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See store for details (sold in sets only, excluding all adjustable beds) Prices effective through February 28, 2009

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Phone: 813 754-3547 Coleman Davis, Owner

2 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009


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GRAND OPENING FEBRUARY 19 february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 5


tABle OF CONteNtS ISSUE 8-2 - FEBRUARY 15 – MARCH 15, 2009

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

publiSher Mike Floyd editor in chief Aaron Oberlin

LOCAL

office manager Dede Floyd

12

One thing you might or might not be aware of is that this region of Florida is known for its pageants. Women, young ladies, and girls all have competitions in which they can compete. The story about two large pageants – Junior Royalty and Miss Heart – are here for you to read.

credit manager Holly Dedon SaleS Sophia Hyde Tammy Simpson Adrienne Plati Lynne Warren production coordinator Susan Riff

There were several dinner events that took place at the Trinkle Center recently, that were for a good cause. So what went down there? Turn to the local section to find out. Also, don’t forget that, a lot of stories that are going on in your neighborhood can be seen on FocusTV. Just log on to www.thefocusmazine.com to see if you or someone you know is being featured

production Anthony Sassano Joe Pellegrino Jamie Konet editorial aSSiStant Kevin Tall diStribution Doug McGee Belva DeVane photographerS Suzanne Gallagher Billy Friend Lori Blaser

SPOTLIGHT

55

Staff writerS Ruchelle Owens Cole Dodd Tracy Cox Kasey Miller Carolyn Miller Brian West Joe Bowles Krystel Knowles

Just about every person who has lived in Plant City during the past decade knows, or has heard of, Joe Newsome. Joe. E. Newsome High School is named after him. He used to own a well-known pharmacy in town. Basically, when it comes to the community, he has a lot of stories to tell. His conversation with FOCUS is here.

contributorS Al Ruechel Bruce Rodwell Gil Gott Sherry Nueesch JoAn Lusk Nate Davis Natalie Sweet

STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL SECTION

71

Every year, FOCUS puts out a section dedicated to the Florida Strawberry Festival. Well it’s back. Inside are plenty of stories for people who are interested in the festival, strawberries, and their influence on Plant City. Even if you’re from Plant City, you might learn something new.

editorial intern Sara Wyman Marilyn Bistline Christian Van Norden Tanya Albert

StandardS of accuracy The goal of the writers at FOCUS Magazine is to provide heart-warming stories that are accurate from the start. Being human, however, we sometimes make mistakes. Please forgive us.

SPORTS & FITNESS

DINING & ENTERTAINMENT

144

With the season for the Florida Strawberry Festival here, strawberries are on nearly every one’s minds. Since FOCUS understands this, the writers decided to do a dining review on a local restaurant that has a strawberry salad that is worth all the rave.

ONtHe

COVER

LAUREN DER photo by M. Floyd Glamorous Red Rhinestone Hoops Sisters and Company | $15

^

126

A highly sought after goal of many high school sports teams is to win a state championship, however, many teams will never get the chance to compete for it. This is not so for the Plant City High School softball squad. The team’s story is here.

^ ^ Clear Rhinestone Bangle Southside Farm and Pet Supply | $15.99

^ Strawberry Crystal Bracelet Sisters and Company | $15

Readers who wish to respond to an article – not correct facts – can do so by writing a letter to the editor. If you need any other type of assistance, then please view the directory for the appropriate department. The staff at FOCUS Magazine is committed to serving their consumers and customers to the fullest of abilities. You’re paying attention to our words. Let us pay attention to yours.

FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Plant City businesses, restaurants and many local venues. Letters, Questions and Comments can be sent to us at editorial@ 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.

^

Red “Bling” Belt Southside Farm and Pet Supply | $69.99

Strawberry Rhinestone T-shirt Sisters and Company | $38

So if you notice anything that is incorrect, then please do not hesitate to contact the editorial department and infor m it about the fact error. To do so, call (813) 707-8783 or e-mail editorial@floydpublications. com. The staff will fix the error in a timely manner.

6 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15 – march 15, 2009

published by:

floyd publications, Inc.


We can see it all in no time flat.

People suffering from chest pain or stroke shouldn’t have to suffer through their CT scan too. anks to the new state-of-the-art LightSpeed VCT, South Florida Baptist Hospital offers faster, easier exams that are not only less stressful for the patient, but more medically informative than ever. It’s amazing the things we can do at the speed of light.


letter FROM THE EDITOR

Send your strawberry cutie in for an experience fit for a queen! Gift Certificates Available

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Even on the worst days, recalling a nostalgic moment from your life can bring a smile to your face. Everybody has one – a first date, a fun vacation, doing something nice for someone; you get the drift. Those moments are some of the things that make life so wonderful. For instance, I’ll never forget visiting Cedar Point – the roller coaster capital of the world – every summer in Ohio. Several of my friends and I would go there, packing one little car full of teenagers and luggage, along with coolers full of food and beverages. By the time we got to the amusement park, it felt so good to get out of the car and stretch. While walking to the admission gate, we didn’t discuss what ride we were going to get on first, we knew which attraction we were heading for: Magnum XL-200. At the time it was the fastest roller coaster in the world. And as the years passed, Cedar Point built a ride even faster than the Magnum: the Millenium Force. So, naturally, the order of rides we got on evolved, but the days were just as fun. In fact, they got even better. The Florida Strawberry Festival is similar to Cedar Point in that it will create fun memories for me – and hundreds of thousands of people from across the world – that I will never forget. And just like Cedar Point, it gets better every year. Fortunately, the next month brings 11 days of the festival. Inside this edition of FOCUS is a special section dedicated to the festival. You can read about all the new things that are taking place on the festival grounds. There is also an event calendar and map of the ground so you can plan out your days there, and create some everlasting memories for yourself. Just about everybody in Plant City has a Florida Strawberry Festival memory. FOCUS decided to interview a man who has several, a man who has been involved with the festival for decades. Joe Newsome, whose family has been in Plant City for several generations, discussed some of his favorite times from visiting and serving the Florida Strawberry Festival. His story is this month’s Spotlight interview. For those who can’t be at the festival every day, log on to the thefocusmagazine.com to see what is happening each day at the festival. A new show will be continually online.

Job opportunities available 1505 South Alexander Street Suite 102 Plant City, FL 33563 813.717.7700 8 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

Aaron Oberlin Editor In Chief


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10 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15 – march 15, 2009


Arts & Crafts Show February 28th and March 1st at Keel & Curley from 11am-5pm Free Vendor Booths Available Contact Amanda Dixon

UnCorked.. 5202 Thonotosassa Rd, Plant City, FL

Keel & Curley Winery’s After Hours Wine Bar from 5pm-Midnight Now featuring a delicious menu from Backstreet Blues Catering and Ed Lyons…former White House Chef! Casey Stidham performs every Friday night and beginning this month a new artist will be featured every Saturday night. Check our web-site for details! Our tasting room is open daily from 11am-5pm for your enjoyment... bring your lunch and have a glass of wine out on our beautiful deck!

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Congratulations CAITLIN CRIBBS

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D ea nna R o l l yso n • d rol l yson @m a t r i xm e d i c a l .us • 8 1 3 - 9 6 7 - 5 1 8 0 february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 11


local

Every other month, the 1270 Club meets for students to celebrate the achievement of a 1270 on the SAT or a 28 on the ACT. All students who have reached these scores are eligible for the 1270 Club, and are eligible to attend a reception in their honor. Students with the top eight scores in the school receive reserved parking spaces. The scores are reassessed every two months. Each 1270 Club meeting gains new members by students striving to obtain scores by taking the nationally administered SAT or ACT. Students meeting the 1270 standard also make themselves eligible for the Florida Academic Scholarship through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. This scholarship through the Department of Education pays for the students’ college tuition.

The people who attended the 1270 Club January Breakfast are (first row) Brianna Corzine, Kathleen Hencke, Amanda Napier, Jensen Harlow, Victoria Capezza, Matthew Norman, Erika Kolakowski, Dylan Kenyon, Daniel Wadi, Eddie Rosenbaum, (second row) Shivani Desai, Justin Stewart, Clinton Clark,Victor Salgado, Andrew Orso, John Coleman, Jessica Glover, (third row) Megan Cochran, Devyn Johnson, Kate Wicker,Rebecca Sperry, Bob Carty, Jenna Miller, Austin Wheeler, Xavier Vega, (fourth row) Alexandria Vallianatos, Kaysey Gilbreath, LaurenClark, Megan Willaford, John Kenney, and Michael Poppell. Photo courtesy of Sherrie Mueller

Jody and Angela Killebrew, the owners of Natural Creations, played host to an art show at their shop. Twelve artists displayed their works, as many people came to see the displays. It was more than just an art show, however. It was a way to promote art in Plant City, and it was also an open house for Natural Creations. Natural Creations is located at 1309 S. Collins St., Suite 3. Check out episode 21 at thefocusmagazine. com for more information about Natural Creations and the event.

12 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15 – march 15, 2009

Six stylists from The Artistry went to the Redken Symposium Hair Show in Las Vegas to learn the latest hair tends. In March, Redken platform artist Shannon King will be coming to the salon for personal hands-on training. Rhenda Booth won Brighton’s National Grand Prize, which is a three-day, two-night trip to Los Angeles to spend a day with a Brighton designer and tour the home of Brighton. She was the only winner in the nation – more than 700 Brighton retailers participated. After she was announced the winner, staff from Sisters and Company – the store that Booth won through – surprised Booth at Robinson Elementary school, where she works. When she found out she won, she said, “This is such a blessing.” Two Plant City High School students – Jon Kenney and Erika Kolakowski – were recognized for individual high scores at the University of Florida Winter Brain Bowl. The PCHS Academic Team was one of 57 schools to participate in the competition, which was divided into two divisions: Junior varsity for ninth and 10th grade students, and varsity for 11th and 12th grade students. Competing on the junior varsity team for Plant City included Amanda Henry, Nathan Cruzado, Katelynn McElrath, Jonathan Scott, and Jessica Wicker. The varsity team was composed of Michelle Baird, Bryars Byrd, Victoria Cappezza, Jon Kenney, and Erika Kolakowski.

Recipients of the Jan Henrick Achievement Award gather at the Heritage Isles Golf and Country Club. Pictured from left to right are Victor Salgado, Tia Watson, Alton Honors, Craig Morrison, Elexus Shaw, Kayla Lunsford, Jessica Thompson, April Sapp, Amber White, Ashlyn Wasden, Ricardo Martinez, and Kevin Bohn. Photo courtesy of Sherrie Mueller


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813-759-8637 february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 13


local

Hillsborough Community College on Park Road is doing its part to stimulate the economy. Need a job or change in job? Have you been laid off? Are you unemployed? Has your employer recently cut positions or downsized? HCC has arranged for job seekers to meet surrounding-area employers at one location. A job fair will be at the campus on March 10, starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m. This event is co-sponsored by the Student Services Division, in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Work Force Alliance. A resume reviewer will be present to assist people in creating an effective and targeted resume. In light of the increase in unemployment, and the state of the economy, this event provides a unique opportunity for job seekers to meet one-on-one with multiple employers. To get ready for the event, there are several things that people can do: Develop a resume and make several copies to leave with employers, practice answering questions that may be asked, be prepared to fully discuss previous relevant experience, compile a list of questions to ask an employer, arrange for childcare, and decide on the appropriate professional attire. On a cold Jan. 31 morning, more than 120 youth participated in the Youth Fishing Derby behind Plant City Stadium. The event was organized by the City of Plant City Recreation and Parks Department and is sponsored by Landshark Charters. This is the 13th year of fishing derbies sponsored by the Recreation and Parks Department.

Twelve students from Plant City High School were honored recently and received the Jan Henrick Achievement Award. The award was established in 2002 by Jan Henrick, a guidance counselor, to recognize students who have overcome obstacles. Henrick died from complications from breast cancer in 2004. Her husband, Kevin Bohn, has continued the award in her memory. Winners of the award and their parents were guests at a dinner at the Heritage Isles Gold and Country Club in Tampa. The recipients were awarded a $150 gift card to Wal-Mart. The event was sponsored by Florida Gas and Electric Corporation, along with proceeds from the golf tournament. Winners from PCHS included Tia Watson, April Sapp, Elexus Shaw, Alton Honors, Craig Morrison, Kayla Lunsford, Jessica Thompson, Ashlyn Wasden, Amber Wilhite, Cynthia Mejia, Victor Salgado, and Ricardo Martinez. Winners will be recognized again at the school Awards Day Program in May.

At least two Plant City High School seniors will play football at the next level next season. Denzel Drone and Duran Lowe committed to play for Division 1 schools. Drone will play defensive end for Michigan State University, and Lowe will play safety for Wake Forest University. PCHS coach Jason Strunk said Drone has a large frame, and MSU will put a lot of muscle weight on that frame. Strunk also commented on Lowe, saying he is the prototypical defensive back: Lowe is big and fast, and he is not afraid to run up to the line of scrimmage and hit someone. Both seniors said the day was important to them and that they are excited.

New look • New MaNageMeNt • New Deals

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for first visit Not valid with aNy other offer. Must preseNt this ad. oNe offer per custoMer

14 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15 – march 15, 2009

609 S. ALEXANDER ST Plant City, FL 33563 813-752-8750


february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 15


local

around town

YORK VOWS TO EMPOWER YOUTH AS MISS HEART PAGEANT WINNER Sara York, a freshman at the University of Central Florida, won the ninth Miss Heart pageant. Now she looks to raise funds to help benefit children. S t o ry by S a m a n t h a C r a n d a l l

Charity, morals, and determination are often the first words that come to mind after hearing the phrase “beauty pageant.” However, for the local girls who competed in Miss Heart of Plant City, those three words are only the beginning. Plant City High School opened its doors to 17 of the area’s most wellrounded young ladies on Jan. 31, all of whom were hoping to take home

The winners at Miss Heart of Plant City are (from left to right) Caitlyn Kent, who was crowned Junior, Jaileen Borrero, who was crowned Tiny, Sara York, who won Miss Heart, and Kaylee Stallard, who was crowned Little. Photo by Billy Friend

not only the crown, but also the power to inspire from 2009’s show. The event, which was established in 2002, is primarily a scholarship pageant, as well as a preliminary to the Miss Florida Outstanding Teen pageant. If won, it can ultimately lead a young woman to a chance to compete in the famous Miss America competition. The Miss Heart pageant is broken down into categories, including Little Miss Heart, ages 5-9, Junior Miss Heart, ages 10-12, Miss Teen Heart, ages 13-17, and Miss Heart, ages 1824. Winners receive much-appreciated scholarship money provided by local businesses and companies. This year’s prizes were donated by the Red Rose Inn and Suites, Stingray Chevrolet, and Tractor World, Inc. Contestants, however, must raise funds of their own before becoming eligible to win any of the scholarships. Girls in this circuit, as well as across America, were challenged to accumulate $100 each for the Children’s Miracle Network, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of America’s youth by providing medical care, life-saving research, and preventative education. This year’s Miss Heart titleholder, University of Central Florida freshman Sara York, will be challenged to raise an additional $150 for the organization. Before she competes at the 2009 Miss Florida pageant, York will not only be required to fundraise for children, but also to mentor and empower young girls, specifically, the Little Miss titleholders. As role model and ambassador for Plant City, it is York’s duty to help these children in achieving their personal and professional goals, as well as providing a forum in which they can use their talents and intelligence to make differences in the lives of others. To do so, York must be well-spoken and aware of issues facing her nation. This shouldn’t be a problem for her, as she received accolades from continued on page 18 >

16 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009


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february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 17


local

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continued from page 16

Sara York, a freshman at the University of Central Florida, was stunned when she found out she won the ninth Miss Heart pageant. Photo by Billy Friend

the judges for her “articulation, poise, wide range of knowledge of topics, and overall interview skills,” says Kim Williams, treasurer for the Miss Heart Board of Directors. Williams, who became involved with the program after her daughter won Miss Teen Heart in 2006, is awestruck by the work that the Miss Heart titleholders accomplish. “It’s very enjoyable to get to see the girls come back later on with photos and farewell speeches each year. They are all amazing with the girls that they work with. They are so devoted to developing and helping these young ladies choose the right life paths,” she said. York surely has a myriad of positive characteristics to offer to a young girl. A skilled pianist, York wowed in the talent portion of the pageant by playing accompaniment music to a lively Spanish dance known as the Malaguena. She dreams of being a Radio City Rockette and is currently majoring in event management. She also received high marks in the evening wear, onstage walk, and swim18 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15 – march 15, 2009

suit portions of the competition, in which judges looked not for whittled waistlines, but for a young woman who displayed self-confidence and represented a healthy body image, regardless of her apparel. York’s ingenuity, charismatic demeanor, and positive influences on local youth will make her unarguably a wonderful Miss Heart. “Knowing that I have the support of my family and friends in all of my endeavors, and feeling the gratitude due to the determination in achieving my accomplishments both motivate me toward being the best I can be,” says York. For that reason, York personifies the meaning of the Miss Heart of Plant City pageant, as she helps young women find their niches in the world, making for a stronger, more confident America. To find out more information regarding the Miss Heart of Plant City pageant and sponsorship details, call Roxanne Fulwood at (813) 478-8873.

?

send questions and comments to editorial@floydpublications.com


Family Law Divorce • Alimony Child Support • Paternity Custody & Visitation Post Judgement Modifications

Personal Injury

Criminal Law Felony & Misdemeanors Domestic Violence Bond Reductions Drug Charges Assault & Battery DUIs Sealing or Expungements

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www.byrd-law.com The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based upon advertisements. Before choosing a lawyer ask for written information about the lawyer’s legal qualifications and experience.

Visit Us at the Florida Strawberry Festival

Booth 49 Located in the Roy E. Parke building

For all your Berry Gems!

www.tiptotoeplantcity.com 101 South Alexander Street

813-759-8637

february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 19


local

around town

FFA Monthly News S t o ry by C h e r y l J o h n s to n

The National FFA Organization is alive and well in eastern Hillsborough County schools. This month’s update focuses on FFA programs in three area middle schools: Marshall, Tomlin, and Turkey Creek. Harvest time provides plenty of hands-on learning activities for students at Turkey Creek Middle School. Berries are planted in the first semester and picked in the second. Advisers Michael Drake and Allison Sparkman guide approximately 200 students through the processes involved in getting the berries from field to table. Students benefit through a ticket-reward system for each clamshell container they pick. Working in the field also provides a daily berry snack. Turkey Creek students placed first in extemporaneous public speaking and in opening and closing ceremo-

nies at the district contest on Jan. 21 at the Trinkle Center. Marshall Middle School students held leadership training exercises on the same day. Adviser Melissa Raburn organized team activities to demonstrate the value of working together, listening to instruction, and following orders. Students followed up with written responses about the value of FFA. President Kade Greene said he likes “the traveling we do for the competitions and meeting new people.” Bradley Cannoles, vice president, was amazed after he joined FFA “with all I had learned preparing for competitions in land, citrus, and livestock judging.” The Treasurer Haley Smith wrote, “Leading people makes me feel good inside.” Reporter Kyle Lee enjoyed working in the club’s “field for the first semester when we each had our own

20 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

“Leading people makes me feel good inside.” —Haley Smith row of squash and zucchini.” Tiffany Eberhart, the sentinel, is challenged by the time to figure out and understand certain things, “but we officers get together and listen to each other, so we’re all on the same page.” “Leadership has more to do with the followers than the actual leader,” said Emmalisa Hunter. “When it comes to our crops, teamwork means the job is done better and faster. “ Agri-Science teachers Greg Lehman and Jason Steward coordinate Tomlin Middle School’s program. They credit the club’s leadership team for the success at district contests this month. Students such as Jamie

Townsend, Michael Watkins, Allie Joyner, Alexis Ware, Jake Maxwell, and Monica Zaccaro work together to plan meetings, practice skills, and win awards for the club. Tomlin’s FFA chapter recently placed second in the state for food science and third for its citrus team. Tomlin’s FFA members plant and harvest strawberries, cantaloupe, and citrus to earn money for club necessities. They also take seriously the challenge to promote the new license plate, which benefits the FFA Foundation, Florida Association of Agricultural Educators, and the State FFA Association. The Tomlin club has caught the vision and pursues the mission – FFA grows leaders. Note to readers: Please share your great FFA and 4-H news and club photos with FOCUS Magazine. E-mail as jpeg attachments to cherylbethjohnston@me.com by the 20th of each month.


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Paul Davis, 2008 Strawberry Queen and Court, 2009 Jr. Royalty Queen and Court, and Gary Boothe smile for the camera. Photo by Wendy Brown

THIS YEAR’S JUNIOR ROYALTY ARE… Four girls from different age groups claim their spots at the 2009 Junior Royalty Pageant. S t o ry by W e n dy S . B r o w n

Little girls are made of buttons and bows and lots of lace. Add to that: sequins, smiles, and hometown pride. At the 2009 Junior Royalty Pageant on Jan. 10, 110 girls paraded and competed to the oohs and aahs of family and friends for the chance to wear a crown and represent Plant City at the Florida Strawberry Festival. Entering Tomlin Middle School’s

auditorium to “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” the beautiful girls in chiffon and satin looked like a rainbow of purple, fuchsia, white, mint, and sea foam shades with a lot of sparkles and sashes. The audience gave an extended standing ovation as the girls floated down the aisles, amid camera flashes, to the delight of the crowd. Connie Garbalman, Jennie Cates,

22 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

Lacey Garbalman, and Erin Erkhardt served as the judges and they had their work cut out for them, as all the girls were beautiful. Carole Wright, a local CPA, tabulated the scores. So how were these adorable girls chosen? They were judged on personality, overall appearance, natural beauty, and smile. Last year’s Junior Royalty were set to give up their titles to four new, enchanting hometown beauties. 2008 Junior Royalty Queen Celeste Lewis, Princess Mylie Feaster, Duchess Selena Berrios, and Baroness Kellie Ann Kirkland treasured their royal year representing Plant City’s Florida

Strawberry Festival. These royal girls participated in the grand parade, Queen’s pageant, Little Miss Plant City pageant, Strawberry Fashion Show, and the Relay for Life. These four gracious girls splendidly entertained the spectators who anxiously awaited the top 10 in each category. Dancing to “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” the young ladies wore gray sailor suits complete with hats. Twenty-six precious 5- to 6-yearolds braved the stage for the title of baroness. Each girl wore a gorgeous knee-length dress fluffed in magical continued on next page>


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continued from page 22

Tori Wegner, who was crowned the 2009 Baroness, gets kisses from her parents, Mark and Michelle Wegner. Photo by Wendy Brown

hues. Their favorite activities ranged from gymnastics, Barbies, and princess dress-up, to writing country songs and aggravating brothers. The top 10 girls were Kiah Jackson, Tori Wegner, Savanna Hudson, Madison Hodge, Ashtyn Rogers, Gracie Gillespie, Emma Futch, Gracie Hinton, Emily Little, and Mikayla Gonzalez. All top 10 girls received red ribbons. There were 25 Duchess candidates,

Reagan Brown’s parents, Derrick and Angel Brown, are so proud of her. Photo by Wendy Brown

an adorable group of 7- to 9-year-olds who strolled across the stage. Ruffled white socks, white shoes, and hair bows accented sea blue, purple, midnight blue, and peach-colored dresses. Favorite activities ranged from softball, golf, hunting with daddy, to outsmarting the boys at school. The top 10 included Cassidy English, Imecia Holt, Jade’s Broome, Faith Nagy, Alexis Moore, Kaylee Stallard, Haley Whitmore, Reagan Brown, Ar-

continued on page 24>

Elizabeth Padilla smiles with her parents, George and Debbie Padilla. Photo by Wendy Brown

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Queen Danielle McCullough smiles with her mom. Photo by Wendy Brown

