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Contents Table of

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BY CIERRA CRAFT

BY CIERRA CRAFT

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Mother and daughter team, Linda Smith and Jodi Stevens, discuss their shared experience as Breast Cancer Survivors.

Need an autumn wardrobe update? Take some inspiration from Tennessee Jane Boutique, Southside, RAOK, Fringe, and Whiskey Darling, whose models were photographed across Plant City.

BY CIERRA CRAFT PHOTOS BY DEANNA HURLEY PHOTOGRAPHY

I’M A SURVIVOR

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FASHIONS TO FALL FOR

DANCING WITH THE LOCALS

This year, 14 couples have dedicated their time and talent to the Rotary Club’s annual fundraiser, Dancing With the Locals. Meet the couples and mark your calendar for one of the most anticipated events of the year.


FOCUS PLANT CITY

focusplantcity.com / Issue 18-10 / Oct. 2019

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BY CIERRA CRAFT

BY CIERRA CRAFT

Hungry Howie’s of Plant City is fighting breast cancer one pizza at a time. Meet owner Ali Sobh and discover how this business is dedicated to taking care of the Plant City community.

Quality Septic Inc. is committed to providing quality septic service and honoring our nation’s heroes. Meet owner Kevin Johnson, as he discusses Quality Septic’s diligence to a job well done.

“HOPE, LOVE, & PIZZA”

QUALITY SEPTIC INC.

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PUBLISHER

Mike Floyd

MANAGING EDITOR

Cierra Craft

ACCOUNT MANAGER

ART DIRECTOR

OFFICE MANAGER

DISTRIBUTION

mikef@floydpublications.com

cierra@floydpublications.com

Chandler Workman

chandler@floydpublications.com

Anthony Sassano

asassano@floydpublications.com

Candy Owens

cowens@floydpublications.com

Tony DeVane

NORMA’S PLANT CITY CUBAN SANDWICH SHOP

BY CIERRA CRAFT Over the past two years, Norma’s has revolutionized Plant City’s food scene with a number of dining programs. Owner and General Manager Leo Mesquita discusses Norma’s accomplishments and his vision for the future.

STAFF WRITERS

Angela Ardrey Anthony Bolesta Barbara Routen Cheryl Johnston Sherrie Mueller Emily Topper

CONTRIBUTORS

Candy Owens Heather Davis Gil Gott Natalie Sweet

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 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) 7078783 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.

www.focusplantcity.com

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Protect your savings with FDIC coverage up to $1.5 million. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protection. This interest-bearing savings solution gives you the convenience of having your savings and investments on one statement.

Getting started is easy. Call your ďŹ nancial advisor today to learn more. Deposits are FDIC-insured up to $1.5 million or $3 million for joint accounts of two or more people. More information about the Insured Bank Deposit program, including the program disclosure, is available from your ďŹ nancial advisor or at www. edwardjones.com/bankdeposit. For more information about FDIC insurance, go to www.fdic.gov.

Jim Conrow

BNK-6611D-A

Financial Advisor

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2501 Thonotosassa Rd Plant City, FL 33563-1464 813-759-1491

www.edwardjones.com

Member SIPC


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From The Publisher

Last month, FOCUS Magazine launched our first redesigned magazine, complete with a new logo and long form features. We have received many positive comments and words of encouragement from the communitythank you all for your continued support. You can expect more changes within this issue and the coming issues, as we fine tune layouts and continue to develop editorial content for upcoming volumes.

This month, we share inspiring stories of hope, as two breast cancer survivors share their journey of courage and inspiration. We hope are readers are encouraged to live life to the fullest.

Despite these changes, the cornerstone of the publication has remained the same- to spread positive news about the city we all know and love. The FOCUS Magazine team is here to serve as a true community partner- dedicated to promoting local business and sharing the stories of Plant City residents.

We partner with four Plant City businesses to bring a fall style guide to the magazine. Each piece can be purchased at one of the participating shops, encouraging you, the readers, to shop small, shop local.

A TRUE COMMUNITY PARTNER

We also feature the thirteen couples participating in the 2019 Dancing with the Locals event, sponsored by the Plant City Rotary Club. Each of these dancers has shown an incredible level of dedication to raising money to benefit us all.

Warmest Regards, Mike Floyd PAGE

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O’Neal & Sons Upholstery

Quality Craftsmanship Spanning 4 Generations

We specialize in everything from Automotive, Marine, Home Furniture and Commercial Applications AUTOMOTIVE

Seats and cushions • Carpets • Headliners • Door Panels Convertible tops • Vinyl tops • Tonneau Covers

HOME FURNITURE

Couches • Love seats • Chairs • Bar stools

MARINE

Seats and cushions • Carpets • Bimini Tops • Clear plastic Windows T-Top canvas replacements • Console and boat covers

COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

Restaurant Booths and Chairs • Bar Railings • Long Wall Seats Custom Golf Cart Seats • Pool and Spa Areas • Customized Seating

2303 James Redman Pkwy., Suite G • Plant City, FL 33563 Phone: (813)-752-0405 • onealandsons@verizon.net www.onealandsons.net

Before

After

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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Community

FOCUS

CHECK IN WITH PLANT CITY

Hundreds gather for GracePoint Plant City’s See You For the Party

Hillsborough County Fair Crowns New Harvest Queens On Sept. 15, the Hillsborough County Fair crowned the 2019 Harvest Queen and Junior Harvest Queen. The 2019 Senior Harvest Queen is Amanda Clark and Junior Harvest Queen is Kenley Connell. Pageant attendees were asked to donate blankets for SFBH Cancer Infusion Center, which the new queens delivered. Congratulations to the new queens and be sure to visit the Hillsborough County Fair Oct. 17-20 and Oct 24- 27.

Fall Harvest Days at Keel Farms: With fall upon us, what better way to celebrate than with family and friends? Every Saturday in October, Keel and Curley Winery will have activities planned for all ages which will include pumpkin carving, painting, and a pumpkin patch. The community is welcomed to attend and celebrate local agriculture as a family at 5210 Thonotosassa Road. All admission and parking is free.

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More than 200 students from eight area schools and homeschool groups gathered at GracePoint Plant City on the evening of Sept. 18, to prepare posters, worship Jesus together and plan for this area’s See You at the Pole rallies on Sept. 25. Pastor Ricky Lindsey of First Baptist Church Plant City welcomed attendees and David Robinson, Student Ministries Pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church, motivated students with a message about how God uses young people to live out the Gospel in their circles of influence.

Plant City Prepares for Small Business Saturday On Oct. 22, Brick City Bricks, located at 107 E. Reynolds Street, will host Plant City Main Street’s Topics on Tap to discuss the community’s plans for Small Business Saturday. Held nationwide, Nov. 30, Small Business Saturday encourages people to shop small, shop local within privately owned businesses. The community is encouraged to attend this free event. Drinks and light appetizers will be served.

Plant City Police Department to Host Bike Helmet Giveaway On Saturday, Oct. 19 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., PCPD will host a free bike helmet giveaway as part of Amscot’s Kids First Program. Every child who attends can receive a free bike helmet, while supplies last. Police officers will be located at Amscot on 105 W. Alexander Street.

Kiwanis Club Names New Officers The Plant City Kiwanis Club hosted their annual award banquet on September 19th. They also announced their 2019-2020 officers: President- Gil Gott; President Elect - Jim Conrow; Secretary- Keri Kozicki; and TreasurerJim McDaniel

Duke’s Brewhouse Welcomes Back Chef James Londberg Duke’s Brewhouse is excited to announce that Chef James Londberg has returned to the Plant City location! The skilled chef is back to carry on the Duke’s tradition of serving delicious food with high quality ingredients. Be sure to visit Londberg and the Duke’s girl at 2212 James L Redman Pkwy.

Annual Santa Sled Festival Registration Now Open

Farmers At the Ready for Strawberry Season Strawberry growers across the area are preparing for the winter berry season. On Sept. 29, Mathis Farms shared a photo from the field, where the season’s strawberries were being planted. Harvesting will begin approximately mid-November.

The Annual Santa Sled Festival, hosted by The Plant City Black Heritage Club and Des’Aimes Social Club, is now accepting pre-registration applications for those in-need for the upcoming holidays. Applications are available at the Plant City Chamber, 106 N. Evers St. or with Sharon Moody at 1902 Bond St. Deadline for registration is Nov. 30. The Santa Sled Festival is Dec. 21 at Marie B. Ellis Park at 601 E. Laura St. from 10AM to 2PM. Families will be provided food, toys, clothing and more. of your choice! Offer valid until Oct. 31, 2019.


Publix, BayCare named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For Publix ranked No. 12 on Fortune’s Top 100 and No. 11 on Great Place to Work’s list because of its diverse workforce and benefits system. BayCare made ranked No. 37 on Fortune’s list and No. 32 at Best Workplaces for Women list.

AMERICAN BOARD CERTIFIED

PLANT CITY’S URGENT CARE & WEIGHT LOSS

Urgent Care Parkesdale Releases Fall Milkshake Lineup Parkesdale has released annual fall milkshake flavors including Pumpkin Pie and Corn! Each are $2.75! Be sure to visit the market at 3702 W. Baker Street to enjoy a sweet treat and pick up your fall produce, plants and garden art.

Weight Loss

• No Appointment Necessary!

• Medically Supervised

• Most Insurance Accepted

• Vitamin Injections

• Experienced Urgent Care Physicians

• Diet Plans

• On Site X-Rays

• Appetite Suppressants

• Meds & Injection Included in the total price • Member of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians

• EKG & Labs • Stiches • Sore Throats • Infections • Physicals • Sprains • Occupational Medicine • Much More!

Open for Business: Jersey Mike’s Jersey Mike’s opened its doors to an eager Plant City community on Wednesday, Oct. 9. Located at 504 E Alexander Street Suite 19, Plant City, FL 33566, Jersey Mike’s is serving up delicious hot subs, including Mike’s Famous Philly and 14 cold subs. Welcome to Plant City, Jersey Mike’s!

Wheeler

Reynolds

First United to Host Craft Event & Trunk-or-Treat First United Methodist Church, located at 303 N. Evers St., is hosting Arts & Crafts at the Pumpkin Patch in collaboration with the East Hillsborough Historical Society. Makers will be on site, Saturday, October 26 from 9AM to 3PM, with their crafts for sale. From 5PM to 7PM, First United will host their annual Trunk-or-Treat event with games, candy and family fun. Be sure to mark your calendar to attend these community events.

Baker NOW CARE

Davis

Visit Hungry Howie's at 208 N. Alexander Street, introduce yourself to owner Ali Sobh,and mention FOCUS Magazine to receive a free small bread of your choice! Offer valid until Oct. 31, 2019.

Alexander Whitehall

Say "Hello" to Hungry Howie's

WEIGHT LOSS FINANCING AVAILABLE CALL FOR DETAILS

$50.00 OFF initial WEIGHT LOSS consultation

Offer expires 11/15/19

1009 W. Baker St. Plant City, FL 33563 813-759-1232 nowcareclinic.com

THANK YOU FOR NOMINATING US BEST URGENT CARE IN PLANT CITY!

