FOCUS Plant City 21-07

Page 1




IN 22 W








Contents Table of




By Cierra Craft

By Cierra Craft

Plant City’s population will double by 2040 and the City is preparing in a big way: Development. But, not all long-time residents are on board. Take a look at the Development plans and hear from our Mayor about the City’s vision.

Natalie Sweet and Angel Miller went into business together 18 years ago and today, the pair lead an all woman team of real estate professionals. Meet the ladies of The Sweet Team as they share their top tips to “Another Sweet Sale.”

Every July, FOCUS is proud to present the Top Realtors in Plant City. Let this serve as your directory to the master negotiators and the industry’s cream of the crop, ready to help you find your next dream home.






Blackwater Creek Nature Preserve.

FOCUS PLANT CITY / Issue 21-07 / July 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. 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.



Mon. - Fri. 730AM TO 430PM





4 BEDROOM 4 BATH $519,900






2022 NO








From The





Real estate professionals are working overtime these days. The current landscape continues to be a Seller’s Market on the residential side, where sellers can practically name their price and receive over the asking price as demand continues to outweigh supply. With many looking for the convenience of city living and the comfort of country living as remote working becomes more prominent, they’re settling in communities like Plant City. In recent years, we’ve seen an explosion in commercial real estate in our city. Developers continue to try to keep up with the I-4 corridor’s growth. In recent years, we have witnessed the building of ACE Hardware, Home Depot Distribution Center, CITY Furniture, and South Florida Baptist Hospital’s new location is still under construction. In this issue, FOCUS looks at real estate trends and how they’re impacting Plant City. Plus, we highlight the Top Realtors in the city. Some specialize in land and auctions, others in historic homes, and some are working directly with builders to bridge the inventory gap. We also talk to realtors about the booming housing developments popping up all over the area. Is housing for an influx of new residents beneficial to the greater Plant City community? Hear from those on the front lines of these projects and more. I’d also like to announce we will have a guest columnist, Chaplain Dr. Dan Middlebrooks. Dr. Middlebrooks will publish an article quarterly for our first responders and military community. Be sure to check out his first article in next month’s issue and welcome to the team, Chaplain. You can learn more about Dr. Middlebrooks on his non-profit’s Facebook page: Chaplaincy Care, Inc.

Warmest Regards,

Mike Floyd



To redeem, simply show your server your Florida ID with a Plant City address


Trivia every Tuesday at 6:30 PM Live Music every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 5210 THONOTOSASSA ROAD | PLANT CITY, FL 33565 813-752-9100 | WWW.KEELFARMS.COM



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




Have A Safe And 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.




WI 2022


Call Our Team at 813-802-3452 813-684-0016 OFFICE |






Citizens Bank & Trust Receives FDIC Approval for New Office in Plant City


itizens Bank & Trust has received full regulatory approval to open a new office in Plant City. The new office will be the second Bank location in Hillsborough County. The Bank currently operates in 16 locations, including 14 offices in Polk County, and offices in Valrico and Dade City which opened in November 2021. “We are excited to add a new office in the Plant City market,” said Greg Littleton, President and CEO of Citizens Bank & Trust. “Embracing the Future, While Preserving the Past serves as Plant City’s theme, and it also represents the values we hold close at Citizens Bank & Trust. We look forward to joining this community as we build new relationships and welcome customers.” Construction on the new building, which will be located on James L. Redman Parkway near Johnson Road, is set to begin later this year. A temporary office will open June 21 at 1803A James L. Redman Parkway.



HERE IS YOUR CLUE: This little “ NATIVE NEW YORKER” hails from the borough of Queens. He spent his childhood playing Cops & Robbers, Race & Chase and cooled off under wildly gushing Fire hydrants with the neighborhood kids. His favorite TV show was Battlestar Galactica. His favorite food was Meatloaf. If you asked this Plant City Personality what he wanted to be when he grew up he would say: A MILITARY FIGHTER PILOT!!! His ABSOLUTE FAVORITE childhood memory is his Nana taking him and his sister to Coney Island to ride the Roller Coaster. In fact...his Nana insisted that the they ride in the FRONT car each and every time. This Personality loves to Bowl and has pretty much lived his dream!!! P.S. DON’T LET HIM CHASE YOU!!!

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 MICHAEL PIPPIN



PCPD Officer Saves Two Children in Zephyrhills House Fire


Zephyrhills family is safe after an off-duty Plant City Police offer went inside a burning house to save two children. The officer was just sworn into the police department two weeks prior. On Wednesday, June 23, 2022, just before 8:30 p.m., Pasco County Fire Rescue 911 operators received a call that a home on Doe Path Court in Zephyrhills was on fire with reports of children trapped inside, according to a news release. Officer Michal Pietrusinski of the Plant City Police Department lives in the area and was out for an evening walk when he noticed an unusual amount of smoke coming from his neighbor’s home. Moments later, Officer Pietrusinski heard the screams of a frantic mother running to the house with one of her children, a daughter who is autistic but does communicate verbally. Officer Michal Pietrusinski was aware of the mother’s two additional autistic and non-verbal boys that may be trapped inside the home. He immediately sprang into action. Officer Pietrusinski and fiancée Sharon Navarrro located a garden hose and quickly approached the home’s front door. Upon entering the house, the couple was met with thick smoke causing them to get on the floor to avoid being overcome. While crawling low with one hand, Officer Pietrusinski was spraying water on a couch fully engulfed in flames. He also called

out to the boys, “if you can hear me, come towards my voice.” Officer Pietrusinski didn’t hear anything, so he sprayed himself with water, located a tee-shirt, soaked it in water, and placed the wet shirt over his mouth to help him breathe. At that point, he began systematically searching the home, looking for the boys. After several attempts to locate the trapped children and needing to retreat due to the overwhelming smoke, he could identify one of the boys standing within the home. Officer Pietrusinski quickly took the boy outside to his mother. Knowing how quickly the fire was growing, Officer Pietrusinski asked the mother if she had any idea where the third child would be. With a tip, Officer Pietrusinski attempted to enter the home again. At this point, the fire grew much larger, and Officer Pietrusinski attempted to extinguish more of the flames as Pasco County Fire Rescue arrived on the scene. When Firefighters arrived on the scene, they reported heavy smoke inside the home. Firefighters from Engine 16 quickly exited the truck and entered the house to locate the child that was reported missing. While firefighters were searching for the child, Officer Pietrusinski notified paramedics of the first child he pulled from inside the home, and they began to perform a medical assessment. Thankfully, the first child removed from the house was cleared of any medical issues on the scene by Pasco County

Fire Rescue Paramedics. Engine 16 (A-Shift), led by Captain Craig Harris with Firefighter Timothy McCormick and Probationary Firefighter Joshua Casal (on his 5th day on the job), quickly located the missing child in a bathroom. Firefighters notified the command on the scene and requested a helicopter for the child. Thankfully, the child pulled from the home was conscious and breathing, but paramedics flew the child in an abundance of caution due to their smoke inhalation. Officer Pietrusinski was also evaluated on the scene for smoke inhalation and was transported by ambulance for evaluation. We are grateful and happy to report that the child that was pulled from the home and Officer Pietrusinski has been released from the hospital. Officer Pietrusinski is brand new to the Plant City Police Department and was sworn in as an officer at their June 10, 2022, ceremony as part of the department’s new officer sponsorship program. Officer Pietrusinski is a Polish immigrant who served 7.5 years in the U.S. Navy and four years as a Search and Rescue Swimmer. Pasco County Fire Rescue is proud of the brave actions of Officer Pietrusinski, firefighters from engine 16, and all others on the scene that day, who gave it all to save two children.






Walden Lake Review BY NATALIE SWEET


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 meetings will be held on July 18th and August 15th. 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. The Community Garage Sale is scheduled for November 5th so start saving all the treasures that you no longer want and are worth selling! 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. During the month of June, there were 6 sales in Walden Lake and 5 sales in Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $393,227 and average of 1924 square feet. average $205 per square foot and on the market for an average of 17 days.

City Commission Approves Tournament Management Facility By Jennifer Jordan


ecently at a City Commission meeting, Plant City’s Commission approved the creation of a Tournament Management Facility at Ellis-Methvin Park. The facility will provide an enhanced park experience for visitors, with additional large restrooms, a concession stand, shaded viewing platforms, and more. The facility will also include an ADA-compliant elevator. City Manager Bill McDaniel stated recently about the facility on Facebook, “Since a good portion of Ellis-Methvin and most of the neighboring Otis M. Andrews Sports Complex are fields for games and tournaments, this facility will be an appropriate fit for this park in context of its existing fields and usage.” The park frequently hosts football, soccer, and baseball games, with many tournaments occurring there as well. Substantial completion of the new facility is anticipated to occur in June 2023. A boardwalk to the new facility will also be constructed as a separate project. This is one of 10 major improvement projects in Plant City that will be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, with other projects including a spray/splash park, the tennis center, and Rowena Mays Athletic Park. As part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the City of Plant City will receive $19,905,927 that will be used on various projects permitted by the guidelines of the act over the next four years. Ten million dollars will be used on government services projects, and the remaining money will be used for infrastructure projects like Lift Station 2 and utility improvements. To learn more about this project and more funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, visit or call 813-659-4200.



The June Sales are as follows: Address / Sales Price / Living Area / Pool / Garage 2308 Village Green Blvd / $270,900 / 1513 / 2 Car / None 2322 Fairway Drive / $350,000 / 2123 / 2 Car / None 1905 Timberlane Drive / $350,000 / 2102 / 2 Car / Community 4108 Longfellow Drive / $360,000 / 1805 / 2 Car / None 3423 Silver Meadow Way / $376,600 / 1753 / 2 Car / None 2006 E Timberlane Drive / $377,000 / 1595 / 2 Car / Community 2110 Sycamore Lane / $395,000 / 2263 / 2 Car / Community 606 Sandalwood Drive / $400,000 / 1781 / 2 Car / Private 4301 Kipling Avenue / $425,000 / 1768 / 2 Car / Private 2108 Elmwood Court / $435,000 / 1912 / 2 Car / Community 2701 Pine Club Drive / $586,000 / 2543 / 2 Car / Private

Between January 1st and June 30th there have been 78 sales in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East. The average during that period was $404,865 sale price, 2092 square feet, $195 per square foot and 11 days on the market. There are currently 13 active listings for sale in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East with an average list price of $447,023 and an average of 37 days on the market. There are 14 properties Pending Contract in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East including one listed for $1.95 M and eliminating that one, the average list price is $482,115 and an average of 11 days on the market. This is still a great time to sell your home. 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 813758-9586.

