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Lori WATERS Meet the woman behind Polk County Family Week

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FOCUS Magazine lakeland October 2011


Table of Contents 6 10 9 06 Local


Volume 7 Issue 9 • October 2011



Lakeland and the surrounding areas are such great communities where residents there seem to understand what is important in life - it is all about community. Enjoy reading about some things and local people that continue to make Lakeland an amazing place to live.

10 Feature

Parker Street Ministries is established as an organization determined to help families and children in the Parker Street neighborhood improve the potential for their lives. Along the way, they build relationships and find solutions to problems.

14 Spotlight interview

Polk County Family Week began as one woman’s idea about how a community might strengthen its families. Five short years later, the free event slated for the week beginning November 12 expects 2,000 people at the kickoff.

18 business profile

Whether new construction or old, for home or for business, if your questions, problems, or needs involve wood flooring, Williford Flooring Company, Inc., has your best answers for the best possible prices.

on the cover Lori Waters

16 - Al Reuchel 19 - Artist of the month

21 - Classifieds 22 - Event Calendar

Licensing Opportunity

Licensed territories are available. We are looking to expand the family and are looking for motivated individuals to join our award winning team. If you are interested in owning your own Focus Magazine contact Mike Floyd at 813.707.8783 ext 26.


October 2011 Full digital version of the current and past magazines Extended features, interviews, dining profiles and business profiles with extra content Community news updates

leTTer from The PublIsher The fall season typically brings change. We are beginning to embrace the cooler air and are gearing up for the fall holidays. Change demands that our company maintains the ability to adapt. Flexibility is key and this is true especially in our relationships with local businesses and organizations. We are serious about accommodating their needs for promotion and advertising, because when local businesses succeed, we will as well. Our sales professionals have always helped us to accomplish this by keeping us informed of the changes our customers have experienced. This feedback allows us to constantly progress and present new products and opportunities that keep up with the changing landscape of the media world. We have integrated a variety of mixed media to deliver content and our advertisers’ messages to the community. These new products include: a powerful website that mirrors the magazine and offers readers the convenience of viewing the magazine, as well as a video feature and much more., online. We have also created a coupon site,, that displays deals from local businesses. Additionally, we provide a weekly email blast and social media interaction through Facebook and Twitter, too. This month we are saying goodbye to Sophia Hyde, who has been with Focus since she was 16 years old. She has decided to join her husband Brandon in their cinematography/photography business, RisingSky Productions. He’s done a great job of growing the company, and now, they have will embark on their lifetime dream. Sophia joined our company when she was still an International Baccalaureate high school student and has been a writer, photographer, editor, spokesperson, senior account manager, and a true friend to our family. Now it’s time for us to watch her move into the next phase of her career - entrepreneur and business owner. We have no doubt that she and Brandon will be very successful. Please join us this month in wishing Sophia a fond farewell and much happiness in the future. We hope you will enjoy this month’s magazine filled with great stories. Reading Focus is one easy way to keep updated with local change. Visiting us online at is another. Be sure to view the event calendar, news and special money-saving offers often.

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Seasons and life will bring change, whether or not we are ready. These typically involve culture, technology, and everything in between. Embrace it.

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www.focusplantcity Credit Manager Angel Carter Standards of accuracy: The goal of the writers at FOCUS Magazine is to provide heart-warming stories that are accurate from the start. Being human, however, we sometimes make mistakes. Please forgive us. So if you notice anything that is incorrect, then please do not hesitate to contact the editorial department and inform it about the fact error. To do so, call (813) 707-8783 or e-mail The staff will fix the error in a timely manner. FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Plant City businesses, restaurants and many local venues. 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.

Sales Sophia Hyde | Holly Farmer Julie Hasting | Erik Butler | Linda Simmons Brent Simmons Production Anthony Sassano Tony Cartagena FOCUS TV Shana Johnson Distribution Byron Spradlin Belva DeVane Photographers Billy Friend Lori Blaser | Stephanie Humphrey Staff Writers Cheryl Johnston Brian West | Joe Bowles Derek Maul | Kelleigh Klein Heather Davis | Laura Estes | Dan Conrod | Kristi Linbaugh | Heather Davis Megan Braglin | Brittany Cerny Contributors Al Ruechel | Gil Gott Bruce Rodwell | Jo-An Lusk | Nate Davis

FOCUS Magazine lakeland OctOber 2011


LocaL » Focus Photos courtesy of Carol Prevatt Photography

FirSt preSbyterian church rememBers 9/11 s Written By: Cheryl Johnston

everal hundred people attended the “9/11 Memorial Concert” at First Presbyterian Church of Lakeland on Sunday, September 11, 2011 in remembrance of lives lost in 2001 and their surviving family members.

