FOCUS Plant City 21-05

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Contents Table of




By Cheryl Johnston

Congratulations to the Class of 2022. FOCUS is proud to feature the senior class portraits from three area high schools: Plant City, Strawberry Crest, and Simmons Career Center.

By Cierra Craft


Meet the 2022 Valedictorian and Salutatorians of our area high schools. These bright young minds share details of their college and career plans and share memories of their high school experience.





Meet the SFBH Cardiopulmonary Rehab team, as they discuss the benefits of this pre-op program, recommended by the American Heart Association.

FOCUS PLANT CITY / Issue 21-05 / May 2022


Mike Floyd


Cierra Craft




Anthony Sassano

Candy Owens

Tony DeVane


Cheryl Johnston Jennifer Jordan


Candy Owens Natalie Sweet Sam Poirier

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.





By Cierra Craft

By Cierra Craft

The Bank of Tampa Plant City Branch is committed to providing comprehensive banking services with a local touch. Learn more about the Alexander Street banking institution.

Salad, Pasta, and Pizza—what could be better? Fazoli’s Plant City has reopened under new ownership. The Keys family details Fazoli’s must-try entrees.

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 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.









From The





Last year, I made a commitment to lose weight, hit the gym, stop putting off the inevitable and make a dermatology appointment about a spot on my scalp. I feel better, I have more energy, and I’m thankful to my Mohs surgeon for the skin cancer removal. We tell ourselves “I’m going to make that doctor’s appointment I’ve been putting off,” or “I’m going to start a diet this week and have a beach body by summer.” But each year has its own set of challenges and we all lead busy lives, we neglect our own health. It is my hope our annual Medical issue will bring your health to the forefront. While you can get online to read about a health topic on WebMD, our articles on wellness issues are contributed by Plant City health care professionals who share their expertise. Inside, you’ll hear from the cardiopulmonary rehab team at South Florida Baptist Hospital, a medical aesthetician, pediatricians, and a dermatologist. We value the contributions to our Wellness content from local healthcare physicians and specialists. You’ll also read about our area’s valedictorian and salutatorian students. Ranked #1 and #2 in their class, these students have worked incredibly hard in our greater Plant City schools. Meet the eight students—including a set of twins—who are turning the tassel towards their futures. Maybe one of these students will be on the list of Top Doctors in the future. Warmest Regards,

Mike Floyd










Keel and Curley Announced as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Official Sangria Partner By Jennifer Jordan


ire the cannons and raise your sangria glasses, Keel and Curley is now one of the newest partners with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Keel and Curley is the team’s official sangria partner. The multi-year partnership will create co-branded products, including commemorative wines, sangrias, and hard ciders. Excited for the opportunity, Keel Farms President Clay Keel said in a statement released by the Bucs organization, “Keel Farms is proud to partner with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers embody the same never-quit attitude that has carried Keel Farms through over four decades of agriculture in Tampa Bay.” He continued by noting, “We’re excited that fans will now have the chance to enjoy a locally-made wine or cider while cheering on their favorite team at Raymond James Stadium. We also look forward to releasing special, commemorative products in the coming years to represent some of the incredible milestones in the history of Tampa’s championship team.” An opportunity for Tampa Bay area residents and out-of-state visitors to enjoy beverages from a Plant City-based winery and brewery while cheering their team on, Plant City locals should be proud of Keel and Curley and their achievement of partnering with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “We are constantly looking for new ways to include local businesses in our gameday experiences,” said Brian Ford, Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer. “Having both been part of the Tampa Bay region for decades, it is an honor to partner with Keel Farms as we look forward to providing unique wines and ciders for Buccaneers fans and everyone in the community.” If you attend a game at Raymond James Stadium for the 2022-2023 season, be sure to order a glass of sangria, wine, or cider and support Keel and Curley while cheering on the Buccaneers.





HERE IS YOUR CLUE: HOWDY PARTNER!!! This little Bucking Bronco from Bloomindale NEVER wrestled cattle here in Plant City, but could more than likely be found at Bloomindale Fire Station #27 washing and polishing fire trucks, hanging out with the crew members, or across the street at his house eating delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and washing them down with a cold glass of milk that his sweet Grandmother made especially for him EVERY day after school. He was also fascinated with taking TVs, Vacuum cleaners, and anything that moved apart just so he could see how they worked and then putting them back together again. TODAY, this person is all about helping his clients get settled on the right ROAD. He plays a BIG part in our town AND IS A FRIEND TO ALL!

IF YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS CALL CANDY O AT FOCUS MAGAZINE! 813-707-8783 The first 3 people to guess the correct person will win a PRIZE!!!! (The TRUE identity will be given in next month’s FOCUS Magazine) LAST MONTH’S PERSONALITY: PASTOR PEE WEE CALLINS

Plant City Local Selected to Represent Plant City in Miss Florida Teen USA


ennedie Clinton has been selected to represent Plant City at the Miss Florida USA®/Miss Florida Teen USA® Competition as Miss East Hillsborough County Teen USA. Her selection was based on her academic and professional interests, involvement in her community, her passion for the pursuit of excellence and her interest in empowering other young women to follow in her footsteps. Kennedie Clinton is a Hillsborough County native and sophomore at Durant High School in Plant City, where she resides with her family. She has several years of musical theater, voice and dance training from the Patel Conservatory, a division of the Straz Center in Tampa. She is currently on Durant’s Varsity Swim Team and manages the social media for Durant’s class of 2024 council. This past school year, she was accepted into the National Honors Society, National Art Honors Society, and National English Honors Society. In the 2022 Plant City Junior Royalty Strawberry Festival pageant, she won the title of Junior Royalty Strawberry Queen. When she competed in Miss Florida Teen USA in 2021, she placed as a semi-finalist in the top 17. Additionally, she has attended the National Youth Leadership Forum: National Security, Diplomacy, Intelligence & Defense during the summer of 2021 in Washington D.C. she has maintained an elevated GPA of 4.5 by taking honors, Advanced Placement, and Dual Enrollment classes with Hillsborough Community College and she is currently in the top 12% of students in her grade. Kennedie’s dreams include attending a University to obtain her PhD and pursue a career in either Law or Marine Biology. With her involvement in Pageants, she plans to use her platform to provide a safe space for everyone to spread kindness, love and acceptance of others. Kennedie will be providing sponsorship opportunities for the Florida Miss Teen USA competition. There will be different sponsorship levels available, many including in-person appearances! Please follow her on Facebook and Instagram @kennedieclinton. Contact Kennedie’s management team (AKA mom, Michelle Engle) at kennedieclinton@gmail. com Girlbossing Inc., as the Florida USA Organization, will produce and conduct the Sunshine State’s oldest and most celebrated competition May 27-29, 2022. From there, to qualify two young ladies from Florida are to advance to either Miss Teen USA or Miss USA and ultimately Miss Universe.

All competition details are available at The sponsored prize package includes over $100,000 in gifts, cash and scholarships for both Miss Florida USA and Miss Florida Teen USA including the official crown and sash, round trip air fare to MISS USA/ MISS TEEN USA, an official competition evening gown, official crown portrait, fitness coaching, skin care, hair care and much more. “We actively encourage young women in the state of Florida to give back in their communities and advocate for issues they feel passionately towards. Our organization is committed to providing new opportunities for women in media, entertainment, modeling, fashion, beauty and more, at our events throughout the year, and the actual weekend of competition,” said Girlbossing Inc. CEO Robin RossFleming. For young women between the ages of 14-27 who wish to represent their hometown at the state event, applications are being accepted at the official website, PAGE





Walden Lake Review BY NATALIE SWEET


PCPD Secures Body Cameras


By Jennifer Jordan

t the end of this summer, the Plant City Police Department officers will be wearing a new tool to help themselves and others stay safe. The department will be receiving body-worn cameras with audio and video recordings, allowing local law enforcement to utilize technology to protect and serve the community. Plant City Police Department Chief James Bradford said about receiving body-worn cameras for the department, “The department is very excited about this next step for ourselves and the residents of Plant City. Technology affects every facet of life and law enforcement is no different. One of the most important issues in law enforcement today is the use of new technology and how we can leverage it for the betterment of the department and the community we serve.” The body cameras will be used for agency transparency, evidence for an arrest, officer training, accurate incident documentation, complaint resolution, and more. When asked about the benefit of body-worn cameras for the department, Chief Bradford stated, “Body-worn cameras are impartial eyewitnesses and can improve officer performance and civilian conduct. This will also help improve officer training and development for the future. We are looking to promote accountability, legitimacy, and transparency by having body-worn cameras.” After running field tests on a couple of different camera models, the Motorola Solutions Watchguard V300 body camera was chosen. The Plant City Commission authorized City Manager Bill McDaniel to negotiate with the camera manufacturer to purchase the body-worn cameras. Beneficial for police officers and citizens, body-worn cameras will continuously grow as an important tool for law enforcement. By acquiring them, PCPD and the City of Plant City are taking great steps to enhance the safety of the community.



alden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 6:30 at the Walden Lake Community Association office building on Griffin Boulevard in Walden Lake. The next meeting will be held on June 20th. Please keep an eye on the announcement boards at all entrances for dates and times of special meetings and events. Meetings are now being held in person although you can still log in to and view the meeting virtually on zoom. At the Annual Meeting, the residents elected three new Board of Directors: Scott Collins, Bobby Blizzard, and Jason Parrillo. During the organizational meeting on April 25th, the Board elected the officers. Michelle Piccari was elected as President, Scott Collins is the Vice-President, and Ellen Sisco as Treasurer. Each year, three positions are open for election and are voted on during the annual meeting. Thank you to Sharon Philbin, Alicia Powell, and Peter Murphy for your service to the community. Although it was planned for Walden Lake LLC to go before the City Commissioners with their plan that was opposed by the Planning Board, I heard they have canceled the meeting and plan to revamp their plans and go before the Planning Board once again when they are ready. Stay tuned for more information either in your email, on Nextdoor, or on the entrance boards. The food trucks at the HOA Building/Sports Complex are on the second Fridays and last Sundays of each month. If you have not taken advantage of the delicious offerings, give it a try! Watch for more information from emails coming from the HOA, the entrance boards, and Nextdoor. The Electronic Recycling Event was a huge success. Quicksilver Electronics would love to do another in Walden Lake later in the year. Other Keller Williams Realty offices may be holding events prior so please email me if you missed this event and would like to be alerted when we hold one. During the month of April, there were 12 sales in Walden Lake and 3 sales in Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $422,973 and average of 2046 square feet and on the market for an average of 5 days.

