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Contents Table of

focusplantcity.com / Issue 18-04 / April 2019

LOCAL

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S P O T L I G H T

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Along with stories of National Day of Prayer and the Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival, in this issue you’ll enjoy coverage of The Writers’ Loft, Marshall Middle School’s Talent Show, and Relay for Life. Additionally, you’ll find coverage of a few upcoming events: East Hillsborough Discovery Quest and Plant City Entertainment’s First Baptist of Ivy Gap.

The Easter season is upon us and naturally, we turn to thoughts of spirituality and faith. Meet the 2019 Faces of Faith: Dr. Brian Stowe, First Baptist Church of Plant City; Pastor Jeff Robinson, Plant City Church of God; Pastor Calvin Callins, Greater New Hope Anointed Ministries; Rev. George Hatmaker, Cork United Methodist Church; and Pastor Jeff Howell, Plant City Church on the Rock.

These five men discuss their journey of faith, their experience as church leaders, and more. Be sure to check out our Easter Service Guide for a list of church services, events and productions celebrating the Spring holiday.

Featured Writer

Barbara Routen

A wanderer, Barbara Routen enjoys travel, music, family, friends, languages and stories. She is a former ear-piercer, performing musician and travel agency manager who settled into dual careers of teaching music and writing for publications such as The Tampa Tribune, Plant City Courier, Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Pen Woman and FOCUS. She loves to tell about the extraordinariness of everyday people and the awesomeness of God’s love for every person He has created, writing to inform, encourage and inspire.

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BUSINESS

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DINING

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For over 40 years, R & L Metals, Inc. has served as a leader in the commercial and residential metal recycling industry. In 2018, the company relocated to Plant City and since, the company has received a warm welcome from the community. If you need to get rid of scrap metal, the crew at R & L Metals can help you clear the clutter.

From tacos, enchiladas to fajitas and burritos, Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant offers traditional Mexican dishes for everyone. Located on Thonotosassa Road, Mi Casa offers lively margaritas, perfect for a girls’ night out or a birthday celebration in a casual atmosphere. At this family-owned restaurant, everyone is sure to feel like family. The delicious food and friendly wait staff are what keeps folks coming back, time and time again.


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From The Publisher As we enter the Spring season, thoughts of family, friends and faith come to the forefront of my mind.

Publisher Mike Floyd - mikef@floydpublications.com Office Manager Candy Owens - cowens@floydpublications.com Account Manager Chandler Workman - chandler@floydpublications.com

I am looking forward to the Easter holiday and spending time with my two sons who are growing up much too quickly. It is important to me that we create memories as a family and build on traditions in celebration of the Resurrection. May you and your loved ones have a blessed and Happy Easter.

Managing Editor Cierra Craft - cierra@floydpublications.com Art Director Anthony Sassano - asassano@floydpublications.com Distribution Tony DeVane Staff Writers Cheryl Johnston | Barbara Routen | Sherrie Mueller Anthony Bolesta | Cierra Craft 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

Our Faces of Faith feature shines a light on five local pastors who share their spiritual perspectives. These pastors welcome Plant City families to church service, not only in commemoration of the Resurrection, but invite the community to visit their church all year ‘round. In this issue, you’ll find community news about the Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival, National Day of Prayer, The Writers’ Loft, Relay for Life and the East Hillsborough Discovery Quest. These events bring people together for entertainment or for a good cause. Our editorial team is hard at work each month to bring you news about the happenings within our community. Please call our office at 813-707-8783 with details of your event or to share your good news with us, and we promise to do our best to include it in an upcoming issue.

www.focusplantcity.com Standards of accuracy: The goal of the writers at FOCUS Magazine is to provide heart-warming stories that are accurate from the start. Being human, however, we sometimes make mistakes. Please forgive us. So if you notice anything that is incorrect, then please do not hesitate to contact the editorial department and inform it about the fact error. To do so, call (813) 707-8783 or e-mail editorial@floydpublications.com. The staff will fix the error in a timely manner. FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Plant City businesses, restaurants and many local venues. 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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GOOD FRIDAY

April 19, Noon - 1 PM Plant City Church of God

2103 Mud Lake Rd. Plant City, FL 33566 plantcitycog.com

W1

W2

W3

APRIL 14 10 AM

APRIL 21 10 AM

APRIL 28 10 AM

Set Free

Set Right

EASTER EGG HUNT

April 20, 11 AM - 2 PM Check - in 10:30 AM Plant City Church of God (walkers - 12 yrs)

Set Up

What is RESET?

SUNRISE SERVICE April 21, 7 AM Walden Lake Park

RESET is a powerful docuseries featuring the transformation of Peter, Paul, & John, as well as 3 modern day transformations from right here in Plant City. Jesus transformed lives then, and He transforms lives today.

Why RESET?

EASTER SUNDAY

April 21, 10 AM Plant City Church of God

RESET brings fresh perspective to the power of the resurrection. If you've ever wished you could turn back time or reset your life, this docuseries is for you.

Easter Weekend

2103 Mud Lake Rd. Plant City, FL 33566

Experience Easter with us!!!

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TALK OF THE TOWN FOCUS

RECORD BREAKING

According to Festival President Paul Davis, the 2019 Florida Strawberry Festival drew a record breaking crowd! With nearly 563,000 visitors visiting the 11-day festival to enjoy strawberries, shortcake, concerts, livestock shows, free entertainment, rides, food, arts and crafts vendors, and more!

MAGAZINE

HAVE YOU HEARD?

PCHS Theatre Troupe #1449 competed in the Florida State Thespian Festival at the Straz Center in Tampa. The troupe competed in the One Acts competition, where they received a Superior rating for their entry, Harvey. The group of 29 students trimmed the full length production down to a 40 min. entry. Additionally, students within the troupe received a Superior rating with a monologue and two Excellent ratings, in a monologue and costume design entry, respectively. According to PCHS Theater adviser Audrey Schmidt, this is the first time PCHS has gone to the state competition in 8 years. Congratulations to these rising stars!

BLAZE BATTLER REMEMBERS

SPECIAL GUEST

Fancy Farms was visited by a special guestU.S. Representative Ross Spano. Farmer Carl Grooms taught Spano strawberry growing 101 and the two discussed the challenges the agricultural industry is facing. Grooms gave Rep. Spano delicious red berries and strawberry bread.

Plant City Fire Rescue invited Cecil Everidge, 91, to visit the fire engine he once drove when he served as a volunteer firefighter in high school. Everidge and his friends would jump out of the windows of the 1914 PCHS when they heard the fire alarm, running to the fire station. The volunteers earned $1.00 per fire.

At the City Commission meeting on April 8, the proposed amendment of Plant City’s alcohol ordinance was unanimously approved. Businesses in historic downtown and Midtown can now serve beer and wine without the previous restaurant size requirement. This change to the alcohol ordinance is a step in direction of economic vitality for the city. Check out the next issue of FOCUS for more on the modified alcohol ordinance and to hear about big plans already in the works for downtown.

On March 28, Steve and Susan Hurley of Stingray Chevrolet presented 2019 raffle winner Dr. Teofil Kulyk with the keys to his brand new Chevrolet Corvette. The Hurleys also made a quarter of a million dollar donation to Unity in the Community. The $228,000 donation amount represents the total funds raised through 10th annual Corvette raffle in partnership with the Florida Strawberry Festival. Congrats to Dr. Kulyk and thank you to the Hurleys for support local charities. Photo by the Florida Strawberry Festival

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Plant City-residents, Truman Noble and Hendon Haley, both placed 4th in Wrestling at the FHSAA 3A State Championships. Noble wrestles 152 pounds for Steinbrenner High School and Haley wrestles 132 for the Durant Cougars. Both athletes grew up attending Walden Lake Elementary together and come from wrestling families. Congratulations to these talented athletes!

DOWNTOWN RENAISSANCE

CHA-CHING!

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STATE CHAMPS

CRIKEY!

Outback Steakhouse Plant City now offers delivery! From Sam Allen Rd to Trapnell Rd to Branch Forbes Rd to Park Rd, Plant City residents can have their Aussie favorites delivered right to their front door. Orders can be placed online at www.outback. com or by phone at 813-759-4329. Call Outback Steakhouse Plant City for more information.


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organizations in the community. Snyder's son, Brandon Snyder, says the Y was planning to organize a bike ride as a fundraiser, when his father was diagnosed in October 2012. His father had just begun his chemotherapy treatments and rode in the inaugural Dean's Ride, held January 19, 2013. “My dad was a fighter, a provider and was a servant to the community,” says Brandon. “He believed in honor and doing things the right way no matter how hard they were.” Throughout his fight with cancer,

Dean lived by the motto “Strength and Honor,” a quote from his favorite film, Gladiator, the mantra was then adopted by the charity bike ride. Riders of the 2019 event raised more than $10,000 for the Livestrong Program. No matter the cause, members of the community came together in support. It is the spirit of togetherness that makes events such as Bike with the Mayor and Dean's Ride among the most anticipated of the year.

Bicyclists participating in the Dean’s Ride disembarked on their 62-Mile Metric Century, 38-Mile and 18-Mile rides, respectively. Riders returned the Trinkle Center to cross the finish line.

Biking for A Cause:

Bike With the Mayor and Dean’s Ride 2019

BY CIERRA CRAFT | PHOTOS BY JERILYN RUMBARGER

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n Saturday, March 30, 2019, Plant City residents and bicyclists from around the region gathered at Hillsborough Community College’s Trinkle Center to take part in the 3rd Annual Bike with the Mayor Ride, as well as the Plant City Family YMCA’s annual fundraiser, Dean’s Ride. This is the first year the two events were held together. The annual Bike with the Mayor Ride is held in celebration of Florida’s Bicycle Month and promotes bike safety. Coordinated by Plant City Parks & Recreation, Planning & Zoning, and Plant City Police Department, the 3.5 mile ride invited community members of all age groups to participate with a ride through northeast Plant City. Unfortunately, Mayor Rick Lott was unable to participate in the Bike with the Mayor event this year due to prior commitments. City

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Commissioner Bill Dodson stepped into Lott’s place, promoting not only Florida Bike Month, but also discussing the safe, accessible bikeability and walkability of Plant City. Additionally, the event allows for residents to connect with city leadership. 132 riders registered for the Plant City Family YMCA’s annual Dean’s Ride. The charity bike ride was created in 2013 and supports the Y’s Livestrong Program, a wellness program for cancer survivors. Participants can choose from a 62Mile Metric Century, a 38-mile, or an 18-mile ride. The event is named after Dean Snyder, a Plant City resident who passed away in August 2013 after battling esophageal cancer. Snyder was the owner and CEO of Snyder Investments and Financial Services and was a strong supporter of the local YMCA, among other

The Snyder family says the community’s continued support of Dean’s Ride means so much. This year 132 riders raised over $10,000 for the Livestrong Program.

Bicyclists from across Central Florida met at the HCC Trinkle Center to participate in Bike with the Mayor and Dean’s Ride. The events promote bike safety, supporting charity, as well as the bikeability and walkability of Plant City.


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Growing a Green Thumb: Garden Walk 2019 invites all to explore community garden BY CIERRA CRAFT | PHOTOS BY BREANNA WILSON

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he Plant City Commons Community Garden, in collaboration with Leadership Plant City, is hosting Garden Walk 2019 on April 26 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. The event encourages the community to visit the garden, located at 2001 E. Cherry Street, and experience the peaceful environment created when surrounded by nature. The Plant City Commons Community Gardens was previously located at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, but once the lease for the use of land was up, co-founder Karen Elizabeth began looking for a new space for the garden. “I visited the botanical gardens at HCC, which was built by UF’s Horticultural program, but they did away with the classes due to enrollment, so the garden wasn’t maintained,” said Elizabeth. “So, I visited the space again and met with Dr. Clay and the advisory council

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and they were on board to bring the community garden to HCC.” Elizabeth says the community garden and botanical gardens are maintained on a volunteer basis and the group is excited for this partnership with Leadership Plant City. “We are fortune this leadership class has taken a notice of our mission,” said Elizabeth. Leadership Plant City is a Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce program, where the class members are tasked with choosing a group project that must benefit the common good. Leadership Plant City class member and Communications Coordinator for the Chamber Breanna Wilson said the class chose the garden as their group project after visiting the site. “Back in December, the 2019 class visited the garden during “Health, Wellness, and Services”

day,” said Wilson. “We met that evening to discuss our project and decided as a group that we wanted to be involved in the garden so that we could share it with our community at large.” The Leadership Class helped prepare the garden for new concrete walkways and laid new weed cloth on March 16. As a class, Wilson said the group is rehabbing and updating the area, revamping some of their social media pages, and then hosting the Garden Walk on April 26. Karen Elizabeth says she hopes the Garden Walk will not only raise awareness of the garden’s location, but also increase membership and enrollment in the Plant City Commons Community Garden’s workshops. “We offer workshops on bees, composting, and we have a seed library,” said Elizabeth. “Members of the garden have their own garden beds, including soil and irrigation for $35 per year.” While there is not an admission

fee, guests to Garden Walk 2019 are asked to make a donation at the door. Then, attendees will be taken on a tour around the garden and explore the various areas. Complimentary food will be available following the walk and vendors will be on hand selling crafts and other goods. Get the most out of your visit to the Plant City Commons Community Gardens by following these tips from Karen Elizabeth: • Wear flat close toed shoes. • There are mosquitoes in the evening. You may want repellent. • No smoking inside the gardens, please. Use the parking lot for that activity. • Respect the Gardens by NOT picking flowers, fruits, vegetables, leaves or seeds, walking in flower beds, or climbing trees. • No pets (except for service animals) • We love to share, so ask many questions.


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The Writers’ Loft Living the Dream

BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

At its April 2nd meeting, The Writers’ Loft featured a panel of published authors at its April 2nd meeting. Shown L-R are Angela Ardrey- founder; Jim Lane, Kevin Phillips, James McDaniel, September Lindsey, Thad Diaz and Matt Lawrence.