The free concert presented by the Fine Arts Department kicked off the 2011/2012 FPC Performing Arts Series and featured the church’s Chancel Choir and Chamber Orchestra. Craig Maddox, associate professor of voice at Stetson University, performed the baritone solos, while Lakeland native and American Boychoir chorister Chandler King performed the well-loved “Pie Jesu.” Other selections included as musical tributes to the 9/11 tragedy ten years ago were the haunting Fauré “Requiem” and Copland’s “Quiet City”, a tone poem for English horn, trumpet, and string orchestra. Featured soloists were Jeffrey Stephenson (English horn) and Donald West (trumpet). Mary Grace Gordon, soprano, sang Debussy’s “Il Pleure dans mon Coeur” accompanied by pianist, Rita Fandrich and David J. Campbell, FPC


OctOber 2011

organist, performed “Cathédrales” by Louis Vierne.

Interspersed with the music and congregational hymns were poignant stories, poetry, and scripture that provoked tears and thoughts of that heartbreaking day in American history. Especially meaningful were the words of “Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep,” the poem written in 1932 by Mary Elizabeth Frye.

Dr. Dan Gordon, conductor of the 9/11 Memorial Concert and director of FPC Fine Arts Ministries, requested the audience refrain from applause as a sign of silent respect. Congregation member Terry Morgan wrote about the moving experience: “Fantastic presentation by all of the participants in a meaningful message about Christian faith and death … It was as close to a sermon as music can get.” Lakeland’s Chandler King returned to his home church from the American Boychoir in Princeton, NJ to sing Fauré’s beloved “Pie Jesu.” Since his acceptance and move to the American Boychoir School in Princeton, NJ,

he now serves as one of two Head Boys in the choir’s touring group. In this leadership role, he acts as liaison between the choristers and staff. King enjoys touring, performing, staying with host families, keeping up with schoolwork and learning to manage his time. He said, “Touring has helped me to develop some other traits as well, including kindness and respect.” Dr.Gordon described King as “a first-class musician and a fabulous singer” and expressed appreciation for “Chandler, his family, and the staff at the American Boychoir for allowing him to participate in this important event in the life of our congregation.” Performers were especially moved by the presentation. Orchestra member Christine Colllison shared, “I can’t think of any more fulfilling way to have remembered 9/11 than through music. All of the pieces performed were perfectly poignant. I was both honored and deeply moved to have been a part.” Choir member Joyce Loudon agreed, saying, “Thanks for the diverse, well planned program. What quality! What a strong 9-11

memory you created for so many.” After more than 125 years of service to the community, FPC of Lakeland, formally organized in 1885, has the same mission. FPC members “become mature disciples for Jesus Christ” through their response “to God’s grace” through praise, Christ-centered worship, Bible-based teachings, and “prayerful opportunities for mission and service to all.” The church provides meeting space to serve local non-profit organizations and its Little Shepherds preschool, established in 1997, offers education to 200 students annually. Presently more than 2,500 worship weekly at FPC. If you haven’t found a church home yet, give this vibrant body of believers a try. All are welcomed at First Presbyterian Church, 175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, FL 33801. Additional details are available online at or by phoning (863) 686-7187.



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Siblings Donate Bronze Swan Sculpture to Lakeland in Honor of Their Parents Written By: Cheryl Johnston


he “City of Swans” received some wonderful news recently.

Siblings Sandra Trattner and Steve Wolfson, along with their respective spouses Steve and Lili, have commissioned an 8-foot bronze sculpture as a gift to the city in tribute to their parents, Wil and Elaine Wolfson, longtime Lakeland residents who, like swans, “married for life.” City Commissioners had voted August 1, 2011 to accept the anonymous gift, but the name of the donors remained unknown until the public announcement at the Rotary Club luncheon on September 27 at First United Methodist Church. Bill Tinsley, the city’s parks and recreation director, made the formal presentation following a slide show detailing the downtown’s history so the audience could understand the significance of the placement of the sculpted swans. Approximately 200 attended and felt compassion when the elder Wilson was momentarily overwhelmed by the announcement that the gift was made in honor of him and his beloved wife of 62 years, Elaine, who died in 2009. Wil Wolfson told well wishers that she would have been overjoyed and “very proud.” Ian G. Brennan is the contemporary sculptor, woodcarver and creator of “Mute Swan Protecting Her Cygnets,” who since 1989 has been crafting artwork for the British Royal Household. Via e-mail from his home in Portsmouth, England, he expressed his pleasure to be involved, “It was indeed most generous of Steve and Lili Wolfson and also Sandra Trattner in kindly commissioning this unique larger bronze version for Lakeland.” He explained the process also. “The American Bronze Foundry in Sanford,

Florida, using the original Mute Swan wood sculpture as the ‘master copy,’ will then enlarge my original 2’ high work to 8’ high, which will then be cast in bronze and should be completed early next year, 2012. This is also HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year. I like to think this will be another great example of our two countries working together.” Brennan continued with some background information readers might find interesting. “I carved ‘Mute Swan’ 20 years ago from a lime tree (Tilia Species). From this same tree I also produced several woodcarvings, which are now in Windsor Castle. One I was commissioned to produce for the Royal Household from this same lime tree at the same time as the swan was the gilded coronet for the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne - the Princess Royal.” A version of the swans and others can be viewed online at Once completed, the commissioned work will be permanently positioned on an elevated “nest” area in Main Street Overlook Park overlooking Lake Mirror, across Massachusetts Avenue from The Terrace Hotel downtown. The commonality of a swan tradition originated in 1957 on Lake Morton when a local family arranged for the initial pair from the Queen of England to be donated to the city of Lakeland, after all but one remained from the 20 or living on city lakes between 1923 and 1954. The Queen donated the swans and asked only reimbursement of the capturing and shipping costs. Today, more than 80 swans live primarily on three lakes Morton, Wire, and Mirror. Like the swans, the Wolfson family has been loyal to Lakeland. Wil Wolfson, 94, owned the former W.W. Wolfson’s Pharmacy on

