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Contents Table of

focusplantcity.com / Issue 16-04 / April 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

16 37 46 41 James “Sonny” Jones is a highly regarded, much-loved retired educator who treasures life and friendships. His recollections of people and happenings will offer you a great flashback down memory lane in Plant City.

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LOCAL

What a busy citizenry we are! Plant City stories this month include news of the William Schneider Stadium demolition, the annual Heritage Award Soiree, the FFA Sweetheart Pageant, and the 10th Annual 4-H Strawberry U-Pick, along with Athlete, Team and Seniors of the Month reports. Reading local is a great way to know your neighbors.

FEATURE

Fifty years ago, few folks expected in a rebuilding year the 1967 Plant City High School Planters basketball team would not win the Class 1-A State Championship. But with strong community support, a team that united to be winners, and inspiration from Coach Larry Martin, PCHS captured its first ever state title. We were thrilled to witness the team’s recent reunion celebration. Enjoy the read!

BUSINESS

Florida Delivery Service owner LaRon Law is ready to make life a easier for folks who need a little extra shopping or dining help. His new business employs drivers to pick up what you need and deliver it to your door. The company’s website makes it simple to request meals, grocery items, or other essentials so you don’t have to leave home. Affordable pricing, quality service, and an aiming to please attitude will make Florida Delivery Service a must-have contact.

DINING

If you haven’t dined at Railcar 91 at Keel and Curley Winery yet, we suggest you make plans soon. The great food is freshly prepared by the chef of the formerly famous Colonnade Restaurant on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. Diners will enjoy the menu’s variety, the presentation, and the taste --- and they will plan to return often. It’s that good.


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From The Publisher Publisher Mike Floyd mike@floydpublications.com Office Manager Candy Owens cowens@floydpublications.com Managing Editor Cheryl Johnston cjohnston@floydpublications.com Art Director Anthony Sassano asassano@floydpublications.com Distribution Tony DeVane Staff Writers Cheryl Johnston | Heather Davis | Barbara Routen Kelli Tharrington Contributors Gil Gott | Jo-An Lusk | Nate Davis | Candy Owens Natalie Sweet | Mike Goodwine | Wanda Anderson | Katie Loudermilk Anthony Bolesta | Jennifer Jordan | Heather Dykstra | Sherrie Mueller

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) 707-8783 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.

I

t’s always fascinating to watch how our monthly issues come together. Typically, they are shaped by your story suggestions and local events. We didn’t set out to make our April magazine filled with so many pieces of local history, but that’s what happened. First, the Plant City Photo Archives submitted its column about the organization’s recently published History of the Florida Strawberry Festival book, co-written by Lauren Der and Gil Gott. Next, we learned of the reunion planned by Larry and Diane Martin for the 1967 State Basketball Champion team members, coaches and cheerleaders. Then our own Candy Owens suggested that James Anak “Sonny” Jones should be our cover and spotlight interview. And finally, we discovered the photo shoot planned for William Schneider Stadium with anyone who had ever played sports, marched with the band, cheered, participated in track, or attended concerts there. The purpose was to capture the memories and a good snapshot before the concrete structure was dismantled to make way for an updated, safer concert arena. So, for our older readers who spent their school years in Plant City, this issue should take you down memory lane. Several local stories will do that, too. You’ll enjoy reports on the 5th Annual Dean’s Ride fundraiser to benefit the YMCA’s Livestrong program for cancer survivors and the 10th Annual Hillsborough County 4-H Strawberry U-Pick at Fancy Farms. We’re also previewing the 10th Annual Blueberry Festival. History is a beautiful thing, especially when it’s preserved well. For making our story research a little easier, we’d like to thank the Plant City Photo Archives & History Museum, as well as Diane Martin and Betty Jones, two amazing wives who each chronicled their husband ‘s career through photos and scrapbooks. They have inspired us to continue recording our wonderful community’s great news. We hope you and yours enjoyed a blessed Easter and look forward to an especially Happy Mother’s Day! And for history’s sake, take photos!

Advertisers warrant and represent the descriptions of their products advertised are true in all respects. Focus Magazine assumes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers. All letters and their contents sent to Focus Magazine become the sole property of Floyd Publications, Inc and may be reproduced thereof. All views expressed in all articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Floyd Publications, Inc. Use or duplication of material used in this publication is prohibited without approved written consent from Floyd Publications, Inc.

Warmest Regards, Mike Floyd PAGE

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Town Talk of the

Submit your good news to: editorial@floydpublications.com or call it in 813.707.8783

The youth from Faith Assembly of God, under the direction of Youth Pastor Scott Futch, decided to “pay it forward” recently by beautifying the yard of disabled brothers Robert Leon Tatum and Jimmy Murphy. Pictured L-R are Harrison Futch, Clayton Hampton, Micah Futch, Morgan Maxey, Nick Futch, Youth Pastor Scott Futch, Joe Kelly, Noelle Taylor, Jenna Futch and Melinda Fields. According to Nancy Kelly, who submitted the photo, “These kids were a blessing. They worked hard and we’re so respectful.”

The Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City hosted its 25th Anniversary Walk for Life on April 1, with 154 participating. You can still donate to help retire the debt for recent renovations. The goal was $25,000 and will be reached with only $1,112 more. Also, please tour the updated Center during its Open House on April 29 from 2-4PM at 304 N. Collins Street. For details, visit or call 813-7590886.

Woohoo! Thanks to the Plant City Family YMCA, Friday, April 28 is Parents’ Night Out. For a small fee your child(ren) can enjoy games and activities while you enjoy a little R & R adult time. Preregistration is required. Call 813-757-6677 or visit 1507 YMCA Place for details.

Found on Facebook - Lizzette Sarria shared a post that caught our eye.

Visitors enjoyed an appearance by Plant City namesake Henry B. Plant at Railfest this month. On behalf of the City of Plant City, City Manager Mike Herr accepted the 2017 Golden Spike Award. For his passion about the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum, 5-year-old Caleb Thomas of Railroad Spike Productions was given a Little Tike Award. PAGE

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During the Plant City Arts Council’s “Statue Sculpture Challenge,” participants were encouraged to take photos with the sculptures around town or to create their own fun photo posing as a statue. The contest is closed but the winner will be announced at the PCAC meeting on April 30th. The top 10 winners earn Plant City “cred”, while the top three will be presented with gift baskets.


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LOCAL

10th Annual Hillsborough County 4-H Strawberry U-Pick Benefits East Hillsborough 4-H Scholarships BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

Corn of Knoxville, Tennessee are Polk City RVers who’ve been wintering in Central Florida since 2001. They purchase strawberries each year to freeze for future shortcakes, jams, and cereal toppings. “We enjoy helping the 4-H with this fun fundraiser,” said Kay, and the children are always so courteous and helpful.” The Weston family of Gibsonton enjoyed the U-Pick day in the fields. Harold and Tanya, the parents of four, appreciate what 4-H has meant to daughters Elizabeth and

Katherine, now in their second year with the Chautauqua 4-H Club. Elizabeth’s interests are chickens, market hogs and photography, while Katherine prefers chickens and fine arts, specifically hand drawings. The Westons have two older children involved in FFA as well. “We know what the hands-on learning and 4-H leaders have taught our girls,” shared Tanya, who grew up in Plant City. “And not to mention that this day is so much fun with sunshine and strawberries.”

Parents Harold and Tanya Weston of Gibsonton appreciate what 4-H has meant to daughters Elizabeth and Katherine, now in their second year with the Chautauqua 4-H Club.

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he green fields ready for harvest at 3838 Fancy Farms Road were full throughout the day with families taking advantage of the special pricing during the 10th Annual Hillsborough County 4-H Strawberry U-Pick fundraiser on March 25, 2017. Hosted again by Fancy Farms, this event has resulted in approximately $75,000 in scholarship monies prior to this tenth year. Folks could pick themselves or simply purchase the ripened fruit for $1 per quart and two quarts free with the purchase of 10. They could pick free to donate berries to the United Food Bank and of course, take advantage of some idyllic photo opportunities – children eating berries. Is there any sight more beautiful to Plant City parents at

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harvest time? To supply the stock for those who only came to purchase, local 4-H members competed to see which club could pick the most berries. This national youth development program is open to all youth ages 8-18. With over 7 million children and teen members, 4-H is the largest out of school youth organization in the United States and the oldest youth serving organization established in 1902. The 4-H Hillsborough County Youth Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit created to provide scholarships for the national 4-H residential summer camps, the 4-H Congress at the University of Florida during which students practice the political process, and other competitions. Winter residents Kay and Boyce

4-H students assist Kay and Boyce Corn of Knoxville, Tennessee. The Polk City RVers purchase strawberries to freeze for future shortcakes, jams, and cereal toppings.


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LOCAL

Pictured L-R are Chris Chapline, Lisa Kolakowski and Bonnie Hess Turner, friends who completed the 38-mile ride.

Plant City YMCA Hosts 5th Annual Dean’s Ride BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

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unshine, clear skies, and the beauty surrounding Plant City provided the perfect setting for the 5th Annual Dean’s Ride fundraiser on April 1, 2017. More than 31 local businesses and individuals helped sponsor the day that began and completed at the Trinkle Center on the Hillsborough Community College Campus. Raising cancer awareness is just one of the many ways the YMCA serves the community. This event’s motto is Vires et Honestas or “Strength and Honor, because like Dean did, many walking through cancer display these virtues. All proceeds benefit Livestrong and other YMCA cancer survival programs. Livestrong promotes

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wellness in its free program specifically designed specifically for adults suffering from cancer and treatment side effects. Dean’s Ride, named after former Plant City business owner Dean Snyder, has grown each year, with participants entering now from all over Central Florida. The family of the Snyder Investments & Financial Services founder carry on his legacy through this wonderful outdoor experience. In addition to Dean’s wife “Mikie” and son Brandon, who now serves as president of Snyder Investments, Adam and Candice Snyder attended with their two young “ready to ride” sons (and Dean & Mikie’s grandsons), Brock, 9, and Gunner, 5.

Adam and Candice Snyder attended with their two young “ready to ride” sons (and Dean & Mikie’s grandsons), Brock, 9, and Gunner, 5.

After Snyder’s death from esophageal cancer at age 58 in 2013, his friends wanted to acknowledge him and his contributions. His involvement and fundraising efforts since moving to Plant City in 1986 included the Gulf Ridge Council of the Boy Scouts, Plant City Family YMCA and for a new South Florida Baptist Hospital emergency room. As a troop leader, Snyder assisted 27 young men in achieving Eagle Scout status. Having grown up in a family with 10 children, he learned early the joy of serving others. Because Dean’s father and stepbrother died from the disease, the Snyders have long supported the American Cancer Society.

Dean loved cycling, so Dean’s Ride has become the perfect outreach. Depending on their own stamina, participants selected from three ride distances--18, 38, or 62 miles. Most opt for the 18. YMCA provided stationary bicycles also, so many could ride for 30 minutes to an hour or more. The neon green ride jerseys provided with the registration fee become treasured reminders of cycling milestones, and thanks to many volunteers, riders appreciate the route support, sag stops and light lunch. Truly, it was a great day for biking and fundraising.


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LOCAL

Heritage Award 2017

Improvement League of Plant City Earns Coveted Award BY PLANT CITY PHOTO ARCHIVES AND HISTORY CENTER

Ed Verner, President of Plant City Photo Archives and History Center, presented plaques and flowers to the Parolini Award recipients, Marsha Passmore (left) and Dodie White (right), in honor for their extensive volunteer service to the Photo Archives.

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lant City Photo Archives and History Center presented its coveted Heritage Award to the Improvement League of Plant City for its achievements in the preservation of Plant City’s history and heritage and the legacy of the black communities in Plant City and in Bealsville. Photo Archives and History Center Executive Director Gil Gott noted that, although the black residents became an integral part of the community, “because of segregation and its marginalizing effect, the story of black communities, which grew in the shadows of the dominant white communities, was often left unrecorded…. the Plant City story is difficult to tell because of the sparse documentary evidence.”

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Founded in 1982, the Improvement League preserved and restored the 1920s-era Bing House, now serving as the Bing Rooming House Museum, which opened in August 2011. The organization also is completing a project to develop a complete inventory and to preserve the history and the legacy of the Laura Street business community that thrived there since the late 1800s. Additionally, the Improvement League has partnered with Bealsville, Inc. to continue to preserve the William Glover School in Bealsville and to promote community programs. Today, the League is involved in programs that will be part of our history tomorrow.

