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Feb 2018 - Carefree Activity Calendar - CLICK HERE

Jan 2018 - Carefree Activity Calendar - CLICK HERE

Dec 2017 - Carefree Activity Calendar - CLICK HERE

Nov 2017 - Carefree Activity Calendar - CLICK HERE

Apr 2017 - Carefree Activity Calendar - CLICK HERE

Mar 2017 - Carefree Activity Calendar - CLICK HERE



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

Carefree Coordinators 2016/2017 Now Listed On "Member News" page. 

Carefree Country Club

Board of Directors


PRESIDENT -  Rod Mouw  

VICE-PRESIDENT - Jeff Eklund    

TREASURER - Patricia (Pat) Kline

SECRETARY - Kay Dawson

Len Adams  

Roger Taylor

Steve Hemenway




All comments and suggestions

about  Carefree Country Club

are accepted.  We'd love to hear

from you.

Just email

or click below



Carefree Corporate E-mail Directory



(Curt Grothmann)



ACTIVITIES (Carolyn Hapke)

AUDIO VIDEO GROUP (Ron Chock & Lyle Drake)

CHANNEL 95 (David Clark)

GOLF CENTER (Bob Gallinat)


MARKETING (Dianna Epperly &Cathy Parkinson)

RENTALS (Lyle Drake)

WEBMASTER  (Lyle Drake) 











Posted Jan 8, 2018

Special and Continuing Events 2017 / 2018





· 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) (


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 Nov 28, 2017

List of Board Meetings & Associated Events 2017 / 2018


CLICK Here for PDF Version of Listings



Posted Feb 16, 2018

Carefree Disaster Response Plan

CLICK Here for PDF Version of Plan Plan



Posted Feb 21, 2018

Channel 95 Listings (PDF)

CLICK Here for PDF Version of Listings



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





Posted Feb 16, 2018

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

??? 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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week


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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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 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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week


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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

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



Posted May 24, 2017

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

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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!"




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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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

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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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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. 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 Oct 25, 2016

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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. 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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

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:
42nd Street
Let It Be

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
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

Sue's Browser Blog This Week

  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