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YOU. YOUR NEIGHBORS. YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.

A PARTNERSHIP WITH

SPOTLIGHT

INSIDE

EXCLUSIVE

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SEE PAGE 6

City dedicates Dr. Hal & Lynn Brewer Park.

OUR TOWN

Meet the 2014 Blueberry Pageant contestants.

Attorney General Pam Bondi receives warm welcome in Plant City.

back in the saddle by Michael Eng and Amber Jurgensen

Sollenberger reprises role David Sollenberger again will assume Plant City’s top post following City Manager Greg Horwedel’s resignation.

+ Garren wins in ‘other’ P.C.

Plant City’s own Victoria Garren earned another pageant crown — this time in Florida’s “other” P.C. Garren was crowned Miss Palm Coast March 22, at the 2014 Miss Palm Coast, St. Augustine and Flagler County Pageant.

FREE • THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2014

It seems David Sollenberger may be experiencing a little déjà vu these days. Twelve years ago, Sollenberger came out of retirement to serve as Plant City’s city manager to replace the outgoing Phil Waldron. What was supposed to be an in-

terim position lasting only a few months turned into eight years of service, until Sollenberger re-retired in 2010, handing the reins to his protégé, Greg Horwedel. Now, just one week after Hillsborough County poached Horwedel to be-

come its new deputy county administrator, Sollenberger finds himself back at the city’s top post. Plant City commissioners approved March 24 to hire Sollenberger as their interim city manager. Under the terms of the agreement, Sol-

RELAY FOR LIFE by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

lenberger will hold the post until a permanent replacement is appointed — but for no longer than six months. Sollenberger took the position March 26, at Horwedel’s current annual salary, $130,000. The commission also released Horwedel from his contract and waived its 90-day-notice clause. His last day will be March 28. In

his final days, Horwedel will help Sollenberger transition back into the role. “He knows a lot about the city but not a lot about the projects that are ongoing,” Horwedel said. One of Sollenberger’s primary duties will be to find candidates and consulting firms to seek a permanent

SEE SOLLENBERGER / PAGE 7

NEW LOOK by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Sweetbay to convert to Winn-Dixie store New owners Bi-Lo Holdings will need just six days to convert the Plant City store to the new Winn-Dixie brand. Sweetbay’s lone location in Plant City will close its doors for the final time this weekend. When they reopen six days later, they will reveal Plant City’s first Winn-Dixie. Starting March 29, members from Winn-Dixie’s marketing, operations and other departments will descend on the location to complete the conversion, which will be complete April 4. “You’re talking about coming in on Saturday and then opening back up on a Friday,”

Photo by Dr. Dan Middlebrooks

+ Truck raffle benefits city

Ocala resident Maria Humbarger, the winner of Stingray Chevrolet’s annual Florida Strawberry Festival drawing, received her 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD LT Crew Cab truck during a ceremony March 25, at Stingray Chevrolet. “We look forward to this opportunity every year because it’s a win for everyone,” says Florida Strawberry Festival Assistant Manager Lee Bakst. For the past five years, Stingray Chevrolet has donated a new vehicle to be raffled off on the festival grounds to benefit Unity in the Community, which contributes to local youth organizations and other groups.

+ I-4 Power thanks customers

I-4 Power Equipment customers enjoyed a feast fit for a king March 21, during the company’s customer appreciation event. The event featured a barbecue lunch prepared by Robert and Diana Cooper, along with giveaways, raffle prizes and special promotions.

, 3&

This week’s winner is

Ashley Chrisman See her photo on PAGE 15.

said Winn-Dixie spokeswoman Mayra Hernandez. “So, there will be large groups of people coming in and making stuff happen.” To change the store over, there will be reshelving and restocking with Winn-Dixie brand products. And although some of the aisles may feature different products, most of the services will be located in the same areas — including the bakery, liquor store next door and cus-

SEE WINN-DIXIE / PAGE 7

voices carry by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

MESSAGE

OF HOPE

Amber Jurgensen

Joshua Fishbein hopes his story inspires and strengthens others battling cancer.

Joshua Fishbein was diagnosed with cancer when he was just 17 years old. Today, he is an art teacher at both Burney Elementary and Simmons Career Center. His mother pleaded with him. Just go to the other hospital. But, 17-year-old Joshua Fishbein wouldn’t budge. He already had been delivered a death sentence once. At least that’s how everyone— his family, his friends, the nurses and doctors — were treating it. What was the point?

“I didn’t want to go to another doctor to hear someone else say I was going to die,” Fishbein remembers. Fishebein lay in a New York hospital. He thought back over the past several months. The memories — sore throats, fatigue, inquisitive medics — all streamed through his consciousness.

SEE FISHBEIN / PAGE 4

Durant choir hits high notes in Washington

Choir teacher Susan Durham took 39 students to perform in Washington, D.C.

It was 34 degrees outside, but the Durant High School choir put on the layers and warmed up their vocal cords March 7 to sing at the World War II Memorial, in Washington, D.C. While other high school students were enjoying their spring break at the sunny beach, the 39 choral students from Durant were performing and sightseeing in the nation’s capital. The group was part of a special choir organized by choir teacher Susan Durham.

SEE CHOIR / PAGE 7

ABOUT THIS STORY

In the weeks leading up to Plant City’s Relay for Life, the Plant City Times & Observer will spotlight different organizations and residents who make the local Relay one of the largest in the state.

Courtesy photo

The Durant High School choir members toured many of the historical monuments in Washington, D.C.

INDEX Calendar.......................2

When she taught at other schools, Durham had taken students on trips to Europe. But, this was the first time she took Durant students out of state. “It was a lot of fun,” Durham said. “Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.” In addition to the World War II Memorial, the students also performed at the amphitheater at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Two se-

Vol.1,No.35 | Onesection Crossword...................15

Obituaries...................10

Sports.........................11

Weather......................15

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COMMUNITYCALENDAR THURS., MARCH 27

Ambassador’s Lunch — takes place from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, 106 N. Evers St., Plant City. For more, visit plantcity.org. Black-and-White Nite — takes place from 6:33 to 8:13 p.m. Thursdays, at Krazy Kup,101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd. Vintage sitcoms and sci-fi from the 50s and 60s are played on a large drop-down screen. (813) 7521220. Born to Run — weekly run takes place at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. (813) 752-9100. Casey Stidham — performance takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. (813) 7529100. Line Dancing Lessons — takes place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, at Uncle Mike’s Smokehouse Grill, 106 E. S.R. 60, Plant City. (813) 737-4444. March Madness Reverse Raffle — takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5202 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. For more, visit plantcity.org. Plant City Photo Archives & History Center’s 12th annual Evening of Picture Perfect Memories — takes place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at the center, 106 S. Evers St., Plant City. Community leaders Bill and Gwen Thomas will receive

the Heritage Award at the 2014 banquet. The Thomases have worked jointly for the betterment of the greater Plant City community. They are longtime Plant City residents who, after 24 years in the U.S. Army, returned in 1993, to Plant City, and have been an integral part of the community ever since. (813) 754-1578 or plantcityphotoarchives.org. Weight Loss Surgery Information Sessions — takes place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at Dr. Stephen Butler’s office, 4120 U.S. 98, Lakeland. Learn more about the advantages of the adjustable gastric band and sleeve gastrectomy procedures and see if surgical weight loss is an option for you. Free; registration required. (813) 644-6720.

FRIDAY, MARCH 28 Friday Night Fun — Uncle Mike’s Smokehouse Grill will offer karaoke, cornhole tournaments, a deejay, darts and more beginning at 7 p.m. Fridays, at the restaurant, 106 E. S.R. 60, Plant City. (813) 737-4444. Plant City Social Dance Club — takes place from 8 to 11:15 p.m. Fridays, at Stardust Dance Center, 1405 S. Collins St., Plant City. Cost is $5 for members and associate members; $7 for non-members. Ken Miller, (863) 409-7714 or pcsocialdanceclub@yahoo.com. Terry Cole — performance takes place from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, March 28, at O’Brien’s Irish Pub & Grill, 1701 S. Alexander St. For more, call (813) 764-8818.

To publicize your event in our Community Calendar, please send by mail: 110 E. Reynolds St., Suite 100-A, Plant City, FL 33563; or by email: meng@plantcityobserver.com. Photos are welcome. Deadline is noon Thursday.

Uncork Your Weekend with Daniel Sprouse — live music from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, March 28, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road. (813) 752-9100.

TUESDAY, APRIL 1 Flute Circle — takes place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. Utah Farris, (863) 696-0442 or utahflutes1@wmconnect.com.

Writing Your Memoir — takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, March 28, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. Local writer Lark Underwood will host this threepart workshop. Participants must commit to attending all three sessions and should bring a notebook, 3-by-5 cards and a pen/ pencil. (813) 757-9215.

SAT., MARCH 29 Church Flea Market — takes place from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at Lone Oak Baptist Church, 3205 Turkey Creek Road. For more, (813) 754-5278. Family Childbirth Center Education: Childbirth Preparation — takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 29, in the Community Conference Room at South Florida Baptist Hospital, 301 N. Alexander St., Plant City. Registration required, $20. (813) 644-6720. Introduction to Aromatherapy — takes place from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 29, at The Herban Cowboy, 118 W. Reynolds St., Plant City. Cost is $20. (813) 704-1376. Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival Pageant — takes place from 9 a.m. to noon and 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. For more information, email

4917 or machelle.eaptampa@ gmail.com.

