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Contents Table of

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FEATURE: FINDING STRENGTH

It’s time to make resolutions for the new year. Four locals share their stories of fitness success, while attending Plant City’s locally owned and operated gyms. Get tips from their trainers and kick start your health journey in 2021.

By Cierra Craft

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SPOTLIGHT: BEHIND THE BADGE

Meet some of the men and women who make up the Plant City Police Department and learn more about their life behind the badge. Also, meet new Police Chief James Bradford, as he talks about his goals for 1 Police Place.

By Cierra Craft Photography by Deanna Hurley Photography

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BUSINESS: NICHOLE MOODY

Looking for an award-winning realtor who knows Plant City like the back of her hand? Nichole Moody of Better Homes & Gardens Ellie & Associates sat down with FOCUS to talk about the 2021 housing market, her family, and her success.

By Cierra Craft


FOCUS PLANT CITY

focusplantcity.com / Issue 19-12 / December 2020

PUBLISHER

Mike Floyd

MANAGING EDITOR

Cierra Craft

ACCOUNT MANAGER

mikef@floydpublications.com

cierra@floydpublications.com

Chandler Workman

chandler@floydpublications.com

Crystal Colegrove

crystal@floydpublications.com

ART DIRECTOR

OFFICE MANAGER

DISTRIBUTION

Anthony Sassano

asassano@floydpublications.com

Candy Owens

cowens@floydpublications.com

Tony DeVane

STAFF WRITERS

Angela Ardrey Anthony Bolesta 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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UBLISHE From The

Publisher

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This time last year, we were all excited to be entering a new decade- the twenties were back! But, needless to say, 2020 didn’t turn out to be the best way to kickstart a new decade. Like many of you, I am hopeful that 2021 is a better year for small business and good health. Speaking of good health, we hope you’re inspired to create positive change in your lives by sharing fitness success stories. These locals share touching personal testimonies of their fitness journey. For some, that began years ago, like 11-year-old Antonio, who started attending Ares BJJ five years ago, and for others, they were motivated less than a year ago. Regardless, they’re creating lifestyle changes, proving that with hard work, anyone can achieve their goals.

2021:

HERE WE COME

We wanted to wrap up this year with a special story on our cover. A few months ago, a friend approached Chandler Workman, our VP of Sales, and asked, “Can you guys put the Plant City Police Department on the cover of the magazine?” We couldn’t think of a better way to show appreciation for the men and women who protect our city, so with

the help of that friend, we present to you PCPD’s new Chief James Bradford and five members of the various departments within the city’s police force: Detective Manny Diaz, Communications Supervisor Jessica Alexander, Public Information Officer Sergeant Al Van Duyne, Community Relations Officer Wiggins, and Officer James Carver, who share an inside look into life behind the badge. The team at FOCUS wants to welcome Chief Bradford to our community and hope that you, our readers, get to know him a bit better through this article. Our FOCUS team is looking forward to an incredible new year. We hope that we can continue to bring content to you, our readers, in an exciting way, about the people, places and things you care about. If you have any story ideas, please call our editor Cierra Craft at 813.707.8783 or via email at cierra@ floydpublications.com Warmest Regards,

Mike Floyd


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Community

FOCUS

CHECK IN WITH PLANT CITY

Arts Council of Plant City to host 31st Annual ChiliFest By Cierra Craft

South Florida Baptist Hospital has earned an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association award for its treatment of stroke patients The Plant City hospital was honored with a “Get with the Guidelines® Stroke Award – Gold Plus with Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll.” This award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines determined by the latest scientific evidence. This includes everything from proper use of medication and stroke treatments to discharge education. South Florida Baptist Hospital earned the Diabetes Type 2 Honor Roll distinction by achieving more than 90 percent compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.” This means the hospital has ensured that patients with Type 2 diabetes receive the most up-to-date, evidence-based care when hospitalized with a stroke. According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. “This designation is significant because it involves care across a multitude of disciplines,” said Karen Kerr, South Florida Baptist Hospital president. “It involves our services in emergency, cardiovascular, neurology and diabetes. The care and treatment of stroke patients is wide-ranging from many members of our care teams. The designation and award exemplifies our teamwork, communication and effectiveness from doctors and team members in providing the best possible care for stroke patients.” PAGE

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Chili competitors will face off on January 30 in the Arts Council of Plant City’s annual ChiliFest. The cookoff comprises three categories for entries: Mild, Spicy, and Novelty. A panel of judges will select the winners and cash prizes will be awarded to the First and Second place competitors. The public will choose the winner of the People’s Choice Awards. “The Mission of the Arts Council is to promote the visual, performing, and culinary arts, and we feel that hosting Chilifest promotes the culinary arts at a level that is simple, has a broad range of flavors to satisfy a variety of palates and encourages the preparer to develop his or her skills and technique in a manner that makes the dish tasty while having fun,” said Marsha Passmore, President of the Arts Council of Plant City. The Arts Council has held the event for 31 years, just outside the train depot and the event raises money for the organization’s various programs including scholarships for high school seniors. “The impact that Chilifest has on the Arts Council is that the event is one of our fundraisers, and that helps the Arts Council to be able to provide up to four $1000 scholarships at the high school level to graduating seniors furthering their education in the visual, performing, or culinary arts,” said Passmore. “We host the Seward Johnson Sculptures yearly and the bi-annual Lamppost Banners for downtown. We provide cultural events such as the Tour of Homes and Musical Soirees at an affordable cost to allow everyone to experience societal gatherings and more.” Some competitors compete year after year, not only to show off their chili-making skills but more importantly, to show their support for the arts in our community. To enter your best chili recipe, contact ChiliFest Chair Frank Cummings at 813-363-8071 or fcummings4@gmail.com


Community

FOCUS

CHECK IN WITH PLANT CITY

New Tax Collector’s Office to open in Plant City The Plant City Tax Collector’s Office has closed at its current location at 1834 James L. Redman Parkway. The new location, 4706 Sydney Road, will have 17,000 square-feet. When opened, residents will be able to get driver licenses, pay property taxes, take a road test, renew registrations as well as obtain Florida birth certificates and hunting and fishing licenses. County officials said owning this building, as opposed to continuing renting in Strawberry Plaza, will save taxpayers about $300,000 per year. The new location is expected to open in late December. In the meantime, residents will need to travel to other Tax Collector’s office to conduct business. To renew vehicle registrations and license plate decals, residents can visit the Florida MV Express kiosk at Publix at Walden Woods.

Hungry Howie’s Owner Gives Back to 25 Families & Community Organizations By: Cierra Craft

Ali Sobh, owner of Hungry Howie’s on Alexander Street, announced plans to host ‘December to Remember,’ a campaign to provide Christmas for families & organizations in need this holiday season. With many families impacted by unemployment as a result of COVID-19, Sobh and the Hungry Howie’s team felt compelled to help, continuing a tradition from year’s past. “We’ve been through many challenges today and we’ve continued to stay Plant City Strong,” said Sobh. “We all know families and organizations that have taken even a harder hit this year. Help me give them a December that they’ll remember.” The pizza restaurant’s Instagram followers were asked to nominate families and organizations in need. The restaurant will pick 25 families or organizations and provide them with ‘a Christmas they will remember.’ To submit nominations, please direct message Hungry Howie’s Plant City on Instagram @hungryhowiespc

Church on the Rock takes 1st prize at the Plant City Christmas Parade Awards By: Jennifer Jordan On December 10, The Plant City Christmas Parade Committee presented trophies and cash prizes to the top three floats from the Plant City Christmas Parade. The winners embodied the theme “Celebrate the Season 2020” best. The winners were decided by outof-town judges on December 4. Dodie White, Chairman of the Board for the Christmas Parade Committee, stated, “We only use out-of-town judges for 2 years to keep things fair and so they are not familiar with any of the organizations.” The 3rd place trophy and $100 cash prize were awarded to St. Clement Catholic Church, and the 2nd place trophy and $125 cash prize were awarded to Relevant Church. The 1st place trophy and $150 cash prize were awarded to Church on the Rock, who are firsttime winners of the Plant City Christmas Parade. "With a great church family and some prayer, we were able to come together and make the float at a family’s house,” said Matt Ciprano, who represented Church on the Rock.“ It came together very quickly and was an entire church effort.”

