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Contents Table of

focusplantcity.com / Issue 18-05 / May 2019

LOCAL

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F E AT U R E

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S P O T L I G H T

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F E AT U R E

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BUSINESS

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In this issue, learn more about Achieve Plant City, Bits N’ Pieces Puppet Theatre and Table Talk 2019. The GFWC Plant City Junior Woman’s Club crowned the 2019 Little Miss Plant City Queen and Jerry Humphrey shares his memories of growing up in eastern Hillsborough County in his new book “Heritage & Hope.” These stories and more await you!

We recognize the accomplishments of the area’s valedictorians. Meet Mason Ness, PCHS; Makaira Fisk, DHS; Amy Martinez, SCHS; and Saketh Katta, SCHS IB. These four extraordinary students share their memories of high school and plans for the future. Congratulations to these students and the Class of 2019!

In theme with our annual Medical issue, South Florida Baptist Hospital continually upgrades technologies, improves facilities and adds important services. Medical Director of the hospital’s Emergency Department, Dr. Brooke Shepard discusses the achievements of the E.R., as we shine a light on the Jim and Ruby Jean Redman’s Emergency Center. The dedicated staff of emergency medical professionals continue to provide advanced healthcare when you need it most.

Each May we are proud to present Plant City’s area medical practitioners, services and resource providers. This year, we feature Dukes Chiropractic Health Clinic, Watson Clinic, Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City, and more. It’s our hope you will learn something new to make 2019 your healthiest year yet.

Since 2012, City Cuts Barbershop has served as a hotspot for men’s grooming needs. From fades, hot towel shaves, waxing and facials, City Cuts is a one-stop-shop for men to stay styled and look sharp. Meet owner Marco Ramirez whose interest in cutting hair has created a shop proud of celebrating diversity and supporting education.

Featured Writer

Taryn Storter

Taryn Marie Storter, a sixteen-year-old Plant City native, attends Plant City High School and is dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. She writes the Team of the Month and Athlete of the Month stories for FOCUS. Dedicated to her FFA Chapter, Taryn has been treasurer for the past two years. She also serves as the president of the school’s Interact Service Club and enjoys participating in Youth Alive. As an active member of First Baptist Church of Plant City, Taryn serves on the youth Praise Band, Leadership Team, and Amplify youth choir. She has had the amazing opportunity to represent the Hillsborough County Fair, as Junior Harvest Queen in 2017 and was selected in the Top 10 Finalists of the 2019 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s Pageant. In her free time, Taryn loves singing, playing the guitar and hanging out with her family and friends. PAGE

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Since 1987, El Mirasol has been a touchstone for Plant City’s Mexican community, known for many years as a place to purchase authentic Mexican groceries, baked goods and deli needs. The Gama family opened the establishment to meet the demand for authentic, made-from-scratch Mexican cuisine. Learn more about the offerings of El Mirasol, located on Collins Street.

DINING

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Hungry Howie’s is the 11th largest pizza chain in the U.S., but at Plant City’s Alexander Street location, the family-friend atmosphere creates the feeling of a small town pizzeria. Offering pizza with famous flavored crust, pastas and fresh, crisp salad, Hungry Howie’s store #106 provides dine-in at the Super Buffet Bar, carry-out and delivery. Owners Charlie and Ali Sobh are proud to build relationships with their customers and local organizations. Learn more about the Sobhs and how pizza serves as the bridge to bringing people together.


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You see them in Movies, T.V. Commercials and in Magazines!

CARSON RIO Shell Aviation Lubricants Promotional Event and Air Show Principal Role. CALL FOR AN APPOINTMENT TODAY!

JULIO PADILLA Disney and Epcot TV Commercials. Heartland Living Magazine Fashion Print Ad.

CECILY ARBUTHNOT Shell Aviation Lubricants Promotional Event and Air Show Principal Role.

They’re the JESS ANDERSON MODELS!

All ages & types needed • No experience necessary • Free training

SOUTH FLORIDA AVENUE, SUITE 115 • LAKELAND, FL 33813 863-688-9939 1037Established For 38 Years

CHRISTIAN ULYSSE Two Publix Training Films and Print Ads. Principal Role. $375.00 A Day.

LIC#1290000013

DEVIN BROWNE Just finished a Major TV Commercial Restaurant Chain with a Principal Role.

BOB KNOWLES Circle K Promotion and Training Film, $2,750.00 a Day. Disney World & Hollywood Studios Print Ad.

www.jessandersontalentandmodelagency.com

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4/12/2019 6:25:57 PM


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From The Publisher Last month, much of the Plant City community shared a positive response to our Faces of Faith cover story. Our city is changing but our roots are planted firmly in faith, evident by the outpouring of appreciation and respect for local churches and the worship leaders in our city. Publisher Mike Floyd - mikef@floydpublications.com Office Manager Candy Owens - cowens@floydpublications.com Account Manager Chandler Workman - chandler@floydpublications.com 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

We appreciate the kind words many of you shared with us on our Facebook page about Faces of Faith. It is with your feedback we are able to continue to bring content of interest to our readers. If you have story ideas, please email our editor Cierra Craft at cierra@floydpublications.com or call our office at 813-707-8783. Another group we would like to pay homage to are medical professionals, as May is our annual Medical issue. Within this issue, you will learn more about South Florida Baptist Hospital's innovative healthcare solutions. Additionally, discover the various services local healthcare practitioners are providing to improve health and wellness. As we transition into the summer months, it's hard to believe another school year is coming to an end. In this issue, you will meet the Valedictorians of our local high schools and learn more about their path to graduation day. Congratulations to all of the graduates of the Class of 2019!

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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TALK OF THE TOWN FOCUS MAGAZINE

MOVIE MAKERS WIN BIG PC MOM on GOOD MORNING AMERICA

Plant City resident, Terrie Campbell, was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America on May 9. The mom of three was the recipient of the morning’s show annual Mother’s Day giveaway, Breakfast in Bed. Terrie is a school bus driver with Hillsborough County Public Schools and knows the names of every student on her route. She provides clothing and food to her students in need and helps mentor those who have been bullied. Show host Sam Champion surprised Terrie as she was dropping off students at PCHS. GMA treated Terrie to breakfast (prepared by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse), and Hilton Hotels gifted Terrie with a new bed and a fishing trip in Mexico. Congratulations to Terrie!

PCHS Raider TV Crew competed in the 2019 Tampa Bay Area Student Film Competition at the Tampa Theatre on April 16. The team won third place for their music video “Critter Side,” third place for Drone Intro, and second place for “Senioritis: The Movie” trailer! The Raiders brought home some superiors for other videos as well. Congratulations to these talented, creative students.

WELCOME TO PLANT CITY!

NEW LEADERSHIP Farm Credit of Central Florida announced Cynthia Falk as a new loan officer for the Plant City market. Falk began her career at Farm Credit in June 2017 as a Commercial Loan Servicing Coordinator. In early 2018, she joined the credit analyst team. In Fall 2018, Falk developed and managed the Youth Loan Program and was voted the association’s recipient of the Award of Excellence for 2018.

Tennessee Jane Boutique announced the opening of their Plant City location! The women’s fashion and accessory shop will be located at 121 N. Collins Street. Tennessee Jane Boutique owner Hanna Sampson is excited to bring stylish swimwear, tops, jeans, dresses and rompers, and more to historic downtown.

A HELPING HAND

After Russell Goodwine’s lawn equipment was stolen, the Plant City community came together to raise funds for the purchase of the new equipment. Jeff Worthy of Cutting Edge Lawn Equipment gave Russell a great deal on a brand new Gravely zero turn mower and donated some equipment. Kenny McIntosh, owner of Certified Industrial Maintenance, donated a trailer to Russell. It is with kindness and generosity that Russell will be back to mowing lawns in no time.

GROUNDBREAKING On May 8, the City of Plant City broke ground on the new 30,000 sq. ft. Community Center, located at 1601 E. Dr. MLK Jr Blvd. The center will include a multipurpose gymnasium, two basketball courts, meeting rooms and activity spaces and administrative offices and expected to open in June 2020. PAGE

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OPEN FOR BUSINESS

On May 9, The Bank of Tampa announced the opening of their new loan production office in Plant City, located at 120 N. Collins Street. The new office is led by Nick Thurston, a veteran Plant City banker with 20 years of experience. “We invest in the community by creating a physical presence” said Thurston. “For more than a year, we have been working to bring The Bank of Tampa’s brand to Plant City. Now that we have a physical presence here, right in the heart of Downtown Plant City, I look forward to watching us become an integral part of the Plant City community.”


CHURCH AT

THE BARN

BACK TO WHERE IT ALL BEGAN. 4908 JAMES L. REDMAN PARKWAY, PLANT CITY, FL

Independent Christian Church Everyone is welcome, please come visit us!

Services Sunday at 11:00am | Praise & Worship | Kids Church

1/4 MILE NORTH OF HIGHWAY 60

For more information call Troy Wilson at 813-763-1880

Like and follow us on Facebook!

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LOCAL

Achieve Plant City Helps People Succeed BY BARBARA ROUTEN

his schoolwork and was about to fail third grade. Then his aunt discovered Achieve Plant City, which taught her how to encourage him and helped him begin to understand. He passed third grade and entered his next school’s gifted program. Another speaker was a Mexican woman who emigrated to the U.S., “a foreign country that spoke a language I didn’t know,” she said. “I couldn’t read street signs or menus or ask questions at the store. My 6-year-old had to interpret for me at teacher conferences. I needed to be able to communicate!” She heard about Achieve Plant City and attended English classes while staff watched her two-yearold and taught him English. Achieve helped her get speech therapy for one of her children. After Achieve, she could read to her children, help them with homework, speak directly to their teachers and drive them around. She

earned her G.E.D. and got a job. “This organization changed our lives,” she said. “My world was very dark and scary. When Achieve came into my life, it was like the light switched on. I was given hope.” For Vicky McClerndon, Achieve’s 2019 Wine tasting was eye-opening. “I hadn’t heard of Achieve Plant City,” she said, “but I’m super happy it exists. It’s important. I want to be part of it and help it grow and become better known.” Achieve Plant City’s treasurer, Shane Karlson, owner of Your Green Team, recognizes the effects of illiteracy on society and said Achieve helps many people become successful citizens. After first hearing Angélica’s story, he realized “there’s such a need for Achieve. It’s the real deal, transparent and does everything for the right reasons. That’s why I’m involved.” For details, visit www. achieveplantcity.org.

Achieve Plant City board member and event emcee Sophia Hyde, second from left, and guestsfrom left to right,Vicky Saunders, Audrey Schmidt and Laura McClernon-enjoy Achieve Plant City's winetasting fundraiser.

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t a recent winetasting fundraiser for Achieve Plant City, founder Angélica Ibarra explained her nonprofit’s name: “Achieve—that’s what we do, help families achieve success, through education—and Plant City, because that’s who we are and who we primarily work with.” Ibarra founded Achieve “because of the difference one person made in my life. Education changed things for me and my children. I needed to give back. It wasn’t easy for me to put myself out there … but I had to, because my story isn’t unique. There are many like me, many struggling families and individuals who need someone to help them.” Achieve Plant City provides tutoring and homework assistance for area K-12 children, preschool preparation for ages 2 through 5, adult G.E.D. and English classes, workshops to teach parents how to PAGE

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help their kids succeed in school and joint activities for parents and children. Erica Burris, chairwoman of this year’s wine tasting, was introduced to Achieve at last year’s event and quickly got involved. “Achieve targets a huge, underserved demographic,” said Burris, a former Bryan Elementary School teacher. “My students’ parents wanted to help their children but didn’t know how. They were frustrated, aware that without their help, their children would probably fail. Achieve gives them tools and teaches them how to use them.” The wine tasting program started in darkness. A male voice said, “Children who cannot read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school … by society’s standards, I was doomed to fail.” He couldn’t understand any of

From left to right, Plant City Running Club members Kat Hall, Kate Thurston, Jillian Wilder, Kayla Morris and Celia Ramirez show their support for the good that Achieve Plant City accomplishes.


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LOCAL

The 2019 LMPC Queen and Court (left to right): Court Member Ivy Garner, First Maid Bella Bikowski, Queen Marley Mueller, Court Member Hayven Harrell, and Court Member Demi Atkinson.

Little Miss Plant City BY CIERRA CRAFT

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n Saturday, May 4, the GFWC Plant City Junior Woman’s Club crowned the 2019 Little Miss Plant City Queen. Twentyeight girls, ages 8 to 10-years-old, participated in the 50th annual event. The Little Miss Plant City Queen and court represent not only the GFWC Plant City Junior Woman’s Club but the community as a whole at various annual events such as Empty Bowls, Relay for Life, the Christmas Parade and the Florida Strawberry Festival parade. The 2019 event was “Alice in Wonderland”-themed, and contestants were permitted to forgo formal dresses and opt for outfits that coordinate with the theme. Piper Meeks chose to wear a purple sequin dress, with high-top sneakers and a coordinating fascinator. Contestant 27, Autumn Brazil, chose a pink and purple ruffled ensemble. The night began with each contestant introducing themselves, then emcees, Eric Randall and Kori Wyatt, read each contestant’s bio as they walked the stage. Many of the contestants shared their favorite foods, their hobbies and Contestant 21, Demi Atkinson, shared that she once won a rooster crowing contest at age 5. Her demonstration of her rooster crow was memorable to the judges and the audience erupted in laughter. The girls were judged on poise, personality, appropriate dress, grooming and stage performance. The contest program includes an

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interview, pageant walk, final look, and for the Top Ten, an on-stage question. The girls were asked if they could invent anything to make the world a better place, what would it be and why. Maybe spoke to ending bullying and many spoke to finding a cure for cancer. The Top Ten Semifinalists were named: Rylee Smith, Ivy Garner, Olivia Jones, Jillian Starford, Marley Mueller, Bella Bikowski, Hayven Harrell, Demi Atkinson, Kyndell Drawdy, and Lily Miller. Ivy Garner was named Miss Congeniality and Grace Burris was recognized for selling the most advertisements in the event program, totaling over $3,500. Marley Mueller was named 2019 Little Miss Plant City Queen. Her court comprises First Maid Bella Bikowski, Court member Demi Atkinson, Court member Ivy Garner and Court member Hayven Harrell. “Little Miss Plant City is not your typical beauty pageant,” says Medina. “We focus more on

Top ten contestants were asked to answer an on-stage question, what would you create to make the world a better place. Ivy Garner said she would create a “magic medicine that would cure everyone that is really sick.” Garner then shared with the audience that she would use the medicine to cure her grandmother who was in the audience, and visibly moved by the young girl’s words.

personality and the individuality of the girls competing. To me, the event is important as it helps young girls realize that it’s the beauty on the inside that counts.” Queen Marley and her court will attend various community events including Relay for Life, the community parades, as well

as assist in fundraising efforts for the Plant City Juniors’ largest community give-back event: The Annual Shoe Project. For information about the 2020 competition, contact event chair Betty Media at plantcitylmpc@gmail. com


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LOCAL

This photo is the only photo with all eleven of Jerry’s immediate family members. Center: Allan Rufus Humphrey, Sr, Jerry’s father; and Frances Caroline Blazer, Jerry’s mother. From left to right, from oldest to youngest: Mary, Charles, Robert, Lloyd, Philip, Harry, Jerry, Michael, Donald.

