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foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


LIFE • HOME • CAR • BUSINESS We are independent agents proudly representing Auto-Owners Insurance. N. LOGO Alexander Street, AGENCY NAME 414 OR HERE Plant City, FL 33563 UP TO TWO LINES LONG 813-754-3561

Town Name • 555 www.fl 555-1234 • website We were there when you didn’t have a care in the world. Today, we’re still here keeping all of those you care for safe, sound and secure. We believe there’s something to be said for common sense, honesty and being straightforward.

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august 2010

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


table of contents

august 2010 volume 9 issue 8

Publisher Mike Floyd Office Manager Dede Floyd Copy Editor Lynne Warren advertising director Brent Simmons

Family of Community Magazines

Sales Sophia Hyde Sheryl Vitelli Holly Far mer LAKELAND EDITION

Production Anthony Sassano Tony Cartagena Joel Cook


Focus Spotlight Interview �


FOCUSTV Brandon Hyde Kelleigh Klein

President, Florida Baptist Children’s Homes President of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes � Page 16

Distribution Doug McGee Belva DeVane








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Tony Ludovico

See the Underwater World Through His Lens

FOCUS Plant City Lakeland Brandon Winter Haven Lake County South Tampa


billy herold & chris sparkman

Photographers Suzanne Gallagher Billy Friend Lori Blaser Stephanie Humphrey

photo by mike floyd


Summer is always a time for activity. This month dads can learn how to get involved at their children’s school through the All Pro Dad program and skateboarders can verify how to use their own special park at Sansone. The 14th Annual Fishing Derby, a cook-off and local author talk at Bruton Memorial Library, and the Arts Council’s “Midsummer Melodies” fundraiser kept residents busy in August.


The Central Florida car dealership of Bartow Chevrolet is experiencing great success under the new ownership of the Sparkman family. Billy Herold and Chris Sparkman share their insights and hope to encourage Plant City area shoppers to check out their inventory, prices, and fine customer service – and soon!


45 MYFOCUSTV.COM Local Community Stories New Episode Every Wednesday

feature - business focus

Our community is filled with great business establishments, both existing and new, and Focus exists to showcase them. Learn about the products and services they offer by reading their stories. Then, do the right thing and shop local!

Staff Writers Cheryl Johnston Brian West Joe Bowles Derek Maul Kelleigh Klein Heather Davis Laura Estes Dan Conrod Kristi Linbaugh Heather Davis Ken Lawrence Megan Braglin Brittany Cer ny contributors Al Ruechel Bruce Rodwell Gil Gott Jo-An Lusk Nate Davis Editorial Interns Raven Leverett

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.

Own Your Own FOcus Magazine

Licensed territories are available. If you are interested in owning your own Focus Magazine call Mike Floyd at 813-707-8783 ext. 26


august 2010

Letters, Questions and Comments can be sent to us at


dining profile

Just reading this review will make your mouth water for a wood-fire grilled steak at Cowboys Steakhouse and Saloon. From the hot rolls and fried green tomatoes to the fork-tender, flavorful beef, customers will be thrilled to dine here. Enjoy cocktails at the bar and dine indoors or outside. Western attire is also available for the clotheshorse.

12 - Talk of the Town 32 - Did You Know? 36 - Plant City Chamber of Commerce

73 - Home Guide 84 - Athlete Of The Month 92 - Al Reuchel 95 - Derek Maul

98 - Auto Review 106 - Event Calendar 108 - Just For Fun

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.

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floyd publications, Inc.

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letter from the publisher

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here’s one line from this month’s spotlight interview I can’t get out of my head. When asked how he ended up in the car business, Billy Herold said it was a natural fit because he was always buying and selling cars and had owned 20 cars by the age of 21. I’ve written a couple letters about following your passion and if you’ve ever met Billy Herold then you know this is certainly a man who found his calling in life. I’ve had my license nearly 20 years and I’m nowhere close to having owned 20 different cars. Actually, you’d laugh if I told you my favorite. As I’ve mentioned before, I spent my youth and early adult life in the motocross industry. Considering I needed a vehicle to transport my bike and all my gear, it was a lot cheaper to buy a minivan than a truck and trailer. I tore the seats out of the back of my van and that’s what I drove. I went through a couple minivans before I finally got a Jeep in my mid twenties after I stopped racing. We used my van to do magazine distribution when we first started Focus, and we had the van when we had our first child. It’s got to be one of the least masculine things to say, but I loved that van. Now, to save my masculinity, understand that I followed the vans with a Jeep, then a car and now I’ve got my truck. Don’t get me wrong; the truck is nice. It hauls the boat and since it’s a four door the whole family fits comfortably. However, there’s still a part of me that misses my van. Most kids and teenagers grow up with a dream car in mind. Almost all of us can relate to the conversations of owning vehicles we always knew were well out of our reach. I’m sure he’ll grow out of it, but for my little 3 year old, right now it’s a Volkswagen Beetle. Every time he sees one he calls shouts “Herbie!” One of our staff, Sophia, lusted after Beetles for years before she finally bought hers a few years ago. Several times she’s let my son sit in the driver seat or has driven him around in the Herbie, and he’s on cloud 9. Everyone has a car that fits their personality, even if it may be a minivan or a Beetle. Meet Chris Sparkman and Billy Herold in this month’s spotlight interview. You very well may already know them because they’re both Plant City boys, but you may not have heard the story of how they ended up in the car business together. So if you are looking for that car personality change, they brought their Plant City hospitality over to Bartow and would be more than happy to help you in your search. I’m sure they’ll put you in something cooler than a minivan. Also, starting in this August issue we brought back our monthly auto reviews. Brian West will be taking you on test drives from local dealerships comparing different cars on the market right now. Take a ride in his passenger seat on page 98.

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Local » talk of the town

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INSTRUCTORS NEEDED The City of Plant City, Recreation & Parks Department is seeking quality instructors for the Planteen Recreation Center, 301 Dort Street. There are several time slots open for the upcoming fiscal year. You can contact Chris for more information on instructing an exciting class at the Planteen Recreation Center by calling 813-659-4256 or you can contact her by e- mail at .

rotary club donates to food bank On July 12, 2010 the Rotary Club of Plant City had the pleasure of donating $10,000 to the United Food Bank. Pictured is Jim Scott, President of the Rotary Club, and Kelleigh Klein, the Executive Director for the UFB. The donation makes the Rotary Club of Plant City the presenting sponsor for the UFB’s “Children’s Nutrition Outreach Program”. This program provides food to children in the Plant City area who are in Hillsborough County’s free meals program at school. This food is provided by the UFB during the school’s extended vacation breaks (Christmas, Easter, and Summer). “The Rotary Club of Plant City is extremely proud to be able to help so many children in our area. Working with a great organization like the UFB is a perfect fit for our club and it’s goals.” said Scott.


On August 28th. at the Plant City Stadium, a COMMUNITY FUNDRAISER is being held to help raise money for the families of Police Officers David Curtis and Jeffery Kocab who were killed in the line of duty.

There will be a silent auction, raffles, live bands, food service, bounce houses, Elvis impersonators, face painting, arts & crafts and various entertainment. This event starts at 11 AM and goes on to 5 PM. The sponsoring group is looking for vendor’s for this event. If you need more information on becoming a vendor or just want to make a donation, call Anissa at 813-704-5957. You can also e-mail with questions.


On August 19th. the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce will once again play host to over 200 new teachers at the annual NEW TEACHER COFFEE. This event helps acquaint the new teachers with our businesses and community.

Check out current and past issues of FOCUS Magazine online at: 12

august 2010

VALRICO STATE BANK APPOINTS NEW MANAGER Maribel Lorenzo, a 27-year banking professional, has been appointed manager of Valrico State Bank’s Plant City branch, which will celebrate its 15th anniversary this month. Announcing the appointment, bank president and CEO Jerry Ball noted that Ms. Lorenzo joined the bank in 2006 and has served since that time as manager of its Riverview office. “We and our board of directors believe that Maribel is the perfect fit to replace Janet DoVale, who has provided stellar leadership and outstanding customer service at our Plant City office for five years,” he stressed. Ball explained that Janet is joining the bank’s Treasury department. “She’s not leaving the bank and she’isn’t leaving town,” he assured and confirmed that Michael Gottesman will remain in the vital position of Senior Vice President, Commercial Loans at the Plant City location. Ms. Lorenzo arrived in Florida in 1997 with her husband and two daughters when he was posted here on a military tour with the U.S. Army. They decided to make it “home” when he retired in 2000. “I’ve spent four rewarding years at the Riverview office and really appreciate the bank’s strong support of civic organizations and volunteer projects in the communities it serves,” said Ms. Lorenzo. “I’m very excited about continuing that involvement here in Plant City, and am honored to help Valrico State Bank celebrate its 15th year of providing the citizens of Plant City with true, personalized banking services.” Maribel tiene 27 anos de experiencia bancaria. Ella le ofrece el mejor servicio a sus clientes. Si usted necesita que le hablen espanol favor de llamarla al 813-759-2265 o visitar su oficina en Plant City. Ella esta para servirle en su idioma.

Local » talk of the town

Gordon Food Service Grand Celebration Attracts Many

GardenFest The Plant City Garden Club is kicking off the fall gardening season with its second GardenFest . Looking for ideas on what to plant this fall; need to purchase plants for your flower beds, then you will not want to miss the second annual GardenFest for Plant City. The date will be September 25, 2010, from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. at the Train Depot, 102 N. Palmer Street, Plant City. There will be a host of vendors offering a variety of plants, garden art and accessories for your gardens and outdoor living areas. This free to the public event will feature Local vendors and speakers. Vendors such as All A Bloom; Tropical Gardens Sunshine Nursery and many more. Contact: Cassandra Banning at 813-716-0950 E-mail:

Left to right: Scott Nicholson (GFS General Manager), Charles Harris (Vice President of the Holiday Inn Express/Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Chairman), Jim Gordon (GFS President) and Tony Groll (GFS Executive Vice President U.S. Distribution) Gordon Food Service made a big splash in the Plant City community August 6th when it hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony that included the unveiling of Gordon Food Service Cornerstone Values and complimentary lunch at its new Plant City distribution center. Hundreds of attendees comprised of community leaders and elected officials attended the event to show their support of the successful family owned business. Gordon Food Service President Jim Gordon said, “We are excited to add the Plant City location to our distribution network in Florida. This facility is in a prime location to support our rapid growth in Florida.” It is estimated that Gordon Food Service could impact the local economy by opening up approximately 300 jobs in the area.

PC Chapter of the ABWA announces new executive board The Plant City Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) inducted the new executive board for the coming year. L to R Janet DoVale (Treasurer), Donna Cade (Secretary), Sophia Hyde (President), Lori Libhart (Vice President of Programs), and Natasha McDowell (Vice President of Membership)

2011 Ms. Florida is from right here in Plant City As some of you may know, our 2011 Mrs. Florida is from right here in Plant City. Now running for 2011 Mrs. Florida also from Plant City is Tiffany Herrington . Winning the right to be Mrs. Plant City in June she will now go on to compete for the title of Mrs. Florida in September. Tiffany the daughter of Butch and Debbie VanDyken grew up in the Plant City area where she still resides with her husband Jeff and their two children Travis and Hayle. Tiffany says she loves Plant City and has had a lot of involvement in different areas with the community. When asked to choose a platform for the pageant, there was no question it would be Military Support . Marrying a man from a family with a lot of Military men, she has always tried to be involved and help the military in some way. But when her brother Cpl. Doni Van Dyken decided to enlist in the Marine Corps four years ago her brother and the men and women serving with him were on her mind daily. Not only them but all military, there are so many areas in which the men, women and their families need help. Not only while serving but the transition many make when returning home. Tiffany is currently seeking help to advertise in the pageant program and for the costs involved with the pageant. If you would like to be a sponsor or if there is an event you would like her to attend, you may contact her at

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


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Local » Focus

America needs responsible men who understand that being a dad is serious business.

anywhere from 75-100 dads with their kids. He credits this to the solid message that All Pro Dad sends to the family. They promote topics such as being centered on someone other than yourself and getting to know what your kids dreams are. They also have the materials to download and print out easily, as well as a professional video to educate the dads and the kids on such topics. The best part of this program is that any dad and child can participate. The only necessary investment is time.

Salsational Summer Party goers!

Photo courtesy of Stacee Smith

Summer time is for All Pro Dad’s Benefit “Salsa”tional Dads O Written By: Megan Braglin

Smith quotes founder of All Pro Dad and former Bucs Head Coach Tony Dungy: “America needs responsible men who understand that being a dad is serious business.” All Pro Dad is available to any school that simply goes online and signs up for a one year subscription. The mere $25 The event spearheaded by Todd Smith, in fee will provide the school with materials, conjunction with the Elks organization, ideas for group discussions, and activities. was organized to benefit local elementary Smith hopes to raise money with the Elks schools’ All Pro Dad programs. The Elks in order to provide incentives like food have long been known for their support and raffle items. He says, “We don’t want of the kids of America. They have many money to be the object that might prevent outreach programs such as the hoop shoot, any school from providing this program dictionary distribution, and the largest to its dads.” To further the push from the drug awareness program of its kind. Smith Elks club to promote and support this is the coordinator of the group that meets implementation, any school that would like once a month at Walden Lake Elementary, to join can simply type the promo code as well as an active member of the Plant “Elks” into the All Pro Dad’s website and City Elks Lodge. Smith is working get their registration fee waived. passionately toward his goal of getting this project into all the area schools and sees it Smith cited the fact that even at a school as his civic responsibility to promote this with a high level of parental support such worthwhile service to the community and as Walden Lake, their original Dad’s schools. Club (not All Pro Dad’s) never really took off. Now, their monthly meetings have

The “Salsa”tional Summer Party entertained attendees with homemade salsa and two professional salsa dance instructors to give demonstrations and get people dancing. The crowd raised almost $1,000.00 to help local schools. Smith plans to make this an annual event each summer. If any PTA or school personnel are interested in incorporating this club into their school, feel free to contact the Elks Lodge here in Plant City. Smith would be more than willing to help your dads become All Pro Dads!

ne steamy recent July evening about 50 people from Plant City, Tampa, and Lakeland headed to the Plant City Elks Lodge for a “Salsa”tional Summer Party.

Nikki Torres and dance partner Ellio demonstrated Salsa dancing and taught basic dance steps to the crowd. Photo courtesy of Stacee Smith foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


Local » Focus

Winners of Fishing Derby

Photo courtesy of Plant City Recreation and Parks

Let’s Go Fishing! T

he 14th Annual Plant City Fishing Derby was held July 24, 2010 at the pond behind the Plant City Stadium. The community event, sponsored by Plant City Recreation and Parks, was spearheaded by Program Manager, Deborah Haldane, who suggested the idea and invited sponsors to underwrite expenses. The 2010 event sponsors were T.J. Vail of Landshark Charters, Stingray Chevrolet and T.A. Mahoney. Among the volunteers to help promote the event were the Adult and Junior Bay Area Bass Masters clubs, Lakeland Junior Bass Masters, and local touring Pro C.J. Kenney. Kenney spoke with several of the competitors about the art of fishing. Kenney’s own granddaughter, Madison Kenney, beamed when she caught her


august 2010

Plant City’s 14th Annual Summer Kids Fishing Derby Written By: Megan Braglin

very first fish. You can’t trade memories like that! Todd Miller (13) was fishing the Derby for the first time. In fact, he’s only been fishing a hand full of times in his life. Miller went on that day to win the biggest fish caught in his age group 11-15, a 3-pound tilapia. His uncle, Chris Battle, brought his nephews and son to the event. “I really like this. I will keep fishing and coming to the Derby,” said 14-year-old Denzel Smith. Carlos Honors, Jr. (13) also enjoyed wetting his line at the Derby. Reeling in top honors that day were: first catfish caught Cody Walker (5); first bass caught Destini Tice (12); most fish caught 5-10 age group, tying with 32

fish were Gisselle Olivas (8) and Chance Christie (5); biggest fish caught 5–10 age group with a 2.8 lb bass Dawson Oakley (10); most fish caught 11-15 age group with 26 fish was William Parks(13). More than 60 kids in attendance caught and released 354 fish back into the pond. Many families came to support their young anglers.

met Kenney, who got Brown into the Junior Bass Masters of Lakeland. He has been fishing ever since, even going on to national level competitions. He often shares that meeting Kenney at the Derby inspired in him a love of fishing.

Traditionally held in January, the Derby’s attendance has ranged from 40 to 200. However, due to the extreme cold temperatures this past year, the plan is to push it forward into spring for a little The goal of the Derby is to bring warmer weather. The Derby will celebrate back fishing as an art and as a way to encourage family outdoor recreation time. its 15th birthday next year and Haldane expects some extra excitement to add to This is emphasized by the stories of 2nd the event. generation Derby fisher, Crystal Carter, whose step son attended his first Derby For an overview and more information on a couple years ago. Mary Hamilton’s the event, visit the Plant City Recreation son, Hamilton Brown (15), got his start and Parks listing on the city website at fishing at the Derby eight years ago when he was seven. That is where the


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Bruton Memorial Library hosted an appetizer cookoff on July 29. Director Anne Haywood (L) congratulated the 3 winners:(LtoR) Tammie Harris, Ann Womble, and Corean Alleyne. Photo by Cheryl Johnston

Bruton Memorial Hosts Cook-off for Library Appetizers S

Written By: Cheryl Johnston

Dr. Brenda Dukes Chiropractic Physician


If you are a chiropractic patient, you probably already know about the philosophy behind chiropractic – that the human body has an intelligence which strives to heal itself and always works towards optimum health, if unimpeded by vertebral subluxations. When the vertebrae are in their proper positions, the nerves pass through without a problem. Impulses race along the nerve fibers to and from the brain relaying information and instructions without interference. When a vertebra is jarred out of its proper alignment, however, the messages are distorted. The body can no longer function at 100% of its capacity. That’s where chiropractic comes in. Review our star testimony below: National Football League Legend and “Dancing with the Stars” runner-up Jerry Rice has a formula for lifelong success that’s grounded in hard work, a positive attitude

– and Chiropractic Care. The three-time Super Bowl champ and 13-time Pro Bowler attributes much of his long-term success to regular adjustments from his chiropractor, and was recently named the official spokesperson of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of chiropractic care to the public. Let’s hear what Jerry had to say: “I’ve enjoyed considerable longevity as a professional athlete. I am now working on longevity in life. Chiropractic care has been and continues to be a key element of my game plan.” Blessings, Dr. Dukes and Staff Special Note: Please join with all of us in praying for everyone involved in education for a Blessed 2010-2011 School Year! 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.


august 2010

ince cookbooks rank high on the list of genres checked out at Bruton Memorial Library, it’s only natural that cooks should share the wealth.

That’s exactly what happened July 29 when a number of local cooks created appetizers and delivered them to the library’s community room to be judged for a competition. Once the judges had sampled all the entries and determined the top three, library customers were invited to sample the dishes prepared for the contest. All three winners received cookbooks for appetizers and small bites. Tammie Harris of Brandon entered her “Spinach Pie Bites,” because she has a “fondness for filled bread.” Flavorful and not overdone, the bites were tasty and just the right size. Ann Womble baked a tray full of “Apricot Appetizer Tarts, “ which were a hit with the taste testers. They were like tiny pies with nuts and just right to eat whole or in two bites.

Flavorful and not overdone, the bites were tasty and just the right size.

