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CONTENTS January 2015 | Volume 14 Issue 1 | focusplantcity.com

AMERICAN BOARD CERTIFIED

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14 Local With the new year sparks several awesome annual events in Plant City. Be sure to check out our articles on the Dean’s Ride, sponsored by the YMCA, and the Celebrity Chef Dinner. Also, for more information on local events in our area, check out our events calendar toward the back of the magazine!

41 Feature: Queen Pageant Contestants Since 1930, The Florida Strawberry Festival has been crowing some of the most beautiful, smart, and charming young ladies around at its annual scholarship pageant competition. This year will be no different when on January 31, the Lions Club will host families and friends of several young ladies who hope to become the 2015 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen. Who will be the next Florida Strawberry Queen and face of Plant City?

47 Spotlight: Michael Cameron Citizen of the Year 2014 Michael Cameron loves his “wonderful” hometown so much that community service is almost as natural as breathing. The very involved business owner, 2014 Outstanding Citizen, and incoming Chairman of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce is the subject of our Spotlight article.

• Sprains

53 Business: RAOK boutique

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Hannah Benton and Brigitte Hodge have recently opened the doors of RAOK boutique located in The Village at 2804 James Redman Parkway, Suite 103. The opening was by word of mouth and over two hundred people showed up to see what the ROAK boutique and this mother and daughter team offered. Read this month’s business profile to find out why you too should visit RAOK.

76 Dining: The Corner Store Eat well or die! That’s the motto of Plant City’s health-conscious eatery located in the heart of downtown. From salads to sandwiches and much more featuring fresh and local ingredients, you’ll be sure to leave The Corner Store feeling good about yourself ! Learn more about the new brunch menu that is offered every Saturday in this months Dining Profile.

ONTHECOVER Michael Cameron

Happy, Healthy, and Helpful


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LETTER FROM THE

PUBLISHER Welcome to 2015.

in life…the ones money can’t buy.

Wonder if it’s something wonderful Cameron isn’t alone in our town. And this in the water or in the air? month’s issue focuses on news of several other civic-minded folks and the events I’m wondering because in which they serve. Be sure to check out service to community the stories about our 2013 Human Rights seems to come easy for Hall of Fame award recipients, the annual many folks here in Celebrity Chef Dinner, Dean’s Ride, Hope Plant City. Lutheran Church’s Feed the Hungry effort, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Festival and the Take Michael Monnik sisters’ fundraisers for an upcoming Cameron, for Carnegie Hall performance. example, our city’s 2014 Outstanding Regardless of its source, you can’t put a price Citizen and one tag on the spirit of generosity. In fact, it’s admired by many. priceless. He’s thankful for the opportunity to have Thank you, our magnanimous Readers, for built his financial spreading it around in this brand New Year. m a n a g e m e n t Together, we can make it happy, healthy, business through the and helpful. relationships built while volunteering in numerous organizations and outreaches. He’s also appreciative of his family, friends, and faith.

Standing from Left to Right: Tonya Rogers, Verna McKelvin and Marilyn Robertson. Sitting from Left to Right: Alan Orr and Tammy Spurlock

And isn’t that as it should be… Warmest Regards, appreciation for the best things Mike Floyd

CREDITS Got a story idea? Looking to advertise in Focus? Contact us for more information. Floyd Publications, Inc. 702 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd. Plant City, FL 33563 Office 813.707.8783 Fax 813.764.0990 www.focusplantcity.com Standards of accuracy: The goal of the writers at FOCUS Magazine is to provide heart-warming stories that are accurate from the start. Being human, however, we sometimes make mistakes. Please forgive us. So if you notice anything that is incorrect, then please do not hesitate to contact the editorial department and inform it about the fact error. To do so, call (813) 7078783 or e-mail editorial@floydpublications.com. The staff will fix the error in a timely manner. FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Plant City businesses, restaurants and many local venues.

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. Publisher Mike Floyd mike@floydpublications.com Sales Jennifer Chamberlain jchamberlain@floydpublications.com Art Director Anthony Sassano asassano@floydpublications.com Distribution Tony DeVane Staff Writers Cheryl Johnston | Brian West Heather Davis | Joe Bowles | Amanda Deck Deana Garrison | Darcie Jarrett | Taylor Thomas Charlotte Thompson Contributors Gil Gott | Derek Maul | Jo-An Lusk Nate Davis | Candy Owens | Natalie Sweet Gail Jones

Advertisers warrant and represent the descriptions of their products advertised are true in all respects. Focus Magazine assumes no responsibility for claims made FOCUS MAGA ZINE PL ANT CIT Y JANUARY 2015

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Talk Town of the

FOCUS MAGAZINE

SUBMIT YOUR NEWS TO EDITORIAL@FLOYDPUBLICATIONS.COM. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK AT FACEBOOK.COM/THEFOCUSMAGAZINE

Capping a successful evening at the Photo Archives’ Book and DVD signing event held shortly prior to Christmas, Charleene Closshey posed with her parents and fiancé. (L-R) Charles Closshey, Jennifer Closshey, Gil Gott, (Executive Director Plant City Photo Archives), Charleene Closshey, Jeremy Culver. Charleene starred in the film, An Evergreen Christmas; fiancé Jeremy Culver was both writer and director of the film. DVDs are still available at the Photo Archives. 12.09.2014.

The United Food Bank served over 250 families during their Turkey Christmas Drive. Thank you to everyone who supported the drive this year.

SWOPE RADONTE VANGUARD AWARD Registration for the 2015 Florida Strawberry Festival Baby Parade will take place from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, at Hillsborough Title, 1507 S. Alexander St., Suite 102 Plant City. Sign-ups for 1- and 2-year-olds will be from 8 to 9 a.m.; 3- and 4-year-olds from 9 to 10 a.m. Spaces are limited to the first 50 children in each age group. Registration is open to children ages 1 to 4, as of Jan. 31, 2015. Open to Eastern Hillsborough County residents only (east of U.S. 301), including Plant City, Thonotosassa, Mango, Wimauma, Brandon, Seffner, Dover, Balm, Valrico, Keysville, Lithia and Durant. Proof of residency (driver’s license) is required at registration. Registration is $25 per category; cash only. Presented by the GFWC Plant City Junior Woman’s Club Inc., the parade will take place at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 7, at the Wish Farms Soundstage, at the Florida Strawberry Festival, 2107 W. Oak Ave. For more, contact Marissa Brewington , (813) 763-9447 or Melissa Grimes, (813)924-5887. DO NOT CONTACT HILLSBOROUGH TITLE.

Jackson Hardee was recognized at Center Court during half time of the Plant City High School vs. Durant Boys Basketball Game. He was the November winner of the prestigious Vanguard Award that recognizes athletes that excel in the classroom and are active in community service. Jackson received a trophy and Plant City High School received $1,000 to use toward the school athletic program. The award is sponsored by Swope Radonte P.A. attorneys. Stephanie Miles, Attorney and Ashley Smoot, Marketing Specialist with Swope Radonte made the presentation. Jackson is a senior who specializes in pole vaulting with the Varsity Track Team. He captured the Western Conference Pole Vaulting title last year. He was named the Tampa Bay Times “Hot Shot of the Week” as a junior. Jackson has accumulated a 5.36 GPA. He was awarded the “Kids are Heroes” Award as a sophomore for his work with the Wounded Warriors Organization. He is the current President of the Jr. Civitan service club where he leads his club serving and feeding the homeless once a month. He is the son of Casey Hardee and LaShawn Hardee. Pictured: Peggy Obel, Assistant Principal for Curriculum; Stephanie Miles, Attorney with Swope Radonte; Jackson Hardee, winner of the Vanguard Award; Ashley Smoot, Marketing Specialist with Swope Radonte; Sherrie Mueller, College and Career Counselor.

NEW PLANT CITY JUNIOR WOMAN’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS NAMED FOR 2015 Sworn in by Sandra Roth. President Racquel Sturgis 1st Vice President Sarah Lenhart 2nd Vice President Kendelle Jimenez 3rd Vice President Angela Chisholm Secretary Betty Medina Treasurer Ilene Chavez Historian Angie Inzerillo Sandra Roth’s title: 2014-2016 GFWC Florida Junior Budget Director

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Celebrity Chef will feature a silent auction, as well. Attendees can enter for a chance to win a dinner package for four at Siena Tavern, autographed cookbooks, Viviani’s signature cookware and more. Proceeds from the event go toward UFBPC’s quest to end hunger in East Hillsborough County, according to Youngblood. UFBPC provided 32,957 people with more than 656,802 pounds of food last year. “That is why this event is so important to the food bank,” Youngblood said. UFBPC’s programs not only provide food for families, but also for children at school through the Nutritional Outreach Program. “The need in the community is so great, and this is one of our biggest

fundraising events that’s able to help,” Youngblood said. UFBPC aims to raise $70,000 toward feeding those in need, and to make this the biggest Celebrity Chef yet. The food bank would like to tap into the culinary communities in surrounding areas, Youngblood said. UFBPC is still looking for interested businesses and individuals to sponsor the event. There are several different levels of sponsorship, ranging from a Presenting Sponsor with a $10,000 donation to a Pastry Chef Sponsor who contributes $800. Those interested in attending or sponsoring can contact UFBPC by visiting www.ufbpc.org or by calling 813764-0625.

Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviano stands in his restaurant in Miami Beach, The Siena Tavern. Attendees of the Celebrity Chef annual dinner can enter to win a dining experience at this restaurant.

FOOD BANK BRINGS IN FAMOUS CHEF TO END HUNGER BY KELSEY TRESSLER

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ooking and celebrity—a winning combination. So promises The United Food Bank of Plant City (UFBPC), which will host the 7th Annual Celebrity Chef event on Feb. 7 at the Hillsborough Community College Trinkle Center. This year’s chef is Fabio Viviani, who is most well known for his participation in the reality show Top Chef, where he was awarded Fan Favorite in the 5th season. He also reappeared on Bravo in Top Chef: All Stars and Life After Top Chef, along with segments on Good Morning America, The Talk, The Chew, Ellen, Good Day LA, Access Hollywood and more. Viviani’s passion for food stretches back to his childhood in Florence, Italy. After owning and operating five restaurants there, Viviani moved to 18

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California to build his name in The United States. He now owns several popular and successful restaurants, including Siena Tavern in Miami Beach. In addition to his television and restaurant accomplishments, Viviani is also a successful author with numerous New York Times best-selling cookbooks. The tickets to the charity event are $100 per person. The price includes a three-course meal that comes straight from Viviani’s cookbook, Fabio’s Italian Kitchen. Viviani will also provide entertainment with a life cooking demonstration and interact with the audience, which UFBPC Marketing and Development Specialist Debbie Youngblood says will be “a cool part of the event.” Dinner begins at 7:30 p.m., with cocktails just before at 7 p.m.

Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviano shows off his cooking prowess in the kitchen. He will do a live cooking demonstration at this year’s Celebrity Chef dinner on Feb. 7.


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Retired Plant City High School football coaches, Kelly Williams and Hank Sytsma, wear their 2013 Hall of Fame medals presented by the TampaHillsborough Human Rights Council on December 12, 2014.

RETIRED PCHS FOOTBALL COACHES EARN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL HALL OF FAME AWARD BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

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hen Focus Magazine published its “Football Flashback” story in October of 2013, little did Hank Sytsma and Kelly Williams know their coaching positions in 1969 would lead to Hall of Fame recognition. Both now-retired Plant City High School football coaches accepted the Tampa-Hillsborough County Human Rights Council award at the organization’s 41st annual breakfast event on December 12 at the Doubletree Tampa Airport Hotel. We encourage you to re-visit the “Historic Merger Team Builds on a Dream” feature to learn how two young coaches successfully combined the Marshall and Plant City high school teams into one cohesive, integrated unit (http://www.focusplantcity.com/ plant-city-issue-12-10-october-2013/ pages 47-49). Here follows a backstory 20

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overview. Two football teams needed to become one when the Hillsborough County School District announced the change. Coach Williams and Coach Sytsma presented a united front in a time of racial turmoil. They challenged the players with wise instruction, explaining that positive attitudes could influence the new student body to embrace the unexpected union. As the boys practiced together, their skills improved, their friendships strengthened and they rose up as classmate role models. The icing on the competitive cake was Plant City’s victory in a firstever district bowl game between the Robinson High School Knights and PCHS Planters, both with 9-1 season records (Note: Mascot changed to Raiders in 1972 when Pinecrest and Turkey Creek high schools merged with PCHS). Ultimately, the Planters claimed

a 10-1 season by defeating the Knights 21-14 before a packed stadium in Tampa. And their victory bonded a community, too! An excerpt from the school’s Kanyuksaw yearbook dedication provides a glimpse. Staff members wrote: “… The joining of two student bodies into one could have made it a difficult year; instead it has been a wonderful one… Starting the year with a winning football team electrified the student body… Under the wise guidance and strict discipline demanded by our coaches, the boys provided, early in the year, when it was needed most, an inspiring example of how blacks and whites can work together. The ideals of individual worth, fair play, and human decency demanded by these men gave us the start towards unity, for which we are all grateful.” Many players remain close today and each February since 2010, they are invited to the Sytsmas’ home for a “reunite & reminisce” reunion of teammates from the 15-year period of 1966-1981 when Hank coached. Sytsma explained, “Kelly and I agreed together we were going to make the situation work and the players’ attitudes became: ‘Whatever we had to do, not only to make it work for the

team, but for the whole school, we were willing to do.’ Williams called the Hall of Fame recognition “humbling and rewarding.” He added, “I appreciated just taking part in this event, and to be recognized with a group of people who display such magnitude of community spirit.” Accompanying Williams were his wife Sandra, son Kelly Jr., sister-in-law Gail Kilpatrick, in-law Keith Daniels, Judge Lisa Hargrove (niece), and friends Littleton and Kay Long. The coach had just returned from celebrating his 81st birthday weekend at Bay Hills Golf Resort in Orlando with another sweet surprise—great conversation and a photo op with golfing legend Arnold Palmer. Sytsma attended with his wife Sandee, mother-in-law Helen Parke, and writer Cheryl Johnston. “I’m grateful for this honor,” said Sytsma. “During that time, we just did what we thought was right. We respected our boys and they responded. I never would have imagined this award.” Sandee added, “The most important thing about the whole experience was the school and community spirit. No one saw skin color. And at our annual reunions the players still talk about how their coaches called them men.”

