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Why go to an emergency center that’s connected to a hospital? What if you need the rest of the hospital? When it comes to your health, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Which is why during an emergency such as a stroke or heart attack, every second counts. We don’t want to risk our patients’ lives by transferring them to a different hospital for emergency surgery. Here, if you need to be rushed to surgery, it’s down the hall, not down the road. We also have access to cutting-edge equipment and some of the best doctors, nurses and specialists in the region are only a few feet away. If you need a pint of blood, no problem, we’re connected to a blood bank. Not to mention that our rehabilitation, orthopedic, oncology and maternity departments are only a wheelchair ride away. The best place to go during your emergency is a facility designed to handle any emergency. And that’s right here at BayCare’s South Florida Baptist Hospital.

18-337254-0218

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Contents Table of

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS

BY ANGELA ARDREY PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEANNA HURLEY This month, we are spotlighting military veterans who lead and inspire our community. Meet these five veterans and one veteran’s widow, as they share heart wrenching stories of bravery and honor.

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MARCHING FORWARD THE SECOND TIME AROUND

BY EMILY TOPPER Plant City residents Jeannie and Dave Elliott, along with their team The Awesome Original Second Time Arounders Marching Band, are gearing up to perform in the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Meet the Elliotts as they prepare for their NYC debut.

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GLAM & GRIT

BY CIERRA CRAFT PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEANNA HURLEY From the produce field to ballrooms, the Madonia family has built a legacy on hard work, integrity and kindness. Batista J. Madonia IV is forging a new path in the Madonia family story, founding Blue Skies Unlimited Construction in 2017.


FOCUS PLANT CITY

focusplantcity.com / Issue 18-11 / Nov. 2019

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FOCUS is proud to present our annual Holiday Gift Guide, featuring products and services from our community’s small businesses. This holiday season, please remember to shop small, shop local.

BY CIERRA CRAFT

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

ADVANTAGE RESTORATION

Advantage Restoration, founded in 2005 by Jason Jones, provides remediation and restoration to fire, water, and mold damaged properties. Learn more about Advantage Restoration’s commitment to the Plant City community.

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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

MARYLAND FRIED CHICKEN

BY CIERRA CRAFT “Fresh, Tasty, & Delicious” is more than just a slogan at Maryland Fried Chicken. It’s a promise. For 50 years, the Naset tfamily has served up crispy chicken, pressure cooked in pure peanut oil, becoming a staple in Plant City cuisine.

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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From The Publisher

As we head into the holiday season, it's time for reflection. This time of year, I often reflect on all that I am thankful for in life.

THOUGHTS OF THANKFULNESS

I am thankful for my wonderful family, particularly my sons. We are busy with our individual schedules, but I am looking forward to spending quality time as a family as we transition into the holiday season. I am also reflecting on the early days of FOCUS Magazine- I couldn't imagine 18 years ago that the publication would have such a lasting impact on the lifestyle of our community. I am thankful for each and every business owner who chooses to advertise within the publication. It is with the continued support of these advertisers, FOCUS Magazine remains a trusted platform

for delivering the stories we care about the most. Be sure to follow us on social media to see what we are thankful for. I also want to thank the readers for their support. Your continued readership has allowed our print publication to flourish. It is my hope as we further develop our digital delivery services, you will enjoy FOCUS Magazine in a new way. Finally, I want to thank the dedicated staff of the publication. Our staff is truly a family and together, we work hard to further develop FOCUS Magazine. Thank you to the team of writers and contributors who lend their talents to the publication.

Warmest Regards, Mike Floyd PAGE

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Community

FOCUS

Feed Families in Need this Holiday Season

CHECK IN WITH PLANT CITY

The United Food Bank of Plant City has kicked off their Thanksgiving Turkey Drive. Help feed families in need this holiday season with your donation. Please donate turkeys to the Food Bank at 702 E Alsobrook St # H. Contact the United Food Bank at (813) 764-0625 with any questions.

Marshall GQ Club featured on ABC Action News Marshall Middle School’s Gentlemen’s Quest club was featured on ABC Action News on Nov. 7. The program teaches young men confidence, manners, and respect for themselves and others. The GQ program is made up of students from all cultures and walks of life. The group is led by Marshall teacher Stanley Glover who told ABC Action News, “You see the diversity in this room? That brings the power.” To learn more about Marshall’s GQ program, contact Mr. Glover at Stanley.Glover@sdhc.k12.fl.us

Strawberry Crest Welcomes New Principal On Oct. 15, the School District of Hillsborough County named Christine Raburn the new principal of Strawberry Crest High School. The school’s former principal, David Brown, transferred to Jule F. Sumner High. Raburn was Crest’s assistant principal of curriculum, with a career spanning almost 20 years as a school district employee. Congrats, Principal Raburn!

PCHS Seniors Named Optimist Outstanding Youth Congratulations to William Alecock, Carley Cotnoir, Kyle Hamilton, Simran Kumar, Zamir Lundy-Knighten, Hannah Manley, Danny RamirezHernandez and Taryn Storter for being selected as the 2020 Optimist Outstanding Youth!

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Florida Strawberry Festival elects new director and associate members The Florida Strawberry Festival Board of Directors recently voted to elect its newest directors, Dr. Michael Salvato and Chris Sparkman, and associate directors, Calvin “Pee Wee” Callins, Sr. and Brian Shepherd. “We are incredibly honored to have had so many outstanding nominees,” said Florida Strawberry Festival Chairman of the Board Dub McGinnes. “It was difficult to select just four.”

Plant City Christmas Parade Announces Grand Marshals

Arts Council announces Chili Fest 2020 Mark your calendars for January 25, 2020 for the Art Council of Plant City’s annual Chili Fest! Each year, the council hosts the annual festival to celebrate the culinary arts in our community. For sponsorship opportunities or to sign up, email Dodie White at dodiewhite@ msn.com

The 2019 Plant City Christmas Parade will be led by Grand Marshals David and Diane Brewington. The Brewingtons are mainstays in Plant City and have supported the community and youth for decades. The parade, themed “Celebrate the Season- 2019,” will be held on Friday, Dec. 6 at 7:00 p.m. Congratulations to the Brewingtons for this incredible honor!

Photo Archives celebrates 15th anniversary Salute to Veterans November 11 through January 2, 2020, the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center will display its Salute to Veterans exhibit. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the exhibit’s display. This year, Salute to Veterans will include a continuous slide show displayed on a 65” television, 8x10 portraits, enlargements and banners on display, as well as a second television playing veteran documentaries. If any local veterans would like to submit their photos as part of the collection, materials can be dropped off at the Plant City Photo Archives from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Your CBD Store to Host Grand Opening Your CBD Store, located at 2909 James L Redman Pkwy #7 in the Panera Bread plaza, is hosting its grand opening on Nov. 22. The shop is dedicated to educating customers on cannabidiol products to achieve balance in one’s life. Be sure to stop by Your CBD Store on Nov. 22 to see if the establishment’s proprietary products are right for you.


Plant City Main Street names new Executive Director Plant City Main Street has named Jerilyn Rumbarger as Executive Director of the organization. Rumbarger is a Brooksville native, but after moving to Plant City, she quickly became involved in the community. Her background includes content creation, social media management and branding. She is a mom and a business owner. Rumbarger and her fiancĂŠ, Brandon Snyder, opened Roots Taproom & Wine Bar earlier this year on Evers Street. To learn more about Plant City Main Street, visit Plant City Main Street on Facebook.

Outback competes in softball tournament The staff of Outback Steakhouse Plant City competed in a softball tournament against other Outback Restaurants in the area. For the second consecutive year, Outback Plant City won the tournament, taking home the Bonzer Cup. Congratulations to the Plant City Outback team for two undefeated years!

2019 Diamonds and Denim raises Thousands for SFBH The Foundation at South Florida Baptist Hospital has announced the 2019 Diamonds and Denim Gala, held Sept. 26, raised $117,000 for the hospital. More than 600 people attended the annual event. Through sponsorships, raffle, and ticket sales, Diamonds and Denim has raised more than $1,000,000 for SFBH. PAGE

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Walden Lake Review BY NATALIE SWEET

W

alden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 7:00 at the Walden Lake Community Association office building on Griffin Boulevard in Walden Lake. The next meeting is scheduled for November 18th. The meetings are open to all Walden Lake HOA members. Please keep an eye on the announcement boards at all entrances for dates and times of special meetings and events. During the month of October, there were 11 sales in Walden Lake and one sale in Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $295,683 with an average of 56 days on the market.

The October sales are as follows: Address / Sales Price / Living Area / Pool / Garage 3445 Silverstone Drive / $235,000 / 1571 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 1500 Paddock Drive / $247,500 / 2044 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 2913 Sutton Oaks Court / $267,000 / 1936 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 1101 Sandalwood Drive / $269,990 / 1923 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 3472 Silver Meadow Way / $280,000 / 1877 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 4012 Silverspring Drive / $285,000 / 2033 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 3223 Kilmer Drive / $297,700 / 2286 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 2891 Hammock Drive / $313,000 / 2347 sq’ / Private / 3 Car 2864 Hammock Drive / $320,000 /3890 Sq’ / No / 3 Car 2704 Forest Club Drive / $335,000 / 2837 Sq’ / Yes / 2 Car 1904 N Golfview Drive / $340,000 / 3072 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 2705 S Fairway Drive / $358,900 / 2734 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car There are currently 21 active listings for sale in Walden Lake with an average list price of $349,115 and an average of 53 days on the market. Two of these homes are in Polo Place and listed for $850,000 and $999,999. If the 2 Polo Place listings are eliminated, the average list price is $288,495 and 47 days on the market. There are 16 properties Pending Contract with an average list price of $304,624 and average of 22 days on the market. Save the date! The Walden Lake HOA Board will be hosting Breakfast with Santa on Saturday December 14th from 9:00 AM to Noon. The Sweet Team with Keller Williams Realty will be sponsoring and serving the Pancake Breakfast at the pavilion at the Sports Complex. Santa asks that you visit him before breakfast, so we don’t get him all syrupy! Here will also be a train ride for you and old. This is an event you don’t want to miss! If you know you will be able to make it, please email BetteG@WaldenLake.org so we are sure there is plenty. A resident meeting was held on November 7th with the golf course developer, Walden Lake LLC, at the Church of God on Mud Lake Road. There were many residents who spoke in opposition of apartments, about traffic concerns, environmental concerns etc. The developer had many experts in various fields at the meeting to answer questions. For more information and to keep informed, log in to www.WaldenLake.org and go to the news tabs. Keep up with meetings as they are listed on the message boards as you enter Walden Lake. 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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The Lakes and The Oaks at Countrywood have stunning new homes for sale! If golfing lakeside peaks your interest, the 55+ Community of The Lakes is for you! Interested in a family-friendly community? The Oaks is an All-Age Community with plenty of amenities to keep your family active and entertained.