Corean Alleyne prepared her special “Pilouri” (Trinidadian Fish Cakes) with three different dipping sauces: mango, tamarind, and a HOT pepper sauce. The finger size cakes were the perfect size and shape for sampling the sauces. Judges for the competition were Cynthia Diaz of The Corner Store and Tom Thoeni, the Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and the chairman of the Bruton Memorial Library Board of Directors. Taylor Rental graciously provided the tall tables for visitors who prefer to sample while standing. This was a simple, but fun evening, and not to mention tasty. Haywood hopes to schedule more cook-offs in the future.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers seek men who have been diagnosed with HGPIN or ASAP in the prostate for a one-year research study funded by the National Cancer Institute. One of our goals at the cancer center is to develop safe medicines or nutritional supplements that can prevent the progression of pre-cancer conditions or early cancers to prostate cancer. The purpose of our study is to recruit and treat men diagnosed with this prostate condition called HGPIN or ASAP, to receive a tablet made from substances in green tea, called Polyphenon E or placebo for a 12-month period and see if we can prevent progression of this pre-cancer condition called HGPIN or ASAP to prostate cancer. We also want to see if Polyphenon E can be taken safely over one year and to see if Polyphenon E is able to slow the progression to prostate cancer, and the mechanism of action. This study may be significant. If the safety and the effects of Polyphenon E on slowing down the progression of prostate cancer is shown in our study, this will be a safe way of treating men who are at high risk or men who have HGPIN or ASAP that has been shown to increase the chances of getting prostate cancer. If you are a man between ages 45-80, with a biopsy-proven HGPIN or ASAP, with no prior history of other cancers (other than non-melanoma skin cancer), no history of liver disease, able and willing to take the study drug and comply with scheduled monthly visits for one year, you may be eligible for this study. If you need more information about participating in this study, please call:

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Local » Focus Long time public schools educator Margie Evans attended the event with ladies from her family. Evans is a lover of the art of music, as she is also a musician herself. Evans served many years as director of the bell choir at First Baptist Church of Plant City and has instructed many children in piano. “I attend concerts whenever I can. In 39 years of teaching, I’ve seen the value of art. It allows children to express themselves.”

Some artwork displayed and created by local Plant City artists. Photos by Chris Braglin

Midsummer Melodies to help the Arts Council of Plant City Written By: Megan Braglin


n July 31, 2010, the Arts Council of Plant City hosted an evening of musical medleys including pop, jazz, opera, and Broadway show tunes. This blend of music was provided by vocal artists Gigi Burns, Ray Chiaramonte, Tony Garcia, Sandi Norman, and Vivian Padron. Accompanying the moving vocals were instrumentalists Jose Rodriguez and Dennis Hoag. Hoag even serenaded the crowd with his electric guitar. The wonderful music was made more enjoyable by the lovely buffet provided by the Red Rose Ballroom. The Council’s own Cheryl Worsham coordinated the evening and served as Mistress of Ceremonies. To open the night, outgoing president Maggie Carlisle passed the gavel to incoming President of the Council, Gil Gott. The purpose for the merriment was to support the Arts Council and its important influence in the Plant City community. Everyone was entertained during the evening of music, food, friendship, and a silent auction – and who could forget the


august 2010

art? The Red Rose Ballroom was adorned with artistic creations which included jewelry, paintings, pictures, and fabric pieces.

The truth of Evans’ statement became quite evident during the evening with the involvement of the Jackie’s Dance Theater performers. Three young ladies, Emma Kirkwood, Kaitlyn Barr and Kaley Conn demonstrated fluid lyrical movement in sync with the sounds of the live music. Jackie Everidge, owner of Jackie’s Dance Theater, has been a longtime supporter and member of the Arts Council. “Everything the Arts Council does, benefits the Plant City area. ” Everidge is most proud of the Council’s ability to provide more than $5,000 a year in scholarships to the youth of Plant City. For more information or to become a member contact: Arts Council of Plant City (813) 754-1578

Many of the pieces on display were done locally by our own MacDonald Training Center students. The Center serves as an adult training center for people with disabilities. Mr. Jan Radovan, art teacher, was also in attendance to represent the center. He shared that many local artisans come to the facility to donate their time as guest instructors. The center trains many skilled people with disabilities to help them become hardworking citizens in fields such as fitness, computers, sewing, and of course various types of artwork. Marlene Glickman, who displayed her artwork made with fabric, shared this encouraging thought: “No matter what’s happening in life, if an artist is still creating, there is still hope for civilization.” In fact, this past January, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan bought a piece of Glickman’s art to be displayed in their permanent collection. Glickman loves to teach classes for others interested in the media of fabric art.

Artist Marlene Glickmn exhibits her own art. One of her pieces was recently purchased to be displayed in an US Embassy in Sudan, Africa.



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Local » Focus

Library Board Member John Smik, Library Director, Anne Haywood, Author Tim Dorsey, Michael Cameron (cameron financial management) and Doug Driggers (Tampa Electric Company). Photo by Kelleigh Klein

Florida Native Author C

rime storyteller and nationally recognized author, Tim Dorsey, was the featured guest at a recent Bruton Memorial Library after hours event. Tim entertained a packed room of fans with stories based on his irreverent mysteries written with slant to Florida communities.

Born in Indiana, Tim moved to Florida at age one, where he grew up in Riviera Beach, just north of Miami. He graduated from Auburn University in 1983 and while there, became editor of “The Plainsman,” the student newspaper.


august 2010

From 1983 to 1987, he was a police and courts reporter for the Alabama Journal. He joined The Tampa Tribune in 1987 as a general assignment reporter and later became a political reporter for the Tribune in their Tallahassee office. He concluded his employment with the Tribune as the night metro editor when he launched into book writing full time in 1999.

Tim has since published an array of novels in several languages. His writings include books like Florida Roadkill, Hammerhead Ranch Motel, Orange Crush, Triggerfish Twist, The Stingray Shuffle, Cadillac

Keeps Crime Alive in the Sunshine State Written By: Kelleigh Klein

Beach, Torpedo Juice, The Big Bamboo, Hurricane Punch, Atomic Lobster, Nuclear Jellyfish and his most recent publication, Gator A-Go-Go. Gator A-Go-Go sets the stage for the infamous Serge to return to the pages with an outrageous Dorsey mystery involving spring break settings and Serge’s sidekick, Coleman. According to Tim’s website, “One spring break location isn’t enough for Serge, so he must do them all traveling through various historic locales, spewing history nuggets at anyone who won’t run away, and dispensing his own signature

brand of Sunshine State justice. Along the way he and his sidekick Coleman attract a growing following of the nation’s top college students and a mysterious gang that leaves a trail of young bodies in their wake.” For information about this must read book and more from the Tim Dorsey collection, visit the Bruton Memorial Library located at 302 W. McLendon Street, Plant City or his website

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IMPORTANT HEARING FACTS Although hearing problems are usually associated with signs of aging, more than half of all hearing-impaired persons are younger than 65, according to the American Academy of Audiology. Whether it’s all the rock concerts or the increased sounds in our social environment, the number of

people, young and old, with hearing loss is growing. When we lose our hearing, it’s usually a little at a time and we may not even notice it. If you think you or a loved one are having a hearing problem, please have it checked by a doctor of audiology; not everyone experiencing hearing loss needs a hearing aid. We have

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hearing solutions for everyone. We pride ourselves in offering the most personalized, caring treatment you will find in town. We will provide you with your written hearing test results as well as taking the time to discuss the best options for your hearing needs.

To learn more about Dr. Tanner and Advanced Diagnotics and Hearing Solutions, please visit us online at foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


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Local » Focus their parents’ home. The before and after pictures barely do justice to truly appreciate the rebirth the home went through. “We did this for our parents because there is nothing we wouldn’t do for them. They have been the most unconditionally loving parents. We don’t have all the money in the world to give them, so what better thing than to get together and give our time. We thought as a group, maybe we could do more. They’re just a blessing,” said Donna. “Mom and Dad do so much for people in the community and for each of us that we were grateful to be able to do something for them,” said Debi. Focus Magazine was there when they arrived home to see their brand new home. To watch their reactions and to get a full tour of the home, visit

Raymond and Hillie Cliburn surrounded by their three daughters (Debi, Kaye and Donna) and friends and family on the day their new home was revealed to them. Photo courtesy of the Cliburn Family

Extreme Makeover: Three adult daughters pamper their Family Edition parents with a home makeover M Written By: Sophia Hyde

ost people have seen at least a couple episodes of Extreme Makeover Home Edition on ABC. You always hear the stories of people’s devastating experiences, and then Ty Pennington comes and saves the day. Many of us have sat in front of the TV thinking, “wow…I really wish someone could do that for me.” However, most of us are fortunate enough to live pretty average lives, and you need quite a tragedy to get ABC’s attention. But sometimes you just want to see an average, hard working family experience something so rewarding. The three Cliburn sisters in Plant City decided they wanted to do something nice for their parents, Raymond and Hillie Cliburn. Debi Peacock, Kaye Crouse and Donna Driggers grew up in a small home in the Morrell Park subdivision off Jim Redman. Their parents bought the home in 1958 and have only made a handful of upgrades over the years. Most of the home

Watching their reactions as they discovered each room was like watching a child at Christmas unwrap his presents from Santa. They were filled with such excitement and joy. Mrs. Cliburn said, “I don’t know what to say other than I have the three most amazing daughters in the world. They are very, very giving and it reassures me that I taught them well.” Catch more on this story at Cliburn Home Makeover

was still very dated. Her father retired in 1990 from a long career in the public school system and updated some carpet and paint, and that was the last time anything was done.

For the last few Christmases they have bought their parents Lowe’s gift cards for them to make some upgrades, but their father inevitably has used the cards to buy things to fix the girls’ homes. This year, they decided that while the parents were away for three months over the summer they would come into the home and give it a new look. “Freshening up the paint” quickly escalated into a much larger project and soon they were in over their heads. With the help of family friends Mike Parolini and Mark Brown, as well as the grandchildren and other family, the girls did a completely renovation to the house. With little money but lots of love and donated time, they completely transformed


After The living room before and after.

Photo courtesy of the Cliburn Family foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


Where do you go for objective investment guidance?

Local » Focus

Objective investment guidance starts with objective research. As America’s largest independent brokerage firm,* LPL Financial is one of the few sources of unbiased research – uninfluenced by investment banking activities or corporate relationships like some other firms. The LPL Financial Research team performs in-depth research on bonds, mutual funds, annuities and investment managers across every asset class. This unbiased, independent research is the foundation for investment recommendations that are truly in your best interest. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a one-on-one consultation.

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Skateboard Enjoy a Safe Enthusiasts Spot to Roll P Written By: Cheryl Johnston


lant City skateboarders are putting the 8,500 square foot park at the Mike Sansone Complex to good use this summer.


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Since its opening in May 2004, children of all ages have enjoyed a safe place close to home to enjoy their sport. Built at a cost of $150,000, the facility at 1702 North Park Road (just inside Sansone Park) was designed by the wellknown skate park designer Spohn Ranch, with assistance from local super skater Mike Goodwine. The park features a 4’ deep deck for the half pipe, 2 quarter pipes, and 2 banked wedges, along with a threesided pyramid with full planter, a standard fun box with half kinked grind rail, and a fun box with half planter. To skate at the park, a photo ID card is required. Registrants must complete the necessary form, read the rules, sign a waiver, and pay the $25 card fee applicable for one calendar year. Those under age 18 need a parent/guardian at registration as well. ID cards may be obtained Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm

at the Recreation & Parks Department administrative office, 1904 South Park Road. Those who want to test the idea of membership may apply for a one-time waiver on site at the skate park for $3.00 for the day. Plant City Skate Park rules require all persons within the fenced area to wear their approved helmet with strap attached. Wrist, elbow and kneepads are recommended. Appropriate conduct is always required as well as following all posted rules. Spot checks by local police and Recreation & Parks authorities will occur to ensure rules are being followed Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 4 – 9 pm Early Release School Days: 2 - 9 pm Weekends: 12 – 9 pm Summer Hours & Schools Out: 12 -9 pm Every Day For more information contact: Chris Washburn at 813-659-4256.

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at Alexander Crossings Plaza We are located in the Lake Brandon Professional Park at 1165 Nikki View Drive. The professional park is near the intersection of South Causeway Blvd. and South Gornto Lake Rd. (next to Kohl's Department Store).

Plant City Dental Specialty - 623 East Alexander Street, Plant City, FL

Lake Brandon Professional Park






From Cross-Town Expressway: Enter Brandon (East) exit to Falkenburg Road exit. Exit Falkenburg Road and turn right onto Falkenburg Rd. Left turn onto Causeway Blvd. Right turn onto S. Gornto Lake Rd. Right turn into Lake Brandon Professional Park. Immediate left turn onto Professional Park Drive. Right turn onto Nikki View Drive. Our office building will be on your left.

U.S. HWY. 301

From Tampa (north): Take 1-75 (South) to Riverview/301 N. Exit (#254). North on US Hwy 301 to Causeway Blvd. Right turn (East) onto Causeway Blvd. Right turn onto S. Gornto Lake Rd. Right N turn into Lake Brandon Professional Park. Immediate left turn BRANDON BLVD. (HWY. 60) onto Professional Park Drive. Right turn onto Nikki View Drive. Our office building will be on your left.

Plastic, Maxillofacial Reconstructive Surgery

From riverview: North on US Hwy 301 to Causeway Blvd. East on Causeway Blvd. Right turn on S. Gornto Lake Road. Right turn into Lake Brandon Professional Park. Immediate left turn onto Professional Park Drive. Right turn onto Nikki View Drive. Our office building will be on your left.

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Brandon Location: From Hwy 60: Head west on Hwy 60 towards Clarence Gordon 1165 Jr.Nikki View Drive Road, turn right at Hwy 39/James L. Redman Parkway, turn right at East Alexander Our office will be on the right. Brandon, FLStreet. 33511

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From East Brandon (Hwy 60): Head west on Brandon BLOOMINDALE AVE. Blvd/Hwy 60 towards Tampa. Left turn on Kings Ave. Take Kings Ave. south to Lumsden Rd. Right turn (West) on Lumsden S Rd. Left turn (South) on Gornto Lake Rd. Right turn into Lake Brandon Professional Park. Immediate Left turn onto Professional Park Drive. Right turn onto Nikki View Drive. Our office building will be on your left.

From West Baker Street: Head southeast on W. Baker St 623 East Alexander St., Plant City, FL toward N. Mobley St., continue to follow N. Alexander Street. Our office will be on right. (just north ofthe Wal-Mart) From East Baker Street: Head west on E. Baker Street/Hwy Phone 60/US #: (813) 92W towards N.571-1516 Wilder Rd, take the 1st left onto Park Rd, continue Jim Johnson Rd. Our office will be on the right. Specialty: Oral &ontoMaxillofacial Surgery

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Local » Focus

Tristan Hyde Top Gun Quarterback Trains at Football University Written By: Cheryl Johnston

If you’re a football fan, keep your eyes on Tristan Hyde.


ristan Hyde recently attended the nation’s top prep football all-star camp, Football University’s Top Gun, at the Warhill Sports Complex in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he joined the country’s other top quarterbacks in his class to train with former NFL players and coaches. He was invited because of his outstanding performance at the Orlando FBU Camp. Hyde is a 13-year-old 8th grader at Tomlin Middle School who will attend Strawberry Crest High School next year. His parents, Tracy and Amanda Hyde, are proud of Tristan’s top grades and his leadership abilities. He prefers the outdoors and enjoys all sports and the beach. Older brother Josh, 15, is an SCHS freshman on the cross-country team, and his sister, Quinn, 10, is a 5th grader at Cork Elementary. Top Gun is the culmination of Football University’s 28-camp nationwide tour gathering the most elite performers from across the United States and allowing them to display their abilities together on one stage. Approximately 900 youth and high school players received coaching by 100 former NFL players and coaches.

such as 2008 Number 1 prospect, Ohio State Buckeye Terrelle Pryor and 2009 Number 1 prospect Bryce Brown. The 2010 Number 1 prospect Ronald Powell is also an alumnus, along with U.S. Army All-Americans, Football University Youth All-Americans, and hundreds of Division 1 players. Participation in Top Gun means these players are the best at their respective positions. According to the website, “No even is bigger than Football University.” Some of the nation’s top layers have received the top-flight instruction at Football University, which was created and is produced by the founders of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Top Gun boasts a top-flight staff of some of football’s greatest minds that have privately trained and mentored players such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, and Tony Romo. This young man’s name has the sound of a top draft pick after he completes college. Tristan Hyde is making sure he’s prepared now because that’s what leaders in every sport do.

The impressive alumni list includes some of the top college players in the nation,

tristan hyde training at football university. Photo courtesy of the Hyde family


august 2010

tristan hyde setting up to throw a pass. Photo courtesy of the Hyde family

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


Local » did you know postcard, giving credit to the Arts Council of Plant City, the Fine Arts Council of Florida, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Arts Council extended Briggs’s contract for another year and asked him to paint another mural. “Old Magnolia” was completed in 1978 on the side wall of the Trask Building, on the corner of Collins and Reynolds, featuring the old pharmacy and pharmacist Henry Moody. Again, the Arts Council of Plant City, the Fine Arts Council of Florida, and the National Endowment for the Arts were credited. And in 1978 the Arts Council assisted another group in the formation of a community theatre, and the organization now known as Plant City Entertainment has been producing and presenting outstanding plays several times a year since then. Plant City Entertainment now is in its own home and continues to produce wonderful plays.

Arts Council of Plant City Celebrates Thirty-Six Years of Promoting the Arts in the Plant City Community submitted By: gil gott


t was the Southeastern Tour of the ARTRAIN that provided the boost of energy that propelled Plant City residents to bond together and form an Arts Council. That was 1974. It was a propitious year. The ARTRAIN luncheon was held at Johnson’s Restaurant on May 11, 1974, and Governor Reubin O’Donovan Askew’s wife, Donna Lou, was the Honoree and State Honorary Chairman for the ARTRAIN. The local committee chairman was Betty Jo Vernon, and it was attended by virtually all of the city leaders. The ARTRAIN was a program of the Michigan Council for the Arts and the tour was made possible in part by a grant from The Fine Arts Council of Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts. The ARTRAIN brought art to grass-roots communities throughout


august 2010

America, and it carried original paintings by internationally famous artists, along with some lively and talented American artists who demonstrated art techniques to school children and interested parties. It is said that the response in Plant City was overwhelming, and a group of professional people were so motivated that they formed an arts council. Hence the Arts Council of Plant City was formed in 1974.

of accepting a deed to the old Seaboard Coastline Railroad depot, providing the depot was demolished.” On behalf of the newly formed Arts Council, Roy Thacker spoke against this and told the commissioners that if the depot is demolished “You would probably be tearing down the most historical landmark in town.” The building was not demolished and the Arts Council was again successful.

The group then applied to the Fine Arts Council of Florida for an artist-inresidence to bring art to the community on a more permanent basis. It was through this program, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts to place professional artists in local schools and educational centers, that John Briggs came to Plant City.

Newly arrived artist–in-residence John Briggs suggested the first mural in town. He agreed to donate his time if the Arts Council would provide the wall, the paint, and the scaffolding. The Southside of the building near the northeast corner of Collins Street and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard was chosen and Briggs went to work – in full view of an interested audience. When finished, Briggs named it “Reflection of a Town”. Town officials were delighted and had it reproduced on a

It was in June of 1974 that the city “commissioners pondered the possibility

Since that time, the Arts Council of Plant City has gone on to promote the arts in the greater Plant City community by bringing in local, national, and international musicians, by providing over $70,000 in scholarships for students of the arts, by providing public art throughout the community, by providing youth training in dance, painting, creative arts, and by hosting or sponsoring musical, cultural, and artistic events for the entire community, and more. In 2009 and 2010 the Arts Council brought the Imperial Symphony Orchestra to the Trinkle Center on the Plant City Campus of Hillsborough Community College; this promises to be an annual event and it is scheduled for April 26 in 2011. Last month the Arts Council produced “Midsummer Melodies”, a medley of music and dance featuring dancers from Jackie’s Dance theatre and musical artists from throughout the Tampa Bay area. The Arts Council also presents the Children’s Fun Festival and the Christmas holidays oriented Tour of Homes. In 2010 the Arts Council partnered with the Plant City Photo Archives & History Center to promote the arts; information and Arts Council membership forms are available at the Photo Archives office at 106 South Evers Street, in downtown Plant City. Call 813.754.1578 or email for information.

Southside’s 4-H & FFA Show Animal Rebate Program 2010-2011

All steer, swine and heifer exhibitors will receive a 5% rebate gift card for the show feed and show supplies they purchase for their animals between August 1, 2010 and March 15, 2011. Register with us today to begin earning big bucks back and to experience the “

Southside difference!”

(No minimums to meet for rebate, gift cards must be used for regular priced items in the Western Wear department) Registration Details: • 5% rebate gift card from show feed and show supply purchases • Free use of store scales • Free admission to all training clinics • Access to hoof trimming events • Clipping services available • Blade sharpening available

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


Polk Museum of Art FAMILY DAY

Plant City Day Saturday, August 28 1:00 - 3:00PM FREE for Plant City Residents Non-residents welcome. Regular admission fees apply.