South Florida Avenue, one of three opened by the family. The Famous Department Store from the early 1900s, across from Overlook Park on Main Street, was founded after the Wolfsons arrived in 1909 as the city’s first Jewish residents. The siblings had grown up in Lakeland and felt impressed to give back to the place where

their grandfather established the family’s tradition of generosity. Honoring their parents added to the purpose. Steve Wolfson said: “Just as the swan is a part of Lakeland history, Lakeland is my family’s history. Our motive is simple. My sister and I want to present a gift to the city that has given so much to our family.”

FOCUS Magazine lakeland October 2011


Helping Those that Need it Most Parker St. Ministries is Helping Children Succeed Feature by Brian West


he Parker Street neighborhood, which is located just north of downtown Lakeland, has seen better days. The families that live there are typically lower income families, and some border on poverty. Most distressing is the fact that the children within these families are affected most. Someone once said, “Our children are our future.� The reality is that what our children become is our future. As a society, we should be doing everything we can to help those in need, and especially when and where children are involved. In 1995, a group of people at Shepherd Road Baptist Church did just that. They decided they wanted to help the Parker Sreet neighborhood. The following year, the Carol family stepped up to provide funding to hire an Executive Director and secure some property within the neighborhood. Parker Street Project was on its way to being established. They believed the effort would be able to sustain itself from this point forward, and they were right.


October 2011

Mitchell said, “It’s been a very rich experience for me and my family. I feel it’s the greatest place I could ever live. There’s been some really tough stuff. I’ve seen more scary things here than I ever thought possible, and yet there’s just a beautiful group of people in the middle of all of this who are trying to raise their families and love their kids. And we get to settle up beside them and do what we can to help.” Today, Parker Street Ministries has approximately 70 children in their after school program. The children who typically come through the program are those that create a disturbance in the classroom. The only cost to parents is for summer camp, which runs 8 weeks each summer. The cost is very minimal; only $5/child for up to three children. Any additional children parents may have are free. The rest of the funding comes from Lakeland donors, churches, local businesses and some grant funding. They raised more than $1.2M to rehab their facility, and all of that money came from Lakeland. Allen has developed relationships with each of the teachers for the children that come to the after school program. She meets with the teachers on a regular basis and does a lot of work to accurately access the needs of these children. There have been times when a child was directed to an ESE classroom due to their behavior, not because of their learning, so Allen has worked to get these children retested for proper placement in a regular classroom. Parker Street Ministries helps with school supplies for the children in the program. They’re basically trying to fill the gaps with the parents.

The first year, the group members spent time just walking the neighborhood, talking with the people and trying to understand their needs. It became obvious that an after school program was needed. It started out as after school help with homework, playing some games and then sending the children home. The program helped everyone involved to build relationships. In 2000, Tim Mitchell had an opportunity to become the Executive Director and hasn’t looked back since. He and his wife were married the same year and decided to take on the challenge of turning this area around. The name of the organization was changed to Parker Street Ministries. Mitchell said, “That was a real turning point for me personally. I know it’s just a name, but it really changed our whole focus. Before we were like a project. We were there for a short period of time; a temporary thing. Once we became Parker Street Ministries, it changed my whole focus. I was committing [to this effort] long term.” Mitchell and his family not only work there, they live there. They’ve become part of the neighborhood. The founders purposely made an effort to bring in outsiders. They felt this would be more effective, and it appears to be working. They’re showing the people in the neighborhood that they care by building some lifelong relationships. Mitchell later hired Christina Allen, an educator, to run the after school program. This was a big improvement. Mitchell said, “I’m not an educator, I just like kids and care about people.” Having someone who’s educated and trained as an educator can make a big difference in the progress necessary in an after school program. This was the beginning of Parker Street Ministries evolving from a hodgepodge of people wanting to help, to getting the right people in place to truly make a difference. Mitchell was able to hire the people necessary for each facet of the organization, and they’re really showing signs of success.

