes the Yoga warrior pose.

instructors from right here in Plant City.” Lastly, belly dancing has made its mark at the Planteen. Mary Jane Aguilar, the instructor, has been belly dancMary Jane Aguilar leads the Belly Dancing class in ing for over the basic moves. 25 years. “I initially joined in an effort to shed a few pounds, and have been hooked ever since,” she explains. Her ultrafeminine dances are not just interesting, but a great way to work on flexibility, exercise and have fun. Classes take place Monday nights and focus on rhythm and finger poses, and as students become more advanced, dancing with canes, swords, and balancing baskets on the head. Her long-time students Peggy Crews and Robin Jenkins inform that belly dancing “Is a great way to make friends. It provides self-confidence and helps you feel good about yourself.” Everyone from every walk of life can come out to the Planteen this year and experience a different culture, all the while enjoying its benefits and becoming healthier.


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Story and Photos by Heather Davis

Letting it Flow

ARTIST DANCES TO HER OWN BEAT

Place” Sheron

individually created by hand and unique to the personality she is trying to capture.

Textile Art “Know Your

Having the feeling that life is a canvas, Vicktoria is drawn to art that moves you and allows you to open up. She has been inspired by artists such as Frida Kahlo, whose likeness she has also captured in textile, as well as Van Gogh, whom she admires for his openness and freedom.

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cannot be defined or put in a box. Its possibilities are as endless and infinite as we are. One is reminded of this fact upon meeting local Plant City artist and resident Vicktoria Hanson. Instead of trying to dictate and control art, she allows it to flow freely through her. As a self taught artist, Vicktoria Hanson not only creates art but lives it. Vicktoria feels that everyone is a potential artist, but we have to find our medium and way of expressing ourselves. Allowing art to take on a life of its own and giving it freedom to do so is the key to Vicktoria’s art. Vicktoria pursues many different types of mediums ranging from painting with acrylics and oils to creating collages and working with textiles. She states she is a seasonal artist who works with paint in the summer and textiles in the winter. Currently, it is textile art that Vicktoria has been drawn to. Inspired by a close friend and wanting to find a way to reflect her personality, Vicktoria used textile art as a means to capture her friend’s likeness. Reminiscent of Folk Art, Vicktoria used hand cut scraps of felt and pieces of fabric that she put together using hand sewn stitches. With this same type of medium, Vicktoria has since represented friends from her church, creating their likeness from pieces of textile. Each piece of textile art is

Vicktoria’s approach to art shows us that if we allow ourselves to be open to art and its many forms, it gives us the ability to not just create art, but live it. So let it flow.

Textile Art piece of “Halleluiah” Pastor Edith

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 17


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Story by Daniel Sperry Photos Courtesy of the Florida Opry

A Little Bit of Country Comes to Plant City THE FLORIDA OPRY FILLS THE AIR WITH SOULFUL MUSIC

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he 1914 Plant City High School Community Center was the home of an old-time, kneeslapping event last month. On January 27th, the Florida Opry came to town and the performances were a big hit with local residents. This performance was the second of the month and featured a wide variety of vocal and bluegrass talent. The Opry began at 7:00 p.m. and the audience was on their feet throughout the evening. The featured group was The Gospel Truth Quartet and their stylized harmonies and perfect tunes kept the crowd enthralled. “I just can’t get enough of this type of music,” said James Whittaker, who drove up from Brandon for the event. “I mean, you can’t find music like this too often anymore.” But the Quartet was not the only highlight of the evening. Jenny Rimmer was performing as well, and her New Country sounds delighted everyone. Rimmer is a

Florida native and has been singing since she was six years old. Around the same time, she began playing the upright bass, standing on a milk crate in order to reach the neck. She fell in love with bluegrass and says that had a huge impact on her style as she grew older. Rimmer married and lived a fairly quiet life, focusing on her family and spirituality until 1996 when her children were grown. She began performing again, first in a couple of different groups, then finally as a solo artist. She garnered recognition in 2005, receiving the Horizon Award for Female Vocalist and the Female Entertainer of the Year Award from the North American Country Music Association. Last year, she was again recognized as Female Vocalist of the Year by the North American Country Music Association. The talent was proudly on display as her voice lifted the crowd and her pure vocals filled the air. Her roots in bluegrass and Christian

The kids took time out for some good eatin’ on the carnival grounds

Jeff Jones, Jason Jones, Austin Wilder and Heather Franks fill the air with the sounds of bluegrass

country music were clearly evident in the lyrics and style of the songs she sang. Another vocalist who has worked closely with Rimmer also performed at the Florida Opry. Brian Chytka was named Entertainer of the Year and Duo of the Year with Rimmer in 2006. He dazzled the crowd with samples of his original music, which will be part of an album that he is currently recording. His sounds were upbeat and the lyrics were easy to understand.

It was obvious that the recognition he has received was well-deserved. The final group which performed on this memorable night was the Bluegrass Parlor Band. Featuring guitars, bass, mandolin, fiddles and a banjo, this band plays bluegrass as it was meant to be played. Their enthusiasm and energy was contagious and the audience could clearly see that the band was having at least as much fun performing as the crowd was listening. The band’s roots are in the Bluegrass Parlor, a store opened by local radio personality Tom Henderson from WMNF FM 88.5 in Tampa. He formed the band to help young musicians gain experience in a professional setting. Current band members range in age from 12 to 17 years old, but they sounded as though they had been playing for decades. “I’m so glad I came to this,” said Chrissie Balcott. “I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun, it was just so good.” Her sentiments seemed to be shared by everyone who was present. The audience was rapt from start to finish and the applause was long and loud for each act that performed. The Florida Opry will be back in town on February 17, March 24 and April 14.

The young musicians of the Bluegrass Parlor Band take the stage.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 18


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 19


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Story by Emily Allen Photos by Emily Allen and courtesy of Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC

Act of Kindness Changes Home THE 2006 HOLIDAY HOME MAKEOVER IS A HUGE SUCCESS

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hester and Hazel Richardson live a simple life here in Plant City with their four teenage grandchildren: Bryan, 13; Brittnie, 12; Summer, 11; and Kevin, 10. After becoming acquainted with Family and School Support Teams (FASST) in September of last year, the Richardson family has seen many of their dreams come true. Supporting businesses teamed up to transform the Richardson’s home from the inside out with much needed repairs.

make the needed repairs and updates. “Our home makeover was just our mustard-seed faith coming into being,” says Chester. Soon after meeting the family, FASST partnered with Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC to provide assistance for the family during this difficult time. “They told us they would fix one or two things; when we came back they had done the whole house,” says Summer Richardson.

The months leading up to the makeover had been a rough time for the family. Mr. Richardson had undergone cancer treatments, all the while working full-time to support his family, and Mrs. Richardson suffered from medical problems. With four grandchildren and other responsibilities, the Richardsons were unable to

Over 45 local businesses stepped up to the challenge and contributed to the transforming of the house. The project took a total of six weeks, but on December 15, 2006, the Richardson family was blown away by all that had been accomplished. “They did everything,” comments Chester. Renovation included rewiring,

plumbing, dry wall replacement, wood replacement, flooring, debris removal, a new concrete slab for the back porch, window and roof replacement and repair, new lighting, heating, AC, pest control treatment, new furniture, sod for the yard and completely repainting inside and out. Nothing was left unfinished. “It was really touching to see how many people came out to help. We are just one family of many who are in need. It was such a blessing to be served in such a way,” says Mr. Richardson, tearing up. Chester and Hazel provide a loving and stable home life

for their grandchildren. Now, their home adequately accommodates the family’s needs. The Holiday Home Makeover is a great example of how an act of kindness can bring life to those in need. “This is such a great community that is willing to help. I am so thankful,” says Mr. Richardson.

A huge Holiday Home Makeover Celebration took place on December 15, 2006 at the Richardson’s home in Plant City.

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Story By Kristel Williamson Photos By Kristel Williamson and courtesy of Evelyn Lampkin

Honoring Evelyn Lampkin

TAKING A FIRST STRIDE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IN PLANT CITY large, national names that everyone recognizes. Plant City has their own important names when it comes to African American Civil Rights; one is Evelyn Lampkin. Evelyn worked at McCrory’s for 37 years during the time of the Civil Rights movement and was the first black in Plant City to be used as a cashier. “I actually started out as a window-washer and floor sweeper,” Evelyn laughed, “I spent 18 years doing that before they decided to move me to the cash register.” Evelyn Lampkin is grateful to Sharon Moody and the Black Heritage Committee for honoring her with an award.

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lack History month is meant to remember those who have contributed a large part to the Civil Rights movement for African Americans and there have been

On February 9, the Black Heritage Committee honored Evelyn with an award because of her achievement in the way of African American Civil Rights in Plant City. “It didn’t dawn on me at all when I

was working at that cash register that it would lead to what is happening today,” Evelyn said as she flipped through some of the photographs that were taken while she worked at McCrory’s. “I was having such a grand time working there with people who I still consider to be a part of my family. I never thought of it as something this big.”

Evelyn Lampkin is helping the late Mrs. WillieMae Knighten through the checkout line as the first black woman cashier in Plant City.

After McCrory’s closed down, Evelyn moved to the Hillsborough County College Bookstore and worked there for 18 months before finally retiring at the age of 60. She still sells AVON, as she has for more than 50 years, and often makes her rounds, still sharing her

smile with everyone she meets. “You know, there’s been good days and bad days,” Evelyn said. “But the good has definitely outweighed the bad and I’m just glad that the Lord could use me in my home town of Plant City.”

Weʼll Provide Personalized Service For You And Your Business!

1804 James L Redman Pkwy • Plant City, FL 33563 Phone: 813-659-1234 Fax: 813-659-9134

Lobby hours: Mon – Thurs 9:00am – 4:00pm Friday 9:00am – 6:00pm Drive Thru hours Mon – Fri 8:00am – 6:00pm ATM 24 hours a day Other Locations: Brandon, Lakeland & Tampa FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 22


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Story and Photo by Holly Mallalieu

Barber and Entertainer

CHARLIE PARKER RUNS BARBERSHOP AND SINGS IN GOSPEL QUARTET

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harlie Parker may not be one of our born-and-raised Plant City residents, but after fitting himself so well in our community, that, of course, doesn’t matter a bit. Through his establishment and ownership of the Parker Barber Shop, as well as his long involvement in a performing gospel music quartet, his years living here have been, and are being, very well spent.

Charlie Parker with customer William Capehart, who has been going to Parkers for the last 18 years.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 24

In 1959 Parker attended Barber College in Tampa. After graduation, he dabbled in two different barbershops before beginning his own busi-

ness. In 1963 Parker moved to Plant City and founded the Parker Barbershop, now located on the corner of Maryland and Baker Street, in the Felton’s parking lot. His business actually began where Felton’s grocery store is located now. However, after it expanded, Parker moved the business further down. It’s been settled ever since. Parker does a wonderful job and is certainly a very personable barber who many enjoy going to. In addition to his work, Parker is a member of a wonderful gospel quartet. The group calls themselves The Centurions, and together they travel to various churches, as well as other arrangements, singing great tunes that everyone knows and loves. Parker himself is first tenor,

alongside friends Pete McNabb, baritone, Dub High, lead, Red Tanner, bass, Lonnye Rappe, bass guitar, and Mark Tanner, piano. The quartet practices every Thursday, and does an outstanding job at performances. To schedule The Centurions, call (813) 752-1672 or (813) 9864718. Charlie Parker plans on staying in Plant City indefinitely, as he likes it very much here. He has been happily married to his wife, Glenda, for 13 years come June, and has a son and a daughter. Parker, his barbershop, and his excellent gospel quartet are certainly wonderful attributes of Plant City.


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Story and Photos by Emily Allen

YMCA Builds Community WE BUILD PEOPLE CAMPAIGN

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he YMCA in Plant City had its annual “We Build People” Campaign Kickoff on January 25, and it looks like everything is off to a great start.

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The goal this year is to raise $125,000 – about $30,000 more than last year – but confidence is in the people of our community to step up to the plate and give to those who need it most. The campaign will run until February 23, 2007. The theme of the campaign, “Rock n’ Roll, Plant City,” is centered on the 50s, complete with poodle skirts and sock hops. 100% of the donations go towards scholarships that provide day care, after-school programs, sports programs and workouts to those who otherwise would not have the means in which to take part. Last year alone, over 60% of the 140 children enrolled in the YMCA after-school care received financial assistance. “This facility would not be where it is if it weren’t for the city coming together,” says George Banning, Campaign Chairman. “Through these partnerships, we are able to provide services to the common person that

Come Get The Berry Best Facial In Town! any country club could offer,” he says.

of peers and mentors,” explains Doug Barnette, Senior Program Director.

Youth programs are in abundance with sports programs that serve as a “feeder league” to train youth in preparation for high school sports and even competitive leagues. Another great program is called “Ophelia,” which is a therapeutic program designed for teenage girls to discuss popular topics such as image, self-esteem, stress, etc. “This gives them an outlet for difficult issues and provides them with a support group

Adults, of course, have plenty to take part in at the YMCA. Exercise equipment, aerobic classes, open racquetball courts and weight machines are all great ways to stay in shape. Zumba – a new group workout – has started and is making quite a stir. Not a typical workout, Zumba features Latin music in a comfortable atmosphere that allows more freedom, and it’s no problem if one misses a beat. The YMCA also supports its seniors with the “Silver Sneakers” program, which offers low-impact exercise classes, and is a great way to socialize while adding to a person’s longevity,” says Doug Barnette. Anyone from any stage in life can come to experience true community and enhance their life at the YMCA. It is truly “Building People.”

We Also Have Beautiful Strawberry Accessoreis Ladies & Gentleman, I must tell you a secret. Not far from you is your haven. Katie Mullis has recently opened shop, offering a plethora of services. I personally enjoyed the luxury of her facial. She goes above and beyond to make sure that you are comfortable and totally relaxed. Her decided choice of product, Demalogica is of the highest quality and makes your skin smooth and deliciously glowing! Living in Manhattan, Iʼve visited the big name and expensive spas and I can honestly say that this was the most wonderful facial I have ever had! Katie is the best and I promise that your experience in her spa will rejuvenate your mind and soul.

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The Annual We Build People Campaign Kickoff got off to a great start at Plant City’s YMCA on January 25th. The Campaign will run until February 23rd.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 25


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Story and Photos by Sherry Baldwin

Passing the Gavel

CHAMBER WELCOMES NEW CHAIRMAN

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Outgoing Chamber Chairman Danny Coton, along wife Danna Coton, at recent Chamber of Commerce Banquet.

(l-r) Raj Saluja, Sarah Raines, Erica Ergi and Matt LaGrow, representing South Florida Baptist Hospital, at Plant City Chamber of Commerce Banquet.

Danna Coton, Sharon Dicks and Donna Keel at recent Chamber Chairman’s Banquet.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 26

he Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce’s 25th Annual Chairman’s Banquet was recently held at the Ramada Inn Plantation House Red Rose Ballroom. The event was planned as the “passing of the gavel” from outgoing Chamber Board Chairman, Danny Coton, to incoming Chairman Doug Gibbs. With over 200 guests in attendance, the celebration was much like a reunion of old friends and the meeting of new. Prior to the start of the ceremony, community business leaders such as Billy Herold of Billy Herold Import Sales offered his comments on the importance of the Chamber as a whole. “Plant City is blessed by having a very hardworking Chamber.” Herold further added “Marion (Smith) has a great staff. There has been a rich history of successful leadership and I am proud to be a part of it.” As the Master of Ceremonies for the night, Plant City Mayor John Dicks then offered his thanks for the hard work of the Chamber, most especially thanking outgoing Chairman Danny Coton. Shortly following, the Invocation was offered by Jack Gibbs, father of incoming Chamber Chairman Doug Gibbs. Following dinner, Mayor Dicks welcomed all dignitaries in attendance. This included Florida State Representative Rich Glorioso, City of Plant City Commissioners Rick Lott, Mary Yvette Thomas-Mathis, Robert Brown and Bill Dodson. Former Mayor Mike Sparkman and City Commission candidate, Dan Raulerson, were also welcomed. Great appreciation was then given to Chamber Trustees and Past Chairmen. Mayor Dicks then introduced 2006 Chairman of the Board, Danny Coton. Presenting his 2006 Year in Review, Coton thanked 2006 Committee Chairs for their dedication and hard work. Chamber President Marion Smith and Linda Law-

son, Executive Director of the United Food Bank and Services, assisted Coton with the presentation of awards, which included The Ambassador Team of the Year Award to co-leaders Betty Tower and Bruce Rodwell, whose team included: Donna Ashley, Sue Burt, David Gott, Charles Harris, Kelleigh Klein, Linda Lawson, Verna McKelvin, Rick Norman, Mary Ann Paris and Rick Spears. The Ambassador of the Year Award was then presented to Jodi Smith of the South Florida Baptist Hospital. Retired Trustee, Danny Wilkes, was recognized, followed by the welcoming of Wal-Mart as the Chamber’s newest trustee. A variety of awards were later presented including The Chairman’s Award, which went to Kelleigh Klein for her diligence in helping with an education initiative. Chris Prevatt received the Unsung Hero Award for his efforts assisting local families whose children were diagnosed with life threatening illnesses. Bill Heard Chevrolet, Prevatt’s employer, was also presented with an award for supporting his efforts. Plaques were then presented to outgoing directors Fred Johnson, Kelleigh Klein, Jon Poppell, Steve Solomon and Kimball Wetherington. Mayor John Dicks then administered the Oath of Office to the 2007 Officers and Directors, including 2007 Chairman of the Board, Doug Gibbs, Chairman-Elect, Mark Bullard, Treasurer, Bill Ulbricht and Vice Chairmen, Ed Verner, Charles Harris, Rick Lott and Doug Driggers. Directors included Al Berry, Rick Bunnell, Jennifer Closshey, Kerrie Gafford, Paul Hackney, Dr. Felix Haynes, Gail Lyons, Bruce Rodwell, Chris Sparkman, Joe Williams and Lee Williams. The gavel was then officially passed from Danny Coton to Doug Gibbs. Gibbs in turn presented Coton


BANQUET CONTINUED

Billy Herold of Billy Herold Import Sales, along with Sherri Taylor of the TanaCabana, at Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Banquet.

Gail Lyons, Vice President of AmSouth/Regions Bank, along with husband Gene, at recent Chamber of Commerce event.