Mon-Fri 8am-8pm • Sat & Sun 9am-5pm PAGE

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Walden Lake Review BY NATALIE SWEET

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uring the month of September, there were 15 sales in Walden Lake and one sale in Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $269,753 with an average of 30 days on the market.

The September sales are as follows: Address / Sales Price / Living Area / Pool / Garage 2318 Village Green Drive / $185,000 / 2125 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 4306 Barret Avenue / $221,000 / 1585 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 4308 Longfellow Drive / $225,000 / 1937 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 3130 Emerson Place / $232,000 / 1836 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 1607 S Golfview Drive / $232,000 / 1961 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 2307 Walden Place North / $233,000 / 1605 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 3413 Silver Meadow Way / $240,000 / 1573 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 2104 Elmwood Court / $249,900 / 1764 sq’ / Private / 2 Car 1800 S Golfview Drive / $275,000 / 1964 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 1708 Brookstone Way / $285,000 / 2001 Sq’ / No / 3 Car 1724 Brookstone Way / $285,500 / 2055 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 4002 Asbury Court / $298,900 / 2576 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 2810 Forest Club Drive / $299,000 / 2456 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 3516 Kilmer Drive / $320,000 / 2592 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 3022 Sutton Woods Drive / $465,000 / 3712 Sq’ / Private / 3 Car

There are currently 19 active listings for sale in Walden Lake with an average list price of $360,615 and an average of 53 days on the market. Two of these homes are in Polo Place and listed for $839,900 and $999,999. If the 2 Polo Place listings are eliminated, the average list price is $294,811 and 40 days on the market. There are 12 properties Pending Contract with an average list price of $283,782 and average of 56 days on the market. Upcoming Events:

• Walden Lake Community Association Board Meeting Oct. 21 and Nov. 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Walden Lake Community Association office building on Griffin Boulevard. The meetings are open to all Walden Lake HOA members. • First Annual Fall Festival Oct. 26 from 3PM to 6PM. Games, Pumpkin Decorating, Crafts & More. Food trucks will be on site. The HOA is offering 600 vouchers (while supplies last) worth $5.00 each (limit 2 per household) to be used at the food trucks. Please refer to the newsletter on how to obtain your free vouchers. You are welcome to pay cash at the food trucks for anything over and above the vouchers. This is an event you don’t want to miss! • Breakfast with Santa Dec. 14 9AM to Noon. Visit Santa at the HOA office, then join us for a Pancake Breakfast at the Sports Complex. RSVP to BetteG@WaldenLake.org or 813-754-8999.

The Golf Course Developer, Walden Lake LLC, the Walden Lake Enrichment Committee which consists of four of the Walden Lake HOA Board of Directors, along with three of the Representatives from the Walden lake Resident Advisory Council have had both open and closed meetings. Information and schedule are posted on our HOA website, www.WaldenLake. org. An open resident meeting is planned for November 7th at a time and location to be announced. The developer plans to submit plans to the City on December 2nd. Feel free to contact me about any real estate questions or about this article. NSweet@KW.com or 813-758-9586. PAGE

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LOETSCHERAUTO.COM PAGE

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All Ser vices are FREE and Confidential Pregnancy Tests & Verification Limited Ultrasounds Abortion Education Adoption Information Prenatal & Parenting Classes Material Assistance STI Testing W ellness Referral

304 N. Collins St. Plant City, FL 33563 813-759-0886 www.plantcitypregnancycenter.org

Looking for Answers? PAGE

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I'M A SURVIVOR Local Women Share Courageous Breast Cancer Survival Stories One in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. Fortunately, through the outpouring of support of breast cancer awareness and funding for research, the survivorship rate is increasing, with a 40% decrease in the number of breast cancer deaths between 1989 and 2016. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, there are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the U.S. Linda Smith, and her daughter Jodi Stevens, both beat breast cancer. This shared experience has impacted their relationship and the pair share their stories of hope, love and courage in the face of a disease.

Written by Cierra Craft Photography by Anthony Sassano

During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, FOCUS Magazine salutes these courageous women, and the many other individuals, who are committed to boldly sharing real life stories of survivorship. It is our hope that these stories educate, equip and empower others about the importance of finding a cure for breast cancer.

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“Breast cancer is prevalent in my family. I’ve had aunts and cousins diagnosed and when my mother was diagnosed, I was there through both of her mastectomies, 5 years apart. I was told by doctors as the first born daughter I was more apt to have it as well. I was watched closely and in 2007, my mammogram showed a spot. I had it biopsied, it was cancerous and I had it removed. I did radiation and 5 years of Tamoxifen. I wasn’t so scared for me as I was worried for my daughter. The doctor started her mammograms before the recommended 40 years of age. My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. She wasn’t as lucky and she died in 2017. I did genetic testing and got the call that I didn’t carry the gene, I cried thinking my daughter would be spared and a month later at 38 years old, she too was diagnosed with it.

LINDA I watched her go through a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation. It was easy for me to go through it. but when you have to see your daughter have her beautiful long hair cut off and see her sick but never let it get to her, that was difficult. I tell everyone to get their mammograms early and early detection is the key. Don’t put it off and be scared for what you might hear. My advice to those that are diagnosed, find a doctor that you believe in and have faith in, one that you really like and can understand and don’t be afraid to ask questions and keep a positive attitude throughout your journey!”

- Linda Smith

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“I had a strong history of breast cancer in my family, my alert was heightened especially after my mom was diagnosed. I started mammograms at 30. I had a suspicious spot that I decided to have checked out and it went from there. I was diagnosed the day after Christmas 2015, I already knew in my mind I had it when I didn’t get the pathology report before the holiday as I knew my doctor didn’t want to give me that news. I mentally had prepared myself for that talk. At the time I was 38 years old, my son had just turned 4 and my daughter was 18 months old. I did 6 rounds of chemo, 30 rounds of radiation and a year of infusions. I missed one day of work during treatments and that was due to getting the stomach bug, so nothing related to treatment. I had all treatments done here at South Florida Baptist Hospital, I would go for chemo and back to work, my bad days were Saturday and Sundays, never did I wish for Monday to come so quickly as chemo weeks. When I knew I would lose my hair I thought it would be cool to have different colored wigs, might as well have fun! At the end of the day, I wanted to be as consistent as I could for my kids; I was always honest with them from the very beginning.

JODI Our community rallied behind me and my family like no other! The cards, texts, flowers, dinners for us all was simply AMAZING! My children gave me my strength each and every day. January will mark 4 years, once I hit 5 years I have a slim to none chance of it coming back and I look forward to celebrating that milestone. My best advice is Better to be proactive than reactive!”

- Jodi Stevens 25 PAGE

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OCTOBER IS NATIONAL CHIROPRACTIC HEALTH MONTH 2019 October is National Chiropractic Health Month to promote how chiropractic has helped to improve and maintain their musculoskeletal and overall health. Movement is vitally important to overall health. Physical activity not only helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and even some cancers, it also strenghthens our bones and muscles. As we age, the health of our bones and muscles--also known as our musculoskeletal system--is especially important in reducing the frequency and severity of back pain as well as preventing falls and other injuries that can lead to disability and limit our ability to engage in work and other daily activities. Back pain remains one of the most prevalent and disabling conditions worldwide. It is one of the most common reasons that patients visit their doctors, and one of the most common conditions for which doctors prescribe opioid pain medications. Since the overuse and abuse of prescription opioid painkillers in the United States remains a top public health problem, it’s essential for health care consumers and providers to understand that spinal adjustment and other conservative approaches has with documentation shown to be valuable by treating musculoskeletal conditions such as low back pain safely and effectively.

Give Us A Call! Dr. Brenda Dukes • Chiropractic Physician 752-2524 • 2401 Walden Woods Dr. • Plant City, FL 33566 www.dukeschiropractichealth.com

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

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local places. I started two years ago as just a Snapchat video when I made a video after Hurricane Irma and got a positive response. It went on a hiatus until I did the Instagram Takeover with Instagrammers of Plant City at the 2019 Florida Strawberry Festival. In April, I created the Today With Rae Facebook and Instagram. How do you plan content for Today With Rae? It’s mostly organic or I will look at Buzzfeed or Yelp for places, but now it’s just me living me life. What is the future of Today With Rae? Continue to live life and life local. I like showing businesses but I would also like it to be relationship based with business owners, such as “Here is this person, this is what they do, but there is also this interesting thing you may not know about them.” I would like it to transition from food and events to more lifestyle, as well.

People of Plant City

Alex Rae Rhoades By Cierra Craft

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lant City native Alex Rae Rhoades radiates joy. From a larger-than-life smile and cheerful disposition to the subtle reminder to be happy tattooed on her right arm, Rhoades truly personifies the feeling of joy. A 2009 graduate of Plant City High School and 2013 graduate of the University of Florida, Rhoades is currently a Kindergarten Teacher at Navigators Academy of Leadership in Valrico. She serves as President of the GFWC Plant City Junior Woman’s Club and an active member of the Tampa Bay Gator Club. Rhoades’ other passion, Today With Rae, is a food and event blog showcasing the incredible places to eat, drink and things to do in and around Plant City. Followers of Today With Rae know that Rhoades is passionate about “live life, live local.” To

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follow on her adventures, check her out on Facebook and Instagram @todaywithrae_ How did you get involved with the Plant City Juniors? I was involved with the Juniorettes in high school. When I returned home from college, my cousin, Kendall Jimenez, was going to be the President of the Juniors and she got me involved. I have served as Secretary for a year, I have been involved with Little Miss Plant City for three years and I was elected President for this year. What is Today With Rae? Today With Rae is a way for me to be creative and life life, live local. It’s meant to just live and do it locally, connect with people and showcases these

What is your favorite part of Plant City? I love the pride everyone has for our town. I have friends from out of town and I always talk about Plant City. They must think it’s the greatest place on earth because I talk about it us being the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World and everyone knows it. It’s unlike anywhere else. When out of towners come to visit, what are a few places you like to take them and why? Fred’s Market for the lunch buffet and Parkesdale for a strawberry shortcake or a milkshake. This is a toss up for either Hole-In-1, who has the best donuts ever, or Maryland Fried Chicken because it’s the best chicken, hands down. If we want drinks then we go to the [Keel and Curley] Winery. When people ask ‘what do you have to do in Plant City?’ I say, we have a lot of places to eat. What is your favorite time of year? This may sound odd, but “Festival Pre-Season.” It’s the first week in February, you see RAOK’s pictures go up online for their strawberry apparel so you line up at 8:00 a.m. to shop for strawberry clothes. Then you go to Fringe and Southside to prepare for everything you need for the festival. You see every woman in Plant City and talk about what strawberry items you’ve found online because you want something different to show off at the festival. Then you’re sending pictures to each other of items and sending money through Venmo to each other to buy it for you. It’s just a wonderful time in our city.


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Dancing With The Locals! Written by Cierra Craft Photography by Deanna Hurley Photography Plant City Rotary Club’s Dancing with the Locals is a highlight of Plant City’s fall social calendar. The 2019 event is Friday, Nov. 1 at 6:00 p.m. at the Trinkle Center at Hillsborough Community College’s Plant City campus.

