Sunday, February 8, 2015

County Construction

New $8 million government center to open in Plant City in August 2016

Hillsborough County soon will begin work on a 36,000-square-foot, $8 million building designed to consolidate many county services under one roof.

The East County Government Service Center will include space for the property appraiser, health department, sheriff’s office, clerk of court and social services, among others.

The building is slated to open in August 2016, said Bill Hand, project manager for the county real estate department.

The two-story building will be at Michigan Avenue and Baker Street, next to the Plant City Courthouse, 301 N. Michigan Ave. The service center will be built in front of and replace a county office building at 307 N. Michigan Ave. that was once a grocery store.

The county plans to add 260 parking spaces and tear down the old building after the new one is completed.

The government service center, like the courthouse that opened in 2011, will incorporate...

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Obsolete Office

Historic downtown Plant City post office set for permanent closure

Postal officials have decided that the downtown post office, closed since 2013 due to safety issues, should be shuttered permanently.

The U.S. Postal Service cited “dire economic times” in making the call to close the nearly 80-year-old landmark at 301 W. Reynolds St. A postal regulatory commission has until Feb. 27 to file any objections.

In the meantime, the postal service is seeking a real estate broker’s opinion to determine the value of the 16,000-square-foot building and the parking lot, spokeswoman Enola C. Rice said Friday.

The postal service estimates it will save $224,935 over 10 years, mostly for utilities and maintenance, by closing the building.

Postal officials have estimated it would cost $1.4 million to fix problems that include... photo

Comfy Climate

Tampa Bay area in its fifth winter without a freeze

While some early morning temperatures this winter have touched on chilly, they have not gotten down to teeth-chattering, long-johns wearing, frostbiting, icicles-forming-on-the-strawberries cold.

Another winter in Tampa, another season that came and went, well almost, without a big freeze.

It’s becoming a trend.

The National Weather Service in Ruskin, which keeps daily temperatures at Tampa International Airport, said the last time the mercury dipped below 32 degrees was on Jan. 13, 2010. That’s more than five years with no freezes, though it may feel like freezing to some on those cold winter mornings.

“For some Tampa natives, it’s freezing if it’s in the upper 30s,” said Rodney Wynn, a meteorologist with the weather service. “But the readings come from the airport, which is not far from the bay and that has an influence on the temperatures. There could have been some local spots that...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Auditions Available

Auditions for PCE's new musical “Tavern Tales 2”.

Presented by Plant City Entertainment, Inc. Community Theater

February 9 and 10 at PCE.7:00 PM- 10:00 pm. Callbacks and possible rehearsal on Feb 16.  All auditions will be held at the Plant City Entertainment, Inc Theater,  101 N. Thomas Street in Plant City.

16 available parts (11 female, 5 male)  Age range Male 18+  Female 16+ (anyone under age of 18 must have parent present at auditions.)

Please be prepared to sing part of a character driven song, Celtic style preferred. Also reading from script will be required.

Costumes not required for auditions.

Please read play and character synopsis.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Speedy Strawberries

Wish Farms invites you to our second annual Strawberry Picking Challenge benefitting RCMA!

Redlands Christian Migrant association (RCMA) provides childcare and education services for  low- income and rural families.

Visit our strawberry farm in Plant City to enjoy a sweet & festive afternoon with your family all for a great cause!


Strawberry Picking Challenge
Saturday, February 7th open from 11:00am- 2:30pm
Futch Farms:  3536 Futch Loop, Plant City, FL 33566
All proceeds benefit the children at Redlands Christian Migrant Association.

Development Details

Plans submitted for development of closed Plant City golf course

The owner of a shuttered golf course has submitted plans to the city for construction of more than 300 homes, a 100-unit adult congregate living center and the revamping of an aging clubhouse.

Visions Golf LLC, owner of Walden Lake Golf and Country Club, filed the detailed plans for the development of the shuttered 18-hole course this week at City Hall. The company closed the course known as The Hills about 20 months ago and filed for rezoning a year ago.
This week’s filing is a major step forward for the proposal, but it still faces legal challenges and opposition from residents.

The development plan largely follows the footprint of The Hills course. The company also...

Friday, January 30, 2015

Community Concert

In celebration of the New Year, The Plant City Community Chorale has planned a concert to shake the community out of their collective January doldrums with a concert titled, Songs for a New Day.

The concert will be performed at First Presbyterian Church in Plant City on January 31, 2015.

Some of the works to be performed are Hernando’s Hideaway from Broadway’s The Pajama Game, Unchained Melody, Lean on Me, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and The Lullabye of Birdland, a new arrangement based on the famous Charlie Parker piece, Birdland.
First Presbyterian Church will again host PCCC in its sanctuary at 404 West Reynolds Street in Plant City. Tickets can be purchased at the door beginning at 6:30 p.m., and the doors will open at 7:00 p.m.; the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Admission for children (younger than 12 years of age) and seniors (62+) is $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Tickets can be purchased in advance from any Chorale member or at PCCC’s website:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Celebrity Chef

Famed chef coming to Plant City benefit

A chef perhaps best known for his appearances on reality TV will be featured at an annual fundraiser for the United Food Bank of Plant City.

Fabio Viviani will demonstrate his cooking at the seventh annual Celebrity Chef Dinner. Tickets and sponsorships are now available.

This will be Viviani’s first appearance at the dinner, which will be Feb. 7 at the John R. Trinkle Center on the Plant City campus of Hillsborough Community College, 1206 N. Park Road. Cocktails are served at 7 p.m. followed by... photo

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Literary Leader

New librarian to take helm at Bruton Memorial

The head librarian at a Christian school near Atlanta has been named the new director for Bruton Memorial Library.

Tonda F. Morris, a Plant City High School graduate, will take charge of the city’s library on March 9. She will be paid $73,000, plus a $45 weekly car allowance.

Morris takes the place of... photo

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Strawberries Shipping

Florida starts strawberry shipments a week late

After experiencing a late start, Florida strawberry shipments hit promotable volume the week of Dec. 22, about a week later than normal.

While volume in late December and early January was high, buyers should expect a significant slowing of harvesting to begin in mid-January, said Gary Wishnatzki, president and chief executive officer of Plant City, Fla.-based Wish Farms.

“We had that early flush and at this point, we’re over that little early peak,” he said Jan. 5. “I’m not sure what the other regions are experiencing, but our bloom count models indicate Florida volume will probably go into a little slowdown during the next couple of weeks until its builds back up going into the end of the month again.”

Going into Valentine’s Day, retailers should expect...