Plant City Commissioner Mary Yvette Thomas-Mathis with husband Tony Mathis at recent Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Banquet.

with a plaque in recognition of his service to the Board and roses were given to Coton’s wife, Danna, for her support as well. Doug Gibbs then offered his “Chamber Vision for 2007” followed by a personal acknowledgment to the Chamber

staff: President Marion Smith, Jane Gonzalez, Al Collinge, Nancy Benedict, Susan Wilson and Amy Nizamoff. Mayor Dicks concluded the event by thanking Banquet sponsors as well as all who attended.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 27


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Story by Sherry Baldwin Photo courtesy of Rosanne DeFelippo-Haynes

After Serving her Country in Iraq WARTIME NURSE FINDS HER OWN PLACE TO HEAL

“Drawn to and enthralled by the wartime nurses who served before me” is how area resident and Registered Nurse Rosanne DeFelippo-Haynes explained why, in 1995, she chose to take a direct commission in the United States Air Force Reserves as a Second Lieutenant. Describing herself as a “savvy and seasoned” trauma/ surgical/burn ICU and ER nurse, DeFelippo-Haynes believed she had “seen it all.” Deployed as a Registered Nurse to the 332nd Contingency Air Staging Facility (CASF) in Balad, Iraq, June – September 2004, she soon came to realize that “War is beyond it all.” While serving in Iraq, DeFelippoHaynes’ shared that her mission included caring for patients and preparing them for aero medical evacuation. Adding, “All patients airlifted out of Iraq went through this

facility.” Working 10-16 hours per day, 6-7 days per week, DeFelippoHaynes described how her days were spent in direct patient care and/or hands-on education with junior technicians and nurses. Additionally, she was often assigned as a shift leader; in charge of the mission/flight out. During her tour, the base on which she was assigned went into “red alarm 143,” indicating an attack was either imminent or in progress. In fact, she added, that “a great deal of time was also spent seeking shelter.” With her mission complete, DeFelippo-Haynes returned to the U.S. and began to deal with the painful memories of her time serving in Iraq. She spoke candidly about how she continues to balance these feelings with the knowing that she was “part of a team that truly made a difference.” Also adding, “There

is nothing before or after that could ever compare to the experience.” Soon after her return, DeFelippoHaynes made the decision to move over to the Veterans Administration system. She described how her work at the James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa has been her own “place of healing.” No longer in the military, DeFelippo-Haynes is “currently exploring options” for her next professional challenge. Married to Plant City native and Army Veteran, Kevin Haynes, her life has recently taken a different direction. This includes “starting a family with Kevin and just enjoying life…which (as she so aptly put it) is just too precious to waste.”

As the wartime nurses before her, Rosanne DeFelippoHaynes, RN, serves her country with pride.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 29


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Story and Photo by Sherry Baldwin

Plant City Art Collectors

HOST SALE AT WALDEN LAKE GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB – Moody’s current collection is well over 200. During the sale, Moody reflected upon the purchase of his first collectible items. Starting with small pieces, he eventually moved on to larger ones like on display that day. Moody’s current Kincaid collection includes those entitled: Beyond Autumn Gate, Garden of Prayer and Sunset on Rainbow Row. Moody proudly shared that he also owns “two of Kincaid’s first pieces, done on paper rather than canvas.” Widely known as the Painter of Light, Moody added that he believes Thomas Kincaid to be “one of the most collectible artists (living) today.”

Area resident and art collector Richard Moody and one of his favorite pieces by artist Cao Yong.

A

n Art Sale was recently hosted by area residents, Richard and Paty Moody, at the Walden Lake Golf and Country Club Clubhouse. As a long time collector, Richard Moody made the decision to display pieces of

his own collection of artwork by Thomas Kincaid. As a Lifetime Member of the Thomas Kincaid Collectors’ Society, Moody is what is referred to as a “Super Diamond Collector.” To qualify, one must own 100 pieces

In addition to his Kincaid collection, Moody also displayed pieces

by artists Behrens and Cao Yong, who he enjoys because of his “impressionist style.” A variety of collectibles including Swarovski crystal pieces and books signed by their authors were also for sale that day. Plant City resident Sherry Willis, who purchased one of the signed books, also shared how she admired the Thomas Kincaid pieces. Gail Stevens, accompanied by granddaughter Sophia, was “amazed by the beauty” of Moody’s collection as well. “Art truly does add a special ambiance to the home,” stated Stevens. Moody agreed and when asked to offer a bit of wisdom to the novice collector he replied, “Know what you are purchasing.” Most importantly, Moody added, “Buy what you like!”

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 30


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 31


A Family

of Queens

The Story of Plant City’s ROYAL Family

Ruth Shuman Brown (far right) with her beauty queen sisters: Lee S. Ruganis, Elyse S. Harvill and Bettye S. Holley.

Beauty Queens and Berries are Raised by Mrs. Shuman, quipped an article from the Plant City Courier in the year 1955. The Mrs. Shuman being referred to had no idea how accurate those words would become. An entire generation later, the statement rings truer than ever. FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 32


An 18-year-old-Brown was crowned by the Mayor of Plant City, and the following year she went on to be the first Strawberry Queen to perform the actual crowning of her successor.

Ruth Shuman Brown has saved years of memorabilia from when she was Strawberry Queen in 1954. She also saved many clippings and keepsakes from when her daughter, Beckie, was Strawberry Queen in 1987. Coincidence, you say? What if you knew that each of Brown’s sisters were also involved in the pageant, not to mention the fact that her eldest daughter, Leslie, was also in the Court?

Throughout her year as queen, Brown, who was born and raised in Plant City, doesn’t remember attending nearly as many events as the girls these days do. “I think I may have done a ribbon cutting, but I didn’t have the exposure they have now,” she commented. “The Festival is looking for a spokesperson, and they really make use of the queen and her court now.”

“Were just happy to be in it!” Brown laughed. “Now the girls have these beautiful evening gowns. We would just wear the prettiest dress we had! When I was crowned, it was then being called the East Hillsborough County Fair, and that was the first year they allowed “foreigners” from Brandon to come over and compete, as well. That was the first year anyone from anywhere other than Plant City was allowed to come over. We were very intimidated,” she remembers.

“I remember how excited my brothers-inlaw were when I got queen,” Brown laughed. “The town back then and they probably still do now, they embraced Brown stated. me! I was their queen. For a little while, I was a real celebrity. And people were so excited that I was the queen, and they were happy for me. I guess that’s probably my fondest memory.”

I think the thing that makes the Strawberry Festival so unique is that it’s just kind of like a family tradition,

Brown spoke of the modeling of shorts outfits, not bathing suits, how the queen received gifts and a small trophy upon being crowned, and how, in her day, the contestants did not put a great deal of preparation into their performances. “It was just the queen pageant, and everyone was supposed to go out for it,” she commented. Mother/Daughter Strawberry Queens!

1954 was the first year each contestant was sponsored by a business or organization; Brown’s sponsor was the Lions Club, who was the first to enter a candidate in the queen’s contest and chose her as their entry. A photo of her in a strawberry field was printed in the Courier in 1954, along with the following paragraph: Beautiful Dish – Miss Ruth Shuman, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F.A. Shuman, of Springhead, is the first to enter the queen contest which will be conducted during the 19th annual Strawberry Festival in Plant City Feb. 22. Sponsored by the Lions Club, Miss Shuman, a Senior at Plant City High School, recently was selected queen of the school. The Strawberry Queen will be crowned Feb. 25. Girls between 16 and 24 years, who are residents of East Hillsborough County, may enter the contest by contacting the Plant City Chamber of Commerce.

Brown went on to Florida State and graduated from there, with degrees in Speech and English. She married Don Brown after completed college in 1958, and the couple moved to Denver for two years. They then moved back to Plant City, where Ruth taught for 35 years and eventually became the Head of Guidance at Plant City High School She retired in 1994. “I think the thing that makes the Strawberry Festival so unique is that it’s just kind of like a family tradition,” Brown stated. “You know, my aunt went out, my sister went out, so I’ve got to go out, too. And here I’ve got four sisters that participated. Each one was in the strawberry pageant, so you just knew that when your time came, you would be in it, too. I think there are a lot of aunts and nieces and sisters that are in the court.”

Continued on page 34 FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 33


The Story of Plant City’s ROYAL Family

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Brown’s family certainly honored the tradition she speaks of! Her sister, then Della Lee Shuman and now Lee S. Ruganis, was Miss Plant City the year she graduated from high school. Elyse Shuman, now Elyse S. Harvill and another sister to Brown, was runner-up for Strawberry Queen in Plant City, and was in the court in the Orange Queen Exposition in Winter Haven. Bettye Sue Shuman, yet another sister and now Bettye S. Holley, was in the court of the Strawberry Queen while in high school.

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But the tradition doesn’t stop there! Not only was Brown Strawberry Queen, but her oldest daughter Leslie (now Leslie Shepherd) was a member of the court, while her youngest daughter, Beckie (now Beckie Klein) was crowned queen in 1987. On March 12 of 1987, the Courier printed a photo of the two and the words following:

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Second Generation – For the first time, the Strawberry Festival has a second generation queen. When Rebecca Brown was crowned queen on March 5, she was following in the footsteps of her mother, Ruth Shuman Brown,

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Rebecca Brown Klein upon her crowning in 1987.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 34

Ruth Shuman Brown upon her crowning in 1954.

When asked about her thoughts in the moments just after Klein was crowned, Brown laughed. “I just was grateful and very happy for her. I don’t think I thought at that time about it being mother daughter. I do remember Dr. Don Humphrey with the Lions Club was on the stage when they selected the court, and I remember


The Story of Plant City’s ROYAL Family him saying, ‘I think we’re going to have a mother/daughter queen.’ And I just thought, oh my! It was a lovely moment.” At the time Klein was selected to be queen, the proceedings were slightly

(Left to right) Rebecca Brown Klein, Ruth Shuman Brown and Rebecca’s first little boy.

different than those we know today. The queen was crowned approximately a week after the court had been selected. “It was a little anticlimactic!” stated Brown. Klein commented, “When I was crowned, I don’t remember thinking

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609 S. Alexander Street • Plant City, FL 33563 (Left to right) Ruth, Beckie and Don Brown at Beckie’s crowning ceremony in 1987.

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Continued on page 36 FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 35


The Story of Plant City’s ROYAL Family Strawberry Queens later in life—for sentimental reasons, primarily. My mother is a pretty special lady, and I really value sharing this bit of hometown history with her.” As she continued to reminisce, Klein remembered a specific impression made on her during her year as queen. “Our court’s chaperone at that time, Miss Doris, made an impression on me during my reign as Strawberry Queen that I took with me later in life. I really looked to her for direction and support that year, and learned a lot from her about taking the lead in social situations, and, most importantly, not taking any of it too seriously. She was a strong woman with a soft touch, and her elegant, easy-going demeanor was a constant reminder that, while I was in a position of responsibility, I could still be young and have fun!”

there and have a good time and really be yourself. Don’t put on, don’t try to be someone that you’re not, and just really have a good time.” Brown remembers back to when Beckie was small and involved in Junior Royalty. Her rule was, when it stopped being fun it was time to stop.

“It’s very important to have a representative like the queen, because even though it’s a bigger town than it used to be, it is a small town and I do think you still have little girls out there that are looking to that person to be a role model, and I think the fact that they’re educated and speak well is important,” Brown continued. “And if the festival can use them in a role Rebecca Brown Klein upon her crowning in 1987. like that, then they ought to! I know Klein is now married; she and her husband and two small sons live in when Beckie was working with the little ones at the Baby Parade, they New York. want to touch the queen and they want to see the queen, so that queen has got to be willing to let little grubby hands touch her and just be a sweet Brown attended the Strawberry Festival pageant last in 2004. “I think that person, and I think that does make our festival different.” the main difference between then and now is probably that the girls now are very polished now. Plus the scholarship program. As a former educaNot only is the Strawberry Queen pageant a Plant City tradition, it’s also tor I think that’s absolutely wonderful!” a family tradition. Focus Magazine would like to salute all the families who have unwaveringly supported their queens through the years. Ursula K. LeQuin once said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it So what advice does Brown have for the current queen and court? is the journey that matters, in the end.” We are thankful for the journeys each queen has made, and we wish the current queen and her court the “The thing that shines through is that true you; when they can see that best of luck on their journey through 2007. little gleam in your eye. That was mainly what I told my girls, to go out

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 36


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 37


Transforming Lives for Almost 30 Years TURKEY CREEK ASSEMBLY OF GOD sells Strawberry Shortcake to create opportunities for Mission Work

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 38

THROUGH SHORTCAKE Interview by Brian West Photos by Kristen Toney


Focus: How long has the church been involved with selling strawberries at the Florida Strawberry Festival? Rodriguez: This will be our 28th year. Focus: How did the church come up with the idea to get involved in this kind of venture? Rodriguez: I think it was just an opportunity that came to us, back in 1978. The church liked the idea and inquired about it through the Strawberry Festival organization, and decided it was something they wanted to do.

Most people in Plant City are probably familiar with Turkey Creek Assembly of God; the church located on Turkey Creek Road, just south of Trapnell Road. The church has spent almost three decades selling strawberry shortcake at the Florida Strawberry Festival to help them with their missions work. They’ve become so involved in ministries that they even changed the name of the church to Transforming Life Ministries. Pastor Jim Rodriguez said, “We found that Turkey Creek was more of a geographic location, but Transforming Life spoke more about what God is doing in the hearts of people. We kept the Turkey Creek name, we just made a slight change to dba (doing business as) Transforming Life Min-

let. When the pallet is full, it’s wheeled into our walk-in cooler where the berries will stay until the next morning when they are shipped to the festival grounds. We try to keep at least a 100bucket supply at the booth in our refrigerator there. At the booth, the people working there just have to dip the mixture from the bucket onto the cake and that’s it. Bowers: Every morning we take supplies to the booth to make sure they’re ready for what the day may bring. If it turns out to be a busy day, they’ll call us and we’ll load up more supplies and deliver them when they’re needed.

Focus: How long have each of istries.” I recently spoke with Pastor Rodriguez and Bill Bowers, you personally been involved in this venture with the a church member who is heavily involved in their berry venture. church? Focus: Are there other volBowers: I’ve been involved for unteer efforts that aren’t di16 years. When you first get rectly related to the berries? involved, you’re really just learning about it. But each year I seemed to get Rodriguez: Yes. We provide lunch and dinner to everyone working in this deeper and deeper into it. They continued to give me more responsibilities effort. So we have several volunteers who cook meals each day. There are each year, until now. Now I’m a retired fire fighter from the City of Plant volunteers who just drive our trucks back and forth, and they drive busses City. I retired last year, so now I’m really involved to the point of working with the workers. There are two shifts at the booth. The first shift works on whatever needs to be taken care of. from opening until about 5:00 p.m., and the second shift works from 5:00 p.m. until closing. Then we do it all over again the next day. Rodriguez: This will be my 24th year. Bowers: We also provide day care for our workers, so there are volunteers Focus: So what does it take to make this happen? helping us there too. Bowers: It takes a lot. For three weeks we’re working like we’re a Fortune Rodriguez: In the 28 years the church has been involved, things have 500 company. It takes over 100 people a day to run the operation. We’ll changed a lot, but it’s still a great venture for us to be involved in. get started in the next couple of weeks – conducting planning meetings, taking inventory. Each year we decorate the booth based on the theme of the Focus: So how does all this hard work pay off for the church? festival. We’ll also have work days where we prepare the equipment, wash Rodriguez: We do a lot of missions work. We’ve built churches in Honthe equipment, clean the overall work area, and of course, we’ll go to the duras, Panama, and other places; primarily in Central America. In just the festival grounds to set up our booth. So it takes a lot of work just to prepare past few years, 2004 and 2005, we built a church in Rio Grande, Puerto for it. Rico. Last year we were able to go to Puerto Rico and do some things for the school system. We were also able to put down a well. They had no runFocus: What is your process? Are you prepping here and then taking ning water and we were able to help them with that. We also took a medical product to the festival grounds or is everything done at the grounds? team that administered to the families there. This project has been a good Rodriguez: It’s a combination of the two. Here at the church we have a vehicle for the church. It’s allowed us to do some great work for those who building in the back that we call our stemming building. The strawberries really needed the help. are delivered to us fresh from the field every day by one of the brokers or farmers. The people doing the stemming will start at about 8:00 a.m. each Bowers: As a church, we believe in tithing, so we tithe 10% of the profits morning. And on an average day they’ll stem anywhere from 300-400 flats from the shortcake sales back into the community to local charities. We of strawberries. Then in the evening, usually around 4:00 p.m., but it could donate to the Crisis Pregnancy Center, the Dover and Turkey Creek Volunbe later depending on the sales we’ve had at the booth that day, we have to teer Fire Departments, and other organizations that may have a special need start processing the berries. The stemmed berries are placed into a five-galthat’s brought to our attention. We also have different groups who come lon bucket and the buckets are stacked next to our conveyor. through our church throughout the year with their own organizations, and we try to help them out, as well. Then after dinner, once the stemming has been completed, someone will pour the strawberries onto our conveyor belt that will run the berries Focus: Given how long you’ve been involved with this, what do you through a washing system. When the berries come out of the washer, they think has changed most in the past 28 years? come down another conveyor where we have people watching the berRodriguez: Progress and innovation. We’ve progressed because we’ve ries looking to make sure there aren’t any stems left. Then the berries go had to produce faster due to the demand for the shortcake. But you do lose through a chopper that cuts the berries into 1/8 inch pieces. Then the berries something. Back when we we’re first getting started with this, we didn’t drop into another 5-gallon bucket that is placed under our sugar mixture have a chopper. They would mash the berries by hand so you ended up – our secret recipe. Then a lid is placed on the bucket and the bucket gets with mushy berries. They used this metal device where they would just passed to someone else who rinses the bucket off and places it onto a palcompress the strawberries. Another thing that was always enjoyable, but

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 39


TURKEY CREEK ASSEMBLY OF GOD it was nice because everyone had a chance to just talk and spend time with each other. By 10:00 p.m., people would start getting silly and would shoot rubber bands at each other. Today we get our spoons pre-wrapped in plastic. So a lot of the things we used to do that really connected everyone, we don’t do anymore because we had to create efficiencies due to the demand. And people are just really busy these days. So it’s more difficult to get the help you need to pull this off. But when you give people a purpose, like our mission work, they understand what needs to be done and they’re here working for our purpose. Right now they know that we have a project in Venezuela, so there’s a purpose. If we were just making money to put it in the bank, people would probably rather be doing other things with their time. Bowers: There are people who take vacation time to help us; even people who aren’t a part of our church. We won’t see some people until it’s time to start this project, but when it’s time, they’ll show up, ready to work. We’ve had people who live in other parts of the country that have planned their vacation around this just so they can come help us.

we don’t do it anymore, is wrapping the spoons by hand. We used to take a napkin and wrap a plastic spoon and place a rubber band around it to hold it together. There would be at least two or three Friday evenings where we would make chili so everyone could eat and wrap spoons. We’d be here from 6:00 p.m. until about 10:00 p.m. wrapping spoons, but

Focus: Do you make your own cake? Bowers: No. We get our cake from Sarah Lee. That’s our trademark, so to speak. Last year we decided to try a chocolate swirl cake. We were looking to increase our sales, but found out it just became another choice. So we’re not doing that again. Focus: Give me some of the numbers involved in making shortcake for the 10 day festival. Bowers: Depending on how busy we are, we’ll go through 3000-5000 flats.