They’ve also partnered with the Polk Museum of Art for a summer art camp. During the school year, the Polk Museum of Art works with Parker Street Ministries to do art on Thursdays and Fridays. The middle school children actually go to the museum, and the elementary school children are split up into groups to do activities at their facility with someone from the museum. Mitchell said, “We’ve really tried to expose them to more than just coming here, getting their homework done and having some fun.” Each child is tested as they begin the program. They use Star Reading and Star Math. When the children finish their homework, they actually do more work. It gives them an opportunity to work with the children in the areas where they may be weak. Most of the children that start the program are two to three grade levels behind where they should be. On average, if a child stays with the program throughout the school year, Allen has been able to work with them enough to at least get them caught up to their grade level, and sometimes they’re performing above grade level. For the last three years, every one of the children in the program passed to the next grade level, which is a major milestone. They also bring in pre-K children into their summer camp to get them ready for Kindergarten. They’ve found that most of the children that don’t come to this pre-K program, fail Kindergarten. They’ve just had no exposure to any academics. Many of these children are very intelligent; they just haven’t had any time invested in them. Mitchell said, “And it’s not like we’re dealing with children whose parents are lazy. They’re just busy. Some are working two jobs just to provide for their families and it’s tough for them to find time to sit and read a book with their children.” Their summer program also includes plenty of activities for the children. They’ve incorporated tennis, volleyball, golf, soccer and even a drama camp. Now that their facility is completely finished, they’re working with Southeastern College to incorporate some drama programs for the children. Mitchell is hopeful this will be in place for the summer of 2012.

People from other churches decided they wanted to be a part of the experience, and they’ve moved into the neighborhood. Mitchell calls them “intentional neighbors.” He said, “That really changed the way the neighborhood looked at us. Before this, everyone in their lives had left at some point. They kind of held us off at arms length. Once people started moving into the neighborhood that weren’t being paid by Parker Street Ministries, they couldn’t believe it. I think it showed them that we were here for the long haul. This is a ministry built on love for a community by people who don’t have to love it, and that’s just amazing.”

To enroll in the program, a parent must go through an orientation with Allen, agree to be involved and support the work of the teachers. This isn’t just a daycare for children; it’s an opportunity to turn things around for those who need the help. But Parker Street Ministries can’t do it alone. The parents have to be involved. So if the parents “check out,” their children will suffer and they’ll have to leave the program. Parents also have an opportunity to learn how to help their children while at home. Fortunately, Mitchell says there have only been a couple of families they’ve had to ask to leave the program. That is an accomplishment alone when you consider all the adversity they’re facing. Mitchell said, “We’ve been pretty fortunate. The parents that want their kids in the program and want them to be successful are consistent with their children and they’re engaged.

So 14 years later, Parker Street Ministries is established and making a positive difference in the neighborhood, and even more, they’re making a difference in our community. They’ve built solid relationships and the people of the neighborhood have really bought into the work they’re doing.

Parker Street Ministries is doing some amazing and wonderful things. We’re fortunate to have people, outsiders, that cared enough about other people they didn’t even know, to move into their neighborhood and live there just to help them be better. Thanks for all your doing to help make Lakeland a better place to live. FOCUS Magazine lakeland October 2011


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Start with dessert first!... or not. It’s hard to decide just where to begin.Our Thanksgiving Buffet is a big hit and a Red Rose tradition!!! Fresh fruits, warm breads, roasted turkey, traditional dressing, seasoned prime rib, glazed ham, fresh fish, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, pasta, omelet/ waffle station, and an assortment of desserts, including chocolate fountains, are only a few of the many delightful dishes that will make your mouth water! Three seating times available: 12 Noon, 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. Call to reserve your table soon.


A Red Rose favorite. Great hits from the 50s & 60s. Plus, P.J. Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds.


Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room and opening and closing for the World Famous Platters on NYE.


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The magic of “the King or Rock-n-roll” in a truly dynamic performance celebrating the life and music of one of the greatest entertainers and pop culture icons of our time. Destiny opens and closes the show!


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The Mystics, including, original members of the group, George Galfo and Phil Cracolici, will celebrate the spirit of the season with classical Christmas songs. P.J. Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds perform before and after the show.


Richie Merritt, formally of the Marcels, will be performing in the Red Rose Dining Room. Also, P.J. Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds perform before and after the show.


The holiday isn’t complete without a fabulous array of delicious foods. Roasted turkey, traditional dressing, seasoned prime rib, glazed ham, fresh fish, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, fresh fruits, warm breads, pasta, omelet/ waffle station, and an assortment of desserts, including chocolate fountains, are only a few of the many delightful dishes that will make your mouth water! Santa will stop by for photos. Three seating times available: 12 Noon, 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. Call to reserve your table soon.


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October 2011

FOCUS Magazine lakeland October 2011


An Idea to Strengthen Families Five Years Later, Lori Waters’ Idea is Still Growing

Interview by Brian West

Just a few years ago, Lori Waters stumbled upon an idea to make families stronger. She pulled together several friends and Polk County Family Week became an annual event. I recently had an opportunity speak with her about her own family and the upcoming event.