Event co-chair Jodi Stevens is consistently looking for dancers for next year’s event. Many participants are inspired to get involved by attending previous Dancing with the Locals events. For information regarding registration for next year’s event or for tickets for the 2019 event, contact Jodi at 813-716-0908.

Photo by Mike Floyd

On average, 400 audience members purchase the $100 ticket to watch friends, colleagues and family members hit the stage and all funds raised go back to the community through the Rotary Club’s various events. Thirteen couples prepare for their time in the spotlight with ten provided dance lessons and will perform routines across various dance styles. Each couple is competing for the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy.

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Sophia Hyde is the Community Relations Manager at the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce. She was born in Louisiana, and moved to Plant City in 1997 when she was 11. She is passionate about helping her community grow and prosper. She also serves as a member of Plant City Rotary Club, a Guardian ad Litem for children in the foster care system, a co-founder of Aspire Plant City, a new non-profit in town focused on empowering women, and she sits on the board for Achieve Plant City, a non-profit dedicated to using literacy to help families achieve success in life. Her hobbies include photography, yoga, reading, writing and helping teach others healthy living. She believes that God created everyone with a unique purpose and it’s our responsibility to find it and live it out. She is the mother of two small children, Eleanora, 5, and Liam, 1. She loves the Plant City community and is so excited to create memories with her sister while raising money for an organization that has such a tremendous impact on this community. Audrey Schmidt is the Theatre teacher and Director at Plant City High School. She was born in Alabama, and, just like her sisterdance-partner, moved to Plant City in 1997. A 2008 graduate of PCHS, her passion for theatre started on the same stage where she now inspires a love for the arts in the next generation. In addition to her service at Plant City High School, she serves as an adjudicator for regional theatre competitions, and is a member of the Educational Theatre Association and the Florida Association for Theatre Education. Her husband, Riley, is also a teacher at PCHS. She is the mother of Penelope, 2, and has one on the way, due in April! She loves spreading joy through performance and is excited she can do that while raising money to support Rotary, which has supported the students at PCHS, and the Plant City community, in so many ways

& Sophia

Hyde Schmidt Audrey

Amanda Drawdy

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Amanda Drawdy has been dancing for over 30 years and is the owner of Drawdy's Dance School. Amanda was able to dance in 2008's Dancing with the Locals and is super excited to be back dancing and working with Dancing with the Locals.

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Teala Mahoney

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Teala has been teaching many styles of dance locally for over 20 years. She's currently teaching at Drawdy's Dance with her life long best friend, Amanda Drawdy and the Plant City YMCA. This is her third year working with Dancing with the Locals and it has become one of her favorite events to be apart of.


Vince is a Plant City native who graduated from Plant City High School in 1981. After serving time in the United States Army, Vince returned home to Plant City. He has been a member of Plant City Fire Rescue for 31 years and currently holds the position of Deputy Chief of Administration. Heather is a Florida native, growing up in Rockledge Florida. She moved to Plant City 32 years ago after falling in love with Vince. She has been a Registered Nurse for 28 years and currently works in the Surgical Services Department at South Florida Baptist Hospital. Vince and Heather have been married for 31 years. They have 2 adult daughters Katy and Kristyn as well as two grandchildren, Justin (120 and Lila (9). They are active with the Krewe of St. Florian, a Gasparilla service Krewe comprised of Bay area firefighters and their wives. As members of the Krewe they help to support many local charities to include My Warriors Place, The Tampa Fire Museum, Shriners Hospital, The Tampa General Burn Center, The Gramatica Family Foundation, Free Spirit Equine Rescue and most recently the Paralyzed Veterans of America Gulf Coast Chapter. Vince and Heather are proud to support the Plant City Rotary Club in their continued efforts to support our community.

Kiffner Vince & Heather

Kelle Chancellor

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Kelle Chancellor is the owner and training director at Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Brandon. Chancellor is an award winning dancer and instructor, including 3rd place Top Pro Rhythm Teacher and the 4th place Top Overall Teacher. She also won the Top Female Instructor 2016 and 2017 Freddy Awards in Tampa Bay. PAGE

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Mary Thomas Mathis has served on the Plant City Commission for 19 years. Mary has also worked in the Hillsborough County School District for 34 years and is currently a Supervisor with the district’s Achievement Schools. Mary is a lifelong resident of Plant City and a 1975 graduate of Plant City High School where she participated in the Raider Band as a dancerette, the girls’ basketball team and a Lionettes club member. Mary received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia and a Master of Science degree from NovaSouthern Eastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Tony Hunter Mathis was born and raised in Plant City and a graduate of Plant City High School Class of 1973 where he played on the basketball team, cross country team, participated in the Raider band and Lions Club. After high worked at South Florida Baptist Hospital to earn finances to attend college, Tony attended Hillsborough Community College and then transferred to Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Before retirement, Tony was employed as a Civil Servant with the United States Department of Defense in Washington, D.C. He is a certified tennis professional and is a member of the United States Professional Tennis Registry. Tony and Mary have been married for 15 years and are the proud parents of one son, Anthony (Adrienne) and they are known to their three grandchildren as “Poppa T” and “GG.” They have built they lives on strong foundation of JESUS CHRIST and they both are members of the Great Saint Luke Missionary Baptist Church where Tony serves as a Deacon and Trustee, while Mary sings in the Unity Choir and performs the duties of the church herald. This wonderful experience of “Dancing with the Locals” sponsored by the Plant City Rotary has given the Mathises the opportunity to continue to give back to the city which they love dearly.

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Mathis Mathis Mary Thomas

Tony

Kevin Rios

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Kevin Rios is the owner of Just Dance Academy of Dance and Etiquette in downtown Lakeland. He has called Lakeland home for 20 years. From the Waltz to the Cha Cha and the Foxtrot to the Swing, Kevin’s dance academy has something for everyone. This year, Kevin is instructing six couples competing in the 2019 Dancing With the Locals.

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Batista J. Madonia, IV was born and raised in Plant City, FL and graduated from Plant City High School in 2009, he studied Business Management at HCC. He is a single father of two girls, a State Certified Building Contractor and Licensed Realtor. His experience in sales and the construction industry led him to start his own construction company based in Plant City, Blue Skies Unlimited Construction. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting, fishing, and off roading. His other interests include classic cars, trucks, and racing. Samantha Booher has been a Plant City Local for many years, living in the Valrico Dover and Plant City area throughout her life. She graduated from Durant High School in 2008 and went to USF to get a degree in Business. Her true passion is to become a Registered Dietician. Samantha currently works at GTE Financial as a Member Service Advocate and has been with GTE for almost 5 years. She loves being part-time in her current position, giving her more time with her daughter, who is 7-years-old and is her Mommy’s twin. Samantha has been dancing since she was 5 years old, gaining 18 years of experience in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical and Modern. Family time is most important to Samantha, whether it be a movie night, outdoor fun, or just a simple dinner. Family is most significant to her.

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Madonia, IV Booher Batista J.

Samantha

Susan Staton

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Susan teaches all Ballroom, Latin and Swing dances and was the first teacher for DWTL 12 years ago when she taught all of the contestants. She teaches ages 3 to 93 with her very own choreography that produces champions. She works for the cities of Winter Haven, Lakeland and Plant City, also teaching children and adults at Ultimate Dance Center. She can be reached at 863-604-5060.

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She is the string to his helium balloon. This is just one way to describe Jeremy and Lisa Rhodes. Married 10 beautiful years, they are the perfect complement to each other in life and business. Longtime Florida residents, Jeremy & Lisa are passionate about their faith, family, and community. They reside in Plant City with three of their six children and the family mascot, Jack. When they are not sitting in the bleachers cheering on the Plant City High School Volleyball Team or helping their kids with FFA projects (pig Dad and Mom), you will find them wellimmersed in the community. Always ready to extend a helping hand, Jeremy and Lisa can be found volunteering their services and hearts to Plant City Main Street, Plant City Networking, The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, Operation Paying It Forward, Aspire, and Toastmasters. They are also professional members of the Greater Tampa Area Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. Jeremy and Lisa are a dynamic duo real estate team. Starting The Rhodes Group with Keller Williams Realty just a year ago, they now share unique backgrounds and skills, allowing them to help clients realize their own dreams of homeownership. This husband and wife dance couple believes you should not take life too seriously, but appreciate the surroundings. There is always something to be thankful for.

Rhodes Jeremy & Lisa

Kevin Rios

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Kevin Rios is the owner of Just Dance Academy of Dance and Etiquette in downtown Lakeland. He has called Lakeland home for 20 years. From the Waltz to the Cha Cha and the Foxtrot to the Swing, Kevin’s dance academy has something for everyone. This year, Kevin is instructing six couples competing in the 2019 Dancing With the Locals.

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Scott and Elizabeth McIntosh are living a love story in the making. Scott McIntosh is a Plant City native whose family has been a part of this community for over five generations after migrating here from Scotland. His family has been involved in key areas of local government, farming, and the religious community from the beginning. Scott carries on this legacy with over 20 years of pastoral experience having served in a variety of churches across the nation, most recently founding City Pointe Church in Plant City. City Pointe Church is a contemporary non-denominational church focused on helping people Know God, Find Freedom, Discover Purpose, and Make a Difference, and is one of the most innovative churches in our community. He received his BA in Psychology from the University of South Florida, and received his Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He also did additional graduate work at Regent’s Park College in Oxford, England. Scott just published his first book, Soul Survivor, How to Survive the Heartaches of Life Without Losing Your Soul, which shares his story of surviving the mass shooting at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas and the healing process that helped him and so many others. This book is available on Amazon and is a great resource for everyone who wants to grow through difficult times. Elizabeth McIntosh grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and always wanted to make a difference in the lives of those around her. She has served in a variety of altruistic positions including seven years of teaching and a year of service in Americorps. She began studying at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where she earned a Masters in Christian Education and a Masters in Ministry Based Evangelism. She and Scott met during this time and fell quickly in love. They have served all over the United States and around the globe including Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Brazil, Australia, India, China, Haiti, and the former Soviet Union. She is currently serving as the Director of Missions and Outreach at City Pointe Church helping the church meet the practical needs of the community with the love of Christ. Scott and Elizabeth have two children who bring continual joy to their lives and one adorable fur baby. Their children include seven-year-old Isabella and five-year--old Samuel. Scott and Elizabeth are active in our community and live their lives focused on God, family, and friends. They love making a real difference across the street and around the world and continue to live a love story in the middle of hectic schedules and family lives. They work on the art of living well and making a difference wherever they go. They are excited to be a part of Dancing with the Locals and raising money for a great cause.

McIntosh Scott & Elizabeth

Susan Staton

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Susan teaches all Ballroom, Latin and Swing dances and was the first teacher for DWTL 12 years ago when she taught all of the contestants. She teaches ages 3 to 93 with her very own choreography that produces champions. She works for the cities of Winter Haven, Lakeland and Plant City, also teaching children and adults at Ultimate Dance Center. She can be reached at 863-604-5060. PAGE

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Brian and Jennifer Morgan are natives to Plant City and are excited to be competing in this year’s Dancing with the Locals. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of South Florida where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. After a successful career of teaching in the Hillsborough County Public School System for 15 years, she sought opportunities to grow elsewhere. Jennifer is the current Media and Public Relations Representative for the Florida Strawberry Festival. Brian is a Sergeant with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and an instructor with Crisis Systems Management, neither of which involve dancing. Brian and Jennifer have two beautiful children, Rowen and Grymes. They enjoy spending time with family and friends, taking trips to the beach, and visiting the happiest place on earth!