NEW HOMES

STARTING IN THE $90s

Two, Three & Four Bedrooms Available

TAKE A PERSONAL TOUR OF A NEW HOME

Ask About Our Limited Time, Move-In Specials Happening Now!

Community Features 9 Holes of Golf Pet-Friendly Clubhouses & Pools RV Storage Playground-The Oaks

Call Today to Schedule a Tour! (813) 703-2666

EQUAL HOUSING

OPPORTUNITY

CountryWood Estates, 745 Arbor Estates Way, Plant City, FL 33565 Must meet residency requirements. Specifications, options, and layout vary by model and are subject to change without notice. Additional restrictions may apply, see sales associate for details. PAGE

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IN THEIR

OWN WORDS LOOKING INTO THE FACES OF PLANT CITY VETERANS

Written by Angela Ardrey Photography by Deanna Hurley Photography

Every year in November, our Nation comes together to honor and remember the courageous men and women who have sacrificed and served in the United States armed forces. But think for a moment – when was the last time you sat down with a Veteran and just listened? Their stories are rich with experiences. Their words evoke tears, yet will give you a sense of pride. You will discover their journeys come with a price. And if you allow yourself to listen long enough, you will find yourself captured by the story they choose to share with you. The following pages will give you a glimpse into the lives of six people – five military veterans and one veteran widow. PAGE

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ALVIN CHARLES MCGARY UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

How is it that a man can have his whole future determined by a single decision, a decision to follow the guiding words of a dear friend he looked up to? How is it that a man can impact so many lives by this one decision, a decision to become a soldier? He may find himself asking, “Did I follow my calling? Did I pursue my dreams? Did I become all that I was meant to be?” Growing up as the second of ten siblings in Ponchatoula, LA, Alvin Charles McGary joined the military at the age of 21. He entered the U.S. Air Force in October 1972 as a Jet Engine Mechanic and retired at the rank of Master Sergeant, First Sergeant of the 56th Security Police Squadron, MacDill AFB in Tampa in November 1992. In His Own Words “I entered the Air Force in 1972, near the end of the Vietnam War, at the advice of my best friend, Ronald Coleman (now a retired Colonel of the USAF). I was a Jet Engine Mechanic. I was in charge of fixing the fighter jets and sending them back into action. I worked on various fighter jets - F-111 Aardvark, A-7 Corsair II, T-33 Shooting Star (or T-Bird), F-4 Phantom II, Recon F-4 Phantom, T-38 Talon, F-5A/B Freedom Fighter, and F-5E/F Tiger II. My heart would break at times for the pilots. I knew they might not come back that day. I also knew they were flying out to do damage to someone else. Either way, somebody was not going to come back that day. But what was more prevalent for me during this time was when a captain came to me and said, ‘Staff Sergeant McGary, do you know we fight over your planes? Whenever we see your name on that form, we know the jet is fixed right. And everybody wants that jet, because we know we won’t have a problem when we see your name on the form. You take your time and stay out there until you get it right. However long it takes, 12 to 14 hours sometimes, we know you fix that jet until you get it right.’ That captain’s words meant a lot to me. It was not for the reason of possibly being seen as the best jet engine mechanic in the Air Force. It was the fact that I was dedicated to doing it right, and that they could depend on me. I never wanted to let them down... I always made sure to do it right the first time. It became a valuable lesson for me. PAGE

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Even right now, I live by this lesson – to do it right the first time. You know what, I met my wife in college at Southeastern Louisiana University before joining the military. We got married in 1974 and are still married today, 45 years to be exact. She got to go with me everywhere, except for Korea during Vietnam and when I was on special assignment. I don’t know how she has put up with me this long… See, I did it right the first time. My service in the military definitely impacted me. I grew. I grew a lot. It was the military.” Military History McGary’s specialty as a Jet Engine Mechanic afforded him the opportunity to be stationed at Air Force bases in New Mexico, Louisiana, Korea, Florida, England, Italy, Arizona, and Okinawa; and many more bases and countries on temporary assignment. McGary has an Associate of Applied Science degree from Community College of the Air Force in Aircraft Power Plant Technology, specializing in Aircraft, Spacecraft, and Rocket Engines. A Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and completed the academic requirements for a Master degree in Public Administration. He also has a FAA Aircraft Airframe and Powerplant License. After retirement from the military, McGary worked for the State of Florida as an Employment Representative and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist (DVOP) and Transition Instructor at MacDill AFB Transition Assistant Program. As a DVOP, he assisted many veterans with finding employment, getting into the Vocational Rehabilitation and skill training programs, and case managed them to self-sufficiency. He retired from the State of Florida in 2013. McGary is also a 32nd degree Mason who obtained his 32nd degree at the Old Priory in England, United Kingdom and is Past Worship Master of Okinawa Military Lodge, and Past District Deputy Grand Master of Okinawa. He is a member of the American Legion and Past Commander of Norman McLeod American Legion Post #26 in Plant City.


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GEORGE D. HATMAKER UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

When faced with years of pain, heartbreak, disability, and even death, any human would almost give up. How does one find the strength to continue? There has to be something far greater than the hurt in order to raise a wounded heart. Where does one find hope? For George D. Hatmaker, he found his strength through his faith in God and in his purpose to serve others. Now serving as pastor of the Cork United Methodist Church, Rev. Hatmaker imparts his love and belief to his congregation, as well as to those who are fortunate enough to cross his path. “God is always faithful,” he declares. In His Own Words “Why did I join the United States Marine Corps? I wanted to serve our country. The South Vietnamese people had asked our government to help them become free from the North Vietnamese regime. I believed we were doing the honorable thing by fighting for the people who couldn’t fight for themselves. I know that if we do not defend our country in other places, we will have to defend our country right here. And I know it is far better to defeat evil out there instead of having the evil come here. It just seemed like the honorable thing to do. And to me, the United States Marine Corps was the best organization there ever was. My job in Vietnam was Forward Air Control. We would locate and identify enemy position and destroy it. We also called in medical evacuations. I worked in a hot LZ, also known as a landing zone under fire. This was my combat career. Some of the bravest men I ever saw were the pilots bringing in those medivac helicopters to pick up the dead and wounded Marines. There would be machine-gun fire hitting their helicopters. And we had one colonel who was a Marine Corps pilot that would actually patch his helicopter with band-aids and come back in. The pilots would come in at treetop level; you could hear the helicopters approaching. You could see the trees blowing. And you could hear the machine gunners on the helicopters shooting back at the enemy as the pilots flew in to pick up the wounded and get them out. I know you are wondering about the intensity of the stress in such moments? . . . Well, you discover that during the first month in Vietnam, you worry you’re going to be killed. And again, during the last month in Vietnam, you worry you’re going to be killed. It’s war. PAGE

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I was exposed to Agent Orange (an herbicide and defoliant chemical used in Vietnam). The government sprayed the foliage surrounding us with Agent Orange in order to kill it. Unfortunately, the government did not think about the effects of Agent Orange on human cells. It adversely affected us. And since leaving Vietnam, I am now missing toes and use prosthetic inserts in order to help with my balance. Strangely, there are some movies about Vietnam I cannot watch. Platoon is one of them. Platoon is pretty close to being realistic. I cannot watch war movies. But I do enjoy a good western. Just give me a John Wayne movie any day. Military History Hatmaker joined the Marine Corps after high school in 1966 at the age of 18, attending boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina, and receiving additional training in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. September 1966, he was sent to Communication School in San Diego, returning back to Camp Lejeune once completing school. In January 1967, Hatmaker was deployed to the Mediterranean to take part in training exercises with the British, French, and Italian Marines. Six months later, he returned to Camp Lejeune and remained until January 1968, working in communication. By this time, the Tet Offensive just kicked off in Vietnam. It was then Hatmaker was first sent to the 27th Marine Regiment. “We became engaged in heavy enemy contact and suffered such heavy loss,” he stated. The 27th Marine Regiment was sent back to the United States, except those who were “new” in country. Hatmaker was sent next to the 1st Battalion 9th Marine. This unit was known as the “Walking Dead” because of the heavy combat action they were engaged in. In May 1969, during his second tour in Vietnam, Hatmaker had to be medically evacuated. After several months in the hospital, he was assigned to the Military Police in Japan. Returning once more to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in 1971, he became a Military Police Supervisor. Then in 1975, he was selected to become a Marine Corps Criminal Investigator. Hatmaker was transferred to Okinawa, Japan in 1978, as a Criminal Investigator. In 1980, he was selected to become a Special Agent with Naval Investigative Service (NIS or now NCIS). Hatmaker retired from the United States Marine Corps in 1987, having served 21 years.


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RAFAEL ANGEL CANDELARIO UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS SERGE ANT MA JOR, SILVER STAR RECIPIENT

“Sergeant Major Rafael A. Candelario, age 73, of Plant City, FL passed away on Monday, June 3, 2019. He was born on December 16, 1945 in Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico, the son of Providencia Rodriguez and Domingo Candelario . . .” reads the opening lines of his obituary. Rafael A. Candelario held his role as a teacher, as a mentor, as a Marine in high regards. Sgt Maj Candelario and his wife, Laurel, were married in June 2017. Laurel reflects on their love story: “My relationship with him was a fairytale. He was my knight in shining armor. He saved me. He was my hero. I never felt so loved and protected and safe. Rafael had a lot of painful experiences in Vietnam. He wanted to save everybody. ‘I wish I could have saved him. I wish the boy had listened to me. If only I would have done this . . .’ I would find him declaring with regrets and worry. He said we can see pictures, we can see movies, and we can hear it . . . but we cannot smell it. He said the smells would haunt him.

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Military History In June 1964, Rafael A. Candelario enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Upon completion of recruit training and infantry training regiment, he was deployed to Vietnam in July 1965 holding billets of team and squad leader.

He made me feel so beautiful. He would say, ‘You are the love of my life.’ It was like ‘Happily Ever After’. Maybe the ever after wasn’t as long as we would have dreamed . . . I’m ok. He made me be ok. His love made me so happy. And it made me strong. He was a Marine.”

Much of his extensive military career was spent as an instructor. First as instructor at Counter Guerrilla Warfare School in the mid-1960s. In 1967, Sergeant Candelario then attended Drill Instructor School in Parris Island, South Carolina.

During the Vietnam War, Sgt Maj Candelario was awarded the Silver Star for his heroic actions. The award was presented by President Richard Nixon with the following speech:

In May 1968, he again deployed to Vietnam where he served as Platoon Sergeant and Platoon Commander. During this tour, he received a Meritorious Combat promotion to Staff Sergeant and earned both the Silver Star Medal and Purple Heart Medal, and a recommendation for a meritorious combat commission.