In ‘Heritage & Hope” Jerry Humphrey discusses God, Family & Country BY CIERRA CRAFT

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n 2018, Valrico resident Jerry Humphrey debuted his memoir, “Heritage & Hope.” It’s a charming and in-depth book about the nostalgic years in eastern Hillsborough County during the 1940s and 1950s. The family lived in six communities surrounding Plant City: Dover, Knights, Cork, Springhead, Trapnell, and Youmans. He vividly recalls many rural adventurous tales in a family of one girl and ten boys. It was a time of innocence, even if it may have been superficial. Humphrey shared: “Some of the most cherished memories family farms with beautiful orange groves, pasture land with livestock, strawberry fields and vegetables with thick woodlands in a distant background. Seeing the bright stars and shooting stars in a pitch

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black sky, catching lightning bugs in our hands and then releasing them, dodging low flying bats, and slapping mosquitoes as we played through breath-taking sunsets, twilight, dusk and then total darkness; as owls, dogs, cats, and bobwhite birds call out in the distance like a fine tuned orchestra.” Humphrey chronicles his experiences with “strawberry schools.” Students attended school from March to mid-December. They had the winter months off so they could help in the family’s berry harvesting. He shared a wealth of knowledge in attending those schools at Cork, Springhead, Trapnell and Turkey Creek Junior High School until the school system was discontinued in 1956. The memoir includes the author’s family genealogy. The research

was compiled over 40 years by his youngest brother, Dr. Don Humphrey. The family’s ancestry extends to the mid-1700’s, in Pre-Revolution America. Jerry connects the dots between the historical and cultural timeline of the young evolving country, along with his ancestors’ experiences. Humphrey’s discussion of the changing times through the generations includes insight, curiosity, and admiration. Of particular interest, the book follows three generations of the family, with Grandfather John Humphrey (1878-1947), Father Allan Humphrey, Sr (1902-1967) and Don (1947-present). These three generations lived during rather prolific moments in American history as they experienced a constant explosion of changes and cultural upheaval over the past 141 years. “I believe the book can be of great value to whoever reads it, or portions thereof,” said Jerry Humphrey. “I included many of my personal journey experiences and memories mixed in with history and culture. We want to see our very blessed constitutional Republic continue to be strong economically with military strength through a capitalistic economy. We want God’s will be done on earth as it is in

Heaven. Through His grace and faith, our eternal life and hope is in Jesus Christ.” The book is currently available for purchase online at Amazon. com for $10 plus tax + delivery. For those who would like to purchase a signed copy of “Heritage & Hope”, the East Hillsborough Historical Society is hosting a book signing in Humphrey’s honor on May 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Classroom Gallery.

"I included many of my personal journey experiences and memories mixed in with history and culture."

Allan Rufus Humphrey, Sr, Jerry’s father, and his mother, Frances Caroline Blazer, were married on September 21, 1928 in Punta Gorda, Florida.


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LOCAL

Bits 'N Pieces Puppet Theatre performances involve bright colors, larger-than-life props and characters, music, dancing and wholesome messages for children of all ages.

Bits ‘N Pieces Puppet Theatre BY BARBARA ROUTEN

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ine-foot tall puppets. Funny, classic fairy tales. Performances worldwide and across the United States. Since 1972, Bits ‘N Pieces Puppet Theatre has done it all. Once upon a time, Bits ‘N Pieces founder Jerry Bickel’s favorite childhood activity was turning his beloved books into puppet shows. By 1972, he was performing his original productions, including the first show ever staged in Hillsborough County’s newly formed Artists-in-the-Schools program. Through puppeteering, he met his wife and show-biz partner, Holli Rubin, and they created a happilyever-after life for them and their son. Holli always wanted to perform. She danced, acted in children's theater, dabbled in sculpture and took a puppetry class at the

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University of South Florida. She worked at the Center for Puppetry Arts (then called Vagabond Marionettes) and in 1976 attended a puppet festival where she saw Jerry’s production of “Beowulf.” His puppets were on tall rods strapped to his legs. “It was physically exciting, involving dance, theater and puppetry,” Holli said. “Plus, the puppet master was really good looking.” Jerry and Holli became inseparable. Both lived in Tampa, so upon their return, Holli joined Bits ‘N Pieces Puppet Theatre. They have co-operated the company ever since. In 1976, they began performing their original, small-puppet productions “The Ugly Duckling” and “Puppets in Toyland” across South Carolina and Virginia.

Then, to solidify their roots, they produced a very Tampa-centric show, “The Ballad of José Gaspar.” A composer set to music Jerry’s lyrics—about chicken, yellow rice and Ybor City—which the Spanish Lyric Theatre sang. The show was performed at Tampa Theatre for six Gasparilla seasons. “The Ballad of José Gaspar” was the first of Bits ‘N Pieces’ trademark Broadway-style giant-puppet musicals. They started making giants after realizing that puppets need to stand about nine-feet tall to be seen from the top of Tampa Theatre’s balcony. Jerry figured out how to create the giants, and over time, Holli built 53 of them, for 10 original musicals. In 1980, Bits ‘N Pieces went on its first of 25 international, culturalexchange tours. “The Ugly Duckling” worked well in Japan. In their Florida retelling, a hurricane blows a stork off course, depositing a flamingo egg with a South Pole penguin family and a penguin egg with a Florida flamingo family. When the two families meet, they realize they are brothers and sisters, family and friends. “This was a great show to

take around the world,” Holli said, “because it says that no matter our differences, when we share our art, we find more in common than we could imagine.” Through the years, things have changed: Jerry and Holli use inflatable, not wooden, sets, add extra characters (played by themselves) via projection and create background videos for original songs and music. When not on the road with giant puppets or performing in their PuppetWorld Playhouse in Dover, Jerry presents his beloved marionette stories in schools, libraries and parks across Florida. Holli creates puppets, hosts children’s workshops and teaches classes at PuppetWorld, 12904 Tom Gallagher Road, Dover. “There's something about the magic of a good puppet show, a good script, good lyrics, beautiful music, wonderful costumes and the magic of the stage,” said Holli. “We can do this forever, because the audience believes.” For details, visit puppetworld. com and Facebook or contact them at jerry@puppetworld.com or (813) 659-0659.

Bits 'N Pieces Puppet Theatre founder Jerry Bickel performs alongside one of his giant puppets.

Holli Rubin of the Bits ‘N Pieces Puppet Theatre with one of her giant Billy Goats Gruff puppets.


LOCAL

Students, Kindergarten through sixth grade, are eligible to enroll in the STEM camp. The camp is co-ed, allowing for students to connect with the peers while developing an interest in science, technology, engineering and math.

Camp Invention introduces students to STEM concepts BY CIERRA CRAFT

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t the Florida Strawberry Festival Arthur Boring Building on June 10 through June 14, Kindergarten through sixth grade students will unlock their potential at Camp Invention. A program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), Camp Invention is a nationally acclaimed summer program creating young innovators through science, technology, engineering and math concepts. The camp allows the young minds to build skills in the areas of teamwork and problem solving in an immersive, hands-on atmosphere. The 2019 program, titled Supercharged™, will introduce the campers to four challenges, including working with circuit boards, frequency, motors and gears to reverse engineer a remote-controlled robot, learning about collaboration and patents through the lens of combating plagiarism, as well as business fundamentals, coding, and more. The camp is led by local educators, who will facilitate the modules and concepts, along with high school and college students

who will serve as Leadership Interns. This is the 6th year Camp Invention will be held in Plant City and last year, over 120 campers were in attendance. According to Camp Director Paul Coletti, each year the Plant City camp continues to grow and was named the #1 Camp Invention in the state. The program began in 1990 and since its inception, the program’s impact has been measured through independent evaluations. The studies have found short-term and long-term improvement in the areas of creativity, STEM interest, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. Students who are enrolled in the one week camp also show increased attendance, increase in students’ grade point average and improved test scores. The camp is co-ed and runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. Area businesses are sponsoring the event and Coletti says there are discounts for registration available for those in need. For more information about registration and how to prepare your student for camp, contact Paul Coletti at pacman1988@hotmail.com PAGE

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LOCAL

Table Talk 2019 - Illuminate Benefits House of Cherith – New Wing for Human Trafficking Victims with Children BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

At her “Game Night” themed table, Brysty Maxwell hosted her mother Belinda Mercer (front center left and right) and friends (clockwise) Lisa and Kaylee Varnum, Joannie Nichols and her daughter Bacogie Luke, Leslie Whitfield and Jessica Story.

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hen Ilene Sears initiated the Table Talk event more than 18 years ago at Plant City Church of God, she never dreamed how far its reach could extend into and beyond the community. It’s grown so much that on April 6 more than 350 folks gathered at the Florida Strawberry Festival’s Expo Hall to benefit an outreach for the House of Cherith, a shelter for human trafficking victims. The Atlanta ministry now realizes the need for a wing to shelter mothers with children, so the Table Talk 2019 fundraiser monies will help to accomplish that dream. Forty-one hostesses dressed themed tables and invited local friends for lively conversations and a great meal. To enhance the excitement, 30 charming PCCOG men dressed as fine dining waiters to serve the dinner prepared by 911 Catering. In addition to gifts from table hostesses and prizes provided by local businesses, guests learned from the joyful keynoter, Jen Morris, how God illuminates and refines our imperfections as we follow Him. She serves alongside her husband Wes

Morris as lead pastors of Bay Chapel in Tampa. This transparent young mother shared how the Lord helped them to overcome marital struggles. Mrs. Sears brought the Table Talk idea to Plant City from the church she and her husband, Rev. Herman Sears, pastored in Inglis, Florida. “I love to work with people,” she explained, “and saw this event bring healing to relationships. The men love serving and the hostesses love decorating their tables. It’s been such fun pulling people together to share in the excitement of working toward a common goal. This fun event encourages Christians to bring other community members into a fellowship for outreach.” Such was the case for Bartow resident Bacogie Luke, who attended her first Table Talk two years ago before joining the choir and becoming the church’s office coordinator. This year she and her mother dined at Brysty Maxwell’s “Game Night” themed table. "It’s exciting to meet new ladies, visit with friends, and see all the beautiful tables,” Luke shared, “but most importantly we come together to worship the Lord." PAGE

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LOCAL

First Call

Bringing Christ to our Warriors and Their Families BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

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irst Call, formerly known as Sydney Baptist Church, welcomed more than 100 guests on April 7, 2019 for its Sunday morning service and ministry grand opening. Since this “Unique Church for Extraordinary People” has determined to reach out to First Responders and their families with a mission to Serve-Protect-Connect, it seemed only natural the first sermon series should be titled, “A Warrior’s Walk.” Inspired also by the lyrics of the Steven Curtis Chapman song “Warrior” (from the movie War Room), church leader Chaplain

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(Dr.) Daniel Middlebrooks used the context of the song to remind First Responders “that under their Shield (badge) and armor (uniform), they’ll need a strong heart to engage in their community’s battles (calls for help). The only way they can stand strong as a First Responder (Law, Fire, Military, EMS, Security) is to be able to kneel as a warrior of God’s Word.” First Call welcomed guest speaker Pastor Rob Jackson of First Baptist Church of Dover to initiate the first of the lessons that continued through April. “If we learn the ways of the

greatest warrior ever, Jesus Christ, and become ‘Warriors of the Word,’ He will help us to love and serve others well and become our best,” explained Middlebrooks. Our new name stems from Matthew 6:33, which reminds us: ‘But seek FIRST his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’” To accommodate the first responders’ work schedules, First Call holds services on Thursday evenings at 6:30, in addition to Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. Uniquely, the mid-week services repeat the Sunday morning

message. “That way if any First Responders miss Sunday morning, they can hear that same message on Thursday,” said Middlebrooks. “We also have Life Teams at 11:00 a.m. Sunday and on Thursday evenings for those who didn’t miss the Sunday a.m. sermon. This ensures we’ll always have something for everyone.” A “First Fellowship” breakfast is served each first Sunday, too. Additionally, the church will offer “shift events,” which means they do an event twice to cover A and B shift for Law Enforcement and the A-C shifts of Fire/Rescue. Chaplain Middlebrooks led a First Responder couples marriage event recently. From his 26 years as an Army chaplain, he knows all too well how the demanding schedules can stress the First Responder’s home life. The seminars strengthen family relationships, so the First Responder can fully engage to protect his community’s families. Middlebrook shared how in Nehemiah 4, God stationed the wall-builders with their swords near their homes, knowing they would work harder, longer, and with more passion when protecting their families. This same principle, passion, and energy applies to our men and women protecting the hearts of their spouse, children and communities. Another upcoming “Marriage Momentum Event” from 6:008:00 p.m. on June 2 and 9 will benefit First Call’s “Raise the Roof” campaign. Scholarships are available for First Responders who act quickly. The event includes Core Value Index (CVI) training and assessment, along with two 45-minute couple sessions conveniently scheduled over two months. For info and to RSVP, e-mail daniel@r3cc.org The friendly folks at First Call welcome visitors at 1510 Cre Road in Dover and online at Facebook and firstcallsbc.com. For additional information, please phone 813-6528178. They would love to hear from you!