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Community

FOCUS

CHECK IN WITH PLANT CITY

Walden Lake Review

W

BY NATALIE SWEET

Your CBD Store Celebrates One Year Anniversary By Jennifer Jordan

On December 12, Your CBD Store located at 2909 James L. Redman Pkwy held their one-year anniversary celebration. Cannabidiol- or CBD- is a naturally occurring, non-psychoactive compound found in hemp plants and has no toxic effects. Your CBD Store sells CBDinfused products such as gummies, lotions, creams, vapes, bath bombs, dog treats, and much more. The products all range in what they can do for a person or pet, such as easing joint and muscle pain, anxiety and depression symptoms, and sleep problems. However, there are also CBD products that will provide energy and focus for a person as well. Tim Bosko, the owner of Your CBD Store, said, “Our products are safe and come with lab reports to breakdown for the customer everything that they’re consuming so they know exactly what they’re purchasing.” To celebrate the one-year anniversary, Your CBD Store held a buy one, get one 50% off sale and gave a free t-shirt to the first 20 customers. They also offered free sample packs of CBD oil and food and drinks. From 1PM-2PM Bosko held an education hour, where he explained and informed customers on CBD and how it works in the body to help an individual find relief from their ailments. “Our biggest job is educating people and letting them know what CBD is and how it works in the body; that it’s not harmful or addicting,” said Bosko. Starting this month, every 10th of the month going forward will be Customer Appreciation Day, which will allow customers the opportunity to scratch off a special card and win prizes ranging from 50% off to free CBD for one year. Your CBD Store is open Monday-Saturday from 10AM-6PM and closed on Sundays. For further information or inquiries, call Your CBD Store at 813-6528191. PAGE

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alden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are held virtually the third Monday of each month. You can Livestream or Teleconference the conference by signing in to www.WaldenLake. org. The next meetings are scheduled December 21 and January 18 at 7:00 PM. Watch the boards at the entries for any special meetings and times. The Walden Lake Board of Directors has approved the 2021 Assessment, which is $320 Semi-Annual for single family residents and $239 Semi-Annual for Condos and Townhomes. You should have received your invoice for the first installment which is due by January 1, 2021. Paying your dues in a timely manner saves you from added interest, and attorney and filing fees, which can add up to a significant amount. If for some reason, you will have a delay in paying your dues, please speak with the HOA office to see if you can come to a mutual resolution. Having food trucks on the 2nd Friday and last Sunday of each month in Walden Lake at the HOA office/sports complex, has been a big hit with many residents. Watch the message boards at the entrances for information on the food trucks. The Santa drive by was a big hit this year along with a stocking full of goodies and the donut holes. Thank you to the Walden Lake HOA for putting this together in a safe way. The Sweet Team of Keller Williams Realty was delighted to participate again this year. Walden Lake LLC submitted a revision of its plans to the City of Plant City on October 30, 2020. To see this and past information on what is happening with the development of the Walden Lake golf course, you can visit www.WaldenLake.org under the “News” tab. The latest information can also be found at the City’s website www.PlantCityGov.com. No further updates are available at this time. During the month of November, there were 16 sales in Walden Lake and 2 sales in Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $309,067 with an average of 13 days on the market.

The October sales are as follows: Address / Sales Price / Living Area / Pool / Garage 3330 Michener Place / $201,000 / 1443 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 1469 Walden Oaks Place / $225,000 / 1460 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 2201 E Timberlane Drive / $229,900 / 1352 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 3208 Pine Club Drive / $240,000 / 1964 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 2738 Golf Lake Drive / $250,000 / 1655 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 2507 Sagebrush Road / $260,000 / 2039 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 3460 Silver Meadow Way / $260,000 / 1754 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 2802 Spring Vista Court / $269,000 / 1815 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 814 Sandalwood Drive / $270,000 / 1858 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 4304 Kipling Avenue / $289,900 / 2152 Sq’ / No / None 2922 Spring Hammock Drive / $335,000 / 2364 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 3226 Kilmer Drive / $345,000 / 2286 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 2706 Forest Club Drive / $353,400 / 2996 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 2803 Clubhouse Drive / $380,000 / 2205 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 2813 Pine Club Drive / $385,000 / 2689 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 2905 Hampton Place Court / $410,000 / 2918 Sq’ / Private / 3 Car 2810 Hampton Place Court / $415,000 / 2523 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 3056 Sutton Woods Drive / $440,000 / 3233 Sq’ / Private / 3 Car There are currently 6 active listings for sale in Walden Lake with an average list price of $394,750 and an average of 122 days on the market. One of these listings is in Polo Place and if you eliminate this listing, the statistics change the averages to $293,700 and 31 days on the market. There are 12 properties Pending Contract with an average list price of $287,199 and average of 20 days on the market. The real estate market is hot due to a lack of inventory, and interest rates are extremely low, making this not only a great time to sell but also a fantastic time to purchase. Can you buy or sell during the pandemic? Yes, absolutely! Real Estate is considered an essential service and The Sweet Team at Keller Williams Realty is still working, while following CDC guidelines for ourselves and clients’ safety. If you are interested in the most current statistics or any questions regarding this article, feel free to reach out to me. NSweet@KW.com or 813-758-9586.


Community

FOCUS

CHECK IN WITH PLANT CITY

The Road to Nationals:

PCHS Cheer Wins Regional Competition By: Cierra Craft

Hip, Hip, Hooray: Community Raises Money for O’Brien’s Bartender for Hip Replacement By: Cierra Craft On Friday, December 11, O’Brien’s Irish Pub hosted “Hip, Hip, Hooray,” a fundraiser for bartender Tisha Howard, who is in need of a hip replacement as soon as possible. The fundraiser goal was set at $23,000 and she is often working through her hip pain. Howard has served the Plant City community for over 13 years while working at O’Brien’s, but it was time for the community to serve her. Howard says she is grateful for the outpouring of support and all of those that attended the event. “Thank you so much,” said Howard. “I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am. I am so thankful for everyone that came out! New hip coming soon!” O’Brien’s sold raffle tickets for giveaways, promoted drink specials, and Daniel Sprouse Band was the live entertainment. The event raised a little over $20,000 in support of Howard. “It’s been a tough year for restaurants and their employees so to see the local community come out and support one of their own who has served and waited on them throughout the years was nothing but fantastic,” said Mike Goodwin, owner of O’Brien’s Irish Pub. “I would really like to thank everyone who donated giveaways, dropped off donations and showed up for their support.”

Congratulations to the Plant City High School Varsity Competition Team for their win at Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) regional competition on December 5. The Raiders won the title of UCA Small Varsity Regional Champions, compete against over a dozen other Florida teams. Now the team must prepare for the UCA National High School Cheerleading Competition, slated for February 5-7, 2021 at Walt Disney World. “So much work went into this routine in preparation for UCA Regionals," said Karen Snapp, PCHS Varsity Head Coach. “We started working our stunting skills as soon as our season began, pushing for superelite elements, and the team has never stopped the hard work since then. Many hours of drills, progressions, and repetition went into achieving their skill level.” This isn’t the first time PCHS Cheer has reached this elite level of athleticism. While this is the program’s first UCA Regional Championship, PCHS is also the current FHSAA Regional Champions in the small varsity division. In the 2019-2020 season, the Raiders placed 3rd in the State of Florida and finished 6th in the Nation out of 45 other Small Varsity teams from all over the U.S. Snapp’s coaching staff comprises her daughters, Skotti Snapp Mesquita and Sara Kate Snapp. The trio is building an award-winning cheerleading program, holding athletes accountable for their performance in the classroom and on the mat. “Holding our athletes to these standards universally has resulted in our girls demanding excellence from themselves and one another,” said Karen Snapp. “We don't have to ask them to want to be at another practice, to do another rep, to encourage one another, or to push themselves mentally and physically day in and day out. They just do it because they know that the work is worth it. It starts at the top with our juniors and seniors who show our underclassmen what we are all about and what we expect and it carries over from season to season.” But going to competitions can be expensive. To get to Nationals, each athlete will be the support of our community to make it happen. Every donation goes back to the PCHS Cheer program and the development of these athletes. To make a donation, the community can contribute through the Plant City High School Athletic Booster Club or contact Karen Snapp at kfsnapp@aol.com Team Members are: Bailey Brock Makenzie Cole - Captain Lacie Collins Daisy Duke - Captain

Chloe Fisher Hayley Geiger Cherish Glenn Madison Hood - Captain Tehya Lujan

Makayla Pena Callie Smith Naomi Stevens Larkin Baxter Jillian Sparkman PAGE

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Ms. Jean (Owner), Ms, Asonia Porter ( Assistant Director & After School Teacher), and Mr. Mike (Owner).

Happy Holidays! We would like to thank our Top Notch Administrator Asonia Porter, along with our WONDERFUL Staff for all they do for A+ LEARNING CENTER! WE COULD NOT DO IT WITHOUT YOU!

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LIC# C-PC-432628


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FINDING STRENGTH:

Locals Share Personal Journeys to Fitness Success By Cierra Craft

HEALTH FITNESS LIFESTYLE

Finding the motivation to kickstart a lifestyle of healthy eating and fitness can be challenging. Some are motivated by loved ones. For others, the numbers on the scale can be frightening and it time to turn a new leaf. Meet four Plant City residents as they share their personal testimonials for finding strength and committing themselves to a healthier lifestyle. Also, their trainers share their tips to help you make 2021 your healthiest year yet. These inspiring locals all workout at a locally-owned and operated fitness center. If you’re in need of one-on-one instruction or want to surround yourself with a community of those living a healthy lifestyle, please consider showing your patronage to one of these locally owned and operated gyms. PAGE

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MISSY GRIMES

Gym: I Hate My Trainer Trainer: Mike Gartz TRAINER TIP :

“You should do 30 minutes to one hour of physical activity every day.” Mike Gartz

CRISTINA VEGA Gym: Pump Fitness Trainer: Jon Muller

My name is Cristina Vega, I am 28 years old. I have three beautiful children, Emrie who is three years old, Grayson is two and Camila who is 11 months old. I’m currently a full-time student at Hillsborough Community College, my goal is to graduate with my associate degree in criminology and criminal justice, and I recently became a certified personal trainer. I’ve been a stay home mom for about two years, but a few months ago I heard my local gym was hiring, and I’ve been working there ever since! On top of being a mom, going to school and working, I still try to make time for the gym and I always do my best with my meals. There is no magic pill, you have to want it. No one will tell you that your journey to a healthier you will be easy but give yourself some time and remember progress doesn’t happen overnight. I believe in you, let’s get it!