“The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Sergeant Rafael Angel Candelario (MCSN: 2030045), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company A, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 9 May 1969, while engaged in a search and destroy operation in Quang Nam Province, a platoon from Company A came under intense hostile fire and was pinned down. When informed that three Marines in the point element were seriously wounded, Sergeant Candelario completely disregarded his own safety as he ran across the fire-swept terrain to reorganize and direct the fire of the point squad. Realizing that the forward elements were running dangerously low on ammunition as a result of the intensity of the ensuing fire fight, Sergeant Candelario, although painfully wounded by enemy fire, refused medical attention and evacuation as he resolutely made three trips across the hazardous terrain to obtain ammunition and distribute it among his men. Skillfully maneuvering his platoon and coordinating its fire, he succeeded in PAGE

establishing a highly effective defensive position. When the only remaining platoon Corpsman became a casualty, Sergeant Candelario boldly braved the heavy volume of hostile fire to carry the injured man to a position of relative safety. Returning to his platoon, he then maneuvered his men in an aggressive assault through the enemy positions and requested medical evacuation helicopters to ensure the extraction of the casualties. Still, he refused evacuation for himself in order to remain with his men and continue to engage the hostile force. His heroic and timely actions inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in successfully engaging the defeating the enemy. By his courage, bold initiative and unwavering devotion of duty in the face of great personal danger, Sergeant Candelario upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”

Throughout his three decades of service, Candelario held an honorable, distinguished career, assigned to command of many units. He accomplished many broad and diverse assignments with exceptional leadership. Sgt Maj Candelario wears the following decorations: Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal (8th Award), and various unit and service campaign awards. Sgt Maj Candelario retired from active service on October 1, 1994. In 1995, Sgt Maj Candelario accepted a position as an Associate Naval Science instructor with the Navy JROTC at Leto High School where he served for 16 years.


LAUREL CANDELARIO (WIDOW OF RAFAEL CANDELARIO) PAGE

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CHAD WILEY UNITED STATES ARMY GREEN BERET SERGEANT FIRST CLASS

Two brothers serving in the military. Two brothers working side by side. Chad and Casey Wiley currently own and operate the Pinch-A-Penny Pool store here in Plant City and volunteer their spare time with The Task Force Dagger Foundation in supporting the men, women, and families of the Special Operations Community. Chad Wiley and Casey Wiley are two brothers making a difference for fellow Veterans. In Chad’s Own Words “I’ve jumped out of planes, broken a few bones – feet, ankles. As far as thinking I might not come back . . . it’s not good to think that way. We go over there to take care of the guy to the left and to the right, to do our mission, and to come home. Those are our brothers. And if I allow such thoughts to cross my mind, then I am in trouble. While you are over there doing your job, you cannot think that way. But when you come back, you might say, ‘Wow, that was a close one.’ I think the problems occur when the guys come home. I have lost many a friend to suicide, which is an epidemic in the military; that’s the hardest thing. When you come home, you learn your friends are killing themselves. And that takes a harder toll. Casey followed behind me and joined the National Guard as a combat engineer. We have always been close. It feels good to reconnect with him after ten years. Casey and I work great together as a team.” Military History Sergeant First Class (SFC) Chad Wiley SFC Chad Wiley is a Tampa native and entered the US Army in 2007. SFC Wiley attended Infantry Basic Training and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Upon completion of basic training and airborne school, SFC Wiley was then assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina to attend the US Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection and the Special Forces Qualification Course, which he successfully completed and donned his Green Beret.

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In 2010, SFC Wiley was subsequently assigned to 5th Special Forces Group in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. SFC Wiley has deployed numerous times to the Middle East in support of multiple operations and US National Security interests, with his most recent deployments coming out of Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. SFC Wiley's awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal x2, the Special Forces Tab, and the Airborne Parachutist Tab. SFC Wiley left active duty in June 2018 and transitioned into the Florida National Guard and is currently assigned to 20th Special Forces Group. Private First Class (PFC) Casey Wiley PFC Casey Wiley enlisted in the Florida Army National Guard in 2007 as a Combat Engineer. He was in a training program for the guard in his senior year and shipped off to OSUT "One Station Unit Training" in August 2008 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Once graduating in late November 2008, he was stationed with a guard unit in Lake City, Florida. During his time with the unit, they responded to state emergencies such as hurricanes and other natural disasters. His unit deployed to Kuwait, but Casey remained state side as support while taking college classes at HCC. Working part time at his neighborhood Pinch-A-Penny in Tampa, he had the opportunity to enter a business partnership owning the Pinch-A-Penny in North Lakeland. After taking this opportunity and committing all his time to running and operating the business, he finished out the remainder of his guard contract in inactive status until his contract was fulfilled. After 5 years in Lakeland, Casey sold his ownership in the store and partnered with his brother Chad and their wives Elissa and Kim Wiley in owning and operating the Plant City Pinch-A-Penny store.

CASEY WILEY FLORIDA NATIONAL GUARD PRIVATE FIRST CL ASS


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JAYME HARRIS UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

Young and fresh out of high school, all she knew was that she wanted to become a superhero. And then she found her place. Literally, the job description for the selected military assignment read to that of a superhero – performing rescues, handling hazardous material, protecting people and property . . .. It was what she wanted. Jayme Harris soon realized how brave she needed to be, for the world of a Fire Protection Specialist was a man’s world, and she was a young woman. “I never gave up,” she declared. In Her Own Words “I was just turning 19 when I entered basic training, and here I was learning to be a Fire Protection Specialist. Anywhere you have an airbase, you have a fire department. And literally, the job description read as a superhero. I remember looking at the job overview video thinking how hard this really looks. But I wanted to do this superhero thing. This is what I signed up for. I will never forget this one test where I had to extend out this 35-foot ladder. Well, I failed on my first attempt. And if I failed again, I would be washed back to another class. So, on my second attempt, the whole entire class started cheering me on. Then this colonel walked by and somehow, I found the strength within me to get that ladder extended out to its last rung. I will never forget hearing it click into place. I passed the test. From that moment on, I never failed anything again. Would you believe I was eventually stationed at one of the toughest fire departments in the Air Force, Eglin Air Force Base? This base held seven fire stations. Sadly, I am losing my fellow firefighters from Eglin Air Force Base. We worked around open burn pits in Iraq and around AFFF foam

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(aqueous film forming foam). I’ve lost six close comrades to cancer and many more are fighting the cancer. Yeah, I always had to prove myself and work harder than the men. But I never gave up.” Military History Jayme Harris is from Plant City graduating from Plant City High School in 1990. She is a United States Air Force Military Veteran, working 11 years at Eglin Air Force Base. She then worked internationally from 2001 to 2016. She co-founded Unity Logistics and Supply Services (LSS) in 2003 which supported the US Government in over 800 million of awarded contracts that included life support services, construction and supplies. Starting her career as a firefighter at the age of 19-years-old, Harris worked her way up to driver operator, crew chief, and assistant fill-in for battalion chief duties. She then accepted a position with KBR Halliburton after the 9/11 incident. Harris further expanded her career as a fire officer, building inspector, and safety officer. She has worked in various locations such as: Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, Dubai and Afghanistan, serving the needs of the country both remotely as well as on-site. Her temporary duty assignments ranged from 6 months to 1 year. Harris has traveled and worked in 34 countries while supporting the US Government, both as an active duty service member, Department of Defense GS employee, and DOD Civilian Contractor. She currently works as a project manager for COMANCO, a Plant City based company, and supports the employment of US Veterans.


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about Santa, the North Pole, Mrs. Claus. I carry my Sleigh License, my Naughty and Nice Inspector Badge, and my Santa Claus credit cards. I am the Toy Man, my speciality is storytelling and I attend home parties and corporate events. What is the most challenging part of your job? Kids like to ask Santa tough questions, such as “my parents are getting divorced, can you bring them back together?” But Santa is the Toy Man, so answering those tough questions is part of our training. I let them know that Santa can pray for them through this problem. Once I acknowledge their feelings, listen to their problem, then I steer them back and say “Is there a toy Santa can get you this year?”

People of Plant City

Santa Jim By Cierra Craft

S

anta Jim (or John “Jim” Beam) is a professional Santa Claus that resides in Dover. He is a member of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas and a member of the Florida Chapter named Palm Tree Santas. Santa Jim is also a member of Santa’s Drill Team, a group of military veterans who are Santas, united to bring honor and humor to our military, first responders and teachers. As Santa Jim prepares for the Christmas season, he chats about what it means to portray one of the most iconic and most recognizable figures of all time. To learn more about Santa Jim, visit his website plantcitysanta.com or email him at santa@plantcitysanta.com. To schedule a Santa appearance, please call Santa Bob Elkin at 813.230.9254

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How did you become a professional Santa? This is my 12th season as Santa. I moved to Plant City in 2007 and we had a Christmas light show outside of our house. So I dressed as Santa every year and then in 2014, I discovered the “Santa World” and joined the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas (IBRBS). Monthly, 30 Santas and Mrs. Clauses gather and at the Santa Convention, 300 to 400 Santa’s gather, where we attend workshops and classes for our training. All professional Santas, including myself, are professional trained, insured and have a clean background check. How do you prepare for the holiday season? I am always ready, I stay in character 24/7 365 days so I can answer any questions kids have

What is the best advice you can give to a new Santa? Join IBRBS and then join their local chapter. Palm Tree Santas is the Florida Chapter; we are the Sandie Clauses. And then one of us will mentor the new Santa. Through IBRBS, he can then find Schools for Santa, get professional training. I am a member of Santa's Drill Team and we host an annual school in Tarpon Springs, Fl. They are welcome to contact me through my website. www.plantcitysanta.com What is one of your favorite memories as Santa? I had a mother approach me with concerns about one of her daughters. One of her daughters is confined to a wheelchair with a rare bone disease. And cannot sit on Santa's knee, but would like to visit with Santa. Her sister came to see Santa first, and it was a good visit. Then the mother brought her other daughter over. As we visited and talked, her mother took her out of the wheelchair and placed her on my knee. We sat there together for a little while. She talked about toys and travels with her family. Of course, Santa made sure to let them both know that they are in Santa's Book of Good Children. But Santa, really enjoys when any child sees me and yells "SANTA" and runs to me and gives me a hug. What is your favorite cookie flavor? Santa's favorite cookie is Peanut Butter, with ice cold milk. It reminds me of home at The North Pole.