Favorite activities included flag football, texting, church missions, shopping, and paintballing. The top 10 girls were Danielle McCullough, Kelsey Brown, Tori Shepherd, Jordan Williams, Ashton Houston, Kristie McDaniel, Jordan Tucker, Olivia Higgins, Lindzy Saxon, Shala Parker, and Kelli Herndon. The excitement grew as the top 10 finalists in each division were called on stage. Part of the crowd cleared the auditorium before the final competition, which consisted of a single question: What do you like about your hometown of Plant City? Each contestant walked the stage and delivered her prepared response to the best of her ability. The responses were varied – Wal-Mart, Dance Carousel, and The Whistle Stop Café were among the favorite places. Many girls talked about family and friends. “Hometown feels like one big family,” was the response from contestant No. 27. Contestant No. 69 said her “roots run deep and life is sweet just like our berries.” Contestant No. 55 said, “The festival brings together the whole community.” Most summed up that Plant City is a friendly town that is family-centered. Tori Wegner was crowned the 2009 Baroness. Tori is a darling 5-year-old with a radiant smile and bubbly personality. Mark and Michelle Wegner

have enrolled Tori in preschool at Nativity Catholic School. Tori said she competed because she “wanted to win another trophy.” She was queen of the 2008 Baby Parade, Miss Harvest, and now Baroness. Eating strawberries and riding all the festival rides are her favorites at the fair. “Tori is quite a little daredevil when it comes to the rides,” said Michelle Wegner. The new Baroness enjoys cheer dance, taking piano lessons, flowers, eating ice cream, and enjoys anything Hannah Montana. She loves to play with her two big brothers who are 10 and 8, and extremely proud of their little sister. Tori has set her sights on being a Strawberry Queen one year. “Getting crowned like a princess was fun,” murmured Baroness Wegner. The new duchess, Reagan Brown, is 8 years old and in the second grade at Cork Elementary. Derrick and Angel Brown are very proud of their daughter, and know she will represent Plant City well. “It brought tears to our eyes because we were so proud. Tears of joy because she accomplished this on her first try out,” said Angel. Reagan wanted to compete with her friends and because her sister Kelsey was princess in 2007. “It was fun to be with friends. But the most fun was being crowned,” said Reagan. She is looking forward to riding Big Ben and possibly showing rabbits or chickens at the Strawberry Festival. The new Duchess is a Plant City Dolphin cheerleader, has taken three years of gymnastics, and is a “tomboy at heart.” Reagan’s future includes possibly competing in Little Miss Plant City and studying to be a veterinarian. Elizabeth Padilla was crowned the 2009 Princess. She is 11 years old and a sixth-grade student at Tomlin Middle School. Elizabeth enjoyed competing with her friends and is very excited about wearing the crown. After moving from Miami six years ago, continued on page 26 >


february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 25


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26 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15 – march 15, 2009

she got into modeling. She used to like gymnastics, but now participates on the Walden Lake swim team and loves all “girly things” like shopping and hanging out with her friends. Enjoying the beach and fishing with dad have given Elizabeth a healthy curiosity about the ocean. She plans on being a marine biologist and is currently researching and writing a paper about red tide. Princess Padilla can’t wait for the rides at the fair. “We couldn’t be more proud of her as parents. We just want the best for her. It didn’t matter if she won or lost,” said parents George and Debbie Padilla. Queen Danielle McCullough is a ninth-grader at Durant High School. The 14-year-old “got into the competition to show that even with tragedy in your life, you can make good things happen for yourself,” she said. The McCullough family is still reeling with their loss of Danielle’s sister. Parents Tracy and Stephanie Knox and Greg McCullough are very proud of their daughter, stating that she is a wonderful lady, has much to offer other people, and has a big heart. According to Danielle, the most fun part of the competition “was meeting different girls and expressing my thanks to the community for all they did for my family.” Danielle goes to the Strawberry

Festival with her family and walks around to see friends and enjoys the rides, great shortcake, and the entertainment. She enjoys cheerleading for Durant, loves school, and is a parliamentarian with FFA. Queen McCullough hopes to become a pediatric nurse and plans on starting a foundation to help kids that have lost a sibling. “I just want to thank my whole family for being there for me my whole life,” she said. Chairperson Donna Keel, co-chair Krystal Almon, and their wonderful staff of volunteers ran a perfect pageant of the highest quality. Jennifer Joyner and Tonya Lawson served as masters of ceremony. They were kind and considerate of each contestant while getting the best view in the house of the competition. Hometown pride in local youths and the love of family and friends were definitely evident at the 2009 Junior Royalty Pageant. Even though there were runners up in each division, there can only be one baroness, duchess, princess, and queen for 2009. All the parents should be proud for raising daughters who went beyond beauty and stood proudly for family values as they represent Plant City and young women everywhere.

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february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 27


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DATES FOR SALE The American Business Women’s Association auctioned off eight dates, raising nearly $10,000 in scholarships for local female high school students. S t o ry by S o p h i a H y d e

Before the night began, the event was full of excitement and anticipation. The American Business Women’s Association has been hosting the annual Bachelor Auction for six years now, and guests had high expectations for great entertainment before they walked in the door. As the women arrived, the bachelors meandered through the audience serving hors d’oeuvres, such as chocolate covered strawberries. The centerpieces were more than just décor. Two bottles of wine, compliments of Keel and Curley Winery, adorned each table. Raffle tickets were sold, which could be placed in the prize boxes for gifts ranging from Vera Bradley donated by Sisters and Company, to a $500 topaz necklace donated by J&G Jewelers. This way, even the married women in the crowd could walk away with a prize. This year, eight bachelors were up for auction. The entertainment began with a parade of the men taking the stage dancing to “Y.M.C.A.” by the Village People. They threw beads to women in the audience, who were dancing, clapping, and singing along. The emcees for the evening were Billy Herold and Carmen Brownlee who kept the evening alive. As each bachelor took the stage, Carmen read the bios and dates, then Billy started the auctioning. The first bachelor was offering to take his date on a cruise to the Bahamas. Bidding began for $200, and he was sold at $500. Other dates included Bok Towers, nice dinners, winery tours, a yacht excursion, and a hot air balloon ride. The bachelor who went for highest bid was Joe Keel, who sold for $800. Keel owns the Keel and Curley Winery in Plant City. The bio Brownlee read for Keel revealed he enjoys

scuba diving, fishing, boating, and playing ice hockey. He considers himself to be a good communicator, but realizes he can be too honest at times. He is friendly, caring, and full of life. His ideal woman will be nice, attractive, sweet, and fun. His bidder won a private tour of the winery followed by dinner at Columbia’s in Ybor City. Another popular bachelor of the

28 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

evening was Richard Clark. He is a retired military officer who now owns The Gallery. He enjoys boating – both power and sail – and will soon be publishing a men’s cookbook, which is dedicated to women. He considers himself to be secure and adventuresome and the first thing he notices about a woman is her posture. He likes women who are self-confident and physically and morally fit. Richard’s date included a boat ride on his power yacht to watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, followed by dinner and dancing on Harbor Island. After all the bachelors were taken, there were a couple live auctions held, including an auction for a two-night stay in a condo on Treasure Island. Then the door prizes the women raf-

fled for were awarded. “I think Billy and Carmen did a wonderful job hosting the event. The ladies all seemed to have a good time. The food was great. The venue was absolutely beautiful, and we made some money, which was the most important part of the evening,” said Lizzette Sarria, president of the ABWA Plant City Chapter. After the event was over, the estimated amount of money raised was near $9,500. The ABWA uses this money for scholarships for female high school seniors at Plant City and Durant high schools, as well as leadership and business development for women. Whether they left with a gift in hand, bottle of wine, or a bachelor, many women walked away winners.

A woman uses a bottle of Keel and Curley wine to bid on a date with Joe Keel (right), the owner of Keel and Curley Winery. Photo by Aaron Oberlin


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$40,000 AND COUNTING The United Food Bank is still collecting money from its celebrity dinner event. S t o ry by L i n d a L aw so n

Waves of deliciousness wafted through the air as renowned Chef Jon Ashton performed his culinary magic at the Trinkle Center for the Celebrity Chef Dinner, which was an event to raise money for the less fortunate. Under his tutelage, culinary arts students from the Simmons Career Center prepared baked chicken breast that was cooked to perfection and sprinkled with seasoned bread crumbs. It was served with a Swiss cheese sauce, along with vegetable rice pilaf, mixed Asian vegetables, herbed bread, and decadent desserts. The United Food Bank of Plant City played host to the fundraising event Feb. 7. More than 230 hungry

dinner guests and sponsors were wowed in the packed Hillsborough Community College banquet room. Proceeds benefited the UFB, and more than $40,000 was raised – donations are still being counted. Silvia Dodson, a four-year board member who recommended a celebrity-chef event several years ago, said, “It was a wonderful event. The chef was very personable and engaged the audience. We should do this again, but next time in a larger space due to the success of the event.” The evening opened with a VIP reception featuring local celebrity chefs, and was followed by dinner at continued on next page>


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continued from page 30

State Representative Rich Glorioso serves up one of his personally made dishes to Plant City resident Don Walden. Photo by Michele Newsome

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





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ground in catering and this event went the smoothest I have ever seen. Twenty-four students, 12 from Plant City High School and 12 from Simmons, served 234 guests in 10 minutes. “In this economic downturn, career and technical education is under attack. They receive financial cuts first. Without these schools, most of the students that would attend, enter the work force without a trade.” Rick Bunnell, manager of Albertson’s distribution center and the UFB’s former chairman, vice chairman, and board member, said, “It was an outstanding event. Nicely done. The VIP reception was held at 6 p.m. and was wonderful. “Local celebrity chefs Rich Glorioso, Dan Raulerson, Mark Ober, and Plant City High School’s coach Jason Strunk prepared their own signature dishes. During dinner, several food bank clients told their touching stories. Celebrity Chef Ashton has a tender spot for children and hunger and loves to give back to the community. He fell in love with Plant City. Overall I give the event an A rating.” For more information on the food bank, to volunteer or donate, call the UFB at (813) 764-0625.



7 p.m. Tickets went fast at $75 each. Ashton was the guest emcee and conducted his first auction. He auctioned off donated items and did a phenomenal job. The chef recognized his love for cooking very early and got started on his career path in a home economics class at school. He appears regularly on the NBC’s Today show, as well as various network shows throughout the country as he travels doing media tours and presentations. He is also the in-house chef for Relish Magazine, which boasts more than 12 million readers. Ashton was also a guest of the Culinary Arts Department at SCC on Feb. 6, at noon. Students from Durant and Plant City high schools’ culinary departments were in attendance, as well. Kenneth Melton, a culinary instructor at SCC, said, “Chef Ashton gave a cooking demonstration on how to feed a family of four for $10. He spoke to the students about taking control of their future, nutrition, and the importance of getting an education.” Melton went on to compliment the student’s performance on Saturday evening. “They prepared the entire meal at school and carted it to the Trinkle Center,” he said. “I have a back-



  

february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 31


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Brett Clancy plays the bagpipe as he enters the room of the Friends of Scouting Distinguished Citizen Dinner. Photo by Mackenzie Clark

EAGLE SCOUTS HONORED AT DINNER

father’s footsteps, said, “I look forward to the day I can call myself an Eagle Scout.” Dean Snyder, owner of Snyder Investments and Financial Services, was chosen to be the recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Citizen Award. Snyder has helped 27 boys achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, including his two sons, Adam and Brandon. He is married to his wife of 33 years, Mikie. They are members of the First United Methodist Church. Snyder paid tribute to his grandmother, who died at 98 years old, for her influence in his life. Both of his parents had passed away as mid-life, and he looked to her for the guidance that many people need from time to time from their elders. “You have people in your life who influence you. Leadership is all inspiring. If you can encourage a child, you can influence the path he is on,” said Snyder. Community and civic leaders gathered to honor Snyder for his scouting career, which includes serving as Assistant Cub Master, Assistant Scout Master, and District Finance Chair of Boy Scouts of America. He

is the current District Vice-President of Operations. Snyder and his sons were active with Troop No. 733, which was sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of Plant City. The evening began with a procession of boy and cub scouts led by Plant City’s favorite bagpipe player, Brett Clancy. Clancy is co-leader with Gary Sawyer of Troop No. 14. Carson, senior troop leader, opened the program with welcoming comments and led the flag salute. He also led the Boy and Cub scouts in their respective Oaths of Promise. Several of the city’s troops had displays of Boy Scout life and its activities. Troop No. 744, sponsored by First United Methodist Church, had a complete campsite set up with two tents and camping gear. Boy Scout handbooks, from the almost 100year history of BSA, were displayed by Troop No. 5. A patriotic display of different American flags and the ever-popular Pinewood Derby were set up by Troop No. 14. The BSA mission, scout promise, law, and purposes were displayed by Troop No. 733.

Several scouts from the Boy Scouts of America achieved Eagle Scout status. S t o ry by T r a c y C ox

Determined to communicate the heart-felt gratitude for the support given to him and other scouts of Plant City’s Boy Scout of America troops at the Friends of Scouting Distinguished Citizen Dinner, Nathan Carson intensely practiced his speech, complete with the appropriately timed hand gestures, as he paced back and forth at the rear of the Trinkle Center’s banquet room before his time to speak during the program on Feb. 3. Carson, who is not a stranger to public speaking having won the male division of the Optimist Clubs’ North Florida District Oratorical Contest on April 15, 2008, confidently conveyed the important message he had been chosen to pres-

ent on behalf of his fellow scouts. Carson, the 16-year-old son of David and Lei Ann Carson, and six other members of Troop No. 14 were recognized at the annual dinner for earning the rank of Eagle Scout, which was awarded to them on Feb. 7, at the Eagle Scout Court of Honor held by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Plant City, sponsor of the troop. The honored Eagle Scouts, including Carson, are Benjamin Abercrombie, Nathanael Cruzado, Spencer Hurst, Kenneth Kelly, Tyler Lee, and Tyler Nadwairski. Casey Hamilton, an American Legion of Plant City Troop No. 5 Life Scout, who began his scouting career as a Tiger Cub and is following in his

32 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

Several Boy Scouts from Plant City align in formation for the Friends of Scouting Distinguished Citizen Dinner. Photo by Mackenzie Clark


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february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 33


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The Rev. Henry T. Blackaby signs one of his books for an avid fan. Blackaby has sold more than a million Christianity books, not claiming a profit on any of them. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

reNOWNeD AUtHOr AND CHrIStIAN SPeAKS At tHe HCC trINKle CeNter S t o ry by t r a C y C Ox

The Rev. Norman Blanton, of the Church of God, could be thought of as a chaplain for Plant City. Marketplace Events of Florida, an organization founded and headed by Blanton, hosted a conference – Impacting Your Marketplace – on Feb. 6-7, to encourage Plant City area business leaders and church pastors to practice out their faith not only in their churches, but also in the business community. “My first focus is Plant City, my home town. Our faith does not stop at the church door on Sunday morning. We want to awaken the community to help them discover resources available for those in the marketplace,” said Blanton. The weekend event included seminars conducted by a father and son

pastoral team, the Rev. Henry and Dr. Richard Blackaby of Blackaby Ministries International. The Rev. Blackaby, co-author with his son of the book “Experiencing God,” is leading the ministry nationwide by meeting directly with Fortune 100 and 500 CEO’s to advise them on how to effectively blend their faith with their businesses. Blanton founded Marketplace Events of Florida, formerly known as Strategic Marketplace Connections, after being inspired by Blackaby, who believes that Christian business owners can make a big mark on society. The group promotes the use of religious values in the business world. It also advocates that business owners, managers, and employees adhere to their Christian values and

34 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15 – march 15, 2009

The Rev. Henry T. Blackaby spoke to hundreds of listeners at the Trinkle Center during a seminar about finding God in business markets. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

advance Christian principles in business. “Our churches have not properly equipped people to live out their faith in the marketplace. The goal is to build relationships among businesses, churches, and religious groups,” said Blanton. Blackaby, speaking to an audience of approximately 225 attendees at the opening day breakfast seminar held at the Trinkle Center, shared that he believes that God is using Christian men and women to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. The conference was attended by business leaders and pastors not only from Plant City and the Tampa Bay area, but also as far away as Naples and the East Coast. Blackaby believes that the original disciples of Jesus Christ included businessmen and that God is calling out business people in the nation today to prepare for a worldwide spiritual revival. “Jesus called 12 disciples, who

were all business men. God called Abraham, who was a business man. You are strategically placed by God in your business to carry the Gospel,” said Blackaby. The seminars were structured by Marketplace Events of Florida to address the three levels identified and represented within the marketplace. The first level includes the business leaders, the people that have been placed in their organizations by God for their base of relationships. Employees in the marketplace, the second level, are to take on a new view to represent God and be a good employee. The pastors, making up the third level, are to gain a vision for what is happening in the marketplace, equip and support the business leaders. “The event was successful. Those that came wanted to know when the next event would be held,” said Blanton. Catch more on this story on FocusTV at focusthemagazine.com


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february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 35


local

around town

PEOPLE WALK RUNWAY IN LOCAL FASHION ITEMS The Strawberry Fashion Show attracted many people to come and see locals strut their stuff in Plant City retail. S t o ry by C h r i s t i a n Va n No r d e n

It’s stars and stripes at the Strawberry Festival this year and that was certainly the case on Jan. 29 at the Strawberry Festival’s biggest kick-off event, the Strawberry Fashion Show. More than 500 people came out to gaze at some of the finest fashion Plant City had to offer at this year’s fashion show, which was themed “America’s Salute to Fashion.” Many were in attendance at the fairground’s packed show, including this year’s Strawberry Queen, Lauren Der, and the president of the festival, Gary Boothe, who kicked off the show. The afternoon began with a performance from Durant High School’s JROTC color guard, followed by some delicious cater-

ing from Southern Gourmet, topped off with an amazing crème covered strawberry cake. Smiles filled the room as friends reunited and families came together. The event was sponsored by Health Craft, who held a contest that gave the lucky winner, Louise McKinney, a state-of-the-art cookware set. “We are honored to sponsor this event again this year. It’s just such a wonderful event and we are thrilled to be part of it,” said Melissa Jenkins, national events director for Health Craft. Gift baskets were given out to a lucky guest at each of the 58 tables, and whoever had the birthday closest to July 4 took home a package filled

At the end of the Strawberry Fashion Show, many of the runway walkers took one last stroll down the catwalk. Photo by Christian Van Norden

36 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

with tea, jam, cookies, and candles. Erica Riggins of Bay News 9, who went out of her way to make the event after anchoring the morning news, hosted the ceremony. “That was so sweet of her to do for us,” said Linda Walden, general chairman for the event. “She’s amazing.” The show began and more than 70 people came out strutting their stuff on the runway in some amazing fashion items from Sisters and Company, Denise Young Boutique, Bells, and Cowboys Western World, to name a few. All of this led up to Lauren Der stepping on to the runway, looking stunning in a dress designed by Déjà Vu Upscale Boutique. “We certainly have come a long way over the years,” said Walden. “The event keeps getting bigger and better every year. It was just a wonderful day for all of us, and I thank the good Lord for keeping the rain away.” 2008 Strawberry Queen Kristen Smith made an appearance at the Strawberry Fashion Show. Photo by Christian Van Norden


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38 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

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local

around town

DUrANt HIGH SCHOOl:

StAte CHAMPS the dUrant JUniOr varSity wreStling teaM tOOk hOMe itS FirSt State ChaMpiOnShip. S t o ry by J O r d a n tO n e y

The Florida State Junior Varsity Wrestling championship trophy has a new home. After competing in a tournament with 12 other schools, Durant High School took home its first junior varsity state title. It was also the first time in the team’s history that it competed in the tournament for the championship. Eastern Hillsborough County boasts several competitive schools whose challenges from earlier in the

season helped the Cougars hone their skills on the way to the state championship. With strong area teams such as Bloomingdale, Riverview, and long-standing powerhouse Brandon High School – a team that held the record for the longest winning streak in the United States, spanning more than 30 years – at least one local team was bound to be do well at the state tournament. Kerry Beaty has coached Durant’s junior varsity team for seven

years, since the time his son, Derek, wrestled for the Cougars. Two recent graduates, Hamilton Jordan and Collin Jones, also assist during practice and workouts. Beaty, who is also the pastor of Lone Oak Baptist Church in Plant City, said credit goes to a “great group of young men and incredible parental support” for the team’s climb to the top this season. Central High School in Hernando County played host to 12 teams that achieved finals on Jan. 31, along with a crowd of supportive parents and fans. The Cougars not only captured the state junior varsity trophy, but also four individual titles. The winners include freshman Louie Tur, sophomore Brandon Booher, junior CJ Mazur, and sophomore Daivonte Lumpkin. Lumpkin, also a Cougar football player, was persuaded to join the wrestling team this year by other

football teammates. He enjoys the challenges of wrestling and said that serious competition “demands physical endurance, flexibility, and strength, combined with mental determination. Wrestling is a much tougher sport than most people realize.” Mazur, another of the individual champions, now practices with the varsity squad. He credits the coaches for his success and commitment to the sport, saying, “I wouldn’t be where I am today as a student and a wrestler if it weren’t for my coaches. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I love the team, the long practices, and the inspiration.” The state championship title has raised the bar of expectations for the junior varsity and varsity teams for next season. Both teams look ahead to the coming year, which will bring increased expectations, added experience, and high morale.

The Durant High School junior varsity wrestling team proudly holds up its first state championship trophy. Photo by Stephanie Farmer

40 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15 – march 15, 2009


february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 41


local

chamber column

THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OFFERS A LOT TO BUSINESSES S u b m i t t e d by B r uc e Ro d w e l l

Membership Director Susan Wilson is often asked, “Why should I join the chamber?” or, “What does the chamber do for me?” Let’s take a look at these scenarios. The Chamber offers its members the following: Referrals, lobby display, member lists, networking opportunities, community involvement, affordable advertising, community recognition, a great membership directory, the chamber Web site, and a community voice. Did you know that out-of-the-area businesses call the chamber for information about Plant City? The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce has put together a great relocation package that is sent to firms that are looking to relocate. The vision of the chamber is to foster the development of activities leading to an enhanced overall community pride and quality of life. It is responsive and proactive to the busi-

ness community. The Chamber’s Economic Development Council actively seeks and develops opportunities for economic growth, as well as proactively influencing governmental activities, which impact the local, economic, and civic environments. Each week, the chamber sends out an e-Flash to its members listing the events that will be taking place. These are just a few things the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce does for its members. Anyone who has a business or is interested in the future of Plant City, call Susan Wilson at the chamber office at 813754-3707. ······················································· There is an over-60 softball group forming in Plant City. John Wolfe wants to hear from men who are 60 years old and older and interested in playing softball at the Randy Larson Four-Plex next to Plant City Stadium.

