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Shop for more TV selections! 2 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

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DECember 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 5

table of contents Feature 44-47 spotlight 49-51 Issue 7-12 - December 15 - January 15, 2008

Mills Cooper has lived an interesting life this past year.

Paul Davis is a man many people in Plant City know and love. He

He went from living in home, to a car, and then back to

served more than 30 years for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office,

home. He wrote a book, which he had published and

retiring as a major. Now he is opening a new chapter in his life. He is

is for sale. He developed a clearer picture of what he

the new executive director of the Florida Strawberry Festival, which

wants in life. His story is this month’s feature. A true rags

Davis considers to be the best festival in the country. He talks about

to redemption story.

his take on the festival.

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

Publisher Mike Floyd Associate Publisher Joel Cook Editor in chief Aaron Oberlin Office Manager Dede Floyd Credit Manager Holly Dedon Sales Sophia Hyde Tammy Simpson Adrienne Plati Tyler Fox Christine Miller Lynne Warren April Lubrano Collette Baker Production Coordinator Susan Riff Production Anthony Sassano Joe Pellegrino Distribution Doug McGee Belva DeVane



There were several Christmas events that took place recently. Some of them were for the children, others were for people of all ages. You can read about some of them in this month’s local section. With Christmas comes a lot of giving back to others, and Plant City is a hub of hospitality. There were food drives, clothing drives and just about any other type of charity one can conceive. They are not only in the local section, but some of them can also be seen on FocusTV. Check it out at www. The Strawberry Festival is not too far away, and the lovely court from last year is still working hard for the community. They recently sat and ate lunch with some of Plant City’s future ladies. It’s all here.

sports & fitness


The high school football season is finished, and in the making of the season, a lot of memories were made. One of the biggest games of the year is Plant City High School’s homecoming game. Its final score wasn’t the result the faculty and student body were looking for, but it was a great night nevertheless.

Dining & Entertainment


Everyone loves fried chicken. It’s crispy. It’s juicy. It’s delicious and easy to eat. Luckily for the people of Plant City, there is a new place to get amazing chicken: Zaxby’s. The restaurant has its own take on chicken that is sure to please any chicken connoisseur. Check out the review on the hottest chicken joint in Plant City.

Business & Finance..........54-60 Business Profile......................... 54 Investing.................................... 56 Success.............................58 & 60 home guide.......................63-77 Walden Lake Review.............. 66 Mortgage.................................. 70 Real Estate................................ 72 local history Did You Know........................... 96 Extra............................... 100-104 Seniors of the Month.............. 100 Al Ruechel.............................. 102 This I Believe........................... 104


cover Paul Davis P hoto By St u d i o 12 1

Photographers Suzanne Gallagher Billy Friend Lori Blaser Staff Writers Ruchelle Owens Cole Dodd Tracy Cox Kasey Miller Carolyn Miller Brian West Joe Bowles Krystel Knowles contributors Al Ruechel Bruce Rodwell Gil Gott Sherry Nueesch JoAn Lusk Nate Davis Natalie Sweet Editorial Intern Kevin Tall

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

published by:

floyd publications, Inc.

6 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009


Fritz, Schultz, and Dooley All three are Miniature Dachshunds, adopted through DARE, a Dachshund rescue. Fritz (the Dad) is a 12 year old blind, diabetic. He got his name for being a strong German guy. Schultz (the Mom) is 10 years old and very girly. She loves to sleep on her mom’s lap. Dooley (the Son) is 8 years old and a great lizard hunter. They were named after the talking steins on the Utica Club Beer commericial. Don’t tell Dr. Conner but their favorite treat is cheese. Their parents, Bruce & Peggy Swartz, love them so much they bought them an RV they can all travel together in.

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letter FROM THE EDITOR Change is inevitable. People age. Technology continues to advance. And unfortunately for many people, the economy is like a child on a sugar high – one moment it is full of energy, and shortly after, it crashes. But change can be exciting, and people should embrace it. They should attempt to make it work for their interests. With 2009 inevitably close, many people will be making resolutions in their life, whether they are slight tweaks or complete overhauls. Plant City has undergone some of its own changes. For instance, the Florida Strawberry Festival has a new face. Paul Davis, a retiree from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, was appointed as the new general manager of the festival. He’s bringing some new ideas to the festival, while keeping many of its traditions. He talks about some of those ideas in this month’s Spotlight interview. Mills Cooper is another Plant City native who underwent some changes in his life. He went from sleeping in his car to authoring a book. He took control of his life and made changes for the better. His story is truly inspirational, and it is this month’s feature. The Cooper story proves that life is what you make it. But the question is where to start. For some, a good way to make a change is by mixing up their financial portfolio. With a new year approaching and an interesting economy, FOCUS did a business profile on Edward Jones, a leader in the financial-services industry. Read about some interesting tips for a changing marketplace. Fortunately, one thing that never changes is the date of Christmas. It is every Dec. 25. Merry Christmas Plant City.

Aaron Oberlin Editor in Chief 8 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

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StraWBerry FeStiVaL SCHeduLe The 2009 Florida Strawberry Festival has announced its lineup, and tickets went on sale Dec. 8. Here is the schedule.

Kenneth Mathes, a volunteer at Metropolitan Ministries, loads a box of food into a cart for a needy family at Ferman Chrysler Jeep Dodge. On Nov. 25-26, more than 650 families received a frozen turkey with side dishes for Thanksgiving. The event was ran by Metropolitan Ministries with the help and donations of several local businesses. There will be another event like this for Christmas, too.

Day Date Thurs., Feb. 26

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Entertainment George Jones Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers

TktPrices $15 & $20 $10 & $15

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Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Kellie Pickler

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Rodney Atkins Taylor Swift

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Mark Lowry Kool & The Gang

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Julianne Hough Jessica Simpson

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There are also about 3,000 free seats at each show, available on a first come, first seated basis.

Christmas at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church

Many families came to the annual FOCUS Christmas party. There were booths for shopping from several of Plant City’s finest stores, and Santa and Ms. Claus even came to listen to the children’s Christmas wishlists. Make sure to look out for the FOCUS Christmas party next year. 12 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

St. Andrew’s UMC Drama Team presented the warm-hearted production, “ ‘Tis The Season” on Dec. 3 and Dec. 5. The funny and heart-warming show was about a local church group’s attempt to put on a live nativity on a very cold Christmas Eve, and the antics that ensued as the live animals got loose made the police have to step in. Pictured (left to right) are Cindy Akroyd, Lynn Nankervis, Danny Greer, Kevin Haga, Thea Greer, Bob Akroyd, Sam Parajeko, Shearon Bailey and Molly Blanton.



Teens in the iWait program, which is an abstinence-based education program dedicated to encouraging healthy living by choosing abstinence until marriage, got together and played flag football. Photo courtesy of iWait

Signups Set For Baby Parade Signups for the Baby Parade will be Jan. 24 at GFWC Plant City Woman’s Club, which is located at 1110 N. Wheeler St. Registration. Times have changed due to limited parking. Please do not arrive more than 15 minutes to your scheduled registration time. 1-year-olds - 8a.m.-9a.m. 2-year-olds - 9a.m.-10a.m. 3-year-olds -10a.m.-11a.m. 4-year-olds - 10a.m.-11a.m. Each entry must be made in person and accompanied by a non-refundable $25 entry fee with checks payable to the GFWC Plant City Juniors Woman’s Club. The age of the child is as of Jan. 31,2009. All rules for Baby Parade can be found at For information, call Nia Ramo at (813) 754-2916.

The Plant City Dolphins mascot cheerleaders won three first place trophies in all of the cheer-offs in which they participated. Way to run the table. And the football team went undefeated this year and won the Super Bowl. Congratulations. Pictured for football are (not in order) Keyshawn Gardner,
Kevhawn Ragins,
Tyreke Harrison, Parker Messick, Cameron Cotnoir, Chip Marion, Michael Coton, Conner Murphy, Johni Broome, Chris Rodriguez, Brodie Richards, Joey Parrillo, Ben Gude, Cole Cothren, Carson Darrow, Rex Lott, Damion Neale, Bryar Christian, Treshaun Ward, Justin Johnson, Blake Price, Colton Miller, Blake Folsom. Coaches are Armand Cotnoir, T.J. Messick, Casey Christian, Danny Coton, John Darrow, Les Miller, Rick Lott, Willie Gardner, and team mom Kim Cotnoir (not pictured). On Dec. 5, Plant City’s Lowe’s Home Improvement store presented the City of Plant City Recreation & Parks Department with 375 bags of mulch for use in improving landscaping at various city buildings and parks around town. As a part of the Lowe’s Heroes program, each store identifies a community involvement project that will make a difference in their community. Pictured are (left to right) Sales Manager Kelley Norris, Zone Manager Brandi Walker, Nursery Specialist Betty Holland, Store Manager Roger Morrison, City of Plant City Parks and Recreation Field Supervisor Brenda Deese, Human Resources Manager Rosa Orona.

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DECember 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 13

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DECember 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 15


around town

A Berry Royal Picnic Ashlyn Cardona Wins Lunch with the Queen. S t o ry by C h e r y l J o h n s to n

Being crowned Strawberry Festival Queen is a fantasy of many young Plant City girls. With that in mind, one very creative parent designed a lunch with the Queen’s Court as part of the Walden Lake Elementary School Eagle Extravaganza. The annual school fundraiser celebrates a successful academic year and raises money for technology improvements that benefit the students. Educators and parents are fully aware that tomorrow’s community leaders must possess reading skills and be technologically savvy. As part of the extravaganza, each class prepared a silent auction basket. Third grade teacher Mr. Ellis was pleased when a parent volunteer, Dennie Crooks, suggested auctioning off

a picnic lunch with the 2008 Florida Strawberry Queen and court. Yesenia Palestrini and Sandee Sytsma, a festival director, worked with Crooks and Ellis to coordinate scheduling and gather items for the special basket. A number of area businesses contributed to the Eagle Extravanganza and the Royal Picnic event in particular. These include BWB Investments, the Camellia Rose Tea Room, Edible Arrangements, Florida Insurance Center, Hopewell Funeral Home, JarrettScott Ford, Panera Bread, Shari’s Berries, Waller’s Equipment and Godiva Chocolatier of Brandon. The basket contained lace gloves, a tiara, strawberry dangle earrings, strawberry linen placemats with napkins, and an 8x10-inch framed picture of the 2008 queen and court. Ashlyn Cardona, the luncheon date winner, was thrilled to share her special date with three tiara-crowned girlfriends on Nov. 13 by the school’s lake. Sandwiches, sweets and gorgeous smiles made this a day to cherish.

Photo by Dennie Crooks

Photo by Dennie Crooks

16 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009


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december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 17


around toWn

Church volunteers pack and distribute to-go lunch bags for the next day. Photo by Tracy Cox

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813-752-3224 18 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

As she clicked the handheld tally counter, Millie Hussey, also known as the Executive Counter, enthusiastically greeted and expressed a sense of caring for those who came to partake in the weekly dinner for the needy at the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, located at 4450 County Road 579, in Seffner. The church began serving the hot meals every Wednesday at 5 p.m. in May 2007, except for the week of Christmas, with food donated by parishioners or purchased with donated funds. “This is the friendliest church and a great ministry,” Hussey said. Along with the other dedicated volunteers who come every week to pack bags with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chips, candy, a breakfast bar and a bottle of water to give out for the next day or hand out clothing, Hussey strives to not miss a week. She even did so when she was recuperating from a surgery and worked

in a wheelchair for approximately six weeks. On the average, the volunteers serve 90 to 100 people each week – a record of 102 in attendance was reached the night of Nov. 12. Deacon Jerry Thomas and his family, including his two teenage granddaughters, provided and served the meal on the record night. Other families and clubs within the church, including the Knights of Columbus, Legion of Mary and the Men’s Club, will choose a night to provide the meal from set up to clean up. “We serve approximately 60 percent who are homeless and live in the woods. More and more are people are not homeless, but do not have the wherewithal to provide food to their families. We have served approximately 5,000 people since we started,” said Deacon Thomas.

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december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 19


around town

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB MAKES CHRISTMAS HOPES REALITY Each year, hundreds of children come to the Dr. Martin Luther King Recreation Center for a free gift. S t o ry by L a n a S om e r lo t t

The Christmas spirit is upon the people of Plant City, and generosity and benevolence has never failed the community.

La’Tosha Lewis, supervisor of the Boys & Girls Club at the Dr. Martin Luther King Recreation Center, asked for hospitality once again for the 11th

20 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

Annual Christmas in the Park, which was held at the Dr. Martin Luther King Recreation Center on Dec. 13, and hospitality is what she got.

Lewis about the annual event. “I do this because I love the kids and want to help the community as much as I can.”

This event has inhabited the recreation center for the past six years to help spread the joy and happiness to the less fortunate families and children in the Plant City community. At the event, the staff was giving away toys for all ages and bicycles for children older than five years of age, as well as grocery bags filled with food, canned goods, cereal and rice. The year before, the staff of the Boys and Girls Club gave away turkeys to needy families. Food was served to everyone, and there was an appearance by Santa Claus for the children.

The Annual Christmas in the Park event was based completely on the sponsors and to all who chose to donate. The sponsors were Greater New Hope Anointed Ministries, Mount Olive Baptist Community Care, The Pepsi Bottling Group, Moving On Up Ministries, Inc., Plant City Women’s Tennis Association, St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, America’s Second Harvest (Tampa Bay), Anointed Women of God, Drs. William and Rachel Ray, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson Smith, Albertson’s Warehouse, Smoke Screen Motorcycle Club and Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church. For more information, call La’Tosha Lewis at (813) 757-9195 or e-mail llewis@

“I love this event so much. There are a lot of unfortunate families and to see a child smile or to see their face light up is so heartwarming,” said

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mission trip memories perU OFFerS a WhOle neW Way OF liFe. s t o ry by W e n dy S . B r O W n

Peru can easily be considered a land of contrasts. Lima, the capital of the country, is the host to casinos, Wal-Mart and townhouses. Cajamarca, which is located in the northern highlands of Peru, is the site of mud brick homes, more potholes than roads and ancient traditions still in practice. The Rev. Bill Bender of the First Baptist Church of Plant City led 18 church members to Villa Milagro ministries, which is operated by Larry and Joy Johnson. Situated south of Lima, Villa Milagro is a diverse mission located on a 12.5-acre farm, which reaches people for the Lord by addressing their physical and spiritual needs. Texan Larry Johnson has drilled 200 water wells in Peru,

started new churches, created cottage industries teaching skills, and is building a Christian medical facility to help the local 25,000 in the Andes Mountains with no medical care. Landing at the Cajamarca airport early Nov. 5, the mission team marveled at the cool temperatures and surrounding mountainous terrain. Transported to Villa Milagro past shops and some modern conveniences, which evolved into dirt roads juggling around steers, sheep and daring drivers, the team saw raw poverty and human perseverance. The members were definitely not in Plant City anymore. The construction team used the wood-

working shop to cut and make 20 church benches plus 50 student desks and chairs while ladies sanded, varnished and painted. Team one went to Monte Sion and La Huaraclla schools, plus the Aldea orphanage, to teach about Jesus, do arts and crafts, medical checks and recreation. The Peruvian children loved the parachute games and Linda West’s “Lost Sheep” story and puppet craft. Saturday was eye-opening as everyone visited a local market to purchase food for eight families. Bargaining in Spanish, passing out Bibles and buying canned milk, tuna, rice, beans, potatoes, oil, brown sugar, oatmeal and goodies was encouraging as families received one month of food. Delivering hundreds of pounds of supplies per family was harrowing while sledging along thin muddy trails alongside sewage, farm animals and mud brick structures. Most families literally had no furnishings, no

electricity, no conveniences of any kind, yet they were kind, cheerful and grateful for food, a Bible, plus candy, toys and stuffed animals for their children. Many of people’s worries are trivial in light of other people’s predicaments. Traveling to the mountain village of Matara past few vehicles but many families leading farm animals, the stark mountainous landscape transfixed the mission team. The Rev. Bill Bender preached at the mountain Baptist church while the team led Sunday school and worship to more than 50 children packed in a tiny room. Later kids were delighted with the balloon ministry and loved the candy and stickers. The Jesus film was shown at Namora with more than 100 children and adults coming to receive Jesus in their hearts. Imagine those hands all-reaching for God’s word. The mission teams gave of themselves and have lasting memories of many small miracles in Peru.

First Baptist Peru mission team at Villa Milagro. Photo by Wendy Brown

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mother JorDan s t o ry by r U C h e l l e O W e n S

Dorothy “Dot” Jordan was born in 1928 in Millen, Ga., a town so small Dorothy claims “(you) can’t find it on a map.” When her mom fell ill, she was sent to Augusta, Ga., to live with her grandparents. It was there that she grew up with James Brown and threw rocks at him because “he thought he was cool.” It’s not known if any of the rocks hit their mark, for she took off running after she threw them. In 1994, Dorothy was sent for by her brother, who was just out of the service and living in Plant City. Here she met Sadie Martin, a former city commissioner and mayor of Plant City, and began working for her family before being officially adopted by them. A few years and one son later, Dorothy moved to Leesburg to get away from what she called “strict parents.” She said, “I’ve always been independent. I didn’t want to listen.” A few moves later and Dorothy settled with a best friend in Denver

for 36 years. She began her own janitorial service for 32 years, with 75 employees, which eventually cleaned for the State of Colorado. Dorothy claims that she has “worked hard all my life. No one’s ever hardly seen me when I’m not working.” Dorothy moved back to Plant City in 1996 to help out with Sadie’s ailing father. Now she works at the Senior Center on Waller Street, calling bingo and instructing exercises. She can also be heard singing Gospel songs at her church, House of God on Ball Street. Known affectionately as Mother Jordan, she also composes her own songs. Her one weakness would be her hat collection, amassing more than 500 caps along her journey. “[Those] are my trademark, really. When people see me without a hat, they look at me funny.” She continues taking care of anyone that crosses her path, man or animal. She states matter-of-factly, “I’ve been taking care of everyone.”