The April sales are as follows: Address / Sales Price / Living Area / Pool / Garage 306 Valencia Court North / $265,000 / 1329 / 2 Car / Community 1202 Sandalwood Drive / $301,000 / 1822 / 2 Car / Community 1417 Sandalwood Drive / $315,000 / 1915 / 2 Car / Community 1441 Walden Oaks Place / $320,000 / 1305 / 2 Car / Private 3110 Emerson Place / $350,000 / 1635 / 2 Car / None 905 Sandalwood Drive / $358,600 / 1804 / 2 Car / Community 4008 Concord Way / $379,000 / 2044 / 2 Car / None 4106 Longfellow Drive / $385,000 / 1633 / 2 Car / Private 3421 Silver Meadow Way / $405,000 / 1852 / 2 Car / None 4115 Barret Avenue / $430,000 / 2015 / 2 Car / Private 3217 Pine Club Drive / $465,000 / 2360 / 2 Car / Private 3308 Kilmer Drive / $495,000 / 2188 / 2 Car / Private 2908 Barret Avenue / $499,900 / 2665 / 3 Car / Private 2501 Clubhouse Drive / $635,000 / 3181 / 3 Car / Private 1705 Charleston Woods Dr / $690,000 / 2949 / 3 Car / Private

There are currently 8 active listings for sale in Walden Lake with the highest priced listing at $1.95 Million. Without the highest listing, the average price of the 7 remaining homes on the market is $474,129 with an average of 40 days on the market. There are 12 properties Pending Contract in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East with an average list price of $449,900 and 13 days on the market. This is a great time to sell your home. As you can see from the number of sold homes compared with the active listings, there is less than a one-month inventory. Before you sell your home to an “I’ll buy your home for cash company, move when you are ready”, you should consult with an honest and experienced real estate agent that will be able to give you a value of what your home will sell on the open market. Feel free to contact me with any questions about this article or about your real estate needs. or 813-758-9586.






Plant City Native is Driven by Passion for Protecting Freedom By Cierra Craft


Bloom Where You Are Planted: Parke Family opens Berry Sweet Acres By Cierra Craft


n June, US-92 will look like a dream come true with acres of Zinnia and Sunflowers ready for the picking. Soon, Plant Citians and visitors will be able to soak in the sunshine at Berry Sweet Acres, a u-pick farm owned and operated by Matt and Kandice Parke. Matt operates Parkesdales Farm and Parkesdale Packing and Cooling. Now, the family is welcoming the public to a behind-the-scenes look at their commercial family farm. While Berry Sweet Acres’ main crop is strawberries, they also offer pickles, peppers, and now flowers as well. “Flower U-picks will only be offered in June,” said Kandice Parke. “We will start preparing for strawberries in August and hope to have a Strawberry U-pick by the beginning of next year. We’re currently building a new barn on the property where our on-site office and storefront will be. We’ll offer varieties of shirts, tumblers, hats, and retail items throughout the year.” Located at 5621 W US Highway 92 in Plant City, Berry Sweet Acres is set to open June 3 to June 25 with Zinnia and Sunflower sales, Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for ages 3 and up with 2 and under admitted for free. Berry Sweet Acres is offering photoshoot time slots from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day. This reserves each guest’s own private area in the field for photo sessions, however, visitors must provide their own photographer. Reservations and Rate information is available on the farm’s website at “The U-picks give everyone a chance to come out and enjoy the farm as we do,” said Parke. “It’s something fun and affordable you can do with your family. You’ll also get to experience a commercial farming operation up close and how produce and flowers are grown before they arrive at stores.” For more information, visit or visit their Facebook page @berrysweetacres.



onathan Isaiah Walker of Plant City graduated with a Bachelor of Technical Management with a minor in Security and Intelligence from Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University on May 14, 2022. Walker graduated as a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda and National Honor Society with a 3.76-grade point average. He is currently an E5 in the United States Space Force. He is a 2013 honor graduate of Plant City High School and earned his Associate of Applied Science Information Systems Technology from the Community College of the Air Force. In August 2013, Walker joined the United States Air Force. He was among the top 25% of all applicants selected to transfer to the United State Space Force, to which he was inducted in February 2021. He plans to pursue his Master’s degree in Information Security and Assurance at EmbryRiddle Aeronautical University. He is married to Kathleen Adkins Walker and the pair have a six-year-old daughter, Marleen. The family is currently stationed in New Mexico.

B-3-20 Group:

Reunited and it Feels So Good By Jennifer Jordan


ince 1969, the B-3-20s have been holding a yearly reunion. Looking to make memories, catch up on life, and share some laughs, the Army Special Forces veterans are all Green Berets. Green Berets were established by President John F. Kennedy and are individuals who have received special training that’s rigorous and demanding, with the purpose of being deployed abroad on long-duration missions in remote, high-risk areas. With a small graduation rate due to the difficulty of training, Green Berets are broken up into groups. The B-3-20s are named as such due to serving in the 3rd Battalion- 20th Special Forces for the Florida National Guard in Tampa. Every year, Chris Bell and Darryl Schumacher have organized the B-3-20 reunion. Chris Bell is from Gulfport, Florida, and did intel for the B-3-20s, serving a total of 18 years. Darryl Schumacher, a born and raised Plant Citian, acted as the team medic and served for a total of six years. For the past three years, the B-3-20s have held their reunion in Plant City at Smokin’ Aces Steakhouse; this year, the reunion was held on April 9. When asked about why Plant City and Smokin’ Aces, Schumacher stated, “It’s located right off the interstate in a city that is centrally located in Florida. It allows all our brothers and their families to attend a reunion

that isn’t too far of a drive for anyone. Across the street, Steve Hurley of Stingray Chevrolet was generous and let us park our overflow vehicles at the dealership. It was a great spot to reunite and we intend to keep holding it in Plant City.” With 80-85 people in attendance, Bingham Septic provided portable restrooms for the reunion, and Wendy Morrow of 2Morrow’s Cakes provided dessert. Asked about the importance of the B-3-20 yearly reunions, Schumacher said, “We all served together and spent time together for years. We have a comradery that no one outside of the B-3-20s will understand. It’s important that we share with each other, restore old friendships, and retell old stories to feel a sense of brotherhood.” A group of men who were willing to put everything on the line to defend our country, the B-3-20s are one of many Green Beret groups who prepared themselves to be put into dangerous and deadly situations. However, Schumacher said it was a sacrifice they were all willing to make, and noted, “We all serve in some way; this was our way of serving.”





Want to become a member of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce? Businesses may join the Chamber online by visiting or by calling the office at (813) 754- 3707.

Sweet Missions 2406 James L Redman Pkwy (next to Sports Clips and Beef O Brady’s) Sweet Missions is a family-owned cafe & bakery that combines a love for all things sweet and a love for missions!

Yerb Labs 107 S. Evers Street (downtown Plant City) Yerb Labs is a cafe in Plant City, Florida. Their goal is to create a safe environment for all types of people: working professionals, students or anyone that wants a fun relaxing environment to sip on some coffee or enjoy a delicious sandwich and smoothie. They have a variety of retail products: coffee cups, coffee beans, t-shirts etc. The goal for the future will be to eventually provide CBD products to customers!

Watson Clinic’s board-certified Dermatologist, Felicia Hall, MD is proud to offer a diverse array of skincare services to residents of Brandon and surrounding communities. IMMEDIATE APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE

• Annual Evaluations • Detection and Treatment of Skin Cancers, Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis and other Common Disorders

Bridal By Crown 110 W Reynolds Street Suite 107 (downtown Plant City) Bridal by Crown is a modern bridal shop rooted in tradition and draped in southern elegance. Located in the heart of historic downtown Plant City, they provide an elegant and premier wedding dress experience for brides looking for the “perfect” wedding dress tailored to their individuality, style, and vision.

• Dermatologic Surgery • Facial Rejuvenation Options Including Fillers and BOTOX® • Plus Much More!

Kings Avenue Medical Center

675 South Kings Ave. | Brandon, FL 33511

813-655-3680 | Toll Free 866-409-DERM



Arts Council of Plant City Brings Johnson Sculptures to Downtown By Cierra Craft The Arts Council of Plant City, in partnership with the City of Plant City, Unity in the Community, and the Plant City Photo Archives, has once again brought sculptures by renowned artist J. Seward Johnson to Downtown Plant City. Johnson creates life-sized statues depicting them in day-to-day activities. Johnson’s sculptures are exhibited internationally in museums, public art collections, and private collections. The artist has created more than 450 statues displayed around the globe, Plant City will host seven of Johnson’s unique works until July 1, 2022. The public art exhibit has grown in popularity since 2013 when the Arts Council initially brought the traveling sculptures to town. This year, the nonprofit organization is inviting the city to take part in a selfie contest until May 30. Take a creative photo with the statue and share your photo to the Arts Council of Plant City’s Facebook page. Winners will be determined by the board and contacted via Facebook messenger with an invitation to attend the Sculpture Walking Tour on June 2 and collect their cash prize. Visit for more details, including a map of each statue’s location. “We continue to bring the sculptures to Plant City because of their impact to the downtown area,” says Dodie White, board member of the Arts Council of Plant City. “As soon as the truck arrives and unloads, we have people out taking pictures of (and selfies with) all of the sculptures. People LOVE do we love them. It’s amazing to see family and friends walking around the city together and having a great time viewing them. They’re so life-like. When you travel to other cities, it’s not uncommon to see sculptures....and now we have them right here in our own lovely city.”








Great health care is closer than you think. South Florida Baptist Hospital is more than just a small community hospital. We’ve got a wide array of specialty care and surgical services that you don’t have to travel far to get. Our surgeons are experts in minimally invasive robotic surgical procedures that provide lots of benefits, including shorter hospital stays, decreased blood loss and smaller incisions that reduce the risk of infection. Plus, faster recovery times that mean you can get back to your normal activities sooner. You’ll find comprehensive orthopedic care—whether you’re an athlete who needs sports medicine services or you’re someone who needs a total joint replacement. Our allinclusive gynecology program offers high-quality care to the women and mothers in our community with a variety of women’s care services. We’ve even been designated as a Center of Excellence for our weight loss surgery program, meeting nationally recognized standards and providing outstanding care to our patients. And all of this extraordinary care exists right here in Plant City. Learn more:





SHYLA STANALAND ITS 54TH QUEEN By Jennifer Jordan | Photos by Yolanda Meeks Photography

Shyla Stanaland was named 2022 Little Miss Plant City Queen. Her court comprises of First Maid Rylie Morris, Court Member Sutton Duncan, Court Member Rylan Ham, and Court Member Georgia Sue-Ann Hunter.

On Saturday, April 30, the GFWC Plant City Junior Woman’s Club crowned the 2022 Little Miss Plant City Queen. Thirty-five girls, ranging from 8-10 years of age, were judged on personality, appearance, and stage presence during the 54th Little Miss Plant City pageant. Betty Medina, Little Miss Plant City Chair, said about the pageant, “We are not a beauty contest, but rather a contest that focuses on personality.” The Little Miss Plant City Queen and court represent not only the GWFC Plant City Junior Woman’s Club, but the community at various annual events such as Relay for Life, Empty Bowls, the Christmas Parade, and the Florida Strawberry Festival Parade. The 2022 event’s theme was “Under the Sea” and was held in the auditorium at Plant



The Top Ten Semifinalists: Rylan Ham, Sienna Rae CrawfordMorua, Rylie Morris, Brenna Jenkins, Victoria Pugh, Jillian Mullis, Sutton Duncan, Georgia Sue-Ann Hunter, Khloe Carter, and Shyla Stanaland.

