Polk County Tourism, Polk County Emergency Management and Publix Partner to Distribute 2022 Polk County Public Shelters Maps
In preparation for hurricane season, which begins on June 1, Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing and Polk County Emergency Management have partnered with Publix Super Markets to produce and distribute the "Polk County Public Shelters" maps for 2022. The map is designed to assist both resident and tourist evacuees in finding shelter during an impending storm.
Polk County Commemorates 100th Anniversary of Water Skiing at First Friday Event on June 3 in Lakeland
Article Provided By: Visit Central Florida
Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing (PCTSM) is sponsoring the First Friday event in downtown Lakeland’s Munn Park on Friday, June 3, from 6 to 9 p.m., to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the invention of Water Skiing, a sport made popular in Polk County at Cypress Gardens. This free evening of family fun is a keystone event in a year-long calendar of events created and recruited by PCTSM to celebrate the centennial anniversary.
Two Polk State Baseball players were recognized as first-team All-State selections on Wednesday while another took home the honor of being the state’s top defensive player. Outfielder/first baseman Jack Duffy and designated hitter Nick Collins were each named to the FCSAA All-State/NJCAA All-Region 8 first team. Infielder Dakota Harris has been named the FCSAA All-State/NJCAA All-Region 8 Defensive Player of the Year.
The Low Payment Kings, powered by the Mahalak Auto Group, Are Offering an Opportunity to Win a Guitar Signed by Keith Urban, Four tickets to a Keith Urban Concert
During the month of May, The Low Payment Kings are going to be giving away a guitar, signed by a Grammy winning country singer, Keith Urban, four tickets to a Keith Urban concert of their choice and $777 spending money.
“We wanted to do something special for our customers during the month of May” said Ralph Mahalak, the Low Payment King,” We also wanted to make it easy to enter to win this exciting country music package.” We have one prize package that will be chosen on May 31 st .The giveaway is open to all legal residents 18 years of age or older. Individuals are allowed up to 7 entries. There is no purchase necessary. They can enter by visiting LowPaymentKings.com and completing the form.”
Keith Urban is an award winning Australian-American country music musician and songwriter. He has Five Grammy Awards and nine Academy of Country Music Awards.
About the Mahalak Auto Group:
Ralph Mahalak Sr. opened his auto dealership in Monroe, Michigan in 1966. He was dedicated to providing reliable products and services to his community. In 1991, he handed over his business skills and motivation to his four sons, Ralph Jr, Mike, JP, and Alex. Now, the four brothers run seven different family owned and operated dealerships committed to their communities. Four of which are in Florida. Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram of Winter Haven, Alfa Romeo Fiat of Winter Haven, Posner Park Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Fiat in Davenport and Lake Wales Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram. In Monroe MI, the Monroe Superstore, carries Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, and RAM. The Buckeye Superstore in Shelby OH, carries Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, RAM, and Fiat. The newest family dealership is LPK Defiance which carries Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM.
Ten Polk State Baseball players were named to the All-Suncoast Conference team on Monday, including the conference’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. The Suncoast Conference Player of the Year, first baseman and outfielder Jack Duffy, leads the state this season with a .452 batting average, which ranks in the top 10 nationally. The Houston commitment also leads the Eagles with 10 home runs and a .532 on-base percentage.
Press Release Written by: LEGOLAND Florida
Unlock the ninja within at the highly anticipated return of LEGO® NINJAGO® Days at LEGOLAND® Florida Theme Park. This limited-time event will feature exclusive LEGO NINJAGO character meet and greets, ninja-approved treats, LEGO brick building activities and a NEW, special interactive experience to master the elements in Ceremony of the Elements. Plus, it is all included in general admission at the Theme Park built for kids.
WHAT: LEGO® NINJAGO® DaysWHERE: LEGOLAND® Florida Theme Park
WHEN: Saturdays and Sundays, April 30 - May 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Press Release Written by: LEGOLAND Florida
LEGOLAND® Florida Resort becomes the first theme park resort to become a Certified Autism Center™(CAC). This Resort-wide CAC designation includes LEGOLAND® Theme Park, LEGOLAND® Water Park, LEGOLAND® Hotel, LEGOLAND® Pirate Island Hotel, LEGOLAND® Beach Retreat and Peppa Pig Theme Park, which opened in February just steps away from LEGOLAND. The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) awards the CAC certification to organizations that complete guest-facing staff training and certification, as well as other requirements including offering accommodations for visitors with cognitive differences.
The athletics season is coming to an end, but a pair of Polk State College coaches will hold camps this summer to bolster fundamentals and give young players new insights into their sports. Polk State’s coaches host summer camps to engage the local community and foster young athletes’ interest in sports and higher education. While the summer camps are hosted by the individual coaches rather than the College because they are on campus, students are introduced to the idea of higher education.
Polk State College will host its 126th commencement with two ceremonies on Thursday, May 5, at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, where members of the Spring 2022 Graduating Class will celebrate with their families, friends, and supporters.
“Our College is incredibly proud of the Spring 2022 Graduating Class,” Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti said. “With 70% of Polk State’s graduates remaining in Polk County to work and continue their education, we not only celebrate the achievements of our students, but also their future success and impact on our community as they soar to new heights with their Polk State degrees and certifications.”
GiveWell Community Foundation (GWCF) has hired Callie Neslund as its Chief Operating Officer, reporting directly to President and CEO John Attaway. Neslund will work with Attaway and the GWCF team on future initiatives stemming from the United Community Needs Assessment currently underway, strategic planning, and day-to-day operations for the organization.
“Having worked with the community foundation in numerous capacities over the last decade, I’m inspired by their mission and unwavering dedication to help donors give in strategic ways that have lasting impact,” said Neslund. “I’m honored to support and foster our community’s long-standing tradition of generosity while working with the many great nonprofits who are on the front lines meeting the changing needs of our region.”
The Polk County School Board will have a work session at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 12. The school board will also have a work session at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26, followed by a board meeting at 5 p.m. All meetings will take place at the Jim Miles Professional Development Center, 4270 Wallace Road in Lakeland.
Meetings are broadcast live via the PCPS YouTube channel: (youtube.com/polkcountypublicschools). They will also be broadcast live on the following channels: Comcast channel 7, Frontier channel 45, Spectrum channel 642. Agendas are available at: polkschoolsfl.com/agendas. Information about meeting schedules and security procedures is available at: polkschoolsfl.com/meetings/
Article Written By: BayCare
Winter Haven Hospital has added a second surgical robot to meet a growing demand for its surgical services. The hospital first began its robotics program in December of 2010 with a da Vinci® SiTM. The hospital upgraded to the state-of-the-art da Vinci® XiTM in 2019 and recently added a second XiTM in January. Robotic surgeries performed at the hospital include general surgery, urology, and gynecology. In 2019, Winter Haven Hospital performed 250 surgical procedures. In 2020, the team completed 323 procedures and 447 in 2021.
Friday, April 8, City employees will gather with leadership to celebrate the launch of a brand new program: The Bright Ideas Innovation Program. This program encourages employees to share great ideas that can improve the City. Ideas that are implemented will result in an award for the employees. A practice known as gainsharing.
“The employees closest to the work know best how to get that work done,” says Mike Herr, City Manager of the City of Winter Haven. “Gainsharing is a way of rewarding employees for ideas that improve customer service, save money, or create efficiencies.”
Let the games begin! Polk County Public Schools is officially entering the world of competitive video gaming, also known as esports (electronic sports). For this pilot season, teams have been assembled from six schools and are competing against each other in the game “Rocket League” (described as “soccer with rocket-powered cars.”). The inaugural season of PCPS Esports is scheduled to conclude with a championship held in May at Florida Southern College.
Our school district is adopting esports for many reasons, including its broad appeal among students of all backgrounds and abilities, scholarship opportunities, and its growing prominence at the collegiate level. In Polk County alone, Florida Southern College, Southeastern University and Keiser University all offer esports programs.
Article by: Tampa Electric
Tampa Electric business customers will soon be able to apply for participation in Tampa Electric’s new Drive Smart EV charging pilot program, approved today by the Florida Public Service Commission. The approval paves the way for the company to install more than 200 public charging stations. Customers selected to participate will receive an electric vehicle charger installed by the utility.
Visit Central Florida’s Welcome Center will host an Easter Egg Hunt event on Saturday, April 16. This free event will take place from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m., featuring kid-friendly activities, giveaways and egg hunts beginning at the top of each hour (children will be separated into three age groups for each of the three sessions). There will be chances to win special prizes during each hunt and vendors will be on hand with local goods and treats for sale. For more information, call (863) 420-2586.
Harrison School for the Arts Theatre Department is pleased to present William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Very FEW cuts have been made to Shakespeare’s script, so the students will be presenting the full play, which is considered a fantastical comedy. The show has been double cast and the “William” cast performs April 7 at 7:00 pm, April 9 at 2:00 pm, April 10 at 7:00 pm. The “Shakespeare” cast performs April 8 at 7:00 pm, April 9 at 7:00 pm, April 10 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $12 adults, $9 students/seniors and may be purchased at www.harrisonarts.com. Harrison School for the Arts is located at 750 Hollingsworth Rd., Lakeland, FL 33801.
Enrollment for the Summer 2022 Semester is underway at Polk State College. Additionally, currently enrolled students can also register for Fall 2022 Semester classes. Summer classes will start on May 9. Open enrollment for the Fall 2022 Semester will begin on June 6. Currently enrolled students can register for classes in Passport. Dual enrollment students should work with their high school counselors and email firstname.lastname@example.org if additional assistance is needed.