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nspired by her passion for the written word and her affection for people, Angela Ardrey established The Writers’ Loft group in December of 2018. The idea for a collaborative collective began after Ardrey resigned from a corporate accounting career to pursue her own long-held dream of writing for publication. She realized a need to surround herself with like-minded others but learned there was not yet a writers’ group in Plant City. So she formed one. Subsequently, Krazy Kup coowner Wenda Trunzo invited Ardrey to hold the meetings upstairs at the family’s charming coffeehouse. Now Ardrey’s goal in pouring out stories onto a page is to help others do the same. The gatherings on first Tuesdays monthly from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. provide an encouraging, nonthreatening atmosphere for writers of all levels in any genre. Ardrey also

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hosts the more informal “Shut Up & Write” sessions on Tuesday and Saturday mornings at 10:00 a.m. Ever the encourager, she has learned much from her own journey through weight-loss and into an active pursuit of wellness in mind, body and spirit. While she still considers herself a “newbie” in the writing realm, those who read her work would disagree. One of those is Emily Topper, a journalist who now writes for Publix Super Markets. As a friend, the published author has also been a key component in the group’s success, providing focus ideas, social media promotional savvy, and mentorship at the Saturday sessions. Regardless of her present skill level, Ardrey is a woman on a mission. “Without a doubt,” she shared, “my mantra for all to read regarding The Writers’ Loft will be: “We’re bringing our stories to life!” Her own missives derive from the now completed adventures of “homeschooling mom” to five

children and the lessons she’s learned through exercise, nutritious eating, and relationship-building. Meetings to date have included a journalists’ panel, a published authors’ panel, and presentations by local authors James McDaniel and Gil Gott. But perhaps what attendees enjoy most is the chance to write themselves. Ardrey typically offers a prompt or topic and as quick as a coffee sip, the next snapshot is one of writers with heads down and pen-or-pencil-holding-hands downloading words onto a page. It is amazing what those with the writing gift can create in just 10 minutes or so. And after the writing, comes the best part – the readalouds of poetry, memoir, or essays that share dreams, desires, and everyday lives. By evening’s end, strangers have become friends in an atmosphere of acceptance and pride in each other’s accomplishment. Group member September Lindsey shared her enthusiasm for involvement. “At first, I was excited and afraid, but most of all I had a knowing feeling. There's not many places or people I have an instant pull to, and this was both, wrapped

into one! I love coming into an environment with so many different people with different views on life. Without this group, I might never have stepped out of my comfort zone to speak in front of people (something I'm still learning to do). I'm very thankful for Ms. Angie in founding The Writer's Loft and for all of the amazing people we get to meet because of its existence.” With Topper’s continued help, Ardrey expects great things for everyone who shows up to learn or help others learn this craft that demands honing to accomplish excellence. She penned her own joy recently in watching the welcoming tribe grow and bond, writing: “Dear Writers, keep bringing your stories to life. Your journeys are rich with beauty. Your words tear our eyes as they touch our hearts. Your gift for writing is priceless... cherish its power.” To learn more, visit The Writers’ Loft at facebook.com/ thewritersloftpc, on Instagram @ thewritersloftpc , or in person at Krazy Kup. All are welcome!


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Celebrations

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For More Information Call (813) 527-4306

Weddings

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507 S. Wheeler St, Plant City, FL www.enterthemadzone.com

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Plant City-resident leading “the Way” T B Y CIERRA CRAFT

he United Way of Central Florida works to improve lives and strengthen communities, focusing in the areas of education, income, and health as “building blocks for a good quality of life.” Serving Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties, the organization connects residents with social services to create positive lasting change. Leading the charge is Plant City resident Christina Criser-Jackson, President and CEO of UWCF. She is a proud alumna of UF, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 2006 and a master’s in family, youth and community sciences in 2010. Her husband Eric Jackson was born and raised in Plant City, so the couple planted their roots in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World. She began her career with UWCF in 2008, where she was then promoted to various positions. In January 2019, the organization announced Criser Jackson was chosen as the next President and CEO. When asked about her new role, Criser Jackson had this to share: “There is lots of need in our community, so it’s significant that we rely on the research to address these needs. Our organization has a great relationship with the school board, government officials, faithbased groups, so I enjoy meeting with clients and these leaders, and bringing them together to make an impactful difference.” Criser Jackson continued, saying she is grateful and blessed to have

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the UWCF mission be the focus of her job on a daily basis. She is extremely grateful for the UWCF’s partnership with Publix Supermarkets, the #1 supporter of UWCF and the #3 supporter of organization world wide. On April 1, United Way announced Criser Jackson’s selection into the Advanced Leadership Program. The Advanced Leadership Program is designed for senior level professionals that have demonstrated results and capacity to lead United Way, said United Way in a press release. Of the 12,850 applicants, only 12 to 18 are chosen to participate in the program each year. “I am extremely honored and grateful to have the [United Way] system show interest in our professional development,” said Criser Jackson about being chosen for the program. Although she has only lived in Plant City for two years, Criser Jackson says the small town community feeling has helped her assimilate to her work in the neighboring counties. “Plant City is similar to a lot of the communities we serve, a lot of people want to give back and support the community,” said Criser Jackson. “You definitely feel that in Plant City and it’s similar in Lakeland, Winter Haven, and cities in Highlands and Hardee counties.” While United Way of Central Florida does not include Hillsborough County, Criser Jackson said she works closely with the United Way Suncoast, which serves Hillsborough, DeSoto, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties. “Living in Plant City I am able to work with United Way Suncoast within initiatives and programs they sponsor, such as the United Food Bank,” said Criser Jackson. She has the heart of a servant and is passionate about improving the lives of others for the betterment of the community. With Christina Criser- Jackson at the helm, Central Florida residents are bound to prosper.


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East Hillsborough Discovery Quest BY CIERRA CRAFT

Organizations such as Seniors of Service connects senior citizens with volunteer opportunities to maintain an active lifestyle. Other organizations will be on hand

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lant City residents are encouraged to attend the 2nd Annual East Hillsborough Discovery Quest on Saturday, May 4 at Plant City High School from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Hosted by Frontline Community Services and the East Hillsborough Advisory Council, the event’s purpose is to educate the public on the plethora of resources, programs and services available in the area. Guests will also have the opportunity to attend brief seminars with guest speakers and apply for aid on site. The free event will assist East Hillsborough residents in discovering programs and services all in one place, including job and career opportunities, human services, and health and wellness services. More than 70 businesses, nonprofits and vendors will be on site, as well as civic organization. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about how they can volunteer within these service groups. Additionally, the event will feature live entertainment, including dancers, artists and local musicians. The day will include

door prizes as well, which guests can win by purchasing raffle tickets for $1 or 15 tickets for $10. Attendees can also make a donation on the day of the event of unneeded eyeglasses and hearing aids to the Plant City Lions Club, canned food to the United Food Bank of Plant City, or blood on the OneBlood Bloodmobile. These donations will earn attendees an entry into the gift basket raffle. The event will also feature A Taste of Plant City, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., a culinary experience connecting the community with local restaurants and caterers offering samples of their best dishes. Attendees can buy a plate for $5 and get food from each of the food vendors on site. All of the money raised through the raffle and plate sales will go directly towards scholarships for local youth to attend the Planteen’s summer programs. IF YOU GO: East Hillsborough Discovery Quest Saturday, May 4 9AM to 3PM Free admission & parking PCHS @ 1 Raider Place PAGE

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Dr. Brenda Dukes Chiropractic Physician

NEW STUDY FINDS OPIOID DEPENDENCE CAN BE MINIMIZED USING CHIROPRACTIC CARE

San Jose, Calif.-March 27, 2018-A new study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine concludes that adults receiving chiropractic care for low back pain (LBP) were 55 percent less likely to fill a prescription for an opioid analgesic in comparison to adults who did not receive chiropractic care. The object of the investigation was to evaluate the association between utilization of chiropractic services and the use of prescription opioid medications. Based on the findings, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP), a not for profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the value of chiropractic care, notes that pain management services provided by doctors of chiropractic (DCs) may allow to use lower or less frequent doses of opioids, leading to reduce costs and risk of adverse effects. • Of the 13,384 subjects studied, only 19 percent of the subjects receiving chiropractic care filled a prescription for opioids, while 35 percent who did not receive chiropractic care filled these prescriptions. • All categories of prescription charges were significantly lower for recipients of chiropractic services in comparison with non-recipients.

“Consumers are actively looking for safe, clinically and cost-effective, drug-free approaches to manage back pain, “said Sherry McAllister,DC,executive vice president, F4CP. According to the study, more aggressive pain management efforts that begin in the 1990s have led to an epidemic of prescriptions for opioid pain medications in the U.S, with more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions despensed per day. The Institute of Medicine has recommended the use of non-pharmacologic therapies, including chiropractic care, prior to utilization of pharmacotherapy for patients with chronic pain. Special Note: On Sunday, May 12th is Mother’s Day-We pray that all Mother’s, Grandmother’s and all women be BLESSED at this special timeProv.31:10-31. Blessings, Dr. Dukes & Staff

Dr. Brenda Dukes • Chiropractic Physician 752-2524 • 2401 Walden Woods Dr. • Plant City, FL 33566

Dr. Dukes encourages you to write her with any questions concerning chiropractic care. PAGE

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practice citizenry to advocate for more campus activities. “If you’re going out for Student Council next year, if you like these kind of events, tell your teachers, tell the administration and let your voice be heard,” said Glover to the audience. Stage fright was notably absent, as each student took to the stage enthusiastically, showcasing their talent confidently in front of their peers, administrators and faculty. “As an educator, it is important to meet students where they are to encourage and motivate and bring out the talents unknown to them initially,” said Glover. “Research

shows that pre-adolescence and adolescence can be the most confusing and most creative stages of development. I chose to tap into the creativity stage of development which students can express through these type of productions.” Marshall Middle School’s Gentleman’s Quest club continues to achieve excellence and as student leaders, the organization strives to make a positive impact on their peers. Events such as the semester talent show provides fellow Dragons with the opportunity for creative expression among friends.

Stanley Glover joined the students on stage during the final number to close the show. Parents and community members who support GQ were invited to attend the production.

Marshall Middle School Talent Show BY CIERRA CRAFT

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n Friday, March 8, Marshall Middle School Gentleman’s Quest hosted a schoolwide Spring talent show. The event comprised three shows, tailored to each grade level with songs, dancing and other acts, including bullwhip cracking. The shows encompassed a message of community, celebrated unique talent, promoted self-confidence and encouraged attendees to get involved within their school. Gentleman’s Quest sponsor Stanley Glover said the student organization began planning the event in January and auditions were held before and after school, as to not limit any students ability to participate due to transportation limitations. The group organized a talent show in the fall that was a huge success. By creating a spring production, more students could choose to participate and share their talent.

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“Our dynamic administration allow us to organize a talent show last year in the fall. It created such a positive energy that stimulated students' interest to get involved. The administration and faculty was amazed to see the type of talent that exists at Marshall Middle School,” said Glover. Don’t Rain on My Parade by Barbra Steisand, All of Me by John Legend, and My Girl by The Temptations were just a few of the numbers on the show’s program. Gentleman’s Quest members served as backup dancers or singers to the main performers to turn a typical talent show into a production. Glover served as emcee of the event, introducing each act onto the stage and encouraging the audience to clap or sing along. He used the opportunity to encourage students to get involved within campus organizations and to

A performance of Don’t Rain on My Parade opened the 8th grade show. Starting in the audience, performers sang and danced among the aisles before making their way to the stage.

Students showcased a wide variety of talent, including bullwhip cracking. Students of Marshall’s FFA participated in the event organized by the GQ, bringing the two student organizations together.


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City Commissioner Mike Sparkman and his wife Diane Sparkman were among the participants of the survivors’ lap. Survivors of the disease were supported by the community with cheers to honor their strength.

Relay for Life Plant City community comes together to fight cancer

BY TARYN STORTER

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he 21st Annual Plant City Relay for Life event was held on March 29 at Plant City High School. The communitybased fundraiser empowered Plant City residents to fight back against cancer. Many events were held during the night, such as themed laps, dances, and the emotional presentation of the luminaria ceremony. This special ceremony honors and remembers those who have lost their battle to cancer in the Plant City community. The Plant City Relay for Life is ranked 25th in the southeast and 1st in Hillsborough County for being the largest and most successful event that raises money to support cancer research. A major part of Plant City’s

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Relay for Life is the Fairy Princess Makeovers. This booth is hosted by the Plant City High School Skills USA Cosmetology. The group offers makeovers in memory of Megan Carpenter, who was a student of Candelario at Plant City High School. Laurel is the cosmetology teacher at PCHS and was heartbroken after the loss of her pupil. She was inspired by Megan’s faith in God, strength, and love for others. Following her death, the cosmetology teacher decided to start these Fairy Princess Makeovers. Megan loved everything pink and princess, and she truly left a legacy of love. The first tent for the makeovers went up at the 2007 Relay for Life, and over the past 13 years, the

group has raised over $100,000 in memory of Megan. Laurel Candelario explained, “This sparkly, pink, magical event brings so much joy for a little girl from Plant City to be crowned a ‘Relay for Life Princess’ by the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen. This occasion also provides community service opportunities for cosmetology students. It is a special was for us to feel close to Megan, whose legacy lives on.” In addition, Laurel Candelario is the 2019 Plant City Relay for Life cancer survivor and led the first lap of the relay, the “survivor lap”. Laurel walked with her husband Rafael, who is also a cancer survivor. This first lap is watched by all who attend the event, and the participants are surrounded by cheers and clapping, supporting them for their strength. Relay for Life is a life-changing event, as it partners with the American Cancer Society to raise money for cancer research and provisions for families and patients as they battle this disease. For more information about Relay

for Life Plant City and how to become a volunteer for the 2020 event, be sure to visit relayforlife. org/plantcityfl or contact Event Coordinator Bonnie Gibson at bonnie.gibson@cancer.org.

The Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Kendall Gaudens (center) and her court from left to right, Olivia Fraizer, Madilyn Conrad, Jada Brown and Kennedy Cullins attended the Fairy Princess Makeovers organized by the PCHS Skills USA Cosmetology team.


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LOCAL

During the April 11 rehearsal, director Coy Permenter instructs the actresses on changes to the scene. The group has rehearsed three times per week since February in preparation for the April premier.