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LOCAL

Dreams United Ministries Creates a Ripple of Change For Good BY HEATHER DAVIS

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here is so much in the news today to feel disappointed or sad about that we often forget to look for the good that is happening all around us, sometimes right under our noses. Dr. Timothy Williams of Plant City Pediatrics is one such good samaritan who is doing his part to make a difference in the world we live in. Two people who lived worlds apart were united in a vision and a hope for a better future for others through both hard work, faith, and a belief in a higher power. Dr. Williams began having dreams that he credits coming from God to help others through his own personal faith or ministry to help with an orphanage. The dreams were very specific in that they were to be an orphanage that was started but was never finished, which left people disappointed. Thousands of miles away a woman by the name of Mary Minja had been tirelessly working to provide a school and orphanage for children in Mwanza, Tanzania, Africa. With very little money and completely alone, Minja continued to teach the children for five years while holding on to hope that God would provide. On October 7, 2016,

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Dr. Williams visited Tanzania and felt in his heart that this was where he was being called to do his work that his dreams were telling him to do. As a result Dreams United Ministries, a non-profit organization, was established. In just a few short years much has been accomplished under the guidance of Dr. Williams through Dreams United. Dreams United along with Cornerstone International Ministries works hard to spread good will and teachings to others by providing hope, purpose and meaning of life for the orphaned children of Mwanza. The two organizations have also come together to purchase land and begin construction on their first church, Cornerstone of Tanzania. The mission of Dreams United Ministries is to unite dreams and to fulfill James 1:27 in restoring hope to orphans and those in poverty. It is truly heartwarming to see how this mission which started out as a dream has unfolded and is being fulfilled to the benefit of thousands of those in need. To find out more about Dreams United Ministries or to offer support you can visit their website at http:// www.dreamsunited.org/,


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LOCAL

Downtown Renaissance:

The Future of Downtown Plant City BY CIERRA CRAFT

L

ast month, the City of Plant City unanimously voted to alter the alcohol ordinance, allowing smaller spaces in downtown and Midtown to serve beer and wine on their menu. The change has sparked excitement about the future of Plant City’s downtown and Midtown development over the coming years. The hope by many in the community is that the new establishments will allow Plant City residents to gather, enjoying small plates, a glass of wine, and conversation. One such location is already coming to fruition: Roots Tap and

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Wine Bar. Owned by Brandon Snyder and Jerilyn Rumbarger, the location will be Plant City’s first craft beer and wine bar. “We wanted to create a place where everyone can come, that is family-oriented,” said Rumbarger. “We want to bring a new culture to downtown and drew a lot of the concepts for Roots from places we like to go together and bringing them to downtown Plant City.” The establishment will be located at 101 S. Evers Street. At the time of publication, the couple hoped to start pouring by mid-July. However, the development of

downtown and Midtown doesn’t stop at alcohol sales. Roots is a kickstarter in turning over a new leaf in the area. The dream is to make Plant City a destination for events, shopping and much more. Plant City Main Street is a 501(c)3 with the mission to grow and revitalize historic downtown into a thriving, vibrant district. Organization president Nick Thurston said Plant City Main Street has worked closely with the city and community leaders to revolutionize downtown and achieve that dream. One step in doing so is to bring new business into the district. Retailers such as Tub Treats and Jessi Rae Bridal are relatively new to the downtown scene, providing goods and services previously unavailable in historic downtown. On May 8, Lakeland retail shop, Tennessee Jane Boutique announced the opening of their downtown Plant City location. The shop is set to open in Mid-June. “We have to create an environment where business owners

can say ‘Downtown Plant City is the place I need to be,’” said Thurston. Thurston said Main Street wants to connect new business owners with the resources they need to be successful in the downtown district. One such resource available to entrepreneurs looking to set up shop in the historic district are grants. The City of Plant City has made thousands of dollars in funding available for business owners to assist with facade improvement or physical renovations for food-related businesses, among others. In an interview with BayNews 9’s Dalla Dangerfield, Mayor Rick Lott said the city is trying to remove any excuses. The city began rolling out other features to update downtown, including speakers for music and public WiFi. Over the coming weeks, the City Commission will be in discussion about amending the current mural ordinance to allow for additional public art. The City of Plant City, MAKE Plant City and Plant City Main Street recently announced a collaboration for the Plant City Electric Box Art Project. The public art opportunity will allow local artists to have their work featured on one of eight electric boxes located throughout Historic downtown. The decorative boxes are featured in other metropolitan areas such as Downtown Lakeland. As these various organizations continue to work together to provide opportunity for new businesses to set up shop, residents can rest assure that the future of historic downtown is bright. It is the hope that the community joins this important effort to make our city a vibrant destination that everyone can enjoy. To learn more about Roots Tap and Wine Bar or Plant City Main Street, visit their respective Facebook pages. To learn more about the City of Plant City, visit their website at www.plantcitygov.com


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

Jessie Delgado

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essie Delgado is a 20 year employee of Parkesdale Farm Market and a devoted mother to her four children: Miguel (24), Bryan (19), Kevin (14) and Ximena (2). The bond between this family is truly unbreakable. Even during the busy strawberry season, they find time to spend together as a family. But being a working mom isn’t always easy. As her children grow up much too quickly, she shares a bit about how the family makes it work, scheduling, balancing and juggling busy schedules. Are you a Plant City native? I was born in Mexico, but then my parents moved to Texas...when I was 8 years old we moved to Florida. My family was working here in Florida and they came to visit us in Texas. We came back with them to Florida and never left. What do you enjoy most about working at Parkesdale? We have a sign about the register in the market that says “This is my happy place.” Everyone goes through things and you’re supposed to leave that out of the workplace. We work with a lot of senior citizens and they always want to talk to you and tell you about their day or their little dog, and just knowing you helped someone really helps to make your day better. Four generations of my family have worked for the Parkes: My grandpa, my dad, me and my sons. They’re great people to work for. Parkesdale is often visited by some famous faces. Have you met any of the market's guests? When politicians visit, you have to take their money, they’re not allowed to get anything for free. So when they visit, I

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would cash them out and give them their milkshake and they’d shake my hand. I have met John McCain, Charlie Christ and Rick Scott. How do you balance your work schedule and family time? Your kids motivate you. I wake up early, sweep, start laundry and try to put my mom in a good place with the baby before I leave. Then, I work all day and come home and I just find energy to do more. Miguel will say “Mom, I don’t know how you do it,” I don’t know how I do it either. My kids are awesome and they always help and we are always together. What do you like to do together as a family? We have a quote “I love that we love to be together.” We have Family Fridays with conversation about how our week has went, what is next and what we are looking forward to. Sometimes we go to the zoo, bowling alley or shopping. We’re really bad about choosing where to eat, that could take hours. What advice would you give to working moms in the same position? Always try to go above and beyond so the kids don’t go through similar situations you did. My kids are my #1 supports, they praise me and that’s a plus I love talking about my kids, too. We motivate each other, we cry together, we laugh together.

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? Memories of Scouting in Plant City BY BRENDAN ROLLYSON

W. D. “Dub” McGinnes, Jr., on Right end. 1956.

Brendan Rollyson has taken 1st Place in the annual Plant City Photo Archives & History Center Photojournalism Contest. His story on scouting in Plant City was the unanimous selection of the review committee.

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couting has been a big part of my life for many years. My grandfather, Dub McGinnes, told me stories of when he was in scouting. He shared how important scouting was for him, from being a Cub Scout to eventually reaching the rank of Life Scout in the Boy Scouts. His only regret was that he didn’t achieve Eagle Scout. Sadly, the leadership of his troop dissolved and he lacked five merit badges from becoming an Eagle Scout. As I was looking through some old pictures, I came across a picture of my grandfather and his Cub Pack in 1956. My grandfather explained that his mom, Helen McGinnes, was the Den Mother. They would meet every week in the BBQ stand in the backyard of his house. She would work hard to have activities planned as they worked through the Cub Scout Handbook. On the back of the picture, my great grandmother had penciled in

the names of the boys in the Pack. The names of Charlie Henry, Mike Hartnett, Al Sanchez, Jody Kuhn, Norman Blanton, Terry Edgemon, Billy Stewart, Douglas Smith, John Morgan and my grandfather, “Dubby” McGinnes. According to my grandfather, Douglas Smith became an attorney; Al Sanchez followed his father’s footsteps in becoming a physician; Jody Kuhn became a successful architect; and Norman Blanton has continued to be greatly involved in ministry in our community. I discovered two more pictures of my grandfather’s Cub Scouting days. One is a group shot of his Cub Pack in the backyard of his house. The other is a picture of the Cub Pack in the back of a McGinnes Lumber Company truck during the Strawberry Festival Parade. My great grandfather, Willard McGinnes, started McGinnes Lumber Company in 1935. Many groups rode in the back of his trucks during the Strawberry Festival Parade over the years. When I was 7 years old and in the second grade, I joined the Cub Scouts. I was proud to be a member of Pack 5 and we met in the American Legion Hall. Jeff Ness

was my Cubmaster. We had tons of fun camping out as we experienced the outdoors. We learned the basics of leadership that would lead us into Boy Scouts. Under his leadership I was able to earn the Arrow of Light, the highest honor in Cub Scouting. After I finished my Cub Scout requirements, I was excited to join Troop 5, one of the most storied Boy Scout troops in the Plant City area. There is a plaque on the wall that lists all the individuals in Troop 5 who reached the rank of Eagle Scout. The names on the plaque are, in fact, a list of some of the most influential leaders in Plant City through the years. Oscar Baynard is listed as the 1st Scoutmaster; Mike Sansone was the 1st Assistant Scoutmaster. Thomas Mack transferred in the troop as the first Eagle in 1931. Victor Smith was the first member to earn Eagle in 1933. (His son, Douglas, was in my grandfather’s Cub Pack.) Every time I looked at the plaque, it motivated me to achieve

my goal of someday having my name added to the list. As I climbed the ranks of scouting, I learned much about overcoming challenges as I developed confidence in myself and my abilities. Mark Hamilton, Spencer Tatum and Mike Wanner invested an incredible amount of time in teaching me the skills and values of scouting. In time I learned to handle additional responsibilities as I eventually became the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. This was an opportunity to pass on what I had learned to those younger than me. It became clear to me that one common thread among many of the leaders throughout the history of Plant City is scouting. On February 5, 2019, a Court of Honor was held in the American Legion Hall where I became an Eagle Scout. My name will be added to the plaque. I hope my leadership going forward will impact others as much as those I followed.

Cub Pack in McGinnes Lumber Co. truck, Strawberry Festival Parade. PAGE

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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. Thursday, April 11th, The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce had the honor of hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony for new Chamber member Material Lifecycle Management Company (MLMC)! MLMC sources raw materials from its suppliers and turns them into enviro- fuel cubes that it sells as a cleaner alternative to coal. They view their relationship with the companies that supply the material collected for the fuel, as partners in a sustainability venture. Building a solid relationship with their partners is paramount. Within a year's time, it is expected that MLMC will divert up to 50K tons of waste from landfills, with the capacity to divert as much as 300K tons of waste in the near future. "If a company has waste consisting of plastics and all types of packaging material, MLMC will come and do a free survey to determine potential cost savings for them. It's a win, win, WIN! Their company, our company and especially the ENVIRONMENT wins!"

On April 25th, The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for Back Pocket Recording Studio! Back Pocket Recording Studio is a full-service studio that offers tracking, editing, mixing, mastering and production. We provide state-of-the-art equipment to individuals, bands, and organizations looking to discover their best sound. Our mission is to provide our clients a fun and stress-free recording experience, a quality product in a timely manner, at a reasonable price.

On Tuesday, April 30th The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for CNT Nails & Spa! CNT Nails & Salon is one stop shopping - from head to toes & in between. Enjoy the down home friendly atmosphere & allow them to take care of all your beauty needs. "We are all very proud to have this opportunity to serve all the beauties of Plant City!" PAGE

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9 1 20

s n a i or t c i d e l a V PCHS,

S H C S , B I S DHS, SCH

raft By Cierra C

Every year, we are proud to highlight the four senior class valedictorians from Durant, Plant City and Strawberry Crest high schools. And each year, our hopes for the future soar as we learn of their talents and dreams. As you offer congratulations to the local graduates you know, we believe you can appreciate the commitment expressed in the responses that follow. These four unique students aspire for professions in everything from business to nursing. In the following pages, the valedictorians describe their families, their memories, their inspirations, and their special experiences through high school. They shared college plans, career goals, and even a bit of reflection upon the last four years, as they prepare for their futures. We think you’ll agree – our area schools are doing a great job – and these four have set the bar high. Congratulations to the Class of 2019!

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Mason Ness

Plant City High School What sports, clubs or organizations are you a member of at PCHS? Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), BOLD, Peer Jury, 1290 Club, and NHS Describe your senior year in three words Excited, exhausting, and epic During your time at PCHS, what awards have you received? I am certified bilingual in Spanish and in FBLA I received 2nd place in the state for accounting. Any special teachers who you would like to acknowledge? Mr. Belcher, Mrs. Daniels and Mrs. Warner Fill in the blank: “I will always remember ________.” I will always remember the generosity of the teachers and staff at Plant City High School.