These include: • The Bing Rooming House African American Museum and History Center • Striving for Excellence Academy – After School Program • CSI Junior Forensic Training Program • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cultural Arts Festival • Lincoln Elementary Head Start • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Scholarship Program • And more. Dan Walden, of the 2016 Heritage Award honoree--the Florida Strawberry Festival-- presented the Heritage Award to Henry Johnson, who received the award for the Improvement League. Johnson’s wife, Janelle Johnson, is the granddaughter of Janie Bing, after whom the museum is named. Ed Verner, President of Plant City Photo Archives and History Center, earlier presented plaques and flowers to the Parolini Award recipients, Marsha Passmore and Dodie White, in honor of their extensive volunteer service to the Photo Archives. Previous recipients of the

Heritage Award include: the Florida Strawberry Festival, Al Berry, Bill and Gwen Thomas, J. Myrle Henry, Maribeth Mobley, Ph.D., Bob Edwards, James Sonny Jones, Gladys Jeffcoat, Dr. Hal Brewer, Betty Baker Watkins, Mac Smith, Robert Trinkle, Jim Redman, and David E. Bailey, Jr. Parolini Award recipients include Candy and Ann Owens, Lavon Dudley, Anne Haywood, David Patton, Elsa Lou Baird, Bill Thomas, Betty Patton, Tim Martin, Linda Smith, and Mary Jane Parolini for Bill Parolini, posthumously. The Plant City Photo Archives and History Center held its first annual banquet in 2003 and began the Heritage Award in 2004, presenting to the man who wrote the history of Plant City, retired educator David E. Bailey, Jr. The Photo Archives, an awardwinning history organization located in Plant City’s historic downtown at 106 South Evers Street, is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For further information call 813.754.1578, check the website www.plantcityphotoarchives.org, or email gil@plantcityphotoarchives.org.

The 2017 Heritage Award, presented by the Plant City Photo Archives & History Museum, honored the Improvement League of Plant City for its achievements in preserving Plant City’s history and heritage and the legacy of the black communities in Plant City and in Bealsville.


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LOCAL

The Elaine Coffee-Griffin Prom Scholarship BY KATIE LOUDERMILK | PHOTOS BY KENNY GRIFFIN

Additionally, professional stylist/ makeup artist Tomeka Hargrett flew in from Atlanta to do Ciara’s hair and makeup. A professional barber also provided Trenton with a complimentary haircut. Along with a graduation gift of $100, the Griffin family also provided a $200 voucher for textbooks Ciara will purchase in her freshman year at Florida A&M University. Linda Abernathy of Tampa and Kimberly Kettering of Bloomingdale donated several formal gowns to the scholarship as well. In turn, the family donated those dresses to the “Black Pearls” organization at PCHS

(Sponsor: Ginger Forte) for other young ladies to wear at prom. Ciara received another surprise through an unexpected monetary donation from Sandra Scott of Hollywood, South Carolina, who saw the commercial video published on social media by Kenny Griffin, with the help of Keith Williams of Blaze Media Group Studios. The Griffin siblings—Cametria, Ron, Ty and Kenny—plan to continue this annual scholarship, and hopefully, with assistance from other sponsors, the family can bless more than one senior each year in the future.

The entire Griffin family gathered (from L-R) to celebrate the prom scholarship winner: Kenny Griffin, Cametria Griffin, Jennifer Cooper (mother of recipient), Ty Griffin, Ciara Brown (recipient), Ron Griffin, and Elaine Coffee-Griffin.

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or several years, the Griffin family has contributed towards prom expenses for various students. This year they decided to try something a little different. They organized the “Elaine Coffee-Griffin Prom Scholarship” to reward a deserving high school senior. “I was raised the youngest of four, by our divorced single mother,” shared Kenny Griffin, class of ’99 alumni of Plant City High School. The Griffins named the scholarship after their mother to honor her sacrifice as a single parent. “By my mom’s senior year, she had become a new mother and was unable to attend her senior prom,” he explained. “So, our mom made sure each of us got to experience our senior proms and other events

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during our high school years. We wanted to ‘pay it forward’ by blessing another student in our similar situation and giving that parent some financial relief,” Kenny shared. Applicant requirements included senior status at Plant City High School, GPA of 2.5 or higher, residency in a singleparent household and one to two paragraphs written on why he or she deserved the scholarship. Ciara Brown, an extremely active senior with a GPA over 4.0, was the 2017 recipient of this Prom Scholarship. Kenny described her as having a “personality that jumped off the page.” Ciara received a stipend towards prom attire and tickets for herself and her date, Trenton Tatum.

Ciara Brown with her prom date, Trenton Tatum


LOCAL

Bentley Roberts: Stars and Stripes American Heritage Highest Honor BY KATIE LOUDERMILK

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entley Rae Roberts, a local homeschooled senior and Miss Congeniality in the 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s Scholarship Pageant, spent most of her teen years dedicating herself to serving others. At age 12, her passion for serving flourished after joining the American Heritage Girls. This national Christian organization teaches young girls to give back to the community and to do it joyfully. Over the past six years, Bentley has accumulated more than 1,000 hours of community service, been a five-time recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award, and is the 12th girl in Florida to receive the Stars and Stripes Service Award as her final project for the troop. Bentley invested 18 months into completing her Stars and Stripes Project, which involved helping a local food distribution warehouse, Restoring Hope Global. She has volunteered numerous times with this organization and desired to do something more. From a wish list of jobs RHC needed done, Bentley chose different tasks that matched with the guidelines of her project. Her work addressed improvements in the areas of safety for volunteers and those being served. Her efforts included: • front of warehouse signage for better visibility • landscaping • improving dock fencing with a gate for liability • installing outdoor lighting • painting interior walls and floor • cleaning/painting storage shelves for dry goods • carpeting and adding half-wall to children’s area Additionally, the children’s area was supplied with a TV, new furniture and toys for the younger kids,

Bentley Roberts was awarded the “Stars and Stripes”--highest honor in the American Heritage Girls organization-- for her improvement project at Restoring Hope Global. She will continue now as leader-in-training (LIT) with her local troop FL0014 (Plant City).

allowing their parents to volunteer regularly with the warehouse. To complete her project’s goals, Bentley relied heavily on volunteers, who helped with workdays and with sponsors including Badcock & more, Tampa Bay Steel, GCI industries, and friends and family. Named the 12th recipient in Florida to earn the Stars and Stripes award in October of 2016, Bentley was presented with the award during her ceremony in January 2017. Although she has aged out of the girl membership with AHG, she carries her passion as a leader-in-training (LIT) with her local troop FL0014 (Plant City). After her senior year, Bentley plans to dedicate time to global internships and mission trips to continue the passion for putting others first. Without a doubt, this confident and focused young role model has much to offer this world. PAGE

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LOCAL

FFA Sweetheart Pageant

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Shown with FFA Sweetheart Taryn Storter are Court Member--Abigale DeVane (2nd from left), First Maid Savannah Kummelman (2nd from right), pageant coordinator Kelly Ware (right) and emcee Anna Conrad, the current FFA Area 5 State Vice President. The three Plant City FFA agriculture ambassadors will receive a scholarship and appear at various community events throughout the year.

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hen many think of the FFA, they picture a group of teenagers taking care of their cows. But for this group of students, the National FFA Organization holds much more. On February 25, 2017, thirteen girls, ranging from freshmen to seniors, competed in the first annual FFA Sweetheart Pageant at Plant City High School. The contest segments consisted of casual wear, FFA Official Dress, and evening gown. While in casual wear, the girls answered an impromptu question, in Official Dress, they gave a two-tofour-minute speech, and in evening gown, they dazzled the judges with their pageant walk. Kelley Ware, the FFA advisor who sponsored this event, explained, “I am so excited to have these girls represent not only Plant City FFA, but our entire agriculture community.” Over 200 students and community members came together to support these beautiful young ladies.

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“The competition was tough and each girl was given the chance to shine in her own way. I had a great time!” said Hannah Manley, who came to support her fellow FFA members. Another patron of the event, Kerri Knox expressed, “I enjoyed the pageant very much because I didn’t know a great deal about the FFA Organization. I was fascinated by all the information the girls shared in their speeches. The public speaking was outstanding. It was definitely much more than a beauty pageant.” In the end, Miss Abigale DeVane was announced as the Court Member, Miss Savannah Kummelman was selected First Maid, and Miss Taryn Storter was crowned the 2017 Plant City High School FFA Sweetheart. These girls will serve as Plant City FFA agriculture ambassadors and will each receive a scholarship. They will also appear at various FFA and community events throughout the 2017 school year.


LOCAL

Spring in the Park BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

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pringtime in the Park was an entrepreneurial affair in the sunshine on April 1, 2017 in historic downtown Plant City. Approximately 20 local artisans and businesses set up their displays under canopies fronting McCall Park. And shoppers from every age and life stage had fun meeting new

friends while they searched for that perfect purchase. The Plant City Main Street sponsored event was a hit, for sure, and it’s likely a few more will be scheduled throughout the year. For information, e-mail info@ plantcitymainstreet.com or phone 813-754-1567.

The three Garrett sisters--Haley, Hope, and Hannah--along with Averi Casselman enjoyed first show ever as Little Friends, selling their handmade Fantastic Fizzy Fun “bath bombs” that colorfully dissolve to soothe the skin.

Photographer Pam Ciganik sells her original works with her mom, Karen Ciganik, who adds crocheted loops to decorative dishtowels.

Who can resist buying a handcrafted, adorable sock monkey?

Visit the Family Vintage Shop on Facebook to view/purchase the unique treasures created by Teena Saunders, her daughter April Branum, and husband Jennings Saunders. PAGE

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LOCAL

10th Annual Blueberry Festival at Keel & Curley Winery Bigger and Better than Ever BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

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on’t miss the final weekend of the 10th Annual Blueberry Festival at Keel & Curley Winery in Plant City on April 22-23, 2017. With heart-healthy berries ripe for the picking, exciting new additions to the Kids Zone, and live music, this year’s family-friendly event is expected to be the best yet. The most popular feature of the festival is the U-pick opportunity on 22 acres of blueberries. For the first time the event has covered two weekends, which allows a week between for even more berries to ripen. Folks from all over Central Florida come to harvest their share for pie-making, juicing and smoothie-blending, and freezing for future use. Did you know a frozen blueberry is as sweet a snack as candy and a whole lot healthier, too? Here’s a short planning guide for the adventure. What to Expect Everyone can enjoy the more than 50 vendors, 10 food trucks, expanded children’s area, and most of all, blueberries. Live music will be provided by Bobby Sommers, Southern Legacy Band, Just Friends and Fifth Gear Band. Alicia Keel, the winery’s Chief Financial Officer, believes families will love “the homemade blueberry cobbler, blueberry shortcake, and blueberry bread loaves” available for purchase. Keel & Curley’s Railcar 91 will handle the hungry crowds with an abbreviated menu for the weekend. Numerous wines, ciders, and handcrafted beers from Keel & Curley Winery, their Two Henry’s Brewing Company, and other vendors will be available for purchase as well. Tickets for the children’s activities are available for a small fee. Included

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are bounce houses, face painting, pony rides, petting zoo, mechanical pink shark, and balloon artistry—fun that’s sure to keep them smiling. U-pick is offered from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, at $5 a pound for cash and $5.25 with a credit/debit card. What to Bring Come prepared for some outdoor fun in the Florida heat and humidity. The Keels recommend a hat, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes. Some pickers pack a lightweight long sleeved shirt as well. Be sure to keep hydrated, especially while you’re picking. Operating Hours Festival - 8 a.m - 6 p.m U-pick - 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. The Winery will maintain its regular Uncorked evening hours on Saturday from 6 – 11 p.m. Cost & Parking Affordability is a key factor to the Blueberry Festival’s success over the last nine years. Families will spend a great day together in a beautiful setting for very little expense. The entrance fee is still ”totally free,” with parking at only $5 between 8 – 10 a.m. and $10 after 10 a.m. Handicap area parking is free. At those prices, load up your car and invite the neighbors, too. Keel & Curley’s History The Keels’ wine-making journey began with their prized blueberries began in 2003. They have the winery’s farm and a peach farm in Plant City. Joe Keel, founder and president, named the business by combining his father’s last name and his mother’s maiden name. Today they produce not only

berries and wine, but beer, cider and even peaches and blackberries. Two beverages, the Elderberry Cider and the Belleview Biltmore Blueberry Vanilla Wheat beer, have been featured in Epcot’s annual Food & Wine Festival. By popular demand the Winery also now cans its sensational Strawberry Lime Cider.” From the 1,500 who attended Keel & Curley’s first blueberry festival in 2007, “We’ve grown every year,” said Joe. “The Festival grows in popularity because people share

about the great family experience. We’re expecting up 20,000 guests this year.” He added, “It’s a great community event, and we’re proud to provide the best in blueberry U-pick.” Also, make plans now for the Winery’s one-day-only Peach Festival on April 29 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Come and enjoy the Blueberry Festival at 5210 Thonotosassa Road. For details, visit keelandcurleywinery. com or facebook.com/KCWinery/.


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LOCAL

Historic Stadium is History Final Photo Shoot at William Schneider Stadium BY KELLI THARRINGTON

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n March 20, 2017 more than 300 former football players, coaches, cheerleaders, students and fans gathered together at the William Schneider Stadium to say goodbye to a much-loved Plant City landmark. The concrete stadium is being removed to make way for a new and improved concert venue. Florida Strawberry Festival General Manager Paul Davis looks forward to the changes. “We have long been a football stadium that hosted concerts. We want to be a concert venue that provides a topnotch experience.” Davis noted his main concern is safety for the guests. Although the concrete stands were fundamentally sound, Davis pointed out the sagging seats, drops between each step of almost 30 inches, and the lack of comfort. “We are going to add seat backs and stable walking surfaces, as well as more seating and more large screens to make it easier to enjoy the entertainment.” The venue itself will be moved 70’ closer from its original position and will have approximately 2,000

more seats than Schneider Stadium, which held about 3,000 people. The vendors under the bleachers will also display in a new, enclosed and air-conditioned 18,000 square foot building. Though the stadium has largely built a new identity based around the Strawberry Festival, it holds many memories for locals in other ways. C.W. Dukes played in the first Plant City High School football game hosted in the stadium in 1954. The Planters won that first game against Arcadia 24 to 12. “You hate to see it go, but it’s just something that has to be done.” Dukes recalled his wife worked at Tomlin Middle School and would walk across to the festival to save seats in the stadium for the shows. “That’s another new twist— the new seats will not be free, but it’s going to be so much better.” Kerri Knox, a former Tomlin Tiger and Plant City Raider cheerleader, graduated in 1985. “It was the same stadium that my father played football in and my mother cheered at. I felt like I was carrying on a family tradition.”