Years 9 1 r o f y t i C g Plant n i v r e S y l d Prou

Plant City


2613 Thonotosassa Road Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 752-0057

10281 Big Bend Road Riverview, Florida 33578 (813)-677-6500








Hurricane Preparedness + Back to School Tips with PCPD By Cierra Craft


ast month, Plant City Police Department’s Public Information Officer Captain Alfred Van Duyne provided the community with some tips for summer safety. As we navigate July-August issue, PCPD would like to highlight Hurricane Preparedness as most tropical activity occurs between mid-August and mid-October. “If you haven’t already, begin gathering the essentials to a Hurricane Preparedness Kit, such as medications, water, First Aid essentially, non-perishable foods, batteries and flashlights, pet supplies, and waterproof storage for important documents such as wills, passports, and other personal documents,” said Capt. Van Duyne. “It’s better to plan ahead and have these items on hand, rather than wait until the storm’s on its way and items are flying off the shelves.” Additionally, Plant City residents should know their evacuation routes and develop an evacuation plan, purchase a generator, and fuel up vehicles in the days before a storm hits. If you haven’t already, review and update your insurance policies for your home, vehicles, boats, and RVs. It’s also important to watch the Tropics and learn about the alerts: A Hurricane Watch means hurricane conditions are possible for an area, whereas a Hurricane Warning is more serious, meaning hurricane conditions are expected for the area. Plant City kids go back to school on Wednesday, August 10, Plant City Police Department has tips for Back-to-School safety. When school buses are driving and they’re going to pick up children. If you are behind the bus or next to the bus, you must stop



for the bus’s flashing lights and arm and remain stopped until the equipment is off and the bus starts moving,” said Capt. Van Duyne. “You do not have to stop for a bus if there is a barrier, such as raised or grass median, between the lanes of traffic.” School buses are required to stop at train crossings, coming to a complete stop, open their door and look down the track to ensure a train is not coming. Once you see school buses back on the road, remember that buses must stop. Capt. Van Duyne says there is a slight increase in crashes in Tampa Bay each year around August and September until people remember they have to share the road with buses. It is essential you must maintain a safe following distance. Be cognizant of speeding and cell phone use in a school zone. School zones within the area are clearly marked with signage and flashing lights. Van Duyne says unlike other provisions of the cell phone law, cell phone use within a school zone in a handheld manner is strictly prohibited within a school zone. When school is in session, be mindful of the crossing guards and obey the crossing guard’s instructions in order to ensure all child pedestrians are safe. If citizens should witness drivers violating crossing guard’s instructions, please call the non-emergency number at 813-757-9200 and report a description of the vehicle. Officers can visit the school the following days and monitor traffic and ticket violators.


2022 WIN

Quality is #1 in Customer Satisfaction! Serving our customers for over 30 years



RESCREENING & REPAIR Pool Enclosures Screen Entryways Screen Rooms New Door & Hardware Lanais Pet Screen & Pet Doors

Window Screens Vinyl Window Repairs Aluminum Repairs

5 YEAR WARRANTY ON RESCREENING | 10 YEAR WARRANTY ON SUPER-SCREENING Marty Johnson-Owner irst ry & F Milita nders o Resp nts Discou


1406 W. Knights Griffin Road, Plant City, FL 33565 Free Estimates | Licensed & Insured






United Food Bank Initiates Feeding Our Legacy By Cheryl Johnston


hanks to the generosity of Sweet Life Farms, Patterson Companies, and The Mosaic Company, the United Food Bank received two large checks to fund its “Feeding Our Legacy” efforts. During the appreciation reception at the UFBPC on June 15, Sweet Life Farms and Patterson Companies contributed $53,250 and Mosaic contributed $50,000. In the first phase of the new program, UFBPC will focus on providing food in the Bealsville community for 150 senior citizens. The first 60 recipients range in age from 85 to 102. Eventually, the Feeding Our Legacy plans to serve food-insecure seniors living in Plant City, Dover, Seffner, Thonotosassa, Lithia, Valrico, Brandon, and portions of Riverview. In 2021, the UFB served 12,000 people over the age of 70. The idea for this additional program was prompted when Nikki Foster, Public Relations Manager for Mosaic, encouraged UFBPC Director Mary Heysek to “dive deeper” in its inquiries with the senior adults currently being served. It became evident that many were forced to choose between purchasing prescribed medicines or basic foods. Heysek learned of their struggles to survive on fixed incomes of $1,000 a month or less. Going forward, the UFBPC intake process for older adults will ascertain specific needs for dietary and other household supplies. Outsourced deliveries will also eliminate the seniors’ fuel expenses and travel limitations involved in retrieving groceries from the UFBPC location.



Speaking to the reception’s attendees, Heysek shared: “The goal of Feeding Our Legacy is to directly provide culturally sensitive food and supplies to these elderly clients and help them access community resources available to them by referral.” In conclusion, she encouraged, “There’s a lot of work to be done! One in five older adults are food-insecure and have grandchildren living with them. This means we’ll have crossover services into the “Feeding Our Future” children’s program. With only five paid employees, the UFBPC is grateful for its volunteers of every age who contribute 1,600 to 1,800 hours weekly. Yet, even more would certainly be appreciated to sort and pack the family grocery boxes and the weekend and break bags for students with foods donated by Publix, Winn-Dixie, Aldi, and Dollar Tree. Most volunteers work three-and-a-half hour shifts as their schedule allows. To improve daily operations, construction plans are already underway for a more efficient facility. Now, more than ever, your taxdeductible monetary donations will be greatly appreciated. Those can be mailed or delivered to 702 East Alsobrook Street, Suite H, Plant City, FL 33563. For additional information or to receive the non-profit’s e-mailed newsletter, phone 813-764-0625 (ext. 5), or visit online at Facebook or

YOUR HOME, YOUR INVESTMENT, YOUR PEACE OF MIND • General Home Inspections • 4-point and Wind Mitigation insurance inspections • New Construction, Manufactured Homes & Condos • Advanced Pool Inspections and Leak Detection

• Docks/Boat Lifts and Seawall Inspections • Ranch, Barns and fence line inspections • Infrared Scanning/Thermal Imaging • Commercial Inspections

Troy Martin, Owner Certified Master Inspector


Florida License #HI8876 FABI# RPI-0928 ASHI#264306 NACHI#15030306






Lindsey Acosta: Plant City’s Very Own Self-Published Author Shares Her Story By Jennifer Jordan


indsey Acosta is a woman with many titles. Wife. Mother. Friend. However, in April 2022, Acosta was able to add ‘author’ to that list of titles by independently publishing her memoir, Bandaids and Bleeding Wounds. Taking Acosta years to finally heal and move forward from her past, she wanted to encourage and help people who are still hurting from traumas, past hurts, and painful circumstances. In the synopsis of Bandaids and Bleeding Wounds, it notes, “Lindsey takes readers through the journey in which God used her miscarriage to not only heal her from her current suffering of losing a child, but past hurts that she had been harboring most of her life. No matter what pain you are currently trying to heal (or run) from, God can heal you, too.” A faith-based book, Acosta stated, “Even if you’re not religious, I wrote Bandaids and Bleeding Wounds in hopes that it can still be an encouragement and bring hope to anyone who reads it.” Taking five years to complete, Acosta said, “I shed many tears over the process. It’s honestly a labor of love and I want it to touch people deeply.” Bandaids and Bleeding Wounds is available to order on Amazon in either paperback or hardcover. Acosta is also launching a podcast in 2023 along with her first suspense novel that she began at 16 years old, when she truly started writing. Relieved and excited her journey with writing Bandaids and Bleeding Wounds is complete, Lindsey Acosta said she is glad her personal story launched her career as an author, and noted that the five-year journey challenged, encouraged, and helped her more than she ever thought it would. Acosta stated, “I have so many new perspectives on life (the good and the bad) and I’m excited to share those with others.” Bandaids and Bleeding Wounds is available on Amazon.



Plant City Celebrates Freedom at 4th of July Event By Jennifer Jordan


n Monday, July 4, families and friends gathered together for freedom, fun, and fireworks at the 16th year of the beloved Fourth of July Celebration at the Plant City Stadium at 1810 E. Park Road. Presented by the Plant City Parks and Recreation Department and the Plant City Chamber of Commerce, the alcohol-free event had concessions, vendors, rock climbing wall, train rides, airbrushing, bounce houses, and balloon animals. Kids and adults came ready to celebrate wearing loads of red, white, and blue clothing and accessories, and stayed entertained with many free activities while waiting for the dazzling fireworks display by Zambelli fireworks. The event began at 6:00 p.m., with Double Barrel Band providing live music throughout the evening. A Military Salute started at 8:45 p.m., with Strawberry Crest High JROTC presenting the colors and flags. The 2022 Little Miss Plant City Queen and Court led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Brenna Stross, a musician and music teacher at Dark Horse Music Store, performed the National Anthem. The fireworks display began at 9:15 p.m., and attendees witnessed an amazing show with music accompanying the colorful and bold fireworks. Sponsors for the celebration included (but were not limited to) the Florida Strawberry Festival, RC Enterprise, Stingray Chevrolet, Jarrett Scott Ford, and Dignity Memorial. There was also a 50/50 raffle to help offset the event’s expenses, with over $1210 being raised. In a 50/50 raffle, half the money goes towards the event and the other half goes towards the winner. The winner of this year’s 50/50 raffle was Tony Harvey. With a sense of community, patriotism, and excitement in the air, the 2022 4th of July Celebration at the Plant City Stadium has always been a great way for members of our cherished community to come together to celebrate our nation’s freedom.

Oktoberfest: Downtown Plant City to host its first open-container event By Cierra Craft


lant City Main Street is excited to host the city’s first open container event in the downtown district. Plant City’s first Oktoberfest will be held Saturday, September 24 from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The event will be bordered by Palmer and Evers to the east and west, and Reynolds and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in the north and south. The traditional Oktoberfest celebration is usually held in Germany in late September and early October each year as a famed beer festival and fair that has been replicated around the world. The City of Plant City amended its current alcohol ordinance to allow only four organizations—Plant City Main Street, the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, United Food Bank of Plant City, and the Improvement League of Plant City—to host open container events within the downtown commercial district. Plant City Main Street decided to use this opportunity to host one of the most popular fall events around the world. City Manager Bill McDaniel will serve as the inaugural Bürgermeister. You’ll see him at the Plant City Oktoberfest conversing with the locals, watching the competitions, and giving out awards. If you have a question, ask the Burgermeister! “We have the best City Manager in the whole wide world,” said Dawn Hyatt, Plant City Main Street Executive Director. “The City is partnering with Main Street on this event and we want to bring the community an event and experience they’ve not had. This is for our community 100% and we’re looking forward to full community participation.” The event will feature traditional German-style fare, including bratwurst, sauerkraut, German potato salad, giant Bavarian pretzels, and German mustard. There will be German dancers and a stage for a live Oompah band to play the traditional Oktoberfest tunes. What would Oktoberfest be without the beer? Beer rhymes with cheer, after all. Hyatt says there will be several breweries and vendors serving beers throughout the event. While the event is free to attend, guests will receive a branded clear cup and drinks will only be served in those branded cups. Guests will pay per drink at each vendor’s stand.