TURKEY CREEK ASSEMBLY OF GOD Rodriguez: It takes about 3.5 flats to fill one 5-gallon bucket. Once it’s processed with the sugar, it’ll serve about 65-70 shortcakes. So with these figures we’re able to do some quick math to figure out what our sales were for the day in servings, buckets and flats. Bowers: The same thing works for the cake. The cake comes by the case and we’ll use 400-500 cases. Each case has 4 sheets and we’ll get 24 servings from one sheet of cake. So we’re always talking in terms of buckets and cases, but if one is off we can figure out where the problem is. Focus: Have you had any unusual request from people wanting shortcake? Rodriguez: Sure. The most common one is, “Do you have any shortcake without the calories; a diabetic shortcake?” Bowers: Our common response to that question is, “No. But every morning we pray the calories away.” Rodriguez: People will ask for shortcake without berries, or shortcake without cake, just a bowl of berries. Bowers: They’ll want berries only, or they’ll ask for what we call a Twinkie; two pieces of cake with the creamer in between. So, this year, when you attend the Florida Strawberry Festival, be sure to stop by the Turkey Creek Assembly of God shortcake booth for some shortcake. Remember, they can make it just the way you’d like it – they can even pray away the calories.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 41


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 42


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 43


Story and Photos by Sophia Dedon

A Momentous Occasion THE CROWNING OF THE NEW QUEEN

E

ntering the Tomlin Middle School Auditorium on February 3, the tension and anxiety could be felt all around as over one thousand people gathered to find out who would be crowned the next Strawberry Festival Queen. 26 beautiful young women had spent the last several months preparing for this event, and now it all came down to a matter of hours.

At 6:00 in the evening, the gorgeous 2006 Strawberry Queen, Miss Hannah Hodge, opened the pageant by welcoming all of the guests. Hannah was followed by

Katie Grainger, who impressed the entire crowd with her amazing voice as she performed the national anthem. The curtains then opened to reveal all the contestants in their businesses suits, along with the 2006 Strawberry Court. The girls all danced to “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” getting the show started off in a light-hearted mood. The Plant City Lions Club and Auxiliary always coordinate the Strawberry Festival Queen Pageant; then the queen is turned over to the Strawberry Festival for all of the festivities. This year, the Lion’s Club selected Jamie Davis,

a past president of the Plant City Lions Club, as the Master Ceremonies, and Erica Der, 2003 Strawberry Queen, as the Mistress of Ceremonies. In order to select a top 10, the girls were judged Summer Pippin is the first triple-crown queen in 20 years. in various categories. She was PCHS Homecoming Queen, Cover 30 percent of their score for Calendar Girl and Strawberry Festival Queen. was determined by a personal interview that occurred ing abilities. If selected Queen, the morning of the pageant with the judges need to be sure that the five judges. The interview is the girl can handle interview extremely significant because not situations and make a wonderful only does it give the judges their ambassador for the community. first impression of the girls, but it also shows the girls’ speak-

Twenty-six beautiful women competed for the title of Strawberry Queen. FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 44


The new Strawberry Queen and her court: Tara Parker, Alexandra Watkins, Summer Pippin, MacKenzie Clark, and Kyndle Hampton

The next 30 percent was determined by the public speaking competition, in which each girl presented a 30-second commercial about her sponsor. Throughout the festival, there will be many instances where the Queen will need to speak in front of large

Alexandra Blythe Watkins, First Maid

crowds, so having public speaking skills is vital. 15 percent of the score was determined by the swimsuit competition, which helped the judges to determine the girls’ confidence in themselves. Finally, the evening

Kaitlyn Foster, Top 10

gown portion of the competition counted for 25 percent of their overall score. All of the girls looked stunning as they crossed the stage in their sparkles and dazzling smiles. It was clearly going to be a close call for the judges.

Summer Pippin, Queen

KeeLee Tomlinson, Top 10

After intermission, it was time to announce which girl was chosen by her peers to be Miss Congeniality. Mistress of Ceremonies, Erica Der, announced that MacKenzie Clark had been voted as Continued on page 47

Kyndle Hampton, Court

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 45


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 46

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A MOMENTUS OCCASION • Continued from page 45

Lauren Smith, Top 10

MacKenzie Clark, Court

Morgan Feaster, Top 10

Miss Congeniality this year. Hannah Hodge presented her with a plaque as she warmly thanked the crowd with her smile and wave.

Samantha Williamson, Top 10

Tara Parker, Court

ence had been waiting all evening for. It was time to find out who the court and queen would be. The names were read and the following girls took the stage again: Tara Parker, Alexandra Watkins, Kyndle Hampton, Summer Pippin and MacKenzie Clark. Just moments later, Alexandra Watkins was announced as the First Maid. The remaining four girls lined up, hand in hand, as Hannah held the crown above each one’s head, until she placed it on Summer Pippin. Shock and excitement were immediately evident on Summer’s face. Overwhelmed with joy, Summer took her first walk on the runway as Strawberry Queen. “I’m just so happy!” said Summer, when asked how it felt to be queen.

Finally, it was time to find out who the top ten were. With hearts racing and nerves an absolute wreck, the girls stood backstage waiting to hear if their name would be called. In no particular order, it was announced that the top ten were: KeeLee Tomlinson, Kaitlyn Foster, Kyndle Hampton, Samantha Williamson, Tara Parker, Summer Pippin, Alexandra Watkins, Lauren Smith, Morgan Feaster and MacKenzie Clark. It was then time for the impromptu question. Each girl was individually asked which of the performers coming to the festival they were most excited about and why. The answers ranged from Martina McBride to Casting Crowns to Hootie & the Blowfish. After they each had their chance to respond, it was time to find out who had made the final cut.

The other girls in the court were equally excited. “This is surreal. Unbelievably amazing,” said Tara. “I don’t know what to think,” said MacKenzie, “I’m just excited about the adventure of the next year.” While sitting on her throne, still soaking in everything that had happened in the last few minutes, Summer, looking towards the future, said, “I just hope to be the best role model I can.”

A farewell video was shown for the 2006 court and Miss Hannah Hodge took her final walk. Now, the moment everyone in the audiMiss Congeniality award went to MacKenzie Clark

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 47


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 48


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 49


Story by Kristen Toney Photos by Mike Floyd

Meet the Girls

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL QUEEN AND COURT It’s that time again! Plant City has a brand new Strawberry Festival Queen and Court! We took some time with each of the girls to get a feel for their personalities, and what began as an interview ended as a conversation between friends. This group of girls is incredibly special; we know you’ll think so, too!

Summer Pippin, Queen Summer is the daughter of Larry and Peggy Pippin, a Senior at Plant City High School and plans to obtain her business degree upon graduation in hopes of opening her own salon. She enjoys doing hair, spending time with her nieces and her brothers and sisters. Summer says her biggest challenge during the process of preparing for the pageant, was gaining the knowledge about strawberries. She did enjoy discovering the new information, but it was the hardest side of the process for her. The shopping was her favorite part! Summer’s dad and brother-in-law (Sam Astin) helped her research the information about strawberries. Having grown up on the farm, she had an abundance of knowledge already, but they helped her with the specific details. Summer’s mom helped with the shopping. “They were all very supportive and they were there the whole time,” Summer said of her family. “My mom would print out scriptures every day to help me and remind me that God would have His way.” Summer is most excited about the Strawberry Festival, and having a bond with all the girls in the court. “I couldn’t wait to see who was in the top five!” she laughed. “After they called everyone, I was excited because I loved all the girls!” Summer says there was no word to describe how she felt when she was crowned. She believes it’s a wonderful opportunity for a scholarship and to meet all the people that make Plant City the wonderful home it is to her.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 50


Alexandra (Allie) Watkins, First Maid

Allie is the daughter of Michael and Heather Watkins. She is a junior at Plant City High School and plans to attend Southeastern University to pursue a degree in Fashion Design upon graduation. Allie enjoys making her own clothes, and even made her own homecoming dress this year! She is also an avid surfer, and spends lots of time with her family at the beach.

The hardest part of getting ready for the competition for Allie was preparing for the interview. She felt it was pretty hard and really stressful the first couple of times, but then once she got the hang of it, things got easier and easier. Allie also had to change a few of her habits, because, as a “surfer chic” she doesn’t wear a lot of makeup or spend a huge amount of time on her hair. Allie’s older sister Ashley was Strawberry Queen in 2005, and she and the family have been a huge support to Allie this year. “Ashley was a big help,” she commented. “She told me it would be hard and I would have to work for it, but if I got it, it would be worth it. She was always encouraging me and telling me to make sure my reasons for running were pure and right. She helped me get in the right mindset.” Allie is very excited about the Strawberry Festival, much like her reaction to being included in the Court. “It’s just disbelief, because you worked so hard for so long and your muscles are so tense and then finally you’re done and it’s over and you almost explode out the top!” she exclaimed.

Tara Parker, Court

Tara is the daughter of Johnny and Roxie Parker, a sophomore at HCC and plans to transfer to USF to further her degree in Mass Communications. She likes to be with her family and her friends, who are her number one support group. She’s also an ambassador for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Last year she registered to go out for Strawberry Queen and then a week after registration she was called for a liver and a pancreas transplant, so she wasn’t able to participate. This year she believes it was just the right timing and in God’s plan.

“My papa was probably my biggest supporter,” Tara laughed. “We gave him a button to wear to the pageant, and he wanted more buttons to pass around to everyone he knew!” Tara is excited about building good friendships with the rest of the girls, and being out into the community and getting to know everyone who makes Plant City a success.

MacKenzie Clark, Court, Miss Congeniality

MacKenzie is the daughter of Robert Clark and Hollie Clark. She is a sophomore at USF and HCC, majoring in Broadcasting. MacKenzie most enjoys being with family and friends, and playing golf and soccer. Running for Strawberry Queen was a completely new experience for her, and her biggest challenge was to make her answers precise, instead of continuing on in a run-on fashion.

“My mom has been the most support ever,” MacKenzie enthused. “She’s always been there. She goes with me to buy my outfits. She’s given me my background and has showed me how to hold good morals and be a great leader so I can represent Plant City well.” MacKenzie is most excited about being able to meet new people and learning not only how to answer questions but also being able to ask good questions, as well. “I was excited and overwhelmed when they called me out for the top five. I don’t know how to explain it. I was the last one called for the top 10 and then I was the last one called for the top 5, so I was like, come on, I worked so hard!” MacKenzie remembers watching the Strawberry Queen and thinking that she wanted to be pretty like that one day so people would look up to her. Now she has the chance to experience the court sensation herself!

Kyndle Hampton, Court

Kyndle is the daughter of Chris and Kim Hampton. She is a senior at Plant City High School and plans to attend USF upon graduation and major in Elementary Education.

Kyndle enjoys cooking and eating. She has recently found a great recipe for strawberry cookies, and has been making those a lot lately. She felt the hardest part of the competition was the interview, and seemed to have it in her head that it would be horrible! She credits her parents for their support of everything she’s done. When she realized she made the top five, her first thought was “Yes!” She recalls being incredibly excited to hear her number called. Kyndle placed in the Baby Parade when she was younger, and she saw the Strawberry Queen then. “I was so excited to meet her and get my picture taken with her. I wanted to be a part of the court so I could pass those kinds of memories on to other little girls, just like the 1993 Strawberry Queen did with me, and now I’m happy to have the opportunity to do that!”

“It’s just something I’ve always looked forward to, being a role model for little girls and getting to know our community better,” she commented. “I had many friends who had done it and I knew how great it was for them, and I just knew it would be something I would enjoy and really remember for a long time.”

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 51


Schedule

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FREE ENTERTAINMENT

Stars of the Peking Acrobats®: Daily at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. in the Showcase Tent except Sat., 3/3 - there will be no 11:30 a.m. show; Mon., 3/5 no 2:30 p.m. show; Fri., 3/9 and Sat. 3/10 there will be no 8:30 p.m. show. Rev. Arthur Jones, Minister Tommy Jones & Bible Based Fellowship Cathedral Choir: One day only. Sat., Mar. 10, from 7:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. in the Showcase Tent.

The Florida Opry®: One day only. Fri., Mar. 9, Johnny Carver, Ken McWilliams & The Nashville Band, Circle M Cloggers & the Michael Balos Family from 7:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. in the Showcase Tent. Southern Star Bluegrass: Daily at 5:30 p.m and 8:30 p.m. North of the Administration Building. Sponsored by SunTrust Bank of Tampa Bay. Bikes, Boards & Blades: Daily at 12:30; 3:30 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. on the north side of the Fair Office. Sponsored by Netterfield Concessions. Robinson’s Paddling Porkers: Daily at 12:00 noon, 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. in the Livestock Area. Sponsored by Kitchen Craft. Runa Pacha: “Indian World” Folk music from the Andes Mountains of South America. Performing daily by the Fair Office at 10:30 a.m., 12:00 noon, 2, 4, 6 & 8 p.m. Sponsored by Westgate River Ranch. Grandpa Crachet: Located at the east end of the fair office. Daily at: Stage Shows at 11:30 a.m.; 4:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Roving Shows at 10:30 a.m.; 1:30 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. Sponsored by Safety Glass & Windshield, Inc. Vocal Trash: Located North of the Administration Building. Shows daily at: 11:00 a.m.; 2:15 p.m. & 4:15 p.m. Senior Citizens Days: Thursday, March 1, featuring Jimmy Sturr and Orchestra. Thursday, March 8, featuring The Boots Randolph Group. Entertainment 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. both days. Senior Citizens’ Drawing 11:30 a.m. both days. THURSDAY, MARCH 1 -- OPENING DAY -- SENIOR CITIZENS’ DAY Patrons age 60 years of age or older get $1.00 off the gate admission of $9.00 all day. Ride-A-Thon from 3:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $17.00 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. 10:00 a.m. Gates Open - Midway Opens at 12:00 noon All Day Poultry and Rabbit Shows--Poultry & Rabbit Tent All Day FiTecSM Competition--New Expo Building 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Jimmy Sturr and Orchestra—Stadium 11:30 a.m. Senior Citizens’ Drawing - (One drawing only)—Stadium 4:00 p.m. ONLY - George Jones—Stadium 7:00 p.m. Youth Swine Show--TECO Livestock Arena 7:30 p.m. ONLY - Clint Black--Stadium FRIDAY, MARCH 2 -- PEPSI DAY -- MOONLIGHT MAGIC NIGHT $1.00 off the regular gate admission price of $9 (13 & up) or $5 (youth 6 -12) with a Pepsi Coupon. Moonlight Magic -- Ride most mechanical rides for one special price of $20 per person. All patrons entering the Midway for this event will be required to purchase a $20 wristband, 11:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. All patrons entering grounds are subject to search.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 52

10:00 a.m. Gates Open - Midway Opens at 12:00 noon All Day Poultry and Rabbit Shows--Poultry & Rabbit Tent All Day FiTecSM Competition--New Expo Building 1:00 p.m. Dairy Contestant Judging Contest--TECO Livestock Arena 4:00 p.m. ONLY - Barbara Fairchild/Bill Anderson—Stadium 7:00 p.m. Youth Swine Sale--TECO Livestock Arena 7:30 p.m. ONLY – Gretchen Wilson—Stadium 11:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. Moonlight Magic—Midway Ride most mechanical rides on the Midway for $20 per person, 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. SATURDAY, MARCH 3 -- KIDS’ DAY -- YOUTH PARADE Kids thru high school admitted free all day, with rides reduced until 4:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. Gates Open - Midway Opens All Day Poultry and Rabbit Shows--Poultry & Rabbit Tent All Day FiTecSM Competition--New Expo Building 11:00 a.m. 34th Annual Youth Parade - Coordinated by Plant City Civitan Club (awards presented following the Parade)--Festival Office 12:00 noon Dairy Show Showmanship--TECO Livestock Arena 2:00 p.m. Dairy Show--TECO Livestock Arena 4:00 p.m. Only - Mark Lowry—Stadium 7:30 p.m. Only - Casting Crowns--Stadium SUNDAY, MARCH 4 -- FAMILY DAY 10:00 a.m. Gates Open - Midway Opens All Day Poultry and Rabbit Shows--Poultry & Rabbit Tent 11:30 a.m. Adult Showmanship (Dairy)--TECO Livestock Arena 12:30 p.m. Pee Wee Showmanship (Dairy)--TECO Livestock Arena 1:00 p.m. Dairy Costume Ball--TECO Livestock Arena 3:45 p.m. until 4:45 p.m. Registration for Baby Contest Entrants (Hillsborough County Babies Only) Outside Entertainment Tent--Entertainment Show Tent 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Baby Contest: Decorated Diaper Contest; Baby Features Contest; Diaper Derby (Hillsborough County Babies Only)--Entertainment Tent 2:00 p.m. Youth Ornamental Horticulture Plant Sale--Plant Show Tent 4:00 p.m. Only - Joe Nichols—Stadium 7:30 p.m. Only - Martina McBride--Stadium MONDAY, MARCH 5 -- GRAND PARADE DAY Ride-A-Thon from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $17 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. 7:00 a.m. Farm Credit Strawberry Salute Breakfast—Invitational 10:00 a.m. Gates Open - Midway Opens All Day Poultry and Rabbit Shows--Poultry & Rabbit Tent All Day FiTecSM Competition--New Expo Building 10:30 a.m. Invitational Parade Luncheon--sponsored by AmSouth—Invitational 1:00 p.m. Grand Feature Parade Begins--Downtown Plant City 2:00 p.m. Grand Parade passes by the Festival Grounds 4:00 p.m. Only - Lee Greenwood—Stadium 6:00 p.m. Lamb Jumping Contest--Lamb Tent 7:00 p.m. Lamb Show--Lamb Tent 7:30 p.m. Only - LeAnn Rimes--Stadium


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TUESDAY, MARCH 6 - RIDE-A-THON DAY Ride-A-Thon from 3:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $17 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. 10:00 a.m. Gates Open - Midway Opens at 12:00 noon All Day Poultry and Rabbit Shows--Poultry & Rabbit Tent All Day FiTecSM Competition--New Expo Building 2:00 p.m. Strawberry Stemming Contest--Entertainment Show Tent 4:00 p.m. Only - Ray Price—Stadium 7:00 p.m. Lamb Costume Contest--Lamb Tent 7:30 p.m. Only - Randy Travis--Stadium WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7 - RIDE-A-THON DAY Ride-A-Thon from 3:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $17 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. 10:00 a.m. Gates Open - Midway Opens at 12:00 noon 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Poultry and Rabbit Shows--Poultry & Rabbit Tent All Day FiTecSM Competition--New Expo Building 4:00 p.m. Only - Little Richard—Stadium 6:00 p.m. Youth Steer Show--TECO Livestock Arena 7:30 p.m. Only - Kenny Rogers--Stadium THURSDAY, MARCH 8 - SENIOR CITIZENS’ DAY - RIDE - A - THON DAY Patrons 60 years and older get $1.00 off the gate admission of $9.00 all day. RideA-Thon from 3:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $17 will entitle the wearer to ride mechanical rides for this one low price. 10:00 a.m. Gates Open - Midway Opens at 12:00 noon All Day FiTecSM Competition--New Expo Building 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Boots Randolph Group—Stadium 11:30 a.m. until Noon Senior Citizens’ Drawing—Stadium 3:00 p.m. Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest--Entertainment Show Tent 4:00 p.m. Oak Ridge Boys—Stadium 7:30 p.m. Oak Ridge Boys--Stadium FRIDAY, MARCH 9 -- MOONLIGHT MAGIC NIGHT Moonlight Magic - Ride most mechanical rides for one special price of $20 per person. All patrons entering the Midway for this event will be required to purchase a $20 wristband, 11:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. All patrons entering grounds are subject to search. 10:00 a.m. Gates Open - Midway Opens at 12:00 noon All Day FiTecSM Competition--New Expo Building 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Livestock Contestant Judging Contest-TECO Livestock Arena 4:00 p.m. Only - John Anderson—Stadium 6:00 p.m. Showmanship Judging-Beef Breed--Beef Breed Tent 7:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Florida Opry®. -Johnny Carver--Showcase Tent 7:30 p.m. Only - Big & Rich w/Cowboy Troy—Stadium 11:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. Moonlight Magic--Midway SATURDAY, MARCH 10 – YOUTH IN AGRICULTURE DAY 10:00 a.m. Gates Open - Midway Opens All Day FiTecSM Competition--New Expo Building 10:15 a.m. Baby Parade—Stadium 4:00 p.m. Only - Bellamy Brothers—Stadium 7:00 p.m. Youth Steer Sale--TECO Livestock Arena 7:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Rev. Art Jones, Stephen Jones, Bible Based Fellowship Cathedral Choir--Showcase Tent 7:30 p.m. Only - Hootie & the Blowfish--Stadium SUNDAY, MARCH 11 - FAMILY DAY 10:00 a.m. Gates Open - Midway Opens All Day FiTecSM Competition--New Expo Building 12:00 noon Youth Beef Breed Show--Beef Breed Tent 4:00 p.m. Only - Josh Turner—Stadium 7:30 p.m. Only - Montgomery Gentry--Stadium

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 53


Story by Kristen Toney Photos Courtesy of the Florida Strawberry Festival®

New Festival Associate Directors Named TWO INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE UP TO THE TASK

T

here is a special group of people, without whom the Strawberry Festival we all know and love would literally fall apart. This year, two new Associate Directors were named to the troop, all chosen for their leadership qualities and dedication to our city and our very own Florida Strawberry Festival.

