FOCUS Plant City 16-10

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Contents Table of

focusplantcity.com / Issue 16-10 / October 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

31 PAGE

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14 31 35 48 86

LOCAL It’s Fall, Ya’ll, and a busy season for sure. Our coverage this month includes the Diamonds & Denim Gala, Hillsborough County Fair’s Harvest Queen, Plant City High School Calendar Girls, and the Mystery Dinner Theater, among others.

SPOTLIGHT

Meet the board members of our wonderful Plant City Chamber of Commerce, learn a little more about how this organization serves the business community, and make your plans now to attend Pig Jam for some scrumptious BBQ.

FEATURE

It’s always such fun to showcase the brave folks who set aside their inhibitions and practice up to Dance with the Locals for a great cause. This annual Rotary fundraiser is one of Plant City’s most exciting event s of the year. Enjoy meeting the contestants.

BUSINESS FOCUS

We’re highlighting three businesses this month: Aspire Hearing and Balance, Specialist Doctors’ Group, and Wishing Well Barn, proving again the Plant City roots run deep and grow strong service-minded companies.

DINING

Plant City has a great new seafood and steakhouse with the opening of Crossroads. Upscale, yet affordable. In addition to our review, visit Facebook to see more photos and make plans to visit soon.


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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 | 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 Heather Davis

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.

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re you ready for some Fall festivals, Halloween scares, or a trip to see the leaves change? It’s that time of year! And an especially busy season for activities here in Plant City, too. Kids are looking forward to trick-or-treating in neighborhoods, trunk-ortreating at area churches, and winning cool prizes at their school carnivals while the teens can’t get enough of Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail. The grownups are excited for Pioneer Days, Empty Bowls, Dancing with the Locals and the Suncoast Credit Union Pig Jam BBQ Extravaganza. One thing about our town is true: There’s always something fun to do. Among the organizations we should thank for keeping the entertainment and business ball rolling is our very effective Plant City Chamber of Commerce, which now boasts 600 members. With more than 33 committees meeting regularly at its downtown offices and the relocation of our community’s Visitors Center to the same building, the Chamber is a beehive of activity during the week. Since October is the annual membership drive month, we’re pleased to introduce the new staff and Board of Directors and encourage you: Now is the perfect time for your business or charitable cause effort to join. With so many happenings this month, and all with great purposes, we’d like to express our thanks to the many, many locals who make time to serve others by volunteering. When you’re out and about at one or all of the exciting activities listed in our calendar this month, we hope you’ll do the same. Expressing appreciation always makes someone’s day!

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. 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

Plant City Church of God celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a Gala on October 14 and a special service on Sunday, October 15. The church began with Sunday School classes at the Robinson’s Boarding House, then moved through the years from a brush arbor, subsequently changing names from The Oaks to Forest Park Church of God and then Plant City Church of God. In 2003, PCCOG moved from Lemon Street (which now houses Florida Strawberry Festival administrative offices) to 2103 Mud Lake Road. Those interested may purchase the newly published 36-page history booklet at the church office.

Gil Gott celebrated his 76th birthday with community friends and family at a “drop-in” celebration at the Plant City Photo Archives and History Museum, for which he serves as Executive Director.

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Plant City High School Raiders Football Team 2017-2018 This photo arrived too late for last month’s PCHS Football story, but it’s too good not to share. Go Raiders!


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LOCAL

21st Annual Diamonds & Denim Gala

Raises over $100,000 for South Florida Baptist Hospital BY SHERRIE MUELLER

The 2017 Diamonds and Denim Committee gathered for a group photo to treasure their time working together for the successful event. Seated: Carmen Brownlee, Lisa Gullinese, Jana Butler, Debi Peacock, Kim McElveen, Bruce Rodwell, Margaret Rodwell Glenda Raulerson, Sylvia Knox. Standing: Rhett Rollyson, Phil Waldron, Faye Wetherington, Frank Cummings, Marsha Passmore, Lori Yarbrough, Cindy Morselli, Gail Lyons, Tina Sikes, Sherrie Mueller Not pictured: Jean Ann Davenport, David Galloway, Lisa Galloway

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ore than 600 tickets were sold to the 21st Annual Diamonds & Denim gala sponsored by the South Florida Baptist Hospital Foundation. Guests wearing casual attire with a western flare enjoyed an evening of food and fun. The event featured attractive food stations with a variety of delicacies ranging from prime rib to seafood favorites. The dessert station included the popular coke and root beer floats. A beautiful ice sculpture graced the table with the crowd-pleasing mounds of boiled shrimp. The delicious food was created by Executive Chef Michael Ambrosino and his 911 Catering staff. Reverend Gary Shepherd, Chaplain of South Florida Baptist Hospital, offered the invocation and Rhett Rollyson, Foundation Board member served as the evening’s

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emcee. Karen Kerr, South Florida Baptist Hospital President, thanked the large crowd for their support of the hospital. Guests enjoyed browsing and bidding in the silent auction with 120 items donated by local businesses and individuals from the Plant City community. Many contributed for a chance to win a gorgeous Diamond Ring donated by J & G Jewelers. Kathy Meyer of Plant City was the lucky recipient. From the 50/50 raffle tickets sold during the event the hospital received $1800, as did the mother/daughter duo of Stephanie and Shalee Conrad. Disc jockey Wayne Jackson entertained the crowd and auctioneer Andy Adcock directed the live auction, offering nine items that included vacation venues, entertainment packages and patio furniture, all donated by locals who

take delight in supporting our local hospital. Executive Director of the South Florida Baptist Hospital Foundation, Jana Butler, was very pleased with the evening. “Diamonds & Denim

2017 was a real success,” she offered. “Thank you to the sponsors and guests for assisting us in raising over $100,000. The proceeds this year will assist South Florida Baptist Hospital in purchasing needed medical equipment and funding patient satisfaction grants as well as nursing scholarships.” She added, “An additional heartfelt thank you goes to our 20-person committee who worked tirelessly to host this important event!” Members included ChairKim McElveen; Vice Chairs- Marsha Passmore and Debi Peacock; and Carmen Brownlee, Frank Cummings, Jean Ann Davenport, David Galloway, Lisa Galloway, Silvia Knox, Gail Lyons, Cindy Morselli, Sherrie Mueller, Glenda Raulerson, Bruce Rodwell, Margaret Rodwell, Rhett Rollyson, Tina Sikes, Phil Waldron, Faye Wetherington and Lori Yarbrough. All in attendance seemed to enjoy the fun-filled evening spent with friends and family at the Florida Strawberry Festival’s Charlie Grimes Family Agricultural Center. For information on future events hosted by the South Florida Baptist Hospital Foundation, call Jana Butler, 813757-1277. Look ahead as well to September of 2018 for the 22nd Annual Diamonds and Denim gala, which always proves to be a fun fall opportunity to benefit a great cause – the health of our local community.

The Florida Strawberry Festival was well represented at the 2017 Diamonds and Denim. This group knows how to have fun! Seated: Mary Clark, Sandee Sytsma and Elany Johnson. Standing: Pam and Dan Walden, Phil Waldron, Sheryl and Paul Davis.


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LOCAL

A Lineman’s Pencil Has No Eraser BY ANTHONY BOLESTA

“For those pursuing this career, even though there are schools for the job, they don’t guarantee you a job—and a lot of the job is handson knowledge you will learn in the field.”

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here is a saying in the electric company world: “A lineman’s pencil has no eraser.” It has a simple meaning: You have to be confident in yourself as a lineman. The margin of error for the work that TECO, Duke energy, and other electric companies perform has a small, nearly non-existent margin for error. It’s dangerous work. A mistake could result in a simple power outage all the way to someone perishing due to a lethal amount of electricity. Many have called for Linemen to be added to the ranks of First Responders, such as members of Law Enforcement

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or the Fire Department, and it really isn’t hard to see why. Much like those first responders, linemen are called out at all hours and are expected to get the city’s functions back to its full power as soon as possible. The work of linemen is just as physically demanding as it is knowledge-based. These professionals must be able to climb to dangerous heights with live wires. They are even trained and tested yearly to ensure they can assist, and hopefully save, any and all fellow workers who have made contact with an electrified object. William Drawdy, a 3.1 (3-year)

apprentice who works at TECO, explained. “This is a job you should expect to bust your butt in and do hard work.” But he also said the job is absolutely immersed in camaraderie, and that “some of the workers will see and know one another more often and well than some of their own family members.” Drawdy also added, “For those pursuing this career, even though there are schools for the job, they don’t guarantee you a job—and a lot of the job is hands-on knowledge you will learn in the field.” Drawdy is particularly pleased with his apprenticeship with TECO and the fact he has roughly 18 months

remaining before he is a journeyman. He spoke also about how linemen work all over the place, and how he can be assigned to work anywhere from “Davis Island to Winter Haven to Plant City,” saying “the range a lineman can cover is vast.” It’s clear that Drawdy is very proud of his job and the type of man the job helps one to be. Something he clearly appreciates is that “this work instills confidence, and makes you a hardened guy.” The profession of lineman is an under-appreciated one, and it’s easy to forget how often they are needed. Most recently, Hurricane Irma reminded and humbled us all when it took days and for some, even weeks, for their power to be restored. With Puerto Rico being without power for an estimated six months, that reality truly puts what linemen do in perspective. Whether it’s routine maintenance, or postdisaster relief work, Linemen from TECO, Duke, and all the others power companies, stand ready to answer the call.


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LOCAL

Turkey Creek High School Reunion BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

Houck. She must have copies only of photos or awards because the group cannot assume responsibility for loss of originals. To donate your TCHS memorabilia to the TCHS Archives, please contact Willeva or Ludo Van Den Bogaert at 813-986-5965. Until then, enjoy these comments from other Turkey Creek High School graduates. “Reconnecting with classmates is the best. Just seeing them brings so many memories to mind. The food is great, but the fellowship is better.” Wilda Porter Bowdoin, Class of ‘57 “It is a great way to stay in touch with your friends and relive those memories from the ‘good ole days’ at Turkey Creek.” Peggy Nagles Damron, Class of ‘63 “Getting to visit with all of the great folks from the classes of 1947 – 1972 is the best!” Ronald Sewell, Class of ‘59 “True friends are the ones who

still love you even though they know your downfalls. We all have them. I can number them on my hand [and TCHS is part of those friendships].” Rudy Alorda, Class of ‘64 “It’s fun to see childhood friends and make new ones who attended TCHS. Carlton Langford, Class of ‘57 “Going to Turkey Creek reunion is like going to a family reunion. We are all like family and we love it. Proud to be a Gobbler then and now!” Ruby Wright Christie, Class of ‘65 “Our school was small and everyone felt like family; often they possible were. We all associated with everyone, no matter their grade. This Get-Together is an opportunity for everyone who attended to gather, whether they graduated or not --“One a Gobbler, always a Gobbler!” We also have interesting displays of memorabilia for everyone to enjoy. Come join us! Pat Gibson Ballard, Class of ‘66

Sharon Driggers Lewis (’67), Hershel Lewis (’65) and Sharon Lott Tyson (’65)

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he annual Turkey Creek High School Alumni Get-Together was a noon-day happening on Saturday, August 25, 2017 at the Florida Strawberry Festival Expo Hall. More than 350 former Gobblers enjoyed great fellowship and a catered lunch by Johnson Barbeque. Ray Cliburn offered the invocation and the Durant High School ROTC opened the gathering with the presentation of the colors. Guests enjoyed perusing the displays created to honor Veterans, former custodians, lunchroom workers, bus drivers, teachers and principals, among others. “Everybody had a blast just talking to everybody,” shared planning committee member Pat Ballard, Class of ‘66. “The displays triggered our memories and the door prizes were a special treat, too.” Margie McCoy Singleton, Class of ‘39 graduate, came from

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Auburndale and eight others attended who had graduated from between 1940-1949. “We all look forward to the yearbook being compiled by a photographer from Bushnell who came to take photos that day,” said Ballard. “They will be available soon for $25 each. Folks can call me at 813-659-1240. Other 2017 planning committee members included: Pat Gibson Ballard (’66) Willeva Van Den Bogaert (’67) Sharon Driggers Lewis (’67) Joyce Crosby Ates (’58) Kathy Jo Driggers (’70) Ginger Houck (Leo’s wife; ’58) Ballard encourages everyone to save the date for next year’s GetTogether on Saturday, September 22, 2018, again at the Expo Hall. In preparation, to have yourself or a TCHS Alumni family member included in next year’s Veterans display, please contact Ginger Hall

Elaine Cooper Hall (’65) and Glenda Cooper Roberts (’62)


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LOCAL

PCHS Calendar Girl Winners

Miss December: Lillian Oliver, Senior, daughter of Melissa and Jason Oliver. Proceeds from the competition are used to enhance the athletic programs at Plant City High School,

which ultimately benefits hundreds of students. A big thank you goes to all the beautiful young ladies who participated in the 2018 Calendar Girl Competition.