BEST BETS Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Plant City Outdoor Worship and Church Picnic — takes place at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, March 30, at the church, 1107 Charlie Griffin Road, Plant City. (813) 759-9383. Hope Lutheran Church 20th Annual Whole Hog Sausage Supper — takes place from Julie Hasting, juliehasting@ gmail.com. Uncork Your Weekend with Southern Legacy — live music from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road. (813) 752-9100. Wish Farms U-Pick — takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the 37381 S.R. 62, Duette. Event proceeds benefit Redlands Christian Migrant Association. Cost $5 per box. For more, visit wishfarms.com/upick.

11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 30, at the church, 2001 N. Park Road, Plant City. All-you-can-eat meal includes whole hog sausage, sauerkraut, corn, green beans, homemade mashed potatoes, slaw, biscuit, gravy, dessert and beverage. Cost is $9 for adults and $5 for children. Meals are available for dine in or take out; advance reservations or tickets are not required. (813) 752-4622. Young Adult Nite — takes place from 7:33 to 10:33 p.m. Saturdays, at Krazy Kup, 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd. Live music and movies for 16- to 21-yearolds. For more, call (813) 7521220.

MONDAY, MARCH 31 Enrollment Assistance Program (Affordable Care Act) — takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, March 31, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. Machelle Tulalian, (813) 422-

Ribbon Cutting: Security Officers Disability & Retiree Services — takes place from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 1, at the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, 106 N. Evers St., Plant City. For more, visit plantcity.org.

WED., APRIL 2 Get-Fresh Plant City Market — takes place 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, at 115 W. Alsobrook St., Plant City. Fresh local veggies, dairy, jams, poultry, eggs, local crafts and more. (813) 435-8111. How to Find a Job Online — class takes place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. Pre-register by calling (813) 757-9215. Introduction to Word — class takes place from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesday, April 2, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. (813) 757-9215. OneBlood Blood Drive — takes place from 9:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. (813) 757-9215.


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NIGHT TO REMEMBER by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Relay for Life dinner a Broadway-style success Relay for Life of Plant City kicked off its 2014 festivities with its annual Survivor Dinner March 24, at Plant City’s First Baptist Church.

The Broadway-themed event gave survivors and caregivers the chance to take pictures in costumes at the photo booth. A dinner was catered

by Fred’s Market. Door prizes included strawberries, bath sets, hats and handmade survivor signs. The night ended with a bingo game. Debbie Gray sang a song for the survivors.

Steve Odom and Andrew Raab

Marsha and Stuart Hicks

FISHBEIN / PAGE 1 First it was strep throat. Then, mono. And one day in October 1997, those minor diagnoses turned into something much worse. In a cold sweat, he sunk into his bed, almost paralyzed by a raging fever. His mother, Pamela Cardinale, rushed him to the hospital. There, staff prepped him for a spinal tap after suspecting meningitis. They found cells that weren’t supposed to be in the spinal fluid. The next morning they prepared him for a bone marrow test, with a blood transfusion first. After three days, the final result came. “I remember the day very vividly,” Fishbein says. “Only my mother was there in the morning. The doctor came in. You could just tell from his face that it wasn’t good news.” I’m sorry to say that you have leukemia. Fishbein’s lifeline had just been cut. The doctor told his father, David, the same news later that day. Are you 100% sure it’s nothing else? When the doctor confirmed the news, David broke down in tears. “For me, that was the most eyeopening moment,” Fishbein says. “In 17 years, that was the first time I saw my father cry.” The diagnosis shook Fishbein’s world to its core. He was stuck in the hospital bed. They told him he would

Diana Gaines was one of many survivors at this year’s dinner.

Survivors got to decorate a canvas with their handprints and prayers.

As long as you have hope — that’s the most important thing. No matter what, always have that. In a way, if I can give that to someone, it’s an honor.

continue to grow weaker. Eventually, he could undergo chemotherapy treatments but that the outlook wasn’t good. Those treatments would probably be the end of him. The Make-A-Wish Foundation rushed in to grant a wish before he turned 18. His parents hastily threw him a birthday party before his time was up. Everyone bought him pajamas. After graduating high school, Fishbein wanted to run off to California and start a rock band. Instead, he was tied to the hospital, trapped in his ailing body. “It was a very dark time, because we weren’t really celebrating the time I had left,” Fishbein remembers. “It was like, ‘In a month or so, he’s not going to be here.’ Here I was, turning 18, that time in your life when you’re supposed to be going out in the world. And I was dying.” But that all changed when Fishbein finally decided to appease his mother and switch hospitals.

A CHILD’S SMILE

His mother pleaded with him. Please just come down to the party. Fishbein and his family were stay-

— Joshua Fishbein, cancer survivor ing at a Ronald McDonald House between his treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in New York. There was a holiday party going on downstairs. Fishbein had chosen to remain reclusive for most activities and parties. He didn’t want to change his routine now. But reluctantly he finally descended to the party below. He saw kids. Lots of them. All sick. And all smiling. “I don’t know what it was, but I started looking at all the kids,” Fishbein says. “Some had only known cancer their entire lives. From that moment, inside I felt greedy, that I was taking things for granted. I stopped thinking about myself immediately.” Fishbein began spending more time with the children at the house. He became particularly close to a 3-year-old named Caitlin. His family and her family shared a kitchenette. He sometimes could hear her through the walls screaming for him. Other times, she wouldn’t take her medicine until Fishbein came to see her. Meanwhile, the doctors at his new hospital weren’t going to let him sit

there and wither. They decided to start him on treatment right away. He had received a bone marrow transplant from his “hero” and younger brother, Trevor Fishbein, on Jan. 24, 1997. For two years, he battled. And he won.

BRINGING HOPE TO OTHERS

Now, 15 years later, Fishbein is surrounded by colorful art projects in a Burney Elementary School classroom. A glimmering gold ring flashes on his finger. He’s a newlywed. And he still has a lot of life left to live with his bride, Beata. Fishbein teaches art at Burney and Simmons Career Center. But it is the piece of art on his left forearm that always reminds him of his struggle with cancer. A dark, melancholy angel cries tears of bitter sorrow for all those he’s lost to the tragic illness. One of those special souls is Caitlin. She died at 5. The Fishbeins were the only non-family members invited to see her in California during her last few weeks. Fishbein was in the room when she passed. “For the first time in my life I felt — I wish — I would have done anything

Barbara Smith and Tranger Castillo

to switch places with her,” Fishbein says. “She was like my little sister.” When he came back to New York, he wanted the tattoo. “Some people believe everyone has a guardian angel,” Fishbein says. “Even though we do, they can’t save everyone. The angel symbolizes that she couldn’t be saved. It made me reflect on what I can do to help someone else. So I don’t feel at a loss.” Since his battle with cancer, Fishbein always has been a presence in the lives of others dealing with the diagnosis. This year, he is the captain for Burney Elementary’s team for Relay For Life. He has been teaching the students about cancer. In turn, they have been so excited to help with the cause, bringing in jars full of change. One kindergartner even asked if she could cure cancer simply by walking the track. And every time Fishbein is in New York, he visits the Ronald McDonald House. One time sticks in his memory. A father with a 4-year-old suffering from neuroblastoma approached him. He thanked Fishbein for being there. For giving them hope. “There was a moment that brought me down to Earth,” Fishbein says. “I feel like as long as you have hope — that’s the most important thing. No matter what, always have that. “In a way, if I can give that to someone, it’s an honor,” he says. Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@plantcityobserver.com.


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governance by Michael Eng | Editor

Plant City adopts donation-bin ordinance The guidelines only allow non-profit organizations to place collection bins within city limits.

Plant City is the first municipality in the region to adopt an ordinance to regulate the placement and operation of donation bins. City commissioners were swift in their unanimous adoption of the ordinance, which places restrictions not only on the placement and sizes of the bins but also on the organizations that can operate them within city limits. Under the new ordinance, only nonprofit charitable organizations are allowed to place bins. Furthermore, the bins must not have a floor area of more than 20 square feet in size; must not be taller than six feet; and only will be allowed in areas zoned as commercial. Organizations wishing to place bins in Plant City must obtain consent from the property owner, and the bins must be placed no closer than 20 feet from adjacent property lines and not within 150 feet of any flammable liquids or gases. The ordinance also limits the number of bins at any given site. No more than one bin may be placed on sites of five acres or smaller, and no more than two can be placed on sites larger than five acres. Moreover, bins cannot be located within 1,000 feet of one another.

IN OTHER NEWS

• City Manager Greg Horwedel said the city is finalizing the engineering for the conceptual design of Midtown’s Village Green, which was approved March 10 by the City Commission. • The city is conducting an evaluation of existing city-owned lots, as well as potential lots that could become available. The goal is to develop a Request for Proposal for development of in-fill housing, Horwedel said. • The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce recently received approval for funding to make repairs and improvements to the façade of its building. The chamber now is obtaining estimates for the cost of new signage. • The fountain for the new Dr. Donation bins also are prohibited in Historic Downtown Plant City and the developing Midtown area. The ordinance came at the request

Hal & Lynn Brewer Park should be installed within the next five weeks. The installation requires a special crane, and it was not available in time to install the fountain before last week’s dedication ceremony. • Plant City’s utility operations staff won the 2013 Earle B. Phelps Award from the Florid Water Environment Association. City representatives will receive the award at the Florida Water Resources Conference FWEA Awards Luncheon April 8, in Orlando. • Police officers Mike Bard and Ernest Ward were named the Plant City Police Department’s Employees of the Month for March. Bard and Ward responded to a Feb. 8 crash that involved a overturned vehicle in a ditch with two subjects entrapped in water. The officers were able to rescue the two subjects from the vehicle. of city commissioners, who asked staff to research the issue after they noticed a recent proliferation of bins within the city. Upon further research, staff

time to shine by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

BEAUTIFUL IN BLUE MEET THE QUEEN CONTESTANTS

counted more than 50 bins operating in Plant City. The only opposition to the ordinance came from Maryland-based company Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles, an association that represents nearly 200 companies that use recycled textiles. Because some of those companies are for-profit, their bins now are prohibited. “We are greatly concerned with language ... that would limit the availability of bin permits to charitable organizations,” SMART Executive Director Jackie King wrote in a letter to city commissioners. “In addition to limiting the economic and environmental/ waste reduction contributions forprofits are making to the city … these companies also make vital contributions to state and national environmental goals through the recycling of nearly 4 billion pounds of used clothing and other textile waste that would have otherwise gone to a landfill each year.” However, city commissioners weren’t convinced. “We have (more than) 50 of these bins right now, and they’re not all going away, so there’s going to continue