Focus: Tell me a little bit about yourself. Waters: I’m a building contractor and the President of Built By Waters, Inc. I am the chair for the 2011 Polk County Family Week. I’m the Public Affairs Director for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Polk County. I’m the Director for the Winter Haven YMCA Advisory Board. I’m the mother of four grown children. Brittany lives in Winter Haven and Brenton lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife while he pursues his post graduate education. Brock is studying at Brigham Young University, and my youngest, Beau is serving a two year mission in Madagascar. My husband Glen and I have been married for 28 years. Focus: Tell me how you got involved with Polk County Family Week. Waters: It actually began as a church assignment. In my role as Public Affairs Director, I was looking for ways to work with the community. I discovered National Family Week and realized we didn’t have anything like that in our community. I wanted to put something together that could help all the families here in Polk County. It’s been a great experience. All kinds of great things have happened, and it’s been wonderful to see how strong our community is. We live in a great place, and the goal for Polk County Family Week is to make it even greater. Our theme is Strong Families Build Strong Communities. Focus: How did it you get it started here in Polk County? Waters: I came up with the idea and invited a few friends over to discuss it. We had a meeting and they invited more friends, and more people came. We all started working on this


October 2011

idea--a great group of volunteers just all working together to strengthen our community and the families within our community. We decided to make it a one week event, and each day we’d do something to strengthen each other. We wanted to keep it completely free so that everyone could participate and be involved. Then we got some businesses to help sponsor the week. It just evolved. We started doing essay contests, art contests and grandparent of the year contests and more. The grandparent of the year contest was started because in the beginning, we’d hear people say, “Well, we don’t have kids at home any longer. Our kids are grown and raised.” But grandparents are really important to the family, just like aunts, uncles and cousins. Extended family members can make a huge difference in a family’s success; therefore, the grandparent contest. Empty nesters (that would be my title now) must recognize how important it is to continue to teach and share with your children. In my case, learn from my children [laughing]. Please, don’t tell them I said that, but it is true. Families come in all different shapes, ages and sizes. We believe IT starts in the home. What is IT? Everything: life lessons on honesty, manners, kindness and so much more. As we strengthen our homes, our community, state and nation will be a better place for all of us. Focus: So is Polk County Family Week faith based? Waters: No, not really. I just felt like our county could benefit from a family week. We have government, non-profits, and businesses involved. I happen to be a member of a church that believes in and supports Polk County Family Week. We are simply a group of volunteers from the community that wants to strengthen families. Focus: And this is your 5th Annual event? Waters: Yes. It’s grown from a little idea and from the support of an incredible community of people. It’s been wonderful to see the things that have happened, and it really is continuing to grow and get even better. Focus: Can you give me a rundown of the week? Waters: Everything is listed on our website []. The Family Week kick off is always held two Saturdays before Thanksgiving each year. That would be November 12th for this year and FYI-Nov. 10th for 2012. Mark your calendars. Each year we have a theme. This year the theme is “Family Reunion.” We learned there are 17 different languages spoken in our Polk County schools. We’re quite a diverse community! We thought it was important to learn more about these different cultures and celebrate our own heritages. By learning more, we hoped to foster more understanding. We hope to see ourselves as a large, extended family that supports and appreciates each other and thereby strengthen our community.We always begin with a fun kickoff event—Saturday, November 12th this year. There is a free 5k and 1 mile walk/run at 8:00 a.m., and it’s pet friendly. At 9:00 a.m. we’ll have a flag ceremony, National Anthem and prayer. Following this we will have recognition of our government leaders and dignitaries and the international parade. We’ll also have free cotton candy, popcorn, snow cones, hotdogs and drinks. There is lots of free food and fun. We also have booths for kids where they can make crafts and necklaces, and we also have things for the guys and teens to have fun-- a free throw contest, putting green, things like that. There will be a petting zoo, bounce houses, fire trucks, places for sidewalk chalk art; just a lot of different activities. We’ll offer free family pictures. You might be surprised about the number of families out there that have never had a family picture. We’ll announce our essay and art winners. All of the top winners from each participating school (public, private and home

schools) will be recognized with framed certificates and Fred’s Market gift certificates. The top three in each category (K-2, 3-5 & 6-8) of the art and essay contest will share $500.00 in prize money. The art entries for the art contest will be displayed throughout the park. There will be free raffle prizes given away, including a $500 Publix gift certificate. The kick-off event will end at 1:00 p.m. On Sunday, we have talent shows going on in Lakeland and Winter Haven. Entry is free. Everyone is a winner. Go to our website to sign up for the talent shows. On Monday there are different activities to celebrate our past. Tuesday is a day to celebrate the present. Wednesday is “celebrate the future and eat together” day. We have some great international recipes to try and some great restaurant coupons available on our website with lots of good information about the importance of families eating together. Thursday is my favorite- “Be the Best Neighbor Day”. Our website has wonderful service ideas that can be used all year round. One of the simple suggestions would be to let someone go in front of you in the grocery store line or to bake cookies to take to your neighbor. There are many things people can do to show kindness. Each time someone performs a kind act, they can share it on our Facebook page to be entered in to a raffle. State Farm is going to give away a bunch of raffle prizes for being great neighbors. Bok Tower Gardens and Explorations V Children’s Museum will both be giving free admission to anyone who brings a book. The books will be donated to different people in the community. Friday is a day just to have fun with your family—play a board game, watch a movie, visit the libraries, free painting classes and more! We also have “Bears for Joyce” teddy bear drive. People can donate bears at the events or drop them off at various locations. They’ll be given to comfort people in the community. Last year we gave them to people in a retirement community. One of my favorites was a lady that asked, “How much are they?” We said, “They’re free. They were donated by people in the community who love you and want to know that you’re cared for.” She just started crying and asked, “Somebody loves me?” She took the bear and just hugged it. It’s great to see people sharing and helping. Focus: How many people typically participate each year? Waters: Our kickoff event is probably the easiest to quantify, and we estimate that last year we had about 1,000 people attend the kickoff. This year we’re expecting 2,000 people for the kickoff. Focus: There’s an incredible amount of coordination that must take place. Tell me how you’re coordinating your volunteers. Waters: We have a great committee; a great group of volunteers. There are about ten of us. We all just take a piece of the pie. We simply talk about what we want to do each year, and then determine who’s going to be able to do what. Each person takes what they’re willing and able to oversee. Each year I sit back in amazement as I watch Polk County Family Week come together. Many hours are donated. Sponsors donate money. This is a community that has incredible people that care about one another. Waters and many other volunteers who work to put this event together should be commended. The idea of strengthening families is so basic, it’s often overlooked. It’s wonderful to know that an event like this has so many creative components, there’s something for everyone in the family and it’s well attended and supported. Congratulations on a great event.

