ND ICKEN A BEST CH N COOKINâ€™ W O T HOME
Contents Table of
focusplantcity.com / Issue 17-01 / January 2018
36 With the help of great employees, the Davis Brothers, Aaron and Nate, operate businesses here in Plant City that impact the Central Florida real estate mortgage and title industry. Both credit their mother, Gail Calhoun, for entrepreneurial vision and training when they were young men. They also firmly believe that people make the difference in what life calls success. PAGE
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LOCAL Among others, this month’s local stories include two about pageant contestants, two overviews of Christmas happenings, two about upcoming must-see films and one about a must-read book by local authors.
When two men, led by God, decide to write a book, folks in their community and beyond can be blessed by it. The Blue House by Michael Simmons and Dr. Daniel MIddlebrooks is an amazing true story of survival, redemption, and forgiveness. Don’t miss this great read.
We’ve profiled two businesses this month! Learn something new about the family-owned-and-operated Bee Haven Honey Farm which distributes through numerous Plant City area farm and feed stores. And catch up on the latest offerings from Michael Wilson and his Dark Horse Music Store.
Smokin’ Aces BBQ continues its award-winning tradition of mouthwatering sandwiches, wings, ribs and entrees, as well as its catering capabilities. With Super Bowl just around the bend, you might want to consider taking a peek at the menu and sampling your choices before the big game.
From The Publisher Publisher Mike Floyd firstname.lastname@example.org Office Manager Candy Owens email@example.com Managing Editor Cheryl Johnston firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director Anthony Sassano email@example.com Distribution Tony DeVane Staff Writers Cheryl Johnston | Barbara Routen | Kelli Tharrington Katie Loudermilk | Sherrie Mueller | Anthony Bolesta Contributors Gil Gott | Jo-An Lusk | Nate Davis | Candy Owens Natalie Sweet | Wanda Anderson | Heather Davis | Layla Keeler Drawdy
Got a story idea? Looking to advertise in Focus? Contact us for more information. Floyd Publications, Inc. 702 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd.Plant City, FL 33563 Office 813.707.8783 Fax 813.764.0990 www.focusplantcity.com Standards of accuracy: The goal of the writers at FOCUS Magazine is to provide heart-warming stories that are accurate from the start. Being human, however, we sometimes make mistakes. Please forgive us. So if you notice anything that is incorrect, then please do not hesitate to contact the editorial department and inform it about the fact error. To do so, call (813) 707-8783 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The staff will fix the error in a timely manner.
irthdays are a great way to start the New Year.
And we’ve just learned that another Plant City legend will celebrate his on January 15. Thanks so much to Steve Paul of Home Protection Services for presenting the story idea of ninety-year-old Joe Pennington, who is the 126th inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. This country music singer, songwriter and guitarist has lived his dream of making music with many of the greats. In the Pennington’s home in the Cork area of town, Joe’s wife Frankie has created a man-cave/museum of sorts to honor her husband’s legacy. Once used as a recording studio, the space is filled with photos, news articles, instruments and other music-related memorabilia. “This is Joe’s life,” she explained. And in just one visit, you can feel the love and devotion displayed for each other, after almost 57 years of marriage. If this room could talk, a library of books couldn’t hold the stories. With age comes health issues and physical limitations, but those have not limited the Penningtons in their zest for life and their desire to honor God and help others. Prepare to be inspired as you read his story. We’re trusting the other stories in this month’s issue will also encourage and inspire you to move forward in 2018 with your plans and dreams to make this the best year yet. We’re dreaming big, too, and look forward to sharing your accomplishments. Keep us posted!
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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Plant City Commissioners presented a proclamation for the Unity thorough Caring and Service 2018 event at its January 8 meeting, recognizing the Improvement League of Plant City and CareFest for its efforts to complete community or residential projects for those who have applied to receive the volunteer help. Shown in center are Norm Blanton and Cleo Townsend, along with L-R, Commissioners Nate Kilton, Mike Sparkman, Mayor Rick Lott, Mary Mathis, and Bill Dodson.
Congratulations to Plant City High School senior and member of the 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s Court. serve as Grand Marshal for the Strawberry Youth Parade on Saturday, March 3. The varsity cheerleading team captain is also involved with FFA, the PCHS Interact Club, and the Positive Coaching Alliance. In her Dancing with the Locals bio, she wrote: “I loved the idea of giving back to the community and trying something I’ve never done before.” And so it is true for the Youth Parade.
DBMK performed in concert before a full crowd in The Loft at Krazy Kup on December 22. Band members (L-R) include Jacob Trunzo (who now resides in Nashville), Kyle Knudsen, Joshua Trunzo, and Colton Ward. Keep your eyes on this group for more successes on the horizon. PAGE
On December 22 a group of friends prepared 76 hot Chili & Rice meals and filled 50 bags with items for storm-displaced and homeless children. Shirley Chamberlain delivered them from the bed of her pick up truck. Generosity knows no limits in Plant City.
Found on Facebook: On January 7 a Facebook post from Judy Wise reported that friends of the military spent the day before preparing dinner and planning a fun evening for our National Guard deploying from Plant City Armory in April for Afghanistan. Kudos to the Plant City Elks Lodge for monetary and volunteer support.
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Teen Writer Accepts Great American Teach-in ChallengeTomlin Middle School Celebrates Diversity Alina Cyriac writes how Tomlin Middle School Celebrates Diversity BY ALINA CYRIAC PHOTOS COURTESY OF DONELLE CASSELMAN, TOMLIN MIDDLE SCHOOL YEARBOOK ADVISOR
Editor’s Note: When Cheryl Johnston visited Tomlin Middle School and Plant City High School, she challenged students who loved to write to submit a story. Congratulations to the very diligent Alina Cyriac for her first published story, which follows here!
specifically set aside to celebrate your heritage, Tomlin has club days once a month. With many options to choose from, such as – Tigers for Christ, Spanish dance etc. – everyone can get involved in activities they enjoy. Students can also create clubs centered on their interests. They simply need a teacher to serve as club sponsor. Another Tomlin student stated, “Since my ethnicity is mixed, I’ve always found it hard to find my identity, and I try to stay clear from labels of my race because I’m not completely one race. But being able to be surrounded with people with
somewhat the same situations helps being mixed feel a lot simpler.” Tomlin Middle School doesn’t limit students from reaching their full potential. Rather, the staff, administrators, and overall atmosphere of acceptance only helps students to move one step closer into their desired dreams and future occupations. Tomlin students also take pride in their school’s proximity to the main gate at the annual Florida Strawberry Festival. This single event attracts tourists from around the world to our hometown. A portion of the festival shares one of the fields Tomlin uses for its running track.
Students enjoy celebrating their diversity at Tomlin Middle School.
omlin Middle School, in the heart of Plant City, Florida, is the largest middle school in Hillsborough County. Its 1,524 students come from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Thanks to the encouragement of administrators and staff members, the atmosphere at Tomlin encourages every student’s ethnicity to be valued and respected. Two months of the school year are dedicated to celebrating heritage. These include the Hispanic heritage month from September 15 through October 15 and the African American history month in February. During both months, students learn the history and background of these cultures, as well as the main events leading up to how the month
received its name and what occurred during that time. Many students appreciate how the school takes part in celebrating, because it helps them to feel understood and offers them opportunities to express themselves in a way they couldn’t in regular classes. For example, in Spanish class, students are able to learn a different language and become educated about the Hispanic culture and the many festivities it enjoys. Students feel proud being able to show off their ethnic side and share their traditions. A fellow peer even said, “I never feel singled out because I know there are people at my school who understand me. I love how there is a place for everyone.” Even if there isn’t a month
Cultural celebrations often include cultural snacks - woohoo!! About the Writer: Tomlin Middle School eighth grader Alina Cyriac, a Michigan native whose parents were born in Kerla, India, loves to write, hang out with friends, and binge watch “Stranger Things.” Peers comment often on her big personality and sense of humor. Although uncertain of a future career at this point, Alina is simply enjoying life, one moment at a time.
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No Postage Necessary Opens Soon Filmed in Plant City
BY CHERYL JOHNSTON
It’s unique in that you only have one product to market at a time. Consequently, Indie film producers must be very frugal.” It’s important to note that community support makes all the difference in the world for a project’s success. Yvonne Fry and Jennifer Closshey shared statistics on the economic impact film production can make in a town like Plant City, which helped everyone understand why a state’s offering of incentives is actually an investment in the total economy. For example, for the five movies and 15 TV series produced in Florida in 2016 (the same year, “No Postage Necessary” filmed), over 29,000 jobs were created to affect $1.8 billion dollars in wages. With the filming of “No Postage Necessary,” 26 Hillsborough residents worked as cast and crew and 136 in Plant city served as extras. Ninety-eight Hillsborough County businesses were involved in the production and more than 7,500 meals were
purchased at local restaurants. Along with rooms at the Holiday Inn Express, rental cars, and policeassisted traffic control, more than $200,000 was poured into the local economy in a mere 19 days. “We are so grateful for how this community has embraced this project and rallied around us,” said Charleene. “Our cast of professionals like George Blagden, Robbie Kay, Stelio Savante, Michael Beach, and Raymond J. Barry were impressed as well. We just want to express our gratitude for Plant City’s support.” One way we can all help spread the word is through social media via @NoPostageFilm. When you comment and share the “No Postage Necessary” posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, be sure to use the hashtag #nopostagenecessary. And, be sure to sign up for updates at www. NoPostageFilm.com. Every little effort means more than you know.
First Chamber luncheon selfie of 2018 on January 11. Pilot Bank sponsored, SFBH Foundation provided the meal, and the filmmakers of No Postage Necessary presented. It was a great time!
he Plant City Chamber of Commerce was pleased to welcome nine new members at its monthly luncheon on January 11, 2018. And guests were also pleased to learn more about the soon-to-bereleased “No Postage Necessary,” an inspiring movie shot on 51,000 feet of 35mm film over a 19-day period in Plant City and Tampa. Mark your calendars now and plan a family outing to the film’s first showing on April 18 at the historic Tampa Theatre. Local support is critical to the film’s success. Tickets will go on sale February 1 locally in Plant City. The team of writer/director Jeremy Culver and actress/score composer Charleene Closshey shared updates on the much-
anticipated April screenings. Culver explained, “We like to make films focused on reconciliation and redemption. We loved being able to film most of this one in Plant City.” Executive producer Jennifer Closshey and her sister Yvonne Fry of Fryed Egg Productions assisted with additional information. Chamber members in attendance received a brief course in Filmmaking 101 which noted the differences between pre-production, production, and post-production. “Making a film is like starting a new business,” offered Charleene Closshey, the female lead. “You have to create a product, budget for its production, produce it, market it and hope ultimately it produces a profit so you can begin your next project.
The Plant City Chamber luncheon guests on January 11 heard updates on the soonto-be-released “No Postage Necessary” film from the team (shown L-R) of Yvonne Fry, Charleene Closshey, Jeremy Culver and Jennifer Closshey.
Hannah Holm Happy to Be Clogging
BY KATIE LOUDERMILK | PHOTO BY DEANNA HURLEY
o matter the age, it is never too early or late to discover one’s passion. Once one has found their love, it shapes them throughout life. Fourteen-year-old Hannah Holm started at age five on the road of her clogging journey. Along the way she has tried almost every dance genre, but fell in the love with the art of clogging. On December 9. 2017, Hannah competed in the Miss Southeastern Clogger competition in Hawkinsville, GA and won overall photogenic as well as her division. She gives credit for her overall photogenic award to Plant City photographer Deanna Hurley and credit for her pageant makeup to Amber Phillips. Hannah choreographed her own dance routines and prepared herself for the public speaking portion required with the competition. She built strong friendships with other girls who competed as well and they have stayed in contact, encouraging one another in their shared interest in clogging. Hannah stays busy with family and exercising her faith through the youth ministry at First Baptist Church of Plant City, which are her priorities before clogging. Going into the competition her mother, Kelsey Holm,
advised her daughter: “It’s not about winning the title, but what you do with it that counts.” Hannah has followed her mother’s advice to become very involved with the Plant City community. The teen volunteered backstage with Drawdy’s Dance School during Christmas Lane and showcased her winning solo at the dance school’s Christmas recital on December 23, 2017, held at Plant City High School. At the recital, it was announced that Hannah will be one of the volunteer clogging teachers for the studio’s beginning to intermediate students in the Spring term. The Tomlin Middle School eighth grader will also be working with the board of the Youth Parade for the Strawberry Festival. Pat Pogue, Youth Parade Board Chair, desires for Hannah to serve on the board once she enters high school. Hannah is accumulating volunteer hours for her potential of earning scholarships. Forever grateful for the love and support she has been given by her family and friends, Hannah is prepared to embrace the future. “Life is short, don’t sweat the small stuff,” she said. “Let your feet be happy whenever you get the chance. Dance like it is your job!” PAGE
Rockabilly Hall of Famer Turns 90 Joe Pennington Celebrates 90 Years of Music-Filled Life BY CHERYL JOHNSTON
appy 90th Birthday to Joe Pennington, a Plant City native and inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Traditional Country Hall of Fame. Joe Pennington was born on January 15, 1928 to handyman Gary W. Pennington and Mamie Delaney as the youngest of eight children, five of which died from childhood diseases. During his growing-up years, the family lived near the historic downtown. He still smiles when he’s reminded of his “strawberry school” days. Presently, he and Frankie, his wife of almost 57 years, live in a 119-year-old home on Cork Road. His beloved Frankie did a beautiful thing for her sweetheart when she converted their garage into a man-cave/music museum/ recording studio to display his career memorabilia. If the walls lined with autographed photos from big name entertainers who appreciated Joe’s work could talk, oh what stories they would tell. Their love and respect for each
other is evident. “This is his life in pictures, stories, and memories,” Frankie explained. “He’s had a good one and we like reminiscing together.” And Joe added, “We wouldn’t be able to remember it so well if it weren’t for Frankie putting everything in order.” After his mother taught her 10-year-old Joe to play guitar, by age 16 while living with his musically-talented sister Pearl, he had joined the Sons of the South in Norfolk, In 1946, Joe was hired by Hank Williams and The Drifting Cowboys. Hank called him “Little Joe Pennington,” but later Joe shortened that to an easier-to-remember “Joe Penny.” During the ‘50s, Joe played in other bands with many of country music’s greats, including Lefty Frizzell and Little Jimmy Dickens. Gene Martin recorded one of Joe’s songs, “Break It to Me Gently.” Joe formed several bands himself as well: The Penny Pinchers, Joe Penny & The Coppertones, and Little Joe Penny and the Wooden Nickels.
