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Plant City Times &





PlantCityRaidersreclaim JamesL.RedmanCup intoughtangowithDurant.

Dynamic duo anchors Crest’s receiving corps.




Plant City laces up for annual Good Cookie 5K.


+ Found: One four-legged friend

Plant City resident Marian Reinhardt found this little guy Monday, Sept. 16, on South Frontage Road near Park Boulevard. He’s a Papillon, about 18 months old and weighs about 16 pounds. He had a frayed narrow teal colored rope around his neck. He is not neutered. If he belongs to you, please call Reinhardt, (813) 763-0008.




FLUGTAG PHENOM by Justin Kline | Staff Writer

Falling with Style

by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

The “Flugtag Flying Dead” featured three Plant City natives.

The middle school hosted a seminar less than a month after a 12-year-old girl in Lakeland committed suicide.

+ Church preps for pumpkin patch

First United Methodist Church will host its annual pumpkin patch daily beginning Thursday, Oct. 10, at the church, 303 N. Evers St. The patch will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The patch is a fundraiser for the church’s Youth Ministry, allowing students to participate in a variety of trips and retreats. Any preschool wishing to bring classes to the patch should call to schedule a time. For more information, call Youth Director Philip Brooks, (813) 754-3519.

+ African choir to perform Sunday

The African Children’s Choir, featuring children from ages 7 to 11, will perform at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at Plant City Church of God, 2103 Mud Lake Road, Plant City. The choir performs to raise money to assist vulnerable children in Africa. For more information, call the church, (813) 752-4591, or visit

, 3&

This week’s winner is

Jenifer Fiddelke See her photo on PAGE 14.

Tomlin tackles online bullying

The “Flugtag Flying Dead” posted the second-longest flight in the nation. The team won the Miami competition.

Courtesy photos

Three Plant City natives soared far beyond their competition at Red Bull’s National Flugtag Day Sept. 21, in Miami. It could be said the fourth generation of the Humphrey family has flown the highest. Or, rather, the farthest. That’s because Plant City natives Kevin and Keith Humphrey, both 43, are three-time Red Bull Flugtag competition winners. The twins assembled a crew — including Plant City native David West and friends Kevin Riley and Chris Elmore — in 2008, for the energy drink company’s first American event, in Tampa. They crushed the competition and haven’t looked back since. Three years later, the crew won the event when it returned to Tampa. And

last weekend, they brought home an unprecedented third championship Sept. 21, when Red Bull Flugtag soared into Miami, to celebrate National Flugtag Day, which featured simultaneous competitions in Miami, Long Beach, Dallas, Chicago and Washington, D.C.. Some of the Miami event’s judges were rather notable: Miami native and ESPN personality Dan LeBatard, wakeboarding star Parks Bonifay and prominent disc jockey, DJ Irie. Re-dubbed the “Flugtag Flying Dead” to match their theme, the Humphreys and their crew flew 120 feet — breaking the 109-foot mark

they set in 2008. Their flight more than doubled their closest competitors, who came in at 57 feet. About 94,000 people witnessed the flight. “We actually had the second-farthest flight in the nation,” Kevin Humphrey said. “There was a team out in California that flew 258 feet. There were some crosswinds down in Miami. Nothing we could do about that.”


Kevin Humphrey, who owns Horace Mann insurance agencies in Valrico and Bartow, is also a lieutenant


Red Bull Flugtag is an event in which competitors attempt to fly homemade, size- and weightlimited, human-powered flying machines. The flying machines are usually launched off a pier about 30 feet high into the water. Most competitors enter for the entertainment value, and the flying machines rarely fly at all. For more, visit redbull


Source: Wikipedia

There were pages and pages of a heated Facebook conversation that Tomlin Middle School Principal Susan Sullivan had to sort through. The messages were between two male students. One student had accused eighth-grader Tyler Woosley of beating him up. The student had gotten into a fight, but it wasn’t with Tyler. In fact, the two boys were friends, before Tyler started receiving the taunting messages. “He cussed me out over Facebook,” Tyler said. “I couldn’t believe one of my friends would say that about me.” When Tyler’s mother found the messages, she contacted the school. The other student’s mother also was informed. She had no idea the conversation was taking place. “We want parents to be involved,” Sullivan said. “That’s our message. Communicate and talk with your child.” That message is part of a Frameworks of Tampa Bay program that seeks to foster positive youth development by teaching students about bullying. For nine days, students attended a workshop class. On Sept. 23, parents and students were invited to a seminar at the school. Rita Peters, of the State Attorney’s Office, spoke about how to recognize bullying, how to avoid it, and how to heal from it. “I learned how to handle it more,” eighth-grader Noor Pal said. “Don’t be a bystander. A lot of people are watching, too. They might be scared to get involved, but you have to.”


CHOO-CHOO! by Michael Eng | Editor

Plant City approves plans for new railroad museum

Resident railroad expert, Robert Willaford, donated more than $200,000 of train memorabilia — including a caboose and locomotive — to the city. For decades, Robert Willaford has been known affectionately as Plant City’s resident railroad expert. After nearly 43 years working as a locomotive engineer for CSX Corporation, Willaford

has amassed an impressive collection of train memorabilia, including a full locomotive and caboose, which he displays on his property off Joe McIntosh Road. Now, Willaford’s collection

will get a new home. Willaford has donated 28 railroad items, with a value totaling $212,500, to Plant City. In exchange, Plant City will


File photo

Felice and Robert Willaford used the caboose to host an annual Easter celebration at their home.

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

Vol.1,No.9 | Onesection Crossword...................13


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



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Boys & Girls Club BBQ — takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Train Depot, 102 N. Palmer St., Plant City. For more, visit Diamonds and Denim — takes place from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Florida Strawberry Festival Expo Center, 2301 W. Oak Ave., Plant City. Royal Hills HOA — meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. Christine Wynne, (813) 6107336.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 27 Uncork Your Weekend with Charlie O & The Corkscrews — performance from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. (813) 752-9100.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 28 Blueberry Stomp Mud Run — takes place at 8 a.m. Sept. 28, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. Registration includes a T-shirt, two drinks (beer/wine for those over 21), and a post-race party. Proceeds to benefit the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fund. For more, visit Building Strong Families Seminar — takes place from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Plant City Christian Center, 1214 W. Reynolds St., Suite 2, Plant City. The theme of this year’s seminar is “Cultivating Emotionally Healthy Families.” Dr. Pauline Rivers, (813) 759-0260 or ffocpc@aol. com. Family Childbirth Center Education Programs Childbirth Class en Español — takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in the Community Conference Room at

South Florida Baptist Hospital, 301 N. Alexander St., Plant City. This class helps expectant mothers become informed, active participants in the childbirth process. Participants should plan to attend no later than early in their seventh month of pregnancy. An “I Expect” Delivery Planning Guide is included with the class. $20; registration required. (813) 644-6720. GardenFest and More — takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at McCall Park and the Train Depot, 202 N. Palmer St. This event will feature plants, garden art and speakers on related gardening topics. (813) 716-0950. Uncork Your Weekend with Smokin’ Aces — performance from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Keel & Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. (813) 7529100.

MONDAY, SEPT. 30 Girl Scouts Strawberry Community — meets from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. Malissa McNeely, (813) 6246733 or Peace by Piece — takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. Sue Ellis, (813) 719-9127 or Teen Advisory Board Meeting — takes place from 4 to 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. Join the Teen Advisory Board to get involved with the library’s teen programs or earn community service hours for graduation, scholarships and more. (813) 757-9215.

TUESDAY, OCT. 1 Flute Circle — takes place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302

W. McLendon St., Plant City. Utah Farris, (863) 696-0442 or

Plant City Christian Women’s Connection Luncheon — takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Walden Lake Golf & Country Club, 2001 Clubhouse Drive, Plant City. Cost is $14. (813) 752-3786 or email

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 2 Cake Decorating Class — takes place from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. Participants should pre-register by calling (813) 757-9215.

THURSDAY, OCT. 3 Ribbon Cutting: All-In-One Enterprise Inc. — takes place from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, at 117 W. Alexander St., Plant City. For more, visit

FRIDAY, OCT. 4 Plant City Lions Club Golf Tournament — Registration begins at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at Walden Lake Golf & Country Club, 2001 Clubhouse Drive, Plant City. Shotgun start at 1 p.m. Dave Davenport, or (813) 478-9665.

SATURDAY, OCT. 5 East Hillsborough Art Guild’s Annual Outdoor Art Sale — takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at The Cottage, 1308 S. Collins St. There will also be food for sale and a bake sale. Résumé Creation Class — takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St. USF English Professor JoNette LaGamba will help participants. Please bring a flash drive. Pre-register by calling (813) 757-9215.

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.


St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Blessing of the Animals — takes place at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at the church, 302 N. Carey St. Bring your beloved pets to be blessed as we offer thanksgiving for the many gifts God has given us in creation. (813) 752-5061.

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 757-9215. 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. Christian Ladies Zumba — meets at 11 a.m. Mondays, 7 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. Saturdays, at HopeWeaver Church, 2203 W. Baker St., Plant City; and 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, at Shiloh Baptist Church, 905 W. Terrace Drive. Donation only. Gina, (813) 9289998. Computer Classes — take place from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesdays, beginning Oct. 9, at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. “Computer Basics” will be Oct. 9; “Mouse Basics” Oct. 16; “Keyboard Basics” Oct. 23; and “Windows 7: Introduction” Oct. 30. (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. 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 7633698. Pinecrest High School Class of 1956 — meets at 10 a.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month, at Fred’s Market, 1401 W. Dr.


Landshark Charters “Keeping Kids Fishing” Annual Youth Fishing Derby — The Plant City Recreation and Parks Department will present this annual tournament Saturday, Sept. 28, at Plant City Stadium, 1900 S. Park Road. Registration takes place from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m.; fishing from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Participants will compete for prizes for first catfish, first bass, largest fish and most fish. Anglers must be accompanied by an adult and must bring their own pole and bait of choice. For more information, call (813) 659-4255. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd Carol Conrad, (813) 737-1587. 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

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. Plant City Sunday Scrappers — meet from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Bring your own project, plus make quilts for donations. Linda Hill, (813) 8566120. Weight Watchers — meets at 1 p.m. Thursdays, at Plant City’s First Baptist Church, 503 N. Palmer St. (813) 752-4104. 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 aspx?NID=938. For more, call Jenna at jennastanko@hotmail. com.

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helping hands by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Plant City rallies for local family Laura Vazquez was a freshman in college when a stroke nearly killed her. Now, her family and church are working to raise money for her treatments.