Meet the 2018 Plant City High School Calendar Girls

BY SHERRIE MUELLER | PHOTOS BY JENNIFER HAMILTON

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uests in the Plant City High School auditorium enjoyed a parade of brains and beauty on Saturday, September 23, 2017 as 34 lovely young ladies competed for the coveted honor of being selected as a 2018 Calendar Girl. The event was sponsored by the PCHS Athletic Booster Club. Mr. Tommy Matthews, Booster President, welcomed the excited crowd. Ms. Sherrie Mueller served as Mistress of Ceremony for the evening. During the preliminary competition, contestants modeled an evening gown of their choice as dialogue of their school and community involvement was read. The 20 girls selected as semifinalists included: Shelby Farmer, Brenda Dixon, Tyana Sykes, Lillian Oliver, Rachel Stevens, Abigail Shane, Regan Tears, Dallas Bakier, Charlotte Yang, Sydney Barnes, Madilyn Conrad, Natalee Gillespie, Kennedy Cullins, Regan Brown, Anna Futch, Samantha Palestrini, Kendall Gaudens, Mackenzie Steele, Luz Maria Contreras and Alyssa Johnson. Mr. Matthews announced that Luz Maria Contreras was the Top Ad Seller among the contestants and will receive a Mini Photo Shoot with photographer Jose Lozoya. Miss Contreras sold $1,200 in total ads. All previous scores were eliminated for the final portion of the competition. Then the lovely semifinalists introduced themselves and answered the question, “If you had to give a piece of advice to an incoming Plant City High School freshman, what would it be and

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why?” Once the judges’ scores were tabulated, the 2017 Calendar Girl Miss Jordin Vance, along with 2017 calendar girls Drew Knotts, Caroline Brummer and Caitlyn Wright, presented sashes to the winners as their names were called. The Plant City High School 2018 Calendar Girls include: Cover Girl: Kendall Gaudens, Junior, daughter of Henry and Melissa Gaudens. Miss January: Rachel Stevens, Junior, daughter of Michael and Jessica Stevens. Miss February: Charlotte Marie Yang, Junior, daughter of Joseph and Marie Yang. Miss March: Luz Maria Contreras, Senior, daughter of Maria and Antonion Contreras. Miss April: Regan Leigh Tears, Junior, daughter of Shawn and Michelle Tears. Miss May: Anna Grace Futch, Junior, daughter of Wayne and Denise Futch. Miss June: Abigail Shane, Junior, daughter of Brian and Jodie Shane. Miss July: Kennedy Grace Cullins, Junior, daughter of Erin Jackson and David Cullins. Miss August: Madilyn Claire Conrad, Junior, daughter of Jason and Stephanie Conrad. Miss September: Reagan Brown, Junior, daughter of Derrick and Angel Brown. Miss October: Brenda LeAnne Dixon, Senior, daughter of David and Debbie Dixon. Miss November: Dallas Nicole Baker, Junior, daughter of Waylon and Robyn Baker.

2018 PCHS COVER GIRL

KENDALL GAUDENS


LOCAL

MISS JANUARY

RACHEL STEVENS

MISS MAY

ANNA FUTCH

MISS SEPTEMBER

REAGAN BROWN

MISS FEBRUARY

CHARLOTTE YANG

MISS JUNE

ABIGAIL SHANE

MISS OCTOBER

BRENDA DIXON

MISS MARCH

LUZ MARIA CONTRERAS

MISS JULY

KENNEDY CULLINS

MISS NOVEMBER

DALLAS BAKER

MISS APRIL

REAGAN TEARS

MISS AUGUST

MADILYN CONRAD

MISS DECEMBER

LILLIAN OLIVER PAGE

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LOCAL

Harvest Queen 2017 BY ELIZABETH MICHAELS

Harvest Queen. The 2017 Junior Harvest Queen, Taryn Storter, 15, is a Plant City High School sophomore. She enjoys her involvement with FFA, for which she serves as Treasurer of the Plant City Sr. FFA and Secretary of Hillsborough County FFA. She also serves as Vice President of the Girls Interact Club and swims for the Raider Varsity Swim Team. She, too, is excited for the opportunities that await her this year. Olivia and Taryn are ready

to take on their year of reign with enthusiasm and grace. As ambassadors for the Hillsborough County Fair, they will attend many events, such as the County Commission meeting, the fair’s baby parade and children’s pageant, the various livestock shows, the rodeos, and much more. Congratulations to these lovely young queens as they begin a busy month and year ahead in service to the Hillsborough County Fair and our local agricultural community.

2017 Harvest Queen Olivia and Junior Harvest Queen Taryn with pageant coordinator, Kelli Messick.

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he 2017 Hillsborough County Fair Harvest Queen pageant was held on September 26, 2017. The beautiful event was emceed by the 2011 Harvest Queen, Morgan Boykin, and Kellie Collins. The panel of judges consisted of three extraordinary women, all who are active members of their communities. The pageant was amazing and was enjoyed by all who attended. Kelli Messick, event chair, directed the pageant with wonderful help from her peers on the pageant board: Jennifer Messick, Morgan Boykin, Krissie Dilley, Reagan Messick, Shelby St. Amant, and Whitney St. Amant. The group obtained sponsorships from throughout Hillsborough County, with many from Plant City businesses. The pageant consisted of several components. Prior to the official start, the senior division had a fiveminute interview with the judges. When the event commenced, the girls introduced themselves in

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pageant t-shirts. Next they modeled casual wear and responded to a question (for the junior division, a prepared answer and for the senior division, a fishbowl impromptu question). In both divisions, a “Most Photogenic” winner was selected: Emma Poole- junior winner; and Olivia Frazier- senior winner. In the junior division, Marissa Zolna was announced second runner up, Emma Poole as first runner up, and Taryn Storter as Junior Harvest Queen. In the senior division, Jacey Dixon was announced second runner up, Rachel Carter as first runner up, and Olivia Frazier was crowned as the 2017 Harvest Queen. Olivia Frazier, 16, is a very involved junior at Seffner Christian Academy as a member of the National Honor Society member, varsity cheerleading squad, and yearbook staff. She also competed with the varsity track and field and varsity softball teams. She looks forward to her responsibilities as

Olivia Frazier and Taryn Storter, the 2017 Harvest Queens, with emcees Kellie Collins and Morgan Boykin

The 2017 Harvest Queens, Olivia Frazier and Taryn Storter, at the October 4th County Commissioner’s Meeting


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LOCAL

Mystery Dinner Theater BY SHERRIE MUELLER | PHOTOS BY STARR ANDERSON

Mary Ott, played by Mary Heysek, is arrested for the murder of Director Cameron Stone. Detectives Joe Star and Detective Bob, played by Chris Brewington and George Domedion respectively, made the arrest.

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he Friends of the Bruton Memorial Library recently hosted an evening of food and drama for over 350 guests gathered at the Trinkle Center. A “Hollywood Cast” of local talent acted in the popular “Who did it” play entitled Suspect Hollywood by Nancy Bond. The ticketed event served boxes of popcorn accompanied with a choice of beer, soda and wine as pre-show appetizers. Gail Lyons, President of “Friends” welcomed the crowd and introduced Tonda Morris, Director of the Bruton Memorial Library. Both ladies thanked everyone for supporting the library and recognized the Library Board as well as the Officers of the Friends. Pastor Stephen Hartsfield,

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of the First United Methodist Church, gave the invocation. The theme of the show revolved around two directors, Dan Raulerson and David Davenport, interviewing potential “stars” for their new hit production, “The Peril of the Prodigal Son.” Vying for stardom was a hopeful cast comprised of Stephen Rossiter, Tom Thoeni, Bill McDaniel, Mary Heysek, Jodi Stevens and Kendelle Jimenez. Their factious resumes were read boasting a humorous list of socalled accomplishments and acting experience. Following Scene One a scrumptious plated dinner, catered by Simply Southern Gourmet, was served. Guests feasted as the cast circulated greeting and introducing

themselves with their new character names. Scene Two displayed the talents of the local actors as they rotated trying out for the various roles in the Prodigal Son. As they played their respective roles clues were dropped to let the audience aware that the competition for stardom was not on an even playing field. It came to light that Director Cameron Stone, played by Dan Raulerson was married to Mary Ott, played by Mary Heysek. It was also revealed that Director Stone’s daughter, Shannon Walton, played by Kendell Jimenez, also had a preferential advantage. Before the scene was over Director Stone, AKA Dan Raulerson, was murdered. Detective Bob, played by George Domedion and Security Officer Joe Star, play by Chris Brewington were quickly on the scene to gather information and remove the body. The guests were left puzzled as to who would want to eliminate the director and why. Guests enjoyed an array of desserts and coffee as they collectively by table tried to solve the murder mystery. Additional clues were available for purchase for $5.00 each by each cast member. Scene Three brought in Celebrity Hollywood Reporter Emily Topper

who character by character let the audience know why each actor had a motive but did not commit the crime until she got to Mary Ott, AKA Heysek. It was revealed that she had discovered that Director Stone planned to divorce her and she poisoned him to be in line to get his money. Friends President Gail Lyons, was especially pleased with the turnout for this year’s event. She lamented, “We had to turn people away who called for last minute tickets. We reached our reservation limit. I am so excited that so many people came to support the cast, The Friends and our library.” Dodie White, Show Director, enthusiastically praised her cast saying, “Each year we have a different cast and a different murder mystery. Each year is fabulous but I have never enjoyed working with a cast of characters any more than I did this group of business leaders. Thank you to our sponsors and to everyone who bought a ticket as all graciously supported our cause that directly benefits our Plant City gem, the Bruton Memorial Library.” Judging from the enthusiasm in the room the event will be one to put on the calendar now for the 2018 edition next August.

The cast of "Suspect Hollywood" included (left to right) Tom Thoeni, Emily Topper, Mary Heysek, George Domedion, Jodi Stevens, Bill McDaniel, Chris Brewington, Stephen Rossiter, David Davenport, and Dan Raulerson.


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STA AN TH ON Y BO LE IN TE RV IE W BY

Kimberly Hall

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orn on December 11, 1989 in Dover, Florida, Kimberly Hall moved at age seven with her family to Plant City. From that age until a few years back, she lived with her mother and became an active citizen of the city. Growing up, she was interested in dance, even taking part in ballet teams and majoring in the art when she enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. Kimberly enjoys reflecting on memories of the small businesses she grew up around. Some she frequents these days are long time veteran businesses like Strawberry Hut and Whistle Stop Café, but she also embraces the newer additions, like the ever-so-popular Krazy Kup.

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The mother of two “angels in heaven” (twins) has a daughter named Mila, who she calls her “rainbow baby.” Kimberly always makes time with Mila a priority and takes her on all kinds of mother and daughter adventures. In addition to new motherhood, she runs her own business as a Plexus Ambassador. The company focuses on the improvement of a person’s “gut health.” She loves this work because it allows her to “Connect with people, inform, and promote the lifestyle of being proactive and healthy.” Looking ahead, Kimberly is uncertain whether she’ll pursue more education in college or focus on her family and business. What she does know is that

she will “help others with their health while she continues to find herself.” Kimberly is a caregiver, both to her family and the community, and she wants to make her mark on the world as she strives to be the best version of herself. You have had a wide range of jobs, from working with theme parks as a teen/young adult to owning a business through Plexus. Which has been your favorite so far? “I think all the jobs I had in the past were fun, but outside of Plexus, I would have to say being a stay at home mom is the best of all.” Do you have hobbies? “I love to read, I really want to read Stephen King’s books, but I also really enjoy non-fiction. I also just recently took up Yoga and feel like it definitely helps out with my day to day life.”

What’s your favorite meal in Plant City? “I love the Cuban sandwiches at Strawberry Hut, and funny enough, their pineapple milkshake is my favorite thing to drink with it.” Name a few things about Plant City you really like. “Well, Krazy Kup is great, and I also really look forward to the Christmas events, like the Christmas parade.”

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


RIBBONCUTTINGS

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on Thursday, September 28th for the Yvonne Fry Campaign for Florida House District 58. Yvonne Fry is running for Florida House of Representatives District 58. Her endorsements include Attorney General Pam Bondi, Rep. Dan Raulerson, and the Plant City Commission. Focused on supporting small business, education and law enforcement, Yvonne Fry is a Conservative Republican. Her campaign is her third concurrent Chamber membership as she is also a member through her companies, Lines of Communication and Fryed Egg Productions.

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LOCAL

Did You Know?

Salute To Veterans” Exhibit At The Photo Archives & History Center Honors All Veterans BY PLANT CITY PHOTO ARCHIVES

O

n a cold morning in France, American troops welcomed the end of the “Great War”, the “war to end all wars”, as it was called then. It was the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, in the year 1918. It became known as Armistice Day. The end of what we later termed as World War I. For Plant City, the news settled in slowly. It was not until January 24, 1919, that the news of Norman McLeod’s death in one of the battles of the Marne, France, arrived home. He died July 18, 1918. He was 18 years old. It was reported that Norman McLeod was the only Plant City doughboy to be killed in action. In June 1919, the Plant City American Legion Post 26 was officially formed and was named the Norman McLeod Post. McLeod’s remains did not arrive back in Plant City until July 19, 1921, where, on Thursday, July 21, he was buried with an American Legion ceremony

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in Oaklawn Cemetery. In 1926, Congress officially declared Armistice Day as a day of observance in honor of the soldiers who served in the Great War. By 1938 the day of observance for Armistice Day was declared a national Holiday. Following the horrific World War II, and the brutal Korean War, Congress was petitioned by veterans’ organizations and replaced the word Armistice with the word Veterans, and November 11 officially became Veterans Day—a day to honor all military veterans, the dead and the living. In Plant City, it is celebrated with an exhibition at the Photo Archives, and Hopewell Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens will hold a special ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Monument at Courier Field beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 11, 2017. Although Veterans Day itself

lasts for just one day, the Salute to Veterans exhibit at The Plant City Photo Archives and History Center will open on Veterans Day and continue through the Holidays until January 4, 2018. The Salute to Veterans exhibit features over 750 photos of area veterans. In addition to the photos on exhibit, the Archives will display hundreds of photos on its new 65” screen as a continuous slide show. Individual 8x10 photographs of the veterans will also be on display in several binders available in the gallery. Additionally, another TV screen will run documentaries, and numerous enlargements will be displayed in the exhibit gallery. The Salute to Veterans exhibits began in 2005, in recognition of the 60th year since the end of WWII. It was created with the assistance of Betty Barker Watkins, who

accumulated over 400 photographs and stories from veterans and their families residing in Plant City. The Plant City Photo Archives and History Center’s veterans committee includes Rich Glorioso, Rob Yoho, Bill Thomas, and Dr. Martyn Clay. Veterans who wish to have their photos added to our digital collection may bring them to the Archives during regular business hours. The Plant City Photo Archives and History Center is a not-for-profit history organization dedicated to the preservation of the history and heritage of the greater Plant City community. It is located at 106 South Evers Street in downtown Plant City and is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For additional information call the office at 813.754.1578 or email gil@plantcityphotoarchives.org.


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Plant City Chamber Filled With New Energy While Maintaining The Long Standing Community-Focused History

For 92 years, The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce has been serving our community. For many years there was no paid staff; it was comprised of business owners in Plant City volunteering their time. Over the years, positions were added as the organization continued to grow. In the last year, an entire team of new faces has come to call the Chamber home and this month we wanted to introduce them to you. The role the Chamber plays in our community is vital. We are going to take a glimpse into a few key ways this organization continues to help Plant City thrive.