Morgan Brian & Jennifer

Teala Mahoney

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Teala has been teaching many styles of dance locally for over 20 years. She's currently teaching at Drawdy's Dance with her life long best friend, Amanda Drawdy and the Plant City YMCA. This is her third year working with Dancing with the Locals and it has become one of her favorite events to be apart of. PAGE

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Aaron Brown is a 5th generation resident of Lakeland. He went to Lakeland Christian School and graduated from Southeastern University, where he majored in Business Administration. He works at Mainstay Senior Living as a Family Advisor. He also is the Property Manager for the Cottages at Lake Morton. He loves to spend his free time with his family and friends. Traveling is another one of his favorite things to do. He is an annual participant of One Night of Gospel which is a charity event that helps out local organizations. Aaron has been attending Church at the Mall for over 22 years. Haylee Mathis was born and raised in Plant City and graduated from Lakeland Christian School in 2016, where she met her dancing partner and one of her best friends, Aaron Brown. She graduated in spring of 2019 from Southeastern University with a major in Business Administration. During her Senior year of college, her and her friend, Ahna, started an online women’s boutique “Barely Jade” that she now co-owns and operates. She also works full time as the secretary and social media manager at her family’s farm, Mathis Farms, Inc.. Haylee spends her free time with friends and family and enjoys traveling, adventuring, and learning new things that will further her career path. She has had so much fun learning how to broaden her dance skills through Dancing With the Locals and has loved stepping out of her comfort zone and benefiting the community at the same time.

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Brown Mathis Aaron

Haylee

Kevin Rios

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Kevin Rios is the owner of Just Dance Academy of Dance and Etiquette in downtown Lakeland. He has called Lakeland home for 20 years. From the Waltz to the Cha Cha and the Foxtrot to the Swing, Kevin’s dance academy has something for everyone. This year, Kevin is instructing six couples competing in the 2019 Dancing With the Locals.

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Ilene Chavez is a true Plant City girl, and hopes to one day be a Florida Strawberry Festival Director. In 2006, she was the First Maid in the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s Pageant. She has a huge heart for the Plant City Community and joined the GFWC Plant City Junior Woman’s Club. Little did she know she would meet many wonderful women and make lifelong friends. She has been with the Plant City Junior’s since 2013, and has served in roles such as Club President, Vice President, Treasurer, Little Miss Plant City Chaperone, and Chair of the Florida Strawberry Festival Baby Parade Competition. Ilene is the District 8, Junior District Director for GFWC Florida serving a 2-year term. She is the Human Resources Coordinator for Colorado Boxed Beef Company, a leader in protein products distribution. Ilene is a graduate of Plant City High School and received her Associate Degree from Hillsborough Community College, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida… GO BULLS! Ilene received her first acting role as a character for the 17th Annual Mystery Dinner Fundraiser for the Friends of the Bruton Memorial Library, an event that provides all proceeds to the local library. You would think she doesn't do enough volunteering, but she also serves as a Board Member for the Plant City Family YMCA. Joseph Narvaez is a Plant City native. He grew up in Lakeland where he attended Kathleen High School, where he was a star basketball and baseball player. He is proud to be apart of this community and has embraced Plant City’s way of life. Joseph is the Operations Manager for Dixie Maintenance, a provider of all industrial maintenance needs. Joseph loves to play basketball, enjoys riding his blue and lime green Suzuki GSXR 1000 motorcycle around town. Joseph is a mechanic at heart who enjoys working on his Exo Cage Mazda Miata project car or toying around with his boat. Joseph and Ilene met at the Plant City Junior Woman’s Club Charity Golf Tournament in October 2016. They both enjoy boating, beach camping, and watching football. They are members of St. Clement Catholic Church, and have planted their roots in Plant City where they plan to raise their family. They welcomed their son, Joseph Cruz Narvaez, in December 2018.

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Joseph and Ilene decided to join Dancing with the Locals as it would be a great way to make a difference in the community they love so much, yet also embrace their love for dancing and healthy competition.

Chavez Narvaez Ilene

Joseph

Kevin Rios

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Kevin Rios is the owner of Just Dance Academy of Dance and Etiquette in downtown Lakeland. He has called Lakeland home for 20 years. From the Waltz to the Cha Cha and the Foxtrot to the Swing, Kevin’s dance academy has something for everyone. This year, Kevin is instructing six couples competing in the 2019 Dancing With the Locals.

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Madilyn Conrad is the 18-year-old daughter of Jason and Stephanie Conrad. She was born and raised in Dover, FL. Madilyn has three siblings: Anna, Shalee and Tucker and loves the time she gets to spend time with them. She was an honor graduate from Plant City High School, where she was extremely active in the National Honors Society, Interact Girls service club and the Plant City FFA chapter. She is a member of Welcome Baptist Church and never hesitates to share her faith with anyone who will listen. She has been extremely active on her family’s cattle ranch ever since she was a little girl. Her passion for the Agricultural Industry runs deep and has given her the desire to make an impact on a larger level. She is currently at Hillsborough Community College where she will finish her AA. After graduating from HCC, she will be transferring to the University of Florida where she plans to major in Agricultural Communications with a minor in Ag Leadership, Political Science as well as Food and Resource Economics. After that she plans to attend a major Law School and get a general law degree with an emphasis in Agriculture. Madilyn has spent the past 8 months on the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Court as the First Maid. She is so excited to represent the Strawberry Festival this year while dancing alongside her father. Jason Conrad was raised in Welcome, FL and now resides in Dover with his wife Stephanie and their four children, Anna (21), Madilyn (18), Shalee (13) and Tucker (11). He graduated from Florida Southern College with a degree in Turf Grass Management. He is the General Manager of Weeping Creek Ranches and loves to be an advocate for the beef industry. He is in his final year of his four year term as the Hillsborough County Cattlemen’s Association President and serving on I the Florida Beef Council. He truly enjoys giving back to kids who have a love for the agricultural industry. Jason is very active in his church, Welcome Baptist Church, and truly is a man of faith. Although it is far out of his comfort zone, he is excited to hit the dance floor with his daughter, Madilyn, and can’t wait for the experience he is going to get!

Conrad Madilyn & Jason

Kevin Rios

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Kevin Rios is the owner of Just Dance Academy of Dance and Etiquette in downtown Lakeland. He has called Lakeland home for 20 years. From the Waltz to the Cha Cha and the Foxtrot to the Swing, Kevin’s dance academy has something for everyone. This year, Kevin is instructing six couples competing in the 2019 Dancing With the Locals.

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Stephanie Eisenbach is a native of Tampa. She moved to Plant City in 2004, after meeting Michael Eisenbach. They married in 2008 and made all their dreams come true. Embracing the Plant City community, Stephanie became involved in many of the area's services and local organizations. She served as president of the GFWC Junior Woman's Club Plant City, and Co-Chairman at the state level. Stephanie immersed herself in working with the area elementary schools chairing their annual "Shoe Project" which holds a special place in her heart. Little Miss Plant City was another program Stephanie had the pleasure of chairing. Another organization with which Stephanie has been involved is RISE, Plant City's planning committee where she assisted in the organization of the inaugural Dodgeball Tournament. Serving as Walden Lake Elementary's P.T.A. Vice President of Volunteers since 2016, she has loved participating in the many activities where her children, Evan and Maddox, attend school. The connection between school and community is exceptional in Plant City. If anyone is in the market to buy or sell a home, Stephanie is the quintessential realtor to call in the Plant City area. She has worked for Blue Sun Realty for the past five years where she has found her passion in the real estate world. Stephanie always has a smile and a kind word for everyone. Her family and friends are her life. When she isn't working or volunteering you can find her at either the soccer or baseball fields with her husband, watching their children play.

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Casey Stidham was born and raised in Plant City and currently resides in Lakeland. He graduated from Plant City High School in 2002. Now, Casey is a full time Musician. Casey is a father to Hope (12) and Carter (9). He lives with the love of his life, Katie McCorkle, and their 2 children. Indiana (12) and Colin (8 mo.) Casey joined Dancing With the Locals because he wanted to help the community and learn to dance!

Stidham Eisenbach Casey

Stephanie

Kevin Rios

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Kevin Rios is the owner of Just Dance Academy of Dance and Etiquette in downtown Lakeland. He has called Lakeland home for 20 years. From the Waltz to the Cha Cha and the Foxtrot to the Swing, Kevin’s dance academy has something for everyone. This year, Kevin is instructing six couples competing in the 2019 Dancing With the Locals. PAGE

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Steven Hollenkamp grew up in Valrico and attended Durant High School. After college (Go Gators!) he left this beautiful state to travel the world, work in the film industry, teach English in Korea, attend graduate school, and later work on Wall Street. In 2012 Steven created Cocktail Caviar, a nationally sold, patented liquor product inspired by his time in Asia. In 2016, Steven and his brother moved to Downtown Plant City, where they run the company. Plant City’s small town charm, amazing historic downtown, and his extensive friends and family are what make this home. Stephanie Steiner’s story starts in Plant City as her parents, Alton Douglass and Martha “Faye” Meeks Douglass met in Paradise (Fruit) Stephanie played softball from her youth in Plant City, into high school and even coed while in college. She has forever had a love for dance and instructed during her college years as well. Stephanie married Daniel Steiner, her Plant City High School sweetheart, who has since retired from the Navy and passed the baton to their son, Dominic, whom is presently in the Navy ROTC program at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona. Together they also have Marissa, a Varsity cheerleader and show choir member at Durant High school. You may have seen her performing with the local group Next Radical Generation, or volunteering in the community. While at USF, Stephanie earned 2 Bachelors degrees, the first in Psychology and the second in Nursing. Upon graduation, she immediately hired into the Cardiac ICU at TGH, as she knew where her “heart” was. Stephanie was the 1st in her unit at TGH to become ANCC Cardiac/Vascular Nurse Board Certified and top out on the Clinical Ladder. She used this experience, along with many others, to mentor and precept many nurses over the years. Stephanie has always enjoyed learning and sharing health and wellness information both personally and professionally. Pair this with her love for Cardiology and you can understand her excitement with getting to Coordinate the Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab at her hometown South Florida Baptist Hospital, in 2017. Since hiring, she has more than doubled the population served and got the Cardiac Rehab Nationally Certified, while adding a Vascular program and standardizing the Pulmonary program to be certified next. In her free time, Stephanie loves boating, scalloping, traveling and snow skiing with family. She would also love to find a way to take her 2 dogs everywhere with her.

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Stephanie is presently a Member of the Women of the Moose in Valrico and has held multiple positions on school committees and boosters, as well as community sports team management. Stephanie would like to thank DWTL organizers for such a fun opportunity to support the Rotary and the community she grew up in. Remember “Take Care of your Heart, or Stephanie will!”

