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 Dec 2018 - Carefree Activity Calendar - CLICK HERE

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Mar 2018 - Carefree Activity Calendar - CLICK HERE

Feb 2018 - Carefree Activity Calendar - CLICK HERE

Jan 2018 - Carefree Activity Calendar - CLICK HERE

 

     

Carefree Committee Chair Liaison    Now Listed On "Member News" page 

Carefree Coordinators 2018/2019 Now Listed On "Member News" page. 

Carefree Country Club

Board of Directors
2018-2019

 


PRESIDENT -  Rod Mouw
rod.mouw@carefreecountryclub.org  


VICE-PRESIDENT - Jeff Eklund
jeff.eklund@carefreecountryclub.org    


TREASURER - Patricia (Pat) Kline
patricia.kline@carefreecountryclub.org


SECRETARY - Stasia Bradshaw
stasia.bradshaw@carefreecountryclub.org


Len Adams
len.adams@carefreecountryclub.org  


Roger Taylor
roger.taylor@carefreecountryclub.org


Steve Hemenway
steve.hemenway@carefreecountryclub.org

 

 

 

All comments and suggestions

about  Carefree Country Club

are accepted.  We'd love to hear

from you.

Just email

e.suggestion.box@carefreecountrtyclub.org

or click below

 

 

Carefree Corporate E-mail Directory

 

ADMINISTRATION MANAGER

(Curt Grothmann)
manager@carefreecountryclub.org

ACCOUNTING
accounting@carefreecountryclub.org

OFFICE
office@carefreecountryclub.org

ACTIVITIES (Carolyn Hapke)
activities@carefreecountryclub.org

AUDIO VIDEO GROUP (Ron Chock & Lyle Drake)
audio.video@carefreecountryclub.org

CHANNEL 95 (David Clark)
 channel95@carefreecountryclub.org

GOLF CENTER (Bob Gallinat)
golfcenter@carefreecountryclub.org

GOLF MAINTENANCE
golfmaintenance@carefreecountryclub.org

MARKETING (Dianna Epperly &Cathy Parkinson)
marketing@carefreecountryclub.org

RENTALS (Lyle Drake)
rentals@carefreecountryclub.org

WEBMASTER  (Lyle Drake)

website@carefreecountryclub.org 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted Dec 12, 2018

CLICK Here for Carefree Listings & Announcements

 

 

Special and Continuing Events

 

RESERVATION SCHEDULING FOR ALL CAREFREE ACTIVITIES AND MEETINGS


· FILL OUT FACILITY USE PERMIT AVAILABLE FROM THE OFFICE FOR PRIVATE PARTIES. ONCE COMPLETED RETURN TO NILA EKLUND AT LOT 840 OR EMAIL IT TO HER.

· CONTACT NILA EKLUND PERSONALLY BY PHONE OR EMAIL TO SCHEDULE MEETINGS OR OTHER ACTIVITIES.

· If your event has been pre-booked and is typed on the calendar, it is your responsibiltiy to contact Nila Eklund if the time changes or the event is cancelled.

CONTACT: Nila Eklund, Activity Calendar Coordinator, Lot 840 (330-340-2509) (necf9705@gmail.com)

 

Click here to view Upper Clubhouse Calendar

Click here to view Lower Clubhouse Calendar

Click here to view Lake Bess Room Calendar

Click here to view Golf Center Calendar

Click here to view Bocce Court Calendar

Click here to view Other Events Calendar

 

Posted Feb 16, 2018

Carefree Disaster Response Plan

CLICK Here for PDF Version of Plan Plan

 

 

Posted June 4, 2018

List of Public Shelters in Polk County

 

With Hurricane Season approaching, attached is a list & map of the Public Shelters in Polk County  in case you need to take advantage of any of these.

 

Click Here to view list & map

 

Posted Nov 28, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

Legoland Plans a Golf Course
 

Legoland is planning a nine hole miniature golf course across the walkway from the back of Legoland Hotel toward Lake Eloise. Construction will begin January 1 and be completed by August 1, 2019.

The golf course has been in the planning stage since well before last September when it applied to Swift Mud to discuss the project. No details about the golf course are clear at this point.

Legoland is also in the process of building a large new attraction called The LEGO Movie World. This will include Masters of Flight that includes a 180 turn, the Unikitty’s Disco Drop and Battle of Bricksburg. Unikitty is a character in the LEGO movie.

 

 

Posted Oct 18, 2018

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Winter Haven’s Oktoberfest

At last, South Central Park is open and just in time for the Oktoberfest on Sunday, October 21. The Oktoberfest committee has been awaiting this venue for this activity as it allows for long tables with benches to be set up in the middle of South Park while beer and food tents will be along the sides.

The tickets for this event are $25 and $40 each. The $40 ticket allows you early access to the event, an Oktoberfest beer stein, and an exclusive beer from Swan Brewing.

Music will include traditional German Oktoberfest, pop and rock. Some downtown businesses will remain open for your shopping pleasure.

This event is certain to be a crowd pleasure. If you are a Snow Bird and still in the North, you may want to reconsider an earlier deployment so as not to miss out on the fun. (I wonder if the new lighting will also be put to use.)

 

Budgeting for the Chain of Lakes

The Chain of Lakes Field House is in the process of being built and the costs of the project are to be paid by the city of Winter Haven by floating a Bond. There is a $25 million bond to finance this project.

So far, the costs according to Ronda Construction will reach $19.6 million but this does not include heating and cooling. These costs will be arrived at in early November.

The Field House is important to the City as it is believed it will attract other businesses, provide for recreational experiences and become a home for the NBA G League’s Lakeland Magic basketball players.

 

 

Posted Oct 17, 2018

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Legoland Continues to Keep Life Interesting......
 

Who ever said that Legoland would never make it at the old Cypress Gardens location? Just look at what they have accomplished in the few years that they have been in business - an amusement and water park, one hotel, a beach resort and another hotel in the works on their property. And now they are announcing another attraction for the Masters of Flight area. This is one of three sections of the LEGO Movie World.

The new attraction will include elements of the original animated movie and “The LEGO Movie 2” that Warner Brothers is working to complete. The other tow new elements are Unikitty’s Disco Drop and Battle of Bricksburg. Unikitty is a character is a character in the LEGO Movie 2. The Disco Drop is called just that as it will be moving and dancing around and turns and twists. It will be a thriller ride.

The Battle of Bricksburg takes in the ending of The LEGO Movie and uses characters from Duplo sets. Not all elements are being revealed as of yet as they are going to be in the “LEGO Movie 2”.

The Bricksburg attraction will include Emmet’s Super Suite where you can greet and meet Emmet and his friends inside his apartment of at the Taco Tuesday Everyday eatery and The Awesome Shop.

The downtown area will also include a space - themed playground and a perfect spot for picture taking.

These additions to Legoland will take place this Spring - 2019.

 

 

 

Posted Oct 8, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

New Tax Base Brings Winter Haven More Amenities
 

The new tax raise for the city of Winter Haven is official and because of more monies quality of life style in this community will increase. Some of the new amenities will include :
Road resurfacing, especially Avenue T and a redesign for Avenue K.
Renovation to Sertoma Park. This park is used for youth baseball.
Improvements at the Martin Luther King, Jr. park to include a skate park.
Lake Silver improvements of a berm and stage.
Winter Haven Recreational and Cultural Center
Improvements to Nora Mayo Hall for city operations
Lake Maude Park includes new playing fields, concessions and stands.
South Central Park includes a grand reopening of live entertainment and food trucks. This will be the city’s downtown stage. It included street paving, additional parking, utility improvements and changes in safety for bicycles and pedestrians.

Dark fiber network has improved and has attracted small businesses that rely on technology.

The tax increase will stop the city of Winter Haven from taking on any more debt. There is one outstanding bond for the new field house of $1million annually. Hopefully there will be no more bonding.

 

 

Posted Sept 21, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

The “Water War”. Resurfaces
 

Swiftmud Director, Brian Armstrong, offered a solution to the water problem facing Polk Regional Water Cooperative, which represents Polk County, Lakeland and 14 other cities and Manasota Water Coalition that covers Manatee, Charlotte, DeSoto and Sarasota counties.

According to The Ledger, Armstong’s presentation to the water boards concluded that Polk could possibly join Hillsborough county in a project that would involve injecting water into the salt zone of the aquifer to act as a barrier near the coast in southern Hillsborough County. This barrier would cause fresh water that is upstream to rise creating additional water supplies. This would be an opportunity for Polk to withdraw some of this water for it’s reservoirs.

Polk County wants to add water so they can develop small reservoirs and Manasota wants a 50 year permit to more than double their amount of water withdrawal. Polk”s planned reservoirs could be affected by Manatee’s with drawl of more water.

If Armstrong’s new plan is cost effective and results in more water it should be investigated.

The water situation is not over yet. We definitely need to look to the future with population and industry growth and how this will effect Polk’s water supply.

Stay tuned......

 

 

 

Posted Sept 11, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

It’s Official.....
 

The Polk County Commissioners voted 3 - 2 to adopt a tax increase of 5.5 per cent or 371/2 cents per $1000 of taxable property value. Your taxes will raise from $6.78 per $1000 of taxable value to $7.15 per $1000 of taxable value.

This increase in taxation will enable the county to purchase 39 new ambulances and hire 234 new fire and emergency medical employees. With the Polk County population increasing dramatically, these monies are vital.

 

 

 

Posted Sept 9, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

The History of Winter Haven
 

The Museum of Winter Haven History is full of first facts about our community. For example: -

In 1915 the first k - 12 high school was opened in what is now the downtown post office. This also was the year that some Winter Haven citizens formed the 20 Lakes Boat Club. These folks tried to create a system of canals connecting our lakes. They ended the project in bankruptcy.

In 1919 it was voted by the residents of Winter Haven to establish a Winter Haven Lake Region Boat Course District with taxing powers to fund the maintenance of the canal system. They are now known as the Canal Commission.

In 1923, Winter Haven adopted the City Council form of government and the Board of Trade which evolved into the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce.

In 1924 there was the first Orange Festival in Winter Haven. This community event ended in 2008.

On September 1930 George Jenkins opened the first Publix Food Store on Fourth Street NW in the space now occupied by Tempo 1930 Restaurant.

In January 1936, the first guests were welcomed to Cypress Gardens as entertainment for visiting servicemen.

All of these facts were discovered in the little paper called the Winter Haven Sun that is published once a week.

 

 

 

Posted Sept 4, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

The Outback Restaurant
 

The Outback Restaurant is undergoing a redesign. It is still open for lunches and dinners however, you have to be ready to dine with plywood walls, spackling etc. Wonder if the higher menu prices are due to the renovation?
 

Six/Ten Is in the News....
 

At the last Wednesday Winter Haven Commissioners Board Meeting, it was voted to allow the Six/Ten developer corporation to buy the old Social Security building on Central Avenue.

The building will be rehabbed to include a restaurant, commercial space, and an arcade for retail shops.

The Social Security building was purchased for $205,000. The assessed evaluation was $490,000. The building is projected to bring in $442,000 per year for the next ten years due to the redevelopment.
 

 

All Aboard Florida
 

Here they come - light rail trains for passengers. Bright line has received the official nod to begin building passenger light rail from Miami to Orlando by receiving a $1.75 billion dollar bond. This is a “private activity” bond.

According to the Ledger, Brightline is a passenger light rail company owned by a Japanese hedge fund. All Aboard Florida is owned by Fortress Investment Group LLC, a global investment management firm acquired last year by a Tokyo based Soft Bank Group Corp.

Controversy abounds as the Treasure Coast worries about its economy, Indian River county stews over safety issues, and Martin county worries about the draw bridges and maritime traffic.

However, Central Florida is cheering on the project due to more economic growth by removing cars from highways and giving tourists more travel options. Brightline will also help the Sun Rail system in the Orlando area.

No mention was had as to where the stops will occur nor the amount of money for a person to travel the rail system. I do sincerely hope this rail system will assist in releaving Central Florida’s traffic problem.

 

 

 

 

Posted Aug 24, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

Six/Ten and the old Social Security Building
 

Six/Ten has offered again for the old Social Security Building at 245 - 255 W. Central Avenue. Their offer was for $205,000 and feel that with three shops and a restaurant, it would give back more money than it cost.

Winter Haven city purchased the building for $1.1 million in 2006 and has been vacant ever since. The cost for the upkeep by the city is $9450. Some commissioners would like this property “out of their hair”.

The city has tried several options to be rid of the building but nothing materialized until now. Commissioners are now interested in selling this building outright.

We shall see what occurs at the next meeting.

 

More on Duke’s Brewhouse

Duke’s Brewhouse originated in Plant City and the Winter Haven location will be the third business in Florida. If you are interested in burgers, wings, beer and servers wearing denim cutoffs then this is the place to go.