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In December 2019 I lost the absolute most precious person to me, My Memaw. She lived a great long life (87 years) but suffered from Diabetes for many years. During her last few days, it really hit me that if I wanted to live a long healthy life, I needed to change some of my daily eating and exercise habits. In January 2020, I buckled down and hired a personal trainer. Mike provided me with a healthy meal plan to follow and I worked out with him 2-3 days per week, he held me accountable every step of the way. During the coronavirus shut down, I spent countless hours riding my bike to get out of the house and to make sure I exercised daily. I have stayed very consistent for a year now and feel absolutely great. I lost a total of 60 pounds and have maintained a good healthy weight since August. Not a day goes by that I am not conscious of what I eat and how much I exercise. 2020 was a year full of healthy living for me and I am very thankful that my husband and daughters have joined me and made living healthy a priority and lifetime commitment!

TRAINER TIP :

"Your body burns up the glucose in your body during your workout. Follow your workout with at least 30 minutes of cardio; you'll burn more fat doing cardio after your workout." Jon Muller


ANTONIO AGUINAGA Gym: Ares BJJ Plant City Trainer: Q. Wiggins

I started comes to Ares BJJ five years ago. My dad and I were at Marco’s Pizza and I saw a flyer for the gym and asked my dad if I could join. I was five or six years old when I first started coming here. What I like about it is that if something happens at home, being on the mat calms me. I’ve gotten stronger since coming to Ares BJJ and I know some kids get bullied at school, so I think coming here could help them learn self-defense and get stronger. My body is stronger, but coming to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing has also taught me leadership, responsibility, respect, and discipline. Now, I coach the other kids in improving their technique and I am a black and yellow belt in Brazilian JiuJitsu and a junior black belt in kickboxing.

TRAINER TIP :

“Your diet and your workout work hand in hand. You can give it all you’ve got in the gym, but if your diet is crap, you won’t see the results you’d like to.” Q Wiggins

RICHARD MUA

Gym: CrossFit Plant City Trainer: Rachel Carter TRAINER TIP :

“Consistency is key. You can’t work out one day per week, it’s got to be a consistent effort.” Rachel Carter

My son goes to CrossFit and last year, he motivated me to join and start coming. I promised him I would give 100% for one year. Eighteen months later, I am still here and have lost over 100lbs in my first 12 months. I joined the day after CrossFit Plant City’s Memorial Day Murph and made a goal that I would be able to do the workout at the 2020 event. I did the 2K Row, 100 assisted pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats, this was a huge accomplishment for me. I’m at CrossFit Plant City five days per week and it’s a community of encouraging people and coaches that motivate me to keep working hard. This isn’t like a regular gym, you’ve got to give this place a try!

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ANNOUNCING A NEW COMMUNITY IN PLANT CITY!!

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in the United States Navy as CTR2 (IW) Bailey and one of this year’s Sailor of the Year nominees. He has come far since his 2016 graduation from Durant High School. And during those difficult days while serving our country, his family rallies behind him with their light-hearted humor stating, “Kevin, it’s Cutiepatootie’s Day. You got this.” Before we start, I must ask one thing. How does it feel to be home right now? It feels good, really good. I have not been home for Thanksgiving in three years. Plant City is home base for me. It is a place where I can come and relax. I do enjoy going shooting when I am home. And I always try to visit Twistee Treat. I love their vanilla soft serve ice cream. Honestly, Plant City is a lot of things to me. It is where I was raised, and it is where I met my high school sweetheart and wife, Addison Bailey. I heard you served in Washington D.C. as a United States Navy Ceremonial Guard. Tell me more about this experience. I served the Navy Ceremonial Guard as part of the Firing Party. We did funeral escorts for Navy personnel buried in Arlington National Cemetery. We also served other ceremonial events, such as President Trump’s inauguration in 2017 and his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, FL.

People of Plant City

Kevin Bailey

Petty Officer 2nd Class, United States Navy Cryptological Technician Collections, Information Warfare (CTR2-IW) By Angela Ardrey-Reynolds

“F

our years ago, Kevin graduated from Recruit Training with the United States Navy. This is one of those days that I will NEVER forget. (Kevin), you have had so many adventures since the day you stepped foot at Great Lakes Recruit Training Command. Whenever you have had a challenge that you needed to face, you stepped up to the plate and accepted the challenge with open arms. Some challenges took more than others; however, you defeated them all and moved forward to the next one. Your Navy career will take you far in life, in the

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Navy and once you decide to leave and come back home. You always make me proud and never let me down. You have become the man that I hoped you would be, and it makes every struggle I had raising you boys all the more worth it. I love you with every beat of my heart, Kevin!” writes Trudy Lynn BaileyRamsey, in September 2020. As much as I want to compose a proper introduction for this month’s People of Plant City, my words could never replace the words of a sailor’s mother - her words of love for her son. Meet Plant City resident Kevin Bailey, known

Ceremonial Guards participate in some of our nation’s most prestigious ceremonies. However, your service at Arlington must have been heavy to bear, that is, in your heart. I participated in 580 funerals as part of the Firing Party at Arlington National Cemetery. And yes, there were funerals that did affect me. One was the funeral for an active duty Navy Seal. It was the hardest funeral to perform. It was also the largest – with many family and team members in attendance. The Navy Seal’s death was so sudden. The family did not have much time to grieve before the funeral. It was sad. You recently received honors worth sharing. Can you tell me about them? I just found out that I was nominated for Sailor of the Year. I am still awaiting more details on this nomination. In 2019, I was awarded the Blue Jacket of the Quarter. As defined, this award means “being a shining example of a 21st century Sailor, embodying the Navy core values – honor, courage, and commitment.” I know you are still young, but you have seen and experienced more than many of us. What words of wisdom would you like to pass on? Keep your head down and do what you need to do.


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• • • • • •

Did You Know? History of the Citizen of the Year Award By Plant City Photo Archives

T

he year 2021 will be the 62nd year of the bestowing of the Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award upon a civic-minded Plant City area resident. For the past 50 years the Kiwanis Club of Plant City has hosted the award ceremony on behalf of the joint civic and service clubs of Plant City. The date of the 2021 award luncheon is Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Here is a look back at the history of this community event. In the chapter, “Parks and Memorials,” in the book, Plant City; Its Origin and History, by David E. Bailey, Jr. and Quintilla Geer Bruton, they state the following: “Through the years the community service of other citizens has been recognized, not by establishing memorials and parks in their honor, but by presentation of awards and citations. Grateful fellow townsmen have expressed their appreciation to these good citizens for their unselfish giving of their time, talents, and resources for the betterment of the community and the benefit of all.” In 1956 the Business and Professional Women’s Club (BPW) began recognizing the outstanding career woman each year. In 1959 the Plant City Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) started conferring Distinguished Service Awards to deserving citizens and in the same year began selecting annual recipients for their Good Government Award. In 1972 the Jaycees added an award to outstanding young men. The Junior Woman’s Club added its Family of the Year Award beginning in 1971. These are just some of the community awards. To quote Bruton and Bailey, “Possibly the most prestigious award is that naming the Outstanding Citizen of the Year. This award was first sponsored and established in 1960 by The First National Bank in Plant City,” which was formed in 1956. The bank was merged into First Financial Corporation, a bank holding company, in 1970. Subsequently, beginning in 1970, the award has been sponsored by the civic clubs under the lead of the Kiwanis Club of Plant City. In the early years, the award was presented during the Florida Strawberry Festival week at a joint civic club luncheon. Over the years it has continued to occur in proximity to the festival dates but not during the festival period itself.

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At first, according to the Bruton and Bailey book, “the requirements for selection are that the recipient must be a citizen of Plant City who has performed or taken a leading part in either one or a number of important public services, entirely unselfishly and without compensation. Eligibility is not limited to one year’s service but may embrace continued civic service for a period of years.” This statement was construed to mean resident of the Plant City area and not necessarily within the city limits. Over time the criteria for selection have been modified somewhat and now read as follows: • The potential recipient should be considered based on local contributions above and beyond the functions of their job, and not necessarily a member of a specific club. • Financial contributions are not a consideration. • The potential recipient cannot be seeking political office or fulfilling their job-related duties. • The potential recipient has given of themselves freely for many years and asked for nothing in return. • Posthumous awards are not permitted. • Clubs should refrain from nominating a current Civic/Service Club President. The first recipient of this award was Arthur Rice Boring, President of Hillsboro Bank, who had served as City Commissioner, Mayor-Commissioner, and many other civic positions including Director of the Florida Strawberry Festival from 1934 to 1963. The luncheon was held at the Hotel Plant, the venue for many Plant City ceremonies and banquets. That first certificate, or plaque, read as follows: • • • • • • • • • •

The First National Bank in Plant City, Florida hereby awards to Arthur R. Boring this Certificate of Excellence in Citizenship on account of said Arthur R. Boring having rendered to Plant City, Florida and its environs the most outstanding civic service and for having

forgotten self and evidenced his affection for Plant City by his unselfish devotion to the City and Community. Presented on this 2nd day of March 1960 A.D.