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce team includes front row: Christine Miller (President), Sophia Hyde (Community Relations Manager), back row Lydia Smith-Eugene (Office Coordinator), Norm Nelson (Membership Director), Bree Wilson (Communications Coordinator), and Laura Leslie (Tourist Information Center and Vendor Coordinator). PAGE

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The Purpose The motto “Businesses Building a Better Community” is at the heart of what drives the Chamber. In any community, the purpose of a chamber is to advocate for the business community. This mission is usually carried out through providing networking opportunities, advocating for business interests in government policy, and providing education to small business owners. However, Plant City is quite unique. If you were to travel the country visiting chambers around the U.S. you will rarely find one that serves the community as a whole more than ours does. Did you know that The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce puts on more than half a dozen events a year designed to draw people to Plant City? These events include the monthly Strawberry Classic Cruise In; Plant City Bike Fest; Planes, Trains and Automobiles; New Teacher Coffee; The Suncoast Credit Union Pig Jam and partnering with the City of Plant City to hold the 4th of July Fireworks show. In the chamber world, this is a rarity to find, but our chamber provides these services because encouraging more people to visit Plant City economically impacts our local businesses. PAGE

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Also unique to Plant City is the Tourist Information Center. In most communities the chamber is hidden in a bank building, or a high rise, not predominantly located in the heart of the city welcoming visitors and tourists. Earlier this year the Tourist Information Center moved from the stand-alone building on Park Road to the front of the Chamber of Commerce lobby. Every day people passing through Plant City or recently relocated to the area pop into the Chamber to ask questions about where to live, which restaurants to visit, which doctors to see, what’s going on around town and any other help they may need. The main objective of the Chamber is to support the business owners in the community. A study done by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council found that “firms with less than 20 workers made up 89.4 percent of business done in 2014.” Currently the main ways our chamber supports these businesses is through the monthly Networking Lunch, helping businesses connect with one another; the Business After Hours (also designed for networking); ribbon cuttings for new members; and the workshops put on by the Florida SBDC (Small Business Development Center)

The Board of Directors is the governing body of The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce. Their role is to hire the President and steer the vision of the organization. Pictured is the 2018 Board of Directors. Seated in the front row are the brand-new board members who begin their terms in January: Alice Bullard of OnPoint IT Solutions, Larry Jimenez Jr. of Star Distribution, Remigio Sanchez of Ice Pop Factory, Kayla Drawdy of Hillsborough Title, Ed Verner of City Properties, and Mike Arndt of Minute Man Press. Standing in the back row are returning board members: Irene Castillo of Raulerson, Castillo and Co., Jim Scott of Jarrett Scott Ford, Ken Gibbs of Gibbs Realty, Karen Kerr of South Florida Baptist Hospital, Matt Buzza of Pilot Bank, Jason Jones of Advantage Restoration and Contracting (2018 Chair), Charles Harris of The Holiday Inn Express, Marty Clay of Hillsborough Community College, Carole Wright of Myers & Wright, P.A., and Courtney Paat of State Farm Insurance. [Not pictured from the 2017-2018 Board are Yvonne Fry of Fryed Egg Productions (2017 Chair), Brian West of Publix Supermarkets, Inc. (Past Chair, 2016), Clark Smith of Suncoast Credit Union, Paul Hackney of Sunshine State Bank, Susan Sullivan of Plant City High School, William Thomas, Jr. of the Plant City Improvement League, and James Moody, III of JFSW Law.]


at Hillsborough County. The incoming board is already planning more events and programs to support business owners in networking and education. The newly formed Governmental Affairs Committee has started meeting to find ways to engage members in local political issues as well. The People Did you know that over 33 committees meet at the Chamber? For every event, every program, and every behind-the-scenes decision being made, there is a group of members driving it. The heartbeat and pulse of the Chamber is its membership. With over 600 members it is safe to say that it is truly a team effort to keep this organization thriving. The people most regularly seen as the face of the Chamber are the Board of Directors and the staff. The current President, Christine Miller, and the current Chair of the Board, Yvonne Fry, have been working hand-in-hand this year to put the vision of the Chamber’s future in to action. At the last couple of Networking Lunches between 10-20 members were recognized. This growth is a direct reflection of both the changes within the organization and the growth in Plant City. Currently Courtney Paat, Vice Chair of Membership, is leading a Membership Drive during October that has been wildly successful in just the first few weeks. Anyone interested in joining the Chamber is encouraged to contact Norm Nelson, Membership Director, at 813-7543707. If ever you stop by the Chamber you’ll be greeted by one of the friendly staff members. Christine Miller began her position as President in August 2016 after four years as the Executive Director of the United Food Bank. Her past experiences include positions with State Farm Insurance in Winter Haven, the owner of a State Farm Insurance Agency in Valrico, and working as the Recycling Coordinator for Pasco County, FL. In her first year at the Chamber a bulk of her energy was spent creating the right team that would have the skill set to take the Chamber to where the board envisions it’s ready to grow. In the fall of last year Laura Leslie and Breanna (Bree) Wilson were hired. When you step in to the Chamber you will usually be greeted by Laura. She is the Tourist Information Center and Vendor Coordinator. Behind any email, Facebook post, flyer design or correspondence from the Chamber is usually Bree, the Communications Coordinator. In February of this year, Lydia Smith-Eugene started as the Office Coordinator. She not only handles the billing department but is also a driving force behind the Leadership

Plant City Program. Norm Nelson began as the Membership Director in April after three years in a similar role at a chamber in East Tennessee. The final hire to round out the staff was Sophia Hyde, the Community Relations Manager who focuses on strengthening the relationships between the Chamber and the community it serves. Upcoming Events Suncoast Credit Union Pig Jam There is always something coming up at the Chamber, whether it’s a community or a business event. We highly recommend checking out the calendar at www.plantcity.org to see the many events hosted by the Chamber and other local community organizations. Drawing over 10,000 people to Plant City, the 2017 Suncoast Credit Union Pig Jam is coming November 17 & 18. This is the 15th Anniversary of the event. It all started with Mark Poppell enjoying a major barbeque event in Georgia and coming back to the Plant City with the vision of having a similar fabulous family-friendly event in our community. Most of the original committee is still helping in this 15th year to make this event possible as it continues to grow. On Friday night the Highland Packaging Fireworks will light up the sky starting at 9pm. The event is free to attend ($5 to park) and features the best barbecue around. The Poppell Insurance & Auto Owners Professional BBQ Competition has attracted teams coming from as far away as Italy to compete for this year’s cash prizes. If you enjoy barbeque then this event is definitely a must-see and taste. Nowhere else can you get all of this mouth-

watering food in one place. Friday night’s events begin at 5pm and include performances by The Daniel Sprouse Band (5:30-7:30pm) and Brass Roots Band (8:00-9:30pm). Saturday four bands will be performing: Ace Jackson and the Jump Kings (10:30-11:30am), the Double Barrell Band (12:001:00pm), Eli Mosley (1:30-3:00pm), and Candy Greene (3:00-4:00pm). The Kids’ Piglet Playpen this year offers fun for the whole family! Not only will there be the bounce houses and face painting fun as usual; but new additions this year include some family corn hole and a fish throwing contest! Above all else, the main reason most people are drawn to the Suncoast Credit Union Pig Jam is the barbeque. You cannot find barbeque this good anywhere else. The KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society) Sanctioned teams arrive Thursday to start the grills and then cook the meat to the perfect tenderness with the best sauces and rubs, many home-made recipes. Judging occurs on Saturday and the event closes with the awards ceremony and cash prize distribution of over $16,000 will be awarded— plus bragging rights. The Suncoast Credit Union Plant City Pig Jam attracts thousands of people to Plant City, and the revenue from the event is one of the major fund raisers for The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, it makes a tremendous difference in the organization’s ability to serve the community. For more information visit www.plantcitypigjam.com 2018 Board Chair Jason Jones with October Chamber Networking Lunch Good Egg Winner James Surrency and 2017 Board Chair Yvonne Fry.

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Dancing Locals with the

By Cheryl Johnston

The Dancing with the Locals fundraising event, sponsored by the Plant City Rotary Club, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year on Friday, November 10.

MEET THE DANCERS Caroline Brummer & Kyle Hamilton Dustin & Allson Grooms Christy Lyle & Scott Anderson Shanna & Nick Kennedy Jeannette & Billy Teeden Christine & Lee Miller Brittany & Kyle Keys Nancy Egbert & Sho Rich Amy Glover & David Davenport

A highlight of Plant City’s fall social season, the excitement happens again at the John R. Trinkle Center. Proceeds will benefit the Noon Rotary Club. Ten couples, who sacrifice time and energy in ten provided dance lessons to prepare for their time in the spotlight, will vie for two awards: Best Dancers and Most Money Raised. Once the performers have been awarded, audience members enjoy a time-honored tradition. They “get up and dance!” Typically about 400 audience members purchase the $100 ticket to watch friends, co-workers and family members shake a leg in style. More than half the fun is rooting for their favorites. Event co-chair Jodi Stevens is always on the lookout for the next year’s dancers and many are inspired through this special evening to sign up for 2018. She invited, “This is such a great night and benefits so many through Rotary’s outreaches. Each year gets better and better.” Contact Jodi at 813-716-0908 or Plant City Rotary Club members for tickets.

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CAROLINE & KYLE Caroline Brummer is a Plant City High School senior and also dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. This Plant City native is the daughter of Jeff and Laura Brummer and sister to Sara Brummer. Caroline is a 4-year Varsity cheerleader and captain this year of both the Varsity and Competition Cheer team. She is also involved in Plant City High School FFA, the PCHS Veterinary Assisting Program, Interact Club, National Honor Society, Positive Coaching Alliance and PCHS PTSA Board Student Liaison. The PCHS Calendar Girl – Miss February 2017—also feels honored to represent our town on the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s Court this year. Regarding Dancing with the Locals, Brummer said: “I loved the idea of giving back to the community and also trying something I’ve never done before.” Kyle Hamilton, the son of Mark and Jennifer Hamilton, has two proud siblings, Casey and Katie. As a Plant City High School sophomore, he is dual-enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. Kyle is a member of the varsity swim team, FBLA, Interact Boys Service Club and Positive Coaching Alliance. He also serves PCHS as photo editor for the yearbook staff and Peer Review Council representative. When not busy with school work, Kyle enjoys volunteering with South Florida Baptist Hospital’s “Teen Volunteer Program.” With a background in musical theater, which began during his elementary years, Kyle was intrigued by the idea of performing in Dancing with the Locals with his new pal Caroline Brummer. PAGE

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ALISON & DUSTIN Tampa native Alison Grooms has been a Plant City resident since age six, when her family moved here. She met her now husband David when she attended Plant City High School and he attended Durant. She earned her bachelor’s degree in food science and human nutrition from the University of Florida and married Dustin two years after graduation. Together they have made a home here and are raising their beautiful 11-year-old daughter, Skyler. Alison has been involved in the GFWC PC Junior Woman’s Club, for which she also held positions on the board. She also stepped in to take over the office duties for Dustin’s family’s strawberry farms (Fancy Farms). Alison was then offered a position using her bachelor’s degree with Polk County Schools as Supervisor of Student Nutrition Services. Recently, she earned her master’s degree in Public Health from the University of South Florida. During this time, Alison worked with non-profit organizations including the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA, Feeding Tampa Bay, and the American Heart Association. While she is actively pursuing a permanent position in this field, Alison currently works for herself as the owner of Blessed Berry Boutique, an online retail store. She also continues to help with their family’s farm doing jobs ranging from picking, packing, social media marketing, and office duties when needed. Alison also devotes time to her daughter’s school by volunteering and enjoys attending First Baptist Church of Plant City. Free time is spent with family and friends, traveling, loving on her animals, and taking on new adventures. She also loves to learn and enjoys going to different agricultural conferences with Dustin to learn more about the industry. Alison also enjoys listening to music and loves to dance, which was one of the reasons she said “yes” without hesitation when asked to be part of Dancing with the Locals. Plant City native Dustin Grooms grew up on his parents’ strawberry farm, Fancy Farms. After graduating from Durant High School, he served the United States Army as an Airborne Motor Transportation Specialist. While stationed in Maryland, he came home on leave for Christmas where he reconnected with Alison and the two began dating. In 2005 when Dustin’s active duty contract was up, he enlisted in the Army Reserve Unit in St. Petersburg to become a Drill Sergeant for the army reserve unit. Two years after Alison’s graduation from the University of Florida, the two married and Dustin returned to his roots at the family farm, for which he now manages the day-to-day operations. He also harvests vegetables and blackberries separately from Fancy Farms during the off season. He is proud to be 11-year-old Skyler’s dad. Today, Dustin is actively involved in many agricultural organizations, including the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association and the Florida Strawberry Growers Association. When he isn’t running the farm, he enjoys fishing, hanging out with family and friends, traveling, and adventure seeking. Dustin decided to say “yes” to participate in Dancing with the Locals because he knows how much his wife loves to dance and he wanted to make her happy.