Sensenich…right on the nose Plant City Propeller Manufacturer Maintains its Place in America’s Aviation Industry. S t o r y by F e l i x H ay n e s

Based on creative childhood fun and the barnstorming days of early American aviation, Plant City’s Sensenich Wood Propeller Company can still be found, as its corporate slogan says, “right on the nose.” In the 1920s, teenagers Harry and Martin Sensensich annoyed their Pennsylvania neighbors, scared horses, beat all the farm wagons into town, and satisfied their need for speed with their propeller-driven “wind wagon.” When the adults put an end to their highway hi-jinks, they attached their engine and wood propeller to an ice sled and set speed records on the frozen Susquehanna

River. Childhood games evolved into a family business when the Sensenich brothers founded the Sensenich Propeller Manufacturing Company in 1932. The business thrived during the Depression by supporting the growing aviation industry. They made propellers in the Sensenich family’s barn. World War II military contracts allowed the company to expand from a barn to a real factory, and the Sensenich brothers became the largest manufacturer of wooden propellers for light aircraft. Over time the company expanded its product line to include aluminum

42 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

Anyone interested can call Wolfe at 813-754-8649. ······················································· Don’t forget the annual CITIZEN OF THE YEAR luncheon, which is being held this year on Feb. 18, at the Red Rose Inn and Suites. Starting time for this event is 11:30 a.m. Call Matt Buzza for additional details at 813-752-6193 extension 202. ······················································· The chamber’s BUSINESS AFTER HOURS is being held Feb. 19, at FOCUS Magazine’s building at 101 East J. Arden Mays Boulevard. Starting time is 5:15 p.m., and this event goes on till 7 p.m. This presents a great opportunity to meet the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce members, as well as a networking opportunity. ······················································· There is a move to establish a Dog Park in Walden Lake. Residents can purchase a paver for $100 and help pave the way toward the construction of the park, which is scheduled to open sometime later this year. The committee has also sched-

uled a golf tournament to help raise money for the park. This event will take place at the Walden Lake Golf and Country Club on Feb. 20. Call Angie Inzerillo at 813-230-4453 for details and to register to play. ······················································· On Feb. 21, the STRAWBERRY CLASSIC CAR SHOW show will take place in downtown Plant City. This wonderful family event starts at 4 p.m. and continues till 9 p.m. Come on out and look at all the fancy automobiles. ······················································· Are you ready for the 74th FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL? This Plant City tradition dates back to 1930, when the Plant City Lions Club conceived the idea. This is a celebration of the bountiful harvest of the strawberry crop, which now totals more than 8,000 acres in Plant City. Whatever interests people may have, they can find it at the festival. Exhibits of agriculture, commerce, industry, livestock, fine arts, horticulture, and crafts await patrons. What could be more American

propellers and airboat propellers. In 1993, Sensenich moved its wood propeller plant to 2008 Wood Court, Plant City, to capture a larger share of the Florida airboat market. The move paid off, as one-third of the company’s business is in airboat propellers, and another third comes from certified and experimental aircraft. With the growing use of unmanned, propeller-driven aircraft by the United States military, the Sensenich Company has returned to its military roots and sells one-third of its propellers to the U. S. government. The remaining 10 percent of the company’s business is in repairing airboat and aircraft props. Donald Rowell, general manager at Sensenich, clearly enjoys describing the products his plant produces. For the wooden part of its business, Sensenich uses birch wood. “Wood,” Rowell said, “is the leastexpensive suitable material, with a good strength-to-weight ratio. It’s

Sensenich General Manager Donald Rowell shows the latest propeller to come off the company’s Plant City production line. Photo by Erin Givens


local

chamber column

than coming to the festival and eating luscious strawberry shortcake? This is one of the best entertainment bargains in North America. There is a great midway, all the food one could eat, demonstrations, and great entertainment. Admission tickets can be purchased at Sweetbay Supermarkets for $8, saving $2 off the gate price. And Sweetbay will be selling those tickets right through the last day of the festival, which closes March 8. The festival parade will take place March 2, at 1 p.m. Be sure to stop by the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce booth and say hello. ······················································· On Feb. 21, St. Clement Catholic Church will hold a fundraising event for the Plant City Multiple Sclerosis committee. Entitled MARDI GRAS EXTRAVANGANZA, the doors open at 5:30 p.m. at Cronin Hall at the Church, 1104 N. Alexander St. For tickets and additional information, call Carol Rodriguez at 813727-5214. ·······················································

On Feb. 28 and March 1, KEEL AND CURLEY WINERY will hold an Arts and Crafts Festival at the winery, which is located at 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road. The hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Call Amanda Dixon at 813-752-9100 for additional details. ······················································· Ever been to a chamber BIKE FEST? This is a fun-filled, family event. There are all sorts of vendors, great entertainment, 50-50 raffles, and plenty of great motorcycles. The next one takes place in Historic Downtown Plant City on March 7. The fun starts at 5 p.m. and continues till 9 p.m. Come and bring the family. There is no admission charge, and it guarantees to be a great time. ······················································· On March 17, ST. PETER’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH will present a program entitled “Lenten Choral Evensong.” The program starts at 4 p.m. Call Eleanor Taylor at 813-7525061 for additional details. ······················································· During the fall food drive, which is continued on page 44>

This Sensenich propeller logo soars at the top of its plant wall at 2008 Wood Court. Photo by Erin Givens

lightweight and easy to install.” The Plant City operation also manufactures carbon fiber propellers for airboats and aircraft. “The level of technology in Sensenich’s carbon fiber propellers is considerably higher than that of wooden propellers,” said Rowell. “Though the manufacturing process Sensenich uses is similar to that of other companies, it includes some trade secrets that make Sensenich’s process unique.” The pitch, the angle at which the propeller blade strikes the air, in Sensenich’s carbon fiber propellers is ground-adjustable. “Airboat props,” explains Rowell, “probably only need to be adjusted once, but

airplane propellers can be adjusted from the ground to emphasize speed or efficiency.” America’s third oldest propeller company has been a member of The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce since 1996, and Rowell recently trained as a barbecue judge on the chamber’s Pig Jam judging team. The company’s 23 workers made 6,000 propellers last year, generating nearly $5 million in sales. Sensenich propellers have flown on the nose of many airplanes that fly over Plant City, but the company is not flying under the radar in the aviation industry.

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february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 43


local

chamber column

conducted by the United Food Bank of Plant City, area school students contributed 29,189 pounds of food. Congratulations to all the students who helped. Please remember to support this nonprofit organization. In these tough economic times, they really need help with food and money donations. Call 813-764-0625 for information on how to contribute. ······················································· A date to put on the calendar: April 18. That is the date of the 2009 RAINBOW BALL. Entitled “A Night of Mystique,” this gala event will take place at the Red Rose Ballroom. Sponsorships are available. Call Jodi Smith at 813-757-8574 or email her at jodi.smith@baycare.org. ······················································· REMEMBER TO SUPPORT THE GREATER PLANT CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEMBERS. SHOP AND PATRONIZE THE BUSINESSES WITH THIS SIGN: MEMBER GREATER PLANT CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

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44 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

Fairfield Inn and Suites Cindy Robinson, General Manager 4307 Sterling Commerce Drive (813) 757-6202 www.marriott.com/tpapc

Physicians Weight Loss Center J.L. Richter, M.D. & his wife Peggy Richter 605 East Alexander Street (813) 719-3600


february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 45


local

around town

Since 1977, the Child Abuse Council has been working to stop the abuse that is occurring, prevent abuse before it occurs, and rebuild the child and family after abuse, according to the organization’s Web site. Through its programs, parents receive hands-on training, support, and the information needed to face the many challenges and pleasures of raising healthy, happy, and welladjusted children. The council says Hillsborough County ranks among the highest regions in the state for reported and confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect. The treatment programs offered by the council were created in direct response to the needs of these children and families. According to the CAC, “When we fail to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect, we all suffer.” Some of the programs offered in the Plant City area are:

Jodi Smith, Child Abuse Council co-chair, makes an announcement at the Night of Mystique party, which took place on the deck of Keel and Curley Winery. Photo by Sophia Hyde

VIP PARTY HONORS THOSE WHO SPONSOR a program that combats child abuse S t o ry by L i n d a L aw so n

The night was draped in a black, velvety sky, with brilliant stars piercing the darkness. The air was frosty and crisp as guests clad in elegant, casual attire strolled along at Plant City’s Keel and Curley Winery. On Jan. 9, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., past sponsors and potential sponsors were honored by the Child Abuse Council. They sipped on sweet strawberry, key lime, mango, and blackberry wines and munched on delicious hors d’oeuvres. Each attendee was given passports to visit information stations that were set

up, featuring existing and future services provided by the council. Once they had visited all the stations, they were entered in a drawing for fabulous prizes. “We wanted to thank all our past sponsors, invite our potential sponsors, as well as those local elementary principals, guidance counselors, youth ministers, and ministers in our area,” said Jodi Smith, council cochair. “We currently have a Rainbow [Family Learning] Program here in Plant City, but we are expanding our services to better our community.”

46 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

Kids on the Block (In Elementary Schools): An educational puppet program that teaches elementary children how to say no to abuse. Parents as Teachers: An early childhood parent education and family support program that uses certified parent educators to teach expectant or new parents about their child’s development through home visitations and group activities. Healthy Start: A home visitation program that provides mothers, newborns, and families with the resources, support, and help they need A belly dancer provided some of the entertainment at the Night of Mystique party. Photo by Sophia Hyde

to develop healthy pregnancies and happy babies from birth to age 5. Expanding into Plant City: FRANC (Fathers Resource and Networking Center): It is composed of several things including Boot Camp for Dads, Nurturing Dads, and Dad’s Dinners, supporting help for fathers to learn good parenting techniques. Baby Bungalow: The Bungalow offers parent support groups, infant massage classes, and child developmental workshops. CPR classes and a variety of other services are also available. “The Annual Rainbow Ball will be held Saturday, April 22. Sunshine State Federal Savings and Loan is the presenting sponsor and has been for many years. The theme is ‘A Night of Mystique,’ which will feature Moroccan decorations, belly dancers, and an appearance from Busch Garden’s Mystic Sheiks of Morocco Band, said Shannon Sellards, the CAC’s special events coordinator. “The council is looking to purchase a building so we can house the new programs into Plant City.” The Child Abuse Council is seeking sponsors for the event, as well as auction items for live and silent auctions. Please call Jodi Smith for further information at (813) 757-8574, or visit the council’s Web site at www. childabusecouncil.com.


Law offices of Joseph M. Williams, P.A. Joseph M. Willams ATTornEy AT LAW

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www.gtefcu.org Visit us at 2201 James L. Redman Parkway in Plant City or any one of our 37 branches. february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 47


local

around town

Melissa Jay Tomlin’s Teacher of the Year. S t o ry by Ruc h e l l e O w e n s

The youngest of seven children, Melissa Jay grew up in an environment of inquiry. She remembers that her parents held very high standards and raised all of their children to be independent adults who were “going to be something special, someday, in their own way.” Inspired by the passionate caring of her teachers and family, Jay graduated from Ohio University in 1992 with a degree in math education. Having been divorced during her senior year in college and with three young girls, it took her 10 years to earn the degree, as she never put her daughters in daycare. Tired of the climate, Jay packed up her “children and books” and headed to Florida, where her mother was living. She began teaching at Sligh Middle School in Tampa and purchased a home in Plant City. Jay transferred to Tomlin in 2002 and has been there ever since. She has been a team leader and was math subject area leader for three years. Currently, she teaches pre-algebra and honors algebra to 8th graders. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, she arrives at school early to tutor students taking the Duke SAT Online course, and stays late to tutor any student in math. She was also a co-founder of the Family Math Night, which has grown into the annual FCAT Night, encompassing all curriculums. Jay is presently working on her master’s degree, after a four-year

48 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

Photo submitted by Melissa Jay

hiatus needed to take care of her mother, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s. However, she says that preparing for National Board certification was her “most rigorous professional undertaking to date.” Only one-third of the candidates are certified; Jay earned her certification, joining only four other teachers at Tomlin to hold that distinction. Last November, she was chosen by her peers to be Tomlin’s Teacher of the Year. Despite all of her accomplishments, Jay has yet to complete her education. “I still have a lot of growing to do,” she said. “There are so many books to read, places to travel [to], and kids to teach.”


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february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 49


local

around town

MARCHING TO A TUNE

The Second Time Arounders Marching Band marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last year. Photo courtesy of Kim McCullers

50 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

Anyone who watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last year may have seen the Awesome Original Second Time Arounders Marching Band, which is based out of St. Petersburg. Plant City viewers may even have caught a glimpse of someone they have seen around town. Kim McCullers of Plant City played trumpet, while Donna Ashley of Dover and Sandra High of Antioch, both Plant City High School graduates, carried the band’s title banner. After months of practice and anticipation, they were excited to participate in one of the world’s most famous parades. According to the band’s Web site, the band is a group consisting of former high school, college, and military marching band members. Members range in age from 18 to 85 years old and come from all over Florida and the southeastern U.S. The band mixed business with pleasure, enjoying New York City at holiday time while maintaining a rigorous parade schedule. After arriving on two chartered airliners, the band held its final practice in a Newark, N.J. armory on Wednesday evening. Next, it was off to Manhattan on buses at 1:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. After a 3 a.m. dress rehearsal at the television performance zone in front of Macy’s on Broadway, they went to Planet Hollywood in Times Square for an early morning breakfast. Continuing to the parade staging area on Central Park West, band

members stood for several hours in near freezing temperatures among celebrity performers, floats, and giant balloons, awaiting their time to join the parade. Finally, around 9:45 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, the band set off on a three-mile march down Broadway, passing more than 2 million cheering spectators along the way. In front of Macy’s, the band delivered a knockout performance, prompting NBC television host Al Roker to say, “I love this band.” “It was both the most demanding and most rewarding parade I’ve been a part of,” said McCullers, who developed her affinity for marching in a band as the drum major at Southeast High School in Bradenton in the late 1970s. For years, she had wanted to resume playing her trumpet and when she discovered the “Rounders,” as they call themselves, she jumped at the chance to join. Ashley and High were classmates at Plant City High School and have known each other since they were 8 years old. After participating in the Plant City Christmas Parade for years, a friend suggested they join the Rounders in 2007. Both women say they had a great time in New York City and have greatly enjoyed being a part of the band. McCullers said she would like to find others interested in forming a community band in Plant City. Anyone who is interested, please e-mail kmccullers@iqidsales.com.

Sandra Hyde, Donna Ashley, and Kim McCullers get together after the Santa Parade in St. Petersburg. Photo courtesy of Kim McCullers


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february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 51


local history

did you know

GLADYS JEFFCOAT TO RECEIVE HERITAGE AWARD AT PLANT CITY PHOTO ARCHIVES ANNUAL GALA S u b m i t t e d by P l a n t C i t y P h o to A r c h i v e s

Ed Verner, Plant City Photo Archives president, announced that Gladys Jeffcoat, a Plant City photographer for longer than 45 years, will be honored with the Heritage Award at the Photo Archives annual gala March 26, at the Red Rose Ballroom. Noting Jeffcoat’s extensive career as a professional photographer, Verner said her work chronicled the history and heritage of Plant City since she first started in photography in 1941, at the age of 16. Gil Gott, executive director of the Photo Archives, said that in addition to her photography, Jeffcoat was active in the preservation of the area’s history and heritage through her work with the East Hillsborough Historical Society, of which she was a founding member and long-term board member. She was also active in the preservation of the 1914 Plant City High School and was on the board of the Arts Council of Plant City, working with its efforts in sav-

ing the historic 1908 Union Station from destruction. In 1985 Gladys was named Woman of Achievement by the Plant City Business and Professional Women’s Club. The Heritage Award, presented to an outstanding citizen for his or her role in the preservation of the community’s history and heritage, was instituted in 2004 and has been presented to six honorees to date. Previous recipients of the Heritage Award are David E, Bailey, Jr. (2004), James L. Redman (2005), Robert S. Trinkle (2006), Bryan “Mac” Smith (2007), Betty Barker Watkins (2007), and Dr. Hal Brewer (2008). This year’s Heritage Award will be presented at the Photo Archives 7th Annual “Evening of Picture Perfect Memories,” on March 26, at the Red Rose Ballroom, beginning with a champagne reception at 6:30 p.m. The evening also includes a grand exhibit of Gladys Jeffcoat’s photography throughout the years, a video

Dan Raulerson, Mac Smithn and Dr. Hal Brewer receive an award in 2008. Photo courtesy of the Photo Archives

52 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

Amanda and Ed Verner smile with Jodi and Linda Smith. Photo courtesy of the Photo Archives

display, live music by the Florida Southern College Jazz Combo, a sumptuous hors d’oeuvres buffet, complimentary wine and beer with a cash bar, a complimentary photo corner sponsored by Sunshine State Federal, and a gift shop table. Verner said City Commissioner Dan Raulerson would again serve as master of ceremonies, and Dr. Hal Brewer would present the Heritage Award along with Ed Verner and Gil Gott. The attendees will also enjoy a video about Gladys Jeffcoat created by Steve Smith. Hosts for the evening include Anne Haywood, Marsha Passmore, Linda Smith, Mary Jane Parolini, Jodi Smith, Maida Pou, Lynn Brewer, Sally Verner, Ruby Jean Redman, Candy Owens, Amanda Verner, Ann Owens, David and Alise Sollenberger, Vicki Hawthorne, Peggy Smith, Dean and Mikie Snyder, Doug Gibbs and Carole Wright, Lou Baird, and Bill and Gwen Thomas. The photographer for the evening will be David L. Patton. Plant City Photo Archives, Inc. was organized and incorporated in 2000. Its mission is to preserve the history and heritage of the greater Plant City community by collecting and preserving the community’s historic photographs. The Photo Archives also strives to collect and record the stories that wrap around the photographs, and to make the photographs and stories available to

the public through exhibits and publications. The Photo Archives maintains an office and an exhibit gallery at 119 North Collins St., in downtown Plant City. The gallery is open to the public at no charge Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The organization is a museum of historic photographs and also provides exhibits for schools, libraries, area businesses, the chamber of commerce, and civic groups and organizations. The Photo Archives annual gala, “An Evening of Picture Perfect Memories,” was first held in 2003 at the Plant City Campus of Hillsborough Community College and has been held at the Red Rose Inn and Suites for the past several years. The theme of this year’s event is “History in Focus” and celebrates the photographic career of Gladys Jeffcoat. The evening begins with a champagne reception at 6:30 p.m. in the Red Rose Ballroom at the Red Rose Inn and Suites at 2011 North Wheeler St. The price is $85 per person for non-members and $75 per person for members of the Photo Archives. Attire is black-tie-optional. Reservations may be made by calling the Photo Archives at 813-754-1578 or e-mailing candy@plantcityphotoarchives. org, or check the Web site at www. plantcityphotoarchives.org.


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A Farm Boy at Heart Joe Newsome may have been a pharmacist by vocation, but his heart has always been in farming. Interview by Brian West Photos by Suzanne Gallagher and courtesy of the Plant City Photo Archives


Newsome is no stranger to Plant City. He’s lived here his entire life and has poured his heart and soul into making Plant City, and the surrounding area, a better place to live. Newsome recently spent some time talking about his family, the pharmacy he owned and operated, and his love of agriculture. Joe Newsome stands with Shorty Brown in 1978.

FOCUS: “I KNOW YOU’RE FROM PLANT CITY, BUT HOW MANY GENERATIONS?” Newsome: “I’m not sure on the Boothe side, but on the Newsome side I’m the fifth generation. The Boothe side, my mother’s side, could be seven. We’ve been around here for a long time.” FOCUS: “WHAT DID YOUR PARENTS DO FOR A LIVING?” Newsome: “They were strawberry farmers. They would start out the year with cabbage, then grow strawberries, and then finish out the year with hot peppers. My daddy was kind of the hot pepper king. My wife,Velma, says she doesn’t know why I went to pharmacy school, that I should have been a farmer.” FOCUS: “DO YOU HAVE ANY SIBLINGS?” Newsome: “Yes, I have one sister, Barbara McIntosh.” FOCUS: “TELL ME ABOUT YOUR IMMEDIATE FAMILY.” Newsome: “My wife, Velma, is from Lakeland. She is the daughter of a Baptist preacher. I grew up at Bethany Baptist next to Cork Elementary and her

father came there as our pastor. She graduated high school the year I graduated from college. We dated for about a year and a half and got married. Dee was our first child. She has a master’s degree in education and teaches at J.S Robinson. Katie was our second child and she also has a master’s degree in education, but she’s not teaching right now. Our third child, Dennis, got his doctorate from the University of South Florida and did his residency as an anesthesiologist at the University of Florida. And we have eight grandchildren. I lived with a man in college who changed my life. I grew up as a poor farm boy, really. When I got to college, I needed a job. A professor in the College of Education gave me a job and took me under his wing. He lived with his mother and they didn’t usually allow undergraduates to live with them, but they took a liking to me. He was someone who really didn’t have any family and he helped out a lot of boys. All he really wanted was to see you work hard. He was the person who taught me the value of an education. My son, Dennis, is named after my father. His name was Dennis but everyone called

him Duck. The man I knew in college was named Hazen, so Dennis’s middle name is Hazen.” FOCUS: “GROWING UP ON A FARM, WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN PHARMACY?” Newsome: “You know, I don’t know what it was about my mother and daddy. Neither one of them graduated from high school, but they always encouraged me and my sister to go to college. I was pretty good in math and science and I was really going to be a dentist. When I got to the University of Florida, it hit me one day that I’m lefthanded, and I’ve never known a left-handed dentist. Myrle Henry lived in the same house where I was, which was really a poor boys’ house – it wasn’t a fraternity house. The courses that you take at first were the same, so I started taking some pharmacy courses and I was intrigued with it. I interned with Shorty Brown and the day I went to work with him was the first time I’d worked in a pharmacy. Shorty already had the store. He opened it in 1954. I graduated college in 1963. I worked with him for a while and eventually partnered with him. The store was called

Brown’s Prescription Center until we changed the name to Brown and Newsome’s Prescription Center. When Shorty decided to retire, I bought him out. I retired and sold the store about 10 years later.” FOCUS: “HOW TOUGH WAS THE ORGANIC CHEMISTRY CLASS?” Newsome: “The year before I took it, the students were dropping out like flies. At one time I had five labs, so I was in the lab every afternoon. They would let students come into the lab on Saturdays to make up work, so sometimes I was in the lab six days a week, so I thought I would never pass organic chemistry. I had the professor who was teaching organic chemistry as my freshman chemistry teacher, and he was a real jerk. As luck would have, and I thank the Lord, another professor came to the school, and they gave organic chemistry to him. I took the class and made an A.” FOCUS: “BUT ALL THE WHILE YOU KEPT AN INTEREST IN FARMING?” Newsome: “Yes. While I was working as a pharmacist, I


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759-1044 1309 S. Collins. Street, Suite 303 february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 57


“I have always loved the festival. As a kid, I had $5 to go to the festival. It was always a great day. I’m grateful to have been a part of it for so many years. The festival represents a great community, great people and their hard work.” —Joe Newsome couldn’t grow strawberries because they require so much everyday work, so I started buying orange groves. Oranges are much less work. I could work in the grove for a day and then leave it alone for a week. When I’d buy a grove, I’d put in a good irrigation system in with microjets. I did a lot of the work in the groves myself.” FOCUS: “WHEN DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD?” Newsome: “In 1978. Carl Carpenter and Jim Redman were the ones who encouraged me. Carl had been working at the drugstore. He had a store and sold it, and then started working with us. He was a school board member and I went to a few meetings with him. He decided to run for the county commission. I was already serving on the board for South Florida Baptist Hospital with Jim Redman. So I spoke with Jim about it and he encouraged me to run, and I served for 24 years. I have the second longest tenure of anyone who has served on the board. I had too much at one time. I was working the pharmacy, chairman of the hospital board, serving on the school board, serving on the board for the Florida Strawberry Festival, working 60 acres of oranges, and trying to do a little at church. I’ve always been high energy. I can’t be still, but I’m wearing out a little now, but I’ve enjoyed it all.”

FOCUS: “HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL?” Newsome: “I did a lot of work at the hospital, and Jim Redman and I were very close. Jim was on the festival board along with Roy Parke, who was also a good friend. I knew many of the others on the board and one day they elected me to the festival board. Roy took me on the Entertainment Committee and 29 years later, I’m still on it today.” FOCUS: “CAN YOU SHARE SOMETHING INTERESTING YOU’VE EXPERIENCED IN YOUR YEARS WORKING WITH THE ENTERTAINMENT COMMITTEE?” Newsome: “I think one of the most interesting things I could share is that we had Glen Campbell booked one year. We got a call from his agent saying that Glen had an opportunity to go to Europe and wanted to know if we’d release him from his contract. We said sure, but it created an opening that we had to fill. Then we got a call one day from Nashville, and the fellow says, ‘I’ve got this young entertainer. Would you be interested in booking him for the festival? His name is Garth Brooks.’ “At that time, big money was about $40,000 for two shows. And we had just blown it with Clint Black. I think Clint wanted $25,000, but we turned him down because he was just putting out an album. We have to book the

58 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15 – march 15, 2009

this year, and if it goes well we may look into building something permanent. I’d love to see a thousand-seat air conditioned arena before I go.”

Joe Newsome in 1962

acts so far in advance that by the time we went to Las Vegas in November, Clint had already had four No. 1 hits. So when we got that call for Garth, I remember answering the phone in the pharmacy and calling Velma to see what she knew about him. She said, ‘You better get him.’ It paid off for us. We could have gotten him back the following year, but it would have been a ‘Garth Brooks Day’ and would have ruined that day at the festival. We want good entertainment, but we don’t want the festival to just be about the entertainment. We don’t want to get away from our farming roots. You know, we moved the livestock tent to a new location

FOCUS: “WHAT DOES THE STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL MEAN TO YOU?” Newsome: “I have always loved the festival. As a kid, I had $5 to go to the festival. It was always a great day. I’m grateful to have been a part of it for so many years. The festival represents a great community, great people and their hard work. Having always loved country music, I would not take anything for the opportunity I’ve had to serve on the Entertainment Committee.” Newsome is always a pleasure. Even after being retired for many years, he still seems to have more energy than most of the people around him and runs from task to task throughout each day. He remains active in the community, but now has a little more time for his wife and family.