Weighted GPA: 8.2 Unweighted GPA: 3.9 AP Classes: 8 Dual Enrolled: HCC PAGE

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Which course challenged you the most and why? Calculus, because there are so many formulas to memorize and concepts build on each other. You have to understand the previous concepts before you can understand the next one. What are you plans after high school? I will be attending Florida International University, studying International Business. I plan to pursue accounting or start my own business. What is your favorite song at the moment? It changes a lot, but right now it’s Shallow by Lady Gaga What is your senior quote? “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill


Amy Martinez

Strawberry Crest High School Sports, clubs and organizations? Marine Science Club, Leo Club, Sophomore Class Council, NHS, Beta Club, Senior Class Council What awards have your received during high school? Principal’s Honor Roll every semester, Lions young Leaders in Service award (2017) Describe your senior year in three words: Fulfilling, Memorable, Wawa Favorite memory of high school? After our sr. awards ceremony, I went into the gym to meet up with my friends. When I walked in they started cheering for me. Seeing all those closest to me being proud of me gave me another reason to love and appreciate my friends even more. The moment was so greatly overwhelming; I teared up because I have never felt so loved... I will never forget this moment; I’m blessed to have such a great friends. Any special teachers you'd like to thank? I’d like to thank all of my teachers because without them I would have never been able to excel. I’d like to thank Lauren King and Lauren Leto for being some of the first teachers to recognize me for more than just my academic ability. Also, thank you to Mrs. King and Mrs. Mcewen for letting me, and my lunch table, store stuff in their rooms… Thank you to Mr. Flaws, for being a great AP Calculus teacher and for being an even better person to talk to. Your ability to be relatable to students is what sets you apart from my past math teachers. What are your college/career plans? College wise I’d like to get my Bachelors in nursing at USF, then go on and get my Masters in nursing at Florida State. I would eventually like to become a nurse practitioner. Which course challenged you the most and why? AP Calculus BC. This year I was put into the first block of AP Calculus, but all of my friends were in the second block … it was hard for me to be my outgoing self without someone I’m close to there to bring it out. Eventually, I did get close to a few people in that class and that made my experience better. Fill in the blank: "I will always remember _______…" We decided to prank call one of our friends by pretending to be a girl who went to his middle school. This continued for six months and we had finally told him about the prank calls at IHOP, while he was surrounded by his friends who were in on the prank. He was so shocked and couldn’t believe that all of his friends knew, but never told him. Favorite social media platform? Instagram Favorite emoji? The crying laughing emoji Senior Quote: “I knew exactly what to do, but in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.”Michael Scott, The Office

Weighted GPA: 7.72 Unweighted GPA: 4.0 AP Classes: 11 Dual Enrolled: HCC

Favorite Song: Boys will be Bugs- Cavetown PAGE

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Saketh Katta

Strawberry Crest High School International Baccalaureate Program What sports, clubs and organizations are you a member of? I am president of Mu Alpha Theta and Speech and Debate, a member of Science Competitors Club, HOSA, Interact, and Programming Club, a bassist in the Symphonic Orchestra, and have participated in STEM Fair for the past four years. Describe your senior year in three words. Interesting, Boisterous, Overwrought What awards have your received during high school? I have been named a National Merit Finalist, National AP Scholar, International HOSA Finalist twice, State STEM Fair Finalist twice, US History Bee and US Geography Olympiad National Finalist, Burger King Scholar. What is one of your favorite memories of high school? My favorite memory has to be my first all-nighter. The euphoric feeling you get after finishing your work at 6 am and getting to close your eyes is unmatchable. Any special teachers you'd like to thank? It is hard to thank any one teacher as they have all helped me, in one way or another, to overcome the hardships I have faced over the past four years. They have given me advice I will never forget, motivation I will never leave behind... What are your college/career plans? I am attending Rice University and majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. I hope to become a physician while exploring some of my other passions along the way. Which course challenged you the most and why? I would say that I am more of a STEM guy, so English and History are both outside of my comfort zone. I still enjoy the classes and my teachers are great.

Weighted GPA: 8.4 Unweighted GPA: 4.0 AP Classes: 11 Dual Enrolled: HCC PAGE

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Fill in the blank: "I will always remember _______…" My peers and, even more so, my friends. They have been really helpful and supportive these past four years and it would be a crime to forget any of them. In IB, we all know each other really well and it is going to be hard to leave them behind. What's your favorite social media platform? I would say Edsby. Favorite emoji? The thumbs up emoji Senior Quote: “If you believe in yourself with a tiny pinch of magic, all your dreams can come true.” - SpongeBob Favorite Song: Pachelbel’s Canon


Makaira Fisk Durant High School

What sports, clubs and organizations are you a member of? Durant JV/Varsity Volleyball, Durant Theatre Company, National Honor Society (Recording Secretary), Senior Council (Secretary), Class Act Show Choir Previous years: Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Spanish National Honor Society, NOSB and Science Bowl teams Describe your senior year in three words. I need coffee. What awards have your received during HS? Highest GPA on Volleyball Team, AP Scholar with Distinction, Brandon Regional Hospital Physicians Scholarship Award, Broadway Star of the Future Nominee for Best Actress in a Musical What is one of your favorite memories of HS? Joining the Durant Theatre company and being in the spring 2019 show “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” as Rona Lisa Peretti Any special teachers you'd like to thank? Mr. Sawyer for not giving up on me, Mr. Stwan for his awesome taste in music, Mr. Arment for teaching me it is okay to forget about the world and have some fun every once in a while, and Coach Beers for her endless support and for being my school mom. What are your plans upon graduation? Attending Florida State in the fall, double majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience and Biomathematics Which course challenged you the most and why? AP Physics 1 didn’t come to me as easily as some of my other classes but I pushed through and completed the class and learned some new study skills along the way. Fill in the blank: "I will always remember _______…" being asked to Prom on stage in front of basically the entire school. What's your favorite social media platform? Instagram What's your favorite emoji? Star-Eyed Emoji

Weighted GPA: 8.04

Senior Quote: “Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” -Harold S. Kushner

AP classes: 14

Favorite Song: It changes so often, but two of my all-time favorites are The Less I Know the Better by Tame Impala, current location by LANY, and basically the entire Waitress soundtrack

Dual enrolled: HCC PAGE

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When you’re pregnant, there are so many questions. WHERE TO HAVE YOUR BABY shouldn’t be one of them. Which car seat? What stroller? And oh, the discussions about the name. With so many questions surrounding a new baby, we want to give you one definitive and easy answer. The hospital you choose. At BayCare’s South Florida Baptist Hospital, we have exceptional doctors and nurses to give you and your new baby an extraordinary level of care during labor and delivery, in a comfortable, spacious room. If you’re expecting, or thinking about having a baby, come in and see for yourself. Take a tour of South Florida Baptist Hospital and sign up for one of our free prenatal classes. Visit SouthFloridaBaptistMaternity.org to register.

OUR MATERNITY CENTERS:

Mease Countryside Hospital • Morton Plant Hospital • St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital • St. Joseph’s Hospital-North St. Joseph’s Hospital-South • South Florida Baptist Hospital • Winter Haven Women’s Hospital SOUTHFLORIDABAPTISTMATERNITY.ORG 19-743469-0419

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Because South Florida Baptist Hospital’s Steve and Krista Howard Heart and Vascular Center includes two cardiac catheterization labs (one of the labs pictured above), the hospital’s Emergency Center is the closest location for Plant City patients with suspected heart attacks.

SOUTH FLORIDA BAPTIST HOSPITAL

EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT By Cierra Craft Dr. Shepard headshots: Kevin Kelii Photography Hospital Photos: Courtesy of BayCare

South Florida Baptist Hospital’s Jim and Ruby Jean Redman Emergency Center continues to go above and beyond the call of duty, exemplifying the dedication to patient care and exceptional health care that South Florida Baptist Hospital is known for. The Emergency Department is under the leadership of Medical Director Dr. Brooke Shepard. She and the team of clinicians work in unison to provide personalized patient care, with advanced approaches to treating any health issue. The department is one of the largest and technologically advanced emergency centers in eastern Hillsborough County. The emergency center is equipped to treat everything from sports injuries to heart attack or stroke symptoms. Treating both adults and pediatric patients, the physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants, patient care technicians and registration clerks deliver the excellence the community expects from South Florida Baptist Hospital. Under the direction of Medical Director Dr. Brooke Shepard, the staff of the Jim and Ruby Jean Redman Emergency Center implemented an efficiency plan to reduce wait times, ensuring that patients are seen as quickly as possible and transferred to the respective departments as needed. The plans increased the efficiency of the entire hospital and results in Dr. Shepard being awarded the title of TeamHealth’s Medical Director of the year for the Southeast region.

South Florida Baptist Hospital is a Primary Stroke Center and has earned the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The hospital receives more than 400 stroke alerts each year. PAGE

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SOUTH FLORIDA BAPTIST HOSPITAL: EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

LEADERSHIP

Medical Director of South Florida Baptist Hospital’s Emergency Department, Dr. Brooke Shepard, was recently named TeamHealth’s 2019 Medical Director of the Year for the Southeast region. TeamHealth comprises 16,000 clinicians from across the country, creating a network of healthcare professionals.

In addition, if a patient coming in through the Emergency Center needs surgery, the hospital’s Pete Beaty Surgical Center can accommodate them. The surgery center was renovated in 2015, adding two additional operating suites to accommodate an increase in robotic surgery.

Under Dr. Shepard’s leadership, the Emergency Department created an efficiency process to admit new patients as quickly and safely as possible, while continuing to provide specialized medical care. This undertaking impacts all departments of SFBH, as well as intra-hospital patient transfer, requiring the Emergency Department to stay as coordinated with other departments as much as possible.

Plant City’s emergency medical services transports 86% of its patients to South Florida Baptist Hospital.

“Over 80% of patients are admitted through the Emergency Department,” said Dr. Shepard. “So this reflects the efficiency of the hospital as a whole.”

Emergency medical services have the training to administer and interpret the EKG and then communicate the much needed information to the hospital staff, allowing for earlier activation of the cath lab. Early diagnosis and cath lab activation is key to saving lives and reducing the number of cardiac-related deaths.

Dr. Shepard is a 2005 graduate of the University of South Florida's Morsani College of Medicine and completed her Emergency Medical residency at Tampa General Hospital. Growing up in a small town, she knew she wanted to be in a community hospital, so she chose South Florida Baptist Hospital. "I knew this was the kind of environment I wanted to work in, making a difference and impact in patient lives," said Dr. Shepard. In 2013, Dr. Shepard was named the Medical Director of the Emergency Department. She also serves as the Medical Director for Temple Terrace Fire Department and as a Physician Advisor for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. In addition to her recent award, she was also named EMS Medical Director of the Year for the state of Florida in 2017.

A STEP ABOVE THE REST

As one of BayCare’s 15 hospitals, the facility is renowned for its patient-centered care. Every physician in the department is residency trained and Board Certified in Emergency Medicine. In 2007, the hospital renovated the Jim and Ruby Jean Redman Emergency Department, featuring private patient rooms, creating a quiet, serene experience for patients. Surrounding the department's patient rooms, services are on-site providing rapid response times when patients are in need of imaging, lab work, emergency surgery and cardiac catheterization lab for heart attack patients. The department also sees pediatric patients and the hospital is equipped with a pediatric floor should the child need admission.

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Plant City’s emergency medical personnel can remotely send an electrocardiogram en route to South Florida Baptist Hospital. The software, called LIFENET, was made possible by the donation of The Foundation at SFBH.

"We have a great relationship with the first responders, which creates an open line of communication between us," said Dr. Shepard.

BY THE NUMBERS

South Florida Baptist Hospital experienced 39,921 patient visits in 2018. 25% of those visits resulted in the patient being admitted. 8,150 of those nearly 40,000 visits were by pediatric patients. In 2018, the hospital ranked in the top 10 percent nationally as compared with other medium-sized hospitals in Truven measures, which are based on clinical, operational and financial data as well as patient perception of care. In 2018, South Florida Baptist Hospital contributed $20.1 million in community benefit to the community in: • Medicaid/Income-based programs: Patients with some insurance but not enough to cover their medical bill. • Charity care: Patients with no insurance. • Unbilled community services: Health professional education, community health services, cash and contributions to community groups and other services.


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FOCUS

MEDICAL

PROFESSIONALS Dental Associates at Walden Woods Dukes Chiropractic Health Clinic, P.A. Heysek & Kepes Radiation Now Care Urgent Care and Weight Pregnancy Care Center Watson Clinic PAGE

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Dental Associates at Walden Woods For the convenience of having all your dental needs serviced under one roof, visit Dental Associates at Walden Woods. Here in one office and using the most current technology, the talented team supporting Dr. Ray Gutierrez and Dr. Helen Hoveida helps in providing comprehensive exams, emergency care, extractions, teeth cleaning, periodontal/gum disease treatment, crowns, bridges, and root canal therapy. The dentists offer general and cosmetic dentistry, as well as oral surgery. Cosmetic dentistry options include dental crowns and bridges, veneers, white fillings, Lumineers, and Invisalign® straightening. A revolutionary orthodontic process, Invisalign® uses virtually invisible, customized, clear aligners to correctly position teeth, a benefit cosmetically and to one’s overall health. Additionally, Dr. Gutierrez is certified for IV sedation, which brings comfort to those who are a little anxious about pain or major dental work, such as restorative dentistry. Dental implants and dentures are also specialties here. To ensure clients receive a good first impression, first-time patients receive a $59 special offer, including a routine cleaning, exam, and a full set of x-rays—all for a $300 value! The office accepts most dental insurances, too. “People are able to try us out for an affordable price at their first visit before deciding whether to become a patient or not,” said Jean Ann Davenport, Regional Manager of Operations. “We’re proud to say that most do!” Patients are the heart of the Dental Associates at Walden Woods practice,

which is evidenced in that the practice opened more than 20 years ago now serves its second and third generation in local families. For the past eight years, Dr. Ray Gutierrez has been helping the Dental Associates at Walden Woods office provide personable family care for patients. During that time, the University of Florida graduate has also been helping to expand its services with state-of-the-art technology. Of the work he loves, he especially enjoys “the interaction with patients,” explaining, “I like to see the different families and people continuously throughout the year. You know, establishing those relationships.” The close-knit staff and patients act like a giant family, too. "I love the family practice and focus, [where] we can do everything and help a variety of people," he said. "We always go the extra mile to make sure the patient is taken care of." University of Florida graduate Dr. Helen Hoveida, in her sixth year with the practice, shared, “I love working with Dr. Ray in our family-oriented office and am grateful to be part of an amazing team and town…love the community and love helping patients. My passion is to see their smiling faces and to know we’ve helped to enhance those smiles.” Roxanne Ross, shared her five-star satisfaction on social media, as many often do. “…I look forward to going! Dr. Ray, so caring and careful, takes dental anxiety into account and relieves it—successfully…The excellent hygienists remember my particular needs...The office staff makes me feel like family, making every call a chat as well. Every aspect of Dental Associates at Walden Woods is exemplary and worthy of the highest praise…” To experience skilled care in a friendly dental practice, schedule an appointment with Dental Associates at Walden Woods soon. Visit the office or connect online at Facebook and www.dentalassociateswaldenwoods.com. This team can definitely brighten your smile!

