Page 1

Plant City Times &





Business leaders compete in first Kiwanis spelling bee.

Meet Plant Plant City golfer City artist Roy hits the links at Hilry Adams. amateur national. PAGE 11





crime by Michael Eng | Editor

ONE STEP AT A TIME by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Plant City teen arrested for fake bomb threat The 14-year-old called the Plant City Walmart Supercenter July 30, and told employees there was a bomb inside the store.

+ Bruton library showcases artist

Local artist Colleen Justin is displaying 11 pieces of her work this month at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St. At the urging of her friend and instructor, Von Watson, Justin has been painting regularly since 2004, using her favorite mediums of oil and watercolor. She has recently retired, after owning an art and framing store in Plant City for more than 12 years. For more information, contact Justin at or (813) 763-4821.

Editor’s note: Per editorial policy, the identity of the juvenile defendant has been withheld from this report. One Plant City teenager is facing felony charges after he called the local Walmart Supercenter and reported a bomb inside the store. According to Plant City Police Department reports, at about 8:02 p.m. July 30, the teenager called Walmart’s business line and indicated to the responding employee that a bomb would detonate in two minutes, inside the store. Immediately, store personnel evacuated the building, forcing dozens of shoppers to leave their shopping carts and exit to the parking lot. Police officers responded and searched the store for about two hours. When officers determined the store was safe, Walmart resumed normal business operations. Brittany Diaz was inside the store when the threat was reported.


+ Twirlettes to host registration

heritage by Michael Eng | Editor

The Hillsborough County Twirlettes will host registration for its upcoming season. Registration for Plant City will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 19, at Shiloh Charter School, 905 W. Terrace Drive. Classes are held from 3:15 to 4 p.m. Mondays and are open to girls from kindergarten through middle school. For more, call (813) 634-7988.

+ Calling PCHS’ Class of 1978

The Plant City High School Class of 1978 will celebrate its 35th class reunion this weekend. The festivities take place from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. The 35-year reunion fun continues from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Embassy Suites, 10220 Palm River Road, Tampa. For more, email or search for “Plant City Class of 1978” on Facebook.

, 3&

This week’s winner is

Lisa Fliehman See her photo on PAGE 14.

Amber Jurgensen

From left: Teenagers Taylor Mallory, Hana Alsamman, Emma Strayer-Ellis and Lauren Schorejs all are working to change their lives, with the help of Steppin’ Stone Executive Director Cindy Churchill, right.



Steppin’ Stone Farm, a girls’ home just south of Plant City, has been helping troubled teens for 40 years. In its history, about 800 girls have come through the program. The phosphate mine glowed ominously when Cindy Churchill and her family drove by it more than three decades ago. But, it was the stench of sulfur Churchill remembers the most. “I thought they were taking me to hell,” Churchill says. With the exception of rural farm houses, there was nothing around for miles. Churchill hated instantly the desolate roads that twisted and turned deeper into the sprawling country. It was 9 p.m., and she would have rather been drinking with her

friends. Churchill was from Fort Lauderdale and had grown accustomed to the lifestyle it offered — days at the beach, nights spent partying. The problem was Churchill was only 14 years old. Things spiraled out of control quickly. By the sixth grade, Churchill began drinking. Alcohol led to drugs. But she was sneaky, concealing her behavior as much as she could, until her parents finally realized she wasn’t just having a casual drink at a high school party.

Downtown resident launches historic walk

Longtime Plant City resident Angie Davis will host a walking tour of Historic Downtown Plant City the first and third Saturdays of each month. Taking inspiration from proud historic towns such as St. Augustine, one Plant City resident is taking the task of ensuring the community’s rich heritage is not forgotten. Angie Davis, a resident of Historic Downtown Plant City for nearly three decades, is launching a new historic walking tour. The free, hourlong tour will begin at 6 p.m. the first and third Saturdays of each month, at the Train Depot. The walk coin-


When they decided to send her to a voluntary program, she ran. It took a month — and assistance from a private investigator — to find the rebellious teen. “I really didn’t care about my family at that point,” Churchill says. “It was all about my friends.” To combat her destructive behavior, Churchill was court-ordered to Steppin’ Stone Farm. The farm, just south of Plant City, is a Christian home for at-risk teenage girls. When Churchill stepped out of


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

Michael Eng

Angie Davis has lived in Historic Downtown Plant City for nearly 30 years.

Vol.1,No.2 | Onesection Crossword...................14


Opinion ........................6





4(523$!9 !5'534  

COMMUNITYCALENDAR FRIDAY, AUG. 9 PCHS Class of 1978 Reunion — takes place from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. The 35-year reunion fun continues from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Embassy Suites, 10220 Palm River Road, Tampa. Reservations recommended. For more information, email or search for “Plant City Class of 1978” on Facebook. Rafael & Company — performance will be from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. (813) 752-9100. Uncle Mike’s Smokehouse Grill Grand Opening — Clemons Road will perform from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 9 and 10, at the restaurant, 106 S.R. 60, Plant City. For more, visit unclemikes

SATURDAY, AUG. 10 Double Barrel Band — performance will be from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. (813) 752-9100. Summer Movie — takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St. (813) 757-9215.

MONDAY, AUG. 12 Board Games — takes place from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. (813) 757-9215. Diabetes Management Series: The Journey for Control — takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 12, 19 and 16, in the Community Conference Room at South Florida Baptist Hospital, 301 N. Alexander St., Plant City. The Journey for Control is a diabetes class that uses Conversation Maps, a series of images and metaphors, to engage groups of patients in conversations about a health topic, such as diabetes. Registration and pre-payment required; $10 for series. (813) 644-6720. Florida Speech and Hearing — Free phone distribution will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. For more, contact Jennifer Carmack, (863) 6863189. Peace by Piece — takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12, at Bruton

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: Photos are welcome. Deadline is noon Thursday.

Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St. Sue Ellis, (813) 719-9127 or

South Florida Baptist Hospital, 301 N. Alexander St., Plant City. High blood pressure increases the heart’s workload, causing the heart to enlarge and weaken over time, and the risk of coronary heart disease rises as blood cholesterol levels increase. Free.

Weight Loss Surgery Information Sessions — takes place from 5:30 to 6:30 Monday, Aug. 12, at the Ed and Myrtle Lou Swindle Medical Arts Center, 1601 W. Timberlane Drive, Plant City; or from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, at 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. (813) 644-6720.

TUESDAY, AUG. 13 Family Bedtime Stories — takes place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. 757-9215. GED Informational Session — takes place from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St. Hillsborough County School District’s Valarie Henry will talk about the GED test and upcoming changes to the test. (813) 757-9215. Morning Book Discussion — takes place from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Aug. 13, at Bruton Memorial Library, W. 302 McLendon St. The book will be “Clara and Mr. Tiffany” by Susan Vreeland. (813) 757-9215. Ribbon Cutting: KinderCare Learning Center — takes place at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 1701 W. Timberlane Drive. For more, visit

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 14 Hair Braiding Class — takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Focus 4 Beauty Career Center, 1805 James L. Redman Parkway. Learn new braids for back to school. (813) 752-4247. Knit 1, Purl 2 — takes place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. 757-9215. Literacy Tutoring with Lark — takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. (813) 757-9215.

THURSDAY, AUG. 15 Family Movie — takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. (813) 757-9215.

Hope Al-Anon Group — meets at 7:30 p.m. Mondays, at Hull House at First Presbyterian Church, 203 Thomas St. For more information, call 763-3698. Ladies Bible Study — meets at 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays, at Planteen Recreation Center, 401 Dort St., Plant City. For more information, call Martha Sue Skinner, (813) 752-7630 or email to


Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Salute to Agriculture Contact Breakfast — takes place from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the Florida Strawberry Festival Ag Center, 303 Lemon St., Plant City. Sponsored by Farm Credit of Central Florida, ACA. For more, visit Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce New Teacher Coffee — takes place from 7 to 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at Florida Strawberry Festival Expo Hall, 303 Lemon St., Plant City. For more, visit Plant City Commons Community Garden — meets at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. Karen Bornstine, (813) 435-8111 or

FRIDAY, AUG. 16 Polaris 101 — takes place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. (813) 757-9215. Résumé Writing Seminar — takes place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 McLendon St. Participants are encouraged to bring a flash drive with them to save their work. (813) 757-9215.

SATURDAY, AUG. 17 Strawberry Classic Car Show — takes place from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at 102 N. Palmer St., Plant City. For more, visit

MONDAY, AUG. 19 Back to School Craft — takes place from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St. For more, call (813) 757-9215.

ONGOING Babytime — takes place from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Thursdays, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. For more, call 7579215. Bereaved Parents Group — meets at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month, at South Florida Baptist Hospital, 301 N. Alexander St., Plant City. For more, call Tom Sluder, (813) 659-2555. Cholesterol Screenings — available from 2 to 3 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month, at South Florida Baptist Hospital, 301 N. Alexander St., Plant City. Cost is $30. No appointments necessary. Computer Classes — take place from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesdays, at Bruton Memorial Library, W. 302 McLendon St. (813) 757-9215. Crafternoons — takes place from 3 to 4 p.m. Mondays, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. 757-9215. Duplicate Bridge — meets at 1 p.m. Fridays, at St. Peters Episcopal Church, 302 Carey St., Plant City. Players must have partners. Walt Arnold, 752-1602. Family Motion Commotion — takes place from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. 757-9215. Heart Health Screenings — available from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, at

Plant City Civitan Club — meets at 7 a.m. the first and third Thursdays of the month, at Buddy Freddy’s Restaurant, 1101 Goldfinch Drive, Plant City. For more information, call 754-4680. Plant City Federated Republican Women’s Club — meets the third Thursday of each month. The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 22, at the home of Judy Wise, 2706 Pine Club Drive, Plant City. Guests are welcome. (863) 370-8389. Plant City Daybreak Rotary Club — meets at 7 a.m. Mondays, at the Community Conference Center at South Florida Baptist Hospital, 301 N. Alexander St. For more, visit Plant City Lions Club — meets at 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays, at Buddy Freddy’s, 1101 Goldfinch Drive. For more information, visit plantcitylions. org. Plant City Noon Rotary Club — meets at 12:15 p.m. Mondays, at HCC Plant City’s John R. Trinkle Center, 1206 N. Park Road, Plant City. Republican Club of Plant City — meets at 7:15 a.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month, at Buddy Freddy’s Restaurant, 1101 Goldfinch Drive, Plant City. Weight Watchers — meets at 1 p.m. Thursdays, at Plant City’s First Baptist Church, 503 N. Palmer St. (813) 7524104. Yoga Class — Jenna Stanko and the Plant City Recreation and Parks Department will host a new yoga class at 6 p.m. Tuesdays, at the Plant City Veterans Monument, corner of North Wheeler Street and C.R. 39 South. For more, visit or Contact Jenna at



4(523$!9 !5'534  


by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Food bank volunteers demonstrate commitment

Ruth Baker and Eva Almon — both in their 80s — volunteer almost every day the United Food Bank is open.