He continued writing music even after he began working in radio in 1954. That year, Jean Shepard recorded his “Don’t Fall in Love with a Married Man” for Capitol Records. In 1958, Joe’s band went to Syd Nathan’s King Records in Cincinnati, Ohio and recorded two originals for the company’s subsidiary label, Federal. Both songs, “Bip A Little Bop A Lot” and “Mercy Mercy Percy” are now highly collectible rockabilly classics. Prior to returning to his Plant City hometown in the 1960s, Joe worked with TV shows in Kentucky and Indiana. When WPLA Radio in Plant City employed him as a deejay and salesman, he continued performing and recording, landing on Billboard’s country chart in 1962 with another original, “Frosty Window Pane.” His radio years included five at WPLA, six at WWAB- Lakeland, three at WGTO- Cypress Gardens, and a stint at WTWB- Auburndale. Joe’s focus changed after suffering serious injuries in a car wreck on Highway 92. He restored his relationship with God and the Penningtons served ten years with friends in prison ministry, grateful
that their testimonies and music touched many. Even after his retirement in 1990, Joe wrote and performed at area churches, nursing homes, and other venues. In 1992, his “Growing Old Without God” ranked #69 on the Gospel Music Billboard. Pennington also released his cassette tape of original songs performed as “A Tribute to Hank Williams.” The Hall of Fame inductions came in 1999 (Rockabilly) and 2001 (Traditional Country Music). Today, the only living Drifting Cowboys band member no longer plays guitar due to a rhythm hand injury, but the good songs and wonderful years remain planted in his heart. In May, Joe and Frankie will celebrate the anniversary of the love story that began when she paid fifty-cents for a ticket to an American Legion dance in Evansville, Indiana where his group was playing. They expect to celebrate with their four children (a fifth died at 27 in an auto accident) and two grandchildren, all of whom are musically talented. Rich in memories, the Pennington legacy will live on.
away my tears and told me I could do this.” Kaitlyn plans to participate again this year, even though she did not place in this one. She definitely appreciated her experience and looks forward to the 2018 competition. Kaitlyn is only in high school, but
has learned the value of friendship and knowing she is not alone no matter what she comes across in life. Thanks to the boost in her confidence this first pageant provided, she plans to continue trying new things, no matter how intimidating some may seem.
First Beauty Pageant Ever!
BY KATIE LOUDERMILK | PHOTO COURTESY OF KAITLYN KING
eauty pageants have been part of the American culture for generations. Even though fashions change, the passion stays. On December 16, 2017, Durant High School student Kaitlyn King competed in her first-ever beauty pageant, Miss Florida Teen USA. Owned and operated by the Miss Universe Organization, this pageant was produced and directed by the show Chrisley Knows Best. Fifteen girls were selected as participants from among 700 applicants. Of her first pageant experience. “I have been wanting to be in pageants for a long time, but I never did anything about it until one day I pushed
myself to submit an application,” she explained. “I enjoyed the bond I made with the other girls and it also boosted my confidence. During the week we went to events such as the Yacht Starship cruise and a pizza party with Brandi Cyrus Dj’ing.” Not only did she build a sisterhood with the other girls, but she also grew close to the Chrisley family, who served as the pageant’s staff. Kaitlyn recalled, “On the day of the preliminary pageant, I was letting my nerves get the best of me and I told a staff member I wanted to leave and not do the pageant. When Todd Chrisley and his daughter, Savannah, saw me crying, they came over and he wiped
Although she didn’t earn the Miss Florida Teen USA crown, Kaitlyn enjoyed the bond she made with other contestants and the boost in her confidence as a result of competing.
Santa Sled Festival BY CHERYL JOHNSTON | PHOTOS COURTESY OF SHARON MOODY
Photos with Santa are always a treat!
he Plant City Black Heritage organization and The Class of ‘86 hosted its annual Santa Sled Festival at Marie B. Ellis Park on December 16, 2017. The event’s new venue provided more room for the annual outreach. More than 500 attended and more than 300 pre-registered children from ages three to ten were served. They received Christmas toys, bicycles, clothing and groceries for their family’s holiday meal and were able to enjoy fun activities, bounce house jump-time, and photos with Santa. Plant City Black Heritage president Sharon Moody coordinates the Santa Sled Festival with assistance from Constance Mitchell and DeShawn Williams, among others. This year’s effort received much-appreciated support from the following sponsors: C&S Grocers Warehouse employees, Kiwanis Club of Plant City, Solomon Vereen, PCHS Class of 1986, La Red Ministries, Des'Aimes Social Club, Winn Dixie, and Marshall Middle School Gentlemen's Quest. Plant City High School Key Club members
volunteered time and energy to make sure everyone had a great time. “We are so grateful for the people, businesses, clubs, churches, and volunteers that have helped us over the more than 15 years we’ve hosted Santa Sled,” Moody explained. “This year the C&S employees adopted five families and donated everything to fulfill their wish lists, while Solomon Vereen donated $1,000 to purchase the bikes and Kiwanis donated 1,500 toys. The event keeps growing and the need is usually greater than we expect. We couldn’t have the festival without them.” Everyone in attendance would probably agree that the overwhelming attitude of gratitude makes the effort worthwhile. “Parents who feared they would not be able to provide Christmas gifts for their children were so thankful for every little thing that day,” she continued. “And we are thankful for the generous hearts in our community.” To get involved or to donate for the 2018 event, please contact Sharon at 813-453-7134.
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Nativities Around the World BY CHERYL JOHNSTON
magazines. Nativities Around the World is an incredible display of divine creativity. From his home in San Antonio, Florida, Riffle agreed: “The tradition of celebrating Christ’s birthday is an international one that brings joy and offers the hope of His coming again. It’s so evident when you watch people’s expressions as they view the miracle that reminds them of their faith.”
“On the way to Bethlehem” -- Rarely do sets or scenes include a pregnant Mary
t. Clement Catholic Church did a beautiful thing for the Plant City community over the Christmas holidays when it displayed a collection of approximately 470 nativity sets in its Cronin Hall on the church campus. Dan Alacorn, a parishioner and Knights of Columbus Council 8095 member, explained plans are already in progress to expand the space so Rev. Henry Riffle’s entire collection can be shown in December of 2018. Rev. Riffle developed a passion for The Babe in the Manger displays during childhood when he enjoyed his family’s tradition of setting up their nativity set. But the serious collecting began 37 years ago when he gave up cigarettes and rewarded his decision by purchasing a Precious Moments scene. During travels over the years, the priest added sets and others gifted him with their unique discoveries.
In a typical hour-long visit, folks enjoyed viewing cultural interpretations of the Christ child’s birth from: Africa (Amazon, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zulu), Argentina, Aruba, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, India (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka), Ireland, Israel (Bethlehem, Jerusalem, West Bank), Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, U.S.A. (Native Americans), Vietnam and more. The sets crafted from various natural and manmade materials included products for example, from olive wood to papier-mâché, from clay to porcelain, from bark and husks to gourds, from tin to motherof-pearl, and from cookie dough to pages from National Geographic
Bamboo nativity set
North Africa - Astrologer is a woman
While this second annual display was a free event, contributions are always welcome so the Knights of Columbus Council 8095 can bless local charities such as the Pregnancy Care Center and those that serve the disabled. Grand Knight Tony DeFrancesco, who along with other members, helped to man the display, shared, “This is our attempt to show the wonder found in following Jesus. His birthday is the real reason for the season.”
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2018 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Contestants
• Daughter of Sheri Hangen • Senior at Plant City High School • Member of BOLD, Student Government, Senior Executive Council and the Science Club. Co Captain of Color guard, winning rank of Superior Marching Season 3 years straight 2014-2016, Blue ribbons and champion winner of Arabian Horse Association in both English & Western pleasure. Graduating with approximately 6.0 GPA • Hobbies include horseback riding, art, baking and singing in the car where no one can hear • Plans to become a Disney Imagineer after attending Disney College Program at University of Central Florida
• Daughter of James and Courtney Saranko • Senior at Durant High School, dual enrolled in Hillsborough Community College • Captain of Varsity Cheer squad and active member of the FFA. Durant High School Cover Girl and advocate for childhood cancer awareness with Jensen’s Heart of Gold Foundation • Hobbies include spending time with her family and friends, traveling, showing livestock and competing in pageants • Plans to pursue a career in Physical Therapy specializing in Pediatrics
• Daughter of Jeremy Merrin and • Daughter of David and Debbie Dixon Brandy Wiley • Senior at Plant City High School, dual • Junior at Plant City High School enrolled in Hillsborough • Hobbies include hanging out with Community College family and friends, going to car shows • Member of National Honor Society, and playing with her dogs. Mock Trial Team, Ranked top 5% of • Plans to attend the Ringling College of senior class, President of Debate Art and Design to major in Club. Calendar Girl – Miss October, US Interior Design History award winner, Member of First Baptist Church Youth Group, Member of Teen Court, volunteer at Colt Creek State Park • Plans to attend university of Tampa, major in political science and minor in psychology
• Daughter of James and Deana Wright • Senior at Plant City High School, dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College • Active member of National Honor Society and Interact Girls Club. Academic Achievement award recipient, PCHS Calendar Girl “Miss June” • Hobbies include volunteering at local elementary schools, writing poetry, making memories with her favorite people • Plans to attend University of Florida School of Pharmacy and major in Clinical Pharmacy
• Daughter of Jeffrey and Delicia Wallnofer • Senior at Plant City High School • Active member of Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, Sabres (JROTC Honor Society), National Honor Society, Veteran’s Appreciation Club and threeyear Varsity Football Manager. Past Florida Division President and 3rd Vice President, National Level, Children of the Confederacy • Hobbies include working with Veteran’s appreciation and support groups and touring historic sites and museums • Plans to attend a Florida University and major in Athletic Training with the goal of working with either a professional sports team or the US Olympic Team
• Daughter of Lorenzo and Ada Arriaga • Junior at Plant City High School • Active member of Student Government Association, Raider OC club, National Honor Society, PCHS student jury, AP student, dual enrolled. PCHS 2017-2018 Homecoming Court, Great Clips Scholarship, Hillsborough Education Foundation scholarship and Tampa Bay Rays Helios scholar. • Hobbies include community service, tutors children at Burney Elementary, translates at local schools for conference nights and volunteers at South Florida Baptist Hospital • Plans to attend the University of South Florida and pursue a degree in Nursing
• Daughter of Mark and Aimee Carter • Freshman at Hillsborough Community College • Active member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Durant FFA Alumni. 2017 Hillsborough County Fair Harvest Queen First Maid, Dean’s list, previous state winner in ornamental horticulture demonstrations and has an essay published in an HCC textbook. • Hobbies include singing, shopping, assisting the Fish Hawks varsity cheer squad coach and outdoor activities. • Plans to transfer to a University, obtain a master’s degree in Nursing and become a Medevac Nurse
• Daughter of Stephanie Douglas and Gary Varnum • Junior at Plant City High School, dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College • On the varsity volleyball team and an anchor on Raider Television. GPA of 5.08 and ranked in the top 3% of her class • Hobbies include spending time with family and friends, helping her special needs Raider buddy practice American Sign Language and volunteering at Bay Care South Florida Baptist Hospital every week • Plans to attend the University of South Florida and major in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice
Sabrina Nicole Hangen
Paige Elizabeth Wallnofer
Chloe Makenna Tew
Rachel Osanna Carter
Brenda Leanne Dixon
• Daughter of Erin Jackson and David Cullins • Junior at Plant City High School, dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College • Girls Interact Club, teacher office assistant, track team. Member of the National Honor Society, top 10% of graduating class, Plant City High School 2018 Calendar Girl • Hobbies include horseback riding, drill team with 4-H club, skateboarding, youth leader at Grace Point Church • Plans to attend Florida State University to obtain a Doctorate in Ophthalmology
• Daughter of Royce and Raquel Burt • Senior at Seffner Christian Academy, dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College • Academic Honor Roll, Class President (Freshman, Sophomore and Junior year), Student Government President, Homecoming Court (freshman, junior and senior year), Senior Superlative Best All Around and Best Smile. Activities include JV Basketball, Varsity Track, Varsity Soccer and Chorus, volunteering at Impact Academy, South Florida Baptist Hospital and Casa Shalom Orphanage in Guatemala • Hobbies include making new friends, traveling and fitness • Plans to attend a Florida University and major in Biology
• Daughter of Derek and Heather DeVane • Senior at Strawberry Crest High School, dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College • Member of Bass Master Florida High School Fishing, FFA and National Honor Society. Achievements include Rotary Club delegate for Students for Tomorrows Leaders Convention, 2016 PCHS Calendar Girl – Miss August 2016 PCHS FFA Sweetheart court member, 2017 SCHS Calendar Girl – Miss March • Hobbies include showing at the Florida Strawberry Festival Steer Show, competitive bass fishing tournaments and going on mission trips • Plans to attend Savannah College of Art and Design on a Bass Fishing Scholarship and majoring in Interior Design
• Daughter of Emmett and Stephanie Lane • Freshman at Hillsborough Community College • Member of Plant City FFA Alumni and Civinettes, Honor graduate, Herdsman recipient and a Raider of Excellence • Hobbies include spending time with family and friends, hunting and giving back • Plans to attend Warner University to obtain a degree in Agriculture Communications
• Daughter of Rick and Paula Chancey • Senior at Durant High School, dual enrolled in Hillsborough Community College • Active member of the National Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars and yearbook staff. Community Service Coordinator of the National English Honor Society, Florida Strawberry Growers Association Scholarship recipient and AP Scholar Award • Hobbies include working with children, dancing and volunteering in the community • Plans to attend the University of Florida or the University of South Florida and major in Pharmacy
• Danielle Fewox and TJ Lopez • Plant City High School Senior, dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College • National Honor Society member, FFA member (served four years as an officer), Certified Veterinarian Assistant, Honor Grad • Hobbies include spending time with friends and family, showing livestock, working in the family business • Plans to attend Hillsborough Community College for two years, then the University of Florida and pursue a career in Veterinary Medicine