City High School. Sponsors for the evening included but aren’t limited to, Anchor Concrete & Masonry LLC, PuroClean, Stingray Chevrolet, Gould’s Air Conditioning & Heating, and Johnson’s Barbeque. The evening began with each contestant introducing themselves, then emcees Pat Spinosa and 2003 Little Miss Plant City First Maid Victoria Mintzer read each contestant’s bio as they walked the stage in front of the judges. The judges for this year’s pageant included Jodi Campbell, Christian Campbell, Jeanne Takeda, Heather Foley, and Shannon Bailey. In addition to personality, appearance, and stage presence, the girls were also judged on poise, appropriate dress, and grooming. The contest includes an interview, pageant walk, final look, and for the Top Ten, an on-stage question. The girls were asked, “There are a million fish in the sea. What makes you stand out as Little Miss Plant City Queen?” Many girls said their love for their town, their determination, and their uniqueness would help them stand out as Little Miss Plant City Queen. The Top Ten Semifinalists were named: Rylan Ham, Sienna Rae Crawford-Morua, Rylie Morris, Brenna Jenkins, Victoria Pugh, Jillian Mullis, Sutton Duncan, Georgia Sue-Ann Hunter, Khloe Carter, and Shyla Stanaland. Harleigh Clark was named Miss Congeniality and Rylie Morris was recognized for selling the most advertisements in the event program, raising $3,750.

Shyla Stanaland was shocked to hear her named called as 2022 Little Miss Plant City. Queen Shyla will serve Plant City as representative of the GFWC Junior Woman’s Club fundraiser, volunteering and more.

Shyla Stanaland was named 2022 Little Miss Plant City Queen. Her court comprises of First Maid Rylie Morris, Court Member Sutton Duncan, Court Member Rylan Ham, and Court Member Georgia SueAnn Hunter. Queen Shyla and her court will attend various community events including Relay for Life, the community parades, and assist in fundraising efforts for the Plant City Junior’s largest community give-back event: The Annual Shoe Project, which gives shoes and socks to elementary school children in need at 16 different schools. For information about the 2023 competition or the Annual Shoe Project, contact event chair Betty Medina at



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People of Plant City

Jerrod Campbell By Cheryl Johnston


eet Plant City native Jerrod Campbell, the PC WEATHER BOY! He and Kristen, his wife of eleven years, keep busy with careers and raising two bright and active five-year-old twin daughters. He works for Progressive Home as a Senior Liability/Litigation Adjuster and invests his energy into his family, singing, and obviously, the weather. His education includes years at Cork Elementary, Tomlin Middle and Plant City High School. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with a minor in Pastoral Ministry from Southeastern University. Of special memories here in Plant City, Jerrod said, “I have so many that it’s hard to pick only one. I just love living here. My family is here, my wife’s family is here, my kids are growing up here. Memories really can’t get any more special than that.” How did your passion for weather develop? I love everything about the weather – the intricacies of it, how it works, what makes it work, etc. On my PC WEATHER BOY Facebook page, I report and bring forecasts, not only for this area but for major weather events which affect us and other parts of the country. It started with tracking and following hurricanes. Then, I wanted an online place where people could easily glimpse storm tracks and warnings so they can prepare. My beautiful wife would call my growing passion an obsession, but to show her support she had a special ballcap made for me. I’ve set up a personal weather station at home which funnels everything weather to the National Weather Service and NOAA. I pull readings from everything temperature related to lightning strikes. Please visit PC WEATHERBOY on Facebook and if you like what you see, I hope you will follow the page. Describe your passion for singing as well. I’ve always loved to sing and am blessed with the gift God has given me. I am deeply involved at Plant City Church of God, where I sing in the choir and on the Praise Team. During my college years, I ministered with the Southeastern Singers as we traveled to multiple churches throughout the Southeast. I also sang back up for Faith Hill at the Super Bowl here in Tampa several years back. I love to worship God, not only in my life but through singing and congregational worship. A motto I’ve embraced since college reminds me: ‘During every worship service or experience I have to be with God, I want to worship Him as violently and as intensely as they crucified Him.’ How do you spend your spare time? Family is on the top of my list when it comes to doing things. I simply love to be with them. With toddler twins, there’s not much spare time. Usually, if I’m not with family, I’m at the church, prepping and practicing for next week’s service. However, what is life without football? I am a huge Alabama fan and on game Saturdays, our twins call those “ROLL TIDE” Days! What excites you most about life in Plant City? Really, I love just living here. In my 35 years, I’ve never lived anywhere else but in my hometown. This is where my family is, immediate and extended. I also love the fact that my little girls are literally stomping on the stomping grounds I stomped on while growing up. Plant City, the people, and the community’s reputation are special.



Arthur Boring Civic Center | June 6-10 | Grades K-7



Hats Off To The Class Of 2022!

You Did It!



We’re back Plant City. Join us for lunch.





Fettuccine Alfredo

Side Salad House or Caesar (70/80 cal, no dressing)

(0-270 cal)

Price and participation vary by location. Fazoli’s and logo are federally registered trademarks of Fazoli’s System Management, LLC, Lexington, KY Copyright © Fazoli’s 2470 Palumbo Drive, Lexington, KY 40509-1117



(250 cal) Meat Sauce AVAILABLE EVERYwith DAY (280 cal) Spaghetti with Marinara UNTIL 4 P.M. Pizza Slice or Meat Sauce (200/240 cal)


Cheese or Pepperoni (280/290 cal)

Ravioli with Marinara or Meat Sauce (210/250 cal) Penne with Marinara or Spicy Tomato Pepper Sauce (200/240 cal)

PLANT CITY: 238 W. Alexander St. (Next to Plant City High School)



PLANT CITY: 238 W. Alexander St. (Next to Plant City High School) Excluding tax, Lunch Specials, Senior Meals, Daily Deals, or Fazoli’s Gift Card purchases. One coupon per customer/visit. No substitutions. Not valid with any other offer. Cannot be copied or sold. Internet distribution prohibited. Must surrender coupon at redemption. One coupon per transaction. Valid only at participating locations. Expires 8/31/22 Coupon Code: C92557

Price and participation vary by location. Fazoli’s and logo are federally registered trademarks of Fazoli’s System Management, LLC, Lexington, KY Copyright © Fazoli’s 2470 Palumbo Drive, Lexington, KY 40509-1117

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Did You


Oral History & The Nature of Memory By Dr. Scotty and Hsiu Huang History Center Plant City Photo Archives, Inc.


s stated by the Oral History Association, oral history is “both the oldest type of historical inquiry, predating the written word, and one of the most modern, initiated with tape recorders in the 1940s and now using 21st-century digital technologies.” Despite its use as a supplement to the modern written record, oral material has long provided cultures with the knowledge and understanding of their ancestors, traditions, beliefs, and social values. Storytellers— performing as bards, griots, ashiks—sing, dance, or recite the creation of our world and enacting the heroic feats of our forebearers. Herodotus, a Greek historian referred to as “the Father of History”, crafted narratives of historical events from his own experiences and those shared with him by others. These often embellished and romanticized tales carried on through generations, providing us with some of the earliest records of our shared histories. Though these oral traditions are not quite the same as oral history, they are the precursor to our modern gathering of personal memories and experiences. The rise of oral history in the US really began in the 1930s and 1940s. Programs like the Federal Writers Project—part of the WPA—gathered interviews from participants of major historical events, such as Civil War veterans and formerly enslaved individuals. Capturing such interviews was initially undertaken by scholars for their own research purposes and were often preserved in repositories like libraries and archives. However, people outside academia found they could also participate in acquiring these narratives and interpretating history for the average layperson. The social upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s also expanded the scope of recollections from those considered “elite” to include working class individuals often ignored or marginalized in the recounting of events. In oral history, the interviewee, or narrator, maintains agency in the construction and interpretation of their life story. Modern technology not only allowed for history to reach broader audiences but for those same individuals to aide in its production. And by seeking out people from various backgrounds, historians are able to



pinpoint commonalities as well as differences in perspectives which reveal the complexities of social issues and events. Though some have pushed for a clear divide between oral and literate history, incorporating both in the interpretation of the past produces more robust descriptions in our historical accounts. Just like our ancestors, we continue to employ a range of communicative strategies in storytelling. So, it comes as no surprise that the Photo Archives has tried its hand at oral history in the past, collaborating with WUSF and USF’s journalism department, as well as conducting our own interviews with notable residents such as “Mac” Smith, Al Berry, and Sandee Sytsma. Taking part in these endeavors has broadened our research and led to a deeper understanding of our community. We continue to value the personal stories and recollections shared with us by our visitors and the Archives is thrilled to announce that it will slowly begin work interviewing various members of our community to further preserve Plant City’s chapter in the American narrative. You can discover more about our city’s heritage at the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center, located on S. Evers St. For additional information or if you would like to share your photos or history with the Archives, please email or call the office at 813.754.1578. References Cauvin, Thomas. Public History: A Textbook of Practice. Routledge, 2016. pp. 89. Foley, John. “What’s in a Sign.” E. Anne MacKay (ed.). Signs of Orality: The Oral Tradition and Its Influence in the Greek and Roman World. BRILL Academic, 1999. pp. 1–2. Sharpless, Rebecca. “The History of Oral History.” Smith, Richard Cándida., III, Charles Hardy., Hoffman, Howard S.., Friedman, Jeff., Gluck, Sherna Berger., Rogers, Kim Lacy., Hoffman, Alice M.., McMahan, Eva M.., Chamberlain, Mary., Yow, Valerie Raleigh., Dean, Pamela. Thinking about Oral History: Theories and Applications. United States: AltaMira Press, 2007. pp. 7-32.




2022 WIN




Focus On Area

Valedictorians Salutatorians and

By Cheryl Johnston Each year we enjoy shining a spotlight on the Valedictorians from our three local high schools – Durant, Plant City, and Strawberry Crest. This year we’re taking the feature up a notch by also shining the light on the Salutatorians. Once again, as you read the stories of this year’s accomplishers, you’ll be encouraged. With students like these, our country’s future is in great hands.



RS Rehan Shah

Strawberry Crest IB Valedictorian

The Shah family immigrated here from India, where Rehan has lived in Valrico his entire life with parents, Tushar and Sapna Shah and sister Ria. For fun the family enjoys game nights, movie nights, and road trips around Florida and beyond. In his spare time, Rehan likes to play basketball and tennis with friends.