While celebrating his birthday at Bay Hills Resort, Coach Williams met Arnold Palmer.


FOCUS MAGA ZINE PL ANT CIT Y JANUARY 2015

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L Dr. Brenda Dukes Chiropractic Physician

HEALTH AND FINANCE

Insurance benefits are rapidly changing this year! These changes are managing and even decreasing the amount of benefits available to you for your health and wellness. Chiropractic care is health and wellness for the entire family. Whether you are experiencing nagging symptoms of a cold or daily aches and pains, Chiropractic Care treats the cause and does not mask the symptom; regular chiropractic care helps to keep the nervous system working properly to prevent illness. With all of the concern about health care and how much it will cost, at Dukes Chiropractic Health Clinic, P.A., there is no insurance needed as we offer affordable healthcare that provides wellness which in turn minimizes the major out-of-pocket expenses that everyone anticipates. In addition to chiropractic care, we also offer alternative homeopathic supplements that work on the cause to alleviate the symptom and do not cause drug reactions that are currently being experienced. The supplements also provide the daily supplementation of vitamins and nutrients to your diet that is needed to stay balanced to maintain all levels of wellness when complying with the recommendations.

DEAN’S RIDE:

Special Note:

Dr. Dukes and Staff pray that each of you have a Happy and Healthy New Year and to acknowledge that it is time to take care of you and your family, to invest in the value of staying healthy and being able to receive quality and valuable healthcare within your budget.

STRENGTH AND HONOR BY SHERRI ROBINSON

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.

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trength and Honor” was Dean Snyder’s favorite phrase from the movie The Gladiator. Though I did not know him, those who spoke of him agreed that he embodied both. He was passionate about cycling and wanted to rekindle it in Plant City so he spoke with the YMCA and they partnered together to create this ride. Three years ago was Dean’s last year and the event’s first. Even though he had received chemo the day before he still came out and rode 18 miles. What a courageous man! In his honor the YMCA wanted to continue Dean’s dream to promote healthy living through cycling. This year the ride will be held on January 17th at HCC Trinkle Center, 1206 North Park Road Plant City, Florida. Opening remarks will begin at 7:45 a.m. and the ride at 8 a.m. which will begin and end at HCC. There will be an 18, 38 and 62 mile routes. This give everyone 14 and over with all cycling levels the opportunity to participate and support this wonderful cause. There will be no awards just great fun. However, there will be a light breakfast and lunch for all participants. They will also receive a long sleeve shirt and a goodie bag. Everyone will go at their own pace so enjoy. Registration is $30 and you can go to www.active.

com or drop by the YMCA to sign up. If you’re not sure until the last minute that you want to join you can show up on the day of the event to register. Help and support will be available along the cycling route. No roads will be blocked off so everyone is expected to be aware of your surroundings and wear your helmets as there will still be regular traffic. Safety first! All of the proceeds will go to benefit the LIVESTRONG Program at the YMCA. It’s a free 12 week program that helps Cancer survivors to regain their strength physically and emotionally that cancer and treatments take from them so they can return to their lives a healthier person. Sometimes that transitional time can be one of the hardest of all with intense side effects from the cancer therapy such as extreme energy loss, weight gain and loss of muscle strength. To have a program like this is a godsend. All of us survivors appreciate what you do and knowing that people like Dean was so passionate about health and fitness is a real inspiration. Contact Reagan Thomas at 813.757.6677 or reagan.thomas@tampaymca.org for more information. Thank you Leigh Scott, Marketing Coordinator, for speaking with me and providing all the information.


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downtown and feature the Tampa Bay Posse Corvette Club, boasting more than forty vehicles and their drivers. Sponsorship for the parade is being provided by Sunshine State Federal Savings & Loan and Stingray Chevrolet. Additionally, the League is proud to announce that State Representative Darryl Rouson will speak at this year’s Sunday Morning Leadership Breakfast. Those who have attended the Festival in years past will be thrilled to see many of their favorite acts and vendors return. The Music Makers will once again please the crowds with their renditions of R&B classics; while those who enjoy the tastier side of pride can tantalize their tastebuds with familiar favorites from BNB BBQ, Reaves Catering and Mama Pearl’s Funnel Cakes, amongst others. There will even

CELEBRATING THE COLOR OF UNITY BY MICHELE VANDUYNE

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n a city rich in heritage and tradition, it only makes sense to host one of the area’s greatest events meant to honor the legacy left by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Bearing his name, Plant City’s MLK Festival is a four day celebration of culture, diversity and pride. This year, the theme “Color of Unity” was chosen to magnify the Festival’s purpose and intention. It coincides with the National theme adopted by the Dr. King Center, which is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The event is hosted by the Improvement League of Plant City and will benefit the continued restoration and operational costs of the Bing Rooming House African American Museum, as well as the Youth CSI 24

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Forensic Science and Business Incubator Programs. With hopes to surpass last year’s attendance, which was recorded at an impressive twelve thousand attendees, the League has prepared an enticing line-up of performers, speakers, vendors and craftsmen. In an effort to bring something new and exciting to those who come out to the enjoy the celebration, the Festival will have a Drumline Competition featuring both local high school and middle school bands. Suncoast Credit Union will be sponsoring the Competition and rewarding its winners with cash prizes. On Saturday, the MLK Freedom Parade will make its way through historic

be something to satisfy the creative mind, from author and poet Becky Knighten as well as a health fair to emphasize the importance of wellness. The Bing Rooming House Community Museum will highlight the educational aspect of the event and its exhibit will be geared toward the Festival. The MLK Festival is an opportunity for the residents of Plant City, as well as area locals and visitors alike, to come together from every walk of life and enjoy themselves. It offers the chance to experience culture, embrace differences and express the deeply rooted pride that resides in all of us. It will take place starting on Friday, the 16th through Monday, the 19th of January, at the Dr. Martin Luther King Sports Complex located at 1601 E. Dr. MLK JR. Blvd in Plant City.


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AMAZING BY SHERRI ROBINSON

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ome things in life exceed your wildest imagination especially when it comes to dreams for your children. So it is for one family. The Monnik girls are musicians just like their mom and they have an opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall in New York next summer! Amazing! This was no small feat. They had to submit a video of their talents and be chosen. It is going to be expensive to get there so they are hoping to raise some money quickly. They have already performed at Krazy Kup on December 12th. No admission fee was charged and was open to the public. Tips and donations were accepted and appreciated. Frank Trunzo, owner of Krazy Kup, was happy to have the opportunity to provide a platform for the Monnik sisters to perform. He said, “It was a blessing.” He intends for Krazy Kup to be a place for conversation and a creative place for young aspiring artist to showcase their talents. The Monnik sisters “are not the everyday band. They were stopping here on their way to Carnegie Hall. Truly exciting to provide

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a platform for them.” The Monniks hope to find other local venues in which to perform such as weddings or any opportunity that may come their way. Their Mom, Anne, is a professional pianist and teacher. She told me that all the girls have been taking lessons since they were about 5 years old. Kristen is 24 and plays the violin. She currently lives in New Orleans and plays with 3 different symphonies. Susannah is 18, a celloist and attends Durrant High School. Emily 16 is a violinist and is a junior at Durrant as well. Susannah and Emily both play for the Tampa Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, TMYO as they like to call it. The Monniks are new to Plant City from New Orleans so let’s give them a warm welcome and support them in their dream to go to Carnegie Hall. To donate go to GoFundMe.com/he1ozc. If anyone would like to hire them for an event contact Anne Monnik Mawhinney at 985-290-6767. For more information on Krazy Kup go to www.krazykup.com


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MISSION FIELD: HUNGER IN OUR CITY

BY WENDY BROWN | PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY REVEREND DEAN PFEFFER

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ope Lutheran Church in Plant City, founded in 1957, has one mission: Connecting People to Jesus. The congregation has mightily bought into helping others, even the sign leaving church property says: “You are entering the mission field.” They’re dedicated to assisting the hungry in our Plant City community. Did you know every night your neighbors are being fed at McCall Park? Reverend Dean Pfeffer is also a board member of the United Food Bank and Services. At Hope Lutheran, Interns must complete a project. Previous intern, Buck LeGreco, coordinated a church wide effort for one night at “Feeding in the Park” which was a huge success with

served. Maybe chicken and yellow rice, chili, and several times full course Thanksgiving like meals all cooked and served with love for others. On arrival tables and chairs need to be set up, greetings for everyone, and then the serving line starts. Church members sit, visit and take notice of special needs which are always taken care of. Vicar Shea Pennington had the church youth create special Halloween treat bags and youth passed out 90 tickets to Hope’s Thanksgiving dinner. Members also stuff plastic shoe boxes with toiletries, necessary items plus small toys. The food bank received 50 boxes for December while 56 boxes were passed out at “Feeding in the Park.” The youth also packaged 400 Thanksgiving food bags for the food bank. Hope Lutheran has regular food drives for our local food bank. The last drive collected 1100

pounds of food According to Pfeffer, it has been interesting to notice how his individual church members have responded. “Some of our folks go specifically just to talk with the guests in the park. One lady always brings bushels of fresh fruit. Another lady has become the cake baker with cake mixes donated by church members. Other members go out of their way to bring clothes, blankets, shoes, and bikes for specific needs. Plant City Officer Clark may be short in statue, but “her heart just towers over others. She even carries items in her patrol car for the needy.” “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives. Titus 3:14

the congregation’s willingness. Now the Mission and Outreach group has continued this project. Every fourth Saturday of each month at around 5:00 in the evening, 20-30 people young and old from Hope Lutheran serve 30-60 people in need. Some are homeless while others have trouble putting three meals a day on the table. Vicar Pennington is excited that “church members are establishing relationships with the people by conversation, and presence. It’s nice to see how our church members use their talents.” “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.” John 1:16 A full course meal including two entrees, salad, and dessert is always

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chool can be a very difficult place for a teenager. When there is a special need even more. Plant City High School wants everyone to have a positive experience during the last years of their education career. Thanks to the Cosmetology Department they are making it happen for some very special teens. In 2007 the Buddy program was started which is now known as the Raider Buddies. The exceptional students are paired 1 to 1 with a general student at the school which they can spend time doing things together such as eating lunch and going to afterschool activities which create wonderful friendships. The two big activities for the year are Raider Buddy Ball in the Spring and the Every Buddy Is Beautiful Fashion Show which they are gearing up for as I write this. This is an amazing time for everyone especially those in the Cosmetology Department. The students in this program help the Buddies become even more beautiful than they already are with haircuts and makeup. Some of the girls are extra generous donating their own

sparkly dresses so every Buddy can dress like a princess on their special night. “The parents love it because there’s not much opportunity for this kind of fun for their exceptional child,” says Sandra Denham, ESE Faculty. “The kids look forward to it all year and get excited to walk across the stage with the spotlight on them.” Right now the students are busy picking categories, music and the clothing they will wear. They will practice for the big night a little bit in class then have a walk thru the day before. The students are nervous so knowing what to expect helps. “This event makes me so proud of my Cosmetology students and their love for our special education students,” states Laurel Ritenbaugh, PCHS Cosmetology Teacher/Skills USA Advisor. The event will take place on Friday January 23rd at 7pm in the Plant City High School Auditorium. The tickets are $3 at the door and 100% of the profits will go directly to PCHS Raider Buddies Chapter. Go prepared to celebrate an amazing night with the exceptional students of Plant City High School.


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Plant City Community Chorale members enjoy sharing their passion for music and harmony at the annual Lights of Love fundraiser for the South Florida Baptist Hospital Foundation.