CONTESTANT LINEUPS

MR. TINY (AGES 3 & 4) Dylan Brewington

MR. LITTLE (AGES 5 & 6) David Ramirez

BUD (AGE 2)

Sutton Duncan Tayli O’Neal Khloe Overstreet Jaycee Pawelezyk Kinsley Wetherington Kelsee Williamson

TINY (AGES 3 TO 4)

Jaycee Ackerson Demi Atkinson Annabelle Baggett Abigail Bollinger Brooklynn Brewer Aubrey Duncan Kennedy Duncan Kayln Feaster Astin Hallman Audra Helms Tristyn Hays Camille Jewel Sophia Overstreet

AMBER HAM, 18 GEORGIA FOSTER, 17

SCHOOL: Strawberry Crest High ACTIVITIES: Georgia is a member of the National Honor Society, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Varsity Cheer Team, Brandon All-Stars. In her spare time, she volunteers at an assisted-living facility, and she is a certified lifeguard.

SAVANNAH BLANTON, 16

SCHOOL: Strawberry Crest High ACTIVITIES: Savannah currently is studying nursing/health sciences and plans to continue her studies at University of Central Florida for nursing. She enjoys church youth activities, cross country, soccer, cooking, going to the beach and hanging out with friends.

SCHOOL: Plant City High, HCC ACTIVITIES: Amber is a 2014 PCHS Calendar Girl. She is working on a cosmetology state board license and aspires to own her own full-service salon and spa within the next 10 years. She enjoys volunteering at elementary schools in her spare time and spending time with her family and friends.

LITTLE (AGES 5 TO 6)

Alli Taylor Bella Bikowski Hayven Harrell Kiersten Cramer Lacey Alderman Sammie Watson Michelle Wilson Andrea Pollard Kyla Buczek Emma Simmons, Marley Lynn Short Sophie Griffis Kyndell Drawdy Summerlyn Baker Avery Wright Olivia Moore Sariah Valdez

JUNIOR (AGES 7 TO 9)

SHELBY ST. AMANT, 19

MEGHAN ELLEN MACK, 19

SCHOOL: University of N. Florida ACTIVITIES: Meghan is a member of the Kappa Delta sorority, an honor student and was awarded most valuable swimmer. She enjoys reading, babysitting, cooking and swimming.

BROOKE WYATT, 18

SCHOOL: Plant City High School ACTIVITIES: Brooke is an honorroll student, part of 4-H and yearbook. She also ran cross country. Brooke has aspirations to attend medical school and hopes to become a pediatrician.

The winners of the second annual Blueberry Pageant will make appearances next month, at Keel and Curley’s Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival. Nearly 100 Plant City-area contestants will vie for top honors at the second Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival Pageant March 29, at Keel and Curley Winery. And although every contestant gets a crown, not all can be queen. “If they’re walking across that stage to be judged, they deserve a crown, because of their confi-

COMING SOON

The winners of the second annual Blueberry Pageant will make appearances at Keel and Curley Winery’s Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival April 25 to 27. U-pick starts beings at 7 a.m. all three days. There will be live music, Keel & Curley wines, Two Henrys craft beers, a kids zone and much more.

dence,” organizer Julie Hasting said. “I wish they could all win.” The pageant is a benefit for the first Sweet Heart’s Gala on May 17, at the Strawberry Festival Expo Hall. The gala will help raise awareness and funds for local families battling childhood cancer. “Without us helping them, it’s hard to go forward with the project,” Hasting said. Last year, the pageant benefitted Plant City elementary student Morgan Pierce, who is battling cancer. The pageant raised about $2,000, a trip to the beach and some gift certificates. Tickets for the gala also will be sold at the pageant. This year, organizers have come up with some unique ways to raise funds and fun. In addition to the crownings, there will be a People’s Choice Award. Audience members can vote with

SCHOOL: HCC ACTIVITIES: After HCC, Shelby plans to transfer to Florida State University to major in sports management and law. Shelby enjoys clogging, line dancing, volunteering at Shriners Hospital for Children and being a member of the Newsome FFA Alumni.

IF YOU GO

2014 BLUEBERRY PAGEANT WHEN: 9 a.m. to noon, and 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 29 WHERE: Keel and Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City

HOW TO DONATE

Blueberry Pageant organizers will accept sponsors and silent auctions items up until the pageant date. To donate call Julie Hasting at (813) 695-1783.

their dollars for their favorite contestant. “We’re hoping to raise more money that way and maybe bring out the grandparents and other family members,” Hasting said. Organizers still are accepting items for the new silent auction, as well. Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@plantcityobserver. com.

Kylie Arnold Skyler Barber Madison Brewer Kennedy Cepero Cheyenne Cramer Caitlin Davis Olivia Davis Emmerson Givens Kyleigh Glenn Ashtyn Hallman Bailee Hitchner Hayden Jeffries Bridget McLaughlin Alayna Morua Fe Ramirez Makayla Register Taylor Smith Hanna Watson Brooklyn Zajac

PRE-TEEN (AGES 10 TO 12)

Brianna Alderman Dallas Baker Jada Brown Cassidy Coburn Elizabeth Eakins Haven Futch Morgan Gill Alyssa Grimes Madison Harden Aleena Jaramillo Kamille Long Kendall Long Chelsey Loyd Autumn Miller Morgan Nolan Natalie Patton Grace Siebenthal Haylee Thomas Magen Wladyka Kaily Yacinich

TEEN (AGES 13 TO 15)

Halei Alderman Faith Behanna Selena Berrios Grace Daigle Brenda Dixon Taylor Harden Savannah Kummelman Kaitlyn Merrin Chloie Pope Haley Riley Kaylee Stallard Kiersten Struth Jessica Tillis Hannah Wright

to be recycling,” Commissioner Billy Keel said. “And the issue of for-profit companies: In this case, I believe people would prefer to give to non-profit charities.”

REMEMBERING GERALD HOOKER AND DR. JAMES HOOVER

Mayor Mary Thomas Mathis presented proclamations to the families of both Gerald Hooker and Dr. James Hoover, two former city commissioners who died recently. Vice Mayor Rick Lott spoke fondly of Mr. Hooker, who ran Hooker’s Department Store. When he was 18 years old and trying to secure his first job in sales, Lott visited the store in need of three suits. He didn’t have the money to purchase them, so Mr. Hooker allowed him to repay him $5 at a time. “Every once in a while in life, you have someone who touches you … and there’s this little thing that, if it didn’t happen, you always wonder which way I would have (gone) in life,” Lott said. “I still have those three suits. I’ve held them all these years, because it makes me a remember a man took a chance on me … and he allowed me to start a career I’ve spent 35 years in.” Contact Michael Eng at meng@ plantcityobserver.com.

TALKING THE TALK by Justin Kline | Staff Writer

Poole, Stafford win oratorical contest Students Emma Poole and Blake Stafford won first place in last month’s contest. Their speeches were responses to the topic, “How My Passions Impact the World.”

Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, is consistently one of humanity’s greatest fears. But, there are some who were lucky enough to have been born with nerves of steel. Some of those live right here in Plant City, and now, they have something to show for it. Emma Poole and Blake Stafford were the two first-place winners in last month’s Plant City Optimist Club Oratorical Contest, during which they each gave a four- to five-minute speech about their passions. Or, specifically, how their passions impact the world. They, along with three other girls and one other boy, spoke in front of a panel of judges and an audience of 50 people. Speakers were judged not only on their speeches, but also on their appearances, personalities and presentations. Coming up next is a zone competition in Mulberry on April 17, where they will face off against the best of the best from Lakeland andWinter Haven. It’s also where the road to a $2,500 college scholarship begins.

THE PIANIST

Poole, a Tomlin Middle School student, has been playing piano for about six-andone-half years now. Through that experience, she’s grown to love jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Harry Connick Jr. “None of my friends listen to what I listen to,” Poole says. She says she enjoys playing fast, loud songs, but slower ballads became the backbone for her first competition speech — how her passion for playing piano has impacted other people. The inspiration came at a nursing home. There lived an older gentleman who, according to the staff, hadn’t shown any trace of emotion in months. She decided to play a song for the man. An old church hymn finally touched the older man’s soul, and he began to cry. After delivering her speech, Poole didn’t see the win coming.

READ THE WINNERS Excerpts from the winning essays from Emma Poole and Blake Stafford are available on our website, PlantCityObserver.com.

“I thought I’d get second place,” she says. “Two of the other girls were in high school, and I was a little scared by them.”

THE NATURAL

Although it was also Stafford’s first public-speaking contest, he already was comfortable facing crowds. The Plant City High student has had plenty of experience from his time attending Plant City Church of God, where he is a member of the drama team and occasionally speaks to the congregation. He chose to speak about his stance against bullying, part of which came from personal experience. Stafford’s only competition was fellow Raider Arie Fry, also no stranger to the craft of public speaking. But, at the end of the day, it was Stafford’s anti-bullying speech that won the hearts of the judges.