Saturday, September 18 11:00AM - 3:00PM FREE ADMISSION

FREE Portrait Sketches

FREE ART SUPPLIES FOR KIDS •School age children only, While supplies last.


•Hands-On Art Projects


•Live Entertainment

Scavenger Hunt

•Scavenger Hunts

•Adventures for the Whole Family •Games

Art Activities

An open house for our Plant City neighbors featuring the exhibition

Sponsored by: (as of 8/5/10)

Anonymous Donor

Loïs Mailou Jones: A Life in Vibrant Color on display through September 25


Fam REE ily Fu n!!

Exhibition Sponsored by:

ALPI Tinsley Family Concessions, Inc.

800 East Palmetto Street

Additional Support by: Blackmon Roberts Group and WUSF


T 863.688.7743

Located on Lake Morton Behind the Lakeland Public Library 34

august 2010

AWNINGS SeeView™ Awnings give the protection without eliminating the view.

AWNINGS StormGuard™ Awnings provide complete protection and feature lock-down for added security.

In business now for over 20 years! Family Owned & Operated. WE LOVE SPECIAL ORDERS.

Code Approved Windows • Window Rooms • Screen Rooms • Carports • Awnings • Wood Paneling • Steps • Alcoa® Vinyl Siding • Skirting • Doors • Roof Overs • Metal Roofing • Shower Stalls • Complete Line of Plumbing • Trim Moulding • Vanities • Kitchen Cabinets • Antiques Open Mondays Through Saturdays: 8:30-5:00 (Between Lakeland and Plant City)

2670 Highway 92 East, Plant City, FL


foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


Local » chamber of commerce

GREATER PLANT CITY O n August 19 th. the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce will once again play host to over 200 new teachers at the annual NEW TEACHER COFFEE. This event helps acquaint the new teachers with our businesses and community. Several businesses donate items ranging from pens, note pads, calculators, cookies, coupons, etc. that are given to the new teachers. Major sponsors of this event are AmeriCare Ambulance Service, Bright House Networks, and Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union. The Florida Strawberry Festival provides the use of the Expo Hall for the event. The chefs at South Florida Baptist Hospital provide breakfast. The Chamber looks forward to this event as a way of welcoming all the new teachers from the 28 schools in the Plant City area.

On July 20th. Plant City Chamber Ambassadors and members were welcomed to an open house at PREMIERE CINEMA, 220 West Alexander Street. Those attending got to see and hear first hand the newly equipped digital projectors and sound system. Joel Davis, Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Office from their main headquarters in Texas was on hand to explain the newly revamped facility. The picture projected onto the screen looks like a high definition television, only much, much larger! Two of the theaters are equipped to show 3-D films. On top of all this, each of the eight theatres are equipped with stadium seating. This is a great addition to Plant City. No longer do our residents have to travel to Brandon or Lakeland to see a movie. Buffy Harrington is the Director of the Plant City movie house. You can e-mail any questions you may have directly to her at

Looking to have some good family fun? Why not attend the Greater Plant City


august 2010

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE submitted By: bruce rodwell

Chamber of Commerce STRAWBERRY CLASSIC CAR SHOW? This event takes place the 3rd. Saturday of each month. The August show will be held August 21st. It all takes place at McCall Park in downtown Plant City and gets underway at 4 PM and goes on till 9 PM. You can look over all kinds of classic cars and hot rods. There are vendors with great food. Come on out and enjoy!

On August 26 th. the LUNCH & LEARN program at Hillsborough Community College will present a program on Inbound Marketing and E-Commerce. Contact Terri Scott at HCC for additional information and to RSVP by phoning 813-757-2190.

County Commissioner, Kevin Beckner will be at the Bruton Memorial Library on Friday, August 27 th. from 11 AM to 1 PM to answer questions you may have about Hillsborough County. For additional information, please call 813-757-2190.

4 th. at McCall Park in downtown Plant City where hundreds of motorcycles will be on display

September 6 th. - Labor Day. The Chamber office will be closed.

The Chamber’s CONTACT BREAKFAST will be held Wednesday morning, September 8 th. at the Red Rose Inn & Suites ballroom. The speaker is the Honorable Will W. Weatherford, Florida State Representative. He will present his views on the upcoming amendments and in particular proposed amendment #4. You will not want to miss this program. Call the Chamber office at 813-754-3707 to RSVP.

The BOY’S & GIRLS CLUB is holding their annual bar-b-que at the Depot on Palmer Street on Thursday, September 9th. Call Annie Carapezza at 813-707-1221 for details.

On August 28th. at the Plant City Stadium, a COMMUNITY FUNDRAISER is being held to help raise money for the families of Police Officers David Curtis and Jeffery Kocab who were killed in the line of duty.

The City of Plant City, Recreation & Parks Department is seeking quality instructors for the Planteen Recreation Center, 301 Dort Street. Sseveral time slots are open for the upcoming fiscal year.

There will be a silent auction, raffles, live bands, food service, bounce houses, Elvis impersonators, face painting, arts & crafts and various entertainment. The event hpurs are from 11 AM to 5 PM.

According to Chris Washburn, Center Manager they are looking for those with special talents who would like to teach their specialties. Classes and/or programs they are specifically looking for are Dance

Instructors, Aerobic/Strength training instructors, Art, Drawing & Knitting, Youth Classes, and Senior Classes / Activities. You can contact Chris for more information on instructing an exciting class at the Planteen Recreation Center by calling 813-659-4256 or by e- mail at . Mark your calendar for these upcoming events: September 12 - Heart & Vascular Center Open House at South Florida Baptist Hospital. This was a much needed new addition to the Hospital’s medical program. You will want to check this out. September 23 - Diamonds & Denim Gala to benefit the Foundation at South Florida Baptist Hospital. This will take place at the Strawberry Festival Expo building. Call Judy Martin at 813-757-1277 for tickets and additional information. September 25 - Plant City Garden Club “Garden Fest” will be held at the Depot from 9 AM to 3 PM. This was a great success last year and you won’t want to miss it. REMEMBER TO SUPPORT THE GREATER PLANT CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEMBERS. LOOK FOR THE SIGN IN THEIR PLACE OF BUSINESS ‘MEMBER GREATER PLANT CITY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE’

The sponsoring group is looking for vendors for this event. If you need more information on becoming a vendor or just want to make a donation, call Anissa at 813-704-5957. You can also e-mail with questions.

For great family fun, don’t forget to catch the Greater Plant City Chamber’s BIKE FEST taking place on Saturday, September

CHAMBER ribbon cuttings

Want to doghouse? be the In the


of your teacher’s eye?

July 20th Ribbon Cutting and Open House for: Premiere Cinema Corporation Buffy Harrington, (813) 719-7600 220 West Alexander Street

Then send her a beautiful bouquet of back to school flowers from

Brown’s FLORAL SHOP there for all of life’s occasions

July 22nd Ribbon Cutting for: Albertson Financial Group Paula K. Albertson, CLU, ChFC, CSA, CEO (813) 707-0892 1104 East Baker Street

July 28th Ribbon Cutting for: Butler Pest Control Bill Butler, Owner/Operator (813) 600-7238 1907 Carriage Court

1802 W Reynolds St Plant City, FL 33563 813-752-5189

HOPEWELL Funeral Home & Memorial Gardens 6005 County Rd. 39 South 1/2 Mile South of County Road 60 813.737.3128

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


Just what the doctor ordered. A new, dedicated orthopedic wing. We take the stress out of orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation. Thanks to our exciting, new renovations, patients can now recover faster and more comfortably in their own specialized, private room. Our 10 luxury rooms are designed large enough to accommodate physical therapy equipment, so therapists can come to the patients. Rooms include flat screen TVs and access to an internet and media café – with computers and ortho-ergonomic furniture. Even fold-out sleeper sofas allow family members to stay over night. It’s the perfect healing environment in every way.

New Orthopedic Wing 301 N. Alexander St. Plant City, FL 33563 For a referral to one of our orthopedic surgeons, call 813-443-2018


august 2010

Ask any hospital, physician or case manager...

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1418 South Evers St. (behind Big Lots)


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1042 Bloomingdale Ave. Valrico, FL 33594



dress... school... of a Kind.

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010



HOURS: •MON-SAT 10-7 • SUN 11-5

for lunch & dinner •MON-THU 11AM-10PM • FRI 11AM-11PM • SAT 8AM-11PM • Sun 8AM-8PM (breakfast served sat & sun)


•MON-TUE closed •WED-SUN 9PM-3AM The latest in line dancing and two stepping. Four full liquor bars with the newest cocktails and coldest beer!


wggiir aanndd CCoow

Where The Cowboys Eat. 120 S.R. 60 E. • Plant City, FL 33567 • 813-737-3259 40

august 2010

Sparkman Family Moves from Gas to Automobiles

Experiences Success under New Ownership INTERVIEW BY: BRIAN WEST


ike Sparkman has been a businessman most of his life. But after a few decades in the oil and gas business, Sparkman and his sons, Tommy and Chris, decided it was the right time to sell, and they did. They sold their Sparky’s Convenience Stores and then took some time off to look for other opportunities. But it wasn’t too long before long-time car dealer, Billy Herold, approached the Sparkman family with an opportunity to acquire Bartow Chevrolet. After some research, they decided it was a great opportunity. Chris Sparkman and Herold have turned out to be a pretty good team, but in the two short years they’ve been at the helm, the automobile industry has seen more change and ups and downs than in the past 75 years. I had an opportunity to speak with Sparkman and Herold recently. Focus: How did you get started in the car business? Herold: I had a passion for cars. I was always buying and selling them. By the time I was 21-years-old, I’d already owned 20 cars. So it was simple for me, I just got into the business. I started selling cars in 1976 for Wilson Davis Ford. In 1978, Gary Bell came into town and was recruiting for Bell Chevrolet. I got on board and stayed there for the next 22 years.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 42 foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010



None of the big three went through bankruptcy prior to now and even during the war when they stopped making cars so they could convert the factories to build things for the war effort.

“Justin loves his new Camero from Bartow Chevrolet. Billy and Chris made buying it a fun experience.” -Billy Keel

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41 Sparkman: Like every young man, I too had a passion for cars. After selling our convenience store business in 2006, we sat idle for the next 2 years before Billy came forward with this opportunity. It’s been a challenge because of the timing, but I’m enjoying it. Focus: Do you think you would’ve gotten involved in the business if you hadn’t received the call from Billy? Sparkman: Probably not. I’d spoken with other dealers about the business before Bartow Chevrolet was available and they all put a premium on having the right person running the store. When we figured out we could pair Billy with Bartow Chevrolet, the decision was easy from there. There’s too much financial exposure not to have a talented person in the most important position in the dealership. We wouldn’t just jump into a business we weren’t familiar with, without having someone with us that we knew and trusted. We’re very happy with the dealership. We have a great store and great people. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we like the direction the dealership is heading into. We have 60 employees, and they’re all on board. That’s what makes us a great team.

Sparkman: We contracted it in January of 2008, but it took us until September 22nd to close the deal. Focus: How has the business changed since you took ownership? Sparkman: Well, it’s been a roller coaster ride to say the least. The first week we were in business, GMAC cut off all financing to their dealers. Fortunately, we had other lenders to turn to, but to a lot of other GM dealers, it was devastating. Of course, that was over 19 months ago and everyone is healthier now. Herold: Shortly after that, we contacted two more dealerships [about buying them out] and we were set to close May 1, 2009. In March, we learned of the wind down letters that were forthcoming that would affect over 2500 dealerships in 30 days and no one knew which ones, so needless to say, we didn’t go through with the purchase of those other dealerships. Then we they came out of bankruptcy in May, they called Mike one morning and said, “We’re going to call you at 11:00 a.m. to inform you whether or not you’re moving forward with the new GM, or get a ‘wind down’ letter. So we sat by the phone waiting for the call. Sparkman: We felt good about it.

Herold: So they called and said we Focus: When did you finalize the contract for were moving forward with the new GM. It’s been the toughest period in the car the dealership?


august 2010

industry ever – even since the Great Depression. None of the big three went through bankruptcy prior to now and even during the war when they stopped making cars so they could convert the factories to build things for the war effort. There’s never been a tougher time economically to be in the car business. We probably went into this business at the worst time possible.

we are proud that we haven’t laid anyone off, even though the climate of the business has been difficult on all of us. Focus: Tell me about the plans for a new store or remodel.

Sparkman: We’re in discussions right now with a general contractor to do a complete remodel. We’re going to build a total ground-up showroom and enlarge Focus: Has it been difficult to retain good our service facility. It’s a very exciting time for our employees, knowing that this people over the past couple of years? renovation is in the works. We bought two tracks of land adjacent to us, so we have Herold: Fortunately, the previous dealer had a lot of long-term and loyal employees. plenty of room for expansion. That made the transition for us very easy. All the Department Heads have been with Focus: Tell me about some of your the dealership for a long time and this has accomplishments since taking ownership of Bartow Chevrolet. contributed to the overall success of the dealership. Sparkman: We were recently recognized by Chevrolet as the third largest retailer of Sparkman: Since taking ownership, we have maintained about 60 employees and


Chris Sparkman graduated from Plant City High School in 1990. He worked for the family business, Sparky’s Oil company from 1992-2006 as Vice President. He is currently part owner and CEO of Bartow Chevrolet. Chris also serves as an Associate Director for the Florida Strawberry Festival and Director of the East Hillsborough Law Enforcement Appreciation Association. Formerly, he has served as a Director of the Florida Petroleum Marketers Association, Director of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, and Director of the Plant City Boys and Girls Club. He has been married for 10 years to Angela Plunk Sparkman, and they have four children: Mayson, 9; Jillian, 7; Austin, 3; and Brennan, 3.

SATISFIED CUSTOMER WWW.BARTOWCHEVY.COM Silverado truck sales in the state. We were also recognized as the second highest rated dealership in market effectiveness. They rate that by how many people are in the zip codes of our market area, and then divide that by how many vehicles were sold. Our market effectiveness was 610 percent, and we’re extremely proud of that.

Also, the old adage of having low overhead allows a business to sell for less is true here. We don’t have the overhead the so called mega-dealer has. That allows us to sell for less. So when you buy from Bartow Chevrolet, we will do everything that we can to ensure that you’re a customer for life.

Herold: We’re also the second largest fleet dealer in Florida. We sell most of the police and sheriff vehicles in central Florida. We also sell to cities and municipalities from the Keys to the panhandle. The margins are thin in fleet sales, but the volume is great. It’s kind of a silent side of our business. There’s not a lot of fan fare with it, but Chevrolet sure loves us.

Focus: So what’s next for Bartow Chevrolet?

Focus: Why should anyone want to buy a car or truck from Bartow Chevrolet? Sparkman: Outside of having a great selection of new and used vehicles, I think that the great reputation that Bartow Chevrolet has had for many years – being a trustworthy dealership, and the fact that my family has the reputation of being honest, loyal and giving to our community, is more than enough reason to consider us.

Herold: We accumulated a lot of talent at this location; people that I knew and people that wanted to work with us. We’d obviously like to accumulate some more dealerships while the prices are soft. We’ve accumulated a lot of talent with this dealership and expansion would create opportunities for those who have shown a desire to grow. Sparkman: Bartow Chevrolet is our primary focus. We’d like to get the remodel out of the way first, but if an opportunity presented itself, we’re ready, willing and able to accept the challenge. All said and done, we’re in a good place right now and looking forward to the future.


“I recently purchased my new vehicle from Bartow Chevrolet. The folks at Bartow Chevy made my auto purchase very easy. I never felt pressured at all with the typical “car salesman tactics.” I got a great SUV at a great price. Chris, Billy and the staff were fantastic to work with, and I would highly recommend and refer friends and family to make their next purchase at Bartow Chevrolet.” -Aaron Davis

We were recently recognized by Chevrolet as the third largest retailer of Silverado truck sales in the state.

So the past couple of years haven’t been easy, but it’s working for them. Bartow Chevrolet appears to be positioned well at a time when many other dealers are still struggling. So if you find yourself in the market for a new or used vehicle, consider giving Bartow Chevrolet an opportunity to earn your business.


1475 W. Main Street, Bartow, FL 33830


“Our family has been doing business with Billy Herold and the Sparkman family for over 15 years and they have always treated us like family. If you are interested in buying a new or used vehicle, I would highly recommend you stop by and see them.” -Dennis Brownlee

Billy Herold graduated from Plant City High School in 1973 and started his career in the car business at Wilson David Ford in 1976. He joined Bell Chevrolet in 1979, where he spent the next 22 years. Following Bell, he became an independent dealer and owned his own stores for the next 8 years including two locations in Plant City, one in Brandon and one in Leesburg. In 2008 he joined with the Sparkman family in the acquisition of Bartow Chevrolet. He has two sons, Tony and Nicholas. Tony, 23, has completed EMT and fire school and is currently in paramedic training. Nick, 20, just graduated from EMT school and is starting fire school this month. Billy has been a member of the Plant City Elks Lodge for 27 years, and a member of the Plant City Noon Rotary Club for 23 years, having served as past president and two years as Lt. Governor. His hobbies include traveling, fishing and spending time with his girlfriend Sherri.

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010




Pearle Vision (Next to Chili’s)

1933 W. Brandon Blvd., Brandon, FL 33511 813-681-8880 Dr. Stephanie Kirkland, independent doctor of optometry Dr. Mona Kardani, independent doctor of optometry




Buy a complete pair of eyeglasses or Rx sunglasses and get a second pair free.

Buy a complete pair (minimum purchase may apply) and receive a second complete pair up to a maximum value (maximum may vary) – same prescription. First pair must be of equal or greater value to free pair. An additional charge may apply depending on location and frame selection. Valid prescription required. Excludes certain brands including Maui Jim and Oakley. Cannot be combined or used in conjunction with any vision care or insurance benefits or plans, any store or other offer, discount or sale, previous purchases, readers or non-prescription sunglasses. Valid at participating locations. Void where prohibited. Some restrictions may apply. Savings applied to lenses. See store for details. Offer ends 10/23/2010. ©2010 Pearle Vision. All Rights Reserved. 526251


august 2010

Pearle Vision (in front of Kohl’s)

3017 Town Center Dr., Lakeland, FL 33803 863-413-0200 Dr. Richard Miller, independent doctor of optometry



WITH ALL KIDS’ FRAMES Valid for children 14 and under. Free single vision polycarbonate lenses with frame purchase. Valid prescription required. Excludes certain brands including Maui Jim and Oakley. Cannot be combined or used in conjunction with any vision care or insurance benefits or plans, any store or other offer, everyday kids’ package, discount or sale, previous purchases, readers or non-prescription sunglasses. Void where prohibited. Some restrictions may apply. See store for details. Valid at participating locations. Offer ends 10/2/2010. ©2010 Pearle Vision. All Rights Reserved. 526772

BUSINESS FOCUS showcasing our neighborhood businesses 46

the artistry asian chen restaurant 48 fitness for 10


gofish designs

52 54

hopewell funeral home

58 60 62 64

RRR farm state farm

courtney paat wallers power equipment woodside dental This is a paid advertising section

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


business focus » the artistry• 1505 South Alexander Street, Suite 102 • 813-717-7700

The staff of The Artistry is comprised of an excellent team of hair stylists, massage therapists, nail technicians and estheticians.

The Artistry T

he Artistry Salon and Spa, owned by Ron and Jana Evers, is 3000 square feet of pampering. They specialize in hair, nails, skin care and massage. The Artistry Team includes (20) hairstylists, (1) massage therapist, (5) nail technicians, and (2) aestheticians. In addition, The Artistry owners provide continuing education and hands-on classes for their team. The salon’s educators include the top Redken educators from around the world as well as the top platform artists. The benefits to all of this continued education is stylists, massage therapists, nail technicians and aestheticians performing at the highest level while keeping you, the customer, up on the latest trends, colors, cuts and styles.

Come Get Pampered!