Attendees can purchase a collector’s Plant City-themed beer stein to take home and Hyatt says each Oktoberfest will feature a new design. There will be other Main Street merchandise available for purchase. The downtown merchants will join in on the fun with themed items, pins, games, and more. There will also be a free Main Street Kids Zone at the Willaford Train Depot, featuring games, face painting, and more for the kids. The community is encouraged to dress in traditional garb. Men traditionally wear Lederhosen, or leather pants (with suspenders), and women dressed in Dirndls, a flattering frock generally consisting of three parts: body (skirt and bodice), blouse, and apron. At the waist is a bow. Men must pay particular attention to which side this is tied: right means ‘taken,’ left means ‘single.’ Community is what will make this first inaugural Oktoberfest fun. Plant City Main Street is currently looking for vendors to sell handmade goods, food, and more and the event will need volunteers. To learn more about vendor, sponsorship, or volunteer opportunities, contact Dawn Hyatt at 813-3588898 or at director@



Strawberry Crest FFA Named 2022 Florida FFA State Agricultural Issues LDE Champions By Jennifer Jordan


n June 16, Strawberry Crest’s FFA was named the winner of the 2022 Florida FFA State Agricultural Issues LDE. LDE stands for Leadership Development Events, and the Agricultural Issues LDE is designed to stimulate interest and critical thinking around local, state, national, and international issues related to agriculture, food, and natural resources. The state contest is open to one team per high school FFA chapter each year. After completing a written portfolio detailing an issue in the agriculture industry, in addition to a series of in-person and/or virtual forum presentations to community members and 10 different organizations, Strawberry Crest competed at the Florida FFA State Convention & Expo in Orlando on June 14. Starting their work in November 2021, the team had to write a 10-page paper on an issue of their choosing, so long as it was something currently affecting agriculture and could be argued on both sides. Strawberry Crest chose to write their paper answering the question, “Are consumers’ perception and selection of food choices being influenced by social media and confusing food labels?” The team’s skill, determination, and teamwork advanced the group to the top four, and Strawberry Crest was named the state champions on stage during the seventh session. Members of the state champion team include Tess Aguero,



Jaden Ausburn, Jaylene Carey, Alivia Eben, Milee Hasting, Rachel Moore, and Hope Storter. Alivia Eben, who helped contribute to the team’s victory, stated about winning, “As the names of our fellow teams were called out for the fourth and third place, we knew we were in the top two teams in the state. The second we did not hear our name called for second place, I knew we had just won. My team and I were so excited and very emotional after winning. I’m proud of our team and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish at Nationals.” Strawberry Crest’s chapter advisors are Susan Mayo, Michelle Cesario and Kelley Longanecker. Susan Mayo said of the team, “I’m extremely proud of this freshman team. They were competing against teams that were older and have competed in LDE Issues at the state level before. These young students have shown determination and team leadership and we are very excited for their future.” Due to their achievement, Strawberry Crest will now represent Florida in the 2022 National FFA Agricultural Issues LDE. Nationals will be held October 26 and 27 during the 95th National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis.



Merchants host ‘Christmas in July’ benefiting Jensen’s Heart of Gold Florida By Cierra Craft


lant City businesses are inviting the community to celebrate the spirit of giving with Christmas in July, a toy drive benefiting Jensen’s Heart of Gold Florida. The non-profit organization supports pediatric cancer patients and their families throughout Central Florida. This year’s Christmas in July toy drive is organized by Brick City Bricks and sixteen other businesses agreed to serve as drop-off locations for new, unwrapped toys. Between now and July 31, the community is asked to make toy donations to one of the following businesses: Brick City Bricks, The Crafted Butterfly, Brick House Cafe, Pelican’s Sno Balls, ACE Hardware in Lithia, Backbone Construction & Roofing, Hungry Howie’s Plant City, Salon Spa & Suites, Krazy Kup, Abdoney Pediatric Dentistry & Abdoney Orthodontics in Valrico and Riverview, The Side Quest, The Mercantile, 1916 Irish Pub, Roots Tap Room & Wine Bar, Tub Treats, and Three Hands Mead Co. The toys will be delivered to pediatric cancer patients at All Children’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, and Tampa General Hospital. Often organizations like Jensen’s receive a lot of giving during the Christmas season, but the hospital’s social workers expressed a need for new toys this time of year. “When Greg [Williams] at Brick City Bricks approached me about a joint event for the kids, a Christmas in July Toy Drive seemed like a great fit,” said



Pierce. “The social workers at our local pediatric cancer centers all expressed a need for new toys this time of year, so we knew this would be perfect! And with every ask in the Downtown community, we received an absolute yes!” On July 29, during the Last Friday in Downtown event, bring a toy to the Jensen’s Heart of Gold tent and be entered to win free pizza for a year, compliments of Hungry Howie’s Plant City. The winner will receive one large, two-topping pizza per month for 12 months. The Christmas in July giving wraps up on July 31 as Three Hands Mead Co. hosts a Christmas in July Party from noon to 6:00 p.m. There will be a photo op with Santa and his Elf, a Best “Christmas in July” Costume Contest, and lunch will be provided by Hungry Howie’s. “it is difficult to put into words how the Plant City area, and the Downtown Plant City community have supported Jensen’s Florida’s mission to help local kids with cancer. Anytime I present a need these folks show up, and in a big way!” said Pierce. “I am overwhelmed, and deeply grateful for [the business’s] contributions in the past, and now with this Christmas in July event. Jensen’s Florida is proud to be from Plant City!” For more information on Jensen’s Heart of Gold Florida, contact Emily Pierce at

It’s more than a house.

From Graduate to Entrepreneur: How this Local Started his Own Business By Cierra Craft


or many students, figuring out what’s next after high school can be challenging. But, for 2022 graduate Lane Vitalli, knew exactly what he wanted to do. Upon graduating from Plant City High School in May, Vitalli opened Lane Development, a land clearing company. “I have always had an interest in running heavy equipment, and purchasing my skid steer has created a great opportunity to start my business,” said Vitalli. “I love developing, changing, and creating the beginning or end stages of land development.” Vitalli has immediately gotten to work, offering home site prep, grading and backfilling, roadwork, forestry mowing, agriculture work, and land clearing. He says the most common calls he has received are for driveway repair, to create pads for new home development, grading, and backfilling. “Unlike most large companies that are hired, I care about the little things on the job, and care more about how well the job is done rather than how fast the job is done, unlike my large business competitors,” said Vitalli. But, don’t take his word for it. Lane Development has already earned five-star reviews. Customers rave about the quality of work and describe Vitalli as a “stand-up guy.” Brian Dunn said, “Thank you Lane!! Stand up guy that does great work. Honest and sincere, you’ll be the first to call in the future. He did a great job on my project.” Brandy Stacey Garren, agreed, sharing that Lane did an amazing job on their dirt work and crushed asphalt job. Lane Development serves the entire state of Florida. To contact Lane Development, call Lane directly at 813-620-6861.

Together, we can make it a home.


Our residential mortgage team can help you apply for and quickly process a home or construction loan that fits your needs. Whether for your primary residence or the perfect vacation home, when you choose The Bank of Tampa for your residential mortgage, you will encounter local decision-making and an unmatched client experience. PURCHASE I CONSTRUCTION I REFINANCE



People of Plant City

Debbie Cribbs By Cheryl Johnston


lant City native Debbie Hilliard Cribbs believes in hard work, which probably explains why she has three jobs. Her 27-year career with Twistee Treat began when the ice cream business was called King Kone before the Scott family from Lakeland purchased it. Along with managing the Plant City store, the Plant City High School graduate (Class of ’85) is a Hillsborough County Public Schools bus attendant with ESE students and cleans the Watermill concession five times weekly. Tell us a little about your family. My parents, Jim and Ruth Hilliard, were married 69 years until my mother’s death in 2021. He worked with the City of Plant City Water Department for 44 years and mom sold Tupperware. Now I live with my 90-year-old father because he has Alzheimer’s disease. My sister and one of my two brothers live in Plant City, as do my three children (2 sons, 1 daughter) and four grandsons (who call me Nana Banana). My older brother lives in Ohio. What brought you to Twistee Treat and what do you enjoy most about the work? My career there has been a good journey. I learned the ice cream business from my time at Dairy Queen and then went to work for King Kone when it opened in 1995. The Scotts purchased the business and renamed it Twistee Treat in 1996. They are great employers and treat me like family. The work is not stressful, and I’ve never felt pressured. I enjoy working with high school students – watching them get their driver’s license, hearing about their dates, and then seeing them marry and have children. Two who worked here together married and now have three children. I laugh and tell them when I hire one of their kids, it’s time for me to retire. Which ice cream treats are most popular? Banana Splits and Brownie Sundaes. How do you spend spare time? I love doing anything and everything with my family. My father enjoys eating out so we’re regular customers at Fred’s Market, Smokin’ Aces, Cracker Barrel and Golden Corral. I like to draw, listen to music, watch movies, play mini-golf, and visit the beach and Old Town for the car shows. Share what you love about life in Plant City. The people here are wonderful. They’re good and they work hard and contribute to our community by volunteering. I’ve had many of the same customers for years and they make work better. I also love seeing people I know when we’re out and about. This is HOME!



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

SKYE LENKERSDORF Aloxxi Hair Featured Presentation Model $1500.00 in Orlando. CALL FOR AN APPOINTMENT TODAY!

DARRIN TYSON Optical Outlets TV Commercial & Website Principal Role. Publix Training Film and Print Ad.

PAYTIN BOUILLON Introducing Upcoming Actress and Model Paytin Bouillon who is up for 2 TV Commercials and a Print Ad.


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

ADDRESS: 809 EAST PALMETTO STREET • LAKELAND, FL 33801 863-688-9939 OUR NEW Established For 42 Years

MARK SOMMER Mark just finished being booked on a new TV commercial on recycling with a Principal Role. We are so proud of you!


BRYANNA MATUREN Heartland Living Magazine New Year’s Fashion Shoot Featured Model

JASON RAMIREZ Introducing Actor and Model Jason Ramirez who just finished trying out for a major speaking role on an upcoming TV Commercial.

Jess Anderson index pg JUNE22.indd 1

5/10/2022 10:36:04 PM



Did You


Housing History

By Dr. Scotty and Hsiu Huang History Center Plant City Photo Archives, Inc.


ummer ushers in not only high temperatures and tourists, but also new residents. This time of year has always witnessed a changeover in neighborhoods as its community members move on to different opportunities. As such, new homeowners (and business owners), particularly those of historic buildings, are often curious to find out about the families and businesses that once inhabited their walls. There are many avenues to researching one’s home. Accessing property records like deeds and land grants help to establish ownership of land. From there, looking at old city and telephone directories can further identify names associated with addresses. Searches within federal and state censuses will also be invaluable resources as they normally provide the street and house number along with information like age, occupation, and birthplace. However, discovering the names of previous homeowners is only one aspect of the research. Digging further into the lives of the families that once walked within your halls builds a clearer picture of not just themselves but the community they grew alongside. Plant City is fortunate to have three Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps from 1909, 1914, and 1919 available online through the Library of Congress. Sanborn Maps are detailed renditions of 19th and 20th century city landscapes over various decades. Though originally used to assess fire insurance companies’ liability in urban areas, today they are a significant resource to understanding a city’s population growth and the socio-economic development of its citizens. By combining these brief snapshots that make up one household’s history, we come one step closer to visualizing a neighborhood that then becomes part of the city’s historic narrative. The interest in old buildings is often in response to the increasing number of generic-looking structures which have emerged within budding cities. We find ourselves attracted to the unique craftsmanship of 19th and early 20th century architecture because they are a part of our community’s early identity. For residents new and old, this provides a sense of place and pride. Buildings are physical representations of human progression and embody life’s constant state of flux. Notable landmarks preserved as moments in time provide visual context to the story of a community’s growth. By discovering their stories, new residents may find kinship to our city’s former citizens and build on those tales with their own. If you are interested in learning more or would like research done about a historic building in Plant City, stop by the Plant City Photo Archives & History Center. Or, if you have information or photographs you would like to share, please call the office at 813.754.1578 or email






JULY 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17


22, 23 & 24





St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation presents

Christmas in July D O N AT I O N


July 1–29 Your donation can give hope to the extraordinary kids at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital by providing ways for them to cope during their hospital stay.