Duke will also feature live music and dozens of TVs and a full liquor bar.

Some think that there is a sports bar on every corner but it’s just a takeoff on the neighborhood bar.

 

 

Posted Aug 23, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

Speaking of Change......
 

Just this morning as I was driving south on 6th St. ,I noticed that The Brunch Barn is morphing into Dukes Brewhouse. No dates of an opening nor more information is forth coming at this time.

Next door to The Brunch Barn, on the corner, a Vitamin Shop has opened. And next to the Sun Trust Bank on the other corner another building is being erected but perhaps there will be more information on that later.

And this is just happenings for South 6th St. Winter Haven is certainly a buzz of activity......

 

 

Posted Aug 22, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

By the Way......
 

In case you are driving around the city of Winter Haven and can’t find a street named Avenue T, it has been changed to Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Changes, Changes, Changes
 

Since the Snowbirds left Winter Haven some six months back, the changes that have occurred in the Winter Haven area are amazing. I have been out of town for only six weeks and could not believe my eyes on how the landscape has changed.

First of all, in our little plaza that includes Ovation and Burger King, Mallory’s has left for the Auburndale Flea Market and a dentist will be moving into her spot. Stone Cabin Coffee and Cheesecake has arrived next to the gym but it also sells pastries and cupcakes. Stone Cabin should be opening soon. The Golf Store that was in our plaza has now relocated next to Giovanni’s Pizza near Goodyear Tire store. Whew!

Next, our Growth Management Director Merle Bishop has created a map of Winter Haven called new “Private Development Activity”. This map is literally out of date as soon as it is printed. That’s how fast the development is taking place. And the odd thing is that this growth has not happened in one place but all over Winter Haven area.

Here are some examples of new growth in our area: Legoland has begun to develop a second hotel on its premises to open June, 2020. Harmony, a community with open areas is beginning to come into reality on Lake Eloise, Infinity Winterset LLC next to Garden Villas Condos is rezoning 11 acres to prepare 279 Multi-family units. The Preserve at Lake Ashton we already know about, Lake Lucerne is building on 87 lots, Race Track opened last November in Lake Lucerne, Winter Haven Hospital expanded and so did Bond Clinic and Central Florida Pain Management, Traditions has been approved for 76 townhouses on 10.8 acres and is in Phase 3 of zoning approval for a 695 bed Assisted Living Facility, Aldi supermarket has expanded to rte 27, Panda Express has arrived,and Starbucks, Tropical Smoothie and Mattress One will be located across from Golden Corral on route 540.

I am so excited about all of this new growth however, it would be really nice to see our highways and streets expanding also.

You can thank the little newspaper called Winter Haven Sun for all of this news.

 

 

 

 

Posted July 25, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

Finally, Finally
 

I was wondering what happened to the selling of beer and wine on Sunday at 7 a.m. in unincorporated Polk County. The Polk County Commissioners were to vote on this issue. Well, the first reading of the plan was at the July 24 meeting. There will be a vote on the issue August 7.

 

Route 27
 

The Polk County Commissioners met with Florida DOT. As we all know and the commissioners reinstated that there’s just too much traffic on route 27. The FDOT is contemplating a three part study on a 32 mile stretch between Lake Wales to US 192 north of I4.

This three part study should give an idea on how to handle this situation and get the committee to implementation. (That’s nothing new.)

S Catala, a FDOT coordinator stated they would try to “identify short term improvements that could be done concurrently with the design phase.”

Part of the problem, as we all know, are the red lights between Lake Wales and Clermont. It takes two hours of travel time to complete that route. There was talk of building a Polk County Extension many years ago. What happened to that idea?

The conclusion to the meeting is that traffic studies will be made to confirm the problem and then an action will be decided. Ho hum! Have we not heard this before folks?

Catala did give hope by saying that eventually the problem will be taken care of.

 

 

Posted July 24, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

The Winter Haven City Budget....
 

As of the last Winter Haven meeting of the City Commissioners, the budget vote was 5-0 to cap the tax increase rate at $6.79 per $1000 assess valuation. That’s an increase of $1 per $1000 over the current rate. The rate can be lowered at the next Budget meetings of September 11 and September 24. The taxable rate cannot be raised due to the cap.

The new budget would give a 2 per cent COLA for all city employees, a new fire station on Cypress Gardens Blvd. (very close to Carefree folks) and the city’s annual debt payment of more that $1 million for the Chain of Lakes field house.

Our tax rate in Winter Haven has not changed since 2007 and is the fourth lowest in the county. Some commissioners would like to see upgrades to the Winter Haven Recreational and Cultural Center be prioritized on a five year capital improvement plan. If the $1 plan goes through the Recreational and Cultural Center would be upgraded to comply with the Disabilities Act. Sertoma Park renovations would be moved from the 2022 fiscal year to the 2020 year. Addressing the congestion on Cypress Gardens Blvd. would be moved up a year and take two years to complete instead of three years.

Expectations are running high on a 12.4 increase in property value bringing in more taxable base therefore no tax increase would not be needed. And so the Budget debate continues. Some in favor of the $1 raise and some against. The September meetings will cast the die.

 

 

Posted July 23, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

“The Cat Is Out of the Bag!”
 

The Ashton Preserve has announced their plans for a mixed use community east of Lake Ashton. According to The Ledger, William Carson president of Carson Consulting and Development and Gus Kaloti, managing partner for Leaders Investment Group have announced that they are clearing land to develop 169 acres of single-family homes, 512 multi-family units, a 500 bed assisted living facility and about 70000 square feet in commercial space. Townhomes will make up 65 of the multi-family units. All development will occur off the Thompson Nursery Road.

The price of the single family home is to be between $185,000 and $275,000. This will be quite a boon to the Winter Haven tax structure. Some single family dwellings will be completed by next summer.

Ashton Preserve will have a clubhouse and other amenities such as a swimming pool and two entrances.

There is a growing need in our area for assisted living facilities. As our population ages, it becomes more and more of a necessity. So more growth is needed. There will be a management group to manage the facility which will be located in the southeast corner of the developed property.

The southeast corner will also hold commercial and mixed-use professional offices. These will undoubtably be medical offices due to the nearness of the assisted care facility.

The leaders for the Ashton Preserve project are coming from Polk, Lake and Orange counties. They expect to see more growth in and around this Preserve area.

Hang on to your hat, folks. Here we go.....

 

 

Posted July 21, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

The Winter Haven City Budget
 

The Winter Haven Commissioners met July 19 for a three hour budget meeting. They came away with many questions on the budget and no one was ready to commit one way or the other.

There are three budget options according to City Manager Mike Herr. One balances the budget with no property tax increase and the other two plans increase taxes by 50 cents per $1000 in taxable value and the other plan would raise taxes $1 per $1000 in taxable value.

I hope I am in town for the next meeting. I can’t wait to hear the outcome on this one.

 

 

Posted July 19, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

The Caladium Festival
 

The caladium festival is taking place July 27 - 29. It will occur in Lake Placid which is known as the Caldium capital of the world. Lake Placid is home to historical murals depicting early Central Florida life and 27 lakes.

You will find walking tours, murals, Caldaium tiles, arts and crafts, plants and bulbs for sale, wine tastings, beer garden, art competition and caldium floral competition.

By the way, did you know that caldium bulbs can grow in shade or sun? Another fact is that the bulb is only good for two to three years

Check out the Carefree caldium behind the Carefree sign across from the mailboxes.

 

Long Ago in Winter Haven....

Long ago in Winter Haven, perhaps 100 years ago, Lake Howard area was the place to live if you were important. Now, these gorgeous old homes have been turned in to a renters paradise but that is about to change.

The Winter Haven commissioners have gotten on the band wagon and voted to change that area. There has been a budget item of 2.6 million for the Seventh Street Roadway Improvement Project and it started with a ground breaking at the Women’s Club of Winter Haven.

This project will include paving but also will include sidewalks and a trail on the east side of the street, better storm drainage, period lighting and attractive signage. By the city spending money now, private investors may be inclined to also be a part of this revitalization and buy up some of this property and renovate some of these homes.

Personally, I am very excited about everything I hear and see that’s happening around and in Winter Haven. I recently took a boat ride on the Chain of Lakes with a developer and my friends, and he told me, “ honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet.” So hang on to your hat folks.......Change is in the wind.

 

 

South Central Park
 

“Where is that”, you ask....It’s in downtown Winter Haven and it’s under renovation that will be unique to a community of this size.

LED lighting is being added on slender light poles that will make South Central Park colorful with so many colors and intense patterns. Usually this kind of lighting is only seen in larger communities but now people are saying that it is a necessity to support tourism and nighttime events for residents and visitors.

Thanks to Pennoni Associates that is a Philadelphia based engineering firm for their input and money. This is an engineering firm that bought out Envisors in 2015 and now reside in a building customized by Six/Ten. The custom LED lighting will accentuate a trail leading from Jessie’s Lounge and go all the way to the Bank of America. Thank you Steve Elias. This was his idea and ingenuity.

The LED lighting can be set to music and accompany concerrts in this area of Central Park.

What fun it will be to attend events in South Central Park.

There are many opportunities to find music in the Winter Haven area. Just look at Jessie’s Lounge, Grove Roots, Derry Downs, Winter Haven Theatre, and Polk State College. That’s just to name a few...Enjoy folks!

 

 

 

Posted July 19, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

It’s a Done Deal!!!!
 

POLK COUNTY will increase by 37.5 cents per $1000 of taxable property value. This increase will generate 120 million dollars over 10 years.

These monies are expected to allow the county to purchase 39 new ambulances, hire 234 new employees and fund a new government building in the eastern portion of Polk County.

Some of these monies were meant to build new fire stations but County Manager Jim Freeman intends to use the fire fee to pay for some of the new stations.

All in all folks, someone with a $100,00 home without a Homestead Exemption will see an increase in taxes of $37.50, according to The Ledger.

Since monies are not in that budget for new fire stations and the Polk County Manager wishes to use fire fee funding, will this mean that our Fire Fee will go up too? We already know that the Winter Haven City Budget will see an increase. But the budgets have been at a plateau for some years and the population increasing now is the time to strike. Stay tuned, this is not over yet!

 

 

Posted July 18, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

Winter Haven Taxation vs. Projects
 

The Winter Haven Commissioners are debating raising taxes for Winter Haven residents in order to take on completing projects.

Projects that are awaiting the answer are 1.5 million dollars for transitioning Nora Mayo Hall, $400,000 for Sertoma Park improvements. Projects that will probably be axed are $2.9 million to address Cypress Gardens Boulevard congestion, $2.2 million to renovate
Sertoma Park and three other projects at a cost of $1 million or more.

If the commissioners ok a $1 raise per 1000 assessed evaluation in our taxes, the city would not have to cut any of the projects planned for the current year nor the five year capital improvement plan.

If the commissioners ok a 50 cent increase in our tax base then Winter Haven would have to put a hold on $2.4 million in projects planned for next year including dealing with congestion on Cypress Gardens Blvd. and the Sertoma Park renovation.

No matter on how the commissioners vote the new fire department substation for Winter Haven will be built and the Lake Silver Drive project will also be a go. Winter Haven will go into debt for the $1 million Chain of Lakes Complex.

And so the debate continues....... Hang on to your hat as I feel we will see a tax raise no matter what....Look at it this way folks, we have not had a tax raise in five years and prices raise every year.....

 

 

Posted July 16, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

Harry’s Old Place
 

I had dinner at Harry’s Old Place last Friday only to discover it is under new ownership. Great menu and food, pricey but worth it. Some cleaner with new decorations. It seems Harry wanted to abscond with Tallulah to work on the Food Truck so that’s what happened.

 

 

 

Posted July 13, 2018

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Lakeland Airport

Lakeland’s airport is called Linder and they are looking for an airline tenant for their airport. They have hired Voltaire Aviation to help them look for a carrier. They are hoping to land one of the established lines such as Delta, Jet Blue, United, or American or even a smaller jet to service Polk County. Linder Airport is estimating that there are at least 4000 Polk County residents that use either Tampa or Orlando airport every day.

What a wonderful plan for Lakeland and we in Winter Haven. I would do anything not to have to travel I4 to the Orlando airport. Cross your fingers that something will happen.

 

Testing, Testing

Publix is now testing a valet service for their supermarket customers. This is occurring in Lake Miriam and five other stores. The service is free and open to all customers.

Valet service is usually only offered by high end stores or those with limited parking. Publix is undecided if this service will become available at all of its store locations.

Just think what this would mean on a rainy day in Winter Haven or to a handicapped customer....Hope this is a dream that would come true.

 

 

 

Posted July 12, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

Winter Haven Property Values
 

According to the Winter Haven Sun, the property values in Winter Haven have grown 11.87% since 2013. Polk City has shown the most growth and Frostproof the least growth.