Plant City Entertainment presents

First Baptist of Ivy Gap

takes place 25 years later; that's really what peaked my interest. Over intermission, we have to age everyone on stage by 25 years. Each actress will take on slightly different characters in the second act because of the age difference, which will probably be the most challenging part of the show.” Countless hours of preparation have gone into preparing for the premier of Ivy Gap. The actresses had their first script read through in February and have rehearsed three days per week. Permenter says in addition to selecting the crew, he spent a lot of time working on the big picture. “Prior to auditions, I spent at least 15-20 hours in preparation for the show, designing the set, blocking the actors, compiling a list of props, thinking about costumes, and generally thinking about the overall big picture,” said Permenter. First Baptist of Ivy Gap is sure

to leave audience members with laughter and other times, in tears of sadness and in joy, as the ladies of Ivy Gap find comfort and forgiveness in one another. For a wholesome experience, spend an afternoon or evening getting to know the ladies of First Baptist of Ivy Gap at Plant City Entertainment. IF YOU GO: First Baptist of Ivy Gap 101 N. Thomas St, Plant City, FL 33563 April 26, 27, May 3, 4: 8PM April 28 and May 5: 2PM Tickets: Adults, $18; Seniors 60+/ Students, $14; Members and Groups of 10+, $12; Opening night special 2 for $25 online or at the door. Now accepting major credit cards at the door. For additional info and to purchase tickets online, visit www.pceshows.com

BY CIERRA CRAFT

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n April 26-28 and May 3-5, Plant City Entertainment will present First Baptist of Ivy Gap, a dramatic comedy by Ron Osborne. First Baptist of Ivy Gap is about six women who gather on Tuesdays and Thursdays to roll bandages for soldiers fighting overseas during World War II and plan the 75th anniversary of the First Baptist of Ivy Gap.The play pokes fun at the absurdities of living in the Bible Belt and highlights the impact WWII made on small town life. Among the characters are Edith, portrayed by Mollie Anderson, the pastor’s wise cracking wife; Luby, portrayed by Kristen Permenter, whose son is fighting in the Pacific; Mae Ellen, played by Sara Horrocks, the church’s rebellious organist; Olene, performed by Mindy Ecob, who dreams of a career in Hollywood; Vera, portrayed by Lois Green, a wellto-do and influential member; and Sammy, played by Rachel Green, a shy newcomer.

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In the second act, taking place twenty-five years later, the “First Baptist Six” reunite to plan the church’s centennial celebration. It also touches on some powerful, emotional moments, in that act two occurs during the height of the Vietnam War. Audience members will discover what came of the “First Baptist Six” in the shadows of WWII. Directed by Coy Permenter, the six member cast range in age from early 20s to over 50 with talent levels ranging from first play to over 30 years experience. Permenter said he was drawn to this piece because of the characters transformationphysically and personallythroughout the production. Permenter had this to share: "Six strong women who aren't afraid to confront the truth and tell it like it is. It's comparable to Steel Magnolias; however, these women are much more than just a bunch of one liners. The first act takes place in 1945 and the second act

Mindy Ecob and Sara Horrocks perform a brief musical skit about their characters’ dreams of leaving Ivy Gap for much bigger aspirations.


National Day of Prayer on May 2

LOCAL

Love One Another BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

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hemed in 2019 from Jesus’ command in John 13:34 to “Love One Another,” the two National Day of Prayer gatherings on Thursday, May 2nd in Plant City will include: • Noontime Prayer from 12:00 – 1:00 pm. City Hall at 302 W. Reynolds Street • Evening Worship and Prayer from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. City Pointe Church at 503 N. Palmer Street For more than 20 years, the Plant City community has observed this nationally designated prayer effort after a small group of friends, organized under the leadership of Former Representative Johnnie Byrd, initiated the local gathering to pray for America. Over that time, the town’s citizens have observed the NDP by hosting prayer breakfasts, noontime and evening gatherings. On April 22 at the next monthly City Commission meeting, the City of Plant City will offer a proclamation recognizing that 20-year legacy of faithfulness in prayer. Among those civic-minded NDP promoters is Rev. Norm Blanton of Somebody Cares Plant City, who works tirelessly to invite local involvement. He encourages churches to open their doors so

folks can gather to pray. “I’ve been praying that each home, school and business could also pause for some time to pray on that day as well,” he shared. “Let’s saturate our community with prayer for our city, state and nation.” Another local leader, Dr. Daniel Middlebrooks, shared, “Our hope is that individuals, churches, and spiritual leaders in Plant City will humble ourselves and pray for the next great move of God in America. Prayer builds bridges between opposing persons and even political parties. It reminds us that we are all created in God's image and He desires that we represent Him everywhere by loving one another.” Fred Harrold, who serves as Executive Pastor at City Pointe Church (which hosts the Evening event), emphasized the importance of a community’s unified prayer effort. He offered, "The only way this Christian army can reign victorious is to march together on our knees." Please make plans to attend one or both of the gatherings on May 2. Your presence and your voice can truly make a difference. For additional information , call Rev. Norman Blanton at 813-3260749. PAGE

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T CI ER RA CR AF IN TE RV IE W BY

Betty Medina

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he Little Miss Plant City contest has been around for 51 years and is presented by the GWFC Junior Woman’s Club. Betty Medina has served as LMPC Chair for four years, organizing and planning the annual contest. Medina is a Plant City-native and a 2003 graduate of Plant City High School. She is a proud alumna of USF and will soon graduate with her master’s from Southeastern University. Medina is preparing for the 2019 Little Miss Plant City contest on May 4 at Tomlin Middle School. How did you get involved with the Plant City Juniors? I was teaching at Springhead Elementary, when a friend and member invited me to a meeting. I was immediately hooked and I have been a member for six years. I love the amazing sisterhood we share and all of the amazing things we have gotten to do together. What leadership positions have you held within the organization? I have been a member for six years, I was a board member for 4 of those years, and LMPC Chair for 4 years. What led to your appointment as LMPC Chair? I joined in 2013, helping and volunteering at Little Miss Plant City. Then at the 2014 LMPC, I helped chair Stephanie Eisenbach, learning the ropes

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from her, essentially as a co-chair. The following year was my first year as Chair. In 2016, I also served as the girls’ chaperone. What is something the public may be surprised to learn about LMPC? It’s a personality contest, not really a beauty pageant. I think they associate it with being a pageant, but we are more of a contest. It’s laid back and the girls shine through their personality. They do a portion of pre-judging before the contest ever begins. The public may not know it’s a fundraiser, benefiting our Shoe Project. From sign ups, program sales, love notes from parents within the program, to ticket sales, the contest is our biggest fundraiser of the year. How will the 2019 event differ from previous LMPC Contests? This year, we are making the Sunday dress optional and are allowing the girls to wear a costume if they’d like. The contest is Alice in Wonderland themed. My co-chair and I wanted to spice things up and at our March workshop, parents asked if the dresses were mandatory. We said no, so we are excited… change is good.

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


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LOCAL

Did You Know?

FFA in Hillsborough County: A Brief Overview BY PLANT CITY PHOTO ARCHIVES

Current Florida FFA officers (This is adapted from information provided by the Hillsborough County FFA)

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gricultural programs for youth began early in the 1900s. Programs such as 4-H began in 1902 and became organized as 4-H clubs for after-school programs for youth in 1912. In 1914 the federal Smith-Lever Act established the Cooperative Extension Service, which assumed responsibility for 4-H programs. Seeing the necessity for agricultural training, the federal SmithHughes Act established vocational agricultural courses to be overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1917. In 1925, Hillsborough County Schools saw the need to begin Agriculture Education in their public schools. They established the Hillsborough County Agricultural High School in Plant City, the agricultural hub of Hillsborough County. This building on North Thomas Street is now the Dwight “Bud” Nifong Area V Office Building for the District and houses the current Agriculture Supervisor office as it has since that position was created. In 1928 the national Future Farmers of America was organized. Florida FFA followed in 1929. FFA was to be an integral part of agricultural education by helping make classroom instruction come to life through realistic, handson applications. FFA objectives PAGE

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embrace concepts taught in agricultural classrooms nationwide, build valuable skills through hands-on experiential learning and each year demonstrate their proficiencies in competitions that showcase real-world agricultural skills. In 1935 the New Farmers of America was organized to provide agricultural training for African American students in segregated schools. Marshall High School was part of the segregated school system that had a New Farmers of America chapter on its campus. Early Plant City High School Agriculture classes began growing row crops on the property behind the Agricultural High School to give the students the opportunity to learn all the processes of agriculture. The students tilled the soil by hand, planted the crops, tended them and harvested the product by hand. One of the first crops were greens that later became a staple commodity with the Southland Frozen Foods Corporation in Plant City. As more schools were built, the Agriculture and the Future Farmers of America programs expanded. Plant City High School, Pinecrest High School, Turkey Creek Jr/Senior High School and Tomlin Junior High School all recognized the importance of Agriculture production in the East Hillsborough County Region and established Agriculture and Future

Farmers of America in their schools. New Farmers of America was set up in Marshall High School. The schools stressed learning about the production of row crops and livestock animals and shared what they were learning through educational displays at the Strawberry Festival exhibits throughout the 50s and 60s. In 1965 New Farmers of America and Future Farmers of America merged, and with females being admitted to FFA in 1969, they formed a larger and stronger organization. In the 1970s, Pinecrest High School, Turkey Creek High School, Marshall High School, and Plant City High School were consolidated into one school: Plant City Consolidated High School. Although tumultuous in many ways, one of the areas that unified students was the Agriculture and Future Farmers of America program. These students united to form the Plant City Chapters of the FFA, still strong in

our community today—still producing on the land, still exhibiting through educational displays at the Strawberry Festival each year. Today’s FFA has evolved in response to expanded opportunities available in agriculture and its needs to hire skilled and competent employees for more than 300 careers. The organization helps students prepare for careers in business, marketing, science, communications, education, horticulture, production, natural resources, forestry and many other diverse fields. The agricultural education program provides a well-rounded, practical approach to learning through three components: Classroom education, hands-on supervised agricultural career experiences, and FFA, which provides leadership opportunities and tests students’ agricultural skills.


RIBBONCUTTINGS

Want to become a member of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce? Businesses may join the Chamber online by visiting www. plantcity.org or by calling the office at (813) 754- 3707 and speaking with Membership Director, Norm Nelson.

On Saturday, March 23rd The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce had the honor of hosting a ribbon cutting for Plant City Airport's new FBO Atlas Aviation! Atlas Aviation offers aircraft rentals, flight instruction, and scenic aerial tours. To learn more visit: http://atlasaviation.com/

On Saturday, March 23rd The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce had the honor of hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony for Shekinah Glory Cathedral's new building in the heart of Plant City located at 402 W. English Street! "Shekinah Glory Cathedral is a multi-cultural church where families are loved and empowered to be prosperous within the community through educational opportunities and social and economic development. Through teaching the word of God, and fellowship, we believe an individual’s relationships with Christ, their families and fellow neighbors will be stronger than ever."

On Tuesday, March 26th The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for new Chamber member Jessi Rae Bridal. Jessi Rae Bridal is an intimate bridal salon located in beautiful Downtown Plant City. Jessi Rae and her team are committed to giving you the customer service you deserve with the shop all to yourself! With sizes ranging from 0-30 and an array of designers, you never have to sacrifice your vision. “Jessi Rae Bridal offers all the latest wedding trends while still accomplishing the classic look of a bride. We are so excited to help you find the perfect dress!” Photo Credit: Cierra Craft, FOCUS Magazine PAGE

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12th Annual Tampa Bay

Blueberry PAGE

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Festival Every year, Keel Farms welcomes Central Florida residents to partake in a unique agritourism experience at the Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival. In celebration of Florida’s spring blueberry harvest, the 12th annual event was held over two weekends: April 6 & 7 and April 13 & 14. The 4-day event comprised live music, tastings of beer, wine and cider, family activities and of course, plenty of fresh, sweet blueberries. The festivities drew thousands of people to the Thonotosassa Road location. In cheerful spirits, attendees ate, drank and picked blueberries, while enjoying one another's company.

Central Florida residents celebrate blueberries at Keel Farms By Cierra Craft

The 12th Annual Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival kick off was held on Saturday, April 6. The beautiful weather created an enjoyable experience for all, particularly those participating in the highlight of the festival: blueberry u-pick. President and CEO of Keel Farms, Clay Keel, said the farm-to-table phenomenon has flourished in recent years and it is his goal to offer a quality experience to those who visit the family farm. Keel had this to share: “The movement to farm-to-table is growing, people want to know where their food comes from. With this event, they can see it in our fields, our animals and on our menu. Guests can experience agriculture in a fun way, such as picking blueberries and shopping from vendors using locally-grown ingredients in their products.” Keel said it was his father, Joe Keel, who had the idea to open the farm to the public for pick-your-own blueberries and eventually turn the event into a festival. Clay says the event has grown over time to include more food, more entertainment and more artisan craft vendors. PAGE

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“We’ve partnered with Noble Worldwide out of Winter Haven for fresh fruits, we offer wine classes in the Party Barn, where a wine expert can tell you what you’re tasting. We’ve got blueberry bread in partnership with Alessi Bakery in Tampa…” said Keel. When asked how guests can best consume their farm-fresh blueberries, Keel had a few suggestions: “They could make blueberry pie, or add blueberries to their cereal or yogurt- that’s how I like to eat them with yogurt- or even make blueberry ice cream.”

BLUEBERRY U-PICK

Attendees explored 15 acres of lush blueberry bushes in search of the ripe blues. Among those was Amy Pouget and her daughters, Avalyn and Alana, of Ruskin. The family, like many others, enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine among the 5-foot blueberry bushes. “We look forward to the Blueberry Festival, this is way more interactive for the girls,” said Amy. Six-year-old Avalyn searched high and low for the perfectly ripe berries, excited to find some rather plump blueberries. “I am having fun picking the best blueberries,” said Avalyn. “We are going to make Blueberry Cinnamon Waffles.” Sara Arias-Steele of Westchase, brought her daughters, Nia and Jordana, to the Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival to immerse the twins in the agricultural experience. Each with a bucket in tow, the twins scoured the heavily-laden trees, getting up close and personal with the local fruit. Each excited to announce they had found a beautiful blue before moving onto the next row. “We look forward to the annual festival every year,” said Sara. “They are so excited to pick their own blueberries.”