Find out how you can help: Benefiting







SMALL-TOWN CHARM Plant City is attracting housing developers and newcomers seeking rural living. But, some natives have concerns about the effects. Let’s take a look at some of the housing projects. By Cierra Craft

Google the phrase ‘small town housing development,’ and about 282 million results pop up. One link after another discusses a migration of homeowners leaving the big city and moving to rural communities–both positive and negative. An increasing number of remote workers are leaving big cities behind with the ability to work just about anywhere. When the pandemic hit, the interest in small-town living exploded. Plant City is no exception to this shift. According to Plan Hillsborough’s ‘Imagine 2040: Plant City Comprehensive Plan,’ adopted in 2016, Plant City’s population could increase to 71,523 residents by 2040. Where are these new residents going to live? Where will they work, shop, and send their children to school? Do we have the infrastructure to support such a rapidly growing population? Since the plan was adopted, the City Commission has received requests, negotiated and approved housing developments to be built on land previously designated agricultural and sold by its owners. Some of those housing developments have already broken ground, including North Park Isles, located at the corner of Sam Allen Road and North Park Road. Other developers are continuing to amend their plans, such as Walden Lake LLC, who is proposing building singlefamily homes, townhomes, and a mixed-use Village Center within the Walden Lake community.



Many long-time Plant City residents are unhappy with the development decisions, and some made their voices heard at City Commission meetings. Others continue to voice their concerns about how newcomers will impact traffic patterns, noise levels, and flooding for those homes surrounding the developments. Josh Briggs lives in Country Class Meadows north of Interstate-4 and east of Charlie Taylor Road. Briggs said the housing developments are built on a higher elevation than Country Class Meadows and says his community seeing increased flooding. He also noted concerns about the creation of a heat bubble, increased crime, and referenced the relationship between HOAs and country or city governments not always seeing eye-to-eye. “Everything runs good until the HOA’s dissolve and the community starts to collapse and fall into disrepair… There are roads that won’t be repaired because they fall under the jurisdiction of HOAs,” said Briggs. “Well once dissolved, the county or the city won’t take ownership and so the area continues to decline.”

Briggs then added, “Development is good, but it should be done in a way that will help a community and improve the area around it responsibly.” Clay Keel, president of Keel Farms, says he is glad to see the city grow, but he is nervous about the speed of development and the risks that poses to maintaining the personality and culture of our town. Keel would like to see city leaders protect downtown and make the downtown district a desirable destination for all of Tampa Bay. “Development is coming, we can’t stop it, but we can make sure our downtown has an identity after it sweeps through,” says Keel. Let’s take a look at a few of the housing developments that are already under construction and a few that are preparing to present their plans to the City Commission. This is an incomplete list of developments and details may change; for more information on the next public meeting notices, visit https://www.

NORTH PARK ISLE Located at Sam Allen Road and North Park Road, North Park Isle, when complete, will consist of both townhomes and singlefamily homes, totaling 2,600 on nearly 700 acres. 35% or more must be reserved for greenspace, with plans for eight pocket parks and an amenities center. The Phase 1A Final Plat was approved by the Plant City Commission on May 21, 2021. At a November 2021 City Commission meeting, former Mayor Rick Lott noted that North Park Isle is the first development with over 2,000 homes built in Plant City since Walden Lake, which dates back to the 1970s. The project is being built by Lennar, D.R. Horton, and Centex Homes. According to realtor Angie Inzerillo of Blue Sun Realty, homes in North Park Isle range from $350,000 to $550,000. “A lot of people have concerns that investors are buying up all of the homes, but in my experience, North Park Isles buyers are individual homeowners,” said Inzerillo. North Park Isle is being built in three phases, with builders currently working on phase one. The property consists of a playground, a cabana, pool, basketball courts, and pickleball courts, and includes several lakes for fishing, canoeing, and a kayak launch, a pretty rare amenity for a community like this according to Inzerillo. North Park Isle will also feature several walking trails including one that leads to McIntosh Preserve to the northeast, a 363-acre nature preserve featuring just over two miles of walking trails, and an observation tower. Children in the neighborhood are zoned for Knights Elementary, Marshall Middle School, and Plant City High School. Mayor Nate Kilton says the City Commission has approved a school site relative to North Park Isle and the School Board will decide if it’s an elementary, middle or high school and when it will be built and opened. Inzerillo said in her experience many young families move into communities like North Park Isle and they’ll enjoy not only the convenience of being one mile from I-4 and the state-of-the-art amenities. “They’re getting the benefits of a community center where they’ll meet their new neighbors and have space to potentially host birthday parties within their community,” said Inzerillo. “But, they

have the convenience of the interstate is one mile away and they can be in Tampa in 20 to 30 minutes.” Inzerillo said when comparing a home in North Park Isle to a similar neighborhood in Riverview, Florida, the homes in Plant City have a better value.


“Price comparison on DR Horton – Plant City North Park homes are about $50k+ cheaper than the same models sold in Riverview and they have MUCH better lot options at NPI – the big water views and conservation views are unmatched in Riverview or Wesley Chapel,” said Inzerillo. She said the DR Horton “Lantana” model compares to a home in the Cedarbrook neighborhood in Riverview with similar amenities and same CDD fee. The North Park Isle property is about $73,000 cheaper and its a waterfront lot. She said from her research the Lennar Homes price difference between the two cities is about $30,000 on average for the same size lots. Shnay Steele recently moved into some of the already competed homes in North Park Isle. She says she couldn’t be any happier with her decision. “I get the best of both worlds with this community,” said Steele. “It has a small hometown feel but I still get the advantage of being in the city… My neighbors have become like family and ultimately, we all want the same for our kids to grow in a community where they are safe and can enjoy life.”

WALDEN LAKE Walden Lake LLC has met with the City of Plant City’s Planning Board and residents numerous times and continues to adapt its development plans to the requirements of the city while empathizing with current Walden Lake residents. The proposed plan is to build single-family homes, townhomes, and villa options on the north and south sides of Clubhouse Drive as well as across the street from Walden Lake Park, north of Tangle Woods, Walden Place, and Fairway Villas, and east of Golfview Drive. Carmine Zayoun of Walden Lake LLC says the development team will be submitting new plans to the city at the time of publication. Zayoun said: “...We are excited with the way that we have been able to incorporate truly substantive feedback from the greater Walden Lake community. Significant updates include reconfiguring the area where a Village Center was once proposed to instead include single-family residences, villas, and townhomes only. We’re also increasing lot sizes for singlefamily homes across the board. All lots will be at least 70 feet wide, with the majority being 80 feet wide, with 80% of all lots at least 75 feet wide. Additionally, the lot square footages will be comparable to the existing homes within Walden Lake with modern configurations that include deeper backyards to meet the demands of prospective homeowners looking to own an executive residence.” The developers have agreed to fund the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Griffin Boulevard and Turkey Creek Road because the team believes these funds are well-spent to address what is already a precarious intersection affecting all Walden Lake residents. Zayoun says the team has also hired a top-notch stormwater engineer to collect data and mitigate flooding throughout the community. “We have hired one of the best stormwater engineers in the world to collect data and analyze floodplain elevations, including




“JayCor does NOT charge “lot premiums,” many builders are charging $30K to $50K in lot charges OVER their advertised base prices. There are no CDD fees as the costs of development are INCLUDED in your home, NOT in extra $3,000-$4,000 per year CDD tax fees every year. Each home is built with love, one by one. JayCor does NOT force you to accept only set “packages” of decor and options. You can choose your brick, roof, paint, flooring, cabinets, and granite, much more. And a wide variety of QUALITY standard choices are available. JayCor has some gorgeous upgrades in decor also available at VERY reasonable prices. JayCor will also do minor floor plan changes; if you are disabled, JayCor will work to assist in designing a home to fit YOUR needs and do it at a very reasonable, if any, extra expense.” NORTH PARK ISLES BY DR HORTON

for the 100-year event, and to design our project to largely mitigate terrible flooding in the community.,” said Zayoun. “The model our team created and the collected data are being shared with local governments as they revisit their stormwater policies, which will save significant tax dollars for local populations.” The team’s entire property is 319 acres, but the proposed developments will occupy only 30%, leaving the rest open to the community. The current revised plan will provide approximately 575 new homes, villas, and townhomes. “Our plan will thoughtfully breathe new life into the community with these types of residences as well as new executive single-family homes, while still providing more than 220 acres of open green space for recreation and aesthetic purposes,” said Zayoun. “Our plan not only provides security for the community against future development but also eliminates the uncertainty that comes with exorbitantly expensive and unsustainable golf amenities. Expanding the footprint of high-demand villas and townhomes in the community is in response to the growing need for residents who want to downsize and enjoy a more carefree lifestyle.” Residents are invited to email any questions or comments to Walden Lake LLC at Updated plans and information will be shared on the website.

SHANNON ESTATES & FALCON CREST Built by JayCor Homes and marketed by Maggie Beard, Realtor® with Signature Realty Associates, Shannon Estates and Falcon Crest are two smaller communities coming to Plant City. Shannon Estates comprises 23 homes on 75 by 147-foot homesites and quality, custom homes. Shannon Estates is situated only 1/2 mile off South Frontage Road between Park Road and Alexander/Buchman I-4 exits. Shannon Estates is an HOA community of $250 per year, with no CDD fees. Shannon Estates are turnkey and JayCor is offering to build detached workshops, built large enough to store RV/boat parking. Small communities like Shannon Estates allow for a better connection between neighbors. Falcon Crest will have 54 homes, on 75 by 115 ft. home sites, City water, and sewer, off of Jim Johnson Road. “JayCor is developing some very different floor plans for this community,” said Beard. “JayCor will still be offering their QUALITY construction, but with not as many options and decor features in order to provide more moderate pricing. Not sure when this will be started, but the target is late Summer/Early Fall 2022…” It seems as if housing developments are popping up all over Plant City. Why should Plant Citians consider JayCor Homes? Beard says it’s for the financial savings and custom, quality homes:



JayCor Homes was built as the “bridge” between cookie-cutter homes and expensive custom homes, offering the average consumer the ability to own a solid, well-built, long-lasting home, with the experience of being able to personalize the home to the Owner’s taste and desires.