PLANT CITY COMMUNITY CHORALE MAKING MUSIC – CHANGING LIVES BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

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he Plant City Community Chorale (PCCC) is on a mission. In simple language, Lark Underwood—the group’s secretary and most tenured member, explains: “We want to develop our growth as singers, share our love of music with others, and offer up-lifting, familyfriendly concerts to our community.” The variety of musical selections for their upcoming concert, Songs for a New Day, should accomplish just that. The performance takes place Saturday, January 31 at First Presbyterian Church, 401 W. Reynolds Street in Plant City. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door and $8 in advance or $10 at the door for children under 12 and seniors 62-plus. Purchase directly 32

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from a choir member, visit www. pcccommunitychorale.com, or phone 812-757-0212 for assistance. Underwood shared the reason for her long-term commitment. “The Chorale has been one of the bright spots of my week since 2009. I look forward each week to our Monday rehearsals to catch up and work hard with friends.” Twelve singers performed the group’s first concert in late 2008. These days, 15-20 singers per season of various ages, races, religions, career backgrounds and ability levels make the PCCC a culturally diverse 501(c)(3) organization. Registration is open through February 2, 2015 for the Spring concert season. Members practice each Monday

from 7:00-9:30 PM in the FPC sanctuary and enjoy performing music from a wide variety of styles including Americana, Broadway, Contemporary, and Spiritual. Executive Director Barbara Avery discovered the group’s “warm, welcoming and wonderful environment” three years ago when she moved here from Massachusetts. “I found friends, a church, and community volunteer opportunities,” she explained. “Because of the group, I hit the ground running and became immersed in the Florida culture.” “Music is a touchstone that offers us joy and hope,” she added, “and community service performances are a way we can repay our loyal audiences and business sponsors.” In addition to singing for senior residential communities, the Chorale looks forward to events presented by the Plant City Chamber of Commerce and fundraisers such as Empty Bowls for the United Food Bank, and Lights of Love for the South Florida Baptist Hospital Foundation. By invitation, PCCC has also performed at venues such as Church on the Rock, Eastside Baptist Church, the Friends of the Spring’s Domestic Violence Vigil, the Plant City

community’s Good Friday service, Relay for Life, Walt Disney World and others. The PCCC Artistic Director, Kenneth R. Watts, is an accomplished musician with more than 40 years experience conducting and performing. The trumpeter also conducts the East Hillsborough Community Band. Watts offered, “By evoking emotion, music has the power to change people’s lives. Our group’s purpose will be summed up in this concert’s closing song, “Why We Sing.’ ‘…A sound of hope, a sound of peace, a sound of love, …’ It’s true—music can build a bridge and tear down a wall. “How many times,” asked Watts, “have we heard, for example, a string or brass ensemble change an ordinary space into a gorgeous wedding venue, all with sound?” He’s often been inspired “watching an audience attend a concert after a stressful day of and end their evening amid thunderous applause and shouts of ‘Bravo!’” “Truly,” he said, “our performance is a success if the audience feels differently when they leave from when they arrived. This is why we sing!


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ey & Cheryl

By Judy Ron

Johnston

year the three older are registering for tackle and flag football, and Judah and Jaxon will try soccer. I’m always looking for teachable moments to help them learn what it means to be a godly man in a world that attacks their faith. I want them to know what they believe and why—to be strong, not only physically and emotionally, but also strong enough to defend their beliefs.”

ndorf

e Jeremy B

Jeremy Bendorf loves his role as husband to Karen and playmate to their six sons. And with a career in the construction industry that requires travel, needless to say he’s a busy man. As with each of us, Jeremy learned through some of his own difficult childhood experiences a few lessons he believes have made him a better father to Jeren (13), Jaden (12), Jonah (10), Judah (8), Jaxon (6) and Kaleb Jace (1). Investing time together has its rewards. Bendorf believes the close-knit family becomes even more so when they play. Six sons? “It’s great because I get to be a kid with my boys. We play football, kickball, build fires, shoot BB guns at everything that moves, and even sleep on the floor sometimes. We like to watch movies together, especially slapstick comedy and adventure types. They also like the made-up , physically-energizing stories I tell them.” Were you physically active in school? “Yes, I wrestled for Plant City High School (Class of ’94) and played baseball at Southeastern University. I know the lessons sports can teach.” And how about your boys? “The five oldest played baseball last year. This

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You teach teens and adults at your church, correct? Yes, and I see a great need for genuine relationships that build trust and set good examples. As the middle of five sons, I started working at age 14, when our dad left the family. I worked at Maryland Fried Chicken, Food Lion, Hardee’s and even had a paper route to help with finances. Mom couldn’t work because of a disability and there was no child support. I am very thankful that a great church family and godly men encouraged me to stay on the right path. So many teenagers have situations like mine, and some even more difficult. If I can help them to trust in God’s plan and to just keep doing what they know is right, I feel like I’m paying forward some of the time invested in me.” Describe your work at Rockwell Building Systems. “I’m responsible for site inspections (from Wesley Chapel to Naples) and I teach leadership training and OSHA safety classes. Actually, it’s anything I’m asked to do.” You’re also the safety officer for the Little League organization at Mike Sansone Park, right? “Yes, I volunteer several hours a month. I never imagined I would be so involved with the idea of safety. But, I genuinely care about people can see now that my career interests have always been humanitarian. I care about people’s physical and spiritual safety. One day I hope to write a book about that.” And will you ever write down those stories? I’ve tried, but haven’t accomplished any yet. But I do enjoy speaking in the church arena and have found that comedy and stories keep people listening. Laughter connects us at every age.

stin

Ju Colleen When Colleen Justin came to Florida twenty-three years ago, her husband and she searched for a home in different areas of Hillsborough County. A friend suggested they look in the Plant City area. After she saw Plant City’s historic, charming downtown and met some of the people here, she knew she was home. Colleen is an accomplished artist and when she had the opportunity to purchase Walden Lake Art and Frame shop, she knew it would be a perfect fit. She loved the challenge, the customers, and the creative aspects of running the frame shop. After fifteen years, retirement sounded like a good idea. She sold her art and frame business to the first person who answered her ad. The last year and a half she golfed, boated, and traveled. She did what she wanted to do each day. The temporary retirement ended this past August when Colleen set up her own business doing something she has a passion for, healthy living. She decided to produce her own bottled vegetable and fruit juices. She ended her temporary retirement when she realized she wanted more of a challenge in her life. She set up her own business doing something she has a passion for, healthy living. She began to produce her own fresh bottled vegetable and fruit juices. Where did you move from when you came to Plant City? I was born and raised in Missouri and most of my family is still there. I was one of ten children. You said that Plant City felt like home to you. Why is that? Plant City has small town charm and I felt a connection immediately. We looked in Walden Lakes and found our home. Everything seemed to click and fell into place. Why do you think you sold your Art and Frame shop so quickly? I think it was all meant to be. I prayed about selling it and prayed that I would do the right thing. I put an ad on Craigslist. I had never sold anything on Craigslist before but the first person who answered the ad purchased the

shop. It was that easy. I think it was God's will. Do you still paint? What medium do you use and what subjects do you paint? I still paint. I'm mostly a landscape and wildlife artist. You can see several of my paintings at the Art Lounge Gallery downtown Plant City. You can see them there and they are for sale as are most of the paintings and other art forms. What took you into the fresh juice business? I saw a need for convenient, bottled fresh, healthy drinks. Some towns have juice bars and you can choose the fresh vegetables and fruits and have a healthy drink without the mess or inconvenience of making your own at home. We don't have anything like that in Plant City. Good healthy drinks were important to me and I think they are important to a lot of people. I use the commercial kitchen at St. Peters Episcopal Church in Plant City and I make and bottle the preservative and additive free drinks and sell them under the name JUICED. I have my website up at www.juiced4u.com. Right now JUICED! is selling at The Corner Store on Reynolds Street and will be selling soon at the Chiropractic office of Dr. Souther in the Oaks Plaza on Alexander. Do you foresee retirement for yourself? I believe strongly that I need to stay active and feel I’m being challenged both physically and mentally. I think the key to a good life and happiness is a good mixture of work and play.

Find more People of Plant City on Facebook. Connecting the community one story at a time. facebook.com/peopleofplantcity


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DID YOU KNOW

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WHAT IS AN ARCHIVES, ANYWAY? BY PLANT CITY PHOTO ARCHIVES AND HISTORY CENTER

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hat is the question we hear frequently – What is an archives, anyway? Well, here is a brief answer to what it is and what it does. An archives is actually several things: it’s a place (repository) where photographs, documents, letters, reports, maps, memoranda, newspapers and clippings, other files, etc., are collected and stored; it is also the organization responsible for this collection and storage.. It’s not a secret, dark, dank, labyrinthine cave under lock and key. 36

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An archives is a busy, functioning, active place that employs the latest techniques and procedures to collect, preserve, and store all kinds of photos, documents, papers and memorabilia and establish a method for retrieving these records. These records are well documented at the in-take or acquisition phase with information of where the records came from, names, dates, content information, and then they are stored in specified archival packaging and kept in lightcontrolled and climate-controlled areas. Whether or not you know it, you

probably have an archives in your home. It might be in a filing cabinet in the study, a box in the basement, (hopefully not in the garage), a chest in the attic or several other places. This is your personal archives: a collection of material that records important events from your own and your family’s history. Scrapbooks are also frequently used for this purpose. There are similarities between your family’s archives and the local archives, state, regional, or national archives. All save items to serve as proof that an event occurred, to explain how something happened, to preserve details of the past, or for financial or sentimental reasons. And both personal archives and larger archives save a variety of materials that can range from photographs, letters, databases, official documents, diaries, and scrapbooks – and more. Here at the Photo Archives and History Center we collect, preserve, and archive photographs and documents, which may include many personal items. We have much of the collection of papers from Mary Frances Morgan, aka Panky Glamsch or later Panky Snow, here in our archives, as well as the papers of David E. Bailey, who, with Quintilla Geer Bruton, wrote the book on the history of Plant City. We also have over 100,000 photographs of local and regional individuals from as early as the late 1800s to yesterday. In general, archives come in all shapes and sizes. There are national archives, state archives, county and city archives, community archives, business archives, church archives, and more. Archives – and the professional archivists who work in them – make sure that all important records will be available for research by generations to come. Archives are forever. That is why archivists preserve these records in special acid-free folders and packages and store them in light and climatecontrolled environments. That is why most of our photos and documents are scanned and digitized and kept in offsite digital storage. Let’s look at the difference between libraries and archives. Libraries basically provide their public with books, periodicals, computer access,

videos, public programs, etc., but are not in the business of archiving photos and documents. They make public information available to their public library users. Archives collect and preserve and make available what is called primary source material – photos and documents that are products of individual sources and not commercially produced. Libraries and archives are two segments of information organizations and work well together, but they are different. Plant City Photo Archives is also different from the standard archives in that the Photo Archives also has an exhibit gallery where hundreds of photos are on display on a rotating basis. Enlargements are also made available on a loan basis. Additionally, there is a History Center with a research library containing publications, archived collections, and internally generated monographs pertaining to Plant City and regional history. We need you to help us collect and preserve our community’s history and heritage. Bring us your family archives. You can donate them for future use or let us scan and digitize them for posterity. Bring in your photo albums, don’t throw them away simply because you are no longer interested or cannot take care of them. Someone here, some researcher, may want and need the information contained in those family archives. The information in all those personal papers and letters is important – and few people write letters any more. Bring us your photos before wiping them off your digital device. Only you can preserve the history of your community; we cannot create it. Send us your letters, questions, and comments: Plant City Photo Archives and History Center, 106 South Evers Street, Plant City, Florida 33563. We need information about not only Plant City, but also about east Hillsborough, and west Polk, and the surrounding region. We’re looking forward to your comments and questions. Thank you Sources: American Society of Archivists; Smithsonian Institution; National Archives and Records Administration.


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RIBBON CUTTINGS

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for Learn Tampa Bay on November 18, 2014 at their new location, 504 East Baker Street, Plant City. Learn Tampa Bay is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that was established in Plant City in 2014. It has a mission “To inspire and empower individuals to help them achieve success in life through education.” Our programs focus on the education of the whole family through four components: Adult Education (English and GED classes), Children’s Education (preschool and k-3rd grade tutoring), Parenting Education, and Parent and Child Together Time. Classes are free to participants and are offered Monday through Thursday.

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on December 17, 2014 for Planet Fitness located at 1864 James L. Redman Parkway, Plant City. At Planet Fitness they seek to perfect a safe energetic environment where everyone feels accepted and respected. At Planet Fitness their goal is to provide a unique, diverse “judgment free zone” where anyone can be comfortable and a lasting, active lifestyle can be built. Their brand new, beautiful facility is now open!

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for Acts 360 on December 2, 2014 at 2408 Airport Road, Plant City. Acts 360 is a Christ centered, full service technology consulting company, specializing in computer network management & maintenance for companies of all sizes. They can help you with anything from your phone system to your network server.

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for Kelley Borders, D.M.D. on December 9, 2014, at their new location: 1708 South Alexander Street, Plant City. Dr. Borders began her career in dentistry at the young age of 15, as a dental assistant. After graduating in 1996 at the top of her class with an A.S. in dental hygiene, she immediately began completing classes for entry into dental school. Dr. Borders was accepted to the University of Florida, College of Dentistry and graduated in 2003 as Class Valedictorian. With knowledge, experience and a friendly staff, they are eager to help serve you and your family with all of your dental needs.

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for H & R Block on December 11, 2014 at 2619 Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. The Company was established in 1955 and they are one of the world’s largest tax service providers, having prepared more than 650 million tax returns since 1955. They prepare federal, state and local tax returns for individuals and businesses, including estate and tax planning. The professionals at H & R Block average over 75 continuing education hours every year, and the best news is that in 2013, they helped clients claim more than $50 billion in tax refunds, credits and other government benefits.

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for Paddy Wagon Irish Pub on December 16, 2014 at 1852 James L. Redman Parkway, Plant City. They are a smoking friendly bar, but it is not offensive to the non-smoker, they have plenty of good ventilation. Paddy Wagon has 20 beers on tap including some craft and local beers, as well as a full liquor bar. With the weather cooling off, the outside covered patio is also an option. Stop by and see what kind of specials they are offering today!

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on January 6, 2015 for CrossFit Plant City, located at 1402B Mercantile Court, Plant City. CrossFit is the premier fitness training facility in Plant City, and their purpose is to improve the quality of life of the Plant City Community. Through personalized coaching in a supportive group environment, their members enjoy increased strength, guidance on clean eating, and a healthy, confident self-image.

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PLANT CITY LIONS CLUB HOSTS 80TH ANNUAL

Strawberry Festival Queen’s Scholarship Pageant BY CHERYL JOHNSTON | PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE HUMPHREY

Plant City Lions Club members are gearing up for the roles they’ll play during the Florida Strawberry Festival®, a tradition near and dear to their hearts. City history reveals that the Club, established here in 1929, helped to launch the Festival in 1930. Today that longstanding partnership continues. As one of its three annual fundraising efforts, our Lions Club hosts the Festival’s annual Queen’s Scholarship Pageant. It’s no small task. Just ask Club past-presidents Gail Lyons and Kerrie Gafford, who have been directing the event since 2011. Together, they have organized and simplified the process, and it’s a labor of love for both women. Lyons, also a Vice-President with Regions Bank, offered: “I have always had a passion for the Florida Strawberry Festival® and the Lions Club, so this allows me the opportunity to work with young ladies in the community…to grow their

confidence and help them fulfill their dreams of being a part of our world-famous Festival.” Gafford who is also a Health and Wellness Director for Walmart, feels the same. “I am excited to be part of the Plant City Lions Club and its Queen’s Pageant legacy,” she said. “When I first joined, I was interested in giving back to the community and serving others for sight preservation.” She continued, “I had no idea it could be this much fun to be part of one of our three annual fundraisers. I am honored and humbled to help young ladies pursue their dream of becoming the Strawberry Queen. I hope the community continues to support our efforts.” The pageant is open to women 16 to 20 who live in the Plant City area. From among this year’s 15 candidates, judges will select a queen, first maid and three court members. Jessi Rae Varnum, the 2014 queen, will crown the 2015 winner. The lovely young women are very busy during

the festival, appearing at various contests and headline entertainment venues. At numerous events throughout the year, they represent Plant City and the strawberry industry. Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody, herself the1993 festival queen, and WQYK radio personality Dave McKay, will emcee. The generous sacrifices of local Club members have supported much-needed outreach here and beyond. Your attendance at the upcoming pageant competition can make a difference, so the Lions can make an impact. Visit Regions Bank, Walden Lake Car Wash, or Hardee Fashions to purchase the $15 tickets for the 80th Annual Strawberry Festival Queen’s Scholarship Pageant, to be held January 31st at the Grimes Family Agricultural center. Remaining tickets will be sold at the “Will Call” window on January 30 from 5:00-6:30PM and on January 31st at 4:30PM.

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Abigail Lauren Miller Abigail Lauren Miller, the daughter of Gary and Cherity Miller, is a Plant City High School junior. She is a member of the Civinettes, National Honor Society, Youth Alive Council and cross-country track team, for which she was a cross-country regional qualifier and 2013 crosscountry Rookie of the Year. The 2015 Miss August on the PCHS Calendar has performed with the Moscow Ballet for six years. She enjoys running, Plant City’s First Baptist Church youth group, mission trips, traveling and writing. She plans to attend college, majoring in liberal arts with a minor in health and nutrition.

Deanna Rodriguez Deanna Rodriguez, daughter of Tony and Stacey Rodriguez, is a Plant City High junior, dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. She is a member of National Honor Society, Civinettes, vice president of Future Business Leaders of America, junior captain of varsity soccer, captain for Relay for Life and Team ToMorrow, and Miss May for the 2015 Plant City High School Calendar. Her hobbies include traveling with her family, photography, enjoying the beach and playing travel soccer. She plans to pursue a degree in the medical field at a four-year university.

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Meet The

2015 Contestants Carly Knox Carly Knox, daughter of Ben and Kerri Knox, is a Lakeland Christian School senior. She is captain of the varsity soccer and cheerleading teams, senior leader of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, yearbook editor and member of National Honor Society and Math Honor Society. The Florida Academic Scholar has 250 community service hours and won Christian Leadership Award and Plant City Optimist Club’s Youth Appreciation Award. She enjoys wakeboarding, photography and film, First Baptist Church youth group, coaching elementary soccer and family time. She plans to major in public relations at the University of Florida College of Communications.

Emily Benoit Emily Benoit, daughter of Michael and Jennifer Benoit, is a Newsome High School senior. She is president of Newsome FFA, vice president of Hillsborough FFA Federation, member of Florida Junior Cattlemen, member of National Gold FFA meats evaluation team and Florida Junior Beef Ambassador. She enjoys raising/ showing Angus cattle at local fairs and the Florida Strawberry Festival, as well as horseback riding and sharing time with family and friends. She plans to study veterinary medicine and minor in meat science at the University of Florida.


Meet The

2015 Contestants Heather Marie Ross Heather Marie Ross, daughter of Todd and Lisa Ross, is a Hillsborough Community College freshman. She volunteers at Dover Elementary School, United Food Bank of Plant City and with animal organizations. The Honor Court graduate was a recipient of the Heart of Champions Scholarship, Florida Strawberry Festival Livestock Scholarship and FFA Scholarship and was a member of National Honor Society. She enjoys exercising, coaching gymnastics, golfing with her dad and going to the beach. After she completes her degree at HCC, she plans to major in biology at the University of South Florida.

Holly Anne Shuff Holly Anne Shuff, daughter of Tim and Stephanie Shuff, is a Plant City High School junior, dual-enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. She is a member of National Honor Society and Civinettes and was a Plant City High School Calendar Girl for September. She won the Raider of Excellence Award and her hobbies include surfing the waves, traveling and thrill-seeking. She plans to major in criminology and minor in history at a Florida university and also to study abroad.

Kayla Elizabeth Troupe Kayla Elizabeth Troupe, daughter of Lt. Commander Kary Troupe and Kelli Green Troupe, is a Strawberry Crest High School junior. Enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Program, she is a National Honor Society member, captain of the school’s Chargerettes dance team, member of the concert band and active in the First Baptist of Dover youth group. She assists with homeschool students in various areas of math and science and helps in the rebuilding of schools destroyed by tornados. In 2014, she earned superior scores in dance in 2013 and 2014. She enjoys dance, horseback riding, volleyball, cheerleading, and riding roller coasters with her brother. She plans to obtain a doctorate in psychiatrics with a minor in biology at a post-secondary university. Her hope is to work with veterans and their families through the VA system.

Kellen Alysse Morris Kellen Alysse Morris, the daughter of Melinda and Trey Morris, is a Plant City High senior and freshman at Hillsborough Community College. The National Honor Society member is active in Varsity Flag Football, Civinettes, Science Club and on the yearbook staff. She is a 1290 Club member and was October Senior of the Month. She enjoys singing in the praise band at church, painting, making jewelry, doodling and shopping. She plans to complete an associate in arts degree at HCC and transfer to the University of Florida to study architectural engineering.

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Morgan Boykin Morgan Boykin, daughter of Marty and Jennifer Boykin, is a Strawberry Crest High School honor graduate, and now a sophomore at Hillsborough Community College and the University of South Florida. She is a member of the Strawberry Crest FFA Alumni, Florida Junior Cattlemen’s Association, and the Patrick’s Patriots Twirling Corps. She served as a Florida Strawberry Growers Association Ambassador, and is currently the feature twirler at USF. She enjoys competitive baton twirling, baking, boating, raising livestock and spending time with family and friends. She plans to pursue a degree in agriculture communications.

Olivia Brosky Olivia Brosky, daughter of Lt. Col. and Mrs. Carl Brosky, is a Plant City High School junior, dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. She is a member of National Honor Society, Civinettes, FFA, Drama Club and Plant City’s First Baptist Church youth group. Her hobbies include writing, theater, playing guitar, watching baseball and spending time with friends. She plans to major in both English and Communications at Florida Southern College.

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Meet The

2015 Contestants Payton Raye Astin Payton Raye Astin, daughter of Sam and Buffy Astin, is a Durant High School senior. The Student Government president is also varsity cheerleading team captain of the varsity, FFA member, Leo Club member, PTSA student representative, Durant’s Ms. Cougar Body Building Champion, Miss January for the school’s calendar, and DHS homecoming queen. She enjoys working out, working with community minded organizations, and being a constant support to her peers and student body. She plans to earn a master’s degree in business from Florida Southern College and then help oversee Astin Farms.

Samantha Black Samantha Black, daughter of Chris and Sherri Black and Maurice and Sherrie Campbell, is a Plant City High School junior, dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. The member of FFA, Civinettes, National Honor Society and Student Athlete Club also captains the varsity competition cheer team and varsity flag football team, for which was 2014 MVP. She is also a four-year member of FFA Veterinary Assistant program and the 2015 Strawberry Growers Association Scholarship Recipient, She attends St Peters Episcopal Church. Along with reading and traveling, her hobbies include rescue and rehabilitation of homeless animals. Samantha is currently working towards her therapy dog handler certification and plans to pursue a degree in veterinary science.


Meet The

2015 Contestants Samantha Mei Sun Samantha Mei Sun, daughter of Jim and Shari Sun, is a Plant City High junior. She is a Civinettes Club officer, Youth Alive member, varsity tennis player, and member of the National Honor Society and Math Bowl Team. The Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Award recipient also won the tennis MVP award, placed second in the Optimist Club speech contest, and placed first in the PTSA Reflections Art Contest and displayed at the Dali Museum. She also won the Community Choice Award Lifelink Art Competition. She enjoys piano, art, reading, summer mission trips, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and volunteering with Civinettes. She plans to pursue a university degree in medical sciences and then attend medical school.

Vaviel Michele Verne Vaviel Michele Verner, daughter of Ed and Amanda Verner and Cindy Alexander, is a Lakeland Christian School junior. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, Concert Choir and Chamber Ensemble, Remedy Service Club, Youth Praise Team Psalm 95, Chapel Praise Team and Dance Carousel Senior Competition Team. Her hobbies include singing, dancing, college-level piano, reading and involvement in school musicals. She plans to pursue a degree in music education and secondary English education.

Zoee Renae Causey Zoee Renae Causey, the daughter of Heather and Raymond Causey, is a Plant City High School sophomore. The flag captain of the color guard, American Sign Language Club member and concert band member attends First United Methodist Church of Plant City. She was a finalist in last year’s PCHS Relay for Life Princess Contest. She enjoys dancing, shopping and spending time with family and friends. She plans to pursue a degree in pharmaceutical studies at a fouryear university.

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MICHAEL CAMERON HAPPY, HEALTHY, AND HELPFUL BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

Michael Cameron loves his “wonderful” hometown so much that community service is almost as natural as breathing. The very involved business owner, 2014 Outstanding Citizen, and incoming Chairman of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce shared some encouraging words for newcomers recently. “Whether you know anyone or not, just get involved. We are a tight-knit community, but I think we do a good job of involving and engaging everyone who wants to serve others.

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This philosophy has worked well for the 53-yearold Cameron, a fifth generation resident and owner of Cameron Financial Management, who said, “I’ve built my business around community involvement and friendships that developed through that.” During the Outstanding Citizen award introduction, the 2013 recipient, Joe Sedita, summed up the praise of his friend, saying “Everywhere you go, you see Michael Cameron and he always has a smile on his face… always ready to help out any way he can.” Focus: What impresses you most about Plant City and its people? Cameron: People here are sincere, friendly and they want to help. We also have some great traditions in the Strawberry Festival, the Plant City Pig Jam and other Chamber events. This is a great place to live and connect. Focus: Tell us a little about your family! Cameron: I’ve been happily married to Terrie for 16 years and we have a 15-year-old son, Nicholas, who is a freshman at Plant City High School. Terrie has reently taken a job with our city’s maintenance department, so now I pick Nicholas up from school every day. He’s a great son with many talents and who likes skateboarding. He and I enjoy kayaking together on the Little Manatee River, where we have a getaway place. We’re also very involved in our church. Focus: With which civic clubs or non-profits have you been involved? Cameron: I consider myself more of a behind-thescenes guy, but it seems when you’re involved with organizations long enough, you move into leadership positions. This month on the 29th, I’ll become Chairman of the Plant City Chamber of Commerce, and I’ve been past-president of Friends of the Library, Toastmasters and the Lions Club. I have enjoyed serving on the Festival’s Grand Parade Committee, helping with the Strawberry Queen Scholarship Competition, and various Chamber functions. The Pig Jam and our Planes, Trains, & Automobiles events are two of my favorites. At the Festival I like to work in the Lions Club food booth and in the Chamber information booth. I like that the Chamber is always trying to come up with something new to engage people. Focus: What do you love most about your work at Cameron Financial Management? Cameron: I get to teach, and to help people learn about investing. I can help individual investors and business owners develop strategies to fit their unique financial needs and goals. I’m not a pushy salesman, but I do enjoy teaching. My father taught at Cork, so I grew up with a teacher.