KEEPING COOL

Poole and Stafford took a similar approach with the crowd. They chose to make their speeches more like conversations rather than follow the “picture-the-audience-intheir-underwear” cliche. “I could never do that,” Stafford says.“That would be weird. I don’t think it would help.” Both chose to focus only on the judges. They were willing to share their secrets, from which anyone could benefit. “I don’t think about (speaking to the whole audience),” Stafford says. “They’re people, I’m a person. I memorize my speech before, so it’s more like having a conversation than giving a speech.” Contact Justin Kline at jkline@plantcityobserver.com.

MISS (AGES 16 TO 19) Savannah Blanton Georgia Foster Amber Ham Meghan Mack Shelby St. Amant Brooke Wyatt

Courtesy photo

From left: Blake Stafford (first place, boys), Esmeralda Barrera (third place, girls), Samantha Sun (second place, girls), Emma Poole (first place, girls) and Plant City Optimist Club 201314 President Mike Williamson. Not pictured: Arie Fry (second place, boys) and Karley Drapp (fourth place, girls).




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SUPPORT SYSTEM by Michael Eng | Editor

Attorney General Pam Bondi receives warm P.C. welcome

Rick and Dianna Lott host three political fundraisers each year.

Plant City residents showed their support for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at a fundraising event March 21, at the home of Vice Mayor Rick Lott. Many Plant City dignitaries attended the event, including Plant City commissioners Billy Keel and Bill Dodson, Florida State Rep. Dan Raulerson, former Florida State Rep. Rich Glorioso and many

more. Regional leaders, including Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, county commissioners Al Higginbotham and Sandy Murman, were part of the host committee, as well. Bondi spoke briefly about her first term, including her work to combat pill mills and human trafficking. For more about Bondi, visit pambondi.com.

Florida State Rep. Dan Raulerson, Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Florida State Rep. Rich Glorioso Left: State Attorney Mark Ober, Yvonne Fry and Magda and Mike Sinacore

Silvia and City Commissioner Bill Dodson

LETTERS

TO THE EDITOR + Fireworks frighten animals, residents

Dear Editor: New Years Eve and the Fourth of July are two very terrifying days/ nights of the year. Why? Because of general citizen use of fireworks. It used to be in this county and city that you traveled to a central location to watch a civic display of fireworks. Now, aerial fireworks are in every corner of the neighborhoods, bombing all citizens — whether they want it or not. Fireworks are extremely dangerous for both children and adults who are around them. There are many hand and eye injuries, and sometimes worse, every year as a result of the use of these volatile devices. They contribute to noise and air pollution and probably cause a level of deafness in some people, as well as being a huge fire hazard. They create stress in people and animals. The stress can cause a stroke, heart attack and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Many animals, and especially dogs and horses, are severely impacted by these explosions. It is dangerous for

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a human to be around an animal in full-panic mode, particularly a large animal such as a horse. S.B. 314 may be before the full senate for a vote when it convenes, and it is frightening to think of allowing 16-year-olds to buy and use fireworks as a recreational activity. This same bill states the using party will be responsible for any harm caused by their usage. The police cannot be everywhere at once. If your horse is dead as a result of fireworks, or your dog jumped through the window and injured himself, or your property is on fire, how do you find the perpetrator? The commonsense thing would be to ban the general public from using these incendiary devices. Furthermore, there will be less oversight regarding the safety and quality of these imported devices, plus less fees paid to the state by the fireworks industry and the vendors themselves. Are we only a state and nation of instant gratification and excitement — no matter the consequences to others around us? Are we the tourist state where folks come and watch us have our bombing wars? Can the

revelers be out and about, while the rest of us hunker down in a cocoon state until the war is over? Corlene Findley Plant City

+ WLCA running low on mulligans

Dear Editor: Six months ago, the Walden Lake Community Association board was called out for a lack of transparency, consistency and objectivity regarding meetings between WLCA directors and Visions Golf LLC to discuss Visions development plans (see “Is WLCA out of bounds?” in the Sept. 18, 2013 edition of the Plant City Times & Observer. To no one’s surprise, least of all the WLCA board, Visions filed with Plant City for rezoning on Feb. 19. On March 10, the WLCA board held an “emergency meeting.” The crowded meeting at the Community Center opened with the board asking if anyone had questions. One of our neighbors asked the first question, an apt question that has been asked numerous times in the past year: “Can you tell us here tonight if this board is prepared to intervene on behalf of the residents or advocate for the development or take no position (‘Geneva’)?” To no one’s surprise, the board looked left, they looked right and concluded: “That is a very good question. We will need to check with legal to see if we can even stake out a position.” Now, I would have had more respect for the board had the members

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We want to hear from you. Let us know about your community events, celebrations and family member achievements. To contact us, send your information via: Email: Michael Eng, meng@PlantCityObserver.com. Mail: The Plant City Observer, 110 E. Reynolds St., Suite 100-A, Plant City, FL 33563

immediately adjourned the meeting. But, they did not; there was more — much more. WLCA Director Bob Hunter proposed next that before they stake out any position, they should host yet another meeting with Visions Golf and its attorney. His rationale: We must show fairness. Directors Bruce Rodwell and Rich Glorioso concurred, and the approved motion was recorded, pending approval by the WLCA attorney. Objections were cut off abruptly from members, hence this letter to the editor. At first blush, Hunter’s proposal may sound reasonable. To this resident, it is not, and this is why. The WLCA board already has hosted numerous meetings with Visions Golf. • In June 2013, WLCA President Jan Griffin was “summoned” (her words) by Visions Golf to its offices for a consultative meeting. Ideas were exchanged. • In September 2013, Visions Golf came to the Community Center to meet with three WLCA directors, including Griffin and Treasurer Karen Olson, for another consultative meeting. Ideas were exchanged, and “development plans” were presented. • In December 2013, Hunter and Griffin asked for a workshop and hosted Visions Golf again. We now learn that the WLCA board has invited and accepted Visions Golf to present another sales presentation at the WLCA Annual Meeting April 10, and will check with legal on April 3, after the fact. Concerned that the WLCA board

CONTACT US The Plant City Times & Observer is published once weekly, on Thursdays. It provides free home delivery to several neighborhoods in Plant City. The Plant City Times & Observer also can be found in many commercial locations throughout Plant City and at our office, 110 E. Reynolds St., Suite 100-A. If you wish to discontinue home delivery or if you wish to suspend home delivery temporarily, call Linda Lancaster at 704-6850.

had the cart before the horse, I tried to contact WLCA legal as a member to politely voice these concerns, the response: WLCA legal does not have attorney/client privileges with individual members, only the corporation, and we will not communicate unless through an attorney. If the board thinks yet another meeting is appropriate because Visions Golf just filed, I would ask, “So what?” This pattern of behavior by the WLCA board places the board as a “consultant/mediator” for Visions Golf. If the board will not stand up for its members, then it would be better the board stand down. Let Visions Golf hold its own sales meetings — and at their expense. In the upcoming WLCA board election, I will vote for Sharon Philbin and Terry Murphy and hope for change, but hope is not a strategy. I have no more “mulligans” to give the WLCA. If the Visions Golf sales presentation does take place at the Annual Meeting April 10, at least then, the WLCA charade will be fully exposed to all. To give members false hopes is wrong and cruel. Deference is one thing, promotion is quite another, and deception is totally unacceptable. Those of us who are interested in protecting our property rights, both stated and implied, from all comers, are on our own — sadly, nothing new there. There are only two choices left, fight or take flight. What say you? Don Marshall Walden Lake

Plant City Times &

Observer General Manager/Editorial / Michael Eng, meng@PlantCityObserver.com

General Manager/Advertising / Tony Del Castillo, tdelcastillo@tampabay.com Assistant Managing Editor / Jess Eng, jeng@PlantCityObserver.com Associate Editor / (Community) Amber Jurgensen, ajurgensen@PlantCityObserver.com Staff Writer / Justin Kline, jkline@PlantCityObserver.com Advertising Executives / Veronica Prostko, vprostko@PlantCityObserver.com; Joanna Verga, jverga@tampabay.com Circulation/Office Manager / Linda Lancaster, llancaster@PlantCityObserver.com

“If we are to build a better world, we must remember that the guiding principle is this — a policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy.” — Friedrich Hayek, “Road to Serfdom,” 1944


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WINN-DIXIE / PAGE 1 tomer-service desk. The staff also will be largely the same. “They’ve been offered positions, and whoever chooses to stay can stay,” Hernandez said. Winn-Dixie will offer all its usual savings programs. The Winn-Dixie Customer Reward Card is a free membership card that allows customers to take advantage of the best deals and values when presented at checkout. It is coupled with the gas reward program through which customers can earn savings at Shell stations, and several other savings incentives. Until March 29, residents can find discounts on Sweetbay-brand items and fresh produce. “Upon reopening as a WinnDixie, we believe customers will be pleasantly surprised to see that we have been working hard to provide the fresh, quality products they want at prices they can afford,” said Joey Medina, Winn-Dixie’s regional vice president. Plant City’s location is part of a 16-store transition throughout Tampa Bay. The conversions take place after Bi-Lo Holdings, the parent company of Winn-Dixie, purchased 72 Sweetbay stores in a $265 million acquisition last year. Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@plantcityobserver. com.