Ruth Baker sits on a stack of egg crates by the refrigerator in the back room of the United Food Bank of Plant City. It’s her favorite spot to rest. From her perch, she can monitor the back door and another internal door. She also can see her younger sister, Eva Almon, marking bread and bagging food. Ruth Baker and Baker and Almon may Eva Almon are be the most dedicated exemplary volunvolunteers in Plant City. teers. So much Both in their 80s, the so United Food sisters work nearly evBank of Plant ery day the food bank is City Executive open. In fact, the only Director Christine days they miss are for the Miller wishes 11-day Florida Strawshe could clone berry Festival. And it’s them. not because they’re busy “We need more munching on strawbervolunteers like ry shortcake. They volthem,” Miller unteer there, too. said. “We need “We get such a satissomeone to work faction in helping peoin the office and ple,” Baker said. a volunteer coorSince the food bank dinator.” opened in 2003, the sisMiller is lookters have volunteered. ing for dedicated Baker saw an advertisepeople with big ment asking for volunhearts, who can teers. She visited the work a steady facility and met former amount of time director Linda Lawson. After two weeks of each week. working at the food A lot of volbank, Baker recruited unteers are high Almon. school students “I love it,” Almon said. looking for a one “It’s good.” day a week shift The sisters usually to fulfill scholarshow up about 30 minship requireutes before their fourments. hour shift starts to preThe students pare for the day. They do a fantastic mark the bread, sort job, but during cans, rotate the food and the fall, Miller prepare the bags of food, needs more along with about 15 othsteady workers. er volunteers. If you’re interThey also man the ested, contact back door, talk with clithe bank at (813) ents about their house764-0625 or hold needs and hand visit bags of food to customHome_Page.php. ers. Of course, they have help from some of the younger high school boys when they need assistance lifting food or bags. “They’re amazing at the back door,” Executive Director Christine Miller said. “A good balance of sweetness and toughness. We couldn’t do it without them.” What happens at the back door is what really motivates the sisters. There, they interact directly with the clients. Baker recounts numerous times, when elderly clients have come to the food bank for help, after they no longer can receive food stamps. “They get their food, and tears well up in their eyes,” Baker said. “They have to go home with that,” Miller said of the emotional strain. But the sisters don’t seem to mind. “You’ve got the headache part,” Baker said, teasing Miller. “We’ve got the fun part.” Each bag of food is about 70 pounds and depends on the household size. The food bank serves about 50 clients daily. The numbers are triple last year’s totals over the same time period. Generally, the summer is slower. “We just learn to speed up,” Baker said. Baker always has enjoyed volunteering. Before the food bank, she worked in the lunchroom at Robinson Elementary. It was actually Almon who invited her to work the front gate at the Florida Strawberry Festival decades ago. The sisters are originally from Toccoa, Ga. Ruth moved in 1945, to Dade City, to work at Pasco Packing. After Almon got married, she, too, moved to the area from Georgia. “They’re really a pleasure,” Miller said. Miller assumed her position as executive director last summer. “Someone had to show me how to do it, how everything works,” Miller said.“And it was them.” Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@


Plant City Police Department officers wore full protective vests and utility belts during the training.

TRAINING DAY just a drill by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor


Although statistically rare, multiple-casualty acts of violence are not a recent phenomenon, according to the Report on the National Summit on Multiple Casualty Shootings. The first noted incident of violence occurred in 1927, at a school. The prevalence of these acts of homicide is low, with an estimate of 26 multiple-casualty shooting incidents identified since 2000. Seven acts occurred in 2012, including Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn.; Clackamas Town Center, Oregon; Pathmark, Old Bridge, N.J.; Sikh Temple, Oak Creek, Wis.; Century Movie Theater, Aurora, Colo.; Cafe Racer, Seattle, Wash.; and Oikos University, Oakland, Calif. At a basic level, the physical environment of a K-12 setting is different from that of a college or university setting, according to a report on campus attacks from the Department of Education, Secret Service and the FBI. Secondary schools typically comprise one to several buildings, utilize smaller classrooms and provide an experience in which students have regular contact with the same faculty and staff. Communication between responsible parties regarding issues facing the student population is facilitated by this proximity.

More than 60 officers from the Plant City Police Department completed recently an active shooter training session. It’s a chilling situation — an active shooter on a school campus. Just as fiercely as a threat enters through the doors, first-responders and police officers have to be ready. More than 60 officers from the Plant City Police Department recently completed training for this specific situation during a weeklong simulation exercise, at Plant City High School. The training included education about a variety of formations, tips and tactics. Dressed in a black T-shirt and army cargos, Sgt. Tray Towles acted as the perpetrator during the training. “Active Shooter Training, as well as other dynamic training, is important, because it places the officer in a situation where they have to make split-second decisions while dealing with dynamic environmental factors like gunfire, innocent bystanders, moving threats (and more),” Towles said. The training took place in fourhour blocks of instruction. Sixtysix officers, from patrol, information services, investigations, and administrative services divisions, were divided into five groups. The training led by the department’s Professional Standards Unit, which is responsible for the development and delivery of all department training. Officer and Training Coordinator Mark Dunnam managed the overall training. The actual instruction was performed by two agency instruc-

Above: An instructor gave officers advice during the drills. Left: The officers were briefed in the Mobile Communication Center. Photos by Amber Jurgensen

tors, officers Matt Combs and Paul Tester. Officers receive training in firearms, defensive tactics, TASER, legal updates and more on an ongoing basis. Dynamic training is typically done once per year. “We simulate real-world situations to familiarize our officers

with issues they might face when responding to calls for service,” Towles said. “Our feeling is that our officers are much better prepared to react when they’ve faced similar situations in training, thus making their response more fluid.” Contact Amber Jurgensen at

education by Michael Eng | Editor

District nears completion on renovations Projects at Plant City schools total almost $6 million.

When Plant City students return to their respective schools later this month, many of them will enjoy improved learning facilities. Hillsborough County Public Schools is nearing completion on several major construction projects through Plant City. Renovations at Trapnell El-

ementary School top the list. The school is receiving a new canopy, as well as renovations to its HVAC system. The projects total $3,617,903. Durant High School also is receiving renovations to its HVAC plant, at a total of cost $1,691,000. Historic school Burney Elementary is getting some loving care to its brick façade. Contractors have been working to replace the mortar and cement. And Turkey Creek Middle School students will enjoy a new gymnasium floor, at a total cost of $88,462.44.

THE PROJECTS SCHOOL Burney Elementary Durant High Durant High Durant High Marshall Middle Nelson Elementary Robinson Elementary Robinson Elementary Trapnell Elementary Trapnell Elementary Trapnell Elementary Turkey Creek Middle

PROJECT COST Tuckpointing $425,779* HVAC plant renovation $1,691,000 High HVAC Commissioning $15,100 Paving and parking $274,243* Roof replacement $996,980* Sunshade $35,940 (matching funds) Roof replacement $996,980* Drainage improvements $70,000 HVAC Renovation $3,326,000 HVAC Commissioning $13,940 Canopy replacement $277,990 Gymnasium floor replacement $88,462.44

START DATE June 11 June 11 June 11 June 11 April 5 June 3 April 5 June 11 June 11 June 11 June 11 June 11

COMPLETION DATE Aug. 9 Aug. 9 Oct. 11 Aug. 9 Aug. 5 Oct. 4 Aug. 5 Aug. 9 Aug. 11 Oct. 11 Aug. 9 Aug. 9

* The cost for these projects is the combined total for similar work at multiple school sites.

Eva Almon and Ruth Baker

Amber Jurgensen



4(523$!9 !5'534  




WHEN: 6 p.m. the first and third Saturdays of each month. Tour lasts about an hour. WHERE: Meets at the Train Depot INFORMATION: Angie Davis, (813) 210-1611 THE LOCATIONS 1. Plant City Community Bingo 2. Whistle Stop Gourmet Coffee and Eatery 3. Snellgroves 4. State Theatre 5. Capitol Theatre 6. 1914 High School Community Center 7. Hillsboro State Bank 8. Camellia Rose Tea Room and Gifts 9. All A Bloom Florist 10. J. Arden Mays Building 11. Sisters & Company 12. Train Depot

TOUR / PAGE 1 cides with the monthly Bike Fest and Strawberry Classic Car Show events. Davis, who has harbored a lifelong fascination with history, began researching Plant City’s history about three years ago. “You can’t move on to a future without knowing your past,” she said. “It just seems like, as Plant City has gotten bigger, we’ve forgotten about what started this town in the first place. “I remember when Plant City didn’t exist beyond the Big Lots,” Davis said. “There was nothing to the east or west, or north or south.” Davis has earmarked 12 different locations within the historic district for the first iteration of her tour. Many of the stories she tells come

BOMB / PAGE 1 “I was with my family; eerily scary,” she said. “Too bad we just spent an hour-and-a-half back-to-school shopping and had to leave our buggy. Safety first.” Upon further investigation, officers determined the call


5 7

8 10 9

4 3


12 1

from longtime neighbors, business owners and even family members. Additional information comes from resources, such as the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center. “We have neighbors who still live in the houses they were in,” Davis said. “This needs to be passed on to our younger generations. It is important.” Davis first approached Plant City officials and the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce about starting the walk last month. After receiving chamber President Marion Smith’s blessing, she acted quickly, posting flyers in downtown businesses and meeting many of the shop owners. Davis’ walk will include a plethora of interesting anecdotes, including Shirley Temple’s performance

in the old Capitol Theatre, in the Young and Moody Building. David, who runs two Great Clips salons in Lakeland and Zephyrhills, said she is launching the tour now to give her something on which to focus. Her son is entering the military, and she needed a new hobby, she said. As the walk grows, Davis hopes to add new stories and locations, including even some homes in the historic district. She’d love to see the walk become a tourist attraction for Plant City. “I could see people coming in from Orlando or Tampa for a day,” she said. “Eventually, I’d love to have a horse-drawn carriage tour.” Contact Michael Eng at meng@plantcityobserver. com.

was made from a Metro PCS cell phone. The owner of the phone arrived to the Plant City Police Department July 31, to report that the teenager had used the phone. The owner said he was present during the call but did not know the teenager was going to make the bomb threat.