512 E. Alexander Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-752-3030 | www.dentalassociateswaldenwoods.com Hours: Monday-Thursday 7:30AM – 6PM | Friday 8AM – 4PM PAGE

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Dukes Chiropractic Health Clinic, P.A.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Brenda Dukes has served the greater Plant City area with the goal of helping patients stay healthy mentally, physically and spiritually. She founded Dukes Chiropractic Health Clinic, P.A. with the motto "to love, to serve, and to give out of abundance". Upon graduating from Plant City High School, Dr. Dukes attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma and graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry. She then continued her education at Life University in Marietta, Georgia, where she received her Doctor of Chiropractic degree in 1984. In November 1992, Dr. Dukes then earned a Diplomate in Neurology to expand her knowledge of the treatment of nervous system dysfunction. She is also Board qualified in Orthopedics. Dr. Dukes and her team create an individualized approach to caring for each patients’ needs by way of the neuromusculoskeletal system. At Dukes Chiropractic Health Clinic, patients will receive a holistic approach, looking for underlying causes of disease, discomfort, and pain, as opposed to just treating the symptoms. Often, seemingly unrelated symptoms arise from imbalances in the spinal column. Doctors of Chiropractic study the nervous system and subluxations – the misalignments of vertebrae causing a nerve to be impinged which impacts every area of health. “We are so thankful many are seeing the documented studies that support and validate chiropractic care,” said Dr. Dukes Dukes Chiropractic Health Clinic, P.A. offers care for joint pain, neck and back pain, pregnancy care, nutritional screening, spinal pelvic stabilizers, headaches, as well as auto injuries, rehabilitation and massage therapy. Additionally, Dukes offers cardiovascular testing with the Digital Pulse Wave Analyzer, a FDA-approved diagnostic tool which screens the arteries to find those hidden cardiovascular problems. Dr. Dukes has been a Chamber of Commerce member since 1985, Leadership program graduate (1987), supporter of youth at the Florida Strawberry Festival Steer and Swine Shows and through scholarships, and served as Past Chairman of the Junior Royalty Pageant (1986-1990). She helps to sponsor Diamonds & Denim fundraisers for the South Florida Baptist Hospital Foundation and supports the East Hillsborough County Law Enforcement Awards Banquet. Dr. Dukes is available for health presentations to businesses, civic clubs, churches and various groups, etc. Dr. Dukes has a strong Christian faith to be active for the Lord and her profession. She holds memberships in many local, state and national professional organizations. In addition to radio presentations, she has written columns about spinal health for Focus Magazine for 17 years and Plant City Courier for 20 years. Dr. Dukes is grateful to have been voted as FOCUS Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards Best Chiropractor for 2 years. It is with a spirit of thanks to have served for 34 years.

2401 Walden Woods Drive | Plant City, FL 33566 | 813-752-2524 | Dukeschiropractichealth.com PAGE

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Dr. Brenda Dukes Chiropractic Physician

AMERICANS PREFER DRUG-FREE PAIN MANAGEMENT OVER OPIOIDS

78%

prefer to try other ways to address their physical pain before they take pain medication prescribed by a doctor. Doctors of Chiropractic strive to improve your health without drugs or surgery. A majority of U.S. adults have positive views of chiropractors.

63%

agree most chiropractors have their patients best interest in mind. Doctors of Chiropractic collaborate with other health care providers.

Special Note: On June 16th is FATHER’S DAY. On behalf of our office we PRAY A Special BLESSING to ALL Our Fathers, Grandfathers, And all our Men. 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.

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Heysek and Kepes Radiation Oncology Scared and troubled after receiving a cancer diagnosis, the caring staff at Heysek and Kepes Radiation Oncology will treat you like family and not simply a patient. Operating since March 5, 1996, they’re conveniently located on the South Florida Baptist Hospital campus. Once inside, you’ll enter subdued, comfortable rooms with soft lighting, pleasant art work, reading materials, puzzles, goodies, and coffee. Striving to treat the whole person, the staff organizes individualized resources: counselors, nutritionists, and appointments. Dr. Randy Heysek and Dr. Kathryn Kepes identify the cancer type and then create a treatment plan in an effort to overcome the disease. Various forms of radiation therapy are used in attempting to prevent cancer cells from dividing. On site nurses, certified radiation therapy technologists, and a medical physicist provide sophisticated treatment. Treatments may involve individualized radiation therapy, 3-D conformal therapy, high dose radiation for skin cancers, and intensity modulation radiation therapy. AccuBoost is an image-guided breast irradiation technique. The doctors use Valencia, a skin cancer treatment to spare deep surgery. The center houses Varian 600C linear accelorator, an extremely precise machine. Heysek and Kepes is well equipped and experienced in treating cancers in a compassionate, respectful environment. Dr. Heysek earned a B.S. with honors in Biochemistry, continued at the University of Florida College of Medicine, interned at Baptist memorial Hospital in Memphis, and completed his residency in radiation oncology at the University of Maryland Cancer Center. Dr. Heysek is particularly interested in head, neck, and prostate cancer. He has served as Chief of Staff at Lakeland Regional Hospital and was a previous board member of the American Cancer Society (ACS). Earning her Doctor of Medicine degree from St. Louis University, Dr. Kepes continued her education with earning an MBA from the University of Miami. She is especially interested in breast and lung cancer. Dr. Kepes is also an Honorary Lifetime Member of ACS. According to Raquel Fernandes, staff nurse and office supervisor, “We try to make our patients feel like they are a part of our family.” Cancer is a challenge. The Heysek and Kepes team strives to provide total quality care with a difference!

303 N Alexander Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 719-7705 Hours: Mon-Fri 8 AM - 4:30 PM PAGE

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Now Care Urgent Care and Weight Loss Clinic Now Care Urgent Care and Weight Loss Clinic is conveniently located off Baker Street in the historic district of Plant City, between the downtown area and Alexander Street. Many residents remember this as the old Chambers-Peacock building, as it had a long history of helping people in medical need, a service which continues today. A Florida native, graduate of the University of Florida and the Kansas City, Missouri medical school, Dr. Stephen Strait is a residency-trained and boardcertified family physician. He opened Now Care Walk-in Clinic in February 2005 after serving at a large urgent care clinic in Brandon. Since then, his facility has helped patients with anything from the common cold to emergency situations. Dr. Strait treats and helps relieve symptoms of sore throats, sinus infections, bronchitis, pediatric fevers, skin rashes and infections, lacerations, eye emergencies and much, much more. In addition, school, sport and DOT required physical screenings, flu shots, drug screenings, workers’ compensation injury evaluations, X-Rays, and lab tests are available on site. The medical center also supervises programs that include appetite suppressants, vitamin injections, and diet plans. Combined, these help patients control unhealthy eating habits and give them the power to attain the body they’ve always wanted. Whether a patient is seeking weight loss assistance or treatment of a medical issue, Dr. Strait’s mission is always to fulfill those needs, and in doing so, exceed their expectations for service, quality care, and value -- all with minimal waiting time. Now Care strives to earn patients’ long-term loyalty by working to deliver more than promised, being honest and fair, and going the extra mile to provide exceptional personalized service that creates a pleasing medical experience. In many cases, when a regular physician is booked or an emergency arises, Now Care is there to provide quick, professional service, even after hours. Payments may be made with almost all insurance plans. Medicaid, Medicare, and workers’ compensation claims are accepted as well. Financing plans are also available. 1009 W. Baker Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | 813-759-1232 | Web: nowcareclinic.com Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Saturday - Sunday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. PAGE

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with the need for resources. The Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City provides parenting classes, where attendees can earn Baby Bucks through the center’s Earn While You Learn program. Baby Bucks can be redeemed in the in-house Baby Boutique, which is stocked with brand new clothing, hygiene products and furniture for newborns and infants. Many local churches and groups, such as the Knight of Columbus, make donations of baby items to help the new parents. While pregnancy testing and ultrasounds are typically centered around the mother, the Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City is committed to family and empowering men through their fatherhood program. Executive Director Sandi Nelson said, “Dads have an important role in parenthood, too. We want them to know their voice and their decisions are important, too.” Furthermore, the Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City assists those in need of testing for sexually transmitted infections. A registered nurse can provide clients with all of the information necessary and will administer the test, ensuring confidentiality and medical professionalism. Clients can expect to receive the results in approximately 48 hours. The future of the Pregnancy Care Center is bright, as they continue to help men and women through pregnancy up until their child’s first year. Nelson said the organization is going to continue to love and support Plant City parents.

Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City

“We are going to love and support them the best we can to choose life for their unborn children and abundant life for their family,” said Nelson. “We are here to equip them to be the best parents they can be.”

For almost 30 years, Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City has provided compassionate and Christ-centered support for women and men faced with the decisions brought upon by unexpected pregnancy. The center is committed to providing clients with all the information and care needed to make the most empowering decision possible, regarding their pregnancy and parenting options. There’s no pressure or judgment; the staff at the Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City is there to provide a comforting, nurturing atmosphere where everyone feels welcome and loved. The center provides free, confidential services to all clients, including ultrasounds, pregnancy testing, sexual transmitting infection testing and more. Unexpected pregnancy can bring about a lot of emotional, physical, and economic stress. The Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City provides lab-quality pregnancy testing at no charge, giving new parents the information they need to take the best step forward in their journey. A sonographer on site can perform an OB Ultrasound, at no cost to the client, so that no matter what options a family is considering, they have all of the information they need to make the most informed decision possible. In 2018, the center administered 389 pregnancy tests and performed over 200 ultrasounds for women in the community. These new parents are then faced

304 N. Collins Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 759-0886 | 24/7 Help Line (866) 673-4673 | plantcitypregnancycenter.org PAGE

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Watson Clinic Quality Family Healthcare Close to Home

Looking for expert healthcare that caters to the needs of your entire family? You’ll find it at Watson Clinic Plant City. For many years, Watson Clinic has been proud to serve the wellness needs of families in Plant City. That proud tradition continues today with Dr. Leslie Coello Echeverry, Dr. Cindy Kelly and physician assistant Kristin Riley. Dr. Coello Echeverry is unique in that she treats both pediatric and adult patients. She is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, and is bilingual in English and Spanish. Meanwhile, Dr. Kelly is a board-certified Internal Medicine specialist, and offers a wide range of services exclusively to adult patients. Also serving adult patients is Kristin Riley, PA, a certified physician assistant who compliments and expands the level and availability of care at this location. A Plant City local, her areas of expertise include comprehensive rheumatology services.

This team of expert medical providers specializes in keeping patients healthy through every phase of their life. Their family of patients relies on them for general check-ups, preventative screenings, management of chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes, and treatments of minor illnesses and injuries. As an added convenience, the facility features an on-site laboratory for faster test results and more efficient care. Best of all, patients don’t have to wait to receive the care they need. Appointment requests can be accommodated within 24 – 48 hours. These specialists at Watson Clinic Plant City are currently accepting new patients. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 813-7192500 or visit WatsonClinic.com/PlantCity.​

Plant City Office | 615 E Alexander St. | Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 719-2500 | Monday through Friday 8AM to 5PM PAGE

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Leslie Coello Echeverry, MD*

Internal Medicine Pediatrics

Kristin Riley, PA Internal Medicine

Cindy Kelly, DO Internal Medicine

Conveniently located in the heart of Plant City, Watson Clinic provides compassionate care to patients of all ages. From internal medicine to pediatrics, our patients enjoy open appointment availability, an on-site laboratory for quicker test results, and a team of highly trained medical providers. Dr. Coello Echeverry, Dr. Kelly and Mrs. Riley are now accepting new patients.

*Se Habla EspaĂąol

615 E. Alexander St., Plant City | 813.719.2500 | www.WatsonClinic.com |

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FOCUSBUSINESS

City Cuts Barbershop BY CIERRA CRAFT

M

arco Ramirez always knew he would be more than just your average barber. Long before he opened City Cuts in 2012, he knew he wanted to be able to serve the needs of anyone who came into his shop. “In barber school, they teach you to focus on one type of person or hair type, so a lot of people will say ‘I can only cut this type of hair’ and I rejected that,” said Ramirez. “I didn’t care what type or texture of hair someone had, I wanted to be able to cut anyone’s hair.” At City Cuts, that sentiment holds true, as diversity is celebrated in the local hotspot. Regardless of age or nationality, everyone is welcome to the shop. “We cater to all ages, races, nationalities,” said Ramirez. “We want to keep them looking fresh, and when they’re fresh, they’re happy.” Ramirez began showcasing his

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skills in high school, cutting hair on his parents’ back porch. His father eventually converted a shed into a shop for Ramirez and his clients. While attending Hillsborough Community College, Ramirez was expelled for giving haircuts on campus. While expulsion from college would be devastating to some, Ramirez saw one door close and another open, enrolling in a barber school the next day and received his license in 2008. In 2012, Ramirez opened City Cuts in Plant City. His cousin Julio, who has since passed, came up with the name. City Cuts offers razor fades, mohawks, comb over fades hot towel shave, waxing and facials. “Customers can expect attention to detail and a familyfriendly atmosphere,” said Ramirez. “Everytime you walk through the door, sports will be on TV and we are having a conversation with the

boys or men in our shop. Creating a positive environment is what we are about.” In February 2019, City Cuts opened a second location on U.S. Hwy 92. The flagship location, on James L. Redman Pkwy, was overbooked with clients. “The second location gives barbers more opportunities to get experience and I chose to open on 92 to provide a quality barbershop to this neighborhood,” said Ramirez. The staff at City Cuts is passionate about making a difference in the lives of children in our community. Not only do the ten professional barbers try to encourage the young men to stay involved in sports and activities, they’re also focused on influencing kids to do well in school. Every year, the shop hosts “Back to School Bash,” to give out backpacks and school supplies to those in need. “Kids are our future,” said

Ramirez. “We want to be a role model for them to look up to. There is so much bad out there, so we try to do something good. If we can catch them at a young age, we can influence them to do well. I pride myself to train the entire City Cuts staff to make conversation with the kids leading to guidance and mentorship.” Visit the guys at City Cuts for a professional grooming experience, where guys can stay styled, look sharp and be distinguished. City Cuts Barbershop 1803 James L Redman Pkwy, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 704-4857 www.citycutsshop.com Hours: Tuesday- Friday: 10AM to 7PM Saturday: 8AM to 4PM Sunday & Monday: Closed City Cuts Barbershop II 5306 W U.S. Hwy 92, Plant City, FL 33566


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FOCUSBUSINESS

El Mirasol BY CIERRA CRAFT

S

ince 1987, El Mirasol has been a touchstone for Plant City’s Mexican community, known for many years as a place to purchase authentic Mexican groceries, baked goods and deli needs. The tortillas are made fresh, each and every day and the business is one of the largest producers of tortillas in the state of Florida. In February 1987, Guillermo and Patricia Gama opened El Mirasol on Turkey Creek Road as a small bakery offering Mexican pastries and candies. The Gamas dreamed of providing their family with a viable future. The couples’ son and current manager of El Mirasol, Will, describes his parents' incredible work ethic. “They’re go getters, they hustled… they wanted to see it grow and one day have their kids help out,” said Will Gama. To keep up with the demand for authentic Mexican cuisine, the couple bought a small tortilla maker and soon after, opened another facility on West Reynolds Street near the festival grounds, just for the mass production of corn and flour tortillas. Then in 2001, the Gamas opened

El Mirasol at its current location on Collins Street, where it became an all-in-one location for shoppers to purchase meat, groceries, produce and bakery items. At the deli, guests can find a cafeteria-style ordering system to purchase tamales, quesadillas, as well as chicharrones. Once guests have ordered their meal, they make their way to the salsa bar, where they can garnish their meals with salsa verde or salsa con chile. A large seating area allows friends or families to gather and enjoy the authentic flavors. For dessert, El Mirasol offers an impressive dessert bar of ice cream, as well as popsicles, which are made in-house with fresh fruit. Adjacent to the deli counter, guests can find employees operating the tortilla maker, offering fresh tortillas in house. Will Gama says on average the store sells 500 pounds of tortillas per day. In the bakery area, customers can purchase authentic Mexican pastries, breads and sweets. Everything is made from scratch, including tres leches cakes, made of whole, evaporated and condensed milk in a variety of fillings including

In the meat department, customers can purchase speciality meats at the counter, including preseasoned fajitas meat. In the cooler, customers can buy pre-packaged meats for convenience. PAGE

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The produce section within the grocery department boasts an impressive selection of fresh fruits and veggies.