CHOIR / PAGE 1 niors, Kelsey Morton and Jacqueline Valdes, were able to accompany guards to place a wreath with the school’s name on the monument. “People there were so appreciative,” Durham said. “It was a fantastic experience. It was touching.” The choir also performed at the Lincoln Memorial and for veterans and family members at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The students sang everything from pop hits, such as “Fireflies” by Owl City, to more traditional ballads. “My favorite song was ‘God Bless America,’” student Justine Reeves said. “It sounded really cool with all our voices, and it brought everyone together.” Between concerts, the students got to see many of the sights and sounds of the city. They visited The Smithsonian, dozens of memorials and delicious restaurants. Reeves’

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Seventeen Sweetbay locations throughout Tampa Bay will transition to the WinnDixie brand. HILLSBOROUGH 205 W. Alexander St., Plant City 11230 Martin Luther King Blvd., Seffner 10579 Big Bend Road, Riverview 6929 U.S. 301 S., Riverview 16751 Fishhawk Blvd., Lithia 2535 S.R. 60 E., Valrico 252 Harbor Village Lane, Apollo Beach 1023 North Tamiami Trail, Ruskin PINELLAS 10202 Seminole Blvd., Seminole 6851 Gulfport Blvd., South Pasadena 2139 34th St. N., St. Petersburg 7625 Blind Pass Road, St. Petersburg 7491 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg 3327 Ninth St. N., St. Petersburg MANATEE COUNTY 515 7th St., Palmetto 5805 Manatee Ave., Bradenton HIGHLANDS COUNTY 3250 U.S. 27 S., Sebring

favorite stop was the International Spy Museum, where the students got to solve their own mystery in an interactive experience. “It was very interesting to go around the nation’s capital and being able to combine arts with the history of the capital,” Reeves said. “It was a cool experience. I’ll get to tell my kids about it someday.” Durham booked the trip with Traventours Group Tours. It cost about $1,000 a student to take the trip, which included the flight. Some students, including Reeves, had never been on a plane. Durham hosted fundraisers throughout the year to make sure every student who wanted to go would be covered. She sold T-shirts, Yankee Candle Company products, held auctions at the holiday concert and had the help of a booster organization. Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@plantcityobserver.com.

SOLLENBERGER / PAGE 1 replacement. Vice Mayor Rick Lott suggested originally to have Horwedel select a firm to conduct a national search. However, Commissioner Mike Sparkman opposed that idea. “I believe we should do a national search … leave no stone left unturned,” Lott said. “If we’re going to look for a right candidate, we need to hire a firm.” Sparkman did not want to immediately pick a firm — and not under Horwedel’s guidance. “I don’t think we should move this drastically this quick,” Sparkman said. “Right now, we’re in really good shape. I’d rather us take a little more time and talk.” He proposed instead that Sollenberger look not only at different firms but also at different candidates and report back to the commission. Horwedel said hiring a consulting firm is critical to a successful search. “The key is to get an independent entity,” Horwedel said. During his last Plant City Commission meeting, Horwedel received praise from Mayor Mary Thomas Mathis, Lott and city commissioners Bill Dodson and Billy Keel. “You came in here with zeal and developed a love for this city,” Mathis said to Horwedel. “We really appreciate you. And I have you on speed dial.” Lott agreed. “I remember the years when the second-worst economy hit America, and we were facing some, rough, rough times there,” he said. “You showed the type of leadership it took to get us through those times. I thank you for your energy and your diligence through all the projects and for the direction you wanted to take the city.” “He’s been an outstanding city manager — one I certainly admire,” Dodson said. “I do understand what the rigors of the job require, and you have been a true benefit to this community.” Contact Michael Eng at meng@plantcityobserver. com. Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@ plantcityobserver.com.






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FAITH MATTERS

Something far greater

“God will never give you more than you can handle!” The woman before me proudly proclaimed this truism with great confidence, knowing that her wisdom had been derived directly from the Bible. One problem: It’s not in the Bible. More than that, I would submit it is contradictory to the Bible, and, I would suggest, comes from the pits of hell. Let me explain. You cannot find any verse that remotely backs this commonly held truism. Perhaps somewhere along the line, 1 Corinthians 10:13 was corrupted by a bad interpretation or poor recall: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the tempTHE REV. SCOTT tation he will also provide the LOWRY way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Clearly, Paul was talking about temptation with sin. There is no one to blame for our sin but us. Even if temptation comes, God will not allow the Christian to be tempted to the point that he cannot resist. Thus, God is faithful in that He will never allow overwhelming temptation to reach us. This is, indeed, good news, but it in no way communicates that He will not allow too much stress, pressure, anxiety or pain. Although this seems like bad news, in the end, God promises something far greater — the gift of His very presence in our lives. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you,” states Deuteronomy 31:6. Psalm 46:1 reads: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” And, finally, John 14:18, 19 and 21: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me … and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” These are a few verses that point out that the Lord will be with His children; truly that His manifest presence would be tangible and bring great comfort to all those who call upon His name. Here is the point: He absolutely gives us more than we can handle, so that we will have to turn to Him. These are the moments when we will call upon His name. That we utter the words, “Lord, I need you!” Although moments of trial and pain are never something we enjoy, there is something amazing that pours from the heart of God: His very presence. He desires our attention, affection and connection, but not because He needs anything from us. But, He knows that we will miss out if we are disconnected from Him — the one who made us, who redeemed us, who has a purpose for our lives. Around the next corner could be the next trial. Know that our sovereign Father has allowed it that we might know Him better and that He might pour out His Spirit afresh and anew upon us. Scott Lawry is the pastor of Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Plant City. For more, call (813) 758-9383 or email to srlawry@epcpc.org.

beautiful day by Michael Eng | Editor

Madison Brewer led the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Many members of Dr. Hal Brewer’s extended family attended the ceremony.

City dedicates Dr. Hal and Lynn Brewer Park

Mayor Mary Thomas Mathis and Lynn Brewer

More than 150 Plant City residents joined extended Brewer family members March 21, for the dedication of Dr. Hal & Lynn Brewer Park. Following a welcoming message by Recreation and Parks Director Jack Holland, Michelle Gutowski gave the invocation, followed by the Pledge of Alle-

giance from Madison Brewer. Mary Thomas Mathis spoke about her relationship with Dr. Brewer and also challenged residents to join her for a daily morning walk at the park. Family members Cindy Gutowski also shared her memories, and Les Brewer recited a poem he had written in honor of Dr. Brewer.

Cindy Gutowski spoke on behalf of the Brewer family.

Recreation and Parks Department Director Jack Holland welcomed residents to the ceremony.

REEL ‘EM IN by Justin Kline | Staff Writer

Young anglers catch fishing fever at derby The first Youth Fishing Derby of 2014 was a success March 22, and even saw a record-setting fish pulled from the big pond. In total, six young anglers took home awards. Cameron Jenkins, in his last year of competing, swept the 11 to 15 age group. He won

Anglers of all ages got bites.

Most Fish (four) and Biggest Fish, a 6.8-pound mudfish that set a new record. In the 5 to 10 age group, Sebastian Martinez, 9, had the biggest fish (2.6-pound catfish), and Haylee Woodhouse, 10, caught the Most Fish (16). Jaden McCants was the only Captain’s Award winner in the

5 to 10 group, with a 1.6-pound catfish. Bryan Christian, 13, and Alexander Suggs, 12, won Captain’s Awards in the 11 to 15 group with a 2.4-pound bass and three fish, respectively. Collin May, 14, caught the first bass (0.6 pounds), and Martinez caught the first catfish (2.6 pounds).

Jaden McCants was proud of his catch.

Courtesy photos

Cameron Jenkins caught himself a recordsetting whopper.

Front row, from left: Collin May, Alexander Suggs, Jaden McCants, Sebastian Martinez, Haylee Woodhouse, Cameron Jenkins and Bryan Christian. Back row, from left: David Simmons, T.J. Vail, Nancy Vail, Deborah Haldane and Alan Hollon.

THIS WEEK’S CROSSWORD ANSWERS

2013

THIS WEEK’S CRYPTOGRAM ANSWERS

1. A musician was going back to prison for two years but he seemed happy about it. “I think I will fit in well at Sing Sing,” he said. 2. A sad housewife pined to fully redecorate. To make her husband understand her gloomy mood, she put on a CD playing, “I see a red door and I want it painted black.”


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FRUITY FUN by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Residents flock to Fancy Farms for berry bargains Hundreds of strawberry-lovers hit the fields at Fancy Farms March 15, for its seventh annual Spring Strawberry U-Pick.

Ella Zarkos had a blast at the Fancy Farms U-Pick.

“Berry” excited pickers came from all over the Central Florida area to load up on the Winter Strawberry Capital of the

World’s succulent strawberries. The annual event benefited Plant City area 4-H youth.

Trixy Gillespie worked hard to find the best berries.

Fancy Farms’ field workers enjoyed seeing residents spend the day at the farm.

Some adorable pickers were barely as tall as the plants.

Cameron Choate loved spending the day outside.






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OBSERVEROBITUARIES Toni Ann Bruce

Toni Ann Bruce, 46, of Plant City, died March 21, 2014. She was co-owner of Central Florida Tax Inc. and a loving wife, mother, nana, daughter, sister and friend to all who knew her. She is survived by her husband of eight years, Hank; children, KayCee Hansen (Chad), John Travis Knox, Joshua Hollis Knox, Kelsey Bruce and Kyle Bruce; parents, Bruce and Dena Tucker; brother, James Lee Evans Jr.; and grandchildren, Brooke and Aubrey Hansen. The family will receive friends for visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 27, at Plant City’s First Baptist Church, 503 N. Palmer St., Plant City. A Celebration of Life will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 28, at the church. Interment at Hopewell Memorial Gardens, Plant City. Online condolences may be made to the family at wecare.io.