At about 4:40 p.m. July 31, the teenager turned himself into Plant City police. Post-Miranda, he admitted to calling in the bomb threat as a prank. The teenager faces one felony charge of making a false report about planting a bomb. Contact Michael Eng at

CRITTER CORNER This little girl was found on the railroad tracks at about 3 months old. Now between 7 and 8 months old, she is ready for a permanent home. She is sweet and loving and good with other dogs and everyone she meets. She is spayed, micro-chipped and has had all of her shots. To adopt, contact Heidi’s Legacy Dog Rescue, in Lithia, (813) 737-1795, or visit heidislega cydogrescue. com.

the car, an excited dachshund dashed to her. Louise Keiser wasn’t far behind the loving critter. Louise, along with her husband, Ed, started the farm in 1973. They were known affectionately around the farm as “Grandma” and “Grandpa.” Churchill was scared and sullen. But, Louise tried to melt Churchill’s icy disposition with kindness. “I remember Grandma Keiser being real friendly,” Churchill says. “This place isn’t authoritarian. “The dog settles you down, too,” Churchill says. “He was really friendly, with his wagging tail.” Churchill successfully completed the program. And not only has her life turned around, but also, she never left the farm. When Louise died in 1991, Churchill assumed the role as executive director. And the dachshund has a successor, too, a basset hound named Lady who greets the many girls who have come after Churchill.


Steppin’ Stone Farm has changed significantly since Churchill’s time as a girl there. The resident trailers have been replaced with three homes, named Love, Faith and Hope. The homes are nestled among 86.5 acres of lush green landscaping and walking paths. They can accommodate up to 27 girls. The farm usually averages about 24. There’s a chapel, office and dining hall situated at the entrance. In the back sits a school, guest house, apartment for staff training, duplexes for live-in staff and a modest house for Churchill and her husband. Six horses trot in an adjacent field. The girls also take care of chickens, four pigs, a donkey and goats. Every year, the girls raise two steers for the Florida Strawberry Festival. Although the phosphate mine is no longer nearby, many of the girls feel the same sense of isolation Churchill did. Most of the girls are local, but some come from neighboring cities such as Orlando and Tampa. The scenic drive that dips around freshly planted fields, rustic barns and humble homes is unnerving. “You’re frightened,” Churchill says. “I wasn’t used to working, to structure. There’s all those same thoughts from them.” But, it’s not all work. The girls also get a chance to play volleyball, basketball, sing in choir and participate in other extracurricular activities.


Respect is the most important tenant the 12-member staff teaches. Respect means no fights. Or else physical restraint will be used. Respect means saying “yes ma’am” and “yes sir.” Respect means helping your peers. The girls’ level of respect and behavior is acknowledged through merits and demerits. Too many demerits means a


Since she was 12, Lauren had been through three different help programs. She had started abusing prescription drugs, had relationships with a chain of bad boyfriends and a negative outlook. “I just really didn’t care about anything,” Lauren says. “I really didn’t know what to do.” So at 14, she came to Steppin’ Stone Farm. Her mother had been a girl at the farm, as well. “I thought it’d be like every other program,” Lauren says. “I would show them what they wanted, and then I’d be out of here.” But instead, Lauren has excelled. She is part of leadership and finally will be able to go home to Orlando. “This is the only thing that really worked for me,” Lauren says. “The only one that showed me I could be more.”

Taylor Mallory, 17

Taylor and her sister always had depended on each other. Their mother had been in and out of their life, because of her drug abuse. The duo wasn’t particularly close with their father, either. So, when Taylor’s mother died when she was only 13, she fell apart. Her sister left the house shortly after. Alone, Taylor rebelled against her father. “I mainly used my mom’s death to define me,” Taylor says. “I used it against people.” At the farm, Taylor has become involved with the 4-H. She loves animals and it shows. The Lakeland local also has successfully completed her junior year of school. “It’s made me a happier person,” Taylor says. “I can just be myself, respect myself more and others.”

girl can’t go to visit her family during one of the four homestays for the year. Merits allow girls to move up levels, which gives them more responsibilities. Lauren Schorejs, 16, has been faring well in the program. She has moved up in the levels and is part of leadership where she helps work in the kitchen. “You’re given more opportunities and responsibilities to prove yourself,” Schorejs says. Before coming to the farm, many of the girls had issues with running away. If a girl runs away from the farm, she won’t be kicked out of the program. Instead, an additional six months will be tacked onto her yearlong sentence. As far as schooling is con-

Hana Alsamman, 17

Hana was raised in a Christian home and given all the tools to succeed. But, when she grew apart from her mother, she started hanging out with the wrong crowd. She began drinking and sneaking out with boys. She was told five minutes before the family left to drop her off at the farm where she was going. Hana blasted her music through her headphones. “I hated it,” Hana says about first coming to the farm. “I thought I didn’t need to change. I thought I was perfect.” But Hana became successful in the program. Soon, she will return to Winter Park and will be a senior in school. “I see amazing changes, not only in myself but (also) in relationships with my mom, family and God,” she says.

Emma Strayer-Ellis, 15

Adopted from Nicaragua, Emma had been raised by her single mother for 14 years. As an only child, Emma was shy and was used to her mother doing things for her. When her mother married, Emma’s lack of communication worsened. She had a boyfriend her parents didn’t like, and her grades slipped. Emma had no idea she was being sent to the farm until she arrived. Her mother told her she was going on vacation. “I did not like it here,” Emma says. “I did not talk at all for the first two months, except for saying, ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no ma’am.’” But since then, the shy girl has become a friendly young woman. “My communication with my family is so much better and even with the staff,” the Sarasota local says. “I don’t feel like I have to hide or be judged.” cerned, there is no such thing as a “D” in the grading system. The girls are expected to get a 75% to pass a class, which is taught by on-site teachers. The girls attend chapel every Sunday, but Christian teachings aren’t forced. “We give them a choice to decide,” Churchill says. “It takes the fake-ness out of it.” Since the farm opened 40 years ago, about 800 girls have come through the program. “We’re talking about girls who have been here in-depth, for an average of 15 months,” Churchill says. “It really gives them a chance to change their lives.” Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@plantcityobserver. com.



4(523$!9 !5'534  



The following information was gathered from incident and arrest reports obtained from the Plant City Police Department.



1700 block of North Maryland Avenue. Grand Theft. An orange STIHL weed-eater and an orange STIHL edger were stolen out of a trailer.


Intersection of East Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and South Collins Street. Drug Arrest. An officer conducted a traffic stop on a 2007 Toyota two-door, because the driver was not wearing his seat belt. When the officer met with driver, he detected the odor of marijuana from inside the vehicle. A search was conducted, and 4.4 grams of marijuana were located in the vehicle.



Intersection of Walter Drive and West Baker Street. Driving with License Suspended/Revoked. An officer conducted a traffic stop on a 1998 Ford for leaving its lane of travel.The driver attempted to use his deceased brother’s Florida driver’s license. He eventually gave his correct name. The suspect had a suspended Florida driver’s license.



1000 block of Village College Court. Stolen Dune Buggy and Trailer. Sometime overnight, unknown person(s) stole a homemade dune buggy-style ATV and flatbed trailer from the parking lot.


4340 block of Country Hills Boulevard. Vehicle Burglary. Sometime between 5 and 6 a.m., unknown person(s) stole a Galaxy 7-inch tablet in a tan case from the unlocked Chevy HHR.


1210 block of West Ball Street. Criminal Mischief. Officers responded to the house, in reference to an unknown male throwing large bricks at the victim’s car and then fleeing the scene. The suspect was located a few blocks away and identified by the victim and witnesses.


200 block of South Waller Street. Residential Burglary. During the day, unknown person(s) gained entry to the residence by breaking the bathroom window. Once inside, the suspect(s) stole about 100 DVDs and a DVD player.


Intersection of Waller and Madison streets. Stolen Vehicle. The victim stated he exited his 1999 GMC station wagon and left the keys in the ignition while he was standing around talking to friends. An unknown black male, about 5-foot-4, with shorts dreads, stole the vehicle and drove off.


2600 block of James L. Redman Parkway. Retail Theft. The suspect was arrested for concealing two knives and attempting to leave without paying. He also had a Hillsborough County warrant for failure to appear on a possession of drugs charge.



200 block of West Alexander Street. Retail Theft. Officers apprehended the suspect after she left the store without paying for cosmetic items.


200 block of West Alexander Street. Retail Theft. The suspect was arrested for concealing $85.82 worth of personal hygiene products in her purse and exiting the business without paying.


2600 block of James L. Redman Parkway. Re-



1200 block of North Gordon Street. Traffic Crash. The driver was traveling westbound on East Cherry Street, when she veered off the north side of the road. The driver’s vehicle struck a mailbox near Niagara Street and sideswiped a tree on the northeast corner of East Cherry and North Gordon streets, before crossing over North Gordon Street and entering the property. The vehicle then hit a large tree in the front yard, before slamming into the front of the residence. No one in the residence was hurt. The driver had a slight odor of an alcoholic beverage and admitted to have two beers and taking a prescribed pill. The driver refused to submit to blood-alcohol-level testing. tail Theft. The suspect was arrested for concealing a keychain, valued at $3.97, and exiting the business without rendering payment.



800 block of South Morgan Street. Narcotics/Ammo/Aggravated Assault Arrest. Officers responded to this apartment, because the suspect was walking around the apartment complex and threatening neighbors with two handguns. Verbal consent was obtained to search his apartment while he stood at the door. More than 11 grams of powdered cocaine and 13 grams of crystal meth were located, along with ammunition. After completing the investigation/search, the suspect was arrested for the aggravated assault and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. Drug charges are pending.


4010 block of South Frontage Road. Grand Theft. Overnight, an unknown person(s) stole five portable propane tanks from the front of the business. The tanks were in a locked cabinet. The lock was removed and also stolen.


1100 block of South Tyler Street. Petit Theft. Unknown person(s) stole two Florida license plates off the patio of the apartment.


2600 block of James L. Redman Parkway. Theft/Possession of Narcotics Arrest. The store’s loss-prevention personnel called, because a pharmacy employee, was stealing prescription Xanax from the pharmacy. After the investigation, the suspect was arrested for the theft of several hundred prescription pills. Pills were found on her person at the time of arrest.


Intersection of North Park Road and Sansone Boulevard. Drug Arrest. The suspect was stopped for a traffic violation. The officer detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. After a search, the suspect was arrested for possession of six grams of marijuana found in the vehicle.



3200 block of West Baker Street. Commercial Burglary. Unknown suspect(s) forced entry to the northwest rear window. The suspect(s) stole a laptop, 42-inch flat-screen television and numerous tools. Total value is between $4,500 and $5,000.


1700 block of North Lime Street. Trespass Conveyance. Unknown suspect(s) entered four unlocked vehicles parked on the property. The complainant said nothing had been taken from the vehicles, but the doors had been found ajar.



1000 block of West King Street. Vehicle Burglary. Unknown suspect(s) entered an unlocked vehicle and stole Craftsman tools, an EBT card and miscellaneous change.