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Durant’s first unDerclassman crowneD cover s t o ry by S a M a n t h a C r a n d a l l

Excited chatter in Durant High School’s auditorium came to a stop when hosts Marshal Sewell and 2006 Cover Girl Hannah Hodge took the stage at the school’s annual Calendar Girl pageant. Sewell’s cue presented 39 of Durant’s finest: the poised, the practiced and the curled; 2009s Calendar competitors.

But until the announcement of the Cover Girl, the anticipation factor was upped, made visibly obvious as the stunning teens sat in circles, talking warmly to each other to pass time between intermissions. Positive attitudes were apparent as the girls discussed an issue facing them all – hunger.

The girls, ranging from grades 10 to 12, had endured three weeks of training and rehearsals, all in the hope of being crowned the next Cover Girl. History was made when a sophomore captured the Cover Girl crown in the first year that underclassmen girls were eligible to win the honor. As the top 13 were announced, the judging came down to natural beauty, poise, question answers and overall appearance.

Second-time competitor Caitlin Cribbs said, “I’m pretty relaxed, but we’re all so hungry.”

This year’s Cover Girl, sophomore Kori Lane, possessed all four criteria and shone brighter than the rest in her floor-length, lavender gown. Lane’s pride in Durant was impossible to miss as she explained to the judges what characteristics she has that make her an ideal representative of the school. “I’m proud to be a Durant student, and it shows in my high GPA, student council position and overall school spirit. I strive to stay involved in my school and community,” Lane said.

Sophomore Kori Lane was crowned Cover Girl of Durant High School’s 2008 Calendar Girl Pageant.

Although Lane’s eyes were filling up with tears, all other eyes in the room were on her as Hodge presented the Cover Girl crown for the first time ever to a sophomore. “It feels good to be Cover Girl. I’m so happy, I can’t believe it!” Lane squealed through her tears of joy, while thanking her many well-wishers.

26 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

With a laugh, Adreona Presgrove, who was titled Miss February, agreed: “I’m so glad my mom gave me cookies before the show.” Onstage, the girls showed perfect posture and plenty of pearly whites, but it was behind the scenes where their true excitement was shown. Sophomore Calli Jo Parker, who took the Miss September sash, was all smiles in the dressing room, saying, “I’m just here to have some fun.” Other competitors, such as senior Kourtney Otero, were also being optimistic: “This is my first time doing the show. I’m excited and I think I did well in the first judging, but there’s definitely some tough competition.” As the curtain fell, the auditorium emptied, and the event came to a close, the girls left feeling proud and accomplished. It was obvious that the night had achieved its goal, because for history-making Lane and the 12 sash bearers, dreams really did come true.


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Durant’s concert band placed fourth in the State Division 4-A FMBC competition Nov. 22 at Tropicana Field. Photos courtesy of Bree Dyer

always a winner dUBay & dhS COUgar pride MarChing Band eXCel in COMpetitiOn & aCadeMiCS. s t o ry by C h e r y l J O h n S tO n

Dan DuBay couldn’t be more proud of the Durant High School Cougar Pride Marching Band. Completing an incredible season, the musicians, color guard, boosters and their devoted director have heads held high.

school’s concert band. A saxophone player himself, DuBay headed into music education in his own middle school years when he chose band from remaining electives. Today, he plays sax occasionally, when time outside band schedule allows.

The Cougar Pride band won the 4-A Division at the 2008 regional Florida Marching Band Coalition (FMBC) competition at Chamberlain High School in October. They earned straight superiors in the district evaluation for the 13th consecutive year. Needless to say, the Cougar members, parents and their much-respected leader “Doo-bay” looked forward with high hopes for “Doo-rant” in November’s statewide competition.

Band directors must arrive early and stay late. Camps begin in mid-June, when most teachers are out for summer vacation. During the fall, Durant’s band and color guard practice outside, twice weekly from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. This diligence and dedication drives the Cougars to earn professional respect, statewide recognition and serious consideration from tough competitors.

DuBay, a University of South Florida music education graduate, began his 13-year teaching career in 1996 with the Cougars. He also directs the

DuBay credits others for the Cougars’ success. “Durant’s administration is exceptionally supportive, and the booster parents are phenomenal.”

28 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

Parents become extended family to the teens and the main source of financial support, raising $150,000 annually to fund sound system upgrades, uniforms, flags and travel expenses. Meanwhile, competing schools receive major corporate support. Teachers notice an academic performance difference in band students, too. Research indicates a strong correlation between critical thinking, problem solving and musical aptitude. Since band participation requires good grades across the curriculum, most members are serious about their studies. School spirit, regimented discipline and parental involvement definitely contribute to this higher level of academic achievement. DuBay works year-round so his students achieve success, in the band and in life. Often he allows more experienced students to teach their peers, encouraging them to encourage each other. Admittedly a perfectionist, he expects their daily best. Most importantly, he demands they “respect each other, themselves and anyone in authority over them.”

Some teens lovingly bemoan that their director expects too much. Yet, the unsaid is an intense admiration for DuBay. He makes no apologies for the strict regimen, saying, “I’m getting them ready for the real world. It’s more important that they are good people who contribute to the team, than it is whether we win every competition. Every person is important. Each student should become an integrated cog in the wheel of performance. I believe they have, and I am very, very proud of them.” Durant’s Cougar Pride placed fourth in the State Division 4-A FMBC competition Nov. 22 at Tropicana Field. Although not the finale they had dreamed, the Cougars can cherish their 10th top-five ranking in the last 11 years. Drum Major Cassie Llano said it best: “In the end, it doesn’t come down to a score or placement. What really matters is that for nine minutes on that field, we shone in the spotlight … no judge or other competitor can ever take that away.”


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break through the academic doldrums of the new year

By Dr. Raymond J. Huntington

In September, you sent your child off to school feeling confident that good study habits, good behavior and good grades would be a top priority all year long. But by now that back-to-school energy may be a distant memory, while the rewards of summer are still months away. If so, you and your child may need a jump start to get back on track. Here are some simple ways to get over the winter doldrums and help your child recapture his or her enthusiasm for learning and achievement: Take stock of the high and low points. Healthy self-esteem and a cando attitude are important to academic success, but insecurity over learning difficulties can start a frustrating cycle of failure. For this reason, it can be helpful to look back over the year and revisit the accomplishments and challenges your child has encountered so far. Begin by looking at major tests and projects that earned top grades and praise from you and your child’s teachers. Talk with your child about his or her inherent abilities. Is he a naturally good reader who might some day grow up to become a famous writer? Does she have an innate ability to understand the challenging mathematical concepts that lead to scientific and engineering marvels? As a parent or guardian, it’s important to recognize and nurture your child’s special talents. This will help build confidence and a will to meet new challenges.

Marji Smithson Center Director North Lakeland Carol Sherron Executive Director Lakeland Janiene Bambridge Center Director South Lakeland Amanda Holleyman Managing Director South Lakeland Kimberly Robinette Managing Director North Lakeland Beth Pendry Education Director South Lakeland

Teachers and guidance counselors should also be able to suggest activities that nurture your child’s innate talents and interests. These might include book clubs for avid readers, extra-credit experiments and projects for the scientifically-minded, or “field trip” excursions to museums or other educational or historical sites that you can enjoy as a family. Nurturing these talents will help your child understand that despite the inevitable challenges, learning should be viewed as an adventure.

Give that special child in your life the gift of Education!

Identify benchmarks and rewards. There are several events in three or four months that can have a big impact on your child’s academic future. If your child is in public school, the statewide tests given in the spring may determine whether or not he or she progresses to the next grade. Third and fourth-quarter exams and major assignments will likewise impact your child’s grades and readiness for the increasingly challenging work that lies ahead. It’s a good idea to contact your child’s teachers to find out when the big tests will be given and when the big projects are due so you can make sure your child makes the best use of his or her time. Mark these events on a calendar and keep it readily at hand.

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Jennifer Joyner and Jeanette Hinton stand on a court for which Corks Elementary is trying to build a cover. Photo by Krystel Knowles

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30 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

gimme shelter StUdentS are lOOKing FOrWard tO a COVered BaSKetBall COUrt. s t o ry by K r y S t e l K n O W l e S

sunlight or severe precipitation – can prevent that from happening.

For longer than five years, the Covered Court Committee at Cork Elementary School has been trying to raise money to build a cover for the outside basketball court so the students can play in the shade. Cork does not have an auditorium or a gymnasium, and the lack of such structures is hampering the school.

“The kids need to be protected from the weather elements,” said Jennifer Joyner, elementary teacher for nine years and committee member. “The children are required to be outdoors for 150 minutes every week.”

Children are required mandatory physical education and recreation time outdoors in Florida, and the students at Cork find the weather – harsh

Exercise for the children is just one thing being restricted from the lack of a covered structure. In several occasions, the school wanted to play


continued from Page 30

A display in Corks Elementary shows the school’s enthusiasm for raising money for a much-needed court cover. Photo by Krystel Knowles

are looking forward to the muchneeded shelter.

host to events for the children and parents, but it was unable because of the hot sunny weather or rain. The Covered Court Committee hopes a future shelter will have lights and speakers so the school can have day and night events for all 800 students. Currently, there are more than eight committee members who anxiously want the project to be completed. Jeanette Hinton, elementary teacher for longer than four years and committee member, is hoping the shelter will be built before the end of the year. Since the committee started, the school has raised more than $65,000 but is in need of $30,000 more in order to start the construction. “I want the children who have been in the school since this project started to see the shelter completed,” said Hinton. “I want my son who is in the fourth grade to see the shelter finished.” She said the children at Cork elementary are good and intelligent students who deserve this gift. The parent and teacher association is working on making that a reality for the students by getting more sponsors and selling more products. “The PTA is focusing on getting the rest of funds to finally finish this project,” said Joyner. She added that many students are curious and

There are several ways people can participate to help raise the remainder of the money. Children and parents can purchase a “palm” print, which will be posted on the covered court support poles with the student’s name. Anybody can purchase an “I Helped Raised the Roof” T-shirt to show their support for the Cork Elementary project. Business owners have the opportunity to advertise their business on an inside banner in the covered court. In addition, there are four sponsorship levels: bronze sponsor, silver sponsor, gold sponsor and platinum sponsor. All sponsors will be recognized for their generosity on a school plaque and in the school newspaper. The school will also accept any tax-deductible gifts. Hinton and Joyner are hoping someone will help with the rest of the money because once the money is raised, it will only take about two weeks for the construction to be completed. “The holidays are approaching, I hope someone will give the school the rest of the funds as a Christmas gift,” said Hinton.


send questions and comments to december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 31


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Thousands of people attended the sixth annual Pig Jam. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

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Barbecue enthusiasts all across the state of Florida experienced a celebration of the senses with the sixth annual Pig Jam on Nov. 22. More than 10,000 were in attendance to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and scrumptious tastes of Plant City’s well-known festival. The journey began with signs adorning Park Road, a sight that built excitement for those seeking the perfect meal throughout the day. Once inside the parking area, the smell of fresh

cut grass lingered until the aroma of barbecue took over the atmosphere – you were hooked. Children laughed in the distance as you made your way through the maze of cars to the Promised Land. The sizzle of meat that had been grilling for hours infiltrated the air as the crowds rotated like volleyball players between vendors, chefs and hundreds of hungry people. With the overwhelming amount of tents, you felt compelled to get to each proud


continued from Page 32

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Many trophies greeted the long line of people who waited to get some barbecue from SkinN-Bones. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

cook anxiously waiting to offer you a generous sample of “the best barbecue around.” While each station you passed wafted an irresistible scent, you made it your mission to wait in the one line that stretched halfway down an aisle with onlookers chomping at the bit for a morsel of their prized plates. Tearing into the first rib - carefully smothered with just the right amount of sauce - the meat fell off the bone into your hands. Happily satisfied, you made your way toward the next anticipating chef, ready to greet you with a pulled pork sandwich platter complete with baked beans and slaw. You couldn’t resist grabbing a cup of fresh-squeezed lemonade, dripping with condensation, just begging to wash down your meal. As you popped a seat on the curb next to the stage, the crowd was entertained with the melodic sounds of Buck Hummer and the Pick-Ups (or local music headed by Candy Green, depending on your time of arrival). The children you had heard earlier were now within your sights, frolicking in the colorful bounce house and squealing as they made their way up the rock wall. Behind the chainlink fence was a larger tent where a multitude of content judges sat

while testing plate after plate. Jealousy overcame you for a brief instant until you reached into your pocket to find 10 Pig Bucks you had purchased “just in case.” Seconds it was! Easing your way back into the crowd, you found yourself smelling what appears to be popcorn. Lo and behold, it is roasted corn drenched in butter (if you please) and only two Pig Bucks – sold. Cheerfully chomping away at your cob, you couldn’t help but overhear all of the neighbors and newfound friends conversing about the delicious barbecue. Proud grillers stood over their feasts and shook hands with onlookers begging for the secret ingredients of spices and rubs that made those beef briskets oh-sodelectable. With a wink, they insisted they’ll never tell. While your eavesdropping attempts at their recipes were unsuccessful, the homemade ice cream machine surrounded by sweet-lovers of all ages looked to be a sure thing. The spirit of community was alive and well in Plant City on Nov. 22. With luck and a little help from our friends, it will hopefully continue to grow as long as the years will allow.


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december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 33


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Stacy Heckerman helps her buddy Austen Hauff with some school work. Photo by Kasey Miller

bringing together frienDship & hope the BeSt BUddieS prOgraM at plant City high SChOOl iS Setting the Bar FOr the reSt OF the prOgraMS in FlOrida. s t o ry by K a S e y M i l l e r

Imagine feeling out of place as a high school student. You notice that many other kids in school are on another academic level. You become reserved and insecure with no one there to help you find your way. This is why Best Buddies – an organization that has spread in great numbers across the nation – was started seven years ago at Plant City High School: to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through friendship and employment. This program is dedicated to getting the students involved in as many normal daily activities as possible in order to

make them feel more like every other student in their school and community. The club gets everyone together monthly to do things like have a picnic, go to the movies, bowling, etc. It ultimately boosts confidence in each student and prepares some of them for jobs in the outside world. PCHS has the largest Best Buddies club in Florida with about 70 intellectually challenged students and more than 250 volunteer “buddy” students. The club matches special education students and general education students in one-to-one relationships. The specially educated have a role

34 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

model in their buddy, someone to whom they can look up. Each student buddy helps his or her special buddy with academics and other areas where they may need help, such as communication skills and social skills. More importantly, the program builds a support system for special education students so that when they graduate and move out into the community, they have support from the friends they’ve made at school. “[Being involved in Best Buddies is] more of an emotional thing for me. It moves me completely to see that you can help somebody in need... It is eye-opening,” said Stacey Heckerman, president of the PCHS chapter. “You don’t even really have to do anything. Just be their friend, and they learn so much.” Not only do special education students benefit from the club, but the students who volunteer also learn a lot, as well. Helping others prepares

them for the rest of their lives, teaching them leadership, responsibility, patience and how to set boundaries. Some students even go on to college to get degrees in special education. Many of the special education students grow tremendously in academics and with social skills during their years in Best Buddies. Those who were once shy and quiet break out of their insecurity shells and become more outgoing and jubilant around others. Students can be seen interacting during lunch doing things such as singing, dancing or just telling jokes. Many become active in the Special Olympics and some join other clubs at PCHS, including FFA, FCA, Youth Alive and more. Lonny Coston, a well-known student in the special education program, is a part of the Raider morning show for the sports segment every day. He was second runner up for homecoming king and is even this year’s director for Best Buddies. He enjoys being a part of the program because it is fun,


continued from Page 34

and he gets to do lots of different activities with his buddy Jeff Minaya. “The buddies really look forward to the time when you can hang out with them,” said Minaya. Volunteer students generally hang out with their buddies at least twice a month and call or write a letter to them on a weekly basis, he added. Although the general education students are required to graduate at the end of their senior year, special education students are eligible to stay in school until they are 22 years old. How long each student decides to stay mostly depends on his or her individual growth. After graduation, many of these students will go into supportive employment, which gives students assistance with a job coach, teaching them how to be efficient employees. There is another organization, Best Buddies Jobs, which is a part of a nationwide program. It helps students on a one-to-one basis, as well.

Sandy Denham, head adviser of the PCHS Best Buddies chapter, said, “It is definitely our goal to get them ready to be productive members in their community.” Overall, the program is more than just a club that helps special education students achieve a higher reading and math level. It builds friendship between those who struggle with mental disabilities and those who are intellectually gifted and also helps to diminish the hostility between cliques and racial groups. “Every single clique in school comes together in this club. There’s nobody who is excluded,” said Heckerman. Denham said she believes this program helps the community of this school. “I think it just brings around acceptance.”


Nancy Everidge and Lonny Coston enjoy the Best Buddies program. Photo by Kasey Miller

send questions and comments to

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from

Get your holiday gift certificates Job Opportunities available 1505 South Alexander Street Suite 102 Plant City, FL 33563 813.717.7700 december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 35


chamber column Looking for something to do while taking a break from holiday shopping? Visit the Historic Union Station railroad exhibit. Union Station is located at 102 N. Palmer Street, Plant City. The museum has railroad displays, a gift shop and a working model railroad and is great fun for children and adults. It is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Group tours can be arranged by calling (813) 7543707.