The first female recipient followed in 1961 when Quintilla Geer Bruton was selected for the Citizen of the Year award. Ten women followed over the next fiftyplus years – totaling eleven in the past 61 years. Two recipients were Black – Sadye Gibbs Martin (1997), and Sharon Moody (2016). The venue changed when the Hotel Plant underwent demolition in 1965, and various halls and restaurants have hosted the event. Recently it has been held in the TECO Expo Hall at the Florida Strawberry Festival grounds. The wording of the award has changed from “The First National Bank,” as the presenter, to “The Civic Clubs in Plant City, Florida.” The first Outstanding Citizen of the Year to receive the award under the Civic Clubs of Plant City, at a luncheon held at Johnson’s Restaurant, March 4th, 1970, was Dr. Hal Brewer. This was also the last time the award ceremony was part of the Strawberry Festival events. This year the luncheon will be held at the TECO Expo Hall on Wednesday, February 17, when Jim Scott, Citizen of the Year 2020, will present the award to the Outstanding Citizen of the Year 2021. Be there. Doors open at 11:00 a.m. and the box lunch special begins at 11:30 a.m. and the program follows. CDC guidelines will be strictly enforced: masks, distancing, hand sanitizer, no singing, although that may be a good thing. For a list of the Outstanding Citizen of the Year recipients, contact the Photo Archives.

Judge James Bruton, L, presents the 1960 Citizen of the Year Award to Arthur Rice Boring, R.

Quintilla Geer Bruton, Citizen of the Year 1961, with Judge James Bruton.


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BEHIND THE BADGE:

THE MEN & WOMEN OF PCPD BY CIERRA CRAFT PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEANNA HURLEY PHOTOGRAPHY

2020 has been challenging for all of us. It was financially-stressful, socially distant, and for some, life-threatening. Police departments across the country were presented with their own set of challenges this year from demonstrations, public safety, and community outreach initiatives. Plant City Police Department was no exception. The 68 officers and over a dozen civilian employees continue to serve and protect our city. In appreciation for their service and sacrifice, we at FOCUS Magazine, in partnership with an anonymous advertiser, would like to shine a light on just a handful of the people who makeup the Plant City Police Department. Meet brand new Plant City Police Chief James Bradford, Sgt. Al Van Duyne, Det. Manual Diaz, Ofc. Shawnice Wiggins, Ofc. James Carver, and 911 Center Communications Supervisor Jessica Alexander. Each of these individuals come from different walks of life: Some are veterans with an interest in aviation, some come from backgrounds where law enforcement is viewed negatively and use their position to create positive change, others come from New York’s Wall Street. Take a look at the people on the frontline, the people behind the badge.

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PCPD POLICE CHIEF

JAMES BRADFORD Our city is eager to meet our new chief. What do you want people to know about James Bradford on a personal level? I have been married to Susan (a now-retired Captain at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office) for almost 29 years and we have two children: Daughter Elizabeth (recently married to Rick) is a graduate of Florida State University Law School. My son Matthew is in his third year at FSU studying business. I am very proud of my family. Even though Susan and I are empty-nesters, we always look forward to seeing our kids. We have been members of Bell Shoals Baptist Church for 25 years and have served as a deacon, personnel committee member, and coach in their youth soccer program. I love history and travel. Susan and I both like to visit new places and cultures. We love visiting national parks especially those in the western United States. Please share with readers what changes can we expect to see at PCPD under your leadership? What are your goals in this position? There is no doubt Chief Ed Duncan has done an incredible job of leading PCPD the last six years. He retires leaving the department in great shape in all aspects. His legacy of professionalism provides me with a solid foundation in which to start my leadership role. I would like to continue the programs and strategies that have already proven successful. The police/community relationship in Plant City is strong and maintaining that would lead to a continued stable and healthy partnership. Finding out how and why crime rates are dropping and bolstering those initiatives will also continue to make Plant City a safe place to live, work, and visit. Investment, review, and opportunities for improvement only produce success for the agency and the community it serves. Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted I would like to get the police department involved in community activities and volunteer opportunities. By virtue of our service to the community, the police department is part of the community. Volunteerism would provide us opportunities to get to know the residents on a different level and demonstrate our commitment to the community to be the best it can be. I would like to explore possibilities of affording the people the opportunity to volunteer at the police department. Volunteers would be able to take on non-critical tasks

which could free up full time employees for other things on a limited basis. How has your law enforcement experience prepared you to lead the city’s police force? I retired from the Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff’s Office in October 2020 after 31 years of service. My last position was Colonel and department commander of the Department of Investigative Services (overseeing criminal investigations, child protection, and special investigations). My career began in patrol, and I was subsequently assigned various detective assignments in the agency. I entered the supervisory ranks serving in supervisory positions in both patrol and detective units. In my previous roles at HCSO, I was able to invest in others and provide them growth opportunities to enhance their abilities. Doing the same at PCPD will enable all employees to do their best work and continue to make the Plant City Police Department a great place to work. In my previous role I learned that creating strong community ties allows citizens to be a force multiplier enabling of us to do so much more with less. Our partnerships with other law enforcement agencies give us the ability to leverage other agencies’ expertise and take advantage of additional resources when needed. Of course, the great departments are all about teamwork. When we work together, great things happen. Nothing is more important than a good name, for you as an individual or your organization. It takes time to build trust and a lot of hard work. This is accomplished by accountability- paying attention to the small things today, so they don’t become an issue tomorrow. What led you to choose a career in law enforcement? I entered the University of South Florida and was an international studies major with a minor in French language-intending on working for the State Department. I spent a semester in Paris, France living with a French family and studying at a language school for non-native speakers. Upon my return to USF I took a survey of the criminal justice class that explored all facets of the criminal justice system. That

class hooked me on getting in to law enforcement. I changed my major to criminology and did an internship with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and was hired as a deputy one year out of college. What drew you to the position of Plant City Police Chief? I knew I wanted to keep working once I retired from HCSO. I was passively looking for employment and when Chief Duncan announced his retirement, I felt that the position as Police Chief was a perfect fit for me. I spent the first decade or so of my HCSO career working the east side of the county and formed relationships with PCPD detectives. I live in Lithia and often came to Plant City for a variety of reasons so I knew the area. We have many family friends that live in Plant City who encouraged me to apply. I knew the culture of the area, its people, and that it was important to continue the good work that was already being done here. I felt at home here and that God was opening the door for me to work with the men and women of PCPD. If you weren’t in law enforcement, what would you be doing with your life? I would probably be back to my original plan of working in government with the State Department. What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of the job? I enjoy travel both domestic and internationally. I spend a lot of time with my family, I enjoy reading history and spy novels. Is there anything I haven’t asked you about that you want the community to know? I am extremely happy and excited to be Plant City’s police chief. I have the full support of my family. My wife is happy in anticipation of supporting me in that role. A great opportunity for me will be to continue the programs and strategies that have already proven successful. The police/community relationship in Plant City is strong and maintaining that would lead to a continued stable and healthy partnership. Investment in the success of the employees and the community will only make Plant City a great place to live, work, and visit.

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COMMUNICATIONS SUPERVISOR

JESSICA ALEXANDER Please share with readers your position and describe your duties. I manage the entire 911 Operations Center which is located at Police Headquarters. The operations center serves both the Plant City Police and Plant City Fire Departments. I have multiple roles within the operations center. Some of which are to ensure there is adequate staffing, the 911 operators maintain their certifications and training standards needed to perform their duties required for their position. I maintain the 911 calls and audio request for both the police and fire departments and for legal and public records request. I maintain our Computer Aided Dispatch system to ensure that all business and residential areas within the city are accurate. I work with the Plant City Geographic Information System (GIS) Coordinator with mapping and zoning our great city. Those are just a few of my duties. I wear many hats as part of my job and I wear them proudly. What do you want people to know about you on a personal level? I was born and raised in Plant City. I have very strong faith. God and my family are a huge part of my life and that’s what helps to keep me grounded. I obtained an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice during that time my intent was to study Juvenile Justice, but God had other plans for me which led me to the Plant City Police Department. Can you dispel any myths about the Communications Center? Over the years I’ve heard many myths about the 911 Operations Center. I will dispel the top two that come to mind: The number one myth is the belief that calls are routed through Hillsborough

County’s 911 center before coming to Plant City. This is not true; the reality is only a small number of calls originate through Hillsborough County before they are routed to Plant City. If you call within the city limits or directly from your landline phone we receive it directly into our operations center. Cell phone calls are actually received through the closest cell tower to our center. In Plant City, we answer all of our phone calls live so you will always receive a dispatcher on the other end of the call. Most other agencies have an answering system where calls are placed in a queue until a 911 dispatcher is available to answer. The number two myth is the belief that there are multiple dispatchers on a shift similar to what is seen on TV. Within our operations center there is a maximum of three dispatchers per shift. The dispatchers answer Police, Fire, and EMS calls for service. Additionally they dispatch for the police officers and firefighters. The 911 center answers approximately 40,000 calls per year which includes emergency and non-emergency. How long have you been with PCPD? What inspired you to work in this field? I started with the Plant City Police Department in February of 2006. I spent 12 years working the floor as a shift dispatcher and two years as the operation center manager. My uncle started his law enforcement career with the PCPD, before continuing his career with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office so through him I’ve always had a connection to law enforcement. I was definitely nervous when I applied for the dispatcher position, back in 2006. My grandmother, who has since passed away, would call me all the time and tell me to apply for the position day

after day. I was hesitant but eventually I applied. When I was hired there was so much to learn, I remember one day after work going to my grandmother crying and telling her “I don’t think I can do this, there’s so much to learn!” She told me “You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Who knows, one day you could be running that place!” Well here I am almost 15 years later “running” the place. I feel her presence with me every day. If you were to ask me if I would be in this position after 15 years, I would tell you never in a million years. I am beyond thankful for Chief Duncan and Captain Stwan saw the potential in me and trust me to manage the 911 Center. Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you want people to know? I have an amazing staff of men and women who work very hard for our 911 operation center and help make sure we are staffed and operational for the City of Plant City. They make sure that our officers go home safely to their families at the end of their shift and they are providing the utmost level of service to anyone calling for assistance. Dispatchers answer a number of calls day to day from people going through some of their worst moments in life. We take calls ranging from assisting a parent with CPR instructions for their drowning infant, all the way to a victim being held at gunpoint during a robbery… Even though we may sit behind a desk doing our job we are the first line of defense in an emergency situation...There is a dispatch quote that I love that says “Just because you don’t see my face, doesn’t mean I’m not saving your life. Behind every hero, there is a guardian looking out for them and I am the heroes’ guardian. I am a 911 dispatcher.”