What is Winter Haven’s growth attributed too? According to our City Manager Mike Herr, we have private sector partners developing in our city. Six/Ten, Jessie’s Lounge, Legoland and Cassidy Development are the “Big Timers” in our area. They have contributed heartily in our economic future. It was estimated that our property values would increase 9.8 % but instead are viewed presently at 11.8%

Does this raise in value mean a raise in taxes? That question is being studied by the Winter Haven Commission and our leaders. If you want more money spent on capital improvements then a tax hike is evident. We want to pay cash for projects rather than borrow the funds.

Stay tuned for more input on possible rising taxes......

 

Did You Know?????

Lake Ashton was a nameless body of water in 1841 and then it became known as Lake Jane between 1890 and 1918. Then in 1946, Lake Ashton became known as Lake Myrtle and again the lake was renamed Lake Ashton by the developer around 2000. This is all according to “The Naming of Polk County Lakes by Joe Spann.

This is an interesting article telling how most lakes in our region acquired their names. It can be found in the Winter Haven History building which will reopen in the Fall.

 

 

Posted July 11, 2018

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The Ritz Theatre of Downtown Winter Haven
 

Stella Heath was appointed as the executive director of this theatre however, she was brought up on charges of fraud. Pam Bondi, Attorney General for the state of Florida was brought into the case and she has temporarily closed the theatre and has appointed a team of independent accounts to review the Ritz Theatre books.
The Ritz lawyers are looking at a motion to dismiss the charges against Stella Heath.

 

The Chain of Lakes Complex
 

The Chain of Lakes Complex is undergoing a huge renovation to accommodate the Orlando Magic farm team that will play in Lakeland, Fl. This renovation will also include 6 basketball courts, 12 volleyball courts, a new box office and elevators. The present gym will include a second floor and space for bleachers.

Apparently, no accommodations are in store for large group meetings and catering. Since Winter Haven has leased the Nora Mayo Hall these events will take place there.

 

Water Wars
 

The water war started when Manasota wanted to more than double the increase of the water it withdraws from the Peace River water basin. But Polk County had eyes on increasing the aquifer recharge in the Peace Creek Basin in the Winter Haven area to allow increased withdrawals from the existing wells creating mini reservoirs.

Because Manasota’s request for more water does not have the traditional 10 year review permit but would increase the review to 50 years, Polk County is asking for a Judge for the state’s Division of Administrative Hearings to listen to Polk Regional Water Authority that this increase in water should not be allowed and definitely not for 50 years.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District approved the permit for Manasota April 24 but the SWIFTMUD board has not yet voted to finialize the project. The final vote awaits the judge’s decision.



 

 

 

It’s About to Be True.....
 

There will be a 371/2 cent per $1000 of a assessed evaluation in property taxes for the ensuing year. These monies will be used to build a new government center in the eastern portion of Polk County. This area is showing and will continue to show immense growth and needs this building. This increased taxation is less than what the Polk Commissioners wanted.

Impact fees will also be raised for new building projects to 100 per cent. These generated monies will be used to fund additional revenue for emergency services, correctional services, fire and rescue and law enforcement. A few years ago, the impact fees were at 100 percent but due to recession in 2007, a moratorium was decreed and the fees were reduced to 50 per cent. Now that there is and will continue to be a raise in population all county services need to be upgraded. Hence the 100 per cent impact fees.

The vote for a tax increase is July 18, 2018 in the administration building. Tune in for an update......


 

 

 

 

Posted July 5, 2018

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A Symbol for Winter Haven
 

As we all know, Lakeland’s symbol is a swan and can be found on all their advertisements and just everywhere. So, the Winter Haven Cultural Art’s Advisory Board has recommended that Winter Haven’s symbol should be a sand hill crane. The Board said by having a symbol, it should help the arts.

The Cultural Art Board is made up of seven members whose job it is to help enrich Winter Haven culture. Our mayor, Brad Dantzler , is very much for having a symbol for our city.

According to Mayor Dantzler, he is proud of what the Cultural Art Advisory Board has already accomplished by painting power boxes, establishment of little libraries and the painting of murals.

The Citrus industry and Cypress Gardens have always been attached to our community in culture and advertising but times are changing. So a need is there and research has noted that the sand hill crane is synonymous with our area.

The Cultural Arts Advisory Board is also looking into other ideas to promote culture such as a writer’s room in the library, small painted pianos at restaurants or stores where anyone may play a tune or two. However, money is needed for any and all projects so there is where all of these ideas stand. Where to find the funding is the question!
 

 

 

Posted July 4, 2018

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Polk County Tax Hike in the Forseeable Future
 

Apparently, Polk County is in need of new fire stations, fire equipment and ambulances. There is also a need for a new operations center in the northeast quadrant of Polk County - population is increasing in that area. The majority of the commissioners are in favor of raising our taxes by 50 cents per thousand of taxable value to accomplish this goal. Two commissioners are trying to defeat the issues but it’s an uphill battle.

$16 million a year would be generated by the new hike if approved. The County has not raised our taxes in years but now our county is expected to grow between 32,000 to 171,000 by 2025. It has also been reported that fire rescue calls are increasing too as we gain population.

Since the medium home value is $140,000 in Polk County, the new tax hike would increase taxes by $45 or less after Florida’s Homestead tax exemption.

Public safety is paramount in any county, so the new tax proposal seems appropriate.

However, there are some commissioners who would like to take a closer look at the fire fee per residence. The fee started out at $168 per residence and has seen frequent hikes to $39.2 million this year. Where has this money gone?

There is discussion to occur to minimize the new tax increase to go directly to the fire department. A 25 cent increase would take care of new vehicles, equipment but not personnel. The new government center would be lovely but is it really necessary? And least of all, shouldnt’ the commissioners take a look at the whole budget to see where items could be shifted to accommodate the fire expenditures?

More to come on these issues -

 

 

 

Posted July 3, 2018

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Good News from Six/Ten
 

Six/Ten is a development company that is paramount in the redesign and reconstruction of downtown Winter Haven . Six/Ten has been instrumental in bringing residents, restaurants and businesses to Winter Haven by rehabbing existing buildings. Their latest endeavor is to be the construction of a 20 unit apartment complex called 20 on Second. Yes, it will be built on Second Street and consist of 20 luxury apartments. The apartments are to be located close to Grove Roots, a local brewery built with the support of Six/Ten.

There are plans in the making for 125 apartment units for the downtown area developed by Six/Ten with the idea that the more people that are living downtown, the more businesses will come to the area.

Hooray for Six/Ten!

 

 

 

Posted June 23, 2018

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At Last! At Last!
 

In 2011, Gov. Scott vetoed using tax payer monies to develop light rail between Tampa and Orlando. Many officials and people were dismayed. But now private bids are being considered to build high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando.

Bright line is a private high-speed train company that has rail between Miami and West Palm Beach. It is now building to try to reach Orlando airport in 2020. This company will put in a bid to build the light rail along side I4, leasing land from the state and Central Florida Expressway. Taxpayer dollars would not be used.

Because Brightline has offered a bid for this construction, the state has now opened bids to others. They have 120 days to comply.

Details of where this rail would stop, the cost of a ride, and where it would go is still light years away from a decision but at least, the high speed rail is a thought and is beginning the paper work.

Just think of what this might mean if you want to attend a professional ballgame or go to the Orlando airport for a flight or a pick up! No more traffic jams on I4. What a relief that would be.

Pat Kemp, Hillsborough County Commissioner and an advocate for transportation says, “We need to take a giant leap forward and hit the minimums for this that other communities have gone way before. Ms. Kemp was greatly disturbed by Scott’s refusal to build light rail in 2011. “It’s a no brainer.” Claimed Pinellas Executive Director Whit Blanton.

I am so glad that that high speed light rail is being considered for Tampa and Orlando. And I do believe that you are going to see more private funding for the building of roads in and around our community of Winter Haven.

 

 

 

Posted June 21, 2018

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It’s Winter Haven Budget Time Again

The exploratory phase of the Budget making process has begun with a line item called funding for non profit requests. As of now, the budget for non profit is $456,000 and this needs to be capped, according to the Commissioners.

19 different non profit organizations realize gains from this line item including Main Street Winter Haven that requested $60000 more after receiving $30000. This could be funded through Community Redevelopment Agency instead of through the general fund.

Obtaining our taxpayer money should be difficult to do and not just handed out on first come, first serve basis. According to Councilman Chichetto the city of Lakeland only gives out $239000. Since our city employees have not had a raise in eight years, he believes this monies should be redirected to our employees.

Mayor Dantzler wants a process in place to deal with non profit requests to avoid having to have controversies and meetings to discuss the same issue next year. According to Dantzler, $430000 is ok with him. Dantzler wants to make the process streamlined.

Commissioner Twyford believes that it is the commissions job to oversee the monies awarded annually.

And so the discussion continues as to fund the non profits to the full amount or not. Meanwhile, non profits are making presentations to the commissioners to see who will split the pot of $430,000.

Groceries to Be Delivered in Polk

What great news from Publix for Seniors, Millennials and others. This service will not be free, however, but the convenience may out weigh the cost. This seems to be the problem - researchers have not forecasted that this will be a profitable venture for Publix or any other grocery store. Time will tell.

In the meantime, you may order your groceries from Publix through an app called Shipt or Instacart. Shipt is a membership company that charges $99 annually or $7 each for $35 orders. You may order either online or through their app. Instacart chargers $5.99 for orders of more than $35 and for orders of $10 to $35 the charge is $9.99.

Both Instacart and Shipt will fill orders made online at a nearby store for canned, packaged foods and other non-perishable goods such as produce and meat. The order will be delivered to the home that is designated by the customer and at a time they designate.

Shipt will shop and deliver from Publix, ABC Fine Wine & Spririts, Gordon Food Service Stores, Winn Dixie and Target.

Now, is this a service or what? Just think about the elderly and or/ informed and how it may benefit them.
 

 

 

Posted May 31, 2018

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It’s Summertime at Bok Tower

It’s summertime at Bok Tower and many events are planned. All of these events will bring nature and a sense of family time to us.

The music series will appeal to all with pop, folk, R&B concerts represented. Bok personnel are expecting more in attendance as the format has been changed from the Blue Palmetto Cafe to the outdoors. There will also be dinner specials at the Blue Palmetto Cafe with family friendly games to play.

In Hammock Hollow on Saturday mornings, children will learn about native Florida plants and ecology. Art will be represented by special art projects at the Doodle Art Place. The neat thing is the price of admission for this is included in your admission fee or free if you are a member.

For the first time ever, Bok Tower is allowing your dog to be admitted if they are on a leash during your stay. Your four footed friend will not be allowed in Pinewood Estate, the Blue Palmetto Cafe or the Shop at Bok. Sometimes you will have to pay an admission fee for your dog. Check the Bok calendar.

If you are a Florida resident, admission is free on the 4th of July. From August 1 to August 31, Florida residents with a valid Florida license will receive a 50% reduction on their Admission Fee. You will not see these offers On Line. You must drive to the gate of admissions in person.

I hope you take advantage of this amazing place. We are so fortunate to have Bok Tower as a neighbor....

 

 

 

Posted May 23, 2018

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New Rides in Central Florida Theme Parks

The rides in the theme parks are always eagerly looked forward to. However, the theme parks are at a point that if the new rides pull in more visitors they will be forced to close due to overcrowding.

Beginning this summer, Disney will offer Toy Story Land at the Hollywood Studios Park and next year, Star Wars, Galaxy Enge. Tomorrow Land will sport characters from “The Incredibles”.

Legoland is showing off a new virtual reality roller coaster for the six year and older group while Universal adds a simulator ride based on the movie “Fast and Furious”.

Sea World in Orlando is drifting away from animal shows and putting tons of effort into more rides. They are showing a new raft ride and claim in to be the tallest in the world. For this summer only, Sea World Orlando is offering two free beers for adults at Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen.

Aquatica shows off the new Ray Rush raft ride that is propelled by water jets and promises to be a thriller.

And Adventure Island near Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay has a new free fall water slide. One of the slides is for the brave at heart and the other for people like me with butterflies in their tummies.

All of the new attractions are going to bring into Central FLorida more visitors. A record of 72 million visitors were reported last year and expectation s are far greater for the ensuing year.

My comment? Where is the light rail and other infrastructures when we need it? Visitors are wonderful but they have to move on our roads, dine in our restaurants and sleep somewhere. We are running short on roadways......And then, what about water problems that are popping up in new articles and commissioner itineraries?

 

 

 

Posted May 23, 2018

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Hungry? Try McDonald’s Catering
 

McDonald’s is catering breakfast only in all 195 Central Florida locations. Place your order through the app Uber Eat or McDelivery. If you use the Uber Eat app there is a $3.50 cost for your order. You can also call in orders and do your own pick up.