El Mirasol employees operate the tortilla maker, providing customers with warm tortillas. On average the store sells 500 lbs of tortillas per day.

fresa (strawberry), guava or plain. The cakes are decorated with balloons, sprinkles and icing for birthdays and special occasions. Additionally, the bakery boasts a wide variety of breads, including conchas, a traditional Mexican sweet bread. In the grocery department, the shelves are fully stocked with a large selection of spices, fruit juices, and more. The produce department boasts fresh fruit and veggies. The meat department is stocked with the freshest cuts of poultry, pork, seafood and beef available. Guests can purchase pre-seasoned meats or custom cuts from the butcher counter, or make their way to the cooler for pre-packaged items. Gama says while the establishment does not currently offer catering, many people will place orders for pickup for events and parties. The store’s ceiling is decorated with piñatas for some of Plant City’s youngest residents.

Even as things grow and change for the team at El Mirasol, two things remain: Serving homemade, authentic Mexican cuisine with the finest quality ingredients and the loyal customers. Customers say the dishes served often remind them of the foods they enjoyed growing up, as everything is made from scratch daily. What is in store for the future of El Mirasol? Currently, the family does not have plans to open a second location, but it isn’t out of the question. As more Plant City residents discover El Mirasol, the demand for authentic Mexican cuisine is growing. Gama says he and the team at El Mirasol are excited to welcome new customers into the retail space and take care of their needs. El Mirasol 1419 Collins Street Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 752-2108 Open Daily 6AM to 9PM


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REAL ESTATE

Facts about Mortgage Insurance BY NATE DAVIS, FLORIDA MORTAGE FIRM

E

ven if you have champagne taste and a champagne budget to match, no one likes spending more money than necessary. Unfortunately, this happens all the time when it comes to monthly mortgage insurance. Just like the interest rates for a mortgage loan, monthly mortgage insurance also has rates. Just like interest rates can vary among providers, monthly mortgageinsurance rates also vary among providers. How can this affect you? It’s possible you could squander the benefit of a low interest rate when it is paired with a higher mortgage-insurance rate. Since you could be paying for both interest and

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mortgage insurance in your monthly mortgage payment, you want both rates to be low. Here are some of the benefits of using Florida Mortgage Firm in this scenario: Afford more house (less of your money going to mortgage insurance thus more being applied to the price of home) • Among the lowest PMI payments in the country • Rock-bottom low interest rates • OR choose Lender-Paid MI to eliminate monthly mortgage insurance If you think you must carry mortgage insurance for your loan, another option is lender-paid mortgage insurance.

LPMI eliminates the monthly mortgage-insurance portion from your monthly payment. Let’s face it, though, it’s still getting paid. While this scenario is basically just a restructuring of how mortgage insurance gets paid, it can save you money every month and possibly much more over a longer period. A conversation with your loan officer can help guide you through which is best for your scenario. Lender-paid mortgage insurance and varying mortgage-insurance rates apply to conventional loans. The mortgage-insurance rates for government loans such as FHA and USDA are predetermined. Mortgage insurance is typically required for conventional loans when a person is financing more than 80% of the value of real estate, or in other words, putting less than a 20%

down payment. If you have any questions about this or are currently paying mortgage insurance and want to get rid of it, call my team at 813-707-6200.

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


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REAL ESTATE

The April sales are as follows:

Walden Lake Review BY NATALIE SWEET

Walden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 7:00 at the Walden Lake Community Association office building on Griffin Boulevard in Walden Lake. The next meetings are scheduled for May 20th and June 17th and 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 April, there were 12 sales in Walden Lake and one sale in Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $272,700 with an average of 30 days on the market. There are currently 21 active listings for sale in Walden Lake with

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an average list price of $373,176 and an average of 82 days on the market. Two of these homes are in Polo Place and listed for $899,000 and $999,900. Without these 2 listings included, the average list price is $312,510. There are 23 properties Pending Contract with an average list price of $280,000 and average of 54 days on the market. At the Annual meeting, 4 residents were elected to the Board. Alicia and Rich Glorioso, were re-elected for another 3-year term. Larry Britt was elected to a 3-year term and Peter Weronik was elected to serve the remaining term of a vacant seat for 2 years. Today’s Bank sold the Golf

Address

Sales Price

Living Area

Pool

Garage

104 Valencia Court North

$179,900

1718 Sq’

Community

2 Car

1426 Walden Oaks Place

$193,000

1478 Sq’

No

2 Car

4109 Longfellow Drive

$225,000

1805 Sq’

No

2 Car

3406 Silver Meadow Way

$228,000

1753 Sq’

No

2 Car

2809 Hammock Drive

$279,000

2201 Sq’

Private

2 Car

3013 Spring Hammock Drive

$284,000

2179 Sq’

No

2 Car

2807 Spring Meadow Drive

$285,000

2055 Sq’

Private

2 Car

3006 Forest Hammock Drive

$290,000

2055 Sq’

Private

2 Car

3206 Kilmer Drive

$299,000

2056 Sq’

Private

2 Car

2712 Aston Avenue

$300,000

2561 Sq’

Private

2 Car

3312 Cummings Place

$317,000

2477 Sq’

Private

2 Car

2807 Clubhouse Drive

$392,500

2914 Sq’

Private

3 Car

Course property in March to a developer, Walden Lake, LLC for $2.6M. The developer has indicated a desire to work with the community in the design phase of the development process. They are seeking feedback from the community. The Walden Lake Advisory Council has been formed to develop a polling method and get community feedback regarding several aspects of the development

of the golf course property. Residents are encouraged to log into the Walden Lake website, www. WaldenLake.org to stay informed as the process unfolds. If you do not have a login for the HOA site, please get with Bette at the HOA office and she will help you. Feel free to contact me about any real estate questions or about this article. NSweet@KW.com or 813758-9586.


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BRANDON BRIDAL EXPO and Fashion Show Sunday June 23, 2019 12-4pm “An Intimate Wedding Affair”

Hilton Garden Inn | 10309 Highland Manor Dr. | Tampa East/Brandon, FL 33610

Free Admission and Parking

Raffles and Door Prizes Throughout the Event Visas and Vistas Travel Club Med – Sand Piper Bay FL Moreno Bakery Full Moon Nail Bar Hilton Garden Inn

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Pepina Dell’Olio –Violinist The Way 2 Dance Sleep Number Bed Café El Marquezado Souvenir Vision Souvenir Travel

For General Questions Call 813-836-5185 www.ToMaEvents.com

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RISING STAR PCHS TRACK AND FIELD/FLAG FOOTBALL Rachel

Stevens By Taryn Storter Rachel Stevens is running into the scene of high school track as a state finalist in 4x100. She is the Senior Class President and is graduating as an honor grad with a 5.86 grade point average. Growing up, Rachel played basketball, volleyball, soccer, flag football, competitive cheerleading, and ran cross country and track and field. In high school, she is a member of the varsity cheerleading, soccer, track and field, and flag football teams. Throughout high school, Rachel has received various awards, including the Scholar Athlete award, Senior Notable: Most Athletic, Cheer superhero, Cheer Rookie of the Year, and Flag Football Raider of the Year. Rachel is also Dual-Enrolled at Hillsborough Community College and is involved with National Honor Society, Interact Service Club, Positive Coaching Alliance, Skills USA Cosmetology, and Team Santa. When asked which sport she would name as her favorite, Rachel answered, “I love every sport I play, but my favorite has to be soccer. It’s a high intensity game where I can be aggressive and constantly moving. Track is another favorite because my team is so supportive, and I always have a good time with them.” Rachel finds her inspiration in her parents. She explained, “My parents have always encouraged me to do my best and don’t give up. They have been very supportive of me throughout every sport I’ve played. They inspire me to be the best athlete and student I can be.” Rachel has great advice for other athletes. She said: “Don’t be afraid to try something new. If one sport doesn’t work out, there’s plenty for you to try. Always work hard even if you think no one is watching. Hard work pays off.” After high school, Rachel plans to attend Hillsborough Community College for a year, after which she will transfer to the University of Florida to obtain her bachelors degree in elementary education. This well-rounded student athlete has set the bar high; there is no doubt that Rachel Stevens will make Plant City proud. PAGE

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SPORTS

Sports Team of the Month The Durant Hockey Team BY TARYN STORTER

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he Durant Hockey Team is skating into the big leagues, as they have won many games in their fall competitive season. The club hockey team is comprises not only students from Durant, but also students from Plant City, Strawberry Crest, and other schools in the area. There are two seasons for high school hockey, with the competitive season in the fall. In the spring, the teams focus on building their skills, and encouraging and developing the younger players. This strategy ensures that the teams are ready for the coming fall. Jennifer Kious is currently the skating coach for the team but is also their academic advisor. As a teacher at Durant, she focuses on their academics and “keeping their grades a top priority.” Coach Kious said that the Durant Team is impressive because, “the team has improved since starting out just three years ago. I think it is unique to see such a program growing so successfully in Florida. Coach Todd has done an incredible job putting together a staff that is unlike any other program in Florida. We have

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multiple coaches with different strengths, which really gives the kids the best possible opportunity to grow as hockey players.” Coach Kious grew up in Massachusetts and has skated her whole life. When she moved to Florida, she began teaching at Durant and immediately wanted to create a hockey program. She met Coach Todd Comunale, who also wanted to invest in students through hockey. Together, they formed the team. Coach Kious said, “Since starting the Durant team, I also joined the Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hockey Department, and I am the Head Coach of the Lightning's 16U girls travel team. I also coach lessons and run clinics out of AdventHealth Center Ice. So, coaching and skating has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember! It has been truly rewarding to combine my love for teaching and skating by having a hand in growing the sport in this part of Florida.” When asked who the MVP would be, Coach Kious said, “That's a tough question. Although

every player on this team works tirelessly to develop their talent, I would have to say that one player really stands out. Durant only has practice once or twice a week, but I see player Michael Romeo at the rink almost every day. He is such a leader on and off the ice, and has a great reputation for being a hard worker both in his classes at Durant and on the ice. Romeo will come up to me during practice and ask for ways to make a drill harder, he always wants to challenge himself to improve his game. He is a great leader for the team and it's a joy to be his coach.” The team consists of: Dante Denney, Xander Wise, Chad Young, Jacob Snyder, Christian Egger, C.J. Comunale, Michael Romeo, Joshua McKeen, Evan Hall, Michael Hemmeke, Dylan Southern, Dillon Garasz, Jason Cribbs, Daniel Schilling, Cole Kazmierczak, William Chabalowski, Parker Chadwell, Eric Bowles, David Erwin, Adam Campbell, Kylie Gorham, and Jordan Putnam.


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EXTRA

Tori Brady BY HEATHER DAVIS

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he gift of an artist is the ability to see the world in a fresh and exciting way. Local artist Tori Brady is one such artist who breathes a breath of fresh air into all she touches. The way she expresses herself through canvas and color is both unique and invigorating. Watercolor is Tori’s favorite medium of choice as she finds that form of expression both free flowing and explorative. In speaking with Tori, even in just a few short moments, it is easy to see how her art reflects her personality and style. Tori received a Bachelors degree in Fine Art with emphasis in Painting and Drawing/ Visual Communications from Austin Peay State University. For two years she was the recipient of the Jewel Birdsong Scholarship and The Center for Creative Arts Scholarship. Tori’s years growing up were split between life in Tennessee and Florida. She credits her inspiration for the type of art she does, which is very nature driven, to her “Tennessee and Florida roots." As a result her artwork is a reflection of this spirit as it is both grounded and free flowing. Creating art for Tori has always been a spiritual experience. It is that feeling of other-worldliness that she is often successful in portraying as she paints from a place of personal reflection and what she explains as “a process of diving into my own thoughts.” Color through the use of watercolor is a driving force behind much of Tori’s expression as she explains it in this way. “I love this medium because it reminds me that color is consistently infinite, that inspiration can come from small things, and there there are truths deep within the mind. Colors are our inspiration to keep seeing and searching.” To dive deeper into the art of Tori Brady you may visit her Instagram or website at toribradyart. com. Tori can also be found painting her heart out and sharing the love of her craft with others at Painting With a Twist.