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Marching Forward

the second time around

Written by Emily Topper

When she retired in 2009, one of the first things Plant City resident Jeannie Elliott did was search for a band to join. But not strictly a concert band. She wanted to march again. “Years ago, we went to St. Petersburg for The Festival of States and they had an adult-member marching band,” Jeannie said.

On Thanksgiving Day, the band will march through Times Square in the Big Apple as part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the second time around. The Rounders first performed in the parade 10 years ago, just before Jeannie joined as a flag twirler. Her husband, Dave Elliott, was recruited to join three years later as a Band Aid -- a team always available to help

Photo by Mike Floyd

The Awesome Original Second Time Arounders Marching Band of the Greater St. Petersburg Area, to be exact. Now in its 39th season under the direction of co-founder Bill Findeison, the band -- commonly known as The Rounders -- is 475 members strong and open to anyone ages 18 to 80.

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the band with everything from logistics to emergencies. A retired United States Army Colonel, the fit was natural. “We practice in St. Petersburg, and the drive there and back at night got boring,” Jeannie said. “Dave was always there with me and willing to help, so the band asked him to be part of the Band Aid team they were forming.” “There is life after high school and college for marching band,” Dave said. “We have quite a few professional musicians, and the sound is incredible.” The band usually practices every week from the end of January through April. This year, The Rounders have added additional practices for both sections and the entire band to prepare for the parade. Performing in the parade is considered an honor. The Rounders were one of only nine bands chosen to march from over 100 that applied. To be considered, the band had to send in an application along with video samples of their marching and sound. “I think a lot of people associate Macy’s with the holiday,” Jeannie said. “They see that big, red Macy’s star and they think of shopping. Rounders see that star and we hear a drum cadence.” Once in New York City, the band will wake up at 3:30 a.m. on parade day to practice. After completing the 2.65-mile parade route, the band will have dinner together -- along with all their family and friends. Preparing to march is no easy feat. The Elliotts are dedicated to staying in the best physical shape possible.

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“As a retired Army officer, my physical health continues to be important to me,” Dave said. Jeannie had knee surgery two years ago. After completing physical therapy, she told her doctors she was worried about doing the things she wanted to do. “I said, ‘I need to hike trails in national parks and march in parades.’ They looked at me and said I may want too much,” she said. Even so, she carried on. She began riding on a stationary bike, working her way up from three minutes to one hour, up to 2.5 miles. She also works out with weights to prepare for her flag maneuvers. She and Dave both enjoy visits to Dr. Hal and Lynn Brewer Park and walking through the Walden Lake neighborhood, and Dave plays golf three days per week. Staying in top physical condition isn’t only good for their health. They want to stay in shape to continue on with the band where they’ve made a number of lasting friendships. “When you’ve worked so hard as a team to put these components together and see those friendships built, that forges part of the enjoyment of this event,” Jeannie said.

Betty Jordan and Jeannie Elliott the Macy's Parade co-leads for Tall Flags PAGE

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Trombone section at Ybor City St. Patricks Day 2019

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman will join the band in New York City during the parade. The group will also respectfully visit the 9/11 Memorial and the Statue of Liberty. But don’t be fooled by the band’s name. The group, the Elliotts say, is still as powerful as the members were during high school and college. “I think people hear about our band and think we’re senior citizens,” Jeannie said. “Then, the first time we play they hear a wall of sound that almost knocks you down. It’s not that people in our band have forgotten their craft. It’s in reverse. In all these years, they’ve been working on that craft.” And new members are always welcome, no matter how long it’s been since picking up an instrument. There is no audition to join. “I think students who are in high school may feel like they put their instrument down, and that part of their life has passed,” Jeannie said. “But maybe that instrument in the closet is just resting, and it’s waiting for it’s time to come out again.” For more information about joining The Rounders or their participation in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, visit secondtimearounders.org.

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TWO SPECTACULAR NEW LISTINGS! It is with greatest pleasure that I announce my new office home at Sparrow Key Realty in Plant City! It feels like home! DO YOU NEED TO BUY OR SELL? CALL ME!

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GLAM & GRIT BATISTA J. MADONIA IV TALK S FAMILY, COMMUNIT Y & BLUE SKIES WRIT TEN BY CIERR A CR AF T PHOTOGR APHY BY DE ANNA HURLE Y PHOTOGR APHY

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B

atista J Madonia IV comes from a long line of hard working people. In 1958, Batista and Evelyn Madonia were married and perhaps unknowingly, set into motion the beginnings of an empire.

That same year, the Madonias founded East Coast Brokers & Packers, Inc., growing, packing and shipping locally grown tomatoes. With humble beginnings, the couple worked 18 hour days, seven days a week on the 17 acre farm, over time East Coast expanded to 12,000 acres, and became one of the largest suppliers of tomatoes in the United States. It was with their grit and dedication, the Madonias amassed a fortune in their familyowned and operated produce company.

Care to share a bit about yourself? I graduated from Plant City High School in 2009 and then studied Business Management at HCC. I am a father of two girls, Arabella and Gianna, and have worked in the construction industry for several years. Two years ago, I started my own company, Blue Skies Unlimited Construction.

East Coast Brokers & Packers was a stark contrast to the Red Rose Inn & Suites, but nonetheless, the Madonia family ran their corporations with integrity, dedication, and were serious about their businesses. They treated everyone with with fairness, keeping their word while attending to every detail.

What values were instilled in you by your family? Hard work, honesty, and treat everyone with respect, no matter who they are. Whether its the president of the company or the janitor. My Grandpa always told me, “the harder I work, the luckier I get!” That really stuck with me.

The Madonias were known for their generous philanthropic contributions, including charitable giving and were supporters of various foundations and civic organizations. The couple also supported many community-oriented events.

What do you remember most about the Red Rose Inn when you were young? My family worked hard. I saw my grandpa, my dad Batista III, my Uncle Stephen, my grandma, and my Aunt Rosemary, worked hard. My grandpa always wanted something we could all be apart of. My grandparents wanted to bring something to the Plant City community that we didn’t have. The Red Rose Inn was a nice place to gather for entertainment and to spend time with family and friends during events and the holidays.

GLAM & GRIT - BATISTA J. MADONIA IV TALKS FAMILY, COMMUNITY & BLUE SKIES

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Today, he is forging a new path in the Madonia family story, building a future beyond four concrete walls. As a State Certified Building Contractor and Licensed Realtor, Madonia IV is bringing the same family values and principles to each job site and contributing to the betterment of Plant City not only through construction, but with his participation in events such as the 2019 Dancing with the Locals.

In 2003, the Madonia family opened the Red Rose Inn & Suites, a glamorous hotel outfitted with emerald green velvet curtains, glittering ornate chandeliers and live performances in the Grand Ballroom. The beautiful Mrs. Evelyn became a local celebrity, starring in the Red Rose’s commercials donning ball gowns, elbow-length gloves and her iconic red hair.

To witness the development of the produce business and the rise of the Red Rose Inn was a young, impressionable Batista J. Madonia IV. The grandson of Mr. Batista and Mrs. Evelyn, Madonia IV was taught that lending a helping hand to others in need will only make you a better person, regardless of status within the company, everyone deserves respect and it’s imperative to give back to the community that supports your business.

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Madonia IV came to understand the family values of hard work and determination. After transitioning from the family’s produce business into construction, Madonia IV began his own journey into entrepreneurship, founding Blue Skies Unlimited Construction in 2017. From seamless gutter systems to concrete and new construction to remodels, Blue Skies Unlimited Construction can do it all.


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GLAM & GRIT - BATISTA J. MADONIA IV TALKS FAMILY, COMMUNITY & BLUE SKIES

Your career transitioned from produce to construction. Can you share what that experience was like? Construction kind of fell in my lap, I worked under someone else who encouraged me to get my license and said I could start my own business. I don’t know what else I would be doing if I wasn’t in construction. I have family in the industry as well, so I was around those knowledgeable and experienced as well when starting Blue Skies. How has your upbringing and working in the family business influenced the way you operate Blue Skies? My grandparents taught the family to deliver the best possible product at the best possible price. Your word is everything- if you don’t have your word as a man, then what do you have? Tell me a bit about your company and its history Blue Skies Unlimited Construction began two years ago. My mom actually came up with the name and it just stuck. I am a State Certified Building Contractor, so we offer new construction and remodels in bathrooms, kitchens, we also do interior and exterior paint, seamless gutter systems with a 50 year warranty, concrete, pavers and driveways, boating docks and fencing. At Blue Skies, we do a little bit of everything and you can rest assured that if Blue Skies is on the job, it will be performed correctly with only the best workmanship.

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What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part of my job is when the job is done, the client’s goal is accomplished and I see how happy they are with the product and services received. When customers call Blue Skies Unlimited Construction, I answer the phone, not an office manager- building those relationships with customers is what is most important to me. Is there a particular project that you’re most proud of? I am proud of all of them. At the end of the day, when I walk away from the job site, I want the customer to be happy. Whether it’s a large or small job, I strive for the same result: A happy customer. It’s important to me to apply the same business principles and values my grandparents taught me… I always strive to deliver the best level of service and quality products. I always bring the best level of workmanship to every job site. GLAM & GRIT - BATISTA J. MADONIA IV TALKS FAMILY, COMMUNITY & BLUE SKIES PAGE

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What do you wish you had known when you started in construction? Be careful who you trust, but that’s with any industry. That’s something my grandpa taught me. Be mindful of who you’re working with and who is working under you. What is the biggest obstacle you’ve faced along your career path? Always trying to be better than yesterday. There is always room to improve. Family is really important to me, so balancing time between projects and spending time with my daughters can often be difficult, but my family is number one in my life. When choosing a builder, why should Plant City residents choose Blue Skies Unlimited Construction? I grew up here, this is my hometown and I have lived here my entire life. I love Plant City. When you choose Blue Skies, you’re working with a local, not an outsider from a big metropolitan city. At the end of the day, I want Plant CIty to be a better community. That’s what my grandma and grandpa wanted, and I want to see Plant City grow and prosper.


21st Annual Lights of Love

Give the Gift of Love Give the gift of love this holiday season by donating a tree light in memory or in honor of someone special. All donations are tax deductible and will benefit the many community services provided by South Florida Baptist Hospital. For more information, sponsorship opportunities or to purchase a light ($25–$100): (813) 757-8478 | SFBHFoundation.org.

Join Us for Our Tree Lighting Ceremony

Thursday, December 5 5:30–8pm McCall Park

Buy a tree light in honor or memory of a special person Take pictures with Santa and enjoy yummy treats from Mrs. Claus’ kitchen

18-939608-1019

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O’Neal & Sons Upholstery

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Before

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CHURCH AT

THE BARN

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

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Like and follow us on Facebook!