James Washington Cribbs

James Washington Cribbs, 87, died March 21, 2014. Mr. Cribbs was reunited with his beloved wife, Dinky, who preceded him in death. He is survived by sons Dennis Cribbs (LaVerne), David Cribbs (Niki) and Keith Cribbs (Kathy); daughters, Pam Ouzts (Wade) and Bonnie Haney; sister, Shirley Baxter (Herman); sisters-in-law, Geneva Cribbs, Dot Andreu and Lucille Williams; brother-in-law, Leo Williams; 12 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. The family received friends March 26, at Hopewell Funeral Home, Plant City. A Celebration of Life will be held at 11 a.m.Thursday, March 27, at Salem Primitive Baptist Church, 14402 Salem Church Road, Dover. Interment at Salem Cemetery, Dover. Online condolences may be made to the family at wecare.io.

Cynthia Marie Floyd

Cynthia Marie Floyd, 64, of Plant City, died March 19, 2014, at HPH Hospice, in Dade City. Born July 3, 1949, in Modesto, Calif., she was the daughter of the late Hayden and Norma Peach Miller. She was the wife for 45 years of Charles Floyd, who survives. Mrs. Floyd was a past officer with the Plant City Garden Club, a member of the Temple Terrace Garden Club and was an FCHP. Survivors also include sons, Chuck (Stephanie), Ernie and Andrew Floyd; daughter, Dawn Walker; brother, Leonard Miller; sister, Laura Epperson; and four grandchildren. She was predeceased by sister, Jeanette Goff. The family will be having services at a later date.

Online condolences may be made to the family at haughtfuneralhome.com.

Donald Frederick Hallberg

Donald Frederick Hallberg, 87, of Plant City, died March 17, 2014. Mr. Hallberg was born Dec. 20, 1926, to Fred and Esther (Petersen) Hallberg, of Clark, S.D., where he grew up. After graduating, he served in the U.S. Army and returned to work with his father in the family business until 1953. After his marriage to Lorene Schwarting, Mr. Hallberg spent his 40-year career in sales and retired in 1994, from Bidwell Corporation as regional sales manager. Mr. Hallberg showed great passion for his church, family, friends and country. He was a dedicated husband of 60 years to Lorene Schwarting, originally of Aberdeen, S.D. Survivors also include a son, Marc D. Hallberg (Elizabeth), of Virginia; a daughter, Lori H. Ellerbee (Scott), of Texas; a sister, Darlene Muchmore, of Arizona; grandchildren, D. Lee Hallberg (Katherine), Heather H. Donahue (Matthew), Brittany V. Hallberg, Ryan G. Ellerbee and Jonathan S. Ellerbee; and special great-granddaughter, Brynn R. Hallberg. Funeral services were held March 22, at First Presbyterian Church, Plant City. Burial was at Florida National Cemetery. Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church Music Department or stained-glass window fund. Online condolences may be made to the family at wellsmemorial.com.

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IN MEMORIAM Nora Lehman Robertson

Nov. 19, 1927 to March 24, 2012 It’s been two years ago Since you took your heavenly flight Into heaven’s holy city Where the Son of God’s the light. Our lives are oh so different And everything has changed Since the day God called you home Nothing’s ever been the same. We miss the twinkle in your eyes And your bright and cheery smile; Your special hugs and kisses That said, “I’ll see you in a while.” You so loved a funny story Or a joke someone would tell Your laughter was contagious Like a silvery, tinkling bell. You loved your friends and family And treasured one and all But your faith was in your Savior And to Him you gave your all. Then one day, Jesus said, “It’s time.” “Come home my child, well done. Thou good and faithful servant Your race has now been run.” So we know you’re waiting for us Just inside the eastern gate Where we’ll all be reunited On that glad reunion date! — Nora Louise

Tracey R. Potter

Tracey R. Potter, 46, of Plant City, died March 18, 2014. Mr. Potter was a lifelong resident of Plant City, loved his animals and enjoyed spending time with family, especially at the holidays. He is survived by his son, Alex Potter; parents, Helen and Charlie Potter; and sisters, Crystal Wolfe (Rodney) and Linda Snow. Mr. Potter was also “Uncle” to seven nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held March 22, at Wells Memorial and Event Center, Plant City. Online condolences may be made to the family at wellsmemorial.com.

Ruby V. Surrency

Ruby V. Surrency, 90, of Plant City, died March 17, 2014. She was preceded in death by her husband, Emory; and son, Virgil. She is survived by sister, Alee Murray; and granddaughter, Debi. Condolences may be made at wecare.io.

John R. Sapp 1989 to 2013

It has been one year since you Went to be with the Lord It has turned our lives upside down We miss you so much. God’s promise: It’s not the end It’s only the beginning. We will carry you with us in our hearts Until we see you again. — Mom, Dad, brother Josh, Granny and Pa Johnson


Sports

YOUTH | HIGH SCHOOL | GOLF | COMMUNITY

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

Freshman Stephanie Dwyer has big day for Lady Chargers. 12 SPONSORED BY COURTNEY PAAT | STATE FARM

THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2014

PLANTCITYOBSERVER.COM

SIDELINES BASEBALL

+ Raiders’ Boyd pitches no-hitter

Of all this week’s individual performances, one stands out in particular: Plant City sophomore Ryan Boyd pitched his second no-hitter of the season March 20, setting the Raiders up for a 7-0 win over East Bay. Although he gave up three walks on the day, Boyd struck out 14 batters — almost three times as many as in his last no-no, a Feb. 21 10-0 win over Tampa Bay Tech. Although Boyd didn’t pitch in the March 24 rematch with TBT, another solid pitching performance — three scoreless innings by P.J. Almon — kept the Raiders in the game and secured the 3-2 win on the road. Meanwhile, Strawberry Crest’s batters came up big late in the Chargers’ 5-2 road win March 24, over East Bay. The Indians held a 1-0 lead until the fourth inning, when the Chargers scored three runs to take control. Crest gave up a run in the fifth inning, keeping things interesting, but the offense scored in the final two innings, and pitchers Cory Smith and Ben Welch finished strong to preserve Austin Boatright’s win. It was a good day for Flabio Garcia and Tyler Chancey: Garcia finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and a double, and Chancey finished 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored. Durant has looked great since returning from the Saladino Tournament, notably picking up a 4-3 win March 19, over Newsome. That road win served as revenge for a 2-0 loss in the tournament and was powered by Garrett Wright’s 4-for-4, one-RBI, one-run day at the plate.

SOFTBALL

+ Plant City-area teams produce wins

Plant City softball has been on a tear since losing to Land O’Lakes on Pi Day. Since that loss, the Lady Raiders have been on a sixgame win streak, and have outscored opponents 46-1 in their last four games. Most recently, they blew out Tampa Bay Tech, 17-0, over three innings March 24. Eleven batters picked up a hit in the win, and five tied for the lead with two hits apiece. Of those batters, freshman Edmilly Molina led the team with three RBI and a triple, and also scored a run. Avery Brown and Rebecca Sorenson also had a great day at the plate, as each finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and two doubles. Sorenson had three runs scored, while Brown had one. Noelle Dietrich pitched all three innings, giving up just one hit and striking out five. Strawberry Crest also got a big win March 24, a 10-0 hammering of East Bay. Durant played two home games over the weekend, a pair of 15-0 shutouts over Tampa Bay Tech (March 21) and Middleton (March 22). Only four girls registered hits against TBT, but 14 scored runs and nine finished with RBI. Saturday’s win was helped largely by sophomore Selena Bezares, whose five RBI and two runs scored led the Lady Cougars. Amanda Lasky went all three innings and struck out six.

fitness first by Justin Kline | Staff Writer

Crest pumped for bodybuilding competition

The school’s first Mr. Charger Competition will raise money for Buckles and Bling. The first step to bulking up is to make the commitment to put in the work. That’s what a group of Strawberry Crest High School students have just done, by creating the Mr. Charger bodybuilding competition. They hope this event not only can grow in the future but also outdo Durant High School’s longrunning Cougar competition. “We will do that,” said Diane Rivers, the head of the Crest’s

Buckles and Bling Club. “Once our students get to see the excitement of it, they’re going to want to be a part of it next year.” Rivers has taken an interest in the competition, because the competitors, such as Brad Benefield, have taken an interest in her club. Buckles and Bling helps senior girls afford higher education, and the “Mr. Charger” guys have teamed up with the girls to make this a

fundraising event. The money will come from selling tickets — $5 at the door — and from donations.

THE FOUNDATION

It’s not easy starting a new fundraising event from scratch, and this is especially true of an event such as bodybuilding, which requires quite a bit of time and money. The boys knew they needed outside help, and, fortunately,

they discovered people were more than willing to work with them. The competition currently has four sponsors: Quality Dining Inc. and Burger King, Pope’s Utility Buildings Inc., Bub-

SEE MR. CHARGER / 14 Strawberry Crest wants students to get pumped for “Mr. Charger.”

special olympics by Justin Kline | Staff Writer

WHAT’S ON KLINE’S MIND?

How bocce practice brightened my day

Justin Kline

Thomas Shervington, 16, set a record in his last tennis competition. He’s about to compete in singles play for the first time.

SHERVINGTON SERVING FOR SIX

Plant City athlete Thomas Shervington has been competing in Special Olympics events for three years and has five medals to show for it. This weekend, he’ll take the tennis court to play for a sixth. Thomas Shervington is one busy kid. But, that’s to be expected of any nine-sport athlete. Tennis, bowling, bocce, softball, soccer, flag football, basketball, golf and baseball take up quite a bit of his time and, although he’s a little shy about the subject, Shervington, 16, doesn’t need to say much about his talents. His play, along with the five medals he’s won, can do plenty of talking for him. Now, having conquered Florida’s tennis skills competition, this young man is ready to play for medal number six in a completely new manner. This weekend’s Special Olympics-Hillsborough Area 8 Summer Games will have Shervington travel to USF to play in singles

competition for the first time ever.

DABBLING AROUND

In addition to his work on the playing fields, Shervington shines in the classroom. He’s an honor student at Tampa’s Pepin Academy — where he already had been accepted into before moving to Plant City — and is also involved in the school’s drama club. Just by looking at Shervington, though, one can tell that he’s a natural-born athlete. He stands at about 6-foot-3, weighs in at 185 pounds and wears a size-15 shoe that sometimes has to be ordered online.

SEE OLYMPIAN / PAGE 14

AREA GAMES

Special-needs athletes from throughout Tampa Bay will compete in the Area 8 Summer Games Saturday, March 29, at the University of South Florida. The competition features events such as tennis, bocce, soccer, volleyball, track and field, and more. The opening ceremony is at 9 a.m., with action slated to begin at 10. There is no charge for admission. The Plant City Raiders Unified Basketball Team will be selling refreshments during the event as a fundraiser for an upcoming competition in June, in Trenton, N.J. The trip will cost $20,000. Donations also cane be sent in care of Special Olympics Hillsborough County, 4023 Armenia Ave., Suite 280, Tampa, FL. 33606. Write “National Basketball Team” in the check memo. For more, email team coach Sandy Denham at sandra.denham@sdhc.k12.fl.us. For more information about Special Olympics, visit specialolympicshillsborough.org.

If all coaches have at least one thing in common, it’s that they enjoy helping their athletes make progress. Most importantly, there’s nothing quite like watching an athlete meet one of their goals. I got to see this for myself last weekend, when I interviewed the Shervingtons for this week’s Sports feature story. Tom Shervington coaches most of his JUSTIN KLINE son’s sports teams in some way, whether as a head coach or an assistant, and it’s easy to see why he was plucked from a bench to get his start as a basketball assistant coach: He could be mistaken for San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich on the street, and both men have a military background that shows up in their coaching styles. Although Shervington doesn’t claim to know basketball as well as Popovich, he’s just as eager to get the most out of any of his athletes, in any of the sports in which he’s involved. This may be most evident in his son, Thomas, a talented athlete with plenty of hardware to show for it. After I interviewed father and son on Sunday afternoon, they invited me to join them for bocce practice at the Plant City High School softball field, with the rest of the Special Olympics Hillsborough County athletes who were there. I accepted. Some sketchy Italian food gave me food poisoning, from which I spent roughly half my weekend recovering. By the time I had to leave to go do the interview, I felt well enough to function without constantly running to the nearest restroom. I was good

SEE KLINE / PAGE 12




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3ODQW&LW\2EVHUYHUFRP KLINE / PAGE 11 for about two hours, long enough to drive to the school and do everything I had to do; once I left, everything came rushing back. I started out by simply watching the athletes play a few sets. This also served as a refresher for me, as I haven’t played bocce in years — and, even then, I had played maybe twice in my life. It’s not tough to grasp the concept, roughly 95 percent of which can be summed up by the phrase, “Italian tailgate toss.” The clay threw most of the players off at first; the balls tended to roll farther than anyone expected. Shervington, firm but encouraging, demonstrated the proper throwing technique for clay surfaces and gave some pointers, on which I also took mental notes. It didn’t take long for the athletes to catch on and start making some great throws. Once they started getting closer to the pallino (the little white ball that serves as the game’s target area), the athletes grew visibly more confident. When they would hit the pallino (which results in a baci, an automatic two points), they erupted with unbridled joy, jumping up and down with arms raised and grinning from ear to ear. It was contagious. After a few sets, Shervington invited me to play a few myself. Because bocce isn’t physically taxing, I accepted. My first opponent, whose name was Mike, put forth a good effort. I was thrown off by the clay, too, and made a few throws that rolled completely out of the playing area. One decent throw secured a point for me in that round, though, and I took a break to watch another match on the other side of the area. Shervington put me in a matchup with

Thomas in my next go-around, which was a tough one. I had improved my throwing motion from the first game, but Thomas brought his A-game. Just when I thought I had him edged out for the win, he had one throw left and made it count: a beauty that ended up just a few inches from the pallino, which turned the tables in his favor. If he also were competing in bocce in next weekend’s area games, I’d fully expect him to leave with another medal around his neck. Mike and I played one more set against each other afterward, and he also had improved noticeably this time. He made some great throws and had the edge on me until later in the match, when one of my throws took a lucky roll and hit for a baci. It was really cool seeing the other athletes around us improve, as well. By the end of practice, there were some games that came right down to the wire — including one that had to be judged with measuring tape. Everyone was happy by the time they got to the post-practice huddle, which was great to see. After getting sick over the weekend, I needed a pick-me-up. Also: After speaking with the Shervingtons, Plant City High deserves some kudos for its willingness to work with special-needs athletes. Although many schools and businesses would offer more limited resources, and/or charge a fee to use them, our local high school allows these athletes to use any of its facilities for free, provides equipment and uniforms for free and even maintains its fields over the summer — when none of its own teams are using them — so the athletes always have a top-notch practice environment. Tom had nothing but high praise for the school in this regard, and I couldn’t agree more.

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK SPONSORED BY COURTNEY PAAT | STATE FARM

STEPHANIE DWYER As a freshman on Strawberry Crest’s senior-loaded softball team, Stephanie Dwyer doesn’t always see a lot of playing time. So, when she saw some action in an 18-4 win over Brandon March 21, she made it count. Dwyer led the team with four hits and four RBI, and scored one run in a 4-for-5 day at the plate. She also stole a base on her only attempt. How were you feeling in the Brandon game? Pretty good. I felt like I was hitting the ball pretty good, and doing good in the field. How does it feel to get a big sweep of a district rival out of the way so early? Pretty good. Gives us more confidence going into the district tournament. You’re a freshman on a team with seven seniors. How often do you get playing time? When we play not-as-good teams, I get a lot of playing time. And sometimes, I get to go in in other games. I would say this was my best game — the rest of the season, I’ve been playing pretty good, but I think that this was probably one of my best games. What are you all hoping to do this season? We’re hoping to make it through districts and regionals and go to states, and try to win states. Those seven seniors are going to be gone next season, which means you and the other young ones will get to come up and play more. I think they’re pretty full of talent. We just all get our own time to shine, I guess. What are your favorite memories of this season so far? Making a bunch of new friends and having a good time with this team. What are some of your hobbies outside of softball? I like to go swimming with my sister and my brother, and my family. I like to hang out with my family a lot. We have a boat, so we go out and go tubing, and stuff like that. Who are your favorite athletes? I like Jenni Finch, and then a favorite baseball player of mine is Ben Zobrist, because he’s a good guy and everything. Do you play any other sports? I enjoy playing other sports, but this is the one I enjoy playing most. It’s the only organized team I play on. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I guess super speed, because I’m pretty slow running the bases.


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OLYMPIAN / PAGE 11 He’s also a two-sport letterman at Pepin, earning them in soccer and baseball. Learning to adapt to so many different sports hasn’t been too difficult for him — he’s built to be able to play anything. He got his start three years ago with Brandon TOPSoccer — a league for special-needs players through age 25. Shervington, who has Asperger’s syndrome, picked up the sport and fell in love with it. He learned to play forward in this league,

because of a love for working with the ball and scoring, and eventually took his game to Pepin, where he is currently a midfielder. A few games into his TOPSoccer career, a friend told Shervington and his father, Tom, about the Special Olympics basketball scene. This is where the elder Shervington got his coaching start. “We showed up to a practice, and Thomas is doing his thing, and I’m just sitting on the bench,” Tom says. “I didn’t play in high school, but I know

the game a little bit. I was giving Thomas some advice, and then I was offered an assistant coaching position.” When Thomas’s handle for the roundball game improved, he decided to try his hand in competition. Special Olympics basketball events are essentially skills competitions, and Thomas performed well enough to win silver twice. Not long after breaking into the basketball scene, the Shervingtons heard about softball. Although Thomas has performed well in the sport,

winning a bronze medal, this is the one his father gets more excited about. As the head coach, the elder Shervington loves two things: getting the most out of his players and winning. “We’ll make the state games,” he says confidently. After softball, according to Tom, everything just kind of snowballed. Hillsborough has a wide variety of sports available for special-needs athletes and in two different divisions: Traditional (special-needs athletes only) and Unified (a mixture of special-needs and non-specialneeds athletes). In Plant City, all Special Olympics sports fall in the Unified category. Although Thomas has a good grasp of the other sports and claims soccer as his favorite, he’s found the most success in his tennis game so far.

GOING FOR GOLD

It wasn’t his first sport, but it brought him to his first Special Olympics medal.

MR. CHARGER / PAGE 11 baque’s and Southern Muscle. Of all the sponsors, Brandonbased Southern Muscle may have been the most directly involved with the boys. It’s a supplement shop marketed for bodybuilders, and it’s no stranger to helping out in the area — the shop has also given similar help to Durant in the past. Benefield was able to get them on board with “Mr. Charger,” and the shop has even created ticket packages for the event. The boys also have gotten some training help from other sources, such as soccer coach Ben Jones, and Bill and Julie Saunders, a couple Rivers said have invested much of their free time into helping the boys. Rivers got involved after Principal David Brown saw an opportunity to host such an event. She felt the Buckles and Bling club could use a good fundraiser, and she loves the idea of healthy dieting that “Mr. Charger” encourages. “One of the biggest things I like about this — kids eat such bad food,” she says. “When they get in this program and start realizing, ‘Gosh, if I eat better, I don’t get hungry as often, and I can do better staying awake in class.’ If you start off your day eating chips and a soda, that’s not brain food.”