LANTANA GROVE Located on the corner of Trapnell Road and James L. Redman Parkway, Lantana Grove will be in the southern portion of Plant City and feature 103 singlefamily homes. The community will be built by Meritage Homes and offer five floorplans offering open concepts, granite countertops, lofts, and each home will be energy efficient, according to the community brochure provided by the builder. “One of the greatest benefits of a Meritage home is our energy efficiency, because we insulate our homes with spray foam insulation, use low [emissivity] windows, and use Energy Star appliances,” said Donna Garriques with Meritage. “This saves homeowners up to 50% on their utility bills.” The builder will offer the following floorplans: Bluebell 3 bed, 2 bath, 2 car garage, single story, 1491 sq ft, currently priced under $332,000 Daphne 3 bed, 2 bath, 2 car garage, single story, 1695 sq ft, currently priced under $346,000 Foxglove 4 bed, 2 bath, 2 car garage, single-story, 1840 sq ft, currently priced $349,000-$362,000 Hibiscus 4 bed, 3 bath, 2 car garage, single story 1988 sq ft, currently priced $359,000-$387,000 Marigold 4 bed, 2.5 bath, 2 car garage, two-story, 2340 sq ft, currently priced under $377,000 The community is within the school zones of Trapnell Elementary, Turkey Creek Middle School, and Durant High School. Lantana Groves will also feature a park, but there are no further details available about the other amenities. To see floorplans, visit




Plant City Mayor Nate Kilton outlines the process developers must follow to present ideas to the City Commission, as well as touches on some important points for our residents and new citizens: What’s the process of a developer presenting their plans to the City Commission? The developer works with our City Manager and planning staff before going to the planning board. The staff makes a presentation and recommendation to the planning board. The planning board is an advisory committee to the city commission and is appointed by the city commission. Then it comes to the city commission. Many developers will go through this process several times, particularly due to zoning. It’s important folks know we aren’t just letting anyone build anything they want; the Planning Board, County, and City are a part of this process from start to finish. Citizens are concerned about the influx of traffic as these communities are completed. What’s the city’s plan for traffic and transportation? Development will always have tension, but there’s been lots of discussion within the City Commission and we do empathize with residents in the Northeast Quadrant who have lived there for years or generations. But, healthy growth for a city is about 2 to 3%, that’s manageable growth. A city not growing is falling behind; we need a sustainable density and we can’t do that on one to twoacre lots. The City had an independent traffic study done to evaluate the impact on roads and see if our roads can handle the traffic. There have already been some improvements to Sam Allen Road and Park Road and I-4 will help disperse traffic in a significant way. Not all of our roads are maintained by the City. We are working closely with FDOT District 7 and the county for our transportation

needs and we have a good relationship with both. We’re also excited about creating multi-family apartments in Midtown, where those residents may drive their vehicles to work, but they’ll live within a walkable community and walk to go out for dinner, to the park, etc. How are these housing developments beneficial to the city? The city was thoughtful about the long-term impacts in regards to lot sizes, developers must set aside an area for green space, and architectural features must be distinguished from other homes in the community. People want to come here, along the I-4 Corridor, and it puts stress on our housing market, so we have to build homes. It’s important we provide a lot of options at different price levels for our citizens. What’s the big takeaway? The City does understand the concerns of citizens. We have empathy and we must manage growth in a responsible and sustainable way. We want to bring people here, maintain our culture and sense of place and provide essential services. We are seeing growth faster than we may like, but it will balance out over the next few years. All City Commission meetings are public and we have time set aside for citizens to speak or they can submit a letter to the commission. If it is a zoning question, the commission cannot discuss zoning before Public Meetings, so zoning questions would be referred to the City Manager and City Attorney.












We’ll be closed starting Sunday July 24 to Tuesday August 16. Reopening on Wednesday August 17th.

Ice Cr e Sandw am iches hip W e l Do e l p in p Pinea le With Taj pp Pinea

3702 W Baker St Plant City, FL 33563 Open Tuesday to Sunday 9 am to 6 pm Closed on Mondays





Selling Plant City:

The Sweet Team

of Keller Williams Suburban Tampa & Plant City By Cierra Craft

With nearly 70 years of combined experience in real estate, The Sweet Team of Keller Williams Suburban Tampa & Plant City is consistently ranked among the top percent of agents in Tampa Bay. The Sweet Team of Keller Williams Suburban Tampa & Plant City comprises Natalie Sweet, Angel Miller, Donna Wood, Christina Vallianos, and Alyssa Maloney. Combining their diverse backgrounds, The Sweet Team of Keller Williams Suburban Tampa & Plant City exceeds

their clients’ expectations with superior customer service and an incredible work ethic. These realtors believes there is nothing more satisfying than a happy client and truly loves being an integral part of the home buying or selling experience. In this interview, Natalie Sweet and Angel Miller discuss the ladies of The Sweet Team of Keller Williams Suburban Tampa & Plant City and give tips to navigating the current market.



Selling Plant City: The Sweet Team

Combing their diverse backgrounds, The Sweet Team of Keller Williams Suburban Tampa & Plant City truly loves being an integral part of the home buying or selling experience.

What are your top home buying tips for the Plant City market? For both home sellers and buyers, the most important is to use an agent that knows the community. Someone who you feel is trustworthy, or that you have had a great recommendation from a friend or family member that felt the agent went above and beyond to give exceptional service. Use someone who has been in business for several years. If you are considering a purchase, save as much as you can for the down payment and closing costs, we are not in a market where the seller will help with the buyer’s closing costs. You can possibly be approved for more than what you feel is comfortable for your budget so you should stay true to what you feel is affordable for you, 25% rule is a good place to start. Look beyond the paint and use and talk to your inspector about issues that come up, repairs and remodeling can be expensive. Use a trusted realtor. And the most important factor in real estate is location, location, location.



Selling Plant City: The Sweet Team Tell us about your background and how did you two get into the real estate industry? Natalie: I grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts, a small seaport town 30 miles north of Boston and my work ethic comes from the examples set by my hard-working family members. My father was an immigrant from Sicily at 7 years old and like him, most of the men in my family were fishermen. I went to the local schools and attended North Shore Community College. We moved our family to Plant City in 1989 because the small town reminded us of my hometown. I was a realtor in Massachusetts and have worked in corporate sales for several years with Bisk Education and Verizon. In 2004, I decided it was time to do what I loved to do and go back to helping people find the homes of their dreams.

Angel: I moved to Plant City with my parents from Tampa when I was 8 years old. I went to elementary, middle and high school here. My first job in high school was the Kmart on Jim Redman where Big Lots is now. I worked in the camera/jewelry and watch department. Perhaps that is where my multitasking skills developed. Later, I moved away for about 10 years and eventually returned and decided to go into Real Estate. I joined Keller Williams in 2004 and Natalie and I made the decision to work together in 2006. What started as an interest in architecture turned into a love of both worlds. When you’re not working with clients, what do you love to do? Natalie: I love to travel, especially to scenic, mountainous places

The Sweet Team of Keller Williams Suburban Tampa & Plant City includes Christina Vallianos, Natalie Sweet, Angel Miller, Donna Woods, and Alyssa Maloney. The team is among the top real estate teams at Keller Williams.

like National Parks. We are beginning to get the bug to travel overseas and took a wonderful trip to Sicily, where I connected with a cousin, who showed me where my dad lived as a child. We are excited to be planning a trip to Scotland and Ireland in the fall. I also love to cruise, cook, entertain and spend time with family and friends. Angel: I also love to travel. It doesn’t matter what type of setting. I love both the city, beaches, mountains, and cold or hot weather. The earth is amazing and I long to take it all in. I love trying new foods, spices and cooking methods wherever I go. Food connects us through our culture and who doesn’t love to eat? Who are the other members of The Sweet Team of Keller Williams Suburban Tampa & Plant City? Donna Wood is a new home specialist and has been with the team the longest and has been an agent for over 20 years. In addition to strong connections in Plant City, she also works throughout Hillsborough County. Christina has extensive past corporate sales experience and is an excellent troubleshooter, managing to work through many

complicated issues that often come up in real estate transactions. She works in a wide tri-county region and has been licensed and working with our team since 2016. Alyssa is the newest licensed member of our team and also works as our transaction coordinator. She previously worked with a title company and an attorney and has brought a younger and fresher perspective to the team. We are very fortunate to have these team members and each one of them is an integral part of our success story. Your team is award-winning. Tell us about the titles your team holds? Although it’s nice to be recognized, our biggest award is when there is a transaction where all parties are happy. To name a few, recognized us among the Top Online Marketing Agents, Top Agent Builder awards, Keller Williams Culture Awards, Top Agent awards, and in our Keller Williams Suburban Tampa and Plant City office of over 400 agents, we receive monthly awards for being in the top 3 teams in production. Our team has also been recognized nationally in the top 10% at Keller Williams.



Selling Plant City: The Sweet Team

Natalie Sweet (left) and Angel Miller (right) became business partners in 2004.

What real estate trends do you see on the horizon? If we had a crystal ball, we would be sitting on a beach drinking Pina Coladas but we are here doing this interview. All kidding aside, we think Plant City is primed for growth. Although we are beginning to see a slight shift in the market, we remain positive about investments in real estate, especially for your homestead property. We continue to see low inventory, although homes are beginning to stay on the market just a bit longer. It will be interesting to see how much of an effect the interest rate increases will change the market, although we have not seen it change things very much at this time. How do the two of you go above and beyond for clients? We go the extra mile. We both are somewhat perfectionists, and we want the homes we list to be the best they can be before it goes on the market to buyers. We really try to work with sellers



to get it prepared and help them with staging tips. We are present during professional photos and go beyond just allowing the photographer to shoot the picture while moving things around if necessary. We have been known to re-stage a whole house, swapping out decorative items from our own homes, just to get the right photos. What advice would you give to new agents or anyone curious about being a Realtor? We would advise any new agent starting out to be sure to align themselves with a Real Estate Brokerage that has proven expansive training programs that are geared to help make them successful. Companies that have great mentor programs and productivity coaching available to them and other successful agents that they can come to for help when they need it.

HILLSBOROUGH TITLE Your Hometown Title Company since 1984 Exceeding Our Clients’ Expectations One Closing at a Time!

When buying, selling, building, or refinancing – ALWAYS request Hillsborough Title to handle your closing. • Multiple Locations Statewide • Dedicated IT Staff Protecting Our Buyers & Sellers • Exceptional Service with Personal and Professional Care

Contact Hillsborough Title 813.754.4440 | |





2022 WIN





REAL ESTATE ROCKSTARS Plant City isn’t immune to the state’s exploding housing market. As buyers are priced out in the area’s bigger cities, they’re seeking somewhere to raise their families with all of the amenities of the big city and the charm of a small town. Those buyers are settling in Plant City and our market is feeling the effects. According to Redfin, Plant City is a very competitive market, in alignment with Tampa and Lakeland, where many houses go pending in less than 10 days. Rocket Homes reports that Plant City continues to be a seller’s market with homes selling for 22.4% more than they did a year ago and that 45.2% sold over the asking price. Whether you’re buying or selling, the local experts on these pages will negotiate your way to success. Each July, FOCUS presents its annual Real Estate issue, celebrating the service, dedication, and hard work that area real estate professionals put into building their companies and serving clients. Let this issue serve as your guide to Plant City’s top producing real estate agents.