Lane Wetherington was brought on in August of 2006, filling the space left void when Sandee Parke Sytsma moved from Associate Director to full Director, and also to fill the vacancy left by the late and greatly respected Jim Redman. Although Wetherington is a native of Dover,

he certainly has the experience needed to work with the Festival, having grown the Festival Variety of strawberries for 24 years now.

ough County Sheriff’s Department, serves on the Dover Community Service Council and is a member of First Baptist Church of Dover.

Wetherington has been a part of the Festival for years, from managing decorations for the Strawberry Ball, to building props for the fashion show, working with the show cattle and performing various services for the Strawberry Festival Parade.

Renita K. Boles was named an Associate Director in December of 2006, when Associate Director David Sullivan was moved up to a full Director status. Boles is a native of Plant City and holds a degree in Organizational Management from Warner Southern College, which promises to take her far in her new position! She is also the vice president of Cross Pest Control.

Wetherington is also involved in Christmas Lane Display (which he started), a board member of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, was honored with Hillsborough County’s Harvest Award, is an honorary deputy of the Hillsbor-

Lane Wetherington

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Boles has also been involved in the Festival for more than 16 years. She has worked with the Stadiums

Operations Committee, has been the Entertainment Tent Co-Chair has been and is currently a Roving Hostess through the days of the Strawberry Festival. Boles has been married to Mitchell for 20 years, and they have a 10year-old son, Cody, and a 7-yearold daughter, Cali. Plant City and the Strawberry Festival are lucky to have such experienced and dedicated people who step up to the plate when positions need to be filled. We hope their terms are beneficial, not only to the Festival and those they work with, but in their own lives, as well!

Renita K. Boles


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 55


Entert ainers

All information on the entertainers was derived from their official website or cmt.com

ENTERTAINERS Jimmy Sturr March 1, 10:30 a.m. The fact that Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra are on the Top Ten list of the All-time Grammy Awards, has won fourteen Grammy Awards and has received more consecutive Grammy nominations that anyone in the history of musical awards has made the music industry sit up and take notice. When you see Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra in person, you know why they draw the huge

crowds; have been voted #1 in the country and considered “The best in polka music.”

of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and the second, in 1999, for his performance of “Choices.”

George Jones March 1, 4:00 p.m.

More than 1,000 different album titles have been released on Jones, (includes many compilations) encompassing more than 1,000 individual songs. Jones has charted more singles (166) than any artist in any format of music.

Jones first hit the charts in 1955 with “Why, Baby, Why.” Jones has won two Grammy’s – separated by 18 years; the first, in 1981 for his performance

Astin Strawberry Exchange and Astin Farms are proud to be represented by Plant City’s Sweetest Treasure

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To the Queen of our hearts’ We love you and thank God that he gave you to us!! We look forward to sharing the excitement that this year has in store for you. Love, Your Family and Friends

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 56

Clint Black March 1, 7:30 p.m. Clint Black’s arrival was splashy and spectacular. He raised eyebrows by incorporating his band members into his recording sessions, stunned everyone with his composing prowess and bowled

Music Row over by scoring five No. 1 singles from his debut album, a feat then unprecedented in any field of music. By the end of 1990 Clint was head-


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lining his own concert tour and collecting CMA, ACM, ASCAP, TNN and AMA honors by the shelf-full.

Barbara Fairchild March 2, 4:00 p.m. Barbara Fairchild has been entertaining since she was 5 years old. The phrase “to see her is to love her,” is really true of Barbara. Her sincere love for people and bubbly personality make everyone around her feel good. Barbara’s career in country music accelerated in 1973. She was nominated for a Grammy when her song, “The Teddy Bear Song” reached # 1 on the charts. She has had many hits following “The Teddy Bear Song”, including “Baby Doll” and “Kid Stuff.”

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Bill Anderson March 2, 4:00 p.m. He’s known, in fact, as “Whispering Bill,” a nickname hung on him years ago as a result of his breathy voice and his warm, soft approach to singing a country song. His credentials, however, shout his prominence: One of the most awarded songwriters in the history of country music, a million selling recording artist many times over, television game show host, network soap opera star, spokesman for a nationwide restaurant chain, and a consummate onstage performer.

Gretchen Wilson March 2, 7:30 p.m. Gretchen Wilson’s debut, “Here

Congratulations

Morgan Renae Feaster 2007 Top 10 Finalist

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Mark Lowry March 3, 4:00 p.m.

For The Party” kicked the world of Country music’s behind, selling more than 5 million copies, worldwide. Wilson took home just about every award she was nominated for including the prestigious CMA Horizon Award, Top Vocalist and Best New Artist at the ACM’s and Best Country Female Vocalist at The Grammy Awards. The album set records too. Wilson was the first artist with a debut album to enter the charts at #1 Country and #2 on the Billboard Top 200. “Here For The Party” remained #1 for nine consecutive weeks on the Country album chart.

Mark tells how, in the early days, he would have to fill the gaps between his songs while he was waiting for the little old man in the back of the church to change his soundtracks. “Those few seconds of ‘dead air’ can feel like hours when you’re on stage facing a crowd - so, to fill time, I’d start talking about my life and my testimony. People would laugh... and I finally realized I was on to something.” And that’s how Mark’s well-known comedy was born. His unique presentations have been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

Continued on page 58

Congratulations

Samantha Williamson 2007 Top 10 Finalist

We Are Very Proud Of You!

It was an honor sponsoring Samantha for such an important event in her life and in the Strawberry Community.

813.717.7700 1505 South Alexander Street Suite 102

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 57


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Casting Crowns March 3, 7:30 p.m.

What matters is what’s going on in the lives of the 400+ kids that Mark Hall and the other six members of Casting Crowns minister to each and every week. What matters is whether or not that teenage guy really ‘gets’ that God believes in him, even when he has trouble believing back. What matters is whether that teenage girl knows she’s loved and wanted by the God of the universe, when there’s no one else to love her. What matters is that they come to see their lives as the only songs of worship that really count.

Joe Nichols March 4, 4:00 p.m. The kid from Arkansas was facing personal tragedy. Six days before

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MAN WITH A MEMORY’s release, at what might have been a moment of immense familial pride, Joe’s dad succumbed to a long battle with a rare pulmonary illness at age 46. Rather than cancel an earlier scheduled performance on the Grand Ole Opry, the day after the funeral the entire Nichols clan decided to drive to Nashville to watch Joe sing his father’s favorite Merle Haggard song, “Footlights,” as a tribute.

Martina McBride March 4, 7:30 p.m. Martina McBride has been a steady presence in the country top-10 since 1993. Her fiery, passionate vocals have created such memorable hits as “Independence Day,” “Wild Angels,” “A Broken Wing,” “Blessed” and “This One’s for the Girls.” She has placed nearly 20

Congratulations

KeeLee Tomlinson 2007 Top 10 Finalist

We are proud to have been your sponsor, You represented us well.

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singles in the top10, has sold 15 million records and has been named CMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2004.

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Continued from page 57

“This record really is not about me. It’s about this music,” she adds.

ultimate name that comes to mind when patriotism is mentioned in the entertainment industry--gained his success the old fashioned way: He earned it, one rung up the ladder at a time. After years of struggling to gain recognition in the music industry, one song—“God Bless The USA”— in 1983 singularly transported Lee Greenwood far beyond the ranks of stardom to a niche in America’s pop culture that is seemingly reserved for he and he alone.

Lee Greenwood March 5, 4:00 p.m.

LeAnn Rimes March 5, 7:30 p.m.

No “overnight success” story here. Lee--one of the most acclaimed artists internationally—and often identified as virtually the

LeAnn’s Curb debut, Blue, made

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her a star at thirteen, racking up a record-setting 123,000 sales in its first week on its way to more than eight million purchases, and earning her two Grammy Awards, including the first Best New Artist distinction ever won by a country artist. Her follow-up, You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs, made history by releasing at number one in three Billboard categories – country, pop, and contemporary Christian. Her next three albums topped the country listings too, while her singles made equally deep impressions; one, “How Do I Live” (1997), lodged for an unprecedented eight months at number one en route to more than two hundred weeks on the country singles charts.

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Randy Travis March 6, 7:30 p.m.

Ray Price is one of American music’s truly great stars. He was inducted into Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, but has long shown his genius in other genres as well. After more than a

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half-century in the business, Ray can still belt out a song with the best of them, whether it’s honkytonk, country, pop, blues, jazz, or anything in between. With his May 2000 Buddha Records release-”Prisoner of Love”--Ray has delightfully proven this once again with a big-band-backed medley in many moods and styles.

Ray Price March 6, 4:00 p.m.

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Along with his full-time music career Randy has also become an accom-

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plished actor. In addition to guest appearances on TV’s Matlock, Touched By An Angel, and Texas, his film credits include The Rainmaker (starring Jon Voight, Matt Damon, and Danny DeVito), Frank and Jessie (Bill Paxton and Rob Lowe), Black Dog (Patrick Swayze), and Fire Down Below (Steven Seagal). He’s also featured with Antonio Banderas, Ellen Barkin, Lily Tomlin, and Bob Hoskins in the movie White River Kid. Randy had a starring role in the Miramax/Dimension film Texas Rangers with James Van Der Beek, Dylan McDermott and Usher, which was released in 2002. He also worked on Major Reno, a documentary featuring legendary film actor Charlton Heston, and the independent film, John-John In the Sky.

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Penniman’s hit songs of the mid1950s, under the stage name ‘Little Richard’, laid the foundation for rock and roll music, influencing generations of rhythm and blues, rock and soul music artists. His original fusion of funk and rock and roll during this period also influenced the development of that genre.

Kenny Rogers March 7, 7:30 p.m.

Little Richard March 7, 4:00 p.m. Little Richard (born Richard Wayne Penniman, December 5, 1932 in Macon, Georgia) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. An early pioneer of rock and roll music,

Continued on page 60

Congratulations

Alexandra Watkins 2007 Strawberry Festival First Maid

Thank you for representing us well.

813-752-7763 I-4 exit 21 (Alexander Street) South 1 mile to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. PLANT CITY

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 59


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Even though he’s earned 20 Platinum(R) album certifications, scored 22 No. 1 hits and sold 105 million albums worldwide, Rogers will be the first to tell you that he’s not the world’s strongest or most gifted singer. However, he is among the most effective. When Kenny Rogers sings a song, a listener always gets exactly what it’s about, always feels every nuance and subtle emotional point. When he performs, whether on record or on stage, it’s never about how special his voice is; it’s always about how special the song is.

Oak Ridge Boys March 8, 4:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

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One of the longest-running groups in country music, the Oak Ridge Boys started life as a gospel quartet before gradually modernizing their style and moving into secular country-pop. Yet even at the height of their popularity in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s -- when they were big enough to cross over to the pop charts -- their sound always remained deeply rooted in country gospel harmony. Dubbed the Oak Ridge Quartet, the group first appeared at the Grand Ole Opry that year and made their first recordings in 1947 with a lineup of Fowler, Lon “Deacon” Freeman, Curly Kinsey, and Johnny New.

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right up front. Need persuading? Look up his discography, which stretches from the early eighties past the turn of the century with few real breaks. Better yet, listen to some of it and realize that if there’s any justice at all, history will hold John Anderson in the esteem reserved solely for the most gifted, long tenured and consistent artists ever to sing a country song. But that discussion is for another day.

Big & Rich March 9, 7:30 p.m.

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Their sophomore album, Comin’ To Your City, was released on November 15, 2005. The single Comin’ To Your City has grown to be their signature song; so much so that ESPN has utilized an altered version of it as the opening theme for their popular Saturday program College GameDay. A new album of Big & Rich is slated to come out on or around May 15, 2007.

Bellamy Brothers March 10, 4:00 p.m.

John Anderson March 9, 4:00 p.m. This is not a John Anderson comeback album -- let’s get that out of the way

Congratulations

Kyndle Hampton 2007 Top 10 Finalist

We Are Very Proud Of You

PARKESDALE FARMS (813)752-0502 ��������������������� ��������������������� ��������������������������������� �����������������������������

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 60

The road that started on the pop music charts in the ‘70’s, took a

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winding turn into country music in the ‘80’s, paving the way for duos to come, such as Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Big & Rich, and previously—The Judds. But before the road forked into country, the musical odyssey of brothers Bellamy started creatively smoldering in their home state of Florida, before exploding nationally amidst the ’70’s pop music culture of L.A.

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infectious melodies hit the airwaves in 1994 with hits such as “Hold My Hand”, “Let Her Cry” and “Only Wanna Be With You.”

ential Country Music Association, plus a Top New Artist nomination from the Academy of Country Music.

Josh Turner March 11, 4:00 p.m.

Montgomery Gentry March 11, 7:30 p.m.

New artists dream about the kind of results Josh Turner achieved with his 2003 debut, Long Black Train. Spurred by its haunting, gospel-inflected title track, the album sold a million copies and brought Turner a pair of nominations from the influ-

The elements consist of straightforward lyrics reflecting the realities of modern life, a tour and stage show that are completely inclusive of their audience, and a gritty rock edge that has captured the imaginations of untold millions. Along with like-minded artists like Gretchen Wilson, Hank Jr. and Big & Rich, they have joined forces with rock-

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ers like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock to help rewrite the modern musical landscape.

Hootie & the Blowfish March 10, 7:30 p.m.

With the rich, bluesy vocals of Darius Rucker and gleeful harmonies of guitarist Mark Bryan, bassist Dean Felber and drummer Jim “Soni” Sonefeld, Hootie & the Blowfish, sold over 25 million records world-wide after their

Congratulations

Kaitlyn Ann Foster

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2007 Top 10 Finalist

We love you Katie, You are our Queen!

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 61


Story by Kristen Toney Photos courtesy of the Florida Strawberry Festival®

Vital Volunteers

THOSE WHO GIVE OF THEMSELVES TO MAKE SURE OTHERS ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE Each year, volunteers from the previous year and new people who have express interest in becoming a volunteer are contacted by one of the 11 Captains of the Info Services Division. Once they agree to volunteer once again, they attend an informational meeting where they are given a packet for the new year and informed of any changes that will take place for this year’s festival. A tour of the grounds is also given to them, so they will be even more familiar with how to direct those individuals who have questions during festival time. Betty Chambers, former head of Information Services Volunteers (second from right) with some of the dedicated volunteers who make a difference each year at the Festival.

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lbert Schweitzer once said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but the one thing I know; the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” There are well over 400 individuals who are truly happy each year around Strawberry Festival Time. These are the people who operate the trams and busses bringing people to the gates from the parking lots. These are the people in the Information Booths to whom festival attendees can direct their questions about the festival and grounds. These are the roving hostesses who walk throughout the grounds each day during the festivities, helping those in need of assistance. Pam Warnock is in charge of all the volunteers in the Info Services area of the Festival. She took over for Betty Chambers in this area this past year, and brings much experience from the Associate Director’s Board of the Strawberry Festival

along with her. She also has a huge amount of experience throughout the Tram department, and when Chambers stepped down from her position, Warnock was asked to take it over. Warnock credits her captains for a great working experience to date. “We’ve got captains in charge for every day of the festival, and we have 11 this year, with two new ones, because a lot of them returned,” she commented. “Those 11 captains are great and it’s been wonderful so far working with them.” Just what does a volunteer in the Info Services division of the Festival do on a daily basis? Warnock says, “They’re there to greet the guests at the festival, to tell them about the various entertainment that is going on, hand them maps and generally help to direct them around the fairgrounds. It’s really our job to make sure that next year, those guests want to come back.”

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 62

Renee Gordon of Tampa spent most of her youth in Plant City, and she returns to volunteer in the Information Booths of the Strawberry Festival Each year. “This will be my 5th year volunteering,” she commented. “I do my best to provide the people with answers to their questions, and then I feel I have done my part so they can enjoy their time at the Festival. I look forward to it every year!” Warnock says if anyone is interested in

working with any aspect of the festival, they should call the festival office. “Some people have specific interests in working with a particular area of the fair,” she commented. “They should mention to the office what area they’d like to work in, such as information services or with the buses, and the office will contact that person in charge to let them know.” Each year, these volunteers play a vital role in the way the Strawberry Festival and Plant City as a whole is portrayed to those who come from all over to attend. We thank them for making the Strawberry Festival Experience the best it can be!

Guests stand in line to request information from the volunteers at the information booth.


Congratulations

2007 Strawberry Festival Court Member

We Are Very Proud Of You!

MacKenzie Paige Clark Love, Tony Mom & Ryan

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 63


Story by Kristen Toney Photos Courtesy of the Florida Strawberry Festival®

Keeping With the Times

NEW IMPROVEMENTS TO THIS YEAR’S STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL®!