Doctors can’t believe that in 2010, Vazquez visited the HOW TO HELP 22-year-old Plant City resident doctor. She went to Tampa Laura Vazquez is still alive. General one day later. There, • Donate to Laura It’s been a long road for she had a stroke. Vazquez at Suncoast Vazquez and her family since she Vazquez was diagnosed Schools Federal Credit had a rehabilitating stroke three with a rare form of meninUnion, (813) 752-4266. years ago. Now, the community gitis. It was thought to have • Visit Fred’s Market, is helping to make sure she rebeen dormant since she 1401 W. Dr. Martin mains on the road to recovery. was a high school student at Luther King Jr. Blvd., or Vazquez was just 19 years old Plant City High. Instead of Hungry Howie’s, 208 N. when her brained swelled to an spreading to the lungs like Alexander St., to drop off almost fatal point. The pressure most cases, her infection a donation in the colleccaused a stroke, which left her spread to her brain. tion canister. paralyzed and unable to speak. Vazquez spent eight At the time, she was just a freshmonths in the hospital. • Make a donation to man at Hillsborough CommuThen, she began her rehabiliSt Clement Catholic nity College, studying to be an tation process to try and reChurch, 1104 N. Alexander St., in Laura’s elementary teacher. gain some movement. Before name. “She was a good girl,” Esther she entered rehab, Vazquez Ortiz, her mother, said. “She couldn’t even lift a finger. got good grades, went to college “She started out by moving right after high school.” her finger,” Ortiz said. “Now, she can lift up When she complained of painful headaches her left arm and feed herself.”

Although Vazquez has trouble speaking, Ortiz said she still has her memory. She watches TV and loves to browsing the Internet, often laughing at funny stories and comics. When a bone infection formed, she started therapy with the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. The treatment also helped Laura with her speech skills. Because of this, Ortiz wants to continue treatment for her daughter. But the treatment is expensive — about $4,000. When Vazquez got sick, Ortiz had to take time off from her job to take care of her. “Before, I had a good job, (and) my husband had a good job,” Ortiz said. “I’m not the kind of person to ask for money, but we need it.” Because of the family’s hardship, St. Clement Catholic Church has started a raffle for four Disney World tickets to benefit Vazquez and her medical expenses. The congregation has been selling the tickets for the past six months. “The church has done a good job at buying the tickets,” organizer and Knights of Colum-

One Plant City native has turned a rough day in middle school into an award-winning web television series. Pietro D’Alessio took inspiration from his childhood to create “Proper Manors,” a soap opera based on his experience with a middle-school bully. “I told my mom I was going to start a show about Plant City and about how wicked this kid was,” D’Alessio remembers. He outlined five story lines. Then, he put the idea away. Every year, he brought the shuffled pages of an unwritten world out of their hiding place and added characters and additional plots. With six older sisters, D’Alessio became obsessed with soap operas. He often found himself wrapped up in all the stories and used that inspiration to fuel his own script. His wild imagination fostered by a love of the arts only pushed him to pursue the idea even further. “I looked at my life as a soap opera,” D’Alessio says. “I look at who would be the characters, who would be written out, who would be a love interest.” Fast-forward to high school. D’Alessio introduces himself to the new kid at Plant City High School, Jef Phillips, while skipping class. The two hit it off, starting a friendship that still exists 29 years later. But, it wasn’t until they were in their 20s that D’Alessio shared his show idea with Phillips. “At the time, I thought it was a fun little hobby to work out his frustrations,” Phillips says. “It was his outlet.” True, at the time it may have been a hobby for D’Alessio. His career in the entertainment industry had taken off a long way from his starting days acting in Plant City Entertainment’s productions. After moving in 1992, to Chicago, D’Alessio quickly snagged a recurring role on the syndicated television series, “The Untouchables.” His breakthrough introduction to the industry was soon followed by more film, television and theater roles. Several years later, D’Alessio moved to Hollywood and entered the production side of the business. He found himself with steady work as a casting director and producer on a variety of projects. When he returned in 2001, to Plant City, D’Alessio opened his own production company, Yo Soy Irini Productions. But after two years, he returned to Hollywood and then took an extensive break from the industry to travel throughout Europe and work on his writing. It was Phillips who drew D’Alessio from Los Angeles to Utah after his travels. The two begin to collaborate on D’Alessio’s long-standing show idea in 2009. “He brought it up again and wanted to do it,” Phillips says. “So, we did.” With Plant City in mind, the duo modeled a soap opera world based in Proper, a small American town. The show focuses on the Sorrento family and the two main characters, Joey Sorrento and Jef Knights.

bus member Joe Moore said. “She’s such a good kid.” A family friend has also set up collection canisters at Hungry Howie’s Pizza and Fred’s Market. One anonymous donor gave the family $1,000. “It’s a sad story, but we’ve been blessed in a lot of ways with all the people who have helped us,” Ortiz said. Contact Amber

trash talk

SOAP STARS by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Drama ‘PROPERLY’ depicts Plant City life

Courtesy photo

Laura Vazquez was just 19 years old when she suffered a stroke.

“Proper Manors,” created by former Plant City residents Pietro D’Alessio and Jef Phillips, takes inspiration from the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World.

by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Hillsborough implements new garbage program Customers in unincorporated Hillsborough County will begin using their new gray and blue bins next week.

Courtesy photo

From left: “Proper Manors” co-creator Jef Phillips, Producer Mary Alice Nelson and co-creator Pietro D’Alessio They are best friends trying to navigate the teenage years after high school. But, their families and other notable community members have different plans and goals for them. “In every small town, there are goals and desires that everyone has for their children,” D’Alessio says. “Everyone knows each other; secrets don’t stay hidden for long.” In addition to Plant City, D’Alessio used his family background as inspiration, namely for the infamous Sorrento family. As a Catholic Italian growing up in a Southern Baptist sphere, D’Alessio saw many comical and dramatic differences between himself and his peers. His favorite character, Blanche Crawford Sorrento, is based on his mother, Genevieve Smith D’Alessio. Genevieve was a school teacher at Marshall Middle School and has been a strong guidance throughout D’Alessio’s life. “Blanche is my guilty pleasure,”

D’Alessio says. “She’s every primetime and daytime soap matriarch rolled into one.” Many of the other characters also are based loosely on Plant City residents. “I’m excited to see those characters and places come to life and for people to recognize them,” D’Alessio says. “It’s vitally important to people to remember where they came from. Plant City was the best place to grow up.” “Proper Manors” premiered in 2012. After several episodes, the production took a 13-month hiatus to tweak the script and cast. Those first episodes won 10 Filmed in Utah nominations, the Utah equivalent to the Emmy Awards, including a Best Actress win for Anne Sward. The hit online drama was picked up by Interfusion TV’s Salt Lake City affiliate. Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@plantcityobserver. com.

ACCOLADES The fourth episode of “Proper Manors” attracted online recognition and was voted the No. 1 online series by fans of We Love Soaps. Viewers also named series regulars Anne Sward (“As the World Turns”), Walter Platz (“Napoleon Dynamite,” “S. Darko”) and Hunter Gomez (“National Treasure,” “Family Guy”) their favorite performers of the week. Special guest star Melinda Chilton (“Rid of Me,” “The Office,” “Hitchcock”) also was singled out as a top performer. The first three episodes of the first season premiered in 2012 and garnered 10 Filmed in Utah nominations, the Utah equivalent to the Emmy Awards, including a Best Actress win for Sward.

Residents living in unincorporated portions of Greater Plant City will convert to Hillsborough County’s new 2-1-1 Automated Service garbage program beginning Sept. 30. “The areas of Antioch, Seffner, Fish Hawk and Dover will also transition to automated collection the week of Sept. 30,” Kim Byer, transition manager for the Hillsborough County Public Utilities Department, said. “The only areas not affected will be the City of Plant City, City of Tampa and City of Temple Terrace service areas.” County residential garbage customers will continue to receive twice-weekly garbage collection, weekly recyclables collection and weekly yard waste collection. But the new program does include changes to bin sizes, recycling and the trucks themselves. Customers who are part of the program already have received their new 95-gallon garbage bin and 65-gallon recycling bin. Both feature wheels on the bottom and are specially designed to be used by the new automated trucks. Residents must use the county-provided roll carts for garbage and recyclables. Automated collection requires a stanPICK-UP dardized, heavy-duty PROVIDER container that will work with the trucks’ Hillsborough mechanisms. County’s three franAs part of the chise collectors are: county’s new singleProgressive Waste stream recycling Solutions: (813) program, residents 248-3802 no will longer have to Republic Services sort recyclables. of Florida: (813) The Hillsborough 265-0292 County Commission Waste Management voted unanimously Inc. of Florida: on the changes dur(813) 621-3053 ing a special workshop in January. The ONLINE current residential For more inforsolid waste collecmation on the tion contracts, which new services have been in place visit hillsborfor nearly 17 years, expire Sept. 30. The county solicited input last fall on four possible service options, including the current manual collection of garbage and recyclables. The 2-1-1 Automated Service option is projected to save the county more than $7.5 million annually, a 22% reduction from the current contract. Residents who receive services from Plant City’s sanitation division will see no change. The Plant City Public Works Department/Sanitation Division provides refuse service to more than 8,000 households in Plant City. To participate in Plant City’s voluntary curbside recycling program, citizens can have a blue bin delivered to their home by calling (813) 757-9208 and providing their name, address and phone number. Customers also may come to the Sanitation Division, 1802 Spooner Drive, and pick up a blue recycling container at no charge. Like Hillsborough County, Plant City also offers single-stream recycling, so customers do not need to separate their recyclables. Curbside pick up is one day per week. Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@

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DONATIONS ITEM 1963 International Car Company wide-vision caboose, painted in SAL Colors. Refurbished to museum quality. Forty-foot access ramp included. 1942 Whitcomb 15-ton cosmetically restored shunting locomotive Circa 1942 Fairmont section car from the Atlantic Coast Line RR Circa 1958 Fairmont motor car from the Seaboard Air Line RR Circa 1943 Fairmont motor car from the Seaboard Air Line RR Electric grade crossing warning signal with signage Circa 1900 Fairbanks Velocipede Circa 1915 Buda hand car Working train order semaphore and mast Two park benches fabricated from used wheel and axle sets Industrial railway track diamond rail crossing Honda “Railbike” fabricated by Missouri Pacific RR shop Circa 1930s Atlantic Coast line RR baggage/coffin wagon Circa 1930s Seaboard Air Line RR Baggage wagon Circa 1940s material handling cart with brake assembly Circa 1940s material handling cart, known as “bull” cart Steam-era brass bell from Illinois Central locomotive Child bench fabricated from used motor car wheel/axle set U.S. Post Office mail crane used with the Railway Post Office “Railrod” fabricated by welder in Perry, Okla. Circa 1930s Atlantic Coast Line depot cast concrete planter box Circa 1930s cast metal SAL Maintenance Limit sign Circa 1930s cast metal “Locomotive Warning” sign Circa late 1940s cast metal Great Western Railway sign Circa 1950s spur track car stops Circa 1950s derailing device Circa 1930s railroad freight house scale Atlantic Coast Line steam-era whistle post TOTAL VALUE:

MUSEUM / PAGE 1 rename Plant City Union Station Depot as the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum. The Plant City Commission approved Sept. 23, the agreement. The museum’s two largest attractions include a 1963 International Car Company wide-vision caboose, valued at $90,000, and a 1942 Whitcomb 15-ton cosmetically restored shunting locomotive, valued at $18,500. Smaller items will be housed in a new building, which will be constructed in the existing green space near the depot. “I started collecting in 1964,” Willaford said. “These items have come all the way from Miami, Georgia, Baltimore, Ohio, Vermont.” Willaford said most of the items were salvaged from scrap yards and restored. City Commissioner Mike Sparkman first contacted Willaford about five months ago to ask him to consider making a donation. At first, Willaford’s idea was just to donate a few small items.

