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December Local News

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Printing Press

Civil Aviation Of China Visits 

WinterHaven Regional Airport. 

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, a group of 30 officials from the Civil Aviation Administration of China visited the airport in an effort to gain insight on how a general aviation airport operates, the integration of an airport and seaplane base, and how a non-towered airport runs.   Rocky Zhang said he was impressed with how there were so many airplanes that flew with such frequency at the airport, and the seaplane base was also interesting. Hanrahan welcomed the group and said that this meeting was the result of an initiative by the Federal Aviation Administration Department of Trade, along with the FAA of Washington, D.C., to talk to industry leaders about how a general aviation airport works. Winter Haven was among those airports in the U.S. visited by the group because it has Jack Brown’s Seaplane base.  


Activist: Everyone Should Own A Gun 

A controversial Tea Party activist spoke to a few dozen National Rifle Association supporters about the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at the Chain of Lakes Complex on Nov. 14.  KrisAnne Hall was profiled by The Washington Post in late 2016 saying, “In this era of Donald Trump her message fits the moment and her popularity has exploded.” The In-Gauge of Polk County Club, a non-profit organization affiliated with the  NRA, hosted Hall, who said that owning a gun was a God-given natural right. She described gun control as criminal. “We don’t rely on the federal government for our natural right to bear arms,” Hall said. Asked to clarify, Hall said people do not need a permit to attend church, to speak freely, to send grievances to representatives. “Requiring permits and licenses is the opposite of protecting a right,” Hall said. “It is transmuting a right into a privilege dependent upon the permission of those in power.”


C-Span Visits Lake Region High School

For the past 25 years, a C-SPAN bus has been traveling around the country marketing their work as an educational resource at schools and community events.

On Nov. 15 a C-SPAN bus parked at Lake Region High School in Eagle Lake  for a few hours, giving students an interactive experience with a mobile production studio, 11 large-screen tablets, a D.C. themed selfie station and a classroom area for conversations.  Lara Boyd said she is the primary government teacher at Lake Region High School and that she plans on incorporating the new C-SPAN Classroom into her lesson plans. “It’s an excellent opportunity for our kids and teachers,” Boyd said. “There are full lesson plans with videos of historians, politicians, electoral college posters, presidential timeline posters. It’s a great resource.”


Nosey No Longer Giving Rides 

Nosey the elephant is free. Free from living in cramped quarters and in its own waste and subjected to giving rides to anyone who pays.  This finally happened in Lawrence County, Ala., in early November to Nosey, a 35-year-old elephant who has been doing this since 1987 under the ownership of Hugo Liebel of Davenport. 

“He was trucked around the country doing gruesome work that was detrimental to his mental and physical self,” said Rachel Mathews, the associate director of Captive Law Enforcement for PETA. “Elephants are social animals and they are designed to be around family and friends. They are designed to be able to move 18 hours a day and grazing. This one was chained in one place and it was highly detrimental.” Nosey will be in the sanctuary temporarily as there is another court hearing scheduled for a final disposition of the animal, Mathews said.  Liebel, the owner of the animal for about 30 years, said people should not rush to judgment on how Nosey was treated. “The truth will always prevail,” he said when interviewed in Alabama when his elephant was taken. “Don’t make something about something that is not there.”


One Lover Released, Other Jailed 

A Winter Haven woman was convicted to life in prison Nov. 8 for shooting the father of two of her children in the back of the head in February 2016. 

According to court documents, Star Tribble, 36 of Winter Haven, and Robert Lubin, 29 of Haines City, plotted to kill Tribble’s boyfriend of 15 years so the two could be with each other once Lubin was released from prison in May 2016.

Tribble’s adult daughter, who was living with the two at the time, found his body decomposing, face down on a mattress days after the 2016 shooting. Once incarcerated, Tribble’s cellmate, Laquita Smith of Lake Wales, intercepted multiple letters sent and received by Tribble and gave them to her attorney in an attempt to work out a deal and reduce her own sentence. Evidence from these letters appears to have been used to convict Tribble. 


‘Right Place, Right Time, Did Right Thing’

Lake Wales Police Officer Michael Jones was recently recognized for taking action that may have saved the lives of an elderly couple Oct. 24. After dropping off evidence to a lab in Tampa, Jones was driving back to Lake Wales on the Polk Parkway when he noticed a tow vehicle on fire behind a motorhome.  “Knowing that the fire was progressing, Officer Jones entered the RV and removed the confused elderly couple from harm,” wrote Lakeland Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Williams to Jones’ supervisor in an email the following day. “The couple was unaware of the fire that was impinging upon the RV. Unfortunately both vehicles were lost due to the fire but Officer Jones’ actions prevented the incident from causing loss of life.” “You were in the right place at the right time and did the right thing,” Chief Velasquez said.


Papa Dale Remembered

The James P. Austin Community Center was filled to capacity Saturday,  Nov. 4, so that Lake Wales area residents could say goodbye to one of their own. Dale Leonard Fields passed last month. “Papa Dale” was remembered with love.

“Once he became a mentor at Lake Wales High School, he adopted several kids from the high school and the boys basketball team,” said Lake Wales High School basketball coach, and Fields’ nephew, Donald Grant. “He traveled to every game near and far.”

Grant said Papa Dale bought clothes for kids who could not afford them, helped purchase uniforms, helped purchase pre-game meals and inspired the kids.

“The players called him Papa Dale,” Grant said. “On any home game you could see him in the north east corner of the gym by the back door yelling at the refs.”

Rev. Doris Simmons went to college with Fields. “Even as his body was wasting away, he greeted everyone with a smile, a joke, or a word of encouragement.” Simmons said. 


Lewd Act At Library Gets Man 10 Years

Adam Tharp, 24 of Winter Haven, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for exposing himself to a 7-year-old girl inside Winter Haven Library in May.

According to the arrest affidavit, Tharp was wearing a camouflage hat and short sleeve T-shirt, sitting in one of the rear isles of the children’s section when he exposed himself. The child told investigators that Tharp “made a ‘psst’ sound to get her attention as he was sitting with his ‘thing’ in his hand looking directly at her.” The crime was captured on video cameras inside the library. According to court documents a librarian told the responding Winter Haven Police Department sergeant, Tharp was caught in the children’s area a month prior before being asked to move to the adult section. After seeing media reports, a person contacted WHPD on the morning of the arrest to report that Tharp had been fired from a Davenport auction house for exposing himself to a child trying to buy Cheetos and a Pepsi at the snack bar in 2015.


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