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ach year the Strawberry Festival brings new changes to its look, feel and sound. Our very own fair has some of the best authorities in the business, who are constantly evaluating the reception the festival receives each year, and are always looking for areas in which to make improvements. Some of the recent improvements over the past few years have been expanded livestock areas, cleaner, larger bathrooms and the new Expo Building. Those of us who visit the festival each year notice the changes with appreciation, and those who just happen to be in the area and able to stop by are wowed by the presentation our Strawberry Festival puts on. This year the new additions are mostly musical. As music is a huge draw to the festival, it seems only right that those in charge continue to bring in new talent each year.

One new gentleman you may have seen around before, as he has traveled most of the United States to festivals, malls, fairs, parks, conventions and corporate functions. You’ll most likely hear him coming first, from the honking of a horn and the sound of approaching music. He’ll round the corner in a miniature Model T, calling, “Howdy, folks, welcome to the festival!” Little ones especially love the shows from Grandpa Cratchet. Sam Bowman plays Grandpa Cratchet. A Sunday School teacher and a school teacher, he

first began to use his puppets when he taught in a class full of kids, aged three to eight. The familiar show this year is called Garbage In Garbage Out. Speaking of garbage, another new addition to the Strawberry Festival this year is Vocal Trash. But don’t let the name fool you. If you’ve ever enjoyed a show from Stomp or Nylons, you’ll love the performances of this high energy group. Vocal Trash

Not only is Vocal Trash a combination of things you would hear from Stomp (a drum act where the members have played various items from trash cans to buckets to kitchen sinks) and Nylons (a completely a capella group), but they also add their own favorites into the mix. From horns, to acoustic guitars to a bit of comedy, the result is a brand new, fun and family-friendly show. Those young and old have raved about this group since their start in Texas not too long ago. These are two new additions you and your family want to be sure and look for as you enjoy your strawberry time this year. Remember, when you are on the grounds of the festival, searching for even more new things to see, hear, and of course, eat, stop and ask questions of the information booth workers or the roving hostesses you’ll see around you. They can give you the information you are looking for! Hats off to the Strawberry Festival and those in charge for the new ideas they continue to bring to all of us who love this yearly event! Granpa Cratchet

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 64


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 66


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 67


HISTORY

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Story and Photos courtesy of Plant City Photo Archives, Inc.

The W. E. Lee Building

THE LARGEST IN HISTORIC DOWNTOWN PLANT CITY

W

illiam Edward Lee was born in Helena, Georgia, in February 1891, and was educated at public schools in Dothan, Alabama, and the Alabama Polytechnic Institute at Auburn, Alabama. As a young man, he apparently moved first to the Thonotosassa area, then to Plant City. He quickly engaged in the citrus industry, and his groves covered nearly 1,000 acres located in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk and Pasco Counties. Lee was highly successful in business and became acquainted with S. E. Mays; not long after, he married S.E. Mays’s daughter, Miriam Mays, with whom he had two children – Miriam and William, Jr. In 1919 Lee was elected Mayor of

the Town of Plant City and served six years, 1920 – 1926. During that time, it is said, the town was significantly improved. Lee’s own citrus brands, “Yellow Kid,” “Pretty Baby” and “Good Nature” were widely known. He also served as a director of the National City Bank of Tampa, vicepresident and director of the Bank of Plant City, and as a director of the Polk County Trust Company of Lakeland. Lee was drafted for duty in World War I, but was rejected due to physical reasons; he then dedicated himself to various Liberty Loan and other government programs and campaigns in support of the war effort.

ing was completed, Lee had his business offices on the second floor. Oddly enough, in 1922, Lee had constructed the W.E. Lee Building, consisting of 19,200 square feet and considered the largest building in downtown Plant City. The Burgert Brothers photograph taken in the early 1920s shows the Lee Building early tenants to include the Western Union office at the western end, the Hillsboro Pharmacy in the center, and the Post Office at the eastern end, at the corner of Reynolds and Palmer Streets, where the elegant Roselawn Hotel had sat. The second floor included several medical doctors’ offices.

The Reynolds Street location was a very popular commercial When the Young & Moody Buildspot and over the years saw a number of various business tenants. In the 1959 photos the Goodyear Service Store dominated the first floor and had a service center located to the rear, off Mahoney Street. Other businesses on the first level W.E. Lee Building, Reynolds & Palmer Streets, circa 1924 • Photo by Burget Bros. included the Family Shoe Store, Natalie’s & Martha’s Beauty Salon, and Bernice Dress Shop. The Western Union office had relocated to the Palmer Street side. On the second floor were James D. Bruton, Jr’s. Law Offices, J.C. Poppell’s W.E. Lee Building Rededication, April, 1998

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 68

William E. Lee

Law Office, Truck Brokers, Bill Crowe, Manager, C&P Brokerage Co., and Edgar Austin, M.D. At some point Lew Prosser located his business offices here also. As businesses began drifting south along Collins Street, downtown began to suffer with many vacant storefronts and commercial buildings. By the 1980s, the Lee Building, too, struggled, then fell into disuse, sitting vacant and boarded up for many years. A number of investors purchased the Lee Building with the intent of renovating it, but virtually nothing came of this. It continued as blight on the downtown, and as a haven for pigeons and rodents. In January 1997 local businessman Ed Verner, grandson of Lew Prosser, purchased the building in the hope of accomplishing what the previous owners also had hoped. After many months and considerable financial investment, the boarded up building saw light again, and the downtown saw this magnificent building restored to its original impressive state. In April 1998, the building was rededicated, and to this day is a major hub of commercial activity in Plant City’s historic downtown. William Edward Lee would be proud. Sources: Plant City Photo Archives, Inc.


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 78


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HOMES

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Story by Shelton Keely

Determining Your Offer Price

W

hen you prepare an offer to purchase a home, you already know the seller’s asking price. But what price are you going to offer and how do you come up with that figure?

First, you look at recent sales of similar properties to come up with a price range. Then, you analyze additional data, such as the condition of the home, improvements made to the property, current market conditions and the circumstances of the seller. Finally, depending on your negotiating style, you adjust your “fair” price and come up with what you want to put in your offer. Comparable Sales The first step in determining the price you are willing to offer is to look at the recent sales of similar homes. These are called “comparable sales.”

Comparable sales are recent sales of homes that compare closely to the one you are looking to purchase. Specifically, you want to compare prices of homes that are similar in square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garage space, lot size and type of construction. Comparable Sales in the Public Record The most accessible source of information on comparable sales is the public record. In most circumstances, this deed is recorded at the local county recorder’s office. They combine sales data with information already known about the property so they can assess property taxes correctly. Provided there have been no additions to the property, the information available from the public record is

usually correct regarding sales price, square footage and number of rooms. This makes it easy to use the public record as a source of data for comparable sale information. Comparable Sales in the Multiple Listing Service Most of the public is aware that the Multiple Listing Service is a private resource where Realtors list properties available for sale. Recently, the public has been able to access some of that information on such sites as Realtor.com, MSN HomeAdvisor and others. Once a property is sold and the transaction has closed, the selling price is posted to the listing in the Multiple Listing Service. Over time, it has become a huge database on past sales, containing much more information on individual homes than can be

gleaned from the public record. This information is only available to real estate agents who are members of the local Multiple Listing Service. Comparable Sales – Pending Transactions Neither is the information available in the Multiple Listing Service. Once a property is sold, it becomes a “pending sale” and all pricing information is removed from the listing. Prices are not posted until it becomes a “closed sale.” This protects the seller in case the transaction falls apart and the property is placed back on the market. It would give an unfair advantage to future potential buyers if they already knew what price the seller had been willing to accept in the past.

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34 – PLANT CITY REAL ESTATE GUIDE • www.Mid-FloridaHomes.com

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 87


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 91


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 93


HOMES

HOME GUIDE

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Story by Natalie Sweet

The Walden Lake Review T

he Walden Lake Community Association Board will be holding its Annual Membership Meeting on April 12th at 7:00 PM. All members of the association are welcome to attend, and if you would like to have an issue addressed at the meeting, please call the WLCA office to have it put on the agenda. There will be an election for three new Directors. If you are interested in serving or would like to nominate someone for the board, please contact the WLCA office at 813754-8999. One of the most important issues being addressed at the annual meeting is the revisions to the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws and Deed Restrictions. There has been a much needed change to modernize and remove items that

are no longer pertinent to Walden Lake. The neighborhood presidents are meeting on February 12th and will review and approve the documents for the membership to vote on the changes at the annual meeting. The City Commission is meeting on February 26th at the City Hall and on the agenda is “golf cart use” on the streets of Walden Lake. The Walden Lake Board of Directors will be at the meeting to present their position. In speaking with Jan Griffin and Tom Duramus, they told me the board strongly feels that you must have a driver’s license to operate a golf cart. Also of concern is the use of golf carts to transport children to and from school. Any interested parties should be present to express their views.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 94

There is a lot to do at the Walden Lake Golf & Country Club with many events going on. Wear the green and have some fun at the St. Patrick’s Day Party on March 17th from 6-10 PM. There will be green beer, corned beef and hash and Irish music and dancing for only $40 per couple. For reservations, call 752-1171 extension 227. Another fun event will be the member/guest golf tournament on March 9th, 10th, and 11th. If you would like to participate, call the pro shop at extension 225. Some of the WLGCC members are currently participating in an Innerclub Match and at the time of writing this article, Walden Lake is in 1st place. Regional playoffs will begin in March. The players competing are Robert

Manee, Ben Cook, Clint Burrows, Al Krutz, Larry Martin, Charles White, Bill Terry and Ed Bozeman. If you see any of them, give your support! There is a new restaurant just outside of Walden Lake where the City Grill was located, O’Brien’s Irish Pub & Grill. They are serving up family casual food with an Irish flair at a reasonable price. There are daily drink and food specials and live music on Friday and Saturday evenings. They will also have trivia games and soon you can play Texas Holdem for free! Of course, O’Brien’s is planning a huge St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on March 17th. O’Brien’s is proud to be in Plant City and will be heavily involved in community events.


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You will love the new wood floors & new designer tile in this fabulous 4 Bedroom plus Office, 3 Bath Home with 3 Car Garage. The Master Suite features a sitting/exercise room and large open bathroom with outdoor privacy area. Formal Living & Dining Rooms plus Family Room with Fireplace and almost 3,000 sq’ of living area. New Listing offered for only $450,000 Call Natalie 758-9586

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

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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

You MUST see this Beautiful Home with Loads of Extras including Upgraded Wood Cabinets, Recessed Lighting, Tray Ceiling, Berber Carpet & Gorgeous Tile. You’ll love this yard with it’s Xerioscape Landscaping. This is MOVE-IN ready and waiting for you! Priced to Sell at $250,000 Call Angel @ 546-9863

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Stop looking... This is your HOME! Oversized Master Suite with double doors and HUGE Master Closet. You will LOVE the Open Floor Plan with lots of Plant Shelves in this Great Room Model. Cook your Favorite Dishes in the large Kitchen. $239,900 Call Natalie @ 758-9586.

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 $350,000 Call Natalie 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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You will just love sitting Poolside with this gorgeous view. 3 Bedrooms, 2 Baths, 2 Car Garage. Living Dining Room Combo and Open Kitchen and Family Room give you plenty of room to entertain. Don’t miss this one at only $238,000. Call Natalie 758-9586.

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

You just have to see this wonderful home in the Silverstone Neighborhood of Walden Lake. 3 Bedrooms, 2 Full Baths, Open Great Room Floor Plan & Wonderful Yard. Live a great life in this Golf Community with miles of Biking & Walking Trails. Offered for only $215,000. Call Carrie Lang 813-767-3459

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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. $348,000. Call Angel Miller @ 813-546-9863

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 95


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 96


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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 ohk am pi ns @aol . co m

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 99


At Morrow & Associates we believe in the “Team” approach, where the contractor, owner, and design professionals are working together to give the owner a project that is on schedule, in budget, and will exceed the owner’s expectations. Chad Morrow - 813.781.9254 Eric Lawson - 813.781.9256 Licensed, Bonded & Insured CGC 1509134

Office 813.715.0404 Fax 813.715.0066 • 3620 Copeland Drive / Zephyrills, Fl 33542


GETTING MARRIED? WON AN AWARD? DELIVERED? GOT A PROMOTION? Call 813-707-8783 Ext 24 To Share Your Good News

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 101


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 102

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PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 103 C o n t a c t u s at worldwiderelocation@century21.com FOCUS


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WHAT A GREAT VALUE! It all adds up to a great deal!! Check out this 2 bedroom 2 bath home in Walden Lake. Ready to move into today. New tile, extra large bedroom, spacious kitchen plus a bonus room.PRICE REDUCED To $189,900. Call today for a showing #611

COUNTRY LIVING Can be yours in this well maintained 3 bedroom 2 bath block home on 1.2 acres in the Walden Lake School district. Fenced back yard with a detached garage/workshop.Price has been reduced to $210,000. Call today. #605

BRAND NEW & WAITING FOR YOU! This 3 bedroom 2 bath home has a great floor plan & is almost completed. Great room with fireplace. Master Suite has his and her walk-in closets, garden tub & separate shower. Screened lanai. Home sits on a high & dry acre lot. Priced at only $339,000. #607

RAISE A STEER OR Plant a garden..Thereʼs plenty of room on approx. 4.7 acres that surrounds this 3 bedroom 2 bath block home. Freshly painted & updated with new tile floors, new windows & new doors. Move-in condition! Check it out today.$330,000. #716

A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH With a lot of TLC and hard work this 3 bedroom 1 bath home can be a real jewel. Tucked away down a private lane in a park like setting on 1 1⁄2 acres MOL it can be yours for just $135,000. Get on your work clothes & give us a call today #714

NO DOUBT ABOUT IT This 2 bedroom bungalow needs a lot of work to bring it into shape or you can tear it down & build your dream home on this pretty city lot. Either way it can be yours for just $69,900. Want to know more? Give us a call for the location. #713

PERFECT FIRST HOME Your family will love this very nice, well kept 3 bedroom 2 bath 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

AN EXCELLENT PRICE Owner is moving out of state & has priced this home for a quick sale. Itʼs a 3 bedroom 2 bath block home with a great room plan & open patio. Located in a deed restricted community with private playground/park. Yours for just $159,900. #715

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Serving Plant City for Over 15 Years

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Your Future Success Is Our Business

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 105


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PLANT CITY CHURCH OF GOD

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Romans 12:2 Donʼt copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.

Sunday Morning 10:15am Till Kick Off

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 108

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 109


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 110


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SALES CENTER NOW OPEN ���������������������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������������������� ���������������������� ������������������������������������ ��������������������������������������������� FEBRUARY ONLY!! HALF OFF ON LOT PREMIUMS AND CLOSING COSTS PAID BY MILLENNIUM HOMES!!

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MONEY

INVESTING

SEND COMMENTS TO K TONEY@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM Submitted by Edward Jones

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* Yield effective 02/05/07, subject to availability. Yield and market value may fluctuate if sold prior to maturity and the amount you receive from the sale of these securities may be less than, equal to, or more than the amount originally invested. Bond values may decline in a rising interest rate environment. Any bond called prior to maturity results in reinvestment risk for the owner of the bond. May be subject to alternative minimum tax. Municipal bonds may have original issue discount.

How Can Women Build Confidence in Ability A

ll of us would like to think we will enjoy a comfortable retirement. If you’re a woman, however, you might be significantly more nervous than your male peers about life as a retiree. This fear may not be entirely justified, but, in any case, you can greatly improve your outlook for retirement by understanding where you are now - and how to get where you want to go. But first, you may have to overcome both fear and a financial “gender gap.” Consider these findings from recent surveys conducted by Harris Interactive: 46% of the women surveyed said they worry about losing all their money and becoming destitute. Surprisingly, this figure rises to 48% among women with incomes of $100,000 or more. Women were almost twice as likely as men to worry about money and to doubt their capacity to invest and plan for the future.

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

Only 10% of women said they feel quite secure about their finances.

813 / 759 - 1491

www.edwardjones.com

These figures, while disturbing, at least partially reflect some basic realities of women’s lives. First, women typically outlive men by nearly seven years, according to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics - and more years of life mean more expenses. Also, women drop out of the work force for an average of 12 years to care for young children or aging parents, according to the Older Women’s League, a research and advocacy group. This time away from the workforce results in women accumulating much less money in their employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Member SIPC

Of course, if you are married, many of your financial assets are likely comingled with those of your husband. But that doesn’t mean that you can abdicate responsibility for your financial future. Some 80 to 90% of today’s women will be solely responsible for their own finances at some point in their lives, according to the National Center for Women & Retirement. So, what can you do to boost your confidence in your financial management skills? For starters, take a close look at all potential sources of retirement income: Social Security, savings, investments and retirement plan distributions. Estimate about how much you might have available for your retirement years. ����� ��������� �����������������������������

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Next, try to envision your “ideal” retirement lifestyle and put a “price tag” on it. For example, if you would like to continuously travel the world when you retire, you’re probably going to need more money from your retirement funds than your neighbor who wants to stay home, pursue hobbies and possibly even open a small business. It’s not always easy to plan, save and invest for retirement. That’s why you may want to consider working with an experienced financial professional someone who knows your risk tolerance, time horizon and long-term goals, and who can recommend the appropriate investments and strategies. Learn as much as you can about every aspect of your financial situation. You’ll boost your confidence about having sufficient resources for retirement - and you’ll probably enjoy it more when you get there.


THIS COULD BE YOUR...

Screen Room!!

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We give you Start and Completion Dates

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Licensed-Bonded-Insured

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We have the Personal Desire and Experience to Solve your Home Improvement Needs.

“FREE ESTIMATES” RX00063299

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OUR 46TH YEAR

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ity wning & Aluminum Products, Inc. “Serving Your Home Improvement Needs Since 1961” 806 WOODROW WILSON ST. UNIT #1

CARPORT FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 113


MONEY

BUSINESS PROFILE

SEND COMMENTS TO K TONEY@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM

Story & Photos by Kristen Toney

Platinum Bank

ENHANCING THE SUCCESS OF THEIR CUSTOMERS and look forward to their continued involvement in helping us grow this office.”

The staff of Platinum Bank is here to serve you!