“What I’ll do is I’ll get a couple of those rusty lanterns out there and a little sign,” Willaford said. “David Miller came out the next day. I just gave him the sign and a couple of lanterns. (I thought) that would be the end of it, and I wouldn’t see them any more.” However, Sparkman and Miller had a different idea. They had their eyes on Willaford’s locomotive, caboose and other items. “What do you want?” Willaford asked. “Everything,” Sparkman replied. After several months of negotiations, Willaford and the city agreed to terms. “My main desire is for kids ... later on through the years, it will be something they can enjoy,” Willaford said. “This way, it will stay in Plant City, and it will benefit the city.” Sparkman said the new museum, coupled with the trainviewing platform, will help increase Plant City’s appeal to train enthusiasts. He hopes to utilize the amenities to host several fundraising rallies throughout the year. Money

VALUE $90,000 $18,500 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $7,500 $7,500 $7,500 $6,500 $5,000 $4,900 $4,500 $4,000 $3,950 $3,850 $3,000 $2,500 $2,000 $1,950 $1,500 $1,250 $1,200 $1,200 $1,200 $1,000 $750 $750 $500 $212,500

raised will pay for the cost to maintain the collection and, eventually, pay to have the museum staffed at least six days per week, he said. “It’s such an economic engine coming to downtown Plant City; we truly need it,” Sparkman said. Vice Mayor Rick Lott said the museum will pay homage to Plant City’s true roots. “Most people don’t realize our history ties back to the rail and H.B. Plant,” he said.

“I’ve always felt like there was something missing in our downtown to be able to help recognize our past. This museum is going to help embrace that past, as we move forward into our future.” Commissioner Bill Dodson said he appreciated Willaford’s generosity. However, he did not feel comfortable with the proposed location of the new museum building. Dodson said its location on existing depot green space would hinder the ability for school groups and others to use the space to conduct meetings and classes. Moreover, he said, the museum would obstruct the view of the existing train depot building, which has been standing since before Plant City incorporated in 1885. “I believe the train depot building, as it is, should continue as the main focal point on the property,” he said. “It is what brought people to Plant City in the beginning.” Dodson said he didn’t receive plan proposals until Friday, Sept. 21 — just three days before the scheduled hearing. He asked his fellow commissioners to delay their decision and consider alternate locations for the museum. However, that request was not granted, and the commission approved the donation and museum as proposed. Plant City will pay to relocate and display all the donated railroad equipment. Contact Michael Eng at

IN OTHER NEWS • Plant City commissioners approved spending $35,000 to add additional water and electrical lines to the Randy Larson Four-Plex to help expand the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce’s Pig Jam. The attendance for the annual barbecue event has grown from 5,000 to 15,000. To accommodate more barbecue participants, the facility needs additional infrastructure. • The City Commission adopted the city’s 2013-14 Fiscal Year budget and millage rate. • Plant City Fire Rescue donated recently an old billiards table to Marshall Middle School. • The City Commission recognized members of Marshall Middle School’s Gentlemen’s Quest club. The club seeks to help its members maintain good grades, resist peer pressure and serve as an example of leadership for fellow classmates.

Courtesy photo

Flugtag competitors are judged on both their flight and originality.

FLUGTAG / PAGE 1 colonel in the Florida National Guard Reserve. Once per month, he serves as a space control launch officer at the Kennedy Space Center, where nothing gets sent into orbit without his supervision. Notably, he was on the flight line in 1998, when John Glenn returned from his historic flight aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. The Humphreys were born and raised in Plant City, both graduating in 1988, from Plant City High School. West, whom Kevin described as their “best friend,” also graduated with the twins. “Keith and I are identical and almost exactly alike,” Kevin Humphrey says. “People mistake me for him all the time, and vice versa. Except for one thing: We’re twins, but I’m married with five kids. He’s recently married, but he wants none.” With two sisters and two more brothers, they’re not only children. And three of their siblings — sisters Elisa and Cheryl (Trapnell), and brother Richard — are all educators in Plant City. Although the family hasn’t always been able to make it out to the Flugtag events, Kevin Humphrey said they have been great about watching the competitions live. Their father, Lloyd, hosted a watch party at his Plant City home for this year’s event.


If it sounds like the Humphreys signed up for that first event in 2008 out of impulse, that’s because they did. “Keith found out about the Flugtag event in 2008, and we just signed up for it,” Kevin Humphrey said. “Out of 450 applicants, we were chosen, and then we won. “We all have day jobs; we’re normal guys,” he said. “We did this for fun.” Riley, a Tampa-based animator, creates the ideas that eventually become the themes. For the technical stuff, there’s the “secret weapon.” The ace up their sleeve is a 65-year-old hang-gliding expert named Bob Bailey, sometimes called “Mr. X,” who lives and operates in Groveland, just north of Auburndale. The crew met Bailey in 2008, and a lasting partnership was born. “We were trying to find glider parts, and the guys from Fantasy of Flight referred us to him,” Keith Humphrey said. “He was all excited to be a part of it — one of his teammates had competed in a Flugtag event with a hang glider, so he was just running off of the platform, and the guy just tripped and fell at the last second. So this was kind of like redemption for (Bailey), to be a part of our team.” Although Bailey doesn’t perform with the crew in their competitions, the brothers say his contributions to the team are invaluable. “We take Kevin Riley’s creativity and Bobby’s engineering, and that’s how we put everything together,” Keith Humphrey said.


The best way to describe Flugtag to the uninitiated is simple: “falling with style.” Teams of five build a contraption expected to “fly” after being pushed off an elevated pier, and points are awarded for distance traveled. According to Keith Humphrey, building one of these machines is about a two-month process. All contraptions must be able to float and easily removed from the water. Once they hit the water, they’re no longer usable. But, that’s not all. There are two other categories that

judges consider when awarding points: “Presentation” and “Skit.” Elaborate costumes, decorations and contraption design are they key points of the presentation category, and all teams must perform a skit prior to launch. Although it is important for teams to have a strong visual identity and an entertaining shtick, nothing matters more to the score than the flight itself. And that’s where the members of the “Flying Dead” have really shined.


“The first year we did this, we were lifeguards,” Kevin Humphrey said. “It wasn’t the best theme out there — kind of boring — but we won, because we crushed the competition. We flew 109 feet, and the second-place team flew 32 feet. “Then, in 2011, we were Willy Wonka and the OompaLoompas,” he said. “ Four of us were running around, painted orange, pretending to be little guys — we’re all about 6-foot-3 — and then Keith, Willy Wonka, is, like, 9 feet tall on stilts. It was great.” This year, the crew played to the tastes of fans of the superpopular AMC television show, “The Walking Dead.” Sheriff Rick Grimes and four zombies showed up to the event in Miami, with perpetual pilot Keith playing the part of Grimes and everyone else portraying the zombies. They built a giant, flying brain-machine and managed to get brain-panting and costume-designing help from M6FX, a special effects company involved with Busch Gardens’ annual “Howl-OScream” event. “They’re six brothers, and we met them at a Halloween party last year,” Keith Humphrey said. “Some of the stuff that they make is so crazy, and when we talked to them about our idea, they loved it.”


As soon as the “Flying Dead” set foot in the hangar, where teams could mingle with each other and with the fans in attendance, the tables were turned — the fans swarmed on them for four hours, much like the zombies in “Walking Dead” would swarm on humans. “It was crazy,” Keith Humphrey said. “People were fighting for pictures for four hours, non-stop. We had to take shifts for pictures. I’d try to go in the back and sit and relax, but people would still come up to take pictures with me.” The four zombies descended upon Keith, dressed as Sheriff Grimes, on the ramp. Despite getting “shot” repeatedly, the undead crew members caught the lawman and tore him apart in front of the crowd. The newly zombified Grimes then jumped to his feet, and the five zombies performed a dance routine largely inspired by Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” They then ran over to the brain-machine, pushed it down the ramp and watched, as Keith jumped out with the glider to cruise to victory. This wasn’t the crew’s last hurrah, either. Next time, they want to go farther — to one of Red Bull’s competitions held outside of the United States. “We usually go a few years in between (events), because we all have day jobs,” Keith Humphrey said. “It cost us $5,000 to do this — $3,500 for the glider. We want to do something internationally, so we’d just like to find sponsors who will help us pay for that.” That idea is up in the air for now, but if it’s anything like the others, it likely will travel pretty far. Contact Justin Kline at

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



2600 block of James L. Redman Parkway. Retail Theft. The suspect was detained by store loss prevention for stealing a 24-pack of Natural Light Beer, valued at $15. After an investigation, the suspect was arrested. He was later transported to the Orient Road Jail.






1310 block of Louisiana Street. Criminal Mischief. The victim stated he was involved in an argument with a known black female. During the argument, she picked up a plastic lawn chair and threw and threw it at his 2006 Ford F-150, causing several small scratches on the tailgate.


1530 block of Plantation Grove Court. Simple Battery. Officers responded to this apartment, in reference to a 911 hang-up call. It was determined through the investigation that a known black female punched the victim in the face during an argument. The suspect was gone when police arrived. The victim did not want to prosecute and signed a waiver of prosecution.


2400 block of East Cherry Street. Criminal Mischief. On Sept. 6, unknown person(s) spray-painted an “X3” and “SUR” in black paint on the bathroom walls at Ellis Methvin Park. The damage is estimated at $100.


1510 block of Old Sydney Road. Grand Theft. Unknown suspect(s) stole a 44-inch, 16-horsepower Craftsman riding lawn mower, valued at $400, from the yard of the residence.


2600 block of James L Redman Parkway. Retail Theft. The female suspect was detained by loss prevention for theft of merchandise valued at $47.

entered her vehicle and stole three picture frames, a car charger and a red suitcase. The total value of the items taken was about $200.

SEPT. 10


900 block of West Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Theft. The victim called to report unknown person(s) stole an external security video camera from the outside of the business. The camera was last seen Sept. 8. According to the victim, several other small items have been stolen from her property in the last few weeks.


610 block of North Maryland Avenue. Counterfeit Currency. An unknown person came into the store and tried to buy groceries with a counterfeit $10 bill. Once it was determined the bill was not real, the person left.

After an investigation, the suspect was arrested and released with a court date.


1600 block of West McLeod Drive. Residential Burglary. An unknown suspect entered the residence and stole miscellaneous jewelry and a Wii game console.


1420 block of Plantation Circle. Criminal Mischief. Unknown suspect(s) damaged the door to the gas tank on the victim’s vehicle. The damage was estimated at $40.