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Submitted by Bruc e Ro dw ell

On Nov. 6, the Plant City Economic Development Council and the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held its Sixteenth Annual Business of the Year Awards Banquet at The Red Rose Inn & Suites. Congratulations to the winners: Growing Business (3-10 years in business) Michael Cameron/Edward Jones Small Business (1-15 full-time employees) Badcock Home Furniture & more Mid-Size Business (16-50 full-time employees) Florida Tree Source, Inc. Large Business (51+ full-time employees) Sweetbay Supermarket A special Exemplary Community Contribution Award was presented to MacDonald Training Center/James Ranch.

How about that Sixth Annual Pig Jam, which was brought by The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce and Ferman Auto Group, Albertson’s, TECO, South Florida Baptist Hospital, Jarrett-Scott Ford and the Tourist Development Council of the Board of County Commissioners? Everyone that attended had a great time and enjoyed some wonderful barbecue. The event was held at the Randy Larson Four-Plex and is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, and the event brought in chefs from all across the country. More than $15,000 in prizes was awarded to the winners. A big tip of the Chamber hat to Chris Sparkman, chairman of the event, and Jodi Smith, who serves as co-chair, as well as the entire committee for putting on this wonderful event for the Plant City community to enjoy.

This was a great event and one that every Chamber member looks forward to every year.

Get out a calendar and mark the date for next year’s Seventh Annual Pig Jam, which will be held Nov. 21. Don’t miss it. Chris and Jodi are already making plans to make it even bigger and better.



36 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

********** Do you have a heart for missions? You don’t have to leave the country or even the state. You can go into the mission field right here in Plant City by helping Hispanic children with their homework. The Bread of Life Mission in Plant City is in need of caring people to tutor kindergarten through fifth grade. Help students one-on-one with their homework, reading and math skills from 2 p.m. 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays at the mission. If you would like to tutor a child, then call Barb Kern at (813) 752-9565 or Alicia Nielson at (813) 754-2840. The Bread of Life Mission is located at 908 E. Reynolds St., Plant City. ********** Did you know the South Florida Baptist Hospital has a new hyperbaric oxygen machine? The new Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine is a first for the Greater Plant City area. It offers not just hyperbaric oxygen treatments, but also the latest, advanced techniques in wound care, including bioengineered skin grafts, special wound care dressings and medication to control swelling and infection. Until now, patients who might benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy had to travel to Lakeland or Tampa. But because treatments are five days a

week and require between 20 and 40 visits, it was often difficult to get there. Dr. Martin Girling, D.P.M. and co-medical director of the center, said, “This will give our community a wonderful boost and give patients more comprehensive wound care locally.” Dr. Jill Roehr, M.D., co-medical director with Dr. Girling, said anyone with a wound that is showing signs of not healing by three or four weeks, as well as people who have had a large open sore for years, will benefit. “With new treatments that are available, we are able to heal more than 80 percent of chronic wounds,” said Roehr. ********** As we approach the holiday season, let us not forget the United Food Bank and Services of Plant City. Since 1999, the Food Bank has been a vital resource for local families. It have provided more than 1.7 million pounds of groceries and helped more than 50,000 people, many of them children. Let’s take a look at the latest figures: In October 2007, 581 clients were served, and this year, October 2008, 890 clients were served. That is an increase of 309 clients. The January through October figures in 2007 totaled 7,878 clients, and this year from January through October 9, 163 clients were provided for by the Plant City Food Bank. That is an increase of 1,285. The need is great and overwhelming. In these tough economic times, the Food Bank needs support more than ever. Please consider donating nonperishable food to the Food Bank to help these needy families. Its address is 712 E. Alsobrook St., Suite 9, Plant City. The hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Anyone who is unable to deliver food to their location, consider giving a donation of money, which will be



used to buy food and other needed items. Donations can be mailed to the address above. ********** This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. festival will take place Jan. 16-19. This year’s theme is “Courage to live the Dream.” From Friday, Jan. 16-19 th. all are invited to experience and enjoy the Festival Midway which is being held at the Randy Larson Four-Plex at Plant City Stadium. There will be thrill rides, food vendors, arts & crafts as well as national entertainment by the Bush Gardens Sheiks, recording artists Miss Netta, G.E.D., Prezzy P and Big T. The parade is Saturday, Jan. 17. with a starting time of 1:00 PM. Parade

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participants will take a 1.2 mile route on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. through Plant City’s Historic Downtown and will end at the Plant City Dr. MLK, Jr. Recreation Center. On Sunday, Jan. 20, the Annual Leadership Breakfast will take place in the Red Rose Ballroom. This event starts at 7:30 a.m. and will feature keynote speaker John Dicks, former Plant City commissioner and mayor. For additional information on the above events, call (813) 757-6760. ********** Your Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Staff wish you and yours all the Joys of the Season and a healthy Happy New Year.

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december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • 37


around town

ered railroad track that in my mind’s imagining dated as far back as H.B. Plant himself. I can picture the apprehensive stares out of a moistureridden rail car as the clickity clack of the tracks lulled passengers into a kind of hypnotic stupor. Now, years later, I would once more traverse the way but with space age technology composed of aluminum, resin and carbon composite. The mood is somewhat expectant. We check each other out, sizing up the competition like Olympic athletes. Oh, that one is just a weekend warrior; oh that one will crash after the first five miles. One by one they venture out and after checking and rechecking my gear, I close the hatch of my SUV and lock it knowing I won’t see that beacon of modern mobility for at least three hours. I start out.

Finding Jesus on the Trail C o l u m n s u b m i t t e d by C a r o ly n M i l l e r

If a psychic told me that I would be riding hunched over a bicycle like some self-sacrificing pilgrim along the backwoods of Florida, I would have said they were crazy. Yet, last week I clocked more than 130 miles.

ly reminiscent of what astronauts wear. They all bear the serious stares of Lance Armstrong, regardless of the excess baggage in those skintight shorts. Yes, I fully admit being one of those nuts because within the nutdom comes something far more precious, and it battles all the doubt and embarrassment the uniform may dictate.

I guess for some I may look like a nut, you know, the ones with skintight shorts with diaper-sized padding at the crotch and a helmet that is rough-

I was elated to find a new trail. An explorer by nature, I was excited to see what was just around the proverbial corner. Granted this was a recov-

Someone asked whether I would enjoy “spinning”. I said, “No, you don’t go anywhere.”

38 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

The first five miles are met with children and moms out on their morning walk. Grandmas and grandpas peddle their enormous machines. Gopher tortoises cheer us on silently watching as if wondering what would make a species do such a thing. Then I’m through, the waters of the inexperienced or less enthusiastic riders part, and I’m on my own. It’s a fair thing to say when you ride a bicycle for more than ten miles, you learn to think, but it goes beyond that. Crows cheer you on, you dodge an occasional snake, lizards scamper out of your way, and all the while you hear the wind whistling through your melon-sized helmet. It is at that precise moment that you listen to things a bit deeper; your own rhythmic breathing, the faint but steady beating of your heart. The sounds of the outside world fade away, and everything is reduced to those few things. At the 10-mile mark, I get off my bike and walk stiffly to a shelter. The sun is brutal now. I feel my skin baking, sweat drips off me like I just got out of a shower. A cat comes over to me. A fairly wily looking scrapper

that has a large tom head and lanky body. He’s a white and grey ball of feline happiness, and he’s more than willing to allow a little scratch. I say goodbye with another scratch, and I’m off again with less speed but the same enthusiasm. Mile 15 and I shift my gaze to a pond nearby where a 15-foot gator resides. Not to worry. My bike is faster than he. I get to mile 18 and decide its time to turn around, back to the world. My peace was nearly finished and reality would have to be picked up like a discarded briefcase. Then as if a sign I see another rider coming towards me, there is hope, there is civilization, and as he nears I begin to see his form materializing in front of me out of the wavering mirage of the road ahead of me. He gets within a few yards, and I see his long, wavy, dusty blonde hair and full beard. He looks like an angel, like a disciple; oh my, he looks like Jesus. He too sports black spandex and a Discovery jersey. His helmet sits slightly askew because of his locks, but he wears the expression of serenity of our Lord as he peddles ever faster with a much stronger stroke than my already tired gait. Of course he’s not Christ, but his sudden and unexpected appearance gives me hope. And for a split second I almost wonder if Christ were to appear to me on this very road, would it not be as a fellow rider? He would give me hope and courage to continue not only to ride, but also my own journey of self-enlightenment. I finish my ride vowing to visit again tomorrow. I think I’ll bring that cat something to snack on besides the lizards he undoubtedly deprives of their tails. I load my bike, let my heartbeat settle, drink my water and wonder if I’ll see Jesus tomorrow. And if I do, would he speak to me?

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DECember 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 39


around toWn

park’s benches were full, as mothers and grandmothers enjoyed the sights and sounds of their children and grandchildren running from display to display, marveling at the sizes and shapes of the toy soldiers and the jack-in-the-box that seemed to peer down at them.

David Sullivan, soloist, sang with the First Baptist Church of Plant City praise team and children’s choir. Photo by Tracy Cox

mCcall parK lights of love lighting ceremony s t o ry by t r a C y l . C OX

Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles strained their necks and manned digital and video cameras to capture the brave and the shy as they accompanied soloists David Sullivan and Susanna Mae Houser and the church’s praise team in three more Christmas carols, closing with “Silent Night.”

The city’s sidewalks are dressed in holiday style and in the air there is the feeling of Christmas as Plant City’s streets and the historic downtown McCall Park are now shining bright with lights of every color after the celebration of the 10th Annual Lights of Love Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 5. Mayor Rick Lott welcomed a crowd of approximately 400 people, young and old alike, to the yearly event sponsored by the South Florida Baptist Hospital Foundation.

Dressed in shorts and sandals to holiday clothing, the crowd’s eyes grew wide as the thousands of lights were turned on for the first time on McCall Park’s many displays and the Lights of Love tree, which is decorated in memory or honor by friends and loved ones and the many supporters who have donated to the South Florida Baptist Hospital. Children, perched on the shoulders of their fathers and grandfathers, pointed in wonder to the spectacular glow that reached from Collins Street to the historic Union Train Depot. The

Brett and Holly McCranie beamed proudly with smiles on their faces as their 6-year-old son, Samuel, all decked out in a matching green and white-striped Christmas sweater and beanie, took stage with the First Baptist Church of Plant City children’s choir and soloist Seth Bender to ring in the season with the familiar Christmas carol, “Hark, the Herald.”


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With a huge train-shaped light display at the entrance, the train depot hosted Santa and Mrs. Claus for the children to sit with them to share their Christmas wish list and have their picture taken. Zy Floyd, 19-month-old son of Mike and Dede Floyd, ran excitedly up to the train’s engine as his mother followed closely on his heels. Katie Phillips, 5-year-old daughter of James and Stephanie Phillips, knelt inside the manger scene in the depot’s yard with her 3-year-old brother, Evan, and 6-year-old cousin, Chloe Spencer, with grandparents, Mike and Molly Phillips, also looking on.

Mrs. Phillips replied, “Touch him gently,” as she carefully watched over the threesome. As they were leaving the park, Joe and Mary Salcido surveyed the children running around to make sure their six, Joey, Josee, Jamiee, Michaela, Jennifer and Madeleine, were with them. Ranging in ages from 16 years to 8 months old, the Salcido children each had their favorite moments of the evening. “I liked singing ‘Silent Night,’” said Jamiee, a 9-year-old student in the fourth grade at Walden Lake Elementary School. Not to be left out and sharing the sentiment that many held that night, 8-year-old second grader Michaela said, “I liked counting down to the lights.”

Hundreds of people came to McCall Park in Historic Downtown Plant City to watch Christmas lights and a choir. Photo by Tracy Cox


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40 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

“Can I touch baby Jesus’ face?” Katie asked her mother.

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Dr. Lydia Quattlebaum (standing), Director of the George W. Jenkins Center of Learning for Adults, assists students. The ladies are residential program participants. Photo by Lynne Warren

Team leader Wesley Fortune (right) and resident John Hayes discuss a maintenance project. Photo by Lynne Warren

giving hope, changing lives lighthOUSe MiniStrieS iS dediCated tO helping peOple get On a pOSitiVe path.. s t o ry by ly n n e Wa r r e n

Most have seen their trucks in the area, and some have noticed their thrift stores in Plant City, Lakeland and Winter Haven, but few realize the scope of the ministry and mission of this organization. Faithbased and committed to helping men, women and children in the community get back on their feet, Lighthouse Ministries is a beacon of hope to those who can’t yet see the light at the end of the tunnel. Through a strong vision of helping people help themselves, an amazing staff who rely wholeheartedly on God to provide, and with the support of generous residents and businesses, Lighthouse is doing amazing work. Thirty-one years ago, developer and local businessman Carl Warnock, along with attorney and former judge Jim Welch, saw a need for a rescue mission. Lighthouse Ministries was founded as a small outreach, along the lines of a soup kitchen. The small ministry has grown

into one of the highest rated organizations of its type in the nation. The three primary ministries of Lighthouse Ministries include a residential program for women and children, the Men’s Gospel Rescue Mission and the H.O.P.E. Outreach to Families in Need. Keys to Lighthouse Ministry’s success are the commitment required of residential program participants and the structure provided to them. In both residential programs, men and women spend several days in a dorm-type setting where they decide if they are willing to make the commitment required. Each resident must be willing to take on a job within the organization and participate in educational programs and bible study. Once accepted into the program, residents must live up to these responsibilities. Review sessions are held regularly with each participant to evaluate their progress and ensure they stay on track.

42 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

Women and children are housed in the Jay and Eloise Troxel Life Center. Within the walls of the center, there is a full preschool program, as well as a technology and learning center where school-aged children can study and participate in educational activities. The Lighthouse Community Preschool has a faith-based curriculum, and it is open to the public.

The men’s facility houses residents as well as the homeless ministry and outreach. Each afternoon, Lighthouse opens its doors to those in need. Homeless are provided a meal, a shower and a clean place to sleep for the night. Adjacent to the men’s facility is a hydroponic garden, where residents raise and harvest a variety of produce that is used in the meals prepared at Lighthouse.

Lighthouse has rescued 416 children and 266 women since opening the Troxel Center in 2001. The George Jenkins Center of Learning for Adults, also housed in the Troxel Center, is where the adult educational programs are held. Each person not only learns in the traditional sense, but also gains life skills. Residents are in a highly structured environment and are taught to apply the skills they learn to all areas of their lives in order to be successful in the program, and once they leave. When most come into the program, they have hit rock bottom and need a hand-up, which is exactly what Lighthouse Ministries provides. A wonderful staff provides support and guidance to adults and children alike throughout their journey back to selfsufficiency.

Lighthouse Ministries has three thrift shops, which provide a stream of revenue to help support the organizations programs. The main donation center is in Lakeland, where all donated items are sorted and then distributed to the thrift shops. When you consider the scope and reach of Lighthouse Ministries’ mission, it is amazing it is completely privately funded. Anyone who wants more information or would like to help through donations, volunteerism, or other means, visit Lighthouse Ministries’ Web site at www., or call (863) 6874076. Lighthouse Ministries in Plant City is at 2410 W. Baker St.