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DETECTIVE

MANUEL DIAZ Please share with readers a little about yourself and your experience in law enforcement? Born and raised in NYC been living in Florida for ten years. I was a reserve deputy at Hillsborough County Sheriff Office for 3 years. I’ve been with Plant City Police Department for 6 years. I was a stockbroker in New York, I was day trading until 2008 when the market crashed then I took a break from trading stocks and started visiting Florida. In 2010 I wanted a new start and wanted to get away from the cold and finally made the move to Florida. In 2011 I was sworn in as a Reserve Deputy by Colonel Duncan. In 2014 I decided to work in law enforcement full time and applied at Plant City and again was sworn in now by Chief Duncan. Sgt. Van Duyne tells me you worked in patrol before becoming a detective. What insight can you provide to our readers about these positions? Patrol is an important role in public service by responding to incidents, patrol officers are the first on scene and conduct the primary investigation which is very important. Detectives

follow up on police reports and take the lead in criminal investigations. On TV detective are out solving crime and finding DNA on almost any article at a crime scene getting into a police case, fighting a suspect and they never show all the paperwork involved, a lot of phone calls, a lot of research, and more paperwork and DNA is not on every article at a crime scene it takes to solve a crime.

lost kids, confused elderly people and on and on is the greatest satisfaction on earth. I was a detective in the Special Investigations Unit for two years, I did some undercover work in narcotics which I was able to work some good cases one which was located in the downtown area, which resulted in getting some bad guys off the streets of Plant City and sending them to prison.

Share with us more about your duties as a detective? What investigations/units are you apart of? As a detective I follow up on police reports, I work with other law enforcement agencies to apprehend suspects and solve crimes. I’m assigned to the Criminal Investigation Unit in property crimes primarily I investigate stolen vehicles and vehicle burglaries.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do in your spare time? When I’m not working I’m spending my time with family and friends or traveling. I like visiting my mother in Puerto Rico when she’s not in Florida, last year I was able to travel to England, and this year due to a work-related injury in January and then COVID all my travel plans were canceled. Hopefully, it gets back to normal and I’m able to travel again.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? What case are you proud of? The most rewarding part of my job is arresting criminal, and participating in the judicial process that judge them, I routinely could help people in times of peril and trauma, accident victims,

What is your favorite aspect of Plant City? Do you have a favorite lunch spot? A southern small town with good people. One of my favorite spots is Esposito’s, the pizza is good not New York pizza but pretty close.

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SERGEANT

AL VAN DUYNE Part of your duties is to serve as Public Information Office. What does this title mean to you? What are your responsibilities? What other positions do you hold? In my role as the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Plant City Police Department, I serve as the communicative liaison between the police department and the citizens that we serve. I share messages on the department’s behalf on a wide range of topics: Breaking news events, information about upcoming events, requesting community assistance in locating lost children or adults, and assistance in identifying persons of interest in criminal investigations. We also love to share our interactions with our community whenever we can on our Plant City Police Department Facebook page. The other position I hold currently within PCPD is that of the supervisor of the Traffic Management Unit (TMU). The TMU comprises four officers who are charged with conducting traffic enforcement throughout the city and they investigate a large majority of the traffic crashes that take place within the city. The TMU also investigates all of the fatality crashes that occur within the PCPD jurisdiction. What is the most rewarding part of your job? It may sound cliché but the most rewarding part of the job is actually twofold. One part is helping people and the second is building relationships. They sound like two separate answers but they are actually interconnected. When our current City Manager, Bill McDaniel was our Chief of Police, he reminded us constantly that, “No one calls the police department because they’re having a good day.” What has always been my take away from that is when people call, we owe it to them to give them our absolute best service. An officer may have responded to three or four burglaries and may be weary or frustrated. We must remember though it’s the victim’s first burglary and it is a traumatic invasion of privacy. So the best way to reassure them is again to

provide the best level of service possible to them. You’ve been with PCPD since 1999. Why did you choose to come to Plant City? I chose Plant City because it was a better fit for me overall, as opposed to applying with the larger agencies in the area. Prior to being hired as a PCPD Officer, I was a Detention Deputy, with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. During my time there, it was overwhelming to see how large that agency was and to envision how I would have fit into the equation at the time. When I arrived at PCPD, it was an enjoyable transition for me in that I had much easier access to all the department’s personnel and I able to assimilate into the department and the community more easily. What is your favorite thing about Plant City? My favorite thing about Plant City to this day is the small town appeal. I’ve been here since 1999 and despite the growth and expansion, it still has that appeal. My now-adult children have grown up in Plant City and this is home. I’m reminded of my longevity which has afforded me the pleasure of seeing people in town who I pulled over as high school students many years ago, who now have children who are of driving age! I’m always appreciative of the kind words I receive saying I remember you because you were nice to me, or you helped me and my family. As PIO you’re pretty well known around the community. What is something people may be surprised to learn about you? Something people would be surprised to learn about me is that I am a military fighter jet and space travel fanatic. Prior to law enforcement, I served in the U.S. Air Force, as a Crew Chief on the F-15 Eagle. I served during the latter part of the Cold War era when tensions were high with Russia. I was stationed in the Netherlands and Germany and served temporary duty and

deployments to other countries, where the U.S. and allied forces routinely scrambled U.S. fighters to intercept Russian aircraft before they flew into American and allied airspace. During my enlistments, I’ve had the opportunity to ride in a T-38 Talon, a trainer jet, as well as the F-15D & E, Eagle and Strike Eagle aircraft, respectively. I served 13 years active duty in the Air Force and I served 7 years in the Florida Army National Guard. I retired in 2006, having served a total of 20 years. I always like to joke that my resume could be printed on a “Post-It” note. My work history consists of military service and law enforcement. That’s it. I could not think of two more noble of callings to have answered and I’d do it all over again. When you aren’t on duty, what do you like to do in your free time? When I’m not on duty, I love to watch sports. I am a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Penn State University college football, Duke University college basketball, and the Golden State Warriors NBA basketball. Of course, I like to watch law enforcement and military aviationrelated shows. My other fun activity is video games, the Xbox One is my console of choice. Is there anything I haven’t asked that you want the community to know? I want the community to know that the men and women of the Plant City Police Department truly appreciate the outpouring of support we have received this year. From all of the food, snacks, and drinks that have been brought, to the dozens of handmade cards by school-aged youngsters, to the people who’ve brought us waters or honked their horns and waved when officers are out working in the extreme heat and rain, to the positive messages on our Facebook page. We feel the support and we thank each and every one of you. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to Everyone!

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OFFICER

JAMES CARVER What pushed you to pursue a career in law enforcement? It has been something I have always considered since I was young, and I had always admired the selflessness of my uncle who works in law enforcement, as well as my cousins in the military. Although to be truthful, up until my freshman year of college it was just a consideration. Then the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing took place just a short drive from my dorm at Bridgewater State University. Although at the time I was 19 years old and realistically could not, I felt the urge to help in any possible way. I did not like being on the sidelines while others protected my home, and decided I wanted to do my part however I could. Why did you choose to begin your career at PCPD? One of my instructors in the academy spoke very highly of PCPD, as well Chief Duncan for whom he previously worked under at HCSO. It did not take long for me to realize this was well-founded praise. As I was waiting for my initial interview, Chief Duncan walked out to the lobby, shook my hand, and took a moment to introduce himself to me. At some larger agencies, face-to-face interaction with higher command staff is rare, so needless to say when the Chief of Police takes time out of his day to speak with an applicant before his first interview, it speaks volumes about the family atmosphere here at PCPD. This paired with the resources, opportunities

for career development and specialty units, competitive pay, and benefits, made it really a simple choice. When compared to larger and smaller agencies, it truly is the best of both worlds. What has your first few months on the job been like? Busy! The recurring theme was that the more I learned, the more there was to learn. Overall, the first few months have been fun, sad, nerve-wracking, and eye-opening. Every shift has plenty of laughs with fellow officers, often followed up by heart-pounding intense moments. I have seen countless acts of selflessness from citizens and officers alike, and unfortunately, also see the unpleasantries of the world. The way I look at it I get to share in the good moments, and am given the opportunity to do something about the bad, and try to mitigate it however I can. What is your favorite thing about Plant City? To me, Plant City is all about the people. The people of this city are what make it unique, and give it its identity. The people here are hard-working and humble, and it shows in the progress this city has made over the years. I love that the nature of my job allows me the opportunity to meet those of all the different backgrounds and cultures that reside here in Plant City. There is something to be learned from every person you interact with, and in a city full

of diligent people committed to their city, there is plenty to learn from. When you’re not on duty, what do you like to do in your spare time? With the intense nature that comes with parts of working law enforcement, it is important to find ways to decompress. For me, my main stress relief has always been staying active however I can. I am fortunate to still have a close group of friends from my undergrad years at USF who still live in the area. As a group we get together as much as we can, we all can’t wait to spend Saturdays tailgating at Ray Jay again! Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you want the city to know about PCPD? We appreciate your support! This has been a crazy year for everyone, law enforcement included, and it means a lot to us at PCPD to have the support of our city. Whether that is a simple “stay safe”, or “thank you” as we pass by, or the countless instances where folks have dropped off food or coffee at the station, it all is so much appreciated! We do our best to pay forward the generosity as best we can. I find it may come across as cliché when folks say “thank you” and I reply with “no, thank you,” but that is my most sincere reaction. Thank you for supporting us and thank you for having our backs!