McDonald’s catering is only a test for now and available only in Central Florida. This service is good for 6, 12, or 18 people.
 

 

 

 

Posted May 20, 2018

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Chapter 2 of Possible Water War

As I have noted in another blog, The Peace River Manasota Regional Water Authority has requested that the Southwest Water Management District withdraw 258 million gallons of water per day during peak flow times front the Peace River over the next 50 years. Currently they have permission to withdraw 120 gallons until 2037.

The Winter Haven Commissioners have opted to hire Attorney de la Parte to represent the city in order to halt the petition from the Peace River Manasota Regional Authority at a price of $15,000. If legal fees go over the limits the council will reconsider for further approval.

And again I quote from The Ledger,”. The worry is that if Peace River Manasota Regional Water Authority’s request is approved, it could halt the Polk Regional Water Cooperative’s goal of building a reservoir at Peace River. It could mean losing the ability to withdraw 28 million gallons of water for county residents since 23 percent of the river’s water shed is in Polk County.”

The city of Lakeland is also represented in the petition however, they have their own attorney.

The Polk Cooperative is set to ratify the petition against the 50 year permit on May 15 while Swiftmud is set to consider the 50 year request on May 22, 2018.

 

 

Posted May 13, 2018

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Might There Be a Water War?

Because water is such an important topic in Polk County, I am going to quote directly from the Ledger.......

“A water war could be brewing between Polk County and neighbors in Manatee, Charlotte, DeSoto and Sarasota counties. These southern counties have filed a 50 year permit that more than doubles the amount of water it withdraws.

Upstream officials with Polk County’s regional water cooperative are concerned. They may have a plan in the future to increase aquifer recharge in the Peace Creek Basin the the Winter Haven area to receive groundwater credits to allow increased withdrawals from existing wells. This project would involve diverting 5 to 10 million gallons of water a day into mini-reservoirs.

The fear is that if downstream users secure 50 years worth of rights, there won’t be water available when Polk County comes calling. The extent of that water decrease is yet to be determined.

There is frustration with Southwest Florida Water Management District known as Swiftmud. Polk County created its regional water cooperative
at the request of the state water agency, which indicated that cities alone could no longer expect to secure their own water rights.

The Polk Regional Water Cooperative which represents 15 cities including Lakeland and Polk County plans to ask its lawyer to file its own petition on Wednesday next to allow more time to study the impacts. They want to reaffirm that the district takes into account the stream impacts.

This new water plan has been in the works for four years. Swiftmud received the southern counties permit application October, 2017. They plan to expand a water treatment facility in DeSoto county and build an additional reservoir that would store 6 billion gallons of water. There is a prediction that the southern counties are going to need to put another 100 million gallons per day in the public water supply capacity. They are not certain that their plan would adversely impact Polk.

Swiftmud approved the permit by the southern counties April 24, 2018.It is scheduled to come before the board for a vote on May 22, 2018.

Polk county claims they were not aware of the issue until it came up in a Swiftmud meeting in late February.

Delgado says though the filing may have been working its way through Swiftmud’s hydrogeologists and engineers for years, the emergence of the plan on a public agenda and an upcoming decision is sudden.

There are no other 50 year water plans in the state. Most only go out 20 years. This impacts all pending water plans.

Ryan Taylor of Polk County, assistant manager, says that we need to know what the impact will be, if any, and what can be done to share this limited resource.”

And so, does the Water War begin? Stay tuned........

 

 

 

Posted May 13, 2018

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I Want a Daycation!

Starting Memorial Day Weekend for $199 Florida residents ($229 for others) can take a Lakeland Legacy flight to Key West for the day. That’s right, a round trip flight from Lakeland Linder airport to Key West. It certainly beats a seven to eight hour trip by auto.

There are future plans for the company to fly to the Bahamas, Bimini, Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Savannah, Georgia for other “daycations”.

flight the same day but in the future will be able to stay overnight.

Legacy air has a fleet of 30 passenger turboprop Saab 340B aircraft.

(Did you know that you can also take a boat from Fort Meyers at 8 a.m. and be in Key West in 4 hours. You can return to Fort Meyer at 5 pm or stay overnight and return the next day.)

 

If You Are a Lakeland Theatre Goer..........

The Lakeland Center or RP Funding Center is getting a new motel. Marriott is building a Spring Hill Suites in the east side parking lot. There is already a hotel on the north side of the Center called the Hyatt Place. The
 

Marriott will take over 340 parking place and 31 handicapped spots in the eastern parking lot. Yes, parking is going to be a problem. They are going to create drop off and pick up lanes.

Mayor Mutz said the new Spring Hill Suites Hotel will increase the quality, diversity and number of attractions that will come to the RP Funding Center. It is a a valuable addition to downtown.

 

 

 

Posted May 12, 2018

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Unfair Alcohol Law in Polk County

Retailers have been saying for some time that they are at a disadvantage at selling alcohol on Sundays before noon in unincorporated Polk County. Braswell, a County Commissioner is trying to get this law changed. Some lawmakers say that the law should be changed to be fair to all retailers in Polk County. Consistency is needed.

The “Braswell Motion” will be reviewed and another modified version will be presented the county planning department which will then make a recommendation to the county commissioners at a later date.

“Nine of ten counties bordering Polk County allow alcohol sales before noon on Sundays.”

In my opinion, the county commissioners have been looking at this law for over a year and still no decision. What’s the hold up?

 

 

Posted May 12, 2018

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I Am Embarrassed.....

I have been telling everyone a lie and I want to apologize but sometimes the news in this area is scanty.

Some of you Carefreeites have been asking me what the gorgeous new building is at the Orlando Airport. At first,my response was, “it’s a train depot. “ Later, someone somewhere said that it was the new international airport. Today I got the story straight from the worker’s mouth - “It’s the new train depot for the incoming trains from Miami and Orlando. It will open in 2020”.

I wonder how long it will be before trains are running from Apopka on I4 to Orlando? This will happen, you know. Lots of light rail being built and track laid.

 

Changes May be In Store

The Liquor Law for our area may be changed to include the selling of liquor on Sunday. The present law is detrimental to our retailers as stores surrounding Winter Haven are allowed to sell liquor on Sunday and we are not.

Commissioner Bradshaw is willing to put a new law up for adoption that says - Be Fair, Winter Haven. Allow the sale of liquor in our stores.

This law has been put before the commissioners vote and was defeated before. Wonder if it will pass this time?

 

 

Posted Mar 15, 2018

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Stone Cabin

Stone Cabin has announced in our discount fliers that it will be locating at 7000 Cypress Gardens Road near the Goodyear Tire place and CVS.

Stone Cabin is famous for its coffee and cheesecake however, they also serve beer and wine. Their establishment is designed after a stone cabin complete with a fire pit for relaxing and sipping.

I can’t wait!

 

 

Posted Mar 6, 2018

2018 Can Am Championship

 

Winner: Canada

 

Click Here to view pictures

Pictures by LeRoy Martinson

 

Posted Mar 6, 2018

2018 Cancer Fun-d Day

CLICK Here to view pictures

Pictures from the Fundraiser
A great time was had by all
and a lot of money was raised for the American Cancer Society

 

Pictures by LeRoy Martinson

 

Posted Feb 16, 2018

Blood Drive March 1. 2018

9:00am to 12:00pm
 

Sign up list on bulletin board in pool hallway (lower clubhouse)
 

Thank you,

Mary Wedig, Lot 350

863-224-3800

 

 

 

Posted Feb 16, 2018

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In the News Once More.......

After a meeting of the Major County Sheriffs of America Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., Sheriff Grady Judd was elected as president of the organi-zation for the ensuing year.

Grady stated in a speech following the election, that sheriffs must demonstrate strength, courage, confidence, and leadership while protecting the best interests of the citizens we serve to lead the way to a safer America.

Grady Judd was elected to this position by his peers for the next two years.

As the sheriffs are the first responders to a crime scene new strategies, greater resources and legislative support are needed so said the Vice President of MCSA Jim McDonnell.

Another accolade for our Grady Judd. Hooray!

 

The Saint Sophia Greek Festival

February 16, 17, and 18 was or is the Greek Festival is held at the Sophia Greek Orthodox Church on 1030 Bradbury Road. The food is outstanding and there will be vendors plus for the children, bounce houses. There will be Orthodox Greek dancing provided by the youth group of St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church and St. Barabara’s Hellenic Dancers of Sarasota. A special musical presentation by the Islanders out of Clearwater is to be enjoyed by all.

If you are a fan of Baklava, a famous Greek dessert, now’s your chance.

 

 

Posted Dec 16, 2017

Irma Slide Show

that was shown before the Board Meeting on Dec 14th

 

Click Here to view the Video on YouTube

Presentation prepared by Jeff Eklund with contributions from

Lyle Drake & Jean Westermann

 

 

Posted Nov 29, 2017

2017 Thanksgiving Dinner

 

Click Here to view pictures

Pictures by LeRoy Martinson

 

 

Posted Nov 29, 2017

2017 Veteran's Day Ceremony

 

Click Here to view pictures

Pictures by LeRoy Martinson

 

 

 

Posted Nov 21, 2017

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??? Mystery Solved

Have you noticed the new construction site on 27 next to the Hampton Inn? Jim Tarpley told me that it is to be a new Kia Dealership. Darn....I was hoping for a Cracker Barrel or Target.

I was also notified that there is a new IHOP coming on Rte 27. Hope it will hold more people than the present one on 540.

 

 

Posted Oct 14, 2017

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The Ovation Restaurant

The Ovation Restaurant is located in Miller's Landing next to the tanning salon. It prides itself on their beef brisket and pulled pork but other items are also listed on their menu. There is a full service bar and seating for about 100. Fast and friendly service and they will take reservations. Pricing is average with the rest of the restaurants in our area.

Aren't we fortunate to now have three restaurants in Miller's Landing, actually four if you count Burger King. Enjoy!

 

???

How do you like that title?

Thought it appropriate for there is evidence of a building coming on route 27 near our Hampton Hotel. I thought it was suspicious when I saw the new stop light being installed last year. So far there are only a few sewer pipes and black construction paper outlining the construction site.

Who can discover first just what is coming to that area?

 

 

Posted Aug 10, 2017

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Nora Mayo Hall

Yes, the Nora Mayo Hall is back in the news as the 92nd Annual Citizens of the Year and Banker’s Cup Awards and the Chamber Annual Meeting was held there recently. This is amazing to me as the last I had heard the Winter Haven Commissioners and the owners of the building, the Department of Agriculture could not come to terms. Now I find out that the Winter Haven Commissioners signed a lease and pays $300 a year for the next 50 years. Now I wonder who is responsible for repairs?

 

A Skate Park for Winter Haven

The Winter Haven City Commissioners have approved the monies for a skate park. The funding will also be supplemented by matching grants.

Now the city has to come up with a plan of where,who to supervise, etc. The location was suggested to be on the banks of Lake Silver.

 

WH Main Street Scoops Up Awards

Recently at the Main Street Awards, WH took first place for Outstanding Fundraising or Membership Development Effort. The also received a Merit Award for the refurbishing of the Derry Down building.

The Derry Down building hosts monthly shows with tons of talented artists.

 

 

Posted Aug 10, 2017

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Aldis

Aldis market is adding another location in our area - on the corner of Thompson Nursery Road. Presently there is a vetinary clinic at the site. The clinic is being rebuilt behind Wendy's on Rte 27 and the old one will be torn down to accommodate the market.

I don't know about you but I will be relieved not to have to cross town to do my Aldi shopping on Rte 17.

 

RP Funding Center ( The Lakeland Center)

The RP Funding Center has announced its 2017 - 2018 schedule.

Shopkins Live! Shop it Up!
Pints for Paws Lakeland Beer Fest
Elf - Musical
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - Best Musical/Tony Winner
Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Bill Gaither and The Gaither Christmas Homecoming
Ron White
Chicago - Musical
The Wizard of Oz - Musical
The Ten Tenors
A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage
Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker
Jersey Boys
Peter Cetera
Decades Rewind
Musical Thrones - A Parody
Lakeland Pro Rodeo
Paul Anka Celebrating 60 Years of Hits - His Way
Rain - A Tribute to the Beatles
Daniel O'Donnell - Back Home Again Tour
Assisted Living:The Musical
Celtic Woman
Shen Yun
Million Dollar Quartet
Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve!

Buy 5 show and receive free parking.
Call 1-888-397-0100 9:30 - 5:30 to reserve your tickets or 863-834-8111.

 

 

Posted Aug 10, 2017

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Bits and Pieces

The final price of the new Field House to be located on Cypress Gardens Blvd is $35 million including interest. Now the Commissioners are in a quandary as to how to pay this off in the next 20 years. Some options under discussion are the raising of taxes, special assessments, budget cuts or a combination of all of these.

The Kerry Clock Family Restaurant has closed its doors on Havendale Blvd. after 40 years of business. Some say it is due to illness of the owner.

The Winter Haven Municipal Airport is back in the headlines with the commissioners looking at a master plan of adding 160 new hangers. The cost is $39 million but would be covered through grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Florida Department of Transportation. Winter Haven's responsibility would be about $6 million.

"Dawg Dayz" is coming back to Tanner's restaurant to raise money's for the Citrus Center's Boys and Girls Club in Winter Haven. A group of musicians will play Blues, Rag Time, boogie woogie from 2 - 9 p.m. On an inside and outside stage area. The date is August 12, 2017. Last year, these groups raised $17000 for the club and this year's goal is $40000. There will also be an auction for an $8000 Jack Daniels electrical guitar. 600 to 700 people attended last year and they are looking to up the attendance for this year. It just amazes me as to the amount of entertainment in this area of Florida. We, as residents of the area, are so fortunate.
 

 

Posted July 26, 2017

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Winter Haven Commission Meeting

According to The Ledger, the property tax rate is to remain the same at the current rate of $5.79 per $1000.

The Commission also voted to accept a bond agreement with Center State Bank for Phase one of the Chain of Lakes master plan which includes the multi purpose field house. The bond is for $25.225 million over 20 years with the city to pay the interest for only the first year. Polk County will contribute $10 million dollars. The city's portion will remain at $21 million.
 

 

Posted June 29, 2017

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Flash! Flash! Flash!

As I was walking along the sidewalk in Millers Landing, I noticed construction occurring in three side by side establishments. The walls were being demolished to make one large area. I inquired around to see what was happening and Lo and behold ......it is a new restaurant! It will be called "Ovation", the same as the little bistro on rte 27 near Posner's Mall. I have no other details other than what I have reported but I am excited to have another restaurant in the area.
 

 

Posted June 21, 2017

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The Taylor Hotel

The Taylor Hotel is being built by Jeff Donalson at 310 and 314 W. Central Ave. It will be classified as a high end contemporary hotel for the business traveler with rooms anywhere from 250 to 500 square feet. It will also house a coffee shop covering the downstairs and a roof top bar.

The Taylor Hotel will be a destination for wedding guests, major event at Nora Mayo Hall or the sports guests from the new complex about to be built on Cypress Gardens Blvd. The hotel will also be a boon to downtown businesses by creating jobs, adding tax revenue and enhancing
property values downtown.

I am personally glad to see that the historic quality will be kept as The Taylor Hotel will keep the original brick like the Grove Roots Brewery and Gram Parson's Derry Down. Hooray for downtown Winter Haven!
 

 

Posted June 19, 2017

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Tnother New Restaurant in Winter Haven

The Nutwood Restaurant has arrived on 132 Ave. B SW in Winter Haven. Steven Rojas is the owner and chef. Steve has worked in San Sebastain, Spain and for Michelle Bernstein in Miami.

The Nutwood has received 5 stars for its cuisine of which diners have said is as good as San Francisco, Chicago, or New York. You have to be patient once you place your order as your meal is cooked when ordered. They do have dine in facility or take out. The Nutwood serves lunch on Mon. - Fri. 11 - 2 and dinner Weds., Thurs., Fri., Sat. From 5:30 - 9 p.m.

It is a small interesting menu with all ingredients coming from the farm to the table. As a result, the tab can be pricy but well worth every bite, taste and smell.

 

Posted June 12, 2017

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Tempo 1930

Tempo 1930 is coming to Winter Haven this summer. It will be a restaurant and a blues and jazz place. The restaurant faces Central Park and is located where the El Norteno Mexican restaurant was at 58 Fourth St. NW. The first Publix in Winter Haven was also located at the same address in 1930. Hence, this is how Tempo was designated with the 1930.

The restaurant is owned and operated by Omar Andreasen and his wife. They presently live in Davenport and originally came from Puerto Rico.

The Tempo 1930 will serve New Orleans style food such as Muffulettas,
hot fried Beignets,etouffe, crayfish boils, burgers, salads and sandwiches. There will be live jazz and blues music every weekend.

Six/Ten is responsible for the renovation of the building for Tempo 1930 and the rental. Six/Ten is the company that is performing the major rehab of the Winter Haven downtown area. Tempo 1930 and Six/Ten are presently negotiating the cost of the patio area in the back of the restaurant. Open dining will be offered in this local, too.

Here is another night spot for entertainment in Winter Haven. We Havenites are beginning to feel like "Lucky Ducks".
 

 

 

Posted June 9, 2017

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Publix

An announcement has been made by the Publix company that their online delivery service will be extended to all 1100 stores.

As to when the delivery service would begin in Polk County has not been determined. This delivery service has been a pilot program in Miami, Tampa and Orlando any a company called Instacart.

Instacart also serves as a deliverer for other stores such as Whole Foods, Costco and other supermarket chains.

This service has been so well received that it has been expanded into Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Naples, Sarasota, sSarasota, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and West Palm Beach. It is also in Charlotte, Atlanta, and other supermarkets in other states.

The Instacart service will become available to all 1148 Publix stores in 2020.

To become a member of Instacart you will set up an account online through your computer or phone app. You will then select the items you would like and then designate a time for delivery. These items will include fresh produce and meats.

The service does not come without a fee....single delivery of orders more than $35.00 is $5.99 while orders of a minimum of $10 to $35.00 will be $7.99. You can also choose unlimited delivery for $14.99 monthly charge or an annual fee of $99 to $149.

Instacart and Publix feel this service will attract tech savy customers as well as Millinnials and Seniors. There is a demand for this service and it has been proven by Wal Mart, Kroger and Amazon. Publix tried this service 20 years ago but the Internet was not what it is today and so was not profitable. With the turn around of so many tech savy people, this service is now going to be very profitable.

Personally, I feel this service will be of benefit to so many different ages that it will be an instant success. Wonder what our grandparents would think about this?
 

 

 

Posted June 8, 2017

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The Winter Haven Commissioners

The Winter Haven Commissioners have a hefty agenda for their next meeting as the commissioners may approve the second phase for Lake Ashton West. This development will include 174 lots with a tax value of $131,000 yearly.

The commissioners are also going to listen to two ordinances about land use on the northeast side of Thompson Nursery Road. One of the ordinances is to rezone 326 acres from agricultural to planned unit development for single and multi family homes. 10 acres of this land is for commercial use.
This area would only be zoned for small businesses, medical offices and small retail shops. Commissioner Chichetto made a comment that more commercial property was not needed as they had already screwed up development on Cypress Gardens Blvd.

Hmmmm, wonder what he meant by that comment?


                                        ???

 

As I was driving west on Cypress Gardens Blvd., I noticed that the Pizza Hut had moved to W.3rd St. NW and the contractors were demolishing the old Pizza Hut building.

Hence, the question marks.

I have no idea what is going in that space.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Posted June 4, 2017

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The Hurricane Hunters

The Hurricane Hunters, airplanes that give us the data about hurricanes, have been relocated to Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Fl. Before this, they were located at MacDill Air Force Base out of Tampa, Fl. For some reason, MacDill needed the Hurricane Hunter space so Linder Regional Airport was the lucky winner.

The building for housing their operations and aircraft was completed even before the contract was signed. The contract is for five years and could be indefinite.

The Hurricane Hunters consist of a group of nine weather observation planes, 110 employees including pilots, mechanics, technicians and scientists. This group continues to keep us safe during potential and real threats of hurricanes. Their information is invaluable for our safety.

Pres. Trump's Budget has slashed the NOAA funding as well as other scientific research organizations. Hopefully Congress will address this situation.
 

 

Posted June 1, 2017

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The First Ever Bourbon and Blues Festival

Many of you are going to want to be in Winter Haven for this event. The Bourbon and Blues Festival is being held at the listening room of Gram Parsons' Derry Down at 297 W. Fifth St. NW as a fund raiser for Main Street revitalization program that has been in effect for 22 years and is being held June 1.

Many bourbons will be featured for tasting such as Woodford Reserve, Angels Envy, Gentleman Jack, etc. Wine, water, soda and a signature mock tail as well as food vendors and craft beer will also be served. Along with the tasting by volunteers and distillery representatives there will be blues performed by Laurie Wright and the Rusty Wright Band.

It is hoped that this event will become a yearly fund raiser for the Main Street revitalization program.
 

 

Posted May 24, 2017

Water Restriction Update

District Tightens Water Restrictions throughout 16-County Region

05/23/2017 3:00 PM EDT 

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s (District) Governing Board voted today to increase water restrictions throughout the region. The modified Phase III water shortage order affects counties throughout the District’s boundaries including Charlotte, Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter.

District hydrologists report a rainfall deficit of 11-inches since the start of the dry season last October. In fact, this is the driest dry season in the past 103 years.

Under the new water shortage order, lawn watering is reduced to once-per-week and allowable watering hours also are reduced. Micro-irrigation and hand watering of non-lawn areas are still allowed any day, if needed. Additionally, there are now limits on car washing and homeowners’ associations may not enforce any deed restrictions which could cause an increase in water use. The restrictions will remain in effect through August 1, 2017. Additional details regarding the watering of new lawns and plants, reclaimed water and other water uses can be found at WaterMatters.org/restrictions.

The District considerers both natural water resource conditions and the viability of public supply when deciding to declare a water shortage order. For the past 20 years, the District has worked diligently with its partners to develop alternative water supplies. Even though the region is experiencing drought conditions, there is adequate public water supply available.

Florida’s dry season runs October through May. The District encourages water conservation year-round, and offers many tips to reduce water use and additional information at WaterMatters.org/conservation.

 

 

Posted May 24, 2017

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The Lakeland Center Has a New Name

The Lakeland Center has a corporate name. It's now called RP Funding Center. This is a five year deal and you will see RP Funding on all the bill boards and signage at The Lakeland Center.

RP Funding, out of Orlando, is the major stockholder in the Magic basketball team. Since the Magic's D Team will now be playing at the Lakeland Center it made more since to call the building RP Funding.

Lakeland and RP Funding worked out a deal for the sale of the building over 5 years for a total of 5 million dollars. The name of Youkey Theatre and George Jenkins Arena will remain the same.

RP Funding Center is a multipurpose entertainment complex with an 8000 seat George Jenkins Area, a 2200 Youkey Theatre and 100,00 square feet of meeting and exhibition space. A variety of events are held here yearly.

By becoming the RP Funding Center, it will help increase revenue for operations and it will continue to be a self sustaining venue.

By the backing of RP Funding more events will take place such as concerts and sports.

Welcome RP Funding.
 

 

Posted May 13, 2017

Rental Listings on Website

Old outdated rental listings have been removed from the Carefree Website.

Anyone that had a rental property should check to see if your listing is still active on the website.

If you need your property re-listed just fill out the rental form and send it
for listing.
 

 

 

Posted May 10, 2017

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Winter Haven Field House Is Under Contract

According to the May 9, 2017 Ledger, The Winter Haven City Commissoners voted 4 - 1 to accept a lease agreement with the county that will fund Phase 1 of the city's Chain of Lakes master plan and that is the field house that will have sporting events and business conferences.

The cost of Phase 1 is 21.8 million with the county pledging 11 million over 20 years. This will include the costs of the master plan along with tourist-development dollars.

Now the city of Winter Haven has to figure out how they will add their funds to the project. They have until September 30 to devise a plan. Some thinking is going to raising taxes. The mayor, Steve Hunnicutt is also going to take a hard look at the budget for other cuts.

The field house will be home for practice of the Lakeland Magic's D Team. They will need two of the six proposed courts and space for lockers and administrative personnel. The city will be responsible for operation and that cost would be between $723,000 and $884,000.


                        The World of Avatar

 

Pandora World of Avatar land has arrived at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom. 12 acres of land was used to develop this project and will open in Florida in late May. It cost half-billion to produce.

The Flight of Passage is the main attraction where one will use 3D glasses as you ride into the "cinematic world". It will seem like you are riding on the back of the banshee as you are astride your motorcycle.

According to the Ledger, Pandora World of Avatar doesn't look like much during the daytime but at night transforms into a sea of color with glowing lights on artificial plants.

The second part of this world is called Na'vi River Journey and it's a ride down a river in the dark with glowing plants and creatures while a drum played by a Na'vi animatronic woman beats into a crescendo while voices sing. Throughout the ride, real and artificial plants intermingle and some alien pods look like Dale Chihuly glass sculptures.

Disney is also testing a new way to order food and it is being tried at Pandora. Visitors can find a menu on the My Disney Experience mobile app and order lunch and go on visiting the park. When it's time to eat, go to the canteen tap on an app button and notify the cook you are here for lunch. Voila! No waiting in line and your lunch is served within minutes.

 

 

 

Posted May 8, 2017

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Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Katie Worthington, CEO of the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce has announced a new hotel for Winter Haven and guess what? It's in the middle of the downtown area. It will face Central Avenue and be close to W. 3rd St. SW.