1210 block of Goldfinch Drive. Vehicle Burglary. The victim stated unknown suspect(s)

BULLY / PAGE 1 Another message Noor took away from Peters was to avoid social networking. That’s where the bulk of bullying starts. “She told us exactly what we have been seeing,” Sullivan said. “Usually, it starts with some kind of romantic situation gone wrong. A boy and girl break up or the ex and current girlfriend get in a fight. It’s mostly girls. Not all the time.” New social media apps pop up almost daily. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat all allow students to connect with each other in cyberspace. By far, the worst is Facebook. “I hate Facebook,” Sullivan said. The number of students estimated to be involved in cyber-bullying varies. Some statistics have it at 72%, while others are as low as 5.5%. According to Cyberbullying Research Center’s surveys, students who have experienced cyber-bullying at least once range from 18.8% to 40.6%. Sullivan encourages parents to read their child’s text messages and monitor their online activity. “Parents of our middle-schoolers need to be up in their business,” Sullivan said. “They need to be keeping tabs on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. “A lot of times, it’s used inappropriately,” Sullivan said. “Adults use it to keep up with each other. But kids can abuse it.” Because it’s online, cyber-bullying often can go unnoticed by parents, teachers and even friends. “We see bullying in the hallways,” Sullivan said. “But, we can stop it and mediate.” Noor has witnessed some of her friends being bullied. She said her friends will become mad or


300 block of Grant St. Domestic Assault. The suspect and the victim, his live-in girlfriend, were arguing. The suspect made the statement, “I’m going to [expletive] your face up,” and ran at the victim, placing her in fear. The suspect was arrested and transported to Orient Road Jail.

SEPT. 11


700 block of Hitchcock Street. Business Burglary. The business owner reported that between 6 p.m. Sept. 10, and 7 a.m. Sept. 11, unknown suspect(s) cut the fence on the north side of the business and stole a large blue Millermatic welding machine and a DeWalt stereo/charger from a storage trailer.


Rita Peters, who spoke Sept. 23, at Tomlin Middle School, as part of a Frameworks anti-bullying seminar, encourages parents to ban social media use. If parents still want his or her child to be online, here are some other useful tips: • Read your child’s texts and online messages. • Have your child leave their phone with you at night. • Place the home computer in a public area. Don’t let your child have one in their room • Encourage communication. Talk with your child about their day and friends.


• Changes in mood, appetite and grades • Withdrawal • Change in friends or cutting off friendships completely sad. They also have changes in grades, appetites and withdraw. “Fights between friends happen,” Noor said. “They’ll come up to them in the hallway, act like friends and then say, ‘Why did you do that?’ They spread rumors.” However, the most damaging conversations don’t occur face to face. “It’s mostly cyber-bullying,” Noor said. “It’s because they’re scared to say it to someone’s face,” Tyler said. Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@

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observed: rotary tradition

Monkey See, Monkey Do My induction into the fuzzy animal was named after Daybreak Rotary Club had Banning, and curiously not followed dignified protocol — after Curious George. mostly. Banning had introduced the President-elect Jim Chancey monkey as a way to expose introduced me first. Then, others to Rotary and also as a District Governor George way for new members to tell Robertson-Burnett about their lives to other had ceremoniously members in a unique read the induction way. speech. A shiny pin Before I knew it, the was placed on my monkey was shoved lapel. I was almost ofinto my hands. The flash ficially part of Rotary. of an iPad captured But first, I had one Chancey and me with more task. the monkey, in front of President George the royal blue Rotary AMBER Banning came at me banner. JURGENSEN with a furry object in That was just the behis hand. I knew it ginning of seven days of well. Out of all the weeks I’ve photo shoots with the primate. covered the Rotary meetings, My face felt hot. I was I had heard of this initiation excited to show the club what tradition. my days are like. But, I was also New recruits were required mortified at the thought of carto carry around a stuffed rying around this gigantic toy. monkey for a week. The brown I had a mental image of its fat


Dear Editor: Regarding the controversy over the Walden Lake golf course and the Walden Lake Community Association, please allow me to give another point of view. My husband and I moved here more than 15 years ago, from Seattle. At the time, my husband was an avid golfer. The purchase of our beautiful home in Emerald Forest was not because of the golf course but was a plus for my golfing husband. However, even then, the course, clubhouse offerings and other amenities were suffering from neglect, poor management, lack of funds, etc. We attempted to support the golfing community here in Walden Lake but found too much lacking. Eventually, long before Steve Mercer, we gave up our membership and took our business elsewhere. Our observation was that in the 1970s, the golf course and club may have been full of potential and offered what the community is seeking. Times change, and it seems like the biggest problem here comes back to lack of funds. I understand the disappointment of the members of the golfing community who are attempting to halt the changes that seem likely to take place in one form or another. I do respect their commitment to have their voices heard. But I ask: Why have the property sit in disrepair and get in worse condition through neglect? What happens to views and home values for all of Walden Lake residents? This could be one of those situations where the future may present something better, but the past has to be let go to enjoy the future. As for the WLCA Board of Directors: We support them 100% and find each person to be worthy of our trust. They are volunteers, who give a lot of their time to represent our community. They cannot make decisions that please everyone. The complaints against some board members to attend or not attend meetings, that they attended a “secret” meeting and other comments all have reasonable explanations. We have no reason to doubt that these dedicated folks are trying hard to navigate through difficult and unknown territory. As far as Jan Griffin and Karen Olson “stepping down,” because of term limits or other complaints, this is uncalled for. Two betterqualified and committed people are hard to find. Besides, no one else, it seems, wants these unpaid and under-appreciated “jobs.” As president of our HOA for a number of years, I can speak from experience that some residents are quick to complain and try to bend the deed restrictions but are short on showing appreciation. We say thank you and keep up the good work. As far as Web Melton, our WLCA attorney: He is the best in the business. If he doesn’t respond to questions, it is because he does not have any new information. It has been stated many times that the golf course is separate from the WLCA’s responsibility. Melton is giving legal advise to the board members. They are attempting to abide by his advice. Hopefully, responses will be coming from the owners of the golf course, and the community will be a part of what those plans and actions are. Perhaps what is happening now is preparation for changes to come that we will all benefit from. Carrine Narey Walden Lake

Plant City Times & Observer Locally Owned

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

several heartbreaking stories during interviews about sick children, struggling families and the life of an honorable U.S. Army veteran. And, of course, he saw that there were thousands of words typed every day to create the stories that fill the pages of my beloved hometown newspaper. Overall, the intern was enthralled by the continuous stream of conversation but also exhausted. And, I found I wasn’t as embarrassed to carry him around as I thought. No matter where I went, Plant City folks welcomed the intern with open arms and, of course, a slight chuckle. No one judged, but everyone was curious. That’s the point of the intern, after all. I couldn’t help but see that the exercise draws parallels to how I’ve been received in

As part of the initiation into the Plant City Daybreak Rotary Club, this monkey accompanied Associate Editor Amber Jurgensen on a week of reporting and writing. this tight-knit community. I was an outsider. But, I’ve been welcomed whole-heartedly. In just a year of living here, I have been asked to participate in Dancing with the Locals, serve

on the Relay for Life committee and was recruited to the Daybreak Rotary Club. I can’t help but feel at home — all thanks to the readers and sweet people of Plant City.

PLANTCITYOBSERVER.COM // Check out the video I made about my week with the intern on our website,



+ In support of WLCA’s leaders

head sticking out of my purse as I tried to ask Mayor Mary Mathis important questions about a controversial topic. I got in my car, laughing as I buckled in my new companion. I took some video. Then, off to the office we went. It was there that Plant City Times & Observer Assistant Managing Editor Jess Eng called the monkey my intern. It caught on immediately. The intern went everywhere with me. He helped me make pasta for the Relay for Life committee meeting, saw the excitement at Freedomfest and even rode in a golf cart for the Optimist Club/Recreation and Parks Department’s charity tournament. But, the job isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes, it takes a somber route, one that requires the utmost sensitivity and respect. He listened to

Small-town living is what is right with America Growing up in Plant City, I rePeople make a place what it member people who contributed is and what it becomes, but this to the good life of our community, grows true in a more important and I know people now who still way for a small town. I watch make the lives we live here even this dynamic in action, when better. That advantage is shared someone who plays a role in by anyone who grew up our community life no in a town that values a longer has the chance to sense of place and the do so through disability or role that place plays in death. The sadness of seethe lives of its citizens. ing this acts as a motivaIn fact, sometimes tion for personal responpeople ask, “What is it sibility in finding and like to grow up in a small fulfilling one’s own role in town?” My response is the life of our city. based on living in a place Our town remains a SCOTT where people still speak small one. Thus, we need TOLER when they pass you in a to remember that our store and still care about country began as a collecyou even if they have tion of small towns that not seen you in a while. It comes grew into their own sizes whethfrom formative years spent in a er larger or smaller. I enjoy the town where people knew each fact that people in Plant City live other’s parents and thus felt part near some larger metropolitan of a wider neighborhood. Part of areas, but I never lose my love for that smaller setting meant know- coming back to our small town ing what you said or did affected after sharing what those cities other people. have to offer. I appreciate Plant

City as a hometown. People ask if Americans still live in a place where people care for others in a person-centered way. Do we still help when help is needed and provide the comfort that people in a community provide one another? In Plant City, I feel we do, and that is one good part of living in our smaller town. I have lived in Plant City since 1967, and I know I play a part in ensuring our community remains a place that embraces the abiding values of concern for the larger good. I know people who share these values. We do credit to the people who follow us by setting an example of involvement beyond our particular private lives. Though small, Plant City plays its part in our American story. We remember this when we develop parts of town for new businesses and new parks. People thrive through efforts like these to en-

hance the quality of everyday life and livelihood. Our country has not experienced the most pleasant of times in the past few years, and this emphasizes the need to focus on the good qualities of American life. Plant City is part of what is good about America, because of the character we bring to way we live. The geographical extent of our town remains smaller, even though we seem to grow somewhat bigger as the years pass. No matter how spread out our city becomes, people from larger areas may continue to ask about life in a small town. When they do, I will tell them about the good life in Plant City, the kind of life each one of us enriches by service and outreach on a daily basis. Scott Toler is a licensed mental health counselor who lives in Plant City. He may be reached at

worthy cause by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Emily Pierce organized the first Good Cookie 5K last year.

The Blueberry Festival court showed up for support.

Cookie run sweetens downtown

Kids enjoyed this bounce house as part of the festivities.

Macy and Karle Wilson

Amee Pickup and Nicole Randolph

It was an early morning for runners and families participating in the Good Cookie 5K Sept. 21, in Historic Downtown Plant City. The race kicked off at 7:30 a.m. and took runners around the historic district. Two bounce houses kept kids occupied. The band, Dock Seven, played country favorites. A photo staging area was set up and a bake sale and lemonade stand offered refreshments.


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

The event was organized by Emily Pierce, whose daughter, Morgan, has cancer. Pierce had help from other local mothers who also have children diagnosed with cancer. Pierce organized Plant City’s first Good Cookie 5K last year and raised more than $3,000 for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, an organization that supports pediatric cancer research. Proceeds will benefit Cookies for Kids’ Cancer again this year.

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.

Plant City Times &

Observer General Manager/Editorial / Michael Eng,

General Manager/Advertising / Tony Del Castillo, Assistant Managing Editor / Jess Eng, Associate Editor / (Community) Amber Jurgensen, Staff Writer / Justin Kline, Advertising Executives / Veronica Prostko,; Joanna Verga, Circulation/Office Manager / Linda Lancaster,

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

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.