I

n 1997, a group of local business people came together with the idea of starting a new bank in the Brandon community. Once they found the right management team they decided to select the name “Platinum,” allowing the bank to expand outside the Brandon market in the future. In addition to the original office in Brandon, the bank also has offices in Lakeland and Tampa and the newest office in Plant City. In June of 2002, a loan production office was opened in the Dollar Tree shopping center at the corner of James L. Redman Parkway and Alexander Street while the bank looked for a site to build the permanent facility in Plant City. The permanent site at 1804 James L. Redman Parkway (next to Walgreen’s) was purchased in 2004 and construction began in April 2005. The final product is a beautiful 2-story building that has been well received by everyone in the community as an outstanding architectural addition to the area. Although Platinum Bank specifically targets the business market

in all the communities they serve, they also offer a full range of services to individuals that are looking for “high touch” service. The drive-in is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and features a 24 hour drive-up ATM for customer safety. They offer checking, savings and money market accounts, as well as CD’s, safe deposit boxes and loans. When you call the bank you talk to a real person in the office and you will not be asked to call an 800 number to assist you with your question. “Our best assets are customer service and our experienced personnel,” Executive Vice President Bob Tanner stated. Tanner himself has been in banking since 1969, with Senior Lender Tod Pukas coming in with 21 years of experience, and Susan Baggett with 19 years of experience. Sue Salvato, V.P. & Office Manager, Kathy

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 114

Coates as Customer Service Representative, Linda Orvis as Loan Administrator, Maria Jameson as Head Teller and Beverly Smith as Teller, have all had many years of banking experience, bringing the total banking experience to well over 100 years working for you in one building. In addition, they have a local Board of Directors presently consisting of Dan Raulerson, Chairman, Gail McGrath, Charles White, Kimball Wetherington and Rick Lott. “Our board members have been an important part of our success,” stated Tanner. “We appreciate their support

“We are very capable of delivering all the services any business or individual would need,” Tanner stated. “With our level of experience and our excellent turnaround time, we are able to provide answers to loan requests promptly. We operate like a “Private” bank. We take an entrepreneurial approach in the structuring of a loan that provides advice on many different solutions and is successful in taking our customers to the next level. It’s all about responsiveness to clients and making them feel good about being here, and I think Platinum Bank as a whole, and certainly the Plant City office, strives to do that every day, and we have a lot of fun while we’re doing it!” “We love Plant City,” enthused Tanner. “We obviously made a major commitment here in terms of building a first-class facility. We have been open since August 2005 and the growth we have experienced has been outstanding. We appreciate the support from the community and look forward to continue growing our customer base for many years to come.”

Platinum Bank is located at 1804 James L. Redman Parkway.


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 115


SPORTS

ATHLETE OF THE MONTH

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Story and Photo by Holly Mallalieu

HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE OF THE MONTH

SADE DUNKLEY W

e’ve so far zeroed-in on outstanding football players, wrestlers, and members of the soccer team for our monthly all-star athletes. But we’re still missing a few sports, of course, not to mention valuable players. Next on the list for notable athlete at Plant City High School is 17 year-old Sade Dunkley, player #14 on the Lady Raiders basketball team. Not only is Sade an incredibly talented basketball player, she’s also the team’s captain. This is her first year holding such a position, but it’s her third year playing for PCHS. Sade made the team as a freshman, and it was really no question as to whether she would make the cut or not in the years to come. Now, as a junior, she’s only gotten better over time. The girls’ coach, Ginger Forte, had only great things to say about her, commenting on her athletic ability and her equally great sportsmanship. Sade’s position is Center. Besides the high school team, Sade has been a part of the Florida Stars basketball summer league for 3 years now, of which she is also captain, and has earned the “Most Valuable Player” award. Before high school, she was a member of the Marshall Middle School basketball team, where she was recognized as a scholar athlete and played alongside a few friends that still play with her at Plant City. After graduation in 2008, and if she continues to pursue sports, specifically basketball, Sade hopes to go across the seas, specifically to somewhere in Europe. She already has a “drawer packed full of letters from colleges that want her!” so there’s no doubt she’ll make it far. Sade is, indeed, one of Plant City High’s most valuable players, and the best of luck to her in her future. Go Raiders!

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 116


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 117


SPORTS

BASEBALL

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Story by Joe Bowles Photo courtesy of Mike Sodders

New Raider’s Baseball Coach Comes Home FORMER RAIDER STAR NAMED NEW HEAD COACH

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hen former minor league pitcher Mike Sodders was named the head baseball coach at Plant City High School, it may have been a decision based not only on Sodders’ impressive resume, but also on his love for his hometown. You see, Sodders is a native of this area, graduating from Plant City High School in 1984. “When I heard there may be a vacancy at the head coaching job at my own high school, I quickly applied for the job. During my interview with Athletic Director Dina Langston, I felt she could sense I was proud to be from Plant City and that I would be relentless in staying here trying to build a successful baseball program for the future.” After high school graduation, Sodders, a highly sought after left-handed pitcher, was given a full athletic scholarship by the University of Alabama. By the time Sodders graduated from Alabama in 1988, he had established himself as Alabama’s career leader in strikeouts and wins. Following his career at Alabama, Sodders played in the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organizations before leaving the professional ranks nearly a decade later. When his professional playing career was over, Sodders’ first job was managing a minor league team in Canada at the age of 28. Since then, Mike has coached at nearly every level of competition, from the professional and college ranks to Junior Olympics and youth travel ball.

The new Raiders’ coach was born in Lithia and grew up playing baseball at Pinecrest Little League. Sodders is quick to tell you that in those days his biggest fan was his father, Charles. “My dad never coached my brother and I, but after work most days he supplied us with an unlimited amount of pitches as we worked on our hitting. He quietly attended nearly every game we played and he is not only the greatest influence in my baseball career, but in my life, as well. It is a tribute to my Dad that he produced two sons who became professional baseball players.”

career will enable him to assist his players in furthering their education by connecting them with college coaches looking for players that qualify for the next level of competition. Additionally, Sodders, having recently been named as an associate scout with the Los Angeles Dodgers, may be of benefit to those players who are talented enough to play professionally but who desire to

According to Sodders, family is still the most important thing in his life. Randy Sodders, Mike’s brother, also played in the Cubs organization. It was the first time in Cubs’ history that two brothers played in the organization at the same time. Randy has recently moved to Plant City to help his older brother coach the Raider team. Sodders is impressed with what he sees so far in his team and their attitude. “I’m excited about this season. But, I want the players to be as excited about the game as I am. I am looking for players who are serious about baseball.” Coach Sodders feels that the friendships that he has made throughout his college and professional

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 118

Mike Sodders and his father, Charles.

postpone their college experience. Right now, the Raiders are in the conditioning phase of their preparation for their season that begins in late February. Hopefully, this will be the first season of many for the new head coach. According to Sodders, he is here to stay. “This is my home. I grew up here and I don’t want to leave. I want to retire right here in Plant City.”


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 119


HEALTH

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Submitted by Sherry Nueesch

Because Mama Said So Make sure you eat a variety of vegetables and not just the same ones all the time. In addition to vitamins and minerals, vegetables also contain phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are the biologically active substances in plants that are responsible for giving them their color, flavor and natural disease resistance. Phytochemicals are directly responsible for the prevention of cancer.

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amas say to eat your vegetables. At least that is what my Mama said. We had meat at every meal, and along with that, we had lots of vegetables. We usually had three or four vegetables, along with meat and always the potatoes. Looking back, being so poor and being forced to eat only what we could grow was probably one of the best nutritional foundations we could have gotten as children. To this day, my entire family is still vegetable fanatics. Why is that such a good thing? Fresh vegetables, eaten with the right fats on a daily basis, are one of the best protections against coronary heart disease and cancer. The best methods for preparing are steaming, sautéing or roasting. Eating vegetables raw is also a very good thing to do. Raw vegetables maintain their high enzyme content, where heavy cooking destroys the enzymes. When your vegetables are cooked, toss them gently with real butter. The fat-soluble vitamins in the butter are completely necessary for your body to assimilate the minerals found in the vegetables.

Let’s just take one of the most common vegetables. Broccoli tops the list of common vegetables for nutrient content. It is high in carotenoids and vitamin C and B-complex, calcium, phosphorus and potassium as well. It contains some protein and is an excellent source of fiber. Like a lot of vegetables from the crucifer family, broccoli is rich in indoles, a potent anticancer substance, as well as such antioxidant and anticancer agents as quercitin and glutathione. Not only is broccoli the most nutritious of all vegetables, but it is probably one of the easiest to cook. Let’s take a look at another vegetable that should be eaten often; beets. Among the many minerals contained in the beet, one must cite first of all iron and copper, important trace minerals and also calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Beets are permitted to diabetics and are used in cancer therapies. Because of its dark red color, the beet has for a long time been considered a blood restorative and a food that strengthens the entire organism. Adding beets often to the diet is a sure method of ingesting adequate vitamins and minerals on a regular basis and a way of detoxifying the body as well. According to my favorite nutritionist, Sally Fallon, “There’s

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 120

no vegetable with a higher betacarotene content than the sweet potato. This is the betacarotene that protects us from cancer, colds, infections and other diseases. But remember that our bodies can only convert carotene to vitamin A in the presence of bile salts. That is why it is so important to eat sweet potatoes with butter, eggs or cream. These fats stimulate the production of bile and help the body to convert carotenes to the all-important vitamin A. The sweet potato is a good source of iron, potassium, niacin and vitamin C. It contains fiber and is very rich in vitamin B6, a vitamin that is highly protective against heart disease. Last and not

least, the sweet potato is rich in magnesium, another nutrient that protects against heart disease.” This is a short list of the many vegetables available to us. As you can see, vegetables are loaded with nutrients to maintain our health. Vegetables nourish, restore and prevent. Those are three very powerful verbs. Make sure you eat a lot of many kinds of vegetables. Your body will thank you with vibrance, good health and abundant energy. Here’s to your health, and eat your carrots, not your carrot cake!!!

Sherry Nueesch.


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 121


HEALTH

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Submitted by Susan M. Ott DO

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) AKA RUNNERS KNEE

I

liotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is a common source of knee and hip pain in runners and athletes, but you do not have to be an athlete to suffer from this inflammatory condition. The iliotibial band is a soft tissue structure running from the ilium (the outside part of the pelvic bone) down the outside (lateral) of the thigh, along the outside part of the knee and inserts into the tibia (shin bone). It is a tight band and can become irritated at several different places. The ITB can be symptomatic at the hip or at the knee. The ITB starts at the hip and runs towards the knee passing over a prominence on the femur (thigh bone) called the greater trochanter. Between the ITB and the greater trochanter there is a bursa. A bursa is a potential space; basically a soft tissue sac and we have them all over our bodies. Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa. At the hip, typically, ITBS and greater trochanteric bursitis go hand and hand. ITBS at the hip is typified by pain at the lateral (outside part) of the hip. It is sometimes worsened by activity. It can often be accompanied by pain in the gluteal (butt) as well. Groin pain does not usually indicate ITBS. ITBS at the hip most commonly occurs from overuse in athletes. Increasing training too rapidly, overtraining, and poor biomechanics can

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all contribute. In non athletes, ITBS can occur for no specific reason. ITBS is the most common cause of lateral knee pain in runners. It usually presents as pain along the outside part of the knee where the iliotibial band crosses the end of the femur bone called the lateral condyle. Overuse, overtraining, increasing training volume too fast, biomechanical factors and shoe wear are all potential causative factors. Recent studies have revealed that there is a layer of fat and not a bursa between the ITB and the lateral condyle of the femur. Irritation of this fat may be the cause of pain associated with ITBS at the knee. Another study showed that in some patients with this problem the ITB may be wider than in people without ITBS. Luckily, whether your iliotibial band is sore at the knee or the hip, it can be treated without surgery the vast majority of the time. Treatment consists of anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) and physical therapy initially. Physical therapy stretching and strengthening will be done and biomechanical problems can be addressed. In runners, a gait analysis can be done as well. In cases that do not respond to physical therapy and NSAIDs, an injection can be done to decrease the inflammation. Very rarely does ITBS at the knee or the hip require surgery.

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 122

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EXTRA

AUTO REVIEW

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Story by Brian West Photos courtesy of Dodge

Charger Nudges in on 21st Century Muscle RESURRECTED CHARGER DELIVERS IN POWER AND PERFORMANCE

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n the past several years, domestic car companies have been refreshing their product lines by reintroducing the muscle cars of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Muscle cars were gas hogs, but they ruled the roads until the gas crisis of the late 1970’s, which forced manufacturers to focus their efforts on more fuel-efficient models. During the time, the Charger was “top dog.” Now fast forward to the 21st century. Ford currently leads the field with the new body styling and performance of the Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500, which has been very successful. But Dodge isn’t far behind. Dodge unveiled the new Charger for 2006, and the 2007 model only gets better. Muscle cars are defined by horsepower and performance, and the Charger delivers. The 2007 Charger is available in five different models; SE, SXT, R/T, Daytona R/T and SRT8. The SRT8 has the

most muscle in the lineup with a 6.1 liter Hemi V8 under a functional hood scoop that produces 425hp – now that’s muscle. When it comes to performance, there are few that can hang with this Charger. The SRT8 reaches 0-60 mph in just over five seconds and the quarter-mile in the mid-13-second range. SRT’s signature performance test is 0-100-0. The Charger SRT8 delivers 0-100-0 in the mid-16-second range. To pull off this test, the Charger is equipped with large-diameter four-wheel vented discs that are equipped with integrated air ducts that deliver the braking power needed. Again, there aren’t many cars on the road that can perform at this level. On the exterior, the Charger really delivers in design. In fact, of all the retro muscle cars offered today, arguably only the design of the Mustang and the Charger hold true to the classic lines of their earlier models. The 2007 Charger

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 124

brings a tough looking exterior that perfectly matches the performance. The hood is long and wide, with the shoulders lifted for an aggressive look. The Charger SRT8 rides on 20 inch rims framed by 255’s to handle the power. The wheels and tires also provide a nice visual to today’s styling. And styling is standard on this Charger. Most options you could think of are standard, including the color - black. There are very few options available, but they include items such as a sunroof, numbered badging, and a rear seat entertainment video system. On the interior, the Charger also holds true to the earlier versions. The dashboard shows the driver 4 evenly placed dials; two large dials in the center (mph and rpm), each with a smaller dial to the side (water temp and fuel). The steering wheel is a utilitarian four spoke design; nothing too flashy. The bucket seats are deep and feel

like they could hold driver and passenger in place regardless of the paces the car is taken through. The center console is also very straight forward. The shift lever is a combination of chrome and leather that allows the driver to drive in full automatic or Dodge’s version of an automatic/manual transmission – Autostick. And, of course, there’s a storage space under the armrest. With a sticker of more than $38,000 depending on the options, drivers probably won’t see many of these on the road, but maybe that’s the way it should be. Muscle cars aren’t supposed to be common, and if you purchase an SRT8 Charger, you’re sure to turn a few heads. So think of the SRT8 as the ultimate Charger; because it is. If you’re interested in the new Charger SRT8, decide if you want the sunroof and the entertainment system, and then don’t forget your checkbook.


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 125


EXTRA

AL RUECHEL

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By Al Ruechel

Printers Gone Amuck! supply store and asked if they had any of those old printers, you know, the ones with the coke can ink cartridges. I swear I was able to pump almost 20 ml of black ink into an old cartridge before it started oozing all over the place and permanently staining the dining room carpet. I no longer refill my own cartridges. I think you call it preservation of my marriage. Nope. The new machines all have smaller cartridges but they are so much faster and produce better results, according to the sales guy whose real name I suspect is Pinocchio. And besides, their store will gladly refill your new cartridges and you’ll be able to save up to two dollars per cartridge. Hello! That’s still 12-dollars for a stinking piece of plastic. Could that be the reason they’ve moved the ink replacements behind the counter in a locked area?

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o what the heck is going on with printers these days? Have you noticed? I can get this great deal on a printer for a hundred bucks that will do everything but butter my bread. It copies and faxes and prints photos and scans and even restores faded pictures. Wow. But upon further review (thank you, NFL instant replay) there is a catch. It has six cartridges. Let me spell that for you: S-I-X. One cartridge is black ink and the other five are shades of cyan, magenta, yellow, light cyan, light magenta. Wonderful! The colors

Gosh, the only liquid substance that gets that kind of protection is flea control products in the pet store. But that’s another subject. are so vibrant and real. The ink lasts for 20 years with no fading. Now, for the fine print. The black cartridge cost $17.99 to replace. The other five cartridges cost $10.00 each. Let me translate: with tax that’s 70 dollars for the cartridges alone. Oh, but it gets better. The black ink cartridge holds 16 ml of fluid. My old printer cartridge holds 23 ml of fluid and only cost $6.00. The color cartridges are even smaller: 4.5 ml of ink compared to 11 ml of ink in my old printer cartridge. So I went into my local office

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 126

By now, the store manager has overheard my musings and he confirms what we’ve all known for sometime. Print manufacturers make more profit selling ink cartridges than the printers. He tells me profit on the cartridges is close to 400% while it’s less than 40% on the printers. Those are his figures, not mine. He also tells me it will probably get worse before it gets better. I hate that phrase. It makes me think of traffic jams. I jokingly mention the “C” word: conspiracy. When all else fails

and there seems to be no other explanation, it is somewhat satisfying to think you may be the only person in the world to have seen through the backroom dealings of those crazed corporate printer company executives. So imagine my surprise last week when I got this letter from a law firm out in California informing me of a possible class action lawsuit against printer manufacturers. Ah, ha! Caught at their own game. Price fixing the cost of ink. Oh, how low can you go? Nope, the lawyers are alleging printers are programmed to indicate your billion dollar cartridges are empty when up to 20% of the ink still remains… 20%! And, as I’m sure you have discovered, some printers won’t let you print anything when one of your six cartridges starts to “run dry.” Oh, it is a cruel, cutthroat world we live in. Where have the days of carbon paper, ditto machines and double prints gone? Check that…maybe I’ll just cough up the extra bucks and keep my mouth shut.


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 127


EXTRA

TRAVEL

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Story and Photos by Daniel Sperry

A Hidden Slice of Nature Awaits Discovery MOCCASIN LAKE PARK IS CLEARWATER’S BEST-KEPT SECRET

panels mounted on poles around the main building, the park does not just talk about environmental responsibility; they put it into practice every day. Franklin was keeping busy as the park was preparing to close for the day. She worked in one of the large cages that contained one of many birds the park maintains in an almost zoo-like atmosphere. She feeds birds and cleans the cages every day. She said that as many as 20 to 30 visitors arrive every day to walk the trails and see the animals.

More than 50 acres of untamed Florida awaits exploration.

A

startling gem lies nestled in the most unlikely of locations. In the middle of a bustling Clearwater neighborhood is Moccasin Lake Park. Driving through the side streets where buses drop off children and boys and girls on bicycles abound, one would not expect the sight that greets them as they round an innocent-looking corner. There in the heart of the city is an unexpected treasure: a fully-functioning nature park. With 51 acres of trails to explore that wind around the lake and is repeatedly crossed by a small stream that wanders through the park, it is an amazing haven and escape from the city life. The park

is especially geared toward kids, and it is not unusual to see school groups spending an afternoon investigating the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. Rachel Franklin has worked at Moccasin Lake Park for more than five years and says that they are proud of their emphasis on children. “We go into schools and do demonstrations,” she said. “We show them animals and teach them about conservation and renewable energy sources.” In fact, the park itself is a study in renewable energy. With large solar

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 128

In addition to the nature trails and lake, the park features an interpretive center which contains dozens of exhibits of local wildlife as well as exhibits on plants and energy. Outside the center are the bird cages which contain a variety of permanently injured, non-releasable birds, including various birds of prey. The park’s energy exhibits educate visitors on the uses of renewable energy and how the park produces some of its own energy.

it is a legal holiday. Admission is only $3 for adults and $2 for kids from 3-12 years old. Moccasin Lake Park relies heavily on volunteers to keep things running smoothly. Local support from the community is provided by people who help lead guided hikes, take care of the gardens and animals, and who help as greeters or in the gift shops. The park is only an hour’s drive from Plant City and is just a few miles from the beaches in Clearwater. Families and nature lovers could easily lose themselves in the exhibits and trails of the park for hours on end. Whether making a special trip just to see the park or including the park in a day’s or weekend’s activities on the Gulf, it is certain that no one will be disappointed with this reasonably priced, yet priceless Florida treasure.