His medical career dream is already off to a great start with an internationally peer-reviewed paper published in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications. It’s titled “DNA Methylation on the Pathogenesis of Bipolar Disorder.” Although this “funny, charismatic, and caring” student has not yet determined the medical specialty he will focus on, he looks forward to his classes at the University of South Florida. Within five years Rehan sees himself in his second year of med school and within ten hopes to have become a doctor. If not working in a hospital, he will start his own private practice. GPA weighted: 9.71 GPA unweighted: 3.97 AP Classes: 8 Dual Enrollment Courses: 13 Favorite subjects: I absolutely loved Biology and Forensics Scholarships: Full ride scholarship at the University of Miami valued at $212,000+ and full ride to the University of South Florida; USF Presidential Award ($18,000), USF Honors Scholarship ($2,000); Genshaft-Greenbaum Honors Global Explorer Scholarship ($10,000). Goals for Life: Optimizing his physiological and psychological well-being; finding the medical specialty he enjoys; and truly enjoying life. Advice to SCHS students: “If you walk into high school with becoming valedictorian or salutatorian in mind, start taking classes early. Do not be afraid to push yourself, as this will not only help you grow but also better yourself.” In Appreciation: “I am so thankful for parents who have given me the resources, care, compassion, work ethic, and discipline to help me reach this position. I’ve had amazing teachers such as Mrs. Rutledge and Mr. Roberts who have truly made learning fun and interesting. I’m also super blessed to be in this position and I thank God every day. Lastly, I’m thankful for my friends who push me and help me become a better version of myself. I truly feel like the people around me in this tight-knit community are a part of my second family, and that is an amazing feeling to have.”



NN Nishant Nagururu Strawberry Crest IB Salutatorian

Although Nishant Nagururu was born and raised in this area, his parents immigrated here from India. Both his mother Swarna and father Kishore work in the tech industry, while his brother Nimesh is in medical school at Johns Hopkins University. As a family, the Nagururus enjoy movies, walks, and games. When time allows, the “responsible, hard-working, and personable” Nishant reads manga, solves puzzles, and creates origami.

Nishant can also solve Rubik’s Cubes: a 2x2 in under five seconds and a 3x3 in a little over 30 seconds. After his years at the University of Florida, he plans for a computer science industry career, hopefully working in a high-level development or securities position, consulting, or ideation or data management. GPA weighted: 8.48 GPA unweighted: 4.0 AP classes: 9 AP Dual Enrollment Courses: 7 Favorite classes: HL Biology, SL Chemistry, HL Mathematics, and TOK (Theory of Knowledge) Scholarships: National Merit; Benaquisto Scholarship (by way of National Merit); Bright Futures; the prestigious Stamps scholarship offered by UF to only three selected freshmen. Life Goals: Always maintain strong work-life management and connections with friends; Create technology or software that improves quality of life for some groups of people. Advice to Peers: “Maintain high standards for yourself. You must take the initiative to do what’s necessary to reach your goals. Find the right balance in the classes you take. Be sure also to participate in productive extracurriculars and create memories with your friends. Since you’ll only have one high school experience, make the most of it. In Appreciation: “I’m grateful my parents instilled in me a strong work ethic and provided the opportunities and environment in which to thrive. I also credit my amazing group of friends who kept me motivated and on the right path with their example.”



MB McKinley Baker

Strawberry Crest Traditional Valedictorian McKinley Baker, daughter of Jeff and Taylor Baker, has two younger siblings, Jaden and Jayla, who also attend Strawberry Crest High School. Prior to SCHS, McKinley attended Independence Academy (formerly Shiloh Charter School) from grades K-8. All three children and their father Jeff were born and raised in Plant City, while Taylor has been here since age two. The close-knit family enjoys movies and trips to beaches and parks. McKinley shared, “They also like to eat in my section when I’m working as an Outback Steakhouse server.” When spare time allows, this “ambitious, determined, and adventurous” valedictorian has fun running, attending concerts, and thrift shopping.

At the University of Central Florida, McKinley plans to major in Health Sciences, specifically in the Pre-Clinical Program. Ultimately, she hopes to attend medical school, become an anesthesiologist, and travel the world while practicing medicine.

GPA Weighted: 7.30 GPA Unweighted: 3.94 AP classes: 4 Dual Enrollment Courses: 22 (totaling 60 credits for AA Degree at Hillsborough Community College) Scholarships: Bright Futures; Strawberry Crest Calendar Cover Girl 2019; actively applying for others Favorite classes: - Journalism/Yearbook (9-11) - AP Micro/Macro Economics (12) - Physics (10) Advice to peers: “While being valedictorian is an incredible honor, I think the most important thing is to strive to be successful for yourself. Once you have a goal in mind, take classes and get involved in areas that prepare you for your career. Since I knew I would have a lot of school ahead of me, I took as many dual enrollment classes as possible to save time and money. This helped my GPA climb, enabled me to become Valedictorian, and helped prepare me for the future. Simply put, be the best version of yourself you can be.” In Appreciation: “My parents and teachers helped me to achieve this honor. From a young age, such a large support system of people who believed in me and my education have surrounded me. I was encouraged to excel and was challenged by all my teachers to learn at a higher level. They instilled in me a great appreciation for academics and personal knowledge that allowed me to pursue my goals.” “The year-round Strawberry presence is one definitive reason I love living in eastern Hillsborough County. Apart from attending the Strawberry Festival every year, I love being able to grab a Parkesdale milkshake or visit a local You-pick berry farm. Proximity to the beaches and beautiful Florida nature makes this a perfect place to live.” PAGE


SJ Selena Jose-Reyes Strawberry Crest Traditional Salutatorian Selena Jose-Reyes, the eldest daughter of Claudio Jose and Leticia Reyes, is sister to Daniella and Matthew JoseReyes. Her parents are agricultural workers who moved here from Mexico for a better future. In the summer, the family travels to work in other states. The “ambitious, strong-willed/minded and creative” Selena will be a firstgeneration high school and college graduate. She has completed all nursing prerequisite courses and accomplished her Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences in preparation for a pediatric nursing career. GPA Weighted: 7.1827 GPA Unweighted: 3.9 AP classes: 5 Dual enrollment courses: 24 In Appreciation: “Without a doubt, my parents have provided everything I’ve ever needed and taught me the important lessons of hard work hard and gratefulness. Their sacrifices inspired me, so my successes are also theirs. I hope to give my family a better, easier, and more peaceful life and I want to live a meaningful life by helping to keep children happy and healthy.” Advise to peers: “Even when you’re in doubt, do not look back and don’t compare yourself to others because that only slows you down. Do everything you can to achieve your goals, so you’ll have no regrets in the future.”



AI Ashley Irovando Durant High School Valedictorian

Ashley loves performing in theatrical productions and her most recent role was Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast JR at Durant High School. Since age two, she has lived in Valrico with her parents, Tony and Julie, and her brother Zachary. Prior to DHS, she attended Valrico Elementary and Mulrennan Middle School. This “energetic, awkward, and free-spirited” Disney World fan also enjoys movies and her “massive stuffed animal collection” of Care Bears and Squishmallows. Since she’s already earned her Associate’s degree, Ashley has no plans to rush through the University of Central Florida. While pursuing a mechanical engineering degree and hopefully another in Theme Park and Attraction Management, she hopes to intern and may contract as a cruise ship entertainer for a few months. Her dream career is as a Disney ride engineer (Imagineer), pitching and designing attractions and programing vehicles and animatronics. GPA Weighted: 9.59 GPA Unweighted: 3.99 AP Classes: 9 + 4 in process Dual Enrollment Courses: 24 Favorite Classes: AP Calculus; AP Language and Composition; Acting; AP Physics Life Goals: 1) To ride a Disney ride she personally helped create; 2) To adopt children (“I have always wanted to take in kids who have nothing and give them the childhood they deserve.”) Advice to Peers: Never forget this is your only chance to do high school. You can become a valedictorian and space out your rigorous schedule to include time for friends and activities. Nearly all my favorite high school memories have come from January until now in my senior year, when I branched out and started living a slightly normal high school life, rather than dedicating absolutely all my time to school. In Appreciation: I’m thankful to so many people, including my parents who always supported me and my brother who set such a good example. My best friend Nevaeh has been by my side through this whole process. While many teachers have helped me, those who taught AP Language and Composition, AP Physics, Theatre/Acting in have been a huge support. As a roller coaster enthusiast, it’s been great watching Busch Gardens become a full-fledged theme park with one of the best attraction lineups around. Also attending Durant, which is literally in the middle of nowhere with the cows, has definitely been an interesting experience because it introduced me to so many different types of people. I’ve also met so many others while attending theater conventions. Hillsborough County really is a great place to live.



AS Allie Sigl Durant High School Salutatorian

Alexandra “Allie” Sigl was adopted from Chongqing, China at age two by Rob and Dolly Sigl after they moved here from New York more than 20 years ago. Allie attended grades K-8 at Nativity Catholic School. Along with her Durant High School diploma, she has earned an Associate degree in Liberal Arts. Her father is a disabled/retired quadriplegic Air Force veteran, so along with her parents, the “optimistic, ambitious, and compassionate” Allie enjoys watching old action films, dining out and traveling. At one time, this adventurer owned a Honda Rebel 500 motorcycle and last year received her license from Harley Davidson. A recent visit to Egypt has her hoping to study abroad one day. Allie expects an active University of Florida Gator life through involvement in political internships and organizations, college clubs and intramural sports. She will pursue a political science degree, potentially on a pre-law track and hopes to earn her Master’s in Foreign Affairs. Ultimately, she desires a “to help others, specifically through a transnational level career involving international politics and law.” Her dream is “to become a UN Ambassador and advocate for environmental and human rights issues.” Favorite classes: Speech with Mr.Boddiford AP Environmental Science PawPrint Newspaper AP Seminar GPA Weighted: 8.743 GPA Unweighted: 3.903 AP Classes: 14 Dual-enrollment Courses: 23 Scholarships: Valued at $46,700 Advice to peers: Remember to enjoy yourself during high school. While grades and rank are beneficial, they do not define your worth. Passionately pursue academics, pursue your passions, and try new experiences as well! In Appreciation: I’m grateful for teachers, friends, strangers, and my parents who have sacrificed so much to allow me to pursue higher education and various opportunities. Through these individuals, I’ve been unconditionally supported, gained knowledge, and learned invaluable life lessons.

People in this community have so much love and spirit towards everything, from Champa Bay Sports Teams to themed festivals and local restaurants and markets. Whatever lies ahead, I’m inspired to be surrounded by people I love, to live life to the fullest, and to stay true to myself. PAGE


DB Drew Blanton Plant City High School Valedictorian 2022

In addition to earning his AA degree from Hillsborough Community College, the selfdescribed “stubborn, humorous, and friendly Drew will also graduate high school as a certified veterinary assistant. At the University of Florida, he plans to double major in agriculture communications and political science. Expecting then to attend the UF Levin College of Law, he hopes within ten years to be practicing either agriculture law or corporate law.

This scholar/athlete played two years for the Hurricane Volleyball Academy club team and was named Best Defensive Player. For the past three years, he’s been team manager of the PCHS Girls’ Varsity Volleyball Team, serving also as assistant coach his senior year. During all four high school years, he has been an assistant coach for the Tomlin Middle School boys’ volleyball team as well.