DON’T CALL THEM ‘MEATHEADS’

The young men who are

Thomas’s competition results also serve as a measurement of progress, because of the way Special Olympics tennis is conducted. “Skills are taught first, and then everything comes together in the competition,” Tom says. There are seven basic skills that these athletes must learn for these events: the forehand volley, the backhand volley, the forehand groundstroke, the backhand groundstroke, serving on a deuce court and an advantage court, and alternating groundstrokes with movement — moving from side to side on the court and hitting on forehands and backhands. Athletes are graded on their accuracy and positioning, with most areas going up to 10 points. The first time Thomas tried the competition, he won a bronze medal. He was happy about the win, but knew he could do better eventually. He got another shot last year, and

IF YOU GO

STRAWBERRY CREST HIGH SCHOOL MR. CHARGER COMPETITION WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, March 28 WHERE: Strawberry Crest High School, 4691 Gallagher Road, Dover TICKETS: $5 CONTACT: (813) 707-7522 DURANT HIGH SCHOOL MR. COUGAR COMPETITION WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, March 28 WHERE: Durant High School, 4748 Cougar Path, Plant City TICKETS: $7 CONTACT: (813) 757-9075 competing — Benefield, Alejandro Lopez, Devin Parks, Lane Medina, Juan Rosales, Lee Edwards, David Doogah and Sebastian Fearon — are all going to let their personalities come out in their routines, which involve 60 seconds of creative posing set to music of their choice. But, don’t mistake braun for the absence of brain. Some of these boys are in Strawberry Crest’s IB program, and boast grade-point averages that could get them into pretty much any college of their choosing. At least one of the boys — Fearon — has entered

he made that one count. He put all of his focus into that event, coming away with a nearly perfect score and a shiny, new gold medal. “That was my very first gold medal,” Thomas says. “I was very excited. My arms were up in the air. My dad was very proud of me.” That performance was all his coaches needed to see. Not long after the win, Thomas was promoted to the singles team. “I’m hoping to do well, qualify for states and see what division I fall in,” Thomas says. That’s about a month and a half away — May 16-18, to be exact — and it’s a weekend that both father and son likely have circled on their calendars. But, for now, all that matters for Thomas is this weekend. And, if he’s as focused now as he was in his last tennis competition, he has a chance to pick up that sixth medal. Contact Justin Kline at jkline@plantcityobserver.com. the competition with a longterm goal in mind. Fearon, a senior, has a 6.7827 GPA. And although he still is weighing is options for colleges, he knows wherever he goes, he’ll draw from this experience. “I want to major in kinesiology — exercise science — because of my passion for sports and science,” Fearon said. His collegiate choices have come down to Michigan and Florida. A rematch of the 2008 Capital One Bowl but without a clear winner yet. Either way, his brains will help him pay for the education: Michigan already has offered to cover $35,000 of what would normally be a $50,000-per-year tuition, and several scholarships will help knock that number down further. He’s still waiting to hear from Florida. Fearon isn’t the only one with a killer GPA: Benefield is no slouch, with a 5.7242 GPA.

THE BIG DAY AWAITS

All of the kids are excited for the March 28 competition, where they’ll start a new tradition in which they hope to see more boys — and girls — compete in the future. “It’ll be successful for years to come,” Brown says of the event. “It’s just a matter of getting this first inaugural one done, and these guys are brave enough to put it all out there — so to speak.” Contact Justin Kline at jkline@plantcityobserver.com.


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WEATHER

WED.

March 19

0.03

THURS.

TEMPERATURES

March 20

0.00

FRI.

Thurs., March 27 Fri., March 28 Sat., March 29 Sun., March 30 Mon., March 31 Tues., April 1 Wed., April 2

March 21

0.00

SAT.

March 22

0.00

SUN.

0.00

MON.

March 24

0.04

TUES.

March 25

0.00

MARCH

TO DATE

1.85 (2013: 2.56)

YEAR

TO DATE 4.42 (2013: 3.91)



PLANT CITY

RAIN

(INCHES)

March 23

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HIGH 76 77 82 80 80 81 83

SUNRISE/SUNSET TIMES SUNRISE Thurs., March 27 7:25 a.m. Fri., March 28 7:24 a.m. Sat., March 29 7:23 a.m. Sun., March 30 7:22 a.m. Mon., March 31 7:20 a.m. Tues., April 1 7:19 a.m. Wed., April 2 7:18 a.m.

SUNSET 7:43 p.m. 7:44 p.m. 7:44 p.m. 7:45 p.m. 7:45 p.m. 7:46 p.m. 7:46 p.m.

STRAWBERRY PRICES

LOW 61 65 65 53 56 58 62

MOON PHASES

April 15

April 22

CENTRAL FLORIDA

PRODUCT LOW 8 1-pound containers $7.90

HIGH $7.90

Statistics courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture

March 30

April 7

, 3&

Ashley Chrisman submitted this stunning shot of the Fancy Farms strawberry fields along County Line Road. The Plant City Times & Observer, State Farm Insurance agent Tony Lee and The Corner Store have partnered to host the I Love Plant City Photo Contest. Winners will have their photo featured and receive a $10 gift certificate to The Corner Store! To enter, email your photo, along with a caption, to Editor Michael Eng, meng@plantcityobserver.com; subject line: I Love Plant City. Winners can pick up their prize at The Corner Store.

SPARKLING SWINE By Rob Lee | Edited by Timothy E. Parker

ACROSS 1 “Pulled” barbecue meat 5 Allegro ___ (very fast, in a score) 10 Grassy plain 16 Captain’s record 19 High-pitched wind instrument 20 Breed, as salmon 21 It can follow two hips (var.) 22 Sickly 23 Neat and orderly 24 Palindromic belief 25 Lazy 26 Be in a competition 27 Twist, as a wet cloth 29 Put away, as food 31 Place for an ace, to a cheater 33 On the plane 35 Express complaints 36 Cuts uppers, e.g. 37 “Come on!” 38 WWI soldier 39 Dwarf in the nursery? 40 Put up with 42 Hinders 44 A country’s output, for short 47 Habit wearer 48 Chunk of grass, in golf 50 Sea eagle variety 51 Bangkok citizen 52 Bacchanalian revelry 54 Detect, as danger 56 Guaranteed financial support of 58 Dwells 60 Bagpipers’ wear 62 Buy, as merchandise 63 Signs to heed

64 65 66 68 69 72 74 76 77 78 79 81 82 83 87 89 91 92 93 95 96 98 99 100 101 102 104 106 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117

Represents in drawing Delivered from Catch, as in a net Brainy group Deep purplish-reds Coming through the door again Overdo it on stage Eschew Places for props Indian princess Fire-setter’s crime For some, it can be bruised easily Ordinal suffix Dubious buy One crying uncle? Upscale groups French social philosopher Georges Splendor Bathhouses Fries, once Necks, slangily Show the way Word with “any” or “some” Free-for-all feature Storyline that spans multiple episodes Cream-filled dessert American ostriches Tugboat noise Grande or Plata Fish catchers River of Tours Cyclotron particles “Inception” actor Watanabe African fly Dog park noises With 1-Across, a tasty entree

SUDOKU PACIFIC Complete the grid so that every row, column and 3x3 box contains every digit from 1 to 9 inclusively.

DOWN 1 Where the chips fall? 2 Kobe sash 3 Fishing pole 4 It helps in a database search 5 Moving about 6 Act the high roller 7 Lifted one’s voice 8 Dumbstruck reaction 9 Temporary period 10 Olympics event 11 Private student 12 “___ go bragh” 13 Amateurs might turn this 14 Bird extinct since 1914 15 Like potatoes without buds 16 Enjoy the lap of luxury 17 Antipasto ingredient 18 States of merriment 28 Spread outward, as black-eyed Susans 30 Suffers bodily woes 32 Pilot’s best guess 33 Alabama’s intrastate rival 34 Support one’s family 35 Grown-up kids 36 1,000 kilograms 37 City north of Hue 38 Sound loudness units 39 Hitchcock classic (with “The”) 41 Acts against potential heirs 43 Monopoly income sources 45 Western defense org. 46 Walkway over water 49 Their patients can’t read 51 Fitting room activities

© 2013 Universal Uclick

53 55 56 57 59 61 64 65 66 67

Chinese government offices ___ out a living (making do) Some arm bones Teammate of James and Bosh Part of “BFF” Some online exchanges, for short Bolshevik leader Informers, in slang Irish language Nair alternative

68 69 70 71 73 75 80 83 84 85 86 88

Revealing skirts Tasty mushroom Wood-boring tools Like mountains in winter Throws a hissy fit Constructs Black, in Barcelona Most packed with evergreens Badmouth Do some bartending Medical assistant Credit cards, slangily

90 93 94 95 96 97 99 100 103 105 107 108 109

Boy Daily Planet reporter Kent Eagle’s nest ___ away from (avoids) Pointy Lawyers’ burden Desire Provide with a roof Tell fibs Groundbreaking tool “How impressive!” Lennon’s bride One-sixth of a fl. oz.

C RY P T O G R A M S 1 . W N L U K R K W H J W U T C K H T D W R B Q C I O K U C H P C O Q J C FAW O U D L Q E A U A A N A S E W I I F W D C L Q K Q . “ K Q E K H B K J K G G P K Q K H JA G G W Q U K H T U K H T,” E A U W K S . 2 . H F H E G R A F W M O LW X O Y W E B R L A S S Q U W E W K R U H B W. B R N H V W G W U G A F Z H Y E AY E W U F B H Y E G W U D S R R N Q N R R E , F G W X A B RY H K E X S H Q OY D , “ O F W W H U W E E R R U H Y E O M H Y B O B X H OY B W E Z S H K V.”




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03.27.14 Plant City Times & Observer  

03.27.14 Plant City Times & Observer