FAMILY-FUN

Ask folks what their favorite element of the blueberry festival comprises, next to the u-pick, they say the interactive games and activities for children. In the Kids’ Zone, children could enjoy face painting, bouncy houses, inflatable slides as well as other games and activities. Skylar Black of Auburndale enjoyed getting her photo taken on top of an antique tractor and with a blueberry billboard with a face cut-out. The four-year-old is a blueberry-lover, noting that they are one of her favorite fruits. The farm area, neighboring the slides, allowed children to meet Keel Farm animals, including a donkey, cows, goats and chickens. On the patio of Keel and Curley’s tasting room, games were set up for even more family-fun. From an oversized chest game to a toddler-friendly Connect Four, the festival’s youngest guests- most under 3 years oldwere able to join in the fun. Two-year-old Kassidy Spivey was amused by the ring toss game. Her mother, Katelyn Spivey, said they are new to Plant City and it’s nice to have events Kassidy can participate in, as well. “Plant City is smaller than Tampa, but there’s still things to do,” said Katelyn. “We went to strawberry festival, now we are here. Kassidy loved doing down the slide… And she loved the blueberry u-pick. Of course, I had to tell her what to pick.” PAGE

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Avalyn Pouget, 6, said her favorite part of the Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival was picking the best blueberries. She said her and her family plan to make Blueberry Cinnamon Waffles with their fresh blueberries.

VENDORS GALORE

Over 100 vendors were set up across the property. From nonprofit organizations, to cosmetics, and food vendors, there was something for everyone at the Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival. A crowd favorite was The Snow Kone Factory, a food truck selling oversized snow cones and guests could choose their own syrup flavor combinations that suit their palette. Among other food and drink vendors were The Tea Jug and Dee’s Nuts, where attendees could purchase flavored tea and lemonades or flavored peanuts, respectively. Another crowd pleaser was the Southwest Great Dane Rescue and Mastiff Rescue of Florida; visitors got a one-on-one experience with each breed. The organizations spoke to guests about their missions: placing these gentle giants within forever homes. Plant City resident, Brandi Kirkpatrick, was in attendance as a vendor with Headbands of Hope. The company creates one-of-a-kind headbands and with every purchase, donates a headband to a child battling cancer. Headbands of Hope has donated over 300,000 headbands worldwide. Kirkpatrick says she likes participating in local events like the Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival because of the atmosphere. “I like to do things locally as far as events go… it’s great to see familiar faces and meet new ones,” said Kirkpatrick. “Everyone is happy, enjoying themselves, there is a great turn out for this event.”

WINE, CIDER and BEER

Across the property, Two Henry’s Brewing Company and Keel and Curley Winery, both subsidiaries of Keel Farms, set up stations where guests 21+ could enjoy their beverage of choice from the beer, wine and cider offerings. As blueberry producers, the Keel family began winemaking with the cull berries in 2003. Today, Keel and Curley’s Sweet, Dry and Semi-Dry Blueberry wines continue to be the most popular variety. Five years ago, the vintners began incorporating the fruit into beer and hard ciders, including a Blueberry Hard Cider, Blueberry Vanilla Wheat, Roasted Jalapeno Blueberry Porter, and Blueberry Lager.


10 Facts about Blueberries:

In the Party Barn, guests attended a Wine Tasting School, sampling 4 wine varieties: Wild Berry, Sweet Blueberry, Peach and Key West Key Lime. Keel and Curley Winery’s experts were on hand to educate tasters on the wine-making process and sensory evaluations, such as aroma, color, and flavor. The winery prides itself on sticking to a Florida fruit theme. While some wines contain fruit flavors from other states, the focus is always on using Florida produce.

1. Keel and Curley Winery produces over 350,000 bottles of their award-winning wine per year. The most popular is the blueberry varieties. 2. At the 2018 Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival, guests picked over 15,000 pounds of blueberries. 3. Blueberries are believed to have the highest levels of antioxidants among common fruits and veggies. The antioxidant, anthocyanin, is what gives the berry its blue hue.

In close proximity, live entertainment rocked the venue, with acts such as Coach and Four Band on April 6, DJ Steve on April 7, 13 and 14, as well as the Shane Forrester Band on April 13.

4. Blueberries are loaded with fiber and are an excellent source of manganese. One cup contains approximately 80 calories and 25% of daily Vitamin C requirements.

The Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival has become one of the most anticipated events of the year, drawing residents from across Central Florida. Plant City’s reputation for family-friendly agritourism experiences is what keeps folks coming back again and again. In turn, Keel Farms Group continues the tradition of providing the highest quality products, from fresh produce to beers, wines and ciders. From young couples immersing themselves in wine culture in the Party Barn to parents teaching their children about agriculture in the blueberry fields, the 12th Annual Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival created a delightful experience for all.

5. Blueberries boost heart health, lower cholesterol, and boost brain health. 6. According to the North American Blueberry Council, blueberry is the most popular muffin flavor in the country. 7. In the U.S. peak blueberry season is mid-June through mid-August. Florida has peak blueberries production from March and April. Sara Arias-Steele from Westchase, brought her daughters Nia and Jordana Steele to pick fresh blueberries. The twins were excited to search for the perfect blueberries among the fifteen acres.

8. Florida produced 16 millions pounds of blueberries in 2016, ranking it among the top ten states producing of the crop. 9. Blueberry production has exploded in Florida due to the introduction of the “Southern Highbush” varieties, developed by the University of Florida.

A majority of the blueberries produced by the farm are for the Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival. Clay Keel says the success of the festival will allow the farm to plant new fruit varieties, including some that set fruit earlier in the year as well as later into the summer, including watermelons.

10. Blueberries are one of only three berries native to the U.S.

If you missed out on the fun, be sure to mark your calendar for April 27, when Keel Farms kicks off the 5th Annual Peach Festival. Open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., admission is free with $5 parking fee. Keel says guests will be transported for free to the peach orchard. “The peach farm is on Hawk Griffin Road, about a mile from the winery, so a bus will actually transport people there and back to the winery, for free,” said Keel. Attendees should dress comfortably with closed toe shoes, wear sunscreen and a hat. Live music and vendors will be in attendance, as well as a Kids’ Zone for young guests. Guests 21+ can enjoy specials available on peach wine, beers and ciders.

The Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival’s youngest guests, most under age 3, enjoyed oversized chest games, Connect Four and a ring toss game. Kassidy Spivey enjoyed playing with the ring building game with other toddlers.

For more information about upcoming events, including the Peach Festival, visit keelfarms.com or call Keel and Curley Winery at 813-752-9100. PAGE

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PASTOR JEFF HOWELL

PASTOR JEFF ROBINSON

CHURCH ON THE ROCK

REV. DR. BRIAN STOWE

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF PLANT CITY

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PLANT CITY CHURCH OF GOD

PASTOR CALVIN CALLINS

GREATER NEW HOPE ANOINTED MINISTRIES


FACES OF

FAITH SHARING THE SAME MISSION BY CIERRA CRAFT As we approach the Easter holiday, our minds turn to thoughts of spirituality and gathering as a family in celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and partake in Easter productions. Whether you’re a regular churchgoer or looking for a place to worship on April 21, Plant City is abuzz with anticipation for the Spring holiday.

REV. GEORGE HATMAKER

CORK UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

Meet five local pastors who have devoted their lives to helping others grow in their faith. Each of these men enjoy providing spiritual counseling and serving the people of Plant City. These worship leaders are passionate about God’s Word and we believe you’ll enjoy getting a glimpse into their spiritual perspectives and journeys.

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The Lakes and The Oaks at Countrywood have stunning new homes for sale! If golfing lakeside peaks your interest, the 55+ Community of The Lakes is for you! Interested in a family-friendly community? The Oaks is an All-Age Community with plenty of amenities to keep your family active and entertained.

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ev. George Hatmaker was called to serve as the new pastor of Cork United Methodist Church in 2015 and he is thrilled to continue to serve the church today. Raised in Ivydale, Tennessee, Hatmaker’s father and grandfather both worked in the coal mines. At six years old, he and his family moved to LaFollette, Tennessee, near the Cumberland Gap, where the young George and his sister visited a Vacation Bible School program at a Methodist church a few miles from home. After the Hatmaker children started going to VBS, soon his mother and father were attending the church. “Before I know it, Dad was a Methodist pastor on a circuit,” said Hatmaker. “He was paid with chickens, eggs, vegetables, and other farm products.” At 18 years old, George Hatmaker joined the United States Marine Corps. During his time in the Marines, he earns a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and taught Criminal Justice at East Los Angeles College. After serving in the Marines, Hatmaker then served as a police officer in Miami Beach. He is proud of his service to the U.S. and to the state of Florida, but the work wasn’t always pleasant. Hatmaker says he didn’t always enjoy doing what was required. In 1992, he decided to change his life. “God said, ‘I raised you better than that,’” said Hatmaker. Hatmaker and his wife began hosting a Bible Study in their Miami home, before renting a warehouse, where the couple held worship. He then knew what God called him to do. Hatmaker says he was driving around his neighborhood when he found a small white United Methodist Church church. “As soon as I walked in, it was like coming home,” said Hatmaker. Hatmaker expressed interest in becoming a pastor within the United Methodist Church and the pastor called him that afternoon stating, “George, I sense a calling in you.” George underwent the necessary training and in 1995, earned his license to preach at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

REV. GEORGE HATMAKER

CORK UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

4815 Sam Allen Road Plant City FL 33565 (813) 704-4873 www.corkumcfl.org Service times: Adult & Children Sunday School 9AM, Traditional Worship Sundays at 10:30AM, Contemporary Worship Sundays at 7PM Established: 1919 Church’s Mission: Lift up Jesus and Love it. Find freedom in Christ and Share it. Dream God’s dream and God will make it happen.

Upon returning to Miami, Hatmaker told the United Methodist Church to call him before closing a church if it was in need of a pastor. He was called to serve a church in Opa-Locka, Florida who could not afford to pay a pastor. Through the church, the pastor started a program to help at-risk youth with the funding of a grant. The youth were enrolled in a private Christian school for basic courses in writing and arithmetic, as well as acquired employment and received job training. “I told the kids they had to give me their time- they also had to attend Bible Study, as well as Sunday morning service,” said Hatmaker. In 2014, he retired as a pastor from a United Methodist Church in Virginia. Once relocated to Florida, he was available to serve if called upon. He became pastor of Cork United Methodist Church in 2015. When asked what advice he would give to those not yet established in a faith, Rev. Hatmaker says faith comes by listening to God’s truth. “God’s truth is a perimeter for our life… Nothing I say, or any other pastor, will cause anyone to be convicted of sin, only the Spirit of Jesus Christ and only you can only have forgiveness through the Word of God,” said Rev. Hatmaker. As for his Easter traditions, Rev. Hatmakers says he always hosts a Sunrise Service at Cork United Methodist Church at 7:00 a.m. in the prayer garden. The group will sing a couple traditional songs, read scripture, prayer and sometimes Hatmaker will offer communion. “He shed his blood for us,” said Rev. Hatmaker. “For those who accept Him as their Savior, they will be saved.” PAGE

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Before

After


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astor Jeff Robinson has served as Lead Pastor of Plant City Church of God since February 2017. He and his wife Carla have three children: Stone (21), Abigail (21), and Lily Marie (19). In addition to spending time with family and friends, the pastor enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, and has a keen interest in American history, particularly in President Abraham Lincoln. A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Robinson family came to Plant City from Indianapolis, Indiana, where for six years, the pastor served as Administrative Bishop for the Church of God in Indiana. Robinson is a 1986 graduate of Lee College [now Lee University], where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business and Accounting. He then earned a Masters degree in Business Administration and minored in Biblical Studies at Georgia State University. While his degrees prove handy in leading the business side of Plant City Church of God, Robinson is a third generation minister, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father. His journey of faith began at age six, when the young Jeff was attending a revival meeting, where the evangelist spoke to the need for salvation no matter your age. Robinson felt an overwhelming call to the altar and he asked for Christ to be his Savior. Thirty years of ministry have taken Pastor and Mrs. Robinson from associate ministerial positions to pastorates across the country, including Tennessee, Maryland, the Dakotas and Montana, Indiana and Florida.

PASTOR JEFF ROBINSON PLANT CITY CHURCH OF GOD

2103 Mud Lake Rd, Plant City, FL 33566 (813) 752-4591 www.plantcitycog.com Service times: Sunday School 9AM, Worship 10:15AM; Wednesday Grow Classes 7PM Established: 1917 Church’s mission: Love. Connect. Serve.

“I enjoy seeing other people’s journey of faith take direction and see new life in service to God,” said Pastor Robinson. “I see people’s lives changed through faith in Jesus Christ and witness the trajectory of their family change with marriage, Baby Dedications, and funerals, as Ecclesiastes says ‘there is a time for everything and a season for everything.’ We talk about a transformation of spirit through marriage, home, finances… our experience in a journey of faith is not to remain who we are, but to become a new person in Christ Jesus.” When people begin exploring their faith in Jesus Christ, Pastor Robinson says he hopes that they will give God the opportunity to speak to them. “Christ’s promise for an abundant life was made for them, as well,” said Pastor Robinson. “Whether it’s this church or another gospel church, as they explore a life of faith, I hope they give God that opportunity to speak into their life. God will not push Himself on anyone, the choice is always theirs.” In anticipation of Easter Sunday, Pastor Robinson says Plant City Church of God will host a Good Friday service on Friday, April 19 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., Saturday, April 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. the church is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt, and finally, Plant City Church of God will host the annual Sunrise Service at Walden Lake Park at 7AM, followed by Easter Service at 10AM at PCCOG on Easter Sunday, April 21. As a family, he says Mrs. Robinson will prepare a delicious Easter meal complete with ham and deviled eggs, drawing on her Southern roots as an Alabama native. “We may find time for an Easter egg hunt with our adult kids,” said Robinson. “It’s a time to be together to celebrate the Resurrected Christ.” PAGE

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A

native of Georgia, Dr. Brian Stowe grew up in a Christian home, where his parents worked hard to make sure church was a priority on the family schedule. On March 23, 1988, he began his journey of faith when he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. “I told a friend that I was tired of thinking I was a Christian and that I wanted to know for certain that I am a Christian and that I will go to heaven when I die,” said Dr. Stowe. “That was the day I surrendered my life to Christ - and I haven’t been the same since.” Dr. Stowe received a Masters in Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas and a Doctor of Ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Dr. Stowe also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech. Dr. Stowe became the pastor of Plant City’s First Baptist Church in late 2013. Previously, he served 16 years in Maysville, Georgia at Maysville Baptist Church. Dr. Stowe says his experience in Maysville was instrumental in preparing him to lead FBCPC. However, he says in addition to his experience and education, there is another element that guides him in serving God and the over 4,000 people attending Plant City’s First Baptist Church. “There is that daily component of reading and studying the Bible that is important in day to day decisions,” said Dr. Stowe. “Without that daily intake, I would be extremely unprepared for what comes up in ministry and life day by day.” On February 18, 2018, Plant City’s First Baptist Church opened the doors to its South Campus, located on James L. Redman. Since the opening, Dr. Stowe says the church has seen significant growth and overall improvements to the parking options, the preschool space has increased and the nearly 70,000 square foot campus has allowed for more opportunities for visitors.