• Daughter of Keith Carlough and Brandi and Oscar Barnes • Senior at Plant City High School • Active member in National Honor Society, Senior Executive Council and FFA, with involvement in various community service projects. Achieved 3rd in the state with Public Speaking team, top 10% of her class, GPA of 5.31 • Hobbies include enjoying the outdoors and being physically active • Plans to attend the University of Florida to major in Biomedical Science and work to earn a doctorate in Pediatric Medicine
• Daughter of Jose and Maria Contreras • Senior at Plant City High School, dual enrolled in Hillsborough Community College • Active member of the Student Executive Council, Interact girls, Latin quarters and AVID club. Member of National Honor Society, Plant City High School Homecoming Queen, Miss March for 2018 Calendar Girl, elected as the Senior Vice President and Recording Secretary for AVID club • Hobbies include playing flag football, volunteering at the Community Care Center, the Walden Lake Animal Clinic and spending time with family • Plans to attend HCC and transfer to USF to earn a Master’s in Psychology
• Daughter of Melissa Kennedy and David Mitchell • Freshman at Hillsborough Community College • Former member of Student Government, Varsity Cheerleading, Varsity Lacrosse, Mock Trial Club and JROTC. Held many leadership positions in JROTC and was Miss Valrico in the Miss Florida Teen USA competition • Hobbies include making jewelry, volunteering at the Brandon Cowboy’s youth organization and singing in the shower • Plans to transfer from HCC to USF to study Business Management and obtain her real estate license
• Daughter of Roy and Carmen Tillis • Senior at Durant high School as well as an online student • FFA Sweetheart First Maid, 2nd in state livestock judging, Kumquat Queen finalist, started own herd in 9th grade, FFA • Hobbies include volunteering to feed wounded veterans, working livestock and competing in pageants • Plans to attend the University of Florida Campus in Plant City, majoring in Business and minor in Agriculture
Kennedy Grace Cullins
Abigale Reece DeVane
Allison Emmelee Lane
• Daughter of Charles and Debra Griffin • Senior at Durant High School • Active member of Students All Connected, AVID club, Visions Club, maintains a 4.2 GPA, High Honor Roll and Durant High School Calendar Girl finalist • Hobbies include drawing and painting, playing volleyball, singing and exercising • Plans to attend a Florida University and major in Nursing or Pre-med
• Daughter of Sam and Buffy Astin • Senior at Durant High School • Vice President of Student Government, Secretary of Students All Connected, member of the National Honor Society, Kindness Club and FFA, 2017-2018 Durant High School student body representative for the Hillsborough County School Board, Durant’s Miss October in Calendar Girls and voted as the 2017 Homecoming Queen • Hobbies include traveling, catching rays at the beach and spreading kindness • Plans to obtain an Entrepreneurship degree at the University of Tampa to help take over and expand her family’s 95-year-old farm
• Daughter of Tobe and Joni Epperson • Junior at Strawberry Crest High School • Active member of Student Council, Schools Veterinarian Assisting program and FFA. Member of the National Honor Society for High School Scholars and Vice President of her class • Hobbies include going to the beach with friends, traveling and exercising • Plans to attend Alabama State University and major in Nursing in hopes of becoming a traveling nurse
• Daughter of Robbie and Cindy Roberts • Freshman at Hillsborough Community College • Active AHG leader in training, East Hillsborough Historical Society board member, National AHG Stars and Stripes award, 6 time recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival Miss Congeniality Scholarship recipient, active member at Gracepoint Church • Hobbies include being a social butterfly, shopping, learning local history and traveling to Guatemala very summer to work with Little Lambs International • Plans to attend SEU in the fall to major in Business and Professional Leadership with a minor in Children and Family ministries
• Daughter of Crystal DeLones-Wilson and Mark Wilson • Senior at Durant High School, dual enrolled in Hillsborough Community College • Active member of the FFA, Advancement via Individual Determination and National Honor Society. Has the most community service hours at Durant, President of AVID Class and Club and serves as the Durant FFA Parliamentarian • Hobbies include exhibiting swine and baking • Plans to attend the University of Florida and major in Animal Science
• Daughter of Juan and Nohemi Zavala • Junior at Plant City High School • In Honors and advanced placement courses, active member in the Relay for Life Organization, Skills USA competition and the Cosmetology program. Member of the 2016 Homecoming Court, Skills USA finalist and soon to be licensed Cosmetologist • Hobbies include going to the gym, modeling, Latin dancing, helping special needs kids at school and giving back to her community • Plans to attend a Florida University and major in Fashion Merchandising and one day create a foundation to help kids in less developed countries
• Daughter of Shawn and Renee Rasmussen • Junior at Newsome High School, dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College • Member of National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Science National Honor Society, Rho Kappa, Spanish National Honor Society, and Junior Class Council Officer. Re-elected class Historian, AP student, Principal’s Honor Roll, volunteers with Seeds of Hope and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation • Hobbies include playing club soccer, going to the beach and spending time with her grandparents • Plans to attend the University of Florida to pursue a degree in Biochemistry
• Daughter of David and Traci Tew • Senior at Durant High School, dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College • National Honor Society, Miss August in Durant’s Calendar Girl Pageant, Principals Honor Roll, works at RAOK Boutique, writer for The Odyssey Online, teaches kindergarten bible class at Bell Shoals Church of Christ • Hobbies include singing and spending free time with family and friends • Plans to attend the University of Florida to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and minor in Communications
• Daughter of Dusty and Katina Hunter • Senior at Durant High School • 2017 Varsity Cheerleader and competitive Cheer Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, FFA, Office/Deputy’s Assistant, mentor to elementary students, Student Advisory Council, Relay for Life, Dairy/Beef Judging Team, Students All Connected. National Honor Society, Miss February for Durant High School Calendar Girl, Brandon All Star Cheerleader, Ambassador Welcoming Committee for Strawberry Festival, Tropicana Speech winner, Honor Graduate • Hobbies include showing livestock, community outreach programs, public speaking, competitive cheer, attending First Baptist Church of Plant City and bow fishing • Plans to attend the University of South Florida and pursue a Medical degree in Pediatrics
• Daughter of Waylon and Robyn Baker • Junior at Plant City High School • Active member of Interact Girls, Skills USA and the Cosmetology program at PCHS. Current Miss November for Plant City High School Calendar Girl • Hobbies include singing and playing guitar in the musical duo Mel & Dallas, photography and volunteering with the Florida Chapter of Jensen’s Heart of Gold Foundation • Plans to launch her career as a hairstylist upon graduation while attending classes to further her knowledge in the beauty industry
Baylee Samantha Astin
Zoe Bell Rasmussen
Taylor Rae Tew
Bentley Rae Roberts
Selena Sue Berrios
Dallas Nicole Baker
MI LK KATI E LO UD ER IN TE RV IE W BY
Christine Florian D
iversity has always played a huge role in the Plant City culture. The Plant City citizens come from unique backgrounds which make our town even more interesting. Christine Florian, single mother of three and a Dominican Republic native, shared her story recently over lunch at Fred’s Market Restaurant. How did you come to Plant City? I was born in the Dominican Republic, but moved to New York and stayed until I was 12. My parents decided to retire early and we moved back to the Dominican Republic. I had to learn the new language and social norms of the mysterious country. I remained throughout my first year of college and decided to move to Queens, New York after I married. I then moved back to the Dominican Republic but finally ended up in Miami. I have been moving back and forth most of my life. I just wanted a place where I could settle down and raise my kids as a single mom. I came across Plant City with my brother and I’ve never left this sweet, small town since. I admire Plant City’s smallness and also that it’s well-known throughout the nation. Do you have any pets? I have a beautiful Chihuahua named Jazzy. Her owner was moving away and a friend asked if I wanted a puppy. Her named was originally Diamond but I changed it. I’ve had her for two years. I have a tote to carry her and different outfits for her. She is one of my children and acts like a baby.
She understands what outside means, so I spell it out to her and she always looks at me like I am crazy. What is something about you that know one else knows? I enjoy so many hobbies. I take Zumba with PaddyZu Sanchez, I sew, knit, cook, and I also run twice a week. As my kids have grown older I have more free time for myself. I am trying to get more involved with volunteering. I have always volunteered with Tomlin Middle School and Plant City High School but now I am ready to try new things. Serving people has always been a passion of mine. It doesn’t matter who or what I just want to give time to those who need it. When I lived in the Dominican Republic, I recall having to get up early each day to fill my barrels of water for me and my family. I also had to buy fresh food for each day because we did not have refrigerators. The power would always go out and we had no stove to cook on. Because of my experience living in that country, I am grateful for the pleasures I am blessed with in the United States. Sometimes we think we are going through the worst of the worse, but there are other people who have it worse elsewhere.
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
On Tuesday, December 12th, The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for the Strawberry Youth Parade! The 2018 Strawberry Youth Parade Committee will coordinate and present the 45th annual Youth Parade with the theme of "Building New Memories" on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 at 11AM. Awards will be presented in the following categories: Best Club/Group Float, Best Church Float, Best Marching Unit, and Best Band Entry. For parade route and more information, please visit: www.flstrawberryfestival.com
On Tuesday, January 9th The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for A Peace of Plant City located at 120 N. Collins Street, Suite 101. Back to her roots, Jayme Harris, Plant City native and USAF veteran, has created A PEACE of Plant City. A PEACE of Plant City will offer an array of boutique style retail offerings, with locally made strawberry themed shirts, hats, jewelry, organic soaps, lip balm and lotions. Veteran made pens and unique gift items. Repurposed, refurbished, and original state antique furniture and household decor. PAGE
Did You Know?
As The Festival Evolves: A Look Back At Two Major Fixtures Of The Past BY PLANT CITY PHOTO ARCHIVES
hen the ardent supporters of what became the Florida Strawberry Festival originated the idea of a strawberry festival they turned to a man who knew how to put things together. Ira Allen was a developer and a builder who lived part of the year in Michigan and part of the year in Plant City. He owned a parcel of land just east of the Seaboard Airlines Railroad that had been used for carnivals and ball games. It became the first home of the Florida Strawberry Festival. It was 1930. And Ira Allen built the first festival buildings. Even in the early years the festival made use of the fine ball field constructed on the west side of town, Adelson Field, and slowly began to use the facility for many more activities. When the festival moved from the east side to the west side, to
be able to utilize more space offered by the Adelson Field, American Legion Home, and the adjacent National Guard Armory complex, Adelson Field became the center of attraction. It was in front of this grandstand that a special stage was constructed, and most major events were held. How it came to be named Adelson Field is a short story, and here it is. Any discussion of the Florida Strawberry Festival would not be complete without mention of Samuel Delmar Adelson (1882 – 1953), who for 40 of his 52 years in Plant City bought and shipped fresh fruits and vegetables, including, of course, strawberries. And for whom Adelson Field is named. Adelson was born on December 19, 1882, in New York City to Nathan Adelson and Yetta (Lippman)
Adelson, one of nine children. His parents had fled from Germany to escape persecution, seeking refuge in the United States. In 1901 at the age of 19, Sam Adelson was on his way to Cuba and made a stop in Plant City. During that random stop he met Pearl Alderman (1886 – 1962), daughter of Timothy Harvey Alderman and Cordelia Ann (O’Neal) Alderman. Adelson never made it to Cuba and he and Pearl were married on June 23, 1905. In 1916 the Adelsons had their only child, Dorothy Yetta Adelson, who became Plant City’s Strawberry Festival Queen in 1934. Adelson’s prominence as a Plant City resident was due not only to his successful produce business, but to his devoted involvement in civic affairs. “Mr. Sam” served on the Plant City’s City Council; he
was commissioned as a justice of the peace in 1917. In 1924 he was elected as a director of the newly assembled Chamber of Commerce. Adelson’s passions extended beyond produce and civic affairs to sports, particularly football and baseball. His generous donations made possible the completion of the ball field west of town, which was then named “Adelson Field” in his honor. He was also a major figure in bringing the Indianapolis Indians baseball team to Plant City in 1925— Plant City’s first professional springtraining team. In 1935, during the Great Depression, Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers prepared Adelson Field for the upcoming spring training of the Buffalo Bisons, providing bleachers, press box, a clubhouse, and floodlights. This made the facility an even better venue for the Florida Strawberry Festival events which had begun earlier, in 1930. As time passed and the Strawberry Festival evolved, other changes took place. In 1952 and 1953 plans were made to build a stadium for the Plant City High School on land owned by the city and leased to the Strawberry Festival, with the proviso that the facility would be shared by the schools, the city, and the festival. The land was adjacent to Adelson Field, and in 1954 the newly constructed William Schneider Memorial Stadium was dedicated and took its place as the festival’s main facility for special events. The new stadium became the center for the Baby Parade, the Queen Coronation, and many special performances in the years that followed. You might ask, “Who was William Schneider?” This, too, is a short story. William Schneider’s parents, John William and Katherine (Bader)
Plant City High School, later Tomlin Middle School with Adelson Field in upper right and Schneider Stadium in upper left [Circa late 1960s].
Schneider left Wurttemberg, Germany, about 1850 for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was born in 1864. He went into business with his brother J. H. Schneider, who set up a produce firm in New York, and in 1901 William Schneider moved to Plant City as a buyer for that firm. An active citizen, Schneider was elected to City Council and served from 1908 to 1915, including a stint as Mayor and Council Chairman. Schneider was also a member of various local fraternal organizations such as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Woodmen of the World, Red Men, and the Patriotic Order Sons of America of which he was state president in 1911. He was also a charter member and President of the Kiwanis Club, which was organized in 1921 and was Plant City’s first men’s civic club. William Schneider and his entire family were active in the First Presbyterian Church, where Schneider served as deacon, elder, and Sunday school superintendent. Schneider and his brother, Albert, also served on the church’s building committee. Additionally, he served as president of the Plant City Community Hotel Corporation that built the Hotel Plant, which opened on November 11, 1926.
William Schneider’s educational influence on young people was broad and varied. His years of leadership as both a member of the Plant City School Board and then as a member and chairman of the Hillsborough County School Board brought great advancements to local education. Plant City High School dedicated its 1916 yearbook to Schneider in honor of his many contributions. Years later, in 1954, the stadium was named “William Schneider Memorial Stadium” as an additional tribute to Schneider and his passionate support of school athletics. Adelson Field went on to become the location of the festival’s midways, and Schneider Stadium continued to be the setting for parades and later professional entertainers. The festival now owns the land, and the grandstand and bleachers at Adelson Field are long gone. Gone, too, is the concrete grandstand of Schneider Stadium, as it made way for a new, modern grandstand constructed in 2017, following the close of that year’s festival. Things and structures change over time, and the festival takes on new forms, but the memories of Sam Adelson and William Schneider are etched in Plant City’s history and will remain with the people of Plant City for years to come.
William Schneider Memorial Stadium -- aerial photo from November 1954
William Schneider, circa 1920 PAGE
THE BLUE HOUSE
LOVE WINS – EVERY SINGLE TIME BY CHERYL JOHNSTON
Once a man has surrendered his life and will to God, he becomes determined to hear the still small voice that guides one’s next steps. Such has been the situation for Michael Simmons for over 50-plus years.
ichael was six-years-old in 1957 when his family moved into the freshly painted home he dubbed “The Blue House,” which was located across the street from the yellow elementary school in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. That was a happy time, for a while. Michael’s inspiring memoir highlights his mother's efforts to protect her children from an alcoholic, abusive husband. His continual job losses affected many moves to numerous new addresses in not so pleasant scenarios where Mike experienced insecurity, a poor self-image, and loneliness. Hope stepped in when a neighbor, Mrs. Tompkins, invited the neighborhood boys to a weekly Bible story time in 1959. While attending church with her on Sunday as well, God began working in nine-year-old Michael’s heart. When his parents separated, he started his first job at age 14 while his mother supported the family and finished college. During this time, Michael’s perspective was changed through the kindness and love of Mrs. Tompkins, a Sunday School teacher named Bill Howard who accompanied him to the church altar, and Mrs. Vaughn, the drama teacher who awarded him the speech medal in his senior year.
On the night before Easter in 2015 after urgings from his wife Jenny, Michael began writing about his less than idyllic childhood. He was inspired to encourage others who experienced similar situations. “Jenny was the first person to hear my stories and the first to encourage me to share them,” he said. During the 13-month writing and revision process, “she and Dr. Robert Engelken assisted with proofreading, editing suggestions, and prayers.” Publication took another five months. Readers will be moved most by the grace displayed in Michael’s retelling of difficult circumstances and his father’s failings. Writing truthfully but tenderly, he has managed to honor the dad he loved and with whom he yearned for relationship. He also demonstrates that prayer is simply talking with God -- about everything. Among multiple other powerful themes, those of family, father loss, handling adversity, sacrifice, forgiveness, and redemption make The Blue House a read folks will long remember. To help readers examine their own lives and find answers in Scripture, Michael asked his friend, Dr. Daniel Middlebrooks [Chaplaincy Care, Inc.), to add the introduction, conclusion, and insightful chapter commentary. “During our sharing with groups
or at book signings, Michael’s memories resonate with people,” Middlebrooks explained. “We encourage them that while sometimes our earthly fathers fail us, our heavenly Father never will.” A few insights that make the book a great vehicle for personal or group study include: • What matters most at the end of your life is not what’s in your hand but what’s in your heart. • Children are like wet cement. Be careful of the imprints you make in their hearts. • Even the smallest of lights can conquer the greatest of darkness. • A man is never poorer than when he has bankrupted his reputation and overdrawn his character. • The greatest of dreams considered will never match the smallest of deeds completed. • Investing time, resources and love into another’s life is the wisest investment possible. • Depending on the map we use, devastating detours lead to either a dead end in our travels or a new direction in our journey. • The great gifts from the world are insignificant compared to the incredible worth of one soul. • Deep roots enable a tree to withstand
the winds of adversity. • A messy life can simply be a masterpiece in the making. • What we do for ourselves while on earth will fade fast. Only things done for God will last. • The chance to get our house in order is a gift of time and grace. • Every day is God’s gift to us…trust the Creator with all of your life’s puzzle pieces. “Everything we do reflects on someone, positively or negatively, to be a help or a hurt,” shared Simmons. “Our dream is that this book will touch the lives of one million people. Everyone has a story and we enjoy helping them connect through ours. With God’s help, we can each move through the fire insulated by the prayers and the strength of our faith.” Both writers have experienced personal, career, and spiritual success. Time invested in the military, in work, and in ministry with God has shaped their love for humanity. “But ultimately, the real hero in this story is the Lord Himself,” offered Simmons. “In the Creator’s purpose, He opens and closes doors, using people, places and situations to transform our character. This lifelong process involves many ups and
The Blue House book and co-authors focused on the same God and one mission, offering hope and restoration through personal story.
downs, twists and turns, and—oh yes—our mistakes and wrong decisions. Thankfully, as we allow, He will continue placing the uniquely colorful pieces that add beauty and completion to our life’s puzzle.”
Michael Simmons is an active member at First Baptist Church of Plant City and serves with the Gideons International.
“This book will touch your heart,” Lisa Hoover wrote in an online review. She explained that most have “in the corner of our minds, tucked away, beloved and treasured” a place that invokes feelings of happiness, security, and belonging. Mike takes the framework of his life experiences, and shows us how to not just reflect and analyze the past, but also to see the thread of God in the details…The Blue House is neatly organized as a metaphor for a person's life as a puzzle: You can look at your life any time you wish, but your life puzzle is not complete until your life is over.” Written from a man's heart, The Blue House is an important read--and one gentle in its delivery, powerful in its truth, and redeeming in its restoration.
To learn the beautiful backstory of this amazing oil painting, you have to read the book! PAGE
The local co-authors have spoken recently to area church groups and welcome invites from businesses and civic organizations of any size as well. Book purchases benefit their hope-giving ministry of emotional healing and restoration. They also enjoy responding to questions and comments via e-mail. To order a book or talk with the authors, please email Michael Simmons at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Middlebrooks at Daniel@r3cc.org.
The Davis Brothers Hard Work still Works By Cheryl Johnston
rothers Aaron and Nate Davis believe that building a business begins with work ethic, something both learned as very young boys. Both credit their family for establishing their core values of faith, family, and friendships. Their mother, Gail Calhoun, is who inspired their entrepreneurial spirit as they saw her take a risk in founding Hillsborough Title here in Plant City in 1984. They share memories of work throughout their childhoods. Whether it was manual labor fixing up investment homes with their grandpa (Gene Calhoun), picking staples out of the carpet and filing papers at their mom’s office, or helping during electrical jobs with their dad (Mike Davis). However, both credit the daily responsibilities of maintaining a small farm, tending to the cows, chickens and other animals, at their home for their work mentalities that became a theme throughout their lives. Both brothers also credit being raised in Antioch, where they were exposed to people with enough true grit to outwork their situations regardless of the circumstances. Aaron and Nate made a conscious decision to obtain a secondary education. Aaron was the first in his family to ever graduate with a college degree and Nate was the second. They each worked while taking college courses at Hillsborough Community College and later The University of Florida. And on February 2, both will be in Gainesville as recipients for the Gator100 Awards. The University of Florida’s Gator100 recognizes the 100 fastest-growing, Gator-owned or led businesses in the world, based on revenue and growth percentages. The program, presented by the school’s Alumni Association and the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, celebrates UF’s elite entrepreneurs.
Both men also believe wholeheartedly in rewarding employees, honoring customers, and supporting local charitable efforts. We’re pleased to shine a spotlight on their life lessons learned through humble beginnings, hard work, and valued relationships.
AARON M. DAVIS
The entrepreneur, innovator, and family man describes his internal position at AMD Enterprises, his network of companies, as “Janitor.” Always ready to roll up his sleeves and work with whoever is in need, he focuses on bringing value to the consumer and solutions to the business owner. He routinely is invited to speak at national title and settlement conferences. With his wife of 15 years—Leslie—and sons Aiden (14) and Jackson (12), the Davis’ enjoy travelling, weekend beach getaways, fishing, and UF football. AMD Enterprises employs 170 dedicated people in 22 locations, and covers multiple entities he’s developed related to the real estate settlement industry. Services include numerous settlement related processing departments, management and accounting services, IT and cybersecurity, and cloud-hosting. His title agency is now recognized is one of the largest in America. Those business ventures now include: • Florida Agency Network (FAN) - which includes Hillsborough Title, Paramount Title, Tampa Bay Title, Strategic Title, Stronghold Title, Affinity Title Services, Smart Title and Gator Title • Premier Data Services • Hometown Title Network (HTN) • Network Transaction Solutions (NTS) • BPM Solutions • Alexander Oaks Office Park • AMD Holdings • Attorneys Title Network PAGE
An entrepreneur, Marine, proud husband and father is blazing trails and turning heads in the mortgage industry. Florida Mortgage Firm, with 21 employees and one office, is ranked in the Top 1% of firms in the U.S. for mortgage brokerage volume, despite only originating loans throughout the State of Florida. Nate describes his company’s culture as Marine Corps meets big business initiatives with small town care. Nate praises his wife Natasha Bonds Davis as “woman who doesn’t shy away from hard work” and “who wears many hats by keeping our home and career life balanced.” They cherish time with their two beautiful daughters, Jaida (11) and Paitlyn (8) and share the belief that “you must earn it every day and never take anything for granted.” Nate feels that many people work hard, but that God has provided him with an opportunity he feels brings a great deal of responsibility with it. Some of his heroes are locals who’ve remained humble and grounded despite their massive success. With faith as their foundation, the family desires to enjoy a debt-free lifestyle, wonderful friendships, home time, community activities and trips together. As to their company, the soon-to-be 40-year-old Nate explained, “Continual improvement is vital to our long-term success.” We want to be THE best, not just Our best. Every client matters. Every transaction. Every time. Defining moment that led you to become an entrepreneur? Nate: My mom was an entrepreneur, so I’ve seen the highs and lows of business ownership and fell in love with it at an early age. As a kid, I raised day-old calves we would buy from the auction for $20, to the point they could make it on their own in a field, when I sold them for roughly $300 each. That experience taught me a lot about business, hard work, and discipline. I was drawn to calculated risks at an early age.
Aaron: I think I’ve always known from an early age I ultimately wanted to be in business for myself. Both my mom and my dad owned their own businesses. Both of my grandmothers also owned small businesses as well, on my dad’s side was Ann Burnes who owned a real estate company in Seffner, and my grandma on my mom’s side Fern owned a small plant nursey in Antioch Attempt to pinpoint the happiest moment in your life. Nate: It is hard to say which exact memory was the happiest, but one moment that always stands out to me was the moment I watched my first child being born. I remember witnessing a miracle with my wife, who I love and adore, when our oldest daughter was delivered. I had never laughed and cried simultaneously before that moment. It’s one I will never forget. Aaron: Naturally the birth of my children is certainly among the happiest, however I think what makes me smile most is reminiscing of the classic “car ride to the hospital.” Too much to go into here, but it potentially involved several traffic infractions, panic and yelling. Any advice for young entrepreneurs? Nate: The biggest mistake I see young entrepreneurs make is leaving their steady jobs prior to their new businesses being on its feet and consistently profitable. Companies that are not weighted down by financial requirements will always be able to make better long-term decisions, giving them a better chance to capitalize on opportunities. I personally believe in getting out of debt first, too—other than a mortgage—of course. People and businesses that start out burdened with debt will travel a harder road than those without debt. Aaron: Don’t be afraid to ask advice and learn from people you admire—how they did it and how they would do it better. Listen to your elders and learn from their mistakes and successes. Success always leave clues.
What do you feel your key to success is? Nate: I absolutely love what I do for a living. Helping families acquire real estate. I believe in the long-term benefits of home ownership and am heavily invested in rental real estate personally. I live it every day.
I hit the bridge, the windows go down, and that first deep breath of fresh air is like nothing else for me.
Additionally, you must fall in love with the process and the habits of success and not merely the results of success. You need a relentless drive, a disciplined approach, and a good business model. You must create a business that serves a genuine need and truly offers a superior product that betters the consumer. When you do that, earning customers is easy because you’re providing them with value. At Florida Mortgage Firm, we help people with purchase mortgages and refinance loans. Save the client money and make it efficient and easy.
Aaron: Thomas Edison- “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Aaron: People! Surround yourself with talent. Don’t be afraid to hire people smarter than you. Taking care of employees and customers is critical. I would also include delegation and the vision to see opportunities.
Aaron: Growing up in a small town, as a young person you can’t wait to get out of it. Then, when you get to a point in life when you are ready to raise a family, you realize there is no better place than here.
Best lesson learned in business? Nate: Culture and work ethic is paramount. You can train skills but you can’t train work ethic. When you get both, the magic happens. I wholeheartedly feel we have the best team in the industry.
In closing, the brothers agree. “Our companies are proud to be a part of this city and our industries. And although we’ve grown and expanded, Aaron and Nate are still guys from down the road who are only a phone call away.”
Favorite quote? Nate: “Contentment is the key to happiness.”
Describe what you love about life in Plant City? Nate: I love that I can still go to an event and run into my center fielder from my Little League team. It’s not the town, it’s the people. I value the depth of longstanding, weathered, tried-andtrue, genuine friendships here and that people who knew you then and now still appreciate you.
Aaron: Bigger isn’t always better. Don’t be blind to opportunities, but always stay focused on your core. One thing you can't live without Nate: My family. I’m a “regulation” dad and husband. Spending time with them is what I live for. They are everything to me. Aaron: The beaches at Anna Maria Island. I’ve always said, the feeling your get coming over that last bridge coming onto the island is like leaving the weight of the world behind. As soon as
Florida Mortgage Firm 2216 S Alexander St Plant City, FL 33563 813-707-6200 Online: www.FLMortgageFirm.com
AMD Enterprises 1503 S. Alexander Street #104 Plant City, FL 33563 813-712-8888 Online: www.amd-1.com
Bee-Haven Honey Company BY CHERYL JOHNSTON
he family-owned and operated Bee-Haven Honey Farm in Central Florida is dedicated to the production of raw Florida honey. In addition to this healthy raw food, they sell beekeeping supplies, and natural skin care products to retail customers and wholesale purchasers through their online store and local vendors. Are you aware that among other things, a daily tablespoondose of natural raw honey covers all the bases in helping folks improve their sleep, skin, and gut health. With anti-microbial and anti-viral properties, the natural anti-inflammatory product can be used for wound dressing, too. As a natural humectant, it draws and holds moisture and aids in skin and hair care (even for pets). Honey doesn’t spoil either. All but a few varieties will crystallize, and should
that happen, simply warm the honey container in a pan of hot water. The entire Sadler family earns a living producing honey in Lakeland. Mike and Tammy, along with their youngest son Clay, run Bee-Haven. The family’s roots run deep in this area dating back to the 1890s. Mike enjoyed a career with Publix when their honey business was a small sideline income source. Today, Tammy and Clay are partners in the Bee-Haven Honey Company retail bottling operation, while the Sadlers’ older son Colby runs his own honey production business. So, Mike and Colby produce honey, and Clay bottles it. Bees have been in the family for four generations. “We’ve been fully income-reliant on our bee businesses since 2003,” Tammy shared, “and have been wholesale honey producers for three
generations. In addition to handson honey experience, Clay earned his Ag degree from the University of Florida, and in 2013 began the retail bottling business. Today, the Sadlers bottle their own honey and wholesale their products to more than 50 retailers throughout Florida. “All of our honey is unprocessed, going from the hive to the jar with minimal handling,” explained Tammy. She added, “We believe in the natural and healthy properties of raw honey and never want to remove any from our product. Local honey is not only loaded with antioxidants and the healthiest alternative to processed sugar, but it’s also great for the prevention of allergies. Once you try Bee-Haven honey, we guarantee you will come back for more!” CUSTOMERS TELL THE STORY Bee-Haven Honey Farm products consistently receive 5-star ratings. Here are two we thought helpful. Theresa of Winter Haven on 5-22-17: “…made everything so easy to do business with you, from the ordering process to receiving
the product. …very good tasting honey…told it might help allergies I seem to have developed living here. I take a couple teaspoons a day… smooth and not too sweet…Thank you for your great service, a lot of companies can learn from you!” Pamela moved to Florida in the summer of 2016 and noted on 4-18-17: “Literally The Best Honey I Have EVER Eaten! It's important to me to buy locally when possible, especially with honey. I couldn't be happier to have found Bee-Haven at a fall festival in Plant City! Their Allergy Blend is hands down the best honey I have ever had. I will be a Bee-Haven customer for life! IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH TODAY Remember, raw honey easily replaces processed sugars in your diet and is also a thoughtful gift anytime. To order or ask questions, phone 863-825-5245 or visit online at Facebook or beehavenfl.com.
Bee-Haven Honey Farm 5212 US Hwy 98 N Lakeland, Florida 33809 (863) 825-5245 https://beehavenfl.com
Dark Horse Music Store BY CHERYL JOHNSTON
Dark Horse Music Store sells popular brands of new and pre-owned instruments, offers rentals to band/orchestra students, and handles repairs and a wide variety of supplies.
THE STABLE – Repair Center DH Music Store offers a wide range of instrument services from set-ups to cleaning, from repairs to modifications and more. They also service effect pedals and other instrument related accessories. Let the DH experts get your favorite work-horse instrument out of the case and back into action! Michael Wilson is living his dream as owner of Dark Horse Music Store.
ark Horse Music Store seems a perfect fit with its heart-ofthe-historic downtown Plant City location. Recent renovations have changed the space dramatically. The expanded Dark Horse contains five private lesson rooms, two waiting areas and more product displays. The company also offers music books, new & pre-owned instruments, rentals for school band/orchestra, strings, batteries, and various other music-related supplies. Folks can also book appointments to record in the mobile studio. LEARNING TO PLAY – PLAYING TO LEARN The Dark Horse staff treats customers as family by providing outstanding service and tailormade programs for all needs. Ten talented teachers offer lessons to students ages 5 and up, using sheet music, chord charts, and an introduction to music theory. They work on strengths and weaknesses and track progress for easy review. They try to provide knowledge students can apply to future musical
endeavors. “I love when clients and parents compliment us and send progress videos,” Wilson said. “Watching a student progress and receiving a good review just lights everything up.” Michael explained the company’s name. “We want people to discover their hidden “dark horse, wild card” talent and believe those passionate about music have the ability and raw talent to expand their musical horizons. We simply build from wherever they begin and help them perfect that.” Aside from learning to play an instrument or bettering their vocals, Wilson hopes students will pass their learning forward. “We’d like them to use music as a positive outlet because it’s a powerful tool when used correctly.” Trial lessons can be booked online for: - Piano - Vocals - Guitar - Bass - Violin - Saxophone, Clarinet & Flute - Banjo, Mandolin, & Ukulele - Drums
PRODUCTS AND BRANDS Wilson believes the wide range of instruments and brands Dark Horse offers, from beginner to pro-level guitars, to strings, violins, and everything in between, is “the most affordable in the area.” The company also maintains a large and ever-changing selection of used instruments and also buys and trades. PAST and PRESENT Established on Christian values in 2011 by then 16-year-old Michael Wilson, the now 24-yearold believes his company projects foundational truths. “In music, you can go many different directions and because of our faith, we’re able to positively impact those around us. “He credits his wife Breanna and parents Troy and Betty Wilson for support. This is my dream job,” Wilson explained, “doing what I love and helping people pursue their music dreams. I can’t imagine doing anything different.” Wilson learned to love music from his mother, Betty Wilson, who plays piano now at Church at the Barn on State Road 39 South. Realizing what a gift music
appreciation is, the communityminded musician plans to host a summer music camp for 75-100 children, concluding with a recital. Visit Facebook regularly for details posting soon. The team will also be involved with the downtown’s Worship in the Park event in April. For the second year, Dark House has partnered as a Winter Jam- Tampa premier sponsor, because “this opens doors for us to meet the performers and presents opportunities for our students to see amazing talent.” FUTURE PLANS Grateful for the community’s support, Wilson continues to dream big. To those desiring to start a new business, he would advise: “Be willing to make sacrifices and take one step at a time.” The more visible downtown location has also inspired him to build on the “shop local” momentum. Within five years, Wilson hopes for multiple locations and a restaurant/store combination, to attract a broader audience and provide students a venue to showcase their talents. Ultimately, the goal is promoting a love for music, one satisfied customer at a time.
Dark Horse Music Store
108 NE Drane Street Plant City, FL 33563 813-754-5269 (JAMZ) email@example.com Hours: Monday-Friday 11AM – 8PM Saturday 10AM – 6 PM Closed Sunday: “Time for rest!”
Preparing Your Home for A Property Appraisal BY NATE DAVIS, FLORIDA MORTAGE FIRM
hether you're selling your home to someone using a mortgage to buy it or thinking about refinancing your current mortgage, one thing many lenders will require is a property appraisal. While the actual inspection may take only an hour or two, the appraiser must go back to the office, do the research and write a hefty report. Here are some tips to help the appraiser with additional information - and in most instances, a faster turnaround time to complete the report. 1. Compile a list of recent improvements. If possible, include "before and after"
pictures and copies of paid receipts for work completed. If major updates were made, provide a detailed copy of the bid from the contractor. 2. Make sure all areas are accessible, including the attic, basement and crawl spaces. This includes the garage. 3. If the home is part of a homeowner's association, include a copy of the fees paid, as well as the name and phone number of the association president or executive director. 4. Straighten up each room. Appraisers are required to photograph each room, and while it may not make a difference to
them if the room is messy, there may be an underwriter who is less objective. 5. If there are any unfinished projects, make sure they are completed before the inspection.
A little help from you goes a long way to make sure that the appraisal report is complete and accurate. If you have any questions about this, call my team at Florida Mortgage Firm at 813-707-6200. Florida Mortgage Firm is an Equal Housing Opportunity Lender, NMLS #289323 NMLS #294701.
Florida Mortgage Firm (813-707-6200) is an Equal Housing Lender, NMLS #289323, NMLS #294701.
Walden Lake Review BY NATALIE SWEET
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 February 19th and March 19th 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. By this time, your 1st half of your 2018 dues should have been paid. Paying your fees in a timely manner is appreciated by the Board, keeps you from being assessed any additional fees or interest, and helps save money for the community. A new shelter to provide shade is being built at the Dog Park due
to loss of a Grand Oak tree during Hurricane Irma. We recently went through a freeze and your plants may have suffered as a result. It’s tempting to cut back on the dead portion of the plants that were affected, although it is important to wait until some time in March in case we experience another freeze as the plant has a better chance of survival by leaving the dead portion of the plants. I have been told that a good rule of thumb is to wait until after the Strawberry Festival to cut back dead growth. Today’s Bank will have the foreclosure proceedings against Visions Golf, the owner of Walden Lake Golf & Country Club, on February 8th at 10:00 AM. Interested parties can go to https://www. hillsborough.realforeclose.com/ for
The December sales are as follows: Address Sales Price 3416 Silverstone Court $179,500 2790 Golf Lake Drive $180,000 2007 Poplar Court $219,500 3211 Thackery Way $228,000 4303 Kipling Avenue $234,000 3317 Michener Place $210,000 2708 Laurel Oak Drive $255,000 3003 Forest Club Drive $305,900
more information. During the month of December, there were 6 sales in Walden Lake and 1 sale in Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $228,843 with an average of 66 days on the market. There are currently 16 active listings for sale in Walden Lake with an average list price of $298,519 and an average of 62 days on the market. If you eliminate the one listing in Polo Place, the average list price is $252,420. There are 15 properties Pending Contract with an average list price of $239,666 and average of 53 days on the market. In 2017, there were 147 sales in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $238,646 and an average of 38 days on the
Living Area 1509 Sq’ 1843 Sq’ 1865 Sq’ 2216 Sq’ 1892 Sq’ 1943 Sq’ 2027 Sq’ 2604 Sq’
Pool No Private Private Private Private No No Yes
Garage 2 Car 2 Car 2 Car 2 Car 2 Car 2 Car 2 Car 3 Car
market. In 2016, there were 158 sales with an average price of $217,452 and an average of 55 days on the market. Although the Holidays are over, The United Food Bank is always in need of non-perishable items and our HOA office is a drop off location. Please consider stopping by the office and drop off a few items and they will get them to the food bank for you. Feel free to contact me about any real estate questions or about this article. NSweet@KW.com or 813758-9586.
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Athlete of the Month Mackenzie Steele
Record-breaking PCHS Lady Raider Commits to Florida Southern College BY TARYN STORTER
be. She explained, “The first game of this season I was able to achieve the school record for most points in a single game. It is now set at 43.” Outside of basketball, she maintains excellent grades and achieves High Honor Roll. Mackenzie is currently working towards getting her cosmetology license through a program offered at Plant City High School. As to her inspiration, she described, “My parents have always told me that if I’m going to do something, I need to do it with everything I have. They have always wanted me to be successful and
achieve whatever I put my mind to.” Mackenzie offered some great advice for younger athletes. “Always outwork the person beside you, do the little things for a purpose, and never give up.” These words can mean the world to someone striving to make it big in the world of sports. Recently, Mackenzie committed to Florida Southern College to play basketball on a full-ride scholarship She looks forward to playing in the college realm and is very excited for everything in store at FSC. She hopes that through her experiences, she can become a better person both on and off the court.
PCHS senior Mackenzie Steele now holds the record for most points scored in a single game at 43.
lant City High School senior Mackenzie Steele, the record-breaking Lady Raiders basketball team captain, looks forward to a very bright future. During her childhood, she played softball, soccer and also participated in gymnastics and tumbling. She enjoyed them all, but she discovered her niche in basketball. Mackenzie shared, “My favorite sport is basketball. I fell in love with it when I was a little kid and want to work every day to get better. It’s something I enjoy, and it allows me to feel worry-free when I’m on the court.” Mackenzie has been the team captain for the Lady Raiders for three years! She enjoys this
leadership position and loves leading her team. Leadership is an integral part of any team, and it is important to have the best of the best leading. Mackenzie is truly an incredible asset, as she is a leader both on and off the court. Mackenzie has earned many awards throughout her basketball career, including the honor of team MVP in her sophomore and junior seasons. She has also been named the Western Conference Player of the Year, along with First Team All-Conference her junior year and Second Team All-Conference in her sophomore year. Mackenzie constantly pushes herself to become the best basketball player she can possibly
Recently, Mackenzie committed to Florida Southern College and is grateful for a full-ride scholarship.
Mackenzie dribbles down the court in a tough game against Spoto High School.
Sports Team of the Month Plant City Dolphins 5- and 6-Year-Olds National Championship Winners BY TARYN STORTER
Congratulations to our 2017 United Youth Football League National Champions, the 5- and 6-year-old Plant City Dolphins.
he Plant City Dolphins 5- and 6-Year Olds football team made some waves with their win at the National Championship of the United Little League National Tournament held here in Plant City. They worked hard and came away with the top honors! Football is such a special sport, not only to our nation, but more specifically, the Plant City area. For many families, the football mindset begins long before high school. Boys all over the community begin playing Little League football at around age four. The sport becomes a passion for many as they grow up and play for high school teams, aspire to play at the college level, and dream of
becoming a professional football player. The young Dolphins began practice this past summer on July 6 and worked for a little under a month, before their season began on August 2, 2017. From the beginning, the team’s goal was, “To play to the best we can, the entire game, every time we play, and to win,” stated Coach Chad Morrow. The Dolphins did just that! They continued to excel, winning game after game until they reached the National Championship, which they won a score of 13 to 7 in overtime. The leadership for this team was incredible. The coaches included
Armand Cotnoir (Head Coach), Chad Morrow, James Ross, David Beveard, DJ Brewington, Mitch McDonald, and Todd Burney. They led their team to victory this season, and they cannot wait to see what these boys do in the future. Coach Morrow explained, “The majority of the team was first year players. We had a few six-yearolds who played the previous year.” With almost a brand new team, these coaches pushed the boys to the limit and ended up with the championship trophy. Team members included: Easton Beveard, Dylan Brewington, Luke Brown, Travarius Burnett, Brayden Burney, Levi Carter, Callen Cotnoir, Everett Devalle, Kyler Dilley, Jared
Durden, Landon Futch, Kaiden Graves, Eli Griffin, Ryker Helton, Tatum Hibbard, Trenton James, Ty Johnson, Brayden Marsteller, Cullen (Brooks) McDonald, Brody Morrow, Barrett Raley, Kri’Zion Sutton, Daniel Thompson, Tristan VanHorn, Liam Winslow, and Zane Woolsey. Plant City, keep your eyes on these amazing youngsters! They are already excelling in one of our favorite spectator sports, but with help from their parents, coaches and this community, they’ll keep growing into fine young men who will change the football world as we know it! Watch for their names to be on the back of your favorite college and professional team’s jerseys one day.
Leaders in Faith
Pastor Tim Williams, Victory Worship Center BY CHERYL JOHNSTON | PHOTO COURTESY OF TIM WILLIAMS
astor Tim and Suzi Williams of Victory Worship Center love the rural life they share in their home behind the church off County Line Road. Thirteen years ago, they followed God’s leading to Plant City from First Assembly of God in their lifelong hometown of Lake Placid, where they had served eight years as Associate/Youth pastors. Although he had grown up in church, he did not surrender his heart to Christ until adulthood. Tim describes himself as “just a country boy who enjoys the simple life,” probably from spending his early years around Highlands County lakes and woods, fishing and alligator-trapping for his parents’ family-operated Florida seafood business. After a seven-year career in law enforcement, he realized God was calling him into ministry. The Williams are the proud parents of five children: Garrett, Jessica, Justin, Abigail, and Isaac. How did you sense this calling? My wife was a pediatric nurse, pregnant with our first child. I felt unsettled, knowing something was amiss in my life. In prayer, I told God if he wanted me to serve in ministry, He would need to supply that desire. On October 7, 1992, I stepped into a little Bartow church and the pastor walked to me on the back row. He said, “You told God you had no desire to serve in ministry.” When he laid his hands on me, I felt like I had stepped into a nuclear power plant, lost 50 pounds, and had a backpack filled with rocks lifted off my shoulders. When at home I asked Him for another confirmation. Opening my Bible randomly, my eyes saw “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery” [I Timothy 4:14]. When I told Suzi, she feared I was
The Williams Family (shown L-R) Abigail,Justin, Jessica, Isaac, Tim, Suzi, and Garrett.
involved with a cult. But I had never before felt such love for people and knew God would back up His word. He helped her see His purpose for my life. When she accompanied me to that little church for her first time, we sat in the front row. The pastor came over to pray and some women surrounded her. He told them not to touch her and when he prayed, she experienced the same power. Little did he or I know that she’d prayed in route, telling God she didn’t want anyone to touch her. We’ve been serving together ever since. Even though I believed in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, I had never experienced them before that. Mine was like an immersion into power. In my patrol car, I experienced the Book of Acts type of miracles as God prompted me to talk with or pray for people.
When He directed me to leave the department in 1998, a decision He confirmed multiple times, I questioned: “Why would You move me from where I have spiritual influence with people?” His response to my heart was: “I want you to raise up people to minister to others outside the church; learn by teaching them that all are called to share and witness how God works in others’ lives. Today, Suzi serves as administrative assistant and our son Garrett and his wife Rachael are our Associate/Youth Pastors. We love watching God change people and we provide opportunities for them to practice ministry through training and praying for each other. Favorite way to share your faith? One-on-one through chance meetings and sharing my testimony,
but mostly through friendships. I purposely try to build friendships outside the church, too. What would you advise those curious about the Christian faith? Becoming who God has destined you to be is the only way to true and total personal peace. Your life will be unsettled until you’re in relationship with Him. And to Christians? Remember that Jesus started you on a journey and trust that He WILL complete it. REST in Him. Victory Worship Center at 6637 County Line Road in Plant City welcomes all to its Sunday service at 10:30 a.m. and Wednesday night classes at 7:00 p.m. Contact Pastor Williams at 813- 754-6089 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Travel to Pre-1840s Florida
History comes alive at the Alafia River Rendezvous BY BARBARA ROUTEN
places and cultures, they recreate a typical rendezvous like the ones in which soldiers and curious tourists, Native Americans, traders, frontiersmen and trappers gathered annually from 1640 to 1840 to sell goods and replenish supplies. Ronnie and Diane Capp of Plant City are this year’s Alafia River Rendezvous booshways (event organizers). Florida History is part of the 2018 theme, so participants will include Seminole Indian historians, re-enactors and Black Seminoles, members of the St. Augustine Garrison and a group of pre-1840 naval personas, like pirates. While attending public days, munch on fry bread, buffalo stew, soups, fried pies, kettle corn and barbecue, washed down with a
bottle of sassafras or old-fashioned root beer. Public-days admission—cash only—is, per day, $10 per adult and $5 per senior and children ages four through 15. Children three and younger are free. Camps and campers may not display anything that did not exist before 1840, but public-day visitors may wear modern clothing and use technology on site. Expect a lot of walking over unpaved ground. Only registered service animals are allowed, no pets. For more information, visit www. floridafrontiersmen.com or the Florida Frontiersmen Inc. Facebook page.
Doreen "Speckled Frog" Robb rhythmically strikes a small drum to call the Métis, people of mixed Native North American and European, African or Asian descent, into a powwow circle in Teepee Town at Alafia River Rendezvous.
he past is closer than you think—about 30 miles away. Every January, the Alafia River Rendezvous, the country’s oldest and largest living-history event, happens at the 300-acre Florida Frontiersmen’s Club, 1000 Old Fort Meade Road, Homeland (near Bartow). Although the 47th annual 2018 Alafia River Rendezvous encampment is a 10-day event, it will be open to the public only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 26 and 27. This is a not-to-be-missed day trip back in time to experience the “sights, smells and sounds of pre-1840 America: blacksmiths pounding hot metal on anvils, food cooking over campfires and the kaboom of muzzleloaders being shot,” said Ron Clark. He is president of the Florida Frontiersmen Inc., the nonprofit that sponsors this annual fund-raising rendezvous that serves
“to promote the appreciation of America’s pre-1840 history, to preserve the skills of the era and the material culture of that time period.” The event is fascinating, because the roughly 1400 reenactors are not actors or docents, they’re real individuals and families dressed in period clothing going about daily life in pre-1840s style. Children attend a one-room school, run and play together outside their white tents and colorful teepees and climb the ma-and-pa tree. Mothers pull toddlers in wooden wagons as they shop for fresh herbs and hand-sewn clothing, and potters, flintknappers, bowyers, broom makers, chandlers, blacksmiths and weavers ply their trades. Live acoustic music and storytelling take place on stages and informally around cooking fires. As participants take on the personas of people from different
A traditional artisan uses his hands--and foot power--to make pottery at the Alafia River Rendezvous near Bartow.
Live music abounds. Some performers, such as Mustang Sally and the Hamjos, entertain visitors in a shady tent, while others play on outdoor stages at the Alafia River Rendezvous.
Jeremy Rivera Artist of the Month
BY HEATHER DAVIS | PHOTO COURTESY OF JEREMY RIVERA
here is a strong artistic current running through Plant City. While browsing downtown recently at a Makers Market being held at the Corner Store, I came across an artist whose bright and vibrant artwork jumped off of the canvas at you and made you want to stop and take a second look. New to our town, local artist Jeremy Rivera has been creating a type of psychedelic and abstract art he discovered and created organically during his art studies at USF, where he earned a degree in Fine Arts. Jeremy works with the motto of "do what you love first and the rest will follow." The way he approaches his art is joyfully, mindfully, and with the intention of making art that looks cool. While in school, he fell in love with photography and the process of creating or capturing an image in front of you. Other mediums he explored and also enjoyed included digital art, drawing, and printmaking. Concepts that Jeremy applied to the
type of art he creates are the ideas behind color theory and trichromacy on how the eye views colors and how that can be used to manipulate how the eye views art. Today the three main mediums Jeremy uses to create his art are photography, digital art, and drawing. Taking his art a step further to an interactive level, he uses his art to create full room installations incorporating neon hand colored string, smoke and music, which allows for viewers to participate through touch, feel or even by using 3-D glasses. Throughout his art career Jeremy has participated in many shows and galleries, all mostly in the Tampa area. As a recent transplant to Plant City, keep an eye out for Jeremy Rivera because he will certainly be a part of the Plant City art scene. To view Jeremy's artwork or communicate, contact him online at jeremyriveraart.com or through Facebook at www.facebook.com/ jeremyriveraart. PAGE
Candy’s Corner BY CANDY OWENS
uge After Christmas Sale Discounts! Find the Perfect gift! Additional 30% discount with Code# 237645, Shop Online Today and Get Free In-Store Pickup When You Are Ready! PrePaid Phones Make Perfect Presents. Dual Camera Tablet PC with accessories, Earbud Headphones, Teeth Whitening pens, Floating Wishing Lanterns, Multipoint Bluetooth Headsets, and Stainless Steel USB Flashdrive Cuff Links. Hey! Whatever happened to bicycles, tricycles, Barbie dolls and board games, basketballs, Bar-B-Que grills, and new record players? When I was a kid my parents, my sister, and I would ride over to Searstown in Lakeland to shop. My father would park the family car in front of Sears and into the store we would go. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Sears was the store that had everything. We would look at sporting goods, tools, perfumes, shoes, records, record players and my least favorite of all, the clothes. My mother would drag me to the section called “The Lemon Frog” (for chubby little girls.) She never mentioned that part to me. Always very careful with my feelings, she just said the “Lemon Frog” section had a more generous cut. As a family, we always enjoyed a visit to the television department. My sister and I would sit on the carpet in front of a brand-new color TV set and watch game shows like “The Newlywed Game” or “Truth or Consequences” while our parents talked to the salesman. If they needed to shop in another department and we were tired, we could and would sit in front of that
TV forever without moving. In those days, people didn’t have to worry so much about watching their child’s every move. If we were shopping in Sears and my mother turned around and I was gone, she would send my sister to the appliance department to get me. I was totally fascinated with vacuum cleaners. I thought it was magic how a beach ball would go ‘round and ‘round in the air without getting stuck in the machine’s hose. I also loved to stand in front of the air conditioners and watch the colored fringe blow in the air. Sometimes I would sing into the air conditioner vents and be embarrassed when the salesman caught me. My favorite of all the new appliances were the refrigerators. I loved to open the doors and stare at the fake hams and cakes they displayed inside. Sometimes Karen and I would play “Let’s Make a Deal.” I would be Carol Merrill (the show’s model) and stand in front of the refrigerator or washer/ dryer and wave my hand back and forth like I was showing the prize, just like she did on the program. We had loads of fun until my parents came to tell us it was time to go to the next store. I’m sure those salespeople got a good laugh watching us, or did they? Next, we would continue down the shopping center’s sidewalk to the kiosk where a man stood all day and made keys. I was fascinated with the many different key shapes and colors. As a kid, I thought the man that made keys had a very cool job. When my mother got me away from the key maker, we were on our way to BelkLindsey to buy our Buster Brown shoes. My sister and I never minded getting new shoes because the
salesman always gave out balloons. When we left Belk-Lindsey with new shoes in hand, my sister and I would run next door to the Gandee Toy Shop. I can remember Mr. Gandee sitting behind the counter of what we girls thought was the happiest place on earth. Gandee Toy Store had everything that you could imagine, including baby dolls and Barbie and G.I.Joe dolls. There were brands such as Play Dough, Silly Putty, Slinky, Etch-A-Sketch, Silly Sand, Creepel People and Hot Wheels. There were dollhouses, playhouses, toy cars and planes, board games, yard games, tents, drum kits, guitars, hats, horns, whistles, stuffed animals, model trains, cars and rocket ships, beauty kits and tea sets. It was a kid’s paradise. My father would always without fail, buy my sister and I a play fashion ring before we left the store. Mr. Gandee always had a box of toy rings up at the register. Karen and I took forever to select the one we wanted. Next, we were up the ramp to the Green Stamp store to view the window display of all the groovy things you could get with stamps. Our parents would never let us go in unless we were ready to redeem our stamps. Next, we stood in the doorway of the piano and electric organ store and listened to the salesman play show tunes on the organ. After his concert, it was down the ramp, which meant walking by this weird-looking Octopus-shaped sculpture. My sister always told me not to look directly at it or it would come after me. Woolworth’s Five & Dime was next, with its old wooden floors and a lunch counter. I always wanted to have a snack but Mother always had a reason why we were too busy to stop. I would usually come out of Woolworth’s with a new book of paper dolls. Sometimes there would be a blind man playing a guitar
and singing outside the store. People would put money in his cup as they walked by. This would always upset me, so my parents would walk me by very quickly. I was worried about that man and wondered if he had a family and a home. We then went to the Empire, the Colony Shop, the Hallmark store, the Singer Sewing Center, and finally we were at the end of the shopping plaza. “Time to Eat!” The restaurant at the very end of the shopping center was like a Morrison’s Cafeteria. I don’t remember the name but I sure remember their great food. We always left there with a full tummy. So many years have passed since our shopping days at Searstown. The center itself is no longer a shopping complex, but rather private office spaces. Times have changed since those days and I’m sure kids today would never be interested in the things that brought us excitement during those shopping trips back then, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I often wonder if the blind man who played guitar and sang is still alive. I also wonder what happened to the scary Octopus looking sculpture. Maybe a kid stared at it too long and it came after the kid. Who knows, but at least it didn’t get me. HA! HA! I would like to close with this happy thought for 2018. During the year may you have ENOUGH --happiness to keep you sweet. --trials to keep you strong. --hope to keep you happy. --failure to keep you humble. --success to keep you eager. --friends to give you comfort. --wealth to meet your needs. --enthusiasm to make you look forward to tomorrow and --determination to make each day better than the day before. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Words of Wisdom BY WANDA “LEWIS” ANDERSON
appy New Year…wishing everyone a safe and Blessed 2018. Let’s kick off the New Year with some useful tips. If you’ve read my column you may remember I suggested a slice of bread in with your brown sugar container/bag to keep it soft. Well, another tip is to wrap the block of brown sugar in aluminum foil and warm it in the oven @ 300 degrees for 5 minutes. If you need to ripen a tomato quickly, try wrapping the un-ripe tomatoes in newspaper. This will speed up the ripening process. With this cooler weather the need to wear boots is a must. To keep the top of your boots straight, try placing pool noodles inside the leg of the boot. Simply cut the pool noodle to desired length and slip into boot. This works great. Ice cubes—they don’t just keep our beverages cold. You can place an ice cube on rice to re-heat in microwave. The ice will melt and then steam as the rice reheats. This works great when re-heating pasta in the microwave as well. Next time you get a splinter,
numb with ice first before attempting to get the splinter out. It really helps. Moving your furniture around on the carpet will leave dents in the carpet. A simple fix is to place an ice cube on the dent as it melts it will loosen up the dented carpet. I have a bad habit of placing my eyeglasses or sunglasses on my head, which loosens the tiny screws. Well, I found a great tip. After you tighten the tiny screws, place a little clear fingernail polish on the screw to help hold the screw tightly in place. If you have a lot of small earrings and hate digging through your jewelry box to find the matching earring I have just the tip. Run the earrings through a medium/large button. Secure the back of earring once you run it through the hole in the button. This makes those small earrings easy to find and they stay matched. I wanted to say a special thank you this month to Toby Ragins and Pat Hayes of Pool Masters for doing an outstanding job on my pool. Until next time relax, enjoy and be thankful… PAGE
Susanna Houser Joe Merrin Senior of the Month
Senior of the Month
BY MACKENZIE STEELE
BY RJ ROBINSON
ecember’s Senior of the Month is a musical mastermind. A cellist for 12 of her 17 years of life, Susanna Houser has been rewarded very well for her commitment to the art. Most recently, Susanna was selected to perform with the Honors All-State Orchestra of Florida, a prestigious program that only picks the best of the best. She has also been awarded 1st chair cellist at PCHS for the past three years, a feat for any musician. Apart from music, Susanna also dedicates her life to sports. In an attempt to get the most out of her high school experience, the now-senior has been a member of three different sports team at Plant City High School: Cross Country, Tennis, and Volleyball. By far, Susanna has experienced the most success in Tennis, for which she was named the Most Valuable Player in 2017. For her commitment to athletics and the Positive Coaching Alliance Foundation, Susanna was also awarded a $2,000 scholarship
from Sagicor Life Insurance in recognition of her being a PCA Triple-Impact Competitor. In the classroom, December’s Senior of the Month thrives, keeping up a 5.0462 weighted GPA that places her as number 66 in a class of 472. However, it is in her community that Susanna Houser flourishes. Since her elementary school years, Susanna has been a part of Plant City’s First Baptist Church. From that affiliation the she has been able to make connections in her community and beyond, serving as a missionary on five different Mission Trips to spots across the globe. She has also been able to become involved in the PCHS Interact Girls Club, where she currently serves the organization as president. Susanna Houser is a star in the Plant City community and with her involvement of dozens of organizations in and around town is the perfect student to be named December’s Senior of the Month.