The aestheticians work is not just limited to facials and waxing. They also offer Microderm-abrasion, Holistic Dermabrasion, Ear Candling, Permanent Make-Up, High Frequency Acne Treatments, Rosacea Treatments, AntiAging services and use all Botanical products made by Pevonia. The nail technicians offer a wide variety of services ranging from manicures and pedicures to full sets and everything in between. They specialize in Pink and Whites, Spa pedicures and Gel polish.

The Artistry is not only committed to the best products and service around, they also believe in giving back to the community. The Artistry hosts “Monthly Massage at The Artistry is becoming Givebacks” which are focused on helping an art. Not only do they have Swedish others less fortunate look and feel great. massage and deep tissue, but they also According to Jana, “We have a great team perform hot stone massage and help treat who are very giving. We are very blessed problem areas. They have added Acu-nuand want to help others.” Through the kinesiology massage, which clears nerve monthly givebacks, The Artistry Team pain through the muscle. This helps treat selects a monthly outreach program and carpel tunnel, sciatic pain, and headaches. literally provides supplies and/or services The therapists have also just included detoxifying ionic footbaths and body wraps to help the designated program be even more successful. For example, The to their list of services. Artistry donates back to school haircuts to


august 2010

The Artistry uses top-of-the-line brands on all their clients and offers an array of products for sale.

business focus » the artistry• 1505 South Alexander Street, Suite 102 • 813-717-7700

Jana and Ron Evers, owners of The Artistry students in need. In addition, they provide haircuts, makeovers and pampering to local activities and non-profits like Relay for Life, the annual FOCUS Magazine Makeover, High Heel Hike, Steppin Stone Farms and more. If you are thinking about a day for yourself or a perfect gift for someone else, The Artistry is the place for you. They offer packages that range from a massage and a facial up to a half day of relaxing and pampering. Their most popular package is the Tranquility Package that includes an

hour long Swedish massage, a deluxe facial and a manicure and pedicure. If you are having a special event, prom or wedding in the near future, please call on them. They can accommodate any size group. If you are looking for a particular hair product, they probably have it, too. The Artistry carries about 10 different lines to meet everyone’s styling needs. The Artistry is located at 1505 South Alexander Street, Suite 102, and may be reached at 813-717-7700.

The spa area offers a relaxing atmosphere for mani’s and pedi’s, with private rooms off to the side for massages and facials. foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


business focus » asian chen • 2609 Thonotosassa Rd Plant City, FL 33653 • 813 757 9888 •

Asian Chen Restaurant Chef/Co-owner Andy with Chef Michael are pleased so many customers rave about the Coconut Shrimp entree.

Asian Chen Restaurant C

ustomers are raving about Plant City’s newest addition to fine dining establishments. Asian Chen Restaurant is definitely worth your visit – and soon!

Since its official opening June 11, 2010, first visitors have started a buzz about the fresh, fresh, fresh buffet and the menu specialties.


august 2010

Jessica Lin, manager and co-owner with her husband/chef Andy, is excited so many customers are returning often. She said, “This is how we know diners are pleased, and how we know we are doing our best. We are happy to see them satisfied.” When David Batchik arrives for lunch asking, “Can I have a seat in the kitchen?” the owners smile. He added, “I go to a lot of Asian restaurants between Lakeland, Zephyrhills, and Plant City. Others don’t

Fresh Specialties, Top Chefs, Great Prices

have the variety of choices and now I don’t have to travel so far from my home in The Meadows.” Recently a new customer left a $20 tip for the chef, with this compliment, “I’ve never tasted tofu cooked this way. This is my new favorite restaurant!” (Note: She tipped the waitress well, too.). Obviously, Chef Andy and Chef Michael Chen appreciate the praise.

The young entrepreneurs, Jessica and Andy, come from a long line of Asian restaurant owners, so experience is invaluable n their new venture. They are familiar with Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine for special requests and offer sushi and dim sum as well. For those with special dietary needs, Asian Chen accommodates with selections containing no salt, sugar, cornstarch, or MSG.

business focus » asian chen • 2609 Thonotosassa Rd Plant City, FL 33653 • 813 757 9888 •

Asian Chen Restaurant hostess Ana Lopez (L) with co-owner/manager Jessica Lin (R) greet customers with friendly smiles and “We’re here to serve you” attitudes. Elizabeth Collopy tells everyone, “My new favorite restaurant serves the best Coconut Shrimp I’ve ever tasted.” Debra Collopy agrees: “The food is extra fresh and delicious. Prices are great, service is excellent, and the atmosphere is calming. I always look forward to returning.”

you’re not bi-lingual, you’ll get the gist of his praise. “Asian Chen una excelente experiencia ya que la comida tiene un muy buen gusto y el ristorante es muy limpio.” (Translation: “Asian Chen is an excellent experience since the food has a very good flavor and the restaurant is very clean”.)

Carlos C. Perez likes the prices, the shrimp, and the wonton soup, saying they’re “the best in town.” Eight soup varieties are available in pint or quart size portions with prices ranging from $1.25 to $4.99.

On this particular day Richard Keddy visited for his fifth time since the opening. He keeps him coming back, he said, “because the food is always good and fresh, and there’s always something new to try.”

Steve Young brings his family, wife Aiven and daughter Savannah for the “excellent food, friendly service, great price, and relaxing atmosphere.”

Hurry in soon to enjoy fantastic food for affordable prices at Asian Chen, located in the Publix plaza off Thonotosassa Road, near I-4 Exit #19. It’s time to discover your “new favorite place”, too.

Customers make hostess Ana Lopez’s day when they mention the soothing ambiance. With its jade green walls and contemporary furnishings, Asian Chen feels upscale.

Asian Chen is open daily: MondayThursday 10:30am.-10pm; Friday-Saturday 10:30am-11pm; Sunday 11:30am-10pm. Senior adults receive a complimentary beverage with their meal.

Lopez, who also translates for the Spanishspeaking customers, takes pride in the restaurant’s success. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Asian Chen has a multicultural customer base.

Party trays for large groups are also available. Visit the website www.asianchen. com or phone 813-757-9888 or fax 813719-8866.

Another frequent diner asked that his compliments appear in Espanol. Even if

Asian Chen Restaurant officially opened June 11, 2010 in the Publix plaza on Thonotosassa Road, off the I-4, #19 Exit.

The Coconut Shrimp entree is already a customer favorite and is also available as a buffet selection. foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


business focus » fitness for 10 • 1418 south evers street, plant city, fl • 813-717-7773 •

owner of Fitness for 10 Kevin Donofrio with wife and son Katrina and Dalton Donofrio

Fitness for 10 T

wo purposes drive Kevin Donofrio, the owner of Fitness For 10 Florida, with clubs in both Brandon and Plant City. The business purpose is to provide locals with professional, affordable fitness training in superior facilities, so clients can achieve maximum health benefits they desire. The personal purpose is to build a legacy for his son Dalton – to demonstrate that through strong work ethic, perseverance, and customer service a man can help others achieve their fitness goals while providing financial security for his own family.


august 2010

Change Your Body and Keep Your Change

For 23 years Donofrio has owned and managed his club in Brandon and for 7 years in Plant City. Recently, through extensive research of national fitness industry trends, he made the decision to purchase the Fitness For 10 Florida rights and change the business model and names of both his Brandon and Plant City clubs. Obviously, based on customer response, this was the right move at the right time. Donofrio wanted to offer customers more fitness potential for less money, so he purchased the Florida area from Nevada founder Steve Main, a successful health club entrepreneur and accomplished writer. Because of his expertise, Donofrio has also been appointed to develop Fitness For 10 markets in the southeastern states.

24-hour-access. *Premier members also receive free tanning.

According to Donofrio, “Customers desire the best results in the least amount When selecting a health club, potential of time which comes from strength members evaluate services provided, training and cardio machines.” His cleanliness, price, convenience and staff clubs’ vast array of equipment includes friendliness. Statistics substantiate that elliptical machines, treadmills, Lifecycles, Fitness For 10 clubs offer more of what the Stairmasters, and recumbent bikes for masses want and need, without the sales cardiovascular workouts. Strength training pressure. Members choose to buy instead is accomplished through free weights of being sold. and circuit training through resistance machines. Clean locker and shower Donofrio says, “Fitness for 10 is just facilities are available, along with a pro a good honest value for your health shop where nutritional supplements, club dollar with no huge up-front fees, energy drinks, and apparel can be no gimmicks, no hidden costs, and no purchased. Professional training and pressure. We believe getting in shape nutritional counseling are offered for shouldn’t be expensive.” additional fees. For example, the Economy Membership starts at $10 per month. A $24/month Premier Membership includes All Club Access, Free Guest Privileges every day! Fitness for 10 Brandon also offers

Through group orientations in a nonthreatening, no pressure environment, members learn how to exercise and use equipment safely in order to improve their personal fitness level.

business focus » fitness for 10 • 1418 south evers street, plant city, fl • 813-717-7773 •

Our Mission Statement At Fitness For 10, we believe:

• Fitness does not have to be expensive. • Price of a membership does not determine the quality of a health club • Health clubs should be well equipped, friendly and clean. • A health club should provide members with a positive and helpful environment. • People have the power and determination to reach their fitness goals. • Our members’ fitness experience should be exactly what they want it to be. • By providing more for less to our customers we will have a distinct advantage over the competition and therefore be extremely profitable. Often, members of other clubs also join Fitness For 10 since it’s so economical and provides them with a nice change of pace. The typical first impression when meeting the entrepreneurial Donofrio is, “In regards to health and fitness, this man knows what he’s doing.” Known as “Cyborg,” during his professional wrestling days stands 6’5” and weighs 290 lbs. He is also known for his amateur accomplishments as a four time All-American in both Greco-Roman and Freestyle Wrestling. Accomplishing those levels of athleticism allowed Donofrio to travel the world, stay in palaces of sheiks, associate with dignitaries and celebrities, visit Machu Picchu in Peru and even swim in the Red Sea. But it wasn’t until age 34 that he turned professional and experienced such a life. Donofrio grew up in Pennsylvania with seven siblings and recalls, “Life was tough financially.” He remembers his first car, a 1969 Cadillac, about which he says, “That old clunker took me to the prom but not before drinking two quarts of oil and leaving oil stains on my tux.” By the time the sibling hand-me-down clothing reached him, they were embarrassingly worn and not exactly tailored for his physique. At a young age his start in the athletic industry came through YMCA employment. He performed janitorial duties first and then pursued his real passion as a personal trainer. At age 20, he moved to Atlanta to work for American Fitness Centers. Within five years he was

an Area Supervisor over 9 clubs with a sixfigure income. In 1987, ready for a new challenge, Donofrio established The Athletic Club (now Fitness for 10) in Brandon. “Back then”, he says, “Brandon was nothing but cow pastures and a two lane road known as Highway 60.” Now, 23 years later, he owns two highly successful fitness clubs and has had an exceptional wrestling career during which he completed several world tours. He speaks with pride of his 14-year marriage to his beautiful wife Katrina and of his 13-year-old son Dalton, who works with Donofrio at the clubs. He also believes in serving the community. For six years he volunteered as a wrestling coach at Brandon High School. Presently he officiates with USA Wrestling and the Florida High School Athletic Association. With his charismatic personality and endless energy, Donofrio has inspired countless athletes and thousands of members through his clubs. He believes people have the power to reach their fitness goals once they determine to make the effort. This is your time. Change your body and keep your change by joining Fitness for 10 today. Sign up online at www.FitnessFor10. com or stop by for a tour. Phone the Brandon center at 813.654.6568 or visit 1903 West Lumsden Rd. In Plant City, visit the facility at 1418 S. Evers St. or dial 813.717.7773.

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


business focus » gofish designs • 813 967 7113 • •

When Business GoDesign and Promotions Fish! Are Important, L

ocally owned and operated, GoFish Designs is Plant City’s premier one-stop shop for graphic design. According to owner and graphic designer Natasha McDowell, GoFish Designs ( is a full service design firm offering comprehensive graphic, web and print services. They offer great products and services at very competitive prices. Quick turnaround time and complete customer satisfaction round out the array of reasons to select GoFish


august 2010

Designs for your next design project.

Founded on faith-based principals, the Bible verse Matthew 4:19 (And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”) is a cornerstone to their business ethics. According to Natasha, “If people know who I am and the principals my business runs by, then they can trust me to provide products and services based on honesty and integrity.” In addition, GoFish Design’s mission is taking design knowledge and skills and helping people

grow their business to be more successful by improving image branding and corporate identity. Statistics show that businesses using promotional products, like those offered by GoFish Designs, can increase business sales on average 22%.

Jenkins (Publix founder) Scholarship and went to work for the Publix corporate offices in marketing and advertising on the Monday immediately following her graduation from Florida Southern. Her employment with Publix began as a graphic design intern and progressed to project management and ad layout. In addition, Natasha has over ten years of successful publication and design experience on her résumé.

Owner Natasha McDowell’s bio is a large reason for GoFish Design’s business success. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fine Arts, with a concentration in graphic design, from Florida Southern College. She attended college on a George Natasha’s family includes husband, Plant

business focus » gofish designs • 813 967 7113 • • City Police Detective John McDowell, who was named Officer of the Year in 2010 at the annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet in May. They have been married eleven years and have two beautiful children (Paige, 6 years, and Kendall, 2).

with Minuteman Press and all of their embroidered and screen-printed goods are produced in collaboration with Knotts Team Sports. Furthermore, on larger web projects, GoFish collaborates with PlantCity based KCK Consulting, to provide timelier service to their clients.

GoFish Designs offers a wide range of products to help businesses grow. Products include printed marketing materials, promotional items, custom embroidered/screen-printed apparel, vehicle magnets, vehicle wraps and business signage, from yard signs to fully lit and monument signs. In addition, GoFish Designs offers services to meet the growing needs of every business. These services include custom graphic design (logo design, business cards and brochures), comprehensive web services (web design, hosting and maintenance, e-commerce, forums & blogs), print services (full-service commercial printing, direct mail, digital copies) and more.

Paul Granville, General Manager of Crystal Clear Pools of Florida, says, “Working with Natasha was a breath of fresh air . . . Professionally . . . Timely . . . attentive and great attention to detail. We could not ask for more!!! She listened to a message we were looking to portray to our customers and delivered a scheme that captured everything we wanted to say!” GoFish Designs is built on dependable, reliable, great quality service. According to Natasha, “If people trust me, then they will trust my business.” So remember, for customized, high-quality design solutions, turn to the professionals at GoFish Designs and “get hooked on great design”!

In addition to the many business services provided, GoFish Designs uses all local, Plant City-based vendors. For example, all their printing is produced in collaboration

For more information about GoFish Designs visit or contact Natasha directly at or (813) 967-7113.

natasha mcdowell owner of gofish designs

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


business focus » hopewell funeral home and memorial garden • 813-737-3128 •

The staff at Hopewell works hard to make sure that every family has a smooth, peaceful experience.

A Celebration of Life

Hopewell Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens is a family owned funeral home and cemetery with three generations of service to the community since 1972. Maintaining the legacy are the owners Margie Willis and Glenda Haney (sisters) and the President Edwena Haney. They are descendants of the McDonald family who settled the area and named it Hopewell in 1868. The Directors Michael DaGrosa and Dan G. Druen, Jr. possess over 65 years of experience and bring a wealth of knowledge, true compassion, and professionalism to Hopewell and the community. Mr. Druen explains their approach to serving families, “We understand the importance of celebrating a life, and we encourage the participation of everyone who has been touched by that


august 2010

by Hopewell Funeral Home

life. We believe in really listening to our families, and facilitating a meaningful celebration of life based on the context of that life.”

Longtime local residents Ralph Shope, Gerald Beatty, Wayne Glover, Jim Watson, Victor Hamilton, Craig Simons, John Evenson, and Taylor Hamilton serve Hopewell as ambassadors. According to Margie Willis, “These local treasures really enjoy helping people, and the community finds comfort in seeing familiar friendly faces.” “You are only as good as the people you employ,” says Edwena Haney, “I believe we have the best. Our staff makes the difference.

Hopewell Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens.

business focus » hopewell funeral home and memorial garden • 813-737-3128 •

We have a strong belief that community service and funeral service are synonymous.

Marsha Passmore, a lifetime local resident, serves Hopewell as Director of Marketing. “Her community involvement and outreach is vital to our mission,” Edwena Haney explains, “We have a strong belief that community service and funeral service are synonymous.” Mrs. Passmore serves on the boards of Plant City Entertainment, Arts Council, East Hillsborough Law Enforcement Association, East Hillsborough Historical Society, and United Food Bank of Plant City, and on the Board of Trustees for the First United Methodist Church. She also serves as the Chairperson of the Boy Scouts Association Fundraiser 2011, and on the committees for South Florida Baptist Hospital, Diamonds and Denim fundraiser, and the Veteran’s Monument. In addition, the Hopewell team has a strong belief that community involvement is vital. Managing partner Margie Willis is a member of Plant City’s First Baptist Church, active choir member, Board member of Steppin’ Stone Farm, and participant in the Annual Relay for Life Fund Raiser. President, Edwena Haney is a member of the Plant City Chamber of Commerce. Hopewell is a major sponsor for South Florida Baptist Foundation’s Fall Fancy, a supporter to and involved with Plant City Photo Archives, the Pregnancy Care Center, Diamonds & Denims, East Hillsborough County Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet, United Food Bank of Plant City Celebrity Chef Dinner, The Strawberry Growers Association, and this year Hopewell is the breakfast sponsor for their annual Agri-business Conference, and the Boy Scout Association Annual Fundraiser. For more information about Hopewell Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens, you can call 813.737.3128, email at info@, or you can find them at

Find a beautiful burial site at Hopewell Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens.

lenda Haney, Margie Willis, Edwena Haney, Marsha Passmore, and Michael Dagrosa discuss funeral arrangements. foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010



august 2010


RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room




The Red Rose Ballroom will rock-out on this night when The Contours take the stage! Their #1 Hit “Do You Love Me” was featured in the hit film “Dirty Dancing” with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. P.J. Leary & The Las Vegas Sounds will perform before and after The Contours. It’s a ‘don’t miss event’ for all Motown music lovers! Reserve your space early, this show will sell quickly!


RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room


RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room



P. J. Leary & the Las Vegas Sounds, also featuring special guests, Cover to Cover and Ken Brady (Lead Singer of The Casinos), featuring the 1967 hit “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” before and after the show in the Red Rose Dining Room.



Original founding member, George Galfo brings his Mystics to the Red Rose Dining Room singing their hit song “Hushabye” and many more memorable Doo Wop favorites! DESTINY performs before and after the show.



A dynamite crowd pleaser! DESTINY performs before and after the show.


RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room



A dynamite crowd pleaser! P.J. Leary & The Las Vegas Sounds also performs before and after the show.



Richie Merritt of the Marcels will be performing in the Red Rose Dining Room with P.J. Leary and the Las Vegas Sounds.

OCTOBER 16 & 22

RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room




A dynamite crowd pleaser! P.J. Leary & The Las Vegas Sounds perform before and after the show.


RALPH ALLOCCO & SECOND WIND Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room

Delfonics OCTOBER 23




Two Grammy Nominated & Award Winning Groups in one great night! The legendary DELFONICS singing their hit – “La La Means I Love You,” plus much more, and lead singer of The Blue Notes, Arthur “Sugar Bear” Aiken. Hear songs like “If You Don't Know Me By Now,” “The Love I Lost” & many more. Johnny Alston’s Motown Rock & Roll Revue will perform before and after the show in the Red Rose Ballroom.


COVER TO COVER The band performs in the Red Rose Dining Room, plus PJ Leary & The Las Vegas Sounds before and after the show


Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room





Doo Wop At Its Best! Relive the 50s & 60s as though it was yesterday – “Forever in Love, ” Just Over the Brooklyn Bridge.” PLUS

Please call for ticket prices. Shows in the Red Rose Ballroom are in a supper club atmosphere with a four course meal (seats also available for the show only – for a lower price!) NO COVER CHARGE for shows in the 5-Star Red Rose Dining Room with the purchase of dinner. Show Guests - inquire about our special room rates when staying overnight after a show!


with special guest KEN BRADY (Lead Singer of The Casinos), featuring the 1967 hit “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” before and after the show in the Red Rose Dining Room.