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OFFICER

SHAWNICE WIGGINS You’re a member of Patrol, but you’re the CRA. Please share with readers what this title means to you? What are your duties and responsibilities in the downtown core? The Community Redevelopment Area Officer role is a vital bridge between the police department and the community. As a CRA Officer my purpose is to meet the needs of the community; which includes but not limited to, crime prevention and education, building positive relationships, assisting the less fortunate, and addressing minor issues in the community before they become major concerns. The majority of the CRA’s role for the downtown area is being the liaison for the merchants and crime prevention. I just want to note that the CRA role isn’t only is designated for the downtown area. A large portion of the CRA area is devoted to designated communities located in the east and west of Plant City. Although some areas require my assistance more than the other, the entire CRA area receives the same attention and respect. How were you selected to serve in this position? What is the most rewarding part of your job? The position was brought to my attention by one of my superiors. He explained that there was an opening for the position and asked how I would feel about becoming the new CRA officer. A meeting was scheduled and detailed information

about the CRA role was presented to me. Before I knew it, I was being offered the position and there was no reason for me to turn it down. I was raised in an area where the majority of us believed that all law enforcement officers were BAD (point, blank, period). I was 19 years old when I realized my perception of law enforcement was false. Being in this position provides me the opportunity to change that false narrative. I come in contact with citizens with all types of backgrounds and if my contact could changes the way some people perceive law enforcement in general, to me that is rewarding. What is a typical day like for you in downtown? A typical day downtown is me on foot or driving around maintaining officer presence. When I am on foot, I am visiting multiple businesses and checking to see if the merchants have any questions or concerns. I know most of you are wondering if I visit all of the businesses in one day. No ma'am and no sir! I divide the entire downtown area into sections and visit every business in each section throughout my work week. When did you begin with PCPD? Do you have prior law enforcement experience? I started working with the PCPD on January 08, 2018. I’m approaching my third anniversary

with the department next month. I have approximately 7 years of experience as a reserve and full-time law enforcement officer. Some of my prior experience is from Tampa Police Department and USF-St. Petersburg Police Department. When you’re not on duty, what do you like to do in your free time? It's always a great time with my family/friends, so I spending a lot of my spare time with them. They are one of the reasons why I enjoy holidays and any events where they are subject to be in attendance. Although I have gained some quarantine weight, I enjoy working out during my spare time as well; specifically in groups. Fun fact! I used to personally train a small group of women on my off days. The training was free and we would meet at various parks for workout sessions. I also love food. During my spare time, I’m most likely visiting restaurants that I’ve Googled. I am that person who checks reviews and scrolls through pictures trying to determine my next lunch spot. If I were express that the restaurant is good, you probably should take my advice and visit. I like to think that my taste buds are Top Tier.

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Nichole Moody BY CIERRA CRAFT

“I

genuinely want to help people,” said Nichole Moody, real estate agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Ellie & Associates. “I am humbled by this job because every day is an opportunity to learn something new, not only about real estate but about people in general. Every day is different, and every day is a new challenge.” Moody is a top award-winning agent with Better Homes & Garden Real Estate Ellie & Associates. While the brokerage’s agents sell homes throughout the Greater Tampa Bay area, Moody’s roots run deep here in Plant City. She is a Plant City-native, a resident of Walden Lake. Plant City is where she raised her four sons and the highlight of her life is her granddaughter, Aspyn. “I am so proud of the two adult men I have raised and the two I still have at home and I see my grandbaby multiple times a week and she has me wrapped around her finger,” said Moody. “My kids are my reason for existing and the reason I work so hard.” Moody worked in Real Estate Law as a Paralegal for nearly two decades. That experience expertly prepared her for the Hillsborough County real estate market. “As a Paralegal, that is where I learned contracts, short sales, and title work,” said Moody. “I’ve been a licensed real estate agent since 2006. Three years ago, I decided it was time for a new beginning and started working as an agent full time.” What makes Moody different from other realtors? Her work ethic, honesty, and fairness. She is down to earth and

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describes herself as someone who is “open and transparent.” She believes her success in this tough industry is from the relationships she has made with not only her clients, but with colleagues, lending partners, inspectors, and appraisers. Anyone who knows Nichole Moody will tell you she works hard for her clients and she doesn’t just want to earn your business, she wants to earn your friendship. Her clients return when selling their home or when needing a buyer’s agent because of her proven results. “As a realtor, you wear many hats and you are helping people through one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives,” said Moody. “I often speak with my fellow colleagues and we all agree that many times we feel like therapists, negotiators, stagers, schedulers, professional managers, and jugglers.” Throughout the entire process of buying or selling a home, Moody wears many of these hats at the same time. She strives to make the entire process as stress-free as possible for all parties involved and help guide all parties to terms beneficial to everyone. When it comes to staging, Moody loves decorating and helping sellers make even subtle changes, like paint color, before listing their property. She has worked hard to create a list of trusted home service providers to help with anything her clients may need to sell their homes for top dollar. In juggling all of this, Moody works with buyers, sellers, agents, escrow officers, lenders, inspectors, and the list goes on. No matter how challenging it may be, Moody is there to do whatever it takes in the best interest of her clients. Moody will market client properties with video virtual tours, photography, and drone shots, giving potential buyers a look inside before scheduling an appointment. In doing so, Moody is able to showcase her clients’ properties to only serious buyers. “Nichole went above and beyond and with lightning speed!” said Haley Quinzi of Plant City. “She had my house on the market with professional photos a week after I contacted her simply inquiring on what the steps to selling a house were. My listing was gorgeous and immediate attention. We were under contract in less than a week with several above asking offers…” “I bought this house two years ago that was listed with Nichole Moody and thought she was awesome with that transaction so she was, of course, first and only thought when I was ready to sell,” said Leslie Diaz, a repeat client of Nichole Moody. “Once again, she did not disappoint. She is super knowledgeable of the area, the market, and great to work with. She was always very assuring and there to answer any questions. I highly recommend her to anyone looking to buy or sell.” Moody predicts the 2021 Real Estate Market will continue to be a seller’s market and says mortgage rates are continuing to drop. “I think it will continue to be a seller’s market in Florida. A low supply of homes means that sellers have the upper hand in any negotiation,” said Moody. “Leading housing agencies are expecting an average 30-year mortgage rate of 3.03% in 2021. That’s pretty incredible; until 2020, the lowest 30-year rate on record was 3.29%. Now, experts are saying interest rates could remain well below that for a year or more to come.” Whether it is taking care of her family or taking care of clients, Nichole Moody gives her very best. Being a busy mom and balancing a career can be challenging, but Moody says being a mother has significantly prepared her for life as a real estate agent and finds the two jobs very similar. “There are so many similarities in these two critical jobs,” said Moody. “I have to be organized and I have to wake up every day and do whatever it takes for my clients. I have to help them in every aspect of the process no matter what they are dealing with in their lives. I love being a mom and I love selling real estate. I would not trade any of what I do every day in my personal or business life for anything. My ultimate goal is for my children and my clients to be happy…”

Nichole Moody is not only a hardworking real estate agent with Better Homes & Gardens Ellie & Associations, she is a mom to four sons and a says her granddaughter is the highlight of her life.

More About Nichole: Favorite Drink: Baybreeze Favorite Vacation Destination: Costa Rica Favorite Sports Team: I love Patrick Mahomes, so Kansas City Chiefs Best Piece of Advice Received: Never put off until tomorrow what you can get done today

813.802.3452 Mobile | 813.690.0319 Office PAGE

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RISING STAR Sebastian

Fernandes By Katie Hamilton

Some locals may say that the most well-known senior football player at Strawberry Crest High School is none other than Sebastian Fernandes. Fernandes began his career in football with the Plant City Dolphins football team, investing 4 years with the Dolphins before attending Strawberry Crest. Through the years as a Charger, Fernandes was mentored by the head coach, Coach Prior, and by defensive coach, Coach Groen. Coaches Manny and Holmin- the offensive lineman coaches- also all had a large impact on Fernandes’s football life. Fernandes said, “Our coaches are interactive, devoted, and driven.” From that mentoring he has gleaned his greatest strength on the field and that is being self-motivated. Fernandes continued, “I always strive to better myself to become the best I can be.” While his coaches have indeed played a big factor in his self-improvement, Fernandes says his greatest inspiration is his late grandfather who always taught him to spread positivity and to work hard in life to achieve great things. Because of his successful season, Fernandes hopes to continue pursuing his career in football if given that opportunity in the future. If not, Fernandes wishes to graduate from high school and enlist in the Air Force academy. After that, Fernandes wants to achieve his insurance license and continue in his family’s business. Fernandes gained his love for football from the blossoming world of team sports around him at an early age. Fernandes states, “I love my teammates; they are like my brothers.” Today that love carries onto the field with his Crest teammates. He continued, “Before games, my team eats as a family, prays as a family, and gets hyped as a family.” Truly, there are many aspects that can affect a team during any season, but this year, the biggest influencer has been the COVID-19 virus. Fernandes explains, “COVID has shortened my senior football season, restricted my time in the weight room, and added mandatory mask mandates at the beginning of the season. Outside of football, COVID has changed my daily life in ways such as me going out less and me being more cautious of my actions in general.” Even with all of the restrictions that COVID has put on Fernandes’s life, his commitment to the team never stopped. In the end, Fernandes recalled, “My greatest memory with my team was my junior season when I scored my first touchdown against Kathleen High. After scoring the touchdown, I ran towards my team on the sidelines and all my teammates and the fans in the stands were hyping me up and cheering me on.” PAGE