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DECember 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 43

GENERATION NOIT PMEDER Story by Aaron Oberlin Photos by Suzanne Gallagher

He is an author working who recently just began writing book, and without a publisher, he has managed to sell hundreds of copies of his first book – “Generation Curse” – the book that enabled him to have a fresh start on life – a new beginning. What was once Mills Cooper’s home, which was characterized with a wife, a daughter and family heir looms, had became a Crown Victoria filled with a notepad, pencil and boxes of clothes. No daughter. No wife. Mills was 32 years old, and he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life. Living by himself in his light blue ’96 Crown Victoria, he had time to reminisce, time to figure out his future. He had always been a gifted athlete – standing 6 foot 3 inches and weighing nearly 240 lbs. makes for an ideal football player. But something about football didn’t feel right for the man who once tried out for the Minnesota Vikings. “Back in 2003, I tried out for the Minnesota Vikings, but I came to a point where football wasn’t everything to me. It took me a long time to come to that point. I felt like at that moment, I wanted to do something long term, and football is not a guaranteed career,” said Mills. So without a job, a home

or a career path, Mills went to Bruton Memorial Library everyday. He read for hours, mostly motivational books, such as “Do You!: 12 Laws to Access the Power in you to Achieve Happiness and Success” by Russell Simmons. It was within the library where the power of reading convinced Mills to turn around his life and command its helm. It was within those walls that an epiphany came to him: People need to do the right thing for their children’s sake. “I am firm believer in Christ, and like God said in the Bible, He will avenge sin until the third to fourth generation,” said Mills. “I don’t want that for daughter, and I wanted to spread the message, so I wrote a book called ‘Generation Curse.’” “Generation Curse,” which tells the story of the vices that command some people’s lives, is edgy for a motivational book. Instead of happy, positive stories to uplift someone’s outlook on life, Mills said the book reveals the realities of people’s behavior he sees on a regular basis. In the book, there are iniquitous individuals. There are prostitutes and pimps. There are portrayals of poverty resulting from using crack pipes and other narcotic devices. “It was easier for me [to write about the characters that I

used], because around here in this area, I see a lot of kids and the habits they have. I don’t personally know many of them, but I do see it. And many times, there parents had, or have, the same habits. That is a big thing not only in Plant City, but around the nation. People need to be aware of what’s going on because things will happen over again.” “And there shall be, like people, like priest: And I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. For they shall eat, and not have enough: They shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: Because they have left off taking heed to the Lord. Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart. My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them. For the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God. They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because there shadow thereof is good: Therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom and your spouses shall commit adultery.” (HOSEA 4:9-13) Mills believes nefarious lifestyles lead to a perpetual cycle of people with a lower quality of life, hence the individuals he depicted in

his book. The only way to break that cycle is to give in to God. Let Him lead. “‘Generation Curse’ is basically about individuals and when they make bad decisions. It shows how those choices not only affect them, but they affect the offspring connected to them,” said Mills. “If you make the wrong spiritual decision, then you can put yourself at risk of picking up the sins of your forefathers, such as things like prostitution and drug usage. But when we do the right thing, we can break those curses, especially by walking in Christ’s footsteps.” And let God lead is what Mills did, and is still doing. He is living for God. He is walking a better path for his daughter’s sake. So Mills went from having a family, to living in his car, to today. He currently has a book for sale that he had printed and is selling himself. But it took more than just time to do that. It took a strong will, and the road to his current place in life wasn’t easy. “I was in a situation where my wife and I had split up, and I had an opportunity to go back and live with my mom and dad. But being a man, I was like I want to survive on my own. I don’t like begging, and I don’t like handouts. Even though I know it was

my mom and dad, and they had welcomed me back, I wanted to make it on my own. So I had made a decision to sleep in my car,” Mills said with humility. The Bruton Memorial Library is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and it closes earlier during the weekends. That was reading time. He would shower in gyms or wherever a shower could be found, and then he would make his way to the library. “It was during this time that the idea came to me. I had been spending a lot of time with myself, so I had a lot of time to meditate about things. And then it came to me – ‘Generation Curse,’” said Mills. During the library’s closed hours, he began to work on his first book. Searching for well-lit parking lots, Mills became a second- and third-shift worker, writing his first book during random hours of the night. Sundays, however, would be a break from his regular cycle. He could be found attending church. But when he left the church, he was back in his car, writing his message to the world. And as the cycle turned, library time eventually evolved into a time of reading and writing. “I would go to the library and write. And then when they closed, I would go park in the Wal-Mart parking lot or at Denny’s or at the hospital or whatever, and I would continue my writing until 1 or 2 o’ clock in the morning,” said Mills. “It took me about a good two months to finish [the book]. I would go up to the library about 9 o’ clock in the morning, and I would literally sit there until 9 in the evening.”

A LIGHT TURNS ON Mills father, Carlton Cooper, had been trying to get him to come home, but Mills pride didn’t budge. Then one day Mills was laying in his car. A knock on his window caught his attention. It was his father. “It’s time to come home son,” said Carlton. Mills finally listened. He had a place to call home. He had a book he had written. But his message wasn’t being heard by others. Mills needed money to publish his book, and to save up for it, he got a job at First Choice Southern Bar-B-Que, which is where he still works. “Every check that I got I saved up, except for costs that my daughter needed. But the rest went straight to the book,” said Mills.

It took nearly three months for Mills to save up, and he started out with a hundred books that he got printed at ANA Printing, which is located in Tampa. He sold out of them at first to his family members and close friends. Now a book costs $10. To get it started, he saved up roughly $600 to pay for his books and an editor, and with those close to him buying his story, he had to get more printed. Those sold well, too. The books aren’t the only thing going well in Mills’ life, even though he finished his second book, and he is working on his third. He is spending more time with his daughter. He is walking a better path for her sake. He is walking with the Lord. For Mills, what was once an automobile and temporary dwelling became a site of motivation, the birthplace of a new beginning. Looking at Mills, the question isn’t how he fell from stability. It is how he picked himself back up. “I believe it was all meant to be, because I believe that sometimes God will allow a situation to happen in order to remove you from other situations – to do His will. I believe it was all fate,” said Mills. Mills Cooper can be reached at (813) 391-1568.

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There’s a New Ex-Sheriff in Town Florida Strawberry Festival selects Paul Davis as its new general manager. Interview by Brian West

• Photos by Suzanne Gallagher

The Florida Strawberry Festival recently selected its new general manager, and it didn’t have to look far to find him. Paul Davis, a former major with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, who has spent almost his entire career working security for the festival, was selected and began working in his new role Dec. 1. Many people know Davis as the sheriff stationed at the front of the main stage greeting people as they look for their seats. Watching Davis greet people often made many wonder if he knew everyone in town. “What got you interested in the general manager position?” “Well, I’d been with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for 32 years. I’ve been going to the Strawberry Festival since my earliest childhood memories. I had my first date at the Strawberry Festival at age 14. My mother brought two couples up here: my girlfriend and I and my brother and his girlfriend. She dropped us off and that was my first official date. I believe the Strawberry Festival is probably the best community fair in the country. I really do. I look forward to it every year. I worked security here for 30 years, so I feel that I know a lot about the festival. I’ve watched children grow up here and now their children are growing up here – through the steer tents and all the other events that we have here. It’s just a great event. It’s a great family event, and I think you probably get the best bang for your buck here – entertainment wise – than anything else that we have in the county. “Have you thought much about the fact that you won’t be wearing your sheriff’s uniform anymore?” “I told a couple of people in my office, ‘I don’t know how to not be a policeman.’ I’ve been a policeman for a long time. It’s going to be a change, but I will probably stay in the reserves. To do that, you have to volunteer for 20 hours a month. That way I won’t be completely removed from law enforcement. The reserves are volunteers and I can go out and patrol for 20 hours a month on my days off. I really think I’ll enjoy it, and I’ll get to spend time with my friends and stay sharp on the changes in the laws. “You also have some family with the sheriff’s department.” “Yes, my brother Bill is a major, also. Now my son is there, and he is a detective in the Environmental Unit. I am extremely proud of them both.”

“They’re all glad for me. You know, my family has grown up in the festival, also. When my son was born, he was always here. This was his yearly excursion. We always went to the Strawberry Festival. When I was working, they visited me here, and that has continued with both of my daughters. “With being new to the role, is there something specific you’re looking to accomplish? “Well the one thing I know is that I’ve been in the people business for 32 years, and that’s what the festival is all about. I have the advantage of having some of the most successful and knowledgeable business people in this community on our board. I plan to take full use of their knowledge and expertise in running businesses and events. If you look at our board, then the volunteers that are on our Board of Directors and the Associate Directors, it’s kind of the who’s who of the businesses within our community. I’m excited about the possibilities of this festival just getting better every year. We’ve made a lot of changes this year.

“So how has your family reacted to your career change? DECember 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 49

There’s a New Ex-Sheriff in Town “We moved the steer tent and expanded the kiddy rides. They’re minor changes, but we don’t want to loose the ambiance that we’ve had for so many years. We need to remember who brought us to the dance. We started in 1930 to celebrate the harvest of the strawberry, and we don’t want to loose that. That is paramount. For people who’ve never seen it, if you walk down to the old steer tent and you see some 13-year-old child lying there asleep with their head resting on their pig, to me that’s just precious. Now those children are grown and their children are coming through and doing the same thing. Once you see that, you begin to realize how many good kids there are. It really makes you appreciate that activity. Those kids who are there with their steers, they’re not thinking about the festival for 11 days, they’re thinking about it all year. They plan. They become organized. They’re responsible. It’s a great way to teach our young children the value of hard work and dedication. It’s very rewarding to me.” FOCUS: “Where will the new steer tent be located? Davis: “We’re locating it where the old directors parking used to be, right outside gate 16. We’ll have a lot more room. This year, we’re building a media center. We want to be more media friendly. We’re proud of this community, and we’re proud of the festival, and we want to show them off. Again, some of my most fond memories growing up as a child were coming to the festival, and that was before Disney really got started. We don’t want to loose that either. So we’re expanding the kiddy ride area so we have more rides for kids, and we want to keep it all together so if they don’t want to get onto the large midway area, they can be in one spot and really enjoy their day at the festival. “We’re bringing in some new vendors, and we also really try to be diverse in our entertainment and appeal to everybody. We’ve released the entertainment list for 2009, and we have some of the more traditional artists like we’ve had in the past – Mel Tillis is one of them. Mel has a huge following from the area, and a lot of family from Dover where he grew up. For our younger people, we have Taylor Swift. She just turned 18 and won a CMA award a few weeks ago. Tickets will be on sale Dec. 8. “You know, one of the things I find interesting is that we get a lot of calls from people saying, ‘Just let me know when the tickets are going to be on sale because that’s what we like to buy our kids for Christmas.’ I think it’s a great idea. Your children come to a wholesome environment and get to see a show, and there has to be a show in the lineup this year that your kids would love to see. And when the show is over, they can walk through the exhibits or ride the rides. It’s just a really good value. We work very hard to make this an event that is affordable for families.” FOCUS: “For years, you’ve spent your time here at the festival working security at the shows. Is the security going to change?” Davis: “Mike Sparkman is in charge of security now for the festival. We’ve already had some meetings with him and he’s sharp. His father

Well the one thing I know is that I’ve been in the people business for 32 years, and that’s what the “festival is all about. I have the advantage of having some of the most successful and knowledgeable business people in this community on our board. I plan to take full use of their knowledge and expertise in running businesses and events.„ was a law enforcement officer, and Mike has always been aware of security issues and someone we’d go to anyway with questions about safety and security. I don’t see a lot of changes taking place. But the best safety measures are the ones put in place where people don’t even realize that the security is in place. They just feel comfortable enough that they know they don’t need to worry about anything. And there is a lot of planning that goes into the safety and security of the festival. It works best if people don’t even realize it. But let me assure you, the security is here and we work very hard to keep the festival trouble free. In fact, I think last year we had one fight call through the 11 days of the festival. They were two kids, and within moments of the fight starting, we were involved and escorted them for their ejection. It makes me feel good. I have my children and my grandchildren visiting here.” FOCUS: “With all your years here during the festival, working and visiting, you’ve made a lot of friends. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone in a sheriff’s uniform that seemed so popular.” Davis: “There was a woman who had been coming to the festival for 30 years. She died this past year and I think she was 88 years old. She was always one of the first ones to come up and hug our necks. Every year, she’d come up and get her picture taken with the deputies at the front of the stage. I have some of those pictures. Those are just sweet, sweet people, and I’ll miss those interactions – in uniform.” The Davis selection is a wonderful choice for the Florida Strawberry Festival. He is personable, and he has only the best intentions for the festival, the community and those who come to visit. If you see Davis this year, then please take a moment to say hello and wish him luck in his new role.

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DECember 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 53

business & finance

business profile

Edward Jones financial advisers Stephen Shouse, Jeff Dove, Michael Cameron and Tim Shuff give some tips for a prosperous end of the year and New Year. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

Make Your New Year’s Financial Resolutions If you’re like many people, you’ve made some New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you’ve vowed to go the gym more often, or learn a new language or reconnect with long-lost friends. All these are worthy goals, of course, but at the same time, you don’t want to neglect one of the most important areas of your life — your finances. So this year, why not make some financial resolutions? Here are a few to consider: – Stay calm. As you’re well aware, 2008 was not exactly a stellar year for the stock market. What will 2009 bring? No one can say for sure, but it seems likely that we are in for some volatility in the months ahead as we slog our way through the recession. As an investor, your best move is to stay calm and remain

focused on your long-term goals. Review your financial strategy to make sure it’s still appropriate for your risk tolerance, family situation and time horizon. – Increase your 401(k) contributions. Even though you might not have enjoyed looking at your 401(k) statements during 2008, it’s still a good idea to boost your contributions for 2009. Why? For one thing, you typically invest pretax dollars in your 401(k), so the more you put in, the lower your annual taxable income. And your earnings grow on a tax-deferred basis, which means your money can grow faster than it would if placed in an account on which you paid taxes every year. Furthermore, you can adjust your investment mix to reflect changes in your risk tolerance and

54 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

your proximity to retirement. – Build an emergency fund. It’s a good idea to build an emergency fund containing six to 12 months’ worth of living expenses, held in a liquid account. If you face an unexpected expense — such as a major medical bill or a costly car repair — you don’t want to be forced into cashing out any stocks, especially if their price happens to be down. – Diversify, diversify, diversify. In 2008, we witnessed something that’s unusual, though not unheard of: a bad year for stocks and bonds. In the past, it has more often been the case that when stocks are up, bonds are down, and vice versa. That’s why diversification makes so much sense: By spreading your dollars among an array of stocks, bonds, government securities, certificates of deposit and other investments, you can help reduce the impact of a downturn that primarily affects just one type

of asset. Of course, diversification, by itself, cannot guarantee a profit or protect against a loss, but if you aren’t diversified at all, you are inviting significant risk into your investment portfolio. – Stick with quality. During turbulent times, quality investments are your best bet for “weathering the storm.” If you’re buying stocks, look for those companies that have long track records of profitability, strong management teams, competitive products and solid business plans. If you’re considering bonds, find the ones that have received the highest ratings from the independent rating agencies. Finally, be patient, disciplined and forward-looking. The investment world has taken some knocks lately, but good investment opportunities are still out there.

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business & finance


consiDer financial gifts for the family At this time of year, you may be thinking about finding the “perfect” gifts for various family members. You can find any number of thoughtful presents, but if you’d like to give something that can have an impact long after the holiday season is over, consider making a financial gift. You could, of course, just write a check. But you may be able to do more for your intended recipients by finding a more creative gift. Here are a few possibilities: – Stocks — Many people have preferences for products made by certain companies — and they may well enjoy owning the stocks of those firms. Why not surprise your family members with a few shares of these stocks? If you decide to give shares from your own portfolio, you’ll need to know what you originally paid for the stock, how long you’ve held it and its fair market value at the date of the gift. Recipients of your gift will need this information to determine gains or losses if they decide to sell the stock. You’ll also need to determine if you have to pay gift taxes. You can give up to $12,000 per year, free of gift taxes, to as many people as you want; over your lifetime, you can give up to $1 million without incurring gift taxes. – Contributions to Section 529 plans — Over the past several years, college tuition costs have increased significantly. If you have a child (or grandchild) who will be headed off to college in a few years, you may want to open a Section 529 college savings plan. The contribution limits are typically quite high for this type of account, and your contributions may be

56 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

tax-deductible if you are participating in your own state’s plan. Plus, your earnings and withdrawals will be exempt from federal taxes as long as the money goes toward paying qualified higher education expenses. (However, withdrawals used for any other expenses may be subject to federal, state and penalty taxes.) – Contributions to an IRA — Many people don’t fully fund their IRA each year — so any help you can give toward that goal will be important. While you can’t contribute directly to someone else’s IRA, you can write a check to the recipient for that purpose. For the 2008 tax year, the IRA contribution limit is $5,000 ($6,000 for investors who are 50 or older). And the deadline for making contributions for 2008 isn’t until April 15, 2009. – Charitable gifts — You may want to make a financial gift to a charitable organization in the name of a loved one. If this person supports the work done by the charitable group, he or she will greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness. Furthermore, you’ll get an immediate tax deduction for your gift, as long as the group has received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. By making any of these gifts, you’ll brighten your family members’ holidays — and you’ll know that your generosity truly had an impact on their lives.


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58 • FOCUS Magazine plant City • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

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DECember 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 59

business & finance

success Dr. Stephen M. Strait is the medical director of Now Walk In Care Clinic.

Now Care Walk In Clinic The clinic is focused on being the best in the area. Background: Now Care Walk In Clinic opened in 2005 in the Chambers Peacock building at 1009 W. Baker St., corner of Baker and Whitehall streets in Plant City. The clinic is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday – Friday, and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday – Sunday. Now Care is a full-service urgent care clinic with no appointment necessary. Now Care accepts most insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. The clinic has an on-site X-ray and lab. Medical director Dr. Stephen M. Strait is a residency trained, board certified family physician who grew up in the Tampa Bay area. Phone (813) 759-1232. Aspiration: To continue to exceed patients’ expectations. Our goal is not to be the biggest urgent care clinic, but the best .We strive to continue the legacy of medical care given to this community by our predecessors Drs. Chambers and Peacock. Inspirations: My father Dr. Robert E. Strait, who while following him around his rural clinic or traveling down country roads to accompany him on the forgotten practice of house calls, taught me how to 60 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • december 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009

listen and care for people, as well as the art and science of medicine. Why I’m a success: Now Care Walk In Clinic has been a success because it follows the golden rule: you treat people the way that you would like to be treated. My father once told long ago that if you just listen long enough, then patients will tell you what’s wrong with them. This one-on-one type of medical care we feel is the key to our success. What’s new? Now Care Walk In Clinic has started a comprehensive in-house weight loss program that we are very excited about. In fact, we have one patient that lost 22 pant sizes. Our weight loss program utilizes diet, intramuscular vitamin injections and appetite suppressant medications to get you to your desired goal weight. Our program also has early morning, evening and weekend appointments for those onthe-go people, and everything is included in one price. So call and schedule an appointment. Let’s get a jump start on that New Year’s resolution.

season’s SEASON’S greetings GREETINGS

During this this holiday holidayseason season and every every day day of the the year, year, During we wish we wish you you all the best. Stephen W Shouse, Financial Advisor, AAMS • 1514 S Alexander Street • Suite 206 Stephen W Shouse Plant City, FL 33563 • 813-752-9400

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Street SuiteAAMS 206• 104 N Evers St Suite 102 Tim Shuff, Financial Advisor, Plant City, FL 33563 • 813-752-1071 Plant City, FL 33563 813-752-9400 Jeff Dove, Financial Advisor • 1904 James Redman Pkwy Plant City, FL 33563 • 813-754-6983

DECember 15, 2008 – january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine plant city • 61



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URGENT MESSAGE: Contrary to what the media would have your believe, Home LOANS are still available and perfect credit with big down payments are NOT REQUIRED My husband Randy and I were referred to Nate when we began the search for our home- we were told he was the best! We were in our forties and this would be our first home purchase so we were very “nieve” about the whole process. Nate understood this and he took us under his wing and made sure all transactions went smoothly from the beginning to the end. We let him take control with peace of mind that everything was being taken care of promptly, accurately and with true honesty. Nate was always just a phone call away with all my many questions and just a quick glance and a nod at the closing table was often what I needed to know that things were ok and proceeding as Nate had expected them to. I would never use anyone else for a home mortgage and highly recommend him to everyone. Nate was and is the best. Thanks so much! Randy & Sharon Maxwell - Plant City, FL




Fabulous Lake Gibson home located in gated Wedgewood Lakes Estate. Open floor plan with great lake views! Formal living and dining with fireplace, soaring ceilings, large kitchen w/nook, family room. Lanai with summer kitchen, pool/spa overlook boat dock with hoist. Over 3500 sq. ft., 1/3 acre lot on lake and 3 car garage. Offered at $499,900. MLS #T2308121. Call Maddie to Preview (813) 382-8382.


