PCPD assists with arrest of kidnapping suspect
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday the arrest of Cody Lee Jackson in Plant City after a nine-day search for the kidnapping suspect started in Seffner.
The morning of May 9, HCSO said, Jackson was involved in a physical altercation with the victim at a residence in Seffner. Jackson struck the victim with a piece of wood, forced the victim into a vehicle and drove away, then stopped at one point to bind the victim’s wrists and ankles with extension cords. Jackson stopped at a gas station in Inverness and the victim was able to escape and ask for help. Jackson fled the scene when he learned the victim escaped and the vehicle was later found in Tampa at the intersection of U.S. 41 North and Sunset Lane.
On May 18, Plant City Police Department said, it got a call about a vehicle that was stolen at the Circle K at 2210 N. Park Road. Police saw a vehicle matching the description at the BP Gas Station at 2009 N. Wheeler St. and initiated a traffic stop. The suspect — Jackson — matched the description PCPD was given and was seen sitting in the vehicle with the door open. Upon seeing police, Jackson closed the door and attempted to flee but was stopped by another officer, who stopped their patrol car in front of the stolen vehicle.
Jackson exited the vehicle after several commands to do so and was detained without incident. The victim was able to identify the vehicle and said she did not know Jackson. An FCIC/NCIC check revealed one outstanding warrant out of Citrus County for false imprisonment and kidnapping and one out of Hillsborough for grand theft of a motor vehicle, false imprisonment and two counts of kidnapping to harm or terrorize. Jackson was also charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle and resisting arrest without violence for the Plant City incident.
“Thanks to the outstanding teamwork with Plant City PD, superb attention to detail and unwavering dedication to bringing this man into custody, we can say that a dangerous individual is off the streets,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a press release. “Criminals do not follow jurisdictional boundaries, so partnerships with our neighboring agencies are essential to keeping our community safe.”
Optimists award scholarships
One of the newest ventures of the Optimist Club of Plant City helps graduating high school seniors afford an education at the next level.
Whether that means a student is going to college, trade school or vocational tech school, the Optimists now have their back with a new scholarship created this year to cover the latter two options. The Optimists have traditionally awarded six $1,000 scholarships to local students who apply for them and have participated in Plant City Optimist Club programming. The club has now opened it up to future trade school and vo-tech students. Those students are eligible for $500 scholarships.
The new scholarships are made possible with help from Plant City-based Construction Technology Group.
“We recognize that a majority of high school graduates will move directly into the workforce,” Plant City Optimist Club Scholarship Committee member Jack Holland said in a press release. “Many require additional training to achieve the certifications they need to excel at their chosen professions. These hard-working students need our support, and what better way to help them realize their employment goals than by covering some of the cost?”
The following students have received these Optimist Club scholarships this year:
Brent Coton, Plant City High School
Jackson Knotts, Plant City High School
Brendan Rollyson, Plant City High School
Casey Ackett, Strawberry Crest High School
Gavin Hessler, Strawberry Crest High School
Eryk Chazares, Brooks-DeBartolo High School
Elijah Mateus, Plant City High School
Judith Jacobo, Simmons Career Center
Sign up for Camp Invention
Camp Invention, which runs from June 7-11 in Plant City, is a national program that teaches campers persistence, creativity, problem solving and confidence through the magic of invention. They’ll design and build their own robots, vehicles, microphones and duck launchers throughout the week and will get to keep the items they build when camp ends.
The program is designed for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade. Current seventh and eighth graders can register as Leadership Interns (LITs). High schoolers and college students can apply to be staff volunteers for service hours and experience.
New to this year’s program is the “Peace of Mind Promise,” which allows families to adjust their children’s learning experience for hybrid or at-home options.
“For its in-person option, Camp Invention will continue to adjust its programs to comply with best practice safety measures to ensure the health of our campers, teachers, families and communities,” the camp said in a press release. “These precautions may include daily health screenings for all children and Program Team Members; the use of masks; social distancing within classrooms; providing individualized materials to limit sharing; increased sanitation practices and scheduled hygiene checks within the building; and smaller student groups with staggered lunch schedules. Programs will follow all state and regional COVID-19 guidelines. A hybrid program featuring both offline activities and optional online sessions, Camp Invention at home enables hands-on exploration by delivering an Innovator’s Toolkit, packed full of fun materials, directly to each participant. With four themed activities, step-by-step guides and an Innovator Workshop, the program brings imagination, creative problem solving and fun to children’s living rooms. During the at-home format, local certified instructors take the campers through the day’s activities, with the children choosing to attend the four daily online collaborative sessions or move at their own pace.”
This year’s in-person camp will be held at the Arthur Boring Civic Center at the Florida Strawberry Festival grounds, 2406 W. Reynolds St. Each day runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and extended day hours are available for an extra fee. The cost is $255 per camper.
Register online at invent.org/camp. Call 800-968-4332 for more information about Camp Invention or contact Camp director Paul Coletti at email@example.com for more information about the Plant City-area program. High schoolers and college students who wish to volunteer should email Coletti.
GFWC Woman’s Club collects children’s books
Last week, the GFWC Woman’s Club of Plant City’s Education Committee helped Wilson Elementary School students get a head start on their summer reading by delivering more than 200 books.
Club members collected children’s books to give to principal Kayla Forcucci on behalf of the students, who will use the books with the school’s upcoming summer reading program. Woman’s Club members also gave handwritten thank you notes to Wilson teachers and faculty for all their hard work in the 2020-21 school year.