In his time with FFA as a passionate agriculture advocate, Drew’s accomplishments include: • State championships: Vegetable Evaluation and Ornamental Horticulture Demonstration • Numerous other Top 10 Statewide placements • Shown swine at the Florida Strawberry Festival, Florida State Fair, and Hillsborough County Fair • Participated in the Strawberry Festival’s steer show/sale • Several awards in the senior showmanship division • Organized education outreaches at local elementary schools and FFA membership efforts at area middle schools. Drew credits three forces for his success. “The first being my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who has given me strength, wisdom, and guidance in all I’ve done. Second, my parents, who have been with me every step of the way, offering compassion and comfort through adversities I faced. And last, but certainly not least, my twin sister, Bailey. Without her, I wouldn’t have been as determined or as successful. It’s awesome to have had a built-in best friend and rival. With 18 years of mostly friendly competition, it’s a pleasure we were able to secure the top 2 spots!” GPA unweighted: 4.0 GPA weighted: 7.84 AP Classes: 4 Dual Enrollment Courses: 21 Community Service: 200+ hours Favorite Subjects: AP World History, Vet Assisting and Law Studies Scholarships: Bright Futures Academic, Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Plant City FFA Alumni, and Florida Strawberry Festival Livestock Scholarship Leadership Roles: President- Senior Executive Council, Plant City FFA and Hillsborough County FFA Federation; VP- PCHS National Honor Society; HistorianSophomore Council; Senior Superlative, voted most likely to be President; PC Optimist Club Outstanding Youth; and PCHS Raider of Excellence; Plant City Church of God Youth student leader; Homecoming Court- last 3 years; Prom Court- senior year; Senior Ambassador for Leonard’s Photography Major goals: Travel to all 50 states; scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef; and skydive Advice to future leaders: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Throughout my journey, I wouldn’t have been able to conquer some obstacles or accomplish goals without others. So many want you to do great things. You need friends and family by your side.” In Appreciation: Drew loves his hometown life for “the sense of community” and the “astounding amount of people here willing to support you.” He added, “I have experienced this firsthand with my livestock projects at the Florida Strawberry Festival and am very thankful for all I’ve received over the years.” PAGE


BB Bailey Blanton

Plant City High School Salutatorian 2022

In addition to Bailey’s academics, the “determined, responsible, and personable” 2022 Strawberry Festival Queen’s Court member has been busy with public appearances, too. She holds the Florida Strawberry Festival community dear to her heart, after seeing the efforts involved and the loving, supportive people behind it. She said, “I believe this makes Plant City such an amazing place to live. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and I’m so grateful for the friendships I gained.”

When time allows, the “huge Bob Ross fan” loves painting along with his instructional videos and creating her own masterpieces because “There are no mistakes while painting, just happy little accidents.” She also enjoys drawing and sewing.

Bailey plans to earn degrees in Business and Finance at the University of Florida in preparation for a financial analyst career. This thrill-seeker also sees herself traveling and exploring landmarks worldwide and experiencing adventures in skydiving, parasailing, mountain climbing, and ‘all sorts of nerve-wracking’ fun. A few of this National AP Scholar’s high school accomplishments include: AAU Academic All-American Hillsborough County Public Schools Scholar Athlete Plant City Optimist Club Outstanding Youth PCHS volleyball (4 years); Captain- senior season Florida Elite Volleyball Academy travel team captain (2 years) PCHS Track Team javelin thrower GPA Unweighted: 7.56 GPA Weighted: 4.0 AP Classes: 5 Dual Enrollment Courses: 19 Favorite Classes: AP World History, Agriculture Communications, and AP Calculus. Scholarships: Bright Futures Florida Academic, Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Plant City FFA Alumni, Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s Court and Plant City Lion’s Club Queen’s Court scholarships Community Service: 125+ hours Leadership Roles: Currently, President- PCHS National Honor Society, VP- Senior Executive Council, and VP of Plant City FFA; Voted Miss PCHS and ‘Most Likely to Be President’ by senior class members; Senior class Homecoming Court and Prom Court; FFA leadership positions (4 years); FFA state championship wins (junior year )- Vegetable Evaluation and Ornamental Horticulture Demonstration; PCHS Calendar Girl- (junior year;) Hillsborough County Fair Harvest Queen- First Maid (junior year); Sophomore Council; Senior Ambassador for Leonard’s Photography; Plant City Church of God Youth student leader Advice to future leaders: “Enjoy your high school years. While grades, college applications, dual enrollment classes, and so much else can be overwhelming, don’t let those take up all your time. Make sure to spend free time with friends, attending extracurricular events, trying new adventures, and enjoying your final year’s activities. I know senior memories from prom, homecoming, grad night, football games, and many other experiences are what I’ll cherish most.”

In Appreciation: Bailey is grateful for the support of God, her loving family, and friends. She added, “While it pains me to say it, I would have to dedicate my success to my twin brother, Drew. Even though he topped me for Valedictorian, many other successes are due to our friendly sibling rivalry, which led us to becoming Plant City High School’s first twin Valedictorian and Salutatorian. Our competition motivated me to excel, and we have become best friends who encourage each other in all aspects of life. Finally, I thank my heavenly Father for His love, guidance, and the future He has promised.” PAGE




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From left to right: Barton Brown, Chelsey Wade, Stephanie Steiner and Stefnee Parks



When faced with the diagnosis of hypertension, heart failure, or respiratory failure, many are filled with uncertainty and anxiety, and know that the road ahead to healing may be long. But at South Florida Baptist Hospital, the care extends long after discharge in the outpatient Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Center. Cardiopulmonary rehab is a medically supervised exercise and education program to help improve your overall quality of life and health. Cardiopulmonary rehab can benefit patients suffering from symptoms after COVID-19 or with chronic lung diseases such as: • Emphysema • Asthma • Pulmonary Fibrosis • Chronic Bronchitis It can also benefit those who have experienced any of the following cardiac events or procedures: • Angioplasty • Coronary Bypass Surgery • Heart Attack • Heart Failure • Heart Transplant • Stable angina • Stents • Valve Repair/Replacement Stephanie Steiner, coordinator of cardiopulmonary, stress lab, and EKG, has 20 years of experience as a registered nurse. The Cardiopulmonary Rehab Center is staffed by EKG technician Stefnee Parks and clinical nurses Chelsey Wade and Barton Brown. Steiner and her team personalize the program to meet each individual’s needs.

“Our goal is to teach lifestyle habit changes and prevent hospitalizations,” said Steiner. “We aim to catch issues early and guide patients to see their physicians. We teach the patients how to monitor and manage themselves to reduce modifiable risk factors to prevent occurrences such as COPD exacerbations and heart failure crises.” But exercise in the cardiopulmonary rehab is only one part of the equation. The program also addresses topics including nutrition, medication, stress, and risk factors such as dysrhythmias of the heart, uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, tobacco cessation, and nutrition consults. “The psychosocial benefits of attending cardiac or pulmonary rehab are not only measurable, but the patients frequently verbalize the difference they feel, especially after isolating themselves during the last few years of the pandemic,” said Steiner. According to the Centers for Disease Control, older adults are at the highest risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. More than 81% of COVID-19 deaths occur in people over age 65. The number of deaths among people over age 65 is 97 times higher than the number of deaths among people ages 18-29 years. A person’s risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases as the number of underlying medical conditions they have increased. Those suffering from chronic lung and heart diseases, smokers, organ transplant patients, and others were among the CDC’s list of the most at risk to contract COVID-19. That risk closed the Cardiopulmonary Rehab Center at South Florida Baptist Hospital during the height of the




From left to right: Chelsey Wade, Stephanie Steiner, Barton Brown, and Stefnee Parks

pandemic, as well as the need for staff as support in the inpatient setting of the hospital. The team had to pivot its program in order to provide care for those who need rehabilitation the most. After about three months, the cardio rehabilitation was re-established and after six months of closure, the pulmonary rehabilitation program was re-opened.

STEFNEE PARKS EKG Technician Stefnee Parks has worked at South Florida Baptist Hospital right out of high school, making her a 34-year employee of our community hospital. “I knew that I wanted to help others and had a passion to care about others’ wellbeing,” said Parks. “I attended college full time in the evenings my last year of high school, and two weeks after graduating high school I started at SFBH.” She started at SFBH in June of 1988 in the ICU department as a monitor tech and transferred to the Cardiology Department in 1999 in which she performed stress tests, EKGs, Tilt tables and 24-hour Holter monitors, which led her to her current position in cardiopulmonary rehab. “Seeing where the patient begins in the program and seeing the progress they have made by the end of their sessions is the most rewarding part of my job,” said Parks.



“In order to keep our patients safe and still provide the services needed to prevent their need for hospitalizations, we spaced our equipment out and limited our class sizes,” said Steiner. “Sanitizing has always been in place, but the masks were a new aspect that still hasn’t gone away. These do create a barrier to communication as many patients with hearing deficits rely on reading lips, and the pulmonary patients particularly find it more difficult to breathe through them, but attendance has not been affected.” Steiner says those who are suffering from long-term lung damage due to COVID-19 are able to enroll in pulmonary rehabilitation and the program has a constant stream of referrals from physicians. SFBH’s cardiopulmonary rehabilitation team is ready to help.

South Florida Baptist Hospital Cardiopulmonary Rehab Fast Facts • Accredited as a Nationally Certified Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab program through the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

• As of this year, COVID-19 is now a coverable diagnosis for enrollment in the Cardiopulmonary Rehab program. To participate in the program, patients will need medical clearance and a prescription from their primary care physician. • Cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs are covered by Medicare and most insurance companies. • Cardiac rehabilitation is a national clinical guideline for secondary prevention and recommendation by the American Heart Association. • According to the CDC, “a systematic review has shown that after a heart attack, patients using cardio rehab were 53% less likely to die from any cause and 57% less likely to experience cardiacrelated mortality than were those who did not use cardiac rehab.” • According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “people who’d had a heart attack, angioplasty, or heart failure found that those who participated in cardiac rehabilitation were far less likely to be hospitalized, and had a much better quality of life, than those who did not. Other studies found lower rates of death in people who attended cardiac rehab, with the greatest benefit seen in those who attended the most sessions. Benefits also include weight loss, improved cholesterol levels, less stress, and a lower risk of depression.” Ask your physician if you are a candidate for cardio or pulmonary rehabilitation. To learn more, call South Florida Baptist Hospital at 813-757-1231.

(left) Patient John Payne was diagnosed with Combined Pulmonary Fibrosis and Emphysema. (right) John Payne has been a patient at SFBH for three years. Payne is a candidate for bilateral lung transplant surgery and says he wouldn’t be viable for surgery without the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program.