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EXTRA

Affordable Day Away BY BARBARA ROUTEN

include a minibus ride and describe the airport’s history, maintenance, landing system and fire department. To schedule a tour, contact guest services about a month ahead: (813) 870-8759 or email CPhillips@ TampaAirport.com. TPA 360 is an educational tour to help people with physical, intellectual or developmental challenges prepare for upcoming travel. This is offered upon request and subject to availability. Catch a free concert, dance demo or movie. Events are listed on www.tampaairport.com and the airport’s Facebook page. Peoplewatch or shop at one of 70 gift boutiques. See jets soar into azure skies against a picturesque Tampa Bay backdrop from the short-term garage roof or the main terminal’s new outdoor patios. Visit aquariums near baggage claim. Tampaairport. com has maps outlining walking routes, if you just want some exercise in the climate-controlled terminal. Stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Many chains and local eateries are represented. Landside terminal: P.F. Chang’s, Qdoba

Mexican Grill, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, Starbucks, Hard Rock Café (with vintage guitars). Airsides: Goody Goody, Burger 21, Cigar City Brewing, Café con Leche, RumFish Grill, Ulele, Columbia Café and Four Green Fields. Active-duty military personnel are welcome at the Central Florida USO Center’s 1,100-square-foot lounge on level 2, the hub for the USO’s local programs and services. Tampa International Airport’s Public Art Program has featured amazing local, American and international art for more than 40 years. Current exhibits include collagraphy prints by Elva Hreiðarsdóttir, of Iceland, a bead sculpture by Chicago artist Nick Cave in collaboration with Bob Faust, Erwin Redl’s LED-light sculpture, Tim Prentice’s and David Colbert’s 100-foot-long “Crosscurrents” kinetic sculpture, Sheryl Oring’s multi-cabled sculptures and Ralph Helmick’s sculpture “n + 1.” Enjoy an affordable day away at Tampa International Airport and discover its treasures!

Guided tours by knowledgeable guides like Jean Durako highlight the airport's history, innovation and conveniences.

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hether you’re traveling, collecting or dropping off someone or just looking for somewhere unusual to spend a few hours, visit Tampa International Airport, America’s favorite! It is way more than just a waiting room and way station. Anyone may enter the beautiful, newly renovated landside terminal daily. And more access was just announced in May: From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, up to 25 prescreened nontravelers may request TPA All Access passes, go through security and visit an airside. You must register for your pass far ahead of time, at tampaairport.com/ tpaallaccess. Restrictions apply. For a visit of less than an hour, park for free in short-term parking. To stay an hour or more, park

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in the economy garage, south of the main, landside terminal on the airport property. The charge is $1 per 20 minutes, maximum $10 per 24 hours. The free SkyConnect train whisks you to the landside terminal in under 10 minutes. What can you do there? Call ahead and then pick up a scavenger hunt list or self-guided tour itinerary at the information kiosk on level three. Tours emphasize the airport’s history, structure and design, the paths passengers follow and the facility’s $2 million public art program. Airport souvenirs may be available. Take a guided tour – fun for student, business, scouting, service or other groups interested in aviation history, aviation careers, art or sustainability. Airfield tours

One of the new outdoor patios in the landside terminal features great views of the monorails, which, in 1970, were the first such autonomous people movers at any airport in the world.


EXTRA

Wanda’s

Words of Wisdom BY WANDA “LEWIS” ANDERSON

E

xercise caution in using home remedies on your pets and consult your veterinarian before trying anything new. Fleas: It’s that time of year when they start to get out of control. Just walking my dog outside I noticed that I got bit by a few fleas on my feet. I found some really unusual home remedies for fighting off those pesky critters. If you don’t like to use flea collars with all those chemicals there is a natural way. Start with an inexpensive nylon or cotton pet collar and pour one of the mixtures below then pour one of the following mixtures over the flat collar and let it dry. Refresh the collar weekly. For cats, use 1 teaspoon unflavored vodka and 1 drop geranium essential oil or 1 teaspoon unflavored vodka and 1 drop cedar wood essential oil. For dogs, use 1 teaspoon unflavored vodka, 1 drop rosemary essential oil, 1 drop thyme oil and garlic oil from 1 small capsule.

We all know the many benefits to using apple cider vinegar but did you know that it helps with fleas as well? It has flea prevention benefits for pets when applied topically and given orally. “Dogs Naturally” suggests that if you mix a solution of half raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, half water and spritzing your pet's coat. The same should work for cats, but you may find that cats are less tolerant of being sprayed. In that case,”Kitty Cat Chronicles” recommends repeatedly dipping a flea comb in the vinegar and water solution and combing your kitty's fur. I want to wish all the Mom’s a “Happy Mother’s Day”. To my Mother Lizetta Lewis, you are a most treasured gift from God and I am truly blessed to call you Mother. Thank you for all your love and support. Until next time relax, enjoy and be thankful… Wanda “Lewis” Anderson PAGE

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EXTRA

Leaders in Faith

Pastor John Foxx First Baptist Church Plant City BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

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ampa native Pastor John Foxx has lived in Plant City since he was eight-years-old. The Plant City High School graduate (Class of ’94) began directing choirs at age 18, and later began offering in-depth studies of the Bible and its Hebraic roots. In 2010 he became the Spanish Pastor at First Baptist Church Midway, and in 2012 was called to First Baptist Church Plant City as their Spanish Pastor and Evangelism Director. John is married to his best friend and love of his life, Veronica, who teaches Sunday school in the Spanish Ministry. When he’s not studying and preaching the Word, he enjoys working out and, as a certified NRA Instructor, shooting guns. A lifelong learner, John earned his AA degree in Business Administration from HCC, his BA in Marketing from USF, two Master’s Degrees from Luther Rice Seminary – one in Christian Studies and one in Divinity – and is currently finishing

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his Doctorate. Before answering the call to full-time ministry, John spent almost 20 years in corporate America, managing stores for Radio Shack and Enterprise, as well as serving as Marketing Director for Enterprise and Quantum Measurements. For more than five years he ran a recording studio in his home, has been a part of more bands than he can remember, and even had a brief stint as a professional wrestler.

Darwinian Evolution, which is not a science, but a religion; I wanted nothing to do with religion, but rather a relationship with my Creator. In my quest for Truth, I found myself back in the Bible, at the feet of Jesus Christ, the One and only Way to salvation, the only Source of absolute Truth, and the one who offers guaranteed forgiveness of sins and eternal life through faith by His grace. I have walked with Him ever since.

How did you discover Christ’s love for yourself? The Bible was always a major part of my life, but the very personal relationship started when I asked the big questions: “Who am I?” “Why am I?” “Who created me?” “What is His name?” “What does He want with me?” “Why must we die and what happens then?” “As a sinner, is there a way out?” So called higher education offers ridiculous dead-ends such as

Describe your work? Our Culture in Christ is so clear: Love YHWH above all things; love your neighbor as yourself; love the church as Christ loves the church; keep His Word; evangelize the lost; disciple believers; and pray without ceasing. My goal is to praise Him with my life and teach others to do the same. There is nothing like seeing someone understand the truth of their existence and the devastation of sin, and then seeing

them trust in Jesus for forgiveness and eternal life. By God’s amazing grace, our Spanish Ministry has about 200 attending members from some 13 different nations, and a very healthy church plant in Chiapas, Mexico! Any advice for us? Life’s greatest adventure begins the moment you trust in Jesus Christ. He paid the price for our sins on the cross, defeated death, rose again, and offers eternal life through trusting in Him. There is salvation in no other. Embrace the Truth; trust Jesus; and make it your life-long goal to know Him and grow in His Perfect Word. All are welcome to join Pastor John and as he goes DEEP in the Word at the North Campus of First Baptist Church Plant City, located at 503. N. Palmer St. Spanish Services: Sundays, 9 a.m. and 6:15 p.m.; Wednesdays, 6:15 p.m. English Bible Study: Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.


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EXTRA

SPONSORED BY

Candy’s Corner BY CANDY OWENS

www.HopewellFuneral.com FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1971

There's a time for joy A time for tears A time we'll treasure through the years We'll remember always Graduation Day Though we leave in sorrow All the joys we've known We can face tomorrow Knowing we'll never walk alone When the Ivy walls Are far behind No matter where our paths may wind We'll remember always Graduation Day We'll remember always Graduation Day

I

find it so hard to believe that Graduation Day for the Class of 2019 is here and that even harder to believe is that I graduated 39 years ago. Where has the time gone? I see so many posts on social media about all of the fabulous and exciting graduation parties. Extravagant decorations, bands, food, and crowds of people celebrating the graduate of honor. So long ago and far away from back in my day. When I graduated I really do not recall too many parties to speak of other than those hosted by local churches that celebrated Seniors. What our parents did back in my day was have skirted tables in the living room with our graduation gifts on display. My Mother made sure that the card was placed beside the gift so that anyone who might drop by our house could view all of the beautiful things that I had been given. I can remember Hull's Jewelry Store would ring our front

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doorbell and leave a cardboard box of gifts wrapped in white paper and tied with orange and turquoise bows which was the colors for Plant City High School Class of 1980. Back then a Senior would look forward to gifts like: Cross pen and pencil sets, Dictionaries, wrist watches, perfumes, colognes, Bibles, neckties, clothing, nightgowns, slips, slippers, housecoats, lotions, handbags, luggage, quilts, cross necklaces, bracelets, picture frames, rings, earrings, trips to the Bahamas, Cameras, and the ever popular checks or cash money. Few of us were gifted with a new car. Most kids if any were given what our parents termed as a nice, used, reliable car. HAHA! I went back and took a look and my memories book from my senior year and thought that I would share a few things. Our Class Motto was: I'm not afraid of tomorrow for I have seen yesterday and I love today. Our Class Colors were: Yellow and White Our Class Flower was: Yellow Rose Our ALMA MATER was: We stand together in allegiance We march together toward our goal We look together to our future We build together with control We join together in our learning We work together for a dream We grow together thru our spirit We strive together as a team To Plant City our Alma Mater We gladly give our praise To Plant City our Alma Mater We will be true always.

I can remember standing in our gym at Plant City High School shouting our Alma Mater at the end of each Pep Rally and I remember standing at our graduation 39 years ago at the old Schneider Stadium along side of my class members waving our hands in the air reciting these words for the last time. We were all so excited but we truly did not have a clue as to what life was all about.

I wonder if the graduates of Class of 2019 will stand and say their Alma Mater with tears of pride like we did 39 years ago. I wonder if the Alma Mater still means anything to anybody? I wonder if the kids of today have been given so much so fast that Class colors, Class flowers, Class Mottos, and Alma Maters just don't mean as much? I wonder? To the Class of 2019, I wish you health, happiness, and life full of adventure. Congratulations!!!


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DINING

Hungry Howie’s Pizza HOME OF THE ORIGINAL FLAVORED CRUST® PIZZA BY CIERRA CRAFT

Store #106 208 N Alexander St, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 752-6113 www. hungryhowies.com Sunday- Thursday 10AM to 11PM Friday and Saturday 9:30AM to 12AM Credit Cards accepted Dine-In, Delivery and Carry Out available Charlie (left) and Ali (center) were introduced to the Hungry Howie’s location through Ali’s uncle (right), who now works in a vice presidency position with the company.

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ungry Howie’s operates more than 550 stores across the United States, but at Plant City’s Alexander Street location, the pizzeria boasts a family-friendly atmosphere. Perhaps that is due in part to the owners: Charlie and Ali Sobh. The father and son duo have owned and operated the Hungry Howie’s location for 24 years. Ali says he and his family originate from Michigan, but at the time, his uncle lived in Florida, working with Hungry Howie’s. His father came to visit and purchased the restaurant to open a Hungry Howie’s location. Growing up, Ali began learning all parts of the business, from dish washing to food prep. He started spending his school vacations in Florida, working in his father’s restaurant, while his father traveled home to Michigan. “Starting in the 8th grade, I couldn’t drive yet, so a delivery driver would pick me up in the morning and at night, the closing driver would drop me off at home.” After college, Ali became an owner in the business and oversees the dayto-day operations. Hungry Howie’s Pizza proudly uses 100% mozzarella cheese and dough made fresh daily. But the Sobhs go one step farther: Almost everything is made in house, fresh everyday. Sobh said: “I go to the market and buy everything. I cut the lettuce and the salad toppings everyday, the spaghetti sauce is homemade. The chicken comes in raw, cleaned and chopped and cooked fresh daily. Everything is made right here in our kitchen.” Customers can choose one of the chain’s eight flavored pizza crusts: Butter, Butter Cheese, Asiago Cheese, Ranch, Onion, Cajun, Sesame and Garlic Herb.The menu includes pizzas, oven baked subs, Howie Bread, fresh salads, Howie Wings, Howie Rolls, Pasta and Desserts. The Super Buffet Bar is stocked with pizzas, a full salad bar, pastas as well as desserts. The buffet is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m and costs $9 for adults, $7 for kids, ages 3 to 7, with the cost of a drink, guests

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are looking to spend approximately $10-$12 per person. Guests 21 and up can enjoy Bud Light and Miller Lite, bottled or on draft. The buffet is a favorite for sports teams, birthday parties and family nights. Want a custom pizza on the buffet bar? No problem. Let any Hungry Howie’s employee know and the fresh, hot pizza will be brought out at no additional charge. Hungry Howie’s also offers online ordering, where customers can choose to pick up their order or have it delivered. For those choosing delivery, Sobh says his drivers will deliver anywhere between County Line Road to the east and Gallagher Road to the west. The brand is also known for its charitable spirit. Every October, store #106 participates in Hungry Howie’s Love, Hope & Pizza campaign, for every pizza purchased in a pink pizza box, Hungry Howie’s makes a donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation®. The NBCF empowers those battling breast cancer through early detection, education and support services. The Sobhs help local organizations, including churches, sports teams and more. “We help everyone- CityPointe Church, Plant City Church of God, we help the homeless, and all of the nurses know at the hospital if they have a young patient, they let me know and I will send food over.” On the wall in the waiting area, customers can find a number of plaques from groups such as Plant City Dolphins, the Florida Sheriff Association and a number of other organizations, recognizing the contributions the Hungry Howie’s location makes to the community. What makes the Sobhs’ Hungry Howie’s location so special is the relationships formed between the community and the restaurant. “I like when people greet me by name or come to the back to hug me,” said Sobh. “There are a million Hungry Howie’s, but people come here for a reason- the relationship.” Sobh says he and his father have looked at other properties with the hopes of opening a second location in the future.


When it comes to your to-do list, put your future first. To find out how to get your financial goals on track, contact your Edward Jones financial advisor today.