s a PCHS student, Joe Merrin has proven his worth as one of the top students in the 2018 Senior Class. Especially during his Junior year and Senior year, his involvement in school athletics, extracurricular, and community activities has been extraordinary. Throughout Joe’s time at Plant City High School, he has participated in a variety of school sports teams. He has been an athlete on the Golf, Cross Country (in which he won Rookie of the Year), and Track & Field teams. He has also become a valuable member of many organizations, such as the Interact Boys Service Club, Special Olympics Team, Raider Buddies, Youth Alive, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and Plant City’s TV Productions program, Raider Television (RTV). Joe was elected Treasurer of FBLA, where he manages the club’s finances, and he was appointed to the Youth Alive Council, where he organizes and
leads club-sponsored events such as See You At The Pole, a function that allows students to meet at the school’s flagpole for morning worship. For Special Olympics, Joe helped to lead the Unified Cheer team to the state competition, where they won first place. On RTV, Joe has his own personal segment on the show, called Joe’s Amazing Facts. Finally, Joe is a very active member of the Plant City First Baptist Church’s Youth Group. With the church, he recently took a mission trip to Mexico with the SERVE organization, where he spread the message of God to the underprivileged. Joe Merrin is a prime example of a community leader, and one who has served his city well.
About the Writer:
About the Writer:
Plant City High School senior MacKenzie Steele, 17, is an outstanding leader in the Plant City community. In a very skilled balancing act, MacKenzie dedicates her time to various clubs and organizations at school, numerous Dual Enrollment and AP classes, and involvement with her church youth group. 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.
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 school clubs such as the Teenage Republicans and the Interact Boys Service Club, and Editor-in-Chief of the school’s yearbook staff. He plans to attend the University of Florida to study Business Finance and Journalism.
Convenient, quality diagnostic imaging right here in Plant City Did you know that you have the right to choose where to have your diagnostic imaging and screening tests? That’s right…you don’t have to drive an hour (and wait all day) to get quality digital mammography, CT, MRI, X-Ray and ultrasound tests. We are Plant City’s expert radiology team, offering the full range of diagnostic imaging in a comfortable and convenient outpatient setting. We offer: • Flexible scheduling and same-day appointments
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BY TAYLOR NORRINGTON
BY TAYLOR NORRINGTON
Senior of the Month
lexis Powell is a prime example of what an all-around student looks like. From being a part of a four-time state championship winning cheerleading team, to staying up late hours handling rigorous homework, to taking care of the many duties a president of any organization has to uphold, this senior of the month knows how to do it all. She is one of the 92 seniors in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, a member of the Strawberry Crest Varsity Cheer Team, and is the President of the Student Government Association. IB has taught Alexis how to manage her time wisely. Every class has their demands and to maintain one's grades one always has to be on top of their game. During her time at SCHS, she has acquired a 5.3 GPA. She has done this through taking many AP classes such as AP European History and AP US History, as well as HL, higher level, courses. One of her favorite classes is HL Psychology,
Senior of the Month
because she has a strong interest in the minds and behaviors of people. Her hobbies include spending time with friends and family, shopping, watching Netflix, and practicing makeup. Alexis spends her extra-curricular time in the Student Government Association as President, the National Honor Society, and as Captain of the Varsity Cheer Team. As President of SGA, she leads group discussions in planning and brainstorming events such as homecoming and pep rallies. As for her leadership role as Cheer Captain, she has to constantly keep the team positive and prepared to always be their best. These organizations will prepare Alexis for many of her future endeavors. She plans to attend Florida State University to receive her Doctorate in Psychology. Alexis is the SCHS senior of the month because of her astounding achievements during her time in high school.
yan Karczewski has showcased nothing but greatness throughout everything he has done at Strawberry Crest High School. He has shown profound dedication in being one of the 92 seniors in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, volunteering in his community, and being involved and leading in countless school clubs, organizations, and sports. He sets the bar high and is a true leader in the school and in the community. During his time at SCHS, Ryan has acquired a 3.55 GPA. He has done this through taking many AP and HL, higher level, courses. His hobbies include swimming, going to the gym, photography, hanging with his friends, watching movies, and film making. On top of his vigorous workload, Ryan still finds time to volunteer and serve his community. He is an active member of the Tampa Museum of Art's Youth Council. He was a member of the inaugural council in
2016 and has been a member ever since. He is currently the council's Secretary. Every year the council runs a film festival, teen night, student exhibitions, gallery tours, poetry slams, and many other projects. He says that they continue to develop more and more each year. Ryan spends his extra-curricular time in the Student Government Association as Vice President, the National Honor Society, Senior Class Council Treasurer, and a swim Captain. Ryan has always had a love for the water. This past year he was Strawberry Crest's first ever male diver and made it to districts after only a month of practice. These clubs and teams will prepare Ryan for his future in and out of the workplace. Ryan is the SCHS senior of the month because of his astonishing accomplishments during his time in high school.
About the Writer: Strawberry Crest High School senior Taylor Norrington, 17, is a team leader for the SCHS yearbook staff and first-year writer for Focus Magazine. In addition to involvement in school clubs such as Crest Buddies and Senior Class Council, the Student Government Association secretary was also Captain of the Chargerette dance team. As a member of Dance Quest International's competition team, she dances five days a week. To further her dance career, she hopes to receive acceptance into the Ingredients Dance Training program in Dallas, Texas. After that, she plans to study Broadcast Journalism at Florida State University.
Super Bowl Side
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Smokin’ Aces Serves up Award-winning BBQ 2017 Plant City Pig Jam first-place award winner for best barbecue sauce BY BARBARA ROUTEN | PHOTOS BY CHERYL JOHNSTON
Dry rubbed with a five-seasoning mix, the Smokin' Aces BBQ's King's Wings are grilled, then fried and served with a choice of two accompaniments.
mokin’ Aces BBQ was crowded when we walked in for lunch at noon on a Tuesday, but we were able to be seated immediately at a quiet table out back. The area, under an awning, is well protected from the elements and overlooks a picturesque, rural setting in spite of the nearby, convenient-but-busy intersection of Park Road and Interstate 4. The waitstaff was prompt and attentive, without being intrusive, and my companion and I had time to catch up and enjoy a leisurely visit over lunch. I chose the pulled-pork sandwich with coleslaw on the side and ordered ribs to bring home to my better half. The ribs were
prepared and brought to the table in a to-go box with our meal, and they were finger-licking delicious when reheated at home. The quarter-pound of saucy pulled pork was flavorful, tender, free of fat and piled high on a soft roll. I ate it “Carolina” style, adding the slaw to the sandwich. It tasted great! My friend ordered the King’s Wings, five dry-rub seasoned wings that were grilled and then fried. The wings, meaty and moist, were served with two side dishes. She selected green beans and French fries and gave her meal an A+. Smokin’ Aces received another honor this year--the 2017 Plant City Pig Jam first-place award for best barbecue sauce. A large display
A pulled-pork sandwich, tangy coleslaw and a partial order of ribs and French fries from Smokin' Aces BBQ.
case by the front door is full of trophies and plaques that celebrate the culinary skills of Chef Robert Jordan, co-owner with his wife, Trish Jordan, and their son, Robbie Jordan. Some of their menu items are typical barbecue fare: steaks, Angus burgers, chicken and brisket. But they also regularly offer seafood— catfish, grouper, mahi mahi, oysters, shrimp and Cajun-fried frog legs— and meatloaf, barbecued-meat tacos, salads and Alfredos. Specialties, presented occasionally, include ribs that are bacon-and-brown-sugar-crusted and brushed with a pineapple-bourbon barbecue sauce, skinless baconand-cheddar sausage topped with
grilled, pepper-crusted bacon and Cajun gator tail. Throwing a party? The restaurant can accommodate from 15 to 45 people onsite. And they cater, too. Contact catering manager Robbie Jordan, (813) 784-3103, or (813) 704-1374, for assistance. Directions, detailed menus and more information can be found at smokinacesbbq.net.
Smokin’ Aces BBQ
2509 N. Park Road Plant City, Fla. (813) 704-1374 smokinacesbbq.net Hours: Monday - Thursday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday - Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
events can’t miss CAN'T MISS EVENTS
Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s Contest 6PM Florida Strawberry Festival Grimes Agriculture Arena 303 North Lemon St. Come experience Plant City’s cherished beauty pageant, sponsored annually by the Plant City Lions Club. Come watch in awe as contestants share their grace, poise, and stage presence with a supportive community. Tickets: $15 at Regions Band, Holiday Inn Express, Hardee’s Fashions and Walden Lake Car Wash
Florida Strawberry Festival Fashion Show 11 AM- 1 PM Traditional fashion show luncheon features styles from local boutiques modeled by locals 303 N. Lemon St. Info: 813-752-9194 Purchase tickets at FSF office
Feb. 9-11 2018 Black Heritage Educational and Cultural Festival Coinciding with Black History Month, this festival provides a great opportunity for the Plant City community to honor the rich cultural history of African Americans locally and nationally. • 2-9: Banquet w-keynoter Attorney Jeraldine Williams • 2-10: Youth Summit 9AM-Noon @East Hillsborough Historical Society Museum [605 N. Collins St.]; also • Drumline Battle and Downtown Jazz w-featured guests: Becky Knighten performing Prison Bar TV (featuring Blaque Pop) & R. Anthony, featured on The VOICESeason 7 • Worship, 2-11-18, 4PM @Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 604 W. Ball Street. • Info: Sharon Moody, Chair- 813-453-7134 & Cynthia Bailey, Co-Chair- 813-258-0223; Worship- Capathia Miller, 813-728-4675.