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


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Did You Know? John Keasler, A Writer’s Writer By Plant City Photo Archives & History Center

W

ith the renewed interest in writing as seen by the establishment of the Writers Loft and the Photo Archives effort to publish The Plant City Journal of History, we thought we would reprint this article about John Keasler, one of the finest writers who grew up in this little town of Plant City. The first lines of his obituary in the Tampa Tribune were short and direct: “John Keasler, a longtime Miami News columnist who mixed reality, humor and good writing to tell irreverent tales about life in South Florida, died on Tuesday after a long illness. Mr. Keasler, who was 74, died in Plant City…. During his long career at the now defunct News, Mr. Keasler gained the reputation as a writer’s writer.” The article continued, “A gruff Irishman who usually wore guayaberas to work and wrote late into the night, Mr. Keasler won numerous national awards and had several books published.” He was referred to as “an utterly magnificent, pure newspaperman.” John Keasler was born in Dover in 1921 and grew up in the Plant City area—an area that he came to love deeply. Anxious to see the world, Keasler joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in November of 1939 and served until October of 1945, following the Japanese surrender. While on Guadalcanal during World War II, he found a typing book and taught himself to type. Later, he began writing a newsletter for the troops and, after returning to civilian life in Plant City, found employment with the Plant City Courier, in the building that is now the home of the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center. Keasler credits his first employer, A. P. Cooke, publisher and editor of the Courier from 1944 until his death in 1952, with his grasp of the fundamentals of the newspaper industry. Keasler moved next to the Tampa Tribune as a reporter, and then on to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He also wrote for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before accepting the position with the Miami News, where he wrote nearly 7,000 columns and received nationwide acclaim and numerous awards for his humorous and satiric writing.

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Known for his mischievous nature, Keasler was a master of pranks, both giving and receiving in the then exciting and sometimes outlandish news rooms. He began writing a weekly advice column under the nom de plume, Ryan, the Advice Dog. It was popular—so popular in fact that readers wrote in asking for the column to publish daily rather than weekly. He also published a book entitled Dear George; Presenting Himself, Expert on Everything & Advice Columnist Extraordinary, illustrated with drawings by Walt Kelly, animator and cartoonist known best for this Pogo stories.

His novel, Surrounded on Three Sides¸ about the threat to Florida’s natural attributes by promoters and developers was published in 1958 by the University Press of Florida and is still in print. It is an important book written in Keasler’s humorous and satiric way. In 1968, while a resident of Key Biscayne and visiting in Plant City with his family, Keasler wrote an article for the Courier in which he reminisces about his early years. Recounting all the various places he visited and the things he and his friends did, he sums it up by writing, “Plant City is the only place I don’t feel like a tourist. I feel at home.” Keasler won the National Headliners Club 1976 Award as the most outstanding columnist in the nation. He also wrote the preface to the book Plant City; Its Origin and History, by Quintilla Geer Bruton and David E. Bailey, Jr. published in 1977. The preface, titled “An Enchantment Called Time,” is an idyllic tribute to Florida and especially Plant City. He wrote, “To have Plant City for a home town is, in the first place, to have received a fine gift from life. A valuable present. Something of real worth. And, like all truly worthwhile things, the gift increases in value with the passing of Time.” Any readers who would like to have a copy of the preface are welcome to stop in the Photo Archives for a free copy of this four-page remarkable piece reveling in this place called Plant City. Sometime after the Miami News folded in 1988, Keasler moved back to Dover, to his Plant City roots. After a long illness, John Keasler passed away September 5, 1995.


AMERICAN BOARD CERTIFIED

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Joseph Nolan, Esq., John Haney, Earl Williams Gigi Nolan, Julee Shepherd.

Commercial Residential

Auctions Management 111 South Palmer Street Plant City, Florida 33563 Office: (813) 567-7198 John L. Haney, Lic Real Estate Broker AceBid.Com/Realty

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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.

ACCEPTING BOTH WALK-INS & SCHEDULED APPOINTMENTS THROUGH MYCHART!

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Watson Clinic –Your Urgent Care Experts. *Please note there are a limited number of appointments available per day and appointment times are an approximation of when you will be seen. Delays may occur based on the severity of patient illnesses during any given time frame. Appointments cannot be made for a specific Urgent Care physician.

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*


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STRAWBERRY MARKET Now Open!

813-752-2379 3014 James L. Redman Pkwy. www.southersidewesternwear.com 813-752-2379 â&#x20AC;¢ 3014 James L. Redman Pkwy www.southsidewesternwear.com

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2019

Holiday

Gift Guide

On the heels of the holiday season, shoppers begin searching for the perfect gift for loved ones. Gift givers are expected to spend over $1,000 on holiday purchases this season, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. From fine jewelry to delectable food favorites to the latest fashions, Plant City’s local retailers have something to offer everyone this holiday season. Skip the long lines at the big box stores and step away from the computer, instead stroll into one of Plant City’s local businesses and shop small businesses this year. Shopping Plant City’s small businesses supports the aspirations of the business owner but also contributes to the city’s economy. A stronger economy benefits our community as a whole. The Holiday Gift Guide showcases the best gifts from area small businesses for the foodie, the fashionista, and the fun lover. Shop for fine jewelry at Brown’s Jeweler on James L. Redman Parkway, visit Tennessee Jane Boutique in historic downtown for fashion or purchase gift certificates to several local eateries, and support a small business this holiday season. PAGE

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Handbag $62.00

Tennessee Jane 120 N Collins St Plant City, FL 33563 813.652.8230

Florida Heritage Hat

Ermish Specialty Set $68.00

$27.99

Kinsley Armelle $26.99 & $32.99

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Desert Bronze Self Tanner $32.00

Jane Marie Kids $10-$15

Sweet Grace Candle Prices Vary

Tennessee Jane

Tennessee Jane Earrings $16.00

120 N Collins St Plant City, FL 33563 813.652.8230

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Gold and Diamond Fashion Jewelry Your Family Jeweler 1701 S Alexander St #102 Plant City, FL 33566 813.752.0585

Diamond Studs Starting at $199

Rolex Starting at $2,000$11,500 IN STOCK

Diamond Hoops 14k Gold Starting at $299

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Taster Tower $58.99

Cookies & Bread Basket $24.99

Fab 4 Variety Taster

Parkesdale Farms

3702 W. Baker Street Plant City, FL 33563 parkesdale.com 813.754.2704

Fruit Chorus $41.99

$62.99

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Columbia Shirts For Men & Women

Southside Western Wear 3014 James L Redman Parkway Plant City, Fl 33566 813-752-2379

Menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fr Ariat Shirts

Lucchese Boots

For Men and Women 30% OFF PAGE

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Simply Southern Sherpa Jackets for Women


Candles

Come Check Out our fabulous selection

Southside Western Wear 3014 James L Redman Parkway Plant City, Fl 33566 813-752-2379

Simply Southern “Holiday” Long sleeve shirts

Huge Selection Of Yeti! Ladies Jeans ALL the Hottest Brands!

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Brown's Jewelers 1705 Jim Redman Parkway Plant City, Fl 33563 813-754-2360

Ladies Fine Watchs

Men’s Fashion Bracelets PAGE

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Gentleman’s Fine Watches

Gold Hoop Earrings


Stylish Necklaces For Her

Ladies Gold Bracelets

Selection Of Ladies Diamond Rings

High Fashion Rings For Her

Brown's Jewelers 1705 Jim Redman Parkway Plant City, Fl 33563 813-754-2360

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Mele Jewelry Box Assorted Sizes & Colors $16.99-$42.99

Fringe Boutique

601 E Alexander Street Plant City, Fl 33563 (813) 754-GIFT Email: thegirlsatfringe @gmail.com

True Story Graphic Tee $28.00

Yeti Dog Bowl Available in Navy or Stainless - $39.99

Holiday Light Bulb Cup Available in 4 colors and 2 sizes - Starting at $13.00

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Oyster Ornament, Wine Charm or Napkin Ring $22.99 *Ornament Exchange Idea

Leopard Print Round Purse $32.00

Bourbon & Boweties Birthstone Bangle Set of 3 - $30.00

Authentic Columbia Restaurant Sangria Pitcher Available in 2 sizes, Starting at $34.95 Sangria Mix - $3.85

Fringe Boutique

601 E Alexander Street Plant City, Fl 33563 (813) 754-GIFT Email: thegirlsatfringe @gmail.com

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Saturn V

Sets starting at $19.99

Gingerbread House Sets starting at $19.99

Cargo Train Sets starting at $19.99

Brick City Bricks

Disney Castle Sets starting at $19.99

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107 E Reynolds St Plant City, FL 33563 813.756.6256


Thymes Frasier Fir Candles

Val Marie Prayer Journal & Kids Journal

RAOK 2804 James L Redman Pkwy #103 Plant City, FL 33566 813.754.7265

Katie Loxton Travel Wallet & Luggage Tag $51.00

Prayer Journal - $47.00 Kids Journal - $15.00

Kendra Scott Set $95.00

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Yeti Backflip Cooler & Camo Tumbler Cooler - $299.00 Tumbler - $39.99

Brighton Fashionista “Downtown Girls” Handbag $355.00

Swell “ Frozen Series” 9oz & 15oz 9oz - $25.00 15oz - $20.00

Fjallraven Kanken Backpack & Herschel Nova Mini Backpack - $80.00 Mini - $49.99

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Yates & Hagan 1452 Town Center Drive Lakeland,Fl 33803 863-603-7078


Fabulous Furs Hook Vest & Barefoot Dreams Cable Poncho

Brighten Jewelery Neptune’s Rings Swirl Watch $125.00 London Groove Long Necklace $78.00 Toledo Mido Hoops $58.00 Chara Bracelet $48.00

Vest - $179.00 Poncho - $114.00

Yates & Hagan 1452 Town Center Drive Lakeland,Fl 33803 863-603-7078

Brumate Slim Can Koozies

From $19.99 To $22.99

Bryan Anthony’s Tribe $40.00 Always In My Heart & Beautifully Broken $48.00 PAGE

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Ninja Turtles Action Figures Starting at $10

Star Wars Action Figures Starting at $8

Generation Fun 102 S Evers St Plant City, FL 33563 813.381.0553

Masters of the Universe Action Figures Starting at $10

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Comic Books Starting at $2


Dog Bandanas Pawberries

Starting at $19.99

pawberriesbandanas.com

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Harold's Farm Supply

12990 Martin Luther King Dover, Fl 33527 813-689-1570

Schleich & Ertl Toys

Trailer Hitches 10% Off Through December 31, 2019

15% Off Through December 31

Buck Knives All Treager Accessories 10% Off Through December 31, 2019

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15% Off Through December 31, 2019


