Two announce candidacy
Two Lakeland Republicans announced their candidacy to replace the retiring Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-District 15) recently. Polk County Commissioner Neil Combee resigned as the state director of the USDA Farm Service Agency April 17, five months after being appointed by the Trump administration, to take a shot at representing the Lakeland area in Washington, D.C. Ed Shoemaker also announced a candidacy recently.
CRA receives more property
Lake Wales city commissioners authorized the transfer of six city-owned properties to the Lake Wales Community Redevelopment Board at the city commission meeting April 17. By city code section 2-476, properties owned by the city can only be sold at auction to the highest bidder. Transferring property to the CRA allows city leaders to control who takes ownership of the property based on priority of end need as opposed to highest bid.
Nucor in Frostproof
Details about a $240M steel mill coming to the Frostproof area were released at a Polk County Board of County Commissioners meeting April 17. Nucor, the largest steel manufacturer in North America, chose Polk County for the new mill. Plans are to build in the middle of an orange grove so that it could not been seen from U.S. 27.
Solar power coming to Bartow
In addition to the recent grand opening of NovaSol, the first city-owned solar farm, there are plans to work with TECO and build two more solar farms in the coming years. The city commission voted unanimously to pass and adopt Resolution 18-3985R which updated the city policy on residents who have installed solar panels on their homes or businesses.
Local woman wins $1 million
Winter Haven resident, Paula Sullivan had the prize patrol visit her house on April 27th awarding her $1 million. Founded in 1953, the Publishers Clearing House is now a leading interactive media company. They have awarded over $315 million in prizes over the years. Paula has the option to take a lump sum up front or spread the winnings over 29 years. Congratulations to her!
Rotary plants trees
Over the next four years, Lake Wales Rotary Club members plan to plant more than 200 Florida Live Oak trees around the city. Each member of the club is responsible for planting a tree starting on the north shore of Lake Wailes. In 2017, every Rotary member on the planet was challenged to plant a tree to combat climate change by Rotary International President Ian H.S. Riseley.
Church is denied zoning request, for now
Winter Haven City Commissioners voted 4-1 against a zoning request by Beymer Memorial United Methodist Church, overturning the Planning Commission’s original OK for the move. Commissioner Nat Birdsong was the only commissioner in support of the move. Had the request been approved, the church’s six parcels would have been converted from multi-family residential use to public institutional zoning. The church now has the option to appeal the matter, press a lawsuit, or revisit a zoning with a “special use” permit.
Putnam takes a stand
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam sent a letter to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer as NAFTA negotiations continue. “Current remedies available to address unfair trade practices are simply insufficient to protect Florida’s specialty crop producers. It is critical that the NAFTA negotiations result in policy that ensures producers of seasonal and perishable crops have access to trade remedy law that applies to every other commodity or manufacturer in the U.S.,” stated Putnam.
Recently hired Lake Wales Airport Director Jared DeLong was introduced to the Lake Wales City Commission April 3. DeLong hit the ground running as construction is ongoing at the airport where the main runway and taxiway are being improved as a means to attract corporate jets as customers at the city-owned property.
Lake Maude Project
A long awaited project is moving ahead as the City of Winter Haven obtained a permit to begin construction of phase 1 of the Lake Maude project, in spite of the sand skinks habitat. The habitat, which is .36 acres, required the city purchase “sand skink credits” at $21,600.