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Focus: How do you spend your spare time? Cameron: I’m a foodie, so I love to cook and barbeque. I’ve been involved in competitive BBQ contests for over 12 years now. You can see pictures of our grilled food on Facebook. I enjoy grilling and smoking steaks, ribs, chicken, veggies and mullet when I can. I also enjoy collecting vintage Weber grills. I want to get back into biking (with mountain and regular bikes). I was riding 10-15 miles a day and have done a couple of century rides. Our family also likes to help with various fundraisers, like those for Taylor Goethals, who is fighting cancer. Focus: OK, random questions…what books are you reading and what music do you enjoy? Cameron: I’m a fan of two Florida authors, so I’m reading Haunted by Randy Wayne White and Shark Skin Suite by Tim Dorsey. I’m about to begin Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. As to music, I like Caribbean, like Jimmy Buffett, and contemporary Christian. Focus: You mentioned faith is an important aspect of your family’s life. Cameron: Yes, we attend First United Methodist Church, where I was baptized, married, and hope one day to be buried—but not anytime soon. Our pastor is a great teacher and we have a great staff and congregation. Nicholas enjoys the youth group and Terrie and I love our Wednesday night small group (of about 30), “The Last Suppers.” We socialize regularly with those friends outside of church also. I’m a past chairman of the Administrative Council and enjoy helping when I can. Sitting near the front of the church every Sunday as a kid kept me out of trouble, so now it’s natural that we worship in the second row. I just love being there. Focus: Do you ever see yourself living away from here? Cameron: Perhaps one day in the distant future…I can imagine us retired in the islands where we will fish, sail, motorboat, kayak and island hop. We really enjoy the Caribbean. Focus: What would you like our readers to know about your recent recognitions? Cameron: I am flattered and humbled to be the 2014 Outstanding Citizen of the Year. Thanks to Terrie, it was a total surprise to me. I look forward to serving the Plant City Chamber of Commerce as Chairman, too, and I look forward to continuing to make Plant City a great place to work, visit, and live.

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RAOK BOUTIQUE BY JUDY RONEY

H

annah Benton enjoyed working at her Alma Mater, USF. However, she had a nagging feeling that she should be doing something else. After soul searching and talking it over with her husband and her mother, Hannah resigned in July of last year and set out to make a dream come true. She and her mother, Brigitte Hodge, talked a lot about what it would take to open a boutique. They decided that they would go to the market in Atlanta and see what they could find that would be unique and new to Plant City. Within six weeks, Hannah and Brigitte opened the doors of RAOK boutique located in The Village at 2804 James Redman Parkway, Suite 103. Their dream became a reality in record time. The opening was by word of mouth and over two hundred people showed up to see what the ROAK boutique and this mother and daughter team offered. They were not disappointed. “Everything just fell into place”, said Hannah, “It was like a whirlwind. This is such a leap of faith for us. We know that God has had his hand in this”. Neither of this mother/daughter team has experience running a business but they have definite ideas of what they want RAOK to be. “We learn as we go”, explains Hannah. “We know what we want to be doing here in Plant City. Our name

explains a lot RAOK (pronounced rayoak). The name is reminiscent of sun rays and oak trees for me. RAOK is also an acronym for (R)andom (A)cts (O)f (K)indness”. Brigitte adds, “Random Acts of Kindness reflects a philosophy that is also a feeling we hope people get when they enter the boutique. We want our shop to lift spirits whether they are shopping for something in particular or just come in to browse or say hi. “We intend to help the community to grow from our presence here”, said Brigitte, “We won’t order products that other places carry. Instead we will refer the customer to the area store that has that item. Hannah adds, “Our idea is to get quality products at good prices from market so we can pass them on to our customers. If we sell a blouse for sixteen dollars, we want it to be the best sixteen dollar blouse you can find. If you spend more, the quality should be more. We will always be aware of quality, price, uniqueness, and the wishes of our customers”. “We offer a wide variety of products”, Brigitte says, “We purchase our products from as many local, small businesses as possible. We try to spotlight the small businesses like our Ashley Brooke designs and Emily Ley paper goods out of Tampa”. If you are of the opinion that a boutique only sells high end

merchandise, RAOK may change your mind. Here we see a wide range of prices. You can purchase a necklace and earrings for as little as twelve dollars for the set. You can purchase Brighton that is higher priced, but they offer better quality like sterling posts on their earrings and offer good customer service. RAOK seems to have found a good balance and serve the needs of all shoppers. In addition to the good product lines and opportunity for every price range, RAOK offers free gift wrapping no matter what the price of the item. They believe those extra touches mean a lot and make a good presentation. Hannah or Brigitte also offer personalized care to help you choose that right gift for someone special, including yourself. That personalized care is a help to some of the men who are looking for a gift for the woman in their life. Hannah comments on the furnishings. “Thanks to my mom, most of the display pieces and furniture in the store are repurposed. For instance, we purchased the dresser from Lighthouse Ministries and refurbished it. There are a few old family pieces like the entertainment center that was my grandmother’s. We are the first people in this store front and we were able to decorate the place from floors to walls just the way we wanted to. My mom is

very talented and creative.” When asked what the future held for RAOK boutique Hannah and Brigitte had a gush of answers. “We are going to carry plus sizes because several of our customers have already asked about that. We plan to carry the lines we do now but add to them. We are going to designate one day each month to give a percentage of our profits to a charity. We are very excited about that. We will be carrying a new line of bridal party and evening dresses. We can set aside after-hours time for events and parties like brides maids gathering to try on dresses or help to choose evening wear and have fun doing it. We will launch our own website this year. We are excited about all the possibilities”. If you are looking for a gift or something for yourself, be sure to stop by RAOK boutique. If you just want to stop in and browse or say hi, you won’t be disappointed.

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The Village 2804 James Redman Parkway, Suite 103 813-754-RAOK Hours: Monday - Saturday 10-5

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APARTMENTS FOR SENIORS One bedroom Apartments • Rent based on income

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T

here are five categories that FICO, a leading software for calculating a person’s credit score, uses to figure out your credit score. Last month, I revealed those categories and how much each affects your score. Here it is again: 1. Payment History: 35% 2. Length of Credit History: 15% 3. Amount Owed: 30% 4. Types of Credit: 10% 5. New Credit: 10% I went into some detail about “payment history” and “length of credit history” last month. This month, I’ll cover the remaining three categories. Amount Owed – More accurately, this should read, “revolving debt,” which is something that you can borrow over and over again like a credit card. This really does not apply to installment loans such as a mortgage or student loan, which have final payments. On “revolving” accounts, if there are high balances, or if credit cards have been maxed out, then the credit-scoring

formula figures that it is a greater risk, causing the credit score to be lower. One side note here: Closing a credit card account that currently has an outstanding balance can actually HURT your credit score. Types of Credit – This is one of the areas of confusion because the scoring models do not reveal what “mix” of credit helps or hurts your credit score. What I do know is that they are looking for auto loans, the number of mortgages, installment loans and credit card accounts, and whether those are “balanced” versus having five car loans and no credit cards. New Credit – Having credit inquiries on a credit report is not a bad thing, but they may hurt your credit score if you apply for a lot of credit in a short period of time. The credit bureaus look at how many credit inquiries you have, how many new accounts were opened and over what time period the new accounts were opened.


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RESIDENTIAL / COMMERCIAL

LOOKING AHEAD BY JO-AN LUSK

A

s the New Year begins, there are several economic indicators that the housing market may have a break-out year. Here are 3 to be strongly considered. A stronger job market While the recession passes behind us, more companies are hiring. The unemployment rate has dropped 5.8 percent and 321,000 jobs were opened up in November. New jobs equates to improved consumer optimism. The latest Consumer Confidence Index highlighted confidence weighing in at 19.5 percent higher than a year ago. As jobs continue to stabilize and moods lift, more potential homebuyers will enter the market as they become more eligible for a mortgage, and more capable of taking on those pesky mortgage payments. Home prices are stabilizing Home prices between January and October, 2014 rose 4.5 percent nationally, which—while still an uptick—is much mellower than the same period of time during 2013, when prices jumped 11 percent. Additionally, mortgages have settled below 4 percent for 30-year fixed rates, and the combination of stable prices and low mortgage rates creates a cocktail of affordability that will shine a bright light on housing in 2015. Here in Plant City, the average sale price of homes in 2014 rose 3% compared to 2013. There were 810 sales (through MLS) in 2014 compared to 684 in 2013. Interestingly the ratio of sales price to list price was steady for the past 2 years at 97%. Rents are high Have you noticed that rent rates have been rising? There’s nothing like a sky high rental market to send on-the-fence buyers scurrying into homeownership. As more Americans took to renting when the housing market took a tumble, rents

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began to increase, and are currently at a seven-year high. And while, yes, renting offers flexibility and low-stakes living for millennials, a recent survey by Fannie Mae showed 9 in 10 would prefer to own, if it were possible. In December, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced programs that would allow first-time buyers to secure homes with low down payments (3 percent instead of the previously stated 5 percent) which will open up the doors for young people with high debt and low savings. This is good news for buyers. “With rents now rising at a sevenyear high, historically low [interest] rates and moderating [home] price growth are likely to entice more buyers to enter the market in upcoming months,” Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors’ chief economist, says in a recent article. However, it’s not all peaches and cream for housing in 2015. Economists are predicting that, as prices stabilize, mortgage rates may begin to drift upward, settling near 5 percent by the year’s end. While this number is still low, historically, it’s higher than those low, cushy numbers we’ve been seeing of late. In summary, 2015 is off to a great start. Agents are busy with buyer and seller appointments; rates are low and home prices are steady as affordability improves for buyers. There is a 4-5 month inventory of active homes available. Banks are letting go of their REO inventory as well, and many of these properties are not lasting very long as multiple offers exceed expectations. It’s a great time to buy or sell as you have heard many times. Here’s wishing you a successful, abundant, safe and healthy New Year!


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he Walden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are the third Monday of each month at the Walden Lake Community Association office building on Griffin Boulevard in Walden Lake. The next meetings are scheduled for January 19th and February 16th at 7:00 PM. There will also be a Presidents Meeting on February 16th at 6:00. The meetings are open to all Walden Lake residents. With the new management company, Greenacre Properties Inc, comes a new HOA Property Manager. Her name is Linda Fernandez and her first day was January 5th. If you happen to see her or you are at the HOA office, welcome her to our beautiful community. She comes with many years of experience and is excited to be part of our community. At the December Board Meeting, the Directors ended in a four/four stalemate on the replacement for a new Board Member. Both candidates, Dan Orrico and David Sollenberger, have been long time Walden Lake residents and would be an asset to the Board. The Board tabled the vote until the January meeting. The Board also discussed the Towing Policy and were waiting until the new Property Manager was in place prior to making the policy final. There were 143 sales in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East in 2014 with an average sales price of $186,077. Of those sold, 106 were single family homes in Walden Lake with an average sale price

of $203,426 and there were 20 single family homes sold in Walden Lake East with an average price of $135,726. There were 17 properties sold that would be considered townhomes, villas or condos with an average sale price of $134,812. In 2014, the highest priced home sold for $550,000 was in Polo Place, and the lowest priced home was a bank owned property in Walden Oaks for $78,750. That Walden Oaks home was remodeled and sold two months later for $137,825. In December, there were 11 total sales in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East with an average sale price of $161,089. The sales are as follows: 121 Sandalwood Drive $108,979 1435 Walden Oaks Place $109,000 2640 Eagle Greens Drive $120,000 4112 Longfellow Drive $129,000 613 Sandalwood Drive $154,000 817 Sandalwood Drive $151,000 3352 Silvermoon Drive $159,800 4007 Silverspring Drive $170,000 1704 Sagebrush Road $200,000 3304 Milton Place $229,000 2704 Clubhouse Drive $250,000 There are currently 38 Active listings with an average list price of $215,031 and 16 listings pending contract with an average list price of $196,550. Feel free to contact me about any real estate questions or about this article. NSweet@KW.com or 813-758-9586.


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CAST YOUR VOTE!

2014

WWW.FOCUSPLANTCITY.COM OR WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/THEFOCUSMAGAZINE

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Julie Holbrook sets four Florida State Records in the Senior Games held at the Ft. Meyers Aquatic Center in December 2014.