FOCUS Magazine lakeland October 2011


extra » al reuchel Technically it is much better than the old 4… but it’s still a 4. Folks, it’s all about the hype and this time the hype didn’t match the product. Is that Apple’s fault or are we so stinking gizmo crazy we feel cheated if we aren’t treated to a new technical gadget every six months or so? Problem is we have come to expect that the largest corporation in the United States will wow us every time they make an announcement. And for the most part they have. Apple TV, the Ipad, Itunes. Ipod… have we forgotten so quickly. Apple’s on top of its game but everyone else is trying to catch up and maybe with some phones they are ahead a tiny bit. Still, I don’t see many people standing in line to get an Android or the Microsoft phone, whatever that is, or for that matter tearing down the walls for the tablets that are trying to price break the big Apple. For better or worse, and mostly better, Apple users are more loyal than Washington’s troops when they crossed the Potomac. Whether it’s the cool factor or maybe because we still have old Apple products laying around the house that still work… we love the functionality and the ability to sync our life with pictures, music, and conversation without being a computer genius. And how many times have my Apple products crashed or locked up? Honestly, I can only remember two or three times in the past 15 years. And I don’t get those annoying screen messages that treat me like I’m a computer technician. I want to work and get stuff done and enjoy my time on these Apple machines and not worry about writing code or trying to develop my own work arounds.

So what’s in a number? I t’s a 4 and not a 5. Not a 3 or a 2 or even a 6. It’s a 4… and an “S” tossed in on the end just in case we need reinforcement that we are actually getting something new.


October 2011

I’m talking about the newest Apple Iphone. Everyone in the tech world was hoping and praying we’d see something new. Some were hoping for a bigger screen to compete with the Android. We heard via the rumor mill it might be slimmed down. It was

Written By: Al Reuchel

going to be fatter at the top and narrower at the bottom with a large home bar to boot. But no. We get the same thing with some new innards. We get a faster phone with more memory and better voice recognition.

So yes, I’m disappointed there is no 5… yet. I’m not one of the 49 percent of Iphone users who say they will upgrade to the 4s. I’ll patiently wait for the 5 which I hear will have a larger screen, more memory, weigh less and have a cool new beveled curved display with 3D capabilities, surround sound, and bucket seats and anything else I can dream up and get the blogging world to bite on like a shark circling a piece of raw meat. We mourn with the Apple family as their mourn the loss of their Co-Founder Steve Jobs. Our prayers are with all of you.

Polk Museum of Art Jessica Lange: In Mexico

Exhibition Sponsor: Robert & Malena Puterbaugh Reception Sponsor: Fleetwing Corporation

& Lilian Garcia-Roig: En Plein Sight

September 17 - December 10, 2011 Exhibition-related merchandise available in the Museum Shop

800 East Palmetto Street, Lakeland • 863.688.7743 • Hours: 10am - 5pm Tuesday - Saturday, 1 - 5pm Sunday FOCUS Magazine lakeland OctOber 2011


business » business profile WILLIFORD FLOORING COMPANY, INC. 4820 Hwy. 98 North, Suite 1 Lakeland, FL 33809 (863) 858-5612 Fax (863) 859-1328 Showroom Open Mon - Fri , 9:00 - 5:00 or Call for special appointment times. types, and installation styles. Choosing the perfect floor for your home or office is simply a matter of having the facts, comparing the types and selecting a wood flooring professional to do the job. With beautiful photographs of finished rooms, it’s easy for customers to narrow their own choices before making a trip to the showroom.

Williford Flooring Company Experts in Wood T Written By: Cheryl Johnston

he experts at Willford Flooring Company, Inc. know all there is to know about wood floors, and rightfully so. That knowledge and expertise has come through years of experience.