Hollenkamp Steiner Steven

Stephanie

Teala Mahoney

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Teala has been teaching many styles of dance locally for over 20 years. She's currently teaching at Drawdy's Dance with her life long best friend, Amanda Drawdy and the Plant City YMCA. This is her third year working with Dancing with the Locals and it has become one of her favorite events to be apart of. PAGE

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Renée Jackson is a Florida native and raised just outside of Brandon. She’s lived in Plant City most of her life. Renée is the youngest of four girls. She’s a daddy’s girl and since her father had a paint & body shop, she grew up around cars & motorcycles. She enjoys mudding, mountain biking, football, fishing, working out, and loves to target shoot! Likewise, Renee loves the water, fishing and swimming has been two of her biggest hobbies, she recently bought a kayak and enjoys going kayaking as well. She also enjoys being in the kitchen. She loves to cook, bake & try new recipes. Renee's father was also a mason, so she was very involved with the Shriners and grew up helping children with Cerebral Palsy. She's also volunteered at Metropolitan Ministries as well as served on the disaster team for the Florida Red Cross. Although she has never really been in front of a crowd Renee is always up for a challenge and since she is a true believer in the quote, “Great things don’t come from comfort zones.” Shane Sexton is a poker dealer in the casino industry. A veteran and a graduate of the University of California Sacramento State. Sexton is a native of Gadsden, Alabama, currently residing in Brandon. Sexton runs the Alabama Alumni Association’s Brandon Chapter and loves riding his motorcycle. Sexton joined DWTL, as he is always up for a challenge and has always enjoyed dancing, so why not for a good cause?

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Jackson Sexton Renee

Shane

Susan Staton

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Susan teaches all Ballroom, Latin and Swing dances and was the first teacher for DWTL 12 years ago when she taught all of the contestants. She teaches ages 3 to 93 with her very own choreography that produces champions. She works for the cities of Winter Haven, Lakeland and Plant City, also teaching children and adults at Ultimate Dance Center. She can be reached at 863-604-5060. PAGE

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Did You Know?

Jeremiah “Jerry” Bailey; A Man Who Left His Mark On The Community By Plant City Photo Archives & History Center

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n his obituary, City Manager Nettie Draughon is quoted saying that Jeremiah “Jerry” Bailey has left his mark on this community. Mayor Sadye Martin called him a go-getter, and Sam Cooper said, “He wasn’t in it for the glory….He was a true leader.” Yet, some today know little about Jeremiah “Jerry” Bailey, the man who was known as a community leader from 1975 to 1994. Jerry Bailey is called the founder of the Improvement League of Plant City and served as its President for ten years. And he is credited as the prime mover in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Parade, in 1986, then the Plant City Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Festival, which by 1992 had grown to become the largest King memorial event in Hillsborough County. Jeremiah Bailey was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1925, the son of Henry C. Bailey and Pearl Cisco Bailey, both of whom were born in Virginia. Jeremiah was the ninth of ten children. Henry Bailey was a janitor at a Philadelphia hotel and Pearl was a “servant” for a private family. As a youth, Jeremiah attended John Bartram High School, a pre-dominately black public school in Philadelphia, where he was a noteworthy athlete and lettered in football. After World War II broke out, he wanted to serve his country and registered for the draft. He was activated and entered the U.S. Navy September 19, 1944. After serving on the USS Reina Mercedes, a station ship in Annapolis, Maryland, he was honorably discharged and released from duty July 6, 1946. Bailey returned to Philadelphia for a short time then enrolled at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, earning his B.S. degree August 12, 1953. He returned to Philadelphia and worked for the school PAGE

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district as a teacher and coach. He completed his graduate courses at Kean College (now University) in Union, New Jersey, earning his master’s in student guidance. In late 1960 he married Norma Gardner. Bailey continued with the school district and worked with juveniles, was active with the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Alumni Association, and with veterans’ organizations. He was presented the Legion of Honor Award by the Chapel of Four Chaplains (Philadelphia Naval Yard) “in recognition of outstanding service to all people regardless of race or faith.” Jeremiah’s father, the Rev. Henry C. Bailey, Sr., who had become the founder and pastor of the Second Mount Zion Baptist Church, died in 1966. His mother, Pearl Bailey, died in 1971. Accepting a position as Alternative Education Coordinator at the Hillsborough Regional (Juvenile) Detention Center in Tampa, Florida, in 1975, Jeremiah Bailey settled in Plant City. Here he became active in community affairs and joined the Plant City Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Sam Cooper, local NAACP President said, “Bailey plunged himself into community affairs almost immediately after relocating from Philadelphia.” In 1980, Jerry Bailey and Cynthia Robinson Bailey established their homestead on Smith Ryals Road in the Bealsville community, just southeast of the City of Plant City. They were both deeply involved with the African American community and with the City of Plant City. Jerry Bailey helped organize the Improvement League of Plant City in 1982 and served as President for the next ten years. Continuing his work with juveniles, Bailey helped organize and served as President of the Florida Juvenile Offenders Educators from 1983 to 1988, receiving its Leadership Award in 1984. And for his active role with the FAMU Alumni Association, Bailey received numerous awards from 1966 through 1984. Stressing the need to work together, Bailey worked closely with Plant City officials in promoting bus service, anti-drug campaigns, recreational opportunities for youth, educational events, and especially the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Parade in 1986, and the festivals beginning in 1987. He believed

the MLK Festival was for everyone, all walks, races, and religions. “King,” he said, “stood for the rights of all the people, not just black, and everybody should celebrate his holiday.” He emphasized inclusion and education for the holiday, and the education about African American history, culture, and heritage. The Plant City MLK Festival became the largest King memorial event in Hillsborough County. In 1989 Jerry Bailey received the NAACP Service Award, and the Improvement League presented him with its Leadership Award. After retiring from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice in 1992, after 17 years of service, Bailey continued his work with the Improvement League, but suffered from bone cancer and announced his decision to step down. The NAACP presented the Presidential Award to Jerry Bailey. The African American Student Union, Hillsborough Community College, Plant City Campus established its Jerry Bailey Service award and presented it to Sam Cooper, Plant City branch President of the NAACP. At the presentation, Cooper said, “It’s an honor to be the first recipient. Jerry is one of the outstanding leaders in the community. For the students to recognize him in this way shows their appreciation and awareness for the leadership he has provided.” Jeremiah “Jerry” Bailey passed away April 1, 1994. Services were held April 8, 1994, at Mount Olive AME Church. Sources: Newspaper articles from Newspapers.com; documents from ancestry.com; Improvement League of Plant City; interviews with Cynthia Bailey, and Olivia Polk; Plant City Photo Archives & History Center collections.


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

On Thursday, September 26th, The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for ER 24/7, a division of Brandon Regional Hospital. The Emergency Center at Plant City is staffed by a team of highly skilled physicians and nurses who are experienced in treating emergencies in patients of every age. The department is equipped to handle everything from strokes and heart attacks to injuries and illnesses. The full-service Emergency Center at Plant City offers the most convenient access to high level healthcare services. ER 24/7: 3065 James L. Redman Parkway, Plant City, Florida 33566

On Thursday, October 3rd The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for the new Your CBD Store! The mission of Your CBD Store-Plant City is to empower. They develop and provide cutting-edge CBD products that utilize natural plant synergies; while fostering informed consumers who seek and demand transparency with the hope of regaining a quality of life. Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a compound found in the cannabis plant which has many medical benefits. Products offered are available in Water Solubles, Edibles, Skin Care, Vaping, Pet Products, and Tinctures. Your CBD Store is located at: 2909 James L. Redman Pkwy Suite# 7, Plant City, Florida 33566 PAGE

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URGENT CARE IS COMING TO

SOUTH LAKELAND! Many times, your illness or injury isn’t severe enough to require emergency care, or to endure the inconvenience and high fees associated with an emergency room visit. Staffed by board-certified physicians, the new Watson Clinic Urgent Care South will specialize in the treatment of colds & flu, earaches, upper respiratory infections, small cuts and fractures, and much more. With the added convenience of after-hours availability and onsite access to x-ray, CT, ultrasound and laboratory capabilities, Watson Clinic Urgent Care South will have the technologies and expertise you need to get well fast.

NO APPOINTMENTS NECESSARY!

Watson Clinic South • 1033 N. Parkway Frontage Rd.

www.WatsonClinic.com/UCSouth

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“Hope, Love, & Pizza” Plant City’s Hungry Howie’s Fights Breast Cancer One Pizza at a Time When people think of October, thoughts of pumpkins, fall leaves and trick-or-treating may come to mind. But for many, October means “going pink” for the fight against breast cancer by increasing awareness of the disease and raising funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. Hungry Howie’s of Plant City is continuing its ten-year tradition of showing support for the fight against breast cancer by participating in the company’s national “Hope, Love & Pizza” campaign. Location owner, Ali Sobh, says the restaurant has participated in “Hope, Love & Pizza” since its founding. The company’s campaign is in partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation. As National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in full swing, Sobh shares his passion for helping those impacted by cancer and how Hungry Howie’s of Plant City intends to help breast cancer fighters and survivors in and outside of our community.

Written by Cierra Craft Photography by Cierra Craft

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Hearing the words “you have breast cancer” are amongst some of the most frightening words a woman can hear. But Hungry Howie’s of Plant City is working hard throughout the month of October to help reduce the rate of breast cancer diagnoses and deaths impacting residents of our community. Owner Ali Sobh says he and his team are hoping to create change- one pizza at a time. “We want those with breast cancer to know they’re not alone,” said Sobh. Sobh says for every person that walks through the door of his Hungry Howie’s, they’re not just customers, they’re family. Throughout the month of October, pizzas will be delivered and carried out in the brand’s iconic pink boxes. For every pizza purchased in a pink box, Hungry Howie’s will make a donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The National Breast Cancer Foundation was founded in 1991 by breast cancer survivor, Janelle Hail. NBCF's mission is to help women now by providing help and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education and support services. According to Hungry Howie’s website, the company joined the fight due to the prevalence of the disease has in the lives of many: “Most of us know someone who has been affected by this disease, which is why since 2009, we’ve been dedicated to spreading awareness and raising funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation® through our Love, Hope, & Pizza campaign.”

Hungry Howie’s Plant City owner, Ali Sobh, says his business is “more than just pizza.” It’s about building relationships with the customers who have supported his family’s business for 24 years.

This year alone, an estimated 268,600 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, as well as over 60,000 cases of non-invasive breast cancer. But, with the increased awareness and many women seeking early detection- self-breast exams, mammograms and more- 62% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage, for which the 5-year survival rate is 99%. According to the NBCF’s website, there are currently 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. Over 10 years, Hungry Howie’s has raised nearly $3 million dollars for the NBCF. In turn, NBCF is able to provide free mammograms and cancer screenings throughout a network of hospitals across the country. One such hospital is Moffitt Cancer Center on Magnolia Drive at USF’s Tampa Campus.

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Throughout the month of October, Hungry Howie’s delivers each pizza in a pink box, with a portion of each sale going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The organization provides free mammograms through a network of hospitals throughout the nation.