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CHRISTY & SCOTT Born and raised in Plant City, Christy Coons Lyle is excited to be a part of Dancing with the Locals this year. After graduating from the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!) with a business degree, she pursued a career in sales. Two years ago, Christy had the opportunity to relocate from Orlando, back to Plant City, with her company, Eli Lilly. She loves working as a pharmaceutical sales representative in Plant City, Brandon and Lakeland. Seven years ago, Christy married Glenn Lyle and they now have a daughter, Elizabeth (5), and a son, Glenn III (4). The children keep the family very busy with swim team practice, t-ball and gymnastics. They live in Walden Lake and love being so close to family. In her free time, Christy enjoys working out at Plant City Crossfit. She also serves as chairwoman for Rise Plant City, a new organization for young professionals. Always looking for new ways to be more involved in the community, Christy looks forward to raising money with Dancing with the Locals event for a such a good cause and having a fun bonding experience with her step-dad, Scott. ---Scott Anderson was born in Houston, Texas. As the son of a United States Air Force pilot, he became a world traveler at the age of two when his father was stationed in Japan. Growing up, his love of travel grew as his family was continually on the move, all over the country. Athletics have also been a huge part of Scott's life. He wrestled for two seasons at the University of Florida before obtaining a Master's of Administration degree at Appalachian State University in NC, where he became involved in canoe racing. Scott went on to win two national whitewater canoe championships. Scott was a lifetime educator, serving 35 years in the Hillsborough County School System. Prior to 28 years as a school administrator, he taught high school English, Human Relations, and served as Guidance Counselor, basketball and wrestling coach. While at Turkey Creek Middle School, Scott founded the "Kids of Courage" graduation/celebration, honoring students with special needs. Now retired, Scott continues his love of travel via motor home with his wife, Starr. When not on the road, he enjoys time with friends and family, especially his eight grandchildren! As a former member of the Tampa Bay Beach Boppers, Scott is an ideal partner to daughter, Christy. PAGE

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SHANA & NICK Plant City native Shanna Kennedy attended HCC here in Plant City before completing her degree in Elementary Education at the University of South Florida. A teacher for 18 years, she currently teaches third grade at J.S. Robinson Elementary School. Shanna loves volunteering in her community, is an active member at the Plant City Elks Lodge, and serves on the leadership team for the Plant City Relay for Life. Originally from Cobb, Georgia, Nick Kennedy moved to Plant City in 2011. He owns Time Out Systems, a low voltage Alarm Security company with clients throughout the southeastern United States. He is an officer at the Plant City Elks Lodge and on the leadership team for the Plant City Relay for Life as well. Nick and Shanna were married in Georgia 11 years ago. They lived on Lake Blackshear for five years before returning to Plant City with their two boys, Connor, 10, and Jack, 7. As a family they enjoy time on their boat, camping at River Ranch, traveling and spending time with family. They are excited about the opportunity to be a part of Dancing with the Locals and support The Rotary. They love all of the community support the Rotary provides and are excited to help raise money to benefit the Plant City community!

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JEANNETTE & BILLY Billy Teeden, a Tampa native and graduate of Armwood High School, made a name for himself on the basketball court where he met the love of his life who he would one day marry. After graduation, this team captain continued to play at HCC before transferring to Southeastern University and earning his Bachelor’s degree in Exceptional Education. In 2001, he married his high school sweetheart, Jeannette, and today they are proud parents of Taylor, 12, and Logan, 10. As a math teacher and basketball coach with Hillsborough County Public Schools, Billy was twice named Coach of the Year. He also earned the William Bethal Award for turning the East Bay High School program around. Billy is entering his third season as head coach of the Plant City Raiders. Additionally, he serves as a head coach for Nike Team Florida, an AAU program for elite players, and coaches Plant City Little League Baseball and hosts PC Hoops basketball camps. Jeannette Teeden grew up in Seffner and joined the Plant City community during her senior year in high school. While a student at Armwood, she lettered in both Varsity Basketball & Volleyball. It was there on the court that she met her high school sweetheart, Billy, and their love story began. As a collegiate athlete in both sports at Southeastern College, she earned her degree in Psychology, followed by a Master’s degree in Education Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University. Jeannette has worked for Hillsborough County Schools for 13 years, teaching both history and reading to English language learners. For the last nine years, she has worked as a reading coach. Currently, she works at Billy’s rival school, Durant High School, where she serves as their Reading Coach, specializing in FSA/SAT/ACT prep to support graduation rates and increase college admission. Jeannette was named Hillsborough County Reading Coach of the Year in 2015 and is a presenter for Hillsborough County Schools, as well as the Florida Reading Association. When these two aren’t dancing on the court, they enjoy time at the beach, sporting events and spending time with their two boys. PAGE

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CHRISTINE & LES Les Miller grew up in the Plant City area since moving here in 1979. He is the son of David and Doreen Miller, and brother of Eric and Brian. A graduate of Plant City High School and the University of Florida, Les now works for USAA as a Director in Real Estate Lending. He grew up in everything outdoors and stays active when possible in hunting, fishing, golf, hiking and any other “get-a-way” activities. Regarding Dancing with the Locals, Miller said, “It’s cliché to say when you give, you get more in return, but this experience has been just that. I thought it would be a way to give back to a great organization and the community, but I am the one who has been truly rewarded. Christine Miller was named President of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce on August 15, 2016. She joined this organization after serving previously as Executive Director of the United Food Bank of Plant City from August 2012 through August of 2016. The Tampa native graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and moved to Plant City after marrying Les in 1999. She participates in church, civic and community activities and enjoys Body Pump, running, horseback riding and is happiest when spending quality time with her family and friends. Christine and Les have been happily married for 18 years. Both will tell you that the greatest blessings and source of joy in life are their children; Colton (16), Emma (15), and Harper (3).

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BRITTANY & KYLE Plant City native Brittany Keys is the daughter of Ken and Tammy Griffin. She and her husband of ten years, Kyle, have two children, Branden and Bailey. Brittany works as an accountant with Sedita, Kilton, and Company and serves as treasurer for the Rise Plant City group of young professionals. She looks forward to dancing with Kyle and to being part of the profound impact that the Dancing with the Locals event has on the Plant City community. Kyle Keys is an electrician with Tampa Electric Company, who confesses that his interest in Dancing with the Locals came because “My wife made me do it.� After their routine, he looks forward to sharing his thoughts with the audience on the best part of the whole experience

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NANCY & SHÖ California-born Nancy Egbert was raised in Plant City since age four. After attending Bryan Elementary Tomlin Junior High School, and Plant City High School, she continued her education at Hillsborough Community College and the University of South Florida, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work. She owns and operates her own mental health private practice in Plant City – SAGE-Professional Christian Counseling Center, LLC. Nancy feels community is an important aspect of an individual’s life and is involved in many organizations here in town. She serves on the board of USA Dance, Southern Star Chapter and is involved in the social dance community at the Stardust Ballroom in Plant City. Nancy also loves Line Dancing and dances often at Crossroads in Plant City. When she broke her leg three years ago, Nancy used dancing as part of her rehabilitation. She learned the therapeutic effects of dancing in many areas of her life, including emotional, mental, physical, and social. Another of her hobbies is quilting, having learned to sew and quilt in childhood. Now she is a member of the Berry Patch Quilt Guild in Plant City. The most important local organization of which Nancy is a member is Eastside Baptist Church, where she cherishes her spiritual family. Her spiritual foundation gives an overall balance, stability, and confidence in life that she could not imagine being without. Nancy has three wonderful adult children – Katrina, Abram, Ryan – and two amazing grandchildren. Her family goes back five generations and her grandfather homestead property in Plant City with strawberry fields. Her mom still lives in the house in which she was born. Nancy is looking forward to “Dancing with the Locals” this year to celebrate her wonderful community and life itself. Shō Rich started his dancing at the young age of two. Coming from a large family of dancers, he came to the U.S. at ten and continued to study and work all the way through college. Through his first contract with the San Francisco Ballet, Shō began to travel the world. After dancing in more than 22 countries and 48 states in the U.S., he moved to New York and worked on Broadway before finding ballroom dancing. He started competing two weeks into ballroom instruction and started placing right away at smaller competitions on the country’s west coast and throughout the Midwest. He ended his travels here in Florida where he met his bride to be. Shō loves to spread happiness through dance and has seen and lived through its life changing abilities. He is proud to be dancing in this year’s Dancing with the Locals and can't wait to see everyone there! PAGE

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AMY & DAVID Plant City native Amy Glover serves with South Florida Baptist Hospital as a surgical technician and teaches yoga at our local YMCA. She also owns the Yoga Barn here in town. She and her husband Stewart have two children, Nicolas and Allyson, and one granddaughter, London Bowles. She enjoys volunteering at hospital charity events and is excited that Dancing with the Locals allows her to dance, make new friendships, and raise money for special charities at the same time. David Davenport returns to the Dancing with the Locals after many years. He participated in the first DWTL event in 2008 and then again the following year — this time as a demonstration dance and not as a competitor. The Certified Hand Therapist and Occupational Therapist works as the manager of rehabilitation for South Florida Baptist Hospital. The Tampa native resides in Plant City with his wife of 25 years, Jean Ann. Together they have two handsome, athletic sons – David and Robbie. David’s passion in life is to serve others. Both his career and his civic affiliations provide ample opportunities to give back to the community and to help others. He is a board member of the United Food Bank of Plant City and is also a past president and board member of the Plant City Lions club. Outside of work, David enjoys mountain biking and running.

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BUSINESS FOCUS

As a Best of the Best award recipient, Dr. Kayla Wilkins surrounded by her husband Thomas and her parents Tammy and David Gaschler.

Aspire Hearing & Balance Dr. Kayla Gaschler Wilkins, Board-Certified Audiologist and Owner of Aspire Hearing and Balance Since October is recognized as Audiology Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to schedule your hearing evaluation. No matter the age, everyone should have a baseline evaluation that can prove helpful in the event of future hearing problems. And Aspire Hearing and Balance is the perfect practice to visit. In a state-of-the-art facility, BoardCertified Audiologist, Dr. Kayla Gaschler Wilkins, specializes in identifying, diagnosing and treating hearing and balance disorders. Aspire Hearing provides comprehensive hearing evaluations, evaluation and programming of hearing aids, cochlear implants, bone-anchored hearing aids, tinnitus devices, cerumen removal, treatment PAGE

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for balance issues and more! Dr. Wilkins advises, “Your first step to better hearing is an evaluation by a Board-Certified Doctoral Audiologist. Audiologists recommend that people age 50 or older schedule an annual hearing test. Even if a hearing loss is not detected, it’s important to track your hearing abilities year by year. “As we age, the ears should decline together,” she shared. “One-sided hearing loss is more of a concern. Definitely, you should make an evaluation appointment if you notice a change in hearing, ringing in the ears, pain or excessive cerumen (wax) buildup.” “The longer people put off a hearing loss checkup, there is an increased risk of cognitive decline,”

she continued. This is because persons with hearing loss start to pull away from social situations leading to less stimulation of the brain because it is getting used to the quiet.” The good news is that this wonderful doctor can provide so much help through her advanced medical and technological training. Dr. Wilkins is a people-loving problem-solver whose specialty is ears, hearing, and balance. Make your appointment today! A State-of-the-Art Practice and Provider Selecting a qualified hearing healthcare provider is one of the most important keys to your success in experiencing life to the

fullest. Aspire Hearing is a very patient-centered practice and one which values building long term relationships with those in their care. As a family-owned and operated business, this “Gold Standard Best Practice” is not obligated to a hidden agenda or any quota. Decisions regarding your hearing healthcare are about you, and made in your best interest. Taking time to listen to patients results in a better understanding of the day-to-day challenges they face as a result of hearing difficulties. To receive and provide optimum results, it is important that patients and their doctors develop a long-term relationship. “Our biggest concern is your hearing and our goal is your


satisfaction,” explained Dr. Wilkins. “We strive to provide an exceptional patient experience with every single visit. From the friendly voice on a telephone call and fresh brewed coffee in our reception area, to the feel of ease during your evaluation appointment and your joy in hearing your loved ones again with your new hearing treatment, we are dedicated to your hearing journey and happiness!” Aspire Hearing’s goal is “to help you hear your best because your life is worth hearing” and an evaluation is your first step. The award-winning “Best of the Best” practice recently earned awards for Best Audiologist in Polk County and second place for Best Hearing Aid Center. This is amazing when one considers that Aspire Hearing is a relatively new hearing solutions center. For complete audiological care and optimal accuracy, Aspire Hearing has invested in the most current and superior diagnostic equipment. Extensive professional training keeps Dr. Wilkins up-to date with the latest developments in audiology, tinnitus, and hearing devices. Dr. Wilkins can program and service all brands of hearing aids. Conveniently, they also offer a comprehensive line-up of assistive listening devices, batteries, cerumen removal drops, dehumidifiers, and more! Patient education is a plus, too! Understand that your hearing should be under the expertise and care of a Board-Certified Doctoral Audiologist who can identify medical conditions and other hearing and balance concerns. At Aspire Hearing, Dr. Wilkins works closely with your physician for medical concerns that can affect hearing. Whether you need hearing testing, aids, or protection, Aspire Hearing and Balance is your hearing doctor. Meet the Doctor Dr. Kayla Gaschler Wilkins, owner and operator of Aspire Hearing and Balance, is passionate about and

dedicated to providing her patients, their families, and the Central Florida communities with the highest quality hearing healthcare. Presently, she is the only Board-Certified cochlear implant service provider in Lakeland. “I am a doctor who specializes in hearing,” she explained. “People deserve to be treated with great care. Especially when their health is involved, you don’t want to see a salesperson. You want to see a doctor.” “I love being able to offer more personalized service,” she added. “It’s so nice to be able to care for your patients’ hearing needs and build relationships with that family because hearing loss impacts everyone.” “Most people are surprised to learn that Florida’s entry level requirement for hearing instrument dispensers (typically located at Miracle Ear, Beltone, Sam’s and shopping malls) is a high school diploma and a six-month training program,” Dr. Wilkins shared. “The buyer should be aware that these businesses can do hearing screenings solely for the purpose of fitting a hearing aid, not for medical management.” On a personal note, the Plant City native and PCHS graduate enjoyed serving as cheerleading captain and with the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s court in 2006. Dr. Wilkins earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as her Doctor of Audiology degree, from the University of South Florida. She participated in a fellowship program at Bay Pines VA Hospital in St. Petersburg and completed her clinical residency at Tampa Bay Hearing and Balance Center in Tampa, Florida. Then as a new doctor, she joined the team to work four more years with world-class otologist, neurotologist, and skullbased surgeons. Dr. Wilkins is a Florida licensed audiologist. Her clinical interests include advanced hearing aid technology, cochlear implants, and

bone-anchored hearing devices. She has earned: • Board certification through the American Board of Audiology (ABA) • Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association • Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (F-AAA). Together, Dr. Wilkins and her husband Thomas are raising almosttwo-year-old Colton and caring for their little Corgi named Tucker. She enjoys family time, hunting, fishing, and cheering on her USF Bulls in football. Aspire Hearing and Balance values its Chamber of Commerce memberships in both Plant City and Lakeland. Community service is a priority, too. Along with charitable cause donations, Dr. Wilkins presents educational talks to nursing

home residents, professionals, and other groups. She serves also as the Veteran Administration’s area evaluator for Veterans with hearing issues. FREE Upcoming Events Plan now to attend one of two “Hearing Health Seminars” with complimentary lunch provided at Aspire Hearing on October 25 and November 13 from 11:30AM-1PM. Guest speakers will share about hearing health education and the latest hearing technologies. Seating is limited, so reserve today. Additionally, mark your calendar for our Better Hearing Event called “Hear for the Holidays” on November 6-8. For three days only, come enjoy complimentary hearing consultations, hearing screenings, look in your ears, special discounts on hearing aids, and door prizes. Schedule your appointment today!