TEL: 813.752.3141

I-4 Exit 21 • 2011 N. Wheeler St.• Plant City, FL 33563


Mrs. Evelyn Madonia - Owner/General Manager foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


business focus » rrr farm • 7449 loghouse road, plant city, fl • 813-982-1172

RRR Farm is family owned and operated by Victoria Rabon, Ray Rabon and Victoria Rabon Garcia.

RRR Farm O n a 10-acre stretch of groomed pasture, RRR Farm offers more than superior horse boarding. The fully functioning and high-tech ranch is now open year-round to accommodate events from weddings, theme parties, corporate events and continues to open its doors for a broader variety of events. For example, the farm hosts “Family Fun Days” where horse lover and horses enjoy a fun filled day that includes classical favorite games like speed events, musical chairs, egg and spoon races, etc. We offer a “Cook Shack,” which houses a full kitchen and bathroom with shower, making it a unique indoor venue. The quiet country side offers seclusion and privacy for those who enjoy the outdoors. Brides especially love the facility because of the beautiful landscape. They also have several horses available if the bride wants to use them for her or anyone in the wedding party. There are several different breeds and colors to choose from. For the reception, there are several different options. The kitchen is perfectly set up for catering whether the family wants to do it themselves or bring in a caterer.


august 2010

Superior Horse Boarding and Perfect Venue for Special Events Depending on the size of the wedding, the barn makes a great reception area, or it can be poolside, and there is plenty of room to bring in a tent. They are very laid back at RRR and can work around anyone’s needs or requests. The first step for anyone looking for a unique venue for their next event is to call and schedule a tour. Visitors to the farm are also invited to bring their horses for a day of relaxing fun, or horses can be provided by RRR Farm for riding lessons. Lessons are available for riders of all ability levels and different riding styles. Their certified equine massage therapist offers her services at any time to any horse either on premises or off. The ranch also offers a hot walker and a 64-foot round pen where owners can enjoy time with their horses. The oversized, 200- by 300-foot arena features onsite seasonal shows such as the National Barrel Race Association. Since its completion, the farm has provided the latest technology and has catered to visitors of all ages and lifestyles.

A boarder using the RRR facilities to take care of her horse. The wash rack makes it very convenient to bathe the horses.

business focus » rrr farm • 7449 loghouse road, plant city, fl • 813-982-1172

Sophia is one of the students who take riding lessons at RRR Farm.

isa Hasenbeck boards and trains her horses at RRR Farm. RRR Farm is best known for its beautiful and affordable horse boarding stalls. South and north barn facilities are used for lessons, boarding and training, making it an ideal spot for a horse to claim as home. Only the finest amenities are offered such as oversized, 14- by 16-foot stalls in addition to automatic water, fans and fly-misting systems. Covered wash racks provide hot or cold water to the horses’ liking. Experienced caretakers maintain and keep horses healthy with basic veterinary care, grooming and exercise. Plenty of paddocks are provided so that horses can roam and graze. Details, down to the minerals

provided in the feed and quality of hay. Stalls are cleaned and tended to daily. Ray Rabon and his daughter Victoria originally developed the land to solely serve as the family horse farm. Ray built the entire farm with the help of 10-year employee Ernesto Garcia, including the stalls and structures and spacious beautiful home, which is shared by RRR Farm owner and operator, Victoria Rabon and Lisa Garcia her sister and assistant. Authentic craftsmanship is a result of Ray’s strong passion for his work. According to the National Barrel Racing Association, “It’s one of the nicest places in Hillsborough County. They keep it in

The cook shack makes hosting events a breeze and offers many facilities to guests at the farm. tip-top shape all the time.” Although RRR Farm was originally built as a family ranch, its expansion has proven to provide a positive and supportive atmosphere for horse lovers of all ages. The Rabon’s take pride in putting the safety and care for animals first as well as working towards making every guest’s stay a fun one. Not far from several horse trails, RRR Farm atmosphere acquaints guests with peace and nature. Surveillance cameras film 24 hours a day for protection and comfort.

RRR Farm currently cares for 28 horses. Some are available for sale. They tend to 100 plus cattle and other family animals such as their dog, Eddie, who will gladly take a swim with you in the family pool. Ray also has an on-site repair shop where he refurbishes saddles and other leather work. He has been working with leather for over 50 years and continues to pursue his passion. For more information on shows, booking an event and buying horses, contact RRR Farm at (813) 982-1172. The farm is located at 7449 Loghouse Road.

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


business focus » the Courtney Paat State Farm Insurance Agency • 813-754-1725 •

Courtney Paat and her team. From top left-Will Stephens, Krystal Eddings, Courtney Paat, Amanda Swindle, Sherry Morrissey and Cody Skinner. Sitting from left: Bruce Gelin, Tina Lopez, Jessica Sepulveda and Nancy Medina.

Like a Good Neighbor T

he mission of State Farm Insurance is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams ( Local State Farm


august 2010

Agent, Courtney Paat leads a team of professionals who daily help others apply the State Farm mission to their own personal and business lives.

The Courtney Paat Insurance Agency, Inc.

Paat Insurance Is There

has been established in the Plant City community for eleven years. Overall, the insurance team at the agency has 86 years of combined insurance experience. Courtney alone has over 19 years of dedicated employment in the insurance

industry and graduated from Florida State University (Go ‘Noles!) with a degree in Risk Management and Insurance. State Farm provides both insurance and financial services. The Courtney Paat

business focus » the Courtney Paat State Farm Insurance Agency • 813-754-1725 • Insurance Agency is licensed to offer all State Farm products. This ensures that all of a client’s insurance and financial needs can be met through her agency. In addition to representing the largest Auto insurer in the US (one in every 5 cars is insured by State Farm), Courtney’s agency offers Homeowners, Flood, Life, Annuities, Health and Disability coverage. Banking services such as checking and savings, cd’s, credit cards, home and vehicle loans are provided by State Farm Bank. State Farm Mutual Funds supports investor services such as IRA’s, Mutual Funds and College Savings Plans. Clients of the Courtney Paat Insurance Agency can expect to find competitive rates, qualified professionals, a wide range of products, first class service, and options to fit a variety of needs and budgets. The team at the Paat Insurance Agency is licensed, trained and empowered to help each client realize their individual insurance needs, design a plan to minimize risk and protect a client’s assets. In addition, they are knowledgeable on insurance happenings within State Farm, in the overall insurance industry and in our local community. According to Courtney, “We focus on the relationship with the client. We take a holistic approach to meeting our client needs.” Clients are

encouraged to visit the Courtney Paat Insurance Agency to ensure one on one personal service. The team is available to discuss all your insurance needs and to help you custom create plans to best fit your needs and budget. In addition to running a successful insurance agency, Courtney Paat is a leader in community service. She is a member and advisor of the American Business Woman’s Association (ABWA), she is an active member with the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce and she is a strong financial supporter of our local schools and non-profit charities. She also places a strong emphasis on community and work outreach in the Hispanic community. Three of her nine team members are bilingual and she is a regular supporter of the community’s local events. In fact, the Courtney Paat Insurance Agency has great resources available to the Hispanic community with information regarding college scholarships, money management, immigration issues and voter registration. For more information about the Courtney Paat State Farm Insurance Agency or to learn how to lease available space in her brand new, spacious two story office complex on Jim Redman Parkway, call (813) 754-1725 or visit www.

Agent, Courtney Paat

Located at 1805 James Redman Parkway, Ste 101 Plant City, FL 33563 foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


business focus » Waller’s Power Equipment • 901 s. collins st., plant city, fl 33563 • 813-762-1066

Waller’s W

aller’s Power Equipment has one of the largest selections of quality equipment, parts and accessories in the local area. Waller’s 5,000 square foot showroom is packed with personal and commercial use products boasting brand names like TORO, Husqvarna, Shindaiwa, ECHO, SNAPPER, HONDA, SCAG, BiLLY GOAT, and more.

Waller’s Staff includes Bobby Snow, Leon Waller, Pat Hester, Jeff Waller, Daryl Sellers, Tommy Selph and Diane Jones

Proudly Serving Plant City for over 84 years Kohler, Kawasaki, Sears, Murray, Troy and Ryobi. Waller’s also has lawn mower blades to fit most every brand. They have over 200 styles and sizes in stock.

This establishment is locally owned and operated. In fact, the store currently has fifth generation family involved in running the business. Originally founded as Wright Furniture Hardware (by the current owner’s grandfather) in 1926, it In addition to equipment sales, Waller’s became Waller’s Hardware in 1954. Over services everything they sell. They even the last 83 years, Waller’s has sold hardware carry parts for products not sold in the items, toasters, Christmas decorations, store. These parts include product brands saws and television sets. T.V.’s and like Briggs and Stratton, Lawn-Boy, MTD, appliances were a large part of the business


august 2010

from the early 50’s to mid-60’s. The Waller family owned the first television in Plant City. The only station available at the time was out of Jacksonville. Leon Waller is reminiscent about inviting friends to the house to watch a special show, “sometimes we would have a picture and sometimes there would be snow on the screen, you never knew.”

insistence on great customer service and knowing what products customers want and need. Much of this success can be attributed to the fact that Waller’s has been owned by the same family, and to this day, is still managed by the grandson and great grandson of the founder.

Pricing is also an important component of Waller’s continued customer satisfaction. According to Leon Waller, “Sometimes Originally there were six hardware stores in Plant City and they sold all of the people assume because we are smaller basic appliances. Times and customer than the large chain stores, we must have needs have changed. The evolution of the higher prices. The truth is our prices are fair and competitive with all local stores business to primarily power equipment products today is due to the Waller family’s and vendors. Many times we are lower

business focus » Waller’s Power Equipment • 901 s. collins st., plant city, fl 33563 • 813-762-1066 priced. We want to supply customer’s with products to suit their power equipment needs, giving them quality products, outstanding service and fair prices.” Today, Waller’s has ten employees, including two of the founder’s grandchildren who help when home from college (Kristen Jones and Joel Waller). Store owners appreciate their hard work and dedication. Employees manage and rely on a customer database system which provides a history of customer purchases and the reason for their purchase. Each time the customer comes into the store, employees know their product needs and their purchasing trends. This ensures that each customer is treated as a valued customer. In fact, if Waller’s doesn’t feel they have the very best product to service the customer’s needs, they will refer them to another store. According to Waller’s, “We run our business as we have for the past 80 years, with honesty and appreciation for our customers.” Waller’s Power Equipment is located at 901 S. Collins Street, Plant City, FL 33563. They can be reached at (813) 762-1066.

Waller’s staff member Bobby Snow works with customers Steven Harris and Jarrod Cauley to find best pricing for their equipment purchase.

Commitment to customer service keeps Waller’s customers coming back. foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


business focus » Woodside Dental • 704 N. Alexander St• 813-752-5554

Woodside Dental Family - Receptionist Lois Bruischat, Manager Cyndi Jones, Hygienist Brenda Taylor, Chair-side Assistants Jackie Lookado and Darla McKinney and Dr. Pat Almerico

Woodside Dental I f you’re looking for a local dentist, Woodside Dental may just be the place for you. Dentist Pat Almerico has been practicing dentistry in Plant City for more than 25 years. His practice is located at 704 North Alexander Street, directly across from fire station No. 2. Dr. Almerico has a history of dentistry in his family tree. His great grandfather was also a dentist, but the educational requirements were somewhat different in that day and time. His great grandfather graduated from high school and went to college to pursue a degree in dentistry. He had a practice in Georgia for a while, but


august 2010

Helps You Create the Best Smile in Town

later went back to school to get his law degree, and eventually moved to Florida. Almerico admits that he didn’t know his great grandfather and wasn’t influenced by him, but said, “It’s neat that he was a dentist.” Almerico graduated high school in 1972 and applied to dental schools in the northeast, and to the University of Southern California. “Dental schools were much more limited in the 1980s than they are today, and most of them were in the northeast.” He ultimately decided on the University of Pennsylvania and graduated a few

years later. Upon graduation, Almerico worked for another practice and just a few years later, in 1987, ventured out on his own, opening an office located in one of the spaces next to Beef O’Brady’s, at the southeast corner of Alexander Street and Jim Redman Parkway. Almerico spent the past 20 years there, but recently moved into his new office at 704 North Alexander St. About five years ago, Almerico bought the property for the new location. Construction began in June of 2008, and he closed his old office just before the holidays to reopen the new location the first week of January. After the first

few weeks in the new location, Almerico says business began to pick up, and new clients are finding the new location, so the business is growing. This growth has resulted in the addition of Friday hours for the practice. Almerico offers general dentistry to his patients: Fillings and periodontal care, crown and bridge, root canals, extractions and surgical extractions, partials and removable prosthetics. He has an experienced and capable staff that includes Manager Cyndi Jones, Receptionist Lois Bruischat, Hygienist Brenda Taylor, and Chair-side Assistants Jackie Lookado and Darla McKinney. He also believes

business focus » Woodside Dental • 704 N. Alexander St• 813-752-5554 in offering great customer service and a patient-friendly atmosphere. In fact, Almerico likes to say that he wants people to come to him as patients, but leave as friends. Almerico understands why so many people don’t like to go to the dentist – because they associate the dentist with pain, even through something as simple as a cleaning. Realizing it can be a traumatic and negative experience for patients, and in light of his commitment to excellent customer service, Almerico has what he calls a Gentle Hygiene Team. They get the work done, but are very careful eliminate or minimize any pain in the process. This

alone should entice those who might be overdue for a visit to the dentist to give them a try. If you’re looking for a new dentist, or maybe just haven’t been to the dentist a while, give Pat Almerico and his staff an opportunity to serve you. Who knows, you may leave their office as a friend, too. Woodside Dental is conveniently open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and Wednesday from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. For more information or to make an appointment call (813) 752-5554.

Dr. Pat Almerico foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010




1204 N. Frontage Rd. Plant City 813-927-1288 Just west of Park Road along the north side of I-4 (exit 22)

T R E E S 66

august 2010



Are you new to Medicare? Are you confused by the recent Medicare changes? Are you over 65 and losing your employer sponsored health plan? Are you an employer with 65 year old employees? Are you under 65 and on Medicare Disability?

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WE WANTTO HELP! V & R Insurance

1501 S. Alexander St., Suite 104 • Plant City, FL 33563 813-752-2065 | 813-759-1789 fax |


Auto- Owners Insurance ranks highest among auto insurance providers in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008-2009 Auto Claims Studies. SM Study based on 11,616 total responses, ranking 25 insurance providSM Auto-Excludes Owners Insurance among auto insurance providersroadside in the J.D. Power and 2008-2009 Auto Claimsstudy Studies. basedononexperiences 11,616 total and responses, ranking insurancesurveyed providers. those with ranks claimshighest only for glass/windshield, theft/stolen, assistance orAssociates bodily injury claims. Proprietary resultsStudy are based perceptions of 25 consumers SM are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed FOR YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS Excludes those with claims onlyamong for glass/windshield, bodily injury claims. Proprietary study results Auto-ers. Owners Insurance ranks highest auto insurancetheft/stolen, providers inroadside the J.D. Power andorALL Associates 2008-2009 Auto Claims Studies. Study based on 11,616 total responses, ranking 25 insurance providJune 2008 - assistance June 2009. Your experiences may vary. Visit 2008 assistance - June 2009.orYour experiences may vary. Visit ers. Excludes those with claims only for glass/windshield, theft/stolen,June roadside bodily injury claims. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed June 2008 - June 2009. Your experiences may vary. Visit

503 W. Martin Luther King Blvd., Plant City

813-752-4155 Auto-Owners Insurance ranks highest among auto insurance providers in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008-2009 Auto Claims Studies.SM Study based on 11,616 total responses, ranking 25 insurance providers. Excludes those with claims only for glass/windshield, theft/stolen, roadside assistance or bodily injury claims. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed June 2008 - June 2009. Your experiences may vary. Visit

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


Now RegisteRiNg ages 1-4 for fall Before/after school care for Walden Lake Elementary School

business » edward jones

Full time VPK and FREE part time VPK

Highly Qualified Staff

School-Aged Summer Camp

Low Student/ Teacher Ratios

Accepting School Readiness

High Kindergarten School Readiness Rates

Walden Lake Early Learning Center 2730 Turkey Creek Rd Plant City, FL 33566 813-752-7008

Can You Save for Retirement and College?

submitted By: edward jones

As another school year approaches, you may be thinking about the day in which you’ll be sending your children off to college. Can you afford to help them pay for school while still saving for your own retirement? There are many strategies to explore when saving for your retirement and your child’s education. To implement the right mix of options, it’s important to discuss your situation with a professional financial advisor, but here are some options to consider: * Contribute to your 401(k). Since many people don’t have unlimited funds available to save for retirement and college, it’s important to get the most mileage possible from the money invested. Try to utilize the tax-advantaged retirement accounts available to you. For starters, contribute as much as you can afford to your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. Not only can your earnings grow on a taxdeferred basis, but your contributions are generally made with pretax dollars, so the more you contribute, the lower your annual taxable income — which, in turn, could give you more disposable income to invest for college. In 2010, you can contribute up to $16,500 to your 401(k), or $22,000 if you’re 50 or older. * Fund your IRA. Depending on your income level, your contributions to a traditional IRA may also lower your taxable income, again potentially freeing up resources for college. Plus, your earnings can grow tax deferred. If you qualify for a Roth IRA, your contributions are not tax-deductible, but your earnings grow tax free. Withdrawals are also taxfree, provided you’ve held your account at


august 2010

least five years and you don’t start taking withdrawals until you’re at least age 59½. Also, you can withdraw Roth IRA contributions without paying taxes (since you’ve already been taxed on this money), so you could use these funds, if necessary, to help pay for college costs, although ideally you’d like to leave your account untouched until you retire. If eligible, you can contribute up to $5,000 to your traditional or Roth IRA in 2010, or $6,000 if you’re 50 or older. * Open a 529 college savings plan. Contributions to a 529 plan are made with after-tax dollars. However, when you contribute to a 529 plan, your earnings grow tax free. Withdrawals are also taxfree, provided they are used for qualified higher education expenses. (Withdrawals for expenses other than qualified higher education expenditures may be subject to federal and state taxes plus a 10% penalty.) Furthermore, 529 plan contributions may be eligible for a state tax deduction or credit in certain states for residents who participate in their own state’s plan. Also, the lifetime contribution limits for 529 plans are quite generous, and you can gift $13,000 per year, per beneficiary, without incurring gift taxes. To make sure you understand the tax ramifications of a 529 plan, you’ll want to consult with your tax advisor. It may not be easy to put away as much as we’d like for retirement and college. But you do have some attractive savings and investment options. Don’t delay, because when saving for any goal, time is a great ally.

MARKLEY CHIROPRACTIC Dr. Guy Markley • Dr. Robyn Markley • Judy Markley A.P.


- Back pain and Headaches - Sports/exercise injuries - Arm and leg pain - Auto injury - Many aging problems - Whole food nutrition - Pregnant women and children welcome


- Sciatica - Shoulder/knee pain - Allergies - Nutritional testing/ counseling - Weight loss

1802 W. Baker Street. Plant City, Florida. 752-6001 Monday -Friday 9 am-1 pm; 3 pm-6 pm Back Row: Judy Markley A.P., Dr. Guy Markley, Dr. Robyn Markley-McGarry, Front Row: Julie Pippin C.A., Donna Pettit C.A., Vicki Hutcheson C.A.

First impressions count, especially when it comes to your work wardrobe. We’re a Sanitone® Certified Master Dry Cleaner, which means we have the high standards for detail and finish that will keep your clothes looking great day after day. Our exclusive cleaning process has been trusted by leading designers for over 75 years. Trust Myers Cleaners with your business clothes. We’ll show you the difference.

Free Pick-up & Delivery

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


Are you in your


business » success

Emergency Medical Services EMT/Paramedic Medical Assistant Medical Insurance Coding Specialist Call Today



For A Better Future!

863-646-1400 • Financial Aid Available for Those Who Qualify • Placement Assistance Available

5925 Imperial Parkway, Suite 200, Mulberry, Florida 33860

Where it’s nice to be


FEEL the difference: • PROFESSIONALISM... someone you would feel comfortable sending your friends and family to • KNOWLEDGE... extensive education and training • EXPERIENCE... 14 years can make! MM15607 For an appointment call Christina “Nikki” Jackson


(813) 477-7978

august 2010


110 W. Reynolds St. #217 Gift Certificates Available

Reliant Adjusters Group Inc. S o what exactly is a Public Adjuster?