+ Relay for Life of Plant City

The annual kickoff party for Relay for Life of Plant City will take place at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, at Plant City’s First Baptist Church, 503. N. Palmer St. The party features games, fun and food. Honorary Survivor Joy Neely will speak on her battle with cancer. Survivors, caregivers, teams, family and friends are encouraged to come.

Plant City fans packed the stadium for this year’s Raider/Cougar game.


Plant City’s JROTC presented the colors at the beginning of the game.

+ Plant City Lions Club

The Plant City Lions Club’s annual Golf Tournament will take place Friday, Oct. 4, at at Walden Lake Golf & Country Club, 2001 Clubhouse Drive, Plant City. Registration begins at 11 a.m.; shotgun start at 1 p.m. Golfers can compete for a chance to win the hole-inone prize, a golf cart donated by I-4 Power. The title sponsor this year are the Plant City Times & Observer and the Tampa Bay Times. For more information, contact Dave Davenport, or (813) 478-9665.

+ Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce

Plant City Christmas Parade applications are now available. The parade will take place at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, in Historic Downtown Plant City. The theme is “Celebrate the Season.” For an application, call the chamber at (813) 754-3707 or visit origin. library.constantcontact. com/download/get/ file/11043324242631460/Christmas+ Parade+App.+114119. pdf. The Blueberry Stomp Mud Run will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Keel and Curley Winery, 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road. The three-mile course will take runners through the grounds of the winery and include 20 unique obstacles. The run will benefit the chamber’s scholarship fund. To register, visit blueberry

The Plant City Raiders were ready to compete and came away with a thrilling 14-13 victory over the Durant Cougars.

Of course, no high school football game would be complete without the raucous fans on both sides of the field. And this year, the Plant City and Durant faithful didn’t disappoint. Both Raiders and Chargers fans came out in droves for the annual James L. Redman Cup game, held Sept. 20, at Plant City High School. The Raiders enjoyed a thrilling 14-13 win over their crosstown rivals, bringing the Redman Cup back to Plant City High in the process. For action shots from the game, see page 13.

Plenty of Durant fans cheered on their beloved Cougars.

+ Plant City Garden Club

The Plant City Garden Club and the Plant City Downtown Business and Merchants Association again have teamed up to host this year’s GardenFest and More, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at McCall Park and the Train Depot, 202 N. Palmer St. The event is free to the public along with free parking. For more information, call (813) 716-0950.

Kaitlynne Fincher, a junior, cheered hard for her Raiders.

Durant cheerleader Macaley Barrow kept her crowd in the game.

Left: The Durant color guard had a blast at this year’s rivalry game.

SCHOOL SPIRIT by Michael Eng | Editor

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show of support by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

FAREWELL by Michael Eng | Editor

Lotts host fundraising event for state Rep. Dan Raulerson Supporters of Representative Dan Raulerson gathered at the home of Plant City Vice Mayor Rick Lott Sept. 17, to celebrate Raulerson’s success and raise funds for his next campaign. Among those in attendance were Mayor Mary Thomas Mathis, Plant City commissioners and Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee.

Michael Eng

Coleman Davis, 71, was surrounded by family members and longtime employees on his final day at Bradock Home Furniture & More.

Jaclyn, Dan and Shirley Raulerson

Coleman Davis retires from career at Badcock Coleman Davis began working for W.S. Badcock Corporation 51 years ago. Coleman Davis eases himself into a chair near the front door at Plant City’s Badcock Home Furniture & More. The longtime store owner situates himself so he can keep an eye on the door, and as customers come in, he greets many of them by name. Sure, most can’t help but take a look at the living room sets at the front of the store and make their way back to the flat-screen TVs. But, on this day, these customers have come to see Davis himself. Davis, who, along with Crea Beauchamp, brought Badcock to Plant City more than 40 years ago, retired Sept. 14, after 51 years with the company. “I’ve shed some tears,” he says, looking around the showroom. “It’s an emotional thing. And on Monday morning, my car will probably crank up and drive over here all by itself.” Davis’ family, including his wife of 49 years, Sue; son, Jamie; daughter; Laura; and grandchildren, Taryn, 11, and Hope, 6, all spent time at the store on his final day. They celebrated with a special barbecue lunch and shared plenty of stories about Davis’ long, proud career in the furniture business. Davis’ parents both worked at W.S. Badcock Company, and he followed in their footsteps, working in the warehouse during his summer vacations while in school. He got his first taste of working in retail as a teenager, when he took a job at Plant Pharmacy. “I learned how to meet the needs of customers,” he says. “Whether they need prescriptions, furniture or groceries — it doesn’t matter. We just need to be able to identify that need and provide for it.” After college, he began working full-time for Badcock in 1962, at the corporate office, in Mulberry. Nine years later, he and Beachamp opened the independent Badcock Home Furnishing Center, at the corner of South Collins Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, in Plant City. In 1973, Davis and Beauchamp moved the business to its current location, 703 S. Evers St. As the business grew, the partners opened

a location in Seffner and purchased stores in Brandon and Zephyrhills. When Beauchamp retired, Davis bought his part of the business. “This remained the bread-and-butter store,” Davis says of the Plant City location.“It’s been a blessing to be able to make a living in my hometown and have some degree of success doing it. “The highest compliment, as a merchant, is when a customer brings their son or daughter to trade with you,” he says. “I’m proud to have had the privilege to serve four generations of customers.” Davis says he originally planned to retire about five years ago. He sold the Brandon store and identified a buyer for the Plant City location. However, the buyer was called into fulltime Christian ministry, and as the economy began its decline, Davis opted to stay with the business to help guide it through the tough times. Now, at 71 years old, Davis says the timing is right. He sold the Zephyrhills location in June, and W.S. Badcock Corporation has purchased in September, the Plant City location, which now will be led by Manager Mike Rideout. Davis says he is looking forward to devoting more time to the many positions within the Plant City community he holds. Currently, he serves as chairman of the board of directors for the Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City, on the Board of Trustees at South Florida Baptist Hospital and the South Florida Baptist Hospital Foundation and as a member of the East Hillsborough Law Enforcement Appreciation Committee. He also is a longtime member of the Plant City Lions Club and active in Plant City’s First Baptist Church. In 2005, he received Plant City’s Citizen of the Year Award. “I do not intend to go home and sit down,” he says. “I’m ready for the next step. As long as the Lord has work for me to do, I’m committed to go and do it.” Davis says he’s also excited to be able to spend more time with his family — especially at the family cabin in North Carolina mountains. He also hopes to travel more with Sue. Some of their bucket-list locations include the upper rim of the Grand Canyon, Colorado and Wyoming. “It’s been great,” Davis says of his long career. “I love the people I’ve worked with, and I love the company I represented. It’s been a fun ride.” Contact Michael Eng at

Mayor Mary Mathis and Tony Mathis Right: Margaret Rodwell, Cassandra Banning, George Banning and Bruce Rodwell

Ron Raulerson and Commissioner Bill Dodson

Vice Mayor Rick Lott and Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee

STORE AROUND THE CORNER by Amber Jurgensen | Associate Editor

Amber Jurgensen

Krazy Kup co-owners Wenda and Frank Trunzo say their new Plant City coffeehouse is a dream come true.


Plant City’s newest coffeehouse hopes to offer residents a place to relax and socialize. The smell of coffee It’s no secret that isn’t wafting through BASICS Trunzo and his the rooms of the Krazy wife, Wenda, have Kup yet. The new cof- ADDRESS: 101 put a lot of work feehouse next to the E. J. Arden into the building, Mays Blvd. Whistle Stop Cafe in which they purdowntown Plant City TENTATIVE chased. The back won’t open until Oct. HOURS: 8:10 room has been 19. But, the décor al- a.m. to 8:10 made into a trendy ready is bringing a p.m. Tuesdays study space, aimed warm feel to the build- through at attracting stuFridays; 10:33 ing’s historic charm. dents. A 1963 re“We want a place for a.m. to 10:33 stored jukebox sits Plant City to come and p.m. Saturdays on one wall, temptchill out,” owner Frank PHONE ing diners for a Trunzo says. “Just a re- NUMBER: play. ally super fun place to (813) 752Next to the 1220 hang.” lounge is a conferFunky lamps light up ence room outfitthe coffeehouse. Soft rays also ted with anything a business ooze through a rare stained- person would need to make a glass window above the menu presentation. The Trunzos are boards and redone glass blocks working on getting a hall of in the back windows inspired fame set up in the conference by modern cubism. Vintage room to memorialize influenposters dot the walls. Authentic tial Plant City residents. antiques, such as toy trains and Upstairs, the Trunzos are rea book press, sit on display. doing the office spaces, setting Each room and wall has a up a concession stand and an different theme. Some walls area for a house band. Both have car memorabilia hang- their sons, Jacob and Joshua, ings, others pay homage to play instruments. motorcycles. The “L-Cove” is The Trunzos got the inspiradedicated to cowboys. tion for the décor from their “We designed the rooms to many travels. They’ve visited have different moods,” Trunzo coffeehouses all over the world. says. “We’re trying to be a hy- Some of their favorites are in brid and bring all that togeth- Hawaii. er.” So, it makes sense that some

of the coffee being sold at Krazy Kup will be from the Hawaiian Islands, including Kona and Oahu. They also will carry beans from a nearby roaster in St. Pete. The employees will be trained to make coffee the more traditional way. Automated machines won’t be used. “It’s more hand-crafted,” Wenda says. “We want to present it the way it’s supposed to be.” Coffee will range from $3 to $5. In addition to coffee, the Trunzos also are planning to carry pastries, scones and muffins from local bakeries, sandwiches and wraps and even shaved ice. The mascot for the shaved ice is Duke, a famous Hawaiian surfer. A small statue of Duke sits above the ice machine. It has been a longtime dream for Frank to open up his own coffeehouse. Since 1991, the couple has collected interesting antiques and items, in case they ever started their own coffeehouse. As auctioneers, the Trunzos were able to pick out the most eclectic collection of accessories. Finally, the Trunzos decided to act on their scheme. “We are having fun with it,” Wenda says. “This has been a labor of love.” “This is kind of our dream,” Frank says. “It’s something we always wanted to do.” Contact Amber Jurgensen at ajurgensen@plantcityobserver. com.