635 Midflorida Drive, Suite 2 | Lakeland, FL 33813 | 863-646-EARS (3277) Office Hours: MTW: 8:30am - 4:30pm | Thu: 7:30am - 12:30pm | F: 8:00am - 4:00pm PAGE

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BUSINESS FOCUS

Specialist Doctors’ Group Affordable, Convenient, Quality Care At six convenient locations, Specialists Doctors’ Group has multispecialty offices that focus on family care and internal medicine, as well as podiatry. Both Primary Care offices are in Plant City; Podiatry care is available in Plant City and Lakeland; and Urgent Care is offered in Plant City and FishHawk. SDG is owned and operated by the Chaudhry family. Shafiq “Charlie” Chaudhry serves as CEO. His adult children—Sultan and Sabrina—are both University of South Florida graduates who believe quality care should be available to all. Sultan handles public relations and manages operations at the PAGE

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primary care and podiatry offices, while Sabrina oversees the Urgent Care locations. The group’s medical director, Dr. Michael Salvato, has worked more than 20 years in Plant City. He was recruited initially by James Redman as a hospital-employed physician with South Florida Baptist Hospital. Under his direction, staff members and physicians demonstrate the highest level of compassion and professional care for all patients. They understand the importance of listening to their patients’ concerns and needs and believe in building strong doctor/ patient relationships. “At Specialist Doctor’s Group,

our goal is to consistently provide honest, quality medical care at affordable prices with an emphasis on friendly and timely service,” Sultan Chaudhry explained. “Our office is also our family,” he continued. “We promise to treat you with care and respect during your treatment visit. Whether you're visiting for a complex foot injury or a simple flu shot, we treat every patient with the same quality care.” Primary Care Offices • Dr. Michael Salvato 210 N. Alexander St., Suite B Plant City, FL 33563 Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-5pm 813-719-3525

• Carlina White Youssouf ARNP 1910 W. Reynolds St. Plant City, FL 33563 Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-5pm 813-754-4980 Podiatry Offices • Plant City Office 210 N. Alexander St., Suite A Plant City, FL 33563 Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-5pm 813-754-FOOT • Lakeland Office 1443 Lakeland Hills Blvd. Lakeland, FL 33805 Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-5pm 863-686-6200


“We try to give the Disney World experience at each of our locations,” offered Sultan Chaudhry. “We treat people fairly and with respect and we have excellent doctors.” For after hours or weekend care, visit the group’s sister company, Urgent Care USA. Open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., patients will find the same outstanding service. This service is the perfect bridge between the limited availability of your regular medical office, especially for unexpected problems, and the high expenses and long waits found at hospital emergency rooms. Walk-in today and let the skilled staff tend to your needs, no matter how small or big. Urgent Care USA: Plant City Office Dr. Khawaja Kifayatullah ("Dr. K") 413 N. Alexander St. Plant City, FL 33566 813.752.7222 Hours: Monday- Sunday 9am-9pm Our Doctors The SDG team’s values are simple, Dr. Salvato shared. “We believe in satisfying each individual patient and the continuity of business above and beyond any expectations. It is our goal to provide the BEST value and better medical care than ANY other medical facility.” Specialist Doctors’ Group includes the following doctors: Primary Care Plant City Office - Reynolds Street Carolina White-Youssouf, ARNP Gerarda Lazcaze, PA-C MMS Plant City Office Alexander Street Michael Salvato, MD Helen Tepper, ARNP Gerarda Lazcaze, PA-C MMS Carolina White-Youssouf, ARNP Podiatry Doctors – Plant City & Lakeland Eric Breuggeman, DPM (Both) James Loebell, DPM

Quynh Nguyen, DPM (Lakeland only) Primary Care Services SDG General Practitioners treat many common ailments, including: • Adult & Child Wellness Exams • Chronic Disease Management (Hypertension, Diabetes, etc.) • Circumcisions • Drug Screening for Employers/ Businesses • EKGs & Laboratory Services • Family Planning Exams • Immunizations • Pap Test • X-rays Podiatry Services • Ankle & Foot Injuries • Arthritis (foot & ankle) • Athlete's Foot & Blisters • Broken Foot or Toe • Bunions & Bunion Surgeries • Bursitis • Capsulitis • Club Foot • Congenital & Acquired Foot Deformities • Corns & Callouses • Diabetic Foot Care • Diabetic Neuropathy & Ulcers • Fallen Arches & Flat Foot • Foot Bone Spur • Foot Care &/or Surgery • Foot Fungus & Infections • Foot Pain/Sores/Ulcers • Fractures (Foot/Toes/Ankles) • Gangrene of Toes or Foot • Ganglion Cysts • Hallux Valgus • Hammertoes (contracted digits} • Heel & Arch Pain or Spur • Ingrown Toenails • Metatarsalgia • Morton’s Neuroma • Neuromas • Numbness/Tingling of Foot or Toes • Plantar Fasciitis • Prescription Foot Orthotics • Sesamoiditis • Sore &/or Burning Feet • Sports/Running Injuries • Swollen Foot/Ankle • Toe Infections & Toenail Fungus

• Tendonitis • Warts & Wart Removal Community Involvement As locals, the Specialist Doctors’ Group team supports charitable causes with donations, including the Fraternal Order of Police and its annual dinner. SDG also provides free physicals to the Plant City Dolphins football players. They are also involved with Hillsborough County’s vaccines for children program. The practice is registered to serve people addicted to opiates as well. Dr. Salvato assists patients with the withdrawal process. Dr. Salvato, an Associate Director with the Florida Strawberry Festival for the past seven years, also served on the Plant City Planning Board for more than 15 years. He loves the “small town atmosphere” here and continues to take lollipops with him when he visits Walmart. “When they see me, they say ‘I’ve been good,’ which means ‘May I have some candy?’ He added, “It’s a way to brighten their day and it makes me feel good that they feel so comfortable talking with their doctor.”

Insurance In addition to Medicare and Medicaid, Specialist Doctors’ Group accepts the following insurance and many more. Call to verify today. • Aetna • Amerigroup • Avmed • Blue Cross Blue Shield • Cigna, Champ VA • Golden Rule • Great West • Humana • Molina • Prestige • Staywell • Sunshine • Tricare • United Healthcare Compassionate, Convenient and Affordable Local Care Specialist Doctors’ Group is ready to serve you and your family. Visit specialistdoctorsgroup.com or in person at any location to learn more about the welcoming atmosphere and the excellent care offered. Your health is their priority.

Dr. Michael Salvato, Medical Director for Specialist Doctors’ Group with Medical Assistant Angelica Lozoya.

210 N. Alexander St., Suite A | Plant City, FL 33563 | Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-5pm | 813-754-FOOT | specialistdoctorsgroup.com

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BUSINESS FOCUS

Wishing Well Barn Rustic Farm Event Venue Spend a day on the Farm and in the Welch family’s gorgeous Barn, the only authentic rustic barn in Hillsborough County, dating back to 1959. Blake and Michelle Welch opened their Wishing Well Barn in 2012 to provide an amazing event venue for people interested in rustic/vintage and agricultural weddings and events. The Welches farm a total of 60 acres and still use the barn, but now it has chandeliers and twinkling lights for an elegant, yet chabby-chic event. “This is such a wonderful way for us to share our faith and our love for people,” shared Michelle. A wedding day is such a happy day of treasured moments with parents, their children, their relatives and their friends.” PAGE

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She added, “Although ninetypercent of our events are weddings or anniversaries, we also do reunions, company picnics, birthday parties, showers and more.” They must be doing something right, based on the industry awards. If you search barn or rustic wedding, you’ll find Wishing Well Barn. • Wedding Wire Best of Weddings for last three years • Knot.com Best of Weddings, 2017 • Google Best Wedding Venue History Mr. Robert Welch bought the farm in 1960 and moved his family of five children here with his wife, Polly. Mr. Welch farmed cattle on this land over the years alongside strawberries,

oranges and many other fruits and vegetables. There was always a special place in his heart for cattle. Blake and Michelle Welch continue this family tradition with five of our own sons and a love for cattle ranching. Also on this ranch are James Welch, who farms vegetables; Rick & Shirley (Welch) Roberts, who raise horses for barrel racing; and Ricky & Peggy (Welch) Peacock, who farm the blueberries on soon-to-be 16 acres. Blake manages the cattle ranch and Michelle is the Wedding Designer and Coordinator. The family loves being able to inform guests about agriculture and share farm life stories with them. They also love to benefit charities such as Forgotten Angels, Quinton Aaron Foundation, Safe Families

for Children, and many others. Michelle is also sharing her gleaned knowledge and experience by mentoring several smaller farms who want to host events. Generosity is a lifestyle with the Welches. Meet the Crew Together, they have five sons. Kyle, the oldest, and his wife, Railynne are raising little Calleigh Jo. Next comes Cory and his wife Jessica, followed by Tommy, Daniel, and Dillon. Sassy is our furriest of family members :) “We started our wedding venture when three of our boys were married within one calendar year,” shared Michelle. “Their friends and friends of friends started asking to be married here on the farm and so, we added agricultural events to our


cattle farm.” She continued, “This is very meaningful work for us and truly a joy. I didn’t have any daughters, so I’m living vicariously through the brides and others to share what God has blessed our family with—this wonderful property and our beautiful family and staff members. We try to make every family feel like they had their wedding on the ‘family farm.’” Depending on the size of your wedding, company picnic, or family reunions any number of family members might be here to help! In addition to Blake, Michelle, and their sons and daughters-in-law, you’re likely to meet any of the following team members on the day of your occasion: • Sassy Welch, the furry friend Welcome and Greeting • Blake & Michelle, Wishing Well Barn Owners • Grandma Polly Welch - Barn Gardener • Calleigh Jo Welch Granddaughter and future wedding planner • Marsha (Grammy) - Barn Crew Member • Freida & James - Barn Crew Member and old tractor specialist • Dillon - Barn Crew Member, Landscape & Bonfire Specialist • Addy - Barn Crew, Bar Tender, Barn Photographer Imagine a day on the farm, celebrating a special occasion with your family and friends! You'll see horses, cows, and acres of blueberry fields. Some families have even brought their own animals to be part of the celebration. Your family and bridal party will have access to the farm and barn for the entire day, and then the Wishing Well Barn team provides you with six hours of service for your event. Different packages are designed to meet every event need and budget. Discounts are available for weekday and Friday/Sunday events, first responders and military couples, with ID.

Design Your Dream Celebration Once you’ve decided Wishing Well Barn is the perfect venue for your event, you will meet with your personal wedding designer/ coordinator to design and create the wedding of your dreams! This service includes an unlimited number of planning sessions. Wishing Well Barn offers: • Tables - Farm style rectangular or round • Bridal Bunkhouse and Groom's Tack Room - Full access for the full day of your event! • Wedding Crew - World class service with a minimum of five barn crew members or more, based on event’s size; parking and bonfire attendants; catering staff and bartenders • Wishing Well Barn Decorations - Package gives you full access to a huge variety of colors and styles of decorations. We create the wedding and event of your dreams through a Pinterest collaboration that enables a custom event limited only by your imagination. We give you a fully decorated ceremony and a fully decorated reception. • White Garden Wedding Chairs Provided for your ceremony, at the location of your choice on the farm, and a different set of the same chairs for your reception in or around the barn. • Set Up and Clean Up Service Let us do the work! Our design crew sets up the wedding of your dreams and then the staff provides world class service for the entire evening. Let your family enjoy your best day ever!

Ivory round linens for your tables with wide variety of table runners in burlap, satin, lace and other colors and fabrics. • China and Glassware • Additional Decorated Areas • Tractors or Horses • Hay Rides • Bonfire - Sit around a fire, just like yesteryear’s Florida Cowboys. Wood is provided; you bring the s'mores! • Bartender – Serves beverages of your choice; required if you wish to serve alcohol Rave Reviews Talk about 5-star ratings and rave reviews. Take a moment to read a few of these posted online. “The Wishing Well Barn was an absolutely fantastic venue! Michelle and her crew are amazing! They were professional, the decor was...” “I can’t say enough great things about this venue and the beautiful woman in charge of it…” “There are not enough good things I can say about Michelle and her staff at Wishing Well Barn. I could not have dreamt of a better...” Jenn Payne wrote on September 5, 2017 to say: “My wedding yesterday was absolutely gorgeous— exactly what I wanted. The Wishing Well Barn and staff were amazing and there when I needed them… They made everything so easy and less stressful…staff was phenomenal...thankful for everything you did for me yesterday and making our 8-year anniversary together turn into the best day of my life as Mr. & Mrs.”

Ashley Meghan Kaiser Dean praised online (9-17-17), too: “Not just a wedding venue! I had my Baby Shower [here] and it was amazing! They truly let you make your event your own and go above and beyond to accommodate you. I had a petting zoo, caricature artists, henna artists, a photo booth, Knockerball, an open bar, and an on-site BBQ catering company. If you want a venue where you can truly have everything you want done by the vendors you choose, this is the perfect place. The owners and all of the staff were so friendly and helpful for the entire night. What sets them apart is that so much is already included in their packages...I will definitely be having more events here in the future…” Schedule Now “Our guests become family to us,” Michelle said. “They leave part of their lives here in our memories. And it’s amazing how many of them pay it forward by donating some items left from their celebration so the next event’s folks can use it. It’s been an incredible journey! Due to the popularity of the Wishing Well Barn, it’s never too early to begin planning your event. Please contact Michelle at Wishing Well Barn for availability and pricing at 813-478-6554 or at wishingwellbarn@gmail.com. Be sure to visit the wonderful website to see photos and gather more information.