4(523$!9 !5'534  


The Knights of Pythias, circa 1905. The men in this photo are seated, we believe, from left: George Benjamin Wells (G.B.), John Walworth, Bob Head, D.J. Parks, Samuel Edward Mays (S.E.), John T. Lowe, William Lee Lowry (W.L.) and Charlie Burkstresser. Standing, from left: Sam Tyner, George Wilson, Charlie Burdette, Dwight Crum, O.D. Pemberton, Henry B. Wordehoff, Dave Hall, Ellis Holloway, Joe Thomas, John A. Barns, John Kennedy, W.V. Griffin, George W. Foster, John Graham, Daniel L. Robinson, Mr. Stevens, Oscar Stone, unidentified, W.A. House and Sheldon Cornelius Wells (S.C.). Among those not pictured is Charles Evan Barnes, who was perhaps the photographer.

Early Plant City leaders and the Knights of Pythias Plant City was first chartered in Holloway, Joe Thomas, John A. Barns, 1885, and as Plant City historian, John Kennedy, W.V. Griffin, George W. David E. Bailey, Jr., wrote, it was an Foster, John Graham, Daniel L. Rob“instant town.” inson, Mr. Stevens, Oscar Stone, unBy 1902, the town had progressed identified, W.A. House and Sheldon to the point that Philander Allen Cornelius Wells (S.C.). Among those Merrin, then editor of the Plant City not pictured is Charles Evan Barnes, Courier, wrote, “Plant City’s future who was perhaps the photographer. was assured.” Merrin wrote of the A charter member of the Knights many different businesses in town of Pythias, Barnes was born in 1875, and said, “Among the lodges were the in West Virginia, and moved in about Knights of Pythias and the Masonic 1896, to Florida. He established himLodge.” self quickly as a business, civic and So, what is the Knights of Pythias? political leader. Barnes rose to a maIt is a fraternal organization — some jor position in the state Republican refer to it as a secret society — found- Party and, in 1908, was appointed ed in 1864, during the Civil War. The postmaster by President Theodore name is derived from the Roosevelt. He was reappointGreek legend of Damon and ed in 1909, and served until Pythias, in which Pythias 1913, when President Woodoffers to be held hostage for row Wilson replaced him. four hours so his friend DaBarnes was the manager of mon, who has been wrongly the Barlow Land Company sentenced to death, could and a successful businessvisit his family one last time. man in land development When Damon returns to face and insurance. He was the his sentence, the king is so only Republican elected to impressed with their loyalty the Plant City Council and GIL and trust that he frees both of was a leader of the Plant City GOTT them. Boosters and Board of Trade. The letters “FCB” are part He was married to Mary Ellen of the society’s code and stand for “Mamie” Whitehurst Barnes, who “Friendship, Charity, Benevolence.” served as postmaster from 1922 to Notable Americans who have been 1934, being appointed by presidents members of the Knights of Pythias Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge include U.S. presidents William and Herbert Hoover. McKinley, Warren Harding and Another leader of the group was Franklin D. Roosevelt, along with John Augustus Barns, (not related to individuals such as Louis Armstrong, Barnes), another charter member of William Jennings Bryan, Nelson the Knights of Pythias. He is pictured Rockefeller, Hubert Humphrey and here in the center with raised cerW. G. Brorein, who founded the emonial sword. Peninsular Telephone Co., in 1901, Barns was born in 1861, in Arkanin Tampa, and brought the lines to sas, to a dentist, Dr. Augustus Mitchell Plant City in 1902. Florida governors Barns, and at age 21 moved to Shiloh who have been members of the and began his career in agriculture. Knights of Pythias include William An orphaned cousin, George Foster, Haydon Burns, Millard F. Caldwell, also in the subject photo, joined the Doyle Elam Carlton, Cary Augustus other members of the Barns family as Hardee and Park Trammel. they followed young John to Florida In our photo of the Plant City the following year. Lodge of the Knights of Pythias, Barns became a community leader taken in 1905, are 28 men, many of and joined with William L. Lowry in whom were in leadership positions in the firm of Lowry and Barns, which the young town named after railroad sold seeds, crates and fertilizer. He magnate Henry Bradley Plant. We’ll also was manager, then owner of soon meet some of them. We were the Plant City Courier, a member of not able to gather much information the Plant City Boosters Club and a on some of the men pictured, but, if director of the re-energized Board any readers have any information or of Trade. Buying out his citrus grove photos, please contact us. partners, W.L. Lowry and W.B. HerThe men in this photo are seated, ring, Barns and his wife, Ida Pemwe believe, in front of the Wells Build- berton, moved permanently to the ing built, in 1904, at 114 N. Collins citrus grove in about 1920, in PinelSt., the third floor of which held the las County. Their son, Judge Paul D. meeting room used by the Knights of Barns, served on the Florida Supreme Pythias, Independent Order of Odd Court from 1946 to 1950. Fellows, Patriotic Sons of America, George Foster and Robert J. Head Woodmen of the World and others. were successful in the packing and The members in the photo include, shipping business. John T. Lowe seated from left: George Benjamin entered politics and was elected to Wells (G.B.), John Walworth, Bob the Florida State House of RepresenHead, D.J. Parks, Samuel Edward tatives and served from 1927 to 1928, Mays (S.E.), John T. Lowe, William 1929 to 1930 and 1931 to 32. Lee Lowry (W.L.) and Charlie BurkWilliam Lee Lowry (W.L.) and oldstresser. Standing, from left: Sam er brother, Charles S. Lowry (C.S.), Tyner, George Wilson, Charlie Burwere born in Louisiana and moved dette, Dwight Crum, O.D. Pemberton, with their family in 1883, to Plant Henry B. Wordehoff, Dave Hall, Ellis City, where their father, Soloman

Plant City Times & Observer Locally Owned

The Plant City Times & Observer is published by Plant City Media LLC, a joint-venture of the Tampa Bay Times and Plant City Observer LLC.

110 E. Reynolds St., Suite 100-A Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 704-6850 ‹&RS\ULJKW 3ODQW &LW\ 0HGLD //&  $OO 5LJKWV 5HVHUYHG

Courtesy of the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center

This is a view of the intersection of Collins and North Drane streets, circa 1919. Lowry, established a lumber business. Charles and William married sisters — Sallie A. Allen and Mary G. Allen. C.S. Lowry was the proprietor of the City Drug Store and was active in civic affairs, being elected alderman and chairman pro-tem of the city council. He later became a medical doctor and moved to Miami. W.L. Lowry was in business with John A. Barns both in real estate and with the seeds, crates and fertilizer firm of Lowry and Barns. Like Barns, Lowry was an organizer of the Knights of Pythias and also a member of the Plant City Boosters. Active in politics, he was elected as alderman, town clerk and clerktreasurer and served as treasurer/ tax assessor until his death, in 1922. He was the developer of Forest Park and a partner in the Lowry and Barns subdivision. Samuel Edward Mays was a remarkable man in Plant City history. In 1908, the Plant City Courier published an article that stated, “Mr. Mays is the largest individual real estate owner of the city.” Mays was born in 1864, in Greenville, S.C., to Professor Samuel Elias Mays and Katherine Mosley Mays. The family moved to Hillsborough County and settled in 1876, in the Alafia River area. From 1882 to 1887, Mays worked as a clerk in the mercantile business of J.M. Boyett in Peru (Riverview). When he moved in 1887, to Plant City, he took charge of C.J. Yates’s general store. He started his own business in 1892 and launched into merchandising, banking, farming, fruit growing and real estate. He was one of the organizers of Hillsboro State Bank in 1902, and in 1907, he helped organize the Bank of Plant City. Mays was elected to the City Council and served from 1907 to


Call Veronica Prostko, (813) 704-6850, or Joanna Verga, (813) 310-8767.


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, Mail: The Plant City Observer, 110 E. Reynolds St., Suite 100-A, Plant City, FL 33563

1915. He was a member of the Plant City Boosters, a director of the Board of Trade and in 1908, built the largest single brick building in Plant City, later becoming Black’s Department Store. He was instrumental in writing and passing the new city charter of 1927 and was the first mayor under that charter. He continued to serve as a city commissioner until his death in 1932. George Washington Wells (“G.W.”) was born in 1843, in Georgia, and moved to Plant City sometime after his marriage in 1864, to Mary Jane Drew, of Tampa. Their children were George Benjamin Wells (“G.B.,” 1868), Walter Charles Wells (“W.C.,” 1870), Mary Jane Wells (1873), William Jason Wells (1876) and Sheldon Cornelius Wells (“S.C.,” 1878). W.C. Wells and father, G.W. Wells, started in about 1884, Wells hardware and furniture store. Sheldon Wells ran the S.C. Wells & Co. Pharmacy but gave that up to join the hardware operation, as did former teacher William Jason Wells. G.B. Wells became an attorney and also provided service to the hardware firm. Mary Jane Wells married Dr. John Clarence Knight. G.B. Wells had his law office on the second floor of the Wells Building, 114 N. Collins St., just one floor down from the meeting room where the Knights of Pythias met. Interested in civic affairs, G.B. succeeded his father in 1900, as town clerk. He was elected mayor and served from 1902 to 1911. He was also elected to the Florida State House of Representatives and served two terms, 1903 to 1904 and 1905 to 1906. As were some of the others, G.B. Wells was one of the Plant City Boosters; he was also secretary of the Board of Trade. After serving as mayor, Wells served as city attorney until his death in 1934. His wife,

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.

Veronica Kimsey Wells, of Tennessee, was active in the Woman’s Club and is one of the founders of the Plant City Public Library. Henry B. Wordehoff, born in 1866, has an interesting background as the son of Antoine Wordehoff, a Prussian immigrant who homesteaded in about 1842, in Alafia. By 1850, 42 soldiers were garrisoned at Fort Alafia, and Antoine Wordehoff was one. He met Martha E. Moody at the fort and married her. In 1855, he established a post office at Alafia and became the first postmaster. By 1863, Antoine Wordehoff had become a county commissioner and had built his farm to a plantation of 300 to 400 acres. Sometime after the death of his father in 1887, Henry Wordehoff sold the land he inherited and relocated to Plant City. He was a guest at the Robinson House hotel and married Frances “Fannie” Robinson in about 1896. Wordehoff was a businessman and ran a one-stop store that sold buggies, wagons and more. He prospered and invested in land in and around Plant City. He was one of the organizers of the Bank of Plant City, in 1906 to 1907. When some of his buildings burned in the calamitous fire of 1907, Wordehoff was one of the first to rebuild with brick. Wordehoff was also a member of the Plant City Boosters and made the promotional trip in 1910, to Chicago and also was involved with the Board of Trade. He built one of the grandest residences in Plant City, on the northwest corner of Wheeler and Reynolds streets. It was later moved and for years served as the Wells Funeral Home on the southwest corner of Mahoney and Wheeler streets. This group of young members of the Knights of Pythias was very much in the lead in the development of Plant City. Over the years, things changed, and although many of this group spent their lives in Plant City, many of the men went different directions. We don’t know the subsequent history of the Knights of Pythias, but we do know the society continued to meet in the Wells Building until the mid to late 1960s. And we know that these men shown here in 1905 were more than just “Boosters” of Plant City; they were some of the individuals who made the city what it is today. Sources: Quintilla Geer Bruton and David E. Bailey, Jr., Plant City; Its Origin and History, 1984; U.S. Federal Census records; Hillsborough County Historic Resources Survey Reports;; The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co.,Vol. III, 1923; Political Graveyard. com; Knights of Pythias websites; oral interview with Mary Barnes Harrell; Plant City Photo Archives and History Center collections; and various websites. Gil Gott is executive director of the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center.

Plant City Times &

Observer General Manager/Editorial / Michael Eng,

General Manager/Advertising / Tony Del Castillo, Assistant Managing Editor / Jess Eng, Associate Editors / (Community) Amber Jurgensen,; (Sports) Matt Mauney, Advertising Executives / Veronica Prostko,; Joanna Verga, Circulation/Office Manager / Linda Lancaster,



4(523$!9 !5'534  

observed: e-m-b-a-r-r-a-s-s-m-e-n-t

Editor faces fear, falls in Kiwanis spelling bee MICHAEL ENG

Haught Funeral Home’s David Wolf came into my office earlier this year with a crazy idea. He wanted to do an adult spelling bee, as a fundraiser for the Kiwanis Club of Plant City. And he was going door-todoor, searching for competitors. He stroked my ego, saying I’d be a tough competitor. He fanned the flames more by telling me his next stops were all

the other publications in town. And before I knew it, I had signed myself up — willingly — for my worst nightmare. And, as Wolf welcomed guests and competitors to the Kiwanis Club of Plant City’s first Business Spelling Bee Aug. 6, at the 1914 PCHS Community Building, he reminded everyone that overwhelmingly, people fear public speaking more than death.

Count me among the majority. To top it all off, Wolf had been ribbing me every chance he could get — saying I better win (or at least best our friends representing the other publications). Last week, he even was quoted in this very newspaper, saying: “There’s a lot on Michael Eng’s shoulders. As the editor of a newspaper, many people

think he has the advantage.” And before the bee, my wife reminded me not to shame the family. No pressure. But, all fear aside, I, along with about 20 other competitors, had a blast. Although I didn’t win (“innocuous” was my fatal word), I did make it to the top five. More importantly, representatives from a variety

of Plant City businesses came together to raise money for the Kiwanis Club’s Read Around the World and Stuff the Bus campaigns. Pretty great reasons to face your biggest fear, if you ask me. And before you ask, David: Yes, I’ll happily be your victim again next year. For more coverage of the bee, see page 9.

Neighborhood R E A L E S TAT E | P L A N T C I T Y L I F E | O B I T U A R I E S | G A M E S | FA I T H | S P O RT S




If your club would like to post announcements, email them to Associate Editor Amber Jurgensen, ajur gensen@plantcityobserver. com.

+ Plant City Garden Club

The Plant City Garden Club will begin meeting for the upcoming club year next month. Officers include, back row, from left: Joey Findlay, corresponding secretary; Marci Wilcox, recording secretary; and Jan Griffin, treasurer. Front row, from left: Bess Treadwell, second vice president; Christy Linke, president; and Cindy Card, first vice president. For more, call Cindy, (813) 752-8448.

+ Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Salute to Agriculture Contact Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the Evelyn and Batista Madonia Sr. Agricultural Show Center, 2508 W. Oak St., Plant City. The chamber will honor the Agri-Business Committee’s 2013 agriculture award winners. The winners are: Agriculturist of the Year: Steven C. Mathis Ag Educator of the Year: Emily Petrilli Agri-Business of the Year: Wish Farms Supporter of Youth in Agriculture: Jon Poppell Cost for the breakfast is $15 per person. RSVP required by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9. For more, call (813) 754-3707.

+ Kiwanis Club of Plant City

Tom Barber, speaking about the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg reenactment, will be the featured guest at the Kiwanis Club of Plant City’s meeting next week. The group meets at noon Wednesdays, at Buddy Freddy’s, 1101 Goldfinch Drive, Plant City.

+ Plant City Daybreak Rotary

The Plant City Daybreak Rotary Club’s 2013 Cracker Country Feast will take place Oct. 25, at the home of George Banning. The club meets at 7 a.m. Mondays, in the Community Room at South Florida Baptist Hospital, 301 N. Alexander St.

+ P.C. Federated Republican Women’s Club

The Plant City Federated Republican Women’s Club meets the third Thursday of each month. The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 22, at the home of Judy Wise, 2706 Pine Club Drive. For more, call (863) 370-8389.

Plant City artist, photographer and printmaker Roy Hilry Adams also has an interest in filmmaking.

Amber Jurgensen



by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Roy Hilry Adams

Roy Hilry Adams took this photo during a trip to Europe.

Painter, printmaker and photographer Roy Hilry Adams has produced hundreds of pieces that chronicle his travels around the country and world. The driveway to the Plant City home of Roy Hilry Adams looks like a Jackson Pollock creation. Paint is splattered and dripped everywhere. Even the creaky screen door has colorful smudges around the handle. It’s no mystery that Adams is an artist himself. The inside of his house is as eclectic as his own photographs and paintings. A slab of glass rests on an old drum, serving as a makeshift coffee table. African masks and guitars adorn the walls. Chinese lanterns hang from the ceiling. A picture of Elvis has started to peel off the interior side of the front door. The bohemian has stacks of paintings several feet high in two rooms. The paintings are bright, abstract. Some are on cardboard, others on canvas. “I like Matisse and his scissors,” Adams says. “I like other artists. I go to art shows and just sketch.” However, although Adams’ home is what you expect for an artist who sees inspiration everywhere he looks, he didn’t pick up a paintbrush until his college years. Originally a marine biology major at the University of South Florida, Adams was captivated one day, when he saw models in the art department. He quickly enrolled in a few arts classes and ultimately earned his bachelor’s degree, with a specialization in painting. During this time, he studied in New York and also took a trip with his father, a pastor, to the Middle East. There, he was inspired to take pictures. Adams also documented his travels in Europe through the lens of a camera. His favorite stops in-

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS 2010: Group Show: Stuttgart, Germany 2009: Group Show: Green Door, Derbyshire, U.K. 2009: Group Show: Iowa State University Gallery, Ames, Iowa 2009: Group Show: Print for Peace, Instituto Mexicano Norteamericano, Monterey, Mexico 2009: Group Show: Nightingale Gallery, La Grande, Eastern Oregon University Roy Hilry Adams’ paintings are largely inspired by the work of Henri Matisse. cluded Crete and Amsterdam. Ten years later, he rekindled his interest in photography and printmaking. “Printmaking is more therapeutic,” Adams says. “Photography is more precise, with the framing.” In 2000, Adams started showing his artwork locally. He entered a group show at Gala Corina, in Ybor City. Later, Adams hosted a solo show in the TECO Plaza Public Art Gallery, in Tampa. He then turned his focus to Lakeland and became active in its Art in the Park. Adams also volunteers with the Polk Museum of Art. Adams has shown his work around the world, including Stuttgart, Germany, and Derbyshire, United Kingdom. In recent years, he’s been invited to show at Print for Peace, in Mexico, Iowa State University and the Ft. Smith Art Center, in Arkansas, his home state. Born in 1962, in the Natu-

ral State, Adams is of Cherokee descent. His greatgrandmother was on the Trail of Tears. Adams moved to Beaumont, Texas, from Arkansas when he was a baby. “I’ve always related to Robert Rauschenberg,” Adams says in his biography. “He and I both came from the same area. I lived in Beaumont from 7 months to the age of 12. Rauschenberg was brought up in Port Arthur, Texas, less than 30 miles away. “I credit a lot of my success to Tom Kettner,” he says. “He is an abstract painter who was Mr. Rauschenberg’s assistant for some time and gives me a lot of good advice.” Adams’ subsequent travels have taken him throughout the country, including to the pueblos of New Mexico;

Amber Jurgensen

Four Corners Monument, in Arizona; and the Big Cypress Reservation, in Florida. He moved to Plant City about 10 years ago. “I like Plant City, because it’s near a bigger city, but without all the traffic,” Adams says. Adams also loves toy cameras and vintage film cameras. He peruses yard sales searching for the old machines. He owns a Holga and a Super 8, among others. Often, he can be seen walking around town, taking photographs or filming the gigantic lizards at Dinosaur World. Adams will be showing in November, at the Polk Museum of Art’s Fall for Art Festival. Contact Amber Jurgensen at

ONLINE: To view more work by Roy Hilry Adams, visit his website,

2008: Group Show: Nightingale Gallery, La Grande, Eastern Oregon University 2008: 25 Adams Pieces: Fort Smith Art Center, Fort Smith, Ark. 2007: Adams Collaborative Art Show: Members Gallery, Art On the Park, Lakeland 2006: Solo Printmaking Show: Old Hyde Park Art Center, Tampa 2006: Group Show: Jungle Red Gallery, Minneapolis 2000: Solo Photography Show: TECO Plaza Public Art Gallery, Tampa 2000: Group Show: Gala Corina, Corina Cigar Factory, Ybor City 1984: Solo Environmental Show: Marshal Center Gallery, University of South Florida



4(523$!9 !5'534  


SPELL CHECK by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor

Pauline “Polly” Barbetti

Pauline “Polly” Barbetti, 87, of Boston and Weston, Mass., and Plant City, died July 30, 2013. She is survived by loving family and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband Edward J. Barbetti. She will be interred with her husband at Linwood Cemetery, Weston, Mass. Online condolences may be made at

Elizabeth Virginia Richards Bell

Co-workers, friends and family members came out to support the contestants.

Americare Ambulance’s Linton Jackson wins Kiwanis spelling bee

Representatives from Plant City businesses took center stage to tackle some of the English language’s toughest words in the Kiwanis Club of Plant City’s first Business Spelling Bee Aug. 6, at the 1914 PCHS Community Building. More than 30 business leaders tested their mental mettle, including Plant City Times & Observer Editor Michael Eng, who finished in the top five. Linton Jackson, representing

Americare Ambulance, won the competition. Dawn Cline, of Master Craft Memorials, finished second, while Family Care Pharmacy’s Oscar Herrara took third. Some of the tougher words of the night included “bellicose,” “colloquial,” “ostentatious” and “soliloquy.” Jackson’s winning word was “croquette.” The event benefited Kiwanis’ Read Around the World and Stuff the Bus campaigns.

Cynthia Wolf competed on behalf of Haught Funeral Home.