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 $459,514. MLS #T2340295. Call Lynne Halleran at (813) 763-1881.

COMMERCIAL WAREHOUSE Downtown steel and metal office and warehouse 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. MLS #T2340211. Call Jimmie Robinson, (813) 390-6441.

Custom built 5,200+ sq. ft. home in prestigious, gated Cambridge Cove is located on a culde-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/solid surface countertops, double ovens, an island & breakfast nook. Family room & master bedroom both have fireplaces. Invite your friends over! It’s movie night! Offered at $649,000. MLS #T2338175 Call Malissa Crawford at (813) 967-0168 or Call Jimmie Robinson at (813) 390-6441.


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.


Well cared for home, Approximately 3 year old roof, full cabinets in the garage for lots of storage. Wood burning fireplace in living room; French doors from kitchen, living room and master to L-shaped screened patio. Parquet wood floors and tile in wet areas. Large walk in closet in master bedroom with double vanity, a whirlpool tub big enough for two and a separate shower. Offered at $164,900. MLS #T2332939. Call Jean Bridgmon at (813) 478-3107.


Commercial building near hospital. Zoned for offices. Under remodel now. Buy now; pick carpet colors and layout for your particular business. Offered at $425,000. MLS #T2330860. Call Jimmie Robinson at (813) 3906441 or Dave McCarthy at (813) 263-4797.


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, in-ground pool, several utility sheds including one for horse trailer, boat or RV. Hook-ups for travel trailer. Offered at $634,848. MLS #T2311859. Call Jimmie Robinson, (813) 390-6441 or Lynne Halleran, (813) 763-9574.


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.


Over 3,200 square feet on one acre with 2 car detached garage. Custom cherry cabinetry, hard wood floors, huge kitchen with new stainless steel appliances and an additional building ready for an office, storage, or could be converted to an in-law suite very easily. Offered at $334,900. MLS #T2328244. Call Malissa Crawford at (813) 967-0168.

DESIRABLE PINEDALE! 3/2.5 on large lot. Open floor plan is perfect for entertaining. Brand new, updated bathrooms and new roof in December 2007. Offered at $199,900. MLS #T2332651. Call Malissa Crawford at(813) 967-0168.


Price Reduction! Owners Motivated! Huge open kitchen with Viking cook top, island, & walk in pantry. Breakfast area overlooks pool, and flows into the large family/great room. Great room leads to pool area through French doors. House sits on partially fenced one-acre lot. So many amenities to list: granite, ceramic tile throughout with carpet in bedrooms, water softener, built-in pest control system, inside laundry room and much more. A gem of a property that will not last long. Offered at $315,000. MLS #T2294106. Call Malissa Crawford, (813) 967-0168.

Call us for your Residential and Commercial Real Estate needs

1513 Jim Redman Parkway, Plant City




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Unique 3 BR/2 BA brick home in a wonderful family subdivision with no deed restrictions or HOA fees. Relax in the beautifully landscaped and shaded 1/2 acre yard while enjoying the fall weather. Home features 2300+ SF living, brick fireplace, unique floor plan and plenty of room for entertaining guests. $225,000. MLS#T2313351.



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

Polk County 3 BR/2 BA block home in Eagle Lake w/over 1600 SF living, new roof and lots of potential. Home sits on nice size corner lot w/carport. Now only $99,900. MLS#T23332662.

2 BR/1 BA home that would make a great rental for extra income. New roof, new appliances and fresh paint inside and out. Priced to sell at $65,900. MLS#T2329916.

CAMERON RD-PLANT CITY 5 acre homesite w/grandfather oaks and the privacy of a dead end road. $275,000. MLS#T2339960. 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. $79,500. MLS#T2339873.

SLEEPY HOLLOW RD-PLANT CITY S WIGGINS RD-PLANT CITY One acre with oak trees off Knights Griffin Rd- 4 acres on Wiggins Rd with pond. Great locasome deed restrictions. Now only $69,900. tion for your new home and some privacy too! MLS#T2318671. $169,000. MLS#T2334292. COOPER RD-PLANT CITY ROLLING VISTA LP-DOVER 2+ acre parcel with grandfather oaks, paved road Perfect building lot in new community of frontage and small pond on the property. Your new larger homes. Ready for your dream home of home would be a perfect fit - mobile homes OK. 2400 SF living or more. Reduced to $72,400. Now only $50,000. MLS#T2270664. MLS#T2324771

HOMES UNDER 70,000 9818 James St, Thonotosassa- $39,900 1706 Lime St, Plant City - $65,900 4807 Fowler Rd, Tampa - $45,000 SOUTHWIND DR-MULBERRY Building lot with easy access to the airport. Now only $49,900. MLS#T2333753


Dedicated to the Value of Home & Family


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

Jimmie Robinson - 813-754-3586 ext 222

E-mail: • toll free


december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 65


walden lake review

enD oF tHe yeAr uPDAtes waLden Lake HaS pLenty COMing Up in tHe new year. c o l u m n by n ata L i e S w e e t

The neighborhood entrances are beautifully lit and decorated. The master association will be awarding prizes in two categories soon, and I will announce the winners at the next printing of this article. The Walden Lake Community Association Board didn’t vote on any new items at the last meeting. The billing for the annual dues will go out soon, which can be paid in two payments, January and July. Walden Lake is going to the dogs. The excitement is building for the Walden Lake Dog Park. The dog park will be

approximately 1.5 acres located near the parking area on the Polo Field. The park will feature separate large and small dog areas, with separate entrances. Each entrance will feature pavers, which you can purchase and personalize (engraving) for $100 each. By purchasing a paver, you can help pave the way toward the start of the construction of the Dog Park, which I hope is in early 2009. The pavers make a great gift during the holidays where you can dedicate a paver to your past (or present) pet, favorite aunt, or have your business engraved on it. Please call Stephanie Springborn at (813) 728-8802 for

66 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

purchase information. The pavers are on sale through January 2009. Also, a golf tournament is scheduled for Feb. 20, 2009. If you are interested in playing or sponsoring a hole, then please call Angie Inzerillo at (813) 230-4453. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Dog Park Committee, then please call Stephanie Springborn at 813-728-8802, she would love to welcome you aboard as they need as many hands on deck as possible to get this park up and running in early 2009. Also, visit the Web site at www.waldenlakedogpark. com for information on any of these events. For those in the community who have supported this additional amenity to our community, the Dog Park Committee members thank you. Happy Holidays from the dogs of Walden Lake. At the New Year’s Eve celebration at The Walden Lake Golf and Country Club, there will be dinner, dance, entertainment and drink specials

all night. The price is $60 per couple for members, $70 per couple for nonmembers and includes a surf and turf dinner, a champagne toast at midnight, dancing and a dinner show. Call (813) 752-1171 ext. 221 to make reservations today. Come check out the new facilities at Walden Lake. Totally renovated fitness center and pool, tennis courts with two new clay courts, newly renovated pro shop with new bar, as well as a new club lounge and renovations throughout all banquet facilities. Michelle Newsome says, “Don’t forget to think of Walden Lake next time you book your next birthday party, anniversary party, graduation, business meeting, wedding or reception, banquet or tournament.” For information on memberships or events, call Michelle at (813) 752-1171ext. 222.


send questions and comments to

SHORT SALE SAVINGS – 3Bd/2Ba, 1738 SF home is like new! Huge rooms offer split floor plan for Family friendly lifestyle w/savings in mind! You will love quiet cul de sac only #138,900. #35

BREAKING SELLER‘S HEART! – But you can profit! 2Bd/1.5 Ba Condo in Tampa - Short Sale! Carefree living is yours, community pool, tennis courts - A steal of a deal only $89,900.#69

Enjoy Romantic Sunsets on 80 Acre Ski Lake – You will swell with pride when coming home to model perfect, 1820 SF, 3Bd/2Ba w/decorator touches thru out, all upgraded appliances in gourmet kitchen w/ pantry, crown molding & impeccably maintained. A must see & priced to sell at $224,900. #57

FABULOUS FIND – Make a great start in this bank-owned 4Bd/2Ba home, 1828 SF, split floor plan w/large Family/kitchen combo, tile floors in living area, crown molding in Family rm & French doors leading outside. This is the steal you’ve been waiting for! $165,900. #44

PRE-FORECLOSURE-WALDEN LAKE-FLAWLESS INTERIOR – 3Bd/2Ba, 2091 SF, located in desirable Forest Hammock. Separate LR, FR & DR. MB features tray ceilings, H & H closets, separate garden tub & shower. Plenty of room for parking and a steal at only $180,000.#76

PRIVATE WOOD SETTING – One acre of relaxed living, w/3Bd/2Ba, 1719 SF. Superbly designed kitchen w/center cooking island. Lg Family rm & formal dining rm, great for entertaining. Kids will enjoy the majestic trees that shade the fenced back yard. Only $119,000. #58

CONTROL THE CHAOS – Kids can run wild in huge fenced backyard of this great Walden Lake 3Bd/2Ba, 1600 SF CB home w/cathedral ceilings delivers family friendly floor plan. Fully equipped kitchen, 2 car garage. Priced to sell, only $174,900. #81

LAND, GIVE ME LAND – 4.04 acres are grand & include a charming 824 SF home. 2Bd/1Ba, includes pole barn, detached garage & charming front porch. Live in home while building your dream home or sit back on the front porch & enjoy the land. $195,000. #16

BANK OWNED PROPERTY – Steal This Deal! 3Bd/1Ba, 1275 SF, Seller Financing available up to 90% LTV with qualified buyers. $89,900. Call for more info. #3

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

COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL – This 3Bd/2Ba, 1144 SF home is located walking distance to Plant City Hospital & medical offices. Built in 1989, features separate family, dining and inside ldry. Kids’ll love fenced back yard w/plenty of play area & above ground pool. Priced at only $99,000.#55

A PLACE WITH SPACE – Quiet CulDe-Sac Beauty on large lot, this lovely 4Bd/2Ba w/1556 SF is like new! Vaulted ceilings and priced at short sale bargain of $136,900. #20

A SMALL SNUG SETTING SURROUNDED BY CENTURY OLD TREES – This adorable 2Bd/1Ba home is move in ready with freshly painted interior, new carpet, new cabinets in kitchen & bath. Who cares if it drizzles? Move the picnic under cover of this large screened patio. Beautifully wooded grounds provide shady comfort with plenty of room for parking. REASONABLY PRICED FOR IMMEDIATE OCCUPANCY at only $105,000. #83

LET CREATIVE JUICES FLOW! – 2Bd/1Ba Bungalow in great area of Plant City, priced to sell on pretty tree covered lot. Bring your imagination & earn sweat equity! Only $39.900! #91

HUMBLE HOME – Welcome guests into cozy 2Bd Bungalow, w/gracious LR, huge DR & remodeled kitchen. 2 ½ huge city lots on corner! 1/3 AC, 3 sheds & 2 C Cpt. A great value @ $114,500. #56

2 HOMES ON COUNTRY LANE! – Beautifully maintained 3Bd/2Ba, DW-completely remodeled offers everything you need! Enjoy 2nd SW - 2Bd/1Ba-shows great for rental or in-laws! Also, garage, office & 2 sheds a great value on quiet country retreat located on gorgeous 1.19 acres w/citrus galore - Price to sell at $179,900. #79


Hwy 92 - Plant City, 1.78 acres, zoned CG, with 185 ft. on U.S. Hwy. 92 offers myriad of uses! Build offices or lease land - Owner Build to Suit! Great visibility, over 13,800 trips/day. $399,900. #94


Breathtaking water front lot - Lake Thonotosassa, boat, ski on 880 ac lake w/ dock and enjoy community amenities! Call for more info. REDUCED to $995,000. #23


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


Beautiful serene country setting awaits plans for a new home. Minutes from I-4. REDUCED to $95,900. #7


of the vineyards, chestnut trees, peach trees, pecan trees, citrus & more! 17 beautiful acres minutes from I-4 in Thonotosassa approx. 235 ft. on Road. Great Development site! $1,200,000. #6

Wishing you the Gift of Faith, the Blessing of Hope and the Peace of His love at Christmas and always from Vogel Realty Services, Inc.

(813) 659-3306

JAN. 3 & 9, 2009

JAN. 24, 2009

JAN. 31, 2009


JAN. 10, 2009


JAN. 16, 2009

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

JAN. 17, 2009


JAN. 30, 2009

FEB. 7, 2009



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.



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



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



FEB. 27-28, 2009

MAR. 15, 2009


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.


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


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.



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


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



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.







FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium REFUNDS! s u b m i t t e d b y n at e dav i s

The Basics FHA loans are government insured loans. These loans come with a guarantee from the government to the lender. This is what makes FHA loans so attractive to the lenders. Should a buyer default, they will at least get some of their money back from the government insurance fund via FHA mortgage insurance. The Insurance Most FHA loans require up-front mortgage insurance premium or Up Front MIP (UPFMIP). This premium is financed into your mortgage loan and is paid to FHA. The premiums are used to pay for loans that default. Surprisingly, these premiums were also partially refundable if you did not keep your loan open for five years. The $$$ If you have paid off an FHA loan through the sale of your property, or if you refinanced your FHA loan into a non-FHA loan, then you may be due a mortgage insurance refund. This only applies to loans originated from Sept. 1, 1983-Dec. 8, 2004 that included up-front mortgage insurance premium. You would also not be eligible if you defaulted on that loan. To see if you have money out there, then check the below Web site: This week, I happened to search two people that I knew who were due money. One refund was for around $700 and the other for around $500. Good Luck – Big Money! – Big Money! Nate Davis – (813) 763-3910 –

70 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 71


real estate

CONTAGIOUS OPTIMISM s u b m i t t e d b y Jo - a n L usk

I thought I would take a break from real estate and share with you what is going on in my office. It’s about turning away from negativity and grabbing hold of what is called Contagious Optimism.” Negativity is pain. Negativity has a viral affect that spreads from the mind to the lips, to the hands and feet. Ultimately, this impacts what you think, say, do and feel. Optimism creates confidence. Your confidence is under attack as a result of layoffs, hiring freezes, decreases in benefits, early retirements, cancelled contracts – the list goes on. These announcements from businesses and organizations impact your confidence level. Your confidence is tied to your courage and when you have courage, you take risks. When you are discouraged by negative news you play it safe. Why? You respond to what you hear, see and what others say. There is a better way to live and experience life to the fullest. It’s called Contagious Optimism (C.O.). Individuals and businesses that subscribe to the C.O. mindset demonstrate the following behaviors: They raise their hand and ask the right question to get everyone in the room moving and thinking. They refuse to settle for business as usual. They will rewrite their job description. The C.O. mindset organizations do not employ. They deploy people to release their brilliance. The C.O. mindset infuses the organizational culture to rise to the occasion and seize the moment. The C.O. mindset leaders don’t tell people what to do but invite them to become what they were meant to be. The C.O. mindset realizes that every day you are adding a sentence to the story of your life. Today is the day to be the exclamation point. The C.O. mindset people work to make meaning instead of just money. The C.O. mindset people see themselves as the solution for which they’ve been waiting. The C.O. mindset individuals are attractive people. Everyone wants to be around them and seek their opinion. Arbonne’s Figure 8 Weight Loss System takes the guesswork out of weight loss. Start out the new year in control of your health.

For more information contact Christine Miller.....813-719-9745 WWW.BUSYLIVING.MYARBONNE.COM

72 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

The C.O. mindset people are the match that sets their life on fire. Release your brilliance. Be contagiously optimistic.

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! TANGLEWOOD IN WALDEN LAKE

Beautiful pool home overlooking the 18th tee. Decadent master suite w/fireplace & luxurious master bath. Kitchen overlooks the great roomw/fireplace. Pool/spa & outdoor kitchen. Newer roof & A/C units. $359,900 Call Cathy 813-376-0891


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! Call Natalie for details 758-9586.


3 Bedroom, 2 Bath Home with Great Room floor plan features beautiful wood floors, designer master bath, screened lanai and peaceful back yard setting. Priced to sell at $174,900. Call Natalie 813-758-9586.


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. $169,900 Call Angel 813-546-9863


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. $349,000 Call Natalie 813-758-9586.