“This is helping those right here in our own backyard,” said Sobh. Hungry Howie’s of Plant City has the hopes of sending out at least 20,000 pink boxes throughout the month of October. For customers who prefer to order via Hungry Howie’s mobile app or online, they can also opt to add an additional donation to NBCF during checkout by either donating the change from rounding up their bill to the nearest dollar or visit Hungry Howie’s “Love, Hope, & Pizza” official donation page and make a contribution.

Charlie Sobh (left) purchased the Hungry Howie’s location at 208 N. Alexander Street 24 years ago. His son, Ali Sobh (right), grew up working in his father’s restaurant, learning all aspects of the business. After college, Ali became an owner in the business and today, the father and son continue to serve delicious pizza in a family-oriented business.

“We’ve participated in this campaign since the beginning, for ten years,” said Sobh. “The more pizzas sold, the more money raised. This year, we have had pink boxes since September and will use them until they run out.” Why does the family-owned and operated franchise participate in the inspiring mission? The Sobh family has been touched by cancer. “Anything involving cancer, I want to be apart of fighting it,” said Sobh. “My grandfather passed away from pancreatic cancer 17

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Most of us know someone who has been affected by this disease, which is why since 2009, we’ve been dedicated to spreading awareness and raising funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation® through our Love, Hope, & Pizza campaign. years ago, going on 18 years. I want to help as many people as possible impacted by cancer.” In addition to the company’s fundraiser, Sobh will donate to other cancer-related organizations such as Relay for Life, South Florida Baptist Hospital, and more. Sobh says his business goes far beyond pizza and there is more to his business than the name on the door. It’s about serving the community the Hungry Howie’s team loves, while supporting neighbors and friends in need. “I don’t do this for praise… I do it because I know it’s saving someone’s life,” said Sobh. “I always say this business is ‘more than pizza.’ At the end of the day when you leave this Earth, all that’s left is your name and what you did while you were alive.” Hungry Howie’s of Plant City stands out from the 500+ other locations, purely for the restaurant’s commitment to the community. Sobh says he has reached out to local families touched by cancer, offering to help in anyway possible. “The community has taken care of me, we like to give back to the community that has supported us for 24 years,” said Sobh. “They’ve taken care of us, we take care of them. I love how tight knit Plant City is. Everyone is very close and watches out for each other.” While pizza may bring people together for a delicious lunch, this month, pizza is bringing people together in hope of finding of a cure for breast cancer and in love for one another in our community.

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The Crossing Church Plant City Campus Opening September 15 Sundays at 10:30am 507 S Wheeler St, Plant City, FL (In the MadZone building)

Lead Pastors Greg & Tamara Dumas

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For updates or more info text the word: LAUNCH to: (844) 584-7155

Campus Pastors Michael & Julie Pippin

wearecrossing.com/plantcity

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Quality Septic, Inc. 1412 E. Baker Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 336-3690 Qualitysepticincorporated.com | Mon- Sat 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. BY CIERRA CRAFT

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tart with the need for a reliable, heavy duty vacuum truck to carry and empty septage everyday. Then, wrap the truck in patriotic pride. What do you have? The red, white and blue 4,200 gallon 2019 Freightliner, the pride and joy of Quality Septic, Inc., owned by Kevin Johnson. Johnson has made his support of the U.S. military and first responders a centerpiece of his business. Quality Septic, Inc., located at 1412 E. Baker Street, features American flags and statues of bald eagles along the fence line and the company is branded in the nation’s colors. “Why the patriotic colors? Simple.” said Johnson. “I love the U.S.A and I love the way our flag looks.” Johnson has worked in the liquid waste industry since high school, first as the manager of a heavy equipment rental company and for a portable toilet company. Johnson’s journey took off and he began teaching himself about the management of septic systems and how to run a business. He then founded Quality Septic, Inc. in 1994. “The early days were hard,” said Johnson. Since its founding 25 years ago, Quality Septic, Inc. has grown from one employee to over 20. “The team at Quality Septic works together well and we care for our customers- one thing we hate to see is customers being taken advantage of,” said Johnson. “We are committed to excellence.” The bread and butter of Quality Septic is pumping and drain installations, servicing thousands of residential septic systems annually across Hillsborough, Polk, Hernando and Pasco counties. The company is expert in septic maintenance and specialty repairs, including grease trap installation or pumping, elevated drain field installation, lift station maintenance or cleaning, engineered design systems, and HRS inspections. Johnson says he and his team of septic professionals are continuing to expand Quality Septic into new service areas. Johnson says homeowners can avoid costly septic system repairs by having “the tank pumped every three years to protect the drainfield.” To what does Johnson credit his 25 years of success? Hard work and building a relationship with customers. Quality Septic has built a reputation treating commercial and residential customers with respect and fairness. “We love Plant City and we like to make friends with all of our customers,” said Johnson. Quality Septic has a big heart for senior citizens, animals and supports those in need through local charities, such as Operation Paying It Forward. Quality Septic is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau and since 2004, has worked hard to maintain a A+ rating. If you're looking for a team of septic professionals with hometown values, call Quality Septic for a free estimate on a septic cleaning, installation or repair.

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25th ANNUAL Sunday, November 10th

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RISING STAR lonel

Gappy By Taryn Storter Photography by Anthony Sassano

Lonel Gappy, a junior at Durant High School, is running into the end zone on Friday nights for the Cougar Football Team. With Durant’s record of 3-3 at the time of publication, Gappy has been an important part of their team, as he has already scored three touchdowns this year with nine carries for 106 yards. He has given his best this season, thus far. Raised in Tampa, Florida, Gappy has been blessed with a very loving family who pushes him to be the best he can be “at all times.” He strives to succeed, because he wants to repay his parents for all they have done for him. Since he was very young, football has been his passion. He grew up playing the sport, and once he began high school, Dappy could not wait to try out for the team. Dappy expresses, “Football is most definitely my favorite sport because you never know what the outcome will be. When you are giving it your all, you always have fun no matter what.” He is both an outside linebacker and running back, making him a very valuable player. Dappy also runs track with the Cougars. Last year, he worked very hard to succeed and improve in each of his events. Heran the 100-meter dash and ended the season with a personal record of 11.89 seconds. This is an incredible feat, as Dappy started the year with time of 12.32 seconds. Shaving time off in this event was his goal, and he achieved it. Dappy also competed in the 200-meter dash, shot put, and discus. Inspiration can often be hard to come by, but Dappy says that he finds his motivation in his parents. He explains, “they never give up, so why should I?” As for the future, Dappy plans to go to a university to study robotics. He also hopes to play football in college and one day “make it far enough to be in the NFL.” He will dedicate himself to his goals until he reaches them. Keep your eye on Lonel Gappy, Plant City! He is scoring touchdowns for the Cougars and has ambitious dreams for his life! PAGE

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Sports Team of the Month

Strawberry Cresh High School Volleyball By Taryn Storter

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he 2019 Strawberry Crest Varsity Volleyball Team is bumping, setting, and spiking their way to victory this season. Their current district record is 4-1, one of the best in the area. Coming out of last season, the Lady Chargers won the District match and Coach Guinta Hunter plans for the team to go even further this year. Coach Hunter has coached volleyball for seven years, with the last four at Strawberry Crest. She explains, “what makes us unique is that we look small, but we are mighty.” She enjoys showing opponents what their team is made of, as they are often underestimated. The team is comprised of seven seniors, one junior, and five sophomores who have grown to be family to each other throughout this season. Captains Aidan Harris and Madison O’Connor play a big role in the team’s success. According to Coach Hunter, “they lead these girls through hard work and dedication.” Others stand out as well, as they strive for excellence on and off the court. Jada Brown, Michaela Waldrop, Katelyn Strickland, Valencia Carman, and Delaney Mobley are essential parts of the team and are crucial to the success of the Chargers. Hunter expresses, “They all come in, ready to play their hearts out. The talent that we have this

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year truly amazes me. I am very blessed!” There are already girls who have signed with major schools to play volleyball. Kassidy Bolling signed with Santa Fe College in Gainesville, and Madison O’Connor signed with Hillsborough Community College in Tampa. Coach Hunter is looking forward to supporting her girls in college and beyond as they continue in their volleyball careers. Coach Hunter truly loves her girls and is so excited to see them succeed. She says, “I love it when we get that big hit coming from Kassidy (Bolling) and Brilynn (Hallman). Or when my setters, like Aidan (Harris) come in for the save, and when Rachel (Bartlett) or Alex (Friebolin) comes in for a big block.” These girls have worked extremely hard to earn the Chargers’ victories. Coach continues by saying, “I can not say enough about this team and all the girls who are committed to seeing us win.” The Chargers Volleyball Team is comprised of: Jada Brown, Delaney Mobley, Madison O’Connor, Brilynn Hallman, Maleea Zeto, Rachel Barlett, Lillian Lee, Michaela Waldrop, Alexandra Friebolin, Katelyn Strickland, Aidan Harris, Kassidy Bolling, and Valencia Carman.


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Meet the

Maker: Mina Geist, Dixie Station Tattoo By Heather Davis Photography by Cierra Craft

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very so often, an artist will stick in your mind for a long time to come. One such artist is Mina Geist. When I first interviewed Mina, she was still in middle school and created anime art. Mina was just beginning to find out who she was and where she wanted to go in life. What a difference a few years can make. After graduating, Mina had the choice to pursue art school or just jump right into working as an artist. She chose the latter and has not looked back. With her father as her biggest supporter and critic alike, Mina like her dad delved into the world of tattoo art. But, just because her father is a successful tattoo artist this in no way made the path easy for Mina. When Mina started out she took what she called a “one year vow of poverty” knowing she was going to have to work her way up. For three years, she apprenticed under the skillful hand of her father. She has been tattooing now on her own for one year and has built up a clientele mostly by word of mouth. Mina’s skill and confidence in her abilities has grown immensely with each tattoo she has completed. “If I can get someone to come and talk to me, I can work with them to get a tattoo,” Mina stated. “Fifty percent of the tattoo is the skill level of the artist and the other 50% is the rapport that is built up between the client and myself,” she explains. Mina credits much of her confidence to her tattoo community, which she calls a family, as well as having the opportunity to guest spot in other tattoo parlors with her father. When I asked Mina what her most memorable tattoo she has ever done was she replied, “it was my very first tattoo, which is on my dad and is my name along with a skull with a bow.” Mina Geist Dixie Station Tattoo 902 E. Reynolds St., Plant City, FL 813-756-6999

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Leaders in

Faith

Pastor Ricky Lindsey, First Baptist Church of Plant City By Cheryl Johnston

A

native of Northeast Florida, Pastor Ricky Lindsey and his wife Jenny moved here in 2012 to serve at First Baptist Church Plant City. He shared, “We absolutely love this great town and the pride in community. I love that we come together for high school football games, the Strawberry Festival, and events like Lights of Love in McCall Park. It’s definitely a place where friends become family and we look out for one another.” Married in 2002 after attending the University of Florida, the Lindseys have two sons, Elijah and Micah. For fun they enjoy challenging each other playing Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch and spending time together at theme parks, the beach and anywhere outdoors. A defining moment came during his last summer of working at M-Fuge, a Christian summer camp. “I went to UF to become a computer programmer, but when my wife and I were heading home from California and driving to Nashville when I felt a call into fulltime ministry. We got home, prayed, and doors opened up for a ministry position in Northeast Florida. Now my life looks very different from zeros and ones on a computer screen. In preparation for ministry, Pastor Ricky earned his Master’s from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently working on a Doctorate in Next Generation Ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Describe how you made a decision for Christ. My life changed right after my senior year of high school. A few students began praying for me and seeking me out to invite me to their youth group. I was wrestling with questions about life and what happens when life ends, so I took those students up on their invite. Someone paid for me to go to camp that summer. On July 28, 1997, I actually listened to the Gospel and knew I was a sinner who needed to be saved by grace. I surrendered my life to Christ, and my life has never been the same. What is your present role at First BaptistPlant City? Interestingly enough, it’s changing. For the past seven years, I have served as Student Pastor at FBCPC, but I’m transitioning to our Next Generation Pastor position. This will allow me to serve families from birth to college and be right beside them encouraging, equipping, and engaging with them by utilizing a team who has a heart to reach the home with the Gospel. I’m really excited about our team and the work ahead. What do you enjoy most about your ministry? Discipleship is a huge part of my role as a pastor, and I love watching that moment when a student owns their faith and wants to know more and then in turn wants to share it with others. I love questions. I enjoy spending time with people and getting to know their story.