Elizabeth Virginia Richards Bell, 93, died July 31, 2013. Mrs. Bell was born July 17, 1920, in Lakeland, and was a lifelong resident of Plant City. She was married to Lewis Albert Bell for 36 years, until his death in 1986. They had two children, Delores and Katherine. Mrs. Bell also had four children from a previous marriage: Ruth, Clarence, Jim and Joyce. She was a member of Bethany Baptist Church and the Red Hat Society. She loved to spend time with family and friends, especially at the nursing home. She was a loving mother and homemaker, who was always there for her family, and she will be sorely missed by her family. Survivors also include a brother, Thomas; eight grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and numerous nieces and nephews, including Blair Richards, who, for more than three years, visited her every Sunday She is predeceased by her parents, David and Rebecca “Dillie” Richards; siblings, William and Margaret, Online condolences may be made at

John Bishop

Americare Ambulance’s Linton Jackson, left, won the bee, much to the delight of Doug Mason.

Oscar Herrera, of Family Care Pharmacy, placed third.

John Bishop, 48, died July 18, 2013, in Melbourne, Florida. He was born on June 6 1965. He is survived by his loving family.

A memorial service will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 10, 2013, Wells Memorial and Event Center, 1903 W. Reynolds St., Plant City. Online condolences may be made at

Mary Frances Brown

Mary Frances Brown, 81, died July 29, 2013, in Plant City. Funeral services were held Aug. 5. Interment followed at Shiloh Cemetery. Online condolences may be made at

Steven Anthony Brown Jr.

Steven Anthony Brown Jr., an infant, of Plant City, died Aug. 3, 2013. He is survived by his parents, Steven and Sarah Brown Sr.; and by a loving family. A private family gathering will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions to assist the family may be made at Hopewell Funeral Home, 6005 C.R. 39 S., Plant City. Online condolences may be made at

Roy Odell Hobbs

Roy Odell Hobbs, 89 of Plant City, died Aug. 4, 2013, at Health Center of Plant City. Born March 9, 1924, in Ashford, Ala., he was the son of the late Alonzo and the late Alice Chandler Hobbs. He was the husband of the late Iola Exum Hobbs. Mr. Hobbs worked for Plant City for more than 20 years and never missed a day of work. He worked with mosquito control, driving the truck, and was a member of First Assembly of God and sold produce on South County Road 39. Survivors include a daughter, Martha Bethune; grandchildren, Vance (Rose) Smith, Lyn Smith, Doug (Melissa) Carter and Yvonne (Bill) Lemons; and great-grandchildren, Amanda (Corey) Smith, Ryan Smith, Seth and P.J. Carter and Jacob Lemons. He was predeceased by a

daughter, Lorelle Hutchinson; brothers, Virgil and Darce; sister, Dottie; one great-grandchild, Heather Carter. A funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at First Assembly of God Church, 602 Charlie Griffin Road, Plant City. Interment will be in West Oaklawn Cemetery, Plant City. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at Haught Funeral Home Chapel, 708 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Plant City. Online condolences may be made at haughtfuneralhome. com.

William Robert “Bobby” Hunter

William Robert “Bobby” Hunter, 69, of Carrollton, Ga., died Aug. 2, 2013, in Plant City. He was born to Rossie Hunter and Opal M. Gilley. Survivors include sisters, Karene Duffey (Larry) and their children, Donna Strickland and son Charlie; Cheryl Smith and daughter, Ashley Farmer; Linda Godfrey (Warren) and their children, Michelle Bradshaw and son Brooks; and Tammy Caldwell. Mr. Hunter is predeceased by his daughter, Tonya Robin Hunter. A Memorial Service will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 10, at Wells Memorial and Event Center, Plant City. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the American Cancer Society.

Earl E. Knight Jr.

Earl E. Knight Jr., 86 of Plant City, died Aug. 4, 2013, at his home. Born Jan. 5, 1927 in Plant City, he was the son of the late Earl Sr., and the late Ruby Connell Knight. Earl was a lifelong resident of Plant City and was the owner of Knight Interiors for more than 35 years. He loved his yard and his cats. A graveside service will be 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at Memorial Park Cemetery, 2401 N. Wheeler St., Plant City. Online condolences may be made at haughtfuneralhome. com.


PLANT CITY TIMES & OBSERVER 4(523$!9 !5'534  

FELLOWSHIP by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor

Alafaia Baptist to host four-night Culture Shock

Started 15 years ago as a small event for teens, the event has grown to attract teens from Plant City and surrounding areas. More than 250 youths and adults are expected to pack Alafia Baptist Church Aug. 8 to 11, for Culture Shock. Billed as a “multi-church, Christ-centered youth event,” Culture Shock is geared toward middle school and high school students. The four-night event begins Aug. 8, at Alafia Baptist Church, 222 Alafia Church Road, Lithia. “The program was named Culture Shock, because we want to encourage the teens to go back to their worlds and shock it, so to speak, in a positive way,” said Ron Coram, who first became involved with the program 10 years ago, as a guest speaker. The event began as a back-to-school rally 15 years ago with 12 teenagers. Current organizer Vincent Stewart is expecting to build on the 250 teens who participated in last year’s event. “We’re expecting a packed house,” Stewart said. “Anywhere from 250 to 300.” Several Plant City-area churches, including Knights Baptist and Hopewell Baptist, will participate in this year’s event. Chaplain Ret. Maj. Daniel Middlebrooks, the president and CEO of Comprehensive Chaplaincy Care and Consulting and pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church, has agreed to lead an adult class, while the youth enjoy breakout sessions. “Hopewell did an event and had an adult session and went well, so we asked Pastor Middlebrooks if he would lead one this year, and he agreed,” Stewart said. When they are not in breakout sessions, the teens will be together for most of the four nights. Although the event is geared to teens, it also will feature a college-and-career group for older teens and young adults. “We had a large turnout with our collegeand-career group last year,” Stewart said. The event will include multiple nights of worship, food, games, music and skits. Special guest speakers will include Adam Sells, a youth pastor from Tennessee, and Coram, a local pastor who now works as a traveling evangelist. Live music will be a large part of the event and feature contemporary Christian music. “The songs you hear are more modern songs that youth connect with more than the traditional songs you would hear in a church on Sundays,” Stewart said. “I actually enjoy all the music.”


WHEN: 6 p.m. Aug. 8 to 9; 5 p.m. Aug. 10 to 11 WHERE: Alafia Baptist Church; 222 Alafia Church Road, Lithia DETAILS: Multi-church event for middle school and high school students. No church affiliation is required. Anyone is welcome. INFORMATION: (813) 634-8845 or email Unlike other populat youth events and vacation Bible schools, Culture Shock doesn’t typically carry a theme. However, this year, there will be a message at the end of each night that focuses on teaching what it means to be a “child of the one true King,” Stewart said. “We’ll be teaching as a Christian, what it means to be a child of God,” he said. Each of the four nights will be centered around a different message. The first night will focus on labels and self-esteem. “Today, there’s so many labels out there about how you look or how you act,” Stewart said. “We want to touch on that it’s not important what the world may label you but (rather) how you are on the inside.” Saturday’s message will focus on the transition of becoming saved, while Sunday will be about being free from burden and sin as a saved Christian. “The whole event is geared toward the youth and stuff they normally go through and have to deal with,” Stewart said. This year’s event also will feature special guests from Teen Challenge, a national organization based in Miami that provides care to people of all ages who demonstrate a need for intensive help with life-controlling problems. “They help turn around the lives of struggling teens and young adults who may have gotten into drugs or other bad habits,” Stewart said. “Afterward, they go into an Emerging Leaders leadership program. They are doing a two-week mission trip in Florida, and I asked if they would come and help out.” Contact Matt Mauney at


This year’s students enjoyed learning in a makeshift castle. Students enjoyed a medieval excursion during Hope Lutheran Church’s 2013 Vacation Bible School.

Themed “Kingdom Rock: Where Kids Stand Strong for God,” this year’s VBS featured a makeshift castle.

Amber Jurgensen

Participating students also learned how to make clay bowls for the Empty Bowls Project.



ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Treshaun Ward is a threat on the field, in the classroom. 13 THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2013



giving back

national stage by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor

by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor

Local pro making a difference in hometown


The high school teams aren’t the only players lacing up their cleats and putting on pads this fall. Here are the 2013 schedules for Plant City’s four local youth football organizations, which are all members of the Tri-County Youth Football and Cheerleading Conference. Weigh-in and kickoff times are 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. for Mighty Mite; 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. for Pee Wee; 11 a.m. and noon for Midget; 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. for Junior Varsity; and 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. for Varsity.

Kenny Kelly, a former pro baseball player and University of Miami quarterback, left the corporate lifestyle to help local football and baseball players.


From the outside, Kenny Kelly looked like he had it made. After spending 11 years playing professional baseball, he finished the finance degree he started at the University of Miami while playing football. He got a job with Merrill Lynch after graduating in 2010, but something was missing from his life. “I had the corporate job and lifestyle, but I came to realized that I’d rather be out here in the hot sun helping kids,” he said. Kelly held his first youth football camp, the Kenny Kelly Kidz Football Camp July 27, at Plant City’s Otis M. Andrews Park. More than 50 kids participated in the camp, and in the future, Kelly wants to continue the camp and secure support from businesses to offer it for free. “I was born and raised here and Plant City, and my goal for this camp is to bring quality instruction to local kids here,” he said. “Plant City has never had anything like this before.” Kelly said he was pleased with the numbers of the first year but believes the total can double or triple in year two. The camp featured several other former players and current coaches with impressive résumés, including Plant City High

Address: 8510 Franklin Road, Plant City Home Fields: Antioch Football Fields SCHEDULE

Aug. 10: Brandon Lions (Jamboree) Aug. 17: Brandon Broncos Aug. 24: Dover Patriots Sept. 7: at Lakeland Eagles Sept 14: at Wesley Chapel Cowboys Sept. 21: at Brandon Bears Sept. 28: Plant City Dolphins Oct. 5: East Bay Bucs Oct. 12: at Pinecrest Pilots Oct. 19: Lakeland Gators Oct. 26: at Turkey Creek Trojans


Address: 1300 Sydney Dover Road, Dover Home Fields: Dover Youth Sports and Activities SCHEDULE


Aug. 10: Brandon Lions (Jamboree) Aug. 17: Lakeland Gators Aug. 24: at Antioch Redskins Sept. 7: Turkey Creek Trojans Sept 14: Plant City Dolphins Sept. 21: at Lakeland Eagles Sept. 28: at Brandon Broncos Oct. 5: Brandon Cowboys Oct. 12: Brandon Bears Oct. 19: at Wesley Chapel Cowboys Oct. 26: at East Bay Bucs

Courtesy photo


Address: 2602 Cherry St., Plant City Home Fields: Otis M. Andrews Park SCHEDULE

Aug. 10: Brandon Lions (Jamboree) Aug. 17: Wesley Chapel Cowboys Aug. 24: at Brandon Bears Sept. 7: Brandon Broncos Sept 14: at Dover Patriots Sept. 21: Brandon Lions Sept. 28: at Antioch Redskins Oct. 5: Turkey Creek Trojans Oct. 12: at East Bay Bucs Oct. 19: Lakeland Eagles Oct. 26: at Lakeland Gators


Address: 5937 Connell Road, Plant City Home Fields: Trojans Field SCHEDULE

Aug. 10: Brandon Bears (Jamboree) Aug. 17: at Pinecrest Pilots Aug. 24: Lakeland Gators Sept. 7: at Dover Patriots Sept 14: Brandon Lions Sept. 21: at Brandon Cowboys Sept. 28: East Bay Bucs Oct. 5: at Plant City Dolphins Oct. 12: Lakeland Eagles Oct. 19: at New Tampa Wildcats Oct. 26: Antioch Redskins

Matt Mauney

Kyle Martin practices both in Lakeland and at Walden Lake Golf & Country Club, in Plant City, where he grew up and learned the game.