A public adjuster helps homeowners who are dealing with the aftermath of an insurance loss. These types of loses can range from sinkholes, hurricane damages, fires, and pipe breaks. We at Reliant Adjusters Group are licensed by the state of Florida and have assisted several hundreds of homeowners since 2004 in obtaining the true settlement they are owed from their insurance carrier. A qualified public adjuster can alleviate much of the confusion felt when the average individual is dealing with their insurance company. Not only can the insurance policy be difficult to understand, but the claim process can be overwhelming, especially when a homeowner lacks the construction experience needed to know the real dollar value required to properly repair their home. A public adjuster works with the insurance company directly in order to help the homeowner with their claim.

shutting properly, and soil depressions near the house. What drew you into the field of Public Adjusting?

Reliant Adjusters Group feels there is no greater reward than helping people in need. An insurance claim can be a very personal experience, as you are dealing with a person’s home. Having a construction background has definitely been a benefit for both of us. It’s one thing to be able to identify what the damages are to a home, but it’s another to understand the amount of money required to bring that home back to the condition it was before the loss occurred. Anything you would like people to know about your business and where you see yourself in the future?

Well, like most business owners we want to continue to grow, but it has always been important for us to be able to give each client the personal attention they What are the biggest problems you see when need. One of the best compliments we dealing with Sinkhole claims? receive is when we get referrals from past clients who we’ve helped. I cannot stress Improper repair methods are among the enough how important it is to at least have top issues we run into. Another common us review your property if you think you problem is the lack of proper investigation have signs of sinkhole damage. For those in determining whether a sinkhole who have already filed a claim, Florida exists. In addition to these issues, often a allows homeowners five years to re-open homeowner may not even realize they have an insurance claim. Even if you already sinkhole activity at their home until the accepted a settlement you may still be damages become severe. Common signs to owed additional funds. look for are cracked walls and foundations, cracked drywall, doors and windows not

business » success

SPECIAL: SUMMER 5.99 Breakfast $ ffee, tea, includes co or soda ru Friday Monday th


1101 Goldfinch Dr. • 813.754.5120 Mon-Sun 7:00 am - 8:30 pm

Frank Plumb Pearle Vision (Owner of Brandon and Lakeland locations) I was born in Canton, Ohio and spent the first 21 years of my life there. The Navy brought me to Tampa in 1972, and I have been in the area since then. I graduated from Hillsborough Community College in 1979 and got my opticians license that same year. I have been working in the field since that time and have been a Pearle Vision Franchisee since 1983.

» Aspirations:

It is my goal to provide the best optical products and service to our communities at a fair price. I do this by hiring qualified, dedicated people to staff my stores. My son Michael is the manager of the Lakeland location and my daughter Sara is the manager of the Brandon location.

» Inspirations:

I am inspired by the true heroes in our society, our protectors such as police,

firefighters and military. These people risk life and limb so that the rest of us can do what we do.

» Successes:

I consider my successes in my personal life to be my three children, all grown and living good lives helping others. Professionally, I consider the fact that I have been in business for 27 years and have been recognized by my peers and my company to be my greatest success.

» Future:

I would like to work in my stores for nine of ten more years and then step aside and let Michael and Sara take over. Some traveling with my wife will be my new adventure.

101 S. Collins St. • Plant City • 33563

“making the world more beautiful one room at a time”

Full Service Design Heartstrings Boutique now carrying Miche Bags and designer custom jewelry

Patricia Rogers Owner/Decorator

754-1567 foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


American Auto Repair and Service “Where We Treat Your Car As If It Was Our Own”

Complete Auto Service Center

A/C Service $34.95 Includes 1 lb 134A Freon Fuel Injection Flush $99.95 Auto Transmission Service Flush & Filter Change $149.95 & up 4 Wheel Alignment $59.95 Tires, Wheels & Much More. Free Alignment with 4 New Tires

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9035 Woodrow Wilson St • Plant City, Fl 33563 • Hours Of Operation: Mon. - Fri 7:00am to 5:30pm

Se Habla Espanol


180 bed nursing and rehabilitation center Physical, occupational, and speech therapists State-of-the-art 5,000 square foot therapy gym

The Health Center of Plant City 701 N. Wilder rd.

813-752-3611 72

august 2010

Now Accepting


Find Your New Home Today!

This is a special advertising section

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010



Cheryl McDaniel has joined our office and brings with her more than 19 years’ experience in Real Estate; most recently new home construction for one of the area’s largest builders. Cheryl lives in Plant City and is eager to help buyers and sellers today. Please give her a call at the office, 813-754-3586 or her mobile 813-758-1429. We are glad to have Cheryl on board!



Well cared for home with immediate occupancy. Approx. 5 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 throughout except ceramic tile in wet areas. Large walk-in closet in master bedroom with double vanity, a whirlpool tub and separate shower. Home Warranty included. Please call Jean Bridgmon, 813-478-3107. $119,900. MLS T2429843

Original Charles Rutenberg home is a beauty. 4 bedrooms & 2.5 baths, formal living w/fireplace, dining, open kitchen/ family room combo. Large under roof lanai, sporty “L” shaped pool w/spa. Shows like a model! Call Maddie @ 813-382-8382 to preview. $279,900. MLS#T2427930




Beautiful two story Victorian home with 5 bedrooms, 3 baths in the historic district of Plant City. Home has been featured on several home tours, and has many features including 6 fireplaces, wrap-around porch, walk-in pantry, beveled glass windows and doors, kitchen island, cathedral ceilings, and crown moulding. The home is sitting on one and a half acre with inground pool and outside grilling area. The home was built by a local doctor in 1908. A must see if you love older homes with charm and character. More than 4700 square feet for $259,000. Call Malissa Crawford 813-967-0168. MLS #T2428854


Don’t delay! One of the last opportunities to purchase a homesite in this serene community. Surrounded by beautiful custom built homes. 2 sites left in prestigious Sam Allen Oaks is the perfect place to build your dream home. Call Malissa Crawford for more information 813-967-0168

Room to roam and priced to sell!! This 2000 built home offers 3 spacious bedrooms with walk-in closets. The large family room is open to the kitchen -- great for your guests and family gatherings. And all on 2.4 acres! $119,000. Call Malissa Crawford today 813-967-0168. MLS #T2431442


Over 18,000 sq ft of historic gorgeous commercial in downtown Plant City. Could be used for retail, loft apartments, studio space, warehouse/storage. Lease or purchase. Motivated sellers!!! $949,000. MLS # T2426002. Call Maggie Beard 813-299-7155


1 spectacular acre DIRECTLY on Lake Thonotosassa, grandfather oaks, existing large storage building. NO fees, NO deed restrictions! ABSOLUTLY BEAUTIFULL! $275,000. MLS # T2414916. Call Maggie Beard 813-299-7155




This elegant home is perfect for entertaining, boasting a formal living room, formal dining room, a large family room w/wet bar and eat-in nook, plus a music room! The 3 car detached garage has a full stand up attic for all your storage needs, as well as an additional finished storage area (28x48) that could be used for office space, mother-in-law apartment ... the sky is the limit! Words and pictures cannot begin to do this property justice -- you truly must see for yourself. Call Cheryl McDaniel 813-758-1429. MLS #T2328244

Visit the Award Winning Park Place model today and find out more about the Energy Star home and savings available to you! Model Center is open 7 days/week. Marketed exclusively by Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. Located on Gordon St, between Baker and Frontage Rd. Visit or call today, 813-704-5924. Affordable homes priced from the 160’s.

Single family detached “condo”, 2 models listed. Golf course view w/designer kitchen and 3BR/2BA split plan with waterfront view. Private gated community within Walden Lake. Ready for carefree living, take your pick, $179,900. Call Maddie @ 813382-8382. MLS #T2422679

Ideal for multi-generational family! 3 way split of 6 BR and 4 .5 BA, with TWO family rooms AND huge bonus room AND formal living and dining. 3 car garage. On a full acre overlooking conservation, cul-de-sac street of lovely custom homes, just three minutes to I-4. MLS # T2388067. Call Maggie Beard 813-299-7155

Call us for your Residential and Commercial Real Estate needs

1513 Jim Redman Parkway, Plant City



august 2010




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

Jimmie Robinson - 813-754-3586 ext 222

E-mail: • toll free 1-877-442-7001

824 TRAPNELL RD 3 BR/2 BA/2 CG built in 2005 and situated on 1+ acre in the country. Home features 1868 SF living plus front and rear porch. Come take a look at this beauty! $190,000. MLS#T2429354.

205 W CALHOUN ST Cute 3/2 block home on a corner lot convenient to town. Home has almost 2000 SF living, updated kitchen, fireplace, two car garage & more. $159,900. MLS#T2424395.

5602 THONOTOSASSA RD 10 acres MOL with lots of trees and small creek running through property that includes 3BR/1 BA block home w/over 1700 SF living. $399,900. MLS#T2400163.

LAKE LOUISA, CLERMONT Recently remodeled 4/2 lake house w/over 2400 SF living, newer roof, septic, flooring and A/C plus double boathouse with lifts. Your own personal getaway-$499,900. MLS#T2423081.



1633 EAGLES GREEN #17 Walden Lake-2/2 condo located on the golf course and conservation area. Updated kitchen and bath, new wood flooring, screen porch and open floor plan. $139,900. MLS#T2381230.

908 N COLLINS ST 4/3.5 built in 2005 and situated on the brick streets of Plant City. Energy efficient home has granite countertops, balcony off master and 2576 SF living. $274,500. MLS#T2423487.




528 HALF MILE RD Two homes for the price of one on 1+ acre-main home is 3BR/2BA/2CG w/1400 SF and 2nd home is 1BR/1BA w/carport. Pool area between homes. $225,000. MLS#T2388754.

1504 PINEDALE MEADOWS Neat and clean two-story 3 BR/2.5 BA +upstairs office with over 1900 SF living and situated on a cul-de-sac with nice landscaped yard. $174,900. MLS#T2429521.




115 ALSOBROOK ST 3 BR/1 BA historic home in need of TLC1231 SF living. Situated on 1/2 acre corner lot inside the city limits. Now only $49,900. MLS#T2419457.

8062 BULL LN 4BR/3BA manufactured home on fenced 1.27 acres. Over 2300 SF living, deck and large workshop area. Just reduced-$139,900. MLS#T2388743.

2104 S FORBES RD Neat and clean 3 BR/2.5 BA home on 1+ acres with fireplace, volume ceilings, great room PLUS a garage ready for all the toys! Now only $238,090. MLS#T2422795.


Classic 3/2 situated inside the historic district. Home in need of renovation from fire damage, but lots of potential and over 2900 SF living. $100,000. MLS#T2421560.

Land and Commercial ZEPHYRHILLS




20+ acres-$250,000. MLS#T2385378

20+ acres-$362,780. MLS#T2425622.

4000 SF warehouse-$310,000. MLS#T2400242




20+ acres w/1520 SF building-$1,300,000. MLS#T2386723

60+ acres-$1,200,000. MLS#T2399075

8 acres w/home-$300,000. MLS#T2390805

4938 SF office building-$349,000. MLS#T2330860





4675 SF warehouse building built in 2005$600,000. MLS#T2424376.

20+ acres-$650,000. MLS#T2423651

Fenced 5 acres w/grandfather oaks. Reduced to $145,000. MLS#T2403156

18,786 SF historic office building-$949,000. MLS#T2426002

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010



COMPARE US TO ANY BANK I GUARANATEE YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED • First Time Home Buyer Loans • No Cost Refiancing • Debt Consolidation • No Down Payment

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request your copy of a FREE report that reveals the factors that are considered When Determining Your Interest Rate.

Happy 1st Birthday Paitlyn Grace!

A year of laughter, learning and fun has past so quickly! 2 months

3 months

5 months

4 months

1 month

12 months 11 months

9 months

10 months


6 months

You have brought so much joy into our lives, you truly are a blessing. We love you so much, Da-Da, Ma-Ma, Sissy and Bub-ba-Buster

august 2010

8 months

7 months

real estate » walden lake


One bedroom Apartments • Rent based on income

Plant City Towers Plant City Living Center

Walden Lake T

he Walden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are the third Monday of each month. The next meeting will be September 20th at 6:00 PM at the Walden Lake HOA office building on Griffin Boulevard in Walden Lake. The meeting is open to all residents interested in attending.

At the recent meeting, the Walden Lake Board discussed the dead trees in Walden Lake. Jan Griffin specifically wants the trees down prior to the active hurricane season. If the trees aren’t taken down, it could be very dangerous particularly if a tree were to block a roadway. It was decided to get two quotes which would include cutting down of the trees, grinding and removal.

Review submitted By: natalie sweet

possible. Items posted on a regularly basis only through the website are the Board meeting minutes; monthly crime reports provided by the Plant City Police Department; calendar of individual HOA Board meetings. Free classified listings are available for registered residents which all residents receive in the weekly e-mail. If you haven’t registered on the website please contact Bette Guarino at 754-8999 or e-mail her with your property address requesting your registration key at betteg@ The website address is Membership fees are reduced for the remainder of 2010 for any Walden Lake residents interested in joining the Dog Park, beginning August 1st. For more information contact the office.

The alarm system was installed in the new Homeowner’s Association buildings by 24 Alarm and is now working. All doors and windows of the office and maintenance buildings are armed in addition to having cameras.

Aston Woods, Silverlake and Parkwood neighborhood entrances will be replanted soon. The replanting of the entrances has been a larger task than normal because of the enormity of lost plants due to the freeze.

Residents who are registered on Walden Lake’s website receive alerts within 24 hours of posting and announcements once a week through their e-mail. Alerts were sent out regarding the sinkholes and road closures. Should the need arise during Hurricane season it is very important to reach as many residents as quickly as

Walden Lake Golf & Country Club is now booking golf tournaments and holiday parties for the upcoming season. They recommend booking early to be sure your date is available. Call 752-1171, extension 222 and speak to Tracey to schedule.

405 E. Damon St Plant City, FL 33563 813.659.2669

103 W. Mahoney St. Plant City, FL 33563 813.752.5116

Applications available at each location


Music Lessons

School of Music & Arts A Ministry of Plant City’s First Baptist Church Private Lessons Offered In:

Piano Voice Guitar Bass Guitar Drums Cello

Violin Viola Bass Trumpet Percussion and Timpani

A Group Class is available for Preschoolers (ages 3-5 years) Titled Music to Grow On We are also offering a new group Sewing Class Fall Semester August 23 – December 10, 2010 For more information contact Della Watson : 813-750-4878

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010




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real estate » mortgage

(Adjacent to the main entrance of the hospital)

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Multiple Policies. One agent. I can help you save time & money. One agent for all your insurance needs saves time. And Allstate’s multi-policy discounts are an easy way to save money. For affordable protection for your car, boat, motorcycle and more, call me first.


Insurance and discounts subject to terms, conditions and availability. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company: Northbrook, Illinois © 2010 Allstate Insurance Company.


august 2010

Mortgage » Myth:

Banks have better rates because they are direct to the consumer versus using a “middle man” such as a mortgage brokerage.

» Fact: Mortgage Companies work with wholesale lenders who typically are able to offer lower rates to the consumer since they do not have the overhead of traditional bank or lenders. These wholesale lenders are not burdened with the same overhead such as huge payroll expenses, offices across the state, and other overhead. Wholesale lenders only loan thru brokers and therefore have a significant cost advantage. They don’t pay the brokerages a dime

Myth Busters submitted By: nate davis

unless the mortgage company issues a loan. The mortgage company/brokerage can then in turn offer the lender’s retail rates to the consumer and will still be less than the rate of the direct banks rate 95% of the time. There are also many other factors that support this cost advantage including cost of capital overhead. I realize that that it is hard to digest that a “middle man” would offer lower rates than a direct lender, but that it happens more than you would think. I would encourage all customers to shop around, but do yourself a favor and get a quote from a mortgage company while comparing rates as you will often be surprised as a “middle man” can often offer “Direct Rates”.

Team Wainoris ...Selling Hillsborough and Polk Multi-Million Dollar Producers |

Randall Wainoris 813-997-3000 REALTOR®/Attorney at Law

Kathleen Wainoris 863-608-1557 REALTOR® Notary

REAL ESTATE TRIVIA QUESTION: What is big and purple and can help you sell your home fast? a. Barney the dinosaur b. One eyed, one horned flying purple people eater c. Team Wainoris for sale sign No!! is NOT Barney!!! It is the BIG PURPLE TEAM WAINORIS FOR SALE SIGN, carefully placed in your front yard to go along with the Team Wainoris marketing plan. We provide all of our clients award winning professional service, continuous updates, and substantial on-line marketing of your home to include, virtual tours and quality photographs of your property. No real estate team will work harder to get your home sold fast in this very challenging market. We specialize in short sales and difficult listings, and will take care of everything. Call Team Wainoris today!

PLANT CITY DREAM! Magnificent 5 bedroom, 4 1/2 bath Walden Lake pool home with private fishing pier. Tremendous volume ceilings, huge master suite, gourmet island granite kitchen and so much more! Asking $499,900.

WALDEN LAKE TWO STORY POOL HOME 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with upstairs loft overlooking great room. Beautiful stained wood staircase, family room with fireplace and so much more. Short sale: bank approved price of just $149,900.

CUTE AS A BUTTON Adorable south Lakeland 3 bed/2 bath home with fresh paint, newer roof and new a/c, renovated master bath,large fenced yard and screened patio. Short sale: Bring all offers. REDUCED TO JUST $$75,000.

BUILD YOUR DREAM! Wonderful building lot in desirable South Lakeland with no deed restrictions. George Jenkins schools. Beautiful level treed property with direct street frontage. Asking $59,000.

SOUTH LAKELAND SHORT SALE Wonderful 4 bedroom 2 bath home off of Shepherd Road Volume ceilings, open floor plan, covered porch with fenced yard Asking just $125,000.


Beautiful 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on quiet cul de sac located in Hallam area of Lakeland. Large master suite, huge family room with fireplace. Reduced to just $159,000.

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


real estate » jo-ann lusk

0% for 24 months**

3.99% for 60 months***

PLANT CITY'S LARGEST SELECTION OF ZERO TURN MOWERS Over 25 models to choose from Optional Accessories: • Twin Bagger • Recycler® Mulch Kit • Foot Assist Height of Cut System • Sunshade • Rubber Floor Mat • Hitch Kit Mon-Fri: 8 am - 5:30 pm • Sat: 8 am - 12 pm • Closed Sunday

901 S Collins St Plant City, FL 33563 813-752-1066


august 2010

Telling The Story I submitted By: jo-ann lusk

t is true that a picture paints a thousand words. Unfortunately I don’t have the picture to show you, but I have much less than a thousand words that will tell a story about the Plant City real estate market. By now I hope you’ve heard some exciting things about what is happening in real estate. If not, then you are watching waaayyy too much television. Buyers are getting some great deals right now and many sellers (not all) are actually doing what they set out to do – sell their home!

Avg Sold Price $134,000 Avg Sq Ft Price $71 (per heated sq ft) Avg days on market 94

Here’s the good news…since January, there has been a 66.7% increase in sold homes. What has not changed? The average difference in Sold – to – List price is between 93-96%. The other fact that never changes is that homes that are priced to sell in this market…sell in this market. Are you waiting for the market to come back up to your asking price? You aren’t going to see that happen for a few So here are some numbers that tell the years. Are you not receiving offers? Then story. These figures are based on MLS the market has rejected your list price (multiple listing service) data from January and you need to be realistic or enjoy your through June, and are ONLY for the Plant home for a little while longer. Talk to a City market: Realtor and get the most current market information. Buyers are buying, especially As of June 30 / Single Family Homes / with mortgage rates as low as 4.5%. A Broker-involved transaction: good buyers also needs to have some realistic expectations; many homes have Active: 387 been vacant and are in need of some repair, New Listing 70 and are priced to sell as-is. With paint and Pended: 45 (under contract) some sweat equity a smart buyer can make Sold: 45 a wise investment. Being informed and Avg List Price $219,000 realistic will pay off in this market.