Deluxe Package Additions All-inclusive package includes photography, catering, cake, DJ, Officiant, Round or Rectangular tables, china, glassware, as well as everything included in the Wishes Come True Package. • Table Linens and Runners White, ivory, beige or royal blue rectangular linens or white and

4302 Pippin Road | Plant City, FL 33567 | 813) 478-6554 | wishingwellbarn.com | email: wishingwellbarn@gmail.com PAGE

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REAL ESTATE

USDA Construction Loan Has No-Down-Payment Option BY NATE DAVIS, FLORIDA MORTAGE FIRM

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he USDA construction loan not only allows home buyers to build a home with no down payment, but it also offers an all-in-one financing option for construction, buying land and the funding of a "permanent" mortgage with one closing. Often, home buyers will get a construction loan, then refinance out of the higher interest rate on that loan after the home has been built. This can be costly since the borrower will have to pay for two closings. However, the USDA construction-to-permanent loan is a more affordable option to that. Because the permanent loan is closed before construction begins, a home buyer will not need to get

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qualified again for a mortgage - no more credit scores pulled, no more appraisal purchases, and more. Altogether, this simplifies the entire construction and purchase process. Here are some other perks of the USDA one-time-close mortgage: • You don't have to own your land, • You may buy land and include the cost in your financing, • You may have land gifted to you by a family member, • If you're financing land, have the balance included in the new loan, • Include the closing costs in your financing (depending on how you want to structure the loan). This program may be used for modular and manufactured homes, too.

There are income and property eligibility limits to the USDA program, so if you have any

questions, call my team at Florida Mortgage Firm at 813-707-6200.

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


DocuSign Envelope ID: E68BD6C8-39AB-49A8-A1AF-A72F21AA4138

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Park Place 813-704-5924

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home YOUR DREAM!! We offer a wide selection of paint, cabinets, flooring, granite counters & REAL BRICK. Call it “ HOME” for your budget with many many energy savings items such as TANKLESS natural gas water heater & foam filled block walls INCLUDED.

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an ADDITIONAL detached workshop/garage!

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A lifestyle you love, a home you love more! The Lakes and the Oaks at CountryWood have stunning new homes for sale! If golfing lakeside peaks your interest, the age-qualified community of The Lakes is for you! Interested in a family-friendly community? The Oaks all age community has it!

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Beautiful new homes have arrived! Homes starting in the $70s Community Features Planned Activities Outdoor Recreation Pet-Friendly Clubhouses RV Storage

Call Today to Schedule a Tour! (813) 703-2666 CountryWood Estates, 745 Arbor Estates Way, Plant City, FL 33565 Must meet residency requirements. Specifications, options, and layout vary by model and are subject to change without notice. Additional restrictions may apply, see sales associate for details. PAGE

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REAL ESTATE

Walden Lake Review

The September sales are as follows:

BY NATALIE SWEET

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he Walden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are the third Monday of each month at the Walden Lake Community Association office building on Griffin Boulevard in Walden Lake. The next meetings are scheduled for November 20th and December 18th 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. Don’t forget to put the Kids & Kanines Annual Howl-O-Ween Festival on your schedule. It will be held in the area of the Sports Complex and the Dog Park on October 21st from 1:00 to 4:00. There will be prizes for several categories of best costumes, lots of food, games, crafts and photos for all who attend.

This fun event is brought to you by the Homeowners Association Board of Directors and Staff. During the month of September, there were 7 sales in Walden Lake and 1 sale in Walden Lake East. The average sale price of those homes was $293,986, with an average of 38 days on the market. There are currently 27 active listings for sale in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East with an average list price of $326,827 and an average of 76 days on the market. Two of the homes are in Polo Place and if you eliminate those 2 listings, the average list price would be $277,573. There are 11 properties Pending Contract with an average list price of $244,406 and average of 54 days on the market. The market continues to remain

Address

Sales Price

Living Area

Pool

Garage

210 Preservation Drive

$190,000

1549

Community

2 Car

820 Sandalwood Drive

$215,000

1874

Yes

2 Car

2904 Sutton Oaks Court

$272,000

2248

No

2 Car

1720 Brookstone Way

$279,999

2055

Yes

2 Car

2104 N Golfview Drive

$306,000

2523

Yes

2 Car

2305 Gatewood Street

$324,900

3408

Yes

2 Car

3222 Alcott Avenue

$325,000

2315

Yes

3 Car

2410 Clubhouse Drive

$335,000

2850

Yes

3 Car

strong for homes that are priced well and in good condition. The low interest rates are still out there, making this still an affordable time to purchase. We are, however, seeing a little tick up of days on market, especially on homes where the original list price was above true market value. The United Food Bank is very

much in need of non-perishable especially with the holidays coming up. Our HOA office is a drop off spot for non-perishables or you can contact the food bank directly. Please consider donating to this organization. You may contact me about this article at 813-758-9586 or nsweet@ kw.com.

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Natalie Sweet, REALTOR Angel Miller, REALTOR

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www.AnotherSweetSale.com

We can help you find your NEW home! 1607 S. Alexander St., Plant City, FL 33563


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SPORTS

Athlete of the Month Nick Strickler BY TARYN STORTER

In his golfing career, Plant City High School freshman Nick Strickler has received many awards. His favorite was being named Player of the Year on the Florida Junior Golf Tour, two years in a row!

N

icholas Strickler, son of Kevin and Vicki Strickler, is an amazing young man who is making a lot of noise in the golf world. As a freshman at Plant City High School, he is already the number one player on the team. Throughout his childhood, Nick participated in soccer, basketball, football, and baseball. He loved playing sports, but when he played his first round of golf, he realized he had found his passion. At the age of 11, Nick began to play golf competitively. This unique sport requires technique and patience and Nick has mastered these at such a young age, something many athletes don’t accomplish until they are much older. “I like the challenge,” explained Nick, when asked what he loved about the sport. He believes each

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day is different and provides special opportunities to improve his skills. Recently, Nick played his best round ever! In a match against Strawberry Crest High School, he shot two under par, an amazing score, especially for a high school student. In his golfing career, Nick has received many awards. His favorite was being named Player of the Year on the Florida Junior Golf Tour, two years in a row! Nick has also been the captain on many of the teams for which he has played. He finds his inspiration in other golfers and loves watching the Professional Golfers Association Tour players on television. One day he hopes to play against them. He enjoys seeing his hero play, who is Rickie Fowler. Ten years ago, at age 18, Fowler was ranked number one in the amateur golf world for

37 weeks. Nick hopes to follow in Rickie Fowler’s footsteps to be one of the best golfers of his day. When he isn’t playing golf or going to school, Nick loves to fish. He participates in tournaments and competitions all over Florida. He is involved with the fishing club at Plant City High School and enjoys fishing with his buddies Max Ness, Jackson Knotts, Ryan Robinson, and Brent Fearnow. As to advice he would offer younger athletes, Nick suggested, “Practice hard, but practice correctly.” This is so important to keep in mind, not only in golf, but

any sport. Practicing correctly is essential to an athlete’s training. In the future, Nick hopes to continue to play golf and improve his skills. He wants to make it to the High School State Golf tournament each year and represent Plant City High School. He also would like to play golf in college at the University of Florida. After college graduation, Nick wants to become a professional golfer and then, a golf instructor. Plant City, keep watching Nick Strickler. This talented athlete is going to do great things in the golf world.

Nick started playing golf at a young age and competed in his first tournament at age 11.

Nick’s other passion is fishing!


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SPORTS

Sports Team of the Month SCHS Swim Wins Western Conference Titles BY TARYN STORTER

Strawberry Crest High School Boys Swim Team won the Western Conference title for the second year in a row.

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he Strawberry Crest Varsity Swim team is making some huge waves in the realm of swimming. They are undefeated and are looking forward to finishing the season strong. This year is the first time ever that the girl’s swim team is undefeated, while this is the boy’s third consecutive winning season. The coaches are Paul Bonanno (Boys) and Amanda Linton (Girls). The season began In August with tryouts from August 9-11 and the first meet against Plant City High School on August 22. To try out for the team, members didn’t need much prior experience. The coaches just want the swimmers to know how to swim all four strokes. They believe it is all about the kids. They both love to teach and train the students to ensure they are the best swimmer they can be.

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Winning the Western Conference title was the most memorable experience this year. This was the girls’ first victory and the second title in a row for the boys. Coaches Bonanno and Linton have high expectations for the team, and look forward to this season’s end, but also to the next season. They push the swimmers to do their very best and believe students can never stop improving. Their goal for right now, however, is to win districts. They know winning districts is very difficult, especially without a full dive team. But they believe that swimming is just as much an individual sport as a team sport. Their desire is for as many swimmers as possible to go on to the state championships. Their last meet is very special to the hearts of the coaches, as well as the swimmers. At their “pink

out” event, they honor the victims and fighters of breast cancer by wearing special pink swim caps and other “gear.” Many people have connections to friends or family who are fighting, or have fought the battle against cancer. This unique opportunity allows for many to participate. Strawberry Crest High School has 41 swimmers this season. Team members include: Selena Ortega (Team Manager), Zane Richardson, Daniel Teske, Brad Ye, Kasen Van Fossen, Ethan Sparkman, Ryan Karczewski, Zane Floyd, Rob Haywood, Bryce McCool, Drew Hayward, Nicolas LegeretHarris, Shelby Kelly, Ayden Kelly, JP Prescott, Zach Baker, Dakota Cappel, Johnny Torres, Ali Sarosh, Alexander Lipson, Abdiel Rosario, Braden Raburn, Reese Dixon, Carson Haywood, Celismar Guzman,

Danielle Dwyer, Emily McDonald, Rebekah Clark, Layne Pullen, Melanie Flott, Emily Scimeca, Megan Hobbs, Kaitlyn Caputo, Ashley Piccillo, Anna Ress, Brianna Biscoff, Priscella Shreve, Alexandra Haasser, Indira Alur, Alanna Gallastegui, Katherine Kanyayev, Amanda Ravins, Callie McCool, and Adrienne Flott (Diver). When the coaches explained who the MVPs of the season were, they said, “Two of the team captains; Celismar Guzman for the girls and Zane Richardson for the boys. They’re such versatile swimmers, and are willing to go above and beyond for their team.” Laughingly, Paul Bonanno added, “I swear, they’re part dolphin.”


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EXTRA

Veterans Memorial Park Featuring a temporary Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall exhibit

BY BARBARA ROUTEN | PHOTOS BY BARBARA ROUTEN AND BRYAN O’REILLY

Visitors take a closer look at the World War I monument at the Veterans Memorial Park.

The late Lt. Col. James Michael "Tornado White" Basta and Chief Warrant Officer James G. "Diamond Jim" Hodgskin are remembered on this Vietnam-era Cobra helicopter at the Veterans Memorial Park.

I

f you have not yet visited the Veterans Memorial Park and Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr. Museum, this is a good month to see this popular destination. The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, a three-fifths-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be displayed there Oct. 26 through 29, with an opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Oct. 26. Admission is free. The names of more than 58,000 United States military veterans killed in the Vietnam warzone are engraved on the six-foot-tall, nearly 300-foot-long, powdercoated aluminum wall. Etched three-dimensional pictures of the Three Servicemen Statue, Vietnam Women’s Memorial and In Memory Plaque also will be displayed. Books will be available to help people find their loved ones’ names on the wall. The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, part of the nonprofit Vietnam and All Veterans of Brevard, is managed by Navy Veteran Doc Russo.

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“I have a cousin on the wall and feel it is an honor for me to make sure he—as well as the over 58,000 others—are not forgotten,” said Russo. For visitors of any age, park monuments are stirring reminders of historic and current events and the Hillsborough County and other Floridians who served in the U.S. military. The memorials reflect the ultimate sacrifice made by personnel in Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea and Vietnam, the SpanishAmerican War, World War I, as well as POW-MIAs and recipients of the Purple Heart and Medal of Honor. Ceremonies throughout the year honor veterans and those currently serving and commemorate memorial dedications, patriotic holidays and other momentous occasions. On Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day, the World War II memorial will be dedicated. Details are available from Hillsborough County Consumer & Veterans Services, (813) 246-3170.

Even this U.S. M3A1 light tank, used in World War II, receives a holiday remembrance wreath during December at the Veterans Memorial Park.

An 8,000-square-foot Veterans Resource Center, home of Hillsborough County’s Consumer & Veterans Services, is being built on the Veterans Memorial Park grounds. Hillsborough County has more veterans than any other Florida county--98,307 (not including thousands of active-duty residents) -- according to the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (Sept. 30, 2016).

Veterans Memorial Park and Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr. Museum 3602 U.S. Hwy. 301 N., Tampa Daily hours Park: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day Admission: free Phone: (813) 246-3170 veteransparkhc.com


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EXTRA

Candy’s Corner BY CANDY OWENS

It’s almost Halloween, when ghosts and goblins scream. They fly about and moan and shout. It’s really quite a scene. They come into your home and all around they roam, They pass through doors and walls and floors. They love when you’re alone. Spooks and spirits are gathering, “Trick or Treat” down the street, but beware it’s Halloween. Just remember…if you go outside there is no where you can hide.