Maggie Beard, REALTOR® I have been licensed since 1996, and I am a third generation Florida Realtor. I provide my clients, whether buying or selling, with in-depth, PERSONALIZED service. I never forget that the buying or selling of property is often a family’s or business’s most important financial transaction. Almost all my business is repeat customers or referrals by prior clients. I will handle your sale or purchase, with utmost care and provide you with my complete attention!


Heather has been in the Real Estate industry for over 10 years. She is a top producer at McGrath Poppell & Company, where she works with buyers, sellers, property owners, and tenants throughout Florida. Heather strives to meet her customers at a personal level and provides outstanding service and communication. For all your Real Estate and property management needs CALL HEATHER TODAY! She is ready to work for you!

Ashley Carlisle has lived in Florida her whole life. She enjoys working with sellers, buyers, and in property management. Even as a child Ashley wanted to be a realtor. Building and continuing relationships with her customers through purchasing homes, selling homes, and managing properties is paramount to her business as is the flexibility of being her own boss in a demanding 24/7 career.



Heather Campbell, REALTOR®

Ashley Carlisle, REALTOR®







Ask Pat why she doesn’t retire after 31 years & her answer is that she constantly has past clients contact her for help and she just can’t say no! She loves helping people and her clients become life long friends. If you need to sell or buy, give her a call and experience for yourself why her clients keep coming back.

Renee Corzine, REALTOR® For over 20 years, Renee has been marketing, listing and selling Residential Homes, Luxury Homes, Horse Properties, Kennel Properties, Waterfront Homes, Vacant Lots, Acreage, Homes with Acreage, Commercial Properties, Investment Properties, Foreclosures, Short Sales and New Construction. Whether working with first-time homebuyers or families upsizing or downsizing, Renee uses her skills and experience to help clients achieve their real estate goals. As a full-time, full-service realtor, Renee performs above and beyond expectations to facilitate a smooth real estate transaction. Whatever your real estate needs, Renee will apply her real estate knowledge to make your dreams a reality!


KELLER WILLIAMS 813-716-6007

Eulalia “Lali” Garcia, REALTOR® Born and raised in Plant City, FL, I have a strong connection to my Guatemalan and Mexican heritage’s. Although it might be difficult to stay positive during hard times, I like to keep an optimistic mindset and try to bring a smile to others faces. With 5 years of experience in personal banking, I bring a unique perspective to the field of real estate. Real estate, to me, is not just helping families find their dream home; but allows me to build personal connections and help my clients achieve their goals.





John Haney, REALTOR® John is the President & Managing Broker of Ace Realty & Auction based right here in historic downtown Plant City. During his 20+ year career, he has sold real estate in all 67 Florida counties, 41 states and 3 foreign countries. He is particularly skilled in commercial real estate but handles all types of property, both locally and abroad. He is a graduate of PCHS and the College of Business Administration at USF in Tampa. John is heavily involved in our local community. He is a past president of the Plant City Rotary Club, board member of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the Plant City EDC. In 2022, John was appointed to the City of Plant City Planning Board. A lifelong resident of Plant City, he is married to Amy, his wife of 21 years and they have a son Ryan, 14. Together, they own and operate a 100 acre cattle ranch just northeast of town.


Stephanie Leon, REALTOR® MARZUCCO REAL ESTATE CELL: 863-393-5680; OFFICE: 813-756-8667 STEPHANIER0796@GMAIL.COM

Stephanie Leon has a heart of gold and unbridled enthusiasm. She is a bilingual Realtor who resides in Plant City, FL with her husband Eduardo. Stephanie serves Plant City, FL and the surrounding areas, whether you’re buying or selling she is there to help you through every step of the process. It’s not just about selling houses for her it’s about building a relationship and a lifelong friend.

Cathy Martin, REALTOR® Cathy, a native Floridian, has lived in the Plant City area her entire life. She is married to Greg and together they share four children. Cathy earned a Bachelors Degree in Finance at USF and held several licenses for securities trading and insurance while working in the Financial Services industry for several years. Having been in real estate for 17 years, she has endured the full market cycle and recognizes that hard work, integrity, and customer service are the key components to a successful business and strives for excellence with each customer.






Carter C. Metts III, REALTOR® DIRECT (813) 732-7814 CARTER@ACEBID.COM

Carter Celebrates three years with Ace Realty & Auction as a licensed real estate agent and is a member of the Greater Tampa Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. Prior to joining the team at Ace, he spent 18 years in the insurance field. Carter grew up in South Georgia and while he is not from Plant City, he is quick to say he got here as fast as he could. He is active in the local community as a past board member of Plant City Main Street, volunteer at the Pig Jam every year and a former chamber ambassador. He enjoys working with new residential construction as well as commercial property sales and leases. Carter also manages the growing property management department at Ace.

Clarissa Moody, REALTOR® Clarisa is a professional bilingual Realtor living and thriving in beautiful Plant City FL. With a Master in Management, a BS in International Business and experience in sales, banking and mortgages; Clarisa’s priority is to make all her clients to feel comfortable and confident on their real estate transactions. From first time home buyers to sellers and seasoned investors, real estate is her passion and helping you achieve your goals is her main objective.



Jeremy Rhodes, REALTOR® If you are looking for the lighter side of real estate with a serious lining you have found the Realtor for you. I am one of the managing partners of Marzucco Real Estate – Central Florida. Nothing should be more important than quality and service, at Marzucco we specialize in both for our clients and the agents we train. When hiring an agent, hire for the end result not the upfront promises…. Everything I touch turns to Sold!





Lisa Rhodes, REALTOR® I am one of the managing partners of Marzucco Real Estate – Central Florida. I have been in the real estate industry for over 30 years, first in new home construction and now specializing in residential and commercial real estate. I have a passion for serving not just my clients but also the agents who join us here are Marzucco. Working with our agents training them to better serve their clients and our community is a core value of our office.



Shanon Schulte, REALTOR® Shanon Schulte has lived in Plant City her entire life. She has been married to Eric for 26 years and they have 3 children, Erin, Alli, and Zachary. Shanon graduated from PCHS in 1986 and Florida Southern in 1990. Shanon is an active member of First Baptist Church, Plant City, where she enjoys volunteering her time. Whether you are buying or selling a home, Shanon is eager to help you get to the closing table.

Patricia Smith, REALTOR® For 16 years Patricia has had the priviledge of making dreams come true for many people. Whether buying or selling, she is happy to assist and guide you through the process. Being a local girl, she is very familiar with not only Plant City, but all of Hillsborough County as well as Polk & Pasco Counties. The many years of business has given her a wealth of knowledge, the ability to negotiate and the experience needed to be a Top Producer. She had over 6 million dollars in sales last year. She is personable, a go getter and dedicated to her customers. Keeping in close contact with past customers has allowed her to grow her business. She is ready to work for you!





ACE REALTY & AUCTION, LLC CELL: 813-716-0834 OFFICE: 813-567-7198 EXT. 102 EARL@ACEBID.COM


Earl Williams, REALTOR® With 17 years of professional experience and closing transactions in 36 states, Earl has assisted buyers and sellers with real estate needs through various methods including traditional sales, auctions and foreclosures. Being a Plant City native and lifelong resident has made Earl an expert in understanding market conditions in the region. His knowledge in commercial, residential, agricultural and larger land tracts has made him a valuable asset to his clients. He also consults on agricultural exemptions and regularly assists with parcel splits to maximize the income and value potential for his clients

Heather Wise, REALTOR® Heather Wise has been an active member of her community for her whole life, and is so excited to be turning that community focus toward real estate. With a passion for service in the Plant City area, Heather is ready to help with your homebuying and selling needs. As a proud member of the Keller Williams family, Heather carries the values of hard work, integrity, and outstanding client service into everything she does.


When Heather isn’t making homeownership dreams come true for her clients, she enjoys spending time at her church (First Baptist Church Plant City), at the baseball field or on the boat with her family. Heather lives in north Plant City with her husband Danny and their 3 children.

Courtney Binnion, REALTOR® MOBILE 813-707-3378 OFFICE 813-685-7755 WWW.YOURHOMETOWNGIRL.ORG

When you combine Courtney’s real estate experience with her master’s degree in education her clients always win. Her recent designation, Military Relocation Professional (MRP), sits close to home, with her youngest son serving overseas in the Navy. “Courtney became part of my family throughout this process. I will never forget how patient and open she was. She’s also very honest and trustworthy. I couldn’t have asked for a better Realtor!” ~ Army Veteran







Agency Profile

The Nichole Moody Team By Cierra Craft


he Nichole Moody Team knows Plant City–as realtors and neighbors–and has the expertise to help you buy or sell your property in today’s market. With more than 16 years of experience in residential and commercial real estate, The Nichole Moody Team of RE/MAX Realty Unlimited consistently ranked among the top real estate teams in Plant City. With a reputation as master negotiators and go-getters, The Nichole Moody Team provides an unsurpassed choice for anyone ready to buy or sell a home. The team has combined sales totaling over $20 million in 2022. Nichole Moody leads the team; with a stellar reputation as an energetic, self-driven professional who offers her clients an outstanding level of service. Prior to earning her real estate license, Nichole earned her Paralegal degree, working for a firm with a focus on residential real estate and corporate law. She brings extensive knowledge in all aspects of the foreclosure process, short sales, reviewing and summarizing title commitments and surveys, to each commercial and residential real estate transaction. In 2021, Nichole was elected by her fellow real estate professionals to the Board of Directors of the Greater Tampa REALTORS®.



Nichole is joined by Stephanie Eisenbach, Gabrielle Palazzo, Aviree Jordan, Jessica Williams, and Kaley Clopton. Together, the team has helped hundreds of families get the best deal or sell their property for top dollar. The Nichole Moody Team has won the Silver Award for Top 5% in the country the past three years and won the Top Real Estate Team Gold Award the past two years. In February, the team was named Best Real Estate Team in the FOCUS Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards. The team knows that real estate is often one of the biggest purchases a client will make during their life and it’s why The Nichole Moody is committed to continuing their education in the field of real estate. “We take training very seriously and constantly learn and market,” said Moody. “We know all of the latest programs to cover any type of buyer. If it is your first time buying a home or selling, we will walk you through it step-by-step and our phones and email are always open to clients. My team has taken most of all the classes offered and we know the market and where it is headed. We will do our very best to ensure all of your needs are beyond met and you are satisfied.”

The Nichole Moody Team’s reputation as tenacious, hard-working, and knowledgeable agents is the reason many are repeat clients. If you’re ready to get top dollar for your home or purchase your first property, The Nichole Moody Team is ready to help you. The Nichole Moody Team is with RE/MAX Realty Unlimited. For more information, call (813) 802-3452 or find them on Facebook @NicholeMoodyTeam










brown By Jennifer Jordan

Ajai Brown, an upcoming senior at Durant High School, has a lot to be proud of. Playing for Durant since freshman year, he’s been on the varsity football team since sophomore year, and he also plays for the basketball team as center. Starting out with soccer at five years old, Ajai fell in love with sports due to his love of playing outside and his dad encouraging him to put his energy and agility to good use. For football, Ajai was initially set to play tight end for the Cougars, but after some fellow teammates had to quarantine due to Covid-19, he started to play left tackle. Ajai stated about becoming left tackle, “Due to my teammates needing to quarantine, myself and other teammates had to step up and take over their positions. After getting my jitters out the first couple of plays, I began bulldozing people and earned my spot as left tackle for the remainder of the year and continuing on.” Already discussing his future on the field with colleges such as University of South Florida and University of Central Florida, he has received offers from Florida International University and Marshall University. Recently at a lineup camp called Down and Dirty, Ajai and two other teammates, Alex Smith and Tanner Pierce, won a competition called ‘bag dad’, which is like ‘keep away’ for lineman. Ajai hopes to continuously improve, and noted, “I want to become the best version of myself and possibly get 50 tackles this season, in addition to improving my bench press and squat.” With an 8-3 record last season, the Cougars are capable of greatness, especially when they have Ajai on their team. If you follow or watch the Durant Cougars football team, be on the lookout for #57, Ajai Brown, as he hopes to make his senior year his best one yet.