HD Wheels 866.980.5090 HPDWheels.com

Wheel & Tire Packages Starting At $1,895 Any 20” Hd Off-Road or Remington Offroad Wheel 35” Or 33” Dick Cepek Tires

Our Dream Kitchen 1008 N Park Rd Plant City, FL 33563 813.652.8172

Porcelain Farm Sink $349.95

100% Soy Candles

$24.99 each or 3 for $59.99

Lifetime Island Faucet with pot filler $229.99

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Gift Set Get a stuffed Mardi, $10 in Pelicans bucks, and a free regular snoball for $25

Pelican's Snowballs

610 S Collins St Plant City, FL 33563 813.759.1975

Gift Cards 1916 Irish Pub Crafty Crab Brandon

Hungry Howies PAGE

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O'Briens Irish Pub & Grill

Buy a $50 gift card for someone they will get a $10 one for themselves

Mi Casa

Dukes Chiropractic

Gift Cards

Parkesdale Farms

Gift Certificates In ANY amount

Norma's Cuban Sandwich Shop

Outback Steakhouse Buy $50 or more and receive a bonus card for $10

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Gift Cards

Fringe Boutique

Your CBD Store

Southside Western Wear

GIFT CERTIFICATES In ANY Amount

The Corner Store

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Roots Tap Room and Wine Bar


LIVE MUSIC

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813-752-8888 1701 Jim Redman Parkway Plant City, FL 33563

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Advantage Restoration BY CIERRA CRAFT

W

ith over 15 years of disaster restoration experience and more than 3,500 completed projects, Advantage Restoration & Contracting is a certified and insuranceapproved choice for restoration, remediation and reconstruction for residential and commercial properties. Advantage Restoration & Contracting focuses on fire, water, mold and storm remediation, as well as reconstruction, using the latest industry equipment to provide the best service to Plant City residents. By providing end to end services, it allows them to give customers a piece of mind because they are able to help with all aspects of the disaster at hand. Advantage Restoration & Contracting was founded by Jason Jones in 2005. Jones and his wife, Casey, moved to the area, falling in love with the community’s idyllic smalltown America atmosphere. He quickly joined the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, where he has served on each committee. He founded the annual Planes, Trains & Automobiles event and served as Chairman of the Board in 2018. His love for Plant City remains the driving force behind Advantage Restoration & Contracting’s success. “When we moved here, I met Dr. Brewer, who told me ‘Jason, give your all to Plant City,’ and that’s what I did. I cannot stress enough what the community and the Chamber has done for my business.” Jones’ experience in restoration began growing up in Kentucky. “Restoration is our family business, so I started in grade school, through high school, college and then after college, I ran the business,” said Jones. “I learned this industry from the inside out and get a lot of business based on my expertise and knowledge and the ability to work with insurance companies.” Advantage operates 24/7, responding to water, fire and mold damage, often the same day. The crew of professionals will perform an assessment of the damage and then provide the customer with a remediation plan to begin restoration. “Call us first, before your insurance carrier." said Jones. "Once you open a claim, your premium can go up.

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AFTER

Calling us first for the assessment has saved money for our customers. If the customer needs to file an insurance claim, will will assist with the claims process." As the Advantage crew guides customers through the stress and worry of property damage, they often find friendship when the job is complete. “We become friends with our customers,” said Jones. “Customers are #1 in our business and not only do we restore their homes, but we let them know we are always there to relieve their stress during the disaster." What sets Advantage apart from the competition? Its commitment to its core values: Empathy, integrity, respect, teamwork, cleanliness and drug-free. “We treat each home like it’s our own,” said Jones. “I want it clean enough for my own kids to play. We respect each home and want the customer to feel comfortable while we are there, respecting their privacy and property.” Stacey Jeffcoat, an 11 year employee of Advantage, said she loves working at the company due to its dedication to the customer. “We truly work for the customer, helping with their needs and educating them from beginning to end on restoration and construction,” said Jeffcoat.

BEFORE PAGE

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FREE Laser Consultation and Spinal Exam Dr. Merritt is NOT your old fashion bone jarring Chiropractor! TODAY we treat with gentle spinal adjustments, acupuncture, and state of the art LASER technology.

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THE PATIENT AND ANY OTHER PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT HAS A RIGHT TO REFUSE TO PAY, CANCEL PAYMENT OR BE REIMBURSED FOR PAYMENTS FOR ANY OTHER SERVICE, EXAMINATION OR TREATMENT WHICH IS PERFORMED AS A RESULT OF AND WITHIN 72 HOURS OF RESPONDING TO THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE FREE, DISCOUNTED FEE OR REDUCED FEE SERVICE, EXAMINATION, OR TREATMENT. DUE TO FEDERAL LAW SOME MEDICARE RECIPIENTS MAY NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS FREE OFFER.”

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Celebrate the Season 2019 | Friday DEC 6 at 7PM Cash Prizes and a trophy will be awarded to 5 parade participants: Best High School Entry Best Marching Unit Best Church Entry Best Business Entry Best Overall Entry Winners are selected by out of town judges, with no input from the current parade board or committee. Plant City's Hometown Christmas Parade is a family event, and everyone is invited to come out and enjoy the fun. Bring your family, friends, and neighbors and have a great time together! The parade route will start at Collins & Alsobrook Streets, travel north on Collins through downtown, turn right onto Reynolds Street, and end at the courthouse. 2019 Parade Grand Marshals: David & Diane Brewington The Christmas Parade promises to be better than ever! There will be beautifully decorated floats, high-energy marching bands, talented church participation, civic & service groups, local business participation, and of course we expect a visit from Santa himself to help us kick off the 2019 Christmas Season Celebration! Sponsored by

Rick & Di Lott

Benito Lubrano Jr LLC PAGE

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RISING STAR EMMA

Miller By Taryn Storter Photography by Anthony Sassano

Plant City High School senior, Emma Miller, is a four-year varsity letterman on the golf team and currently holds the position of captain. She placed in the Top Ten in the District and looks forward to continuing to lower her score in the future. Miller led her team to a 12-2 record this season and was an integral part in their 3rd place title at Districts. Miller is leading the Raider golf team to the Regional competition this season. Throughout her childhood, Miller has played numerous sports. She competed in soccer and basketball, and participated in cheerleading, tumbling, dancing, as well as riding horses competitively. When asked what her favorite sport is, Miller answers, “Golf! It has allowed me to make so many friends and memories throughout high school, it has allowed me to create a bond with my dad when we go out to golf together, and it is a sport that I can play for the rest of my life.” She advises younger athletes to “stay involved and create great memories. Surround yourself with people who will make you better. You are capable of achieving whatever you want in life, it is just up to you to get there.” Outside of sports, Miller has received numerous honors. She was the 2019 Plant City High School Miss December and earned a spot in the Top Ten in the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s pageant this past January. In school, Miller is involved in Yearbook as an editor, Interact Girls Service Club, Orange Crush Club, and the National Technical Honor Society. Outside of school, she enjoys volunteering at a Youth Equestrian Camp for girls. Miller’s family has encouraged her in all her endeavors. She explains, “My dad and mom, Les and Christine, are my biggest supporters. My older brother, Colton, has been by my side my whole life, and my little sister, Harper. I am very blessed.” Miller finds her inspiration in her family. She expresses, “My mom is a hard working and powerful woman working in a position where men are dominant. My dad is determined and is a great leader, and my brother is an amazing role model who I hope to follow in his footsteps.” After high school, Miller plans to attend a Florida university to further her education in Computer Information Systems. 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?

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Hannah Manley

Sports Team of the Month

Rylee Baxter

Plant City High School Cross Country Team By Taryn Storter

T

he Plant City High School Cross Country Team is racing into the record books as the first group in five years to qualify for the regional competition on November 2nd. Gage Rasmussen led the PCHS boys’ pack with 18.03.01 and Cecilia Castillo-Martinez led the girls’ team with 21.10.79. The boys have placed in the top three in three of their meets this season, and the girls have done an extraordinary job as well. Andrew Martucci is the Head Coach for the Cross Country program, taking it over this fall. However, Martucci has been coaching Cross Country for seven years and loves to work with the kids. He leads the team with his brother, Benjamin Martucci. The brothers work together to implement workouts, train the athletes, and prepare the students for race day. The PCHS Cross Country has seen exceptional leadership from its four Senior Captains. Anthony Killick, Danny Ramirez , Cecelia Castillo and Hannah Manley have led their team to victory. Martucci expresses, “All four are phenomenal captains who work together for the team chemistry and help this team compete hard race day and practice using their words and actions, as well as doing all the little things the right way.” The captains of a team are essential for the success of the group, and these four captains are certainly leading in the right direction, as they are bringing the team to the Regional competition for the first time in five years. We couldn’t have gotten this far without their desire to become vocal leaders and lead their team to battle every 5k race this fall!” Several runners have stood out this the season, running against the clock and other competitors. Danny Ramirez has medaled three times during the season, posting a personal best of 17 minutes and 19 seconds, which is an incredible feat. Cecelia Castillo has medaled for the girls four times, and has beat her personal record by finishing at the District Championships in 20 minutes and 46 seconds. This time put Cecelia in the top 15 runners in the area, which is a very tough honor to achieve. Each race is a 5k, which is 3.1 miles.

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The Girls’ team consists of five runners in the post season, which according to Coach Martucci, “leaves no room for error. If one girl goes down, then we run the risk of not qualifying or scoring as a team.” This can be a big issue for this type of team, as each girl must score individually, but the team also must qualify together. Martucci explains, “But, these are the hardest working group of girls we have ever had the pleasure of coaching. We are on a mission to move on to the Regional Championships.” When asked what his favorite memory is from the season, Coach Martucci explains, “Our Annual 5:30 Morning Workout would most definitely be my favorite team memory. We were doing 300 meter sprints under the stadium lights as a unit on the track while everyone else was sleeping.” The chemistry of the team is inspiring, as they are like a family and enjoy being together, even before the sun rises. The 2019 Plant City Cross Country Team consists of Rylee Baxter, Paul Dyer, Spencer Gould, Avery Coons, Christian Irizarry, Anthony Killick, Danny Ramirez, Gage Rasmussen, Ryan Smith, Samuel Wilcox, Isaiah Wilcox, Abigail Alejo, Cecilia Castillo-Martinez, Kenley Cornell, Gracie Dyer, Destiny Headley, Lidia Leon, Hannah Manley, Emerson Nedurian, Brooke Tyler, and Lillian Stafford.


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The employees of Jarrett-Scott Ford would like to give thanks to all of our wonderful customers.

YOUR hometown Ford dealer! (813) 752-4171

2000 E Baker St, Plant City, FL 33563 www.jarrettscottford.com

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS s From the Staff at Uncle G’ Grooming Rewards!