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City needs your support

“What good is it, my Director Christine Miller, brothers, if some says he in 2012 the food bank ashas faith but does not have sisted an average of 85 new works?” James 2:14 (ESV) families per month. To date, This month, I would like we have assisted 176 new to introduce you to a minisfamilies per month. By this try in our community that is time in 2012, we served unfortunately growing in the 5,096 people. To date in number of clients it 2013, we have assisted serves on a regular 10,407. Here is where basis. we praise God for the But, let me begin people of our comby saying that we munity who have put live in a great comtheir faith into action. munity. A communiWe have received a toty that, when it sees tal of 279,175 pounds or hears of needs, (you read that right) reaches deep — not of donated food, just into their wallets THE REV. compared to 198,479 DEAN R. but also into their pounds in 2012. But PFEFFER hearts to help where — and you knew this help is needed. was coming — in It’s growth is both 2012, we distributed positive and negative. First a total to date of 166,761 the positive: As it grows, pounds of food, while to more are being assisted. As I this point in 2013, we have say that, I am so reminded of distributed 321,761 pounds Jesus’ words to us in Matof food. Astounding isn’t thew 25, where He says, “I it? Can you imagine all that was hungry and you gave me food coming in and going food, I was thirsty and you out? But it is and it does, all gave me drink ... Lord, when because of you, the residents did we see you hungry and of this community, who help feed you, or thirsty and give us help others and put your you drink ... And the King faith in to action. will answer them, ‘Truly, I But, the good news doesn’t say to you, as you did it to stop there. Do you realize one of the least of these my that this past summer, 2,221 brothers, you did it to me.’” children were served as a With that as our frame of part of the Area 6 Children’s reference, let me share with Nutritional Outreach Proyou about an organization in gram? That translates into our community that is near more than 35,536 pounds and dear to me. I am talking of groceries, valued at more about our own United Food than $77,434. These meals Bank of Plant City. are targeted for those in our Now, the negative from schools who receive free or above: As the numbers of reduced breakfast and lunch clients increase at the food during the school year to bank, the number of those provide the needed growho are hungry is increasceries during the summer ing. Wouldn’t it be great to months. see the day when our comSadly, the need is growmunity no longer needs a ing. There still are many in food bank to help those who our community in need, and are hungry, and the numbers in this pastor’s opinion, no begin to decrease instead of child (or adult, for that matincrease? ter) should ever go to bed According to Executive hungry. We need your help.

“As you can see, we are more than doubling the amount of people being fed and the food moving in and out of the food bank, and we are doing this with the same staff and expenses,” Miller says. How can you help? We are in need of more financial support and good quality volunteers, who can commit to a minimum of two four-hour shifts per week. In addition, in a number of weeks, Thanksgiving will be upon us and, shortly thereafter, Christmas. Our food bank provides hundreds of turkey meals to those in need, costing about $9,000. Please prayerfully consider a special gift today to the United Food Bank. You can bring groceries or financial support, and you even can designate your gift for holiday turkeys. We are located at 702 E. Alsobrook St., Suite H, or call (813) 764-0625. As a community, let’s put the feet on our faith. As someone once said, “Faith without works is like a screen door on a submarine.” Give a helping hand to those who are hungry, keeping in mind Jesus’ words to us in Matthew as stated above. Blessings on your faith journey. The mission of the United Food Bank of Plant City is to provide assistance for the needy in moving them from a state of hunger and impoverishment to selfsufficiency, empowerment and self-reliance. For more information about the United Food Bank of Plant City, visit the food bank’s website, The Rev. Dean R. Pfeffer is the senior pastor at Hope Lutheran Church, Plant City. For more, email him at

Dawsey Norman Craig

Dawsey Norman Craig, 78, of Lakeland and formerly of Plant City/Seffner, died Sept. 16, 2013, at Palm Terrace of Lakeland. Born July 1, 1935, in Lake Wales, he was the son of the late George Craig and Oneeter Douglas Craig. He was the husband of Martha Craig, who survives. Mr. Craig was a veteran of the U.S. Army and retired from Hillsborough County, where he was a dump truck driver. He enjoyed camping, fishing, gardening and watercolor painting. Survivors also include a son, Timothy (Sharon) Craig; daughters, Teresa (Carl) Pridgen, Fay Watson and Patricia Odom; brother, George (Johnnie Ruth) Craig Jr.; sisters, Loma (Ereston) Monroe and Wanda Craig; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Online condolences may be made to the family at

Katherine “Kathy” Miles Douglass

Katherine “Kathy” Miles Douglass, 59, of Plant City, died Sept. 20, 2013, at home. She was the daughter of the late Kenneth and Marion Miles Morgan, Jacob Albert and Vonelle Smith Miles Jr. Mrs. Douglass was the owner and president of J.A. Miles Oil Company, had been a member of the Kiwanis Club, Junior Women’s Club and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. She had a great love for her animals. She is survived by her beloved husband, Chuck Douglass; children, Jon-Paul and Jill Douglass; and brothers, Michael and Robert Miles. The family received friends Sept. 24, at Haught Funeral Home. If so desired contributions

may be made to the American Diabetes Association. Online condolences may be left for the family at

Tilda Paola Harris

Tilda Paola Harris, 43 of Plant City, died Sept. 17, 2013. Born Nov. 1, 1969, in Bourges, France, she was the daughter of Arthur and Danielle LeGeret Cardarelli. She was the wife of Christopher Harris. Mrs. Harris was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, an assistant manager at Carrabba’s Italian Grill and loved the beach. Other survivors include sons, Thomas, Noah, Nicholas and Logan Harris; daughter, Emily Harris; and grandmother Enis Cardarelli. If so desired donations may be made to the American Cancer Society. Online condolences may be made to the family at

Helen Verne Miller

Helen Verne Miller, 93, of Plant City, died Sept. 17, 2013, at The Meadows at Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven. Born March 8, 1920, she was the daughter of the late Claude and Nona Hull Wiggins. She was the wife of the late William Miller. Mrs. Miller was a nurse, a member of Midway Baptist Church and an associate member at Pine Grove Baptist Church, in Franklin, N.C. Survivors include daughters, Donna Miller and Sharon DeLange; four grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. The family will have private services. If desired, donations may be made to Good Shepherd Hospice, 105 Arneson Ave., Auburndale, FL 33823. Online condolences may be made to the family at

William “Jerry” Miller

William “Jerry” Miller, 71, of Plant City, died Sept. 20, 2013. He was a loving husband and father. He was retired from the automobile industry. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Janis; children, Jerry Wayne Miller and Sherri Peeples Wayt; grandchildren Kristin, Amanda, Caitlan, Brandon, Noah and Alexis; one great-grandchild, Landon; and brothers, Kenneth Ray Miller and Larry Wayne Miller. He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Frances Miller. Online condolences may be made to the family at

Elizabeth “Peggy” Smith

Elizabeth “Peggy” Smith, 77, of Plant City, died Sept. 21, 2013. She worked as an operator for GTE. She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Clayton; son, William “Billy” Smith; and brothers, Neil J. Davis, William Davis (Lil) and Alan “Dusty” Davis (Dorothy). Online condolences may be made to the family at

Keith R. Wright

Keith R. Wright, 80, of Plant City, died Sept. 18, 2013. Mr. Wright was the owner of Huff Muffler for 40 years and a U.S. Air Force veteran, who served in the Korean War. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Janet; sons, Brian, Mike, Cameron, Justin and Jonathan; daughters, Barbara, Michelle and Shannon; several grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by his four-legged friend, Chico. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Bethany Baptist Church, 3409 Cork Road. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Lifepath Hospice. Online condolences may be made to the family at

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fun and games by Michael Eng | Editor

Leos learn, laugh at clown school For students in Durant High School’s Leos Club, clowning is serious business. To help with their efforts, Plant City Lions Club Tail Twister David Vick and his wife, Shirley, corralled local balloon expert Jerry Crabb, aka Mr. BG, face-painting guru Dianne McCarthy and magician Mike Jones to share their knowledge. The students completed two clown school sessions to get ready for the upcoming year.

Mike Jones, aka Magic Mike, taught the Leos a few tricks of the trade.

Courtesy photo

Daisy Alvarez was excited to learn new face-painting techniques.

Dianne McCarthy uses a variety of brushes and colors when she paints faces.

Liam McCarthy, 13, didn’t mind assisting his mom, face painter Dianne McCarthy.

David and Shirley Vick hosted the clown school.

Zavdiel Caban loved learning about clowning.

Jennifer Chenevert can’t wait to use the techniques she learned.

JAM SESSION by Justin Kline | Staff Writer

Bluegrass fans flock to annual CampGrass Anyone who drove past Boone’s Nursery last weekend could hear the bluegrass music loudly and clearly, as the nursery hosted its annual CampGrass and MiniFest event. Camping was the theme for Sept. 20, and the campers held jam sessions all night long. “There were people jamming until about 2 a.m.,” Brent McKinney says. Instrumental workshops for musicians of all skill levels took place Saturday morning, and bands got to take the stage in the afternoon to plug in and

play for an estimated audience of about 100. “It’s just great music, and great people,” McKinney says. “That’s what I’d emphasize about this weekend.”

Paul Hawkins enjoyed sharing music at this year’s event. Left: Cheri Hornsby and Charlie Boone, both of the band Little Girl and the Dreadful Snakes, warmed up before taking the stage.

Chuck and Kim Raleigh, D.L. Cuthbertson, and David Byington

Lynette Boone, Tommy Griffin, and Brent McKinney



ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Passion for the game fuels Erick Reyes. 12 THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2013



+ Plant City’s Broome drawing interest

John Broome went into last week’s game against Durant with a bit of good news. The senior defensive end received another offer to take his talents to the college level, this time from Youngstown State. So far, Broome has gotten offers to play for YSU, Florida International University, Florida A&M University,and Alabama State University. Given his performance in Friday night’s grudge match against rival Durant High, the senior must have been in a great mood because of it. The Raiders’ defense was arguably the key reason why the team still has an unblemished record, and Broome certainly did his job out. He, along with the rest of the front seven, put pressure on Cougars quarterback Trey VanDeGrift all night, and he also came up huge on a late goal-line stand to seal the win for the Raiders. With Bloomingdale’s high-powered offense looming ahead, there could be more offers coming soon for Broome.

leaving a legacy by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor

Wall shows potential to Plant City players The Wall of Fame at Plant City High School began in 2012 and serves as a reminder that hard work and dedication can pay off and potentially lead to a college degree. It started as a casual conversation between two high school football coaches. Gerald Dickens, a former Plant City High and University of Florida standout, mentioned to Plant City High assistant coach Roy Schmidberger about putting his name and picture on the wall, along with other former players who went on to play in college. After talking to current Plant city head coach Wayne Ward,

who was a standout himself for the Raiders before playing at Virginia Tech, Schmidberger learned the list of former Raiders that went to college is long. “I asked him how many guys do we know that went to Plant City that went on to play in college, and Wayne just started rattling off names,” Schmidberger said. Before long, the idea of the Plant City High Wall of Fame was born.

“I came up with the design, and that’s how we came up with the wall,” said Schmidberger, who makes the plaques and painted the Raiders logo on the wall. There are now 15 photos and name plaques on the wall inside the entrance to the varsity locker room of the PCHS field house. Seven more (three from 2012 and four from 2013) will join the wall soon.

Matt Mauney


Coach Roy Schmidberger said the wall was created both to honor former players and motivate current players to use football as a way to go to college and earn an education.




Farewell to the Winter Strawberry Capital

Josh Hyde has been with Strawberry Crest through the good, the bad and the ugly, including the 2011 1-9 season. “It was a terrible season, but we stuck together,” he said. Hyde went from only having five catches in 2011 to 34 last fall. He has 18 catches right now, so he’s already on pace to eclipse his 2012 mark.