Am-azing Talent Former Plant City High standout Kyle Matin will be one of 312 of the best amateur players in the nation competing in the U.S. Amateur Championship in Brookline, Mass.

Kyle Martin had a golf club in his hand not long after he could walk. Now, all the hard work put in by the 2009 Plant City High School graduate is paying off. After retooling and refocusing his goals, Martin has improved significantly, finishing ninth in a field of professionals and amateurs three weeks ago, at the Florida Open, and tying for second at the U.S. Am Qualifier at Orange County National last week, in Orlando. That earned him an invite to the U.S. Amateur Championship this month, in Brookline, Mass. Martin will be among a field of 312 of the best amateur golfers in the country. The winner of the prestigious tournament will qualify for the 2014 Masters Tournament, 2014 U.S. Open and the 2014 Open Championship, provided the winner maintains his amateur status. The tournament begins Aug. 12, with qualifying rounds. Match play begins Aug. 4, with a field of 64 players trying to make it to the weekend. “The first goal I’ve got is to make it to match play,” he said. “If I make it to Wednesday, the next goal is to make it to the weekend, and if I make it to the weekend, then make it to Sunday and the final round.”


Martin was a four-year varsity player at Plant City High School, where he was named to the AllHillsborough County First Team his junior and senior seasons. But, it wasn’t until he got to Brevard Community College that he decided to pursue a career in golf. “When I got to Brevard, I started realizing that this is what I wanted to do and this is what I want my job to be,” he said. “Coming out of high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I wanted to play golf, but I didn’t know for sure if I would make it.” An All-American for his two years at Brevard, Martin took eighth as an individual at the national championship tournament as a sophomore. After taking a year off, with dreams of playing for a big-name college program, he transferred to Southeastern University, in Lakeland, where he will be a senior this fall. “I decided to take a year off, improve my game and find a place that would fit me the best,” he said. “I never really got the chance to get with a bigger school, and Southeastern came to me and said if I wanted it, they had a scholarship,

Kenny Kelly was born and raised in Plant City and went on to play football for the University of Miami and baseball in the minor and major leagues.


Walden Lake needs quality golf course

so I couldn’t turn it down. I decided to go with it, and it was a good choice.” Martin, 22, said it was a struggle adjusting to a new team and a coach, who was much different than his coach at Brevard. “It took me a little while to get used to it, but I got through it,” he said. A new swing coach, Brett Hitchcock, also helped with Martin’s mechanics, as well as his mental approach to the game. Martin began

Healthy property values and happy residents are not the only things Walden Lake Golf & Country Club lost May 15, when it closed the Hills golf course. With the closing, Walden Lake and Plant City lost another golfing option for players in town and surrounding areas. When I took this job and moved down from Atlanta, I began looking at the lay of the land — both from a work and personal standpoint. Outside of my college town in south Georgia, Plant City was unfamiliar territory. Everything was new — the people, the places and the overall way of life. But, when I discovered that MATT there was not one, but two MAUNEY 18-hole public golf courses in Walden Lake, a peace came over me. That would be my refuge, I thought. When I had some free time away from the office, needed a break from reality or just simply wanted to work on my game, I saw those courses being a fixture in my personal life here in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World. When my busy and sporadic schedule would allow, I played many rounds at the courses. Any time I would see deals or specials online, I jumped on them, stockpiling rounds and range tokens for a rainy day (figuratively, not literally). The golf facilities now are a bleak shadow of




WHEN: Aug. 12 to 18 WHERE: Brookline, Mass. Stroke-play qualifying at Charles River Country Club and match play at The Country Club. HOW TO WATCH: First-, second- and quarterfinal-round matches will be aired on the Golf Channel, while semifinal matches and the championship match will air on NBC. WEBSITE:

3ODQW&LW\2EVHUYHUFRP KELLY / PAGE 11 standout and former Canadian Football League player Russell Evans and Lakeland High and Western Kentucky standout Deshun Walker.


Growing up in Plant City, Kelly played football, basketball and baseball at Tampa Catho-

lic, where he turned into a star in all three. Kelly passed for 7,486 yards and 77 touchdowns in his high school career. He continued playing at the University of Miami, where he was redshirted in 1997 and served as the backup quarterback in 1998 before winning the starting job in 1999. Unlike many multi-sport

PLANT CITY TIMES & OBSERVER 4(523$!9 !5'534  

athletes, who focus on one sport after high school, Kelly decided to take on two. Drafted in the second round of the MLB draft in 1997, by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Kelly played in the minor leagues while playing football at Miami. “It felt like I was going 23 hours a day,” he said. “Balancing football workouts, school and traveling with baseball had me going all the time.” In 2000, Kelly decided to focus solely on his pro baseball career. Kelly made his big league debut Sept. 7, 2000, with the Devil Rays. He played 26 games in the big leagues for three teams — Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and Washington, with his last appearance coming in 2005, with the Nationals. He finished his career with the Chicago White Sox’s Triple-A affiliate, the Charlotte Knights and would retire from baseball in 2008.


I-4 WAR by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor


After retiring, Kelly attended Alabama State University in Montgomery to finish the finance degree. He served as an assistant baseball coach for the Hornets before graduating in 2010. In addition to running youth football camps, Kelly is involved with Florida Baseball Heaven, which seeks to provide a higher level of competitive sports for local youths. Mark Persails, a former minor league pitcher who moved to Plant City after retirement, founded the program. Persails also coached the Plant City High baseball team for two seasons. Kelly helps with instruction and development at Baseball Heaven. “I just love helping the kids, whether its through football or baseball,” Kelly said. Contact Matt Mauney at mmauney@plantcityobserver. com.

J.T. Noone (17) has been one of the standout players for VSI this season.

Orlando City blanks VSI FC in Plant City Orlando City took bragging rights in the I-4 War and got one step closer to taking the top seed in the USL PRO playoffs with a 3-0 win over VSI Plant City FC, Aug. 4, at Plant City Stadium. Chistian Duke broke open a scoreless game in the 16th minute for Orlando City, scoring off an assist from C.J. Sapong. Orlando City took a two goal lead in stoppage time of the first half, when Rob Valentino scored off a header on a corner kick.

VSI had several scoring chances in the second half but couldn’t find the back of the net. An Orlando City goal in the 60th minute all but put the game out of reach. The loss was the second straight in VSI’s twogame home stand. VSI now will hit the road for games against Harrisburg City and Pittsburgh next weekend, before returning to Plant City Stadium for the season finale against the Charlotte Eagles.

Plant City High’s Ervin Micheal had a strong showing in the broad jump.

Matt Mauney

Next Level tackles evaluation camps for college hopefuls Next Level Recruiting held its first senior evaluation camp July 26, at Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center. Athletes from area schools participated in the camp, which ran the football players through various drills in preparation for regional and national combines, where college coaches often discover athletes. The athletes also were measured and weighed and had their photo taken for Nike’s 7-on-7 U website, an

organization with which Next Level is affiliated. “We want to run this in the same format that these kids would see at a Nike camp,” Next Level Senior Adviser Gerald Dickens said. “We are measuring the ability of these kids and we’ll use that to help get them invites to training camps and combines. It lets us identify their strengths and weaknesses and what they need to work on.” Next Level has about 50 kids

participating in at least one of its three tiers. Dickens said he saw a spike in interest after one of Next Level’s athletes, 2014 Plant City High offensive/defensive lineman Montel McBride, received an offer and verbally committed to the University of Alabama. “Montel has become kind of our poster child,” Dickens said. “We have several athletes from Lakeland and Tampa that have inquired about us because of that.”

what was built in the 1970s, when the original developer, Walden Lake Inc., built the first 18 holes. In the 1990s, the course was expanded to 36 holes, and the property has seen many owners since its inception. Visions Golf LLC purchased the course from Fairways Group in 2006. Current General Manager Steve Mercer took over management of the courses after previously serving as manager of the now-defunct Plant City Golf Course. After the closing of the Hills course, the Lakes course is the only public golf course in Plant City — and the only 18hole regulation course within eight miles. Visions Golf has lost money every year since taking over Walden Lake operations. Memberships have declined in recent years and are down to about 100. There have been talks of possible development of the Hills course property that could include commercial space for shops and restaurants and/or additional residential units to the community. Walden Lake residents have voiced concerns and are fighting the idea, including circulating a petition. No formal rezoning requests have been filed by Visions Golf. With the future of the golf club uncertain, the future of golfing options in Plant City remains bleak. The courses have a rich history and have hosted numerous charity and competitive events. The course and practice facilities also act as the home of the Plant City High boys and girls golf teams. By cutting the amount of holes in half with the closure of the Hills, charity tournaments and high school teams likely will start taking their business elsewhere. Having only 18 holes available to play, tournaments often become too long, and organizers would have to decrease the number of participants they can accommodate. Translation: A tournament at Walden Lake would mean fewer funds raised. If there is one thing I know about golf, it is that those who play are passionate about the game. I’m not able to play nearly as much as I would like, but when I get the opportunity to play a round, nothing can stop me. I will gladly spend the extra money on gas to drive 30 minutes to an hour to play a quality course. I’ve seen players from Lakeland, Brandon, Valrico and Tampa play Walden Lake. Sometimes, it’s easier to find someone from outside Plant City than a local. This obviously affects memberships, because members of clubs usually live in — or even on — the area of the course. But, with the closing of the Hills course and the decline of the club, in general, golfers likely will find other places to work on their game and spend their hard-earned money. That’s a shame, because golf is a great game and a quality course can be a great piece of a community. And although public golf still exists in Plant City, at least for now, the “quality” part can be debated.