REV. DR. BRIAN STOWE

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF PLANT CITY

3309 James L. Redman Pkwy Plant City, Fl 33566 813-752-4104 www.fbcpc.com Service Times: 9:00 AM - Blended Service, 10:30 AM - Modern Service Established: 1866 Church Mission: “We exist to lead people beyond just good enough to experience "L.I.F.E." in Christ and we do this by helping you to Worship, Grow, Serve, and Reach. L - Loving God and Others I - Investing in the Kingdom F - Faithfully Serving E - Engaging in Service”

When people begin exploring their faith, Dr. Stowe advises that they ask a lot of questions and talk about the Christian faith with friends genuinely living the Christian life. “If you don’t know anyone like that, visit First Baptist Church and let me know that you would like to talk about the Christian faith,” said Dr. Stowe. “ I would love to share with you the profound love God has shown us through His Son and His death, burial and resurrection.” Furthermore, Dr. Stowe also advises that a Christian life is not a list of “do’s and don’ts,” but rather a relationship with God. Dr. Stowe is the loving, devoted husband to his wife of almost 27 years, Bonnie. The couple are the proud parents of four children: Sarah, Hannah, Andrew and Elizabeth. Sarah and Hannah are students at Liberty University, Andrew is a member of the worship band and takes part in a track and field team, and Elizabeth plays soccer and piano. For Easter Sunday, Dr. Stowe said he is looking forward to leading the church’s Good Friday service and three worship services: one on the evening of Saturday, April 20 and two on the morning of Sunday, April 21. “It is an incredible time of worship and introspection that focus on the sacrifice Christ made for us,” said Dr. Stowe of the Good Friday service. “Emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, it is a very moving time for all that attend.” As for the Easter services, Dr. Stowe says it is sure to be a great time to celebrate the One that has overcome death, hell and the grave. PAGE

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astor Jeffrey Howell has a tremendous passion for God’s Word, coupled with a love for seeing people’s faith come alive. He has served as pastor of Plant City’s Church on the Rock for 22 years. Upon graduating from Plant City High School, Pastor Howell joined the United States Navy, working as a Submariner for eight years. During his time in the Navy, he became a Christian when he met a Navy Shipyard Worker in Washington State. Pastor Howell shared his testimony: “When I was in the Navy, the submarine was parked in dry dock in Washington State. A Navy Shipyard Worker was sharing his faith with another Submariner and I began peppering him with questions. He asked if I had a Bible and I said I did not. He pulled out a Bible held together with duct tape and said, ‘take this and read it for yourself.’” He credits that Navy Shipyard Worker with changing not only his life, but the lives of those Howell has been led to minister over his 29 year career. As a 1996 graduate of the New Orleans Theological Seminary, Pastor Howell says he believes solid leadership comes directly out of one’s relationship with Christ and living out the Scripture. Howell is a devoted husband and a proud father and grandfather to his six children and three grandchildren, respectively. He was called to the pastorate of Church on the Rock in 1997 and since, he has seen the church grow, citing that members of the church come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, ages, and education levels. “God did a phenomenal job,” said Pastor Howell. “Healthy churches look like a cross section of the community they minister in. One of the things I love most about Church on the Rock and Iglesia en la Roca is how diverse the congregation is. It is his belief that the Cross is a banner everyone should come together under and says when people grow as disciples of Jesus, it impacts every aspect of their lives.

PASTOR JEFFREY HOWELL

CHURCH ON THE ROCK / IGLESIA EN LA ROCA

301 E. Alsobrook St. Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 752-3740 | www.rockofpc.com Service Times: Contemporary Worship: Sunday 8:00 a.m. & 10:45 a.m,; Bilingual service Sunday 9:20 a.m.; Wednesdays AWANA 6:00pm, Youth Worship Service 6:30 pm & Adult Prayer Service 6:30pm Established: ~1920 Church Mission: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matt 28:18-20

Pastor Howell is also fond of the missionary teams at The Rock, who are active in not only the Plant City community, but also internationally. Annually, teams are sent to Haiti, Guatemala, and Germany. As a veteran of the U.S. military and Plant City’s Police Chaplain for 20 years, as well as a Chaplain on the Tampa Bay Regional Critical Incident Team for seven years, Pastor Howell is a proud supporter of first responders. He says those among the congregation who serve as law enforcement officers are able to use their unique skill set when ministering in Guatemala, as the church trains the Guatemalan National Police, as well as hosts a Bible Study. When asked how he would advise those not established in a faith, Pastor Howell had this to share: “Get a Bible, read it for yourself. I tell the congregation ‘don’t take my word for anything, but take God’s word on everything.’” The church will host three Easter Resurrection Celebrations on April 21 at 8:00 a.m., 9:20 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., respectively. He says it is the church’s belief that every celebration of the Resurrected Christ should be unique, so each year the service varies. In his free time, Pastor Howell enjoys camping, riding sport bikes, coffee and “anything bacon wrapped.” Pastor Jeff Howell and the dynamic ministry team are dedicated servants of God working together to make Church on the Rock a ministry that empowers people to understand and live out their created purpose in Christ. PAGE

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P

astor Calvin Callins, Sr. followed God’s call to serve as Senior Pastor of Greater New Hope Anointed Ministries in 1998. He and his wife of 23 years, Dr. Tandria Callins, have served the Lord together in ministry and have been blessed with three children: Calaydria, Calvin Callins, Jr., and Caleb. Pastor Callins was blessed to be born into a family focused on serving the Lord through leadership. His grandfather Elder Rudolph Callins was the senior pastor of Plant City’s Gospel Tabernacle. His uncle Bishop Richard Callins, his father Elder Calvin McDonald and his uncles Pastor Sam Stevenson and Pastor Anthony Holmes have also taught Pastor Callins much about pastoral ministry. “The teachings of the love of Jesus Christ has always been a part of my life,” said Pastor Callins. “I was baptized as a young boy, but really accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior December 5, 1996.” At a young age, Pastor Callins began exploring his musical talents. He recorded his first national gospel album in 1994 entitled The Family That’s Prays Together Stays Together and says he has been featured on more than 20 albums as the main artist or as a guest artist. He recently traveled with award-winning gospel recording artist Travis Greene, performing in 20 states in 35 days. Every year he performs at the Florida Strawberry Festival.

PASTOR CALVIN CALLINS, SR

GREATER NEW HOPE ANOINTED MINISTRIES

2104 Mud Lake Road, Plant City, FL 33566 (813) 754-3626 www.thehopepc.org Service Times: Sunday 11:00 a.m.; Wednesday 7:00 p.m. Established: 1998 Church’s Mission: To reach beyond the parameters of the physical church in order to: disciple Christians and to win the lost and to take the lordship of Jesus into homes and communities. Our mission is to join the fight in breaking down barriers of religions, denominations, race and class by lifting up the name of the Lord through praise and worship.

Pastor Callins was ordained as a minister in The House Of God Saints in Christ, Inc. and has attended many leadership courses, conferences and seminars with Bishop T.D. Jakes, Bishop Paul Morton, and Pastor Joel O’Steen, among other great church leaders. In Fall 2019, Pastor Callins plans to pursue a doctorate in Theology. When asked what he loves most about serving God and the people of Greater New Hope, Pastor Callins had this to share: “I get to do it with my wife. If you don’t have an awesome support system at home, it is very difficult to serve God and his people. I also enjoy seeing people receive a life-changing word from God. As a servant of God, I always want to see people leave the worship experience better than when they came.” In addition to his role as pastor, Pastor Callins has served in several roles of responsibility and his love for Plant City is apparent through his commitment to the community. “My wife and I have had job and ministry opportunities all over the country,” said Pastor Callins. “But our love for this community will not let us leave. I love coaching high school basketball, being the Friday night lights voice at the football game, volunteering at the strawberry festival and serving on so many local boards. There is no place in the world like Plant City.” On Easter Sunday, Pastor Callins says following service, the church will host a celebration for the Resurrected Christ for the children. Following the celebration, the church family will go to the movie theater to see Breakthrough, a Christian drama about a mother’s unwavering love in the face of impossible odds. PAGE

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Local Churches Celebrate the Easter Weekend Compiled by Cheryl Johnston

Obviously, the Resurrection Sunday weekend is a big one for area churches as they celebrate the risen Christ with special services and events to attract newcomers. Below follows a few of those in Plant City: Church on the Rock 301 E. Alsobrook Street 813-752-3740 rockofpc.com

First Baptist Church of Plant City 3309 James L. Redman Parkway 813-752-4104 www.fbcpc.com

April 21 Easter Contemporary Worship @8:00 & 10:45 a.m. April 21 Easter Adoración Español @ 9:20 - 10:30 AM (Bi-lingual)

April 19 Good Friday @7:00 p.m. April 20 Easter Celebration @5:00 p.m. “Are You Convinced?” April 21 Easter Celebration @9:00 and 10:30 a.m. “Are You Convinced?”

City Pointe Church 503 N Palmer Street 813-441-6693 www.citypointechurch.com April 21 Egg Hunt @9:00 a.m. April 21 Service @10:30 a.m. “Paid in FullThe Hope of the Cross” Cork United Methodist Church 4815 W. Sam Allen Road 813-704-4873 www.corkumcfl.org April 21 Easter Sunrise Service in the Prayer Garden @7:00 a.m. April 21 Easter Catata @10:30 a.m. Eastside Baptist Church 1318 E. Calhoun Street 813-754-2681 eastsidebcpc.org April 19 Good Friday @7:00 p.m. April 21 Easter Sunrise @7:00 a.m. April 21 Easter Service @10:45 a.m. First Assembly of God 602 Charlie Griffin Road 813-752-3351 www.firstagplantcity.com April 21 Easter Service @10:30 a.m.

First United Methodist Church 303 North Evers Street, Plant City, FL 33563 813-754-3519 firstchurchplantcity.com April 18 Maundy Thursday @7:00 p.m. April 21 Free Breakfast before both Easter services April 21 Contemporary Service @9:00 a.m. April 21 Egg Hunt @10:00 a.m. April 21 Traditional Service @11:00 a.m. GracePoint Church Plant City 1107 Charlie Griffin Road, Plant City FL 33566 813-759-9383 www.gracepointpc.org April 18 Maunday Thursday @6:30 a.m. April 21 Easter Sunday @9:30 a.m.

Greater New Hope Anointed Ministries 2104 Mud Lake Road 813-754-3626 www.TheHopePC.Org

St. Clement Catholic Church 1104 N. Alexander Street, Plant City FL 33563 813-752-8251 stclementpc.org

April 21 Easter Service @11:00 a.m.

Easter Weekend April 21 English Mass @7:00 and 10:45 a.m. April 21 English Baptisms @1:00 p.m. April 21 Spanish Mass @8:45 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.

Hope Lutheran Church 2001 N. Park Road 813-752-4622 www.hopeplantcity.com April 18 Maundy Thursday w/Holy Communion – Spanish @5:00 p.m.; English @6:30 p.m. April 19 Good Friday Tenebrae Service (of Darkness & Shadows) @6:30 p.m. April 21 Sonrise Festival Worship @7:00 a.m. April 21 Easter Breakfast @8:15 a.m. April 21 Easter Egg-Stravaganza @9:15 a.m.: Spanish Egg-Stravaganza @5:00 p.m. April 21 Festival Worship @10:30 a.m.; Spanish Worship @4:00 p.m. Hopewell Baptist Church 6001 S. County Road 39 813-737-3053 www.hopewellbaptistfl.org April 21 @8:00 a.m. “SON” Risen Service Under the Tent April 21 Easter Service @10:45 a.m. Lone Oak Baptist Church 3505 Lone Oak Rd, Plant City FL 33567 813-754-5278 www.loneoakbaptist.org April 21 Sunrise Service @ 7:30 a.m.; “One Day” Easter Cantata @ 6:00 p.m. Northside Baptist Church 1700 N. Franklin Street 813-752-2779 northsidebaptistplantcity.org April 21 Sunrise Service at 7:30 a.m. followed by potluck breakfast & Sunday School @9:45 a.m. April 21 Easter Worship Service at |11:00 a.m.

Grace United Methodist Church 1801 E Cherry St 813-659-3718 GraceUMCPlantCity.com

Plant City Church of God 2103 Mud Lake Road 813-752-4591

April 21 Easter Sunrise Service @7:30 a.m. April 21 Easter Breakfast free @8:30 a.m. April 21 Easter Celebration Service @10:00 a.m.

April 19 Good Friday Service @12 Noon April 20 Community-Wide Egg Hunt @10:30 a.m. April 21 Sunrise Service @7:00 a.m. [Walden Lake Park] April 21 Easter Service @10:15 a.m.