General Manager Paul Davis, Festival Vice-President Sandee Sytsma, and former Plant City High School Principal Sonny Jones recalled some of their many fond memories of the William Schneider Stadium.

Sonny Jones served as the principal for PCHS for 10 years and retired in 1990. He thanked the crowd that showed up to pay homage to the landmark. “When this community wants to do something, we get it done.” Susan Sullivan, the current principal of PCHS, graduated in 1977. “My family and I would always go to the Plant City Planters vs. the Turkey Creek Gobblers game.” Held on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, it became a family tradition. “I also graduated there.” All the local schools used Schneider stadium as their graduation venue. Sherrie Mueller, a former Strawberry Queen, was not crowned in the stadium as was customary. “It rained that year and we had to move

it to Tomlin.” But she did crown the next queen there. “It’s just been a part of my whole childhood all the way up to now.” In addition to football and concerts, the stadium has hosted rodeos, Easter sunrise services, and even a First Lady. Former City Manager Nettie Draughn and First Lady Roslyn Carter watched the Grand Parade in those uneven seats. The Florida Strawberry Festival is excited about the level of quality the new venue will bring, but does not want to forget where they started. Sandee Sytsma, the Festival’s newly elected Chairman of the Board, said, “Because we are a part of this community, we want to provide the best experience possible.”

On March 20, 2017 more than 300 former football players, coaches, cheerleaders, students and fans gathered together at the William Schneider Stadium to say goodbye to a much-loved Plant City landmark. Some took part in the commemorative group photo. PAGE

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LOCAL

National Day of Prayer in PC BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

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n America, the first Thursday in May is set aside for the country’s annual National Day of Prayer. Plant City is pleased to announce its noontime gathering will be in the City Hall’s auditorium again this year, from noon to 1:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend this important event, which is themed “For Your Name’s Sake! Hear Us. Forgive Us. Heal Us.” This focus is taken from Daniel 9:19, which pleads, ”O Lord, Listen! O Lord, Forgive! O Lord Hear and Act! For Your Name Sake, O My God…”

Rev. Norm Blanton works tirelessly to invite, encourage attendance, and promote the National Day of Prayer in our town. Plans are also in the works for an evening gathering, so those who work a distance away can make it to a prayer event after dark. Please watch for announcements on the Focus Magazine page on Facebook. For questions, call Rev. Norman Blanton at 813-326-0749. Additional information is also available on the organization’s website: nationaldayofprayer.org.

Rev. Norm Blanton offered a new “One Nation Under God” banner to area residents and business owners at the 2016 National Day of Prayer.

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LOCAL

Gentleman’s Quest Gold Tie Ceremony Walking together on the journey of life

BY BARBARA ROUTEN

dressed in black slacks, white shirts and black or gold bow ties, performed an attention-grabbing, synchronized march onto the stage and recitations of inspirational quotes. Marshall’s Gentleman’s Quest members, with their advisor, Stanley Glover, presented a skit emphasizing the necessity of a father’s love, support and involvement in boys’ lives. Glover took time to recognize community residents who have influenced the success of the Gentleman’s Quest program: his fellow Marshall Middle School GQ advisors Richard Dorton (science teacher) and Omicron Long (history teacher), Marshall Principal Daphne Blanton, Plant City High School’s GQ

advisor Wayne Ward, the Plant City Lions, Optimist and Kiwanis clubs, the GQ Mom of the Year, Ursula Lewis, GQ Dad of the Year, Glenn Keene, and Candy Owens. Owens told Glover, “I’m so grateful to you for this program. There are so many students who would have fallen through the cracks if they did not have a mentor like you. … You are changing these young men’s lives.” Principal Blanton expressed her gratitude and delight in the accomplishments of Marshall’s current and former GQ students, saying, “I’m just appreciative that I get to ride along with you on this journey and see the changes happen.”

Club advisors Wayne Ward, front left, from Plant City High School, and Stanley Glover, front right, from Marshall Middle School, stand with mentors and members of their Gentleman’s Quest clubs

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ineteen boys from Marshall Middle School received the coveted Gentleman’s Quest (GQ) gold ties at an April 6 ceremony at the school. Gentleman’s Quest “is a volunteer program for any male student in grades six through eight who is interested in self-awareness and commitment to change,” said math teacher Stanley Glover, Marshall’s GQ club advisor. GQ encompasses their academic, community and family lives. At the evening ceremony, students processed into the darkened multipurpose room wearing white dress shirts, black slacks and vests, dress shoes and white gloves on their right hands. They carried battery-powered votive candles in their gloved hands. The Gold Tie ritual marked the passage from boyhood to gentleman-hood as their fathers

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and mentors--police officers and other professional men from the community--placed gold ties around the necks of eighth-grade GQ brothers and black ties on sixth- and seventh-grade members. Students who received their Gentleman’s Quest gold ties included: Jawan Youngblood, club president; Joey Cardenas, vice president; Kaleb Williams, parliamentarian; Zacarius Ortiz, chaplain; Uriel Abarca-Vargas, co-chaplain; Jaden Clarke, public relations; Noah Huffman, brother of inspiration; Daniel Bustamante, sergeant-at-arms; Dyllan Register, Javoni Mitchell, Raymond Iles, Couvacty Thompson, Jaime Jimenez, Tavaras Littles, Jaheim Wilson, Blane Rogers, Dustin Shores, Jonathan Moore and Zukelle Belamy. Members of the Plant City High School Gentleman’s Quest Club,

Fathers and mentors help students tie their newly earned gold neckties at the Gentleman’s Quest 2017 Gold Tie Ceremony at Marshall Middle School.

Marshall Middle School eighth-grade Gentleman’s Quest members (L-R) Jaime Jimenez, Jaden Clarke, Zacarius Ortiz, Tavaras Littles and Raymond Iles process onto the stage carrying candles in their gloved hands.


LOCAL

The New Raider Plant City High School Names New Football Coach BY ASHLYN YARBROUGH

“The goals for football are always the same: to win districts, regionals, then states,” Booth offered. “If we focus on the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.”

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lant City High School Raider Football has had a very successful last couple of seasons. The team managed to take any challenge thrown at them and use it to become stronger. That being said, the athletes have endured four head coaching changes within the past four years. The 2016 head football coach Robert Paxia led the Raiders through a great season, but he will assume a new coaching position in Atlanta, Georgia this upcoming school year.

From among 115 applicants, PCHS chose James Booth, the man who will take Raider Football to the next level. After he played football for Manatee High School, Booth continued his career at MidAmerican Nazarene University where he set seven school records as an All-American receiver. He dabbled in arena football but soon found his passion in coaching. He began coaching at Palmetto High School and stayed three years. He then went on to Bloomingdale High School for five years and eventually returned back to his Manatee alma mater, where he has coached the past three years. In addition to beginning the 2017 school year as head football coach for the Raiders, he will join the PCHS Social Studies department as a World History or Philosophy teacher. “What we liked about [Booth] was that he stressed that he was a teacher first,” explained Tim Leesburg, the Athletic Director at PCHS. “His main priority is getting his student athletes to graduate, and then he focuses on winning in football. He is very family oriented and all about building character.” “The goals for football are always the same: to win districts, regionals, then states,” Booth offered. He desires his athletes to be successful on and off the field. “If we focus on the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.” Booth is beyond excited about his new career as a Raider. “I welcome the community to come reach out to me and me to them,” he said. He can’t wait to embrace all that our town has to offer and to build a relationship with the people of Plant City. PCHS is grateful to have James Booth as a part of the Raider Family and cannot wait for Friday Night Football. PAGE

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MI LK KATI E LO UD ER IN TE RV IE WS BY

one color. She got frustrated with me for taking so long but also knew I was new to that salon. She tried getting free coloring out of it and kept telling me I was doing it wrong. Little did she know that I had experience with hair coloring. I finished with no mistakes. She left upset because she had to pay the full price.

CLAUDIA GARCIA L ocal resident Claudia Garcia reflected on her 26 years as a Plant City resident during lunch at Fred’s Market recently. Although born in Texas, she grew up in Mexico and at age 18 was invited by her cousin to live with his family in here. She planned on staying for only a year to work and send money to her family in Mexico, but plans changed after she met Martin Garcia, her husband, at work.

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How did you meet Martin? We both worked at Paradise Plastic, a packaging company. He drove the forklift and I was part of packaging. He pursued me by giving me candy on our breaks and would come to my church so he could talk to me. My cousin, who was a father figure to me, was very strict and would not let me date. So we spent time together at church functions and become Christians during our time at First Baptist of Sydney.

What fills your time these days? On Monday nights, I teach at a Hispanic Theological Seminary in Plant City that is associated with maestra en teologia at Instituto Teologico Rhema. I teach Hispanics the Gospel of Jesus. I used to be a hairstylist at Walmart, but took time off to take care of my grandbaby. I used to cut hair in Mexico when I was 15, so went back to that work in Plant City. Do you have any memorable stories when cutting hair? When I first started, I had a customer with multi-colored hair. It took me five hours to color her hair to

Quick Questions: Beach or mountains? The beach because I get to watch my family fish. I love relaxing on the beach and catching up on my reading. Favorite dessert? Red Velvet Cake at Fred’s Market.

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


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LOCAL

Did You Know?

The Florida Strawberry Festival: A Brief History BY PLANT CITY PHOTO ARCHIVES

Lauren Der McNair, co-author

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he history of the Florida Strawberry Festival has never been written – until now! There have been many short articles about portions of the festivals, or parades, or the queen pageants, but never has there been a book that spans the entire 80+ years of the festival, again, until now! The Florida Strawberry Festival was first produced in March of 1930 in the small city of Plant City, Florida. With a population of 6,800 within the city, and many more in the surrounding communities of Dover, Hopewell, Seffner, Trapnell, Lithia, Turkey Creek, Cork, and Springhead, the festival drew an impressive 15,000 attendees on its first day. But for a hiatus during the World War II era, the festival has gone on for the past eighty-six years, with eighty-one festivals involving many thousands of local residents and national and international visitors. There have been stories written about the Florida Strawberry Festival

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Gilbert Gott, co-author

but until now there has not been an inclusive history of the festival from its inception in 1930 through 2016. The Florida Strawberry Festival: A Brief History was published just in time for this year’s festival, arriving from the Donning Publishing Company the day before the festival opened. The book is an outgrowth of the Florida Strawberry Festival Board of Directors’ years of discussion of publishing a book about the festival. This time the discussion began in earnest in July 2015 and a contract was signed with the Donning Company, Publisher. With instructions from the Festival’s Board of Directors, General Manager Paul Davis was appointed to oversee the project and History Committee members Terry Ballard and Al Berry were to be advisors. The task of researching and writing the book was assigned to Florida Strawberry Festival Public Relations and Media Representative

Lauren McNair, along with Plant City Photo Archives and History Center Executive Director Gil Gott. Working closely with the Donning Company editor, McNair and Gott completed their work in November 2016, and after editing, reviewing proofs, and making some additional changes, the book was finalized in January 2017 and printed and shipped in February, arriving in Plant City on March 1, 2017. The coffee-table type book is in both black and white, and full color, with over 200 pages, a colorful dust jacket, and a bright red hardbound cover. The narrative text covers a preface, a five-page introduction, a brief overview, and two chapters, each divided into decades and covering the years 1930 through 2016. This section includes over 200 images and photographs. The appendices include 82 photos of festival queens from 1930 through 2017, and listings of all maids in the queens’ courts.

There are also 25 photos of the festival presidents and a complete listing of all the many directors over the years, as well as a list of the charter members. Last, the book also includes an extensive index consisting of thirteen pages. Organizers held a special book release event March 2 to announce the new publication, which celebrates the eighty-some years of the festival and its amazing history. Book-signing events are also being planned and copies of the book can be purchased at the Photo Archives and History Center at 106 South Evers Street in downtown Plant City, or at the Florida Strawberry Festival 303 North Lemon Street, adjacent to the festival grounds. The price of the book is $30.00. For further information contact the Photo Archives at 813.754.1578 or email gil@plantcityphotoarchives. org.


RIBBONCUTTINGS

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on Friday, March 31st for Dark Horse Music Store at their new location, 108 NE Drane, Street Plant City, FL. Dark Horse Music Store takes an exciting, encouraging, yet challenging, approach to music education because they believe everyone has the ability to learn and to love an instrument. They offer music lessons for ages 5-99, gear, repairs, studio recording, and rentals.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Let your Mother know she’s special with flowers on Mothers’ Day, May 14, 2017. Order your arrangement Early!