O

h, how I love October and the changes the Fall months bring about: crisp, cool air; leaves turning beautiful shades of orange, yellow, and brown; the smell of wood burning in the fireplace; pets growing their heavy winter coats; the sound of the wind blowing through the trees; the aroma of soups and stews cooking on the stove; and the taste of cinnamon apples, gingerbread cookies, or fresh-baked bread right out of the oven. Of all the wonderful things that Fall months bring, I think I love Halloween most. As a kid back in the 1960s, I had several very important events listed on the October calendar, like the Jackson Elementary School Halloween Carnival, picking the perfect Halloween costume, watching all the scary movies on Shock Theatre, and the most important of all -going Trick or Treating. Back in 1968 when I was a Jackson Elementary first grader, our school put on the first Halloween carnival I had ever attended, and what a big production it was. Each class drew a slip of paper from a shoebox that told what the classroom was responsible for at that year’s carnival. Back in those days, there was student,

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teacher, and parent participation. If a classroom needed a booth for the carnival, then the parents built a booth. If there were goodies to be baked, or food to be prepared, or tickets to be sold, then the parents got together to bake, prepare, and sell. When it was time to clean up, then the parents cleaned. The Jackson Halloween Carnivals were the best. I can remember how one year my classroom drew the “Sweet and Sour” shop. The mothers got together and filled that booth with cakes, cookies, pies, candies, sour pickles on a stick, and all sorts of confections. My favorite was a “lemon stick” which was half of a lemon with a soft peppermint stick stuck in the middle. When you sucked on the peppermint stick the juice of the lemon would travel up through the pores of the stick and into your mouth. How cool was that? My sister, Karen, was two grades ahead of me at Jackson, which meant my parents had two carnival booths to work on. One year, Karen’s class drew the Hamburger booth and my father, along with Mr. Jack Camp, built that from the ground up. What they did not know was that they would also be the ones flipping the burgers that night. I know many parents helped make the carnival a success from year to year and a few of the names I remember include: Jack and Joyce Camp, Herb and Gay Powell, Mrs. June Tucker, Mrs. Deen Douglas, Mrs. Shirley Baxter, Mrs. Jean Weaver, and Vern and Betty Sue Cliburn Wiggins. Mr. and Mrs. Wiggins would be at the school grounds every year on the morning of the carnival with their two sons, Joey and Kenny, to build whatever needed to be built, paint whatever needed to be painted, or to help in whatever way they could to get our carnival up and running. They were always willing to jump right in and get the job done. They were what I call “good salt of the earth” people. Some of the booths I remember included the duck pond, where you chose a plastic duck floating in an old metal wash tub with a number written on its belly to alert the person in charge which prize you had won. At the fishing booth we were given an old cane pole with a basket tied to the end of the line. The adult would

hand your basket over a painted wall and another behind the wall would put a prize in your basket and knock when it was time to pull your basket back over the wall. There was the popcorn booth, the cotton candy booth, the cold drink booth, the clown’s mouth beanbag toss, the booth where you threw a softball at wooden milk bottles to knock them over, the dunk the clown booth, and the haunted house. One year my classroom drew the haunted house and my mother got to play the witch. I remember how the parents made a tunnel for the kids to crawl through, made from an old refrigerator box with moss hanging from the top. Three empty Kleenex boxes painted black were filled with boiled spaghetti strings, drained fruit cocktail, and plastic fishing worms. We were told to put our hands in the boxes and feel the brains, guts, and eyeballs. I remember kids gasping in fear. I remember how my mother, dressed in a witch’s costume, stood over an old black cast iron pot with an old wooden stick, chanting, “I’m stirring and stirring my brew!” That old black pot was filled with green Kool-aid which she handed out to each child as they exited the haunted house. I remember a few years later when Mr. Vern Wiggins brought what we were told was a real mummy to our school to put in the haunted house. The kids waited in long lines as Mr. Wiggins took small groups by candlelight to view the mummy. Boy, that scarred us to death. The school also had a beauty contest with only male contestants. I remember how the kids and adults laughed as the men paraded across the stage one at a time dressed in wigs, costumes, and gowns. Some men danced and some sang and it was hilarious. I think Mr. Vern Wiggins won the crown after he appeared in a pink evening gown, complete with gloves and a hoop skirt. There was also a costume contest for the students. Each child lined up according to their grade and walked across the stage, one at a time, hoping to win the prize. Back in those days kids dressed up like ghosts, witches, clowns, gypsies, hippies, cowboys, Indians, doctors, nurses, astronauts, school teachers, space creatures, and monsters, to name a few. The fifth graders were responsible for the chicken and rice supper, held the night of the carnival in the school lunchroom. The mothers got together and baked chicken and rice in those great big ovens and the lunchroom ladies came in and baked those delicious yeast rolls to

go along with the dinner. Sides included green beans, cakes and pies, and iced tea. Needless to say it was always “Sold Out.” Halloween also meant scary movies on TV — Shock Theatre that was. On Friday nights at midnight on WTVTChannel 13, you would see Andy Hardy and Manuel Beiro owner of Tampa’s famous Valencia Garden restaurant sitting around a table of Cuban delicacies. They would hold up a glass of wine and say: “Salude and Happy Day!” and then the movie would start. Some of my favorite scary movies from that time were the Vincent Price Classics: The House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler, and The Raven. I also loved Night of the Living Dead, Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolfman, and Frankenstein. Those movies would scare the tar out of me. But there is one movie you just cannot have Halloween without and that is “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Although not scary, it’s definitely a classic. By the time Halloween arrived, my friends and I were so excited we could hardly sit still in school. I remember how I would gobble down my supper so I could go get dressed in my costume. I would pace back and forth waiting for my best friend, JeanAnn Weaver, along with her little brother, Curt, and her mother, who would come ring our doorbell at dark to go Trick or Treating. My sister and I would just squeal with excitement. We would run up to each house and ring the doorbell and say “Trick or Treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!” and we always said “Thank You.” When our bags were full and it was time to go home, we would run in our house and dump our bags of candy out on the floor. There would be Dum-Dum suckers, Double Bubble and/ or Bazooka bubblegum, MaryJanes, Jolly Ranchers, red hot fireballs, Lifesavers, candy corn, Hershey bars, popcorn balls, Red Hots, and peppermint sticks. What an exciting time we had. It has been almost 45 years now since I last attended a Jackson School Halloween Carnival. Mr. Camp, Mr. Wiggins, and my dad are gone now, but I will never forget what they, along with our mothers and all the other parents, did and all of the hours that they put in to make our carnivals a success. They made those efforts for us because they loved us and wanted us to be happy and have life-long happy memories. And for that I will be forever grateful.


EXTRA

Wanda’s

Words of Wisdom BY WANDA “LEWIS” ANDERSON

L

et’s talk about milk... Let’s look at some uses for milk/powdered milk. Did you know milk can help with a sunburn? Just add a little water to powdered milk to make a thick paste and then add a pinch of salt. Mix well and apply to the sunburn to cool and sooth your skin. This same mixture is great on bug bites. The enzymes in milk stops the swelling and the moisturizing qualities in milk relieve the itch. I normally don’t wear garden gloves when I work in my garden or flower beds and by the end of the day my hands can look pretty rough. A great tip for cleaning and softening your hands is to clean them with powdered milk and oatmeal. Just make a paste and add oatmeal, your hands will thank you! Milk is a great moisturizer for dry skin. Try washing your face with a cloth dipped in cold milk, let air dry then shower. Milk can put a nice shine on any kind of leather, shoes, boots, purses, belts. Simply apply a little milk to the item, let dry and then buff well.

If you enjoy sparkling wine, I have a great tip for keeping it bubbly. Add a raisin when it starts to go flat. The concentrated sugar in the raisin will help bring back the bubbly to the wine again. You should always have an ice pack handy in your freezer. Here’s a great tip for making your own. Take new sponge, place in water to allow the sponge to be absorb the water. Put the sponge in a freezer bag and place in freezer. I wanted to extend a special thank you this month for those who helped me during and after the hurricane. My neighbor Susan Camacho and her daughter Sophia loaded up a wagon with hot coffee and went door to door offering all the neighbors’ hot coffee. What a blessing that was when so many of us were looking for some kind of normalcy. A very special “thank you” to Kirk, Leigh Ann, Dean, Tom, Josh, Javier and Joe. It was greatly appreciated! Until next time relax, enjoy and be thankful… PAGE

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EXTRA

Caroline Brummer Senior of the Month BY MACKENZIE STEELE

S

eptember’s Senior of the Month is a Plant City girl through and through. From being a member of our town’s Strawberry Festival Queen’s Court to serving as the Varsity Cheer Captain at Plant City High School, Caroline Brummer is one of the most involved young people in the Plant City community. At school, students of all grade levels know Caroline Brummer. The involved scholar is a member of the National Honor Society, Interact Girls Service Club, the National FFA Organization, Youth Alive, and serves as the single captain of the Varsity Cheer Squad. Caroline’s involvement has won her many awards and honors, including her rank as number 3 in the graduating class of 2018, the AP Scholar Award, 2nd place in the U.S. Southeast Region Optimist International Oratorical World Championships speech contest, and a Congressional

Classroom delegate for Florida’s 15th Congressional District. In addition to Caroline’s busy schedule with her academics and extracurricular activities, she still finds time to give back to the Plant City and wider Tampa Bay communities. While Caroline serves countless hours through soup kitchens, cheer camps, and road cleanups, her most recent community service activity has become the talk of the town: Caroline will be debuting her newfound dancing talents in the local competition, Dancing with the Locals, that raises thousands of dollars for the Plant City Noon Rotary club. Partnering with sophomore Kyle Hamilton, Caroline will stun Plant City locals with her flair for the dramatic on November 7 to both entertain onlookers and compete against fellow Plant City natives to win the coveted Plant City version of the Mirrorball Trophy. Hopefully, Caroline will meet all the qualifications for this award as she so aptly did to become September’s Senior of the Month.

FAVORITES: Subject: Veterinary Assisting Artist: Kenny Chesney Restaurant: Krispy Kreme Movie: The Blindside TV Show: Riverdale Hobby: practicing for Dancing with the Locals with Kyle Hamilton Place to Hang Out in PC: the sideline of football games every Friday night cheering on the Raiders Quote: “Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons.”

About the Writer: Plant City High School senior MacKenzie Steele, 17, is an outstanding leader in the Plant City community. As President of the Plant City Sr. FFA Chapter and Vice President of PCHS’s Interact Girls Service Club, MacKenzie enjoys spending her time serving the community that raised her. In a very skilled balancing act, MacKenzie dedicates her time outside of community service working on her AP and Dual Enrollment classes, spending time with her church youth group, and playing Varsity Tennis for PCHS. After graduation, MacKenzie hopes to attend the University of Florida as a pre-med student, with dreams to become a pediatric oncologist in the future. PAGE

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Cody Cribbs

EXTRA

Senior of the Month BY RJ ROBINSON

B

enjamin Cody Cribbs has shown spectacular achievement in all aspects of his high school life. His leadership in athletics, volunteer work, and extra-curricular activities earn Cody the title of September’s Senior of the Month. In school, Cody is one of the brightest students in the senior class. His GPA of 5.188 secures him a spot in the top 10% of the class of 2018. Throughout his 4 years, Cody has always taken the initiative to take the top level AP, Honors, and Dual-Enrollment classes. His remarkable success in the classroom has made him a model student for his peers. Cody found great success in AP Physics his junior year, which inspired him to join the school’s Engineering Club. His drive and ambition led him to become this year’s President of the Engineering Club. He has also been involved in the Teenage Republicans Club, Interact Boys Service Club, Jr. Civitan Service Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Orange Crush Club, National Honors Society, and the school’s morning show, Raider Television. Cody’s character is also shown in the generous volunteer work

he participates in. In just September, he has been active in planning the 2017 Raider Color Run, fundraising for the football team, helping those affected by Hurricane Irma, and volunteering many hours at the South Florida Baptist Hospital. He also actively volunteers with Toys for Tots, Plant City Little League, Relay for Life, and the Florida Strawberry Festival. As well as academics, Cody has shown greatness on the football and baseball field. Making JV baseball and football in his Freshman year, Cody’s coaches quickly noticed his athletic worth. He was promoted to the Varsity team for each sport in the following years. Throughout high school, Cody has been an extremely valuable member of the football team. He has represented his team for two years in the Positive Coaching Alliance, as a September 2016 Observer Athlete of the Week, and is a two-time member of the Observer’s “Three to See”. His Junior year, Cody was promoted to captain of the team, and he has held that position for two years. He was also granted a Bridge Builder Award. Cody is one of Plant City High School’s greatest—it’s easy to see why he was chosen as September’s Senior of the Month.

FAVORITES: Subject: Physics Artist: Florida Georgia Line Restaurant: Olive Garden TV Show: Fast N’ Loud Hobby: Football and Baseball Place to Hang Out in Plant City: On the sideline next to his teammates at a home football game. Quote: “You never lose. You either win or you learn.” –Nelson Mandela

About the Writer: Plant City High School Senior Kyle (RJ) Robinson, 17, is a first-year writer for the Focus Magazine. RJ is the Varsity Swim Team Captain, President of various clubs at school such as the Teenage Republicans and the Interact Boys Service Club, and Editor-in-Chief of the school’s yearbook staff. When he finds free time between AP, Dual-Enrollment, and Virtual classes, he likes to play the guitar. He plans to attend the University of Florida to study Business Finance and Journalism. PAGE

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DINING

BBQ Sides

y d n a C n r o c A Fall KE EL ER DR AW DY RE CIP E BY LAYL A

Fun treats for the

whole family!

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DINING

Crossroads

Seafood and Steakhouse BY KELLI THARRINGTON

A flatiron steak tastes even more delicious when accompanied by orzo salad and asparagus.

The interior decor has changed to reflect the upscale menu options, too.

W

alking into Crossroads Seafood and Steakhouse I was not sure what to expect. What I found was a delightful surprise. Located in what used to be a barbecue restaurant, it is now an upscale steak and seafood restaurant with the hometown feel of hospitality. It will seem like you took a trip down I-4 to a fancy place in the big city, but it is right here in your neck of the woods. Perfect for your next date night, the tables are covered in black tablecloths with white paper, set for elegance. The wine glasses placed at each setting clue in the diner of the extensive wine list—over 20 choices. But, while wine can be important to a delicious meal, it goes without saying the food should stand alone. On the menu for this visit was the smoked fish dip. The use of simple ingredients, smoked and mixed in house, makes this fresh dip a delight

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for the senses. The homemade pita chips provide the perfect contrasting crispy texture, and the flavor is amped up when topped off with a pickled jalapeño slice. In one word, freaking delicious. Okay that’s two, but one word wouldn't cover it. Next up was the 8-ounce flatiron steak grilled to perfection. When asked to cut into the steak to be sure it was the right temperature, it was quickly surmised there was no need to send it back, though the staff would have been more than happy to accommodate that request. And while the steak was delicious, the sides were equally so. Orzo salad was a new taste sensation for me that did not disappoint. It was a delicious creamy mixture with chopped tomatoes and scallions, and can be served hot or cold. The dish I had was served cold, but I can tell you I am planning on trying it hot on my next visit to Crossroads. Asparagus completed the elegant culinary adventure. It was grilled, not

House made smoked fish dip with homemade pita chips and jalapeno slices is a taste-tantalizing start to a great meal.

tough and oh so good. I have to say though that the best part of this meal was the price. The entire presentation, prepared with care and skill was under $30. You will find all of the prices to be reasonable at Crossroads. Appetizers are all under $11, including crab cakes, steak skewers and mussels. All fish dishes are under $17, including crab stuffed flounder topped with a house-made bechamel sauce (that’s French ya’ll). Upscale dining but not upscale prices. Next up for me will be the All You Can Eat crab legs that they offer every Sunday from 11 am to 7pm. Looking for a venue for a wedding or party? They have that too! UM catering offers the beautiful

Blake Hall, which is 8,000 square feet of air conditioned space, for celebrations. If you're looking for something a little less formal, the Pavilion at Blake Hall will fit the bill. There is even a five-acre field available for corporate picnics and events. So, the next time you are in the mood for great seafood or a buttery steak, save your time, gas, and road rage, and keep it local. Crossroads Seafood and Steakhouse has it all.