5 grooms and get the 6th one FREE! We offer pet boarding in a state of the art facility with television for the pets to watch. We are located on 5 acres of land.

Call For Pricing on Boarding Or Grooming. UNCLE G’S BED & BISCUIT 1821 Stephens Ln, Dover, FL 33527 Phone: (813) 689-6725 unclegsbedandbiscuit.com

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Meet the

Maker: Creative Partners By Heather Davis

T

he invitation has been put out to “let your imagination soar as you explore, create and grow with us.” The community has been invited to Creative Partners, an event in conjunction with the East Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG) and The Hillsborough Historic Society, to gather together for a free art program that is open to all. The free art program is geared towards families with children and takes place twice a month on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the 1914 PCHS Community Center Classroom Gallery. Families are encouraged to attend the two-hour program and are provided with free one-on-one art instruction, free art supplies, refreshments, and a take home project to enjoy. When I attended, the Classroom Gallery was full to capacity with smiling faces of adults and children hard at work on their painted pumpkin projects. The painting class was being facilitated by EHAG’s President, Loretta Burns. Loretta comes with a wealth of experience both in creating art and in giving instructions to beginners both older and younger. Many repeat faces are beginning to show up at the workshops that have only been happening for the past several months. Word is spreading fast and the opportunity for growth and expansion in both the art projects and workshops is a viable opportunity for the future. Once the artists were done with their pumpkin paintings each participant lined up to have their pictures taken with their take home art projects. Most were grinning from ear to ear, excited to have participated in the experience. Past projects have included cardboard masks, fish made out of egg cartons, paper quilling created from rolled pieces of paper, and basket weaving made from magazine pages. The East Hillsborough Art Guild has brought this outreach program to the community to help strengthen and further the arts in our community. Donations of art supplies, sponsorships and volunteers are welcome in order to lend a helping hand. To find out more about the Creative Partners Art Programs, you can visit EHAG’s website at ehagfinearts.org or call 813-704-5208.

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Attendees are guided through an art project. At the October meeting, children and their parents painted pumpkins together.

The 1914 PCHS Community Center Classroom Gallery serves as the meeting location twice per month for Creative Partners. EHAG President Loretta Burns helps families through the various art projects, which include mixed medium, painting, and more.

Loretta Burns leads each session of Creative Partners. The event, a collaborative effort between the EHAG and EHHS, welcomes families with children to a free community art class. PAGE

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“BUYING OR SELLING” Call Stephanie Today!

Stephanie Eisenbach Stephanie@BlueSunHomes.com

813-468-0230

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Leaders in

Faith

Rev. Robert Olszewski, GracePoint Church

The Olszewski family (shown L-R: Julia, Karen, Rev. Robert, Tyler, and Phoebe) enjoys snacking on strawberries and exploring the local region.

By Cheryl Johnston

T

o accept the position as senior pastor of GracePoint Church, Rev. Robert Olszewski moved his family from Stillwater, Minnesota, where he had served a Family Life Pastor. He and Karen, his beautiful wife of 22 years, have three children: Phoebe, 14, Tyler, 16, and Julia, 19. Together this animal-loving family enjoys exploring the local region and caring for their two dogs, cat, mouse, turtle, and axolotl. For relaxation the pastor likes caring for his yard and reading “dead all guys” (e.g., John Calvin, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, John Stott). A pastor for 17 years, Rev. Olszewski is also a teaching elder in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) within the Florida and Caribbean Presbytery. Today he also serves two days monthly and two weeks annually as a Chaplain in the US Army Reserves with the 257th Transportation Battalion in Gainesville, Florida. Tell us about your journey of faith. I was born and raised in New Jersey, where my German immigrant Christian parents established our home. After hearing a Sunday School lesson, I prayed at age 7-8 during a bedtime prayer with my mother to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Since then and in preparation for ministry, I’ve earned a B.S. in Bible and M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Cairyn University and then a M.Div. from Biblical Theological Seminary (now Missio Seminary) in Hatfield, PA.

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What about your work do you enjoy most? I absolutely love Jesus Christ and those I get to serve in the body of Christ. As a pastor who believes in shepherding the flock of God (1 Peter 5:1-4) entrusted to me, I enjoy getting to know people in the nooks and cranny of life. My wife is my helper and she loves serving others alongside me. Her passion is for our physical family and church family. Serving together is a blessing and we enjoy the expansiveness of our church family (from NJ to MN to FL). Do you have a favorite Scripture passage? I enjoy the whole of God’s word and proclaiming Him (Col. 1:28) as Lord and Savior. Recently I’ve been using the Psalms as my prayer book and have found Psalm 8:9, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” A few verses before, in verse 6, my good and glorious God encouraged and reminded me how He has “given us dominion over the works of His hands; you have put all things under his feet.” This certainly has propelled me to say, “How majestic is your name in all the earth!” How do you best like to share your faith? I love sharing about my Lord and Savior through my work. This might be while mowing my lawn, cleaning my car, or having a conversation at Krazy Kup, things we do along the normal everyday path of life. God is with us - Emmanuel - and we need to live this reality out in both word and deed (Col. 3:17).

Do you have recommendations for those considering the Christian faith? I suggest reading the Scriptures (Mark or John are great starting points) and then beg God to reveal himself to you. Also, take time to watch and listen to other Christians by attending church services and special gatherings (life, prayer or youth group, etc.). Simply talk with the people God has brought into your life wherever you might be. And for those already following Christ? Meet together regularly with other Christians and plug into a church home so you can serve, be led by an elder/overseer, and receive God’s gracious gifts of the sacraments (baptism and Lord’s Supper). The regular habit of worshipping and sharing life together will build you up so you can minister to others. Has there been a defining moment in your own faith walk? After learning I don’t have to work for my salvation or work to keep it, I was set free. The five Solas (grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, Scripture alone, to the Glory of God alone) and the work of the Reformers provided this foundation for me to live in freedom, not by works of the Law. This freedom has encouraged me “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism). Visit GracePoint Church at 1107 Charlie Griffin Rd, Plant City, FL 33566 or online at www. gracepointpc.org.


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813.759.9122 800.277.9722 tampa.itex.com www.itex.com

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Candy’s Corner By Candy Owens

As I sat on my back porch today, I could see, feel and smell summer ebbing away. I could hear the wind blowing softly through the trees. I could even see a few falling leaves. I can tell by the shorter days that fall is on the way. Glorious fall colors will soon appear. But, like the flowers of summer they will disappear. People in our lives can be compared to the seasons. They are born, bloom, and ebb away. Like spring, summer, and fall they cannot stay.

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his past October was one of the most heartbreaking months in my life! My beloved sweet Mother passed away. There is no way to put into words the pain that my sister and I feel. There is no scale ,there is no chart, the pain is immeasurable! The person that was responsible for my care and well being throughout my childhood has gone to be with my father, my grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends that have made that journey before us. How do you go on when you lose your best friend and your confidante? One Day At A Time! I can hear my sweet Mother say. “One Day At A Time!”. There is No way to thank my Mother for everything that she did, everything that she was, everything that she shared, every laugh, every hug, every pep talk, every hour that she worked, every time that she nursed me back to health, every ride to school, dance lessons, music lessons, art lessons, girl scout meetings, baton lessons, modeling, doctor visits, dentist visits, birthday parties, shopping, and on and on and on. She did it ALL because she loved me and my sister. She wanted us to be two happy and well adjusted human beings. She and my Father taught us to ALWAYS take the High Road and to NEVER EVER forget our manners…no matter what the

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situation. She wanted us to enjoy life and living. She wanted us to be strong so that one day when she was gone we would both be able to carry on. So…I will carry on!!! I have shed a million tears since she passed… but. .I can hear her whisper in my ear that I Must Go On!!! That I Must Be Strong! That I Must Live Each Day, For It Is A GIFT! AND. .No one is promised tomorrow! I can honestly say that there is not a day or minute that I do not think of my Mother. People say that time heals, but I think that we come to realize that the person we lost is just not coming back and that we just have to plow through the pain. I will just have to keep on going and continue to believe in my heart that my Mother will ALWAYS be with me. ALWAYS! I have a beautiful poem that someone very dear to my heart wrote for me in the loss of my Mother. I would like to share this with you today. MOM From my First Memory And all through my days You have Always stood Tall And cared for us all. Your beautiful smile And your all giving heart You’ve NEVER failed me Right from the start. The Lord has now called YOU To be with him in his place. They’ll never be a day I won’t miss your face. As soft as the wings Of the breath from a Dove There’s just no way to replace MY Sweet Mama’s love. I MISS YOU MOM!

WELLS MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME 813-752-1111


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Maryland Fried Chicken Serving Plant City since 1969 BY CIERRA CRAFT

315 N. Alexander St, Plant City, FL 33566 (813) 752-9200 Monday- Friday: 11AM to 9PM Saturday: 11AM to 5PM Sunday: Closed Cash Only

F

ifty years ago, Maryland Fried Chicken opened its doors to serve a hungry Plant City community. Now, it’s got legions of fans, transcending generations. Still, it hasn’t lost its Plant City heart: fresh, pressure-cooked chicken in peanut oil and friendly service. Maryland Fried Chicken was once a franchise restaurant, owned by a group of locals: Bill and Beverly Naset, Ercelle Smith and his father, William Smith, Al Berry, and Sara Copeland. Bill Naset bought his partners out in early 1970s and since, the restaurant has remained in the Naset family. Today, Mark Naset and Kim McElveen, children of Bill and Beverly, run the establishment. To this day, Maryland Fried Chicken dons an orange and yellow vintage interior, making it a piece of the past. At Alexander Street and Thonotosassa Road, the glow of a neon chicken light illuminates the parking lot below as customers visit the carry-out window or enter the dining room. An aroma fills the air as hot, juicy chicken is served up fresh. What makes the restaurant’s chicken so delectable? Five days per week, fresh whole chicken is delivered. It’s then cut, coated in seasonings and spices and then pressure cooked in pure peanut oil. The pressure-cooking method seals in the juices and flavors, giving a crispy exterior to the moist chicken. Since 1969, the Naset family have used the same recipe and cooking method. Guests have a number of menu options to choose from including the restaurant’s three piece plate for $8.13 plus tax; Box for Two with six pieces for $9.90 plus tax and a Budget Box of nine pieces for $13.82 plus tax.

