City parks reopen
As of Monday, Plant City’s parks are once again open to the public.
The Parks and Recreation Department announced parks are reopening to give people more options for “exercise and passive activities” as long as people continue to abide by social distancing requirements and the 10-person group limit.
“It is imperative that these social distancing and group size rules continue to be followed to help avoid a spike of COVID-19 cases,” the department said in a press release. “Should there be a significant increase of cases, the governor and EPG may reinstate park closures, so it is up to our park users to continue following the CDC guidelines of social distancing and group size restrictions.”
People are able to use parks’ playgrounds, pavilions and walking trails, as well as sports-focused amenities like the volleyball, tennis and basketball courts and the skate park.
Organized athletic programming has not been reinstated, per Governor Ron DeSantis’s orders, and will be until further notice. That means no team or league games, practices, tryouts or tournaments in Plant City parks. The Planteen Recreation Center and parks are still closed to programming until further notice.
The department said anyone caught violating the CDC guidelines can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.
“We are taking a big step towards normal life and we are proud of our community for following the rules and allowing us the opportunity to make this change,” the department said.
Warren warns against stimulus scams
Now that $1,200 stimulus checks from the United States government are being printed and distributed, State Attorney Andrew Warren wants to remind residents to be wary of scammers looking to take that money from their hands.
“Just think: If you’re excited about stimulus money coming your way, imagine how excited scammers and con artists are right now,” Warren said in a press release. “As your State Attorney for Hillsborough County, I want to warn you that scammers around the world want your stimulus money.”
Warren urges the public to keep three things in mind when dealing with potential scammers.
First, banks and the IRS do not need you to give them your financial information (like PIN numbers, credit card security codes, etc.) because they already have it. If anyone asks you “out of the blue” for this information, it’s likely to be a scammer.
Second, no one can “help” you get a check faster (or get one at all if you didn’t qualify). You don’t need to pay anyone anything for this to happen, whether with gift cards or your own money, because it can’t happen. Only visit official bank or IRS websites.
Third, if you get a suspicious call, text or email, do not respond to it and instead try to contact the bank or the IRS yourself with information you have on your credit cards or other documents.
If you believe you’ve been scammed or have been contacted by scammers, call the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721.
Lights of Hope bags on sale to help American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network volunteers are selling Lights of Hope bags as a way to help the ACS help cancer patients and survivors.
“Each year, ACS CAN holds its annual Lights of Hope ceremony in Washington, D.C. to honor and remember people impacted by cancer,” volunteer Dalton Vanderford said. “Cancer advocates like myself from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam bring thousands of bags with us, each dedicated with the name and picture of a loved one and their cancer story. During these challenging times, you can provide hope for cancer patients and survivors by adding a loved ones name to a Lights of Hope bag, and we’ll display it at this special ceremony in September as we help fight back against cancer.”
To purchase a Lights of Hope bag, visit https://buff.ly/2W5sufT.
American Legion changes Memorial Day plans
American Legion Post 26 announced it can no longer host its May 25 Memorial Day ceremony as originally planned due to COVID-19 restrictions.
However, the legion has invited all interested civic clubs, organizations and individuals to participate by bringing floral arrangements to the flag pole at Post 26, 2207 W. Baker St., and placing them at its base. The gate to the post will be open all day May 25.
Schools, mayor earn awards
The Hillsborough County Council PTA/PTSA honored two Plant City schools and Mayor Rick Lott with awards on April 23.
Plant City High School won Golden Participation, Student Involvement and Volunteer Hours awards, and the school’s Career Academy Field Trip program won the high school division’s Education Award. Principal Susan Sullivan was named the group’s Principal of the Year.
Tomlin Middle School won the middle school division’s Education Award for its annual end-of-year Locks Celebration for straight-A students.
Lott was named Volunteer of the Year for his work with local schools, Career Academy, the Great American Teach-In and much more.