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


WED + TH 5:30 TO 9PM


FRI 5:30 TO 11PM SAT 1 TO 11PM SUN 1 TO 9PM

INNER 2022 W

2022 Winner












Team of the Month

PCHS Unified Basketball Wins Third at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games By Jennifer Jordan


nclusive. Dedicated. Champions. Those words might not describe every team, but they describe Plant City High School’s Unified Basketball team. Winning third place at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando in June, the team clinched their victory at the final second when Taylor Teeden threw a half-court shot. That shot caused the team to go from being one point down to winning by one point, and created a massive uproar of cheers throughout the crowd. The shot was so impressive that SportsCenter even posted a video of the shot on their Twitter account. In addition to winning third place at nationals this year, PCHS Unified Basketball also won second place at the state championship, but not before winning consecutive state titles in 2020 and 2021. This feat caused them to become the first team in Plant City High School’s history to win multiple state championships.



Playing during a typical basketball season and participating in the county, regional, and state games, the team is comprised of both Special Olympic athletes and general education unified partners and is led by coaches Lisa Goad, Maverick Lawrence, and Jacob Goad. The players range in age from 15-22, and the team was initially formed in 2015. Coach Maverick, who has been coaching the team since 2016, said about the players, “We hold everyone up to a standard and we treat everyone the same. We want the athletes to do what we know they’re capable of doing, but we’re also not afraid to encourage them to reach their highest potential. Inclusion is also something that’s important to the coaches and team. Jeannette Teeden, who has two sons on the team, stated, “The coaches are amazing, they make sure every player on the team gets a chance to play at every game, and they

value inclusion. That’s what I love so much about the Special Olympics in general, everyone is so supportive and cares about being inclusive.” Since some of the players and partners have recently graduated high school, the team is looking for new players and partners. In order to be an athlete or partner, the person must be in high school and have no behavioral problems. Players can also come from other high schools that do not have their own basketball team. If you or someone you know would make a great athlete or partner, contact coach Lisa Goad at A relatively new team and already collecting trophies and titles like they’re going out of style, the Plant City High School’s Unified Basketball team is proof that with the right coaching, mindset, and work ethic, everyone is capable of being champions, so long as they put in the work.



Trinkle Redman, P.A. Attorneys at Law

Corporate & Business Law • Incorporations, Partnerships & LLC”s • Acquisitions, Sales & Mergers


Our NEW GROOMER has 14 years EXPERIENCE and SPECIALIZES IN DOGS THAT DO NOT LIKE TO BE GROOMED! We offer pet boarding in a state of the art facility with television for the pets to watch. We are located on 5 acres of land.


Call For Pricing on Boarding Or Grooming.


1821 Stephens Ln, Dover, FL 33527 Phone: (813) 689-6725 | PAGE


Family Law • Dissolution of Marriage • Adoptions Estate Planning & Probate • Will & Trust Drafting • Probate & Administration of Estates

Real Estate • Commercial & Residential Closings • Title Insurance • Development, Planning & Zoning • Foreclosures • Landlord -Tenant Litigation & Lawsuits • Commercial Litigation & Collections • Real Estate • Property Damage 2022 WINNER • Probate

*The hiring of a Lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide,ask the lawyer to send you free written information about their qualifications & experience.

121 North Collins Street Plant City, FL 33563 • 813-752-6133



Meet the

Maker: Heather Dryer, GraphicsChyk Designs By Jennifer Jordan


or fans of the supernatural, mythological, and mystical, imagining creatures and beings from different books and worlds allows the imagination to work in magical ways. However, physically seeing and even possessing a replica creature from a favorite story or world would bring another level of happiness to the person ready to bring their imagination to life. If you find yourself looking for a 3D print of what you love, then you need to meet Heather Dryer, owner of GraphicsChyk Designs. Heather, a self-proclaimed geek, creates 3D prints of various designs, including dragons, axolotls, dinosaurs, dolphins, skeletons, snakes, frogs, and more. Most of the items are flexible and are fun to move and play with. Heather also makes handmade wands that are custom and one of a kind. Although they are typically used as hair sticks, she also creates larger wands for cosplay use. When asked her reason for getting into 3D printing, Heather stated, “I love to be creative. I’ve done a lot of different crafts over the years, but this is the one I have the most fun with. I always wanted a 3D printer, so I bought one targeted at kids, and now I own seven printers.” Having commercial rights from three different designers, Heather is able to print and sell their designs. She also has access to more than 100 designs that she can sell commercially. Heather said about custom designs, “I’m working with my sister to learn to design our own creations, so in the future we will be able to design and print our own custom pieces.” Anyone young or old can get enjoyment out of Heather’s creations, although the 3D prints are not recommended for small children as the small pieces could be a potential choking hazard. Heather sells her designs through her website,, and they cost anywhere from $20-$50. Smaller prints take between



8-14 hours to make, and the larger ones take anywhere from 24-38 hours. The handmade wands take a couple of hours to create but that excludes the drying time when painting them. On Heather’s website, there are also links to her Etsy and Facebook pages. She even sells her prints at local events, and noted, “I’ll be at Tampa Bay Comic Con in July and Necronomicon Science Fiction Convention in September selling as a vendor.” For her future goals, Heather said, “I have a license agreement with an author, Shannon Mayer, and I’m selling a skeleton based on a character from her Forty Proof book series. I’ve talked with a number of other authors and the goal is to be able to design items based on their books for them to sell to their fans. We’re probably at least a year from that, but it’s my goal.” Born in Savannah, Georgia, Heather grew up all over the Southeast throughout her childhood, and has lived in Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and Florida. Graduating from Hillsborough High School, she also has an AS in Graphic Design from Southwest Florida College. Her favorite food is anything from Halelife Bakery, as she is allergic to eggs and is gluten free. According to Heather, “They have the best desserts!” Married for 31 years, Heather also has a 28-year-old son, and loves reading, karaoke, and has been a volunteer/staff member for Necronomicon Science Fiction Convention since 1989. If you would like to contact Heather and learn more about GraphicsChyk Designs, she can be reached via email at Check out GraphicsChky Designs website and you’ll see the amazing prints and creations where ‘Magic Not Included’ simply means you provide the magic to give each 3D print its own unique meaning.



Leaders in

Faith Pastor Jade Fulford By Cheryl Johnston


astor Jade Fulford desires the Cork Methodist Church congregation he now leads to be a “ministry of helps” and “a hospital for the sick and hurting.” He added, “We want to show the love of Jesus through service and our willingness to get our hands dirty.” Presently the church provides over 3,000 free meals monthly from its fellowship hall for any in need and annually supplies backpacks to underprivileged children in three area schools. At least twice monthly, members venture out to cook or get pizza for the homeless. He added, “We go to where they are in life. We don’t wait for them to come to church.” Since moving here, Jade has found many reasons to love Plant City: Its rare charm; strawberries (which means birthdays include shortcake), and most importantly, “the people!” Tell us about your family. God and family are priorities in my life. Without Him and my beautiful wife Theresa and our four children, I wouldn’t be who I am today. She taught me to love. I’m a born and bred Louisianan. She’s from Seattle. We met after I gave up a Network Television Director career to follow Christ. I walked away from money and ‘popularity’ to a new life of obedience and faith...Then God gave me Theresa, my sounding board. She has the most beautiful singing voice I’ve ever heard, assists as a worship leader, and helps in our food bank as we feed nearly 200 families weekly. She’s a gift to my ministry and a miracle to me. What brought you to Christ? At age 14, my experience with Jesus began in a small Baptist church in Gilbert, Louisiana, population 746. From a broken home, I knew very little about church except how to score free fried chicken at area congregations on potluck Sundays. After several months (and many good meals), I became curious about who Jesus was, so the pastor helped me start my faith walk. I learned who God was, but the planted seed didn’t stick, or so I thought. Later in my professional life, I began to learn who God says I am. My whole outlook changed as I understood I was a child of God, and that Jesus knew my sins but died for me anyway.



How did you come to Cork Methodist? During the last ten years, I’ve dedicated myself to helping over 180 ministries worldwide reach people in need. I’ve advised Pastors and teams how to effectively expand and plant new ones. I had a home church, but my work kept me very busy. Then seemingly out of nowhere, Pastor George Hatmaker called and said God told him I was to be Cork’s next pastor. After responding, “Let me pray about it,’ God spoke almost immediately into my heart, telling me THIS is where I need to be. Theresa and I talked and then moved from North Carolina. It feels like we’re finally home. What do you love about pastoring? People! My dream job allows me to see people’s mind renewed as they realize Jesus loves us beyond measure. During my first Plant City ministry weeks, I witnessed jaw-dropping miracles – unbelievable things God is doing in members’ lives. Even online viewers from other states being healed and one who survived attempted suicide being healed physically and spiritually. Describe your video production work. My career revolved around TV and production, but in the last five years, I’ve served as Executive Producer for many Global ministries’ events and broadcasts. I’ve helped assemble stadium outreaches in the U.S., with The Return and Global Strategic Alliance reaching tens of thousands in person and millions of TV/online viewers. I’ve also created content throughout Africa and India. Before answering God’s call to pastor Cork Methodist, my last endeavor was in Lebanon, Kansas, our country’s geographic center. I directed eight teams from all corners of America to pray in every state along their drive to Lebanon. Concurrently, believers around the U.S. gathered on rooftops to pray over state capitols and leaders. Finally, precluding the event, a motorcycle convoy traveled America’s circumference before arriving in Kansas with 3,000 others for a large tent prayer meeting. Over 13 million viewed the broadcast. Truly, an unforgettable experience. Come experience Cork Methodist Church at 4815 W. Sam Allen Road on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for the Hispanic service. On Tuesdays from noon to 1:00 p.m., enjoy the Brown Bag Bible Study.