AN EVERLASTING PASSION BY ASHLYN YARBROUGH | PHOTOS PROVIDED BY JULIE HOLBROOK

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ost everyone has seasons in his or her life. They become interested in an activity, pursue it, and graduate past it after they’re done. For Julie Holbrook, however, her seasons began to reoccur. As a child, Julie grew up in the swimming pool. She claims that she has been swimming ever since she can remember. During the 1950’s, her father taught her and many other kids how to swim at the Robinson swimming pool. She wanted to swim competitively, but 64

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Plant City High School did not offer a girls’ swim team. Julie began swimming competitively on the Greater Tampa team, but soon transferred to the Plant City Swim Team that was started by her dad. “He introduced competitive swimming to Plant City,” Ms. Holbrook explains about her father. “One of my greatest senses of pride and joy is when people come up to me and tell me that my dad taught them how to swim.” After the age of 18, Julie decided to discontinue her swimming career. She

began raising a family and moved on with her life. For exercise, she would just run, play tennis, and go to the local YMCA. As the years progressed, running became very hard on her joints and she knew she would have to cut back on that type of physical activity. Eventually, one of the coaches at the YMCA invited her to start swimming again. After 48 years away from the sport, in October of 2013, Julie began pursuing her first passion once again. Ms. Holbrook swims Mondays,

Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6:00am at a pool in Brandon, FL. “The coach in Brandon pushes me to swim harder and faster than what I normally would do when I practice on my own; which helps me with my technique,” Julie describes. She expressed that the greatest challenge of starting her swimming career back up is learning the different ways of swimming certain strokes. “Swimming has changed in so many ways since I was a child,” she said. Julie competes in the Senior Games, which is an organization that has multiple sports and activities for individuals who are at least 50 years old. She is in the 65-69 year old category for swimming. On December 13-14, 2014, Julie traveled to Ft. Meyers for the State Senior Games. There, she set four state records in the 50-yard breaststroke, 100-yard breaststroke, 60-yard freestyle, and 100-yard freestyle. “Setting state records now is just as much of an accomplishment as anything else when I was younger,” Julie described. “It means just as much and is as fun and competitive as it ever was.” Ms. Holbrook has a heart for the YMCA and owes them the credit for getting her back to swimming again. “I love the positive atmosphere, the great lifeguards, and the company of my friends as well,” she said. Julie Holbrook has a passion for hard work, success, and a healthy lifestyle. “I never thought that I would ever be able to swim again,” she explained. “You just never know when something from your past can still be enjoyable to you later on in life.”


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Back row left to right: Coach Amanda Morris, Asst. Head Coach David Lawrence, Mackenzie Steele, Shayna Lawrence, Kaitlynne Fincher, Head Coach Wilt Wilkerson, Coach Bud O’Callaghan. Front row left to right: Tadajah Hunter, Sharice Morales, Lacey Hargrove, Avery Brown, Abby Devane, Kaylynn Wilkerson.

LADY RAIDERS’ BASKETBALL TEAM BY ASHLYN YARBROUGH | PHOTOS PROVIDED BY STACY LAWRENCE

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lant City High School is notorious for success, whether it is in academics, athletics, or leadership. Their Lady Raiders’ basketball team, however, has excelled beyond success in their season this year. The team is headed up by Wilt Wilkerson with assistant coaches David Lawrence, Bud Ocalahan, and Amanda Morris. Wilkerson has played basketball from a very early age. Starting with recreational league, to high school, to a Pro-Am team, basketball has always been a part of his life. Wilkerson’s coaching career began sixteen years ago and he has coached at Plant City for the 66

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past five years. Shayna Lawrence, Avery Brown, and Kaylynn Wilkerson lead this dedicated group of girls. Each one of these captains exerts positivity, hard work, and ecouragement. The Lady Raiders currently have an outstanding record of 12-1. The game that they are most proud of is their win against Strawberry Crest High School. The Plant City girls dominated with a score of 55-38 against their local rival. “The key element to our success,” Coach Wilkerson states, “is working hard and portraying selflessness. The team must go before yourself.

You play for each other.” Basketball is unlike any other sport. Wilkerson describes the “up and down pace” as being the primary unique characteristic. This tough, relentless sport takes a special kind of athlete. “I love the emotion put into the game,” states Lawrence. “Putting everything out on the court to win a game is priceless.” Others, like Avery Brown, love it because of the activeness and high intensity. It’s very rare to see a team who loves and supports each other on and off the court. “Our girls are great. They just

love each other and always want to hang out,” explains Wilkerson. Brown describes the team as “having ten sisters. We lean on each other whether we win or lose.” The chemistry of the girls away from the game is what makes them click on the court, according to Shayna Lawrence. The Lady Raiders’ basketball team has made a name for themselves in their school and community. These talented and committed athletes have so much to look forward to in their basketball careers.


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A PEACE-CRANE FOR THE NEW YEAR BY DEREK MAUL

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e may be well into January already, but there’s a theme from Christmas that’s still around in my heart and mind. It’s the message of peace, and I can’t imagine anything more important as we hit our stride in 2015 and head into this New Year in earnest. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27 Traditionally, we understand that peace literally hitched a ride and entered this world in a new way with the coming of Jesus. Or, more properly, it was the potential for peace, a quality of peace unlike anything the world had understood up to that point in history. Unfortunately, the world at large still fails to understand the Jesus kind of peace; in fact, many Christians fail to understand the Jesus kind of peace - the “peace that passes understanding” - the peace that Jesus describes as, “a different quality to the peace the world offers.” PEACE CRANE: For several weeks in December, I paid close attention to the blue “Peace Crane” sitting on the Christmas Tree in our dining room. I’m sure we all know the story behind the origami cranes made by Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese child who contracted Leukemia after initially surviving the atom bomb that devastated Hiroshima. Sadako made 1,000 of the paper cranes while she was dying, in response to a legend that “anyone who folds a thousand cranes is granted a wish.” However, rather than wishing for herself, Sadako’s prayer went like this: “I will write peace on your wings and you

will fly all over the world.” Many Christians like to point out that the Jesus kind of peace is personal, and that the peace of God can be ours no matter what is going on around us. That’s all beautifully true, of course. But peace is not an exclusively passive idea. Peace is something that we are called to do; peace is a commitment we are called to live, and that’s what I want us to think about as we negotiate our way through 2015. Personally, I can’t help but think of the peace imperative when I consider how far from Christ’s path we all tend to stray on a daily basis. So today I’m going to resist the temptation to talk about our larger shameful domestic social issues such as state-sanctioned torture, institutionalized racism, and the systematic repression of human rights. I’m skipping comment this time because such conversations tend to point the finger away from me and toward “them.” But it was my tree the blue Peace Crane landed on, not theirs. So I’m wondering what I’m going to be doing with the Jesus Peace Initiative. How am I going to “do” peace? What am I being called to do to deepen the quality of peace my family experiences? How is God nudging me to bring peace to my community? How is God activating my compassion in order to reach beyond? Here is a quick and easy way to think about peace as deliberate action: Pour out love Express compassion Act out the teachings of Christ Carry the presence of God Establish relationships with those who do not know peace “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

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CANDY’S CORNER BY CANDY OWENS

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was looking at an old set of World Book Encyclopedias from 1968 the other day and it made me think back to a time when my parents gifted my sister and I with a complete set along with a snappy wooden bookshelf to keep them in. Back in those days it was really something to have a set of “World Books”, you see… that was our version of today’s internet. Our family referred to the world books for information on just about anything. When my sister and I had to do a book report on a specific state, country, animal, person, place, or thing, we went to the “World Books”. If we had to build an Indian Village based on a specific Indian Tribe for school then we went to the “World Books”. If we had to dress in the native costume from a specific country for a school play, then we went to the “World Books”. Other than the Bible, the World Book Encyclopedias were considered the “Holy Grail” for knowledge at our house. I thought it might be fun to look through an old “World Book” so I ran my finger over and old set and stopped on the book marked with the letter T. I opened the old book and I immediately smelled that old familiar smell, the smell of school work and knowledge. HAHA! I stopped on the page with the word Television. It gave the definition as: Television or TV, is a modern wonder of electronics. It brings the world into your home in sight and sound. Turn on your TV set and you can see a baseball

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player hit a home run. You can watch a Broadway play, or be taken on the scene of a fire. You can see and hear the President of the United States deliver a speech. Or a teacher on TV can bring a classroom into your home. Television works in much the same way as radio. In radio, sound is changed into electromagnetic waves which are sent through the air. In TV, both sound and light are changed into electromagnetic waves. The name television comes from the Greek word tele, meaning far, and the Latin word videre, meaning to see. Thus, television means to see far. In 1884, the first electromechanical television was developed by a German student by the name of Paul Gottlieb Nipkow. However the mere invention of the television did not mark the beginning of the broadcast television era. Electronic Television and the Color Television would soon follow. WOW!, now how is that for specific information on a Television? Weren’t World Book Encyclopedias really something? (To this day, I still have the original set that my parents gifted my sister and I with tucked away in a cabinet. I can still go to them for information and I would never throw them away!) Let’s move ahead to today, some 47 years after I received my fabulous set of “World Books”, where we find that Television has played an extremely large part of the way that the modern world communicates. In reality, the television may have revolutionized the way that our world works more than any other thing except possibly the internet. However there is no good way to make a

comparison between the internet and the television, as the internet is far too young. The internet has only been around for a few decades and the television is fast approaching the century mark. Today one of the biggest parts of the television broadcasting networks are the commercials. Commercials are merely paid advertising that is shown in between clips of sporting events, movies, or television shows. For example let’s take a look at the Super Bowl from this past year. Millions of people tuned into this past year’s NFL Super Bowl and many of these people did not even tune into watch the game, but to watch the commercials. According to CNN. com, CBS reportedly sold 30 second ads to eager companies for 2.6 million dollars. This is an insane amount of money for 30 seconds of airtime. However the amount of people that were communicated through this 30 second ad must be a good economic investment as the amount of money for one of these 30 second Super Bowl ads has increased nearly every year. My how times have changed! I can remember going to my Grandparents house on Saturday nights to watch the Lawrence Welk show with them. My sister and I would sit on the floor in front of the television set and listen to the singers sing, watch the dancers dance, and not say a word until the commercials came on. That was the time when we talked, got up and got a snack, or made a run for the powder room. As a kid, it seemed like The Lawrence Welk show had commercials that appealed to the “Old Folks” like: Geritol, the “feel better and stronger faster with just two tablespoons for people with tired blood medicine”. (Hey, I think that I might

could use some of that “Old Folks” stuff now. HAHA!!!) We as kids loved most of the commercials on television, not for the amount of money that the sponsors paid, but for the groovy jingles that stuck in our heads like: “Lemon Pledge that ides your dusting bringing luster to the wood”, “RC Cola with the mad, mad taste”, or “What’s the best tuna? Chicken of the Sea”, and Mrs. Olsen drinking her Folgers Mountain grown coffee that was “good to the last drop”, or “Shake”, “Shake”, “Shake a Puddin”, and how about: “McDonald’s is your kinda place, it’s such a happy place”, and “Slinky, Slinky, everybody knows it’ Slinky”, and “Oh I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Weiner”, and “In the valley of the jollyho-ho-ho!-Green Giant” and “Rice-aRoni, the San Francisco treat”, and how bout…”Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, Oh! What a relief it is”, and “Hot dogs, Armour hot dogs” just to name a few. We had some catchy jingles didn’t we? In 2010 the IPlayer incorporated a social media aspect to its internet television service, including Facebook and Twitter. Other devices that allow interactivity- such as the Apple TV, Google TV and Chromecast- have made it possible for users to access content through the internet on their TVs and social media websites like You Tube. Also the use of the television for video games, especially on consoles such as Wii, has contributed to a growing kinaesthetic connection between television and viewers. What would Paul Gottlieb Nipkow think of his Television and the whole broadcast television era? I think he would take words from a famous TV jingle: “You’ve come a long way baby!”


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WANDA’S WORDS OF WISDOM

HAPPY NEW YEAR…

BY WANDA “LEWIS” ANDERSON

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very day is an opportunity for change. But, most of us like to start the New Year with a renewed sense of being better this year. I like to re-organize everything when taking down the Christmas decorations. Let’s look at few tips that may help… Organize one drawer or one closet at a time. No need to rush, be patient and enjoy the works of your labor. Use old shoe boxes for storage on the small items and cover them with wrapping paper to add a little color to the closet. You can do the same with larger boxes. If you have decorative picture frame then I have a great tip for organizing your ear-rings. On the back of the frame hot glue string, thin ribbon or lace from side to side and repeat several rows. Use the rows of string to hang your ear-rings. Now at a glance you can view them all. A great place to store small containers is under the bed and you’ll get a lot more room by using bed lifts. You can find them in most stores and they offer so much more room for storage.