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. $200,000 Call Natalie 813-758-9586.


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. $169,900 Call Angel 813-546-9863


Rare Opportunity to build that dream home in Walden Lake. Fabulous 3/4 A Golf Course Frontage lot in the gated prestigious Hampton Place neighborhood. $189,900 Call Natalie 758-9586


Stretch out with over 2900 sq’ on the golf course. 4 large bedrooms & office, gorgeous master suite with sitting room. The kitchen features a huge pantry, granite countertops, 42” Cherry Cabinets & wrap around breakfast bar. Bathrooms have upgraded tile. $339,000. Call Natalie Today to see this BEAUTY! 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. $284,900 Call Natalie 813-758-9586.



Immaculate 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath w/garage home built in 2004 is just waiting for you! Tile in the living areas & brand new carpet in the bedrooms. Large great room with open floor plan & vaulted ceiling make this the perfect home for you and at an affordable price of only $139.900. Call Cathy at 813-376-0891.

This 1925 Bungalow is all NEW! Everything has been updated inside and out from the floor to the roof. You will love the gorgeous NEW Kitchen with Granite Countertops and New Appliances. A Must See! $137,500 Call Natalie 813-758-9586

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74 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

LIFECARE at the Estates is the solution to your worries. Celebrate life while enjoying the comfort and peace of mind that comes with planning for your future. Choice, independence, wellness and new friendships & experiences make the Estates a place where "Retirement Living is Reinvented." Weight Loss Management

Primary forupall Ages Make a deposit before 12/31/08Care & receive to 20% Off the Entrance Fee for Studio, One or Two Bedroom Preventive Medicine Accommodations. Sports Medicine • 1 0 0 1 CA R P E N T E R ’ SOffice WAY LAKELAND, 33809 • Skin FL Procedures • W W W. E S TAT E SAT CARP ENT ERS.CO M •


Randall & Kathleen Wainoris

Team Wainoris...Selling Plant City and Lakeland

REALTOR® / Attorney at Law

REALTOR® / Notary

Multi-Million Dollar Producers

813-997-3000 863-608-1557


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


ct Pend



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. Lease option available. Only 219,900

GOLF COURSE POOL HOME Immaculate 4 bed/3 bath Plant City home on a beautiful private gated street in Walden Lake. Gorgeous golf course views. Wonderful pool area with outdoor kitchen. New wood flooring in formal areas. Asking just $374,900.

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.



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.


This 4 bedroom home on over 1 acre in the Cork area has every upgrade: 10 ft ceilings, granite kitchen & baths, crown molding throughout, 8 ft doors, 18 SEER A/C, and much more. Large flat back yard w/ pole barn too! Reduced to sell at just $319,900.


Wonderful starter home in Lake Gibson School district. Very open plan with volume ceilings, plant shelves and large bedrooms. Priced to sell fast at just $132,000.


Completely renovated pool home on beautiful property in Plant City. New granite kitchen, formal LR/DR, family room w/ stone fire place, 4 bed/2.5 bath plus In-Law suite with add’l bedroom, living room, bath and kitchen. Price reduced to just $349,000.

The IRS is offering first-time home buyers a wonderful gift this holiday season! As part of major housing bill 3221, a new temporary tax credit was created that gives first time home buyers a huge incentive to buy their first home now! Between now and July 1, 2009, first time home buyers (defined as an individual who has not has an ownership interest in a principal residence in 3 years) are eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500.00! This credit must be repaid over 15 years, so this program has the effect of being an interest free $7,500.00 loan. Now...icing on the fruit cake.... If you end up selling the home before all of the $7,500 has been repaid and there are not sufficient proceeds from the sale to pay off the remaining balance, the homeowner may not be responsible to repay the remaining tax liability!* This program is wonderful news! It is intended to bring more home buyers into the market. That should help to further strengthen the real estate market overall and help improve all of our property values. Are you a first time buyer? Thinking of buying or selling? Please call Team Wainoris today to see how we can help you! Happy Holidays to all!


Adorable 2 bedroom/2 bath on quiet Lakeland street. Very open floor plan with volume ceilings. Short sale: price reduced to just $85,000.


Beautiful 4 bedroom home is nestled on a quiet gated street in the Wedgewood golf community, directly on Lake Gibson in Lakeland. Huge gourmet kitchen with wood cabinets and granite counters. Large wrap around deck overlooking pool and lake. Asking $499,000.

*Please consult your tax advisor for your individual tax considerations.

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Becky Bowdish 813-376-2100

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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. $165,000 Janet Calvello 813-967-1939

Walden Lake Preserve–Gated golf course community townhome. 2 br/2 ba down and large loft up with 1/2 bath. Sliding glass doors that open to the view of the golf course . Inside utility and 2 car garage. FOR RENT includes the water and cable $ 1100.00 Call Becky 813-376-2100

5 bed /3 bath /2 car / Pool in Boyette Springs $279,500 Brenda Salyers 813230-1120

2bed/2bath in deed restricted 55+ community. Realtor owned. $118,900 Sue Daniels 813-751-4035

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. $149,000. Janet Calvello 813-967-1939

A great historial home with large rooms and hardwood floors. 3 fireplaces screen front porch to enjoy. 1 car attached garage. Need to see!! FOR RENT $ 850.00 CALL Becky 813-376-2100

Wonderful home that shows like a model 3/2 on the golf course and in a gated community. Owner being transfered and can be ready to move into. Call Becky 376-2100 or Terri 508-1957 $1100 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 $199,900 Loft home with 2bed/2.5bath on an acre. Brenda Salyers 813-230-1120


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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Call 813-707-8783 Ext. 24 to let FOCUS spread the word! MAGAZINE

december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 77


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

t City “Who knows Planthe Locals” better than Did you know you can choose your Surveyor when Re-Financing!!!!

78 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

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*The Hiring of a Lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask the lawyer to send you free written information about their qualifications and experience.


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Days: 813.757.9370 ext 6 Wed-Thur By Appointment Only Evenings: 707-7147 Tues and Thurs 3:30-7:00 Walk-ins Welcome december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 79

80 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

Law Offices of Joseph M. Williams, P.A. Joseph M. Willams ATTORNEY AT LAW

Merry ChristYmeaar s

1701 Jim Redman Parkway • Plant City, FL 33566 Phone: 813.719.6605 • Fax: 813.717.9808

& Happy New

The Law Offices of Joseph M. Williams, P.A., provides a one-on-one approach to law you will find comfortable, honest and open. The attorneys and staff are involved with your case from day one, and will stay involved until that case comes to a successful conclusion.

Specializing in Probate/Estate, Wills & Trust & Family Law WHATEVER YOUR LEGAL NEED WE’LL STRIVE FOR JUSTICE IN YOUR CASE.

Call today for your consultation. 813.719.6605 *The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.

You don’t want a

Financial Institution, you want a Partner. ExpEriEnCE thE CrEdit union diffErEnCE • Free CheCking • Online serviCes • savings & investments • insuranCe & business serviCes

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Call, Click or Visit: (813) 871-2690 ext. 21935 or toll-free 1-888-871-2690 ext. 21935 Visit us at 2201 James L. Redman Parkway in Plant City or any one of our 37 branches. december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 81


W E C A R E , W E L I S T E N & W E G E T R E S U LT S • Sprains & Strains • Bone & Joint surgery • Neurological conditions • Work related injuries • Sports related injuries • Dizzy spells/Falls • Wound Care • Post Mastectomy • Fibromyalgia • Auto injuries • Hand injuries • Spinal injuries

One of the real joys of the Christmas Season is the opportunity to say Thank You and to wish you the very best for the New Year. We know we owe our success to the patients and physicians who have encouraged and supported us over the past 18 years. Thank You for your continued support. We believe: “People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.” Many of our patients have been requesting professional massage therapy sessions. Therefore, we are excited to announce this new service. Benefits of Massage Therapy:

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82 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

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december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 83

sports & fitness


Duran Lowe played three years of varsity football for Plant City High School. Photo by Kasey Miller

PlAyIng FootBAll on sAturDAys raiderS’ LOwe COMMitS tO wake FOreSt. s t o ry by J O e B O w L e S

Duran Lowe is headed out of town to play college football on Saturdays. For Lowe, it is the first step in doing what he has always wanted to do: To play on Sundays in the National Football League. With what he has already accomplished, there are those who believe he has the skills to pull it off. Lowe is a three-year starter for the Plant City High School Raiders’ football team. In addition to his primary position at strong safety,

he has also played linebacker and occasionally he has lined up at running back. He averaged more than six yards per carry and had the longest run from scrimmage of any Raider this year when he took a handoff 52 yards for a touchdown. When Lowe reached high school, he played his freshman year on the Raiders’ junior varsity team but won a starting position on the varsity team as a sophomore. Following

Lena Spencer Shannon Peters

Ofelia Gonzalez

a successful junior season, the St. Petersburg Times named Lowe to its All-Hillsborough County Football Team. Understanding that his stock was rising and that he had a chance to be a Division I college football prospect, Lowe attended two combines that evaluates high school talent. Obviously, Lowe impressed the scouts, and he was offered scholarships by several schools that included Wake Forest, the University of South Florida, Florida Atlantic University, Arkansas and Mississippi State. EsPN Insider said this about Duran: “He displays a great closing burst and is explosive on his final steps of contact. Fearless hitter who sells out his body and can set the tempo of the defense with his fast and physical style of play.” Lowe initially made a “soft verbal commitment” to Wake Forest, leaving the door open for other suitors. But when Lowe, accompanied by his stepmother Jerri, took his official visit to Wake Forest, they were impressed. “I loved it,” said Lowe. “I had never been to North Carolina before. I loved the view. I loved the campus. They treated me right. I just felt that this was the right school for me.” When they returned home, they sought input from Lowe’s father David, and the decision was made that he would be a Wake Forest Demon Deacon.

Wishing you a “Toe”rriffic Christmas!

84 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

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Another factor that contributed to Lowe’s decision was the promise that Wake Forest would allow him to play strong safety. Several of the recruiting services thought that he might be better suited at linebacker. Fox 13 named Lowe as its “Athlete of the Week” in November, and he also received another honor, being named to the All-Western Conference Team as a defensive back. There are those who believe with Lowe’s size – nearly 6’ and 217 lbs. – and speed that he could become a standout safety at the college level. Despite Lowe’s football talents, he has other interests, too. He is a member of the Raiders’ track team competing in the 100- and 200-yard dash. He is also hoping to become an honor student by the time he graduates. “Right now I have a 3.7 GPA, but I’m taking four advanced placement classes that could bring my GPA up to 4.0,” said Lowe. The only thing that slowed him down this year was an ankle injury. Even then, he only missed one game. He has taken the first step toward doing what he has always wanted to do. Right now he’ll settle for playing football on Saturdays, but one day he expects to play on Sundays.


send questions and comments to 101 South Alexander Street


Friday, January 23 • 6:30 p.m. Lakeland Yacht & Country Club 929 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland Cocktail Attire • Cocktail and Dessert Tasting Elegant Dinner • Live and Silent Auctions Individual Ticket – $100; sponsorships available For more information and to purchase tickets, call 813.262.1792, 800.881.4475, ext. 1792, or e-mail Proceeds to benefit Girl Scouting in West Central Florida.

Lisa Hickey, Honorary Chair Marva Louisville, Chair Cindy Alexander Carol Carter Lenore Costello Virginia Harris Jamey Henderson Shannon Lanier Sandra Sheets Michelle Wright

sports & fitness

athlete of the month

901 W. Dr. MLK Blvd. Plant City, FL

(813) 754-2588 SCREEN PRINTING



The Knotts congratulate Kate Wicker for being December’s Athlete of the Month. From left to right are Jeanne Knotts, Kate Wicker and Andy Knotts. Photo by Kasey Miller


Kate Wicker knows what it takes to be a strong, successful leader in soccer. That’s why her tough and passionate mindset for the sport has made her the Athlete of December. Although Wicker has played soccer throughout her middle school years at Tomlin and now as a senior for Plant City High School, her real passion has come from the years of experience in club soccer. Playing on club teams since she was 10 years old, Wicker was able to build up her soccer skills and learned how to work as a competitive team player. She believes that her hard work, determination and devoted attitude towards her fellow teammates during a game have made her a great player and contributor to any team she plays on. “My teammates are like my family,” said Wicker. “I have a strong desire to win and play the best I can at every game.”

kAte wIcker s t ory by kaSey Mi LLer

86 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

Not only is she an outstanding athlete, but she also excels in her academics. Wicker takes all honor and AP classes, and even participates in clubs like Keyette’s, Best Buddies, NHS, and is a member of the 1270 club (a club held for students who made a 1270 or higher on their SAT’s). Wendy Young is the new coach this year for PCHS and has already seen the athletic ability and intelligence

that Wicker brings to each game. She thinks of Wicker as a standout player who is a major part of her team. “She sets a good example of how to play and based on her knowledge of the game. She really knows what she’s doing.” said Young. In addition, Wicker plays one of the most important positions on the team, center-mid. “It controls the entire field and requires you to be involved in every play. You have to run nonstop,” she said. Wicker’s parents signed her up for a recreational team in Plant City at the age of 7. After seeing her potential in the sport, they got her on a club team and have been supporting her love for the game ever since. Wicker has now played for the Real Salt Lake (RSL) Florida team – last year’s State Champions – for more than 2 years. While she is not sure yet if she wants to play the sport in college, she does hope to have another successful season with the RSL club team and bring home the State Championship once again.


send questions and comments to

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sports & fitness

sports extra

2009 Little League registration will be held in January. Photo by Joe Bowles

Plant City Raiders junior varsity baseball team. Photo by Joe Bowles

Sports Extras S t o ry by J o e B o w l e s

Fourteen area athletes were selected to the All-Western Conference Federal Division Football Team. Eight were chosen from Durant High School and six from Plant City High School. First team selections include offensive tackle Cole Gilliam, Durant; running back Ryan Rice, Durant; defensive lineman Austin DeVall, Durant; defensive back Duran Lowe, Plant City. Second team selections include offensive center Eddie Rosenbaum, Plant City; wideout Cortez Hargrett, Plant City; quarterback Clint Stearns, Plant City; defensive lineman Colton Bridges, Durant; linebacker Ruben Garcia, Durant; linebacker Denzel Drone, Plant City; linebacker Mason Shoemaker, Durant; place kicker Conner Bass, Durant; punter Noah Studstill, Plant City; kick returner John Hicks, Durant. The Plant City Raiders Junior Varsity baseball team placed second in the

Central Florida Baseball Heaven Wood Bat tournament held Nov. 14-16 in Plant City. The JV Raiders also finished their fall season with a record of 12 –1. Team members include Kyle Bowers, Evan Bowles, Levi Brown, Travis Cannoles, Wes Carter, C.J. Davis, Lee Easters, Louis Gomez, Jordan Keys, Josh Jacobsen, Bobby Mondoux, Tony Muraviou, Wayne Tellis, Tyler Peterson, Jason Prevatt, Brodie Jacks and Caleb Ray. The Plant City Recreation Department announces that registration for spring youth soccer will take place in January at the Recreation and Parks Department administrative office, 1904 South Park Road, Plant City FL 33563. The season runs from April through early June, and practices will begin in mid-March. Games will be played at the Otis M. Andrews Sports Complex, 2402 East Cherry St., off North Park Road behind Hillsborough Community College.

88 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

Age groups include: co-ed Under 5, co-ed U6, co-ed U7, co-ed U8, girls U10, boys U10, girls U12, boys U12, girls U15, boys U15, co-ed U19. There will be a registration fee of $35 that will cover the cost of a sevengame season, jersey and insurance Participants will be responsible for providing their own cleats/sneakers and black pants. A birth certificate will be required at registration. For more information, please contact Danny Smith at (813) 659-4200 ext. 4313 days or by e-mail at dsmith@ A local baseball team – the Plant City Raiders 13U Black travel team – placed second in the Fire Division during Sunshine Baseball’s Fall Classic held Nov. 21-23 at the Chain O’ Lakes complex in Winter Haven. The Plant City Raiders 8U travel team placed fourth in the Fall Classic as they competed against 9-year-olds in the Matrix Division.

Durant High School Cougars, the Class 6A football runner-up, made their first playoff appearance since 2003 on Nov. 21 in Orlando against 6A-5 champion Dr. Phillips High School. The game was tied at 7-7 until the third quarter when the Panthers scored on 53-yard pass play. The score held, and the Cougars were eliminated by a score of 147. Durant’s only score came in the second quarter when defensive end Shane McDougall fell on the fumble in the Panther’s end zone. Plant City Little League Baseball and Softball announce registration for the 2009 spring season at the PCLL Boardroom from 8:30 a.m. to noon Jan. 3 and Jan. 10, and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tryouts will be held throughout the day Jan. 17. Opening Day will be Saturday, Feb. 21, and the regular season will kick off Feb. 23. All boys and girls age 5 – 18 are encouraged to register.


Merry Christmas to All!

Dr. Guy Markley & Dr. Robyn Markley Judy Markley A.P. We’re Here, We Care. Serving the community for 25 years.

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(Front Row) Vickie Hutcheson, Donna Pettit C.A., Aimee Almon C.A. (Back Pictures) Dr. Robyn Markely, Judy Markley A.P., Dr. Guy Markley

PROFESSIONAL OFFICE SPACE SPACE, PRIME LOCATION Successful Businesses in Alexander Oak's convenient location: Keller Williams State Farm - Dan Lariscy Hillsborough Title Hallmark Mortgage Fancy Pet Patients First Dr. Moering Harbsmeier and Dezayas LLP

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Even in this economy, our commercial spaces never last long. Pick up the phone and call 813.747.1128 x204 right now to learn more about our competitive lease agreements.