Let’s keep it that way!

813-754-1212 116 W. Alsobrook Street Plant City, Fl 33563 PAGE

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PCHS 1967

Basketball State Champs Celebrate 50 Years Of Friendship By Cheryl Johnston Photos by Starr Anderson

Some memories connect us for a lifetime. This is particularly true if youthful memories center around a success.

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Though not the exact 1967 State 1-A Basketball Championship trophy, attending team members, cheerleaders, and the cheerleading sponsor, Ruth Brown, gathered with Coach Larry Martin for a group photo.

This truth prompted former Coach Larry and Diane Martin to host a 50-year reunion for Plant City High School’s 1967 State Championship Basketball Team. Players, cheerleaders, and other supporters gathered at the Elks Lodge on March 18, 2017 for a steak dinner, reminiscing, and group photos. In 1967, Tampa Tribune staff writer Bill Kirby followed the Planters through stories published on their way to victory. On March 9, he wrote: “Larry Martin, in his second year as head coach of the welltraveled Planters, had just one starter from last year returning as he began the season with his team’s potential unknown.” But the team’s inexperience proved to be an incentive stronger than words can describe. Another strength beyond imagining was the community’s support for the team. Locals attended games, cheered in unison, and sent telegrams to the team during the Gainesville tournament. Thankfully, Diane created a treasure for her husband and the team in photo albums containing Western Union wellwishes and Tampa Tribune and Plant City Courier reports. PAGE

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The 1967 Planters included: Seniors (4)John Polk, Mike Smith, Vance McDaniels, and Mike Griffin; Juniors (6)- Dale McDonald, Fred Davis, Tim Pharr, Danny Gardner, Bundy Burney, and Burt Hall; and Sophomores (2)- Steve Boggs and Charles Falany. The players ranged in height from 5’5” to 6’3-1/2.” Several players couldn’t attend the reunion. One of those, Gary Jordan, sent his parents instead, while he was at the University of Kentucky’s game in the NCAA playoffs. Sadly, Davis, Gardner and McDaniel are deceased. The cheerleaders were excited to be together again. Attending were Sandra Leitner Smith, Barbara Bone Franques, Terri Gibbs Sparkman, Pec Chambers McGinnes, Sharon Harnage Betnar, Debbie Giberti Hayden, Becky Scott Stebbins, Glenda Sloan McNary. Those unable to attend were Nancy Isher Dawson, Sue Meriwether Isbell, Linda Glaros Konstantinidis; Cindy Burt Whitaker is deceased. Writing of the rebuilding year, Coach Martin sounded hopeful in his 1966-67 Basketball Guide . “…[We’re counting heavily] on our nucleus of four returning

lettermen and three JV boys. We have some fine individual players returning, but unless we start operating as a team, our chances for winning are not so good. We have a fair knowledge of the game, our speed is lacking, our defense could be great, our shooting is poor in comparison to last year, but we have ruggedness under the board, one of the best assist men in the staff [Coach Don Turner], and we are dedicated to the game.” The next day’s Tampa Tribune story by Bill Kirby headlined: “Plant City, Gibbs Grab State Crowns.” The first paragraph elaborated with, “Red hot Plant City, a steady visitor to this state basketball center, last night captured its first Class A state cage championship by defeating Winter Garden Lakeview 53-32 in the finals.” Another article by Keith Stickley noted that “…the Planters recovered to trail by a lone point, 22-23, at the half.” Kirby noted that this was the 29th against two defeats for Coach Larry Martin’s Planters…The Planters closed out the win with a fantastic display of shooting and defensive play in the final quarter when they outscored Lakeview 17-3.” After their unlikely victory, another Kirby


Coach Martin posted the scores for each win on this wall poster as the team progressed toward the Florida State 1-A Basketball Championship in 1967.

Congratulatory remarks to the 1967 State Basketball Champs from the school photographer, Gladys Jeffcoat. 1967 Planter team members (shown L-R) are John Polk, Mike Griffin, Coach Larry Martin, Mike Smith, Dale McDonald, and Vance McDaniel.

article titled simply “A Wonder,” praised the team. “Plant City had made the trip to the state championship four of the past five years and finally brought home the win in 1967.” Kirby continued, ““This was the year, of all years, that Plant City should have been counted out at the beginning of the season. But that’s the way it goes in the game of basketball, when sometimes the right combination may not be a roster of veterans, but a team that has molded itself together from a questionable start with steady improvement.” And that night in Gainesville, they made their coach prouder than proud because all their hard work had paid off. With his quick wit and easy manner at the podium, Billy Herrold emceed the reunion evening. In addition to reading his own words in a 1967 letter to Larry Martin, he introduced City Commissioner Bill Dodson, who read a proclamation prepared for the team’s 50-year celebration. Dodson also offered copies of the City’s proclamation presented after the big win. Teammates and cheerleaders shared memories as well. “What I remember most about working with Coach Martin (my 7th grade and PCHS freshman math teacher) was how much he stressed teamwork and how that was carried throughout the season, both on and off the court,” shared team statistician John Carr. “Besides being teammates (I was always included even though mine was a sidelines contribution), we were all friends...Whenever we have met, from that day to this, it’s always like the last time we saw each other was just the day before.” Varsity cheerleader Barbara Franques, Class of ’67, reminisced. “Tonight we have another awesome memory to add to the 1967 championship victory. It’s been wonderful seeing old friends, teachers and fans. Tonight—fifty years faded away.” “It was an evening of sweet and bittersweet memories,” said cheerleader Deb Giberti Hayden. “Seeing Coach Martin, Mrs. Ruth Brown, cheerleading sponsor, and fellow Planters brought back a flood of fond memories.” Glenda Sloan McNary agreed. “That day in 1967 was one none of us will ever forget. Cheerleaders and players shared a special bond, especially back when we were in school. We laughed and cried until the wee hours that night. You [Martin] were a great coach and are a genuinely sweet man. This dinner and fellowship was awesome! Yet another special memory was made! Plant City Planters Forever!” Franques continued the group’s sentiments, “Larry and Diane, thank you for making this new memory possible. To a great coach and mentor! I will forever be grateful for your leadership, guidance, and friendship.” Former PCHS Principal added, “Larry was a great coach, always supportive, and a friend through the years,” “Many people who signed my 1967 yearbook wrote something about winning state,” offered cheerleader Becky Scott Stebbins. “We owe Coach Martin appreciation for this opportunity to remember that fun part of high school.” In her bid farewell, she offered a perfect excuse. “Now I have to get home and watch the NCAA basketball tournament. I still love basketball!” PAGE

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JAMES ANAK “SONNY” JONES By Cheryl Johnston | Photos Provided By Jim Jones Jr.

James Anak “Sonny” Jones retired from a 36-year career in 1990 as a Hillsborough County educator and school administrator. For the man whose Biblical middle name means “neck” and is a reference to giants, his work was first and foremost “always about the kids.”

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James Anak “Sonny” Jones retired from a 36-year career in 1990 as a Hillsborough County educator and school administrator. For the man whose Biblical middle name means “neck” and is a reference to giants, his work was first and foremost “always about the kids.” In retirement, he and his wife Betty, a principal’s secretary for 40 years at J.S. Robinson Elementary, cherish conversations with former students and colleagues. This wonderful history is what prompted Candy Owens to recommend “Sonny” for this month’s cover story. “Mr. Jones was a school days’ superhero in my eyes and for many who’ve lived in Plant City any length of time. He was a father figure who worked long and hard to make sure the schools he served offered students every chance to succeed.” In June, their three children—Jackie Waters, Jim, Jr., and Randy—plus spouses, six grands and 15 greats (#16 arrives in May) will help the Jones celebrate 66 years of marriage. EARLY YEARS The lifelong Turkey Creek resident was born upstairs over the Jones Corner Grocery store his parents established at State Road 60 and Turkey Creek Road. “Born over it and raised in it,” he offered. He worked there throughout his young years, bagging potatoes and onions. The original store on the southeast corner was moved twice due to highway widenings, so his parents bought land on the northeast side. Old maps reference Jones Chapel because they eventually donated property for the current Turkey Creek Church of God. “With mail route designation changes, records relate I was born in Sydney, raised in Dover, and lived in Plant City,” he explained, “even though we never moved from that location all those years.”

Betty Jo Prosch was known for her strawberry picking prowess. “She could pick 100 quarts a day,” said Sonny, “but the only berries I ever picked were at Farkas Farms when Louise’s mother, Mrs. Crowley, got a group of boys together.” Nicknamed “Sonny” by his mother, he spent his boyhood “running the woods, riding horses on Sundays, and slipping off to the swimming hole.” “I loved school,” he shared. “I had excellent teachers and kept many friendships through all twelve years.” Sonny graduated in 1949 and Betty in 1950 from Turkey Creek High School. “We met my senior year when she was 15 and a junior,” he explained. “Our only dates were to church. Her parents trusted me, but we had to take her younger sister Esther with us, and then Esther insisted her friend Rosalee Prevatt must go, too. So, my ‘dates’ included three females. After church, if my buddy Harold Lewis had money, we’d take everyone to the Dairy Queen for the cheapest cone. I also remember one Sunday night taking my mother’s little English Ford to Palmetto, where we rode the ferry to St. Petersburg before the Skyway Bridge was finished.” The high school sweethearts married on June 5, 1951 at Hopewell Baptist Church and continued with his family’s business. CAREER IN EDUCATION AND ADMINISTRATION In 1952 when Betty was pregnant with their daughter Jackie, Sonny took the summer off to substitute teach eight weeks at Cork Elementary. He recalls telling her, “I found what I want to do and it was fun.” One summer while earning his Bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education at Florida Southern College in just under three years (Class of ’53), Sonny also taught eight weeks in the Head Start program at J.S. Robinson. Between that graduation and earning his Master’s in Education degree from the University of Florida (1961), the Joneses built the home (1957) they still live in today, a short walk from where the family’s grocery store and Pure Oil gasoline pump once served customers until the mid-60s. Since 1983, Sonny Jones has been a member of Phi Delta Kappa, the professional fraternity supporting public education. “I’m a great believer in the public school system,” he explained. “It melded our nation together. Religious

schools have done a great job, too, but not everyone can afford to attend those.” He continued, “I always had a special place in my heart for those who were excellent students but could not excel scholastically, yet still had that drive to do their best.” “A picture of George Washington hung in my boyhood classrooms and we saluted the flag together every day,” added Sonny. “When we lost prayer and Bible reading aloud in school, we lost something.” Sonny began his education career at his TCHS alma mater, six years as a math teacher and two as guidance counselor. Next came a year as Dean of Boys at Horace Mann Jr. High. From 1962 to 1967 he was Assistant Principal at Plant City High School under Glen Evers, followed by 13 years as Principal of Tomlin Jr. High School. That term started in the 1914 high school building and continued eight years more in the present Tomlin Middle School building. He retired in 1990 for health reasons after his last 10 years as Principal at PCHS, the city’s only senior high at the time. Interestingly, Sonny remains the only principal who served in that position at three school campuses: Tomlin Jr. HS in the 1914 high school building (19671972), then in the present Tomlin Jr. HS building, and finally at PCHS in its current One Raider Place location. RETIREMENT Their family room bookshelves contain numerous PCHS yearbooks and a complete set for Turkey Creek High School [1945-1972]. To help preserve

“I’m a great believer in the public school system,” he explained. “It melded our nation together...

those treasured memories, James scanned the pages for the Plant City Photo Archives & History Museum, which today sells a $10 CD containing them. Each year the Jones look forward to the TCHS Gobbler reunions and recently attended the 50-year commemorative dinner for the 1967 PCHS State Championship Basketball Team hosted by Coach Larry Martin. While he still misses weekday connections with students and school faculty, thankfully he meets Wednesday mornings “at Steak ‘n Shake in Brandon for breakfast with the ROMEOs – Retired Old Men (Principals) Eating Out.” Sonny’s commitment to community service reflects his character. Acknowledged as a Master Mason in 1979 after 25 years with the Turkey Creek Masonic Lodge, he was also a Plant City Civitan Club member for 50-plus years (1963-2016), serving both as local president and as state level Lieutenant Governor. He also volunteered with the United Way, Mental Health Association Board, Hillsborough County Library Board and East Hillsborough Historical Society, including one term as President. For his untold time and energy invested, Sonny was recognized as: • 1990 – Outstanding Citizen of the Year as voted by Plant City civic club presidents • 1991 – Outstanding Service to Humanity recipient by Florida Southern College Alumni • 2001 – Plant City Christmas Parade Marshal • 2010 – Heritage Award recipient, presented by Plant City Photo Archives The couple has traveled extensively, but their beautiful, peaceful home is still the favorite family gathering place. These days both spend time Facebooking, studying the Bible, and gardening. The exceptionally creative Betty enjoys needlework, organizing photo albums, and cooking Sonny’s favorite meals. His favorite: Chicken and Yellow Rice. He cooks, too, with personal specialties being steamed rice and cheese grits. Faith in Christ has framed every aspect of daily life for Sonny and Betty, so it’s no wonder the Deacon Emeritus and former Trustee at Turkey Creek First Baptist Church still likes completing his Sunday School lesson each week. Ultimately, James Anak “Sonny” and his lovely Betty agree on this: “God has blessed us, for sure.” PAGE

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FOCUSBUSINESS

LaRon Law, right, owner of Florida Delivery Service, and Lisa Davis, driver and manager of drivers, assist Plant City residents by doing their grocery shopping and delivering restaurant meals.