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church 302 Carey Street, Plant City FL 33563 813-752-5061 stpeterspc.dioswfl.org Holy Week Services April 17 Stations of the Cross @12:10 p.m. April 17 Seder Meal & Program @5:30 p.m. April 18 Maundy Thursday @7:00 p.m. (includes the washing of feet, reservation of the Holy Sacrament (for use on Good Friday, and the stripping of the altar) April 19 Good Friday Services w-music @7:00 p.m. April 21 Easter Sunday Services @8:00 & 10:30 a.m. with Champagne Breakfast & Egg Hunt between these two morning worship times. Transforming Life Church 3805 Turkey Creek Road 813-754-5372 tlchurchpc.com April 19 Good Friday service & Glow in the Dark Easter Egg Hunt @7:00 p.m. April 21 Easter Sunday @10:00 a.m. Turkey Creek First Baptist Church 4915 W. Trapnell Road, Plant City FL 33566 813-752-7890 tcfbc.org April 21 Sunrise Service @7:30 a.m. April 21 Breakfast for all @8:30 a.m. April 21 Easter Worship Service @10:30 a.m. First Baptist Church of Midway 2902 Midway Rd, Plant City, FL 33565 (813) 752-7209 www.fbcmidway.org April 19 Good Friday Service @ 7:00 p.m. April 21 Sunrise Service @ 6:45 a.m. April 21 Breakfast for all @ 9:00 a.m. April 21 Worship Celebration @ 10:30 PAGE

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FOCUSBUSINESS

R+L Metals BY CIERRA CRAFT

S

ince 1978, R & L Metals, inc. has served as a trusted leader in the commercial and residential metal recycling industry. From humble beginnings, R & L Metals began with one truck and two employees, when founder and Tampa-native Robert Davenport told his wife Linda his plans to buy a truck and pick up scrap metal. The Davenport's took a leap of faith and for over 40 years, the company has become the trusted name in metal recycling in Tampa Bay. In 2018, R & L Metals relocated from Tampa to Plant City, making the company centralized between its Hillsborough and Polk county customers. The family-owned and operated business has built a reputation on cleanliness, prompt payment and quality customer service. Today, R & L Metals has a ten truck fleet and over 30 employees servicing the entire state of Florida. The company was bought by Rob and his wife Micah in 2007. R & L Metals is proud to be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency for ensuring all metals are recycled of responsibly. From a small box of scrap in a customer’s basement to metal by-

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products from a demolition project, at R & L Metals no job is too big or too small. The company currently accepts ferrous and non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, brass, steel, iron, copper, and more, in all shapes and sizes. R & L Metals is open Monday through Friday and is proud to offer top dollar. The company also offers vehicle weighing for $8.00 per vehicle. The company provides commercial services, such as scheduled metal pick-up from job sites, as well as demolition clean up. From large equipment to metal roofing, the crew at R & L Metals is available and ready. Across the state of Florida, as far north as Tallahassee to down south in Palm Beach, R & L Metals will pick up, sort and recycle metal by-product from companies to ensure proper disposal. R & L Metals sets the bar when it comes to community care. When natural disasters strike, the knowledge, dedicated crew at R & L Metals are prepared for emergency response. The company collects metal debris after the storm, helping to restore communities impacted by natural disasters.

R & L Metals is a proud member of the Plant City and Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. The company has participated in a number of community events as the Suncoast Credit Union Plant City Pig Jam and the Christmas Parade. The company has also sponsored the Plant City Bike Fest. If you’re looking to get rid of old appliances, beverage cans, and other scraps, R & L Metals can

handle it all. Visit the Davenports and their team of trusted professionals, offering quality customer service and an expertise you can rely on.

R & L Metals, Inc. 405 E Alabama St, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 621-3966 www.rlmetals.com Mon- Fri 8AM to 5PM


a High-energy, hands-on stem camp

Arthur Boring Civic Center June 10-14, 9am-3:30pm Secure your spot today at invent.org/camp For Grades k-6

All-new programming

led by local educators

In partnership with the USPTO PAGE

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REAL ESTATE

Largest Drop In Mortgage Rates Seen In Over A Decade BY NATE DAVIS, FLORIDA MORTAGE FIRM

T

he average interest rates for a mortgage loan just had the largest one-week drop in more than 10 years. This is huge news because when interest rates plummet like this, it creates opportunities. People can buy more expensive homes without a raise in their monthly payment since the interest is lower. Others can lower their monthly payment with a simple, quick refinance—a refinance loan process can take fewer than 10 days. Many people are already taking advantage. According to a report

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by Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage refinance applications saw a jump over 39% of the previous week, and purchase applications also rose. What makes the refinance option even more attractive is that many homeowners can remove monthly mortgage insurance from their recurring payments, making the savings that much more substantial. Using the refinance option, several of my clients have decided to take cash out of their home’s equity, and their monthly payment barely budged. Some are using the money to consolidate debt, while others are

using it for home improvements or other investments. Mortgage-rate declines are a result of the Federal Reserve’s decision to halt further interest-rate increases, as well as decreasing investor concerns about the pace of

economic growth. If you think you fit into any of the above scenarios, I encourage you to call my team at 813-707-6200. We never give a sales pitch you, but rather provide honest information as your local professional.

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


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REAL ESTATE

Walden Lake Review BY NATALIE SWEET

W

alden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are typically held the third Monday of each month, except in April, at the Walden Lake Community Association office building on Griffin Boulevard in Walden Lake. There will be the Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday, April 25th from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Plant City Church of God, 2103 Mud Lake Rd. The regular Board Meeting will be held on Monday, April 29th at the HOA office. 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. During the month of March,

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there were 9 sales in Walden Lake and one sale in Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $243,740 with an average of 43 days on the market. There are currently 21 active listings for sale in Walden Lake with an average list price of $317,773 and an average of 82 days on the market. There are 23 properties Pending Contract with an average list price of $269,817 and average of 46 days on the market. In the first quarter of 2019, there were 27 sales in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $246,528 and an average of 58 days on the market.

The April sales are as follows: Address

Sales Price

Living Area

Pool

Garage

104 Dorado Court

$157,000

1542 Sq’

Community

2 Car

1449 Walden Oaks Place

$185,000

1772 Sq’

No

2 Car

4207 Thackery Way

$184,300

1242 Sq’

No

2 Car

3335 Steinbeck Place

$185,000

1660 Sq’

No

2 Car

1413 Oakwood Lane

$210,000

2190 Sq’

Community

2 Car

4114 Longfellow Drive

$233,000

1818 Sq’

Private

2 Car

2849 Hammock Drive

$285,000

2796 Sq’

Private

2 Car

1720 Brookstone Way

$315,000

2055 Sq’

Private

2 Car

3003 Forest Hammock Drive

$342,500

2541 Sq’

Private

3 Car

2609 Clubhouse Drive

$345,000

2527 Sq’

Private

3 Car


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RISING STAR DHS LACROSSE TEAM CAPTAIN Maddie

Segiun By Taryn Storter Maddie Segiun, a senior at Durant High School, is a three-time Lacrosse and fourtime diving team captain. As a five-year lacrosse player, she is constantly improving herself and her craft, to be the absolute best athlete that she can be. Throughout her high school career, Maddie has participated in lacrosse and diving, however while she was growing up, she played many other sports. Among those sports were softball, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, track, and basketball. This year, the Durant Girls’ Lacrosse team has an impeccable record of 7-5 this season, which Maddie played a huge part in. Maddie was named Offensive Player of the Year for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. This year, Maddie reached her 175th career goal for lacrosse, which is something that very few achieve. She has also earned the Diamond Award for diving. Outside of sports, she is very involved in her school and community. Maddie has served as Vice President of Outreach for Sophomore Council, President of Junior Council, and Vice President of Community Service for Senior Council. These officer positions are an incredible honor and privilege. She also is involved in Leo Club, National Honor Society, and TV Productions. When asked what her favorite sport is, Maddie explained: “It would definitely be lacrosse. I love being a part of a team. The sport of lacrosse is a lot of fun and it gets your adrenaline pumping.” She finds her inspiration in her sport. Maddie said, “I find my inspiration in watching more experienced players and then working hard to achieve better skills.” As for the future, Maddie plans to attend the United States Coast Guard Academy and study Marine and Environmental Science, as well as dive and play lacrosse. Keep an eye out for Maddie Segiun, Plant City! She is succeeding on the field, in the pool, and in her school and community. PAGE

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Do you have a cool dog? Why not enter them in the

“Coolest Dog” Contest? Help the Kiwanis Club of Plant City serve the children of our community...and win great prizes as well! CONTEST DATES: April 1, 2019 to May 10, 2019 11:59 PM Enter your COOL DOG today! Entry is easy: Go to: h�ps://www.gogophotocontest.com/kiwanisclubplantcity and complete the entry form. Cost to enter is $10.00 and includes 10 votes. Once you’ve entered, send your unique link to all your friends social media and ask them to vote for your COOL DOG. Each vote costs $1.00 and they can vote as many as they wish. Use your Smart Phone QR Reader

on �mes

Top Dog -- First Place: The dog with the most votes will be crowned the "Coolest Dog in Plant City" for 2019. 1st Place Medal, $500 Gi� Card, Coolest Dog Bandana and an Engraved “Coolest Dog” in Plant City Dog Bowl. The winning dog will be professionally photographed by Portray Photography OS. The top dog winner may be asked to a�end promo�onal events and be available for interviews by the news media. The winner will also be featured on the Kiwanis Club of Plant City’s Facebook page. Second Place: The dog with the second highest number of votes will be deemed the "2nd Coolest Dog in Plant City" for 2019. 2nd Place Medal, $250 Gi� Card and a “Cool Dog” Bandana. In the event that the first place winner is unable or unwilling to fulfill all of the roles and responsibili�es of being the “Coolest Dog” in Plant City, the 2nd Place winner will assume that �tle and receive all of the benefits described above. Third Place: The dog with the third highest number of votes will be deemed the "3rd Coolest Dog in Plant City" for 2019. 3rd Place Medal, $100 Gi� Card and a “Cool Dog” Bandana. Fourth through Tenth Place: 4th through 10th place winners will be deemed "Cool Dogs" and receive a “Cool Dog” bandana.

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SPORTS

Sports Team of the Month Strawberry Crest Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team BY TARYN STORTER

T

he Strawberry Crest Girls’ Varsity Basketball team has had an incredible season and is truly like a family, on and off the court. With a stellar record of 22-7, the girls have experienced victory throughout their year. Coach Latosha Lewis has coached basketball for 24 years and has led the Lady Chargers Basketball team since the opening of the school in 2009. She began her coaching career at D1 colleges, Stephen F. Austin State University and the University of Central Florida, then she went on to coach for a semi pro women’s league (WBCBL), and finally began coaching at Strawberry Crest High School.

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When asked who she would name as the Most Valuable Player, Coach Lewis explained, “All of my players are MVP because it takes everyone’s commitment, ability, and contribution to win games and have a successful season. Megan Watson led the team in scoring and was voted on first team All-Western Conference. Megan Watson also scored her 1000th career point on January 8, 2019 versus Spoto High School. Mya Lamar set a school record with 21 rebounds in a single game. Mya registered ten double-doubles this season. She was voted to 2nd team All Western Conference.” Christie Raburn, Strawberry Crest High School’s Assistant Principal

for Curriculum, shared this about the team: “This basketball season was a pleasant surprise as our girls competed at a very high level and overachieved in what we believed would be a rebuilding year for us. The strong leadership provided by Coach Lewis helped guide our team to a 22-7 record, where four of those loses came at the hands of the 8A State Champion Tampa Bay Tech, and another loss coming from a very good 25-2 Armwood team. This year, Megan Watson reached a milestone by joining the 1000 point scoring club. We also saw Mya Lamar set the school record with 21 rebounds in a game. Our team finished the season as the 8A

District 9 Runner-Up, and played into the Regional Semifinal round of the State Tournament.” The Lady Chargers advanced to the semi-finals playoff game this season and was placed against East Lake, a number one seed team. They defeated East Lake 73-57 on their own court, which was an incredible feat. The team consisted of Mickie Montgomery, Aset Franklin, Kayla Simmons, Zoe Stough, Mya Lamar, Yesenia DeRosas Techipe, Bri Johnson, Megan Watson, and Diamon Brown. Congratulations, Lady Chargers Basketball on a season well played!


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at Life Family Church

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Looking For Help?

2

DIAL

1

1

for FREE community resource information and referral

2-1-1 links the caller to: Financial counseling After school programs Tutoring Mental health Substance abuse

Senior Services Food Clothing Temporary shelter

Get Help During A Crisis... During a disaster such as a hurricane or tornado, a 2-1-1 Call Specialist links the caller to: Emergency Shelters Food Distribution Centers State & Federal Assistance Volunteer Opportunities Grief Counseling

CALL / TEXT: EMAIL: CHAT:

Helping to locate family members Clean-up Crews Potable water, ice, food Emergency Financial Assistance

Dial 2-1-1, Dial 888-370-7188 or text your zip code to 898-211

uw211help@gmail.com

uwcf.org/211 and click the link for online chat

FREE. CONFIDENTIAL. 24/7.

NEED HELP NOW? For free referrals to community resources 24/7

DIAL

2

1

1

Or dial 888-370-7188 TEXT your zip code to 898-211 PAGE

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EXTRA

Brooke Burns BY HEATHER DAVIS

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here is an artist that lives in all of us. Sometimes all it takes is the decision and desire to go out and create and not be afraid to share it with others to ignite that spark. Brooke Burns, a local Plant City artist began painting one year ago and has definitely ignited more than just a spark of interest in her talent and paintings. In that short amount of time, Brooke has created a following on Etsy, Instagram and Snapchat. With her paintings catching on like wildfire, Brooke only has enough time to create a painting before it is sold and gone. Brooke’s favorite choice of medium is acrylic painted on canvas. She is extremely original in her paintings as everything she paints comes from her imagination. One technique she has mastered is the pour technique. This technique forms the basis and background for many of her works which can be described as abstract. Brooke also combines many elements found in nature in her paintings. She is currently working on a commissioned piece for the Verizon building of a giant Rhino. All of Brooke’s paintings are done freehand and with great attention to color and originality. Every painting she sells whether from posting on social media, word of mouth, or by commission are originals, not prints. Brooke has one problem when it comes to painting which in her own words are, “every time I make a piece, it is gone.” Although this a problem many artists aspire to have. Brooke balances the joy as well as work of painting for those who are requesting her artwork along with a job working at 1916 Irish Pub. Currently, she is working on three different projects in her free time, with eight paintings on order. Clearly Brooke has taken that artist that lives inside of her and has set her free to create for her enjoyment as well as for others. To discover or find out more about Brooke’s artwork you can find her on Instagram or Snapchat at blondie20b. PAGE

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EXTRA

Armani's coloring blends into his surroundings at Big Cat Rescue. With the Discovery Pass, guests age 10 and under are permitted to a weekend Kids Tour with the purchase of an adult admission. Photo courtesy of Big Cat Rescue.