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Customers can also choose a Bucket of Chicken with choice of one pint side and 6 rolls for $24.87 plus tax or a Barrel of Chicken with choice of one pint side and 8 rolls for $33.30. There is an additional charge for all white meat orders. The menu also includes chicken wings, chicken gizzards, seafood dinners including shrimp, fish sandwiches, devil crab dinners, scallops, and catfish dinners. Sides include cole slaw, baked beans, mashed potatoes and potato salad available in half-pint and pint sizes and french fries. Maryland Fried Chicken also offers separate side orders of mushrooms, okra, onion rings, corndogs and for dessert, apple turnover. What pairs perfectly with Southern pressure-cooked chicken, cole slaw and baked beans? Sweet tea, of course. The restaurant also offers Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite, root beer, orange soda, pink lemonade and bottled water. Customers rave about the quality of service, the

cleanliness of the restaurant and most importantly, are proud to talk about their favorite menu items, describing Maryland Fried Chicken as “delicious,” “simply the best” and one customer even described it as “the best fried chicken in Florida.” In addition to being named Best Fried Chicken in FOCUS Magazine’s Readers Choice Award for for eighteen consecutive years, Maryland Fried Chicken proudly boasts that Fox 13 named their restaurant the Best Fried Chicken, as well. Maryland Fried Chicken has also been named MidSize Business of the Year in 2014 by the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce. Maryland Fried Chicken has become a cornerstone of Plant City’s culinary heritage. From humble beginnings, the Naset family prides themselves in offering the same fresh, never frozen chicken that has fed hungry Plant City residents for 50 years. PAGE

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TALK TURKEY TO ME!

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SERVING PLANT CITY FOR 50 YEARS

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Plant City

Happenings NOVEMBER

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Bar Bingo at Duke’s Brewhouse 7:00PM Free Bingo | Cash Prizes | $11.95 AYCE Boneless Wings Duke’s Brewhouse 2212 James L. Redman Pkwy Cost: Free Info: (813) 752-2700

Farm to Table: Friendsgiving at Keel Farms

Candlelight Tour of Homes & 1914 Community Center

6:30PM Turkey Dinner | Kid- Friendly | Evening on the Farm Keel & Curley Winery at Keel Farms 5210 Thonotosassa Road Cost: $55 per person Info: (813) 752-9100, info@ keelandcurleywinery.com

5:00PM Tour of Historic Homes | Chef Prepared Dinner 1914 PCHS Community Center 605 N. Collins St Cost: $20- $45 Info: East Hillsborough Historical Society, 813-757-9226

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Holidays on the Farm at Keel Farms 10:00AM U-Pick | Santa Visits | Poinsettia Sales Keel & Curley Winery at Keel Farms 5210 Thonotosassa Road Cost: $5 per person, 10 and under: Free Info: (813) 752-9100, info@ keelandcurleywinery.com

DECEMBER

22 Suncoast Credit Union Plant City Pig Jam 10:00AM BBQ Competition | Live Entertainment | Family Fun 1401 Gordon Food Service Drive Cost: Free admission, $10 parking Info: Sophia Hyde, 813-754-3707

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07 Plant City Bike Fest 4:30PM 8 Class Bike Show | Live Entertainment | Food & Vendors Robert Willaford Railroad Museum 120 N. Palmer Street Cost: Free to attend; $10 Registration Info: 813-754-3707

07 The Florida Opry 6:00PM Bluegrass Music by Born Lonesome 1914 PCHS Community Center 605 N. Collins St Cost: $12 Reserved Tickets, $15 at the door Info: East Hillsborough Historical Society, 813-757-9226

16 Plant City Network 7:45AM Business Networking | Guest Speaker | Bring Your Own Breakfast OnPoint CoWorking Solutions 1805 James L. Redman Pkwy Cost: $10 per person; first time guests no charge Info: Alice Bullard, (813) 418-0181

JIMMIE ROBINSON BROKER/ASSOCIATE

COLDWELL BANKER

813-390-6441

JIMMIE.ROBINSON@FLORIDAMOVES.COM


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Gallery of Plant City

Dancing With the Locals The Rotary’s Annual Dancing With the Locals was held on Nov. 1 at the Trinkle Center. Rotarian Jodi Stevens announced that the event raised over $100,000. Casey Stidham and Stephanie Eisenbach won first place and People’s Choice Award.

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a. Casey Stidham and Stephanie Eisenbach performed a theatrical Joker and Harley Quinn-inspired performance. The couple was named People’s Choice and 1st Place winners. Rotary Club’s Jodi Stevens and Doug Watson congratulated the couple as their 2019 winners of the annual Dancing With the Locals.

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b. Sophia Hyde and Audrey Schmidt were named the second place winners their performance. The couple closed out the evenings event.

d. Batista Madonia IV and Samantha Booher performed a tango and samba. Many of the dances included splits, sips and flips.

c. Steven Hollencamp and Stephanie Steiner performed a difficult lift during their routine. The crowd cheered following the impressive lift.

e. Haylee Mathis and Aaron Brown were named the third place winners f. Following the couple’s routines, the dance floor opened for couples and friends to dance together.


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SPONSORED BY

Gobble Gobble Created by Calvin R. and Jackie Mathews

WELLS MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME 813-752-1111

GOBBLE GOBBLE ACROSS 1. Blind as __ 5. “...going to St. Ives,__...” 10. Bird of prey 15. Jacuzzi 18. Worker at a garage: abbr. 19. Sacred composition 20. Darkness 21. Umpire’s call 22. Baked a dessert in Turkeyland? 26. 2nd Amendment backers: abbr. 27. Sore spot 28. Piglet 29. Wearing a Malaysian garb 31. Meat-inspecting agcy. 33. Baseball stats. 35. Waterbird 36. Thoroughfares in Turkeyland? 43. Common verb 44. __ Good Feelings (181524) 45. Grog holder 46. Facial bone cavity 50. Carry 52. Lupino & others 54. Struck 56. Ascend 57. “The __ No One”; Al Pacino film 59. Fanatical 61. Tread heavily 63. Natl. Security Act agcy. 64. Pen name 66. Cartoon bear 67. Sinatra’s third 68. Schwarzkopf’s monogram 69. Unsteady piece of furniture in Turkeyland? 76. Way to go 77. 401 78. Part of a refrain 79. Verily 80. Eliza Doolittle’s abode 81. Attacks 84. Sharp projection 86. Fix firmly and deeply 90. __ for; chooses 92. Sobering-up place, for short 94. Accursed 95. __ mater 96. Sicilian staple 98. “__, with Love”; 1967 Sidney Poitier movie 100. __ as; become at last 103. Feel poorly

104. Watches old TV reruns of a Turkeyland comedian? 108. __ Davis 110. Sports network 111. Gather leaves 112. Recliner features 115. “Do __ you correctly?” 118. Bundle of __; basket case 122. Bird sound 123. Uttered gibberish in Turkeyland? 126. Likely 127. Director von Stroheim 128. Tropical storm of 2015 129. Mount __ 130. Shameful grade 131. Transfer houseplants 132. Recite Jewish prayers 133. Cozy home

12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 23. 24. 25. 30. 32. 34. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 47. 48. 49. 51.

DOWN 1. Bullets 2. Fiance 3. Australian rock band 4. Boston’s nickname 5. One who hinders 6. Stooge name 7. Greek letters 8. Word with Cal or Texas 9. Is __ in someone’s side; irritates 10. Boastful folks 11. Priest’s white garment 1

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Aware of duplicity in Stare openmouthed Dickens hero Using an oven Tibetan cleric Chicken’s home Word from Popeye Café cup Pa or grandpa Spill the beans Actor Jannings Open river valley Drive Tokyo __; Japanese convention center Boleyn & Meara Copy, for short Kampala resident Too slow Opaque gemstone Feature of a skimpy hotel room Edgar or Candice Feel about blindly Overact USNA, for one __ off; left quickly Pass over Magician’s opener Mid 6th-century year Do one’s civic duty Long, long periods Card game Prefix for sphere __ out a living; get by

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Dollops Ms. Glaudini Come forth Melodies Blender speed Just __; tiny amount Walkway Actor Kaplan & others 1977 TV miniseries Polite person’s denial As light __ Flower stalks Talks on and on Circular sweet Jelly __ “...You are My son, __ have begotten you.” (Psalms 2:7) “Futurama: Fear __ Planet”; ’99 sci-fi film Public disturbance Bury Recess Taking advantage of Red and Black Virginia governor from 1982-86 Chuck __ Breath of relief Post, for one Steal Uses an old phone Name on a check Aromatic wood Buccaneers’ home Is an accomplice

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A C A D C O O P G A B S A M M O

G R O P E T A M P A O R E O B E A U

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

J A S P E R C E D A R I M P E D E R

T O R E

Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble M E T A E A G L O T E T G L O O E A C H G O B B L S H O A T S A A R B I S S T O N E S T R E A O F S T E I N I D A S S M O T R A B I D S T O Y O G I M W I T H A G O B B I L A L A S A T S P I K E E H A B E V I L T O S I R E N D O Y S G E O R G E E S P N R S I R E A D K E G O B B L E I C H E R I K P O T D A V E

U G A N D A N E M I L Y E M E R G E

E O N S

V O T E

E M I L

S O R N O N G O O S T S S I N R I P C A H Y L E E A E M B A L A B

P O K E Y

B E R G E N

U S I N G P U R E E

S K A T D A L E S E A S A T A D


a Gallery of Plant City

Pioneer Day The 42nd Annual Pioneer Day was held on Nov. 9 at the 1914 PCHS Community Center. Hundreds turned out for the event to enjoy live entertainment, crafts and observe the history of eastern Hillsborough County.

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a. Artist John Briggs demonstrated the lithograph. In doing so, Briggs created lithograph portraits of railroad tycoon Henry B. Plant, the city’s namesake. b. Barbecue enthusiasts and competitor Davy Miles was on site to serve up pulled pork sandwiches and smoked sausages. c. Members of the East Hillsborough Art Guild had their work on display in the Classroom Gallery. Artist Ruth Bolles displayed her stained glass pieces. Other art pieces on display included paintings, as well as painted apparel. d. As visitors toured the 1914 PCHS Community Center, the East Hillsborough Historical Society had many of it’s exhibits on display, including “the Queen’s room,” where memorabilia and formal dresses of past Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s were available for observation. e. Creative pARTners, a community art initiative began by the East Hillsborough Art Guild and East HIllsborough Historical Society, auctioned off painted chairs. The auction was led by Jonathan Fontana and all of the funds raised went directly back to Creative pARTner’s upcoming projects. PAGE

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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

@wearecrossing

For updates or more info text the word: LAUNCH to: (844) 584-7155 wearecrossing.com/plantcity

Campus Pastors Michael & Julie Pippin


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Profile for Floyd Publications

FOCUS Plant City 18-11  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 18-11 November 2019

FOCUS Plant City 18-11  

FOCUS Magazine Plant City Edition Issue 18-11 November 2019

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