“We do quite a few guided hikes,” said Franklin, “and we get a lot of kids in the summer for camps.” In fact, the park features a wide variety of programs for children and families throughout the year. With everything from night hikes to bird watching, sleepovers to home school nature and science classes, Moccasin Lake Park offers a wealth of fascinating and educational activities. Located at 2750 Park Trail Lane in Clearwater, the park is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The park is closed on Mondays unless

Moccasin Lake is home to many varieties of birds, amphibians and of course, aligators


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 129


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Story by Kristen Toney Photos by Billy Friend

Happy Anniversary!

FOCUS MAGAZINE CELEBRATES ITS 5TH IN STYLE!

A

s the staff of Floyd Publications sat around the conference room table, publisher Mike Floyd listened to ideas. “We like to do something different each year for our Anniversary Party and Reader’s Choice Awards,” he commented. “What can we do this year that people will remember?” The result of the brainstorming was a fun event, sure to be remembered as Floyd wanted! Focus Magazine has recently moved into their newly renovated building, right on McCall Park in downtown Plant City. In order to share the renovations with the community, throw a great anniversary party, combined with a Chamber

of Commerce “After Hours” and a Reader’s Choice Awards that would honor those to whom honor is due, there seemed to be one clear option. The block in front of Focus Magazine’s building on E. J. Arden Mays Boulevard was shut down early on the day of January 18. A stage was brought it for the signature entertainment of the evening, J.T. Curtis and the Silver Eagle Band, and huge potted trees were stationed along the road. As the day went on, tall tables with bright red tablecloths were set up along the road, complete with clear bowls with beautiful beta fish as centerpieces, and tents were set up for the food and drink that was to be served.

JT Curtis and the Silver Eagle Band

The host for the evening, Jules Burt

Pam Brester and Jim & Carolyn Young

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 130

As guests began to arrive that evening, the sun was still shining, the sky was blue and a breeze was skipping through the red and white balloons that added to the street’s décor; the weather was perfect! But why stay outside for the entire evening? Coffee 101 was open downstairs, offering free samples of their products to all in attendance, and providing tables and chairs to those who wanted to sit with a clear view of the outdoor activities. Guests were also able to tour the entire Focus office and speak with the staff of Floyd Publications while they did so. The Plant City Photo Archives graciously shared large old photographs for the event, which

were stationed around the office, also a great source of conversation for those in attendance. However, most of the action did transpire outside. The Reader’s Choice Awards were given to their winners, Kazbor’s laid out a delicious spread for all in attendance and Keel & Curley Winery wowed the guests with delicious wines and beautiful glasses. The crowds were thrilled with J.T. Curtis and the Silver Eagle Band; many enjoyed a few dances late into the evening to the popular music being played. Another anniversary to remember; here’s to a great 2007!

Everyone enjoying the band

Anna Gavin and band playing for Coffee 101

2006 Strawberry Festival Queen, Hannah Hodge


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2006 Reader’s 2006 FOCUS

Awards

BEST MEXICAN Mi Casa

Mi Casa is now a four-time winner of this award. They are located at 2613 Thonotosassa Road in the Publix Shopping Center. The beautiful restaurant is owned by Pat and Guillermo Gama, who opened it in September 2003. They feature authentic Mexican and Southwest cuisine. Menu items include fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, chimichangas, chili relleno and other house specialties. Mi Casa also has a full service bar offering all of your favorite drinks. Daily lunch specials start at $5.95 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Regular hours are 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Their number is (813) 752-0057.

BEST ITALIAN Carrabba’s Carrabba’s is brand new to Plant City, and obviously they have taken the city by storm! Carrabba’s believes it is their duty to move each guest beyond the function of eating a meal to truly enjoying a complete dining experience. This is evident from the moment you enter the softly lit dining room. The Tuscan themed décor sets the feeling of an authentic Italian restaurant. The knowledgeable staff deftly assists you with difficult decisions on items to select from the menu. A great feature of Carrabba’s is that

you can look at their entire menu online, then go to their pickup area and procure your lunch or dinner. They are located at 1205 Townsgate Court, and their phone number is (813) 752-0760.

BEST HAMBURGER Chili’s

Another chain has come to Plant City in Chili’s, but from the servers to the management, Plant City’s style still rings true, and obviously, a Chili’s hamburger cannot be beat! There are currently six “big mouth burgers” to choose from on the Chili’s menu. Not only are you able to call ahead for seating, but also call ahead for takeout food at the restaurant, located at 3001 James L. Redman Parkway. If you happen to be planning a party, download their party platter menu direct from their website for easy access. For more information, call them at (813) 764-8548.

BEST STEAK, BEST SEAFOOD, BEST DESSERT, BEST SALAD, MOST ROMANTIC AND BEST OVERALL SERVICE Red Rose Dining Room The Red Rose Dining Room has won the award for Most Romantic several times now, however, this year they claimed a few awards in addition to it! Batista Sr. and Evelyn Madonia have transformed the hotel’s dining room into a world class dining facility with a European flair. The Red Rose Dining Room

continued on page 134 FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 131


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All Units Are New, Cleaned After Each Use and Safe!! We Are Plant City Residents FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 132


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 133


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is open for lunch from 11:00a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Dinner hours are 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday hours feature brunch from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Reservations may be made by calling (813) 759-1888. Enjoy sounds from the regulars in the dining room, Ralph Allocco and Second Wind, Destiny and Free Time Jazz, with a variety of performers on the weekends. Show reservations may be made by calling (813) 752-5452.

BEST CUBAN Norma’s YBOR City Cuban Shop It was nearly 20 years ago that Norma’s migrated over from Ybor City to be the first Cuban restaurant in town. Two decades later, they are still loved by the people of Plant City. Whether you want a Cuban sandwich or just a turkey or roast beef one, they are here to meet your needs. They also offer deviled crabs as well as stuffed potatoes. If you are planning a party or get-together, you definitely want to call Norma’s to order either the party platter or a mini deviled crab platter. However, they need a 24-hour notice on platters, so call (813) 754-6557 to place your order today, or to call in your lunch for pick-up. They offer a fun, casual atmosphere with Bucs memorabilia covering the walls and oldies music always playing. This family owned business is opened Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and is located at 1305 E. Baker St.

BEST PIZZA ABC Pizza ABC Pizza has won Best Italian and Best Salad in years past, but this is a first for them in winning Best Pizza! Serving fine Italian cuisine in Plant City since 1977, the restaurant offers a casual dining atmosphere with great menu selections like pizza, grinders, gyros, pasta, salads and desserts. Their Greek Salad is a common favorite among customers. The restaurant continues to offer daily specials, including their “All You Can Eat” special all day long on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 134


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Sundays. ABC Pizza is located at 114 North Alexander Street in Plant City. Tracey Phaup and his crew are ready to serve you from 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. every day, seven days a week. Call ahead to (813) 752-5146 to place your carry out order.

BEST STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE Parkesdale Farms The only recipient to win the same award five years in a row, Plant City still thinks Parkesdale Farms has the best strawberry shortcake in town. Located at 3702 West Baker Street, they have been in business since 1969. Roy and Helen Parke, the original owners of the business, handed the responsibilities over to their daughter Cheryl and her husband, Jim Meeks. Not only are they known for their wonderful strawberry shortcake, but they also sell strawberry milkshakes and a variety of fresh produce. They are the largest strawberry and citrus market in Florida! Stop by any day of the week from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and taste it for yourself. During the festival they are open an extra hour. Call (813) 752-0502 to find out more!

BEST FRIED CHICKEN Maryland Fried Chicken For the fourth year in a row, Plant City has accredited Maryland Fried Chicken for having the best fried chicken in town. They are next door neighbors to the hospital and are located at 315 North Alexander Street. Since 1969, the owners, Beverly and Bill Naset and Kim McElveen, have been bringing the delicious flavor to Plant City. They always use fresh, rather than frozen, chickens and pressure cook them in pure peanut oil to bring out the best flavor. They offer complete meals for dine-in or carry out. They are open 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday. Call (813) 752-9200 to order your chicken today!

BEST DOWN HOME COOKIN’ AND BEST BREAKFAST Fred’s Market Once again, it looks like the readers felt no other restaurant held to the standard set by Fred’s Market. This is the fourth time they have been voted

Health Solutions Wellness Center

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D&E

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Animal Wellness Center ������������ �

Hours: Mon - Fri: 7:30am - 5:30pm Try our convenient Drop Off service!

3109 SR 574 West (813) 752-2869 www.animalwellnesspc.com

Dr. Jennifer Conner

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 136

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best in the two categories. Located at 1401 Dr. MLK Jr. Boulevard, the restaurant has been here since the 1960’s and was purchased by the Johnsons in 1998. They specialize in classic southern cooking, buffet style. Their menu covers just about anything a true southerner may be craving. They are open Monday through Saturday from 6:00 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. and closed on Sundays. Their phone number is 813-752-7763.

BEST BBQ Grandpa Johnson’s BBQ The Johnson family opened Grandpa Johnson’s BBQ at this location in 2003 and as the years have progressed, it has become a Plant City favorite. This is the fourth year it has been voted Best Barbeque by the Readers Choice Awards. The waitresses are always smiling and the food is always deliciously filling. Lunch specials are available daily. If you call ahead at (813) 759-0009 they will have your meal waiting for you as soon as you arrive at the drive-thru. Located on West MLK next to Fred’s Market, their hours are 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

BEST MILKSHAKE Dairy Queen Through the years, almost all Plant City residents have stopped in at some point or another for a delicious shake on a hot Florida day at DQ. The building there today was built in 1980 by the current owner’s father. Gilbert Gil and his wife, Ofelia, currently own the Plant City DQ which was purchased by his father in 1961. What some Plant City residents may not know is that just a few months ago, the interior of the building was renovated to accommodate some modern-day conveniences. Creamy DQ soft serve ice cream blended together with milk is available in a variety of flavors, making the Reader’s Choice Award for Best Milkshake well-deserved!


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BEST ORIENTAL China One China One is known for their fresh food, roast pork lo mein and wonton soup. Not only do they offer a $4.25 lunch special, but they can also alter the spice in each dish according to your personal taste. If you have a family member who doesn’t have a full taste for Chinese food, China One also offers special Chinese American dishes such as Fried Chicken Wings, Fried Shrimp and Boneless Spare Ribs. They are located at 1862 James L. Redman Parkway in the Staples Plaza, and if you wish to place a take-out order, call them at (813) 707-8898.

BEST SOUP Whistle Stop Newly re-opened, it didn’t take Plant City long to re-discover the Whistle Stop Café and all it has to offer! Not only do customers enjoy the easy access of the downtown location, but a fresh-baked bread bowl full of the day’s soup is an offer that cannot be refused by any hungry individual. A great feature of the Whistle Stop Café is the grand piano, always being played with joy by a sweet elderly lady, who does take requests from customers. Best of all? You’re sure to watch a train go by as you enjoy your delectable meal. Call the Whistle Stop Café for more information at (813) 752-7340.

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Frenchmanʼs Flea Market 106 E. Drane St. 754-8388

THANK YOU FOR VOTING!

Mon-Sat 10am-5pm

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 137


FOSTER CARE ���������������������� �������������������������

KNOTTS HARDWARE “Your Hometown Hardware Store”

314 S. COLLINS ST. PLANT CITY, FL

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 138

752-3497


PLANT CITYʼS NEWEST HOTEL

HOTEL � SUITES

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 139


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!

The Messengers

Jess starts seeing ghosts but when she tells Mom and Dad, they’re not receptive. They accuse Jess of making things up because all teenagers act up by pretending that their freaky-looking mansion in the middle of nowhere is haunted. Who writes this stuff, anyway?

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, John Corbett Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, Crime and Mystery Rated: PG-13 2 STARS

I define a “boo!” moment as an instant in a movie when there is a loud sound, usually accompanied by a musical stinger and occasionally in concert with the fast pass of an unidentifiable object across a portion of the camera’s field of view. The idea behind a “boo!” moment is to startle viewers. Most horror fans are conversant with “boo!” moments, but if you’re confused, The Messengers offers a primer. It’s wall-to-wall “boo!” moments with almost nothing else to recommend it. By the end of the film, these instances have become so frequent that they’re more comedic than horrific. (People in the audience took the “boo” to heart because that’s how they reacted when the movie ended.)

Roy (Dylan McDermott) and Denise (Penelope Ann Miller) have packed up their family and moved to a spooky old house in the middle of nowhere because they think this is the best way to reform their “troubled” teenage daughter, Jess (Kristen Stewart). Jess has done something wrong - we figure this out when her father sits with her to have a “this isn’t a punishment; it’s a way to start over again” discussion. Poor Jess is despondent over having to leave behind her friends to live in the ultimate fixer-upper while her dad and his new hired hand, John (John Corbett), plant sunflowers. Soon,

It’s a little sad that The Messengers is ultimately a good candidate for burial in a toxic waste dump because there are some good elements contained herein. The underpinnings of an effective psychological thriller are undermined by the manner in which the story is told. (Is the lead character seeing ghosts or is she mentally unstable?) And there are some frighteningly effective isolated images that, if used in service of a smart or coherent storyline, could have made this one of those rare PG-13 horror movies that works. The Messengers borrows so heavily from The Amityville Horror, The Birds, The Grudge, Poltergeist and others that it has no room left for anything of its own. At times, this feels like “Horror’s Greatest Hits” performed by imposters. Of the actors, only Kristen Stewart takes things seriously as the girl who sees dead people. Everyone else can’t seem to believe they signed to be in this movie.

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

813-300-4763 • 813-757-0140 FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 140


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!

Smokin’ Aces

Epic Movie

Starring: Jeremy Piven, Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia, Ben Affleck Genre: Drama Rated: R

Starring: Kal Penn, Adam Campbell, Jennifer Coolidge, Jayma Mays Genre: Action and Adventure, Comedy Rated: PG-13

Starring: Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo Genre: Comedy, Romance, Drama Rated: PG-13

2.5 STARS

1 STAR

2 STARS

There is little more director Joe Carnahan (Narc) can do for the silver screen in terms of creativity, but this is a good effort. Very fast paced, dark, action comedy, it puts a few highly talented actors with a few not so talented ones to produce a movie that leaves you wondering if what you just watched is genius or stupidity.

This is (hopefully) the last of the “movie” series. Scary Movie was alright, and it’s been down hill since then. I’m all about having a good time, but, when you reach down to the depths to make a bad movie making fun of great movies, it loses my interest almost instanteously.

Every once in a while, a romantic comedy can break out of the mold and set itself above the rest of the pack. This is not it. With acting legend Keaton starring alongside Moore, there is very little to hold this movie together. Sometimes, Hollywood just makes a movie to make a movie.

Because I Said So

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 141


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 142


Thank you, Plant City, for voting us #1 Down Home Cooking & Best Breakfast

Now at 2 Locations Serving You! Breakfast Lunch Dinner - Buffet or Ala Carte Catering •

Mon - Sat Closed Sun •

2120 Harden Blvd. ���� Lakeland, Fl. �������� 863-603-7080

1401 W. Dr. MLK Blvd. Plant City, Fl. 813-752-7763 FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 143


D&E

DINING GUIDE

SEND COMMENTS TO K TONEY@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 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

China One 1862 James Redman Pkwy 707-8898 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 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

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

call 813.707.8783 to reserve this space

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 144


Thank you, Plant City, for voting us Best BBQ

Lunch Dinner •

Family Style Meal Packages Dine In • Patio • Drive Thru • Catering

759-0009 • Tues - Sat • Closed Sun & Mon Located on the Florida State Farmers Market • I-4 exit (Alexander St.) South One Mile

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 145


D&E

ENTERTAINMENT

SEND COMMENTS TO K TONEY@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM

Story by Daniel Sperry Photos courtesy of Ramada Inn Plantation House

Hilarious Hijinks Take Over Ramada Inn Plantation House

GODFATHERS OF COMEDY RULE THE RED ROSE DINING ROOM

I

t is not every day that one gets the opportunity in Plant City to see a classic comedy show, but that is just what happened on the evening of February 13th at the Ramada Inn Plantation House. Hosting the Godfathers of Comedy during the dinner hours, Ramada Inn once again made an unusual and entertaining venue available to local residents. Standing in stark contrast to today’s comedians, the two men who brought their talents to town followed an old school approach to comedy. Instead of poking fun at current politics and scandals, they brought back to life classic jokes and routines that seemed to be straight out of the 1940’s, and all with an Italian twist.

The name of the show was no accident. When Joe Beddia came on stage for the second act, he was the spitting image of Marlon Brando, complete with the slurred speech and accent from the Godfather movies. Of course,

appearance and sound is where the comparisons ended, because one can be certain that Don Corleone would never have stooped to the pulling of a fish out of his jacket to threaten a crowd of diners! Comparisons between today’s culture and society and the “good old days,” abounded, and the crowd was kept smiling and laughing at his earnest appeals to “forget about it.” The hour long act was not only jokes and one-liners, but also included some remarkable impersonations. Beddia launched into a song by Louis Prima, and if one closed their eyes, it would have been easy to believe that Prima was really singing, at least until hearing the crazy new lyrics that were improvised into the classic songs. Not confined to the stage, Beddia made his way through the crowd, seemingly picking people at random to participate in his act. While dressed up as Carol Channing he selected a man from the crowd to

Two hours of classic comedy had the audience in stitches all night

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 146

The godfather himself was the second act, looking uncannily like Marlon Brando himself

dance with him, then screamed in mock dismay and chided the man for “getting fresh.” All the while, the audience was laughing and some seemed to be having trouble finding time to eat their dinner between the jokes. The first act was in the same vein. Although Pat Capuzzi did not sing and dance, he brought out jokes that many may not have heard in decades. He shook the cobwebs off them with his crisp and enthusiastic delivery and it was easy to believe that time had wound back to a day when gas was ten cents a gallon and couples went on dates to drive-in movies. During Capuzzi’s hour on the stage, he warmed up the crowd by talking about classic Italian-American families. His jokes about meal time in Italian families had the audience laughing and clapping; and when he described some of his stereotypical Italian relatives,

it was clear that many people who were watching the show knew exactly the kinds of people he was talking about. Both comedians brought with them an air of confidence and style that is not often seen in contemporary comedians on television. They hearkened back to a time when a joke was a joke and everyone would wait for the punch line, knowing it would be ridiculous, but the knowing would only make it that much funnier. Both acts took place in the Red Rose Dining Room, and as always, the food was fantastic. The kitchen was in top form and the service was excellent. It was hard to decide which was better on this night, the entertainment or the meal. Either way, everyone who attended the show left with plenty to smile and talk about as they made their way back to their homes.