Florida Delivery Service Starts in Plant City

How much is your time worth? BY BARBARA ROUTEN | PHOTO BY LARON LAW

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ou don’t feel like cooking, but you want to eat at home. Your car won’t start, but you need groceries. Who do you call? Plant City’s new Florida Delivery Service. LaRon Law started Florida Delivery Service in February. Lisa Davis, his mother-in-law, drives and manages the service’s drivers. Florida Delivery Service is affiliated with California-based Mountain Delivered Goods which has partners throughout the United States and Canada and provides training, website templates and other assistance to independent branch PAGE

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owners, like Law. He discovered the company while doing “daily research, just trying to start something,” he said. “I’ve actually been in delivery, so I know service-based business is real good to do.” “People need [delivery services],” he said. “Some people don’t have the energy, some are busy. Others are homebound because of illness, surgery or a new baby, and for some older folks, it’s just not as easy for them to get around.” He picks up groceries and meals for individuals, families and

workplace staff. People may call in their orders or submit them online, where he has interactive restaurant menus. The cost to a client for restaurant food includes a $3.99 delivery charge and 15-percent tip added to the total bill charged by the restaurant. Right now, he’s adding new restaurants for no charge. Later, he’ll charge a set-up fee to the eateries for placing their menus on his website. He encourages locally owned restaurants to advertise by offering coupon specials that he’ll

include with all his deliveries. “I’m doing a service for customers and I want to help local businesses. We help each other,” he said. Regarding grocery shopping, clients type their lists online, and Florida Delivery Service will go to the customer’s chosen store, pull items off shelves, deliver them to the house--and even put them away, if the owner is home and desires that service. There is a $10 delivery fee plus 10-percent added to the cost of the groceries. Grocery orders must be placed with Florida Delivery Service 24 hours in advance or by 11 a.m. He delivers within the Plant City area. “Put your zip code on the website, and it will tell you if we go there,” he said. Law would like to make presentations to local organizations and businesses about Florida Delivery Service, explaining how it works and how it can help make their lives easier. Florida Delivery Service needs more drivers, all of whom undergo background checks. He has many helpful service ideas he’d like to implement in the future, such as lunch orders for large companies and watering plants and caring for pets for folks who are out of town. He is a member of Plant City Connections that meets at Uncle Mike’s Smokehouse Grill and the Hospitality-Entertainment-Cuisine Network run by Mark Drucker. Three years ago, Law moved from North Tampa to Plant City. “Nobody was really doing delivery out here,” said Law. “Now, if you’re hungry for Carrabba’s or Applebee’s but don’t feel like going out, call me, and I’ll get it for you. It just makes sense.”

Florida Delivery Service FloridaDeliveryService.com Phone: (888) 499-3749 Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Email: FloridaDeliveryService@ gmail.com


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REAL ESTATE

Econ 101: A Crash Course on Mortgage Rates BY NATE DAVIS, FLORIDA MORTAGE FIRM

W

ith mortgage interest rates inching up lately, I’ve been asked by a lot of my clients why this is happening. I’ll clear the air for you, and it starts with investors. Many of them pile money into stocks and bonds. Well, mortgagebacked securities (MBS) are the bond on which home loans are based. Here’s a relative guideline to remember before I go any further. When bond prices rise, typically home-loan rates lower. When bond prices decrease, mortgage rates typically increase. Simply put, when one goes up, the other usually goes down. So why have interest rates inched up lately? A popular thought is because the vibe about the economy has shifted from negative to positive. When optimism surrounds the outlook of the economy, investors typically pull their money out of bonds and transfer them to stocks, possibly worsening bond prices — keep in mind that bond prices

impact mortgage bonds. It has been the trend, historically speaking. In recent years, the Federal Reserve had injected trillions of dollars into mortgage-backed securities as part of its “quantitative easing” initiative. The goal was to stabilize the economy, and that government spending drove rates down. Now, the outlook on the economy is much better than it was during the Great Recession, as evidenced by recent interest rate hikes by the Fed. The good news, though, is that historically speaking, interest rates are still near historic, all-time lows. So much so that it still allows for a lot of people to finance a home who could not do so if rates were at the levels before the stock market crashed in 2008. If you have any questions about this, call my team, Florida Mortgage Firm, at 813.707.6200. Florida Mortgage Firm is an Equal Housing Opportunity Lender, NMLS #289323 NMLS #294701.

Florida Mortgage Firm (813-707-6200) is an Equal Housing Lender, NMLS #289323, NMLS #294701.

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REAL ESTATE

Walden Lake Review BY NATALIE SWEET

T

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 April 27th (the Monday after the Annual Meeting) and May 15th at 7:00 PM. The meetings are open to all Walden Lake residents. Watch the announcement boards at all entrances for dates and times for special meetings and events. The Annual Homeowners Association Meeting will be held on April 20th at the Plant City Church of God, 2102 Mud Lake Road at 7:00 PM. Per Florida 720 law, an election is not required unless more candidates are nominated than vacancies exist. As the number of candidates equals the number of director vacancies, there is no need for an election at the 2017 Annual Meeting. Accordingly, the three (3) nominated candidates will be elected by acclamation at the 2017 Annual Meeting. Be looking for your Limited Proxy in the mail prior to the annual meeting. However, it’s important that you return your Limited Proxy prior to the meeting within the time period allowed or that you attend the meeting. It’s time to clean out those closets! The Annual Community Yard Sale will be Saturday, April 22nd beginning at 8:00 AM and ending at 2:00 PM The HOA will provide a blanket permit along with signage and advertising for all residents that want to participate. Lighthouse Ministries and the Salvation Army will have trucks at the HOA office at 11:30 to accept donations of any items you The March sales are as follows: Address 101 Dorado Court 1434 Walden Oaks Place 1426 Walden Oaks Place 1475 Walden Oaks Place 1912 E Timberlane Drive 3446 Silverstone Court 613 Sandalwood Drive 604 Sandalwood Drive 1101 Sandalwood Drive 4007 Thackery Way 3425 Silverstone Court 2708 Forest Club Drive 3229 Alcott Avenue 3507 Sandburg Loop 1802 N Golfview Drive 2874 Hammock Drive 2917 Hampton Place

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Sales Price $127,000 $138,000 $152,500 $159,900 $185,000 $228,000 $190,000 $210,000 $225,000 $225,000 $295,000 $265,000 $280,000 $300,000 $300,000 $329,900 $340,000

would like to donate even if you don’t participate in the yard sale. Shredding service will also be offered on April 22nd from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM at the HOA office. The cost is $5(cash only) per box. During the month of March, there were 17 sales in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East. The average sale price in Walden Lake was $226,188 with an average of 27 days on the market. There are currently 22 active listings for sale in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East with an average list price of $270,123 and an average of 57 days on the market. There are 25 properties Pending Contract with an average list price of $236,495 and average of 36 days on the market. During the first quarter of 2017, there were 39 sales in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East with an average sale price of $229,118 and 40 days on the market. In the first quarter of 2016 there were 31 sales with an average sale price of $203,674 and 78 days on the market. That is a 12.5% year over year increase when comparing the first quarters. We can contribute that to the continued lack of inventory and as a result well-priced homes are selling fast with many at or above the full asking price. The United Food Bank is always in need of non-perishable items. Our HOA office is a drop off spot for nonperishables and you can contact the food bank directly. Please consider donating to the less fortunate. You may contact me about this article or the sales statistics via email at NSweet@KW.com or 813-758-9586.

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SPORTS

Athlete of the Month Ally Louden BY ASHLYN YARBROUGH | PHOTOS PROVIDED BY ALLY LOUDEN

being her primary loves, Louden still made it a point to broaden her athletic spectrum by running and playing flag football. She ran track throughout middle school but ended that chapter after her 9th grade season. Louden found that track can keep an athlete in shape during their off season. She ran the 400-meter dash for Durant. “I loved track because it was a way to escape everything and just focus on myself,” she expressed. Flag football was also a season in Louden’s life that – even though she dominated – was primarily for fun as well. She played wide receiver for the Lady Cougars her sophomore year just so she could hang out with her best friends and stay active. Louden’s great sense of humor helped recall her favorite memory from flag football was getting a concussion from her very own teammate! Despite that small bump in the road, getting to play a sport with her best friends made it all worthwhile.

“I believe my key to success is my work ethic,” Louden explains. “I know I am blessed with the ability to play sports so I always try to give it my all when on the field or court. I can’t play my whole life, so I try to make the most of every moment I have.” Among her many successes on the field and court, Louden has also been named Most Athletic of her senior class, received the Heart of a Champion scholarship, and has a 6.15 weighted GPA placing her in the top 3% of her class. Upon graduation, she will be attending Florida Southern University on a lacrosse scholarship. Even though she is undecided on her major, she aspires to give back to the community whether it be through sports or another avenue. Ally Louden’s amazing athletic ability and heart of gold is what makes her community and Durant High School proud to call her their very own.

Louden, a Senior Captain for the DHS Girls Basketball team, battles against an opponent from Bloomingdale Senior High School.

I

t is admirable when a student athlete excels in one or two sports, but it’s mind boggling when one can dominate in four (basketball, lacrosse, flag football, and track) while maintaining a perfect 4.0 unweighted GPA and remains involved in the community. Durant High School Senior Ally Louden is a role model for the youth in our society today with her incredible work ethic and determination. Louden began playing basketball in the sixth grade and went on to play on the DHS Varsity Girls Basketball team as a shooting guard, small forward, and point guard all four years of high school. She began her career because it was a sport she could play during her competitive soccer offseason. “I love playing basketball because it taught me how to never give up,” Louden explained. “No matter how much I am physically and mentally hurting, I remind myself

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that I have to keep going and that my teammates will be by my side.” As a captain for the past three years, she has experienced winning the District Championship and has received the Coach Precious Lippett “Hustle” Award. Louden embarked on her lacrosse career during her freshman year of high school and has played midfield on varsity all four years. Her best friend and teammate, Casey Decatur, had been playing the sport for three years and encouraged her to join. “Playing lacrosse has shown me I can achieve anything I put my mind to,” stated Louden. She is currently in the middle of her fourth season and her team holds a record of 9-4. Louden has been the captain of the Lady Cougars Lacrosse team for two years now and has received the Cougar Award and Offensive Player of the Year for her incredible work on and off the field. With basketball and lacrosse

Louden poses proudly with her team’s trophy after their victory in the District Championship basketball game.


brokepoorï¬&#x201A;.com PAGE

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SPORTS

Sports Team of the Month Lady Raiders Softball BY ASHLYN YARBROUGH | PHOTOS COURTESY OF JENNIFER HAMILTON

The 2017 Lady Raiders Softball team is composed of the following athletes and coaches: Head Coach Ashley Bullion; Assistant Coaches, Jim Garrison, Garry Blessin, and Edgar Molina; Tori Garrison, Taylor Bennett, Ashley Blessin, Haley Fragioni, Taylor Goethals, Emily Longoria, Edmilly Molina, Skyler Gill, Lexi Moore, Hannah Blanton, Kaity Ruedeman, Erica Sanders, Beka Schulte, Abbie DeWeese, and Rylee Moorman.

P

lant City High School is notorious for academic and athletic excellence; their softball team is no exception. The Lady Raiders have created quite an impressive legacy over the past several seasons and have brought pride and joy to their school and community. Head Coach Ashley Bullion and Assistant Coaches Jim Garrison, Garry Blessin, and Edgar Molina lead the Lady Raiders. This is Bullion’s third year coaching at PCHS and has been offering individualized instruction and private lessons to younger athletes since she was in high school. She began her softball career at the age of seven and went on to play for Crystal River High School and the University of South Florida. The PCHS Softball team has had quite a victorious journey leading up to the 2017 season. For the past two years they have held the District

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Championship title and are shooting for a three-peat this season. Last year they scored 100 runs and set a school record of having an amazing 23-4 season, the best in PCHS history! The Lady Raiders currently hold a 10-1 season record and have won all district games thus far. “Our goal for this season is to win every day,” Bullion states. “Win every at bat, every pitch, every out, every inning, every game.” Of all the wins this season, the highlight for the Lady Raiders occurred on March 21 when they played their rival, Durant High School. The girls focused on one inning at a time, making outs as fast as they could and scoring as many runs as possible. PCHS came out on top with a score of 7-3. “We never let up. We were determined to win,” Bullion shared. The characteristics that help lead the PCHS Softball team to such success is their impeccable

comradery and family-like relationship. Each girl works hard, skill wise, to win game after game, but also to uphold everlasting bonds with her teammates. “We genuinely care about each other, not just in softball but in life and academics,” said Bullion. The Lady Raiders have five major elements to their team: caring, trust, collective responsibility, communication, and pride. Even with the vast amount of talent, the team knows that skill itself will not lead to a winning season. With their fellow teammates encouraging them throughout this season, the Lady Raiders persevere through the hard times and remain determined to continue their triumphant legacy. Edmilly Molina, Lexi Moore, Tori Garrison, and Erica Sanders are the athletes who set the examples and have led the PCHS Softball team throughout this season. Molina is considered the hardest worker on the team. She makes it a priority

to arrive early and stay late at practice. “She understands the mindset needed to compete at an elite level,” Bullion explained. Moore leads the team with a “do not be denied” attitude. When she steps onto the field, she is determined to get on base during every at bat and do whatever it takes to make the team win. What sets Sanders apart is her heart for the team. She is always searching for ways she can make the team better, and leads the team in prayer before every game. “If I weren’t at practice, [Sanders] could run the whole thing just like I would without breaking a stride,” a confident Coach Bullion stated. The Lady Raider Softball team will strive to continue developing relationships, talent, as well as academic and athletic success with the many seasons to come. Each athlete is determined to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Plant City High School takes pride in Raider Softball, and eagerly awaits opportunities to cheer them on through their victories for the remainder of this season.


New beginnings for widows and widowers.

LIFT ÂŽ is a social support program that helps widows and widowers adjust to the loss of a spouse by providing hope to reinforce a sense of wholeness and purpose in those who may be feeling lost or isolated.

We invite you to join us at our next Dignity Memorial LIFT event. Plant City LIFT Program Monday, May 15, 2017, 11:00 a.m. Wells Memorial and Event Center, Tranquility Room 1903 West Reynolds Street, Plant City, FL 33563

Please RSVP to: Verna McKelvin at 813-752-1111 Open to any Widow or Widower

Sponsored by the Dignity Memorial network of funeral, cremation and cemetery providers, the LIFT program is both educational and entertaining. There are no fees or dues to participate. Dignity Memorial LIFT members are only responsible for their own meals or personal expenses. Participation is not restricted to those who have been served by Dignity Memorial providers.

Wells Memorial and Event Center 1903 W. Reynolds Street

Plant City, Florida 33563

wellsmemorial.com Disclaimer

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EXTRA

Leaders in Faith

Pastor Bill Sullivan, Faith Assembly of God BY CHERYL JOHNSTON | PHOTO COURTESTY OF BILL SULLIVAN

A

lthough Pastor Bill Sullivan “did not grow up in an instructed Christian home,” God had a unique plan for his life. Bill and Lorraine, his wife of 47 years, have served 43 of those in ministry, with the last 24 leading the congregation at Faith Assembly of God in Plant City. Two weeks after high school graduation he enlisted in the military, an experience he now knows helped him “to grow up.” But the Vietnam Veteran returned home from his duty tour “messed up because of people’s reactions here.” The pent-up anger led to drinking and a shout out telling God he wouldn’t serve Him. Several days later in a dream, God directed him to a dead man lying face down in the gutter. Turning him over, Bill saw himself. Two weeks after the dream, he was struck by lightning. Those occurrences brought a drastic conversion to faith and surrender. Over time, God took away his boiling rage and provided work as a fireman and an EMT. Today, Pastor Bill uses those military martial arts and weapons instruction skills as a chaplain for the Polk County Sheriff’s Department. Due to injuries, wounds suffered in life-threatening situations and victory over cancer, he considers himself “a walking miracle.” Thankful, he values the privilege to help officers protect the public. When did you come to faith in Christ? I grew up being a good heathen. My family never denied Christ, but we didn’t live like He mattered. I think I was beaten by every Sunday School teacher for bad behavior because education was never encouraged by my father or grandfather. When I was saved at age 24, my whole family was PAGE

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shocked. Surely, they considered me least likely among them to become a pastor. What do you enjoy most about your work? For over 40 years, I’ve been able to tell others about Jesus. I like to see the light come on in their eyes when they understand how much God loves them.

have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 is one I use often, too. “No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so you can endure it.”

Favorite scripture verses? John 16:33 has taught me not to fear the storm. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will

How would you suggest folks strengthen their faith? Ask questions, the why and what kind. Read the Bible where He leads and consider what He wants you to

learn. Everybody can hear God if they want. He speaks constantly. If we pay attention, He will direct us. Desire His presence and allow God’s reality to show through the real you. Do your daily best to live right and love. About the church: Faith Assembly of God at 4240 N. Frontage Road welcomes all to Sunday School at 9:30AM and worship at 10:30AM. Wednesday nights include Adult Bible Study, Reboot Youth Ministry, Royal Rangers for boys and Missionettes for girls, all at 7PM. Visit faithassemblyplantcity, Facebook, or phone 813-752-0532 for additional information.


EXTRA

Fish Tales

Farmers Who Fish Sure Made My Day! BY MIKE GOODWINE

I

Carol and Billy Simmons of Simmons Farms - renowned for farming and fishing!

’m asked all the time, “What’s the best part of being a charter captain?” One would think being able to go fishing everyday would be my first answer. Surprisingly it’s not. The best part of being a captain is meeting my clients and socializing with them during our trip. Recently, I had the honor of fishing with one of Plant city’s renowned strawberry farmers, Mr. and Mrs. Billy Simmons from Simmons Farms. They’ve been farming since 1977 and I couldn’t

even imagine all the hard work and hours they put into farming. I probably asked more questions about farming then they asked me about fishing. They caught red fish and snook until they lost count while competing with each other. At the end of the trip I was afraid to say who actually caught the most fish, but I will say Mrs. Carol held her own and gave Mr. Billy a run for his money. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to charter the Simmons.

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EXTRA

Candy’s Corner BY CANDY OWENS

Welcome sweet springtime, we greet Thee in song. Flowers awake ye burst into bloom. Springtime has come and summer is nigh, sing ye birds, oh sing. Sunshine now wakes all the flowers from sleep. Joy giving incense floats on the air. Ah! how my heart beats with rapture anew, as earth’s fairest beauties again meet the view.

O

h! How I love to see spring make its return. I love to see and smell all the beautiful flowers in bloom, to eat all the delicious fruits and vegetables at their peak (especially the melons and berries), and to go outside and take in all of the natural beauty that comes only with spring. I can remember as a child playing out in the front yard on a sunny, breezy, spring afternoon and hearing the wind blow through the corn stalks in my father’s garden. I can remember watching my mother hang wet clothes on the backyard clothesline, seeing the towels flap back and forth in the wind and sun as they dried, and smelling the Cheer detergent and Downy fabric softener. I can remember cupping my hands over my eyes and looking up at the sky to watch a single airplane sputter through the clouds and thinking to myself that God made it all. When I was a little girl in the early 1960s, people spent a great deal of time outside. They would sit on their front porches and talk or just sit quietly, enjoying the fresh air. Kids would almost always play outside. We hardly ever sat in our bedrooms and played unless it was raining or we were sick. I can remember my mother helping us

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spread an old blanket out in the front yard so we could sit to color in our coloring books, play a game, read, or just talk. Sometimes we would just lie back on the blanket, stare up at the sky, and imagine pictures in the clouds. We played dolls, dress up, school, and Cowboys and Indians. We rode our bikes and trikes, and pulled our wagons a million miles. We Hula-Hooped, built forts, and took long walks. We played ball, turned cartwheels, ran races, played hide and seek, played under the water hose, drew on our Etch-A-Sketches, played board games, cards, and ran through the sprinklers. As kids we had every reason to play outside on a beautiful day in spring. One of my favorite childhood memories of playing outside was the day my sister and I got a brand new Slip ‘N Slide. This water toy was manufactured by Wham-O in 1961. The toy was a long sheet of thin plastic, flanked lengthwise on one side by a sealed tubular fold. The tube could be attached to any ordinary garden hose. Water ran through the tube and out small perforations, spraying onto the sliding surface, which became very slippery and allowed kids to take a running jump onto the plastic and slide the length of the sheet.

Boy, did we have fun! We were the envy of all the kids in the neighborhood! Until…well…all the bumps and bruises. My sister and I invited all the neighborhood kids to come try out our new Slip ‘N Slide. The kids lined up and giggled with excitement as they each waited their turn. It all went well until everyone got impatient and took running jumps and we all landed on top of each other. I think I came out of that experiment with a busted lip. Before too long there were television and newspaper reports of kids who had suffered sprains and even broken bones from their slippery trip. That is all that it took for my parents to say: “NO MORE SLIP ‘N SLIDE!” My sister and I were not happy with that choice. I remember my Father putting our prize possession water toy in the garbage. Well, the next day when Father was at work and Mother was inside the house doing something, I went straight to the garbage can and retrieved my Slip ‘N Slide. I put it out in the front yard, hooked it up to the water hose, and even went inside the house and got Mother’s liquid dish soap. I was going to make it all the more interesting. Several neighborhood kids saw me doing this and decided to join in the fun. We were having a blast…until my Father came driving up. You have never seen little kids run away so fast! There I was, all by myself, just me, the bottle of liquid dish soap, a yard full of bubbles, and the Slip “N Slide. Needless to say: after it was over “I never Slipped ‘N Slided again!” Another favorite Spring memory involved times when my Granny and Granddaddy Owens would have us over for homemade ice cream. On their annual trip South Carolina, they always returned home with watermelons, cantaloupes, and peaches. Grandmother would

cut up a basket of fresh peaches, cover them with sugar, and let them sit overnight to make a heavy syrup. We would all gather in their carport and sit around in folding chairs talking and waiting on our turn to help churn the ice cream. It seemed like it took forever for the ice cream to freeze. Once it was ready, Grandmother would go to her kitchen and return with the big bowl of peaches and a tin can of Hershey’s Chocolate syrup (There were no plastic bottles back then). Boy! Now that was good eatin’! Every Spring my Mother and Father would fill our yard and the front porch flower pots with petunias, pansies, and snapdragons. Daily, my sister and I would help water the flowers and we waited with excitement to see the first flowers bloom. My Father would always take a picture of my sister and I standing beside our beautiful blooming flower pots. We would pick a few flowers at a time and take them to our teachers for their desks or put a few in a bowl of water for our Mother. It has been many years since I have tasted a bowl of homemade ice cream with Granny’s peaches, stood beside one of my Father’s blooming flower pots, or taken a dive head first on a Slip ‘N Slide, but every Spring when I smell the fresh peaches, plant pretty new flowers in our flower pots, or hear a single airplane buzzing through the clouds, I smile and think of how God made the Springtime and all of this for us. As for the Slip ‘N Slide… well, I think that I will just forget about that! HaHa!


EXTRA

Wanda’s

Words of Wisdom BY WANDA “LEWIS” ANDERSON

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hope everyone had a safe and Blessed Easter. I have a great tip for keeping ice cream soft in the freezer. Try storing your ice cream container in a zip lock bag. It keeps it soft and makes it easier to spoon out. Finger nail polish is not just for removing your nail polish. It also works great to remove the stains from your tennis shoes. If you get a really bad headache, try this next time. Press the webbed area between your thumb and pointer finger. Lightly massage the spot for about a minute and then switch to the other hand. I love watermelon, but did you know eating watermelon can help relieve a headache? It does so by rehydrating your whole body. Drinking lots of water will help, too. Here’s an unusual tip using AlkaSeltzer. Next time you go fishing, cast your line as usual. Break an Alka-Seltzer tablet in half and toss it near your fishing line. The bubbles will attract the fish. I use Dawn dish soap for washing dishes -- absolutely love it. You

can also wash your hair with Dawn dish soap. Once a month wash out excess oil or the buildup from styling products. It’s a great alternative to those expensive products that do the same thing. If you have trouble sleeping, I have just the tip for you. Try rubbing a little castor oil on your eyelids before you sleep. Be very careful not to get it in your eyes. You will get a peaceful night’s sleep and wake up refreshed. If you don’t have castor oil handy, try eating a banana a few hours before bedtime. Bananas are rich in amino acids known as Tryptophan, a substance that triggers the production of melatonin (sleep hormone) which induces sleep. Don’t reach for that expensive facial cream. Try castor oil next time. Most people don’t know this but castor oil is great for eliminating and preventing wrinkles. Before trying anything new you should consult your physician. Until next time relax, enjoy and be thankful…

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EXTRA

Plenty to Do in Sun-kissed Sarasota From “A” (Art) to “Z” (Ca’ d’Zan)

BY BARBARA ROUTEN | PHOTOS BY SHELLEY GARRISON EDWARDS

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n exciting day-trip destination that has it all is Sarasota, about 72 miles southwest of Plant City. If enjoying a swim in the Gulf of Mexico is your dream getaway, this city’s top-rated beaches--Siesta Key, Lido Beach and Longboat Key—offer wide, sandy shores lapped by sparkling turquoise and azure water. If you prefer fresh water and a bit of shade, try Myakka River State Park, one of Florida’s oldest and biggest parks. There you can fish, canoe, kayak or view wildlife as you stroll along a boardwalk or canopy walkway. If you’re looking for culture, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall offers performances by the Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra and

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touring Broadway casts. Want to honor our troops? View and reflect on the exhibits at Patriot Plaza at the Sarasota National Cemetery. Photograph the larger-than-life Unconditional Surrender Sculpture across from Marina Jack near downtown Sarasota. Shop and dine downtown or at St. Armand’s Circle. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium’s shark, otter, manatee, turtle, reef and gator exhibits are open every day of the year. If you like plants, native and exotic, visit the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ tropical urban oasis and children’s elevated rainforest garden. Feed flamingos, watch an animal show and visit butterfly gardens at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.

Ca’ d’Zan, the 1920s home of John and Mable Ringling (of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus), was built to look like a Venetian palace on Sarasota Bay. Or experience the explosion of scent and color of 1200 rose plants flowering in Mable Ringling’s wagon wheel-shaped rose garden at The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road. The roses, cut back in February, should be blooming throughout the month of April. While at The Ringling, take in the Circus Museum, which will continue to celebrate the history and pageantry of circus life even after the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ceases operations in May. The museum contains glittering, sequined costumes, life-sized artifacts, wagons, train cars and clown cars and painstakingly detailed miniature circuses.

Tour Ca’ d’Zan, the Venetian-palacelike home built in the 1920s by John and Mable Ringling. Rest on umbrellashaded chairs on the terrazzo marble terrace overlooking Sarasota Bay, frolic on playground equipment nearby or grab refreshments at the café under huge banyans. Keep on the lookout for statues those trees have overtaken. Don’t miss The Ringling Museum of Art -- the State Art Museum of Florida -- comprising 31 galleries of permanent works and traveling exhibitions. Styles range from antiquity and the old masters to modern.


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EXTRA

David Sigel Do What You Love and The Rest Will Follow STORY & PHOTOS BY HEATHER DAVIS

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hen you come across the artwork of artist David Sigel, you can feel the life, movement, and vibrancy. His artwork truly is alive with color, bold strokes and originality. In just a few short years, the completely self-taught Sigel has burst into the art scene with full force. Using just his hands, palette knives, and high quality pure pigment oil paint, Sigel brings to life artwork that reflects landscapes and Florida scenes in an abstract, colorful and warm way. Five years ago Sigel showed his artwork in public for the first time at a Farmers Market in Ybor. Realizing quickly how lucrative showing and selling artwork could be for him, Sigel has since gone from that first show to now participating in over 40 shows a year statewide. Recently, Sigel has become a part of Off The Tracks Gallery, not as a member, but instead he rents space to create and produce his artwork for his art shows. Those who visit the Gallery during the week are more than likely to stumble upon

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Sigel painting or creating art, either inside or outside of the Gallery. Unlike some artists who prefer to paint in solitude, Sigel prefers and loves to paint in front of people. When painting he likes to imagine what other people will want, while putting into each individual piece his own feeling and interpretation. It is during shows that Sigel is able to listen and receive feedback as to what art seekers are looking for, which also gives him an advantage as to what sells. Sigel admits that his art has taken on a life of its own and is more than what he could have ever expected. He not only successfully paints and sells his originals, but he also photographs and creates high quality fine art digital prints of those. “I love to demonstrate, share and engage the public.” Sigel continues, “I am wildly open about my process and am just having a good time.” To view or purchase Sigel’s artwork, visit him in person at Off The Tracks Gallery or online at DavidSigelART.com


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EXTRA

Heather’s Health Tips

Ways to Beat the Cardio Boredom BY HEATHER DYKSTRA

car•di•o /kärdēō/ noun informal noun: cardio cardiovascular exercise; any type of exercise that causes the heart to beat faster and harder for a period of time

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here it is right in front of you. The dreaded treadmill. It makes 5 minutes of work feel like 5 hours. Honestly, any workout can feel like a chore if you don’t mix it up and have a little fun with it. So, how do we beat the boredom? We change it up completely! I’m going to give you a few ideas to get you ready for a fun cardio challenge. 1. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is my favorite way to do cardio. Why? Because it’s short and fast. You can do anything for a short period of time to push yourself and then do an active rest. An active rest means you are still moving but doing an exercise that your heart rate can drop down enough so you can catch your breath again for the next round. Tabata intervals are great. Try 20

seconds of jumping jacks followed by 10 seconds of marching in place (active rest). Repeat 8 rounds = 4 minutes = 1 Tabata. Try to do 4 full Tabatas, which equals 16 min. When you’re ready, add on more Tabatas and mix in other exercises for work and active rest. 2. Try other cardio machines. If you are an everyday elliptical person, mix it up. Not only will your body benefit from moving in different planes, but it will also keep your mind busy. Try 5 minutes of each: Treadmill, Elliptical, Bike, Rower, Stepmill. 3. Take a class. Whether it’s in person or online, having someone to instruct your every move will keep you motivated. Take something out of your comfort zone. You might be surprised at what you can do. 4. Take it outside. If you are already a runner, this one isn’t for you. This is for those that wouldn’t normally do it. Start slow with a jog/ walk combo and try to increase your jog times and decrease your walk times as you progress.

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EXTRA

Emily Walker Senior of the Month BY ABBY ALMON

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mily Walker is someone always willing and happy to help around her community; she spends her afternoons and weekends giving back to others as often as she possibly can. Aside from excelling in the classroom, being a part of multiple extracurricular, and participating in a varsity sport, Emily still finds the time to serve her community. Emily is a hard worker and that is seen through her academics. The National Honors Society member has earned a 5.5 GPA while having not only classes at Plant City High School but also while attending dual enrollment college classes. Emily excels in the classroom and on the girls’ varsity golf team as well. Emily came in 1st place at the Golf

Western All Conference this season. This student’s hard working attitude has led her to do everything she can for people, displaying compassion through service in groups such as the Girls Interact Service Club and the Ronald McDonald Club. Emily is also a member of the Senior Executive Council and secretary of the BOLD Club. Emily has spent many years participating in the annual Relay for Life fundraiser for cancer research and she volunteers time at the Florida Baptist Children’s Home, too. it is clear to see why such a compassionate and loving young lady was chosen to be the senior of the month.

FAVORITES: Artist: James Arthur Sports Team: FSU Hobbies: Playing gold and hanging out with her friends Quote: ‘Everything happened for a reason.’

About the Writer: Plant City High School senior Abigayle Almon, 17, is passionate about writing. She has contributed Senior of the Month articles to Focus Magazine for two years. The varsity swimmer also enjoys participating in FFA and showed her third steer at the 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival. This multi-talented young woman has decided to turn her hobby and love of art into a career. Headed to the University of Central Florida this fall, she plans to major in Visual Art and minor in Business. One day, Abby would like to own her own art gallery. PAGE

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EXTRA

Joseph Zaino

Senior of the Month BY GRESHAM STEPHENS

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f you are looking for someone with character and commitment, look no further than Plant City High School’s Senior of the Month, Joseph Zaino. Through his work in both school and community, Joseph is a student always working hard and looking out for others. Joseph stays busy through many activities. He is a member of the Archery Club, Youth Alive, the Key Club, and the National Honor Society. He takes AP classes and dual enrollment courses at Hillsborough Community College. He will graduate this year with a 6.53 GPA to be ranked number 14 in his class. Joseph will attend the University of South Florida in the fall and will be awarded the USF Scholars Award. Joseph is also very involved with his church. He leads the puppet ministry, which performs puppet plays for various community events. He is also the primary author for plays the team performs. He schedules the group’s practices to make sure they are ready for

their next event. Aside from his participation with his church, he has also spent time serving at the United Food Bank of Plant City and trick or treating for UNICEF. Joseph has dedicated his time and his talent to his school, his community and his church. His hard work, dedication, and kindness make it clear to see why Joseph was selected to be the Senior of the Month. FAVORITES:

Subject: History Artist: Weird Al Yankovic Restaurant: Cheesecake Factory Food: Chocolate Cake Movie: The Muppets (2012) and Cap-

tain America: Civil War TV Show: Justice League Hobbies: Watching TV, Hanging out with Friends, Video Games, Reading, and Writing Quote: “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”-Walt Disney Place to hang out in Plant City: My friend Jake’s house

About the Writer: Plant City High School senior Gresham Stephens, 17, has contributed Senior of the Month articles to Focus for four years. The seven-year leader in the National FFA Organization serves currently as Plant City Sr. FFA Chapter president and Hillsborough County Federation FFA chapter vice-president. His busy life includes AP classes, Hillsborough Community College dual enrollment, church youth group involvement, and community service. Gresham plans to attend Mississippi State University, where he will double major in Animal and Dairy Sciences and AgBusiness. PAGE

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DINING

Railcar 91

at Keel & Curley Winery BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

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ost locals have enjoyed the great venue Keel & Curley Winery provides for large group gatherings. Along with its award-winning wines and its popular Two Henrys Brewery craft beers and ciders, it should come as no surprise that its Railcar 91 food would wow diners, too. With a nod to a famous tracktraveling home on iron wheels and its owner Henry Flagler, the Keel family has themed its menu with railroad references. Flagler is one of the two rail magnates after which the Keel family named their brewery, the other being Henry Plant. The wide variety of fresh and beautifully presented pub food is what brings customers back again and again. The Keels feel fortunate to have hired Chef Kenny Clevenger after his 35-year career with the iconic Colonnade Restaurant on Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard ended when it was demolished last year. “We’re very happy to have Kenny. With his experience in preparing food folks love and for groups of any size,” said Joe Keel, “Railcar 91 is in

capable hands.” The menu’s First Stop lists starters such as Beer Cheese Dip, Fried Pickles, Mozarella Sticks, Bruschetta, Fried Green Tomatoes, Onion Rings, Housemade Chips & Guacamole, and Hummus & Pita Points. All are perfect for a light snack with your favorite Keel & Curley wine, beer or cider. The Cold Car items include salads, (Caprese or Caesar) and a Charcuterie meat and cheese platter sized for two or four, offers salami, coppa, prosciutto and soppressata, along with manchego, fontina, and reggiano parmesan cheeses. Olives and honey enhance the savory array. Off the Tracks itemizes the excellent sandwiches, tacos, and wings Railcar 91 offers. The grilledto-order half-pound Plant Burger and Flagler Burger are a flavorful blend of ground chuck and short rib. In addition to Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and red onion served on each, the Flagler also has bacon and avocado. The Port Tampa Portobello Burger is the “steak of veggie burgers” with provolone

The three tasty Pigeon Key Fish Tacos and Key West Shrimp Tacos on exceptionally fresh soft tortilla shells are also favorites for regulars. The platter includes shredded cabbage, avocado slices, house-made tartar sauce and tortilla chips with tomato salsa. PAGE

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The grilled-to-order half-pound Plant Burger and Flagler Burger are a flavorful blend of ground chuck and short rib. In addition to Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle and red onion served on each, the Flagler also has bacon and avocado.

cheese and traditional burger trimmings. The tasty Pigeon Key Fish Tacos and Key West Shrimp Tacos on exceptionally fresh soft tortilla shells are also favorites for regulars. Each platter of three tacos includes shredded cabbage, avocado slices, a house-made tartar sauce and tortilla chips with tomato salsa. Other selections include Steam Engine #9 Wings (boneless or traditional), Overseas Railway Fish ‘n Chips, Red Caboose Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Broken Rail Beer Brat, Coal Car Philly Cheese Steak, and Steamship Meatball Sub. French fry enthusiasts will love the crispy, crunchy, perfectly seasoned potatoes served with the sandwiches. he menu’s Last Stop desserts features Coast-to-Coast Cheesecake with blueberry drizzle, Key West Key Lime Pie, and Three Times a Charm chocolate lava cake, served a la mode with a chocolate/caramel sauce. Except for the Charcuterie platters for two or four, most food

items range from $5.99 to $11.99. In addition to friendly and efficient servers, the Winery’s firstclass tasting room boasts plenty of comfortable space, two bars and more than amply stocked shelves of its wonderful wine, beer, and hard cider for purchasing and sharing. Some, and especially those with children, might prefer outdoor dining on the huge covered deck. A play area for the kids on the landscaped, grape-vined grounds enhances the family fun. The staff offers tastings, tours, and special event planning services as well. Live music entertains diners on many Friday and Saturday nights outdoors on a raised stage and there’s plenty of room for dancing. The conveniently located, affordable, and relaxing Railcar 91 is destined for recognition as even more Central Florida guests rave about their experience here. The locals already do. The good news is that there’s always plenty for everyone.

Railcar 91 at Keel & Curley Winery

5210 Thonotosassa Road Plant City, FL 33565 813-752-9100 keelandcurleywinery.com Hours: M-F 12 Noon – 8PM Saturday 11AM – 10PM Sunday 11AM – 6PM


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DINING

BBQ Sides

Loaded Smashed Cauliflower RECIPE BY LAYLA KEELER DRAWDY

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his quick and easy dish tastes just like a loaded baked potato without all the carbs. Your family or guests will love it.

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ts ingrediern cut into

Powder • 1/2 Tsp Onion we flo wder uli Po Ca ic of • 1 head • 1/2 Tsp Garl lt s Sa ret flo • Kosher d Sharp Cheddar • 3/4 cup shredde • Pepper eam ed Bacon • 1/2 cup Sour Cr • Crumbled Cook Chives y dr or sh fre p cu al) • 1/4 (Option tter • 1/2 stick real Bu

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can’t miss

events 10TH ANNUAL BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL April 14 – Friday & April 15 – Saturday AND April 21 – Friday & April 22 – Saturday

8 AM - 6 PM U-Pick Blueberries 8AM – 4PM for $5 cash ($5.25 credit/debit). $10 Parking (Free Handicap Parking) Keel & Curley Winery 5210 Thonotosassa Rd., Plant City keelandcurleywinery.com twohenrysbrewing.com Info: 813-752-9100 Free admission to event that features 100+ food/craft vendors & Kids Area

28TH ANNUAL CITY-WIDE EASTER EGG HUNT April 15 - Saturday

10AM Otis Andrews Sports Complex Four children’s egg hunt areas for ages 3-11. Bring your own basket. Free hotdog & drink for every child. A magic show will precede the free egg hunt. After the hunt, “bunny dollars” for puchase onsite provide access to such fun as inflatable spacewalks, photos with the Easter Bunny, airbrushing, and trackless trains.