This hotel has yet to be named but Katie stated that it will be a boutique hotel that will be six stories tall and hold 75 rooms. Jeff Donaldson is the builder.

It was decided that it was time for this to happen as there are no motels close by and many of the businesses downtown would reap the benefits of the hotel. Bond Clinic is building another close by building and according to Katie, the city has acquired Nora Mayo Hall and will use that space for events. There will also be a Field House coming in 2019 with the Magic D Team. All of these factors helped to determine a need for an upscale hotel downtown

 

The Whiskey and Wheaties Bill (SB 106)

The owners of small independent liquor stores in central Florida are saying that the above Bill that is presently in the Legislature, could put them out of business. They are asking their customers to sign petitions against this Bill.

According to the Ledger, "Whiskey and Wheaties Bill" would allow grocery stores, big box retailers and other stores to sell liquor, wine, beer and other products. Gov. Scott is ready to sign this bill.

The independent stores are against the bill saying the grocery stores and others would put them out of business starting in 2018. They will have a price and convenience advantage and they can also kick
the "little guy" out of their building. For example, when you go in a grocery store you don't see a butcher or a florist as there is a no compete clause in their lease. And so it would be for the small independent liquor stores - no compete - so out you go.

This bill would also change how beer, liquor and wine can be made, distributed and sold. Brewers and distillers will be able to sell directly to customers in pubs and in takeout jugs called growlers.

ABC Stores and Publix are opposed to the bill as it increases access of alcohol to minors.

 

Tallahassee Winners and Losers

As the 2017legislative session closes, there are some winners and losers to be thought about.

For example the winners -

1. The final budget by the legislature granted the university system of Florida $590 million more for its universities, including $300 million for operating expenses $121 million for increasing student financial aid and $180 million for the state's Bright Futures scholarship.

2. Homestead Tax Increase - this would effect homes of $100,000 or more. The average Florida homeowner would save $275. The downside of this being cities may have to raise taxes to meet their budgets.

3. Funding of a Reservoir - This reservoir would hold polluted water coming our of Lake Okeechobee that is then released into canals that feed into St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. This pollution causes toxic green algae blooms on both Florida coasts. The polluted water would be treated and then released into the canals. The fresh water would also help the Everglades. This project could help South Florida's ecosystems for years and years.

4. Charter Schools - The legislators want to increase the growth of these schools as public school are struggling in low performance scores. Perhaps these could be called the "schools of hope" by rescuing kids trapped in failing schools. Critics say this is an attack on public schools which did not do well in this legislative session. Some monies would be diverted to Charter Schools from the Pubic School Budget.

And now for the Losers -

1. Hospitals - The legislators reduced the money for reimbursements paid by Medicaid. By allowing this reduction are we not hindering the health care choices for the poor?

2. Florida Forever - This is the "Grand" land conservation program. This allows money to be spent to buy land for the state when it becomes available.
Some House members say the state has too much conserved land and so the money was going to clean polluted water coming from Lake Okeechobee.

3. Casinos - The Seminole Indians want to expand their table games to include craps and roulette, paramutuals that do horse and dog racing and cut back on slot machines and poker rooms. The House will not budge on allowing slot machines in 8 Florida counties where voters approved them for paramutuals buildings. Paramutuals have not been ok'd by the legislature in the Seminole Casinos. This will be revisited in the next session of the Legislature.

4. Marijuana - The Florida Marijuana bill was passed last year but the lawmakers have not passed the amendment. Medical Marijuana will become available even though the legislators have not acted upon It. The state department has until July 1, 2017 to establish rules. Some think the rules will be too strict and could end in court cases of patients.    
 

 

 

 

Posted May 5, 2017

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Community Schools

Polk County School District is discussing the idea of a Community School for a high need school area. Four committees have been formed with the chair being the Assistant Superintendent of Schools John Small. The committees are a group of 30 members. These committees will select a pilot school, figure out the roles of the community partners and the district's job.

The Community School would be a hub for learning, health and social services. Imagine having a dentist on hand to work with children's dental problems and a social worker to see to their needs as well as the educators to give them a firm foundation in learning

There are about 5000 community schools working in 44 states serving 5.1 million schools. The main body of community schools consists of a school district, lead nonprofit organization, a university and a healthcare entity.
The Community Partners for Polk County would be Polk State College, United Way of Central Florida, Heartland for Children and Central Florida Health Clinic. The funding will come from the community and business partners and there will be grants through UCF.

The question is "who will be the first school? The Committee would like it to be an elementary school that is in jeapordy while others would like it to begin in a high school. There is evidence that Community Schools will work after visiting several of these schools in Florida. The committee for Community Schools would like to see the first school in operation in 2018.


                        Homestead Exemptions

Polk County and the state is considering increasing Homestead exemptions from $50,000 to $75,000. It would be the biggest tax break for Florida homeowners in years. But, folks, there is a downside to this proposition - the possibility of the municipalities raising taxes to meet their budgets.

Cities could lose $10.7 million if voters pass the proposed constitutional amendment at the November, 2018 election.

Residents of Polk County could be saving up to $200 a year with the new exemption but it could mean an ax to the city budget slashing services and raising taxes. The state legislature has voted for the exemption. One Representative, Colleen Burton said that it was a brilliant idea to put this up to a vote of the people and not just a few committee people.

Well, folks, think it over and get out and vote in the November 2018 election.

 

 

Posted May 4, 2017

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Winter Haven City Manager

The Winter Haven City Manager has been hired. Mike Herr has been hired by the City Commissioners at a salary of $175,000, 20 days of vacation and all city benefits. Herr previously served as Polk County's Manager and as Town Manager in Dundee. There had been talk by some commissioners that they had wanted to hire someone familiar with Central Florida and so Herr "fit the bill". However, Commissioner Macy Butler was not impressed. Her comment was, " Then why did we hire Colin Baenziger and associates to help with our Manager search?" Money down the drain? (That's my thought as I type.)

Meanwhile,at the same meeting, the Commissioners discussed the funding of the Field House to be located on Cypress Gardens Blvd. where the old baseball stadium was located. This Field House is to include recreational - in the form of four basketball courts - space and conference space. The Chain of Lakes Master Plan which includes the Field House will cost about $21.8 million with the county contributing 10 million to the project with another 1 million on top of that.

Winter Haven estimates that they are going to have to pay a $25 million bond over the next 25 years to finance the project. So we are back to talking raising taxes for Winter Haven for the financing. Birdsong said that the tax raise would still be less than what they paid in 2006 - 2007 . Birdsong is not in favor of raising taxes for the project but that services should be cut. The Bond has to be in place by September 30 if this, indeed, is the way we go. Meanwhile, the mayor will look at the present budget closely to find potential cuts.

The city and Polk County want to vote on this issue at next Monday's meeting but several commissioners have said that they are not ready to vote. - Too many "what ifs" in this financial project.
 

 

Posted May 3, 2017

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Attention Carefree People

How many of you have become ill during your winter stay in Carefree and used the Cypress Urgent Care and had to wait forever to see the doctor? I know I have.

Well, now you can call ahead for an appointment instead of sitting there with all the other sick people.

Just use their website at CYPRESS WALKIN.COM. For an appointment.

Now, how convenient is that?
 

 

Posted Apr 29, 2017

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The Grove Roots

A fun place to taste locally crafted beers, play games, dine from a variety of food trucks and listen or dance to good music.

Grove Roots is located at 302 W. 3rd St. Winter Haven and is open from 4 - 11.

Do put this on your To Do List for your next Florida season.

 

 

Posted Apr 21, 2017

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Another Nora Mayo Hall Update

Now that the Winter Haven City Commissioners have met to discuss the renting of Nora Mayo Hall, some commissioners are uncertain if they truly want the building. Up for grabs is a 50 year lease for $300 annually for a building that was completed in 1950. It was called the Florida Citrus Building. The city had put in a bid to purchase the building but it was denied by the state.

The City Commissioners are Leary of renting as the city is responsible for all repairs and the uses for the building will have to be approved by the state.

Some uses for this building are : - as a City Hall and leasing or renting the other areas of the building for banquets, events.

Maintenance of the building would cost the city an estimated $62000 annually. If used for events only that raises to $228,000. For city services and events the estimated cost is $562000. Many commissioners feel the building would be too costly with our other capital improvements about to begin. The plan for now is to get a consensus for necessary maintenance, paints and other beautification.

The commissioners are concerned about the cost of Nora Mayo Hall when there is discussion about raising taxes in the city for the other capital improvements that are a "done deal". There will be a vote next Monday on whether to obtain an estimate for renovations and leasing. Stay tuned! What a saga!

 

City Manager Search Is Unusual

After Deric Feacher was fired as Winter Haven City Manager, Colin Baenzinger of the Daytona Beach Shores based firm of Colin Baenzinger and Assoc. was contracted to help the city find a manager.

The process previously used was that of collecting resumes and narrowing the list down to about 10 for an interview. The City Commissioners decided not to use this old process and directed Baenzinger to find good fits and to see if they are truly interested. Baenzinger is acting as a recruiter for the City Manager position. This is very unusual in Florida because of public records law. Any communication through email makes it a public record. So all applicants will be a matter for public record.

Winter Haven commissioners want Colin to move quickly and so far are amazed that no one from Central Florida has applied.

The commissioners need a City Manager in place as there are $40 million worth of capital improvements on six projects. They are looking for a manager that will stay in Winter Haven for awhile.

The commissioners have interviewed four candidates but could not arrive at a majority vote for their employment. So it's back to the "drawing board" for Colin's company. In the meantime, T. Michael Starves, acting city manager has been reinstated for another year.

 

 

Posted Apr 20, 2017

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Nora Mayo Hall is in the Headlines Again

As we all know, Nora Mayo Hall is a building in Winter Haven that is owned by the state but that they now have no use for it. The city of Winter Haven has made several monetary offers for the building but were denied each time by the state. Winter Haven would definitely appreciate this building for additional space for city operations and as a meeting place for large audiences and banquets.

The "worm has turned" as the state is contemplating leasing the building to the city for $300 a year. There is an architect looking into the cost of renovations to Nora Mayo Hall. Some estimates are calling for $1 million. The city would be responsible for the renovations.

Could this be a gift from the state or a stone around our neck in the form of more taxes needed for the renovation?

 

 

Posted Apr 18, 2017

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Rumors, rumors, rumors

We have been hearing via the "grape vine" that a HobbyLobby or perhaps a Ross's will take over the old KMart building in the Publix Plaza. This was even posted on Facebook however, none of it is true.

There have been many inquires from many different businesses but so far no one has taken the bait. Just because the store is close to Legoland doesn't mean a thing for Ross's or any other clothing store because who wants to shop for clothing if they are visiting the park?

Katie Worthington, president and CEO of Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce said that a Target is on the top of the retail list according to people she has asked. Worthington said she is also looking into entertainment such as a movie theatre, go carts, etc.

According to Brian Swain asset manager for Southern Professional Real Estate it will take a long time to find the right tenant to pay the price of the owner to renovate for the business. Yes, it's the owner of the building that will have to shoulder the expensive renovations so the fit has to be just right.

 

 

Posted Mar 27, 2017

2017 Club Golf Championship

 

CLICK HERE for slideshow

Pictures by LeRoy Martinson

 

 

Posted Mar 27, 2016

2017 Cancer Fun-d Day

CLICK Here to view pictures

Pictures from the Fundraiser
A great time was had by all
and a lot of money was raised for the American Cancer Society

 

Pictures by LeRoy Martinson

 

Posted Mar 27, 2017

Wiggle Waggle Walk

 

Pictures from the Wiggle Waggle Dog Walk for Cancer

CLICK HERE for slideshow

Pictures by LeRoy Martinson

 

 

Posted Mar 27, 2017

2017 Can Am Golf Tournament

 

CLICK HERE for slideshow

Pictures by LeRoy Martinson

 

 

Posted Mar 8, 2017

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

Do You Know?

Do you know that Winter Haven has their own orchestra and will be performing Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the Polk State Theatre in a concert called, "Champagne and Shamrocks. The group is conducted by Virginia Davidson and will include Irish ballads amidst other genres.

All monies generated from these concerts go to scholarships of Winter Haven area high school seniors and Polk State college students who are interested in a music career.

The concert season begins in October with an outdoor concert, in December, they perform a seasonal concert, and then comes Champagne and Shamrocks followed by a free Spring concert in May called the "Young Peoples Concert".

How fortunate we are to have the Winter Haven Theatre and the Winter Haven Symphony. Cultural activities abound in the Winter Haven area.