Williford Flooring Company is a secondgeneration hardwood flooring company located in central Florida since 1946. Paul Willford grew up in the business, working after school with his father Mark in his Williford Floor Sanding Company. Through the years they transitioned to new installations and changed the name to fit. For the last 20 years, the company has expanded from being a predominately residential service to contracting commercial, industrial and new construction jobs. Williford Flooring now provides services in 17 Florida counties, from Naples to Gainesville and coast to coast. The company can handle any aspect of wood flooring repair, maintenance, and installation. When Paul married Loretta 30 years ago, she became a principal in the company and today manages all office operations. Paul acts as chief estimator and on-site inspector, but credits his wife for “running the show.” The wood flooring work experience of the eight employees combines to equal 150 years. Paul and Loretta are pleased that their


October 2011

craftsmen installers are determined to please the customers. Paul said, “We don’t sub our work out. When the owner’s name is the business name, it’s critical that employees feel like family, and ours do.” Loretta added, “Our employees are accountable to us and to each other. They take great pride in their work, in functioning as a team, and in the company’s reputation for quality.”

That reputation is enhanced because the Willifords model reliability. Loretta said, “What we say, we do. We communicate with our customers to keep them updated on scheduling. We treat them like we would like to be treated. Our workers show up on time and they work. They care about customer satisfaction. Much of our business comes to us from referrals.” The owners also believe in industry training. Each year several employees travel to St. Louis for a week of attend week of National Wood Flooring Association workshops and seminars. Those return to teach the others about the latest developments in adhesives, finishes, and installations. Long-term membership in and service to the NWFA is another source of pride for the owners. The Willifords suggest that customers consider the following when selecting a wood flooring contractor: the longevity of the company, the craftsmanship of the installers, and the caliber of the products

offered. Dustless systems are also something to consider. Hands down, Williford Flooring, Inc. is tops in all categories. This level of expertise is evident on the company’s website as well. For a thorough education on wood flooring, one need only visit where folks can learn about the differences between solid flooring and engineered flooring, wood

Staircases are another company specialty. Williford Flooring uses the patented Crown Heritage System for perfect alignment of balusters with the rake or the rail and the tread. Williford technicians are also experts at sanding, finishing, and restoring. Whether brand new or very old, Williford’s invaluable experience and industry knowledge continues to produce satisfied customers. Additionally, the company offers maintenance supplies such as its Williford’s Hardwood Floor Cleaner for purchase at the showroom. Ultimately, if your questions, problems, or needs involve wood flooring. Williford has your best answers for the best possible prices.

dining & entertainment » artist of the month

Al Kriston’s “BLACKLIGHT” Featured at Florida Exhibition Southern College L Written By: Cheryl Johnston

ike three-dimensional line drawings, Al Kriston’s graceful and colorful sculptures of dancers, musicians, pedestrians and imaginative creatures come to life in Blacklight, an exhibition of his works at Florida Southern College.

The exhibition opened with a 7 p.m. reception on September 30, 2011 at the Melvin Gallery and continues through October 28. The Gallery is located next to Branscomb Auditorium on the FSC campus. Winter Haven resident Kriston is a selftaught artist who worked for years as a plasterer before devoting himself full-time to sculpture. His work has won awards and been displayed throughout Florida. He works in mediums such as narrow steel, aluminum, fiberglass, stained glass, plaster and even polyester. Kriston is even better known for structural design in plaster, cast marble, and forms representing the rugged lives of the poor; or the smooth, full forms presenting the lives of the established society. His sculptures vary from material to material and fancy to fancy; many however, leading into a direction of continuity reaching toward the heavens or evolving upwards, outwards and back to earth. Kriston has been described as “vigorous, honest, and at times, a very sentimental man.” His work portrays both the lightness of our imagination and the heaviness of reality in his depictions of everything from the whimsical, poetical, musical world to the world of hard working people he wishes to portray. Most of the 12 pieces in Blacklight are rendered in stainless steel bar, which Kriston bends and welds to represent human figures in a variety of pastimes. The sculptures are covered in fluorescent paint and when illuminated with ultraviolet light, they come vibrantly alive.

The exhibition also contains some of the artist’s more traditional sculptures, including Reach, a nine-foot tall bronze created as a tribute to the astronauts of the space shuttle Challenger. The result is an exhibition that contrasts the human figure from solidly realistic to whimsically light.

Kriston has stated that when he watches and listens to musicians on stage, observing the conductor jump, leap and sway, directing with his baton and mouthing silently, that the conductor wishes for the viewer to join in with him, to feel the pain or the solace of the music. This is the way Kriston wants his viewers to feel about his interpretations. He wants the viewer to feel one with the private world of each of his presentations. He wants to touch all of the senses of his viewers. He is a man of easy ways and of easier times, a time when men still tipped their hats to the ladies and children still saved their best shoes for Sunday. He is a sensitive man always striving to reach the sensitivity in each of us. His work definitely makes a statement. One does not go away without thinking deeply on the many different elements that have been evoked in them from having the opportunity of being in the presence of hidden genius. To view and enjoy more of Kriston’s work and his philosophy, visit The Melvin Gallery is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday when the College is in session and also during selected events of the Festival of Fine Arts series. FOCUS Magazine lakeland October 2011



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entertainment » eVent caLendar


caLendar oF eVents

if you have an upcoming event and would like us to add it to our calendar of events, please email the information to:

SunDay, october 16 » WingHouse Breast Cancer Awareness

11 am to 4 pm Food, music, raffles, and giveaways for the whole family. 100 percent of funds raised will go to the American Cancer Society 4515 South Florida Ave, Lakeland For more information call 863-738-4187

monDay, october 17 » Garden Lecture Series: “Container Gardening”