From the time I was called into ministry while driving across the country after working a summer camp, Jenny has served right beside me. Currently she serves our 12th grade girls. Do you have a favorite Scripture? 2 Timothy 2:2 because I believe we need to be teaching the next generation the truths that will carry on. [You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.] How do you most enjoy sharing your faith? I encourage those who are seeking to bring questions so we can talk about what they’re thinking and why. This opens doors for me to share what Scripture says and to share why I have hope in the Gospel. I like to get to know a person and their story. Any suggestions for those considering the Christian faith? Talk to strong Christian believers and find out the reason for the hope within them. Come join us at First Baptist Plant City for a service. Read the book of John. And for those already following Christ? Never get complacent. We all need to worship, grow, serve and reach. Don’t settle for just good enough – experience life in Christ.


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HONOR OUR NATION’S HEROES

VETERANS EVENT Sunday, November 10, 2019 Florida Strawberry Festival TECO Expo Hall

2301 W. Oak Ave Starts at 1:00 PM | Doors open at Noon

Two Free Tickets to Veterans w/ Military I.D. Tickets: $10 | Advance Tickets Only

Deadline to Purchase Tickets is Nov. 4 Tickets Available At:

AAA Gun & Ammo, Inc, 1105 Goldfinch Dr.

Pinch A Penny, 1411 S. Collins

Bruton Memorial Library, 302 McLendon St.

Universal Tire & Auto Repair, 203 E. Baker

G5 Feed & Outdoor, 4960 U.S. 92 Walden Lake Car Wash, 1414 S. Alexander YMCA, 1507 YMCA Place Cash or Checks Only

Sponsorship Opportunities Available Contact Judy Wise, 863-370-8389 Donations should be made to Plant City Main Street

Presented by Elks Lodge, Historic Plant City Main Street, City of Plant City and the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce PAGE

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SPONSORED BY

Candy’s Corner

www.HopewellFuneral.com FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED SINCE 1971

By Candy Owens

Those AUTUMN LEAVES keep falling down, And around the corner you might just see a clown. Or perhaps a scary Witch with an ugly green face, It’s a vision you might simply want to erase. Oh! Look there’s a Princess wearing a crown, Followed by a Fairy twirling round and around. There are Pumpkins, Ghosts, and so many scary sights, To help us remember that it’s HALLOWEEN night!

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alloween has become one of the most popular holidays in the United States over the past 125 years and is now second only to Christmas. Dressing up in costumes, decorating houses and yards with Halloween decorations and of course, the beloved ritual of Trick or Treating have made Halloween one of the most fun, looked forward to, and revered holidays by people of all ages. But where did this holiday come from and where did all these rather unusual customs get their start? Let’s take a quick look at the history of Halloween and the origin of the traditions so many people enjoy today. Like many other holidays, Halloween has evolved and changed throughout history. Over 2,000 years ago people called the Celts lived in what is now Ireland, the UK, and part of Northern France. November 1 was their New Year’s Day. They believed the night before the New Year (October 31) was a time when the living and the deceased came together. More than a thousand years ago the Christian church named November 1 All Saints Day (also called All Hallows.). This was a special holy day to honor the saints and other people who had passed away for their religion. The night before All Hallows was called Hallows Eve. Later the name was changed to Halloween. Like the Celts, the Europeans of that time also believed the spirits of the deceased would visit the earth on Halloween. So on that night people wore costumes that looked like ghosts or other creatures. They thought if they dressed like that, spirits would leave them alone. The tradition of Halloween was carried to America by the immigrating Europeans. Some traditions changed a little, though. For example, on Halloween in Europe some people would carry lanterns made from turnips. In America, pumpkins were more common. So people began putting candles inside them and using them as lanterns. That is why you see Jack ‘O Lanterns today.

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I know there has been so much change Halloween traditions through the years, but I sure am glad that by the time I came along Halloween was celebrated just the way it should be. Let’s ask a few people from my generation their thoughts on Halloween. Connie Bonds- Personal Lines Insurance Agent said: “Oh, I just loved the Halloween Carnivals at Cork Elementary. I was a student there back in the early 1960s. It was such a happy time and I had so much fun with my friends. We all dressed up in our homemade costumes and walked around the carnival talking, laughing, playing games, eating all sorts of goodies, and just having the best time.” Jeremy Lofstrom- “Owner in Training” of The Whistle Stop Café said: “I was about 10 years-old and out Trick or Treating in my neighborhood when my friends and I walked toward our neighbor’s house. We spotted a man dressed up like the character Michael Myers (from the Halloween movie series) just sitting in a lounge chair in the middle of his driveway, staring straight ahead. There was no way I was going up to him to get some candy. I was scared to death.” Lori McGinnis Yarborough- LifeLong Plant City resident, mother of two very active high school students, and community volunteer said: “I just loved the Halloween Carnivals at Bryan Elementary. I remember dressing up like a big black spider and walking across the stage on my hands during the costume contest.” Stewart Ross-Insurance Agent said: “SNICKER BARS!!!” I just loved to go Trick or Treating so I could get Snicker Bars.” Allen Merrill- Born and raised in Plant City, everybody’s friend loved by all, and son of the late J.D. Merrill, a former Mayor of Plant City said: “I loved to go Trick or Treating and loved the Wilson Elementary Halloween Carnivals. There was nothing like them. But, when I became a teenager, I loved to crawl up on the roof of our house and drop eggs on the unsuspecting Trick or Treaters. HAHAHA!! Julie Willis Futch- Plant City native, Little Miss Plant City of 1970, 1977 Strawberry Festival Queen Court Member, and artist said: “The Halloween Carnivals at Jackson Elementary are my favorite memories of Halloween. One year my Mother was in charge of the Haunted House. She borrowed a genuine casket from one of the funeral homes here in town and had my brother Jodi pop out of the casket as kids walked by. After the carnival was over, the funeral home was closed, so we had to load it up in the back of my parent’s station wagon and take it home with us until the funeral home reopened. I had to ride in the back of the wagon with the casket. I was scared to death even though I

knew it was empty. I have not, nor will I ever forget that Haunted House and ride home with that casket for the rest of my life.” Halloween holds such wonderful memories for me. There is no way to describe the excitement I felt through the years as a child when I was dressed up in my costumes. The Halloween Carnivals at Jackson Elementary were second to none. We had costume contests, chicken and rice suppers, rummage sales, hamburger and hot dog stands, sweet shops with the best homemade cakes, pies, and candies, clown dunking booths, bean bag toss, Ring the Milk Bottles, Pick up the Ducks for a prize, going fishing for prizes with old cane poles, French fry and cotton candy booths, snow cones, popcorn, and pickles on a stick. We even had our fathers dress up and participate in a “Miss America” contest (Now that brought the house down!!). My favorite of all were the haunted houses. Those were the thrill of a lifetime for us kids. All of that, along with the scary movies like: Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolfman, Frankenstein, Abbot and Costello Go To the Wax Museum, Vincent Price’s The Tingler, House on Haunted Hill, Night of the Living Dead, and of course, Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin helped set the mood. But these were not to be outdone by visions of bags full of candies from Trick or Treat night, carving pumpkins with my family, and the cool crisp air of Fall. Even the television stations ran commercials by the Kraft Company showing a mother’s hand dipping apples on a stick into a pot of hot bubbly caramel and the same hand slicing a big and rich piece of Kraft Philadelphia Cheesecake. Now how was that for setting the mood? As the seasons change and time marches on, we now find ourselves in a world where Halloween, Halloween Carnivals, and Trick or Treating are being done away with. Why? Because some people say that Halloween promotes evil. How in the name of all that is good and made with love be considered wrong? Our parents went out of their way to make the best Halloween carnivals, costume parades, dunking booths, chicken and rice suppers, popcorn and snow cone booths, and haunted houses for us. They decorated, helped us carve pumpkins, sewed costumes, took us Trick-or-Treating, and yes…some of our mothers even made Kraft Caramel Apples on a stick. HAHAHA!! I just know you could ask any person 40 years or older about Halloween and you would not have one person who didn’t smile, chuckle, and have happy thoughts of their childhood Halloweens. I think people need to stop and think about it and stop overthinking!! Happy Halloween and Trick or Treat!


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Norma’s Cuban Sandwich Shop Celebrating Two Years Of Culinary Variety BY CIERRA CRAFT

120 N. Collins Street, Plant City, FL 33563 8137046015 normanscuban.com Monday- Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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wo years ago, Leo Mesquita and Chef Andy Nassar joined forces to create a flavor destination in historic downtown. While Norma’s is best known for their Cuban sandwiches, the shop truly lives up to its slogan: More Than Just a Sandwich Shop. Since its soft opening in November 2017, Norma’s menu has chartered beyond sliced bread, meat and cheese for lunch and dinner. “While our intent is to keep the original Norma's legacy in Plant City, we also keep finding ways to diversify our menu in order to expand our clientele,” said Mesquita. “You might notice this initiative through our Taco Tuesday, Meal Prep service and Night at Norma's.” Norma's began an after-hours, reservation-only, monthly dining experience, titled Night at Norma's. The restaurant is transformed from a casual eatery into a candle-lit dining room. Nassar serves an exclusive menu of culinary dishes that are not found on Norma's daily menu. While the individual ingredients are rather simple, the combinations created at Nassar's hand are progressive and unlike anything else served in Plant City. “Night at Norma's menu is based on our Chef's inspiration,” said Mesquita. “The menu is created around a wide-range of multicultural cuisine. For example; your starter course could be Italian, an Asian recipe for the entree and finishing with a dessert from Latin America.” Then, in January 2019, Mesquita developed another program that took Plant City by storm: Norma's began offering meal prep plates to-go. Every three weeks, the restaurant releases meal combinations of a protein, a vegetable and a starch. Customers choose their own combination and pick up their completed meal prep dishes the following Monday. The meal prep plates allow Plant City residents to enjoy a convenient and healthy pre-packaged meal assisting with a customer's fitness goals. Five meals are $40, 10 meals are $70 and 15 meals are $100. “Meal Prep has been an incredible addition to our business,” said Mesquita. “We serve hundreds of meals every week and it's likely that Norma's will have a revamped and optimized meal prep service starting January 2020. This summer, Norma's launched a new weekly meal to incentivize hungry Plant City residents to visit the downtown eatery. Norma's serves up a Taco Tuesday menu of tacos and taco bowls, with a rotating menu of protein options,