 

 

Posted Mar 8, 2017

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Here We Go Again

According to Florida State Law, no alcoholic beverages may be sold on Sunday until noon and then only beer and wine. There has been a cry to have the law changed so that alcoholic beverages may be sold on Sunday starting at 7 a.m. The problem remains that areas close to Polk have laws that enable them to sell alcohol on Sunday starting at 7 a.m. The owners of 7 Eleven and other stores in Polk County are not allowed to sell the beverages and this puts them at a disadvantage.
 

There are new commissioners on the Polk County Board and they support the move to sell alcoholic beverages on Sunday at 7 a.m. Keep your fingers crossed that the law passes.
 

 

Posted Feb 28, 2017

2017 Street Bocce Games

Week 4, Feb 27 Results

Championship Game 6th Street - 200  Bandana Gang – 169

Consolation Game      5th Street -  176       8th Street - 154

Sixth Street is the new Street Bocce Game Champion                        

Results of the previous games:

Week 1: Bandana Gang 168 --   8th Street 167  

                “A- Team 158   --   7th  Street 157

 

Week 2: 6th Street 152   --  5th Street 146 

 

Week 3: 6th Street 162   --  “A” Team 146

                5th Street 188   --  7th Street 145

 

A great job was put in by everyone involved.

Great games, great spectator support, and great job

by Maggie Freer, Terri Sartori and their crew.

Thanks to everyone involved.

Bob Westphal

 

 

Posted Feb 24, 2017

2017 Carefree Club Tournament

Never played in the Tournament?

The Dawsons, #448, will pay the $10 entry to the first 5 Players who have NEVER played in Carefree's Tournament!

Sign-up is Mon., Feb. 27 & Fri., Mar. 3 from 8am-10am at the Golf Center.
 

Be a part of Carefree's Club Tournament!!

See posters for more information.

 

 

Posted Feb 24, 2017

2017 Carefree Club Tournament


March 14, March 15 & March 17 (rain date March 16)

Sign-up: 8am-10am Golf Center, Feb. 27 & Mar. 3

Every 10th Player that signs up will receive a Free Grill Ticket to be
used Mar. 17 or Mar. 29! Value of $5.00

"Be a part of Carefree's Club Tournament!"
C

 

 

 

Posted Feb 25, 2017

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Are Winter Haven Property Taxes Going Up?

Well it's financial time for the building of the new "classy" field house that is to be built on the old Cleveland Indians stadium grounds on Cypress Gardens Blvd. There is a $25 million bond on the table to build the field house. The field house is more than just a gym as it will also house business offices, an indoor track, a large meeting hall and of course, a gymnasium. The Field House came into being because the Magic's D League will be using the gym as a practice facility.
 

Commissioner Brad Dantzler made note saying that he was disgusted with the field house project as there would be "very little tourist draw". Mr. Dantzler further stated that the when the Indians were in Winter Haven for training they had little economic effect on the city either.
 

The Polk County Tourist Development Council has stated they would be willing to help pay for the $25 million dollar bond by giving the city $10 million. That would leave the city of Winter Haven accountable for $15 million. $10 million of these monies would be committed to the field house and the remaining $5 million would be used to build and equip Southeast Fire Station, a skate park and perhaps renovations to Nora Mayo Hall if we purchase that building from the state.

All of this building and renovating would cause our property taxes to go up to $6.85 per $1000. That's nearly $1 per thousand increase.

Question? If we are going to construct a field house to become more than a gym with banquet facilities, offices, etc. why even try to purchase Nora Mayo Hall from the state? Yes, it would probably give more office space to our City Government and Police Department and all be under one roof. (Just doing my thinking out loud as I type, Folks. Sorry.)

JC Penney Is Closing

Boy! Is that title ever going to start rumors. Yes, JC Penney is closing a distribution center in Lakeland and many other low performing stores country wide. The company will decide by mid March just which stores would be closing. Keep your fingers crossed that our JC Penney store will remain at the Eagle Ridge Mall.

 

 

Posted Feb 25, 2017

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Steady As She Goes


Steady as she goes seems to be the consensus of home builders and the analysis by John Hall that home building permits are on the rise in Polk County but with no discernible city obtaining more permits than another. It is a definite reason to say that we are out of the "Great Depression" occurring between 2003 to 2006.

 

 

Posted Feb 18, 2017

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Space X Launch


After six years of quietness, NASA's Launch Complex 39A came to life. A Space X Falcon rocket will be launched to take supplies to the International Space Station on Saturday, February 18, 2017

It is the first planned launch since the rocket explosion on a neighboring pad. This accident caused the company called Space X to ready pad 39A quickly in order to launch the rocket.
 

Polk County Tax Increase?

The County Commissioners are thinking of more taxes for residents living in northeast Polk. This includes Winter Haven, Haines City, and Poinciana areas. More money is needed for road improvement as this area is to see large population growth. Road improvements mean better drainage, widening of roads and intersection improvements.

My question is - Whatever happened to the Toll Road that was to go from Home Depot on Rte 27 north to I4? I know that the state voted it down as they felt there would not be enough population to support the road but then it went to privatization and nothing more has been heard. Hmmmm.

 

Posted Jan 12, 2017

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We All Scream for Ice Cream


Recently Polk County was polled as to where to find the best ice cream. Five winners were announced and our own Andy's Igloo was a big winner. Not only are they famous for their ice cream but they also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are closed on Sunday. Did you know that Andy's was once a Dairy Queen?

All I know for certain is Andy's Igloo is the first place my grands ask to go when they arrive in Florida. Yum!

 

 

Posted Dec 22, 2016

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Announcing.........


The Marriott Hotel will be building two hotels in Winter Haven to aid in bringing tourists to our area. The first of the hotels will be built on the south side of Lake Dexter near the Legoland Beach Resort in June, 2017.

The Marriott will consist of 111 rooms with no restaurant nor conference facilities.

It is the consensus of opinion that more people would stay overnight in our area if the proper accommodations were available. Most of our motels were built before 1979 with outside corridors that are not popular anymore. According to The Ledger, "We don't have the quality of properties or the quantity of properties. More people would stay over night in Winter Haven if better lodging were available.

Hooray for the Marriott!

 

 

Posted Dec 21, 2016

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

It's Official


The Winter Haven Commissioners have approved the "Grand Commons" known as the Chain of Lakes Master Plan. The official voting will take place January 9 but all in all, it's a done deal.

The Master Plan includes a field house which will include six basketball courts,space for conventions and banquets (good - bye Nora Mayo Hall?) rubberized indoor track, activity rooms and space to expand for other recreation or meeting rooms.

The Chain of Lakes outdoor recreation areas will include four baseball fields, two multipurpose fields, two half court basketball areas, a festival area,an activity pool, a sandy beach and a floating stage on Lake Lulu.

On the list of possibilities are walkways, docks, concession stands, boat rentals and a skate or dog park.

The whole concept, according to the Commissioners, is about sports and being a community.

There are problems to deal with this plan. The foremost is the entrance to the Grand Commons from congested Cypress Gardens Blvd. and water quality problems. The "fix" for these problems will not be easy.

 

 

Posted Dec 16, 2016

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The Magic's D - League Team


According to The Ledger, the Orlando Magic's D - League team is going to be playing its games in the Lakeland Center but practicing in Winter Haven at a soon to be built Field House at the Chain of Lakes Complex.

There is a problem with this concept in that the Field House is only a dream on paper according to the Commissioners of Winter Haven. They are still gathering ideas by visiting other field houses and from other organizations in the Chain of Lakes area such as Winter Haven Theatre and various swimmer and aquatic members. Hopefully, ground will be broken for this facility in 2017. The budget is 22.6 million dollars. Winter Haven has already committed 10 million dollars to this project.

Also announced is the renovation of the Chain of Lakes Complex into an arts and cultural center for $4.5 million. It is suggested that the planned field house will somehow connect with the cultural center and it will house business offices and a fitness center.

Under discussion for the Chain of Lakes are four baseball or softball fields and soccer or lacrosse field outside of the field house.

But wait a minute! Wasn't there a lawsuit with Tony What's His Name over the initial construction of the Chain of Lakes Complex? Is the lawsuit settled? If so, it certainly was settled on the QT.
 

 

 

Posted Dec 14, 2016

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The Shop


The Downtown Winter Haven group of 6-10 have been working diligently to rehab buildings and along with the Chamber of Commerce bring new business to our downtown area. Welcome to "The Shop". The Shop is located in a 1920's era building at 329 W. Central Ave., downtown Winter Haven.

The Shop's inventory includes great gifts for all of those special occasions and useful gifts from Florida the Sunshine State. The Shop's owner is Eve Bass. What a great stop and shop on your way to Central Park for a concert or to Arabella's for a special dinner.

 

 

Posted Dec 12, 2016

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Nearby Historical Walking Tours


Thanks to Apps, grants and historical knowledge Lake Wales and Bartow have set up walking tours for their historical towns. This app idea grew after St. Augustine did this for their 500th anniversary. A $5000 grant was awarded by the Florida Humanities Council for Lake Wales and Bartow to write good history and promote the use of the app.

Ybor City is already using the app concept for their history and Key West is looking at this concept, too.

Put on your walking shoes, download the app called "Florida Stories". Open the App and select "Discover". It takes 3 minutes to download then pick your town or city. It also takes 3GB of storage to download.

What a great idea to promote tourism of our area.

 

 

Posted Dec 11, 2016

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Nells Kitchen?


Nells Kitchen has reopened under a new name and new management.


Andy Paragios has taken over the popular Winter Haven restaurant and renamed it the Lake Shipp Diner. Andy Paragios is the son of the owner of A&G restaurant on the corner of Havendale and route 17. Andy has trained under his father's steady hand and as a result has established a menu that is full of homemade ideas - Shepherd's Pie, chicken and dumplings, etc. He also is featuring hamburgers 15 different ways and omelettes 20 different ways.

The restaurant has been completely renovated and is located at 1518 Seventh ST. SW. See you there.

 

 

Posted Nov 29, 2016

2016 Thanksgiving Dinner

 

CLICK HERE for slideshow

Pictures by LeRoy Martinson

 

 

Posted Nov 15, 2016

Salvation Army Food Drive

 

Check out the attached poster for the dates and information

CLICK Here for PDF version of Salvation Army Food Drive

 

 

Posted Sept 22, 2016

Zika Virus In Florida Presentation

 

Copy of a presentation from Curt's wife that was prepared for a class on the Zika Virus.

Do yourself a favor and get up to speed on the virus and what you can do to avoid or minimize the affects from it.

CLICK Here for PDF version of Zika Virus In Florida Presentation

 

 

Posted Oct 25, 2016

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Wal Mart Begins On Line Grocery Service


Wal Mart in Mulberry and Bartow is beginning an on line grocery shopping and pick up service for its customers. This service is already in existence in Haines City and Lake Wales. If you would like to order your groceries go to www. Walmart.com/grocery online or use the Wal Mart Grocery mobile app. Enter your zip code and make out your grocery list. When you checkout of the site, a time to pick up your groceries is chosen.

When it's time to pick up your groceries, drive to the designated Wal-Mart and call a designated number so the Associate is aware you are present. The Associate will load your groceries into your car and away you go.

What a great service for our handicapped, new mothers, etc. My question is - Why are these services not available in Winter Haven? We have the same Super Centers as the other Wal- Marts?

Rezoning Issue

As of October 24, the Winter Haven Commissioners have rezoned land on Thompson Nursery Road from agriculture to planned unit development. This rezoning will pave the way for an assisted living facility on the Thompson Nursery Road near Lake Ashton. The assisted living facility will remain a 4 story facility rather than 6 stories.

The location for this facility has been stated as to being well back off Nursery Thompson Road and about 1/4 mile from Lake Ashton.

 

 

 

Posted Sept 29, 2016

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Another Ground Breaking Ceremony in Polk County

On September 28, the USA Water Skiing Foundation " broke ground for a new USA Training Center and Water Sports Complex in Auburndale." This complex is the only one of its kind in the world and will be come the future host of the Water Ski Cup.

Originally, this sports group was headquartered in Switzerland. The board has five representatives from the five continents.

The new complex will not have to rely on speed boats for towing skiers and wake boarders but a system of cables. The two ski lakes will be man made and will have a pro shop and a cafe.

 

 

A Sea World Announcement

 

Sea World is going VR or virtual reality on some rides. Headsets will given to riders on Kraken and will help achieve the sensation of traveling with and through the sea of mythical and prehistoric creatures. The creatures many even be 3 - D.

Sea World is using $175 million to enhance their park. Some changes you will note are a remodeling of the Dolphin Nursery and a new food and wine festival with more festival in the offing - Bands, Brew and BBQ using craft beers, Viva la Musica. Sea World will also add Flamecraft Bar next to the Sea Fire Grill.

During the Florida summer nights, Sea World will offer an Electric Ocean night show with special lighting, fountains, music, live performances and fireworks.