ADA: Plant City Discovery

12 Attractions, FREE, with a Discovery Pass BY BARBARA ROUTEN

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ow would you like to go for free to 12 amazing destinations in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties? It’s easy! Just reserve a Discovery Pass from the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative. Look up Discovery Pass at www. hcplc.org for a list of participating attractions and their availability. Place a hold on a pass online or on the free HCPLC app. One pass per attraction per adult library card may be checked out at a time. The pass grants free admission for at least one person. When you are notified the pass is available, you must use it at your pre-selected attraction within seven days. Check out the pass in person at the Bruton Memorial Library, 302 McLendon Street, or any other

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Hillsborough County library. Your check-out receipt is your pass. After you present your pass and attraction personnel scan it, the pass immediately becomes available to the next person in line for it. You do not need to return anything to the library. Program participants and what they offer: The American Victory Ship and Museum provides one regular tour admission, not for special events. Big Cat Rescue permits one guest age 10 and under on a weekend Kids Tour. A full-price-paid adult must accompany the child. Online reservations are required. The Florida Holocaust Museum Discovery Pass is good for up to five: two adults and three children under age 18 in the same

household. The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts offers admission for up to four people: two adults and two children or one adult and three children. The Glazer Children’s Museum pass is good for up to five, any combination; however, it must be a mix of adults and children. At the Henry B. Plant Museum, admission is for up to four: two adults and two children or one adult and three children. There are 16 Hillsborough County conservation parks. The Discovery Pass covers the entrance fee for up to eight people in a single vehicle. It does not cover additional fees for rentals or other park activities. The Straz Center for the Performing Arts makes a limited amount of tickets for certain shows available for free for those with a

Discovery Pass. Call (813) 229-7827 for details. Stageworks Theatre offers admission for two guests to the same performance. The Tampa Bay History Center pass admits up to four: two adults and two children or one adult and three children. The Tampa Museum of Art admits up to four: two adults and two children or one adult and three children. One person per pass is admitted for the 90-minute Tampa Theatre Balcony-to-Backstage tour. Find tour dates at www.tampatheatre. org. Be sure to check with the attraction about hours, holiday closures, blackout dates or other restrictions. Enjoy an affordable day away at a nearby destination!


EXTRA

Wanda’s

Words of Wisdom BY WANDA “LEWIS” ANDERSON

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love spring, the cold weather is behind us and a sense of new beginnings is present. A time to hit the beaches or the lake. You know what that means: Swimsuits and relaxation. Everyone should embrace themselves no matter what size or shape. But sometimes we are our worst critic. Don’t sweat it, I have a few tips to help get you feeling great for beach weather. I personally have an issue with lotions and moisturizers. They always make my skin feel dirty. If you’re looking for a natural alternative try these tips: Just like Shea butter, coconut oil is rich in natural fatty acids, which means that it will not only moisturize your skin it will also help to heal it. If you have scars, wrinkles, or cellulite, using coconut oil as a natural moisturizer will help minimize and fade them. It also blocks 20% of ultraviolet radiation, making it a natural, low-SPF sunscreen. If you have very sensitive or dry skin like me then coconut oil doesn’t provide enough moisture. In that case, try sweet almond oil as

it may be a better choice for you. It contains fatty acid chains to nourish your skin. It also has vitamin A and E. It penetrates multiple layers of your skin for very deep moisture. While sweet almond oil has a lower SPF than coconut oil it still provides some sun protection. Now let’s talk about the dreaded cellulite. It happens to the best of us. But don’t worry I have some tips. To help minimize the appearance of cellulite simply mix ¼ cup ground coffee, 2 tablespoons of hot water. Leave for 10 minutes until a paste is formed then add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Apply to wet skin in circular motions for 2-4 minutes then rinse and pat dry. I recently saw this mixture on the internet but instead of water it has brown sugar. While there are many different exfoliators available, one of the most popular methods is using coffee grounds. Not only does it act as a scrub but also stimulates dilation, plus it also contains antioxidants which could help with toxin removal. Until next time relax, enjoy and be thankful… PAGE

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BRANDON LEGAL GROUP Attorneys at Law

A FULL SERVICE LAW FIRM & FAMILY MEDIATION CENTER

*Family Law *Mediation *Divorce *Business Law *Real Estate Law *Bankruptcy *Wills and Trusts *Criminal Defense INGRID M. HOOGLANDER

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EXTRA

Leaders in Faith Pastor Aaron Brown Free Rider Fellowship BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

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long with his role as Lead Pastor for Free Rider Fellowship, Aaron Brown is also teaching Biblical Studies and Philosophy at Evangelical College and Seminary in Plant City while completing his Master’s degree. He and his wife of 26 years, Leigh Anne, met while attending Palm Beach Atlantic University. Their daughter Carli, 21, is an artist, and son Paul Aaron, 19, is an MP in the Army. A self-described “firearms enthusiast” and Disc Golf tourney competitor, Pastor Brown recently began running and has completed three 5k races since July. But regarding his passion for motorcycles, he shared: “They aren’t a hobby—they are a calling.” How did sharing Jesus become the center of your life? I was saved at age eight while at a Royal Ambassador (Baptist Boy Scouts) camp. Licensed as a minister in 1990, I started in youth ministry, both in Brandon and Tallahassee, while managing a Dominos and Papa John’s. When Leigh Anne and I lost everything in a Tallahassee fire, we moved home to reset our lives. Looking for where PAGE

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God wanted me next and also seeing success in my jobs led to a Bank of America VP position. After two years of volunteering at church, He gave me direction. ‘God wants me to get a motorcycle,’ I told Leigh Anne. Since I’d never ridden or had prior interest, she probably thought it was a mid-life crisis. Knowing I felt led to do it, she was gracious. So I took the course and got my first bike. Amazingly, that very week a group from the church we attended rumbled up to our house and invited us to join a new biker ministry! Two weeks later they asked me to be their Chaplain. After spending two-plus years in that ministry, God spoke about starting a ‘biker’ church. At that point, no one else had done it and people thought I was a bit crazy. Since our first service on September 6, 2006, God has been faithful! Now, with the best pastorate in the world, I’m around real and honest people and can ride motorcycles to share the Gospel into places other pastors might not be welcomed. Thanks to the generous heart and amazing spirit of our FRF family, I’ve been in fulltime ministry for three years now.

Describe your passion for reaching those who don’t yet know Christ. We always say, ‘We are a Lighthouse to the lost and Greenhouse to the saved.’ The mission is clear: Share Jesus so people can find forgiveness, purpose and the plan God has for them. But then they must grow up in the faith through deep study of the Word and real opportunities to be ‘doers of the Word not just hearers.’ In the biker community, sharing a quick testimony or tract is good, but it’s not the most effective way to witness. Bikers can smell phony, so they need to see real and changed lives that show Christ’s love in tangible ways. We’re about ‘Relationship, not religion.’ Through our relationship with Jesus, we build relationships with the lost in order to share the Gospel effectively. Is there an as-yet-unfulfilled dream for your ministry? I would love to see us in a particular Plant City location I believe would expand our visibility and ability to share the vision God gave us. Not telling where yet. Still praying about it.

Any advice for those considering the Christian faith? Faith in Jesus is the beginning. The journey to becoming established in Him begins with the question, “Now what?” Understanding how the answer helps us grow into mature Christians is something we teach at church. This involves: Personal Relationship (Bible Study & Prayer); Fellowship (Corporate— through Worship, Encouragement, Prayer, Giving & Ministry); and Presentorship (Outreach—through Evangelism & Lifestyle). And encouragement to those who have? Keep going! Run with endurance the race set before you! True joy and fulfillment are found in faithfully continuing the race and growing closer to Him daily. Although motorcycles frequently fill the parking lot at 2207 Mud Lake Road in Plant City, the FRF family welcomes ALL to grow spiritually on Sundays at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m, and on Wednesday and Friday nights at 7:00. To learn more, visit Facebook and freeriderfellowship.com or phone 813-294-6015.


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EXTRA

SPONSORED BY

Candy’s Corner BY CANDY OWENS

www.HopewellFuneral.com FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1971

Nothing seems the same. Life goes on for you and me, But, oh, how things have changed.

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hile net-surfing through Facebook the other day, I happened upon a very interesting post that both shocked and saddened me. The article was titled: Several Things We Did As Kids In School That Would Never Fly Today. Here follows a few I could relate to most: 1. Making Ashtrays for Parents I remember how exciting it was back at Jackson Elementary when our teachers informed our class we would be making ashtrays for Father’s Day gifts. Over the years, we made several types. Once, we used clay that we molded with our hands, drew pictures on with our sharp pencils, and then wrote our names and year on the bottom. That way, after being fired in the school’s kiln, they would be safely returned to the correct student. Another year, my class made “Daddy’s Ashtray” out of a clean, but used tuna fish can that we covered with Elmer’s glue and marbles. My favorite of all was wild, colorful, and psychedelic. My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Irma Herring, gave each student a glass baby food jar that we filled with three tablespoons of different colored shards of glass. The jars were then kiln-fired just enough to melt the bottom of the jar and broken glass shards. What we ended up with was a colorful glob of psychedelic glass with a rim to serve as a rest for our father’s cigarettes. We were so

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proud! Today that would never happen. Cigarettes, smoking, and anything to do with smoking is now frowned upon and banned from school grounds in an effort to promote good health. (Honestly, I do think that is an excellent rule!) But, those gifts made me beam with pride every time I walked in to my father’s office to see the handmade ashtrays resting on his desk (complete with a lit cigarette). One day, my father asked why I put so many places for cigarettes to rest on his clay ashtray, and I responded: “Well, in case you have a lot of people come in your office, you can all put your cigarettes there to rest if you need to talk.” HaHa! 2. Playing Dodge Ball I remember just loving when our elementary school P.E. coach would announce Dodge Ball as that day’s game. Our class would form a big circle and the coach would ask who wanted to be first to stand in the middle. All the boys would raise their hands and jump up and down begging, because they thought they were too fast, too strong, and too cool to be hit with the ball. Those boys would just dare you to try. Kids would jump up in the air, duck, roll on the ground, or whatever they had to do to get away from that ball. It was always so much fun when the ball came to you and you had the chance to “Doink” the person in the middle as hard and fast as you could, and aim anywhere on their person you wanted. It always got real interesting and funny when our coach asked for

volunteers to be in the middle and no one volunteered. The Coach would go down the roll book and pick somebody who really didn’t want to participate. Somebody who was slow, or uncoordinated, or somebody we would kinda think was a “sissy.” It really didn’t take too long for that person to get “Doinked” in the back of the head. We would laugh so hard, but back then, we all knew it as simply fun. Today, Dodge Ball is not allowed because “they say” it could cause children to feel bad about themselves and/or someone could really get hurt. 3. No Bringing Homemade Cakes, Cupcakes, or Food to share with the Classroom What??? Back in my day, parents would send all kinds of homemade goodies for sharing with classmates on special occasions or even just because. I still remember in 6th grade at Lincoln Elementary School, every time Stewart Ross brought fudge made by his mother, Mrs. Nancy Ross. He would come to school with old metal coffee cans filled with wax-papered layers of the most delicious Chocolate Marshmallow Fudge. There was plenty to share with all our class and he would always bring an extra can with a bow on the lid just for our teacher. If we had a classroom party or something special planned, many mothers would come early those mornings with pans, trays, and platters of yummy homemade goodies. We

never worried about something bad being in the food. Today, children are no longer allowed to bring food items to school that have been opened and/or do not have a list of ingredients and cooking conditions! What??? Back then, kids did not have all of these so called food allergies. The only kid in my class with an allergy was me! And that was to “Mr. Bubble” Bubble-Bath. The list of Not Allowed goes on and on, like: No War Related Games and No Cops and Robbers. As kids we spent a lot of time running around with our hands over our mouths making the “WOO-WOO” sounds like Native Americans or the “BANG-BANG” sound like cowboys, cops, or robbers. We didn’t do this because we wanted to promote violence. We played these games because we were taught that cowboys and Indians and policemen were good and strong and brave and stood up for what was right and that robbers were bad and MUST be taught how to be strong and honest and true. Sometimes, I wonder if all the efforts made today to “protect” our children is in fact making our children less strong. Are we taking away so much of what we considered to be good, clean, fun that the next generation will have a hard time figuring out if something is okay to eat or play or do or be if it’s not labeled? Any thoughts?


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EXTRA

Gage Young

Senior of the Month BY HAILEY REYES

Lily Batley Senior of the Month

BY MARY-CATHERINE STEPHENS

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ily Batley is one of the most exceptional students at Plant City High School; She juggles sports, extracurriculars, academics, and community service, seemingly effortlessly. You can always count on Lily for an encouraging word and a smile that will light up the room. Lily has a true passion for others and goes out of her way to serve them. Her dedication to all that she does is a rarity. Her GPA exceeds a 7.0 and she is ranked in the top 2 percent of her graduating class. She has worked hard academically and athletically. She has been a dual sport athlete all 4 years at PCHS. Lily’s academic and athletic talents do not go unnoticed, but that is not what makes her shine. Her desire to give back to her community and to others is what lights up any room she is in. She has documented over 200 community service hours with different organizations. She can be seen feeding the homeless, gathering donations for Relay for Life, and tutoring students who need an academic boost. Lily is a member of the Girls Interact Club, PCHS Peer Jury, President of the PCHS National Honor Society, and Secretary of the PCHS FFA Senior Chapter. She has also volunteered many hours at the hospital which solidified her desire to become a pediatric cardiologist. Lily hopes to continue her education at the University of Florida in the fall. She will continue to serve and be an encouragement wherever she goes.

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hile entering the final inning of his high school education, Gage Young now must consider the opportunities he may encounter in a new ball field. Due to his diligence and consistent hard work completed in high school, Young will find little difficulty in his transition to higher education, on this new field. Before anything else, Young is a baseball player. His coaches and experiences playing baseball have shaped him into the person he is today. Young’s future and past are filled with baseball and he finds it difficult to imagine a life without it. After graduation, he hopes to play baseball for as long as circumstances allow. His successful 15-year baseball career thus far has entailed- a near entry into the little league world series, a placing of twelfth out of 104 teams in Cooperstown, a district title his freshman year, and several district appearances. Young describes one of his most memorable high school experiences as, “Winning the district title freshman year, seeing all of my brother excited and excelling in something they love to do is very heartwarming.” Young is thankful for every baseball coach and teacher who has impacted his life but a few such as Coach Smitty [Mr. Smith] and Tony Saladino have had influences on his life that he will not forget. About Tony Saladino, Young said, “He has coached me from the time that I was seven and during that time has helped me to become the person and baseball player that I am today.” Coach Smitty though, being Young’s Criminal Justice teacher has opened life opportunities for him. After completing Criminal Justice this year, Young will receive his unarmed Security Guard license, which he says, is one step towards a possible career in law enforcement. Young explained that his parents have been his biggest support throughout high school; they are persistent in motivating him to keep his grades up, staying involved in clubs such as National Honor Society, Student Government Association, and Students All Connected. In alignment with his accomplishments in baseball, Young’s academic career has been above average- he has taken AP and honors classes which help to bring his weighted GPA up to a 5.1 and he scored an 1100 on his SAT. After high school, Young plans to attend Palm Beach State College where he will play baseball for two years before he transfers to a four-year college.


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WE’LL BRING YOUR

GRADUATION

CELEBRATION TO YO U!

Contact your local Abuelo’s about party and catering options.

3700 L AKESIDE VILL AGE BLVD, L AKEL AND, FL

ABUELOS.COM PAGE

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|

(863) 686-7500


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DINING

Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant We pride ourselves on providing our customers with a unique, fun and pleasurable dining experience BY HEATHER DAVIS

Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant 2613 Thonotosassa Rd. Plant City, FL 33563 813-752-0057 Monday-Sunday: 11am-3pm, Lunch; 3pm-10pm, Dinner

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lant City can sometimes be a hard nut to crack when it comes to the restaurant business. However, once a restaurant has consistently earned a positive reputation for having great food and service, it can count itself as part of the community. One such local restaurant that has proved itself to be worthy of that title is Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant. Mi Casa has been in business in Plant City for over 16 years and has earned its place in the minds, hearts, and (mouths) of the community. Mi Casa is a Tex-Mex style of restaurant with its roots going deep into Mexico and Texas. Owned by the Gama family, who also own El Mirasol Bakery, food and old family recipes are at the forefront of all they do. Mrs. Gama began by cooking from her home, making and selling tamales. It was from this humble beginning that she knew it was in her heart to sell her food based on old family recipes to the public. One of the cornerstones of the food at Mi Casa is that everything is prepared fresh daily from whole and fresh ingredients. One taste of their Guacamole appetizer is all the proof

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you need of truly fresh, delicious ingredients. Made with fresh avocados, lime juice and seasonings served on a bed of lettuce with tomatoes and pico de gallo, this appetizer is sure to please a crowd. One of the more popular items on Mi Casa’s menu is Gordo’s Wet Burrito which consists of a large wet burrito filled with shredded beef, rice, beans, lettuce and pico de gallo, topped with enchilada sauce, cheese, and sour cream. During this dining review, I had the opportunity to try several of their entrees which included Pollo a la Mexicana and Camarones con Rajas y Crema or creamy shrimp with poblano peppers. Both entrees were delicious, large and extremely satisfying. It is easy to see why Mi Casa has become such a popular eating destination for the Plant City community. Mi Casa is family friendly and offers a full kids menu. A full service bar is also stocked with cold beer, margaritas, and specialty drinks. Truly, Mi Casa has something for everyone and will not disappoint with food, quality, service and ambiance.


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events

Saturday, April 20 31st Annual Plant City Egg Hunt

can't miss

10:00AM Presented by the City of Plant City, the egg hunt is open to children ages 3 to 11. Age groups will hunt within their enclosed nest in search of eggs, including the Golden Egg! Finders of the Golden Egg will receive a large Easter basket. PC Optimist Club will serve a free hot dog and drink to children up to 12 y/o. Purchase Bunny Dollars and get a photo with the Easter Bunny, as well as enjoy face painting, inflatables and more. Otis M. Andrews Sport Complex @ 2402 E. Cherry St. Cost: Free, Bunny Dollars sold for $1 each Info: PC Parks & Rec, recinfo@plantcitygov.com or 813-659-4255.

Friday, April 26 Garden Walk 2019

5-8PM Join Leadership Plant City and the Plant City Commons Community Garden for Garden Walk 2019! Everyone is welcome in the garden, where visitors can cultivate their spirit, join your neighbors, and play in the dirt! PC Commons Community Garden @ 2001 E. Cherry St. Cost: Free Info: Josiah Colon (813) 461-4493

Tues. April 16

Coffee Collaborations

8AM Networking is so important to building your business and professional development! Join Aspire Plant City for Coffee Collaborations for informal chats over a cup of Joe and discover opportunities such as new jobs, projects, initiatives and more! Courtney Paat’s State Farm Agency @ 1805 James L Redman Pkwy Ste. 101 Cost: Free for Aspire members; $5 for non-members Info: aspireplantcity.org

2019 CALS Gator Gathering

6PM Celebrate your Gator pride with alumni, friends and future students at a College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Gator Gathering. This familyfriendly, free event will feature remarks from CALS Dean Elaine Turner, an alumni panel, and CALS Ambassadors. Dinner will be provided. Dress is Gator casual. HCC Trinkle Center @ 1206 N. Park Rd Cost: Free, registration on Eventbrite.com is required Info: UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, (352) 392-1963

Thurs. April 18

Wine Tasting with Achieve Plant City

6:30PM Join Achieve Plant City for an evening of fun, friendship, philanthropy and delicious wine! Show your support for family literacy by attending this event, all funds raised will go directly to Achieve Plant City’s mission of providing educational services for families in eastern Hillsborough County. Mark your calendar to attend this event! HCC Trinkle Center @ 1206 N. Park Rd. Cost: $45, tickets can be purchased at 504 E. Baker St. Info: Achieve Plant City, 813-752-4010

Sunday, April 21

Saturday, May 4

East Hillsborough Discovery Quest

9AM-3PM 70+ booths will be set up to help guests connect with local resources, including community service opportunities, housing assistance, job and career opportunities, and elderly programs. The event will feature food trucks, door prizes, mini seminars and activities for the entire family. PCHS @ 1 Raider Place Cost: Free Info: Jennifer Anderson (813)323-4013 or Sharon Blackman (813)690-5418

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Tues. April 23

Aspire Plant City’s 1 Year Anniversary

Thurs. April 25

Plant City Job Fair

6PM Join the ladies of Aspire Plant City in celebration of this milestone! The evening of fun, food, drinks and socializing is sure to leave memories to last a lifetime, while surrounded by like minded professionals. Register online at aspireplantcity.org Wishing Well Barn @ 4302 Pippin Rd. Cost: Members, free; Non-members, $25 Info: Aspire Plant City, aspireplantcity@gmail.com

12PM The city’s top employers are hiring motivated, enthusiastic individuals in a number of positions, including administration, healthcare, manufacturing and sales. Job seekers should prepare to meet with employers and apply on-site. This event is free and open to the public. HCC Trinkle Center @ 1206 N. Park Rd Cost: Free Info: PlantCityJobs.com


Sat. May 04 Fri. April 26

Fancy Flea

9AM From shabby chic furniture, antiques, and garden decor, everyone can find something at the Fancy Flea! Arrive early for this flea market-style vintage market, where you can also enjoy yummy concessions and live entertainment. Pets are not permitted and scooter rentals are available. Shuttles will be on site to assist guests to and from the parking lot. Florida Strawberry Festival @ 2866 W. Reynolds St Cost: $5 admission per person (kids under 12 are free), free parking Info: (863) 712-3278

10AM-3PM Join Plant City Boys & Girls Club for its 1st Annual Cornhole Tournament! Bring your competitive spirit as you participate in a tournament including food, beer and raffle prizes. Funds raised will directly benefit the youth served by the West Plant City Club. Trinkle Center Parking Lot @ 1206 N Park Rd Cost: Team of 2 $50; Sponsorship Levels: $750 Intermediate $500 Recreational $250 Info: Tai Isha Robinson, trobinson@bgctampa.org

6PM Come and trade your Lego® minifigures and give them a new home with other Lego® fans. There will be food, fun, and specials! Brick City Bricks @ 107 E Reynolds St Cost: Free Info: Brick City Bricks, (813) 756-6256

Wed. May 01 Thurs. May 02

Little Miss Plant City

6PM Young ladies, ages 8 to 10 years old, will compete in the annual Little Miss Plant City pageant. The contestants will be judged on overall appearance, public speaking, personality, and stage presence. Be sure to mark your calendar and support these young ladies. Tomlin Middle School @ 501 N Woodrow Wilson St Cost: Tickets $15 Info: Betty Medina, plantcitylmpc@gmail.com

Spring Community Gospel Fest

12PM Bring the family to Greater New Hope Anointed Ministries for a day of gospel music at this first annual event. Enjoy live gospel performances, visit food and merchandise vendors and the kids can jump in the bounce houses at this family friendly event. Bring chairs, tents and blankets; no outside food or coolers permitted. Greater New Hope @ 2104 Mud Lake Rd. Cost: Free admission Info: Dea. Ken Gray, (813) 403-4264

Booty Boot Camp

7PM At this weekly boot camp, attendees will work up a sweat as they learn how to effective lower body exercises to shape and sculpt the glutes. OnPoint CoWork Solutions @ 1805 James L. Redman Pkwy Cost: Free Info: Vee, 813-464-1779; vbiscardi2@gmail.com

National Day of Prayer

12PM Themed after John 13:34, this prayer day will comprise two events: A noon prayer at City Hall and an evening worship service at CityPointe Church. Mark your calendar to attend, as your voice and prayer can make a difference. City Hall @ 302 W Reynolds St City Pointe @ 503 Palmer St Cost: Free Info: Rev. Norm Blanton, 813-326-0749

9AM Children ages 6-14 are welcome to enter the competition, where they will be scored for their accuracy and speed. Skills demonstrated include passing, dribbling and shooting. No pre-registration is needed; participants may compete anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. with awards being handed out at 11:30 a.m. Otis M. Andrews Sports Complex @ 2402 E. Cherry St. Cost: Free Info: PC Parks & Rec, recinfo@plantcitygov.com or 813-659-4255

PC Cornhole Tournament

Minifig Trading Night

Sat. April 27

22nd Annual Optimist Soccer Tri-Star Skills Competition

Tues. May 07

The Writers’ Loft

Wed. May 15

Homeschool P.E. at PC Family YMCA

6PM A place where poets, screenwriters, book authors, journalists and more can share ideas, be creative, get guidance and enjoy fellowship. Bring your current writing projects and questions and meet like minded individuals with a love for words. Krazy Kup @ 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd Cost: Free Info: Angela Ardrey, (813)-376-8148

10AM Get the kids moving at Homeschool P.E.! Students will learn team building and sportsmanship with weekly structured games and activities! Plant City Family YMCA @ 1507 YMCA Pl Cost: Members, Free with registration; Nonmembers, $50/ month

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A GOOD EGG

SPONSORED BY

Created by Calvin R. and Jackie Mathews

A GOOD EGG www.HopewellFuneral.com FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1971

ACROSS 1. Musical instrument 5. Opening quintet 10. “Dr. Zhivago” heroine 14. Noisy fight 15. Piece of luggage 17. Ascended 20. Start of verse 23. Marlon Wayans, to Shawn 24. Fem. title given posthumously 25. Takes care of 26. Hit hard 28. Thesaurus entry: abbr. 29. German’s “and” 31. Yens 34. “__ Spiegel”; Europe’s leading newsmagazine 35. Pennsylvania port 36. Parents’ org. 39. Beer container 40. __ up; botch 41. More of verse 48. Heart chambers 49. Georgia’s neighbor 50. Called 54. Word to a pest 55. Asia 58. Memb. of a wandering tribe 60. Old saying 61. Advanced deg. 62. Declare taboo 63. O.T. book 65. Eye for an eye 67. Smug laugh 70. Fuel ingredients 72. Reckon 75. “__ silly question and get a...” 77. From __ Z 78. Unprocessed 81. Actress Samantha 82. Hwys. 84. Engraves 86. Verdi opera 87. Fascinate 88. Virgil epic 90. Thespian 91. More of verse 97. Hoopster Bryant 100. Blockhead 101. Poet Eliot’s monogram 102. Zilch 103. Mr. Gershwin 104. Actress Potts 106. Afr. nation 107. 007, for one 110. Doles out 112. Firstborn of many 117. Facial twitch 119. Sinatra’s third

by Calvin R. & Jackie Mathews

120. End of verse 125. __ the Younger; firstcentury Roman statesman 126. Blanket-like shawl 127. Exhilarate 128. Suffix for differ or insist 129. Sutured 130. Indefinite amount

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. 80. 83. 85.

DOWN 1. Wading bird 2. Beverage 3. NFL employees 4. Upset; rattle 5. “__ Maria” 6. Words from Scrooge 7. Classic board game 8. Coin 9. 6th senses, familiarly 10. Hallucinogen, for short 11. Prefix meaning “needle” 12. Sloping walkways 13. Dog food brand 14. Nativity set figure 16. “__, Brute?” 18. Piano piece 19. Units of force 20. Network letters 21. “__, meenie...” 22. New __; Atlantic inlet 27. Many AMA members 30. Dictionary entry: abbr. 32. European lang. 33. Sense of self-esteem 1

2

3

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5

14

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9

10 16

96. 97. 98. 99. 104. 105. 107. 108. 109. 111. 113. 114. 115. 116. 118. 121. 122. 123. 124. 11

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48 55 62 67 73

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121 122

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115 116

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78 86

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Bandage type Tiny insect Common verb Charged atom Mr. Rather __ shoestring; with little cash Electromotive units Locomotives Ms. Basinger Sweet snacks Wash oneself Unhealthy looking Annexes, often Struck Stack Long-haired ox Slave of old Henna & indigo To be in Paris “Pygmalion” playwright Sticky strip Aspen’s state: abbr. Illinois Central College, for short “Norma __”; hit 1979 movie Cruz or Kennedy Food sometimes candied

26

30

35 43

95.

25 29

42

86. 89. 90. 92. 93. 94.

22

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28

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Letter from Greece Tree branch trimmers SAT and others Words of relief Civil War General George and his kin Scrape Poison ivy symptom Alum Big success Raw mineral Early bedtime Scoundrel Homo sapiens Custard ingredient Sandra or Ruby Kimono sashes Car for Jeff Gordon Fluid that stains Talk much about little 5 p.m. or so, in London Baseball’s Slaughter Few and far between Late actress Talmadge Tripod “Caughtcha!” Tiny bit of time, for short Exclamation of disgust Open sponsor: abbr. Retains Coolidge, for one Bustles Cautious More bananas Encyc. volume, perhaps

119 124

127 129

130

© Puzzle Features Syndicate PAGE

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K O I R M E O S

B A T H E

E S N E

R I G H A T R I S C A T P H D S S U P P E G G A C H A R S E M C A B R S Y

A S H E N N O R M A

O R I B A N I C K S E R D A I D F O A F N N I E I R R C A C E

H A R P E L E E R E F R O S T N U E R T B A

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

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

A Good Egg!

R A A L E D M P T Y P O U N D S D E R M E S S K E N A M E D A D A G E V E N G E E S R A W A I D A A C T O R R E A S Y E S P Y C M I A O Y O L K L A T E OM E


05/15/19

05/15/19

05/15/19

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05/15/19

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05/15/19


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Profile for Floyd Publications

FOCUS Plant City 18-04  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 18-04 April 2019

FOCUS Plant City 18-04  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 18-04 April 2019

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