Prospective students must submit a free online application to Polk State at www.polk.edu/admission-aid/admissionsteps.
The Downtown Winter Haven Redevelopment Agency, the City of Winter Haven, and the Central Florida Regional Planning Council invite the public to attend an open house on Monday, April 4, 2022, at the Winter Haven Public Library to discuss the future of the Downtown area. Topics will include expanded economic and business development, neighborhood enhancement, and infrastructure improvements. Input will be used to help shape an update of the Downtown Community Redevelopment Plan.
GiveWell Community Foundation (GWCF) and United Way of Central Florida (UWCF) have extended the deadline for the online survey portion of the United Community Needs Assessment (UCNA) to April 15, 2022. As of March 25, more than 2,600 completed surveys had been submitted and 10 focus groups had been conducted throughout Polk, Hardee, and Highlands counties. Extending the deadline from its original date of March 31 will allow additional surveys to be collected in underrepresented areas.
By partnering through the United Community Needs Assessment, GWCF and UWCF aim to identify critical community needs and implement initiatives to address those needs. Results of the needs assessment will be shared with municipalities, businesses, service clubs, and the general public.
The needs assessment collects feedback from residents through an online survey which can be found at http://ucneeds.com. The survey takes about 15 minutes to fill out and residents who are 18 years of age and older are encouraged to participate and share the survey with their community. Participants may enter to win a $50 Visa gift card upon completion of the survey.
For more information on the United Community Needs Assessment, please contact Jessica Pease, UCNA Administrative Assistant, at email@example.com.
About GiveWell Community Foundation: The mission of the GiveWell Community Foundation (GWCF) is to champion charitable giving to improve the quality of life in the areas we serve, both now and for future generations. We accomplish this by working with individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits to build stronger communities in Polk, Hardee, and Highlands counties through charitable funds and competitive grant cycles. Since its founding in 1997, the community foundation has awarded more than $250 million in grants. Today, GWCF is home to more than 300 charitable funds and the Impact Polk and Empower Polk grant cycles. To learn more about GWCF, visit givecf.org or call 863-683-3131.
About United Way of Central Florida: United Way of Central Florida (UWCF) works to improve lives and strengthen our community by identifying gaps in services and providing solutions. UWCF is a leader in building a stronger and heathier community by developing resources and creating partnerships that empower individuals to improve their lives. Through its funded and community partners, UWCF is working to address the most pressing needs in Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties. UWCF is independently governed by a 35-member board and works with over 100 volunteers to direct funding to meet the needs of the community. To learn more, visit uwcf.org.
Voters in the upcoming City Elections are encouraged to check their polling location before they go to vote on Tuesday, April 5th.
City residents in Bartow, Davenport, Dundee, Haines City and Lake Wales are eligible to vote, but polling locations may be different. All affected voters have been mailed a post card indicating their City Election voting location. To confirm the correct location for this election, voters are encouraged to click on “Voter Lookup” on the Supervisor of Elections web page at PolkElections.gov or simply click the link for their city’s election to find complete information regarding Tuesday’s elections.
For more information, visit PolkElections.gov or call the Elections Office at (863) 534-5888.
Spring has sprung and it’s a great time to prioritize your health by scheduling your yearly wellness exams with your primary care provider (PCP). For those who do not already have a PCP, choosing one is the best way to ensure your long-term health and well-being. Your PCP will treat and build a caring relationship with every member of your family. Their main goal is to manage your overall health care through regular checkups, preventative screenings and referrals to medical specialists when needed. A PCP is always there to help you make the right decisions about treatment and care.
Elections are coming up on April 5th in the cities of Bartow, Davenport, Dundee, Haines City and Lake Wales. Polk County Supervisor of Elections, Lori Edwards has some important tips to keep in mind as workers and voters employ safe practices when voting.
For more information, visit PolkElections.gov or call the Elections Office at (863) 534-5888.
Article by: The City of Winter Haven
The importance of mental health has always been part of the conversations in the City of Winter Haven’s Public Safety department. Over the years, the City has invested in tools to support our first responders who see difficult situations daily. The department has also provided training to members as we strive to always address calls for service that involved mental health with professionalism, care and striving for the best possible outcome.
However, police officers only have two options available when called to a critical scene involving a mental health crisis that cannot be deescalated: arrest or Baker Act. These two options do not productively work toward solving the underlying mental health crisis that more and more people in our community, and nation-wide, are facing.
Webber International University (Webber) students brought home a record number of state level individual, team, and university awards at this year’s Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) Florida State Leadership Conference (SLC) held March 17-20, 2022 in Orlando, FL. Webber was recognized with the Largest Local Chapter Membership Award, a result of tremendous growth in membership for the 2021-22 academic school year. Webber also received the Pansy B. Read Gold Seal Award of Merit for community service for its Trick-or-Trunk event, which is held annually in October for its students and community neighbors of Babson Park, FL.