SIX ARRESTED FOR ORGANIZED RETAIL CRIME
Of the 150 reported thefts in the state in the last few months, at least 25 thefts occurred in Polk County, and PCSO investigated cases involving the theft of between $150,000 to $200,000 worth of merchandise. It is estimated the six suspects have stolen over $2 Million worth of goods statewide. The suspects took the stolen merchandise and sold or “fenced” it, including shipping stolen goods to Cuba, resulting in felony racketeering charges.
BLUEBERRIES FOR CHARITY
On May 11, Juliana Plantations blueberry farm opened up their fields to Polk County Jail Weekend Work Inmates to help feed needy Polk Countians through a number of charities and non-profits. Polk County Jail staff brought in over 200 Weekend Work inmates to pick blueberries so the berries can be donated to charities and non-profits to help their feeding programs and clients. At least 13 Polk County Non-profits came to the Auburndale farm location to pick up free blueberries.
IT’S HURRICANE MAP SEASON
The public shelters maps are available at Central Florida’s Visitor Information Center, located at 101 Adventure Court, Davenport, ½ mile south of I-4 on Highway 27; and at Publix Super Markets in Polk County. The map, printed in orange this year, contains updated information for 2019. Businesses and residents are advised to discard older maps of different colors. Area lodging facilities and chambers of commerce will also have maps on hand in the event of a storm. For more information about emergency preparedness in Polk County, visit www.polk-county.net/em.
154 PEOPLE ARRESTED IN 6 DAYS
Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Vice Unit completed a six-day undercover operation on Sunday, May 19, 2019, in which they posted and responded to ads soliciting prostitution. Detectives attempted to identify victims of human trafficking in prostitution. The operation, which started on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 culminated with the arrests of 154 people. The suspects arrested ranged in age between 17 and 69 years old. In all, detectives filed 46 felony charges and 202 misdemeanor charges against the suspects. Among the 154 suspects, there were a total of 567 previous felonies and 695 previous misdemeanor charges in their criminal histories.
LAKE WALES HOPES TO PRESERVE CAMPUS
On May 13, Polk State College invited media to the Polk State JD Alexander Center, the College’s Lake Wales Campus, to hear from students and members of the community who want to ensure that Governor Ron DeSantis is aware of the campus’ importance to the residents and economic development of rural southeast Polk County. During the 2011 Legislative Session, the College received $2.5 million in recurring funds to expand educational opportunities at the Lake Wales Campus. This funding is vulnerable to veto for the second time in three years because it is listed as a separate line item rather than within the College’s main operational budget.
More than 400 students received their high school diplomas from Polk State College’s three collegiate high schools in May. They include Polk State Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School, Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School and Polk State Lakeland Gateway to College Collegiate High School. Polk State’s charter high schools allow students to simultaneously complete requirements for their high school diplomas while earning college credits. In many cases, students graduate with both their high school diplomas and Associate in Arts degrees.
STUDENTS SAVING LIVES
Students in Ridge Community High Medical Academy started organizing blood donation drives in 2013 and now conducts three each year. To recognize their good work, the RCHS team was presented with a plaque by OneBlood in May. RCHS has collected more than 2,000 blood donations since 2013, potentially saving the lives of approximately 6,000 people, according to One Blood. Excellent job, students!
LOCAL FILM STUDENT INVITED TO CANNES
William Stead graduated from the Harrison School for the Arts three years ago. Stead is among a select group of film students invited to Cannes’ American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase. He screened his documentary, “The Flip Side,” which tells the story of Bananas Records in St. Petersburg. It’s described as a “journey to the largest record store in the world to discover whether the vinyl record can escape its seemingly inevitable extinction.” Stead is in his third year at the FSU College of Motion Picture Arts.