MAKE Plant City 7– 9 PM Community creatives and makers meet to learn and share Dark Horse Music Store Free event
Plant City Community Faith-Based Training Presented by: Hillsborough County Schools, Area VI 1:30 – 3:30 PM (arrive at 1:15, please) Bruton Memorial Library 302 McClendon St. Register please: email zoraya.beniteznieves@ sdhc.k12.fl.us or 813-872-5254; email dorinda. email@example.com or 813-707-7050
Chamber Ribbon Cutting- Farm Bureau 5:15 – 7:30 PM Join us for food, drinks and fun! Hillsborough County Farm Bureau 303 N. Wheeler St. Info: Norm Nelson, 813-754-3707
Jacob Johnson at Krazy Kup 6:30- 8:30 PM Enjoy a blend of Christian contemporary jazz and acoustic music Krazy Kup 101 East j Arden Mays Blvd Fees $5 Info: 813-752-1220
Pigs in Z’Hills 10 AM - 6PM Enjoy live music, BBQ competition, kids’ fun zone; military & aviation museums. 5200 Airport Rd., Zephyrills, FL 33542 Info: 813-782-1913 Free Admission, Parking $10 Craft Beer & Coloring 5 PM- 10 PM Enjoy craft brews, tasty cheese platters, and live music along with the therapeutic benefits of coloring. The Corner Store 121 E. Reynolds St. Info: 813-754-0900 Free Admission
Introduction to Stress Management 5-6 PM Free seminar on Introduction to Stress Management. Member Meeting Room Plant City Chamber of Commerce 106 N. Evers St. Free admission
Integrity Business Referrals Breakfast 7:30 – 9 AM Breakfast, sharing, networking for all trades & professions BuddyFreddy’s Restaurant Purchase food of your choice; guests are welcome
Plant City Chamber’s 2018 “Passing of the Gavel” 6:30-8:30 PM John R. Trinkle Center 2206 E. Cherry St. Info: Sophia Hyde, 813-754-3707 Fees: $75 each or $500 for table of 8
MILO in the Park: Meet the Skippyjon Jones! 10 AM- 1PM Interactive activities to encourage/celebrate a love of reading/school success. Courier Field 703 N Wheeler St. Info: John Russell, Youth Services Librarian, 813-757-9215
27-28 Sat. - Sun. Don Bosco Festival Saturday 10AM-5PM; Sunday 11AM-5PM Outdoor activities and carnival games Mary Help of Christians Center 6400 Chelsea St., Tampa Free Admission
Plant City Family YMCA Bike Rodeo 1 - 3 PM for elementary age children Children should bring their bike & helmet 1507 YMCA Place Info: 813-757-6677; Facebook
Family Movie Time 3:30-5 PM Bruton Memorial Library Info: John Russell, 813-757-9215 Free Admission
02-03 Fri. - Sat. One Accord Yard Sale 8 AM- 2 PM Fundraiser to support the church's mission trip to Africa One Accord Church 2203 W. Baker St Info: 813-750-8590
The Florida Opry 6 - 9 p.m. Blue Cypress Bluegrass Band Cost: $10 1914 Community Center 605 Collins St. N. Info: Shelby Bender, 813-757-9226 10th Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner 7 - 9:30 PM Dinner and demonstration by Fabio Viviani, Bravo's Top Chef Fan Favorite. Presenting Sponsors: Star Distribution and Unity in the Community. Hillsborough Community College Trinkle Center Info: Leigh Scott, 813-764-0625 Fees: $100
Best of Plant City Awards Ceremony Presented by Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce 11:15 AM - 1 PM Arthur Boring Civic Center at FSF grounds 2406 W. Reynolds St. Info: Sophia Hyde, 813-754-3707 Fees: Early Bird Member $30; Member $40; Early Bird Non-Member $40; Non-Member $50 Early bird deadline: 1/26/2018
10th Annual Astin Farms Strawberry Distance Challenge 7 AM - 10 PM Choose between 5K, 10K, or 1-Mile Fun Run in the Walden Lake area. Medals and strawberries for all finishers. Sign up today! Cost: $35/5k Ruck; $40/10k; $25/1-mile Info: Mike Nelson, 813-719-0244 1st Annual Plant City Lions Club Sporting Clays Classic 8 AM - 1 PM Shooting event includes lunch, ammo, beer and cart. FishHawk Sporting Clays 13505 Hobson Simmons Rd., Lithia Fees: before 2-1-18 $100/adult, $400/team; After 2-1-18 $120/adult, $480/team
Integrity Business Referrals Breakfast 7:30 – 9 AM Breakfast, sharing, networking for all trades & professions BuddyFreddy’s Restaurant Purchase food of your choice; guests are welcome
1st & 3rd Mondays Monthly
Fridays & Saturdays Weekly
Improvement League of Plant City 7 PM Historic Glover School Conference Room 5104 Horton Rd. Info: William Thomas, 813-757-6760
Plant City Lions Club 12 Noon @BuddyFreddy’s Restaurant 1101 Goldfinch Drive Info: Tony Lee, 813-752-7202
Music in The Loft @Krazy Kup Fridays 6:33-8:33 PM; Saturdays 8:3310:33PM 101 East J. Arden Mays Blvd. 813-752-1220; Facebook
2nd & 4th Mondays Monthly
Art & All That Jazz Concert 6:30 - 8:30 PM Featuring paintings, brilliant art, and cool jazz by local talent. Champagne, wine, cheese, & hors d'oeuvres Plant City Photo Archives & History Center 106 S. Evers St Info: Gil Gott, 813-754-1578 Fees $25
Plant City Commission Meeting 7:30 PM City Hall, 302 W. Reynolds St. City Clerk: 813-659-4237 (December: 2nd Monday only)
Plant City Garden Club 10 AM (Sept. thru May) Walden Lake East Community Center 1304 Teakwood Dr. All are welcome Info: Lisa Firm 813-404-4922 plantcitygardenclub.org
Strawberry Classic Cruise-In 3 – 8 PM Family fun in McCall Park, tasty food, shopping Union Station Depot 102 N. Palmer St. Info: 813-754-3707
ONGOING 1914 Plant City High School Community Center 605 N. Collins St. Hosts several ongoing opportunities: 1) Quintilla Geer Bruton Archives Ceter History/Genealogy library & archives research facility) Tues. 10AM-6PM; Wed.-Sat. 1-5PM Evenings by appointment 2) East Hillsborough Historical Society Classroom Gallery Art display by East Hillsborough Art Guild members Thursday - Saturday, 1-5PM Evenings by appointment 3) Pioneer Museums Tour schedule: call 813-757-9226 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mondays Weekly Plant City Daybreak Rotary Club 7 AM South Florida Baptist Hospital Community Rm. Info: George Banning, 813-759-1638 Square Dance Lessons 7:30 - 9 PM PC Community Chorale 7 - 9:30 PM Meets every Monday evening Cost: $35 per season Info: Mary Ella Enciso, 813-417-2808; email@example.com Online: www.pccchorale.org
2nd Monday Monthly
Recovery for Life 6:30 - 8PM 12-step Bible-based program to help w/ addictions Lorena Jaeb Rainbow House 504 N. Palm Dr., Plant City Info: Debbie Ray 813-763-1562
Live Music @O’Brien’s Irish Pub Fridays 530-8:30 Acoustic; Saturdays 9PM ‘til close 1701 S. Alexander St. 813-764-8818
1st Saturdays Monthly
Plant City Kiwanis Club 12 Noon Meetings at BuddyFreddy’s Restaurant Info: David Wolf 813-717-9300
Free, Beginner-Friendly Workout at CrossFit Plant City 9 – 10 AM Kids 10+ accompanied by parents are welcome, too. CrossFit Plant City 1402B Mercantile Ct. Newcomers: Arrive 10 mins. early to complete waiver RSVP via text to 813-230-7126
3rd Monday Monthly
2nd Thursdays Monthly
3rd Saturdays Monthly
Family Community Advisory Council (FCAC) 5 - 6:30 PM The Children's Board Family Resource Center at East County invites residents to its Family Community Advisory Council (FCAC) meets monthly to discuss services or programs needed or wanted. Children will enjoy the FCAC Playgroup care, crafts, & activities while the adults meet. 639 E. Alexander St., Plant City Info: Ladislao Sanchez, 813-752-8700
GFWC Junior Woman’s Club of Plant City 7 PM @1110 N. Wheeler St. Info: Lisa Rhodes, 813-376-8294
Strawberry Classic Car Show 4-8 PM 102 N. Palmer St., Historic Downtown Plant City Info: 814-754-3707 www.plantcity.org
Walking Club 7:30AM for 45-minute walk Meet @Bruton Library Info: Susan Miles 813-757-9215
1st Tuesdays Monthly Economic Development Corp. Meeting 2 PM @PC Chamber unless announced 106 N. Evers St. Info: Jake Austin, 863-712-0655 Arts Council of Plant City 7 PM Chamber of Commerce Public Room 106 N. Evers St. Info: Dodie White, 813-752-5156
2nd Tuesdays Monthly GFWC Woman’s Club of Plant City 10:30 AM @1110 N. Wheeler St. Info: Nancy Miller, 813-754-2544
2nd & 4th Tuesdays Monthly Integrity Business Referrals Breakfast 7:30 – 9 AM Breakfast, sharing, networking for all trades & professions BuddyFreddy’s Restaurant Purchase food of your choice; guests are welcome Info: Norm Blanton, 813-326-0749 American Legion– Norman McLeod Post#26 6 PM @2207 W. Baker St. 813-752-8608 Info: Nancy Miller, 813-754-2544
OPPOSITES ATTRACT Created by Calvin R. and Jackie Mathews
s we embark upon a new year, let us reflect on our past year to grow from past accomplishments and misfortunes. We should always grow from our past. It doesn’t matter whether you feel your past was fair or unfair, you must be determined to make good out of it. Realistically, there may be things that have followed you into 2018, but you must make up your mind and come up with a realistic plan for excelling and moving beyond difficulties this year. There is an old saying “Out with the old and in with the new,” so let’s move forward into 2018 and your best year ever! In His service, Timothy Knighten
ACROSS 1. Added wings 5. Petty, for one 10. Like peas in __ 14. Bar seat 15. “Don Carlo” and “Otello” 17. Extol 20. Overly talkative baseball players 23. __, Oklahoma 24. Pollution agcy. 25. Takes care of 26. Clear the board 28. Radon or neon 29. Cauldron 31. Last name for a Beatle 34. Word in a home sale ad 35. Note 36. Singer Janis 39. __ up; exhaust 40. Look after 41. Hilarious rainstorm 48. Prepared 49. Found the answer to 50. Innocent 54. Precious metal 55. Do’s forerunners 58. “Phooey!” 60. Concepts 61. 90˚ from NNW 62. Enzyme suffix 63. Woodwind instrument 65. Swears to be true 67. Summer activity for kids 70. Sassier 72. __ voyage; sets sail 75. Lacking one of the senses 77. Sault __. Marie 78. In favor of 81. “Cassius... has __ and hungry look” (“Julius Caesar”) 82. __ room 84. Recommence 86. Housekeeper 87. Prefix for gram or meter 88. UFO pilots 90. Rich cake 91. Extra-large panties 97. Jagged rock 100. Door opener 101. 2012 British Open champ 102. __ on; trust in 103. Forbid 104. Foxworthy and Bridges 106. Presidential nickname
107. 108. 112. 117. 119. 120. 125. 126. 127. 128. 129.
Playfully shy Moses’ mountain Useless German exclamation Genetic carrier Astonished wise guy Slumbers Actor Chuck __ Escape detection by Pierre’s place: abbr. Cartoonist Thomas and his family 130. Art __
27. 30. 32. 33. 35. 36. 37. 38. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 51. 52. 53. 55. 56. 57. 59. 64. 66. 67. 68. 69. 71. 72. 73. 74. 76. 78. 79.
DOWN 1. Lab burners 2. Piece of wood 3. Actor Rob __ 4. Cinderella’s loss 5. Word with hot or curtain 6. Gibbons and chimps 7. Relinquish 8. Celtic language 9. Stadium cries 10. Likely 11. Old phone button letters 12. Western book or film 13. Christian, for one 14. Ice cream concoction 16. Boozers 18. Black card 19. City in the Ruhr Valley 20. Fail to keep up 21. Wynonna’s mom 22. Domed building 1
by Calvin R. & Jackie Mathews Wrap up Additionally Deadly viper Old Olds Prom time, often U-235, to uranium Improvise Calendar abbr. Stock market enthusiast Egg on Lowly laborer Unhealthy lung sound Unconventional UN member Big name in BBQ grills Come together Ending for brown or boot Large tub Ogee’s shape Utters Actor’s award Meadowland Waste maker of proverb Insults At that time Conversation Yearly celebration: abbr. 1651 Sixth sense, for short Word from TV’s Emeril Whitney or Wallach Become firm Dizzy Apple pie recipe verb __ Moreno
113 114 115 116
107 108 109 117
80. River in Central Europe 83. “__ you to say!” 85. Univ. in Columbus 86. Do a lawn chore 89. Suffix for idol or character 90. Attempt 92. __ out a living; get by 93. NFL official 94. Gun rights org. 95. Exclude, in law 96. Voted into office 97. Network letters 98. Sudden attacks 99. Cancel 104. Were in harmony 105. Floor 107. Statement of beliefs 108. In the past 109. Beast of burden 111. Singing brothers 113. Religious artwork 114. Pod veggie 115. Russia & Latvia, once: abbr. 116. Give off 118. Common verb 121. Swirling tub 122. Disapproving click 123. Jenny, for one 124. Fond du __, WI
© Puzzle Features Syndicate
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R A C E R O P E R A N D E D S H A S E E S O T M O I A N I O U S D O S O L V A T I O B O M P F D E A F C R E L I E N I Z E D E L S S T I O S U C K S N O R R N A S
A P S P R O R T S T O S T A R U S E W N P O E D B A H E A T R E S H S T E O P E N S U N D E R E L A B E E A C M A R T I S E T S D
O D A I S E T O P S E R A S E R D E N T E N D U R N A I V E I D E A S T E S T S E R P R O M A I D T O R T E R WE A R Y C O Y H R N A A L E C K V A D E E C O
there’s no “check engine” light for your heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for
Choose the date and location that’s right for you.
both men and women in the United States. Knowing your heart disease risk factors could save your life or the life of someone you love. BayCare is offering free heart-healthy screenings throughout Tampa Bay to help you get to know your heart and the signs you shouldn’t ignore.
Preregistration is required: (855) 546-6304 17-277812-0118
Monday, February 12
St. Joseph’s Hospital (Tampa)
Wednesday, February 21
South Florida Baptist Hospital (Plant City)
Friday, March 9
St. Joseph’s Hospital-North (Lutz)
Wednesday, March 14
St. Joseph’s Hospital-South (Riverview)
For a complete list of all dates/locations: BayCareHeartHealth.org
FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 17-01 January 2018