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Alexander Oaks Office Park is the place to be.

Located in Plant City, on South Alexander Street (one of the main highways in Plant City), just minutes away from Interstate 4 between Lakelandand Tampa, and close to Highway 60. december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 89

sports & fitness


Everything But The Victory Homecoming is a Spirited Success, but Raiders Fall to the Patriots. S t o ry by J o e B o w l e s

Every school looks forward to its homecoming game. There is a dance, a queen, a pep rally and a football game. This year was no different for Plant City High School with the exception of the addition of a spirit rally that took place before the game and the customary victory against a team that is usually inferior. The rally, complete with food, face painting, door prizes, returning alumni and a local radio station, was held on the tennis courts in front of the stadium in order to try to boost school spirit before the Raiders annual homecoming game and to celebrate the reopening of the high school field. The field, resodded early in August, did not take root until recently. As a result of the delay, only two games were played at home this year. If Freedom was to be the homecoming whipping boy for the Raiders, someone should have told the Patriots before they scored three touchdowns prior to the Raiders getting any points on the board. The spirit rally was a success, but the game was a different story. The Raiders had a hard time getting anything going on offense and took a hard loss from Freedom 21-7 to end the season with a record of 3-7. Playing without injured starting quarterback Clint Stearns, the Raiders went with back-up Benny Coney only to see him leave the game in the second quarter after taking a brutal hit. Two more quarterbacks were sent in the game, but the quarterback committee produced 58 yards of total offense in the first half. On the other hand, the first half proved to be productive for Freedom. The 90 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

Patriots were able to record three touchdowns, an interception, recover a fumble, and ended up with four of their six sacks before halftime. The Raiders were able to stop Freedom on their first possession, but Freedom scored a touchdown on their next three possessions. The Patriots’ quarterback Josh Grady scored the first touchdown on a one-yard run that capped off a 67-yard drive. Freedom’s defensive tackle, Coril Joseph, put on a defensive and offensive display by forcing a fumble, recording three sacks, and scoring the second touchdown of the game on a five-yard run. The third score came as a result of a 50-yard halfback option pass from Mark Cionci to Robert Lohnes. Plant City was finally able to put a touchdown on the board in the fourth quarter when Hakeem Williams scored from a yard out after Plant City was able to string together some positive passes and runs. The end result was a disappointing season following two seasons in which the Raiders were district champions. Everything, however, was not lost for the Raiders. First year head coach Jason Strunk has brought enthusiasm and a high level of expectancy to the Raider program and most people, looking back, feel like this year was a rebuilding year for the Raiders. In addition, Plant City may have several seniors who will continue their football careers in college. Quarterback Clint Stearns, linebacker Denzel Drone and Duran Lowe are all headed to play college football. Lowe is committed to Wake Forest, Drone is leaning towards Western Kentucky and Stearns is visiting several schools before making his decision.

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december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 91

sports & fitness

sherry nueesch Christmases at our family farm in Virginia were like the Walton’s. I am grateful for that. I have some awesome memories. Because my mom liked her sweets so much, she made lots of them. A typical Christmas feast was topped off with no less than five or more desserts. We had our favorite ones each year. It was February before we came down from the sugar high.

America’s Addiction s u b m i t t e d by s H e r r y Nu e e sch

We eat about a teaspoon of it per hour—24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. According to Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D. in her book “Get the Sugar Out,” Americans consume more than 180 pounds of sugar a year. Think of all the foods we consume that contain sugars: cereals, sweetened fruit juices, sodas, desserts, ice cream, breads, pasta sauces, ketchup, salad dressings, frozen foods and yes even in those chicken nuggets we feed our kids every day. Manufacturers hide sugar in every food they can. Each year, we are eating more and more sugar. It is making us fat, very fat. In 1970, 15 percent of American’s were overweight. By the end of the 1990s, that number had risen to 31 percent. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 64 percent of us are overweight and obese. We are four times as fat as we were 30 years ago. Private insurers and employers paid $3.6 billion for obesity-related healthcare cost in 1987. In 2002, that number rose to $36.5 billion. We all know that excess sugar consumption causes Type 2 Diabetes. In 2007, we spent in this country $6.7 billion in health cost due to Type 2 diabetes. Just last year alone, $12.5 billion was spent. That is almost double in six

years. Who is going to pay for this? I can’t answer that question. One of the saddest things to me is how we get our children addicted to sugar at an early age. The processed food and snacks we give them early on does nothing for them nutritionally. What it does is set them up for a lifetime addiction. When sugar was first introduced to England, they kept it under lock and key and called it “crack.” Sugar comes in many forms. When you read labels, and know what to look for, you will see that many foods contain a lot of sugar by different names. Here they are: glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, maltose, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. Having been in the weight loss industry for nearly a decade, I have seen firsthand what a sugar addiction will do. It is a hard addiction to break. Many fail to break the addiction. My mother was one of them. Even after my mom became diabetic, she still would not give up the sugar and white flour addiction, and it killed her. Boy was that a wake-up call in my family. One of my sisters was borderline diabetic. She was able to successfully gain control of the sugar and has lost 70 pounds. She looks and feels great.

92 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

Losing my mother to a sugar addiction put a stop to that. As a family, we no longer make desserts. We make a nice fruit salad with no sugar added. Instead of gorging on desserts, we eat some fruit, clean up the dishes and go for a walk. I sure wish we had done that all along because I would probably still have my mom this Christmas. I’ve told this story to many people at Curves before the holidays when

the discussion of desserts comes up. I often hear, “Oh we could never give up dessert.” Yes, you could and you should. Maybe this year you can break the tradition and start a new one. You could ask anyone of my family if we would go back and none of us would say yes. We are older, wiser and better informed. We want to live and get old and stay healthy. So as you plan for your holidays, ask yourself if all the baking is worth the price you’ll pay. Ask if losing a loved one to diabetes is worth it. I hope and pray that you will say it is not. Maybe, just maybe, you can make your New Year’s resolution to give up sugar. Your life could depend on it. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and, as always, to your health, Sherry Nueesch.

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december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 95

local history

did you know

The Magnolia Pharmacy

Magnolia Pharmacy on W. Reynolds Street.

A Century of Community Leadership. s u b m i t t e d by Pl a n t C i t y Pho to A r ch i v e s

Virtually no one in Plant City has ever known a Plant City without the centrally located Magnolia Pharmacy. We do not know exactly when it first opened or where, but it appears that it first began about the turn of the century, approximately 1890-1900, and was initially located in the first block of South Collins Street. It later moved to the first block of East Reynolds Street, then to West Reynolds Street, west of and adjacent to the new post office building, which was the Trask Building built by Postmaster Eben Trask. There are several individuals associated with the Magnolia Pharmacy, including both owners and operators. Here are some of them. Olin Seymour Wright obtained his medical education from the University of Michigan, graduating in 1875. He then worked in several different areas and moved to Plant City in 1887. He joined the Hillsborough County Medical Association, the only member in Plant City at that time. Dr. Wright was relatively wealthy and owned the first automobile, an Oldsmobile, in Plant City – one of the first four shipped into Tampa. The only place to purchase gasoline at that time was at the Magnolia Pharmacy, which Dr. Wright owned. He also owned another drug store, the White Brick Drug Store, and was a director of the Hillsboro State Bank, which was formed in Plant City in 1902.

Estes Moody, who moved from Tennessee to Mango, Fla., in 1885 and established a drug store. In 1891, he relocated his drug store to the growing young City of Plant City. He became friends with another businessman, Col. James Laurens Young, and in 1902, M.E. Moody and Col. Young organized the Hillsboro State Bank, one of the first banks in Plant City. It was to become the most long-lasting bank in the city. Col. Young took charge as the bank’s first president and served until his death in 1928. Moreau Estes Moody, who served as “cashier” (a CFO type position) of the bank since its opening, became bank president, following Col. Young, and held that office until his death in 1945. Moreau Estes Moody had a nephew, Henry Shelton Moody, who attained his degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Pharmacy in 1915 and then served in the U.S. Army in WWI. M.E. Moody invited his nephew to come to Plant City. He did. And about 1919, Henry Shelton Moody, with a loan from uncle ‘reau, bought the stock and fixtures of the Magnolia Pharmacy from Mrs. Gresham Causey. No, we have not yet identified her role in the pharmacy up to this date.

In addition to his medical practice and his pharmacies, and his extensive real estate holdings, Dr. Wright was active in the community and served several terms as mayor of the City of Plant City, and several terms on the county school board. Dr. Wright’s wife, Palestine (Hamilton) Wright, was fond of flowers, and she frequently decorated the pharmacy with vases of her flowers, especially lilies.

Henry Shelton Moody became a fixture in the community for the next 50 years, and the Magnolia Pharmacy played a central role in the history of Plant City until 2000. Moody operated the Magnolia Pharmacy at its West Reynolds Street location, adjacent to the Trask Building, until shortly after Eben Trask’s death in 1921. He then moved to the NW corner of Collins Street and Reynolds Street and occupied the first floor of the Trask Building for decades following. The address at that time was 101 West Reynolds Street – the post office later changed it to 102 West Reynolds Street.

The next notable individual is Moreau

Moody was a certified, registered

96 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

and licensed pharmacist, with a “Retail Narcotic License,” and licenses to operate a pharmacy (“Merchant 3000.00”), restaurant (Magnolia Pharmacy Lunch), with the capacity to serve 21 diners, a license for a “Game Table”, a license from the Milk Control Board, and several other permits and licenses. The Magnolia Pharmacy was a hub of local activity, and with Moody’s community interests, many city hall meetings, were preceded or followed by gatherings at the Magnolia. Moody was known as “Tight” – a name that was given to him years earlier but still applied to his financial practices many years later. Moody was also active in civic affairs and was first elected to the city commission and served for more than 17 years, with three terms as mayor. He was one of the organizers of the East Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce, (today the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce), a director of the South Florida Baptist Hospital since its inception, and of the Strawberry Festival Association, and a charter member of the Plant City Kiwanis Club. In 1972, at age 76, Moody was honored by being named Citizen of the Year. The last individual to operate the Magnolia Pharmacy was J. Myrle Henry. One of the several protégés of Moody, Henry completed his pharmacist training at the University of Florida in 1961 and worked as a pharmacist for five years before deciding to establish ownership in his own pharmacy. Henry bought into Moody’s business and became the owner and operator of

the well-known Magnolia Pharmacy for the next 34 years. For a time, Henry owned and operated three pharmacies, but his base was the Magnolia. Throughout the years, he adapted his pharmacy to the vicissitudes of the times, but he was best known for being the downtown pharmacist. Other businesses moved out of the downtown, but the Magnolia Pharmacy held on. Henry was active in the Main Street program – downtown development – serving on the Citizens Advisory Board of the Plant City CRA, and he was in various downtown merchants organizations. He initiated the downtown Antique Car Show in the late 1990s, which is still running successfully in 2008, and the Florida Opry shortly after, and operated that for 10 years. He was also active in the East Hillsborough Historical Society and the Plant City Photo Archives, and he serves on the board of South Florida Baptist Hospital and is involved with various programs of the First Baptist Church of Plant City. Henry sold the Magnolia Pharmacy business in 2000 to Kash N’ Karry and joined its pharmacy staff for a period after. The many years of glory for the Magnolia Pharmacy have come to a close – but with great memories. Thank you gentlemen for the many years of community service! Sources: Quintilla Geer Bruton and David E. Bailey, Jr. Plant City; Its Origin and History, 1984, Plant City Photo Archives.


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december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 97

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december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 99


seniors of the month

Seniors of the


Zaxby’s Plant City • 2901 ½ James L. Redman Pkwy. • Plant City, FL 33563 813.752.1971 call in orders But the Senior of the Month is more than a key to the Prom Court. It is recognition for having virtues. To become a Senior of the Month, seniors must fill out an application that lists accolades and accomplishments that he or she has done since ninth grade. Each applicant must also list his or her activities for the month for which they are applying. A student is automatically disqualified if he or she has a blemish on their discipline record, which includes discipline referrals, in the month for which they are applying.

Seniors Matthew Kirkland and Alexandria Rhoades were recent Seniors of the Month at Plant City High School. Zaxby’s Plant City congratulates them. Photo by Aaron Oberlin

The announcing of a month’s winning seniors comes the month after the one they win. For instance, December’s seniors will be announced in January. In November, PCHS announced Michael Kirkland and Alexandria Rhoades were October’s winners. Congratulations. Some of the activities Kirkland listed for October included his being named captain of the soccer team, his involvement in the Civitan Halloween canned good collection, and his acceptance into the University if Central Florida.

matthew kirkland & Alexandria Rhoades St ory by Aaron O b erl i n

100 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

Senior of the Month is an award that recognizes outstanding seniors from Plant City High School, but it is more than that. The award winners will also be those who are members of the Prom Court, competing for the titles Prom King and Queen.

Some of the activities Rhoades listed for October were here involvement in helping set up the Fall Festival at Knights Griffin, her involvement in Best Buddies, and her participation in selling senior shirts for Senior Executive Council.


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december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 101


al ruechel

“We expected all of our kids to do well in school, not to be satisfied with B’s, not to run around with the crowd. We expected them to be kind and polite and respectful. We expected them to own up to their mistakes, take responsibility and take whatever corrective measure might be necessary to repair a situation.” man, we will make mistakes, there is forgiveness and redemption in our lives, and God will holds us accountable for what kind of fruit we produce through Him in our lives.

Being a tough Dad S u b m i t t e d by Al Ru e ch e l

No doubt about it, my wife and I have been blessed with four incredible children who have grown up into the kind of adults the world needs. They are all compassionate, hard working, smart and grateful. They’ve never brought even one second of dishonor to our or their names.

was the anchor at home providing comfort, encouragement and wise counsel like only a mom can give.

I’ll give you four of them.

Second, our expectations. We expected all of our kids to do well in school, not to be satisfied with B’s, not to run around with the crowd. We expected them to be kind and polite and respectful. We expected them to own up to their mistakes, take responsibility and take whatever corrective measure might be necessary to repair a situation.

First, their mother. She spent most of her years at home with the kids doing all the fun and important things like reading to them, going to every school event possible, taking them to zoos and parks and to the beach and teaching them at every possible moment. Sure I was the soccer dad and coach and head transporter, but mom

Third, to love the Lord and serve Him. All of our strength and resolve and commitment to family come from our common belief that we are all God’s creations given a specific mission to accomplish with His help. There are absolute rights and wrongs that should never be compromised just to please the crowd. We are hu-

So what’s the secret to raising such productive, well-mannered and funto-be-around kids?

102 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

Fourth, a tough Dad. Don’t misunderstand me here. I don’t mean a bombthrowing, task master who enjoys wielding his authority over his kids and smashing their personality and individuality in the process. I mean a father that makes the ground rules clear, establishing a wall of protection around them – not a jail cell to hold them back. There is no ambiguity about what I think is right and wrong. My authority as a father comes from my belief in God and that I will be held accountable for the way I raise my children. Sure, they are responsible for making the right choices or the consequences of making the wrong ones. But my calling is to make sure they are armed with all the right stuff to make good decisions. I’ll admit at times I’ve been too much of a helicopter father. Like the time my son moved into his dorm at the University of Florida that was covered with mold everywhere. I called the problem to the attention of the residence hall supervisor who promised me it would be cleaned up. A week later my son called, coughing and hacking from the mold, to say they hadn’t done a thing despite their promise. I jumped in the car and drove to Gainesville and removed an air vent so covered in mold it looked

like a dripping chocolate cake. I went to the head of the dorms at UF and plopped the vent right in the middle of his desk, mold clusters and all, demanding he explain to me how the room was cleaned with a vent like this still in place. I was not pleasant. I was not joking. I wanted an apology, a new room and a box suite for the next Gator game. I didn’t get the suite… but everything else. Yes, it did embarrass my son at first. But he always knew, as well as our other three, that Dad was willing to fight for them when they needed it. Finally, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t add a lot of grace to raising our kids. Some folks will call it luck, but not me. My wife and I just do the best job we can with the tools God has given us, which are mixed together with a ton of love and lots and lots of time. Kids don’t need more things, they need more time with their parents. You can’t plan or program in those moments of honesty riding to and from school, or the soccer game, or drama class or youth group. Time creates teachable moments. Spend enough time with your kids and there won’t be a problem or crisis you can’t solve together. Hope these tips are useful. I can’t promise they’ll work for you and your family, but given what’s happening in our families today, being a tough loving dad isn’t such a bad idea.

december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 103

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Coffee 101 is hosting a monthly community event called This I Believe. Modeled after the series on NPR reviving an Edward R. Murrow radio program from the 1950s, This I Believe is a national media guide project engaging citizens in writing, sharing and discussing the core values and beliefs that guide their daily lives. Each month Focus will choose a This I Believe Essay to highlight and publish. Come join the group of This I Believe right here in Plant City every first Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. held at Coffee 101. For more information, call (813) 659-0101.