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BUSINESS FOCUS

Working to Make You Smile Dentist Pat Almerico opens a new office. Dr. Pat Almerico does a routine cleaning on a calm patient. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

60 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

If you’re looking for a dentist in town, Pat Alermico’s practice may be just for you. Almerico has been practicing dentistry in Plant City for more than 20 years, and has just opened in a new office on North Alexander Street, directly across from the fire station No. 2. Almerico has a history of dentistry in his family tree. His great grandfather was also a dentist, but the education requirements were different back then. His great grandfather graduated high school and went to college to pursue a degree in dentistry. He had a practice in Georgia for a while, and then went back to school to get a law degree, and eventually moved to Florida. Almerico admits that he didn’t know his great grandfather and wasn’t influenced by him, but said, “It’s neat that he was a dentist.” Almerico graduated high school in 1972 and applied to dental schools in the northeast, and to the University of Southern California. Almerico said, “Dental schools were much more limited in the 1980s than they are today, and most of them were in the northeast.” He ultimately decided on the University of Pennsylvania and graduated a few years later. Upon graduation, Almerico worked for another practice and just a few years later ventured out on his own in 1987, opening an office located in one of the spaces next to Beef O’Brady’s, in the southeast corner of Alexander Street and Jim Redman Parkway. Almerico spent the past 20 years there, but now has a new office at 704 North Alexander St. About five years ago, Almerico bought the property for the new location. Construction began in June of 2008, and he closed his old office just before the holidays to reopen the new location the first week of January. After the first few weeks in the


BUSINESS FOCUS The new office of Dr. Pat Almerico, DDS is located at 704 N. Alexander St., between Baker Street and I-4. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

The staff at Dr. Pat Almerico, DDS is friendly and excited to help its customers. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

“Dental schools were much more limited in the 1980s than they are today, and most of them were in the northeast.” – Dr. Pat Almerico new location, Almerico says they are beginning to see business pick up, and clients are finding the new location, so the business is growing. Almerico offers general dentistry to his patients: Fillings and periodontal care, crown and bridge, root canals, extractions and surgical extractions, partials and removable prosthetics. He has an experienced and capable staff that includes Manager Cyndi Jones, Receptionist Louis Bruischat, Hygenist Beverly Larson, and Chairside Assistants Jackie Lookadoo and Darlar McKenny. Now he is looking to hire an associate orthodontist to round things out. Building the practice is a focus for Almerico, so he hired a medical management group to help guide him. He also believes in offering good customer service and a patient-friendly atmosphere. In fact, Almerico likes to say that he

Beverly Larson, a dental hygienist, discusses a teenager’s X-ray chart with her. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

wants people to come to him as patients, but leave as friends. To continue with that philosophy, Almerico understands why so many people don’t like to go to the dentist – because they associate the dentist with pain, even through something as simple as a cleaning. Realizing it can be a traumatic and negative experience for patients, Almerico has what he calls a Gentle Hygiene Team. They get the work done, but are very careful not to hurt the patient in the process. This alone should entice those who may be overdue for a visit to the dentist to give them a try. If you’re looking for a new dentist, or maybe just haven’t been to the dentist in a while, then give Pat Almerico and his staff an opportunity to serve you. Who knows, you may leave their office as a friend, too. february 15 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 61


business & finance Business Profile like, they can just ask one of my employees,” said Sarria, whose personal favorite dessert has always been the hot fudge Sunday. No matter what a person’s favorite dessert is, Dairy Queen can supply it. The staff does special orders, such as Blizzard custom cakes, custom milkshakes, custom topics, and much more. “We do whatever we can to make the treats according to our customers taste,” said Sarria. Not only can Dairy Queen make custom treats, but it also serves Cuban sandwiches. Sarria said when her grandfather opened this Dairy Queen, “it used to serve the only Cubans in town”. According to Sarria, her Dairy Queen is a nice place to enjoy family and have a “feel-good experience.” Not only does she provide quality service to her customers, she also gives back to the community. On Aug. 7, she participated in Miracle Day, which gave all proceeds, from Blizzards sold, to the Children’s Hospital. Sylvia Miley, 57, has been going to the local Dairy Queen for more than 40 years. She said she remembered when she was in forth grade she used to go to

Dairy Queen with her family. “I used to have to use the little steps to reach the counter,” Miley said. “I remember when I used to order my favorite: Vanilla milkshake.” Miley said four generations of her family have been coming to the same Dairy Queen. “I can’t believe that after so many years I still come here, and so do my siblings and their children,” said Miley. Sarria’s goals for the future are to keep up with the changing time, while not compromising the history of the business. She also wants to have dedication days for surrounding schools, business, etc. Above all, she wants to find more ways to give back to the Plant City community. “I have a few ideas in progress that will benefit everyone,” said Sarria. “My grandfather and father have always found a way to reward our customers.”

Dairy Queen 1902 W. Reynolds St. Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 752-2236

Manager Mary Mitchell and owner Lizzette Sarria enjoy working at the local Plant City Dairy Queen. Photo by Krystel Knowles

A SWEET STAPLE The local Dairy Queen has been at the same location for several decades. S t o ry by K r y s t e l K n o w l e s

Lizzette Sarria is the new owner of the local Plant City Dairy Queen, a business that has been in her family for more than 40 years. The first owner was her grandfather. Her grandfather traveled from Cuba to Plant City and in 1960 opened the long-lasting Dairy Queen. Afterwards, Sarria’s father became the new owner and started to teach her the tricks of the trade. She slowly got more involved, and now she is following her family’s footsteps. “It is a tradition, people have been

coming here for generations,” Sarria said. “There are many people who still remember my grandfather.” She said it was very easy for her to learn about the financial aspect of running a business because she is very familiar with accounting, and unlike many other businesses, she lets all her employees indulge themselves with all the treats, and as often they want. “I let my employees eat as much as they want because if a customer wants to know what something tastes

62 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • february 15 – march 15, 2009

Sylvia Miley has been a customer at Dairy Queen for more than 40 years. Photo by Krystel Knowles


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business & finance

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Do you regularly contribute to a Traditional IRA? If so, you’re taking an important step toward building financial resources for retirement. But it’s possible that you could take an even bigger step— by converting your IRA to a Roth IRA. And you may have two especially good opportunities to make this conversion in 2009 and 2010. Before we examine why this may be so, let’s take a quick look at the differences between a Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. Depending on your income level, your contributions to a Traditional IRA may be tax deductible; regardless of your income, your earnings grow tax deferred. With a Roth IRA, your contributions are never deductible, but your earnings grow tax free, provided you’ve had your account for at least five years and you don’t start taking withdrawals until you’re 59-1/2. However, if your modified adjusted gross income exceeds certain levels ($120,000 per year if you’re single and $176,000 per year if you’re married and filing a joint return), you can’t contribute to a Roth IRA. Here’s another distinction between the two types of IRAs: With a Traditional IRA, you must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) when you reach 701/2. But if you own a Roth IRA, you are never required to take distributions, so you can let your money grow as long as you can afford not to touch it. Which IRA is “better”? There’s no one right answer for everyone. Generally speaking, though, the combination of potential tax-free earnings and no RMDs might make the Roth IRA an attractive choice for most people. Additionally you have access to the money you put

into the Roth tax-free and penaltyfree at any time, as long as you are not withdrawing earnings. So, if you have a Traditional IRA, you might wish to convert it to a Roth — if you can. If your adjusted gross income is more than $100,000, you can’t make the conversion in 2009. Also, keep in mind that any conversion will require you to pay income taxes on your pre-tax contributions to your Traditional IRA and any growth in your account’s value. If you meet the income limits for a conversion in 2009, you might want to consider doing so, because your tax obligation for a Roth conversion might be lower in 2009 than it would have been in previous years. Following last year’s steep market decline, the value of your IRA may be down significantly — and, generally speaking, the lower the value, the lower the tax bill upon conversion. Furthermore, if your income is somewhat dependent on the state of the economy, you could end up with lower earnings in 2009 — another factor that could lessen the tax impact of a Roth IRA conversion. Even if you don’t make the conversion in 2009, though, you may still want to consider this move next year. In 2010 — and in 2010 only — you can convert your Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA regardless of your income level. Furthermore, the income taxes due on conversion can be spread over two years  — 2011 and 2012. So contact your financial and tax advisors to determine if a Roth IRA conversion is appropriate for you. Over the next two years, you’ve got a good window of opportunity to make this move — so you’ll want to act before that window closes.


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66 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

BOBBY AND CINDY GRIFFIN

The owners of Mavric’s Chocolate Barn share why they are successful. Background: My husband, Bobby, and I (Cindy), were both born in Plant City. I grew up in Plant City, my parents were farmers – Clifton and Betty Hinson – and they still reside in Plant City. Bobby grew up in Temple Terrace. His father, Donald passed away last year. His mother, Betty Griffin lives in Tampa. Our son Mavric was born Feb. 26, 1998 – Opening Day of the Strawberry Festival. My very first job was being a farmhand’s daughter, and my husband and I worked together at the Festival for seven years at Brandon Farms booth. I now work at Demo Sales Incorporated, and have worked here for 8 years putting together promotions and four years ago Bobby and I started Mavric’s Chocolate Barn. Aspirations: My aspirations came from being in the people business. It’s really all about touching your consumers, that’s why I enjoy selling Chocolate Dipt Treats in our own family-owned business. I am the type of person that is motivated when someone might try to discour-

age me, because I believe all things are possible when you involve God. Inspiration: My love and inspiration is Mavric. He has taught us so much about love, patience, kindness and respect. His childlike faith in God is amazing. I was walking through a store one day, and I saw a cookie jar shaped like a red barn. There was music that played when you opened the jar. It was the theme song from Green Acres. That’s when a light bulb came on in my head, and the thought was “Mavric’s Chocolate Barn … is the place to be, Chocolate Dipping is the life for me…” Why I’m a Success: We put God first. We have a scripture that you may read on the front of our booth. “Haggai 2:19 – Is the seed yet in the barn? From this day on, I shall bless thee.” What’s next? Chocolate Dipt Bacon! That’s right, Hormel Thick Sliced Bacon, cooked up and then dipped in our special chocolate. It’s the perfect blend of a salty, sweet, chocolatey taste.


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I am motivated by my family, team members and clients.

Aspiration: My agency’s goal is to provide exceptional customer service and professional advice to our clients. We focus on building personal relationships with our clients and to be a trusted resource to them and the Plant City community.

What’s next? In this troubling time, our focus is on helping our clients through any upcoming transitions and to educate our clients and the community on insurance industry related issues. I want my clients and Plant City to know that I am not going anywhere and will be here to make sure their needs are taken care of.

Inspiration: I look to many leaders both in the insurance industry and business community for inspiration.

Why I’m a success: Hard work and dedication. I couldn’t have accomplished what I have without the support of my family, my team, my clients, and State Farm.


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WHAT’S NEW?

There are plenty of new things to experience at the Florida Strawberry Festival.

S

trawberry shortcake, strawberry milkshakes, strawberry pizza, strawberry pies — there’s no place like the Florida Strawberry Festival to get your fill of all things strawberry.

This celebration of the pride of Plant City has been taking place in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World since 1930. The annual event draws folks from parts near and far to enjoy tasty treats along with all the fun and flair of a county fair. The 2009 Florida Strawberry Festival, set for Feb. 26 through March 8, will feature the traditional rides, games, attractions, agriculture shows and competitions, arts, crafts exhibits, and parades. This year, though, there are some new and expanded areas that will make visiting the Florida Strawberry Festival even more enjoyable. The livestock area, for instance, has been moved, and it’s much larger now. Just inside Gate 14, the new, expansive tents will afford guests wider aisles and more room to spread out as they visit with youth

livestock exhibitors and see the animals. Competitions in the agriculture area will include beef and dairy cows, swine, rabbits, lamb, and poultry, as well as horticulture. Additional hand sanitizing stations have been installed in the livestock tents, and patrons are encouraged to use the sanitizing solution when they leave the livestock area. Those in search of adrenaline pumping excitement will not be disappointed in the new Belle City Amusements midway. Thrill-seeking guests will have plenty of opportunities to gyrate and rotate, dip and flip, and turn and churn. In fact, they can twirl till they hurl if they want with rides such as The Orbiter and the Tornado, the Zyklon, the Ring of Fire, and so many more. For the younger set though, and for their par

february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 73


WHAT’S NEW? ents who’d rather not be out among the fray, there’s a whole newly expanded Kiddie Corral that’s completely separate from the big boys. Perfect for the stroller set and grade schoolers, the Kiddie Corral will have more to do than ever before, more space, and more age-appropriate rides from which to choose. Many of the patrons who visit the Florida Strawberry Festival year after year come to browse and shop the scores of unique exhibitors they can only see at the festival. This spring they will see 45 to 50 new exhibits featuring everything from exotic frog aquariums and country ham baskets, to 4-reel camping and fishing gear and exotic bird houses and garden art. Hundreds of people asked for it, and their voices were heard. Brought back by popular demand is the Cool Whip Whipped Topping Strawberry Tent, featuring live entertainment by Southern Star Bluegrass Band, as well as about 20 exhibits guests can explore while listening to music. A highlight of the tent is the Turkey Creek Assembly of God Church’s luscious strawberry shortcake booth where they pile it high and serve it up as fast as they can. Oh how sweet it is! And there will be strawberry nuptials this year, too. That’s right. On Feb. 28, Jennifer Faircloth and Jess Lingerfelt will tie the knot in the first-ever Strawberry Wedding. It will take place in the gazebo, next to the carriage house. Jennifer and Jess were the winners in a contest, and this is the grand prize – their wedding, complete with all the trimmings, at the 74th Annual Florida Strawberry Festival. Advance tickets to the Feb. 26 through March 8 Florida Strawberry Festival are just $8 for adults (13+), $4 for children (6-12), and children 5 years old and younger are admitted free with a paid adult. They’re on sale now at www.flstrawberryfestival. com, by phone at 813-754-1996, or in person at the Festival Ticket Office. In addition, Feb. 5 through March 8 advance discount tickets will be available without a service charge at participating Sweetbay Supermarkets throughout Tampa Bay and the surrounding area. Regular gate admission prices ($10 adults, $5 children) apply at the gates when the Festival is open Feb. 26 – March 8. “It’s important to our Florida Strawberry Festival Board of directors that we keep the admission price affordable for consumers,” said Festival Director Paul Davis. “And for their hard-earned money, we

want to offer our guests a tremendous value.” In addition to making several thousand free seats available for each of the 22 headline entertainment concerts – this year featuring such artists as Taylor Swift, Rodney Atkins, Jeff Foxworthy, George Jones, Randy Travis, and Jessica Simpson – Davis said they have ongoing entertainment on stages throughout the grounds. Some of the free entertainment that comes with paid admission to the Florida Strawberry Festival includes:

bikes, boards and blades Shows – Sponsored by Netterfield’s, each show

is full of non-stop, action-packed excitement when this professional bicycle, inline and skateboard stunt team performs dynamic tricks at 12:30, 3:30, 6:30 and 8 p.m. daily.

Dennis Lee Show – To say he’s got gusto would be an understatement. Dennis and his band deliver unforgettable performances of Elvis favorites, traditional ballads, country hits and soulful blues, with plenty of audience interaction, in several shows a day in the Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent.

Grupo climax – This singing sensation from Veracruz, Mexico will perform a perfect blend of only the hottest and most popular Latin sounds. They will have the Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent rumbling Saturday night, Feb. 28.

Jason Young band – Another fresh act at the festival this year, they’re a little bit country, a little bit rock n’ roll and oldies, and they will be a lot of everyone’s favorites in several performances a day in the Cool Whip Whipped Topping Strawberry Tent. Jimmy Sturr and his orchestra – One of the most popular polka

bands in America, this group will have audience members up on their feet and dancing to one of the bands more than 106 own songs. They will play one concert on Senior Citizens’ Day, at 10:30 a.m. on Thurs., Feb. 26 on the GTE Federal Credit Union Soundstage.

paul bunyan Lumberjack Shows – New this year, they are sponsored by

Tractor Supply Company and showcase the talent of world champion lumberjacks chopping, sawing, and deftly handling axes and chainsaws. The shows are historical, educational, humorous, and filled with

74 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

audience participation. They take place daily at 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.

The Rev. Art Jones – The Reverend and the Bible-based Fellowship Church Cathedral Choir will take the stage for a spirit-filled evening Sat., March 7 in the Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent. The Guy Lombardo orchestra – Al Pierson

and The Guy Lombardo Orchestra will treat audiences to the distinctive and recognizable style and grand tradition that made the Lombardo Orchestra one of the most listened to, talked about, and imitated big bands of all time. They will perform in one concert on Senior Citizens’ Day, at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 5 on the GTE Federal Credit Union Soundstage.

Vocal Trash – One of the most energizing bands you’ll ever see, they combine tight vocal harmonies with the grit of “street instruments” in high-octane performances of oldies, rock, and comedy several times a day in the Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent. From jams and jellies to strawberry stemming contests and grand parades, the 2009 Florida Strawberry Festival is a “Hometown Salute to America.” It opens Feb. 28, and continues through March 8 on the Strawberry Festival grounds, 2202 W. Reynolds St., Plant City. Gates open at 10 a.m. daily. Midway opens at 10 a.m. Sat.-Mon., noon Tues. -Fri. Admission is $10, $5 for ages 6 to 12 at the gate. Advance discounts are available online at www.flstrawberryfestival.com, through the box office and, beginning Feb. 5, at participating Sweetbay Supermarkets. All tickets: $8 adults, $4 children (6-12). Concerts are $10 to $45 for reserved seats; limited free bleacher seats plus gate admission. For reserved seat concert tickets, call 813-754-1996 or log on to www.flstrawberryfestival.com. Staci Reed stands with a lamp in the Livestock Tent, which will be larger this year. The new tent gives patrons a more comfortable setting to enjoy the festivities. Photo by Holly Mallalieu


Congratulation 2009 Florida Strawberry Queen Lauren Der

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february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 75


pLANT cITY’S STRAWbERRY Story by Aaron Oberlin

DID You KNoW?

hillsborough County produces about 15 percent of the nation’s strawberries. the commodity has an impact on the local community exceeding $272 million. the 18 million flats produced each year, if placed end to end, would extend from plant City to Seattle and back again. A scene from the parade in 1954.

Considered one of the prime festivals in the United States, the Florida Strawberry Festival is an event built on tradition. Starting on Feb. 26, the 11-day event draws more than 500,000 people every year to the festival grounds in Plant City. Although the festival receives national recognition, it originally started as a way to bring surrounding communities together and, of course, celebrate one of Plant City’s chief products: the strawberry. Many people love the taste of strawberries, but there are other characteristics and facts about the berry that make it interesting, and one worthy of its own festival.

THE RISE oF THE STRAWbERRY

When the Florida Strawberry Festival is underway, everything else in Plant City takes a back seat – the strawberry is king. But it wasn’t always that way. Henry Plant, the Florida city’s namesake, constructed a railroad that connected Tampa to Sanford in 1884. The railroad passed through what would become Plant City and connected to the South Florida Railroad. A year later the city was named after Plant.

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pLANT cITY’S STRAWbERRY During that time, strawberries were growing in popularity, but they were nowhere near as popular in the region as they are now. They were primarily a garden crop grown for personal use. At that time, cotton was the chief crop. But as more people grew strawberries, a surplus developed and people began selling them. With reliable transportation provided by the new rail system, strawberries could be distributed far away, and Plant City became the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World.

A uNIQuE SITuATIoN

While many states are getting bombarded with snow, hail, sleet, or any other kind of dreadful weather condition, Florida is the only place in the United States where farmers harvest strawberries. Florida strawberries, also known as winter strawberries, can be found in stores between December and April. With a tight grip on the winter strawberry market, Florida has approximately 8,000 acres producing strawberries, making the state the second largest producing region in the United States. Plant City is a strawberry staple of this region, and the berries are absolutely delicious.

People planting strawberries in one of Plant City’s many strawberry fields. Photo by Mike Floyd

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february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 77


pLANT cITY’S STRAWbERRY “We understand that consumers are thoughtful in their purchases of fresh produce today,” said Sue Harrell, director of marketing for the Florida Strawberry Growers Association. “Knowing these berries are grown in Florida should give purchasers confidence in the quality and freshness of winter strawberries.”

pLANT cITY STRAWbERRIES

Even though Florida is the only area in the United States that grows strawberries during the winter, there are more than 600 varieties of the berry, which is identifiable by the yellow seeds piercing its red surface, and a green leafy cap and stem at its crown. There are several varieties of strawberries grown in Plant City. Two of the more popular berries in Plant City are called the Festival – named after the Florida Strawberry Festival – and the Treasure, said Joe Newsome, a Plant City Native who has strong ties to the Plant City farming community. Strawberries that are grown are chosen because of their shipping ability and taste. When a strawberry is picked, it needs to be firm, said Newsome, but still have a great taste. This way a berry is ripe when it reaches the destination where it will be sold. The Festival and Treasure strawberries have those characteristics. But it is possible that decades into the future these strawberries will not be as popular. Every day, researchers are experimenting with new hybrids, trying to find a new and better strawberry. When new berries become popular among farmers, sometimes the old berries “play out,” said Newsome. Many farmers in Plant City agree that the success of the Festival berry is due not only to its great taste, but also its shelf life. Several people who work on the strawberry farms in the region said they have had the Festival strawberry in their refrigerator for up to three weeks, and it still tasted delicious.

bERRIES THAT HAVE bEEN buRIED researchers work every day to develop new strawberry hybrids that are better for shipping, while still tasting great. when berries come along that have a great flavor and a longer shelf life than those being cultivated, usually more farmers switch to and grow the new berry. here is a look at some of the berries that have come and gone in plant City.

The Missionary:

the Missionary berry was widely grown by farmers in plant City during the 1950s. Just ask any farmer who has been growing berries in plant City for several decades, and they will be sure to know about the Missionary.

The Florida 90:

after the development of the Missionary berry came the Florida 90. this strawberry was being used while some other farmers were still using the Missionary. this type of berry produces a large plant, yielding heavily during a long period of time. the fruits are large, pointed berries.

The Tioga:

developed in California, this berry started being used after the Florida 90. it didn’t last long in wide use in plant City, due to its susceptibility to fungal infection. a hot and humid state like Florida did not bode well for this particular berry, which produces a very large fruit.

The Sweet charlie:

after the tioga came the Sweet Charlie. although this berry is known for its amazing flavor, it had a disadvantage. the berry didn’t ship as well as others due to a shorter shelf life. By the time a shipment of strawberries reached a place such as new york, the berry would sometimes be soft.

The Festival strawberries:

and

these two strawberries are widely used today. Sprinkler watering 78systems • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 strawberry fields is a common sight when driving through Plant City. Photo by Mike Floyd

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FLoRIDA Strawberry Festival contests The contests at the festival offer something for everyone. Story by Aaron Oberlin

Parents at last year’s Diaper Derby encourage their infants to crawl faster. Photo by Wendy S. Brown

There’s nothing like good ole friendly competition to bring people together for fun and excitement. Some people love contests for the challenge. Some people love the recognition or awards that they receive for succeeding. This year at the Florida Strawberry Festival, there are several competitions for people to participate in that will award victors with either a trophy or rosette. Some of the most popular contests are the ones involving babies. There are three of them: the Decorated Diaper Contest, the Baby Features Contest, and the Diaper Derby. These events take place at 5 p.m. on March 1, which is Family Day. Since these contests continue to grow as fan favorites, they will be held in the Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent, which is significantly larger in size than the Show Tent where the events used to be located. The Decorated Diaper Contest is sure to amuse even people with the slightest sense of humor. Parents decorate their youngsters’ diapers with just about anything they can think of. “It’s unbelievable,” said Ellany Johnson, an administrative assistant with the Florida Strawberry Festival, about the concepts people come up with for decorating their babies’ diapers. “What people

can put on a diaper will amaze you.” The Baby Features Contest and the Diaper Derby are also two events that are crowd favorites. The Baby Features Contest has parents walking in a circle showing off their children. Prizes are awarded, in both girls and boys divisions, for prettiest 6- to 9-month-old, 10- to 12-month-old, 13- to 15-monthold, and 16- to 18-month-old. The Diaper Derby is sure to put a smile on spectators’ faces, however, it is more of a crawl-off. Babies race by crawling to their parents, who are doing something to get their infant’s attention whether it be shaking a rattle, waving a bottle, or holding a favorite teddy bear. Other events involving children are the Shoebox Float Contest and the Youth Horticulture Contest. There are all kinds of events for the entire family at the Florida Strawberry Festival, including many that don’t involve infants, toddlers, and young children. The Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest and the Strawberry Stemming Contest are not only great contests pitting a more mature person against his or her peers, but they are also great entertainment for spectators. Ever eaten four pounds of dessert? Ever seen someone eat that much of anything? No matter what the answer is, it is quite a sight to see people shovel-

80 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

Contestants rapidly rip the stems off of strawberries during the Strawberry Stemming Contest. Photo by Wendy S. Brown

ing loads of strawberry shortcake into their mouths. The contest takes place at 3 p.m. on March 5, in the Entertainment Tent. Anyone who is interested in competing can sign up at the tent during the day of the competition. The Strawberry Stemming Contest is bit more extreme. Contestants rip away at the stems of strawberries with their hands to see who can stem the berries the fastest. This is quite a show. There are all kinds of shows at the Florida Strawberry Festival. Don’t forget to check out the Dairy Contestant Judging Contest, Lamb Jumping Contest, Lamb Costume Contest, and the Livestock Contestant Judging Contest. For dates and times on these events, look at the schedule calendar in the Florida Strawberry Festival Section of FOCUS Magazine. For video of events at the festival, log on to www.thefocusmagazine.com.


february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 81


Kellie Pickler feb 27

george Jones Feb 26

Larry Gatlin & the gatlin bros - feb 26

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Feb 27

jake owen feb 28

Daily Entertainment FREE DAILY

Groupo Climax: One day only. Sat., Feb. 28 from 7:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. in the Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent.