4(523$!9 !5'534  


by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor

TRESHAUN WARD Playing football is in Treshaun Ward’s genes. The 12-year-old’s uncle is Wayne Ward, head coach of Plant City High School and a former player at Virginia Tech. Treshaun plays running back, linebacker and safety for the Turkey Creek Trojans JV team, which he led to a Super Bowl win in Raymond James Stadium last year. He rushed for 22 touchdowns and more than 1,500 yards last fall. He also holds the highest GPA among sixth-graders at Tomlin Middle and the second highest in Hillsborough County.

How long have you been playing football? Six years Have you always played for Turkey Creek? No. I used to play for the Plant City Dolphins. I came to Turkey Creek last year. What do you like about football? That you can hit people and score touchdowns and go to Super Bowls. What was it like to win the Super Bowl last year? It was fun. We lost the year before (with the Plant City Dolphins), so I was happy to win it. How did you get into playing football? Since my brothers started playing football, my uncle wanted me to play. What have you learned from your uncle about the game and especially the running back position, which he played at Plant City High and Virginia Tech? He’s taught me how to carry the ball and run low and stride out when you’re in the open field. He’s also helped me with taking handoffs. Are you excited about possibly playing for him when you get to Plant City High? Yeah, but I know he’s going to put work on me if I get up there with him. Do you play any other sports? I play basketball. What position do you play. Shooting guard What do you like about basketball? I like shooting threes and doing crazy layups and stuff like that. What skills do you

want to improve on with football? Working on my form of tackling and carrying the ball properly. What position would you like to play when you get to high school? Maybe linebacker or safety Do you not to play running back? Not really What do you want to accomplish again this year? Bringing them to the Super Bowl and going to play in the Tampa Bay Bucs Stadium again. Do you want to play in college one day, and if so, do you have a particular school? I’d like to either play for Oregon or Miami. Do you have a player you look up to? Ray Lewis, because I like his chants and the way he pumps up his team.

MARTIN / PAGE 11 working last November, with Hitchcock. “I knew that I needed to change something if I wanted to stay with golf,” Martin said. “Brett is a good friend of mine and has helped me with my swing and getting through some of the mental stuff, because he’s been through it.”


The fall of his junior year at Southeastern came with a fair share of setbacks, including injuries that sidelined him for several tournaments. “That wasn’t a very fun semester,” he said. After taking a break, Martin returned for the spring season and had his best semester playing college golf yet, with five topfive and six top-10 finishes. Martin said he’s looking forward to play-

ing against some of the best players in the country at the U.S. Amateur Championship. “Normally, when you go out there, you’ve got a lot of the bigger guys from the big schools playing well, and you really have to play your best to do well,” he said. “It’s usually the big guys, because they’re at those schools for a reason, but I try not to think about that and just keep focused on my game. Whatever happens, happens.”


Martin inherited his love of the sport from his grandfather, Larry, a former athletic director at Plant City High School and principal at Tomlin Middle. Larry Martin also coached the 1967 PCHS boys basketball team to a state championship. As a child, Kyle Martin enjoyed many rounds with his grandfather on the Walden Lake course. He began playing at

2 and was competing in tournaments by 6. “When he was 5 or 6, people would come and watch him hit balls,” Larry Martin said. Although they don’t get to play together as much as they used to, the pair comes together every year to compete in the ParentChild Tournament, at Disney. After coming in second in 2011, the Martins have won the tournament the past two years. Larry Martin believes his grandson has a bright future ahead of him, including a possible professional career. “I’m 79 years old and can still go out and shoot my age, but that doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “What matters is Kyle and the great things that he’s doing. He’s just a great kid and has always had a great attitude. I believe that Kyle will make this whole area proud of him one day.” Contact Matt Mauney at mmauney@




July 31




Aug. 1



Thurs., Aug. 8 Fri., Aug. 9 Sat., Aug. 10 Sun., Aug. 11 Mon., Aug. 12 Tues., Aug. 13 Wed., Aug. 14

Aug. 2



Aug. 3





Aug. 5



Aug. 6



2.00 (2012: 1.45)


TO DATE 26.47 (2012: 24.06)

4(523$!9 !5'534  




Aug. 4


HIGH 91 93 93 93 95 93 93

SUNRISE/SUNSET TIMES SUNRISE 6:55 a.m. 6:56 a.m. 6:56 a.m. 6:57 a.m. 6:57 a.m. 6:58 a.m. 6:59 a.m.

Thurs., Aug. 8 Fri., Aug. 9 Sat., Aug. 10 Sun., Aug. 11 Mon., Aug. 12 Mon., Aug. 13 Mon., Aug. 14

SUNSET 8:14 p.m. 8:13 p.m. 8:12 p.m. 8:11 p.m. 8:10 p.m. 8:09 p.m. 8:09 p.m.


LOW 75 75 75 77 77 77 75


Aug. 14

Aug. 21


PRODUCT 3.5 kg. containers

LOW HIGH $10 $11.50

Courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture

Aug. 28

Aug. 6

, 3&

Lisa Fliehman calls this photo “God’s Masterpiece.” “I’m blessed to see this view every weekday morning on my drive to work,” she says. 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.


By Henry Quarters | Edited by Timothy E. Parker ACROSS 1 Undo a dele 5 Despise with a passion 10 1976 Wings hit, “___ In” 15 Deputy on “The Dukes of Hazzard” 19 Opera highlight 20 Economics textbook feature 21 Acid in protein 22 Fairway warning 23 Maine, compared to the other 49 26 At no charge 27 Canine, but not a dog 28 “___ do” (“Sorry, that’s impossible”) 29 Daniel Webster, notably 31 Misfortunes 32 Certain evergreens 33 Candy pioneer Emil J. ___ 34 Acted immorally 37 “That ___ so bad” 38 Divides into three 41 “Method” conclusion 42 Cold onion and potato soup 44 Former coach Parseghian 45 Snooty attitudes 46 City of Seven Hills 47 Mixed-breed dog 48 Demo ending? 49 “Wheel of Fortune” host Sajak 50 Kind of insurance 54 Glittery rock 55 Signature comedy routines 57 Deep place? 58 Lots and lots 59 Country on the Irish Sea 60 Post office device 61 Dwight’s two-time opponent 62 Totals, as a car 64 Political coalitions 65 Like some income on a 1040 68 Yukon dog 69 City in England 71 Phrase that ends a single life? 72 Pretentious 73 ___ State (Big Ten school) 74 With the stroke of ___ 75 Bryn ___, Pa. 76 Music genre 77 Like good leather 81 “The End!” at the Cannes Film Festival 82 Like a perfect diamond 84 Made a boo-boo 85 Big name in business planes 86 Pan-fry 87 Plants from which poi is made 88 Cleft locale 89 St. Francis of ___ 91 Info-gathering, for short 92 Spaghetti sauce herbs

96 Converse casually 97 Hawaii, compared to the other 49 100 Merlin, e.g. 101 It’s comforting when doubled 102 Critic, by nature 103 Vocalist Fitzgerald 104 Water container before indoor plumbing 105 Snack bar beverages 106 Great ___ Mountains 107 Dinner’s often on him? DOWN 1 Mentally together 2 City betrayed by a horse? 3 Blarney Stone land 4 Needleworker’s output 5 From way back when 6 Annoying tykes 7 Chopped diner side 8 Be choosy? 9 From Bonn or Cologne 10 Surgical knives 11 Actresses Thompson and Watson 12 Suffix for “orchestra” 13 Funny duet? 14 Driver 15 Wipe out entirely 16 Natives of Raleigh, e.g. 17 Creme-filled cookie 18 Divination practitioner 24 Like Swiss cheese 25 Cox of “Beverly Hills Cop” 30 Bulldoze, in Leeds 32 Bygone AMC car 33 Rainbow ___ (1980s doll) 34 “All My Children” and others 35 Pelvis-related 69 Get a gut feeling 88 River’s little cousin 36 Ship route joining the 70 Currycombs comb them 89 Summit Atlantic and Pacific 73 Affectedly devout ones 90 “Jaws” star Robert 37 Hardly he-men 75 Assigns an incorrect title to 91 Regretted 38 One of the senses 77 Asian and swine, for two 92 “Beetle Bailey” bulldog 39 Swap 78 Arrives at 93 Former Steelers coach 40 Satisfies completely 79 Object in a quiver Chuck 42 Beetle maker, for short 80 White collar workers? 94 Scandinavian seaport 43 Clobber, in the Bible 81 Pretend 95 Wild, desperate guess 46 Sprints 83 Cafe customer’s call 98 Palindromic exclamation 48 Tree of Lebanon 99 America’s uncle 50 Word with “white” or “Way” 85 Orchard fruit 87 Prefix meaning “four” 51 British racecourse site 52 Flier’s choice 53 City on the Arkansas River CRYPTOGRAMS 54 Heights in the Mideast 56 Hardly classy 1. Z A V D R A H U F J D X U F Z F B D V G H W H B J H 58 Keats’ “___ a Grecian Urn” JMHXFDVFJO DBG EBH EW OLH MERHUWCV 60 Thrown, as David’s stones MDUOBHUJ DO OLH WDZECJ WFUZ, GHRHA, 61 Made a pot, in a way XLHDOCZ DBG LERH! 62 Place to tie up your boat 63 Bucolic 2. D X U D F N I C H M A N J Y F D X N C J N N F Z H M H 64 Archaeologists’ finds Y L D X N AY J L D C E K Y X U B N N B N J L N N F 65 Bumped, as the bid 66 Buzz Aldrin, really K N M M “A H J N ” I X Y M N Z E D DY F C . 67 Backs, anatomically

© 2013 Universal Uclick


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



4(523$!9 !5'534  

¬³ L 1EêrÝe wáá—íòº—á턄 ^ §E˜¡e _¡EÝݘ‚ri_ôÝ곧rÙÝrÙĠ˜_rSêE§ÁEUEģÇ_³§ ^ ³ôÙÝe #³¬Ç—Ù˜Ç áeíĩ—„eíĩ ^ rEi¡˜¬rÝe ˜¬r EiÝ — 5ôrÝiEģ Eê „Á§f 3rÙĠ˜_r ˜Ùr_ê³Ùģ — #³¬iEģ Eê ¬³³¬

¡EÝݘ‚ri iĠrÙê˜Ý˜¬Œ ˜¬r 1EêrÝe í ˜¬rÝ — o‰Ç„ĩ ^ ii˜ê˜³¬E¡ ˜¬rÝ — oºÇ„ĩ rE_•














xnɭƤƂ̷ɶ xnɭƤƂ̷ɶ xnɭƤƂ̷ɭ

xnɭƤƂ̷ɭ xnɭƤƂ̷ɶ




PLANT CITY TIMES & OBSERVER 4(523$!9 !5'534  

08.08.13 Plant City Times & Observer  
08.08.13 Plant City Times & Observer  

08.08.13 Plant City Times & Observer