LOVE IS NOT A FEELING S u b m i t t e d by K a r l S n o w

How many times have you heard someone say or have said yourself, “I fell in love with someone, or I fell out of love with someone?” What is really being described here is a good feeling someone feels or no longer feels toward someone. Feelings come and go like seasons. Love is a decision and an action no matter what the feelings are at any given moment. Consider a new mother and father with a brand new baby. That newborn is completely unable to do anything for himself. He is completely at the mercy of his parents. Mom and dad hold the baby, feed the baby, change the baby and watch over him round the clock. Now consider the deep bond of love and devotion that both a mom and dad feel toward their child. That love and devotion was nurtured and developed through countless acts of service and care for their child. Their actions were the acts of love even when they were feeling frustrated and exhausted. Only things a person does are real in this world. Good intentions are not reality until an individual turns them into actions. Love is not a feeling. Joy

104 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

is a feeling created when someone lays down his or her own life through the actions of love to those around them. Love is service, and there is no higher calling then service. Here are some examples of love. Love is understanding and possesses control of itself. Is compassionate. Is satisfied with what it has. Is humble. Is not self-important. Is polite, sensitive of the impact its words have on another’s soul. Prefers others and demonstrates peace with patience. Forgives and affords new beginnings. Has no fondness for wickedness. Celebrates what is good and right. Never attacks. Gives the benefit of the doubt. Never despairs and lives without fear. Does not abandon, but stands guard, one who stands alongside to help. Love always finds a way. I want to encourage you to look for every opportunity to act in love toward your friends and enemies. Do good to those that do wrong to you. Be a blessing and a servant at all cost and, you will find that your life will be filled with peace and joy like you’ve never known.

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The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask the lawyer to send you free written information about their qualifications and experience.

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PLANT CITY .....Plant City Crossings 2621 Thonotosassa Rd. .....752-6631 APOLLO BEACH ................................Apollo Beach 220 Apollo Beach Blvd ...............................645-1499 BLOOMINGDALE ..... Royal Oaks Shopping Center 3248 Lithia-Pinecrest Rd ........................... 654-8113 BLOOMINGDALE ...... Just S. of Bloomingdale Ave. 3513 Bell Shoals Rd. .................................645-9292 BRANDON ....................................In Front of Publix 913 W. Brandon Blvd. ................................684-4499 BRANDON ............................. Lake Brandon Village 11393 Causeway Blvd. ..............................643-6944 FISHHAWK ...............................................Fishhawk 16707 Fishhawk Blvd. ...............................654-7991 PLANT CITY ............................Plant City Crossings 2621 Thonotosassa Rd. ............................752-6631 RIVERVIEW .......................................Goolsby Point 11697 Boyette Rd. .....................................672-1832 SEFFNER ................................... North Grove Plaza 1515 Parsons Ave. North ...........................684-5897

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Please give us some Christmas and Holiday shopping comments

The holidays are supposed to be a time of great joy and family togetherness, but the season often develops into a stressful situation of trying to do too much. Every incident of stress seems to translate into another backache or headache. Rule one: Relax. Your family probably would prefer your good will to yet another present. Do a little less. But when you must shop, shop smart. Instead of trying to carry all of the presents, have them sent home, or return to your car more often to unload and lock packages in the trunk. Women carry a special stress when shopping – their purses, often slung over one shoulder or arm. The smarter alternative is to carry less and put it in a convenient fanny pack. (It’s safer too, in crowded stores.) In your busy holiday schedule, be sure to make room for a stress-reducing chiropractic visit, a gentle adjustment to realign your spinal segments and help ease the seasonal aches and pains. Also, a massage session from our licensed massage therapist would be extremely beneficial. Massage gift certificates are available! Special Note: Remember: Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Our Prayers are that everyone will have a Christ-centered 2009. Also, enjoy the many benefits of Chiropractic care – why not start the year off right being well-adjusted!!! Blessings, Dr. Dukes and Staff

Dr. Brenda Dukes • Chiropractic Physician 752-2524 • 2401 Walden Woods Dr. • Plant City, FL 33566

Dr. Dukes encourages you to write her with any questions concerning chiropractic care. december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 105

dining & entertainment

dining review

cHIcken wItH cHArActer zaXBy’S BringS itS Own take On CHiCken tO pLant City. s t o ry by w e n dy S . B r O w n

Now in town is the cure for the common chicken. Zaxby’s is the name. Opened Dec. 8, and located near Lowe’s, this new restaurant will surprise you with golden fried chicken fingerz and zesty personality in an upscale atmosphere. Check out the warning sign, “Eating at Zaxby’s may become addictive. Sorry, we are only open for lunch and dinner.” Quick, casual Zaxby’s offers fried and grilled specialties. All salads are made for the customer using only the finest and freshest quality ingredients. The chicken is fresh, never frozen and marinated in a secret blend of spices. Brioche buns

are toasted per order. Texas toast is golden brown with garlic butter. There are nine signature sauces, ranging from wimpy to nuclear and insane. Try the teriyaki, barbecue or hot honey mustard. Kathy Gibbons was “pleased with the grilled chicken sandwich, which had a good honey mustard sauce, leaf lettuce and a very different toasted roll not like the typical hamburger bun.” Zaxby’s also offers platters of wings perfect for many party occasions. For appetizers, try the spicy fried mushrooms for $2.99. The most popular item is the Chicken Finger

Plate with Zax sauce. Behind that is the house salad with fried or grilled chicken fingers. For something different, but absolutely amazing, the Blue Zalad has mixed greens, red cabbage, carrots, Roma tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles, fried onions and Buffalo Fingerz or blackened chicken. It comes with Texas toast. Fresh-baked cookies will cure any sweet tooth. The menu obviously has several different items to satisfy any consumer, but it’s all about the chicken. The idea for Zaxby’s came in 1990. Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley of Statesboro, Ga. complained of not finding the chicken wings and fingers they wanted. The Zaxby’s concept was dreamed up on a basketball court as a fresh, zesty wing joint oozing character. Andy Brown believes “Zaxby’s has the best seasoned fries and chicken fingers anywhere.”

Zaxby’s grilled chicken sandwich and chicken finger plate with Texas toast and crinkle cut fries. Photo by Wendy S. Brown

106 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

Three local families have partnered in owning the Plant City Zaxby’s. Robert and Michelle Blalock, Michael and Sarah Brody, and Antone and Ferlita Lott. Long-time friends Robert, Michael and Antone grew up in the Chicago area. Robert is an ITT software engineer and college professor. Antone is a builder and former Florida Gator (Florida Greats Football Hall of Fame). Michael is in real estate.

A friend of Robert’s in Atlanta owns seven Zaxby’s and broached the idea of bringing Zaxby’s to Florida. Since Plant City is a family-oriented town, the Zaxby’s concept sounded perfect. Robert Blalock now offers Plant City “great food, great service, with awesome quality.” According to first-time customer Amy Staugaard, “All around for the money and chic atmosphere, Zaxby’s was worth the bucks.”

ZAXBY’S 2901 ½ James L. Redman Parkway. Plant City (813) 752-1971 Hours 10:30 am– 10:00 pm, seven days a week Catering is available. Call Michelle All credit cards accepted Children’s menu for $3.29: chicken fingers or grilled cheese with drink and surprise. Price range: Appetizers $2.99; Meals $5.49 $6.49; Zalads $6.29-6.59, Wings $3.79-$12.99 for 20; Cookies are 3 for $1.39.

december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 107

dining & entertainment


A Mystical Christmas The R ed Ros e I n n a n d S u it e s t hre w t he Christ mas party of the season . St ory by Carolyn M i ll er

Mrs. Evelyn and Batista Madonia Sr. have done it again! The Doo Wop sensation The Mystics returned with their version of many holiday classics on Dec. 6. With everyone dressed in their holiday best, The Mystics gave the ballroom-packed crowd a night of dancing and entertainment they will reminisce about for holidays to come.

time for the season. Guests mingled and sipped delightful cocktails to the extraordinary refrains. The lovely Mrs. Evelyn turned eyes when she entered the dining room in her beautiful black gown. It certainly was a magical evening of music, fine cuisine and dancing. The evening glowed as brightly as the gowns of the ladies in attendance.

The Mystics began back in the 1950s when Bel Airs, sleek Corvettes and T-Birds were thundering down the highways. The music is reminiscent of sock hops in high school gymnasiums and bouffant hairstyles. You may remember the group from its Hushabye hit of 1959. Talk about songs that made an era.

The Red Rose Inn and Suites always has the finest in decorations, but the festive decorations made the atmosphere even more appealing. Nothing lent better to the décor than the perfect harmonies that sprang from the lips of the famous Mystics. The evening was perfect with delicious meals and desserts. Guests enjoyed samples of the many delights that hailed from the bar.

The Mystics were the single sound of the 50s, along with Chuck Berry and Elvis, and they brought that sound to Plant City’s Red Rose Inn and Suites. Boosting their normal repertoire of Blue Moon, Peggy Sue and the Wanderer, they spiced up the set list with all the holiday favorites just in

The Red Rose Inn and Suites has always been the place to go for a night of fun, but after The Mystics holiday show, there is no other place to go for a night of holiday fun. Happy Holidays!

108 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

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dining & entertainment

artist of the month

A wild wave is one of Chad Ruiz’s piece on display at Coffee 101. Photo by Jackson Smith

surFIng tHe wAves oF tHe Art worlD s t o ry by H e at H e r d av i S

What is it that speaks to people and creates within the motivation to express themselves artistically and creatively? For many, what inspires them to create art may vary as much as the art they create. But for Plant City native and artist Chad Ruiz, such inspiration to create art comes from riding the waves on his surfboard. Chad feels surfing creates within him a centered Zen-like feeling,

connecting him to Mother Nature and clearing his mind so that he is free to create art. Chad’s art is reflective of this Zen-like state, drawing one in like a wave with a calm centering quality. Many of his pieces evoke the calm peaceful feeling of waves in the ocean, while others are more organic and earthy in nature. Chad is a self-taught artist who enjoys experimenting with

110 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

all types of mediums. His most recent project was a chalk art mural in Hyde Park.

Before beginning a painting, Chad admits to feeling intimidated by the process, but enjoying the risk, he allows the art to take him where it wants to go. With a background in commercial art and design, Chad has begun to focus more on his canvas art by networking with other artists in

the Tampa area and participating in various art shows. His first complete hanging is displayed at Coffee 101 in Historic Downtown Plant City through the month of December. Chad dreams of letting his art take him to Costa Rica where he aspires to make a living from painting, with a little time off for surfing.


send questions and comments to

Plant City of the arts

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december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 111

dining & entertainment

Event Calendar d e cemb er 15, 20 08 - ja n ua ry 15 , 2 0 0 9

Dec. 17

Tessara at 6:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Plant City.

Dec. 24

A Christmas Eve candlelight service at First Presbyterian at 7 p.m.

Dec. 18

Christmas Eve Worship Sanctuary starts at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist of Plant City.

Board of Directors Meeting for the Plant City Chamber of Commerce is at 11:30 a.m.

St. Andrew’s hosts their Christmas Eve celebration, O’ Holy Night. They have a family service at 4:30pm, contemporary service at 6:30pm, and traditional services at 8:30 and 11:00pm.

Adult fitness class at First Baptist Church of Plant City at 9 a.m.

Business After Hours location for the Chamber of Commerce is to be determined. It starts at 5:15 p.m. First Presbyterian learning center at 6 p.m.,

Dec. 20

Strawberry Classic Car Show is from 4 p.m to 9 p.m. in McCall For more information, call 813-754-3707. Youth Christmas Party is from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at First United Methodist of Plant City.

Wednesday Night Live at First Baptist Church of Plant City at 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 29

Christmas Cantata at First Presbyterian Church.

Dec. 22

5:00 PM - Bike Fest Meeting at the Plant City Chamber of Commerce is at 5 p.m. City Commission Meeting 
at the Plant City City Hall is at 7:30 p.m. G.R.O.W. at First Baptist Church of Plant City at 6 p.m.

Jan. 5

Christmas break secret event starts at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist of Plant City.

Dec. 30

Call Pastor Keith Baxter at 813-230-1790 or email him at

Registration for the YMCA is $5.

Jan. 12

Jan. 6

Book discussion at 11 a.m. at Bruton S. Memorial Library for Virginia Woolf’s novel “Mrs. Dalloway.” Registration for the YMCA is $6.

Jan. 7

Registration for the YMCA is $7.

Jan. 8

Jan. 9

Twenty-first annual conference at the Red Rose Inn and Suites for Florida Regional Grace Churches.

G.R.O.W. at First Baptist Church of Plant City at 6 p.m.

Call Pastor Keith Baxter at 813-230-1790 or email him at

Jan. 1

Registration for the YMCA is $9.

Jan. 10


Registration for the YMCA is $2.

Twenty-first annual conference at the Red Rose Inn and Suites for Florida Regional Grace Churches.

Jan. 3

Call Pastor Keith Baxter at 813-230-1790 or email him at

Registration for the YMCA is $3.

Registration for the YMCA is $10.


Treasure Quest at First Baptist Church of Plant City at 5:15 p.m.

Se Habla Espanol 863-397-3395 Hours: Domingo 10 a 4 Marles 9 a 5 Miercoles 9 a 5 Jueves 9 a 8 Sabado 12 a 5

Twenty-first annual conference at the Red Rose Inn and Suites for Florida Regional Grace Churches.

G.R.O.W. at First Baptist Church of Plant City at 6 p.m.

Registration for the YMCA is $8.

Registration for the YMCA is $1.

Dec. 21

Registration for the YMCA is $4.

Jan. 11

Master Gardeners Program - Salvias
Speaker: Becky Ellis & Beth Alence from the Hillsborough County Extension Service
Date: January 12, 2009
Time: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Bruton S. Memorial Hospital. Registration for the YMCA is $12.

Jan. 13

10:30 AM - Ribbon Cutting 
Fairfield Inn & Suites 
Location: 4307 Sterling Commerce Drive
 Registration for the YMCA is $13.

Jan. 14

Registration for the YMCA is $14.

Jan. 15

Registration for the YMCA is $15.

Jan. 16 – 19

Martin Luther King, Jr. festival starts at 1 p.m.

Jan. 20

The Annual Leadership Breakfast will take place in the Red Rose Ballroom at 7:30 a.m. and will feature keynote speaker John Dicks, former Plant City commissioner and mayor. For additional, call (813) 757-6760.

Registration for the YMCA is $11.

Unisex Servicio Corte de Pelo Tinte de Pelo Highlights 101 South Alexander Street

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Tarjetas de regalo

112 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009


dining & entertainment

Event Calendar d e cemb er 15, 20 08 - ja n ua ry 15 , 2 0 0 9

FRIDAY DECEMBER 19 & SATURDAY DECEMBER 20 Kids of all ages are invited to the Christmas Caboose from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. to visit Santa Claus, have your picture taken and give him your Christmas wish list. The event is co-sponsored with the Operation Lifesaver Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Program. Directions: Go north on Highway 39 past Interstate 4 approximately 1.3 miles, turn right on Joe McIntosh Road and go approximately .8 miles. For information, call R.W. and Felicia Willaford, 908 Joe McIntosh Road, at (813) 759-3345. >

Race # ________________________________ (official use only) Mail-in deadline is Saturday, Feb 1, 2008. One form per participant (photo copies are accepted). _____Check here if you are a wheelchair entry or will need any special assistance. Name:_______________________________________________ Sex:____________Age on race day:_______________________ Phone: (______)________________________________________

5K Run/Walk

Feb 14th 7:30 AM Start Check in by 7:00 AM

Walden Lake Polo Fields Cost pre-register $20; day of $25 Contact info Register by mailing to Strawberry Distance Challenge P.O.Box 4768 Plant City, FL. 33566 To register by mail, you must complete form and send a selfaddressed, stamped, no. 10 legal size (9 1/2 x 4 inch) envelope with your check or money order payable to: Strawberry Distance Challenge, P.O.Box 4768 Plant City, FL. 33566 Race numbers will be mailed after Feb 1st, 2008.

Address:_____________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ City:________________________________________________ State:_____________Zip:_______________________________ Incomplete or unsigned forms will not be accepted. Participant Waiver, please sign and read below. I know that running in and volunteering to work at The Strawberry Distance Challenge is potentially hazardous activities. I should not enter and run, walk and/or volunteer unless I am medically able and properly trained. I agree to abide by any decision of a race official relative to my ability to safely complete the run, walk and/or volunteer. I also agree that I may be examined and treated if necessary during the course of a race by qualified race personnel in the event medical problems of any cause arise. The race officials or the qualified personnel have the right to disqualify me and remove me from the race, if in their opinion, I may be suffering from a life threatening condition. I assume all risks associated with running in and volunteering for races including, but not limited to, falls, contact with other participants, the effects of the weather, including high heat and/or humidity, the conditions of the road and traffic on the course, all such risks being known and appreciated by me. Having read this waver and knowing these facts, and in consideration of your acceptance of my application for participation in races and/or my volunteering, I, for myself and anyone entitled to act on my behalf, waive and release the Strawberry Distance Challenge, and all above mentioned officers and agents, all sponsors, their representatives and successors, from all claims or liabilities of any kind arising out of my participation in events even though that liability may arise out of negligence or carelessness on the part of the persons named in this waiver. I also approve the use of my and/or dependent's picture taken before, during or after the races for promotional use without further compensation.

Signature:_____________________________________________ Date:_________________________________________________ Parent of Guardian, if under 18: ___________________________________________________________

december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 113


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114 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

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(813) 737-9542 7131 S. County Line Rd. Plant City, FL 33567 • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 115

dining & entertainment

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116 • FOCUS Magazine • december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009

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.

december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 117

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Our Thrift Shoppes help finance a variety of programs that serve homeless men, women & children in Polk and eastern Hillsborough Counties. december 15, 2008 - january 15, 2009 • FOCUS Magazine • 119

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FOCUS Plant City 07-12  
FOCUS Plant City 07-12  

Focus Magazine Plant City, 2008