Florida Opry: Stephanie Ann, Tina Dallman, Spirit Song, The Southern Exposure Band with Randy Young. One day only. Fri., March 6 from 7:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. in the Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent. Rev. Arthur Jones, and Bible Based Fellowdship Cathedral Choir: One day only. Sat., March 7, from 7:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. in the Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent. Southern Star Bluegrass: Daily at 5:30 p.m and 8:30 p.m. in the Cool Whip Strawberry Tent. Sponsored by SunTrust Bank of Tampa Bay. Vocal Trash: In the Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m.. 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., except there will be no 5:30 p.m. show on Sat., Feb. 28; Sun., Mar. 1; Fri., Mar. 6; and Sat. Mar. 7. Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show: Daily at 11 a.m.; 2:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. Jason Young: Daily at 11:30 a.m.,

1:30 p.m., and 4 p.m. in the Cool Whip Strawberry Tent. Dennis Lee: Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. daily, except there will be no 7 p.m. show on Sat., Feb., 28; Sun., Mar. 1; Fri., Mar. 6; and Sat., Mar. 7. Bikes, Boards & Blades: Daily at 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 6:30p.m., and 8 p.m. on the north side of the Fair Office. Sponsored by Netterfield Concessions. Robinson’s Paddling Porkers: At 12 noon, 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. in the Livestock Area. Runa Pacha: “Indian World” Folk music from the Andes Mountains of South America. Performing daily in the Gazebo at 11 a.m., 12 noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m,. and 8 p.m. Granpa Cratchet: Located at the east end of the fair office. Sponsored by Safety Glass & Windshield, Inc. Senior Citizens Days: Thur., Feb. 26, featuring Jimmy Sturr and Orchestra. Thur., March 5, featuring The Guy Lombardo Orchestra Entertainment from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. both days. Senior Citizens’ Drawing is 11:30 a.m. both days. Sponsored by Master Spas.

82 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

Thursday, Feb. 26 Opening Day - Senior Citizens’ Day

Patrons age 60 years of age or older get $2 off the gate admission of $10 all day. Ride-A-Thon from 3 p.m. until 11 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 noon All Day............Poultry and Rabbit Shows .......................Poultry & Rabbit Tent 10:30 a.m. .... Jimmy Sturr and Orchestra.......................Festival Sound Stage 11:30 a.m. ....Senior citizens’ Drawing(one drawing only)....... Festival Sound Stage 3:30 p.m.........George Jones............................................Festival Sound Stage 7:00 p.m.........Youth Swine Show...................................TECO Livestock Arena 7:30 p.m.........Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Bros..................Festival Sound Stage

Friday, Feb. 27

PEPSI DAY - Moonlight Magic Night

$1 off the regular gate admission price of $10 (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 p.m. until 3 a.m. All patrons entering grounds are subject to search. 10:00 a.m........Gates Open .............................................Midway Opens at noon All Day.............Poultry and Rabbit Shows........................Poultry & Rabbit Tent 1:00 p.m..........Dairy Contestant Judging Contest...........TECO Livestock Arena 3:30 p.m..........Nitty Gritty Dirt Band................................Festival Sound Stage 7:00 p.m..........Youth Swine Sale......................................TECO Livestock Arena


third day Feb 28

randy travis mar 2

rodney atkins - mar 1

7:30 p.m. .......Kellie Pickler ............................................Festival Sound Stage 11:00 p.m........Moonlight Magic......................................Midway Ride most mechanical rides on the Midway for $20 per person, 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. All persons entering the grounds are subject to search.

Saturday, Feb. 28

Kids’ Day - Plant City Civitan Club Youth Parade

Kids thru high school admitted free all day, with rides reduced.

10:00 a.m........Gates Open...............................................Midway Opens All Day.............Poultry and Rabbit Shows........................Poultry & Rabbit Tent 11:00 a.m........36th Annual Youth Parade - 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 3:30 p.m..........Jake Owen................................................Festival Soundstage 5:30 p.m..........Strawberry Wedding.................................Gazebo 7:30 p.m..........GroupoClimax..........................................Sweetbay Showcase Tent 7:30 p.m..........Third Day...................................................Festival Soundstage

Sunday, Mar. 1 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

Jim ed brown mar 2

taylor swift mar 1

1:00 p.m..........Dairy Costume Ball...................................TECO Livestock Arena 2:00 p.m......... Youth Ornamental Horticulture Plant Sale.....Plant Show Tent 3:30 p.m..........Rodney Atkins...........................................Festival Soundstage 3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Registration for Baby Contest Entrants (Hillsborough County Babies Only)..........Sweetbay Showcase Tent 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Baby Contest: Decorated Diaper Contest; Baby Features Contest; Diaper Derby(Hillsborough County Babies Only) ..................................................................Sweetbay Showcase Tent 7:30 p.m..........Taylor Swift...............................................Festival Soundstage

Monday, Mar. 2 Grand Parade Day

Ride-A-Thon from 10 a.m. until 11 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 10:30 a.m. Invitational Parade Luncheon..................Sponsored by Regions Bank ..................................................................Invitational 1:00 p.m..........Grand Feature Parade Begins...................Downtown Plant City 2:00 p.m..........Grand Parade passes by the Festival Grounds 3:30 p.m. Jim Ed Brown/ Helen Cornelius.................................................................Festival Soundstage 6:00 p.m..........Lamb Jumping Contest............................Lamb Tent 7:00 p.m..........Lamb Show...............................................Lamb Tent 7:30 p.m..........Randy Travis..............................................Festival Soundstage

february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 83


84 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009


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For the location nearest you visit Carrabbas.com

february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 85


connie smith mar 3

jeff foxworthy mar 6

ray stevens mar 4 mel tillis mar 5

travis tritt mar 3

brenda lee mar 4

Daily Entertainment Tuesday, Mar. 3 Ride-a-Thon Day

Ride-A-Thon from 3 p.m. until 11 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 noon All Day.............Poultry and Rabbit Shows........................Poultry & Rabbit Tent 2:00 p.m..........Strawberry Stemming Contest.................Entertainment Show Tent 3:30 p.m..........Marty Stuart/Connie Smith......................Festival Soundstage 7:00 p.m..........Lamb Costume Contest............................Lamb Tent 7:30 p.m. ........Travis Tritt..................................................Festival Soundstage

Wednesday, Mar. 4 Ride-a-Thon day

Ride-A-Thon from 3 p.m. until 11 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 noon 10:00 a.m........Poultry and Rabbit Shows........................Poultry & Rabbit Tent 3:30 p.m..........Brenda Lee................................................Festival Soundstage 6:00 p.m..........Youth Steer Show......................................TECO Livestock Arena 7:30 p.m..........Ray Stevens...............................................Festival Soundstage

Thursday, Mar. 5 Senior Citizens’ Day, Ride-a-Thon Day

Patrons 60 years and older get $2 off the gate admission of $10 all day. 86 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

Senior Day sponsored by Master Spas. Ride-A-Thon from 3 p.m. until 11 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 noon 10:30 a.m........The Guy Lombardo Orchestra..................Festival Soundstage 11:30 a.m........Senior Citizens’ Drawing..........................Festival Soundstage 3:00 p.m..........Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest......Entertainment Show Tent 3:30 p.m.......... Mel Tillis...................................................Festival Soundstage 7:30 p.m.......... Lorrie Morgan..........................................Festival Soundstage

Friday, Mar. 6

Moonlight Magic Night The Tampa Tribune Day on the Midway

MOONLIGHT MAGIC begins at 11 p.m. and ends at 3 a.m. Ride most mechanical rides for one special price of $20 per person. All patrons entering the midway will be required to purchase the wristband. All patrons subject to search. 10:00 a.m........Gates Open...............................................Midway Opens at noon 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Livestock Contestant Judging Contest........TECO Livestock Arena 3:30 p.m. .......Ronnie McDowell.....................................Festival Soundstage 6:00 p.m..........Showmanship Judging.............................Beef Breed Tent 7:30 p.m. .......Jeff Foxworthy..........................................Festival Soundstage 7:30 p.m..........FloridaOpry...............................................Sweetbay Showcase Tent 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Tampa Tribune Day on the Midway 11:00 p.m. - 3:00 a.m. Moonlight Magic........................Midway


lorrie morgan mar 5

kool and the gang mar 7

julianne hough - mar 8

mark lowry mar 7

Saturday, Mar. 7 Youth in Agriculture Day

10:00 a.m........Gates Open...............................................Midway Opens 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Clogging.......................................Entertainment Show Tent 10:15 a.m........Baby Parade..............................................Festival Soundstage 3:30 p.m..........Mark Lowry..............................................Festival Soundstage 7:00 p.m..........Youth Steer Sale.......................................TECO Livestock Arena 7:30 p.m..........Rev. Art Jones, Bible Based Fellowship Cathedral Choir ..................................................................Sweetbay Showcase Tent 7:30 p.m..........Kool & The Gang.......................................Festival Soundstage

Sunday, Mar. 8 Family Day

10:00 a.m........Gates Open .............................................Midway Opens 12:00 noon......Youth Beef Breed Show............................Beef Breed Tent 3:30 p.m..........Julianne Hough.........................................Festival Soundstage 7:30 p.m..........Jessica Simpson........................................Festival Soundstage

WEEKLY:

Demonstration of Pioneer Skills in Early Arts and Trades, Sponsored by JLT Industries Plant City Garden Club Horticulture Show, Arthur Boring Building Photography Contest Display, Sponsored by Spivey Concessions Poultry Show, Thursday, February 25, 10:00 am thru Wednesday, March 4, 3:00 pm Rabbit Show, Thursday, February 25, 10:00 am thru Wednesday, March 4, 3:00 pm Art Show, Expo Building, sponsored by AlessiBakery Shoebox Float Display, Sponsored by Rainbow Vacuum Strawberry Production Exhibit Sponsored by Florida Strawberry Growers Association

ronnie mcdowell mar 6

ticket prices for 2009 artists

Limited stadium seats “FREE” with general admission. Seating on a first-come, first served basis. Stadium shows at 3:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. daily, unless otherwise stated. Stadium cleared after 3:30 p.m. show. Reserved seat tickets available for $10 and up depending upon artist and location. Some shows may be sold out. Ticket office located at 2209 Oak Street and an additional ticket office adjacent to east side bleachers open during Festival to sell any remaining reserved seat tickets. Online ticket orders at www.flstrawberryfestival.com Gates open daily at 10 a.m. & close at 10 p.m. Children 5 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. General admission $10 for patrons 13+, ages 6 to 12 require a youth ticket purchase of $5. Animals are not allowed on the fairgrounds unless they are a service or guide dog, non-human primate, or animals in a show or contest. Certified trainers (with ID stating same) of companion dogs/animals will be allowed. All animals in shows or contests are to be removed immediately after the close of the event. No illegal drugs, firearms, alcoholic beverages, or pets are allowed on the Festival grounds. All vehicles, packages, parcels, diaper bags, purses, backpacks, etc., and persons are subject to search. Because of the early printing of this events schedule, changes, errors, deletions, or omissions may occur, in which case the Florida Strawberry Festival reserves the right to construe its own rules and regulations and to decide all matters and differences in regard thereto. Anyone participating in the contests of the Florida Strawberry Festival consents to the use of his or her picture by the Florida Strawberry Festival, his/her agents, licensees and assigns for any and all purposes, including without limitations television, theater, exhibition, publication and any trade or advertising purposes, providing such uses are not made so as to constitute a direct endorsement of contestant of any product or service. Contestant understands there will be no monetary residuals.

jessica simpson mar 8

Thurs. Feb. 26 3:30pm

George Jones

$15 & $20

Larry Gatlin

$10 & $15

7:30pm

Fri. Feb. 27

3:30pm

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band $10 & $15

7:30pm

Kellie Pickler

$10 & $15

Sat. Feb. 28

3:30pm

Jake Owen

$10 & $15

7:30pm

Third Day

$10 & $15

Sun. Mar. 1

3:30pm

Rodney Atkins

$15 & $20

7:30pm

Taylor Swift

$45

Mon. Mar. 2

3:30pm

Jim Ed Brown

& Helen Cornelius

$10 & $15

7:30pm

Randy Travis

$10 & $15

Tues. Mar 3

3:30pm

Marty Stuart

& Connie Smith

$10 & $15

7:30pm

Travis Tritt

$15 & $20

Wed. Mar. 4

3:30pm

Brenda Lee

$10 & $15

7:30pm

Ray Stevens

$10 & $15

Thurs. Mar. 5

3:30pm

Mel Tillis

$10 & $15

7:30pm

Lorrie Morgan

$10 & $15

Fri. Mar. 6

3:30pm

Ronnie McDowell

$10 & $15

7:30pm

Jeff Foxworth

$35

Sat. Mar. 7

3:30pm

Mark Lowry

$10 & $15

7:30pm

Kool & The Gang

$15 & $20

Sun. Mar. 8

3:30pm

Julianne Hough

$10 & $15

7:30pm

Jessica Simpson

$25 & $30

february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 87


WEEKEND

Real History? Talk to the heroes who lived it.

Fantasy of Flight Brings History to Life with Real Aviation Heroes

At Fantasy of Flight, Central Florida’s premier aviation attraction, history is no longer a thing of the past. It’s live. It’s interactive. And it’s more fascinating than you ever dreamed. On Friday, Feb. 27th and Saturday, Feb. 28th, become a part of history in the making as Fantasy of Flight kicks off its first-ever Living History symposium series with a living tribute to the barrier-breaking Tuskegee Airmen. In celebration of Black History Month, Fantasy of Flight will bring to life the experiences of some of America’s most courageous aviators through permanent and semipermanent exhibits, real aircraft, and most importantly, personal stories and interactions with three of the remaining Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-Americans to be trained as WWII military pilots. During this exciting two-day event, three distinguished Airmen — Leo R. Gray, Hiram Mann and Eldridge F. Williams — will reunite to share their recollections of wartime military service during segregated America. Fantasy of Flight’s permanent multi-media Tuskegee Airmen exhibit, which also includes previously recorded interviews with several original pilots, provides the perfect backdrop for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the brave men who fought America’s enemies abroad while enduring racism at home. And, on both days, enjoy breathtaking flight demonstrations featuring one of the many fully restored aircraft on display.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience history from the people who made it.

living history A symposium series sponsored by

Fantasy of Flight February 27-28 The Tuskegee Airmen March 27 - 28 The Women of the WASP

Then, on Friday, March 27th and Saturday, March 28th, hear the true-life tales of some of America’s first female military pilots as Fantasy of Flight welcomes the daring WASP — Women Airforce Service Pilots — a spirited squadron of pilots who became the first American women to fly military planes in non-combat roles. The secSquad members of the Tuskegee Airmen ond of three events in the Living Hispose for the camera before another mission. tory series, “A Passionate Pursuit” celebrates Women’s History month with live appearances from these fearless female flyers.

A WASP trainee reviews her flight checklist with her instructor.

Best of all, Fantasy of Flight invites you to meet your aviation heroes for the regular price of admission: $28.95 for adults, $14.95 for children ages 6-15, plus 7 percent sales tax. Children 5 and younger are free. And, Florida residents take $10 off every adult ticket and $5 off each child’s ticket! Come and be a part of Living History at Fantasy of Flight!

For more information about Fantasy of Flight, call 1.863.984.3500 or visit www.fantasyofflight.com. 88 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

1-863-984-3500 • www.fantasyofflight.com


february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 89

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History Made

Story by Sophia Hyde & Kasey Miller Photos by Billy Friend

Lauren Der becomes the first Strawberry Festival Queen to pull off a couple feats.

T

hough the tradition remains the same, it was a year of many firsts at the 74th annual Strawberry Festival Queen Pageant. When the crown was placed on Lauren Der, she became the first queen also to be awarded Miss Congeniality. Her title as Strawberry Festival Queen comes six years after her sister, Erica, was crowned. The two are the first sisters to both earn the crown. “As excited as I was when I won, I am even more excited that she won,” said Erica. “I just know all the opportunities I had as queen, and now she will get to experience that, too.” Thirty-two contestants competed for the crown Jan. 17 at Tomlin Middle School. It was the first year without a swimsuit competition, which was replaced by casual wear. The change allowed the girls to really let their personalities shine through. Summer Norris wore black cowboy boots with hand-painted strawberries, Lauren sported a red dress with sunglasses, and other contestants added their unique touches to their outfits. On several occasions, groups from the audience shouted, “We love your shoes!” to the contestants as they walked across the stage. The contestants were judged on four criteria. A personal interview with the judges counted for 30 percent of their score. A 30-second commercial about their sponsor was 30 percent as well. The casual wear portion was 15 percent, and the evening gown competition was 25 percent. “I would hate to be one of the judges right now,” said John Smith, father of outgoing Queen Kristen Smith, and whose other daughter Lauren was also in the pageant. “Every single girl did so well and looked so beautiful I have no idea how they can choose.” Regardless, the judges did have to decide, and the top 10 were announced: Mackenzie Allen, Jessica Ardrey, Megan Cochran, Lauren Der, Joclyn Emerson, Morgan Feaster, Allison Martin, Sara Beth Newsome, Summer Norris, and Arielle Rollyson.

The 2008 Strawberry Festival Court stands with the contestants of the 2009 Strawberry Festival Queen Pageant.

90 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009


The 2009 Strawberry Festival Court. From left to right are Megan Cochran, Sara Beth Newsome, Lauren Der, Joclyn Emerson, and Morgan Feaster.

Each girl in the top 10 was brought back on stage to answer an impromptu question. One of the evening’s emcees, Jodi Smith, asked each girl the same question: “As you know, the Strawberry Queen is a long-standing tradition in Plant City. What excites you most about serving as the 74th Strawberry Festival Queen?” Answers ranged from wanting to meet the entertainers, dance with the seniors, inspire others, and be a role model. Lauren said she is looking forward to serving a community that is unlike any other.

Following the question, the top five were announced: Megan Cochran, Lauren Der, Joclyn Emerson, Morgan Feaster, and Sara Beth Newsome. After rewarding Cochran, Emerson, and Feaster with their court sashes, it only left two contestants. Newsome was announced First Maid and the audience erupted in shouts and applause for Der as her eyes watered up with shock and excitement. “She’s perfect. She’s absolutely perfect,” said outgoing Queen Kristen Smith. “God wanted her.”

Meet Your 2009 Strawberry Festival Queen

Lauren Der

Lauren Der was amazed when she found out she was the next Strawberry Queen.

Already being involved with numerous activities such as helping her father raising cattle for their cattle operation company, volunteering at Plant City High School with the FFA chapter team, and steadily working in the Freedom Fighters organization, which is dedicated to providing outdoor activities for injured soldiers, it seems like Lauren Der would be far too overwhelmed to squeeze in the time to be a Strawberry Queen. However, that is just what Plant City needs as a positive role model — a queen who can handle the pressure of a constantly busy lifestyle and still find time to keep a warm, friendly smile on her face. Lauren is currently attending Hillsborough Community College. In the future she plans to graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in agriculture communications. She looks forward to pursuing a career in agricultural business or public relations and one day starting a family of her own here in Plant City. Her family has always been supportive of every goal she has set for herself, and her sister’s experience from being a former Strawberry Queen influenced Lauren to compete in this year’s pageant. Although she did not make the top 10 the first year she went out for Strawberry Queen, Lauren kept a positive attitude and was determined to do better the next time around. From the results, it looks as if her determination followed through. Now as the 2009 Strawberry Queen, she hopes to represent her town with dignity and be someone of whom Plant City can be proud, and someone that people can respect. Lauren has gained a more positive outlook on life from working around the injured soldiers of Freedom Fighters. “Seeing these people who had been through these extremely difficult times... I just thought, I don’t have any worries in the world. It would bring tears to your eyes to see their positive attitudes, and it was the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced,” said Der. february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 91


LOCAL OWNERS LOCAL DECISIONS Platinum Bank welcomes you to the

2009 Florida Strawberry Festival! A time honored event supported by the great people and businesses of Plant City.

Platinum Bank would like to become your support team for your banking needs. Come by any of our convenient locations and meet our great team! Main Office - Brandon 802 W. Lumsden Rd. Brandon, FL 33511 813-655-1234

Plant City Office Plant City, FL 33563 813-659-1234

South Lakeland 5404 S. Florida Ave Lakeland, FL 33813 863-709-1234

Tampa 408 S. MacDill Ave Tampa, FL 33609 813-875-1234

Winter Haven 1285 1st Street S. Winter Haven, FL 33880 863-293-4321

1804 James L. Redman Pkwy

Downtown Lakeland 724 S. Florida Ave Lakeland, FL 33801 863-616-1234

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1/14/2009

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IN TODAYS ECONOMY YOU NEED TO BE VERY CAREFUL WHO YOU TRUST WITH YOUR FINANCES. While statiscs show most lenders have less than 5 years of experience, Farm Credit has been employing lending experts for more than 90 years. Call Vonda or Stephany today and allow them to earn your trust. C

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92 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

Vonda Fulwood 25 Years Farm Credit Experience Serving: Hillsborough & Pinellas Counties


Here, miracles are delivered

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South Florida Baptist Hospital’s Family Childbirth Center provides expert, individual care for women and newborns right here in Plant City. Our affiliation with St. Joseph’s Women’s and St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospitals enables us to care for your medical needs, from gynecological to neonatal services. Our Certified Nurse Midwives and Neonatal Practitioners are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with access to St. Joseph’s Level III NICU. And with a consistent patient satisfaction rate of 99%, you can trust that South Florida Baptist Hospital delivers.

301 N. Alexander St. Plant City, FL 33563 www.southfloridabaptist.com 813.757.1200 february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 93


Meet Your 2009 Strawberry Festival First Maid

Sara Beth Newsome When Sara Beth Newsome is not busy with her FFA duties, showing steers, or out shopping with the girls, she uses her time at PCHS being involved with clubs like NHS, Best Buddies, and Keyettes. Her main reason for deciding to compete in the Strawberry Festival Queen Pageant was the opportunity to represent the festival as a good role model, and a town that she respects. After graduating this year, she plans to attend HCC for two years and then transfer to either the University of South Florida or University of Florida in order to receive a degree in agricultural communications. She is also thinking of taking a career path as an elementary school teacher, but is still undecided. Having a good confidence level throughout the pageant is what she believes helped her stay relaxed and to look natural out on stage. Her personality was able to show through to the judges and helped her win the

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94 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

title as First Maid. She gave lots of gratitude to her mother for always being there to help her with anything she needed throughout the process of getting ready for the pageant. Newsome only hopes “for people to remember the 2009 Strawberry Court and to do a great job… being good role models to anyone in the community that wants to look up to us, and hopefully inspire m o r e girls to do it next year.”

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february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 95


Meet Your 2009 Strawberry Festival Court

Megan Cochran

While she may have the “model-material” look, this beautiful blonde holds a lot of depth behind her golden locks. Megan Cochran is currently a senior at PCHS, but following graduation she will be attending the Florida State University Honors College. Her aspirations are to receive a degree in psychology in order to start her own research in neurological disorders. Why is she so specific on her research? It was only a year ago that Megan had to make the life-changing decision to get brain surgery for a neurological disorder that caused constant pain-staking migraines that hindered her from fully devoting her mind to educational learning. She went to countless doctor appointments before finally getting some substantial answers from a neurologist. “Having brain surgery made me realize that I can

ask for something and accomplish my goals if I try hard enough,” said Cochran. Now she is on top of her game and enjoys being active in every aspect of her community. Not only is she a part of clubs at school like National Honor Society, BestBuddies, and Special Olympics, but she also is a board member in the Plant City Juniorettes — an organization founded for juvenile diabetes research. She thanks her pageant coach, Deanna Rollyson, for helping to improve her speaking skills and her overall appearance throughout the process leading up to the pageant. What Megan most looks forward to is gaining a close friendship with the other four court member girls and having an exciting, fun experience at the festival this year.