If you need to hang a picture and are in need of a hook for the back simply use a beverage pull tab. Just drill the screw into the lower part of the aluminum tab. As you screw into the wood it will secure the tab in place holding it securely for use. If you have difficulties holding a nail while hammering try placing the nail between the teeth of a comb. The teeth hold the nail in place while you hammer and it keeps your fingers away from the nail. For saving space under the sink place a thin expandable rod from side to side under the cabinet. Hang your spray bottles of cleaning supplies by the nozzle over the thin rod. This will give you additional space under the spray bottles to place other cleaning supplies. When cleaning out your closets please remember to give to those in need. I sincerely wish everyone a safe, healthy and Blessed New Year. Until next time relax, enjoy and be thankful… FOCUS MAGA ZINE PL ANT CIT Y JANUARY 2015

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SENIORS OF THE MONTH

SAMANTHA BLACK

JACKSON HARDEE

BY ASHLYN YARBROUGH

BY GRESHAM STEPHENS

PHOTO BY: OSCAR JOEL HERRERA

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he majority of teenagers today spend their time focusing on academics, sports, and socializing; but very rarely do you see a passion for animal rescue. Seventeen-year-old Samantha Black is an incredibly well rounded Plant City High School student who is an outstanding pick for Senior of the Month. Samantha is a very hard worker in all that she does, including academics. With a GPA of 4.05, this National Honors Society student has truly excelled in the classroom. Samantha has always been remarkably athletic. Throughout her high school career, she has lettered in Varsity Flag Football and Varsity Cheerleading all four years! Her outgoing personality and strong leadership qualities have led her to be the captain for both sports. In addition to schoolwork and athletics, Samantha is also involved in numerous school organizations. She is a member of Civinettes, FFA, Student Athlete Club, and is a PTSA Student Board member. Her emphasis has been in the FFA and participating in the

FAVORITES School Subject: Veterinary Assistant Book: If I stay Hobbies: Animal rescue Band/Artist: Taylor Swift Song: “Shake it Off ” Movie: Fried Green Tomatoes

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Veterinary Assistant Program while serving on multiple committees as well. Outside of school related functions, Samantha has a huge heart for animal rescue. She is the founder of the organization: Lean on Leo. “The goal of my organization is to create awareness for the stray pet crisis, provide therapy dog services, and educate the public about ways to get involved and help,” Samantha explains. She is currently taking classes to obtain her Therapy Dog Handler certification with her rescue dog Leo. Samantha’s family is always there to provide help along the way. Her parents Chris and Sherri Black, and Sherrie and Maurice Campbell – and brothers - AJ (21), Nick (21), Reece (18), Nolan (16), and Lucas (15) – all support her with anything she is involved in. Upon graduation, she plans on attending USF then transferring to the University of Florida to receive a Veterinarian Science degree. Samantha Black is certainly an extremely accomplished individual, and has an incredible future ahead of her. TV Show: The Walking Dead Food: Alice Springs Chicken from Outback Quote: “Nice Matters” - Grandma Restaurant: Outback Steak House Hangout spot in Plant City: Home Sports Team: FSU

PHOTO BY: OSCAR JOEL HERRERA

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thlete, scholar, servant are just some of the words that describe Jackson Hardee. Jackson is the son of Casey Hardee and LaShawn Hardee. Jackson is looking to finishing his senior year with lots of hard work. He is planning on attending college next year, although he is not sure where just yet, and become an electrical engineer. Jackson is an active member of the PCHS community. He is currently the President of the Jr. Civitan Club and started the Wounded Warrior support project in which this club donates money each month to the Wounded Warrior Project. Along with the Civenettes, Jackson is leading the Jr. Civitan’s in collecting coats for the homeless and serving dinner to the homeless once a month. Jackson was honored last year as the winner at the 15th annual Kids are Heroes, FAVORITES School Subject: Science Book: Lord of the Rings Trilogy Hangout spot in PC: Movie Theatre Hobbies: Pole Vault, Hunting, Fishing Sports Team: Tampa Bay Rays Store: Bass Pro Shop

sponsored by St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital for raising money for Corporal Michael Nicholson who was injured while serving our country in Iraq. In addition to his outstanding community service, Jackson is an athlete and a scholar. He is currently a member of the PCHS track team. Last year he won the Western Conference Title in pole vaulting with a height of 13’6”, which sets a PCHS school record. He is looking to beat his own record this year. Academically, Jackson is currently ranked number 32 in his class with a GPA of 5.36. He is a member of the National Honor Society and hope to graduate with honors. Jackson has a commitment to not only make himself better, but to serve the community and enhance the lives of those around him. His care and respect for others make him a cut above the rest! Quote: “Nothing comes from nothing.” TV Show: Breaking Bad Song: Stay Together for the Kids Movie: Batman Band/Artist: Kendrick Lamar Food: Sushi Restaurant: Charley’s Steak House


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E art and photography as in the past, Bud has not let his circumstances hinder him from creating art altogether. Within his room, the four walls he calls home, Bud has colorful paintings he creates using oil pastels adorning his walls. Sketchbooks full of quotes and poetry containing thoughts and feelings are stacked upon his bed. Where once Bud found inspiration traveling the world and visiting museums and galleries, Bud has had to find inspiration closer to home and within the family and friends that visit him. Today Bud’s greatest joy is seeing his grandchildren and watching them grow up. Although Bud’s life has narrowed down considerably compared

THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE BUD LEE M BY HEATHER DAVIS

ost artists dream of someday making it big and becoming wildly successful in their art form. Although for many that dream may not become a reality, Plant City is home to a local artist who’s business card once read, Plant City, New York, Paris. Photographer Bud Lee made a name for himself in the 1960’s-70’s as a world renowned and highly recognized freelance photographer for Esquire, Harpers Bazaar, Town & Country, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, and Life Magazine as well as numerous other publications. Bud Lee got his start while in the U.S. Army working as a photojournalist for the Stars & Stripes. In 1966 the Department of Defense and National Press Photographers Association named him U.S. Military Photographer of the Year. This led to a job as a photojournalist with Life Magazine where during the summer of 1967 Lee captured an image during 74

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the civil rights movement of a young boy who was caught in cross fire as a police officer shot a looter. This image became the cover of Life Magazine, July 1967, Lee’s first. In the early seventies, Lee was awarded a National Endowment for Arts grant which led him to begin the Artist Filmmaker in the Schools program in Tampa. During this time, Lee met his wife and started a family. Bud expresses it best by saying “The best thing that ever happened to me was moving to Plant City, I was always running around and Plant City became home.” Bud was instrumental in being the driving force behind the Tampa art scene and founded the Artists and Writers Trust and the Florida Photographers Workshop. In 2003 Bud suffered from a severe stroke that left his left side paralyzed. As a result he is being cared for in a local nursing home here in Plant City. Although no longer actively pursuing

to what it was he still finds so much joy in creating art and sharing and giving his art to others. When asked what does he still have left to do, Bud replied he would like to have an autobiography written about him titled; “The Good, The Bad, The Bud Lee”, which sounds just about right. Bud Lee continues to periodically participate in shows that display his photography in locations such as at the Florida Photography Museum in Tampa. And, if you happen to be lucky enough to visit him around lunch time let me let you into a little secret, “sushi is his favorite food.”


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cereal with candied nuts (vegan & gluten-free), bacon and fresh fruit, and assorted baked goods (including guava cheese danish). Assorted teas, coffee, beer, wine, sangria, and $3 mimosas made with fresh-squeezed orange juice are also available. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free items are always included on the brunch menu. On our visit for the dining review, in true Corner Store fashion everything we tried was crazy good. Our palates and stomachs were satisfied with a steaming plate of hot, thick pieces of french toast as well as polenta served with sautéed greens and roasted veggies with a choice of either cheese or hollandaise sauce for topping. Are you hungry yet? If so make sure to visit The Corner Store, kick-back, relax and prepare yourself for great eats at the

EAT WELL OR DIE

THE CORNER STORE GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND WITH THE NEW BRUNCH MENU BY HEATHER DAVIS

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t would be impossible to think of eating well in Plant City and not have The Corner Store be the first place you think of. The Corner Store located in downtown Plant City at 121 E. Reynolds St., carries the slogan “Eat Well or Die”. Although The Corner Store has been featured in FOCUS Magazine in the past, it’s the newest addition to the menu that has us coming back. Under the direction of Lisa Campagna, Cynthia Diaz, and Rebecca Hatcher, The Corner Store is now offering brunch every Saturday from 10am-3pm. The Corner Store is known for preparing food using the “slow food” philosophy while using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients that are both local and organic when possible. The brunch menu items are absolutely 76

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no exception to this rule. Fresh, delicious, and artfully prepared by the loving hands of Campagna, Diaz, and Thatcher the new brunch menu will leave you satisfied but ready to come back for more. Keeping in true Corner Store style the delight does not begin and end with the food, but also includes the whole ambiance and feel as well as the live music that accompanies the brunch experience. Each week the brunch menu changes and is updated so be sure to like their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ the-corner-store in order to see the weekly brunch offerings. Examples of some of the menu items that appear on the brunch menu include; Biscuits & gravy (both regular and vegan versions), hash brown casserole with fresh pork sausage, hot gingerbread mixed-grain

The Corner Store 121 E Reynolds St. Plant City, FL 813-754-0900 Hours: Tues – Sat. 10am-3pm Saturday Corner Store brunch. But don’t just take my words for it – “Lunch was always fantastic, and now we have brunch! Vegan options so good that you won’t miss the meat (but meat is available too), mimosas, and delicious baked goods. The seitan sausage is amazing, especially in the biscuits n gravy. Ate way too much, and even got scones for the road. This is a must, especially if you are like me and love breakfast!” - Robin Melody Boone


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FISH AND CHIPS BY SAVANNAH JONES

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ish and Chips are one of my many guilty pleasures. I find it hard to get a hold of a good plate of them in this region of the country though, and despite much time spent in the kitchen, I’ve never been very successful at frying anything. However, on a recent trip to the Oregon coast, I had a fantastic serving of fresh locally caught fish, deep fried with a side of french fries (the fresh 78

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halibut really made all of the difference). I came home bound and determined to recreate it as best I could. I found that the best bet for UK-worthy fish and chips is to use high quality white fish, preferably never frozen. *Homemade french fries are the best, but I must admit that I may have cheated and used frozen french fries for the sake of time.

INGREDIENTS: 1 lb of cod or halibut boneless, skinless fillets (about ½ inch thick) 1 cup flour 1 cup Wondra Flour 1 cup beef broth 2 eggs ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt ½ tsp pepper

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Mix the regular flour, broth, eggs, baking powder, salt and pepper until smooth. 2. Dip the fillets into the batter made above, and then coat in Wondra Flour. Fry in a deep fryer at 375 for 6 to 7 minutes or until golden brown and flakey when you cut into it. If you do not have a deep fryer, you can simply use a deep pan of hot vegetable oil. 3. When serving top with a squeeze of lemon juice and malt vinegar if desired.


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» DINING GUIDE

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CHANCY’S CATFISH SHACK

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erving Plant City for over 20 years. Our southern style seafood house covers every desire, from catfish, grouper, codfish, jumbo shrimp and gator to frog legs, just to name a few! BUT WAIT...we’re not just seafood. We have babyback ribs, steak, cheese sandwiches, pulled BBQ sandwiches, ruebens, and cuban sandwiches along with many southern sides like fried okra. Plus we have the best fried green tomatoes around, as well as fried pickle chips, hushpuppies and many more to choose from!

2509 NORTH PARK ROAD 813-754-3433

CHILI’S

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hili’s has been spicing things up since 1975. There is something for everyone’s taste. From sizzling chicken or beef fajitas, fired grilled classic burgers to the new honey chipotle baby back ribs that are slow smoked over pecan wood so they’re “fall-off-the-bone” tender with a bold new honey-chipotle flavor that’s impossible to resist. Call in or come in, you’re always welcome at Chili’s.

3001 JAMES L REDMAN PARKWAY PLANT CITY, FL 33566 813-764-8548 • WWW.CHILIS.COM

OLDE TOWN PIZZERIA

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f you love deep-dish pizza, Olde Town Pizzeria is the only place around to find it. The cheesy Chicago-style pizza is a popular item on the menu, as well as the award-winning Strawberry Walnut Salad and thin crust pizzas. In addition, they have an array of delicious pastas, salads and sandwiches to satisfy all taste buds. This family-owned and operated restaurant is a Plant City favorite for those who love high quality food and friendly service.

3011 JAMES L REDMAN PARKWAY PLANT CITY, FL 33566 (813) 752-5800 • WWW.OLDETOWNPIZZERIA.COM

PLANT CITY HOMETOWN BUFFET

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lant City Hometown Buffet is a family owned and operated business started by Elaine Vo, a resident of Plant City for the last 24 years. They offer a wide variety of items spanning the five buffet bars, including seafood and steak. There is certainly something to fit every taste preference, especially if you’re looking for seafood with their catfish, stuffed crab, buttered shrimp and much, much, more.

1914 JAMES L REDMAN PARKWAY PLANT CITY, FL 33563 813-754-4488

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» DINING GUIDE

TASTE OF INDIA

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he TASTE OF INDIA offers an exquisite fine dining experience while serving Authentic Indian Cuisine for the past 6 years in Brandon. Some of the most requested dishes include Butter Chicken, Tandoori Chicken, Masala Dosa, Garlic Shrimp, Goat Curry, and Whole Fried Snapper! FULL BAR! Entree prices start at $10.95 and the Lunch Buffet prices are $9.95 weekdays and $12.95 weekends. Military Discounts! Professional Catering Available. Serving Lunch Buffet Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Sat/Sun 12-3. Dinner Hours are Mon-Thurs 5-10pm, Sat 5-10:30pm and Sun. 5-9:30. Relax and enjoy the wonderful spices and scents of the Delicious and Delectable Indian cuisine!

902 E. BRANDON BLVD. BRANDON, FL. 33511 813-689-4040

WAYBACK BURGERS

W

ayback Burgers offers premium burgers, made from 100% beef, fresh, never frozen, made to order just the way you like it. Our delicious hand dipped milkshakes hit the spot every time you try one.