Jim Conrow

FAP-1966D-A

Financial Advisor 2501 Thonotosassa Rd Plant City, FL 335631464 813-759-1491

www.edwardjones.com Member SIPC

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events

Monday, May 27 East Hillsborough County Memorial Day Ceremony

can't miss

11AM Honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice at this patriotic event. Presented by the American Legion Post #26, the event includes a memorial prayer, a POW/MIA salute, and a roll call of the missing. American Legion Post #26 Legion Hall @ 2207 Baker St. Cost: Free Info: Ray Cliburn, 813- 754-3132

The Peach Truck @ Tractor Supply

2PM The Peach Truck is comin’ to town! A 25 lb. box of peaches will be $42, a bag of pecans (10 oz. shelled and halved) will be $10, and The Peach Truck Cookbook will be available for $25! Make sure and ask the team about The Peach Truck Special! Tractor Supply @ 1803 James L. Redman Pkwy Info: (615) 913-4225.

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7AM MudTitan is a 5K obstacle course race filled with 30+ Obstacles designed to challenge all fitness levels. Adult Open first wave takes off at 8:40 a.m. and then waves are released every 20 minutes until the final wave at 10:20 a.m. Kids ages 6 to 12 years old can join in the Mini Titan started at 10:30 a.m. Must present signed waiver and I.D. at check-in. Roberts Ranch @ 1500 Prevatt Rd Cost: Tickets, www.adventuresignup.com; Parking, $10 cash only; Bag check $5 cash only Info: mudtitanrun.com

4PM Join Pure Barre at Keel and Curley Winery for Mom’s Night Out! Get a sitter for the night and grab all of your Mom friends for an evening of Barre, live music, and wine specials! Bring mat, water and towel and following the class, enjoy cheese and wine specials, and live music. Limited space available. Keel and Curley Winery @ 5210 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: $15, Tickets must be purchased in advance Info: Pure Barre Brandon, brandon@purebarre.com or (813) 968-1122

RISE Dodgeball Tournament

6:30PM Join RISE Plant City for an evening of fun, hosted by the Plant City Family YMCA, at the 3rd Annual Dodgeball Tournament! Teams of six will compete for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place titles! This event is held in collaboration with the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce. PC Family YMCA @ 1507 YMCA Pl. Cost: Teams of 6: $200; Sponsorship opportunities available. Info: Sophia Hyde, PC Chamber, Sophia@plantcity.org, (813) 754-3707

Mud Titan 11

Mom’s Night Out: Pop-Up Pure Barre Class

Saturday, June 1

Tuesday, June 11

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Sat. May 18

Wed. May 22

Capitol Coffee

Mon. May 27

Happy Memorial Day! Honoring the memory of service members who have sacrificed so much to protect the freedoms we enjoy.

Wed. May 29

Kevin the Illusionist at GracePoint Plant City!

Sat. June 01

Strawberries and Sunshine Cat Show

8:30AM Meet your state representatives at this end-of-session program! Presented by the Government Advisory Council of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, representatives will partake in a Q & A session to answer your pressing questions about what is happening in Tallahassee. HCC Trinkle Center @ 1206 N. Park Road Cost: Members, $0; Non-members, $10 Info: Sophia Hyde, 813-754-3707

6:15PM Get ready for a night of Fun and Magic as the illusionist Kevin Long shares Scripture in a whole new way, and takes you on a journey of impossible moments to remember! GracePoint Plant City @ 1107 Charlie Griffin Road Cost: Free Info: GracePoint Plant City, (813) 759-9383

9AM-4PM Fur babies are coming to town in this CFA Allbreed Cat Show, presented by New Vision Cat Club. Watch the show and meet exhibitors who will showcase their purebred cats. The family friendly event will also feature vendors with pet products. FSF TECO Expo Hall @ 303 North Lemon St. Cost: $5 Info: Rich Nolte, 863-327-2744, rnolte2@hotmail.com


3rd Tuesdays Monthly Coffee Collaborations

Tues. June 11

Wed. June 12

Fri. June 14

Koa Kids Kamp

10:45AM A four week camp starting June 11 at Koa Yoga Studio. Open to boys and girls, ages 6 to 12. Each week will include breathing, yoga poses, yoga games, relaxation, and a craft linked to yoga. Kids will take their completed craft home with them after week 4. The Koa Yoga Studio @ 2806 James L Redman Pkwy, # 205 Cost: $100, Tickets at thekoayoga.com Info: (813) 323-2931. info@koayoga.com

Hurricane Preparation Seminar with ABC Action News Meteorologist Greg Dee 12:30PM Join ABC Action News Meteorologist Greg Dee for a hands on, information filled time of hurricane preparation. Find out what we need to know living in the Bay area, but especially here in Plant City. Hope Lutheran Church @ 2001 N. Park Road Cost: Free Info: Hope Lutheran Church, 813-752-4622

Painting on the Patio

6:30PM Plant City artist, Loretta Burns, will be instructing this creative process with you in creating a masterpiece. Seats are limited; bring your own beverage; snacks & all art materials will be provided. Reservations required & confirmed 3 days before the event. The Sparkman House Luxury Bed & Breakfast @ 707 N. Collins St. Cost: $40.00 + tax per person Info:The Sparkman House, 813-787-6068

Ongoing Mondays Weekly

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

1st & 3rd Mondays Monthly

Improvement League of Plant City 7 PM @ Historic Glover School Conference Room 5104 Horton Rd. Info: William Thomas, 813-757-6760

2nd & 4th Mondays Monthly Plant City Commission Meeting 7:30 PM @ City Hall 302 W. Reynolds St. City Clerk: 813-659-4237 (December: 2nd Monday only)

3rd Monday Monthly Family Community Advisory Council

5 - 6:30 PM @ 639 E. Alexander St., Plant City Info: Ladislao Sanchez 813.752.8700 Info: 813-752-1220

1st Tuesdays Monthly Economic Development Corp. Meeting

2 PM @ PC Chamber of Commerce unless announced 106 N. Evers St. Info: Jake Austin, 863-712-0655

1st Tuesdays Monthly (Sept-May) Arts Council of Plant City

7 PM @ PC Chamber of Commerce 106 N. Evers St. Info: Dodie White, 813-752-5156

2nd Tuesdays Monthly

8-9AM Location hosted at a different location each month. There is a different sponsor each month. Every month the location is posted at www.aspireplantcity.org. Free for members, $5 for non-members. Info: www.aspireplantcity.org

4th Tuesdays Monthly

American Legion Auxiliary Post #26 6 PM @2207 W. Baker St. Info: 813-752-8608

Hot Coffee Topics

7:45 – 9 AM @ 101 E J Arden Mays Blvd Info: http://www.plantcitymainstreet.org; 813-210-9926 Fees: $5 Non-member suggested contribution

Tuesdays Weekly

Plant City Lions Club

12 Noon @ 1101 Goldfinch Drive Info: Tony Lee, 813-752-7202

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

Fridays & Saturdays Weekly Live Music @ O’Brien’s Irish Pub 8 PM @ 1701 S. Alexander Street Info: 813-764-8818 www.obrienspubsplantcity.com

4th Thursdays Monthly Retro Movie Night

6:33-8:33 PM @ 101 East J. Arden Mays Blvd Info: 813-752-1220

2nd Fridays Monthly

Morning Mimosas Networking @ OnPoint CoWorking Solutions

8-9AM @ 1805 James Redman Parkway 2nd Floor, Breakfast, Fresh Coffee, Networking Door Prizes, Mimosa’s and more! Info: Alice Bullard Office: 813-501-1555 Email: abullard@onpointitsolutions.com

Wednesdays Weekly

Last Fridays Monthly

12 Noon @ BuddyFreddy’s Restaurant 1101 Goldfinch Drive Info: David Wolf 813-717-9300

8 – 9:30 AM Informal networking w-donuts/coffee provided. Location varies each month. Info: Norm Nelson 813-754-3707

Plant City Kiwanis Club

Java & Jeans

Booty Boot Camp

Plant City Food Truck Rally

7PM @ 1805 James L. Redman Pkwy 2nd Floor Free Fitness Class Info: Victoria Biscardi – Fitness By Vee Email: vbiscardi2@gmail.com

2nd Wednesdays Monthly

Power House - Guest Speaker 11:30AM @ PC Chamber 106 N. Evers St Info: PC Chamber, 813-754-3707

2nd Thursdays Monthly

Plant City Republican Women's Club, Federated 6:30 PM @ BuddyFreddy’s Restaurant 1101 Goldfinch Dr. Info: Sherry Scheitler 214-529-8372

5-9PM On the corner of Drane and Palmer streets, vendors and food trucks on site. Info: Plant City Main Street, plantcitymainstreet.com

2nd Saturdays Monthly

Open Mic Night @ Krazy Kup

8:33 PM @ 101 East J. Arden Mays Blvd Info: 813-752-1220

3rd Saturdays Monthly

Strawberry Classic Car Show 4-8 PM @ 102 N. Palmer St. Info: 814-754-3707, www.plantcity.org

GFWC Woman’s Club of Plant City 10:30 AM @1110 N. Wheeler St. Info: Pat Shadd, 863-390-7331

MAKE Plant City

7PM Location varies each month. Info: makeplantcity@gmail.com

2nd & 4th Tuesdays Monthly American Legion– Norman McLeod Post #26 6 PM @2207 W. Baker St. Info: 813-752-8608

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A DAY FOR MOM

SPONSORED BY

Created by Calvin R. and Jackie Mathews

A DAY FOR MOM www.HopewellFuneral.com FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1971

ACROSS 1. Ailing 4. Not quite closed 8. Denver’s bus system: abbr. 11. “__ Rock”; Simon & Garfunkel hit 15. Part of the leg 16. List of dishes 17. Practice 19. “It’s a secret!” to Mother? 22. Mother’s financial matters? 23. Letters in a “for sale” ad 24. Lucie’s brother 25. “Thinking __”; line in a greeting card 27. Useful rope 28. Grant 30. Asian capital 33. Turkish title 35. Crockpot dinner 36. Mother’s favorite flowers? 42. Francis or Murray 44. Coeur d’ __, ID 45. With 124 Across, Mother’s favorite playwright? 47. Swat 50. Wager 52. Fem. title 54. Opinions 55. Place of worship 57. Kennel noise 60. Deadly reptile 61. Garden flower 62. Shed crocodile tears 63. Night silence disturber 65. One fleeced 67. Joker 68. Mother’s favorite “Sesame Street” character? 72. Big game 75. Skippy rival 76. Soccer and polo 77. Spine-tingling 79. Periods spent working 84. Word of disgust 86. Russian space station 87. String of prayers 88. Mr. Shaw 89. Plank layer 90. Like 7 and 11 92. School gps. 93. Early settler 95. Emerson or Nader 100. Old map abbr. 102. Mother’s favorite bread spread? 105. Tip 108. Columbus sch. 109. __ Gay; 1945 bomber 110. Aneurysm site 112. Hawaiian veggies

117. 119. 121. 122. 124. 128. 129. 130. 131. 132. 133. 134.

Prevailing tendency Yarn Wet sticky stuff “Once __...” See 45 Across Long speech by Mother? Long-eared critter Ensnare Haloed mlles. __ person; apiece Tableland Wrongdoing

DOWN 1. Nearest the center 2. French article 3. Disappointment 4. 1950s singing family 5. Like Shabbat observers 6. Year in Madrid 7. Play about robots 8. Apply a second layer to 9. “To the Lord our God belong mercies...__ have rebelled against Him” (Daniel 9:9) 10. FDR or LBJ 11. “__ la Douce” 12. Sale tag words 13. PC alternatives 14. To boot 15. Bryant’s namesakes 17. Actor Alejandro 18. Big Internet serv. prov. 19. Crowd 1

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47. 48. 49. 51. 53. 56. 58. 59. 60. 61. 63. 64. 66. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 5

Fell Throw water on Custard pie Beverage container Generation Olive of the comics Start of a vowel list Bee’s follower Fictional captain 1056 Actor Ken Bearing “I came, I __...” Mavericks’ org. Initials for Melissa of “Little House on the Prairie” Gush out Tibetan monk Very eager Maximum gas purchase Eminent conductor Calendar abbr. Philip IV or Charles V New Janitor’s item 26th of 26 “__ Married an Axe Murderer”; 1993 movie Napoleon or Hirohito: abbr. Lbs. and kgs. Simpson & others Med. diagnostic test Old Olds Part of Q.E.D. Italy’s dollar until 2002

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Door openers __ de corps Fool Singing group Take __ leave it 1492 ship High schooler Sandwich type Address abbrs. Respect; esteem Not yet paid Sense of self “I agree!” Comes to shore Arafat’s org. Actor Linden Easy and Wall Complain Social singles Gofer Scouting group Capp & Capone __ Kippur Acid fighters Find __ of gold; get rich quickly European capital Yoko and others Mr. Mineo Wide shoe width Zone Surpass Electrical unit __ West Numerical prefix

10

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by Calvin R. & Jackie Mathews 20. 21. 26. 29. 31. 32. 34. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 43. 46.

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© Puzzle Features Syndicate

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T U M S

A P O T

R O M E

S T I A R T P I O O R S P E W

L A M A

A G O G

I K N M O M O B O B E S S T

L L A E E M S T H E D E S T OW E W C A N N E P B E O D A T E S C O O J I N T S I E P N E E R A N G E O S O S T N A T I O L O G S P E

M U R M U R

A Day for Mom Mother J A R R T E N U R E H WO R D E C O I O F Y O U S E O U L A G H R Y S A N T H A L E N E W T M M E A B O A N E R EW K M O M S T F P O R T S U M I R L O D L P H U A L A D E N O L A D T A S O M E R H A R E M E S A

R F O R I E S G H Y R A O M E E N E E

S T R E E T S

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


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5210 Thonotosassa RD. Plant City, FL 33565

EVERY MONDAY - ALL DAY Burger + Any Beer or Cider = $13

June 14 | 7pm-9pm Tickets available online - $13

Paul Jensen Seen on FOX + Hulu

Tiffany Barbee She Devil Comedy Festival + Sirius XM

Pat Largo Creator + Host

EVERY WEDNESDAY - ALL DAY

Wine Down Wednesday $1 off glasses, $2 off bottles, 25% off Charcuterie Boards PAGE

101





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