When I first accepted this job and moved from Atlanta to Plant City, I didn’t know what to expect. Like many of my colleagues, being a part of a startup paper was both exciting and scary. The opportunity was great, but the transition was one of the most significant of my life. Gone was the big city, long commutes and people everywhere you turn. I left a lot in Atlanta — most significantly my family and core group of friends. Plant City MATT reminded me MAUNEY of my college town of Statesboro, Ga. There were plenty of differences, namely the 20,000 college students, but the two towns have many similarities. This brought a comfort over me. Moving can be a stressful and unnerving thing, and other than my five years in the comfort of my college bubble, I had never been away from home. I always said I wanted to move out of Georgia, where I spent my previous 25 years, but when the reality set in, it was terrifying. Other than my girlfriend of four years, Amanda, in Orlando, and her family, everything was new. Now, as I leave the Plant City Times & Observer after 18 months of living and working in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World, I can say that the move was worth it. I grew not only as a journalist but also as a person, which is more than you can ask for with any job. My career now takes me to




+ Durant steamrolls through schedule

With the way the Lady Cougars have been playing, it’s easy to forget that they have a loss on their record. Aside from Bloomingdale, nobody has been able to figure out way to stop Durant from winning. In fact, the Lady Cougars have only dropped one set since then — the second set in a win over Academy of the Holy Names — and only the Plant City Lady Raiders have even come close to taking one. The seniors are doing plenty of work for the squad, offensively and defensively. Lexi Thompson is averaging 4.4 kills per set, leading the team, and Victoria Fanning has 12 aces and a 96.2 serving percentage. Then, there’s Kelsey Morton, who is averaging 2.2 blocks per game and 2.4 kills per set. Four of the next five games are either at home or near Plant City, including a rematch with Bloomingdale Oct. 16.


+ Durant standout shining in MLB

The Cleveland Indians are in the thick of the Wild Card race for the first time in a while, and former Durant standout Ryan Raburn is right there with them. Raburn, a utility player, has gotten regular playing time with the Indians, despite battling ankle soreness. He’s batting .300 this month, with one home run, 12 RBI and four doubles. Raburn received a shot for the soreness Sept. 21. Fortunately for Raburn, the Tribe couldn’t have asked for an easier way to end the regular season.After the series against Kansas City went awry, they at least took comfort in knowing their next opponents were the Astros, White Sox and Twins. All left for Raburn and the Indians are four games at Minnesota. He’s batted .263 against the Twins this year, so he’ll likely see playing time. The first game begins at 8:10 p.m. tonight.

by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor Matt Mauney

Junior Clay Cullins and senior Josh Hyde have led the chargers in receptions and receiving yards this season, letting standout and Division I college prospect Alex Carswell focus on defense.


With its top receiver of 2012 gone, Strawberry Crest was looking for an answer for the passing game. They found it in wideouts Josh Hyde and Clay Cullins. Strawberry Crest knew things had to be different this year in its pass-heavy offense. Gone was Karel Hamilton, now at Samford University, who caught 36% of quarterback Tristan Hyde’s passes and accounted for nearly half of the team’s total receiving yards. Tristan’s brother, Josh, was second on the team, with 372 yards, compared to Hamilton’s 948. Josh also hauled in five touchdowns, half of what Hamilton contributed. Coaches are looking at Josh Hyde, now a senior, as one of the Chargers’ top guys and, along with junior Clay Cullins, the

pair are leading the Chargers in all of the major receiving categories. This may come as a surprise to some, because many expected senior Alex Carswell to carry the load left by Hamilton. Carswell has numerous Division I offers, but most are for defense. “There was a little bit of question marks entering the season,” said head coach John Kelly. “Josh had good numbers for us last year and was a proven commodity in our eyes, but with Clay and Josh, we’ve had the freedom of putting Alex Carswell on the defensive side, almost primarily.” So far this season, Hyde and Cullins

have combined for 398 yards and five touchdowns this season, entering Friday’s match up against Freedom.


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MAUNEY / PAGE 11 Orlando for another important transition period in my life. For the past five-and-one-half years — three-and-one-half on a full-time basis — I have covered high school sports in Georgia and Florida. Now, I’ll be working a desk job as an online producer for the Orlando Sentinel. It’s human nature to struggle with change. Like moving to Florida, changing roles from nights on the sidelines to days behind a desk are daunting, but if this job has taught me one thing, it’s that, sometimes, you have step outside of your comfort zone. I did that throughout my time at the Plant City Times & Observer. Before, my only exposure to pageants was the TV show “Toddlers and Tiaras.” Now, I can say I have covered not one, not two but three pageants, including the famous Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Pageant. I had never heard of the Florida Strawberry Festival before my interview with the Observer, but after spending nearly every day covering the annual festival, it truly is a sight to see. The fact that people come from all over the country and even the world amazes me, but as I’ve come to find out, it’s not the festival that defines Plant City — it’s the people. One of the great things about this job is



The idea for the wall stemmed from Dickens’ experience at Florida. “They do a great job bringing up tradition of the past and honoring former players,” Dickens said. “When I came back to Plant City, that was one of the things I wanted to implement.” When Dickens was a standout for Plant City in the early 1980s, he remembers seeing pictures of former players in the weight room. Dickens went on to be a four-year letterman and two-year starter at UF, before becoming an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots. He played three years of pro ball — two with the Patriots and one in the World League. The goal of the wall is not only to recognize former play-

meeting people and hearing their stories. The privilege learning more about some people in a 30-minute interview than their friends may know truly is special. Working for a community paper, I’ve had the opportunity not only to cover local teams but also to get to know the players and coaches who define those teams. When reactions changed from, “Who is that guy with the camera?” to, “Hey Matt, take a picture of me and make sure it gets in the Observer,” I knew we had accomplished our primary goal. We wanted to be Plant City’s hometown newspaper, and in just one year, we accomplished just that. People in Plant City love their local sports, and it has been a honor to provide them with the most complete coverage they have ever had. Although the torch has been passed to new Staff Writer Justin Kline, readers can expect the same great in-depth coverage of local high school teams and youth sports. I have been able to share some wonderful stories in my time here. It has been a privilege. And, I know there are plenty more great stories ahead. Thank you for your amazing support, and thank you for sharing your lives with me and the Plant City Times & Observer.


Are you or do you know a former football player at Plant City that went on to play in college? If so, contact coach Roy Schmidberger at midvil Current and former college players are welcome. Requirements include an 8-inch-by-10inch photo and the graduating year. ers who played in college but also to show current players that hard work and dedication pays off and can lead to a quality education. “That’s what it’s all about,” Dickens said. “It’s good to go off to college, but the goal is to finish and get that degree.” Since taking over as head coach four years ago, Ward has put a strong emphasis on the classroom.

“The biggest thing with having those pictures on the wall is to show the freshmen and the younger guys and make them want to be there some day,” Ward said. “Hopefully, that will motivate them and push them more to work harder in the classroom.” Schmidberger said the wall shows players if they focus on academics, they can get to the next level. “That’s what that room is really about — getting to the next level as long as you have the grades,” Schmidberger said. So far, the wall has done its job as a motivation tool. Players can regularly be heard saying, “I’m going to be on that wall.” “That’s what we want to hear, because that means you’re going to go to college,” Schmidberger said. In 2013, six of Plant City’s 10 seniors signed with colleges. With three players in the 2014 class already committed — Montel McBride (Alabama), Landon Galloway (UCF) and Sedrick King (UCF) — and several more with offers, that number likely will grow. Before long, there won’t be any wall left for plaques.


The names and schools on the wall range from Dickens’ Florida and Ward’s Virginia Tech to Kyle Paz, a 2011 grad who went on to play at Bridgewater College, a Division III school in Virginia. “Paz was a small kid, but he worked his tail off, and now, he’s playing in college,” Schmidberger said. “It doesn’t matter if you play DI, DII, DIII or NAIA, as long as you go to college. That’s our biggest pushing point.” Dickens said he would like to eventually add voting to the Wall of Fame, which would be based on their athletic and academic achievements. “I’d like to see it get to the point where we have candidates and do inductions,” he said. “We want to showcase guys who are going off to college and actually graduating.”


To the right of the Wall of Fame are two Raiders jerseys — No. 12 and No. 74. No. 74 belonged to Corey Pine, who died March 12, 2006, in a car accident just months before his graduation. He was 19 years old. “He wasn’t the best, but he worked extremely hard and worked his way to becoming one of our top three offensive linemen,” Ward said. “He was just a joy to be around. His smile that he gave us just lit up the room, and it’s things like that that you miss.” In similar fashion, wide receiver Adam Riber, No. 12, died in a car accident April 11, 2010, just two months before graduation. Riber, 17, was a passenger in a 1990 200ZX, driven by Thomas C. Monroe, of Plant City. Riber played four years for the Raiders after two seasons with the Antioch Redskins. “That one was tough, because I knew the kid,” Schmidberger said. “Everyone was effected by that.” Both jersey numbers are retired. “That’s what we don’t want on the wall,” Schmidberger said. “We have kids come in and say I want my number retired, and we say, ‘No, you don’t.’”

GOTW / PAGE 11 It also helps that one of the people doing the targeting was Josh’s little brother, Tristan. “When I run my routes, I kind of have an idea of where that ball is going to be,” Josh Hyde said. “He knows what I can catch and what I can’t catch. Sometimes, I’ll even run a route that I’m not supposed to, but we just have that chemistry, where he knows what I’m going to do, and he’ll put the ball where it needs to be.” Josh added that the only “special treatment” between the two on the field is holding each other to a higher standard. “When he makes a mistake, I might get on to him more than I would another quarterback,” Josh Hyde said. “I just want to look out for him and make sure he does his best and makes the best decisions for the team.” Kelly said having brothers at the quarterback and receiver positions is a benefit, but it’s the way they practice and play that make them so valuable to the team. “The brother dynamic, you can’t replace that, but beyond that, Josh just brings impeccable work ethic and has become almost the poster child for this program,” Kelly said.


Cullins played varsity last season but saw limited playing time. He finished his sophomore season with just two catches for nine yards. Already this year, Cullins has nine catches for 153 and one touchdown. “It was just a great learning experience above everything else, learning from Karel especially, and Josh and Alex, too,” Cullins said of last year. “It was very important for me maturing as a person and especially as a football player. “I just wanted to follow in their steps,” he said. The receiving threat Cullins has provided to the Chargers has been a welcome addition. “We knew he had potential and talent, but with Karel and Josh and some other guys we had last year, he just had to wait his turn,” Kelly said. “So far this year, he’s stepped up big for us as a junior and has seized his opportunity.” Also stepping up for the Chargers is junior quarterback Austin Carswell, who is filling in for an injured Tristan Hyde, who went down with a knee injury in the game against Leon. Carswell responded with a big game the following week. The junior threw for 238 yards and six touchdowns in last week’s 46-0 blowout of Brandon High School.


It’s common in high school football for coaches to use their most talented players in a variety of positions to help the team win, re-


LAST WEEK: Plant City held on to beat Durant 14-13, while Bloomingdale lost a shootout with Plant 50-40. NOTES: A late goal-line stand, followed by defensive end Sedrick King’s interception with 59 seconds left, helped the Raiders cling to victory for another James L. Redman Cup. It wasn’t a pretty win, but a 3-0 record looks the same no matter how it happened. Bloomingdale went to Plant and hung a 14-0 lead on the Panthers to kick things off, before the Panthers settled down and turned it into a barn-burner.