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including flavors like shredded pork, al pastor and fish, among others. Taco Tuesday begins at 11:00 AM. For $4.50, customers receive three homemade flour tortillas, stuffed with protein and topped with chopped onions and cilantro. Each week, the taco protein offerings differ, allowing customers to explore new flavors each Tuesday. Customers are also given the option of purchasing taco bowls, built on a bed of crispy homemade tortilla chips, topped with meat, lettuce, diced tomatoes, onions, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Each week, the taco bowl protein options vary, as well. Prices start at $6.00. Finally, the restaurant offers catering services as well for events, business meetings and more. Customers can choose from: • Sandwich trays with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles on the side • Mini Deviled Crab or Potato Balls • Garbanzo Bean Soup • Black Beans • Chicken and Yellow Rice • Norma’s Hummus • House Salad • Roast Pork Sliders • Fajitas • Norma’s Grab and Go Box Includes any 9" sandwich, chips & a cookie (Minimum of 20 per person) • Norma’s Corporate Catering Special: Black Beans, Yellow Rice, Shredded Mojo Pork & Fried Yuca (minimum of 20 per person) For any additional catering questions or any desired food not listed, call 813-704-6015 or email info@normascuban.com. “There are many other options available for catering,” said Mesquita. “To name a few, Ropa Vieja, Pork Belly Tostada and Red Wine Braised Short Ribs. We work with any catering requests and have provided to a variety of events such as weddings, professional sports teams, local businesses, etc.” To what does Leo Mesquita tribute his success? The Norma’s team and the support of the community, including customers and city organizations.” “My success comes from a variety of support groups, starting with our amazing staff who truly works together as a team. Not to mention the great customers who spread the word about our small business and come see us every week. Other organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street and local businesses have been an incredible help as well.” In 2020, Norma’s has set its sights on improving several of these programs, including the meal prep service and catering. “It is likely that we will have a special announcement to Plant City very soon,” said Mesquita. To stay up-to-date with Norma’s, visit Norma’s on Facebook and Instagram @normascuban and sign-up for the restaurant’s email newsletter at normascuban.com

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a. Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

b. Fried Gizzards Over Purple Potato Puree, Fennel, and Apple Slaw

c. Scallop Crudo with Fried Ginger and Cilantro Coconut Vinaigrette PAGE

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Plant City

Happenings OCTOBER

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Calvary Freewill Baptist Church Trunk or Treat

Bluegrass JAM at Krazy Kup

6:00PM Costumes Encouraged | Family Friendly |Truck or Treat Calvary Baptist Church 3539 E Trapnell Rd Cost: Free Info: (813) 659-0761

7:33PM Bluegrass Music | Coffee | Community Krazy Kup 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd Cost: Free Info: Krazy Kup, (813) 752-1220

YMCA Trunk or Treat

19 Plant City Strawberry Classic Cruise-In 3:00PM Classic Cars | Vendors | Live DJ 102 N. Palmer Street Cost: Free Info: (813) 754-3707

4:00PM Fall Festival | Trunk-or-Treat | Costumes welcome Plant City Family YMCA 1507 YMCA Pl Cost: Free Info: (813) 757-6677

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Plant City Food Truck Rally 5:00PM- 9:00PM Theme: Halloween Corner of Drane & Palmer Streets Cost: Free Admission & Parking Info: plantcitymainstreet.com PAGE

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Plant City Clay Shoot by Unity in the Community 8:00AM Clay Shoot | Community | Fundraising FishHawk Sporting Clays 13505 Hobson Simmons Rd, Lithia, FL 33547 Cost: $125- $2,500 Info: unityinplantcity.com

9 Pioneer Heritage Day 9:00AM- 3:00PM Period Reenactments | Live Entertainment | Arts & Crafts | Family Fun 1914 Plant City High School Community Center 605 N. Collins St Cost: Free Info: East Hillsborough Historical Society, 813-752-9556, info@ehhsoc.org

Springhead Baptist Church Trunk or Treat 6:30PM Food | Fellowship | Family Springhead Baptist Church 3106 S. Wiggins Road Cost: Free Info: (813) 752-4879, sbaptistchurch@ tampabay.rr.com

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Dancing with the Locals 6:30PM Live Entertainment | Fundraising | 21+ Only HCC Plant City- Trinkle Center 1206 N Park Rd Cost: $100 per ticket Info: Jodi Stevens, Jodi.Stevens@ baycare.org

9 Plant City Empty Bowls Project 10:00AM Art | Entertainment | Fundraiser Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum 102 N Palmer St Cost: $10 Info: Silvia Dodson, (813) 754-1521

10 Plant City Veterans Weekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Veterans BBQ 12:00PM Free Veterans Lunch | Live Band | Presentation of Colors TECO Expo Hall 2301 W Oak Ave Cost: Free with Military ID or VA Card; $10 for all others Info: Judy Wise, (863) 370-8389


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Diamonds and Denim 2019 Diamonds and Denim is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Foundation at South Florida Baptist Hospital. Hundreds gathered for this event in support of the hospital on Thursday, Sept. 26. Photos by Angela Ardrey

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d a. Carl Grooms of Fancy Farms was among the attendees at the 2019 Diamonds and Denim event. b. Brewington’s Towing Service contributed a YETI cooler, insulated tumblers and fishing gear to the SFBH’s auction. All funds raised through the auction go directly to the Foundation at SFBH. PAGE

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c. Jim Sun, Dr. Brett Frazier and Angie Frazier, Kandace Johnson, Yvonne Ocasio and Jennifer Robinson enjoyed one another’s company at Diamonds and Denim over a meal catered by 911 Catering.

e. Tim Lovett and Paul Davis of the Florida Strawberry Festival enjoyed the dinner catered by 911 Catering. The event was held at the Festival’s Grimes Agricultural Center.

d. Jennifer and Brian West attended the western-themed event to support the Foundation at SFBH.

f. 911 Catering served shrimp cocktail surrounding an ice sculpture of a cowboy boot.

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BOO! Created by Calvin R. and Jackie Mathews

BOO ! ACROSS 1. Deadly snake 4. Flower stalk 8. To the rear 11. Pitcher’s delights 15. All lined up 16. Composed 17. Ghostly group’s representative? 19. Ghost glasses? 22. Bring into correspondence 23. Acad. conductor 24. Tipsy fellow 25. Sand toys 27. __-um; tiny biting insect 28. Pilgrim destinations 30. Gold or uranium 33. Testing site 35. Unpleasant 36. Enjoys Japanese food on Halloween? 42. 6/6/44 44. Evil one 45. School 47. Brown amphibian 50. Neighbor of NJ 52. Is able to 54. Queues 55. Walked leisurely 57. 48 Down export 60. Conducted 61. Meals of lamb and charoset 62. Joshua’s partner 63. Light 65. Wisk rival 67. Bill denomination 68. Parental advicegiver whose books might be read on Halloween? 72. Jungle critter 75. Teachers’ org. 76. Being 77. Fertile refuge 79. Wandered 84. Baby carriers 86. Tramload 87. Leaning 88. Comical Fudd 89. Early transport 90. Go deeper 92. Joint 93. Splendid scene 95. ’70s dos 100. RC, for one 102. Stops at a Washington city on Halloween? 105. Pond growth 108. Second-largest ocean: abbr. 109. Hertz rival 110. Eddies 112. 1975 song “You __ Beautiful” 117. Soldier’s item

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by Calvin R. & Jackie Mathews

Floating object Promissory note Hawthorne, e.g. Praised on Halloween? Where a ghost might have spent Halloween in Prohibition days? Renaissance Faire adjective Norwegian boy’s name __ time; never Explosive letters Actress Susan’s kin Ave. crossers

21. 26. 29. 31. 32. 34. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 43. 46. 47. 48. 49. 51. 53. 56. 58. 59. 60. 61. 63. 64. 66. 69. 70. 71. 72.

Sudden cramp Dog food brand Lie close and snug Train schedule letters Eliot’s monogram Offer Pupil’s place __ more; again Christmas Heartburn causer Orson Welles’ Citizen Brain passage Insert Suffix for baron or host Fast food purchase Country in Asia Up to the task Impasses Conformed Lessen One __ million Green fruits Slow, in music __-pitch softball Ending for Max or Paul Fruitcake container Actress Myrna Say no more Polite person’s word Fight results, for short As comfortable __ old shoe 73. Long 74. Spanish vane direction 78. Acid neutralizer

DOWN 1. Unbroken horse 2. Tic-tac-toe win 3. Clumsy 4. Read over quickly 5. City near Puget Sound 6. Perpendicular addition 7. Fem. title 8. ’63-’72 space program 9. Left completely alone 10. Crag 11. Capital city 12. Thurman’s namesakes 13. London art gallery 14. Dagger of old 15. Cathedral features 17. __-fi 18. Berry or Griffey 19. Total 20. Poet’s contraction 1

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© Puzzle Features Syndicate

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A N S A

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R O A E L M T A B V I T A C O

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B A R S P O U S N M E C S O

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

S L I E S T L O G J A M S

I L N I A M E A S S A F P O A F L L Y

R O L E S T I N

T E M A L M C L E S O P M E T A A T S S D E M

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

Boo!

T O K R E N B I Y D U L S E L O K O A S G O L A S W O Y W E R S

A P E A S I S L A N T K N E E A L G A I R L S I O U L L O F O L F T S K A N E

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a Gallery of Plant City

Schmoozapalooza 2019 Thursday, September 19, the Plant City community gathered for the 2019 Schmoozapalooza. The community tailgate party allowed businesses to show off their products and services to Plant City residents, with prizes and complimentary food and drink. Photos by Cierra Craft

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e f a. Lindsay Alvarez for Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge made an appearance at the event, participating in the football tailgate-themed games. b. Cynthia Diaz, owner of The Corner Store, offered attendees complimentary sliders and pasta salad. Guests were also encouraged to drop their business card for a free lunch catering. c. Anthony Preston, Sandi Willis and Trent Hinds of Florida Insurance Center enjoyed the community event by conversing with clients and building connections within the Plant City community. PAGE

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d. The Pregnancy Care Center received many complements on their table decoration. Complete with pumpkins and footballs, the Pregnancy Care Center shared with attendees the important services provided at their downtown office. e. Lisa and Jeremy Rhodes of The Rhodes Group, met with friends, fellow business owners and potential customers to discuss real estate. f. The 911 Catering team from South Florida Baptist Hospital, including Laurel Ciccone, John Belcher, Executive Chef Michael Ambrosino, and Beth Tancredo, were on site providing complimentary hors dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;oeuvres for Schmoozapalooza guests and participants.


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Profile for Floyd Publications

FOCUS Plant City 18-10  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 18-10 October 2019

FOCUS Plant City 18-10  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 18-10 October 2019

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