Every month, Wayback Burgers features a brand new “Burger of the Month” and “Milkshake of the Month”. And burgers are only the beginning; House-made potato chips, all beef hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers, specialty burgers and fresh salads are available. We also feature local brewed beer from Two Henrys Brewing. Wayback, way better!

200 W. ALEXANDER STREET PLANT CITY, FL 33563

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can’t miss

events

Plant City MLK Festival Plant City MLK Recreation Center | 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. 1601 E. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the annual MLK festival. Oldies Music | 1:30 p.m. Drum Line Showdown | 2:30 p.m. Hip Hop Lifestyle Concert featuring TREAP Entertainment, 94.1 WLLD and more | 4 p.m. Gospel Extravaganza | 4 p.m. Carnival Rides and Midway | 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit plantcitymlkfestival.com.

Since 1930, The Florida Strawberry Festival has been crowing some of the most beautiful, smart, and charming young ladies around at its annual scholarship pageant competition. This year will be no different when on January 31, the Lions Club will host families and friends of several young ladies who hope to become the 2015 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen.

MLK Freedom Parade Historic Downtown Plant City | 1 p.m. Sponsored by Sunshine State Federal Savings & Loan and Stingray Chevrolet, enjoy the annual parade featuring parade marshal Ms. Leola McDonald. Parade will also showcase area high school and middle school marching bands, the Tampa Bay Posse Corvette Club, Motorcycle Club, Buffalo Soldiers, and Cowbros. For more information, visit plantcitymlkfestival.com.

FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL

QUEEN PAGEANT

Hundreds of spectators are expected to fill the Charlie Grimes Agricultural Center to witness the 2014 Florida Strawberry Queen Jessi Rae Varnum crown one of the 25 lucky contestants on Saturday, January 31 at 6 p.m. Who will be the neext Florida Strawberry Queen and face of Plant City?

2014 FL Strawberry Festival Queen Jessi Rae Varnum

Strawberry Classic Car Show Historic Downtown Plant City | 4 to 9 p.m. The car show features cars that are at least 25 years old, with many classics from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. This is a great family event if you’re looking for a relaxing evening. Several of the downtown merchants are open longer hours to accommodate the crowds. For more information, contact the Chamber at 813-754-3707.

18 SUNDAY MLK Festival Leadership Breakfast HCC Trinkle Building | 7:30 a.m. 1206 N. Park Rd. Celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. at a leadership breakfast featuring State Representative Darryl Rouson from St. Petersburg and full breakfast from Steph’s Soul Food Restaurant. Tickets are $25 per person.

19 MONDAY MLK Festival Freedom Walk Sam Cooper Park | 10 a.m. E. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the annual MLK festival’s Freedom Walk.

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16 FRIDAY

MLK Festival Opening Day Plant City MLK Recreation Center 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. 1601 E. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the annual MLK festival. Opening Ceremony featuring Pastor Larry Sykes | 10:30 a.m. Teen Dance and Summit featuring DJ Hondo | 7:30 p.m

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17 SATURDAY YMCA Dean’s Ride HCC Plant City | 7:45 a.m. 1206 N. Park Rd. Plant City Family YMCA presents the third annual Dean’s Ride. Cost is $30, includes a T-shirt, and participants must be 14 years or older to ride. Choose from 18, 38, or 62 mile bike ride. Route includes support and sag stops and a light breakfast and lunch will be offered. Proceeds will benefit the Plant City YMCA’s LIVESTRONG program which provides a wellness program for cancer survivors. Register online at tampaymca.org or active.com. Deadline to register is 1/10/15 by mail or 1/15/15 in person or online. For more information, contact Reagan at reagan. thomas@tampaymca.org.

Florida Strawberry Festival Baby Parade Sign Up Hillsborough Title | 8 to 10 a.m. 1507 S. Alexander St., Suite 102 Registration is open to children ages 1 to 4 as of January 31, 2015 and Eastern Hillsborough County residents only. Valid driver’s license is required at registration. Parade will take place on Saturday, March 7 at 9:30 a.m. at the Wish Farms Soundstage of the Florida Strawberry Festival. Note: Space limited to the first 50 children in each age group. Sign ups for 1-2 year olds will be from 8 to 9 a.m. and 3-4 year olds will be from 9 to 10 a.m. For more information, contact Marissa Brewington at 813-763-9447 or Melissa Grimes at 813-924-5887. Basketball Tri-Star Skills Competition Tomlin Midlde School | 1 p.m. 501 N. Woodrow Wilson St. Free event sponsored by the Plant City Parks and Recreation Department and the Optimist Club of Plant City for boys and girls ages 8 through 13.

Competition will score participants based on skill in passing, dribbling, and shooting. For more information, contact Danny Smith at 813659-4200 ext. 4313. or dsmith@plantcitygov.com

29 THURSDAY

Chairman’s Banquet HCC Trinkle Center | 6:30 p.m. 1206 N. Park Rd. New officers and directors will be installed at the annual banquet dinner For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 813-717-6989.

FEBRUARY

05 SATURDAY Bike Fest Historic Downtown Plant City | 5 to 9 p.m. The Bike Fest features hundreds of bikes from all over, with everyone riding in for a relaxing evening. For the enthusiast there are bikes of all styles, makes, and models, both old and new. Many of the downtown merchants will be open longer hours to accommodate the crowds. For more information, contact the Chamber at 813754-3707.

13 FRIDAY Black Heritage Banquet HCC Trinkle Center | 6 p.m. 1206 N. Park Rd. The 12th annual banquet, entitled “The African American Leadership, Legacy, and Challenges for Present and Future” will feature keynote speaker Michael Clayton, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Tickets are $30 per person. For more information, contact Sharon Moody at sharonmoody91@yahoo.com.

14 SATURDAY Black Heritage Parade Parade begins at 12 p.m. and will start at Martin Luther King Blvd and Water Street, heading east on MLK to the Martin Luther King Recreation Center. Be sure to come out and gather candy while celebrating Black Heritage Month. For more information, contact Sharon Moody at sharonmoody91@yahoo.com

OFFICE SPACE Executive Offices BRANDON As low as $400 per month (including electricity, water and wireless internet)

Meeting Room Usage Professional Environment Quick Access to Major Roadways (Crosstown Expressway, Hwy. 60, I-75 & I-4) 330 Pauls Drive (South of Oakfield Dr.)

Contact Amber at 813-689-1221


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FOCUSOBITUARIES JoAnn Solange Ambros McDade, 27 of Palm Harbor, Florida died December 24, 2014. Born April 9, 1987, she was the daughter of William Ambros and Monica Schleyer Guille, they both survive. Also surviving are brother, Michael Ambros; sisters, Jessica Ambros and Catherine Eaves; grandmother, Joann Ambros. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.haughtfuneralhome. com Alvin Franklin Jenkins, 71 of Lake Wales died December 30, 2014, at Winter Haven Hospital. Born August 18, 1943 in Bowling Green, Florida, he was the son of the late Owen and Hazel McCoy Jenkins. He was the husband of Janice Toole Jenkins, she survives. Alvin was of the Baptist faith, a native of Ft Lonesome/Lithia area until moving to Lake Wales 20 years ago, and worked as a maintenance mechanic in the Phosphate mines.

Also surviving are sons, John “Frank” Jenkins, Robert “Bob” (Fancie) Jenkins; daughters, Pamela (William) Allen and Kimberly (Ben) Wiggins; brother, Larry (Lora) Jenkins; sisters, Oveda Parker and Lureda Young; 8 grandchildren; 4 great grandchildren. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.haughtfuneralhome. com Michael J. Hvizdak, 75 of Plant City, Florida died January 3, 2015, at South Florida Baptist Hospital in Plant City after a long battle with COPD. Born July 20, 1939 in Weirton, West Virginia, he was the son of the late Mike and Ida Rakowski Hvizdak. He was the husband of Patricia Sigmont Hvizdak, she survives. Also surviving are son, Michael (Deanna) Hvizdak; daughter, Patricia (George) Fekete; sisters, Patricia (Thomas) Salvati and Marcia (Larry) Shane; grandchildren, Emalee Hvizdak, and Michael and Brian Fekete. Mike was a member of St Clement Catholic Church, a Tin Mill Cutting

Line Turn Foreman for Weirton Steel retiring after 33 years, was a member of the Brandon Elks Local 2383, and a member of the Train Collector’s Association, with over 40 years of collecting. He was predeceased by brother, Richard Hvizdak. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.haughtfuneralhome. com

Lois Emily Chaney, 80 of Lakeland died January 3, 2015, at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. Born December 10, 1934 in Orlando, Florida, she was the daughter of the late Charles and Emily Lundquist Symonds. She was the wife for 48 years of the late Conway Chaney. She was predeceased by son, Roger Chaney. Surviving are daughters, Dee (Ric) Wilson and Gay Nell Chaney; brothers, David Symonds and Joseph Symonds; 8 grandchildren; 17 great grandchildren. Lois was a member of Turkey Creek Assembly of God where she sang in

the choir and performed solo. She also sang with her sisters on the radio as a teenager. Lois was a good cook and a seamstress. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.haughtfuneralhome. com

Robert Seymore Butters, 74 of Plant City, died January 7, 2015, at Health Center of Plant City. Born May 19, 1940 in Berlin, New Hampshire, he was the son of the late Seymore and Georgia Judkins Butters. He was the husband for 47 years of Loretta Checchia Butters, she survives. Robert was a veteran of the US Navy. He was retired from the US Postal Service, loved and collected guns, and enjoyed hunting. Also surviving are daughter, Ann Marie Breton; grandchildren, Jamie and Carlann Breton; great grandchild, Catanya Breton. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.haughtfuneralhome. com

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AUTHOR! AUTHOR! Created by Calvin R. and Jackie Mathews

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D I A L S U N L A M P A D A P T E R M E N T E E M E T S C O M E T O V A L C O M E R V A W A R T I S T E L E S B U G L E B A C R E D R E L I L E A Z A M B I A N M O A N E R R O R E P E E R D O I R A O O N C U P A N D N E C C O R T E S

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ACROSS 1. Irish Spring rival 5. Exodus mount 10. Undergarments 14. Tan producer 17. Empower 19. Tot’s bedtime, perhaps 21. Plug converting device 22. Said “Okay” 23. Weapons of old 25. Bearded people 26. __ off; annoy 27. Unwanted part 28. Douses 30. Spectra maker 31. New York __ 32. Dawn deity 33. Crones 34. Linear measures 35. Show up 38. __ up; in shreds 40. Corn syrup name 41. No longer done 42. Cameo shape 43. Milk producers 44. Jay, for one 45. Stumble 46. __ Griffin 47. Hole-making tool 48. Alight 49. Complete, in the literary world? 52. Skilled performer 54. Bowler, for one 55. Periods of time 57. 1986-90 sitcom 58. “__ Miserables” 59. Jewels 60. Words to Brutus 61. Woody’s boy 62. Base awakener 65. Complete failure 66. Preceding nights 67. Minds 68. Square measure 69. Eins und zwei 70. Certain votes 71. Archaic 72. Samuel’s mentor 73. Master 74. Eur. language 75. See 107 Across 79. Lusaka resident 81. Tickled pink 83. Ms. MacGraw 84. Nat or Natalie 85. Complain 86. Floors 87. Antony’s love 88. Painted tinplate 89. Blooper 91. Cry of mild alarm 92. __ scriptura; insistence on the bible alone 93. __ out a living; got by 94. Equal 95. Type of rowboat 96. Kitten’s cry 97. Biblical ointment

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by Calvin R. & Jackie Mathews

14. Uncle to millions 15. Sporting event 16. Authors’ pressure cooker? 18. One of the sons of Queen Elizabeth II 20. Attempts 24. Fill completely 29. Braggart’s motivation 31. Literary town for Tillis? 33. Seldom, to authors? 34. Weather forecast 35. Near-death state 36. Surpassing 37. Place to shop 39. Hooter 40. Relatives 41. Experts 43. Hit Broadway musical 44. Night fliers 45. Up to and including 48. Young animal 49. Uses a hand shuttle 50. Supporter 51. Eerie saucers, for short 53. Notice 54. Author’s manner of shortening a dress? 56. Summers abroad 59. Word with play or party 61. Kidnapped 62. Late Joan 63. West Coast sch. 64. Death personified, in the literary world?

Retirement acct. Mrs. Chaplin Ginger or ginseng Letters with mo or pitch “The Racer’s Edge” With 75 Across, part of a literary world tea set? Sailors’ patron Waistband material Candy wafer Favorite sandwich among authors? Give the __ to; berate, in the literary world? Mailmen’s beats: abbr. Thinks ahead Joints nearest the waist

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ER Needed?

Hospital Included.

Just in Case In case it’s more serious than you thought, our full-service Emergency Center is connected to South Florida Baptist Hospital and features the services you may need on-site: n Operating rooms n Team of physician specialists n Heart Center

n Intensive Care Unit n Lab and imaging

301 N. Alexander St. | Plant City

For a physician referral or more information:

(813) 443-2037 or PlantCityEmergency.org

BC1403145-0614

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FOCUS Plant City 14-01  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 14-01 January 2015

FOCUS Plant City 14-01  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 14-01 January 2015

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