Natalie Sweet Cathy Martin Angel Miller 813-758-9586 813-376-0891 813-546-9863 It’s ALL ABOUT YOU! Call for a No Obligation Buyer or Seller Consultation MINI EQUESTRIAN ESTATE

You’ll love this sophisticated Florida Cracker Style home w/2900 sq’ living area, nestled among 5 acres of fenced pasture w/Barn. GRAND porch, beautiful teak leaded Front Door, foyer w/soaring 20’ ceiling & GOURMET kitchen. Fabulous Location makes this home worth a close look. $399,500


SELLER FINANCING AVAILABLE. Move right into this fabulous 5144 sq’ home with 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths on over 1 Acre. Built in 05 and has everything you could possibly want already built into it! $595,000


Entertain in this wonderful home w/an enormous Great Room w/beautiful crown molding & pocket sliders to the Pool. Features 3 Bdrs plus large office & room off master w/2 doors that could easily be turned into a 4 Bdr. Over 2900 sq? & 3 car garage w/circular drive. $325,000


Built in 2004, this home features tons of upgrades, 4 Bdrs, 3 Baths an enormous Great Room, a dream master suite, gourmet kitchen, over 4200 sq’ total all on over 1 acre. Huge Bonus Room over the 3 Car Garage. Move right into this dream home!



This 4 Bdr, 3 1/2 Ba Golf Course home features gleaming cherry & bamboo flooring. Split plan w/gorgeous his & hers master bathrooms w/natural stone, granite, & modern design. Huge backyard & lanai w/outdoor bar area, grill & sink. $217,500.

2635 Sq’ of Living Area w/4 Bedrooms, 2 1/2 Baths & Huge Bonus Room in Walden Lake. Beautifully decorated & lovingly cared for on large fenced corner lot. Priced right at $212,500





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Search for homes at 81 foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010
















Out) 82

august 2010

sports » soccer pitted against the strongest teams in the tournament. In the opening round, Morgan Langston, Elizabeth Saucedo, Yulydia Leon, and Ariel Navarrete scored goals as the Lancers defeated the Canadian Niagara Chaos team 4-0. Saucedo and Angelina Conde combined to post a shutout in goal. Allesandra Morales, Drew Knotts, and Salma Betancourt controlled the midfield. Mariana Hernandez was awarded the Sportsmanship Award by the opposing team. The second game saw the Lancers trade goals with the Buffalo Empire in the first half as Morgan Langston netted an early goal matched by a Buffalo goal a short time later. Late in the second half, Buffalo Empire fouled Arielle Navarrette in the box and Langston drilled in the penalty kick as the Lancers celebrated a 2-1 victory. Megan Mulvaney, and Madison Brown provided support off the bench and Kylee Burroughs, Hernandez and Morgan Bush shored up the defense. Alessandra Morales received the Sportsmanship Award.

“Plant City Lancers 11U Girls Soccer Team” Photo courtesy of Eric Langston

Competing Against the Best Lancers’ Capture Second Place at New York Tournament

After sporting two wins, the Lancers were thrust into the finals knowing that they had to defeat the Rochester Empire twice to take home the championship. The Lancers lost the first game 3-0. Megan Mulvaney received the game’s Sportsmanship Award.

written By: Joe Bowles


hen Eric Langston started a new girls’ soccer team four years ago, he had no idea that the team would eventually be one of central Florida’s elite teams, and be invited to compete in a national tournament against more than 300 of the nations’ top teams in their age division at the Lakefront Classic-Empire Cup in Rochester, New York.

“Our New York trip was the highlight of our year,” said Langston. “We depended on donations and a lot of hard work to raise the money for our trip. In previous years, we played a lot of local tournaments and we won the majority of them. But

Langston actually has two teams in this age division. The other team competes in Division II. Every year he conducts tryouts for the 24 spots that are available (12 on each team). The talent level in the Plant City area is exceptional. With

The Lancers had to settle for second place falling to the Rochester Empire in the tournament final 3-1 with the lone Lancers’ goal coming after a Knotts’ pass to Naverrete resulted in a score.

The road to New York actually began four years earlier, but the Lancers 11U team took the fast lane this year by moving up to play in Division I after capturing one of eight available spots in the preseason seeding tournament. The Lancers were the first Plant City girls team ever to play in the higher classification.

We depended on donations and a lot of hard work to raise the money for our trip. In previous years, we played a lot of local tournaments and we won the majority of them. But this year, I said, ‘Let’s see what we can do against the toughest teams.’ You see, it’s not about filling up the trophy case, it’s about competing against the best. We got to the point that we would rather lose to a top tier team than beat the same teams over and over again.

With the tougher competition, the Lancers got tougher too. When the dust settled at season’s end, the Lancers held an 8-4-2 record in the USA League that includes teams from six different counties. They also participated in eight tournaments, winning or placing in every tournament.

this year, I said, ‘Let’s see what we can do against the toughest teams.’ You see, it’s not about filling up the trophy case, it’s about competing against the best. We got to the point that we would rather lose to a top tier team than beat the same teams over and over again.”

the exception of one player from Wesley Chapel and two players from Polk County, all the rest of the Lancers are from the Plant City area.

“The girls were disappointed,” said Langston, “but we were proud of their effort and sportsmanship throughout the entire tournament.”

At the Lakefront Classic-Empire Cup, the Lancers were placed in the elite bracket foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


sports » athlete of the month

written By: Joe Bowles

He is always comfortable at the plate and he believes that he can get a hit against any pitcher.

“Sebastian is a pure hitter,” remarked Raiders’ head coach Mark Persails. “He is always comfortable at the plate and he believes that he can get a hit against any pitcher.” And throughout the season, that’s exactly what Sebastian did. Against some of the toughest pitching in the state, Ray collected 33 hits with 10 doubles, a triple and a home run while compiling a .412 batting average. He performed especially well in the clutch by knocking in 23 runs and scoring 24 more. Sebastian began by playing tee ball with the Plant City Little League and was selected to the league’s all-star teams following every successful season. Last year he was a member of the senior all-star team than won district, sectionals, and capped the summer with a fourth place finish in the state tournament.

Sebastian Ray F

or graduated senior Sebastian Ray, his final year at Plant City High School was the best, “Last year made my whole experience at high school worth it. It was especially fun because our baseball team did so well.”


august 2010

One of the reasons that the Raiders exceeded preseason expectations was the play of Ray. He won the starting position at first base for the Raiders, and made the most of it. By the time the season was over, the first-year starter was a first team All Western Conference selection and a District 8 5A first team selection.

Ray also played travel baseball, first with the Plant City Bombers, and later with the Plant City Red Sox where he switched from third base to first base. The Red Sox were a highly competitive team that peaked when Sebastian was 14 years old with a first place finish in the International Baseball Championships Fall State Tournament. Sebastian, the son of Bill and Rachel Ray, both pediatricians in Lakeland, and the older brother of sisters, Autumn (age 12) and Lauren (age 7), has also excelled at tennis. He played for the Raiders as a freshman and sophomore and suffered only two defeats in singles competition over his two years of participation. He

also helped lead his summer team, the Top Spinners to the United States Tennis Association’s 18 and under state championship. Sebastian in a two-year letterman in baseball, a member of the debate team, a member of the National Honor Society, an Honor Grad, and he has earned two academic letters compiling a 3.3 grade point average (5.1 weighted GPA). In late July, Sebastian signed to play with the St Andrews College Knights. St. Andrews in a private Presbyterian college in North Carolina that competes in the Conference Carolinas with other Division II schools. Up until a few weeks ago, Ray was undecided concerning his future. That all changed when his summer travel baseball team, Florida Baseball Heaven Angels, competed in the Perfect Game 17-andUnder National Championship in East Cobb, Georgia. The new head coach at St. Andrews, Matt Boykin, attended one of Sebastian games, talked with Coach Persails, and offered Ray a scholarship along with fellow Raiders’ pitcher, Jonathan Alvarez. Although he has decided on the college to attend, Sebastian is unsure of his major. Film editing is something that he is interested in, but for the present, he’ll get his required courses out of the way. Regardless of what he does, he’ll most certainly exceed preseason expectations, on and off the field.

Max F. Rattes, M.D., F.A.C.C.

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sports » Baseball team of the month

2418 James L. Redman Pkwy., Plant City, FL (813) 757-0300 written By: Joe Bowles | photo courtesy of: Carolyn watkins The semifinal game pitted Pinecrest against North Brandon and the Cardinals never trailed as Blaise Watkins picked up the win, with Walls, and Sajecki in relief. Nick Cooper belted a homerun and Shane Walls collected his second homer of the tournament. Pinecrest’s victory was followed by a disappointing loss in the finals. South Brandon took an early lead 1-0 that was quickly erased when John Sajecki hit a two-run homer. The Cardinals, however, lost the lead in the last two innings and had to settle for the runner-up trophy.

Pincrest Cardinals- Front Row (L to R) Brock Morris, Jacob Ross, Austin Cicarelli, Corbett Stoskopf, Johnny Sajecki, Joel Seronka Second Row (L to R) Blaise Watkins, Joshua Lewis, Nick Cooper, Shane Walls Third Row (L to R): Coach Claybo Varnum, Coach Todd Ross, Manager Bruce Watkins, Coach John Sajecki, and Coach Jeff Stoskopf.

Pinecrest Cardinals F or the first time in more than ten years, Little League officials in District 13 and District 6 decided to renew a tradition that matched the winners from the each district’s Tournament of Champions against one another in an unofficial Hillsborough County Little League Championship. Fortunately for Pinecrest, South Brandon, the tournament winner in District 13 was unable to compete so officials extended the invitation to the Pinecrest Cardinals and they didn’t disappoint their fans by taking home the championship trophy. Every year, each Little League park sends their regular season champions in the


august 2010

major division (11 and 12 year-olds) to their district’s Tournament of Champions, commonly referred to as a “strong team tournament,” to determine the best team in the district. This was the Cardinals second trip to the TOC.

“We had a great year last season,” said manager Bruce Watkins. “We won our division and advanced to the semifinals of the TOC, but this year we felt that we had an even stronger team.” From the results, it was obvious that they did. The district games were played at the North Brandon Little League Park. The Pinecrest Cardinals’ opening round game was an uphill battle. Pinecrest spotted

Capture County Championship

the Bloomingdale team six runs before they were able to put their first run on the board. “I was proud of our boys. We kept whittling away at them until we finally came up with a one run lead 7-6 in the fifth inning,” Watkins recalled. The sixth and final inning was a wild affair with Bloomingdale capturing the lead again plating three runs for a 9-7 lead. In Pinecrest’s final at bat, Cardinal’s Shane Walls hit a two-run blast to tie it up, and Blaise Watkins hit a walk-off homerun to win it in dramatic fashion 10-9. Walls picked up the win on the mound.

Their disappointment was quickly replaced by joy when Pinecrest learned that South Brandon was unable to compete in the Hillsborough County Championship game and the invitation was extended to the Cardinals to face the District 6 representative, the Palma Ceia Panthers, at the East Point Little League Park. The championship game was a seesaw affair that ended in a 7-6 squeaker as the Pinecrest Cardinals were crowned Hillsborough County Champions. The offense was supplied by three Pinecrest homeruns. Austin Cicarelli hit his first career homer, a two-run blast. John Sajecki hit a three- run bomb and Shane Walls added a solo shot. Although Watkins preached defense and smart baseball, there was no denying the Cardinals potent bats. “We ended up with a 21-3 record because our whole team could hit. They really could swing the bat. Seven out of our ten players hit homeruns this year. You know, I really feel that this might be one of the best teams that has ever come out of Pinecrest.”

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sports » fitness MVP and Anytime Fitness Member - Joe Mauer

fitness matters Expert answers to your health and wellness questions submitted By: Se’a Ryan » Question:

I keep hearing about the benefits of HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Can you tell me specifically what it is and the benefits of doing it?

» Answer:

take my advice. join anytime fitness. Enroll Today for Just $10.00 It is time to take charge of your health. 24-hour member access, state-of-the art cardio equipment, personal training, free weights and 24-hour group fitness with over 25 different classes to chose from. Join today and enrollment is $10.00.

High-intensity interval training is a fantastic way to work out, and offers many of the same advantages of more traditional training programs in less time. The idea is to pick an activity that you like to do, and then fluctuate between periods of high-intensity, sprint-type work and less intense, active recovery periods. This type of pattern is repeated several times until you’ve completed 15-20 minutes of exercise, not counting your warm-up and cool-down. The specific ratio you choose will depend primarily on your fitness level, but the goal is to finish the workout in about 30 minutes. Numerous studies have touted the benefits of this type of training, including improvements in VO2max (rate your body puts oxygen to work), resting metabolic rate post-exercise (how fast your body recovers from exertion), and overall endurance performance. Researchers also found significant improvements in whole body and skeletal muscle fat oxidation, meaning the body became more efficient at using fat as a fuel source. Despite these results, HIIT isn’t for everyone. If you’re new to exercise, make sure to improve your base fitness level first, before moving on to advanced training programs. If you have questions, contact a personal trainer in your area.

» Question:

Foods seem to be high in salt these days, and I’m aware of the dangers of hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. Can you please clarify the amount of sodium I should be consuming daily?

» Answer:

Salt is everywhere these days. Processed foods are the main culprit, but the increased reliance on fast foods and restaurant meals are problematic as well. To add to the confusion, people often have trouble differentiating between sodium and salt. Salt is actually 40% sodium, so when discussing recommendations, we need to be clear about what we’re talking about. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends less than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day (5800 milligrams or 1 teaspoon of salt). On the other hand, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends 1500 milligrams of sodium per day (3800 milligrams of salt), and they set the upper intake level at 2300 milligrams. It’s clear that your intake should fall somewhere between these two ranges, or even less, but it’s quite difficult to keep your sodium level as low as 1500 milligrams per day. In fact, the IOM points out that 95% of American men and 75% of American women consume sodium in excess of the tolerable upper limit—not good news for those of us looking to avoid chronic disease as we get older. In order to keep your sodium intake in check, you need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and make sure you buy foods that are fresh and unprocessed. And don’t forget to avoid adding salt at the dinner table as well.

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Se’a Ryan has been dedicated to fitness her entire life focused on encouraging people to take charge of their own health. To submit a question, contact Se’a at .

As we enter our 15th year in Plant City, we're privileged to say "thanks for the memories" to our loyal customers and friends in this unique community of warmth and welcome. Along with the strong and able stewardship of Janet DoVale and our dedicated staff, your priceless support has helped to fuel our success and the expansion of our services.

Janet DoVale

Assistant Vice President Treasury Management

We're also pleased to introtions. "My door is always duce Maribel Lorenzo, the open, so please stop by the new manager of our Plant bank on South Wheeler City office. She will take over Street, or call me any time the reins from Janet, who is at 759-2265," invites Maribel. "Let's discuss the embarking on another leadMaribel Lorenzo Assistant Vice President many ways our customized ership role with our Treasury Branch Manager Michael Gottesman banking services can help to department and will remain Senior Vice President Commercial Loans make your busy life better and easier." a very vital part of our bank. As manager of our Riverview office for the past four years, Maribel provided outstanding leadership and the unwavering personal customer service on which our bank was founded. Fluent in Spanish, she lives in East Hillsborough with her husband and two daughters. Along with Michael Gottesman, our Senior Vice President, Commercial Loans, she looks forward to continuing the bank's involvement in Plant City's Plant City Staff, from left: Michael Gottesman, Maribel Lorenzo, Claudia Saldana, dynamic civic and volunteer organizaElizabeth Dessler, Donna Cade, Dorina Lopez, Serena Crumley, Linda Brock and Janet DoVale.

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Plant City: 754-2265 foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


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“When I walk into Sunshine State, I never feel like just a customer. I feel like part of the family.” “We do custom interior design, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, furniture and window treatments – accessories too. We can do just one room or an entire home. And we decorate commercial offices too. When I started banking at Sunshine State about 20 years ago, they took the time to learn about my business and my banking needs. They handle my business and personal checking, investment accounts and loans too. If you want a banking partner that cares about your success, you can’t do better than Sunshine. You’ll feel like part of the family.” – Retha Crawford If you’re a business owner who’s become lost in the “big-bank shuffle”, come talk to us. We have the services, the people and the strategies to help you grow and succeed. Call or visit our office nearest you today.

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extra » al reuchel

I heard some economist says it could take another 7 to 10 years to recover the loses we suffered in the economic collapse.

in USA Today on July 27th, that 43 percent of ALL workers have less than $10,000 put away for retirement. Yes, the older you get the higher the amount saved. But even for those in the 50 to 55 group ALL workers have less than $60,000 put away. MetLife also reports that only about 35 percent of workers 45 to 49 feel they will be ready for retirement when, and if they can retire. CEO Salaries: Yep, I’m going to slam this group again. According to Forbes Magazine average CEO salaries for 2009 were up 18 to 27 percent with bonuses up 25 to 32 percent. An average CEO makes 364 times the salary of an average worker. The average worker saw increases in 2009, according to the labor department, of 2.1 percent. That’s of course if you weren’t one of the 8-million people who lost their jobs in the past two years. Remind me one more time how CEO pay doesn’t affect the salary of the average worker.

Signs the Economy

Is still whacked! Written By: Al Reuchel

I don’t care what the economic gurus say the economy is just plan whacked for the average Joe and here are some signs why.


nemployment! I still know way too many good, hard working folks who can’t do just that . . work hard. One of my friends has applied for over 300 jobs online. He wants to get an interview but it’s nearly impossible because he’s over educated, older than 40. He’s already been accepted into nursing school but there is a two year wait. He’s not alone in his search. Another gal has been an executive


august 2010

secretary for more than 20 years and can’t even land a job in Target or even as a greeter at Wal-Mart. There are too many seniors lined up in front of her. 401k’s: When the economy stinks putting money away for retirement is a joke. Most folks have their money tied up in 401k’s to the tune of 18-billion dollars. Great! Not so much. That figure

used to be nearly three times as large. I heard some economist says it could take another 7 to 10 years to recover the loses we suffered in the economic collapse. And now, most investors are pulling away from the markets which means growth prospects are slim. Retirement savings: Here’s a real shocker. Employment Benefit Research was quoted

City workers getting axed: Budget woes in cities will cost more than 500,000 jobs according to a survey released by the National League of Cities. Firefighters and police are the next to go. Property values haven’t rebounded, federal help, i.e. stimulus money, is about to end, the recovery is stalling, we can’t afford dog catchers, park maintenance, recreation programs, all things we all love and took for granted for so many years. The debt: And here’s the sure sign the economy is still whacked: some lawmakers in Washington are talking about a second stimulus program. Can you believe it? Our payments to cover just the interest on our national debt in 2015 will average two trillion dollars. Happy midterm elections!!!!!!

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august 2010

extra » derek maul

When we don’t tell the whole truth, then we’re really not telling the truth at all

television, or read about on-line and in the paper? Additionally, and if there’s not enough negative news available, some commentators simply make stuff up. Last month, one huge controversy emerged in response to a racially charged “story” that was not only inaccurate but patently untrue. The negative spin went viral as the result of our chronic addiction to bad news, and the tendency of people to pass along (via email or in person) anything that supports their own narrow-mindedness. Truth becomes less important than the advancement of bias, political agenda, and our own prejudicial point of view. This is a chain reaction that happens far too easily.

Finally, friends, T

his past week I’ve been thinking about credibility in writing – and most specifically the way stories are shared with the general public via the mainstream news media. Several years ago I made a conscious decision to adopt one of my favorite scriptures - Philippians 4:8 - as my “writing mantra”. So I prepare my work with the intention of covering “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” The ideal serves as my overarching theme. But, you may ask: “What if the world, the event, or the situation you’re dealing with really is an honest-to-goodness maelstrom of vile putrescence?” And I’m sure you

But there’s a huge cost when we go down this road. Because the stories we tell and then retell become the fabric of common consciousness.

whatever is true… Written By: derek maul

would use words like maelstrom and putrescence. Well that’s a fair question, but we should also consider this: Isn’t there a sense in which the life we experience tends to conform to our preconceptions and our general philosophy? Aren’t negative expectations and interpretations routinely met, simply because that’s the kind of energy we bring to the table? And isn’t it true to say that the way we interpret events and people, is in effect a not so subtle form of social leadership? Belief is a powerful tool, as is unbelief. When the stories we tell and the stories we listen to become predominantly negative, then we have made conclusions - pre-conclusions - that contribute to the shadowy critical mass that makes a dark status quo so hard to move beyond.