LAST WEEK: Durant fell to to Plant City 14-13, while Gaither shut out Freedom 17-0. NOTES: The Cougars came so close to their first win, but one mistake cost them dearly. Gaither remains undefeated on the road, after shutting out Freedom, and now, the Cowboys travel to Durant. But will the good Gaither show up, or will the Cougars get the Cowboys who lost their previous two games by a combined 64 points?

gardless if those players will play those positions at the next level. Kelly doesn’t agree with this philosophy. “We’re always going to do what’s best for our players, and that means what they’re going to be beyond here at Strawberry Crest,” Kelly said. Carswell is the best example of this. In his first year playing varsity last fall, Carswell primarily played offense, as a receiving option outside of Hamilton. But this offseason, Carswell has drawn the attention of many colleges, including South Florida, Cincinnati and Memphis. Most college scouts see Carswell playing outside linebacker in college. This year, Kelly has used Carswell primarily at linebacker and defensive end, giving him playing time at those positions and also bolstering a Chargers defense that lost several playmakers. “We want to help our kids develop for the long term and not just be selfish in the short term while they’re here,” Kelly said. According to Kelly, Carswell has been playing about 90% on the defensive side of the ball, playing on offense only in situational settings. If Kelly and the Chargers continue to get the offensive output of Hyde and Cullins, that ratio likely won’t change.

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK by Matt Mauney | Associate Editor


Erick Reyes, 15, has a passion for the game of soccer. His dream is to grow up and play for Real Madrid. So far, he is on the right path. Reyes, a sophomore at Durant High School, was a part of an Atlanta Cup finalist team and Disney Cup finalist team this year. He was the 2009 Tri-Star winner and in 2010, finished third. He already has more than 20 assists this season for his Plant City Lancers U15 team. How long have you been playing soccer? Since I was 7 or 8 years old What do you like about soccer? I just love to play it. It’s my passion, and I hope to become a professional soccer player one day. What position do you play? Midfield What do you like about that position? I like distributing passes to my teammates and just helping my team out. What’s been some memorable things you’ve done with soccer? Scoring my first goal, winning tournaments and meeting new people. Getting to know all my teammates, also. Do you have a particular tournament that stands out for you? The Atlanta Cup up in Georgia Why do you want to play for Real Madrid? I’ve been a fan of them for a while. It started a few years back, when (Cristiano) Renaldo moved there. Do you have a favorite player? Isco (Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez) Would you like to go on and play in college? Yes. I would like to play for USF. Have you always played with the Lancers? No, I’ve been with them for two years. I used to play for the Brandon Flames. I like playing with the Lancers. They’re com-

petitive, and everyone is nice.

What would be an ultimate dream for you? To win a World Cup What are some aspects of your game that you want to improve? Scoring more goals. I also want to get better with my passing, but mostly, just scoring more goals. Do you have a favorite subject in school? Reading

Do you have a favorite book or favorite type of books? I really like investigation books. What do you like to do for fun outside of sports? I like to hang out with friends, listen to music, watch movies and play “FIFA.” What kind of music do you like? All kinds What about movies. Do you have a favorite? “Now You See Me.” It’s a great movie.

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rivalry renewed by Michael Eng and Justin Kline

Both teams relied on their strong ground games.

The Plant City defense swarmed to the ball.

Plant City’s defense made Durant’s offense work hard for every yard.

Raiders reclaim cup

Hassan Bailey is a tough competitor for the Raiders.

The 2013 edition of the Battle for the James L. Redman Cup did not disappoint, as the Plant City Raiders shut down a late Durant two-point conversion attempt to clinch a 14-13 home win Sept. 20, at Plant City. Both teams relied heavily on the run game to move the chains. Aerial attempts were either hit or miss: three of the game’s touchdowns came by air, but both quarterbacks threw multiple interceptions throughout the game. Unfortunately for Durant (0-4), it was Trey VanDeGrift’s fourth-quarter pick that sealed the win for the Raiders (3-0). Plant City quarterback Landon Galloway left his mark on the game with his arm and his feet; when he wasn’t scrambling to sustain drives, he was throwing touchdown passes to Hassan Bailey and Tavares Chase. Bailey, in particular, gave the Cougars fits whenever he ran the ball, shaking off defenders and eluding tackles.

Durant came close to pulling out a victory.

John Hendricks ran hard for Durant throughout the rivalry game.

Plant City’s Tavares Chase finds his feet after catching a pass.

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Sept. 18




Sept. 19



Thurs., Sept. 26 Fri., Sept. 27 Sat., Sept. 28 Sun., Sept. 29 Mon., Sept. 30 Tues., Oct. 1 Wed., Oct. 2

Sept. 20



Sept. 21



Sept. 22



Sept. 23



Sept. 24




4.59 (2012: 7.08)


TO DATE 35.55 (2012: 39.42)

HIGH 91 88 87 87 88 89 89

LOW 71 68 66 66 68 69 69



Thurs., Sept. 26 Fri., Sept. 27 Sat., Sept. 28 Sun., Sept. 29 Mon., Sept. 30 Tues., Oct. 1 Wed., Oct. 2

Sept. 12

SUNRISE 7:19 a.m. 7:19 a.m. 7:20 a.m. 7:20 a.m. 7:21 a.m. 7:21 a.m. 7:22 a.m.

SUNSET 7:21 p.m. 7:20 p.m. 7:19 p.m. 7:18 p.m. 7:16 p.m. 7:15 p.m. 7:14 p.m.



Sept. 19


PRODUCT 1/2 bushel cartons

LOW HIGH $14 $14.85

Courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture

Sept. 27

Sept. 5

, 3&

Jenifer Fiddelke submitted this photo of two of her daughters, Lily and Kate, at Painted Gaits Farm. “I call it, ‘Puttin’ on the Brakes,’” 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,; subject line: I Love Plant City. Be sure to include your name.


By Jill Pepper | Edited by Timothy E. Parker ACROSS 1 British byes 6 Spiritual center of Islam 11 Vatican attraction 19 In ___ (really out of it) 20 DuPont’s acrylic fiber 21 Blackboard deletions 22 According to formula 24 Near miss 25 Two-syllable foot, in poetry 26 Dig deeply 28 One sixty-billionth of a min. 29 Tavern beverages 30 Canadian tribe members 32 Catchall category (Abbr.) 35 Broke down grammatically 38 Some South Africans 40 Short snooze 43 It needs to be cured 45 Words before “snail’s pace” 46 ___ a beet 48 Aims high 51 Actress Thurman 52 Lingerie item 54 Frisbee, essentially 55 Athletics supporter 57 Stunning device 59 Backed (away from) 62 Ending for “national” or “capital” 63 Prepare beans, in a way 64 Volvo’s homeland 66 Energy giant no more 68 Adonises 70 French film director Jacques 71 Medicare beneficiaries 74 Magazine founded in France 75 Henry Clay’s historic Kentucky estate 78 Commencement 79 Excuses 82 “Of ___ Sing” 83 Bird with a powerful kick 86 Characteristic carriers 88 Dorm annoyance 89 Uncompromising sort 91 “And to ___ good night” 93 Walking manner 94 “___ y Plata” (Montana’s state motto) 95 Chest protector 98 “Leave ___ of this!” 100 Q trailers 101 Durocher or DiCaprio 102 Band of geishas? 103 Treasure map measures 105 Baseball deals 107 Bay Area squad car letters 110 “___ Frutti” (Little Richard hit) 112 “Got it!” cries 113 Vaulted church recess 116 Way to cook eggs 118 “Be honest!” 122 Be affectionate in public, in a way 126 Some salesmen’s workplaces 128 Locked up 129 Low deck on a ship 130 Make ___ of (muddle) 131 Immortal 132 “The chickens have come home to ___”

133 “___ Goes to Jail” (2009 movie DOWN 1 Tic ___ (breath mints) 2 “How about ___ of tea?” 3 Dorothy’s dog 4 Some kitchen appliances 5 Comic actor Adam 6 Most frequent values, in statistics 7 Show fallibility 8 Cut out, as coupons 9 Bully 10 About 180 square miles of Europe 11 ___ canto (singing style) 12 Memphis middle name 13 Impertinent talk 14 “___ to have lost my keys” 15 “All My Children” Emmy winner, finally 16 Bit of financial planning, for short 17 Animated cartoon frame 18 Handy form of communication? 23 Conveyed ownership 24 Canadian capital? 27 Harry Truman’s first lady 31 Barbershop sounds 33 Cruise ship game 34 Popular Chevy model 35 They might be checkered 36 Attorney ___ 37 Cause a ruckus 38 Big blowouts 39 Songbird 41 Bakery’s attraction 42 A pop 44 “___ the time I’ve been mistaken ...” (Paul Simon) 47 Bad-mouth, in slang 49 Pressure abbr. on tires 50 Enjoys the boardwalk 53 Biked 56 Rep’s forte 58 Offers over the counter 106 Breathing inhibitor 117 Ring around a saint’s head 60 Rubik of cube fame 108 Certain West Coast baseball 119 Told a fabrication 61 “Nothing ___!” player 120 ___ dixit 65 Palindromic diarist 109 Oxford doctorate, briefly 121 She, in Venice 67 Cyrano’s prominent feature 111 Co. with brown trucks and 122 Big success 69 Tiny veggie uniforms 123 CIA’s maritime counterpart 72 Change a handle on? 112 Well-suited to the task 124 Printer-speed measure 73 Inscribed stone pillars 114 Encl. with an autograph (Abbr.) 75 Dramatist Fugard request letter 125 Target for hackers, briefly 76 Isn’t stingy 115 Slaughter on a diamond 127 ___ Angeles Lakers 77 First-magnitude star in Cygnus 80 Angelou poem, “And Still CRYPTOGRAMS ___” 1. F EFPJEFRR LSTMQJ EJZFSJ F EHLBZJQ FK F 81 Rectangular paving stones 84 Kind of badge earned by a EFQ, FP AJ AFV UHKKJB QJFRRN UHHV FK Boy Scout K AQ H I M B U T J H T R J H L K . A M P W Q M J B V P P F M V A J 85 Breakfast buffet dispenser IFP IFN HWW EFPJ. 87 ___-mo replay 90 “How was ___ know?” 2. YB JGDL ZCU G, SMNT SZQLSZFF DZCQ, 92 Name on a spine 96 Step ___ the plate JLPL OTLOXGCA MIN Z HLPB AMMU AZYL 97 One who accepts charges MC NH. QTL QIUULCFB OMYYLCNLU, 99 “Smokey and the Bandit” “ N Z F X G C A Z S M I N T G AT Z C U M I N Q G U L , N T L car A P Z Q Q C L L U Q Y M J G C A .” 104 Roman statesman who opposed Caesar

© 2013 Universal Uclick


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09.26.13 Plant City Times & Observer  

09.26.13 Plant City Times & Observer

09.26.13 Plant City Times & Observer  

09.26.13 Plant City Times & Observer