Meet Your 2009 Strawberry Festival Court

Joclyn Emerson

Despite the fact the she used to be a shy, nervous wreck when it came to stage presence, this year Joclyn Emerson’s true beauty and energetic personality was able to shine out to the audience and judges. Her spot on the top five court proved that confidence is essential to being a winner. Even though at first she was indecisive about competing for Strawberry Queen, after seeing one of her close friends compete in the pageant, Joclyn felt she was ready to take the next step. Along with the help of her pageant coach, Deanna Rollyson, she was able to improve on her walk, poise, speech, and overall confidence. She also thanks her Mother for being there for

her as an emotional support system and paying for all the expenses. Joclyn graduated from Durant High School in 2008 and is currently attending HCC until she transfers in two years to USF. Her goal is to receive her bachelor’s degree in business and ultimately to start her own wedding company. In her spare time, she volunteers in the Youth Sports Organization as a coach for the Dover Patriots pee-wee cheerleaders. What she hopes to accomplish as a member of the 2009 Strawberry court is “just to become a more mature individual and to become more involved with my own community,” said Emerson.

Meet Your 2009 Strawberry Festival Court

Morgan Feaster

With an upbeat personality and head full of glamorously teased hair, it is easy to see why Morgan Feaster stood out on stage as a Strawberry Pageant winner. Raised in a Christian family, she believes her parents influence on her childhood had the greatest positive impact in her life. Without their guidance, she would have been lost. Graduating from PCHS in 2008 and successfully finishing the cosmetology program, Morgan continued on with her career dreams. She currently works at Studio Three Salon as a hairstylist, but hopes to one day further her education in New York City at a hair academy. 96 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

Her decision to compete in the Strawberry Queen Pageant for a second time was based on the learning experience and the joy of meeting new people. “It’s just a good experience, you get to practice your public-speaking skills. And not only that, but it builds up your confidence,” said Feaster. She greatly appreciates all the support that her family, her Studio Three Salon sisters, and most importantly the strength from God during preparation for the pageant. What she is most looking forward to is the fun experiences she and the rest of the court girls will have at the festival, as well as at all the other events throughout the year.


february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 97


JAN. 3 & 9, 2009

JAN. 24, 2009

JAN. 31, 2009

RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND Singing the songs you know and love.

JAN. 10, 2009

P.J. LEARY AND THE LAS VEGAS SOUNDS WITH JOHNNY ALSTON’S ROCKIN’ MOTOWN REVUE WITH HARRIET ALSTON & THE ALSTONETTES In the Red Rose Dining Room.

JAN. 16, 2009

RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND Singing the songs you know and love.

JAN. 17, 2009

LOLA & THE SAINTS “DOOWOP AT ITS BEST”

JAN. 30, 2009

FEB. 7, 2009

CHARLIE VEGAS AND THE NEW BLUES COMBO

MEMORIES OF THE MILLS BROTHERS, INK SPOTS AND PLATTERS FEATURING THE BACHELORS

JAN. 31, 2009

“STAYIN’ ALIVE - A NIGHT OF DISCO FEVER” REFLECTIONS OF THE BEE GEES AND JOHN TRAVOLTA The Red Rose Ballroom comes ALIVE when tributes are paid to the legendary Gibb brothers and one of Hollywood’s leading men, John Travolta. P.J. Leary and the Las Vegas Sounds before and after the show. Dinner served in a Supper Club atmosphere in the Ballroom.

In the Red Rose Dining Room.

GEORGE GALFO’S MYSTICS

REFLECTIONS OF THE BEEG EES 98 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

Plus P.J. Leary and The Las Vegas Sounds with Jeannette Jackson performing before and after the show. Dinner served in a Supper Club atmosphere in the Ballroom.

FEB. 7, 2009

RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND FEB. 14, 2009

VALENTINE’S DAY

Join us for dinner and a very special romantic evening. The lights will be low. The food will be divine and the decor splendid. Ralph Allocco & Second Wind gets the hearts of guests to fluttering and the feet to twirling on the dance floor with their melodic tunes – making the holiday even more special!


FEB. 21 & 27, 2009

RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND

MAR. 7 & 14, 2009 RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND

FEB. 27-28, 2009

MAR. 15, 2009

DOOWOP WEEKEND VOLUME III

The annual sock hop weekend will grace the Red Rose Inn & Suites again with its fabulous music and fun! Performances will include during the weekend: E. Jaye Brown, George Galfo’s Mystics, The Reflections, Shirley Alston Reeves, P.J. Leary and the Las Vegas Sounds, Ralph Allocco & Second Wind and Destiny. Dinner is served in a Supper Club atmosphere in the Red Rose Ballroom.

FEB. 28, 2009 RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND MAR. 7, 2009 JASON D. WILLIAMS SHOW P.J. Leary and the Las Vegas Sounds with guest Vondal Moore before and after the show. Dinner served in a Supper Club atmosphere in the Ballroom.

GRAND TO BE IRISH WITH CAHAL DUNNE & DANCERS

P.J. Leary and the Las Vegas Sounds before and after the show. Dinner served in a Supper Club atmosphere in the Ballroom.

MAR. 21, 2009 DREAMGIRLS TRIBUTE

Extreme Supreme and Motown sounds will grace the stage in the Red Rose Ballroom. Come dine and dance the night away to some of the best songs in music history! P.J. Leary and the Las Vegas Sounds before and after the show. Dinner will be served in a Supper Club atmosphere in the Ballroom.

MAR. 21 & 28, 2009 RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND LOLA & THE SAINTS

RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND

Signature group of The Red Rose Dining Room. Performing popular tunes for your enjoyment. The group performs EVERY SATURDAY, unless other shows are booked.

RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND

DESTINY Put on your dancing shoes as the House Band of the Red Rose Dining Room performs EVERY THURSDAY AND FRIDAY EVENINGS from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

FREE TIME JAZZ This relaxing Jazz band performs EVERY TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY EVENINGS (6 p.m.-11 p.m.) during and after our SEAFOOD AND

DESTINY

PRIME RIB BUFFET!

SPECIAL ROOM RATES! Enjoy one of the shows and then stay the night in one of our Signature Polo Club Rooms for a special price. Late check out is included! Join us for our Champagne Sunday Brunch.

FREE TIME JAZZ

CAHILL DUNNE

JOHNNY ALSTON

P.J. LEARY & THE L AS VEGAS SOUNDS

february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 99


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100 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009


february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 101


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february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 103


THE FESTIVAL IS LIKE FAMILY

Ellany Johnson has served the Florida Strawberry Festival for almost four decades. Story by Krystel Knowles

Ellany Johnson is more than just an employee at the Florida Strawberry Festival. She is engrained in it. Like many people who live in Plant City, she and her family attend the festival every year. Her two children and her two grandchildren always go because the festival is basically family time, and Johnson considers it “a family tradition.” Although her grandchildren have been attending the festival all their lives, Johnson hasn’t. She was born in Iowa, but she couldn’t be anymore of a part of the festival, especially since she has served the Florida Strawberry Festival for nearly 40 years. Even though that might seem like a long time, she says she is “way beyond retirement.” One of the main things that keeps Johnson excited about the festival is the family atmosphere with the guests, vendors, and co-workers. According to Johnson, there are people who have had the same booth for more than 30 years, and she enjoys working with everybody because just like her, many of them have been part of the festival for many years. “I appreciate all the vendors and staff because they make the festival a success,” said Johnson. “I appreciate them, I like the close working relationship we have.” It is not only others who work in the booths and tents that help make the Florida Strawberry Festival staff feel like a family, it is everyone involved. “People don’t realize how much work they do to keep the place looking spotless,” Johnson said, praising the maintenance crews. “I can’t believe how the land gets transformed in such a pretty place.” One of the main aspects Johnson enjoys is watching families have a great time. The festival provides entertainment for the entire family, and senior citizens really enjoy the atmosphere. Even “the performers have a great time, and we treat them really well,” said Johnson. Johnson’s love for the festival grew during the years she has worked here, and she has climbed the ranks. She was also a preacher’s wife for more than 24 years and used to own a Christian bookstore. She first became part of the Strawberry Festival in ’72 when she rented a booth at the festival to promote her Christian bookstore. She said she really enjoyed having a booth and interacting with the people. Shortly after, in ’75, she was asked to coordinate the Show Tent, and she did that for more than five years. She really enjoyed it because she could be

Ellany Johnson made her début at the Strawberry festival in 1972, more than 30 years ago.

personable with guests. “I used to give away free strawberry jam to the people who traveled the farthest, many of them were from England and Germany,” Johnson said. She became the chairperson for at least 15 years of the Shoe Box Float, and then in ’89 she managed the ticket office for eight years. She said the ticket booth is exciting because you get to make people happy. In ’96 she managed the exhibits and concessions

104 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

and finally became the administrative assistant. Contrary to what some might think, working for the Florida Strawberry Festival isn’t something a person does for a couple weeks during the year. It is a year-round job, and immediately after the festival ends, all the people will start planning next year’s festival, which is not a problem for Johnson who feels at home when she is at the Florida Strawberry Festival.


february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 105


Strawberry recipes

Tip: A dash of balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, or orange juice will bring out the flavor of strawberries.

Strawberry Muffins Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 2/3 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries 1 cup lowfat buttermilk 1/3 cup margarine, melted 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 egg, lightly beaten 2 egg whites, lightly beaten Vegetable cooking spray 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Instructions: Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large kitchen bowl and stir well. Add fresh-sliced strawberries, stir well. Make a pit in the middle of the mixture. Combine buttermilk, melted margarine, vanilla extract, egg, and egg whites. Add to dry mixture stirring until just moistened. Divide batter evenly among 18 muffin cups that are sprayed cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 1/2 TBS of sugar evenly on muffins. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. Remove from pans immediately. Let cool on a wire rack.

Strawberry, Mozzarella Salad Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 3 cups lightly packed romaine lettuce 1 eight-ounce container of strawberries, hulled and sliced ž cup mozzarella cheese, diced 1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped

Instructions: In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar salt, and pepper. Place lettuce in a large bowl and toss with half the dressing. Place the lettuce onto four salad plates. Toss the strawberries with the remaining dressing and place 1/4 of the berries on top of each mound of lettuce. Top each with cheese.

Strawberry Sauce Ingredients: 1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup water 1 teaspoon cornstarch zest of an orange

Instructions: Make the sauce: Combine the strawberries, sugar, water, cornstarch, and zest in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir gently until the berries release their natural juices. The consistency should remain a bit chunky, it will thicken up when it cools down.

Strawberry-Banana Smoothies Recipe Ingredients: 1/2 banana 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries 1 cup milk, low fat 1/4 cup cold water Honey to taste

Instructions: Peel banana and cut into small pieces. Rinse and cut strawberries into cubes. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend and serve.


february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 107


108 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009


The best thing you can do for your business is leave it for a day.

“Are you serious?” The benefits of lifelong learning and sharpening ideas with 10-15 peer Christian chief executives one day each month are profound. Using C12’s proven model and resources, you’ll be challenged to truly apply God’s Word and best-in-class business practices as you engage with like-minded peers focused on high-level business performance. Coupled with a monthly one-on-one coaching consultation, this is designed to help you lead with excellence and eternal impact. To discover “The C12 Advantage,” visit www.C12Group.com where you’ll find information about becoming a C12 member or C12 Chair for your area. In our 17th year, with more than 65 groups meeting in 48 metro areas across America, The C12 Group is advancing the Kingdom by helping business leaders live out Scriptural values while building thriving businesses with real ministry impact.

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Scott Hitchcock, Tampa Bay Area Chair • (813) 991-6482 february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 109 www.c12group.com


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110 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009


111

HOME GUIDE

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Bank Owned, 3 bedroom/2 bath home. Great for a 1st time home buyer. New paint inside and out, new cabinets in kitchen and baths, new tile floors. Bonus room and huge laundry room. Large back yard and a screened-in porch. Offered at $89,000. MLS #T2352906. Call Christine Weber at (813) 992-5872.

13.55 ACRES OF HORSE HEAVEN!

No HOA - no deed restrictions. 8-stall barn w/tack & feed rooms, water + electric in each stall. Fenced & cross-fenced. Pond. 3922 sq ft, 2-story, custom-built home w/4 BR & 3.5 BA. Kitchen remodel just completed - granite counters, new appliances. Master bath remodeled with new counters, mirrors & fixtures. Formal living & dining areas, Family room w/wood-burning fireplace, and huge bonus room currently used as additional dining area. Inside laundry/storage room. Oversized, screened lanai, inground pool, several utility sheds including one for horse trailer, boat or RV. Hook-ups for travel trailer. Offered at $634,848. MLS #T2311859. Please Call Lynne Halleran, (813) 763-1881 or Call Jimmie Robinson (813) 390-6441.

SHOWS LIKE A MODEL!

Custom built in ‘03. Spacious great room with an open dining and kitchen. Master suit features dual walk-in closets, tub with shower, his and her vanities. Classy kitchen with smooth top range, side-by-side refrigerator, closet pantry and inside laundry. Screened 17x8 lanai, private fenced yard with shade trees and new sod. Over sized 2 car garage, security system, 1 year home warranty. Super clean! Offered at $148,500. MLS #T2301772. Call Maddie Alford (813) 382-8382.

OAK DALE SUDIVISION

Darling house - great location!!! Quiet, shaded street of well-maintained homes. Close to shopping, schools and entertainment but still private. This 3/2 has gleaming hardwood floors, new carpet and fresh paint on the inside, paneled Family Room, 2 fireplaces. Bathrooms recently remodeled! Screened porch on back is great for entertaining. Fenced yard has big shade trees, avocado & loquat trees as well as additional flowering shrubs. So pretty! All appliances stay - includes washer & dryer! You won’t believe your luck when you see this one. Special pricing at $159,402. MLS #T2324378. Call Lynne Halleran at (813) 763-1881.

Jimmie Robinson Sterling Society Given to the top 11% of Coldwell Banker Associates Worldwide

WALDEN LAKE

3 bedroom, 2 bath home on a corner lot with new roof and a new screened lanai over the pool. All of this in a great location. Over 2,250 square feet ready for a new owner. Offered at $279,900. MLS #T2351875. Call Bob Love at (813) 4788096.

SALE OR LEASE

Plant City Distribution Center located 3 miles from I-4. Building is in excellent condition. Situated on 8.9 acres. 21,140 square feet of cooler/freezer space, 23,320 square feet of dry storage/warehouse space, 6,500 square feet of covered dock space (open sided, roof covering only) with 15 dock doors and 3,200 square feet of office space. Perimeter of site is security fenced. Price Reduced! Offered at $3,200,000. Call Dave McCarthy at (813) 263-4797.

HIGHLAND CREEK

Tucked away on a private road in SE Plant City, this custom home sits on a beautiful 2+ acre conservation lot near the end of a cul-de-sac. Split bedroom plan 5BR/3.5BA + den, 3-car garage, screened salt water pool, spa with oversized lanai, 10x20 utility shed & 17x19 bonus room! Hardwood flooring and ceramic tiles are in the traffic areas. The kitchen features 42” wood cabinets, stainless appliances, solid surface counters, 2 convection wall ovens and a back-saving drawer-style dishwasher! Real wood fireplace, in-the-wall pest control. Offered at $419,514. MLS #T2340295. Call Lynne Halleran at (813) 763-1881.

Call us for your Residential and Commercial Real Estate needs

1513 Jim Redman Parkway, Plant City

813-754-3586 www.floridamoves.com/plantcity

112 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE


Thank You Plant City for a successful 2008!

FORE!

ENTERTAINER’S DELIGHT WOW! Over 4100 SF living area in 5 BR/4 BA/3+CG, including tons of upgrades for the music/movie lover in you. Home features formal dining, screened lanai, central vacuum system, floating wood floors, luxury kitchen, PLUS a theater room w/surround sound and so much more! All this sits on 1.2 acres convenient to I-4 making it ideal for the commuter. $535,000. MLS#T2346647.

NEED EXTRA INCOME?

2 BR/1 BA home with a fresh new look that would make a great rental. New roof, new appliances and fresh paint inside and out. Priced to sell at $65,000. MLS#T2329916.

Gorgeous two-story 4 BR/3 BA/3+CG home on the golfcourse (Hills-16th hole) with over 2800 SF living area and garden bath in master suite. PLUS solar heated pool in oversized lanai that has a nice outdoor grilling area. $375,000. MLS#T2348609.

CONVENIENT TO EVERYTHING Commercial office and warehouse building with 5,000 total Square Feet and 4,000 Square Feet heated and cooled. Extra lots totaling .8 acres. Zoned C1 and M1. Offered at $475,000.

ZONED FOR OFFICES

THONOTOSASSA 2 BR/1 BA mobile home in Thonotosassa. Ideal for a fixer upper or investment opportunity as a rental. Being sold AS IS. Now only $35,900. MLS#T2325499.

HOME ON THE RANGE

Commercial building near hospital and I-4 Currently in the remodel stage. Buy now; pick carpet colors and layout for your particular business. Offered at $425,000. MLS #T2330860.

NO RESTRICTIONS/NO HOA FEES

3 BR/2 BA classic brick home with a beautifully landscaped and shaded 1/2 acre yard in established family neighborhood. Home features 2300+ SF living, brick fireplace, unique floor plan and lots of room to entertain for family & friends. $225,000. MLS#T2313351

8-stall barn w/tack & feed rms, water + electric in each stall. Fenced & cross-fenced. Pond. 3922sq.ft, 2-story, custom-built home w/4 BR & 3.5 BA. Kitchen remodel just completed - granite counters, new appliances. Master bath remodeled w/ new counters, mirrors & fixtures. Formal living & dining areas, Family rm w/wood-burning fireplace & huge bonus rm. Inside laundry/storage rm. Oversized, screened lanai, in-ground pool, several utility sheds. Offered at $634,848. MLS #T2311859.

VALRICO

Custom built 5,200+ sq.ft. home in prestigious, gated Cambridge Cove is on a cul-de-sac with beautiful lake & golf course view. Formal living/ dining room features Brazilian Mahogany floors. Lush tropical pool area w/spa & outdoor kitchen is perfect for entertaining. Huge kitchen w/double ovens, an island & breakfast nook. $599,000. MLS #T2338175

COUNTRY LIVING

BUY ONE, GET ONE

3 BR/2 BA/2 CG block home built in 2005 with almost 1900 SF living plus a 1 BR/1 BA block home with 600 SF living and attached carport. Includes a shared pool and situated on 1+ acre in north Plant City. Only $259,900. MLS#T2346958.

3 BR/2 BA /2 CG block home in the country on 1 acre of land. Home has over 1600 SF living, fireplace, new carpet & tile floors, new roof & A/C plus all new appliances. Now only $215,910. MLS#T2326312

LAND • LAND • LAND • LAND COOPER RD-PLANT CITY

ROLLING VISTA LP-DOVER Perfect building lot in new community of larger homes. Ready for your dream home of 2400 SF living or more. Reduced to $72,400. MLS#T2324771 CAMERON RD-PLANT CITY S WIGGINS RD-PLANT CITY 4 acres on Wiggins Rd with pond. Great loca- 5 acre homesite w/grandfather oaks and tion for your new home and some privacy too! the privacy of a dead end road. $275,000. MLS#T2339960. $169,000. MLS#T2334292. 2 acre parcel with grandfather oaks, paved road frontage and small pond on the property. Your new home would be a perfect fit - mobile homes OK. Now only $50,000. MLS#T2270664.

E TERRACE DR-PLANT CITY 1.68 acres in area of newer homes convenient to I-4. Restricted to homes of 2000 SF or more. Owner Financing Available. $79,500. MLS#T2339873. HOMES UNDER 70,000 9818 James St, Thonotosassa- $35,900 1706 Lime St, Plant City - $65,000

Dedicated to the Value of Home & Family

RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE

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

SOUTHWIND DR-MULBERRY Building lot with easy access to the airport. Two separate lots available-$49,900 each. MLS#T2333753

SLEEPY HOLLOW RD-PLANT CITY One acre with oak trees off Knights Griffin Rdsome deed restrictions. Now only $69,900. MLS#T2318671.

Jimmie Robinson - 813-754-3586 ext 222 www.floridamoves.com/jimmie.robinson

E-mail: Jimmie.Robinson@floridamoves.com • toll free

1-877-442-7001


real estate

WALDEN LAKE ADDS ON TO ITS AESTHETIC APPEAL

The ligustrum trees have been trimmed in the mediums, and Jan Griffin, the president of the board, said that during her recent ride through the community with Manager Tom Duramus, the community as a whole looked great. There are a few neighborhood entrances in need of some sprucing, but that is on hold until the spring brings some warmer

weather. The turkey vultures are back and are causing a nuisance with their droppings along the walking path around the lake. This has been an annual occurrence, and Tom is doing what he can to try to reduce the mess. Please be patient as this is a temporary situation and they will be gone before long.

Trapnell Ridge Single Family Homes from the $180’s 1,286 to 1,950 s.f. of living space Standard lot 60’ x 110’ INVENTORY HOMES AVAILABLE

Walden Pointe

Model Now Open Single Family Homes starting from the $240’s 1,963 to 2,704 s.f. of living space Standard lot 75’ x 120’. Larger lots available

114 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

Everyone should now have the new square sticker on their automobiles. Please remember that parking in the common areas, especially at the park, is restricted for Walden Lake residents only. So far, eight automobiles have been towed. If anyone is meeting a friend, then have them come and park at your home so they can enjoy their time with you. The vote will be coming up at the next annual meeting on April 9 for the residents to decide if they are willing to pay a one-time special assessment to build an office and storage space at the Polo Field grounds. Your vote counts, so please be sure to cast a ballot. Anyone who is unable to make the annual meeting should cast his or her vote by proxy. You may have noticed the thermometers at the entrances for the Walden Lake Dog Park. The dog park committee is raising all the funds needed for construction, so be assured that it is not coming from the association’s budget. Anyone who is interested in helping with this great project can purchase a paver for $100, or attend the golf tournament on Feb.

20. Please call Stephanie Springborn at (813) 728-8802 for purchase information or to become a member of the Dog Park Committee. If you are interested in playing or sponsoring a hole, then please call Angie Inzerillo at (813) 230-4453. For information on any of these events, visit www. waldenlakedogpark.com. Anyone who is looking for a place to host an event, tournament, fundraiser, etc., the Walden Lake Golf and Country Club is the place to have it. If you haven’t seen all the renovations at the club, then now is the time to check it out. Michele Newsome will be happy to give a personal tour. There are memberships to fit what you are looking for, from as little as $2 per day. Call Newsome at (813) 752-1171, extension 222, for information on booking events or for membership information. Be watching for the new and improved Web site that is coming soon. For information on memberships or events, call Michele at (813) 752-1171 ext. 222.

FREEMARR HOMES

NOW SELLING

s u b m i t t e d by n ata l i e S w e e t

“Your Quality Home Builder”

Contact Paula and Abby today at NEW PHONE #: 813-490-2078 paula.meyers@freemarr.com • www.freemarrhomes.com Broker Participation Welcome Abby Richardson 813-967-1938

Paula Davis Meyers 813-967-1942 Pricing and availability are subject to change without notice. Standard features may vary per floor plan and community.

CRC 043791


Natalie Sweet 813-758-9586

Cathy Martin 813-376-0891

Angel Miller 813-546-9863

For “Another Sweet Sale” Call 813-758-9586. Call Us For All Your Real Estate Needs! POLO LOVER’S DREAM

FABULOUS FOREST CLUB

One of a kind Mediterranean style mansion nestled on 4.5 acres surrounded by horse ranches. Too many upgrades to mention. Huge outdoor pavilion. Everything you want and so much more. Call Natalie 758-9586 or Angel 546-9863.

You’ll have many happy days in this 2500 sq’ 4 Bedroom Walden Lake Pool home on the golf course. Beautiful Southwestern tile & wood floors throughout the home, newer AC & Roof for peace of mind. $309,900 Call Natalie 758-9586

Adorable 3 BR 2 BA, 2 car gar home on wonderfully landscaped yard. Mrs. Clean lives in this home! Light, bright and airy floor plan. Perfectly landscaped low maintenance yard! Charming back porch with great private views. $159,900 Call Angel 813-546-9863

NEW CONSTRUCTION W/POOL

BEAUTIFUL HOME ON CONSERVATION LOT

WALDEN LAKE ON CONSERVATION LOT

Ready within 30 days is this fabulous custom home with over 4500 sq’ of living area. 1 Acre Lot, Gourmet Kitchen, wood floors and much much more! $549,900 Call Natalie for details 758-9586.