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STARTING JANUARY 2021

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Team of the Month PCHS Volleyball

By Katie Hamilton | Photos by Chris Luke

T

he Plant City High School girls' volleyball team broke records this year after winning districts for the first time in 40 years. The coaches of the team who lead them through to success are Head Coach Sara Tooman and Assistant Coach Sam Benoit. The team has two featured athletes on the Prime-Time Preps recognition website: Mallory Smith and Bailey Blanton. Mallory Smith (11th) achieved the record of leading in kills by 377, which was unseen in any of the Plant City High School volleyball records. The news station Bay News 9 even came to interview the team in late October after news of the terrific season. Many of the girls on the team began their journey in volleyball with the Quest club team in Brandon and because of this, these girls have known each other for nearly a decade. Additionally, most of the girls participate on the Florida Performance volleyball club team in their offseason to further improve for the fall. As such, the team has many strong relationships cemented by the sisterhood of volleyball. Katie Rhodes (11th) describes the team as “One big family,” and said, “we all hang out on and off the court; we just have so much fun all the time.” To show their bond for each other at the

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beginning of the season the entire team changed their “BitMojis” on the social media platform, Snapchat, to cowgirls to show their cohesiveness as a team. The volleyball team not only made many strong relationships but also broke records against other schools. Caleb Roberts - a teacher and former sports coach at Plant City High School describes this season as “... the best one yet.” As the season rolled on the girls became a big part of after-school life for many students. Friends and families poured into games to watch the team strike against other schools. Gracie Hinton (12th) described the year as “bittersweet” and stated, “it's my senior year, and it will be exceedingly difficult to say goodbye to a team that I love dearly.” Hinton’s favorite memory on the team is the 3 times that the girls beat Strawberry Crest and broke the standards for districts. Eva Oyola (11th) was ecstatic when the team had finally won the district championships stating, “It just felt like all our demanding work finally paid off.” With many of the girls taking multiple, challenging classes, the most successful season could also be classified as the most stressful. Kyla Futch (10th) currently has a stacked schedule of Advanced placement classes, honors courses, and dual enrollment at H.C.C. Futch

explained, “Being a student-athlete has not always been easy, especially not this year with all of the stresses of COVID, school, and sports.” With all of those elements combined, anyone would struggle, but this team pulled through with the most impressive stats Plant City High School has seen in years. When asked how she would describe the winning season, Head Coach Sara Tooman replied, “This past season is one for the record books with it being the first district win in 40 years. I couldn’t be more proud of the girls for their dedication to the sport and to each other.”


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Meet the

Maker: Oxford Nolan By Heather Davis

T

here is something rich and nostalgic about growing up in Plant City. For some it can create a foundation that will carry forward throughout their lives. For two local cousins who grew up side by side as close as brothers, their experiences helped shape and mold who they are today. Joshua "Shua" Harrell and Aaron "Bucky" Buckingham grew up thick as thieves playing together in their family's strawberry fields. Quite often the whole family would gather together to play old country and gospel music on their farm. Shua describes his upbringing as being very family-centric and one that was centered on a love for music. This passion for music led both Shua and Bucky to create a life with music as it's focal point. Their first experience in working together as a band began over a decade ago with the folk band Bootleggers and Baptists. Over time their sound took on a more Indie rock sound and Oxford Noland was born. The duo that consists of Bucky on drums, base, keys, and vocals and Shua on guitar and vocals creates a sound of a much larger ensemble. Their harmonies and rhythms are memorizing and make you want to stop, sit, and listen. In the space of only a few years Oxford Noland has already released two EP's. The first EP being One Take Vol. 1 which was most recently followed by the release of One Take Vol. 2 in March of 2020. With the release of the second EP plans and preparations were made for a tour which was cancelled due to Covid. As with the case of many musicians this was a huge set back that has yet to turn around. This has not derailed Oxford Noland completely and has instead allowed them the chance to continue to write, produce and record new material as well as brainstorm and work on other projects. Plans are under way to begin to slowly gear up towards playing in a few upcoming low capacity shows as well as a rerelease of their second EP. You can experience music from Oxford Noland on all streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple, Amazon and Sound Cloud. Or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube @ Oxford Noland. Upcoming Events: December 12th- Factory First Look St. Pete December 19th- Will's Pub, Orlando December 30th" DTPS Live, Saved by Streaming

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Leaders in

Faith Lei Ann Sparkman Carson By Cheryl Johnston

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lant City native Lei Ann Sparkman Carson, a sixth-generation Floridian, married her high school sweetheart David 35 years ago and together they have raised sons Nathan and Ben. The daughter of Rodney and Betty Sparkman met Jesus at age eight but says she “took him for granted” for years. Then, at age 23, she received the phone call, “the one that rocks your world and changes everything as you know it,” she explained. “I pleaded with Jesus to change the situation, then pleaded with Him to take away the pain,” Lei Ann shared. “Instead, He gave me something better: Himself. He’s been there for me ever since, helping me through every hurt and challenge, giving me purpose.” In preparation for service in ministry, Lei Ann has studied at the University of Central Florida, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is currently at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Today, the woman who has “always loved writing” leads a weekly Bible study group and is a LifeWay contract writer of the Bible Studies for Life curriculum and Bible Express Devotional Magazine. God opened that door through another contract writer during time together in an Old Testament class online at SWBTS. The classmate heard Lei Ann’s heart for writing, read her work in the group’s Discussion Board, and spoke to her editor. Lei Ann’s work has grown to include Bible study curriculum and devotionals for this month.

It’s exciting watching girls do what they were created to do, glorify their God by serving Him. Our girl-led teaching time challenges each to dig into Scripture and learn God’s truths for themselves. Typically, a new member is a little unsure about teaching. But after a few weeks, most volunteer. They grow their abilities in a safe environment where friendships deepen, and they can encourage each other through life’s challenges.

How did you begin MondayNight Girls? God being God! When our sons entered high school, my job as their homeschool teacher was nearing an end. I felt lost and ached to be useful again. Then God started opening new ministry opportunities. Nine years ago, the high school girls I taught on Sunday mornings asked for a weeknight Bible study. We started one and God blessed it! Each week at MondayNight Girls, a different girl teaches a lesson from a Bible study we’re working through. Prior to each week, I’ll meet with the girl teaching to discuss the lesson. The format helps girls to be equipped as teachers and leaders. We also do service projects together, such as making blankets for the pregnancy care center, packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, and stringing Gospel bracelets for missions. And we love to bake!

What do you enjoy about life in Plant City? We live in a caring community with a rich heritage. Every street and corner downtown hold a special memory for me. Even inspiration for MondayNight girls has deep roots here. I remember my mom’s stories about the “Coca-Cola parties” she hosted for high school girls in Plant City. And I remember Mrs. Helen McGinnes hosting us for sewing parties at her home near Gilchrist Park.

Any suggestions for those considering the Christian faith? I’m always encouraged by James 4:8: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” It’s crazy to know God wants to be in a relationship with us! Discover the incredible adventure and purpose He has planned for your life by getting to know Him! And for those already following Jesus? None of this tough year has caught God by surprise. As Christ-followers, we can be encouraged that He has everything under control—even when we don’t understand why things are happening. If you’ve been holed up during COVID, and if your health allows, please get back into your church. You need your church family and they need you. God never meant for us to do life alone. If you’re looking for a church home, consider First Baptist Church of Plant City, where we have ministries for all ages and seasons of life. Visit fbcpc.com to learn more.

All area high school girls are welcome at MondayNight Girls! During COVID, they’ve met on Zoom, outdoors, in churches, homes and at Krazy Kup. For upcoming meeting details, contact April Nipper at First Baptist Church of Plant City, 813-752-4104.


