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Plant City Observer Tuesday, Jul. 3, 2012 6 years ago

NEWS BRIEFS: 07.04.12


+ Rotary, Lions clubs name new presidents

The Rotary Club of Plant City installed new President Billy Keel during a banquet June 21, at Lone Palm Country Club in Lakeland. The organization also awarded several honors, including the Rotarian of the Year to Bill Wicker and the Rising Star Award to Charles Harris.The Lions Club of Plant City held its banquet June 26, at The Catering Company & Café. The club named Kerrie Gafford as its new president. It also presented several awards: Lion of the Year (Michael Cameron); President Award and First Vice President Award (Kerrie Gafford); Second Vice President Award (Steve Nierman); Third Vice President Award (Jason Jones); Secretary Award (Brian West); and Treasurer Award (Mark Cornett).

+ Migrant advocate earns national award

Lourdes Villanueva, director of farmworker advocacy for the Redlands Christian Migrant Association in Plant City, was recognized with President Barack Obama’s Champion of Change award June 18, in Washington, D.C.

“I took it as an opportunity to let them know the wonderful things that we do with migrant farmer worker families,” Villanueva said.

The RCMA serves 8,000 migrant children at 75 centers in 21 Florida counties by offering education and training programs.

Villanueva said she received calls and emails from White House staff for weeks, trying to get her to accept the invitation.

“I thought it was a joke at first,” Villanueva, said laughing.

+ City seeks new community leaders

The City of Plant City currently is recruiting to fill a position on the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission.

The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission is an independent consolidated planning agency, lead by appointed citizens.

Appointments are voluntary, and members serve without compensation.

All interested parties should complete and return the board application, available online at, to the City Clerk’s office, 302 W. Reynolds St., Plant City, FL 33563. The deadline is 4 p.m. July 25.

+ Debbie damage minimal in Plant City

Interim Plant City Fire Chief David Burnett noted Plant City fared well during Tropical Storm Debby’s long stay last week.

Burnett told the Plant City Commission June 25 he had not received any reports of blocked roads or significant damage in Plant City.

Eastern Hillsborough County received 10 inches of rain during Debby’s initial days, with winds reaching 30 to 40 mph sustained winds and 50 to 60 mpg gusts, Burnett said.

City Manager Greg Horwedel attributed Plant City’s fortunes to several major initiatives the commission approved, including the Eastside Canal, which drains 6,300 acres of urban and rural land in and around Plant City.

+ Plant City man charged with attempted murder

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detectives have arrested a Plant City man who attacked his wife with a hammer while she slept.

According to Sheriff’s Office reports, at 3:57 a.m. June 18, Dawn Young awoke to find herself covered in blood in her home. Her husband, Christopher Young was standing beside her. He then fled the scene with Dawn Young’s cell phone, preventing her from calling for help.

Dawn Young drove herself to South Florida Baptist Hospital in Plant City and was transferred to St. Joseph’s Hospital for treatment. She suffered multiple fractures to the skull.

Hillsborough County detectives issued a warrant for Christopher Young’s arrest for attempted murder. The Lakeland Police Department arrested Christopher Young June 20, and he was booked into the Polk County Jail. After being questioned by Hillsborough County detectives, Christopher Young admitted to striking his wife in the head with a hammer.

+ Police searching for pharmacy robber

The Plant City Police Department is investigating the robbery of the Fast and Friendly Pharmacy at 6:09 p.m. June 22, at 404 N. Alexander St.

According to detectives, a white male and a black male entered the pharmacy around closing time. One of the suspects brandished a handgun and demanded prescription drugs. The suspects then tied the pharmacist’s hands together and robbed him of his personal belongings. After the robbery, the suspects fled the pharmacy with a large quantity of prescription pills, in addition to the items taken from the victim.

Detectives have not identified any suspects at this time.

Anyone with information regarding this robbery is encouraged to call Sgt. James Shultz, (813) 757-9200.

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