Crossroads Seafood and Steakhouse 106 State Rd 60 East Plant City, FL 33567 813-756-5699 www.crossroadsplantcity.com


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can’t miss

events

102 N. Palmer St., Plant City, FL 33563 Info: Dodie White 813-927-0595 • Halloween Trunk or Treat 5 – 8 PM Family Fun, Food, and Candy St. Peter’s Episcopal Church 302 N. Carey Street

Friday, October 20 & 27 Saturday, October 21 & 28 Sunday October 22 & 29

• Fall Fest 6 – 9 PM Bungee jumping, bounce house, obstacle course, games, food and more! Countryside Baptist Church 13422 Sydney Rd. Dover, FL Info: 813) 571-8200

40TH ANNUAL PIONEER HERITAGE DAY

• 500th Anniversary of Protestant Reformation Service 3:30 - 5:00 PM Special commemorative worship service for 500th Anniversary of Luther's nailing the 95 Theses to the church doors in Wittenburg, Germany, which began the Reformation movement. Music, worship and German-style meal Hope Lutheran Church 2001 N. Park Rd., Plant City Info: Rev. Dean Pfeffer, Sr. Pastor 813-752-4622 Hopeplantcity.com

SIR HENRY’S HAUNTED TRAIL AND OMINOUS DESCENT

7:30 – 11:00 PM Because of Hurricane Irma’s damage to the Ominous Descent attraction in Bartow, Sir Henry’s offered space adjacent to their own Haunted Trail. With $30 Triple Haunt Combo ticket, guests will experience Sir Henry’s two trails AND the Ominous Descent’s “Slaughterhouse of Torture – Wrong Path” (Preview videos at Ominousdescent.com) Not recommended for children under 12; wear closed toed shoes Ticket Info: sirhenryshauntedtrail $12 individual trail; Packages = $20, $25, or $30

Saturday, November 11

The 1914 PCHS Community Center 605 N. Collins St., Plant City 9 AM – 3 PM The East Hillsborough Historical Society presents food/craft vendors, pioneer exhibits; historic quilts display & used genealogy books for sale; Live entertainment, bounce-houses, hay rides & face painting. Visit the 1914 PCHSCC Pioneer Heritage Museums, the Henry B. Plant Railroad Historical Society’s model train layout, museum exhibits, heritage demonstrations, clogging/dancing/singing; Turkey Creek HS Alumni will share their school’s history archives collection. EHAG artist demonstrations in The Classroom Gallery. Quintilla Geer Bruton Archives Center Bake Sale; Plant City Garden Club’ juried flower show Descendants of pioneering families who have lived in Eastern Hillsborough County for 100+ years are eligible to receive a Pioneer Certificate (Applications available in the Archives Center or email qcenter@tampabay.rr.com) Info: Shelby Bender 813-757-9226; 813-716-1456 cell https://www.ehhsoc.org

OCTOBER 18 WEDNESDAY • Job Fair 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM HCC Plant City Campus Trinkle Center 1206 N. Park Rd. Info: Emily Shover www.hccfl.edu/ssem/careers.aspx

19 THURSDAY • GFWC Woman's Club BBQ Fundraiser 12:00 Noon - 7:00 PM Train Depot 102 N. Palmer St., Plant City Info: Patricia Tillman 813-752-4871 • Chamber Business After Hours 5:15 - 7:00 PM G Five Feed & Outdoor PAGE

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4960 US Hwy. 92 W., Plant City Info: 813-754-5405

21 SATURDAY • Craft Open House 9 AM – 3 PM Features items knit, crocheted, quilted, sewn, and of wood &/or glass. 908 N Knight St (off Calhoun by the dog park) Info: Rebecca Phillips 813-758-2277 • Strawberry Classic Cruise-In 3 – 8 PM Family fun in McCall Park, tasty food, shopping Featured in October: Chevys and VWs Union Station Depot 102 N. Palmer St. Info: 813-754-3707

28 SATURDAY • Arts Council Chili Cookoff 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM Robert W. Willaford Train Museum

29 SUNDAY

NOVEMBER 4 SATURDAY • PCHS 5K Color Run 7:30 AM Registration; Begins at 9 AM Proceeds benefit Class of 2018 Open to all; stroller friendly Untimed fun run course is around PCHS on both grass & hard surfaces. "Holi Powder" stations will dust runners w/colored powder along the route. H20 stations & finish line snacks provided. Small packets of colored powder available for $2. Cost: $25 and $40 Plant City High School 1 Raider Place • Bark in the Park 4 - 9 PM Vendors, Food, Music, Contests, Exhibits Info: Karen Thompson, Historic Plant City Main Street 813-210-9236 • The Florida Opry 6 PM – 9 PM Entertainment by Gator Creek Band and Jonathan Davis Randy Scott, emcee, will open the show with some favorites 1914 Plant City High School Community Center 605 N. Collins St., Plant City Info: Shelby Bender 813-757-9226; 813-7161456 cell www.ehhsoc.org/the-florida-opry.html

9 THURSDAY • Chamber’s Networking Lunch 11:30 AM - 1 PM Lunch Sponsor: South Florida Baptist Hospital Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds 303 Lemon St. Plant City Info: 813-754-3707

10 FRIDAY • Dancing with the Locals 6:30 PM Sponsored by Rotary Trinkle Center 1206 Cherry St., Plant City Info: Jodi Stevens 813-716-0908

11 SATURDAY VETERANS DAY • 32nd Annual Veteran's Day Program 10 AM Hosted by Hopewell Funeral Home Veteran's Memorial Park 703 N. Wheeler St., Plant City Info: Marsha Passmore • Plant City Garden Club Annual Flower Show 9 AM - 3 PM Theme: "Victory of the Grand Alliance" Plant City 1914 High School Community Center 605 N. Collins St. Info: Bess Treadwell 813-732-9025 plantcitygardenclub.org • 7th Annual Empty Bowls Project 10 AM - 1:30 PM Website: http://www.ufbpc.org Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum 102 N. Palmer St., Plant City Benefits: United Food Bank of PC 813=764-0625 Cost: $5 until 10-31; $10 Nov. 1-11 • Dick Grant Concert From Bach to Broadway St. Peter's Episcopal Church 302 N. Carey St., Plant City $75 ticket includes dinner Info: Church Office 813-752-5061 http://www.stpeterspc.dioswfl.org/ • Veteran's Barbecue Under the Big Top 9 AM – 5 PM November 11 & 12 Polk County, home of 54,000+ veterans, invites all area veterans & active military personnel to two big days of live entertainment & a free BBQ feast International Market World Flea/Farmers Market 1052 US 92 West, Auburndale, FL Info: David Kiessling; 863-248-7537 david@centralfloridamediagroup.com http://veteransbarbecue.com/ Booth reservations: https://www.eventbrite. com/e/barbecue-under-the-big-topregistration-35828611341

12 SUNDAY • 23rd Annual Turkey Supper 11:30 AM - 5:00 PM Proceeds benefit local & worldwide missions Dine in or take out Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, corn, beans, slaw, roll, dessert and beverage Cost: $10/adults; $5/Children Hope Lutheran Church 2001 N. Park Rd., Plant City Info: 813-752-4622 or http://Hopeplantcity.com


14 TUESDAY

17 FRIDAY & 18 SATURDAY

• Tuesdays at the Archives Viewing: Ric Burns Documentary "The Pilgrims" 5:15 - 7:45 PM Plant City Photo Archives & History Center 106 S. Evers St., Plant City Info: Gil Gott 813.754.1578

• 15th Annual Suncoast Credit Union Plant City Pig Jam Friday 5PM – 10PM; Saturday 10AM – 5PM Fabulous food, rock climbing wall, moonwalks, vendors, & music Enter this Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) sanctioned competition Professional & amateur divisions Top 10 teams awarded prizes for: BBQ Ribs, BBQ Pork, Beef Brisket, & Chicken Free admission Randy Larson Four-Plex/Plant City Stadium 1401 Gordon Food Service Dr. Info: Sophia Hyde 813-754-3707 https://www.facebook.com/PigJam/

• Pregnancy Care Center Annual Fundraising Banquet 6 - 8 PM Semi-formal event celebrating 25 years of service to Plant City Guest speaker: Marc Newman Trinkle Center at HCC Campus Individual tickets $50 Info: Darlene Davis 517-442-8217; Sandi Nelson 813-759-0886 http://www.supportplantcitypregnancycenter.org

16 THURSDAY • Great American Teach-In Presenters encourage students with success stories & potential career opportunities Info: Alicia Price (Marshall MS) 813-478-2363 Alicia.price@sdhc.k12.fl.us

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GHOST STORIES Created by Calvin R. and Jackie Mathews

GHOST STORIES

T

he month of October should bring with it a freshness of cool air. As the weather changes, we should also look at our lives and allow ourselves to cool down. There are tensions that may arise coming from the outsiders. Everyone of us were given the ability to determine right from wrong. Before we open our mouths with harmful words or make harmful actions, please let cool heads prevail. If I treat you the way I want to be treated, I will treat you with respect and tolerance and most of all, with a cool head. As the old saying goes, ‘Get behind me Satan, and don’t push.” Let’s be what God created us to be, helpers one of another.

ACROSS 1. Put up with 5. Rosary parts 10. Clutch 14. Jesus’ language 17. Fancy 19. Tell the misdeeds of 21. Ghost’s deer? 22. Gets up on a soapbox 23. Drifting 25. Reasonable bedtime 26. __ voyage 27. Rounded roof 28. Temporary shelter 30. Formal wear item 31. Short life stories 32. Uranium or gold 33. Outscore 34. Shift positions 35. Exchange fee 38. “__ Land Is Your Land” 40. __ War (18991902) 41. Clavicles, e.g. 42. Explorer Hernando de __ 43. Just 44. Annual dance 45. Antler 46. Skill in dealing with people 47. Crawling bug 48. Distribute 52 49. Caps 52. __ for; craving 54. Eur. nation 55. Dazzling effect 57. __ Perón 58. Heavy 59. Sour 60. Calf meat 61. Prepare ale 62. Musical variety show 65. Caftan 66. “Buffalo __” 67. Fertile loam 68. Singer Billy 69. Oz visitor 70. Toad’s feature 71. Juan’s uncle 72. Pen name 73. Oval gem 74. Obsolete 75. Nature’s second most abundant element 79. Coast 81. Knowledge handed down 83. Punch line, sometimes 84. Gray wolf 85. Exceptions 86. Daring 87. In __; actually 88. Cut of meat 89. Sparkled

91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 107. 109. 111. 113. 114. 115. 116. 117. 118.

Exam answer Cheese source: abbr. Dog in “Beetle Bailey” Classic Oldsmobiles Speaker’s platform Uber alternative __ Bator Everybody Grease Wyo.’s neighbor May honoree Mid-6th-century date Winter Olympics event Handsome man Ghost’s floral arrangement? “Hunter in the Sky” Part of a door frame Jelly and jam Longings Seed covering Icelandic literary work

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Simplest of watercraft Lisbon’s ocean: abbr. Ghost’s carnation? Pretense M Nonstop Value highly Unsuspecting Tiger’s needs Anvil’s site Lovely, to a ghost? Ghost’s street? A.M. Dog on an old TV show Paper eater Mosquito bite result Smack Undergarment Barge Hurriedly __ up; confined Restore to health Dreadful French literary hero Gil Arden and others Cutters Actress Charlotte Wonderful, to a ghost? Gaelic speaker Carry Ghost’s soup? Teases __ Adams Ghost’s list of words? Capital city

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H E L L O

S R A S

E D I E

R I B S

G O A T

A S T A

V O C A B O O L A R Y I T C H

B E A R A C A R T E N

A R M A I I B O B O B I O O O F T A I R S F A T U E L T C A S I D U T S N E S D L A L O M I O N E N S

C O N S T H A I N T T T R O O T M E E B T R A I R D A L

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

S T E E S T E B E A O E R O M L B E C L V E A A L S R T D S P U F A C I S C B U O M O B L S A

Ghost Stories

L O O P

A M O R E

G R R A A F N T T B H O E A A T L L T I I L N T

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


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Lunch & Dinner Daily

Visit keelandcurleywinery.com for Our Full Menu & Hours 5210 Thonotosassa Rd. Plant City


~ Ron W., a patient of South Florida Baptist Hospital

The Care You Need, When You Need It.

Ron had always been healthy and active. But then he faced a life-threatening blood clot. Ron

chose South Florida Baptist Hospital for their advanced technology and the excellent care he

Our Specialties:

knew he’d receive. A member of the community since 1953, South Florida Baptist Hospital

n ER: Efficient medical treatment for minor or major emergencies and illnesses

was built on quality, compassionate care. You’ll find a highly skilled and experienced team that works to make patients and visitors as comfortable as possible during their hospital experience. When you’re treated at South Florida Baptist Hospital, you’ll feel at home, close to home — all your health care needs are covered, without ever leaving Plant City.

Choose South Florida Baptist Hospital. Let South Florida Baptist Hospital be your partner for getting you well and keeping you well. Fill out a health profile online at SouthFloridaBaptistCare.org and you’ll be sent a complimentary travel first aid kit.

n Surgery: Large operating rooms, high-tech equipment and spacious recovery rooms create a pleasant environment for patients n Heart: State-of-the-art heart and vascular center offering cardiac diagnostic services and procedures

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