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Christmas time is here Happiness and cheer Fun for all that children call Their favorite time of year. Snowflakes in the air Carols everywhere Olden times and ancient rhymes Of love and dreams to share. Sleigh bells in the air Beauty everywhere Yuletide by the fireside And joyful memories there. Christmas time is here We’ll be drawing near Oh, that we could always see Such spirit through the year. Oh, that we could always see Such spirit through the year…

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hose beautiful words are from the opening song of the movie: A Charlie Brown Christmas. If you were a child or had children in the decades of the ‘60s or ‘70s, you knew no Christmas was complete without watching this one, as well Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and The Grinch that Stole Christmas. Back then families gathered around their TV sets to watch the most wonderful, magical, and unforgettable kiddie programs for the young or young at heart. They also watched celebrity Christmas specials interspersed with commercial breaks to tempt us with the most fanciful holiday food, toys, and gift ideas we’d ever seen. Those specials left everyone in the holiday spirit and had their hungry viewers humming a few bars from a song, jumping up and down for toys, and adding to Christmas wish lists! Speaking of hungry…I just loved the yummy mouthwatering commercials like Sealtest Egg Nog when Santa poured himself a tall chilled glass of the creamy drink from a sparkling crystal punchbowl. Others I recall well included the delicious Butterball Turkey hot out of the oven; the Jello fruit ring on a silver platter; and the

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Brach’s chocolate covered peanuts, stars, or filled hard candies. Have you ever savored Nestle’s piping hot cocoa with marshmallows or the Swift Premium Ham decorated with pineapples and cherries? I remember also the bubbling hot Velveeta Cheese Fondue, the Cracker Barrel Cheese slices sitting pretty on Sociables Baked Crackers, or my favorites of all…Kraft caramels melting in a pot on the stove just waiting for an apple, or the lady slicing a piece of Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cheesecake made with about two pounds of sugar and cream cheese? Those elegant food commercials made entertaining look so effortless! The toy advertisements were something to behold. The writers and creators went out of their way to make you lose sleep, beg and plead with your parents, and have their products as number one on your Christmas list. The toy ads were aimed specifically for girls or boys. Girls saw commercials that made them want to stay home and be a housewife and mommy. For instance, we saw play kitchens with stoves, refrigerators, shopping carts, fake food, aprons, brooms, mops, pots and pans, Easy Bake ovens, baby dolls, tiny diapers, feeding bottles, diaper bags, baby beds and buggies, toy Vacuum cleaners, and beauty kits complete with lipstick and rouge. Companies tempted little boys with commercials aimed to make them imagining themselves as rough and tough. They saw G.I. Joe dolls, pop guns, footballs, baseballs, Tonka trucks, Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, tool sets, archery sets, chemistry sets, Erector sets, magic sets, Lincoln Logs, doctor kits, model planes and cars, Legos, radios, toy soldiers, Walkie Talkies, and trains on tracks. Gift commercials aimed at adults included Norelco Electric shavers, Old Spice aftershave, Singer sewing machines, electric hair dryers, HiFi stereos, perfume, Playtex undergarments, and liquor. WOW! The ”Super Star” Christmas specials I remember watching with my family were: The Andy Williams Christmas Spectacular, which always featured his wife Claudine Longet, his children, his three brothers—Bob, Don, and Dick Williams—and The Osmond Brothers, along with other special guests; The Mitzi Gaynor

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Christmas Show; The Perry Como Show; and our family favorite—The Bing Crosby Christmas TV Special. Bing’s beautiful wife Kathryn and their three children always joined in to sing and dance along with such greats as Robert Goulet, The Carpenters, Twiggy, Mary Martin and even David Bowie. Oh, and I left out the Sonny and Cher Christmas Show of 1976. Like eggnog and mistletoe, Christmas wasn’t complete without a visit from this pair. Their show featured a rockand-roll Christmas medley with Bob “Captain Kangaroo” Keeshan, who danced up a storm. They always closed with a touching version of “I Got You Babe.” So now, let’s get back to Charlie Brown. This month, A Charlie Brown Christmas celebrates its 55th Anniversary. It’s first airing was on December 9th, 1965. That night in our living room, my sister and I watched along with our parents. I was three then and my sister Karen was almost six. Mother was 31 and Daddy was 34. I can honestly say that we, as a family, watched A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas together every year until my father passed away in 1999 and my mother passed in 2019. For those special programs we put everything aside so we could be together and fill our hearts with the love and light-hearted innocence of a child. We could identify with every one of those characters—the Grinch, Frosty, Rudolph, and Charlie Brown—because they all had struggles and problems and WE all have struggles and problems. Through their stories they taught us that you get up the next day and you keep moving on. How profound! This month, I sat alone for the first time and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas for the fifty-fifth time. When the show started with the Charlie Brown gang ice skating on the pond and singing “Christmas Time is Here,” it felt bittersweet. I wanted so much for my parents to be with me, but they weren’t. I had to stop and think about the lesson The Grinch, Rudolph, Frosty, and Charlie Brown have been teaching all these years. In spite of your aches and pains and your troubles and woes, YOU GET UP THE NEXT DAY AND YOU KEEP MOVING ON!


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Plant City

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Happenings DECEMBER

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Trivia Night at Keel Farms

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Learn to Dance! Social Square-Dancing Lessons

8:30PM-10:30PM Jenga & Cornhole | Movies Family Friendly The Industry @ 119 S. Collins St Cost: Free Info: 813-756-6955 or eattheindustry.com

2:00PM-3:30PM No Experience Required | Fun & Social Activity | Casual Attire & Comfortable Shoes Suggested Strawberry Square Dance Center @ 4401 Promenade Blvd Cost: Free Introductory Class Info: Cherylene Sorrells, 770-825-6513

JANUARY 01 - Friday

HAPPY NEW YEAR

6:30PM & 7:30PM Family Friendly | Food & Drinks The Industry @ 119 S. Collins St Cost: Free Trivia Info: 813-756-6955 or eattheindustry.com

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Billiard Coaching for Juniors 5:00PM-7:00PM Juniors Age 7-17 | Sportsmanship & Fun | Shooting for the Future Mikey’s Place @ 3412-B W. Baker St Cost: Free (Donations Appreciated) Info: 813-704-5735

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The Writer’s Loft 9:00AM-11:00AM Poets & Writers Welcome | All Genres & Skill Levels | Fellowship Krazy Kup @ 101 E. J Arden Mays Blvd Cost: $5 (Includes Drink of Choice) Info: 813-752-1220

Yoga in the Garden

3PM-8PM Classic Cars & Trucks | Vendors and Local Shops | Live DJ Downtown Plant City @ 102 N. Palmer St Cost: Free & Free Car Registration Info: 813-754-3707

8:30AM-9:30AM All Levels Welcome | Bring Water & a Mat |Donations to Benefit Garden Plant City Commons Community Garden @ 2001 E. Cherry St Cost: Free ($10 Donation Recommended) Info: 813-435-8111 or plantcitycommunitygarden.com

Plant City Strawberry Classic Cruise-In

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Bluegrass Jam 6:33PM-8:33PM Bluegrass Musicians & Fans Welcome |Food & Drinks |Live Music Krazy Kup @ 101 E. J Arden Mays Blvd Cost: Free Info: 813-752-1220

Beginner Rumba Lessons 10:30AM-12:00PM No Experience Required |A Fun Way to Exercise | Lessons Weekly Until March 27 Cost: $7 per person, per lesson Strawberry Square Dance Center @ 4401 Promenade Blvd Info: Tom & Cindy Bunn @ 864-723-6965 or tomandcindybunn@gmail.com


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a Gallery of Plant City

Plant City Christmas Parade Plant City ushered in the Christmas Spirit with the 2020 Plant City Christmas Parade. Entries included church groups, youth sports and organizations, businesses, and city officials. The judges chose the following groups as the winners of their annual awards: 1st Place- Church on the Rock 2nd Place- Relevant Church 3rd Place- St. Clement Catholic Church

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c a. The Hillsborough County Fair Harvest Queen Michaela Carmichael and Jr. Harvest Queen Taylor Gregory were among some of the royalty to make an appearance in the parade. Others included Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and Court, the Festival’s Jr. Royalty, and Baby Parade winners, as well as winners from other surrounding contests. b. Heroes Paradise, a family activity center in Brandon, showcased a dinosaur. Spectators were shocked to see a T-Rex marching down the streets of Plant City. c. The Plant City Christmas Parade welcomed school groups and youth sports team. The Patriots Cheer team spread cheer to the crowd with red or green tutus and Christmas accessories. d. PCPD Officer Adam Heist, along with other officers and HCSO deputies, handed out Christmas trees to kids in the crowds. e. Church on the Rock of Plant City featured live performers on their float who sang Christmas carols. The group won First Place in the parade’s annual awards. PAGE

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SATURDAY January 30th, 2021 1 11 AM to 1 PM CHILI TASTING $5.00 PP HOSTED BY THE ARTS COUNCIL OF PLANT CITY

Plant City Chilifest Cookoff Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum 102 North Palmer Street, Plant City, FL 33563

Chili Competitors Needed Enter your best chili recipe into the prize categories of mild, spicy and novelty! A panel of judges will select winners from each category! Also a People's Choice Competition! To enter your prize winning Chili and for a complete list of rules contact: Frank Cummings

813-363-8071

Marsha Passmore 813-245-2244

fcummings4@gmail.com

Arts Council of Plant City

mappmore@msn.com

Plantcityarts.com

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

PENNIE WHITT Pennie Whitt has just finished working on a new TV show and is also up for several TV commercials and print ads. CALL FOR AN APPOINTMENT TODAY!

DAN FIDDICK Introducing Dan Fiddick, Actor and Model, has just finished trying out for several TV commercials and print ads and we are so proud of him.

ADAYSIA BATSON-BROWNING WaWa Convenience Store TV Commercial.

They’re the JESS ANDERSON MODELS!

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

SOUTH FLORIDA AVENUE, SUITE 115 • LAKELAND, FL 33813 863-688-9939 1037Established For 40 Years

ALDRIN GONZALEZ LANDEN JOINER Actor Model Dancer Aldrin Gonzalez has just landed a nice role on a New TV show coming out next year.

LIC#1290000013

MAKENZIE DAVIS Heartland Living Magazine Fashion Print Ad. Principal Role.

DAVID LEVIN LANDEN JOINER Actor Stand Up Comic David Levin has just landed two more roles on an upcoming TV show along with 2 print ads!

www.jessandersontalentandmodelagency.com

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