For more information call 863-688-7743 » Imperial Symphony Orchestra Pop Concert

8 pm to 10 pm The imperial symphony orchestra will kick off the Hispanic Festival. Food from Harry’s Seafood and Bar will be available. Munn Park, Lakeland, Fl For more information call 863-688-3743

SaturDay, october 22 » Lakeland Hispanic Festival

weDneSDay, october 19

12 pm to 8 pm A festival sponsored by the Hispanic club that shares the heritage, language, and culture of Hispanics. This is a non-profit event, but all donations will go towards scholarships for Hispanic students in the community. Lake Mirror, Barnett Family Park, Downtown Lakeland For more information call 863-644-5362

» Congressman Dennis Ross Veterans Fair

» Munn Park Extravaganza

6:30 pm to 7:30 pm A series of Garden lectures to help keep Lakeland Green and Beautiful. These programs are great for do-it-yourself projects. 1700 N. Florida Ave, Lakeland

Starts at 10 am to 3 pm. 3 pm to 5pm Veterans ceremony celebration A veterans job fair. Resume and interview skill workshops will be available. 4800 US Highway 301 N. Tampa, Fl For more information call 863-644-8215

thurSDay, october 20 » Emerges Gets Trashed (Sort of )

8 am to 9:30 am Republic and Florida Refuse Service join together to inform the city about how to reduce waste and learn proper recycling. RSVP by TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18 by 5 pm on EMERGE website 3820 Maine Avenue, Lakeland For more information call 863-688-8551 ext. 228

FriDay, october 21 » Red, White, and the Blues

7 pm to 11 pm An intimate evening of fantastic blues, music, wine, drinks, and hors d’oeuvres. 800 E. Palmetto Street, Lakeland


OctOber 2011

9 am to 3 pm This is a free event for families. There will be garden presentations and over fifty vendors selling patio and garden items for fall plants. 201 E. Main Street, Lakeland For more information call 863-683-8258 » Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

8 am to 11 am Polk County’s breast cancer walk. All proceeds from the event go toward Breast Cancer initiatives, education in our community, breast cancer patient assistance, and research. 1400 Broadway Blvd, SE Polk City For more information call 863-688-2326 ext 5503 » Viste’s Canned Tuna Concert

6 PM to 10 PM One can of tuna admits one guest to this concert. All proceeds will help benefit senior citizens. The Polk Theatre 139 S. Florida Ave, Lakeland For more information call 863-284-0828

monDay, october 31 » One Lost Soul Drama

6 pm to 8 pm Local Christian community theater group presents the drama, “One Lost Soul” Ticket cost: Free 8250 Hwy 98 N., Lakeland For more information visit http://

FriDay, noVember 4 » The Art of Better Living

6 pm to 9 pm This event features classic car shows, art receptions, and musical entertainment. Main Street, Lakeland For more information visit www.

monDay, noVember 7 » Garden Lecture Series: Defining Your Outdoor Living Space

6:30 pm to 7:30 pm A series of garden lectures for do-it-yourself gardeners. 100 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland

thurSDay, noVember 10 » 21ST Annual Chamber Golf Scramble

11 am to 6 pm This is a men’s and women tournament with special contests and prizes. Six person scramble. Register on the events page at Lakeland Chamber of Commerce website 800 Lone Palm Drive, Lakeland For more information call 863-688-8551 ext 223

FriDay, noVember 11 » Swing Into the Swamp

Starts at 6 pm This is a fun-filled evening of silent and live auctions, dinner, dancing and more. All proceeds will benefit the students at All Saints’ Academy. Tickets are limited For more information call 863-293-5980 or visit » SEU Godspell

730 pm to 9 pm An off Broadway musical originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak.New lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. $15 general admission

$10 students/seniors The Polk Theatre For more information call 863-682-8227 » 2nd Annual “Hangar Door Canteen” at SUN ‘n FUN

6:30 PM TO 10 PM This will be a full day of family friendly activities. The theme is set in the 1940s with dinner and dances to show appreciation for veterans. 4175 Medulla Rd. For more information call 863-644-2431

FriDay, noVember 11 to SunDay, noVember 13 » The Wine Tasting Musical

7:30 pm to 9:30 pm SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13 2:30 pm to 9:30 pm Enjoy this production about a wine- tasting classes with a twist of humor and romance. $50 $60 for VIP seating Parking is $7 701 West Lime Street, Lakeland For more information call 863-834-8137

SaturDay, noVember 12 » Kick-Off Celebration 2011 Polk County Family Week

9 am to 1 pm The theme is family reunion. There will be fun, food, and entertainment including bounce houses and photo booths. Admission is FREE Central Park in Winter Haven For more information call 863-292-0922 or visit » Fancy Flea Vintage Home and Garden Market

9 am to 4 pm One of the top 10 flea markets in the country. There will be tons of chic furniture, antiques, and more. Kentucky Avenue, Lakeland For more information call 863-712-3278

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FOCUS Lakeland 07-09  

FOCUS Magazine Lakeland Edition Issue 07-09, October 2011