Patient Profile: John Payne, 3-Year Participant in Pulmonary Rehabilitation In 2014, John Payne received a diagnosis he expected for quite some time: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. The condition causes scar tissue (fibrosis) to build up on the lungs, which makes the lungs unable to transport oxygen into the bloodstream effectively. The cause of IPF is unknown, but it’s thought that the fibrosis is a result of abnormal tissue repair after tissue damage. How Payne’s lung became damaged is a mystery. “I was seen by the Pulmonary Clinic at James A Haley VA Hospital,” said Payne. “Having read about pulmonary rehabilitation, I requested a rehabilitation referral and a transplant evaluation from James A Haley VA Hospital. Following two rounds of fairly extensive tests at James Haley VA Hospital and Tampa General Hospital, I was officially listed for a double lung transplant…My diagnosis was revised to CPFE, Combined Pulmonary Fibrosis and Emphysema while undergoing testing at Tampa General.” Payne, 69, was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving as an officer from 1974 to 2001. According to a study in the National Library of Medicine published in February 2022, the prevalence and incidence of IPF among veterans has increased over the past decade. The prevalence increased from 276 cases per 100,000 in 2010 to 725 cases per 100,000 in 2019. Payne has attended pulmonary rehab at South Florida Baptist Hospital for three years and says there are things he continued to do that without therapy wouldn’t be possible.

my wife, I do laundry, I take my grandchildren to school twice a week all while wearing a portable oxygen backpack,” said Payne. “I’m motivated and capable of doing these things—well, maybe not so much the laundry—due to my continuing participation in the SFBH rehabilitation program.” Upon determining that he is a viable candidate for double lung transplant surgery, it became important for the staff to keep him enrolled in therapy. “The SFBH nurses and staff are tremendous assets for you and worldclass encouragers…It’s the SFBH nurses and staff that develop your goals, analyze where you’re at physically, prescribe new exercises, are with you every step of the way and change your program as necessary,” says Payne. “There is great value in the single mindedness of purpose that both you and the rehabilitation center staff share - simply to breathe deeper and maintain a level of fitness without feeling sorry for you or your condition.” Payne credits the help of Stephanie, Stefnee, Chelsey, Bart, as well as family and friends, for keeping his hopes alive for the time when he and his wife get a call from the transplant center. Without this program, he doesn’t know if he would be ready for transplant surgery. But this veteran has got his head in the game to make it through surgery successfully and see Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady at Raymond James Stadium. “I have maintained a level of fitness, muscle tone, and vitality that enables me to live my life,” says Payne. “My new goal is to see Brady’s ‘new’ last regular season home football game.”

“I golf, I danced with my daughter at her recent wedding, I go out with PAGE



Plant City Dermatology The skincare market has exploded on social media in recent years. To put into perspective, #skincare has 88.3 billion views on TikTok at the time of publication. It seems as if our feeds and discover pages are flooded with influencers, brands, and product recommendations. Why are skincare routines suddenly cool? What products really work and which influencers should be trusted? Put down the phone and call Jaime Crotwell at Plant City Dermatology. Crotwell is a Medical Aesthetician with several years of experience. There’s an important distinction between a Medical Aesthetician and your typical Esthetician. While both are skincare specialists, an Esthetician usually works out of a spa or salon, focusing on cosmetology. As a Medical Aesthetician with a clinical focus, Crotwell can treat and consult more complex skin issues with more intensive treatments in close consultation with and supervision by a medical dermatologist. “Some of the services we can offer here that you can’t find in your typical spa are hydrafacials, microdermabrasion, and dermaplaning,” said Crotwell. “These are more in-depth, deeper treatments. I am able to provide laser treatments, too. You can’t go to a beauty spa for laser treatments. It’s also not uncommon for me to work with our providers as a consult or to supplement their treatment.” For example, some patients are prescripted medication for their acne by Plant City Dermatology providers and Jaime is also treating the patient’s skin with hydrafacials. Crotwell says it’s rewarding to help patients build confidence in their skin or resolve a concern they can’t fix themselves at home. PAGE


Jaime, what is a treatment you’d recommend for people looking for something quick without needles or downtime? Our PRX-T33 treatments for skin revitalization. It contains TCA with hydrogen peroxide to bypass the epidermis and add deep hydration into the dermis layer. It helps improve the appearance of aging skin that is wrinkled or dull. It’s non-invasive, your skin won’t peel, there’s no downtime, and the procedure only takes 10 to 15 minutes. PRX-T33 is great for all skin types because it promotes collagen, and smooths wrinkles, hydrates, and plumps.

collagen production and help with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Patients can expect to see micro lesions for a few days after treatment, and slight redness, but downtown is minimal. Results are visible within a few days, but after about three weeks is when results are most noticeable. We can use Morpheus8 on the eyes, face and neck, abdomen, back, and legs.

What are some of the topical cosmetic lines Plant City Dermatology offers? We offer three medical skincare lines: ZO Skin Health, SkinBetter, and SkinCeuticals. With these lines, we are able to create a custom skincare regime for specific skin types and issues. One product that is popular with our patients is SkinBetter’s tinted sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium oxide to protect against sunspots and aging caused by sun exposure. Because it’s tinted, women don’t need to wear makeup or can use this sunscreen as a primer under their makeup. Whether you’re someone who is ready to dive into rejuvenating your skin with a full skincare routine or you’re busy and want just a few products, we can work together to find something that works for you and your lifestyle, while also giving you the best skin you can possibly have. We provide free consultations to learn how to use these products. What treatment do you recommend for those looking to rejuvenate their face and body? Our Morpheus8 is a micro-needling with radio frequency and laser heat into the skin to improve

502 N. Mobley Street, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 498-1983 Mon-Thurs 8AM to 5PM | Fri 8AM to 12PM Sat & Sun Closed

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Plant City Pediatrics 2370 Walden Woods Drive Ste A, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 659-9800 Mon-Thurs 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM Fri 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM

Plant City parents put their trust in Plant City Pediatrics. They have voted the practice as “Best Pediatrician” five years in a row in the FOCUS Readers’ Choice Awards. This speaks of the parents’ confidence and trust in the practice. Dr. Timothy Williams opened Plant City Pediatrics in October 2002. Since then, the practice has grown to a 24-member staff. The team at Plant City Pediatrics believes “children are a gift from the Lord,” and view patient care as an investment in their future. With a goal to provide the finest pediatric medical care available, the practice places priority emphasis on excellence, compassion, and creating a place where parents and patients are comfortable from start to finish. Timothy Williams, D.O, M.Ed., F.A.A.P., is joined by Chandra Williams, M.D., F.A.A.P; Emily Buchholz, PAC; Emily Zink, APRN; Hernando Valero, APRN; and Regina Perry, APRN. This team of highly qualified, board-certified providers strives to offer the best pediatric care possible. Dr. Timothy Williams and Dr. Chandra Williams are both affiliated with South Florida Baptist Hospital. From the front office to the nursing staff to the providers, the team at Plant City Pediatrics wants to help Plant City parents raise a healthy and happy child.



From bumps and scrapes to well visits, the team at Plant City Pediatrics sees children ages birth to 18-years-old. Children experience rapid growth that requires a specialized approach to their care. The providers watch their patients grow, and to see them succeed is rewarding for the entire medical staff. The Plant City Pediatrics team is equipped to help their patients navigate infancy, childhood, and adolescent health needs. Parents know it’s wise to have a highly regarded pediatrician’s number handy in the case of an accident. Plant City Pediatrics advises: “Call us first. We may be able to save you a trip to the ER.” The practice accepts most Commercial & Medicaid insurance plans. For great advice about the immunizations and medical assessments your child needs at specific ages or to access necessary forms before your child’s first visit, view the helpful website tabs. Parents interested in signing up for a first-time appointment can visit and complete the new patient portal information. Then, they will be contacted by a friendly member of the staff to book their first appointment.

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Appointments Now Available at Watson Clinic Dermatology at Brandon 675 South Kings Ave, Brandon, FL 33511 813-655-3680

Whether you’re a retiree or a young professional, it’s easy to see the appeal of the year-round sunshine and active outdoor lifestyle Florida has to offer. But these qualities have also made Florida one of the top states in the country for incidents of melanoma and other types of skin cancer. That’s why an expert dermatologist is such an essential part of your healthcare team. Routine annual examinations can detect potentially cancerous moles and other areas of concern at their earliest stages when they are most treatable. Thankfully, Watson Clinic recently opened a dermatology office that is convenient to residents of Brandon, Plant City and surrounding communities. Located at 675 South Kings Avenue in the Kings Avenue Medical Center in Brandon, Watson Clinic Dermatology at Brandon features the expertise of a board-certified dermatology specialist, an expertly trained nursing staff, and the latest treatments and technologies to ensure healthy and vibrant skin.



Celebrating over 80 years of exceptional healthcare, Watson Clinic has long been at the forefront of skin health services. Now, residents in our area can benefit from their singular brand of comprehensive and personalized dermatology care. Patients can access a diverse array of skincare services, including annual evaluations, the detection and treatment of skin cancers, acne, eczema, psoriasis and other common disorders, dermatologic surgery, as well as the most popular noninvasive facial rejuvenation options like fillers, BOTOX® and other procedures. The location’s expert team is led by Dr. Felicia Hall, a highly skilled specialist who understands the unique skincare needs of Florida patients. She received her medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, FL. She is boardcertified by the American Board of Dermatology and is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Mohs Surgery, and American Medical Association. Operating hours for Watson Clinic Dermatology at Brandon are every Monday through Thursday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Appointments are now available for new and existing Watson Clinic patients, and can be scheduled by calling 813-655-3680 or toll-free at 866-409-DERM (3376).




The Bank of Tampa acquired Hillsboro Bank on Alexander Street in late 2021.

The Bank of Tampa By Cierra Craft | Photos courtesy of The Bank of Tampa


ith assets totaling $3.2 billion, The Bank of Tampa is the third largest community bank in the Tampa Bay area. In October 2021, The Bank of Tampa finalized its first-ever acquisition of Hillsboro Bank. In doing so, The Bank of Tampa opened its first Plant City branch on Alexander Street, across the street from Plant City High School. The Bank of Tampa was built with the foundation of a commercial bank, but over the years, the bank strived to diversify its portfolio to reach many different industries and professionals. The Bank of Tampa offers commercial banking—which includes middle market, commercial real estate, SBA lending, and treasury services—personal banking, wealth management, and trust services—truly making the bank a full-service community bank, according to its website. The Bank of Tampa Plant City branch is led by Mike Ward, president of the Plant City Market and Nick Thurston, Matt Buzza, and Pam Warnock, serving as senior vice presidents of the branch.

Invested In You

The Bank of Tampa Plant City branch offers Personal Banking and Wealth Management options that fit clients’ needs, offering a number of deposit and savings accounts. All accounts feature online and mobile banking options, making account management simple and Visa debit or credit cards. The Bank of Tampa offers Personal PAGE


Checking Account with unlimited deposits, checks and transfers; Senior Checking Account with the same features as a Personal Checking Account for those 62+. The Bank of Tampa also offers three tiered-rate personal accounts where interest rates are paid based on Average Daily Collected Balance per month or per quarter. Details of each account are available at Minarets Diamonds Relationships is the Bank of Tampa premier account designed for clients who expect the utmost in responsiveness and service. Minaret Diamond account holders receive a variety of services and benefits, such as a preferred rate on the Minaret line of credit and Minaret Diamond Black credit card, upon credit approval. The Bank of Tampa’s Toby Lincoln (NMLS ID #: 1570970) for the bank’s Residential Mortgage Officer for Hillsborough County. When financing a home through The Bank of Tampa, clients receive no prepayment penalties, no “jumbo” pricing or rate adjustments, and local decision-making.