 

Posted Oct 25, 2016

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Wal Mart Begins On Line Grocery Service


Wal Mart in Mulberry and Bartow is beginning an on line grocery shopping and pick up service for its customers. This service is already in existence in Haines City and Lake Wales. If you would like to order your groceries go to www. Walmart.com/grocery online or use the Wal Mart Grocery mobile app. Enter your zip code and make out your grocery list. When you checkout of the site, a time to pick up your groceries is chosen.

When it's time to pick up your groceries, drive to the designated Wal-Mart and call a designated number so the Associate is aware you are present. The Associate will load your groceries into your car and away you go.

What a great service for our handicapped, new mothers, etc. My question is - Why are these services not available in Winter Haven? We have the same Super Centers as the other Wal- Marts?

Rezoning Issue

As of October 24, the Winter Haven Commissioners have rezoned land on Thompson Nursery Road from agriculture to planned unit development. This rezoning will pave the way for an assisted living facility on the Thompson Nursery Road near Lake Ashton. The assisted living facility will remain a 4 story facility rather than 6 stories.

The location for this facility has been stated as to being well back off Nursery Thompson Road and about 1/4 mile from Lake Ashton.

 

 

Posted Sept 29, 2016

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

Another Ground Breaking Ceremony in Polk County

On September 28, the USA Water Skiing Foundation " broke ground for a new USA Training Center and Water Sports Complex in Auburndale." This complex is the only one of its kind in the world and will be come the future host of the Water Ski Cup.

Originally, this sports group was headquartered in Switzerland. The board has five representatives from the five continents.

The new complex will not have to rely on speed boats for towing skiers and wake boarders but a system of cables. The two ski lakes will be man made and will have a pro shop and a cafe.

 

 

A Sea World Announcement

 

Sea World is going VR or virtual reality on some rides. Headsets will given to riders on Kraken and will help achieve the sensation of traveling with and through the sea of mythical and prehistoric creatures. The creatures many even be 3 - D.

Sea World is using $175 million to enhance their park. Some changes you will note are a remodeling of the Dolphin Nursery and a new food and wine festival with more festival in the offing - Bands, Brew and BBQ using craft beers, Viva la Musica. Sea World will also add Flamecraft Bar next to the Sea Fire Grill.

During the Florida summer nights, Sea World will offer an Electric Ocean night show with special lighting, fountains, music, live performances and fireworks.

 

 

 

Posted Sept 22, 2016

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Food Truck Wars

 
This Saturday in Central Park, Winter Haven, Fl, the Food Truck Wars will occur with five prizes awarded. Doors open at 2p.m. - 8 p.m.

Awards are going to the best in food sales, ticket taking, desserts and people's choice. Last year the event drew 20,000 visitors to Central Park and this year they are expecting 25,000.

Food Truck vendors will be arriving from all over the state of Florida. What a chance to "show off" the jewel of Winter Haven called Central Park.

 

 

Posted Sept 10, 2016

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Bok Tower

 
September 10, 2016 marked the date of the dedication of the 16 million dollar addition to the gardens at Bok Tower.

The additions include a children's garden which include word stones that can be moved around and formed into sentences, a spider web for climbing as well as limestone rocks, and turtle tunnels for crawling. Also included is a Discovery Center for educational programs, an outdoor kitchen, an agricultural area and a pine forest, wetlands and an oak hammock similar to that of old Florida.

Bok Tower was a vision of Edward Bok who wanted to create a "garden brimming with native Florida vegetation and at its center, a towering carillon". Bok Tower is located at 1151 Tower Blvd in Lake Wales, Florida.

Visiting Bok Tower is a joy of Florida vegetation, flowers and a place of serenity and peace. Enjoy!

 

 

Posted Sept 8, 2016

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Winter Haven's Derry Down Project

 
Derry Down is a venue located at 301 Fifth St. NW started initially by Gram Parsons, the creator of Cosmic American music. Gram, himself, has performed with many outstanding musical groups and many of these groups have performed at Derry Down.

Derry Downs originally was owned by Gram's step father as a teenager hang out but upon the death of Gram at age 27, Derry Downs became deserted and was left to deteriorate.

Thanks to Six/Ten who donated the building back to Winter Haven and the work of Anita Strang, Main Street executive director, who raised the monies needed for renovation, Derry Downs once again will be hosting concerts of groups performing the genre of Cosmic American Music.

Les Dubek performs at Derry Downs Sept. 10 and the second annual Cosmic American Music Festival is on Sept. 16 - 17. Jim Lauderdale will perform on October 29. In case you didn't know, Jim has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Honors.

This will be another music outlet for Winter Haven's lovers of all genres of music. Come join the fun.

The Micro Brewery

Winter Haven's first microbrewery is about ready to open thanks to Joe Dunham and Six/Ten LLC. Six Ten LLC is the developing agency for downtown Winter Haven and Joe Dunham is a hometown boy who has always had a love for brewing beer.

The microbrewery is located at 302 Third St. S.W. In a downtown warehouse. The brewery opens September 17th and features rustic furnishings with an industrial look. It has a state of the art brewing and tap system. It is called Grove Roots as the beer will feature fruits from the groves as well as grains.

Grove Roots also has an outdoor biergarten that is dog friendly and a bocce ball court. Inside there is seating for 100 people. Food is not a priority for the brewery so Food Trucks have been invited to take part and will be available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday located adjacent to the brewery.

This sounds like a fun place and a welcome addition to the Winter Haven social scene. Good luck to Grove Roots.

 

 

Posted Aug 8, 2016

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Thompson Nursery Road News

 A proposal has been made by Fifth Third Bank to rezone land from agricultural to planned unit development in order to erect an assisted living facility. Objections have been raised by residents of the area as to traffic problems on Thompson Nursery Road and the distance between hospitals in Lake Wales and Winter Haven. Winter Haven Commissioners have also raised an objection as a new sewage line would have to be constructed and that means a new lift station to the tune of $1 million dollars. Where will that money come from?

Other facilities of this nature have been constructed by the builder in Solivita and Champions Gate and they are worth $51 million dollars. This building, if built, would increase property taxes for Winter Haven.

Since this reading was the first reading of the new ordinance Winter Haven commissioners were not required to vote on the proposal. The second reading will be August 22 and a vote will be held.

 

 

Complaints, Complaints, Complaints

 

Verizon was bought out by Frontier Communications on April 1, 2016 and during the transition period it has been nothing but grumbling. Internet is freezing up, billing is incorrect, and so on and so on. The grumbling got so bad that the office of Pam Bondi got involved.

In the past few months the complaints have become fewer, according to The Ledger ,due to the hard work by Frontier. The company is ready to market its services and let's face it, they have got very good fiber optics. Frontier is now in business in Polk, Pinellas, Hillsboro and Sarasota counties.
 

The Florida Orange Crop

 

GREENING of the fruit in the Florida groves has taken a terrible toll. It is projected that the orange crop will be down 26% for the 2016 - 2017 season. That's down 81.5 million boxes of fruit.

Not only Florida is having trouble with their fruit but so is Brazil. Brazil sells their fruit to South America and Europe while Florida covers the United States. The Brazilian crop is down 14%.

What does all this mean to we, the consumer? Higher prices at the grocery store - as much as 30 cents a gallon for orange juice.

One would think these higher prices should help the grower maintain his groves but this increase is not enough to compensate for the cost of fighting greening and this also means fewer consumers will purchase juice due to the higher prices so there is less money to the grower. The food processor Florida Natural in Lake Wales is also in a bind as they claim that all of their juice is Florida juice and the crop shortage will effect their output.

All in all, folks, the higher prices for orange juice may not be enough to make up for the increased costs in the groves. Are we nearing the end of the Florida orange juice market due to greening or will our scientists and researchers come through with a remarkable cure for this deadly disease?

 

 

Posted Aug 8, 2016

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Lakeland Center Lineup for Broadway and Entertainment Series

 The Lakeland Center has announced its lineup of shows for the 2016 - 2017 year. And this year there is free parking if you purchase one or the other or both of the series.
The Broadway Series Includes:
Fame
42nd Street
Let It Be
Pippin
Annie

All of this for $235 or you may customize your pass to include three shows and still receive savings. Call 863 834 8111 Mon. - Fri. 9:30 - 5:30 to reserve your tickets.
The Entertainment Series is $165 pre person and will include:
Marilyn MCCoo and Billy Davis Jr.
The Original Stars of American Bandstand in AB
Beanies
The Ten Tenors
Rick Thomas

See above info for reservations.

I have seen the Ten Tenors perform before and they are outstanding.

 

Posted July 29, 2016

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Housing Construction

 
Winter Haven's housing construction is slowing down but it's not due to the builders not wanting to build. The problem resides in the fact that there is not enough cleared land with utilities available in order to build. It appears that someone has dropped the ball.

 

 

Standard Sand and Silica

 

Well, there's a name that is not familiar to us but it will become a household word as they own 4100 acres of land near Posner Park at I4 and rte 27. Because the land is near Orlando it is attractive to developers of resorts, industry and medical facilities and now is the time to begin developing this prime property.

Some ideas for the acreage are the building of a medical and research facility similar to Lake Nona Science and Technology near Orlando, a theme park, or a sports facility. This land is being looked at by industry, residential and commercial developers and no one idea has come forth as of yet.

The reason that the land is being developed now is that banks have become more reasonable after the last recession. They want to make more money so are willing to listen to the investors. However, the investors need to have sound ideas and collateral to back their dreams.

This land is the most sought after in Polk County and is presently going to see the development by Standard Sand of several hundred single family homes on 129 acres of Ernie Caldwell Boulevard and Pinetree Trail. Townhouses are going to be built on land sold by Posner Park developers to European investors. This will be called Posner Estates. The 176 town house development will also begin this year.

The past recession is done and builders and banks are more willing to take risks. My only thought is, I wonder what will happen to route 27 with all the extra traffic? Will this be an extra push to build the Toll Road from Home Depot on Rte 27 to I4? Life is getting exciting in Polk County!

 

 

Posted July 16, 2016

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  Big Tom's Diner

 

Big Tom's Diner is located at 1151 Havendale Blvd., Winter Haven and is Greek owned and operated by Sophia and Many Frangoulis. Many's family has long been in the restaurant business as Many's father once owned and ran Tom's Steak and Seafood located on 6th St. SE where Hog Heaven now stands.

The menu has both Greek and southern cooking items at a great price. Because of this, you could find yourself waiting in line during prime dining hours.

 

 

No Change for Alcohol in Polk County

 

At their last meeting the Polk County commissioners voted down the proposal to allow alcohol sales on Sunday. Many people spoke against the proposal and that was the deciding factor. You may still purchase beer and wine on Sunday at noon but no bottled liquor until Monday.

The supporter for the amendment, Tim Lauzon, stated that he will try again for the changes. It's just not fair to the retailers near Lakeland not to be able to sell all alcohol on Sunday.

 

 

Posted July 2, 2016

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  Eagle Ridge Mall Gets an Addition

 

Eagle Ridge Mall okayed Mike Campbell and Sal Virzi to open a Steak and Shake in the Food Court of the Eagle Ridge Mall. This will be the partners second location. The first location is on Cypress Gardens Blvd.


The Steak and Shake will have a limited menu consisting mostly of burgers, fries, shakes and a few salads. Construction begins in July with a Grand Opening in October.


Mike and Sal plan on opening more Steak and Shakes. One is to be located at 17 and I4 and another in Sebring.


Opening a Steak and Shake at a mall is very unusual. Most restaurants are drive ups and are very successful. This will be a first for a Florida Steak and Shake.

 

 

Calling All History Buffs......

 

The Lake Wales Depot Museum has reopened thanks to the hard work of Monica Drake Pierce. This museum tells the story of Lake Wales settling and development as well as the history of the United States and it's FREE.

While restructuring and reorganizing, the museum has been closed for the past year. Pierce is now planning on including three homes in Lake Wales as part of a history tour.

Keep an eye out for a walking tour of downtown historical Lake Wales.

 

 

Posted Mar 7, 2016

Let's Talk Trash

Marty Drew has put out a survey on "To Recycle Or Not" and requesting your input and return of the forms to the office by March 17th.

The presentation that Marty did at the town Hall meeting is being replayed at 7:00 PM on Tuesday night on Channel 95 for anyone who wants to watch the presentation. You can also click below and view the presentation (minus Marty) as well.

CLICK Here for PDF Version of Presentation

 

 

Posted Mar 9, 2016

2016 Cancer Fun-d Day

CLICK Here to view pictures

Pictures from the Fundraiser
A great time was had by all
and a lot of money was raised for the American Cancer Society

 

Pictures by LeRoy Martinson

 

 

 

Posted Jan 21 2016

Video that was made by Ernie Kramer on how to use an AED

 

CLICK HERE to view the video

 

Posted Mar 2, 2015

2015 Can Am Golf Tournament

 

CLICK HERE for slideshow

Pictures by LeRoy Martinson