Fact is, it’s not so much the media that’s the message (Marshall McLuhan) as it is the personal filter of the storyteller that comprises the crux of the communication. We can more properly say, then, that the messenger is the message. In the year 2010, truth is too often sacrificed in favor of “playing to the audience”. Think for a minute about the way faith is often slanted in the press. The dark joke goes like this: If you want your church to make the news, you have to hope your pastor gets caught in some indiscretion!

When we don’t tell the whole truth, then we’re really not telling the truth at all. That’s why I make a point to interview local spiritual leaders and share their positive witness in the newspaper. That’s why I tell stories about countless people doing good, and about people quietly living eloquent lives of transformational faith. I don’t do this because I want goodness to be true. I do this because I know that it is. There is so much in this world that is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise.

However, for every religious leader caught in embezzlement, adultery, manipulation or child pornography, there are literally hundreds of good men and women building up families and living Christdirected lives that rock the world for good. But who do we hear about on radio and

“Think about these things,” Paul said, and I agree wholeheartedly. I mean it friends. Really think about these things. In love and in truth - DEREK

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


extra » ken lawrence in this area, unlike northern states, where most households have access to natural gas. The reason is fairly simple. Natural gas is an excellent source to run furnaces to keep homes warm in cold winters. There are not too many furnaces in Florida. Today, Natural Gas accounts for some 23% of the total energy use in America and is growing to the extent that by 2030, it could reach 50% of the energy supply.

Park Place Entrance

Photo by Ken Lawrence

An Energy Source for Plant City N submitted By: ken lawrence

orth America is “swimming in natural gas and it makes no sense to be shipping billions of dollars overseas when we have such abundant resources that can be tapped in the USA and Canada, ” so says one of the last of the post World War Two Energy pioneers, T. Boone Pickens, the Oklahoma born oil and gas baron. Most of us have seen Pickens on TV over the past couple of years touting the benefits of Natural Gas as the way to end our dependence on foreign oil. His message has not gone unnoticed.

Here in Plant City, a veteran of the home building business and his partner, a Tampa Real Estate Attorney, realize that home owners of today and the future, want to do their part to save Energy and of course, save money at the same time. The builder is John Cordell, long-time developer in the Tampa Bay area, especially Plant City, who is known for his unique brick kitchen designs. That is how the new, Energy Efficient community of Park Place has been developed since the first of this year. In an alliance with Central Florida Gas, suppliers of natural gas in Central Florida, the builders, Jaycor Homes LLC, have been building homes in Park Place, just off North Gordon Street, near I-4, that use natural gas extensively. The gas heats the water, dries clothes,


august 2010

powers the stove, operates a fireplace and outdoor barbeque, along with a pool and spa. All this is done with considerable saving for the homeowner.

Safety features in natural gas operated products are numerous and the likelihood of an accident is very remote. Locally, natural gas is supplied by Central Florida Gas (CFG), a subsidiary of Chesapeake Utilities. CFG goes back to the 1930’s when the original owners produced “Manufactured Gas” from coal. Today, it is a modern, aggressive company, whose General Sales Manager, Ben Semchuck and his team travel their territory extolling the virtues of the environmentally clean product.

» The Future of Natural Gas in Plant City

Coupled with the federal Energy Star guidelines, requiring newer and better construction products and techniques, such as considerable insulation, an average 1,800 square foot home can have a monthly The developers of Plant City’s largest electricity bill of less than $100. community, Walden Lake, certainly missed the boat when they started construction in the 1980’s. Today, it would be prohibitively expensive to dig up every street and install a gas pipeline. The future for homeowners Natural Gas is a fossil fuel like petroleum will be to purchase a home in a new and is usually found in the same areas as community that had the foresight to install oil. It is odorless and under international a gas pipeline, such as Park Place off North law, an odor is added to the gas to alert Gordon Street. humans as to its presence. Natural Gas contains mainly methane. It has been There is another use for natural gas that discovered in abundance in Alaska, some T. Boone Pickens wants to see. That is Northwest States and of course in the Gulf Natural Gas powered vehicles. The auto of Mexico. The U.S. also imports huge amounts of gas from Canada by pipeline.

» Origins of Natural Gas

industry has been slow to produce cars and trucks using natural gas and the technology has been there for several years. A conventional gasoline burning vehicle can be converted into natural gas power at a cost of around $4,000 and will save anywhere from 75 cents to a dollar per comparable gallon of gasoline. Diesel trucks and cars apparently cannot be converted. Plant City government City Manager, Greg Horwedel tells FOCUS that he would seriously consider using natural gas to power city vehicles, some 200 of them, but there is no extra money these days to pay for a conversion that could run into the millions. If Washington comes up with a program to pay for conversions, Plant City along with thousands of municipalities would be lining-up. With money problems in the capital, don’t hold your breath that it will happen anytime soon. An additional issue is the need to establish a network of natural gas filling stations across the country. A program has started but Central Florida Gas Sales Manager Ben Semchuck tells FOCUS that it really is in its infancy, with only one station in the works for I-4. For the corporate community, it’s a different matter. natural gas can save businesses that use large amount of energy, countless sums by using natural gas. Now, if only more companies look favorably at Plant City and environs, just think, you will have one more reason to setup shop here. Oh! A reminder to send your employees over to Park Place to purchase an Energy Efficient, Natural Gas home.

Here in Florida, gas comes-in via pipeline from the Mississippi Gulf region, across the Panhandle and down a corridor that runs almost parallel to Interstate 75. When it reaches Tampa Bay, it splits off east and west along the I-4 corridor. Here in Plant City, natural gas has been available since the late 1950’s, used back then mostly by industrial complexes, hospitals, and government operations. Residential use has been somewhat limited

Collage of Natural Gas Appliances Photo by Ken Lawrence

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extra » Auto Review

2010 Grand Sport is a Chip off the Old Latest Grand Sport keeps pace with Heritage Block A submitted By: Brian West

uto Reviews are back at Focus Magazine; the first in more than 3 years, and we’re going to do things a little different than what you may have come accustomed to in the past. Starting with this review for the print version of Focus Magazine, Charles Harris and I will also do an on-line review at www., of the same vehicle – and try to have a little fun in the process. And what better way to start than to work with our friends at Bartow Chevrolet (this month’s Spotlight Interview) to do a review of the 2010 Corvette Grand Sport. The Chevrolet Corvette is arguably THE American sports car. The Corvette debuted in 1953 and wasn’t anything close to the sports car it is today. But the Corvette evolved and is now the Chevrolet


august 2010

product spoken in the same breath as the big three of the sports car world; Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche. In recent years, there have only been a couple of variations; the Corvette and the Z06. For 2011, Chevrolet is bringing back a little history with a Grand Sport, and you have to understand the history of the Grand Sport to really appreciate the car. Chevrolet gained most of the recognition for the Corvette in the early 1960’s when Zora Arkus-Duntov – the engineer credited with the early development of the Corvette, was building a Corvette to compete on the racing circuit. He succeeded with the 1963 Grand Sport, and 5 hand-built prototypes came to life. They boasted 550 hp and could really move. Problem was, the governing body for racing had already placed a ban on factory

involvement in racing, and Duntov was breaking the rule. When the brass at GM discovered Duntov’s involvement, they ordered the cars to be crushed. However, according to local Corvette collector, Bill Tower, “All 5 Grand Sports disappeared in the middle of the night.” One of those cars was raced by Roger Penske and resides in Plant City as part of Tower’s collection. These 5 Grand Sports are among the most enviable cars to collectors.

Liter V8 with a two mode exhaust system, the Z51 performance suspension, wider fenders, wider tires (18-in front, 19-in rear), and larger brakes. It also sports the Z06 front bumper, rear spoiler and rear brake ducts. And yes, the car can move. How’s 0-60mph in 4.0 seconds sound. It also turns out a 12.4 second quarter mile at 116 mph and a top speed of 190 mph. That’s performance. The 2010 Grand Sport can be ordered with 1LT, 2LT, 3LT and 4LT trim packages and in four exterior colors, as well as two-tone seats with Since the original prototypes, Chevrolet Grand Sport embroidery. It can be had has only offered the Grand Sport once before, in 1996. For the past several years, as a coupe or convertible. Base price for the Corvette has been offered in 3 options; the Grand Sport is $54,770. The model the base model, the Z51 and the Z06. The I drove had an MSRP of $68,365. So, if 2010 Grand Sports (about a $6000 option) you’re in the market for a new Corvette, visit Bartow Chevrolet. They’ll be happy replaces the Z51 package and finally fills to make you a customer now, and in the the middle gap the Z51 package couldn’t. future. The Grand Sport features a 436 hp 6.2

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entertainment » dining profile cowboys steakhouse and saloon 106 State Road 60 East, Plant City Mon - Fri: 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM Sat: 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM Sun: 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM Saloon open from 7:00 PM to 3:00 AM (813) 650-8888 sealing in everything that should be sealed in a steak. Cutting this slowly, the steak moved back and forth with the knife, itself bragging about how tender it is before it’s eaten. The char taste from the woodfire accentuated the juiciness confirmed upon biting. The best part of this steak, however, is interesting: The fat distribution is perfect. It was so evenly layered through (in small layers that were hard to see) that it set the flavor and tenderness off in an unprecedented way compared to any other steak that tries to use fat as its major source of flavor. This was a real treat.

Cowboys Steakhouse Bringing the Saloon Back! and Saloon N written By: John Ross

ow open for business in Plant City, Cowboys Steakhouse and Saloon features a restaurant for meat-loving southerners to enjoy southern cooking and a connected saloon to line dance in afterwards. Inside, everything is wooden: floor, chairs, ceiling- even the steaks are

with just the right amount of chew.

The bread rolls were the best pre-dinner bread ever. With a side of soft honeybutter, they came in small seemingly hand made rolls. Sweet, warm, chewable like a cross between a southern biscuit and

For the entree we had “The Cowboy,” a big rib-eye steak that was evidently seared over an ultra-hot fire to char both sides, sealing in everything that should be sealed in a steak.


cooked over a wood-fire grill. The food is soul. Don, manager, gave Focus a chance to taste what was going to bring in business for the new establishment.

sour-dough bread. These were so good that I somehow came back to them after being stuffed at the end of the meal for one more. Five out of five stars.

We tried the Fried Green Tomatoes before our meal, along with some bread rolls. The tomatoes were lightly battered and tangy

For the entree we had “The Cowboy,” a big rib-eye steak that was evidently seared over an ultra-hot fire to char both sides,

august 2010

The entire experience of Cowboys Steakhouse and Saloon is certainly not limited to good Southern cooking- the site features a full clothing store for southern wear, and of course the line dancing bar in conjunction with the restaurant. The outside portion of the restaurant and bar is fully developed with padded tables and canopies, encouraging perhaps most of its patronage to eat outside for a true outdoorsy experience.

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entertainment » red rose that include delicious selections like Pan Seared Salmon, New York Strip Marsala, Veal Vesuvio or Chicken Arugula all perfectly paired with a wine or beverage from the Polo Club Lounge. The Headleys also enjoy the frequent musical entertainers who headline at the Red Rose. Groups like Lola and the Saints, PJ Leary and the Las Vegas Sounds and Destiny. Others enjoy celebrating special occasions at the Red Rose like Gene Metzger who provided a flawless birthday celebration for his sister Trudy Sulkoski (who turned 82), with the help of Red Rose Inn and Suites General Manager Mark Johnson. It was a night for a queen.

Lola and the Saints perform popular Doo Wop tunes at the Red Rose Inn and Suites. Photo Courtesy of the Red Rose Inn and Suites

Top Doo Wop Group T

he world famous Red Rose Inn and Suites recently hosted musical sensations Lola and the Saints. Through the legendary Saints music, patrons enter a time machine of musical magic top hits from the 50’s and 60’s. The Saints ensemble of voices performing Doo Wop tunes are considered collectively one of the best harmony groups of all times. Hundreds of Red Rose patrons crowded the dance floor as the group performed songs reminiscent of decades of top music favorites stretching back to the 1950’s. The group is known for their performances and recordings of popular songs including smash hits like Tears on My Pillow, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Wishful Thinking, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Zing Went the Strings of My Heart and more.

According to the Saints website, they originally formed in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx, New York in the 1960’s by Lola and Tom Foy. The group has enjoyed a long and magnificent career in show business. After having performed and recorded under many different guises,


august 2010

Packs Red Rose House written By: kelleigh klein

The beautiful Red Rose Inn and Suites, owned by Evelyn and Batista Madonia, Sr., is located at 2011 North Wheeler Street, Plant City, 33563. To attend an upcoming event at the Red Rose, reservations are suggested. To make your reservation call (813) 752-3141. In addition, the Red Rose Inn and Suites list of amenities and upcoming events (including Lola and the Saints performances) and activities can be found on their web site at www.

they have always managed to find their way back to their Doo Wop roots as well as their original name “The Saints”.

Lola and Tom are rapidly approaching their forty sixth year with the group. Lola is the only female of the group and known for her melodic leads and high note harmonies. Tom is known as Mr. Wizard and brings a strong tenor voice to the group’s diverse musical styles.

Known as Mr. Doo Wop, Jim McGreevy has been with the Saints for four years and has all the makings of a seasoned veteran. Tenor lead Tony Torre and Jerry Long (Mr. Bass Man) are the most recent members of Lola and the Saints. They have been with the group for just over two years. Lola and the Saints (www. perform monthly at the Red Rose Inn and Suites. Gary and Patty Headley of Lakeland are regular visitors to the Red Rose Inn and Suites and attribute their frequenting for many reasons. They enjoy the full service of 5-star dining (lead by Executive Chef Matteo Casini) with dinner entrees

Red Rose Inn patrons pack the dance floor to dance to popular hits performed by Lola and the Saints. Photo Courtesy of the Red Rose Inn and Suites

Eat Better. Love Life. Live Longer.

foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


entertainment Âť artist of the month

Creating Art H

ow can one survive and thrive in today’s economy? For some the keyword may be to diversify and the same may be true in the world of art. Local Plant City artist Roy Hilry Adams has learned how to be diverse in his art as well as how to present it to the world. Mr. Adams started out specializing in drawing and painting at the University of South Florida where he earned his BA degree in art. He soon began to explore and include photography and printmaking as well as film making into


august 2010

With World Wide Appeal written By: Heather Davis

his artistic accomplishments. As part of his education Mr. Adams participated in a student exchange in the New York City area which broadened his exposure to art. Only ten years ago, Mr. Adams began to display his work in galleries, exhibitions, and art shows. As a result his art began to be exhibited in places as far away as Stultgart, Germany, Derbyshire, UK, and Monterey, Mexico. He has also received much attention and exhibition locally in the Lakeland, Tampa, and Plant City area. Currently he has examples of his

photography and printmaking on display at the Chamber of Commerce. With an outstanding number of art exhibits, awards, and achievements, such as being selected for a Solo Photography show at the Florida State Capital Gallery in Tallahassee, it is hard to believe Mr. Adams only began to show his work not so long ago.

Hawaii, and much of Europe. Today Mr. Adams considers himself to be more a homebody and enjoys creating art on his front porch of his home in Plant City. In Mr. Adams I am reminded of a business card I once saw belonging to acclaimed photographer, Bud Lee, of whom Mr. Adams used to assist and exhibit with, which read Paris, New York, Plant City.

Truly a world traveler, many of Mr. Adams photographs have captured the places he has traveled to. He has had the experience of visiting Israel, Egypt,

In the world of art truly there are no boundaries. It is free to fly wherever the wind may take it.

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entertainment » event calendar

plant city

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:

Wednesday, Aug. 18th

Commeraderie. Parking in North and South lots near the Depot, Drane, and Palmer. For more information call » Planes, Trains, & 813-754-3707. Automobiles Meeting Location: Historic Downtown Plant 8:30 AM Location: Plant City Cham- City ber of Commerce - 106 N Evers Street » Ribbon Cutting for new location of Granite & Marble Gallery 10:30 AM Location: 3210 Sydney Road @ 106 N. Evers St. » Ribbon Cutting for New Location of Plant It Earth 11:00 AM Location: 3208 Sydney Road

Thursday, Aug. 19th

» New Teacher Coffee Breakfast 7:30 AM for the teachers and principals new to Plant City. Location: Florida Strawberr y Festival Expo Bldg

Saturday, Aug. 21st » Southern Cooking at it’s best. 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM Pulled pork, chicken ‘n dumplins, swamp cabbage, beans, collards, dessert and more all for $8.00 per person. Eat in or carry out. Country Store. Raffles and drawings. Sponsored by the Springhead Civic Club. Located at Springhead Community Pard, 3410 Nesmith Road, Plant City. » S4:00 PM - Strawberr y Classic Car Show Car Show, Vendors, Local Antique Shops open, Live Music, and Great


august 2010

Tuesday, Aug. 24th » First Day of School

Thursday, Aug. 26th » 12:00 PM - Lunch & Learn “In-Bound Marketing & E-Commerce” Seminar for those starting a new business or those wanting a refresher. 12 noon - 1:30pm. $7 donation for lunch. For more information call Terri Scott 757-2190 Location: Trinkle Center » 5:15 PM - Business After Hours Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar Location: 1204 Townsgate Court

Friday, Aug. 27th & Saturday, Aug. 28th » Polk Museum of Art offers free admission for Plant City residents on August 27 & 28th. Also, the art opening on Friday will be free to PC residents. In addition, on Saturday from 1:00 - 3:00 there will be free kids activities for Plant City families.

Saturday, Aug. 28th

» 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM Community Fundraiser A community fundraiser is being held

continued on page 107

entertainment » event calendar continued from page 106

Thursday, Sept. 16th

at the Plant City Stadium to help raise » 5:15 PM - Business After Hours money for the families of Police OfGranite & Marble Gallery ficers David Curtis and Jeffery Kocab Location: 1103 Goldfinch Drive who were killed in the line of duty. If you need more information on becoming a vendor or just want to make a donation, call Anissa at 813-704-5957.

saturday, Sept. 18th

Sunday, Aug. 29th » 15:00 PM SKD Entertainment & Soulful Sounds presents Derek Smith and Friends at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, 804 W Renfro St. Plant City. Admission is $10.00 in advance and $12.00 at the door. For more information contact SKD Entertainment at 813900-5522.

Thursday, Sept. 2nd » 4:30 PM - Ribbon Cutting & Grand Opening for Cowboys Western World Location: 106 State Road 60 East

Saturday, Sept. 4th » Bike Fest 5:00 pm- 9:00 pm Historic Downtown Plant City Motorcycle show, contest vendors, live bands and tons of fun. For more information call (813) 754-3707.

Thursday, Sept. 9th » Boy’s & Girl’s Club Bar-B-Que The Boy’s & Girl’s Club is holding a bar-b-que at the Depot on Palmer Street. This has turned into an annual event. Call Annie Carapezza at 813707-1221.

» Truth Christian Store & Event Center 12 noon – 6 p.m. 301 S. Collins Street; Plant City, Florida 33563 THE LAST SUPPER COLLECTION EXHIBIT This Event is FREE and open to all!

ongoing events Sunday

The Red Rose Inn & Suites Sunday Champagne Brunch Enjoy complimentary mimosas with prime rib and Georgia peach glazed ham. Sweet potato casserole, crisp salad creations and a host of fanciful desserts!


The Red Rose Inn & Suites Learn to Dance with Susan 7 to 9 PM. Learn an easy, fun and fast method to start dancing with any partner on any dance floor. No partner needed. Call 863-604-5060 (small fee)

tuesday & wednesday

The Red Rose Inn & Suites Prime Rib & Seafood Buffet Enjoy baked, broiled, steamed, and fried seafood including lightly battered fried shrimp. Succulent steamed crab legs, even tender prime rib au jus with all the trimmings! All this plus salads and desserts to tempt the most demanding pallates! Music from Free Time Jazz.

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The Red Rose Inn & Suites Singles Night Out Happy Hour, Dance Contest, Bottle of Wine and $50 Gift Card Giveaway PLUS music from Destiny and either Mellissa Malone or Tony Johnson.! foCUS Magazine Plant City august 2010


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FOCUS Plant City 09-08  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 09-08 August 2010

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