Invested In Your Business

Founded on the foundation of commercial banking, The Bank of Tampa offers a number of Commercial Deposit Solutions including small business checking accounts, commercial checking accounts,


and Commercial Interest Checking accounts (for sole proprietors and non-profit organizations only). Visa Business Credit Cards are offered for commercial customers. The Bank of Tampa also offers money market accounts, CDs, and Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) accounts. The Bank of Tampa also offers SBA Lending, Treasury Services, Middle Market, and Commercial Real Estate.

Invested in the Community

The Bank of Tampa Plant City Branch leadership from left to right: Nick Thurston, Mike Ward, Pamela Warnock, and Matt Buzza.

The Bank of Tampa Plant City branch is invested in the community, with many of the membership teams holding leadership positions in several business, civic, and professional organizations, including the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Strawberry Festival, and the Plant City Economic Development Center. The Bank of Tampa is ranked within the 10 Best Banks & Credit Unions in Tampa Bay by Yelp. The Bank of Tampa was voted 2021 and 2022 Best Place to Work by the Tampa Bay Times and in 2022 was nominated for Best Banking Institution by FOCUS Magazine. With titles like these, Bank of Tampa clients speak highly of the bank’s commitment to customer service and services available. “Customer service is superior to any of the big banks. The personal care put in by the relationship managers is practically unheard of in today’s banking market. From the counter clerks to senior management, the emphasis is on the customer and great effort is placed on making your banking experience as easy and smooth as possible…” said one Bank of Tampa client. Another added, “I found that the bank has a desire to understand my specific needs and find a solution. The bank has many of the capabilities of bigger banks, but they are able to maintain a local feel.”

509 W Alexander Street | Plant City, FL 33563 | (813) 707-6506 Hours: Lobby: Lobby: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. | Drive-Thru: Drive-Thru: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PAGE



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By Jennifer Jordan

In March of 2021, FOCUS had the pleasure of interviewing PCHS Bassmasters Quentin Silas and Lane Vitelli. Juniors at the time, the now seniors will walk the stage and graduate from high school on May 25. In the past year, they have continued to represent Plant City High School after creating their own fishing team and participating in several tournaments. Despite not being an official team under the PCHS charter, Quentin noted, “Our senior year fishing was successful and very exciting. Lane and I had multiple great placements in tournaments throughout this year. We received second, third, fourth, and fifth place finishes, and Lane won ‘Biggest Bass’ at the Harris Chain of Lakes Tournament.” Since PCHS Bassmasters doesn’t technically have a coach, Quentin and Lane rely on each other and social media sites such as Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn about new baits and fishing techniques. This year, they competed in 15 tournaments, with their fishing season beginning in September and finishing in April. They have qualified for the State Championships in June, and if that goes well, they will compete in Nationals in August.



When asked how they have grown as anglers, Lane and Quentin stated, “We have improved through teamwork, planning, research, time management, bait placement, and boating skills.” After graduating, Lane and Quentin plan on fishing in tournaments recreationally and possibly becoming captains for future anglers. They hope that students will see the benefits of fishing, such as improving socialization skills through public speaking during tournaments, in addition to learning patience. If students want to fish in tournaments, they must maintain a certain GPA, which encourages students to remain dedicated to their academics. Students can also receive scholarship money for college through the non-profit organization, Florida B.A.S.S. Nation. Doing what they love while representing their school, Lane Vitelli and Quentin Silas have proven that when you’re passionate about something, you can still do it, with or without an official team or coach. All you need is the right teammate and the determination. With graduation in their sights, Lane Vitelli and Quentin Silas are ready for the next big catch at the State Championships.





Commercial Insurances: Aetna • Avmed • Blue Cross Blue Shield Cigna • Humana • MultiPlan • United Health Care Medicaid: Humana Medicaid • Simply Healthcare United Health Care Medicaid • Sunshine Health



2W 202




HAPPY SUMMER! Plant City Pediatrics believes that “children are a gift from the Lord”. We view patient care as an investment in the future of each child and take our mission very seriously. Our providers provide gentle, compassionate care to each patient, offering quality healthcare.



Meet the

Maker: Ellen Lindow


By Jennifer Jordan

s a child, Ellen Lindow grew up learning to put fabric together to create what she needed and wanted. Learning how to crochet as a child by making rag rugs with her dad, she learned to sew at 14 after wanting to continue having cute clothes after her grandmother stopped sewing. Ellen noted, “My parents always crafted in some manner. I never saw my mother sit down and not have a project in her hand. I think picking up on her work ethic when it came to her creating something made my ability to focus on a project easily.” Raised to make her own stuff to be a little more independent, Ellen learned to make her own clothes, rag rug for her college dorm, and even crocheted her own wedding dress. With many skills and years of experience, Ellen’s creations now are limitless. Being able to sew, quilt, knit, crochet, and make lace by tatting has allowed Ellen to create hats, scarves, quilts, dolls, and so much more. She can even make yarn with a spinning wheel. She made a hat while stuck in a traffic jam in New Mexico during a snowstorm, and said about sewing, “It is my bliss. It’s an attention reliever for me to be able to be in the zone with some fabric making something.” Using her sewing as a way to bring herself joy and utilize her creativity, she mostly sews and creates things for family and friends. Occasionally working on commission, Ellen said she never intends to put her creations up for sale, but rather wants to make things for others and use her talents for a good cause. Quilting a few times per month at Apostles Lutheran Church with a group called Rebecca’s Circle, Ellen makes little quilts for the NICU unit at Brandon Regional Hospital and Tampa General Hospital. She has donated pillowcases for a charity that hands them out to children battling cancer. Ellen has also made larger quilts for Lutheran World Relief to give people all over the world who are in crisis a quilt for comfort and warmth. Taking anywhere from a handful of hours to a handful of years, Ellen stated, “I don’t work continuously on my projects; it just depends on what I’m making and what other things I have going on.” Enjoying retirement after 25 years as a librarian at middle schools in both Pasco and Hillsborough Counties, Ellen has been able to spend more time sewing, knitting, crocheting, and traveling. In addition, she’s been able to spend more time with her two grandchildren, Tike and Keifer, and her husband Michael of 42 years. This year for the first time, she entered two quilts at the Florida State Fair and Florida Strawberry Festival. Each quilt took a year to complete, and each quilt received blue ribbons at both the fair and festival. Quilts made with intricate patterns, details, and expressions of passion, Ellen said, “I’m sewing for the joy of sewing.” For her future fabric fate, Ellen said, “I never know what the next project is going to be. My husband showed me an idea for little crocheted highland cows that I thought were so cute, so that could be my next project. I just go with the flow and enjoy my time and life.”





Leaders in

Faith Rev. Dr. Emmett Wiseman, Jr. By Cheryl Johnston


rom Davenport, Iowa, the Rev. Dr. Emmett Wiseman grew up in Arkansas on 36-acres of land that produced cotton and corn, among other crops. Consequently, he is keenly aware of the importance of agriculture and thoroughly enjoys tending his 60’ x 60’ vegetable garden here in Plant City. This 86-year-old minister describes himself as a “country boy preacher,” and confesses, “I still enjoy every part of life I’ve ever enjoyed. I can still do and go, although my age does offer a few limitations.” He’s invested 67 of those years in ministry since he was anointed to preach God’s word at age 19. For the last 23 of his 25 years in Florida, Rev. Dr. Wiseman has led the friendly congregation at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, which was established in 1886. Recently, members celebrated its 136th anniversary as the oldest uninterrupted church in Plant City. For 15 years, Pastor Wiseman was the president of the Congress #3, auxiliary under the First South Florida Missionary Baptist District Association and actively consults and intercedes for the organization’s pastors and ministers as its first Vice-Moderator. Selected by Florida’s governor to be the treasurer for One Church One Child, an organization that mentors and places orphaned and foster children in permanent homes, he serves currently as chapter president. He is also Chairman of the Board of the Florida Theological Seminary and Bible College in Lakeland, Florida. Retired as an English and Reading teacher from Brandon High School, his beloved wife LaWaun assists him in ministry and writes/directs dramatic portrayals for special church services as well.

Please describe your teaching style?

I have a philosophy that ‘There’s my theology and your theology, and then there’s The Truth.’ I try hard to just deal with the uncut Word of God, rather than finding answers in theological research. Instead, I use chain references to support the message’s original verse(s) and run all those reference verses until they bring me back to the original passage. The Bible is our best teacher.



How do you most enjoy sharing your faith?

I strive to be an example. I hope people will know something is different about me and I make sure to stay true to my beliefs.

What do you enjoy about life in Plant City?

Most Christians I meet are also teachable. Excellent foundations that people adhere to are evident here.

What would you like folks to know about the Church, Jesus Christ, and yourself? I pray the Church really embraces the Truth and if church members share any wisdom from the Bible, they should also provide the reference and read God’s words in those discussions. Jesus is the answer to every situation. We will only realize this once our heart and mind unite with His spirit and we allow Him to guide our life. As to myself, The Word (Jesus) became flesh when He lived on earth. So, until my flesh becomes like The Word, I can’t be holy on my own.

What study suggestions would you offer believers?

Make sure whatever is given to you is The Truth. I suggest they use a good chain-reference King James Version of the Bible for study and for comparison purposes, search the Oxford Annotated Bible.

And to those considering Christianity?

As much as you think you don’t need Jesus, the Christ, then ask yourself: To whom will I turn to for solace in tragedy? Jesus is the author of life, and your fullest life will be found in Him. Bethel Missionary Baptist Church at 804 W. Renfro Street welcomes all to its Sunday School classes at 10:00 a.m, Sunday services at 11:00 a.m. and mid-week services on Wednesday night at 6:45 p.m. Phone 813-754-2239 for additional information.