CENTRAL FLORIDA FARM TOUR April 22 - Saturday

8 AM – 1 PM This self-guided driving tour features some of the most extraordinary farms located throughout eastern Polk County, FL. Those participating will open their “barn doors” to the public. Enjoy the day exploring a few or all farms to learn about the area’s rich agricultural tradition. Bring your cooler and pick your own fruit/vegetables or buy plants from several farm nurseries. You’ll encounter cattle, horses, pigs, chickens, rabbits, donkeys, ponies, goats, honey bees, fish and even a water buffalo on the tour. http://centralfloridafarmtour.com Info: David Kiesslin; e-mail david@centralfloridamediagroup.com Admission: $20 per vehicle PAGE

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APRIL 14 FRIDAY- 16 SUNDAY • Beltania Festival 14th at 6PM thru 16th at 12AM All World Acres 4715 Bruton Rd. Tickets available at healingtoday.com

15 SATURDAY • Easter Egg Hunt Sponsored by Plant City Churches & Businesses 11:30 AM Plant City Stadium 1810 E. Park Rd. Free family event includes giveaways, live music by rap artist Mynista, and concert by 7th Surrender. Children’s egg hunt groups vary from 2-12. Bring a basket to join the fun. • Easter Egg Hunt 2pm- 5pm A Land of Delight Natural Farm & Co-op 2514 Leaning Pine Ln. Family fun; photo ops w/baby chicks, goats, bunnies, cows, and more? Children’s Easter Egg Hunt (ages 3-12) includes gifts / prizes Shop also at the Organic Farmers Market • 20th Anniversary Strawberry Classic Cruise-In 4pm- 8pm Union Station Depot 102 N. Palmer St. Info: 813-754-3707 Free event

17 MONDAY - 22 SATURDAY • Old-Fashioned Tent Revival 7:30 PM nightly Located south of Walmart at 2916 James L. Redman Pkwy. Info: 813-754-3843; FGTPlantCity.com

21 FRIDAY • Relay for Life 6PM Friday overnight to 10AM Saturday Plant City High School 1 Raider Place Facebook & www.relayforlife.org/plantcityfl

22 SATURDAY • The Wine Party by ODK 6 – 9 PM Free Wine, Free Glass, Raffles/Prizes Our Dream Kitchen 1513 S. McDonald St., Plant City RSVP Chris Perry: 813-810-0786

27 THURSDAY • Integrity Business Referrals Luncheon 11:30 am-1:00 pm Meeting to form the Plant City chapter Christian marketplace ministry for men & women Buddy Freddy’s Restaurant 1101 Goldfinch Dr., Plant City Info: Norm Blanton 813-326-0749 or Lew Frye at 863-521-3360

28 FRIDAY • The Elegance of Pearls & Lace GFWC Plant City Fashion Show 11AM – 1PM First Baptist Church of PC 503 N. Palmer St. $25 Advanced Tickets only Reserve w-Judy, 813-754-3777 • Annual Children’s Classic Golf Tournament Sponsored by Kiwanis, SFBH and PC Chamber of Commerce 11AM – 12:30 PM Registration, Lunch & Practice 12:30 PM - Shotgun start 5:30 PM – Dinner, Prizes, Live Music Diamond Hill Golf Club 13115 Sydney Rd. Info: Samantha Bryant 813-754-3707 • Plant City Main Street Food Truck Rally “Going Green” Party 5 – 9 PM Includes Earth Day and Arbor Day events tied in with the library, recognition of a local project that represents these days, food trucks, and art in the park. Union Station Train Depot 102 N. Palmer St. Info: Karen Collins 813-659-4209 www.facebok.com/PlantCityFoodTruckFestival

28 FRIDAY & 29 SATURDAY • Fancy Flea Vintage Home/Garden Market Discover shabby chic, farmhouse finds, artisan jewelry, repurposed decor, fabulous furniture, vintage fashions, primitives, mid-century, cottage glam, salvage, antiques, & garden decor. Strawberry Festival Grounds 2866 Reynolds St. W., Plant City http://www.fancyflea.net Info: 863-712-3278 $5 Admission; Free Parking

29 SATURDAY • Peach Festival at Keel & Curley Winery 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 5210 Thonotosassa Road. keelandcurleywinery.com www.facebook.com/KCWinery/. Free admission Parking $5 with 8-10AM entry Parking $10 after 10AM Handicap Parking is free • Healthy Kids Day @ YMCA 10 AM – 1 PM Free Healthy Kids Day® events hosted at 9 Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA locations. The Y teaches healthy habits, encourages physical and mental play, and inspires a lifetime love of exercise. Plant City Family YMCA 1507 YMCA Place Info: 813-757-6677 or Lalita Llerena 813-2249622, ext. 1240


• 25th Anniversary & Grand Re-Opening Pregnancy Care Center 2 - 4 PM Celebrating 25 years of “Saving Lives” and Grand Reopening of the Pregnancy Care Center’s newly renovated center. Everyone is welcome for tours and light refreshments. Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City 304 N. Collins St. http://www.supportplantcitypregnancycenter.org Info: Darlene Davis, 813-759-0886 • 45th Annual Strawberry Ball Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds (Expo Building) Info: Paul Davis - (813) 752-9194

MAY 4 - THURSDAY • National Day of Prayer Noon – 1PM All are welcome to Plant City’s City Hall auditorium to pray: “For Your Name’s Sake: Hear Us…Forgive Us… Heal Us” Daniel 9:19 --”O Lord, Listen! O Lord, Forgive! O Lord Hear and Act! For Your Name Sake, O My God.” 302 W. Reynolds Street Info: Norm Blanton, 813-326-0749

6 SATURDAY • Plant City Bike Fest 5 - 9 PM Now in its 15th year in beautiful downtown Plant City, the free event features bike show & competition, live music, food & crafting vendors, restaurants and shops. Bike show registration: 5 – 7PM in categories of Custom, Metric, Harley, Vintage (pre ’90), Anything Goes, Trike, Stock and Bagger. $10 entry per class with 1st and 2nd place are awarded. All paid entries compete in the Best of Show and People’s Choice Trophies! Union Station Depot 102 N. Palmer St., Plant City http://www.plantcity.org/major-events Info: 813-754-3707

11 THURSDAY • Reverse Raffle - Kentucky Derby Style 6 – 9 PM 1916 Irish Pub 2309 Thonotosassa Rd. Plant City, FL 33563 Info: Samantha Bryant, 813-754-3707 $50 tickets with only 100 sold Includes 2 Drinks & Heavy Hors d’oeuvres

14 SUNDAY • Happy Mother’s Day! Let’s honor them in America’s most widely celebrated holiday.

ONGOING 1914 Plant City High School Community Center, 605 N. Collins St. Hosts several ongoing opportunities: • 1) Quintilla Geer Bruton Archives Center History/Genealogy library & archives research facility) Tues. 10AM-6PM; Wed.-Sat. 1-5PM Evenings by appointment • 2) East Hillsborough Historical Society Classroom Gallery Art display by East Hillsborough Art Guild members Thursday - Saturday, 1-5PM Evenings by appointment • 3) Pioneer Museums Tour schedule: call 813-757-9226 E-mail: qcenter@tampabay.rr.com

MONDAYS WEEKLY • Plant City Daybreak Rotary Club 7 AM South Florida Baptist Hospital Community Rm. Info: George Banning, 813-759-1638

1ST & 3RD MONDAYS MONTHLY • Improvement League of Plant City 7 PM Historic Glover School Conference Room 5104 Horton Rd. Info: William Thomas, 813-757-6760

2ND & 4TH MONDAYS MONTHLY • Plant City Commission Meeting 7:30 PM City Hall, 302 W. Reynolds St. City Clerk: 813-659-4237 (December: 2nd Monday only)

2ND MONDAY MONTHLY • Plant City Garden Club 10 AM (Sept. thru May) info: Christy Linke; 732-322-8392

3RD MONDAY MONTHLY • Family Community Advisory Council (FCAC) 5 - 6:30 PM The Children’s Board Family Resource Center at East County invites residents to its Family Community Advisory Council (FCAC) monthly meetings to discuss ideas and bring to management’s attention services or programs needed or wanted. Children will enjoy the FCAC Playgroup care, crafts, & activities while the adults meet. 639 E. Alexander St., Plant City Info: Ladislao Sanchez 813.752.8700

1ST TUESDAYS MONTHLY

2ND THURSDAYS MONTHLY

• Economic Development Corp. Meeting 2 PM @PC Chamber unless announced 106 N. Evers St. Info: Jake Austin, 863-712-0655

GFWC Junior Woman’s Club of Plant City 7 PM @1110 N. Wheeler St. Info: Lisa Rhodes, 813-376-8294

1ST TUESDAYS MONTHLY (SEPT-MAY)

• BBQ Dinners & Sandwiches Cooked by St. Mary’s Community Church Available for pick-up or delivery Next dates: 4-21; 5-5; 5-19 907 E. Laura St., Plant City 813-754-1616; plantcitychurch@gmail.com www.plantcitychurch.com

• Arts Council of Plant City 7 PM Chamber of Commerce Public Room 106 N. Evers St. Info: Dodie White, 813-752-5156

EVERY OTHER FRIDAY

FRIDAYS WEEKLY

• GFWC Woman’s Club of Plant City 10:30 AM @1110 N. Wheeler St. Info: Nancy Miller, 813-754-2544

• Top 40 Country Fried Fridays| 9PM – 2AM Uncle Mike’s Smokehouse Grill 106 E. SR 60 813-737-4444

2ND & 4TH TUESDAYS MONTHLY

FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS WEEKLY

• American Legion– Norman McLeod Post#26 6 PM @2207 W. Baker St. 813-752-8608 Info: Nancy Miller, 813-754-2544

• Music in The Loft @Krazy Kup Fridays 6:33-8:33 PM; Saturdays 8:33-10:33PM 101 East J. Arden Mays Blvd. 813-752-1220; Facebook

2ND TUESDAYS MONTHLY

TUESDAYS WEEKLY • Plant City Lions Club 12 Noon @BuddyFreddy’s Restaurant 1101 Goldfinch Drive Info: Tony Lee, 813-752-7202 • Recovery for Life 6:30 - 8PM 12-step Bible-based program to help w/addictions Lorena Jaeb Rainbow House 504 N. Palm Dr., Plant City Info: Debbie Ray 813-763-1562

WEDNESDAYS WEEKLY • Walking Club 7:30AM for 45-minute walk Meet @Bruton Library Info: Susan Miles 813-757-9215 • Plant City Kiwanis Club 12 Noon Info: David Wolf 813-717-9300

THURSDAYS WEEKLY

• Live Music @O’Brien’s Irish Pub Fridays 530-8:30 Acoustic; Saturdays 9PM ‘til close 1701 S. Alexander St. 813-764-8818

1ST SATURDAYS MONTHLY • Free, Beginner-Friendly Workout at CrossFit Plant City 9 – 10 AM Kids 10+ accompanied by parents are welcome, too. CrossFit Plant City 1402B Mercantile Ct. Newcomers, please arrive 10 minutes early to complete waiver and chat. RSVP via text to 813-230-7126

3RD SATURDAYS MONTHLY • Strawberry Classic Car Show 4-8 PM 102 N. Palmer St., Historic Downtown Plant City Info: 814-754-3707 or peggy@plantcity.org www.plantcity.org

• Toastmasters (Chapter 4051) 7:30 - 9L00 AM PC Chamber Community Room 106 N. Evers St. Info: April Lubrano 813-545-1607 • Hillsborough County Entrepreneur Services 9AM - 4PM @PC Chamber, 106 N. Evers St. Dottie @813-204-9267 re: consultation

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THE EASTER BUNNY Created by Calvin R. and Jackie Mathews THE EASTER BUNNY by Calvin R. & Jackie Mathews

COME JOIN THE FOCUS COMMUNITY

“LIKE” US ON FACEBOOK FACEBOOK.COM/ THEFOCUSMAGAZINE

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S O O A S T H S

D R O O L

A M O F

A N D E R A I S A M E S B E T P S A R A E V E N C E D A M A

G T O A R P E

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A P P B A A L L M E E R A B K E S I D O N E R B T O S E N E T

L U N G E N O A T I N G I E G N I A N G G E

R A V E D A N I T A C H O C O L O S E N I S R T E P E A S F O R A L M A G P A L L I E S A N T L E N A E I N R A N D T H E B A R Y D U R S A O A K F S P I R S T O

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FOCUS Plant City 16-04  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 16-04 April 2017

FOCUS Plant City 16-04  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 16-04 April 2017

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