Enjoy your privacy in this beautifully landscaped home with over 1 + Acre in the Aston Woods neighborhood of Walden Lake. 4 Bedrooms, 3 Baths, 3 Car Garage featuring formal living & dining rooms, family room w/fireplace, large open kitchen, solar heated pool & spa. $259,900 Call Natalie 813-758-9586.

1 A MOL lot in desirable Clubhouse Woods neighborhood. 3 Bedroom plus Office/Den, 3 Baths, Formal Living & Dining Rooms. Huge Kichen opens to the Family Room. Pool & Spa completes the package. $319,000 Call Natalie 813-758-9586.

FABULOUS WALDEN LAKE

WALDEN LAKE POOL HOME

ENJOY LIVING IN THE COUNTRY

Move right into this 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on large conservation lot. You will love this enormous yard with lush plants, flowers & fruit trees. Enjoy the enlarged lanai for those relaxing times. $225,000 Call Natalie 758-9586

GREAT INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

2 Family Home plus an additional unit over the garage in the heart of the Historic District. Great Location, Great Price! $189,900. Call Angel at 813-546-0863.

You will love this 3 Bedroom 2 Bath home. Huge great room w/cathedral ceilings & fireplace. Oversized master bedroom, with large secondary bedrooms. Enjoy your pool in the fenced back yard. $172,500 Call Natalie 758-9586

PLANT CITY BUNGALOW

ADORABLE WALDEN LAKE HOME

3 Bedroom, 2 Bath home with almost 1700 sq’ of living area on 2 1/2 Acres. The kitchen has been remodeled with new cabinets & corian counter tops, large living room and huge bonus room. 4 horse stall barn with tack room & pasture area. $180,000 Call Natalie 813-758-9586.

GREAT HOME GREAT LOCATION

Gorgeous Bungalow w/front porch in the heart of Welcome to this 3-4 Bedroom Home w/2 Baths, Huge Great Room, Nice Yard w/Utility Shed & Plant City. Over 1200 sq’ of living area! Completely almost new Roof. This home has been very lovingly remodeled from the roof to the floors. Nothing to do cared for by it’s owners. $169,900 but move right in! $115,000february Call Natalie 15, 758-9586 Call Natalie for more details! 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 115


Renee CoRzine KeLLeR WILLIAmS

Realtor multi-million Dollar Producer

1607 S. Alexander Street • Suite 102

813-716-6007

rcorzine@tampabay.rr.com

$175,000

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

$223,300

FOREST CLUB

4/2/2, 2170 SF, Fireplace, Lg Kitchen, FR, Scnd Lanai, Fruit Trees, 1/3 Acre

$86,000

NEW KITCHEN

2/1, Updated in 2006, Tile/Carpet, Huge Fenced Backyard, Cul-de-sac

$169,900

mODEL pERFECT

$179,900

NO DEED RESTRICTIONS

4/2/2, 1974 SF, Den, FR, LR, Indoor Util, 2 Carport, Shed, 1/4 Acre, Fenced

$82,279

305 EUNICE

110 W. Reynolds St. Suite 104 Plant City, FL Phone: 813-757-9727 or 813-363-2047 www .mille nnium home s.biz License #CBC1251837

We Build On Your Lot Or Ours rs

We Build Your Floor Plan Or Ou

REMODELS & ADDITIONS

$69,900

Southern MeadowS Off Turkey Creek 1 Mile From Walden Lake

89,900

1+ ACre hOmesiTes AvAilAble in bOTh subdivisiOns

Homes On 1 Acre From Only *

$299,900

4 Bedroom, 3 Bath, 2200 Sq’ Living Area

Call Natalie Sweet • 813-758-9586

Marketed By:

mortGaGe

MORTGAGE RATES ARE DROPPING; IS IT TIME TO THINK REFINANCING? s u b m i t t e d by n at e d av i S

3/2/2, 1704 SF, Vaulted Ceilings, Screened Lanai, Fenced, Corner Lot

2/1/1.5, Block, Fireplace, Wood Laminate, 2-carport, Fenced, Workshop

Springfield Off spArkmAn rd

home

One Acre Homesites From Only *

$89,000

*as part of custom home package

Call Angel Miller • 813-546-9863

116 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

This is a common question I hear. Many people think that if you can reduce your interest rate by one percent, then you should refinance. This is not always the case. Sometimes it can make sense to do so with less than one percent, and other times the interest rate reduction may need to be greater than one percent. Below you will see what information to consider when determining whether you should refinance. There is not a good rule-of-thumb gauge for this because it all depends on a few vital pieces of information: What rate are you paying now and what is the new proposed rate? What is your loan balance and terms – 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed, etc? What are the associated closing costs to achieve the new proposed rate? How long do you intend on keeping the home and making payments? Here is an example I experienced last week: 30-year fixed rate mortgage Current Mortgage Rate: 6.5% Old Payment: $948.10 (principal and interest) New Mortgage Rate: 4.5% New Payment: $760.03 (principal and interest) Loan Balance: $150,000 Closing Costs: $4,500 (lender fees, title insurance, closing fee, etc.) Monthly Payment Savings: $188.07 How long would it take you to recoup the closing costs expense? Closing Costs/ Monthly Savings = Months required to “break even/recoup closing costs” are $4,500/$188.07 = 23.9 months or roughly 2 years. So in the above scenario, if the borrower intends to remain in the home for two years or more, it would make financial sense to refinance with the above terms. After two years, one would be coming ahead by $188.07 per month, (28years (12 months x 28 years) = $63,191 savings during the life of the loan. You can change the variables in the above scenario to see if you would stand to benefit. It is always best to consult with an honest mortgage professional to review this information with you. The above analysis applies to a “rate and term” refinance, meaning you are simply paying off the old mortgage and not pulling any cash out of your home. If you were utilizing the refinance transaction to also pull out cash, consolidate debt, or switch from an ARM to a fixed-rate mortgage, or removing mortgage insurance, then there are other factors to consider. Typically in these cases, the interest rate reduction does not have to be as significant because the other benefits will make the transaction more financially beneficial alone. Some additional information to consider for a more advanced analysis would be tax benefits (itemizing home mortgage interest, and years left on existing mortgage)


Perfec Large D t Credit or own Pay ment NO

T REQU

IRED


homes

real estate

THE ROAD TO RECOVERY s u b m i t t e d by J O - a n lU S k

LOCALLY OWNED OPERATED TIMOTHY W. TEW P.L.S. OWNER/PRESIDENT

New Locati on 1912 Hollo way Road Plant City, Fl 33567

ity C t n la P s w o n k o “Wh ” ls a c o L e th n a th r e bett Did you know you can choose your Surveyor when Re-Financing!!!!

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118 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

By the time this article goes to print, many of us will have put away the statistics and year-end information of 2008. This same group of people is probably glad that 2008 is past. When it comes to the business of real estate, last year is extremely important. Following is what we can glean from a year of depreciating market trends. Florida’s median sales price for existing homes last month was $155,500. A year ago it was $213,600, making that a 27 percent decrease. That is an important statistic. Here locally, at the end of December, the average price of homes on the market – not yet sold – was $226,000. The average price of homes sold was $164,000. Homes were on the market an average of 120 days. Florida’s existing home sales rose in December, making it the fourth consecutive month that sales activity demonstrated gains in the year-to-year comparison, according to the latest housing data released by the Florida Association of Realtors. Although a 27 percent decrease in average sale prices might be shocking to some, it is reality for the economy in which we are living. The Greater Tampa Association, Florida Association, and National Association of Realtors are working hard for homeowners and homebuyers to help stabilize as well as energize the real estate market. As buyers begin to take advantage of historically low interest rates, tax credits, property tax portability, and affordable home prices, economic improvement will become reality. As lenders begin to work with homeowners to refinance, renegotiate, and perhaps utilize the funds that the government has provided (thanks to the taxpayer) and help buyers, economic improvement become a reality. Who knows how long this will take? The majority seem to think it will be another challenging year – at least through the first half. I believe that there will be slow and steady improvement in the real estate market, and I also believe it has already begun in small degrees. If you are able to buy, then be careful not to wait too long for rates to drop – it is inevitable that at some point they will have to increase. Take advantage now of low prices and low rates. You may not see them again. So we all have a part to play in getting the economy on the road to recovery. Do your part to help each other.


LAKE ALFRED STEAL – 3495 SF, Beauty, 6Bd/4Ba, Family rm, living rm, dining rm & bonus rm. Beautiful gourmet kitchen w/granite counters & appliances. SHORT SALE, STEAL at $159,900. #36

PRIVATE WOOD SETTING - 3Bd/2.5Ba, 2476 SF on 3.26 acres. Lg kitchen, corian counter tops, center island & loads of cabinets. Family rm includes stone fireplace & built in entertainment center. Master bath has his/her sinks & window seat. Property is fenced on secluded paved road. Asking $199,900. #27

MOTHER NATURE IS RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR - Lovely 3Bd/2Ba home tucked away on 3.81 acres of gorgeously wooded land. Come home to comfort with the large & open family rm. You’ll have plenty of space with the extra storage, workshop & two car garage. A little TLC plus you equals a terrific buy! $149,900 #54

DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB! – Take it home instead. Home office & 3Bd/2Ba in Cork, 1829 SF, lovely cathedral ceilings, 1+ acre completely c/l fenced w/1.5 car garage. Beautifully maintained – Short Sale & Only $193,900. #74

PLEASANT POSSIBILITIES ON PLESANT ACRES – Beautiful ½ acre w/grandfather oaks, 3Bd/1Ba & Family rm, nearly 1200 SF, c/l fenced, nice area. Bring your hammer & some ideas only $75,900. #71

ADORABLE-AFFORDABLE! 3 Bd/2Ba ½ duplex is located in North Lakeland area. The appeal of small; the impact of big w/ Family rm/dining rm combo. Upstairs 3rd bdrm loft or workout rm. Kitchen includes all appliances. Fenced back yard is perfect for man’s best friend with separate dog run fully fenced. $114,900 #53

BUY TODAY: PROFIT TOMORROW! SHORT SALE - 3Bd/2Ba NE Lakeland home on a cul-de-sac, safe street for tykes & trikes. Central Family/ Dining rm combo has vaulted ceiling & opens to kitchen area. A step saver kitchen without that crowded feel, enjoy backyard w/ large screened patio. Only $120,000. #4

HIT THE DECK – On the outside of this delightful 3Bd/2Ba with gorgeous wood floors & bead board ceilings throughout. Two large bonus rooms perfect for storage/office/den. Moss draped grandfather oaks compliment this one plus acre oasis. $199,000. #32

ADORABLE AND AFFORDABLE – 3Bd/2Ba, minutes from I-4 and HCC. Family friendly starter or retiree home on large fenced lot with appliances. This short sale won’t last long at only $99,900. #29

SERENE COUNTRY SETTING – Nestled in Thonotosassa, lovely 3Bd/2Ba, charming wood floors in great room, plenty of storage throughout. Enjoy huge 21x15 sc patio, shaded & fenced ½ ac. Beautifully maintained a must see at $178,900! #82

THE RETURN JUSTIFIES THE INVESTMENT 4Bd/3Ba, located in desirable Durant area. Home features nearly 2600 SF home w/split entrance to formal dining & living rms. Large Family rm is perfect for entertaining a big crowd w/living area opens to large kitchen & dinette. The kids will love the large vinyl fenced back yard. $ 219,900. #48

POOL’S ALWAYS OPEN – For your enjoyment, built in 2001, 1732 SF custom home on 1.78 ac offers 3Bd/2Ba, huge great rm, formal DR w/gleaming hardwood floors. Custom kitchen w/corian counters & upgraded appliances. Quick dip in pool & enjoy quiet evenings on your country retreat! A steal at only $249,900. #61

RENTALS

COUNTRY RENTAL – 1.48 acres located in Plant City. 3Bd/2Ba, 1788 SF w/FR, LR. Neat, clean & shows well! Only $1350/Month. Call for more info.

ACREAGE & COMMERCIAL

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS MARKET Stake your claim on this beautiful, partially wooded 2.5 acres located minutes from I-4, w/conservation on rear to buffer neighbors, this great buy is a country paradise for your dream home! Make offer - Owner Says Sell! $95,900. #85 IT‘S A BERRY GOOD START From the ground up - it‘s a great value on 1.25 acres in Springhead. Bring your builder & your plans - Only $72,000. This sweet treat can‘t be beat on Berry Rd. - Must See! #51 PRIME 10 ACRES OF BEAUTIFUL LAND – Priced to sell at only $182,500 – Owner says sell! 330ft mol of road frontage & possibly of 3 parcels. A steal is yours, cleared w/gorgeous trees, fenced & ready for you & your Family. #59 2 ACRES LAMPP RD - WILL LIGHT YOUR FIRE! Beautiful serene country setting awaits plans for a new home. Minutes from I-4. REDUCED to $95,900. #7 KEEP THE DISTANCE No back door neighbors w/nearly 5 ac in Thonotosassa, 660 ft. road frontage you‘ll place dream home in middle! A STEAL @ $216,900. #22 FARM OR DEVELOP 7.31 AC, fronts on US Hwy 92 & Glen Harwell Rd., great access to I-4. 6“ well is suberb for berries or home. A great value @ $395.000. #2

WALDEN LAKE RENTAL - 4BD/2BA, like new! Completely remodeled 2400 SF (mol) new cabinets, new carpet and new appliances. Outdoor kitchen with huge pool & spa. $1899/Month. Must See!

The Market Is Down But You Can Be Up...

Call Vogel Realty “Short Sale”/Foreclosure Specialists

(813) 659-3306

www.vogelrealtyservices.com


Team Wainoris...Selling Plant City and Lakeland

Randall & Kathleen Wainoris

813-997-3000 863-608-1557

REALTOR® / Attorney at Law

REALTOR® / Notary

PLANT CITY CIRCA 1900

Charming two story turn of the century colonial. 4 bedrooms, 2 baths with new roof and a/c. Home has been completely rewired with a totally remodeled kitchen. Large corner lot with beautiful mature trees and detached garage. Short sale: asking just $169,000

sellmyhome@tampabay.rr.com

Multi-Million Dollar Producers

BRING THE FAMILY Lakeland Highlands area: 5 bedroom pool home with breathtaking views. Great schools, and just minutes to Polk Parkway and shopping. Asking $269,000.

863-688-2822

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

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

REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE by Randall Wainoris, JD, MBA

OUR PAST LEADS US TO A BRIGHT FUTURE! WATERFRONT PROPERTY

Beautiful 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath home directly on Lake Parker. Property includes fishing pier and boat ramp. Large F/R, L/R w/ fireplace. Huge deck overlooking water. Reduced to $247,000.

KNIGHTS GRIFFIN ROAD

Wonderfully maintained manufactured home on beautiful one acre lot surrounded by premium homes. No deed restrictions. Asking just $124,900.

ADORABLE!

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120 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

It has often been said that history repeats itself. Real estate is probably not any different. It is no secret that home values has fallen substantially over the last few years. What will the future hold? Perhaps a review of the past will help us see the future. Historically, home prices have basically followed inflation: in other words, when adjusted for inflation, residential home prices have historically been basically stable. However, sometime between 2001-2002, home prices began to increase at a rate that exceeded inflation. That rate increased greatly in 2005-2006. The reasons for these price increases are many, but not really important to understand the inevitable market correction that will occur. The real estate market, like most markets eventually self adjusts. The market is now trying to adjust back to a long-standing, historical inflationadjusted price level. Although this price adjustment back to historical levels may sound like bad news for those us us who paid market prices for our homes over the last 5 years, we are simply seeing a normal market adjustment. For a healthy real estate market to exist, and for market supply and demand to work in harmony, prices have to return to stable inflation-adjusted levels. The good news it that we are basically there; and if history is a predictor of the future, values should start to stabilize. Interest rates are still at historical low levels, so the real estate market finally looks bright again! Thinking of buying or selling? Are you interested in learning about a short sale? Please call Team Wainoris today to see how we can help you! *Please consult your tax advisor for your individual tax considerations.

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A LEGACY OF QUALITY & CRAFTSMANSHIP! This 3 br/2ba home offers the best of warmth & charm with modern upgrades throughout. Pocket doors, wood floors, fireplaces and more! MLS #T2332801- $189,000. Call Jayne for your personal tour 813-763-0495

107 N. Granada Ct / Walden Lake 3/2/2 Villa on Golf Course. reduced to $149,500. Janet Calvello 813-967-1939

Nice 3/2 home on the east side of Walden Lake. Ready to move into.Great room with sliding glass doors to screen patio. Eat in Kitchen with all appliances Over size Laundry room and extra storage. Call Becky 813-376-2100 $1025.00

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Walden Lake What a great home 4/2-1/2 with lots of room. The master br is down Kitchen opens to family room with tile floors and wood burning fireplace. Sliding glass doors to enclosed screen lanai with brick pavers. Call for app Becky Bowdish 813-376-2100 $ 232,500

Excellent condition single family home/condo in Walden Lake. 2BDRM + Den/Office AND A 10X18 Florida RM. EXCELLENT PRICE $219,000. CALL JANET CALVELLO 813-967-1939

105 N. Granada Ct / Walden Lk 2/2/2 Villa on Golf Course; golf cart included. $138,900. Janet Calvello 813-967-1939

Eagle Green Walden Lake - Condo living at it’s best 2/2 Large open kitchen to the great room that has been extended to offer more room. slpit br plan. screen lanai & attached garage. community pool,all lawn care and water included in rent. Call Becky 813-376-2100 $ 995v.00 a month.

3 Bed/2 Bath Immaculate 2248sq.ft. home in Sutton Woods. Split Bedroom plan w/ granite countertops, tile floors, walk in closets. Master bedroom has additional area for sitting room or computer area and Garden tub w/ separate shower. All the upgrades including crown molding in Family Room -Leaded front doors. All for $289,000. Call Barbara Layton (813) 967 1937

Turkey Creek Rd $142,500 Loft home with 2bed/2.5bath on an acre. Brenda Salyers 813-230-1120

VERY SPACIOUS GOLF COURSE HOME. HUGE LANAI FOR ENTERTAINING, OUTDOOR KITCHEN, HEATED POOL & SPA. 3/2.5 OVERSIZED ROOMS. $ 325,000. Call JANET CALVELLO 813-967-1939

Gorgeous 3/2 in Forest Club- high 12’ ceiling and 8’ doors - Custom built home over 2600 sq.ft. with 3 car garage. Kitchen remodeled with new flattop range,dishwasher -granite countertops - This home is spectacular - Master bath has Jacuzzi with separate shower - Let me show this one to you. Call Barbara Layton (813) 967-1937

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122 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

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february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 125


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Billy Fanning, Cecil Clarke, and Freeman Bass show their team’s championship trophy from the Wharton Invitational. Photo by Joe Bowles

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126 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

s t o ry by J O e B O w l e S

Before the Durant High School boys’ soccer team played its first game this season, coach Jamin Hollingsworth challenged his players to list some goals. Becoming the No. 1 seed in district play, capturing the Wharton Invitational, winning the district, and giving up less than 15 goals were among the goals that Hollingsworth led his team to adopt. Although the team has given up more than 15 goals, the other objectives have been attained, or at least are in sight. Sporting a 21-2 record, the Cougars enter the Class 6A District 8 play as the top seed and are coming off an exciting final game in the Wharton Invitational against Sickles High School. Durant trumped Sickles in a shootout, following a 2-2 tie in regulation, to capture first place. The Wharton Invitational is the closest thing Plant City has to a county championship with 16 schools participating this year. All season, Durant has received a lot of attention and it may be related to three Cougars who have had standout seasons: Billy Fanning, Cecil Clarke, and Freeman Bass. Following an 116-1 record last season, Hollingsworth made some lineup changes, moving Bass to defense. It has resulted in a school record for wins. Fanning and Clarke have taken on the responsibility of scoring, and Bass has been a presence on both ends of the field playing excellent defense and contributing seven goals and two assists. The three Cougars have similar styles of play even though they have come from diverse backgrounds. Senior forward Clarke was born in Jamaica. “My dad and brother were

soccer players,” said Clarke, “and I first started playing when I was 3 years old. My brother nearly went pro. We initially moved to Port Charlotte and then we moved here with my aunt when I was 14.” Clarke is second in the district in goals with 18 and in assists with 13. Junior forward Fanning grew up in the area and began playing soccer at the age of 4 in the Brandon Area Soccer League. He leads all scorers in the district with 22 goals and eight assists. “The core of our team has been together for a long time. We thought we would do well this year, but we’ve done even better than we thought,” responded Fanning when asked about the team’s success. Senior sweeper Bass was the first member of his family to take up soccer. His younger brother Connor Bass is Durant’s goalkeeper. Clarke, Fanning, and Bass are also looking beyond this year’s playoffs. Bass is interested in playing for Palm Beach Atlantic University. Fanning is weighing his options with the University of Central Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University. Clarke is torn between college and the military. Before they finalize their collegiate future, they have some unfinished business to tend to on the road to winning district and competing in regional play and beyond. They will be trying to avenge last year’s heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to Sarasota Riverview in the district semifinal game. If they win district, then it is just one more goal that the Cougars can scratch off their list.


february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 127


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Andy Knotts congratulates Tekeyah Clark for being February’s athlete of the month. Photo by Kasey Miller

TEKEYAH CLARK s t o ry by k a S e y M i l l e r

Tekeyah Clark has played on the girls’ Plant City High School basketball team since the ninth grade, but now as a senior, she stands out as a leader and a smart, dependable player. It’s no question why her in-

credible drive for the game has made her the athlete for February. It takes witty skill and strong qualities to become a great player of any sport, and Clark believes that her vast IQ of the court has helped her to be

128 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

an important asset to the team. Her position is point guard – usually the brain of the team – which requires a player to think about several plays at all times while keeping everyone organized. “Even though I am small, I can see everything on the court and I know what moves to make,” said Clark. Ginger Forte, the head coach of the girls’ varsity basketball team, said Clark contributes to the team offen-

sively, as well as defensively, and has a full knowledge of the game. “She helps keep everyone in line and tells them where they should be on the court. She is a leader on the team,” said Forte. Inspired by her family’s love of basketball, and the fact that she had a basketball court outside in her backyard, Clark began to play the sport once she was first able to pick up a ball. She credits her grandfather for supporting her most in the sport. He was the one who always told her what she needed to work on and helped her improve throughout the years. “He is like a coach and a father figure,” said Clark. Her teammates are also dedicated to the sport, and together they practice six days a week in order to achieve as a winning team. Last year the girls made it to the second round in the semifinals at districts, but this year Clark hopes they can break past the second round and continue to go on into the finals. Clark looks at basketball as a positive motivator for herself. In the past she has been honored with MVP and defensive awards, and she hopes to get a scholarship to Florida State University or the University of Central Florida in order to further her basketball career.