Member FDIC

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Congratulations! 2022


2022 PAGE



Candy’s Corner By Candy Owens


ow beautiful is the rain! After the dust and heat. In the broad and firey street. How it clatters along the roofs, like the tramp of hoofs. How it gushes and struggles out from the overflowing spout. Across the window-pane it pours and pours; and swift and wide, like the river down the gutter roars. The rain, the welcome rain! I was sitting at my desk yesterday and happened to look out the window and noticed that it was raining. It looked like one of those beautiful soft summer rains. I thought to myself and hoped that the weather would clear up before time to go home so that I would not mess my hair up, get wet, and get mud in my car. As luck would have it, the rain got heavier and louder. Before long, the Lightning began to strike and the Thunder let out a roar. The electricity went out in my office for a minute. When it was time to go home, I ran to my car and got soaking wet, my hair melted into Cotton Candy, and I got mud in my car. I was not a happy camper. On the drive home, I started to have thoughts of the power going out where I could not get into the garage, cook dinner, do laundry, watch Television, take a shower, blow-dry my hair, and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Once I pulled into my driveway, the rain had slowed down, my garage door opened, and the Electricity was in full operation. When I was safely in the garage, I got out of the car and looked out at the beautiful soft rain trickling from the sky. It made me think back to the days when I was a little girl who loved to play in the rain. If there was no Thunder or Lightning, my Mother would let my sister and I play outside on the driveway. We would ride our bikes, dribble our basketball, hop on our hippity




hops, hula hoop, grab our umbrellas and dance around like Gene Kelly in “Singin in the Rain”, put on our bathing suits and turn on the water sprinklers in the yard, and my favorite of them all, was walking down to the edge of our yard barefoot and kicking and splashing water at my sister along with the neighborhood kids. I can still hear my Mother yelling out the front door for us to get out of the gutter before we got “Ground Itch”. My sister would scare me and tell me that I would get worms and bugs in my feet from walking bare foot in the gutter when it rained. I never thought to ask her why she wouldn’t get worms and bugs in her feet if she was walking and splashing water while barefoot along-side me. I’ve learned through the years that that is what older sisters do. They make you crazy! If a bad storm came and our Electricity went out, my sister and I would get a little scared but our parents tried to make it fun. I can remember my Father would get his flashlight and go out in our garage and get the old Kerosene Hurricane lamps that belonged to his Grandmother and placed them in the Kitchen, Dining Room, Family Room, and the Bathrooms while my Mother would light candles. My Father would turn on his radio and listen to the weather, music, and his favorite: “Radio Free Europe”. We thought that was so cool to hear people from all over the world speaking. Hey!...that was something for the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. After a while my sister and I would get a little bored so my parents would have us play cards, tell jokes, stories, do shadow puppets on the wall, sing songs, dance, color by flashlight, and tell Ghost Stories… until I got scared. (Then it was time to

change the subject.) When it was time to eat, my parents would go in the Kitchen and build us a picnic “fit for a King”. We would have something like: Ham and Pineapple sandwiches, pork and beans right out of the can, potato chips, cookies, and if we were real lucky, my parents would put “Jet Puffed” Marshmallows on a fork and light them with their lighters so we could have a roasted yummy treat. Hey!!!! How cool was that? When it was time for bed our parent would put a lamp in my Bedroom so that I would not be afraid. Soon, my sister would join me under the pretense of: “protecting me from the Boogie-Man!” HA! HA! When we woke up the next morning, the sunshine was out and all-the world was good again. My Sister and I had wonderful tales to share with our friends about our picnic by candlelight, the games that we played, and the Ghost Stories we told in the dark. We were too young at the time to think about all the things that parents worry about when there is a bad storm, like: A leak in the roof, Lightning striking the house, all the food in the Fridge going bad, the Electric Garage doors not opening, and no Electricity to get ready for work the next day. It made me realize one more time, that we as adults need to learn to not sweat the small stuff! We need to relax and enjoy our lives. We need to laugh more and make the best of every situation. Aslong-as we have our health, a roof over our heads, family and friends, and our Faith, WE HAVE IT ALL!



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Fazoli’s Fast. Fresh. Italian. BY CIERRA CRAFT

238 West Alexander Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 441-4260 Sun-Thurs 10:30AM to 10:00PM Fri & Sat 10:30AM to 11:00 PM

Cheesy Double-Stack Lasagna: For a limited time, Fazoli’s Plant City will serve this 18-layer entree of pasta, ricotta, meat sauce, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan cheese for $9.99.




n the Italian culture, food is more than a means of providing the body with nourishment. Food is probably the biggest expression of the country’s family-oriented culture, designed to be eaten together at the table. Plant Citians can get their own slice of Italy at Fazoli’s, located on Alexander Street. Fazoli’s opened in Plant City in 2018, under previous ownership. When those franchisees chose to move their business to Tampa, current owners Rodney and Brady Keys jumped on the opportunity to own and operate a Fazoli’s location. Rodney says their family has roots in the restaurant business dating back to 1967. His father, Brady Keys, Jr. was America’s first Black restaurant franchisor with 150 locations of his restaurant, All Pro Chicken. He then went on to own several Kentucky Fried Chicken and Burger King franchise locations. When Mr. Keys passed in 2017, Rodney promised his mother that he would get the family back into the restaurant franchise industry. In 2022, he kept that promise with The Keys Group’s lease of Fazoli’s Plant City. “We opened the Fazoli’s Plant City in February and we’ve been welcomed by guests who are glad we are here and brought Fazoli’s back to Plant City,” said Rodney Keys, President and CEO of Keys Group.

Must-Try Items

On the menu, Fazoli’s serves freshly prepared pasta entrees, Submarinos sandwiches, salads, pizza, and desserts. The restaurant will serve its signature unlimited hot Garlic breadsticks when dining in. When choosing Fazoli’s, guests have their choice of dining in, ordering on the Fazoli’s app, or using the drive-thru. Cheesy Double-Stack Lasagna: For a limited time, Fazoli’s Plant City will serve this 18-layer entree of pasta, ricotta, meat sauce, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan cheese for $9.99.

Baked Spaghetti: A Fazoli’s fan favorite, Baked Spaghetti consists of spaghetti pasta, topped with Marinara Sauce, loaded with Mozzarella, and baked to golden, bubbly perfection. Includes two garlic breadsticks for $7.29. Add meatballs for $1.00. Kids Meals: The Fazoli’s Kids Menu includes four pasta options: Fettuccine, Spaghetti, Penne, and Ravioli, each served with a choice of sauce, a drink, and two breadsticks. Kids also have the option of a pepperoni or cheese pizza slice, a drink, and two breadsticks. Super Family Meal Deal with Drink: For $24.99, feed the family with Fresh Tossed Pasta Duo (Fettuccine Alfredo with Choice of Spaghetti with Marinara or Meat Sauce), Whole Pizza (Choice of Cheese or Pepperoni), and Half Gallon Beverage (Choice of Iced Tea or Lemonade). Served with 16 breadsticks. The Super Family Meal Deal must be ordered online.

Plant City loves Fast. Fresh. Italian.

While Fazoli’s Plant City reopened in February 2022, the restaurant is already making an impact, as guests rave about the customer service, delicious food, and affordable prices. One customer shared: “Food was awesome but it was the service that really stood out. At least 3 employees came to check on us during our lunch to make sure everything was good and we were doing ok. That level of service is hard to come by these days and was a breath of fresh air in what has become a stale service industry. Will definitely be visiting again.” Another added, “Went here for my first time. The staff was super friendly and polite. The service was great and the food was excellent. Really though, the service here was the stand-out thing, way better than expected for a fast-casual joint.” When Plant City families are looking for meals made with fresh ingredients to share around the dinner table, turn to Fazoli’s Plant City at Lake Walden Square. Order in-store, through the drive-thru, or through the Fazoli’s app, available on App Store or Google Play. PAGE


June 11

Picnic by FHCI

Plant City


May 27

Last Friday in DowntownSchool’s Out for Summer

10:00AM-5:00PM Bring Your Favorite Dish | Sports | Scholarships Springhead Elementary @ 3208 Nesmith Rd Cost: Free Info: Florida Hmong Community Inc. @ 727-542-2651

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in May and June

5:00PM-9:00PM Food Trucks & Vendors | Live Music Family & Pet Friendly | Bring a Chair or Blanket McCall Park @ 100 N. Collins St Cost: Free Info: 813-764-9516

Food Truck Nights

May 30

4:00PM-10:00PM on Fridays and Saturdays; 4:00PM-8:00PM Sundays Unique Food Trucks | Support Downtown Businesses | Date Night Idea Corner of S. Evers St & Dr. MLK Jr Blvd (Downtown Plant City) Cost: Free parking/admission Info:

Memorial Day Ceremony

May 18 & June 15 Sunset Yoga and Wine Tasting

6:00PM-7:00PM Wildflower Yogi | All Yoga Levels Welcome | Limited to 20 People Keel & Curley Winery @ 5210 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: $10 per Person (One Drink Voucher Included) Info: 813-752-9100

May 01

11:00AM-1:00PM Veterans Welcome | Lunch Served After Ceremony Norman McLeod American Legion Post 26 @ 2207 W. Baker St Cost: Free Info: Ron MacDonald @

June 04

Keel Farms Sip & Shop 10:00AM-3:00PM Local Artists | Baked Goods | Boutique Items | Craft Fair Keel & Curley Winery @ 5210 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: Free Parking & Admission Info: 813-752-9100

June 15

Wishing Well Barn’s 10 Year Anniversary 6:00PM Wedding Venue | Anniversary Party | Refreshments 4302 Pippin Rd Cost: Free Info: 813-478-6554

Strawberry Classic Cruise-In 3:00PM-6:30PM Classic Cars & Trucks | Food | Vendors Downtown Plant City @ 102 N. Palmer St Cost: Free & Free Car Registration Info: 813-754-3707 Matthew 19:14

June 07

90’s Trivia @ Keel Farms 6:30PM-9:00PM Top 3 Teams Win Prizes | 90’s Attire Encouraged | Food & Drinks Keel & Curley Winery @ 5210 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: Free Parking & Admission Info: 813-752-9100

June 10

Movie Trivia Night

May 24 & 31

Musical Story Time 10:30AM Interactive Stories | Toddler Time Exercise & Movement Bruton Memorial Library @ 302 McLendon St Cost: Free Info: 813-757-9215



7:00PM-8:33PM Family Friendly | Prizes | Food & Drinks Krazy Kup @ 101 E. J Arden Mays Blvd Cost: Free Trivia Info: 813-752-1220

Classic Children's Clothing Smocks, Bubbles, Dresses & Short Sets Boys & Girls Newborn to Size 6

Free Local Delivery for Plant City, Sydney/Dover, & Beyond

Pop-Up Shop May 21 | 10 am to 3 pm Fringe @ 601 E Alexander Street

Whoever said Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

Never Had a Dog!

Plant City’s Only Boutique Pet Store Grooming starting at $47 Highest Quality Dog & Cat Food & Treats Pet Clothes, Collars, Leashes & More!

3012 James L Redman Pkwy, Plant City, FL 33566 (813) 588-3540 PAGE


b Gallery of Plant City


On April 29, the Star Wars universe marched into Downtown Plant City for Last Friday in Downtown, presented by Plant City Main Street. Featuring food trucks, a gyrosphere ride, The 501st Legion and vendors, the event gathered fans from across the galaxy. Attendees came in Star Wars apparel, many even choosing to wear full costume. The next events are from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. with May 27th event themed “School’s Out for Summer” and June 24 themed “Sweet on Summer.”

a c

d a. A gyrosphere ride allowed up to two riders to try and survive 90 seconds of spinning and rotating in every direction at once. The ride was new to Last Friday in Downtown and the long line proved it was popular. b. Vendors and food trucks lined McCall Park, Evers Street, and Palmer Street to provide goods, food and family-fun. c. One of the highlights of the Star Wars-themed Last Friday in Downtown was the appearance of The 501st Legion, a costuming organization operated by fans. d. Attendees wore costumes including Darth Vader, fighter pilots, Grogu, and more. While not required, it was a sight to see the Star Wars universe come to life in Downtown Plant City. e. Boy Scouts gathered with a red R-unit droid from the Star Wars universe. While not one of the film series’ most popular droids, the droid was a popular photo opportunity.











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