History Comes Alive
Alfia River Rendezvous is billed as the largest pre-1840 living history encampment in the US. In late January, visitors were able to spend the day experiencing what life was like. The event spread over 300 acres in the Homeland area just off US 17 between Bartow and Fort Meade. The ARR is a fundraiser for the Florida Frontiersmen, a non-profit historical preservation org.
Black Hawk Pilot To Deploy In February
Alex Vacha, the airport manager for the Winter Haven Regional Airport has been called to serve. A member of the United State Army Reserve, he is being deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield for 400 days. Vacha is a Captain, Army Aeromedical Evacuation Officer and Black Hawk pilot. This will be his second mobilization.
“Crossroads: Change In Rural America”
The Polk County History Center is hosting this Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit. The show is scheduled to be on display until March 15. “Crossroads” explores how rural communities change in the 20th century. Along with the exhibit, there will be programs highlighting the rural years in Polk County.
Bartow Teacher Wants You To Walk
Elsa Huff, a third-grade teacher at First Methodist School in Bartow, takes her students on a walk to honor the Biblical walk of Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness. This will be the 40th year to walk. Former students are welcome to join. For more info call the school at (863) 533-0905.
Howell Family Park
Lake Wales city officials along with Howell family and friends, gathered on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard for the official dedication of the Howell Family Park. For decades, City Commissioner Terrye Howell and her family have given much to Lake Wales. Howell, a longtime teacher at Spook Hill Elementary, is the city’s longest serving commissioner. She was first elected in 2005.
Funds Allocation Discussed
The Winter Haven Community Redevelopment Agency’s Florence Villa Advisory Committee met in January to discuss how to spend around $50,000 of money that has yet to be allocated. Suggestions included building sidewalks on Sears Ave. NE and Avenue P NE and micro loans to encourage economic development.
Goodbye To A Local Legend
Faith Baptist Church in Winter Haven was filled to capacity for the funeral of Dieuseul “Tiger” Berto. The “Caribbean Kid Berto” was the founder of Tiger’s World Martial Arts and Boxing Fitness. Mr. Berto grew up in Modle, Haiti. He came to the US with his family in 1980. Mr. Berto died on Dec. 29th at the age of 60.
Brad Dantzler Chosen As Mayor
Each January, members of the Winter Haven City Commission cast ballots to determine their leaders. Dantzler won on a 3-2 vote, with Commissioner Pete Chichetto nominating Commissioner William Twyford for the top spot. Mayor Pro-Tem Nathaniel J. Birdsong, Jr. was elected for a seventh time, with his selection coming in a unanimous vote.
The Good News Bell
In Oct. of 2017, Ronald Sofield became a patient of the Bond Clinic & Research center when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. After Mr. Sofield completed his treatment, he decided it was time to help people celebrate good news. He ordered an old-fashioned alarm bell to hang in the clinic and named it “The Good News Bell.” Mr. Sofield was the first to ring the bell with news of a clean scan, no evidence of cancer.
Elderly Service Up 48 Percent
Between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2018, services to the elderly and disabled who use the para transit door-to-door service from the Citrus Connection increased 48 percent. Area residents rode fixed-route buses 187, 038 times on Winter Haven routes, down one percent from the previous year. The implementation of “smart cards” allowed Citrus Connection staff to document local bus services more accurately.