?

send questions and comments to editorial@floydpublications.com


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Congratulations Megan Cochran on being selected Court Member for the Florida Strawberry Festival

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HOPEWELL Funeral Home & Memorial Gardens 813.737.3128 • 6005 State Road 39 South Plant City, FL february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 129


sports & fitness softball

The 2009 Plant City High School Raiders’ softball team. Photo by Lindsay Barthle

PLAY HARD OR GO HOME

plant City high SChOOl raiderS hOpe tO ride thiS philOSOphy tO the State SOFtBall ChaMpiOnShip.

advance a little further. It was also disappointing to know that two of her senior standouts – All-Conference selection Kayce Hart, and All-State selection and catcher Kendall Dawson – would not be back this year. This year’s team is full of underclassmen. In fact, Kouveras’ squad only has three seniors: Tara “Red” Thomas, Megan Still, and Amanda Alba. Kouveras said, “This year we have an awesome shortstop with great speed in Red Thomas. Megan Still will be one the area’s top pitchers, and, along with Alba, serve as the team’s vocal leaders. Alba is game smart. Her mental state is on the college level.” Kouveras has two assistant coaches: Ken Mohler and Christina Dovale. Mohler is in his fifth season, and Dovale, who is in her third season, is helping to develop the pitching staff. “Together, we run a tight practice with a lot of college drills that I learned at Santa Fe and Webber. Ken and Christina have been a tremendous help.” Kouveras believes that her job is

s t o ry by J O e B O w l e S

When Plant City High School’s head softball coach Heidi Kouveras was asked, “How do you think your team will do this year?” without hesitation she responded, “We’re going to state.” That may sound a bit boastful to some, but it is really more about confidence in her team’s talent, maturity, and the momentum the team has gained during the past few years. “We have talent. Every year we’ve gotten stronger, the practices are more intense, and the girls believe that we will be in the state championship final.” Listening to her speak will make anyone a believer, too. Kouveras, a 1998 graduate of Bloomingdale High School, played college at Santa Fe Community

College and Webber International University and had a brief assistant coaching stint at Webber before taking over the reins as the Raiders’ head coach in 2003. As she prepared for her first season, she knew that she would have to rebuild the team, and she has been rebuilding ever since. “I’m very intense in my coaching style and it encourages kids to want to be a Raider and play for me,” she said. This year is no exception, as the Raiders have depth at every position, including pitching. Last year, the Raiders went 15-3 during the regular season and finished 18-5 after advancing to the quarter finals of regional play. One of the biggest disappointments for Kouveras was a regional loss. She expected to

130 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

The Raiders congratulate one another following a victory. Photo by Lindsay Barthle

more than coaching. She has a diverse group that she would like to convert from a team to a family. She treats them like her own kids. And like a mother, she also monitors their grades, checks up on their study hall habits, and encourages them to sign up for the SAT and ACT. Like a family, they are also united in their philosophy, “Play hard. Win Big. Or Go Home.” Kouveras hopes this philosophy will serve as a positive mantra that will result in a championship run. District foes Durant, East Bay, and Riverview are always tough, but the Raiders have a talented team. Many members of this year’s team were also members of the 12-year-old Little League All-Star team that captured the state championship in 2005 and were runners-up in the regional round. Kouveras believes that this year’s squad will “play hard. Win big.” And “go home” only after they become state champions.

?

send questions and comments to editorial@floydpublications.com


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Certified Personal Trainer february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 131


sports & fitness

cheerleadinG

The Plant City High School cheerleading squad holds up their district championship trophy. Photo courtesy of Bruce Bullard

PCHS CHEERS TO NEW HEIGHTS the plant City high SChOOl CheerleaderS gOt their FirSt taSte OF winning a diStriCt COMpetitiOn. s t o ry by S a r a w y M a n

There’s a first for everything, and this first was a surprise. The Plant City High School cheerleading squad earned its biggest win ever on Feb. 6, by placing first in the Hillsborough County Western Conference. This was the team’s first time winning at districts. Arriving at the competition in bright orange, one of their school colors, they stood out among the sea of darker uniform colors. The 20 girls in their vibrant costumes were not the only aspect of the routine that captured attention at the competition. Varsity head coach Ginger Parks, who has been coaching cheerleading for 11 years, was happy to see the

girls executed the routine in a precise and sharp manner, saying, “They nailed the routine.” Alyssa Napolitano, a 16-year-old PCHS cheerleader, said a contributing factor to the victory was the team’s spirit chant: “Good, better, best. We will never rest. Till good is better, and better’s best, P-C-H-S!” The girls put a lot of work into getting where they are, practicing parts of the routine since September, and doing two-a-day practices for the last two weeks. Practicing at 5:30 in the morning and after school paid off when the girls entered the competition with enthusiasm, hoping to place third. They were shocked when the judges announced Plant City as

132 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

the winner. “We did not see this coming at all,” Parks said. Cheerleading practices began in August after tryouts. The varsity and junior varsity squads practice together for football games, basketball games, and other sports. Junior varsity is lead by Cassie Barrow, who Parks considers her “right hand.” The two women train the girls in cheering and stunts throughout the school year. The routine used for competition is rehearsed between practices for everything else. Due to the girls’ hard work, Parks was convinced that “they deserved this win.” The cheerleaders’ next event is

the state competition, which takes place March 13 and 14. They will be practicing the same routine that won districts to perform in front of new judges. Last year they placed seventh in the non-tumbling competition, and this year they are hoping for a higher placing due to the Western Conference win. “[We] hope for the best,” said Napolitano about the team’s attitude toward the state competition. “First place would be amazing.” She added that no matter where the squad places, “We’ll still have our heads held high.”

?

send questions and comments to editorial@floydpublications.com


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618 S. Collins - 813-850-3795 Bring in this Ad for a 10% Discount 134 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009


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136 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

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Monday-Friday 9-5 Saturday 9-12 february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 137


extra

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TAYLOR FROST AND JENSON HARLOW S t o ry by K a s e y M i l l e r

Taylor Frost and Jenson Harlow are Plant City High School’s most recent seniors of the month for December. Photo by Kasey Miller

138 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

Senior of the month is an award given each month to two outstanding seniors who show hard work and dedication in activities at school, as well as outside volunteer activities or programs that he or she is involved in. However, it is more than just a title given to a senior student; it recognizes that person as someone who clearly shows drive in achieving more than the ordinary and puts forth a lot of effort in order to be the best they can be. Not only is it an honor to be chosen as senior of the month, but it also enables every chosen student to be a part of the Prom King and Queen court. Furthermore, in order to be considered for this award, a senior must type up a formal resume listing the activities he or she was involved in since the ninth grade and describe all the activities they participated in for the month applied. If a student shows up as having a flaw on their disciplinary record, including any disciplinary referrals, then he or she will immediately be disqualified. The winners of December were announced in the month of January as Taylor Frost and Jenson Harlow.

While the aspect of their interests is in different extracurricular activities, both of these seniors worked very hard to accomplish each task. Frost was heavily involved in activities, such as drama, Winterguard team, and band. He not only competed in three acting events at the Thespian Individual Events competition, but he also starred as the lead role in the multi-school production of the musical “Pippin.” Additionally, he has been an active member of clubs like Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, Civitans, and Senior Executive Council. Some of the activities Harlow listed that she was involved with for December were the Christmas Toy Drive she organized as president of the Plant City Juniorettes club, her experience of Grad Night at Disney as a member of Senior Executive Council, and her service as chairman on the Plant City FFA Parliamentary Procedure team. She was also honored at the Strawberry Jam and was awarded a $750 scholarship from the Florida Strawberry Growers Association.


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february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 139


extra

al ruechel

“If the government continues to rescue the minority – the people who got themselves in trouble with the aid of the banks – then sooner or later the folks who followed the rules, budgeted themselves, took on second jobs, and made their payments on time over and over again are going to feel cheated. And when that happens, pretty soon those folks are going to be standing with their hands out asking for help.”

BAILOUT BLUES S u b m i t t e d by A l Ru e c h e l

OK, I am not a financial genius. I don’t pretend to have answers to the nation’s financial crisis. But most of what is going on with Wall Street and the bailouts doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. We the people have already forked more than $350 billion and just approved another $350 billion for the Obama administration to use as it sees fit. So why haven’t we seen any fruit from that gift? Why are banks using bailout money to acquire other banks and brokerages and then not lending out money to help ease the mortgage crisis? Why are we talk-

ing about a new stimulus program of more than $1 trillion – how many zeros is that – when there are no guarantees it will turn this economy around? Here’s the truth from Donald Marron, chairman of Lightyear Capital, as he appeared on the Fox network. He’s candid to admit that fixing the economy will likely include a lot of trial and error. He says it is difficult to measure cause and effect because often times we aren’t sure what works until it works. Translated: Time is both our friend and enemy, because if it doesn’t work we may not have

140 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

enough money to fix the problem. But if it does work, then we should begin seeing some gradual improvements once we hit the bottom. Then confidence will return to the market, and we should be able to start climbing out of the hole. Marron says housing is still the key and until our over supply is reduced, we won’t see housing values stabilized. And he reminds us that of the 55 million mortgages, only about 5 million are in trouble. And ironically, 70 percent of the homebuyers who were in foreclosure and were helped out by the banks were in need of financial assistance within the next year. This suggests the problems may be restricted to those that may have made bad decisions and continue to make bad decisions in regards to their loans. He also suggests banks need to make more concessions and work harder to refinance troubled mortgages. He calls it “joint responsibility,” in which banks knowingly lent

money to people who they knew couldn’t make the payments, and buyers knew they couldn’t meet their obligations unless they quickly sold their homes for more than they paid for them. Now here’s the part where it gets dicey. If the government continues to rescue the minority – the people who got themselves in trouble with the aid of the banks – then sooner or later the folks who followed the rules, budgeted themselves, took on second jobs, and made their payments on time over and over again are going to feel cheated. And when that happens, pretty soon those folks are going to be standing with their hands out asking for help. Someone in all of this bailout business needs to try and raise his or her head and demand more answers from those who are trying to fix a problem that we’ve never seen before, that has never been fixed by spending, and, so far, doesn’t appear to be responding to any of the fixes.


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Dr. Dukes encourages you to write her with any questions concerning chiropractic care. february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 141


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142 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

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february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 143


dining & entertainment

dininG Profile Olde Town Pizzeria & Pasta Co. is located at 3011 James L. Redman Parkway. Photo by Wendy S. Brown

A large Sunday crowd enjoys the Chicago-style pizza. Olde Town Pizzeria & Pasta Co. is a great place to bring the family or meet friends. Photo by Wendy S. Brown

STRAWBERRIES AND SALAD… IT’S ONLY AN AWARD WINNER even thOUgh it ServeS deliCiOUS italian FOOd, Olde tOwn pizzeria & paSta CO. iS renOwned FOr itS StrawBerry walnUt Salad. s t o ry by w e n dy S . B r O w n

For those who are looking for a friendly atmosphere with terrific Italian specialties, look no further. Olde Town Pizzeria & Pasta Co., which is located near Chili’s, has just that. Customer favorites are many, and even though it is an Italian restaurant, its hands-down most popular item is the award-winning Strawberry Walnut Salad. It is composed of crisp lettuce, fresh-sliced strawberries, shredded mozzarella, candied walnuts, and a special vinaigrette dressing. According to co-owner Patty Grossman, who shares ownership with her husband, Dave, 2,000 of the much-talked-about salads are sold each week between the Plant City and Brandon locations. Another crowd pleaser is the Olde

Towne deep-dish pizza, which includes pepperoni, Italian sausage, smoked and crumbled bacon, plus mozzarella between the pizza dough that is slathered in a special homemade pizza sauce. Thin-crust pizza is also available. One Sunday afternoon in February, the family-friendly restaurant was bustling to a busy lunch crowd, which is normal. Most of the customers ordered a Chicago-style pizza pie, which is like ordering a slice of heaven with gooey, melty, mozzarella cheese. Melinda Morris, a patron who frequents Olde Town, said, “Their deepdish pizza is the best anywhere.” The Grossmans have created a very comfortable, exceptionally clean eatery where people can either

144 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

meet friends or make new ones when they visit. Priding themselves for their attention to detail, the Grossmans went through a process of trial and error and have created a deepdish pizza that brings them back to their Chicago youth. Before opening the restaurant, Dave was a tax attorney while Patty was a registered nurse. For as long as he could remember, he wanted to own a pizza place. Having been in Florida for 20 years, he and his wife really missed Chicago pizza. Even though the Strawberry Walnut Salad and the Chicago-style pizza are favorites, another heavily requested menu item is the oven-baked meatball sandwich, which is served with chips. It comprises homemade Italian seasoned meatballs that are topped with marinara sauce, sweet peppers, Parmesan cheese, and baked mozzarella cheese. It is all served on a fresh Italian loaf for $7.59 – totally scrumptious and a belly filler. Selecting only the finest ingredients, the Grossmans hand make everything from scratch, ranging

from fresh spinach loaves, dressings, sauces, and meatballs. Did I mention that items can be cooked to order for customers with specific preferences? Family and friends from Willow Oak Baptist love this family place for its great pizza. Olde Town Pizzeria & Pasta Co. offers a warmeating environment with good food and prices, and with waitresses that know their customers. The restaurant has been in Plant City for nearly four years, and it is already a town favorite – that is what happens when consistent quality meets fresh-menu items.

OLDE TOWN PIZZARIA & PASTA CO.

3011 James Redman Parkway (813) 752-5800 www.oldetownpizzeria.com Catering available Credit Cards accepted Children’s menu available Price Range: $5.79-$23.95.


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Dad, Mom, Clay, Caitlin, Jeff and Kailee february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 145


dining & entertainment

entertainment

Red Rose Revels In Rhythm and Blues

Charlie Vegas plays with the New Blues Combo. Photo courtesy of the Red Rose Inn & Suites

S t o ry by E l i z a b e t h E d wa r d s

Mrs. Evelyn and Batista Madonia Sr. presented yet another extravagant evening filled with delightful food and entertainment for all of those in attendance on Jan. 30. Playing at the Red Rose Inn & Suites for the first time, Charlie Vegas and the New Blues Combo certainly impressed onlookers that danced the night away to the band’s enthusiastic melodies. Expectations were high for the debut of this talked-about group, and the performance certainly didn’t disappoint those who were at the event. Although their style is unique, some have compared the group to the likes of famed voices such as Frank Sinatra and Muddy Waters. With the swing and blues style of their music, the band set the party in motion as guests put the Red Rose’s spacious

and beautiful dance floor to great use. The show began at 8 p.m. and lasted until the audience was danced out. Charlie Vegas and the New Blues Combo are composed of four men with a multitude of talent. The style of their sound is more than just blues. It’s gritty and real with a familiar feeling to each tune. While Charlie is the lead vocals of the group, he also plays the guitar and harmonica. John Hughes, a Tampa native, takes his place on the saxophone. Lee Shivley beats on the drums while John DeBellis plucks the upright bass. The men make some of the most enjoyable music one could hope to hear on a seemingly simple night out for dinner at the magical Red Rose Inn. continued on page 147>

Tavares Festival of Boats March 15–20

Harry Card Harris Chain-of-Lakes Steamboat Meet Come out and enjoy a wonderful display of antique and classic steamboats. (352) 742-6176

Free

March 20–22 Classic Race Boat Regatta

Classic race boats will perform exhibition flybys in a race-like setting on a 1.5-mile oval course. There will also be a land display of classic boats in the park during this event. Events also include a classic car cruise-in, live music, food, beer and merchant vendors. (352) 343-7197 www.classicraceboatassoc.com

March 27–29

Sunnyland Annual Antique & Classic Boat Show on Lake Dora The Classic Boat Show on Lake Dora is being held for the second year in Wooton Park in Tavares. See exhibits of 150 antique and classic (wood and fiberglass) power boats in the water and another 125 boats on land. Attendees can ride the train and water taxi with purchase of one pass. Watch the Amphicar Parade on Saturday. Enjoy live music, food, beer, wine, and merchant vendors. (407) 493-8553

Donations Appreciated $5perDay $10for3Days classicraceboatassoc.com

146 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

acbs-sunnyland.com

tavares.org

April 3–4

The 2009 Central Florida Dragon Boat Festival

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dining & entertainment

continued from PaGe 146 Mrs. Evelyn and Batista Madonia Sr. and the entire staff at the Red Rose Inn have succeeded in upholding a reputation for excellence as an institution that caters to its client’s expectations. With gourmet dishes for countless occasions and entertainment to please the senses, it is the perfect venue for a relaxing weekend away from routine or just a simple change of scenery and a delicious meal. The Red Rose contains amenities such as a fully equipped fitness center, a large pool, hi-speed wireless Internet, and complimentary breakfast to name a few. While the economy has recently seen better days, it is no crime to enjoy a night away from the daily grind. Places like the Red Rose Inn & Suites make it possible to kick back and leave the worrying to someone else for a few hours. Mrs. Evelyn and Batista Madonia Sr. enjoy their night at the Red Rose Inn & Suites. Photo courtesy of the Red Rose Inn & Suites

!

More on Red Rose at FOCUSTV www.thefocusmagazine.com

Expires 3/15/09

february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 147


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We Celebrate Friendship, Fine Teas, and the traditional English tea time with a Southern Flair We are now serving lunch. Homemade Soups, Garden Fresh Salads, Sandwiches, and of course Strawberry Shortcake! We love to celebrate all occasions, after all, afternoon tea is a celebration of time spent with friends and family! Whether it be large or small, let us help you celebrate your next special occasion. We specialize in birthday celebrations, bridal and baby showers, church groups, business and civic group meetings. Our tea room can accommodate up to fifty guests. We invite everyone to stop in for a sample of our “Drop Red Gorgeous Strawberry Tea” as we celebrate the 2009 Strawberry Festival. Our gift shop is filled with everything a woman loves! Open 10:00am - 5:00pm • Tuesday - Saturday

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www.CamelliaRose.com february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 149


dining & entertainment

Event Calendar fe brua ry 15 – M a rc h 15, 20 0 9

Sun Feb. 15

Wed Feb. 18

Gospel singer Charlotte Ritchie will be performing at the Plant City Church of God Sunday service at 10:30 a.m. Admission is free. For more details contact Kristen Toney at (813) 752-4591 ext. 226 or k.toney@ pccog.com.

The Citizen of the Year luncheon will be held at the Red Rose Inn and Suites at noon. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and tickets are $22 in advance. Call Matt Buzza at (813) 752-6193, ext. 202 to make reservations.

Thu Feb. 19

Tue Feb. 17

Plant City Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours will be held at FOCUS Magazine’s building at 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd. from 5:15-7 p.m. Come network with Chamber of Commerce members.

The Creative Arts Theater of the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a puppet show for children ages 3 –12 at the Bruton Memorial Library meeting room. The show will be offered from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Free tickets are available one week in advance. Call (813) 757-9215.

Fri Feb. 20

Walden Lake Golf and Country club will hold a tournament to raise funds for a new dog park in Walden Lake.

“THE TASTE IS RIGHT IN EVERY BITE”

CHICKEN & SEAFOOD

Call Angie Inzerillo at (813) 230-4453 to register for tournament or for details. Plant City’s Water Reclamation Facility will be giving tours to celebrate the facility’s $53 million upgrade. Tours will run from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. Call Plant City’s Utilities Operations Department at (813) 757-9172 for more information. Durant High School will host its Annual Multicultural Show from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Students will represent various cultures and showcase talents. Tickets are $1. E-mail Marie Walls at maria.walls@sdhc.k12.fl.us or Theresa Williams at theresa.williams@ sdhc.k12.fl.us for more information.

Sat Feb. 21

Strawberry Classic Car Show will be held in downtown Plant City from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. Participation and admission are free.

The Blues Brothers and Tina Turner play at the Red Rose Inn and Suites. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information. St. Clement Catholic Church will host a “Marti Gras Extravaganza” to raise money for the Plant City Multiple Sclerosis Committee. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. at the church’s Cronin Hall at 1104 N. Alexander St. For tickets and details call Carol Rodriguez at (813) 727-5214. Chris Welbon Karate Club, located at 602 S. Collins St., will hold a yard sale fundraiser starting at 8 a.m. Donations will be taken on Thursday, Feb. 19 and Friday, Feb. 20. Call CW Karate at (813) 752-9800 for more information.

Sun Feb. 22

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150 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

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dining & entertainment

Event Calendar fe brua ry 15 – M a rc h 15, 20 0 9 p.m. – 6 p.m. This session will feature Beth Moore’s “Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman” presentation. Call the church at (813) 752-3092 for more information.

Ralph Alloco and Second Wind play at the Red Rose Inn and Suites. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information.

Mon Feb. 23

Sat Feb. 28

Middle and high school students are welcome to play Rock Band 2 at the Bruton Memorial Library’s meeting room from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Participation is free and guests are encouraged to bring friends. Call (813) 7579215 for more information.

Fri Feb. 27

Talbot House Have a Heart for the Homeless Concert will be held at First Presbyterian Church. For more information, contact Dr. Tony Fusaro at (863) 687-8475 or by e-mail at

fusaro@aol.com.

Durant High School Band and Color Guard will hold a yard sale at Sunshine State Federal Savings and Loan from 7:30 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. For more information contact April Mew at (813) 754-1844. Ralph Alloco and Second Wind play at the Red Rose Inn and Suites. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information. An Arts and Crafts Festival will be held at Keel and Curley Winery, located at 5210 W. Thonotosassa Rd.

The festival will run from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days. Call Amanda Dixon at (813) 752-9100 for more information.

library at (813) 757-9215 for more information.

The First Presbyterian Church of Plant City, located at 404 W. Reynolds St., will be holding a CPR class at its Schneider Hall at 9 a.m. Call the church office at (813) 752-4211 for more information.

Plant City Chamber of Commerce Bike Fest will be held in downtown Plant City from 5p.m. - 9 p.m. Admission is free to the fest, which will feature motorcycles, entertainment, raffles and more.

Sun Mar. 1

Ralph Alloco and Second Wind play at the Red Rose Inn and Suites. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information.

An Arts and Crafts Festival will be held at Keel and Curley Winery, located at 5210 W. Thonotosassa Rd. The festival will run from 11:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days. Call Amanda Dixon at (813) 752-9100 for more information.

Tue Mar. 3

The Bruton Memorial Library is holding a book discussion at 11 a.m. for Simon Winchester’s novel “The Professor and the Madam.” Call the

Wed Mar. 7

Mon Mar. 9

The Bruton Memorial Library will host the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association’s Favorite Plants at 7 p.m. in the meeting room. Call the library at (813) 757-9215 for more information.

Tue Mar. 10

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february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 151


dining & entertainment

Event Calendar fe brua ry 15 – M a rc h 15, 20 0 9 Community College will be sponsoring a Job Fair. For more information contact Diane Robinson at (813) 7572154 or by e-mail at drobinson32@ hccfl.edu.

Sat Mar. 14

A book sale will be open to the public from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Bruton Memorial Library. An “Early Preview Sale” will be held from 9 a.m. -10 a.m. for members of the Friends of the Library. Call (813) 757-9215 for additional information. Johnny Alston’s Rock n’ Roll Motown Review plays at the Red Rose Inn and Suites. Call (813) 752-3141 for more information.

ONGOING March

During the month of March all teachers receive free admission at Dinosaur World. School ID is required. Come to Dinosaur World to learn more about field trip opportunities.

Tuesdays & Thursdays

The First Baptist Church of Plant City, at 503 N. Palmer St., holds an adult fitness class in the Singles Building at 9 a.m. Contact the church at (813) 753-4104 for more information.

The Bruton Memorial Library is offering a Volunteer Income Tax As-

152 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • February 15, 2009 – March 15, 2009

sistance Program from 2 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. in its meeting room. Call (813) 757-9215 for more information.

dren. Children under 3 eat free. Call FBCPC at (813) 753-4104 for more information.

The Planteen Recreation Center at 301 Dort St. offers Tae Kwon Do classes for adults and children ages 6 and up from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Contact Steve or Crystal Reynolds at (813) 737-3872 for fees and information.

Wednesdays and Thursdays The Winter Visitor Center at the Planteen Recreation Center at 301 Dort St. hosts a bridge club open to the public from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Participation is free. Contact Mary Vanderstelt for more information at (813) 754-6243.

Tuesdays

Join the family fitness class at the First Baptist Church of Plant City on N. Palmer St. The class runs from 6 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. in the Singles Building. Childcare is provided. For more information call FBCPC at (813) 7534104. Wednesdays The First Baptist Church of Plant City on N Palmer St. hosts Family Fellowship meals at 5 p.m. Cost for the dinner is $5 for adults and $3 for chil-

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february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 153


dining & entertainment

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THE DIVINE GIFT OF PAINTING story by he ather daviS

In the sorrows of life, there may be no greater grief than the loss of a child. How can one understand, accept, or even heal from such a loss? Judy Roney had to face these questions after the death of her 23-yearold son Brian. She questioned how she could live each day when, upon waking, it was as if her son had died all over again. At night, while she slept, she had a recurring dream that she was restoring her son’s likeness by painting him onto canvas. Although she had never painted, Judy made the decision to get some art supplies and begin painting. Before long, she had completed the image of her son that came to her in her dreams. For the first time, she felt a small measure of peace. From the experience, Judy felt that her son had left her with the gift of painting, and she has not stopped since. Many of Judy’s paintings have been displayed throughout Plant City. She currently has works on display at the Library and the Medical Arts Building. She has had the honor of receiving best in show and first place at the Florida Strawberry Festival, as well as taking first place in an art show at the Florida State Fair. An avid traveler, Judy often finds inspiration from the places she has visited, as well as from her home in North Carolina, where she spends the summers. While there, she often spends up to 10 hours a day painting. As a member of the Hillsborough Art Guild, Judy also finds inspiration and enjoys art from other local Plant City artists. She also shares her gift of creating art by painting with a young girl from the Big Sisters Program. Judy’s art has shown that from grief and loss a great gift can emerge.

Judy Roney sits with several of her favorite paintings. Photo by Heather Davis

154 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • february 15, 2009 – march 15, 2009

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