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BETWEEN

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������ l Library, Inc. of the Bruton Memoria Published by the Friends PLANT CITY Number - Ask anyone2in Vol. 13 donʼt know is the story behind Spring 2005 Plant City for a good place the days were spent in to eat name and who Grandpa Johnson biinto with getfields andthe and, odds are, youʼll be directed in Tampa hisout father. Elton still smiles. as characters hang really is. he backyards This to Fredʼs Market Restaurant own our in remembers right shouting “haw” or zarre scrapes and Tampa Tribune Grandpa Johnsonʼs Barbeque. former Dorsey, at the is Tim“gee” mule, and laughs Ninety years ago, in the author right hereasin Even out-of-towners are familiar little townand he will be speaking he remarks that kids today donʼt of Opp, Alabama, Elton reporter, with these Plant City originals. Johnson ty Room on May know Communi what those Moody words was own mean. born on April 28th. As ourthe The Johnson family name has 7pm. oldest son among 8 children, 5th at become synonymous with he Eltonʼs father was a musical man good quickly learned the value southern cooking and classic of hard moved to sawin toIndiana, it that every washeborn work. By the time he wasTim Dorseyand barbeque. But what most a small 7 or inchild played and grew up an 1, instrument. people age of 8, old enough to hold a plow, the Sunday Florida his at afternoons wereof Miami called on the front town about an hour north spent from Auburn Riviera Beach. He graduated in Transportaa B.S. University in 1983 with was editor of the he Auburn, at tion. While Plainsman. student newspaper, The

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Thank you for joining us at Grandpa Johnsonʼs Barbeque, we hope your experience has been enjoyable! Each day we strive to serve the best barbeque in the best way possible. Our sauces and rubs are the product of countless hours of testing, tasting, and refining recipes. Our menu items have been carefully selected to give you a true barbeque experienc e and good southern cooking. A few of our items are offered because they are regional favorites such as strawberry shortcake - others are family recipes, passed down through the generations. We are “smokinʼ proud” of our restaurant, food and service but above all, we are barbeque fans and appreciate any comment s you may have. We are glad you stopped by and look forward to seeing you again soon.

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for you. Who is the Hereʼs a trivia question who has outlandFlorida mystery writer into bizarre scrapes ish characters that get has to do with some to solve a mystery that Five years ago, most timely Florida issue? Hiaasen,” and “Carl answer people would today, but now that would still be correct scene who is on the there is a new author But his outlandish just as highly regarded.

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porch practicing together. This was especially hard for Elton, who – like most young boys – would have rather been running and playing games with his friends. Even so, those Sunday afternoons instilled a strong family bond in the Johnson clan.

In 1932, at the age of 17, Elton moved south with his family.

They had heard through friends that there were good opportunitie s in Central Florida. They settled in the Coronet area and worked together picking strawberries to make a living. Over the next few years, Elton spent time at a CCC Camp (Civilian Conservatio n Continued on Page 3 “History of Grandpa Johnsonʼs BBQ”

he was a police and courts From 1983 to 1987, Journal, the now-dereporter for The Alabama Montgomery. He r in funct evening newspape in 1987 as a genjoined The Tampa Tribune also worked as a He eral assignment reporter. e Tribuneʼs Tallahasse political reporter in the editor. From 1994 to bureau and a copy desk night metro editor 1999, he was the Tribuneʼs He left the paper r. coordinato and night news full time. He lives in in August 1999 to write He . and two daughters Tampa with his wife is 44.

���� ��������������� Florida Roadkill Motel Hammerhead Ranch Orange Crush Triggerfish Twist The Stingray Shuffle Juice Torpedo

Writers All are Other Florida Mystery in a variety of available at the Library formats. Carl Hiaasen James T. Hall Elmore Leonard Stuart Woods Barbara Parker Edna Buchanan Les Standiford

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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 147


FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 148


th l 0 6 ua n An

Free Daily Entertainment, Livestock Shows, Rides, Food, Exhibits, Pageants, Music, Rodeo and LOTS more.

Sponsored by:

Admission is $ 7.00 for adults & $ 4.00 for kids ages 6-12. Parking is FREE

36722 S.R. 52, Dade City • 352-567-6678 • www.pascocountyfair.com

a comfortable hangout with modern style

Emily Newsom • Plant City Resident

NOW OPEN The Finest Coffees Featured Artist Wireless Internet Unbelievable Atmosphere Live Music All Natural Homemade Pastries

813.659.0101 • 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd In Historic Downtown Plant City


PLANT CITY February 15, Thursday

February 16, Friday

Registration for Adult & Youth Flag Football is at the Plant City Recreation and Parks Administration Building (1904 South Park Road). Registration ends on February 16th. The registration fee is $200 per adult team for a three game guarantee (two divisions) and $150 for youths with a two game guarantee. There are three age divisions for the youth teams, ages 9-11, 12-14, and 15-17. If you have any questions, contact the Athletic Program Manager, Larry Langston, at (813) 659-4200 ext. 4302.

“Forever Plaid” will be presented by Plant City Entertainment at Hillsborough Community College. The event begins at 8:00 pm and tickets are available at Hardee Fashions, Wheeler St. For more information, call 813754-4929.

Local businessmen and women are welcome to attend this month’s business after hours hosted by the Tampa Tribune and The Plant City Courier, 101 North Wheeler St. Attendees will enjoy a great evening while networking with Chamber members. Beverages and hors d’oeuvres will be provided. Admission to the event is free; parking is available on surrounding streets. For more information and to RSVP, contact the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce at 813-754-3707 or log onto www.plantcity.org. Plant City Recreation & Parks Department is again offering the ‘Start Smart Golf Development Program.’ This will be the 4th year offering this program, which is for children 5-7 years old. Start Smart is a developmentally appropriate introductory golf program that involves the parent. Start Smart Golf teaches young children who have never played golf. Registration continues through February 21st and the program runs from February 27th to March 15th on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 7 pm. If you have any questions, call Deborah Haldane at 659-4200 ext. 4343 or you can contact her via e-mail at dhaldane@plantcitygov.com.

February 17, Saturday For a hand-clappin’, foot stompin’ good time, plan to see the Florida Opry show at the 1914 Plant City High School Community Center, 605 N. Collins Street. The show stars Karen Wheeler, Ken McWilliams and the Nashville Band, Richard Wolfe, and the 3 plus 1 Gospel Quartet, consisting of three grandchildren and their Grandpa. Tickets can be reserved for $15 by calling Myrle Henry at 813-752-4094, or they may be purchased at the door for $12. Free parking is available on surrounding streets. The long running and ever popular Strawberry Classic Car show takes place Saturday from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Spectators can see cars and trucks manufactured in 1982 and before- antiques, customs, classics and hotrods - in and around McCall Park, 100 N. Collins St. Entertainment will be provided and nearby specialty shops and restaurants will be open late for the event. Attendees also have the opportunity to visit vendors and crafters for the latest in automotive accessories. Admission and registration for the car show is free. Parking is available on surrounding streets. For more information, contact the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce at 813-754-3707 or log onto www.plantcity.org. The Monthly Kid’s Night Out will take place at the Planteen Recreation Center for Chil-

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 150

Event Calendar dren ages 6-11 from 6:00pm - 9:00pm. The cost is $5 per child and includes three hours of chaperoned evening activities including watching movies, playing games, doing crafts and eating pizza. Children are encouraged to bring a blanket, a friend, an appetite, and enthusiasm. If you have any questions about the monthly Kid’s Night Out, call the Planteen Recreation Supervisor, Christine Washburn at 813-757-9166 during the day, or email her at cwashburn@plantcitygov.com.

featured in “Who’s Who” for his music composition. Moffa will be performing at the Plant City Photo Archives, 119 North Collins Street on Sunday, February 18th, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $35 for Arts Council members and $45 for non-members. Checks are made payable to Arts Council of Plant City and may be mailed to Susan Kolker, 2705 Forest Club Drive, Plant City, FL 33566. For more information call (813) 757-6277 or e-mail stankol@earthlink.net.

The Valentine Dance Party Plus Level Square Dance will be held at Strawberry Square, 4401 Boot Bay Rd., Plant City from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. The caller for this event will be Tim Crawford and the Cuers will be Jimmy and Carol Griffin. For more information call 813-752-0491 or visit www.floridadanceweb. com/strawberry

February 21, Wednesday

The last performance of “Forever Plaid” will be presented by Plant City Entertainment at Hillsborough Community College. The event begins at 8:00 pm and tickets are available at Hardee Fashions, Wheeler St. For more information, call 813754-4929.

February 18, Sunday

The Arts Council of Plant City is presenting Robert Moffa in Concert on February 18th. Moffa is internationally recognized for his program music, composing on such topics as humanity, famous people, romance and historical events. Moffa has been selected as one of the world’s top 100 musicians who does special work and has been

Church on the Rock of Plant City at 301 Alsobrook Street, will begin its Awana’s Program. Activities are available for children who are 3 years old through the 6th grade as of September 1st, 2006. A nominal fee is charged for materials, and pre-registration is highly preferred. Please contact the church office at (813) 752-3740 for more details.

February 22, Thursday The “Muses” from Colorado will be performing their “Legends and Fairy Tales” show at the Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St. in Plant City, on Thursday at 7:00 pm. This popular group, with their variety of instruments, has an extensive repertoire of Irish and Scottish music that everyone is sure to enjoy. Admission is free and parking is available across the street in the Library parking lot and adjacent bank lot. For more information, contact the Bruton Memorial Library at 813757-9215.

February 23, Friday C-1 Level Square Dance Weekend will be held for three days


PLANT CITY at the Strawberry Square, 4401 Boot Bay Rd., Plant City. The caller for this weekend event will be Mike Jacobs. For more information call 813-752-0491 or visit the website at www.floridadanceweb.com/strawberry.

February 24, Saturday The Tournament for the registered players of the Adult & Youth Flag Football teams will be played at the Otis M. Andrews Sports Complex starting at 8 am. If you have any questions regarding the game or events surrounding the Flag Football registration call the Athletic Program Manager, Larry Langston, at (813) 659-4200 ext. 4302. The Mystics will be in performance at the Ramada Inn Plantation House in the Red Rose Dining Room beginning at 8:00 pm. For reservations call 813752-3141, or visit the website at www.RamadaPlantation.com. Plant City YMCA will be celebrating its fifth anniversary at its location on YMCA place. There will be a 5k run at Walden Lake, a flag dedication, and a community open house complete with hotdogs and hamburgers. The run will start at 7:45 am from the YMCA and the walk starts at 8:30am with a kid’s run at 9:15. Awards will be given for fastest finishing times and you can register with the Plant City

Event Calendar

YMCA at 757-6677. The Plant City Cornerstone Historic Building will hold a Strawberry Sock Hop Fundraiser, from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. at Brownlee’s Barn at 5230 Berry Patch Road (off Jerry Smith Road). Food will be served from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., and DJ Music will be heard from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Bring your friends and your lawn chairs! Adults are $20 in admittance, children are $10. Please arrive in casual or retro attire. For more information, call (813) 752-2659 or (813) 752-9225. The Chorus and Orchestra Parent’s Association of Plant City High School proudly presents Cryptic Vision. The Florida-based, progressive rock band will be performing in Plant City. The band will be playing favorites from the 70’s and 80’s, as well as original material. The chorus and orchestra students will also get a chance to perform with them on “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Dust in the Wind.” The concert will be held on February 24 at 7:00 p.m. in the Plant City High School Auditorium and all proceeds will benefit the students of the Orchestra and Choral departments. Tickets can be purchased from orchestra and chorus students and will also be available at the door. For more information, call Rebecca Delph at 813-752-6008 or find out more about Cryptic Vision at their website, www. crypticvision.net.

SATURDAY, MARCH 3, MONDAY, MARCH 5, & WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7 Plant City Children’s Theatre, as well as Jackie’s’ Dance Theatre & Gym, are going to be attending various Strawberry Festival Events, including the Jr. Parade on March 3rd and The Grand Parade, with an appearance with Lee Greenwood on March 5th. They will also be performing a show in the Entertainment Tent between 6:00 and 7:30 on the evening of March 7th. These adorable performers have done more than just wow the crowds, they’re also winners of such awards as the Florida State Fair Clogging Grand Champion, the Florida Strawberry Clogging Champion and the Grand Parade Champion.

February 28, Wednesday March 3, Saturday For 48 years, the identity of the Citizen of the Year has remained a secret until it was formally announced. Folks can salute this year’s citizen at 11:30 am at the Ramada Inn Plantation House’s Convention Center, 2011 N. Wheeler St. in Plant City. The even is open to the public and tickets are $20. For more information, contact Matt Buzza at 813-752-6193, ext. 202.

saturday, February 24

Plant City Recreation & Parks Department is sponsoring the 2007 College Softball Series on March 3rd and 4th. Teams from Michigan State, Leigh University, St. Joseph’s and Harvard University will be competing. These games are free to the public and will take place at the Randy Larson Four-Plex. For more information call Larry Langston at 813-659-4200, extension 4302. The Bike Fest will be held from 5-9 p.m. in Downtown Plant City. Call 813-754-3707 or visit www.plantcity.org for more information.

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 151


PLANT CITY A Model Train Show will take place in the Trinkle Building at the Plant City Hillsborough Community college. The show runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call Gilbert Thomas at 863-412-3090.

March 4, Sunday Michigan Melee Plus Level Square Dance with Rounds will take place at Strawberry Square, 4401 Boot Bay Rd., Plant City from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Callers and Cuers will include Dick Duckham, Dorothy Goheem and Bob Barnes. For more information call 813-7522278 or visit www.floridadanceweb.com/strawberry.

March 8, Thursday The AARP Driver Safety Program classes for seniors will be held on March 8th and 9th at the Community Conference Room at South Florida Baptist Hospital. For more information or to schedule for a class, call 813-754-4444 and at the prompt press 1 and then press 2.

March 10, Saturday The Antique Street Fair will take place in Historic Downtown Plant City beginning at 8:00 a.m. and will last until 3:00 p.m. For more information, call 813754-3707.

March 11, Sunday A support group for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s meets at 2 pm at First Baptist Church of Plant City, 503 N. Palmer St., Room 140. For more information call Linda Bryant at (813) 754-3761 or Bill Barr

at (813) 719-8392. If you need to arrange care for your loved one so you can attend, call the Alzheimer’s Association Florida Gulf Coast Chapter at (863) 2929210 or 1-800-772-8672.

March 14, Wednesday The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce’s “Business After Hours” will take place at newly opened Alexander Woods Town Homes on Maki Road beginning at 5:15 p.m. For more information call the Chamber at 813754-3707.

March 15, Thursday The Bruton Memorial Library continues its series on “Florida’s Changing Landscape in Fact, Fiction, and Song.” Bill Belleville will share his personal story of the battle for his rural landscape in “Loosing It All to Sprawl: How Progress Ate My Cracker Landscape.” Come and hear Mr. Belleville at the free 7:00 p.m. program. For more information, contact the Bruton Memorial Library at 813-7579215.

Recurring Events: MONDAYS: Country/Western Dance classes are offered at the Planteen Recreation Center from 7:3010:00 p.m. The cost is only $3 per person and is available for all ages. Beginners or advanced levels stress two-step, waltz, polka, country, swing, line dances, and one-step. For more information, contact Donna Edenfield at 813-986-2820 Belly Dancing Classes with instructor Mary Jan Aguilar take place from 5:45-7:15 p.m. at the Planteen Recreation

FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 152

Event Calendar Center. The cost is $40 for an 8-week session or $8 Walk-In Fee. For additional information, please contact the instructor at 863-682-6009. This class is designed to teach the basics at a beginner level with concentration on movements and the isolation of movements, body conditioning, dance, posture, and balance. TUESDAYS: Escape to the Ramada Inn Plantation House in the Red Rose Dining Room for a relaxing night of soothing sounds by Free Time Jazz from 6-9 p.m. For reservations call 813-752-3141 or visit the website at www. RamadaPlantation.com. Taoist Tai Chi is available with instructor Joe Crossfield at the Winter Visitors Center (located adjacent to the Planteen) from 7-8:30 p.m. Te cost is $4 per class. Instruction is in the Taoist Tai Chi form. For more information, call Joe at 813-685-1211. Line dance lessons are available with instructor Sherri Nix from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. at the Strawberry Square, 4401 Boot Bay Rd. For more information, call 813-752-0491 or visit www.floridadanceweb.com/strawberry.

The cost is $35 per month or $6 per class. Traditional Hatha Yoga will be taught with warmups, postures, relaxation, and non-strenuous stretches that increase flexibility, tone and strengthen the muscles. Contact Gina at 813-95-0715. 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 p.m. For reservations call 813-752-3141 or visit the website at www. RamadaPlantation.com. The Toastmasters Club will be meeting at 7:30 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce. Call 813-754-3707 or visit www. plantcity.org for more information. FRIDAYS: Ralph Allocco and Second Wind and Destiny will be in performance at the Ramada Inn Plantation House in the Red Rose Dining Room beginning at 8 p.m. For reservations call 813752-3141 or visit the website at www.RamadaPlantation.com. SATURDAYS:

WEDNESDAYS: “Mommy and Me” playtime is available at the Planteen Recreation Center from 100:00 am - 12:00 p.m. for ages 2 and up. For more information, call Chris at 813-757-9166. Escape to the Ramada Inn Plantation House in the Red Rose Dining Room for a relaxing night of soothing sounds by Free Time Jazz from 6-9 p.m. For reservations call 813-752-3141 or visit the website at www. RamadaPlantation.com. Yoga is available with instructor Gina Belli from 6-7:00 p.m. at the Planteen Recreation Center.

The Rat Pack Too and Destiny will be in performance at the Ramada Inn Plantation House in the Red Rose Dining Room beginning at 8 p.m. For reservations call 813752-3141 or visit the website at www.RamadaPlantation.com. Yoga is available with instructor Gina Belli from 9-10:00 a.m. at the Winter Visitor’s Center (adjacent to the Planteen Recreation Center). The cost is $35 per month or $6 per class. Traditional Hatha Yoga will be taught with warm-ups, postures, relaxation, and non-strenuous stretches that increase flexibility, tone and strengthen the muscles. Contact Gina at 813-95-0715.


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FOCUS PLANT CITY EDITION • February 15, 2007 - March 15, 2007 • PG 159


FOCUS PC 06-02 Feb 2007  

FOCUS Magazine, Plant City, 2007

FOCUS PC 06-02 Feb 2007  

FOCUS Magazine, Plant City, 2007

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