Candy’s Corner By Candy Owens


n the good old summer time, In the good old summer time, There’s a time in each year that we always hold dear, the good old summer time. With the birds and the trees and the sweet-scented breeze, a swim in the pool and playing hooky from school, those days full of pleasure we now fondly treasure in the good old summertime. By the time July rolled around, us kids were so deep into swimming, roller skating, kite flying, bike riding, fort building, cartoon watching, movie going, kickball playing, slumber partying, and playing outside with friends. I do not think that our schedules could hold much more, but there were still many exciting things to look forward before school started again like Bible School, the Fourth of July, and picnics with the family. Back in the 1960s and 1970s we made our own fun, we used our imaginations, we spent time with friends and neighbors, we played hard, and made lifelong memories. I remember how my sister and I loved to go on picnics with our parents. My mother would always fry a chicken, make potato salad, baked beans, and a jug of ice tea complete with lemon and about one cup of sugar. That tea was so sweet a spoon would stand up in the jug by itself, but boy did it quench your thirst on a hot summer day. There would also be a pack of Oreos or Chips Ahoy cookies and always without fail a fresh loaf of Hillbilly bread. My mother would safely pack the food in her prize picnic basket that came from the Green Stamp store in Lakeland. I remember that basket was made of what looked like plywood and had handles with a hinged lid. When you lifted the lid up there were two lines of red elastic stapled to the inside that held your silverware. The basket also came with a red checked tablecloth and a set of Tupperware salt and pepper shakers. My father would fill a large thermos with ice and pack his hat, his transistor radio, and the family Frisbee. My sister and I would grab our pillows, a few books, and maybe even a game and head for the car. Once everyone was in the car my mother would ask if anyone had to use the bathroom because there may not be a place once we were there. My sister and I would get out and run back in the house. I can remember how my father would sigh and say to himself: “Why didn’t you all do that before you got in the car?” Once we were all back in the car and everything was in check, we headed off to what we thought was a picnic fit for a king. The Fourth of July was always and still is a




time to celebrate. My parents taught my sister and I to celebrate our country’s independence and to be grateful to those who have given their lives to make our freedom possible. If we were at home and not at the beach on the Fourth of July, my parents would have a cookout on our patio. My father would grill hamburgers and hotdogs. We would also have potato chips, onion dip, corn on the cob complete with butter dripping down, ice cold watermelon, Coca Colas in the little glass bottles, and cupcakes or brownies. What a feast. When it got dark my parents would take my sister and I out on the driveway and give each one of us a box of sparklers. I remember holding and waving the sparklers around, writing and drawing things in the air while waving the sparklers proudly. I loved the big fireworks that lit up the entire sky and could be heard from very far away. I was born and raised in the Methodist church and always attended Bible school, but back in the year 1969 my best friend JeanAnn Weaver invited me to her Bible school, which was held at the old First Baptist Church of Plant City. I remember how first thing in the morning the kids would line up by age and classrooms outside the sanctuary on the steps waiting for the doors to open. When it was time we all filed inside the church, which to me as a six-year-old child looked like the size of Tampa Stadium. I remember looking up front at the altar and there stood a lady by the name of Betty Chambers wearing an Indian headdress waiting to address the crowd. What I did not know back then in 1969 was what an impact that lady with the funny hat would have on my life. Mrs. Chambers told us the story of Ricky Ticky Timbo, which was the story of a Chinese boy with a very long name who fell into a well. Each morning Mrs. Chambers would read us another chapter of the story and have us join in and say his name out loud along with her. By the end of the week the story was finished and we could all repeat the boy’s name by heart which was: Ricky Ticky Timbo No So Rimbo Ala Balla Booski Hipre Pimbo. How could a kid ever forget that? Betty Chambers and I crossed paths many more times in the next 40 years. She was someone to look up to, she became a mentor, and most of all she became my friend. Mrs. Chambers was involved in so many things in her church, with her family, and in our community that I would never be able to list them all. She was an excellent person who expected

excellence from others. I remember her telling me as a teenager that you cannot soar with the eagles if you are on the ground hooting with the hoot owls. Betty Chambers was a person who kept her word. If she made a commitment she always followed through. There was no excuse not to in her book. She also believed in making people better off for knowing her. She spoke to everyone whether she knew them or not. She got involved. She believed in healthy mind, healthy body, healthy spirit. She never sat idle. She was a doer and a go-getter. She lived life to the fullest. She never, ever took the easy way out. She was in every sense of the word a woman of substance. I remember in my mid 40s when Mrs. Chambers became terminally ill with cancer. I was at the First Baptist Church and I saw her walk in. There she was all dressed up with her hair and makeup done just as perfect as always. She walked in by herself but slowly and without the help of anyone. We all knew that she was in great pain but she never gave in. She had that beautiful smile on her face. She sat behind me along with her daughter Pec and son-in-law Dub Mcginnes. I remember I turned around and told her my memories of Bible school back in 1969 and how she told us the story of Ricky Ticky Timbo, in fact I recited the whole name to her. She could not believe that I could remember that after all these years. I felt in my heart that this might be the last time that I saw Mrs. Chambers. I turned around and told her how much I loved her and how much she meant to me. I even told her that I wanted to grow and become a person just like her. Mrs. Chambers leaned over and grabbed my hand and said: “Candy, you already are!” Let me leave you with this thought. Americans, as we take time to celebrate the independence held so deep in our hearts, I hope that the following thoughts of America bring forth emotion for the USA we love. So many have endured the loss of precious loved ones, we must stay aware of the tragedy they live with. For they, more than any, feel the total cost of sacrifice. Praise their fallen heroes. They left freedom for us. We shall always be “the land of the free” We shall always be “the home of the brave” We shall always sing “God Bless America” We shall always love “Mom and Apple Pie.”


8470-3680KEYS_CATER_APP_TT_3.indd 1

6/20/22 10:37 AM







Tuesday Nights: 6:00 Men’s Bible Study-Fellowship Hall Sunday Mornings: 9:00 First Fellowship Coffee | 9:30 Life Groups 10:30 Adult Worship | 10:30 Children’s Church

(813) 652-8178

1510 CRE ROA, DOVER, FL 33527 *Childcare provided from birth to 5 years



We Have A Beautiful Selection Of Wedding And Engagement Rings!

We Buy Gold & Silver R

NE 2022 WIN


1705 Jim Redman Pkwy Plant City, FL 33563




July 29

Last Friday in DowntownHarry Potter Birthday Celebration

Plant City

5:00PM-9:00PM Food Trucks & Vendors | Live Music | Butterbeer | Chocolate Frogs | Platform 9 & ¾ McCall Park @ 100 N. Collins St Cost: Free Parking and Admission Info: 813-358-8898

Happenings Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in July and August Food Truck Nights 4:00PM-10:00PM on Fridays and Saturdays; 4:00PM-8:00PM Sundays Unique Food Trucks | Support Downtown Businesses | Fun for Friends and Dates Corner of S. Evers St & Dr. MLK Jr Blvd (Downtown Plant City) Cost: Free Parking/ Admission Info:

July 16 & August 20 Plant City Summer Card Shows 10:00AM-4:00PM Multiple Vendors | Pokémon | Baseball | Football | Hockey | Memorabilia The Flo-Go Shop @ 301 S. Collins St, Suite 102 Cost: Free Admission; $35 for 5’ Vendor Table Info: 813-730-7003 or

Christmas in July 2:00PM-6:00PM Bring Unopened School Supplies; Enjoy Free Hot Dog Bar | Free Ice Cream Sundaes for Kids | Hosted by Plant City Chamber of Commerce O’Brien’s @ 1701 S. Alexander St Cost: Free Info: Plant City Chamber of Commerce @ 813-754-3707

Charlotte’s Web 8:00PM Fridays & Saturdays; 2:00PM Sundays Plant City Entertainment | Based on the Book by E.B. White 101 N. Thomas St Cost: General Admission- $20; Senior/ Student- $18; PCE Member Discount- $15; Groups 10 & More- $15 Info: 813-752-0728

10:00AM-2:00PM Instructed by Flower Show Judges | Materials Provided for the First Three Classes | Bring a Bag Lunch |Open to Public | Registration Required First United Methodist Church @ 303 N. Evers St Cost: $25 per Individual Class; $100 for All Six Classes Info: For Registration Form, Contact Jan Griffin @ or 813-716-6691 PAGE


2:00PM-4:00PM Meet Author Victoria J Saunders | Cat Swag & Books for Sale | Cat Themed Photo Ops Pet-Friendly The Tipsy Bookworm @ 115 S. Evers St Cost: Free Event Info: or

Disney Trivia Night 6:30PM-8:30PM Top 3 Teams Win Prizes | Disney Costume Contest | Trivia for All Ages Keel & Curley Winery @ 5210 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: Free Trivia Info: 813-752-9100

August 6

August 9

Moringa Meet-Up 10:00AM-2:00PM Tour & Talk | Learn About Gardening & Planting Trees | Free Bag of Moringa Seeds Upon Arrival 5411 Doc Pricher Rd Cost: Free Info: Kendrick Henry @ 813-567-3100 or

Plant City Candidate Forum 5:30PM Meet & Greet | Government | Straw Poll Hosted by the Supervisor of Elections HCC Trinkle Center @ 1206 N. Park Rd Cost: Free and Open to Public Info: (813) 754-3707

July 16 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



2W 202

Wednesdays Through August 17 Plant City Garden Club Floral Design Classes

The Chonky Alphabet Book Signing

August 2

July 16 & July 17

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays Until July 24

August 6


July 20 Sunset Yoga in the Vines 6:00PM-7:00PM All Levels Welcome | Wildflower Yogi- Katie | One Drink Voucher per Attendee Keel & Curley Winery @ 5210 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: $10 Info: 813-752-9100




THE GODFATHER OF SOLD! Serving Plant City and Surrounding areas for over 25 years!

Sparrow Key Realty, Inc. 3017 James L. Redman Parkway Plant City, Fl 33566 863-409-9961 Cell

Broker/Realtor PAGE


a Gallery of Plant City


Presented by the City of Plant City Parks & Recreation Department and the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce the Plant City Stadium was the place to be for the 16th Annual July 4th Celebration held on Monday, July 4th. The event featured food, games, and activities for families, as well as live entertainment. The event is a slice of Americana on the most patriotic day of the year. The evening concluded with a Firework Display for the event’s nearcapacity 7,000 attendees.



b a. Assistant City Manager Jack Holland hands the microphone to 2022 Little Miss Plant City Queen Shyla Stanaland to announce the winner of the 50/50 raffle. Tony Harvey from Plant City received $602 which is half of the raffle funds collected; the other half will go towards event expenses for the following year. b. A firework display is the annual finale of the July 4 Celebration at Plant City Stadium. The firework show began about 9:00 p.m. The City of Plant City Parks and Recreations Department said a near-capacity crowd, estimated at 7000 attendees, came out to the event. c. In the Kids Zone, Lakeland Moonwalk contributed a rock climbing wall and bounce houses. The event also included train rides by Trina’s Trains and Things, balloon art by A1 Magic, and airbrushing by M6FX LLC. d. Families showed up to the event in head to toe red, white, and blue garb, showing off their American pride. e. The Double Barrell Band provided live entertainment for the evening. The band has served as the Featured Entertainment for this event in year’s past and are also regular performers at O’Brien’s Irish Pub. PAGE



When it’s time to sell your home, call someone who knows Plant City!

Call Jackie Brazil

Jackie Brazil Licensed Real Estate Agent

Call or Text Today (813) 484-9499

Some agents sell for more than others. Don’t leave money on the table by listing with another brokerage!





*Family Law *Mediation *Divorce *Business Law *Real Estate Law *Bankruptcy *Wills and Trusts *Criminal Defense INGRID M. HOOGLANDER








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: