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You. Your neighbors. Your neighborhood.

FREE • thursday, APRIL 18, 2013


here she is


VSI Tampa Bay wins first game in Plant City.

Jordan Williams crowned Blueberry Festival Queen.

See inside for this week’s photo contest winner.






by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Strawberry Crest High School junior Kiersten Denny won second place in the Congressional Art Competition for Florida’s 15th Congressional District. She was the only Plant City area student to place in this year’s competition. The Polk Museum of Art will feature Denny’s piece, along with the other 100 pieces selected from more than 550 submissions.

Formerly known as the Bloomingdale Library attack survivor, Queena will celebrate her 23rd birthday in Plant City. And you are invited. Plant City Police Department Officer Clemente ‘Clem’ Fiol’s patrol zone inludes Historic Downtown and three public-housing projects.

Three Plant City High School students were recognized recently for their essay writing at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Florida District 4’s Annual Awards Ceremony, at the Winter Haven VFW Post. Katelyn Sykes took first place in the Post 7361 competition; Taylor Adams took first in the Post 2420 competition; and Jackson Hardee won third place in the Post 4289 competition. Students received certificates and cash prizes.

+ RICOH tourney tees off Friday

The RICOH Children’s Classic Golf Tournament will take place April 19, at Walden Lake Golf & Country Club, 2001 Clubhouse Drive. The event will begin with a lunch at 11 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. Cost is $500 per foursome. Funds will benefit South Florida Baptist Hospital’s Wellness on Wheels, Plant City Kiwanis Club’s kids programs and the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce’s scholarship program. For more, call 754-3707.

by Michael Eng | Managing Editor

Keel & Curley to host party for survivor

+ Crest student honored for art

+ Plant City students pen winning essays

bright future


Meet Plant City’s new downtown officer, Clemente ‘Clem’ Fiol. There are only 30 minutes left on Plant City Police Department Officer Clemente “Clem” Fiol’s eight-hour shift. But, that’s when he gets his first call of the day. Call type: S49. It is an alarm call detecting a living room glass window break at a house on North Ferrell Street. For the past seven hours, Fiol, Plant City’s newest downtown cop, had casually strolled up and down the quaint streets. As part of the new assistant city manager’s safety plan, Fiol acts as a guardian to the bustling district, patrolling the streets from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., five days a week. Fiol’s job is to provide a presence in the downtown district — a sense of safety. For the most part, that means chatting with shopkeepers and waving to residents. But when a call comes over the radio, Fiol’s police training kicks in. Within seconds of that


Photos by Amber Jurgensen

Part of Clemente ‘Clem’ Fiol’s job is to visit with shop owners, including Neumeister’s Candy Shoppe owner Jill Nickolson. crackly call, Fiol is back in his police cruiser, responding into his walkie-talkie with a quick, deliberate cadence of police jargon. On the way to the incident location, Fiol comes across another call. A man sitting next to Fiol at a stoplight on Baker

Street rolls down his window. “We’re chasing a guy who got in a fight with my daughter,” the man yells to Fiol. Fiol reassures him another officer was on the way to assist.

INDEX Classifieds....14

For five years, she was known as the Bloomingdale Library attack survivor. This weekend, the public finally will put a name and face to her, as Queena celebrates her 23rd birthday with a party in Plant City. Queena, her mother and fulltime caregiver, Vanna Nguyen and sister, Anna Vuong, are inviting the public to help celebrate her birthday and launch Queena’s new website, The party will be from 1 to 5 p.m. April 20, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road. A prayer vigil will be at 2 p.m., followed by a special surprise from Queena at 2:30 p.m. “It’s important to Queena


Courtesy photo

Queena will make her first public appearance since 2008, this weekend, in Plant City.

Vol. 1, No. 42 | One section





Plant city observer


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Plant city observer


fore! by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor

Durant hits high notes with classic For the second consecutive year, the Cougar Classic Golf Tournament will feature a distraction hole. When golfers tee off at at Bloomingdale Golfers Club’s 17th hole par-3 April 20, they won’t hear chirping birds, a gentle breeze and an occasional golf cart passing by. Instead, they will have to deal with the sounds of trumpets, clarinets and drums. The 17th hole will be the “distraction hole” at this year’s 11th annual Spring Golf Classic, hosted by the Durant High School Music Program Booster Club. This will be the second year the tournament features a distraction hole, at which members of the Durant marching band play their instruments while golfers tee off.

“It’s a fun and unique thing that we hope will turn into an annual tradition,” said event organizer Brian Tice. “(Last year), it started with just one or two kids playing instruments, but by the afternoon, we almost had a whole band out there playing a collection of songs. The kids really took to it, and the golfers enjoyed it, because it’s something different.” This will be the second consecutive year the golf tournament will be held at Bloomingdale, in Valrico. It was held previously at Walden Lake Golf and Country Club. “They have ... one of the best layouts in the state, from a golfing

standpoint,” said Tice, who won the distraction hole last year. The tournament is one of several fundraisers for the Durant music program, an organization that relies on fundraising to help with trips and other expenses. The marching band also hosts spaghetti dinners and a poinsettia sale at Christmas, along with the West Coast Invitational band competition. The Booster Club also raises money from concessions at Durant athletic events and works the stands at events at Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa. All money raised supports both individual and program costs.

“The program costs about $80,000 a year to run,” said Estela Tice, Brian’s wife and the account manager for the Booster Club. Each part of the music program is allocated a “fair share” amount for each member of that section. For example, the amount is $380 a year for marching band members and only $100 for the orchestra, because of the difference in travel and operating costs. The Tices’ son, Christopher, is a junior with the Cougar Pride Marching Band. Estela Tice said because of the fundraising efforts, her son participates in band at minimal cost. “We haven’t had to write a check in three years,” she said. “You have to be actively involved, but it makes it where your son or


ANNUAL SPRING GOLF CLASSIC WHEN: Saturday, April 20. Check-in at noon, with a 1 p.m. shotgun start WHERE: Bloomingdale Golfers Club; 4113 Great Golfers Place, Valrico FORMAT: Four-person scramble COST: $75 per player. Includes green fee, cart, range balls and post-tournament dinner. CONTACT: Brian Tice at bttourman@yahoo. daughter can be involved at little cost to a family.” Fundraising efforts help the music program. The marching band recently traveled to Atlanta for a competition and in 2011, to New York City. Contact Matt Mauney at mmauney@plantcityobserver. com.

honoring a mentor by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor

City to name drive to honor Eddie Brooks Eddie Brooks served the Plant City Recreation and Parks Department for 46 years and made a difference in the lives of young people.

here they are …

by Michael Eng and Matt Mauney

The Blueberry Festival Queens and Court will make an appearance April 27, at the festival.

Plant City crowns first Blueberry Festival Queen Julia Jordan Williams, a 19-year-old freshman at Hillsborough Community College, was crowned Plant City’s first Blueberry Festival Queen at the first Blueberry Festival Pageant April 13, at Keel and Curley Winery. Williams, the daughter of Jerrold and Julia Williams, is a graduate of Durant High School. At HCC, she participates in fundraisers for the prevention of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. Her hobbies include kickboxing and mentoring her Miss Orange County Victoria Garren smooched family younger cousin in cheerlead- friend Cole Hasting at the end of the pageant. queens were named in each festival at 5 p.m. April 27, ing and pageants. at Keel and Curley. Nearly 150 girls participat- age division. The Queens and Court of For more coverage, ed pageant, which featured seven age groups. Court each age group will be for- visit PlantCityObservmembers, first maids and mally introduced during the

Morgan Pierce was the honorary Blueberry Princess and childhood cancer advocate.

Amari Jackson was the won “Most Photogenic” in the youngest age division.

Blueberry Festival Queen Julia Jordan Williams

The circular drive around the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center in Plant City soon will be named in honor of one of the center’s first employees. The Plant City Commission approved April 8, a recommendation by Plant City Vice Mayor Mary Mathis to name the drive “Eddie C. Brooks Circle.” “It’s very important to recognize those who have made contributions across our country,” said Mathis, who spent her childhood going to the rec center and played for Brooks on one of his softball teams. “Not only did he work for the city for more than 40 years, but he also mentored many students in this community.” Brooks was recommended for the lead position at the Haines Street Recreation Center when he was just 23 years old. At the time, he coached girls basketball at Marshall High School. The center later was renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center. A true pioneer for recreation and youth development in African-American communities, Brooks served as the president for the Orange State Recreation Association, now known as the Florida Recreation and Parks Association. He worked with the MLK Recreation Center for 46 years, before retiring in 2008, at age 70. “That was a big part of my life,” he said. “I don’t have any regrets.” He said the renaming of the drive was a surprise. “I am very appreciative,” he said. “Give me my ice cream and cake now. Don’t wait to say nice things about me when I’m gone.” Brooks was an instrumental figure in the lives of many young people, keeping them away from a life of trouble and helping give them direction. “I had a lot of kids that even their parents couldn’t do anything with them,” he said. “I would tell them to go to college or back to college and try to keep them out of trouble. I just wanted them to do something good with their lives.” Contact Matt Mauney at mmauney@plantcityobserver. com.

Plant city observer

“It can be quiet all day long and then, all of a sudden, someone turns on a switch,” Fiol says.


Fiol parks several houses down from the incident address. With stealthy steps, he approaches the house to investigate the window break. After circling around, he finds no signs of forced entry. But, there was a dog inside. Sometimes, alarm systems detect a break-in if an animal knocks something over. Fiol returns to his cruiser. False alarm. It is now past the end of his shift. But that doesn’t mean Fiol’s day is over. Another call crackles over the radio. Call type: S32ATT. It is an attempted suicide. At a local middle school. This is where Fiol’s true passion kicks in. Before taking his position with the Plant City Police Department, Fiol served for

QUEENA / 1 that her story is shared,” Nguyen said. “Queena believes she has a purpose and a reason for being alive and with us today, and we hope others will be inspired and find hope in her progress and continued recovery.” Vuong agreed. “It’s been five years, and we do not want to be forgotten,” she said. “The website allows the community to take a closer look into her life. The community has been so generous and caring to our family, and we would like them to see the progress that she makes every day, and how their financial and emotional support have helped us through the years. “Also, we feel it’s time for Queena to reveal her face and name and no longer hide behind her ‘victim’ title,” she said. “She would like to be an inspiration to the community and show everyone that all of life’s obstacles can be overcome with a little faith, hope and love.”


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A current problem is “The Lot,” a small strip of shops that includes a barber shop, beauty supply store and convenience market on the corner of Alabama and Maryland streets. On the weekends, youth from around the area come to “The Lot” to hang out. They park their cars in public-housing yards across the street. Sometimes, it gets loud and rowdy. Fiol has offered to give up the evening of Mother’s Day to patrol “The Lot.” “Pat is very passionate about these people,” Fiol says. “She wants what’s best. If I can do something like alter my schedule, then that’s what it’s all about.”

Fiol started his first day as Plant City’s downtown cop March 18. In his element, Fiol acts as a liaison between the department and the community. It’s only been a month, but al-

ready, shopkeepers smile when he arrives. They know his name. He knows about their lives. “How’s Hannah?” Fiol asks about All A Bloom florist Darcy Stottlemyer’s granddaughter. “I’ll stop in and make sure the girls are doing OK,” Fiol tells Neumeister’s Candy Shoppe owner, Jill Nickolson, about her daughter, who is scheduled to work the next day. “Is Lynn upstairs?” Fiol asks Inspire! Quilting and Sewing employees about the owner. He sees himself to her office. “I call him ‘Clem the Quilting Cop,’” Lynn Harberl says. Decked out in a bulletproof vest and utility belt full of deadly weapons, the last thing anyone would expect is for Fiol to quilt. But he and his wife, Karen, have picked it up as a hobby. Although Fiol’s beat covers the downtown district, he also patrols three public-housing projects and surrounding neighborhoods. He works with Patricia Dexter at the Housing Authority to maintain the safety of these neighborhoods.

Five years ago, Queena, then 17, was a senior honor student at East Bay High School. She loved all things pink. She volunteered at local hospices, was active in National Honor Society, student government and played varsity soccer and volleyball. She had just been accepted to the University of Florida on a full scholarship. Everything changed April 24, 2008. Queena was returning books to the Bloomingdale Library, when Kendrick Morris, then 16 years old, brutally attacked, raped, beat and left her to die. Queena suffered a fractured nose and eye socket, and the attack cut off oxygen to her brain. She slipped into a coma hours after the attack, and doctors didn’t expect her to recover. Because of the severe brain damage, Queena was left almost blind and unable to speak, walk or swallow. She spent two months in intensive care and another four in

an inpatient rehabilitation hospital. Today, she requires 24-hour care and attends daily physical, occupational and experimental therapies to aid her recovery. Through a variety of traditional and experimental therapies, Queena has made significant strides, and the family is excited by her progress, Vuong said. “Queena is eating pureed foods, forming some syllables and standing for long periods of time with little assistance,” she said. “She has also taken a few steps with the help of her therapists. She seems to be tracking objects with her eyes better now than before.” Paula MacDonald met Queena and her family when her daughter, Kendall, helped organize a benefit run, called 5K4Q, at East Bay. MacDonald said Queena has had great success through TheraSuit, a treatment she is receiving at Pediatric Therapy Services, in Lakeland. The full-body suit utilizes bungee cords to connect various parts of her body to

help them relearn how to work together. MacDonald connected the family to Gainseville, Ga.-based Full Media, which built the website. The family will publish updates on Queena’s progress on the new site. also features exclusive photos, updates from Queena’s physicians and a donation page for her trust fund. “Before, I was not able to know the names of those who made donations,” Nguyen said. “This way, I can know the names and send thank-you cards. “The month of April is not overshadowed by tragedy for us,” she said. “Instead, we look at this as a time of celebration and a time of thanks for all that she has accomplished and those who have helped her to get here.” Medicaid covers only $1,500 of the nearly $70,000 required annually for all of Queena’s treatments. Additional expenses are funded through the generosity of the community.

18 years with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. For many of those years, he was a school resource officer. “I have a soft spot for kids,” says Fiol, who has four boys of his own. Rushing to the middle school, Fiol discovers another officer has responded. But, Fiol is compelled to help. The officers take the student into a room for counseling. The attempt manifested itself as scratches on the student’s arm. Was it a call for help? Perhaps. By the end of the counseling session, Fiol has the student smiling. “You never know with these kids,” Fiol says. “At the end of the day, some don’t want to go home.”


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When Fiol was in middle school, his parents were going through a divorce. Like most children, he was having a hard time dealing with it. Fiol joined the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Explorer Post. It was like Boy Scouts, except instead of getting camp-

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ing and community-services badges, Explorers train in lawenforcement operations, such as hostage negotiations, crime scenes and bomb-threat responses. During that time, he was learning from a school resource officer, Officer Jim Depuy. “He just went above and beyond, knowing that my parents were getting a divorce,” Fiol says. “He kind of inspired me.” During high school, Fiol completed a law-enforcement program. He then worked in the prison system. After about six years, he was hired by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Fiol then came to the Plant City Police Department after a five-year retirement stint in Wisconsin. “I am a public servant,” Fiol says. “There are good days, and there are bad days. The good days are when you’re able to make a difference in someone’s life.” Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@plantcityobserver. com.


FIOL / 1

THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2013 • 813.754.4805



Plant city observer


a new normal


by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

First United Methodist’s ERT preps for first mission The church’s Emergency Response Team has been training for a year. For the past year, members of the First United Methodist Church have been hammering away at disaster manuals and training sessions. Now, the 14 members of the church’s new Emergency Response Team are ready for field work. The ERT will leave for its first mission April 19, for Live Oak, an area that experienced devastating floods from Tropical Storm Debby last year. Now that the cleanup has been completed, the local team has been invited to help MEMBERS rebuild. Frank Bullard “We are so exMichael Cameron cited,” mission Dave Denner organizer Paula Tom Grimmer Sedita said. Michael Guerraro “We want to Bette Heydrick do God’s work Lauren Lengyel with our hands Ed McIntosh and feet.” Jeremy Rhodes The group Julio Santana members range Joe Sedita from diverse Paula Sedita backgrounds. The Rev. Earl Smith One is a reverPaige Ward end, another a Amy Wiggins chemist. Several of them have building and repair experience. Jeremy Rhodes, owner of Plant City Handyman, is this trip’s team leader. “He has a real passion for helping,” Sedita said. “He is such a big member and has a lot of knowledge.” It was that same type of passion that kickstarted the idea for a church ERT in 2005. A small group from the church traveled to Biloxi to aid in the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. When those volunteers returned, Sedita began planning to launch a formal ERT team. Since March 2012, the ERT members have been learning the skills they need to lend a helping hand. All team members have undergone basic training to earn accreditation for long-term relief

HOW TO HELP The Emergency Response Team also has started a drive for clean-up buckets. The team always could use new members. Membership is open to all denominations. For more information or to make a donation, call the church office, (813) 754-3519. efforts. Ten members also received earlyresponse training, which included a twoday, hands-on experience in a devastated area. In addition to the physical work, one team member also has trained to provide spiritual counseling. Sedita said she also will complete counseling training before leaving for Live Oak. Although Live Oak is its first mission out of the area, the team already has provided relief locally. The team helped to repair a leaking roof and clean a mold infestation at Bread of Life Missions. In the weeks leading up to their Live Oak mission, team members prepared their necessary supplies. They cooked and froze spaghetti and breakfast casseroles for meals. “This will be a good, dry run to see in a less stressful situation how the team works together and what we can improve on,” Sedita said. “It’s exciting to think of helping them put the pieces back together. We want to help them find the normal they had before the storm. It won’t be the same normal. It will be a new normal.” Contact Amber Jurgensen at

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Plant city observer

walk with a purpose


springtime showcase by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor

by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Church spearheads fundraiser to combat human trafficking WHEN: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 20 WHERE: 175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland REGISTRATION: or call Debbie, (813) 545-8061 INFORMATION: or the walk, the church also will offer food, including hot dogs and hamburgers. Guests also will have the chance to win prizes through a raffle. “I was crying,” Miller said of learning about Maeng. “It’s so shocking — especially if you have kids. I never knew that even went on. I wanted to do something — not just give money.” So far, 100 people have signed up for Traffick Jam. Miller hopes more from the Plant City area will join in her crusade to help those in hard places. Traffick Jam was started in 2008 with the help of Mellon’s brother, Drew. During the first year, Traffick Jam raised $75,000 to open Punlok Thmey Prevention and Restoration Center for Boys in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The center is a drop-in center for at risk boys ages 5 to 24. Last year, there were only a fraction of the walks held the first year. Still $40,000 were raised to build a girls’ center in Punlok Thmey. This year, all 50 states will host a walk. Most were held April 6. “I just knew I had to do this,” Miller said. “I know that God will give us what he wants to give.” Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@

Colby and Kaitlyn Sadler sold their raw honey from Sadler Honey Farm LLC. Kaitlyn, a Plant City native, is expanding the Lakeland business into Plant City.

Annual Spring in the Park celebrates its third year Participants enjoyed a beautiful day at the third annual Spring in the Park April 13, at McCall Park. Local and regional busi-

nesses and craft makers lined the parking lot of McCall, showing off their collections and homemade goods.

Vendors offered a variety of wares, including décor, children’s clothes and goodies for man’s best friend.

Emily Ryan, 2, loved these homemade wooden spool toys.


Liam and Nolan Garman enjoyed the nice day.


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Maeng was just 5 years old when she first came to Kids Club, in Cambodia. Like any other preschooler, she sang songs, created artwork and played with the other children. Spunky and anything but shy, Maeng never missed a meeting. Then one day, Kids Club directors noticed she was walking strangely — her legs spread wide apart. She also had troubling sitting. So much trouble that she had to stand to do her beloved art projects. Unlike other clubs around the world, this club was held in a former brothel, in the middle of one of the most notorious villages for child sex trafficking in the country. Maeng had turned into one of many who were in bondage. Her grandmother had started selling Maeng to different men every night. But with the help of The Hard Places Community, a mission that targets both Cambodia and India, Maeng was rescued. And now, Maeng’s story has made it all the way to Plant City, through The Hard Places Community Executive Director Alli Mellon, who shared it with Lakeland’s Fuel Community Church. Her tale was captivating — so much so that Plant City resident and church member Debbie Miller had to act. With the help of Fuel, Miller is organizing the first Traffick Jam walk in Florida. The 10-mile walk, which benefits The Hard Places Community, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 20, at 175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland. In addition to



Plant City resident Debbie Miller has helped organize Florida’s first Traffick Jam.

Plant city observer



acting out by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor Rose Tibbetts and Josh Piercey

When “Gangnam Style” came on, the whole school was dancing.

Friends danced with each other.


by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Bucs, students cheer for education Students at Advantage Academy got wild at the April 5 pep rally presented by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Captain Fear rallied the kids, and

cheerleader Kari Soehren got them dancing. The pep rally was part of a fundraising partnership between Advantage Academy and the Buccaneers.

Strawberry Crest spells F-U-N Drama students at Strawberry Crest High School entertained the audience with their performance of the “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” The show is a comedic mockery of the intense pressures of spelling bees and academics, in general. Characters ranged from nerdy Boy Scouts to grade-skipping geniuses.

Students couldn’t help but cheer during the pep rally.

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“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

Founding Publisher / Felix Haynes General Manager and Managing Editor / Michael Eng, meng@PlantCityObserver. com Assistant Managing Editor / Jess Eng, Associate Editors / (Community) Amber Jurgensen, ajurgensen@; (Sports) Matt Mauney, mmauney@PlantCityObserver. com Advertising Executive / Veronica Prostko, Advertising Coordinator / Linda Lancaster, Accounting Manager / Petra Kirkland, Advertising-Production Operations Manager / Kathy Payne, kpayne@ Advertising-Production Coordinator / Brooke Schultheis, bschultheis@ Advertising Graphic Designers / Monica DiMattei, mdimattei@yourobserver. com; Marjorie Holloway, mholloway@; Jim Knake, jknake@; Luis Trujillo, ltrujillo@; Chris Stolz, cstolz@


The Plant City Observer is published once weekly, on Thursdays. It provides free home delivery to several neighborhoods in Plant City. The Plant City 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.

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observed | Kermit Gosnell trial

Blackout evidence of media bias

Rare is the week I dip into They found a freezer with the national news in the Plant City bodies of 47 unborn babies. They Observer. We’re a hyperlocal com- found as many as 30 jars containmunity news outlet, and 99% of ing feet. They found remains in the time, we leave the national other containers, as well: milk headlines to the others. jugs, orange juice cartons and But, when those outlets have cat-food containers. They found flat-out failed to deliver informasemi-conscious women covered tion you deserve, I am compelled with blood-stained blankets. to dip my pen in that ink. They found a flea-infested cat There’s an old saying in the and feline feces on the stairs. The news industry: If it bleeds, it leads. air stank of urine. Translation: Any story involving It doesn’t stop there. Some death should be considered for women had contracted venereal page-one material. And in this diseases from the unsterilized day and age, top billing on equipment the clinic websites, the 11 o’clock used, and investigators news, Facebook, Twitter even discovered unand anywhere else infortrained employees had mation is consumed. performed procedures. I’ve always considered What’s more, the the adage a little morbid. state medical board had It conjures images of received multiple comreporters jockeying for the plaints about Gosnell’s best vantage point at an clinic throughout the MICHAEL years, but state officials interstate pileup. ENG But, after last week’s had not inspected it firestorm regarding since 1993. Gosnell also national press outlets’ gross is accused of falsifying medical and blatant disregard of the Dr. records to show no abortions had Kermit Gosnell trial, I’d advise been performed beyond the legal some of those editors to take that limit of 24-and-one-half weeks saying and tattoo it, backward, on into a pregnancy. their foreheads. Investigators charged Gosnell Unfamiliar with the name, with murdering seven viable Dr. Kermit Gosnell? Don’t feel babies, as well as Karnamaya bad; some here at our office Mongar, a woman who had gone didn’t know of him, either. Here’s to Gosnell for an abortion and a quick recap: Gosnell is the died under his care. Philadelphia abortionist charged Gosnell’s trial began last with murdering one woman and month, but as the grisly details seven babies through late-term began to surface — unspeakable abortion procedures. Suspecting acts with a pair of scissors — the illegal prescription-drug sales, national press remained silent. federal officials raided in FebruThere seems to exist a criteria ary 2012 Gosnell’s clinic, Women’s that determines whose blood Medical Society, which had been leads. open for more than 30 years. JD Mullane, a columnist for the Once inside, investigators Bucks County Courier Times, The learned immediately the drugs Intel and the Burlington County were the least of their concerns. (N.J.) Times and one of the only

journalists covering the trial last week, tweeted April 12, this message: “I sat through today’s testimony. It is sickening beyond the most morbid Hollywood horror.” Inexplicably, the Gosnell case didn’t seem to fit within the guidelines piloting MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc. Somehow, despite the bloodshed, the state and federal oversight, and the myriad of other angles that provide an editor’s field day here, we got coverage of Brad Paisley’s collaboration with LL Cool J and Justin Bieber’s ridiculous message at the Anne Frank House. Conservatives argue the blackout was deliberate — an intentional blind eye to keep the horrors of abortion tucked away in biohazard bins. Liberal-leaning journalists battled back, arguing the horrors uncovered at the Gosnell clinic are evidence of a need for safe, legal places for women to go for these procedures. But, the point here isn’t the abortion debate, just like the Sandy Hook tragedy wasn’t about gun control. This is a story about eight murders and the trial of the man accused of those murders. And, the verdict delivered at the end of this trial needs to have ramifications that affect our country moving forward. Those babies should not have died for nothing. Throughout last weekend, the firestorm regarding the lack of coverage boiled over. The final spark: Mullane’s April 12 photo of rows of empty seats designated for the press in the courtroom. By the end of the weekend, several major news outlets pledged coverage. Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron admitted he was not aware


‘I hear you, and I see you’ So, how many of you rememstop at their booths at different ber your last conversation? With times and ask, “How are you dowhom was it? What did you talk ing today?” about? How long did it last? Feel You may say: “So what? I have like a teenager going through the done that. What’s the big deal?” 10th degree after coming back I just remembered what I was from the first date? taught so many years ago here Let me explain why I am askin Plant City: When you ask a ing the barrage of seemingly question, stand still to listen to interrogational questions. I have the answer, no matter how long learned through the seasons it takes. A true farmer only can of time that our lives are filled take care of his crop, when he with the noise of converstops long enough to sations. From verbal to inspect the leaves and email, Facebook to tweet the fruit. We only can to text, on and on they take care of our comgo. Do we really listen to munity, when we stop what is being said, or do long enough to look in we simply flow along with their eyes as we listen to the river of ever-intruding the words to see the soul words that bounce off our of someone that wants lives like the pebbles off to know, “Do you really CHAPLAIN RET. the Alafia River surface? care enough to listen?” MAJ. DANIEL During the Florida Many of those workMIDDLEBROOKS Strawberry Festival, I had ing at the festival had the joy of daily walking around some type of hurt, need or conboth early in the morning, cern. When you get right down before the crowds came, and in to it, we all have something that the middle-to-end of the day, is eating the leaves of our life when the crowds were starting and spoiling the fruit of our joy. to thin. It wasn’t the food that It is not that we will not have I gravitated toward, although bugs in our life. It is just good to temping me each step to beknow that someone can come come a “well-rounded” chapalong side and say, “Yep. I don’t lain. Rather, it was the vendors, like ’em either.” The power of the workers and the numerous feeling heard is a gift I am trying service personnel that caught each day to give. I may not be my attention and heart. It is here able to give it to hundreds, but I that I remember many of the can start with one ... conversations, because I would Let me close with this thought.

The Zulu tribe in Swaziland has a great greeting. It is “ngiyakhubona.” (Make sure you have a couple of cups of coffee to warm up the mouth so you can pronounce it!) However, it is not the word I want you to remember but rather the meaning behind it. The greeting simple conveys this thought: “I see you.” We say things such as, “Hi,” “Hello,” or “Whassup,” but these greetings become the comfortable pebbles we throw when we do not want to “see someone.” Think about what would happen to Plant City if everyone greeted someone with, “I see you.” We say it to children who hide behind their parents’ pants legs. They also smile, because they feel special that they have been noticed. Why not take the time to “see” your neighbor and ask, “How are you doing?” And stay long enough for them to realize you actually want to know. I believe it would produce a feeling of joy that no midway munchies could ever bring. So what will be your next conversation? Let people know you care, and it will be unforgettable. Chaplain Ret. Maj. Daniel Middlebrooks is president and CEO of Comprehensive Chaplaincy Care and Consulting. For more information, call (813) 767-2082 or email to

of the story until April 11. Liz Fischer, a spokeswoman for NBC News, told the Post the network was aware of the story but did not provide details about when coverage would appear. MSNBC spokeswoman Lauren Skowronski said her network doesn’t cover criminal trials as thoroughly as others. Post health policy reporter Sarah Kliff — who had covered the Susan G. Komen Foundation/ Planned Parenthood funding story last year — told blogger Mollie Hemingway the Gosnell story was a local crime story and, thus, not her beat. As I write this on the morning of April 15, Kermit Gosnell’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on the front pages of MSNBC. com, or Locally, the story is nowhere to be found under’s “U.S. and World” tab. And when you Google “Kermit Gosnell,” the top returns — ludicrously — are about the media blackout itself. This will change. I suspect continued pressure from Mullane, Hemingway and others will fill those empty courtroom seats. As the trial resumed Monday, Mullane reported the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Magazine all had reporters present. I also suspect Gosnell’s name will be in the public consciousness soon. But, unfortunately, the trial will be known as much for the media’s mishandling as it will be for the victims — seven of whom never even had a name. Editor’s note: This column was written before the Boston Marathon attacks. Obviously, a tragedy of that magnitude deserves extensive coverage in news outlets charged with covering the nation.



+ WLPOA open to fence solutions

David Hubay’s Letter to the Editor, published Feb. 13, pointed out the shabby appearance of the fence between Alexander Street and East Walden Lake. The Walden Lake Property Owners Association could not agree more. We have been trying to deal with this problem for several years. Unfortunately, there are several issues hindering our efforts. These fences are not owned by WLPOA. There are two communities in what is commonly known as East Walden Lake. WLPOA is governed by deed restrictions; Woodfield Village is not. To date the WLPOA has taken the following actions: 1. Homeowners in WLPOA have been contacted and are required to make repairs as directed by our deed restrictions. 2. The WLPOA contacted Plant City Code Enforcement and requested assistance for owners in Woodfield Village. 3. We explored the possibility of planting a “green barrier” of bamboo between the fences and Alexander Street for both communities. This would have been at WLPOA’s expense. The city denied our request because of the invasive nature of bamboo.      Stan Shepherd, president, WLPOA

Plant city observer



by Michael Eng | Managing Editor

Elsie Jeanette ‘Jeannie’ Kevas Chrisley

Elsie Jeanette “Jeannie” Kevas Chrisley, 40, of Cumming, Ga., and formerly Plant City, died Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013. Born July 31, 1972, she was the daughter of Elsie Janice Carter and Robert Kevas. She graduated in 1990, from Plant City High. Survivors include her children, Taylor Jackson, 20, Amber Chrisley, 14, and Gabe Chrisley, 7; brothers, Robert Kevas and Andrew Roberts; aunts, Martha Hughes and Mary Angela Dillow; and uncle, Russell Chesley III. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. April 20, at Blount-Curry Funeral Home, 12690 N. 56th St., Tampa.

Dolores D. Hanlon

Dolores D. Hanlon, 83, of Plant City, died April 13, 2013. Born July 15, 1929, in Washington, D.C., she was the daughter of the late Thomas Denehey and the late Alvina Denehey Cass. She was the wife of Morris Sogolow. Survivors include her son, Richard Hanlon; and daughters, Sherry Hanlon and Carol Pontzer. Online condolences may be made at

These three families share a special bond: They all have battled TTTS.

Plant City family throws bash Families from as far away as Seminole enjoyed barbecue, live music and much more April 13, during the Boyette family’s benefit for the Twin to Twin Transfusion

Syndrome Foundation. The fundraiser was the way Kim and James Boyette decided to celebrate the first birthday of their twin daughters, Kaitlyn and Kourtney. Diagnosed

with TTTS 19 weeks into the pregnancy, the twins survived thanks to laser surgery. Several other families who have battled TTTS attended the fundraiser.

Timothy ‘Tim’ Patrick

Mckenna Derksen, 5, loved her face painting. Left: 4 Heart Harmony members Taylyn Olney, Kelly Coultas and Kassidy Gavagan performed at the event.

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Thomas Donaldson Richey Jr., 77, of Plant City, died in his home April 8, 2013. Mr. Richey retired after 31 years, from the Department of Transportation for the State of Florida. He then founded his own surveying company, Hillsborough Surveying Inc. Survivors include wife of 57 years, Patty; son, David (Amy) and daughter Linda Wilkerson (Doug Johnston); five grandchildren, Christopher Richey (Ashley), Michelle Tears (Shawn), Will, Blane and Preston Wilkerson; three great-grandchildren, Kyle, Reagan and Avery; and aunt, Ruby Warren. He was preceded in death by his parents, T.D. Sr. and Berta; and two brothers, Rodney and Larry. Donations may be made to the Shiloh Baptist Church Building Fund. Online condolences may be made at

Angel Lee Liscome Scott

Angel Lee Liscome Scott, 74, of Auburndale, died April 13, 2013, at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. Born April 2, 1939, in Collierville, Tenn., she was the daughter of the late James Whitehead and the late Dora Holmes Whitehead. She was the wife of the late James Liscome Sr. and Allan Scott. Survivors include her sons, Anthony and Larry Liscome; daughter, Linda Liscome; 11 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son, James Liscome Jr., and her daughter, Loretta Johnson. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. April 20, at New Beginning Revival Center, 1113 U.S. 92 W., Auburndale, FL 33823. Online condolences may be made at

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Timothy “Tim” Patrick, 46, of Plant City, died April 10, 2013. Born Jan. 20, 1967, in Tampa, he was the son of the late Edward Patrick Sr. and Billie King Patrick. Mr. Patrick was a 1986 graduate of Tampa Bay Tech and an electrician. Survivors include his sons, Joshua Tellado, Dalton Patrick and Aaron Patrick; daughters, Tiffany Anderson, Jessica Patrick and Kayla Patrick; brother, Edward Patrick Jr.; and one grandson, Johnny Patrick. Online condolences may be made at

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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Ali Grimmel a vocal leader for Lady Raiders. 11

making a splash by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor

YMCA swim team preps for third season After merging with the Walden Lake Swim Club, the Plant City TYS Stingrays have become the most successful YMCA team in the Tampa area. Although the team may be smaller than other YMCA teams in the area, the Tampa YMCA Swimming team at the Plant City YMCA makes up for it in talent. Coach Craig Hilgenberg helped resurrect the longstanding swim club at Walden Lake in 2008, before merging that team with an existing swim club at the Plant City Family YMCA in 2010. The team, nicknamed the Riptides under the TYS Stingrays name, has become the No. 1 Tampa YMCA team and one of the better teams in Tampa Bay. “We compete against a lot of other YMCAs in a developmental championship meet, and overall as a team, we’ve been No. 1 the past two years out of 10-12 teams,” Hilgenberg said. “We also have kids who compete at a higher level.” The Riptides begin their third YMCA season under Hilgenberg April 20. Their first sanctioned USA Swimming meet is April 27.


Tomlin Middle School student Jackson Nichols, one of the club’s

TYS Stingrays Plant City NICKNAME: Riptides FIRST MEET: April 20 SEASONS: Spring, summer and fall GET INVOLVED: Plant City Family Y, 813-757-6677, or coach Craig Hilgenberg, oldest members, is one of those higher-level athletes. He wins at area competitions regularly and places in the top five at bigger meets. “I’ve been with this program since I was 7, so almost half of my life already,” said Nichols, who swam for Hilgenberg at Walden Lake before coming to the YMCA. His younger sister, Walden Lake Elementary student Kelly Nichols, is one of the top girls on the team. “They come from a great swimming family,” Hilgenberg said.



Legislation dangerous for high school sports

Do you have or will you have a son or daughter who participates in high school athletics in Florida? You may want to pay attention. There is a piece of legislation that, if passed, could send Florida high school sports into an era of free agency. The legislation — House Bill 1279 — would allow student-athletes “to transfer anytime they want,” according to the Florida High School Athletic Association, a non-profit, non-government-funded organization that MATT has overseen and MAUNEY governed high school sports in Florida for nearly a century. Introduced by Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, the bill will impact drastically the way the FHSAA operates, including changing funding, adding political appointees to the board of directors and letting the state education commissioner appoint an executive director. Some predict this could even lead to the end of the FHSAA in a few years.

House Bill 1279 (pending)

Bill: Revises provisions relating to FHSAA, including bylaws relating to student residence and transfer approvals, student ineligibility to participate in competition, and investigations into ineligibility to participate; revises composition and terms of FHSAA board of directors; provides restrictions on dues and fees and collection of contest receipts; provides authority to levy penalties; provides requirements for financial and compliance audit; revises student eligibility criteria for participation in extracurricular activities.

THURSDAY, april 18, 2013

winning start by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor



It was a face-paced and physical game.

Tampa Bay FC will practice at Florida College, but play all home games at Plant City Stadium.

Sean Reynolds is one of several Florida-born players on VSI Tampa Bay FC.

In front of 1,032 fans, VSI Tampa Bay FC won its inaugural home game at Plant City Stadium. The Flames now prepare to host Los Angeles April 21, in a rematch against the Blues. It was an impressive debut for VSI Tampa Bay FC April 13, as the Flames won their first USL PRO home opener in a 3-0 win over the Rochester Rhinos. After a lease agreement was approved March 25, VisionPro Sports Institute had a short timeframe to convert Plant City Stadium into a professional soccer facility. More than 1,000 fans came to watch Tampa Bay FC, an expansion team in the United Soccer League, notch the historic win. “Coming late to the market and really putting things together in just 10 days is a tough task in itself, but I’m very pleased,” said Director of Soccer Clay Roberts, a Plant City High School alumnus. “We love Plant City, we love being in this


A similar bill, Senate Bill 1164, introduced by Sen. Kelli Stargel, also revise would criteria for student-athlete eligibility and undermine the FHSAA in its investigation processes. The FHSAA has prided


Toni Donatelli played well in the midfield.

Photos by Matt Mauney

Plant city observer



by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor

athlete of the week


by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor

Durant bests Plant City ALI GRIMMEL in diamond rivalry The Durant High School softball and baseball teams picked up big wins over rival Plant City High April 11, at home. Durant’s Paige Davis gave up just one hit in a 6-0 win against the Lady Raiders, in the non-district season finale for both softball teams. Chaz Fowler also threw a one-hitter for Durant’s baseball team, leading them to a 1-0 win over the Raiders.

Carter said the win over Plant City is a good sign going into districts. “They’re 10-0 in their district and are the No. 1 seed, so we wanted to come out here and prove a point, and we did,” he said. Durant head baseball coach Butch Valdes liked what he saw out of Fowler April 11. “This was the Chaz Fowler of old,” he said. “He’s had some rough spots this season, but what he did tonight is the Chaz Fowler of old. That’s the guy who throws and mixes up the pitches and doesn’t always try to throw it by you. He kind of deals a little bit.” Fowler said it came down to focus. “It’s just about going out there and throwing first-pitch strikes,” he Matt Mauney said. “Once you get them Durant’s Chaz Fowler was back to his old self on the mound in a hole, there’s basically nothing else they April 11. can do.” Davis, a senior who has been stellar on With Fowler pitching well, along with the mound for the Lady Cougars this sea- Durant’s ace Tyler Danish, the Cougars will son, didn’t walk any Plant City batters in be a favorite as they enter the Class 8A Disthe complete-game shutout. trict 7 tournament. “She did a solid job again tonight,” said Plant City’s Keven Long also pitched a head coach Matt Carter. “She’s been on a solid game Thursday. The lone run of the roll here lately. She’s consistent, and she game came in the fourth when Durant does the same thing that she’s done for us scored on an infield error. the last two years.” “To make a district title game, or regionDurant moved to 17-8 overall on the als or state, we have to make those plays,” year with the win, while Plant City fell to said PCHS head coach Mike Fryrear. “De15-7. Both teams went into their respec- fensively, we were sound tonight other tive district tournaments this week as No. than that one play. Unfortunately, that 1 seeds. was the difference in the game.”

Wide receiver and captain Ali Grimmel has been a leader for the Plant City High flag football team in more ways than one. The four-year starter has 33 catches on the year for 312 yards, but it is her vocal leadership that stands out. Grimmel, also a competitive cheerleader at PCHS, uses her outgoing personality to motivate and lead her team. PCHS is 8-0 this season going into Wednesday’s game against Newsome.

What do you like about playing flag football? Touchdowns. They give you an adrenaline rush. How did you get involved? The seniors on my cheerleading team freshman year said I should try it. I did and I love it, so I’ve done it ever since. How long have you cheered? Since my freshman year in high school, but I’ve been cheering since I was 13. What are some goals you have, flag football-wise, this year as a senior? I want to have an undefeated season and go to state. We’ve gotten close every year. I think we have the potential to do it this year. What has the season been like so far compared to past years? It’s been totally different, because we have a fresh group of girls. We have a new quarterback, new receivers and new defense. It’s a clean start,

and I feel that we are more assertive this year. Did you find yourself taking on more of a leadership role? Yes, because when all the seniors left, I felt a lot of the girls looked up to me since I’ve been here four years. Any college plans? I got accepted into Florida Gulf Coast, but I think I’m going to go to Valencia, in Orlando. I’m looking to transfer to UCF to be a sports trainer. What are you going to miss about flag football and cheerleading? My coaches. They have become my family. Outside of sports, what keeps you busy? I work at Applebee’s in Plant City, and I’m always with my friends and family. What would your teammates say about the kind of person and teammate you are? Probably weird. I’m always pumping them up. They always say, “I know you’re the cheerleader, because your voice is so loud,” because I’m always cheering them on when I’m not on the field.

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Plant city observer


MAUNEY/PAGE 10 itself in being an organization dedicated to integrity and fairness for its 798 member schools and student-athletes. The organization, which obviously opposes the bill, released a statement, cautioning “fairness and playing by the rules would be dealt a damaging blow if this proposed bill becomes a dangerous law.” Stargel, Metz and other supporters say the legislation would add due process to eligibility and transfer scenarios, in which student-athletes and their parents wouldn’t be “pronounced guilty before being proved innocent.” It is true the FHSAA has built a reputation for coming down hard on violators, including coaches, players and schools that bend or break rules. Most notably, they stripped Armwood of its 2012 football state championship, after players were deemed ineligible for residing outside of the school district and for providing false residency information. But this legislation will undermine the FHSAA and deregulate high school athletics, making it harder for the FHSAA to monitor and prevent unfair practices when it comes to athlete transfers. The legislation would allow players to be eligible immediately upon transfer to another school. The current rule states athletes are eligible to play for the school where they started that academic school year. Seemingly, this legislation would allow athletes to start the year playing football at one school and end it playing baseball at another. This is something former NFL players-turned-high school coaches Mike Alstott and Reidel Anthony strongly oppose. “There is a place for free agency; it’s called the NFL,” Alstott, a six-time All-Pro running back, stated in a release. “And there is a place for recruiting. It’s called college. There is no place for either of those in high school football.” The legislation has caused quite the stir in the high school sports world, including media attention and the

spawning of two Facebook pages — one in support and one against the bill. “Florida Parents for Fair Play” has served as a soapbox for parents and athletes against the legislation, while its counterpart, “Access for Student Athletes Coalition,” supports the bill. Access includes mostly charter- and home-school parents, who feel bullied by the FHSAA. The organization says it will continue to be accommodating to those student-athletes. Tim Tebow was homeschooled but was a standout for Nease High School in Ponte Vedra. There’s no denying there are unfair practices taking place in Florida and across the nation. But this legislation will make it even easier for these things to take place, with little or no consequences. It is important to note separate school districts can adopt their own rules and regulations regarding transfers. Hillsborough County Public Schools currently has such a rule in place, in which board members rule on eligibility of transfers. Other counties could follow suit, especially if this legislation passes. There are loopholes. With school choice and academic programs only offered at certain schools, it can create a gray area. Strawberry Crest High is a perfect example. With its IB program, there are many students, including athletes, who live in Walden Lake, Valrico or other areas outside the school zone, but attend Strawberry Crest and participate in athletics there. Academics certainly come first, so there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with this. But this bill could create a situation in which coaches can recruit players purely on an athletic basis. This could be especially dangerous in Hillsborough County, where coaches are allowed to coach at one high school and teach at another. The FHSAA and similar organizations certainly aren’t perfect, and there isn’t anything wrong with occasional tweaking — even with organizations that are 100 years old. But this legislation isn’t the solution.

For a Limited Time!

VSI/PAGE 10 stadium, and it’s exactly what we want. The setup is great. Now, we just have to get the fans to continue to come out. Getting the attendance we did on the first night is a great start.” VSI knows the key in building a fan base is to put a good product on the field. The Flames were successful in doing that in their home opener, shutting out Rochester — an established Los Angeles Blues USL team — and getat VSI Tampa Bay FC ting three goals against WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Sunday, reigning USL PRO GoalApril 21 keeper of the Year KrisWHERE: Plant City tian Nicht. Stadium; 1900 S. Park “This was a fantastic Road result, and we got what TICKETS: Tickets can be we really deserved,” bought day of game or by said head coach Matt visiting Adults Weston after the game. $10; children 3-11 are $5 “We’re excited to be able and children 3 and under to put three points on are free. Currently, tickets the board against one are buy one, get one free. of the best teams in the YOUTH: Plant City league. The Rochester Recreation and Parks/ Rhinos have been one Optimist League players of the most successful get in free by wearing their franchises underneath team’s shirt. MLS, so to beat them 3-0 in our home opener is really a dream come true.” VSI Tampa Bay FC hopes to establish itself as a known and respected professional soccer team, much like nearby Orlando City, which averaged 6,600 fans in USL matches last season at the Citrus Bowl. “We want to send a message that this is going to be a tough place to play and that there’s not just one team off of Interstate 4 in the Central Florida area that they need to worry about,” said VSI’s Josh Rife, a 10-year veteran defenseman. VSI will be practicing this week and for the rest of the season at Florida College, keeping the field at Plant City Stadium in pristine condition. The Flames will remain home this weekend as they host the Los Angeles Blues at 6:30 p.m. April 21. VSI defeated the Blues in L.A. 1-0 April 2, for the franchise’s first USL PRO win. “This win definitely helped us and is a move into the right direction,” said forward Karamba Janneh, a fan favorite who scored VSI’s first goal against Rochester in extra time in the first half. “It was a great game last time, and we’re looking forward to facing (L.A.) again.” Contact Matt Mauney at mmauney@plantcityobserver. com. VIDEO: Visit for an exclusive interview with VSI Tampa Bay FC head coach Matt Weston.


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Sewing & Alterations

Jackson and Kelly are close to making their Florida Age Group, or FLAG, qualifying times, equivalent to Junior Olympic qualifying. “The FLAG times get harder the older you get; so you just have to keep working hard in practice and manage your time well when it comes to homework and school,” Jackson said. Balancing life’s other responsibilities is an important part of being on the team, which practices four days a week. The club also provides an opportunity to be a part of a team and benefits the young members in many aspects, including sportsmanship, teamwork and social skills. “I’ve met a lot of friends through being a part of this team,” said Jordan Bramley, who competed in the girls’ YMCA state meet last winter. “This definitely gives them an outlet when it comes to having an activity,” Hilgenberg said. “It really helps them learn time management. A lot of the middle-school kids go right from school to here and then go back home and complete their homework.”


The number of swimmers, spanning in age from 5-16, has been growing steadily. The team has about 30 members in the fall and spring and grows to the mid-50s during the summer. Currently, the team competes in those three seasons, but hopes to become a year-round program if numbers continue to grow. “We’re really busy spring, summer and fall,” Hilgenberg said. The team comprises swimmers of all levels, with a developmental division for newcomers with little experience. “We have kids that have never learned strokes before come out,” Hilgenberg said. “It’s great to be able to get them involved. And the more experienced swimmers are good about helping them with techniques.” Hilgenberg hopes that the program will continue to grow. Meanwhile, he is working with all of his swimmers on development and team bonding. “My philosophy is to try and teach them at least one new thing each day,” he said. “Keeping that excitement here and that team bonding here is the most important thing.” Contact Matt Mauney at mmauney@plantcityobserver. com.

Plant city observer


Plant City





April 10




April 12



April 13



April 14

High Low 90 72 90 72 84 61 82 64 86 66 84 64 82 61

sunrise/sunset times




Sunrise Sunset Thurs., April 18 7:01 a.m. 7:55 p.m. Fri., April 19 7:00 a.m. 7:56 p.m. Sat., April 20 6:59 a.m. 7:56 p.m. Sun., April 21 6:58 a.m. 7:57 p.m. Mon., April 22 6:57 a.m. 7:57 p.m. Tues., April 23 6:56 a.m. 7:58 p.m. Wed., April 24 6:55 a.m. 7:58 p.m.


April 15



April 16




2.08 (2012: 0.66)

April 18

April 25



TO DATE 5.29 (2012: 1.72)

LOW $17 $22

Community starts with neighbors who care.

HIGH $18 $24

May 2

Courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture


Tracy MacDonald captured this shot when Plant City Cub Scouts Pack 5 visited Plant City Fire Station 2. The Plant City Observer, State Farm Insurance agent Tony Lee and The Corner Store have partnered to launch the new I Love Plant City Photo Contest. Weekly winners will have their photo featured in the Plant City Observer and receive a $10 gift certificate to The Corner Store! Submit Tony Lee CLU, Agent to Managing That’s whatMichael our town your photos, with a caption, via email Editor Eng, 1702 S Alexander Street is made of.; Plant City, FLsubject 33563 line: I Love Plant City. Bus: 813-752-7202


Thurs., April 18 Fri., April 19 Sat., April 20 Sun., April 21 Mon., April 22 Tues., April 23 Wed., April 24


State Farm® has a long heritage of helping out in the community. That’s why I’m proud to support Event/Charity. Get to a better State .



May 9


April 11

Need someone that speaks fluent insurance? I’m your agent for that. 1702 S Alexander Street Plant City, FL 33563

813-752-7202 1201196 State Farm, Bloomington, IL dARE TO COMPARE by Jill Pepper


Edited by Timothy E. Parker












2. Q R B H B O R Y C G U Q B A Y P Y S B H E A R P Y I P R B Z C P P E I A B U A B ? G B P ’ O AY P Y P R B S B M C P V L M H G Y H , Z C H G C L MIU UVB!



Tony Lee CLU, Agent

1. Q I A


ACROSS 1 Plasma alternative, briefly 4 “___-Cop” (Burt Reynolds film) 9 Steal 14 CD-___ (storage devices) 18 They precede telephone numbers 20 Toughen, as to hardship 21 Basic principle 22 Completely inoperative 24 Angel portrayer Della 25 Adds fat for cooking 26 Hill on a beach 27 Strike-caller, in brief 28 “As ___ in point ...” 29 Summers on the Riviera 30 Comm. device for the deaf 32 Trail off, as a tide 34 Seasoned, in a way 36 ___ Moines, Iowa 37 Big Band, for one 38 Six-stringed fiddle 39 .org relative 40 ER workers 41 Place for pollen 43 Hillary who climbed 45 “No place to sit,” on B’way 48 Working energetically 50 Clam soup 54 Romania’s currency 56 International accord, e.g. 57 Mai ___ (cocktail) 59 Bob and ___ (box defensively) 60 Raised platforms for speakers 62 Nucleus of military personnel, e.g. 66 Bowl of cherries, in song

128 Win by ___ 68 Afternoon break, (narrowly outrace) perhaps 129 Poe and Pound, e.g. 69 Not safe at second 130 Some Mercedes70 Incredibly Benz models courageous 73 Ore-___ (hashbrown brand) dOwn 74 By means of 1 Served, as soup 75 Fertility goddess of 2 Makes from scratch 3 “Mommie ___” the Nile (Christina Crawford 76 Home made of book) hides 4 Certain TVs 77 Jazz pianist Lewis 5 Dawn personified 79 Colorado’s ___ Park 6 Doc. to protect 81 Words with company secrets “crossroads” or 7 Bear named for a “dead end” president 8 Not worth ___ 83 Alternatives to (valueless) pumpernickels 9 Molotov cocktail, 85 Cries of surprise e.g. 86 Makes more 10 Hotel and motel revisions to relative 88 Virtuous 11 Event that might 93 Half and half serve chicken long 94 Trumpet relative rice 95 Cooks with dry heat 12 Pinched, as a pie crust 98 Words before “king” 13 Bailed out or “carte” 14 Volleyball star 101 EntrepreneurGabrielle helping org. 15 Bandit feature? 103 Prefix with “vision” 16 ___ up (erred) 104 Sci-fi creatures 17 Knights’ mounts 105 Squeeze from mom 19 Throws in 107 Bathroom cupful 21 Bend in a sink pipe 23 Silverware city in 110 Mel, baseball’s N.Y. “Little Giant” 30 Go in forbidden 111 High degree? land 112 Laura of “Jurassic 31 Singer Tucker Park” 33 Navy ___ (deep 113 Courtroom event shade) 114 What an RN 35 Midwife’s supplies exhortation 116 Indian music 37 Exotic farmbird 38 ___ virgin (ancient 118 Ben Stiller’s mom Roman priestess) Anne 42 Have an edge 119 Serve the purpose against 120 Almost unflappable 44 Take home 124 “Anticipation” 46 Ivanhoe’s bride singer Simon 47 What borrowers do 125 It’s wreaked 49 Approach angrily 126 Capricious 50 103, in old Rome 51 Breakfast pastry for 127 There are 88 on a Hamlet? piano

52 Is too slippery for 53 Make good on a debt 54 Thelma’s movie partner 55 Beverly Hills home, stereotypically 58 Strike settings 60 Generic dog name 61 Former grape 63 Banned bug-killer 64 Portrayer of Mrs. Garrett on “The Facts of Life” 65 Telepathic gift 67 Archaic “in truth” 71 Lack of equity 72 Add bubbles to 78 British teenagers of the ‘60s 80 Former name of Tokyo 82 “A long time ___ in a galaxy far, far away ...” 84 Florida marsh bird 87 Kind of tube or pilot 89 “For here ___ go?” 90 Like a narrowly focused mind 91 River mouth deposits 92 ___ Vegas 94 It may take years to pay back 96 Fundamentals 97 Dreamlike 98 Go on the offensive 99 Immature insects 100 Beekeeping site 102 “You ___!” 106 Protruding tree knots 108 Complains loudly 109 Treaty partner 111 Mexican munchie 112 Moore of “Ghost” 115 Shoreline shelter 117 Stare openmouthed 118 Make untidy, as hair 121 “Ace Ventura” star Tone ___ 122 180 degree turn, slangily 123 Where to catch a Travis Tritt video CROSSWORD_041813

Thursday, April 18, 2013 Thursday, April 18, 2013

BREWINGTON’S TOWING & RECOVERY Auto Service 813-754-TOWS(6300) See our ad in the Service directory BREWINGTON’S TOWING & RECOVERY Cleaning 813-754-TOWS(6300) See our ad in the Service directory RAIL TOWN Building Services. Commercial Cleaning. Chuck Sullivan, 813-390-1851, Cleaning See our ad in the Service Directory. RAIL TOWN Building Services. Commercial Cleaning. Chuck Sullivan, 813-390-1851, Computer Services See our ad in the Service Directory. ONSITE ACCOUNTING, INC. Lizzette Computer Sarria, CFE Certified Fraud Examiner. Services 813-764-9516 INC. ONSITE See my adACCOUNTING, in the Service Directory Lizzette Sarria, CFE Certified Fraud Examiner. 813-764-9516 RUSHING TO SERVE, INC. my ad repair, in the networking, Service Directory On-site See computer installations, consultations, off-site remote backups. Faithful, dependable service since 1989. RUSHING TO SERVE, INC. 813-754-1366, On-site See computer installations, our adrepair, in thenetworking, Service directory consultations, off-site remote backups. Faithful, dependable service since 1989. 813-754-1366, See our ad in the Service directory

Home Services

Professional Services


HOUSEMASTER Home Inspections Right Since 1979. Home Done Services Robert & Michelle Southard 866-931-2350 HOUSEMASTER E-mail: Home Inspections Done Right Since 1979. Southard SeeRobert our ad&inMichelle the Service Directory 866-931-2350 E-mail: See ourInterior ad in the Service Directory Design


David Crosby, Home Improvement/ Remodeling 813-679-0096. See my ad in the Service directory CROSBY CONSTRUCTION SERVICES, INC. David Crosby, Team UpHome Today With Classifieds Services 813-679-0096. See my ad in the Service directory 1-877-308-5643 SEPTIC PROS Septic Tank and Grease Home Services Trap Pumping Septic System Maintenance and Installation SEPTIC PROS 813-727-6905 Septic Tank and Grease Trap Pumping Septic System Installation See our adMaintenance in the Serviceand Directory 813-727-6905

See our ad in the Service Directory

cLaSSified LiNe ad Price First 15 words .......................$15 per week Each Add’l word ...................................50¢

15% diScouNt for 4 week Run Yellow color $5 per Week Border as low as $3 per Week

call: 1-877-308-5642 email:

Your Source for LocaL cLaSSified adS


ACCOUNTING ACCOUNTING Lizzette Sarria, CFE, Certified Fraud Examiner

GREGG W. HOOTH, P.A. Attorneys & Counselors At Law Legal Services Business, Labor & Employment Law. E-mail: GREGG W. HOOTH, P.A. 863-667-8027 Attorneys & Counselors Law See our ad in the Service At Directory Business, Labor & Employment Law. E-mail: Massage 863-667-8027 See SOOS. our ad in the Service Directory JEANNIE Licensed Massage Therapist. Relaxation and Deep Tissue Therapeutic 813-753-8965, byMassage appointment. MA27301 See ad in the Service Directory. JEANNIE SOOS. Licensed Massage Therapist. Relaxation and Deep Tissue Therapeutic 813-753-8965, by appointment. MA27301 Professional Services See ad in the Service Directory. WALDEN LAKE ART & FRAME. Preserving Memories & Bringing Your Art To Life. Michael Kidde, Owner, Professional Services See our ad in the Service Directory. WALDEN LAKE ART & FRAME. Preserving Memories & Bringing Your Art To Life. Michael Kidde, Owner, See our ad in the Service Directory.


This week’s Cryptogram answers 1. For a moment, I was lost in thought, It was highly unfamiliar territory. 2. Where should we go to be right on the cutting edge? Let’s go to the beauty parlor, curl up and dye! CROSSWORD_ANS_041813






Christine Rabel

Independent Sales Director

813.654.2322 Office Christine Rabel 813.758.3533 Mobile

Lizzette Sarria, CFE, Certified Fraud Examiner 104 N. Evers Street, Suite 101

Independent Sales Director 813.654.2322 Office

Plant CIty, Florida 33563 813-764-9516 ACCOUNTING, INC. 104 N. Evers813-764-0028 Street, Suite 101 Fax Plant CIty, Florida 33563 813-764-9516 ACCOUNTING, INC. 813-764-0028 Fax

813.758.3533 Mobile

God First, Family Second. Career Third



PAR INTERIORS - FULL SERVICE DESIGN. Patricia Rogers, Owner/ Decorator. 813-754-1567 ad in the Service Interior See Design Directory PAR INTERIORS - FULL SERVICE DESIGN. Patricia Rogers, Owner/ Decorator. 813-754-1567 See ad in Service the Service Landscaping & Lawn Directory GREEN EAGLE, INC. Landscape and Lawn Maintenance. Plant/Tree Installation and Removal, Mulch Sod Removal and Mowing, Fill Landscaping & Installation, Lawn Service Dirt & Cleanups. Call 813-967-6879. See our ad in GREEN EAGLE, INC. Landscape and Lawn the Service directory. Maintenance. Plant/Tree Installation and Removal, Mulch Sod Removal and Installation, Mowing, Fill Legal Services See our ad in Dirt & Cleanups. Call 813-967-6879. the Service directory.

MINUTEMAN PRESS 813-719-2111 THE FIRST AND LAST STOP IN PRINTING . 1701 S. Alexander St., Plant City Mike Arndt, Owner See our ad813-719-2111 in the Service Directory 1701 S. Alexander St., Plant City NATALIE SWEET, LLC., REALTOR. The Sweet our ad in the Service Directory Team, See Keller Williams Realty. Cell: 813-758-9586 E-mail: See ad in the Service Directory. NATALIE SWEET, LLC., REALTOR. The Sweet Team, Keller Williams Realty. Cell: 813-758-9586 E-mail: See ad in the Service This week’s Crossword answers Directory.


ADVERTISE YOUR MERCHANDISE withItems the totalUnder value of $200 all itemsFor $200Sale or less in this section for FREE! Limit 1 ad per month, 15 words or less. Price must be included next to ADVERTISE MERCHANDISE each item. NoYOUR commercial advertising with the total all items $200 or less in or value garageofsale advertising this section for FREE! Limit 1 ad per month, Ad runs 2 consecutive weeks. 15 words or less. PriceCall must be included next to each item. No commercial advertising Toll Free: 1-877-308-5642 or garage salead advertising to: Email Ad runs 2 consecutive weeks. Callname and address) (Please include your Toll Free:Or1-877-308-5642 mail to: ad to: TheEmail Observer Group P.O. Box 3169 (Please include your name and address) Sarasota, Fl 34230 Or mail to: The Observer Group P.O. Box 3169 Auto Service Sarasota, Fl 34230

Home Improvement/ Remodeling

God First, Family Second. Career Third




Items Under $200 For Sale

Crosby Construction Services, Inc. CONSTRUCTION David Crosby






813-679-0096 FLOORING


Business, Labor & Employment Law

Labor & Employment 4798 SouthBusiness, Florida Avenue Telephone:Law (863) 667-8027 P.O. Box 214 Email: Lakeland, Florida 33813 Website: 4798 South Florida Avenue Telephone: (863) 667-8027 P.O. Box 214 Email: AUTO SERVICE Lakeland, Florida 33813 Website:


(813) 754-TOWS (813) 754-6300 302 E. CALHOUN ST. PLANT CITY, FL 33563 (813) 719-7738 FAX (813) 754-TOWS (813) 754-6300 (813) 719-7738 FAX




5410 Boran Place

Tampa, FL 33610 ERIC NEWSOME Vice President Phone

5410 Boran Place 813.664.8600 Tampa, FL 33610 Fax

813.664.8611 Phone 813.664.8600 Fax


Commercial and Residential 813.664.8611 Wood Flooring | Laminate | Carpet | Vinyl | Tile Sales and Service

The Service DirecTory

Wood Flooring | Laminate | Carpet | Vinyl | Tile

Office Ken Rushing Faithful, dependable service since 1989 813.754.1366 President Office 813.754.1366



COMPUTER On-site computer repair, networking, installations, consultations, off-site remote backups On-site computer repair, networking, installations, consultations, off-site Faithful, dependable service since 1989 remote backups

Ken Rushing President










Crosby Construction Services, Inc. 813-679-0096 David Crosby Insured


WorkS for you!

Call 1-877-308-5642 to reserve your space.

THE PLANT CITY OBSERVER Thursday, April18, 18,2013 2013 THURSDAY, APRIL

Plant city observer



FL License #HI1060

Giresh Sharma

Classifieds 15A 15


Ph: 813-764-9878 Fx: 813-764-9888




Robert & Michelle Southard

2505 Thonotosassa Rd Plant City, FL 33563 Publix Shopping Center

Franchise Owners / Inspectors, RMCC Home Inspections, LLC


1701 S. Alexander St., Suite #105 Plant City, Florida 33566


Fax: 813-704-5190

The Alpha Agency


Professional Investivations Wayne T. Miles Director of Operations www.The

PERSONAL SERVICES Septic Tank and Grease Trap Pumping Septic System Maintenance and Installation

(813) 654-8750


3201 Jerry Smith Rd. Dover, FL 33527 • www.SePTIc-PRoS.coM


Gaffney Eye Clinic

Kim Hamilton

Independent Consultant

Order Online!

Barry M. Gaffney, O.D., P.A. Jeremy H. Gaffney, O.D. 2002 S. Alexander St. Plant City, FL 33563



Fax: 813.754.5464


Make Your Phone Ring Team Up With Classifieds

Rob Vetzel, Owner



(Across From Farmers Market)








Natalie Sweet


Natalie Antonia Sweet LLC

Cell: (813) 758-9586 Fax: (813) 719-6300 Email:

Priority Pest Management

Cell 813.967.6879


Email 3807 Cason Road, Plant City, FL 33566

Bobby Bender Owner/Operator P.O. Box 454 Dover, FL 33527

TO SCHEDULE: 813.748.5634


KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY 1607 Alexander St., Plant City, FL 33563 Each ofďŹ ce independently owned and operated


Herb Padgett


Ant Control and Other Home Invaders



Walden Lake Art & Frame

Preserving Memories & Bringing Your Art to Life Michael Kidde Owner

110 E. Reynolds St., Suite 204 Plant City, FL 33563 MM 27085

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1514 S. Alexander St. Suite 104 Plant City, FL 33563 813.752.7460


Kaleidoscope Educational Services Mary R. Davis, Director Tutoring K-12 & Adults Flexible Schedule & Location WWWKKLCUSs


Sell your service with success. Advertise in The Observersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Service Directory

Sell your service with success. Call 386-492-2784 Call 877-308-5642

for more information... Advertise in Plant City Observerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Service Directory ACTUAL SIZE




Every 4 weeks! Call us toll free 877-308-5642




Every 4 w LV4266

By Apointment MA 27301


(813) 753-8965

Voice - Txt (863) 808-0341 State Licensed A 2900318


Shaun Bryant

813-727-6905 phone 813-719-2855 fax




Dianne Bryant

1643 Williamsburg Square Lakeland, FL 33803





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Plant city observer




04.18.13 Plant City Observer  
04.18.13 Plant City Observer  

04.18.13 Plant City Observer