Printing Press

Winter Haven Millage Increased

Winter Haven City Commission voted 3-2 in favor of raising the 2018-19 Ad Volerem MIllage rate from 5.790 to 6.790 on Sept. 24.  WH Finance Department Director Calvin Bown said between property taxes & property values going up, city residents will be paying $3.1M more in taxes this year compared to last.  


Winter Haven Man Facing Prison After Threats

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said James Royal Patrick, Jr. of Winter Haven was arrested five hours after a Facebook user tipped law enforcement off that Patrick was posting death threats.  Patrick allegedly posted death threats against liberals, weak Republicans and any law enforcement officers that came to take him down.  At the time of arrest, Patrick claimed he was kidding.  They found a .308 deer rifle and a .50 caliber handgun with ammo inside the home.  


Commissioner Wilson Sworn In Early

After winning his Aug. 28 primary election race, Gov. Rick Scott announced the appointment of Rick Wilson to the Polk County Commission following the resignation of Melony Bell.  Wilson was sworn in early so Bell could focus on her campaign for state representative district 56 race against fellow Republican Jeff Mann.  Commissioner Wilson was sworn in Oct. 2 by Polk County Clerk of Courts Criminal Division Director Lyle Bluman surrounded by family.  


Demolition Could Start Soon

City commissioners recently voted to sell the old Social Security building on Central Ave. next to the Ritz Theatre in Winter Haven to Six/Ten for $210K.  Once built out, there will be two open areas separated by a 22-foot-high, 12-14-foot wide well-lit atrium with lots of skylight windows connecting the parking garage and Central Ave.  There will be retail space and a possible restaurant.  On the back of the property would be a patio area which could be used as a place restaurant customers could use.


Airport Improvements In The Works

Winter Haven Airport Director Alex Vacha told city commissioners that FDOT grants of approximately $1M were approved to build a new “T-hanger” at the airport and purchase two new fueling trucks.  City Manager MIke Herr said there are 40 individuals on a waiting list for hangar space, and the new hangar will be able to accommodate 10 additional airport customers.  Currently the city leases two relatively old fuel trucks.  The cost to own two with state funds paying most of the cost would save city residents money.  The city’s share for the purchase of fuel trucks would be around $64K.


Denison Middle School Offers More Rigorous Curriculum

Denison Middle School is the first Polk County middle school approved to be designated as Cambridge Assessment International Education, and academic program created by staff at the prestigious University of Cambridge in England.  The new curriculum focuses on English, math and science specializing in preparing students for an Advanced International Certificate of Education diploma.  Currently, 57 eighth graders are enrolled.  Students are accepted based on strength of academic record and an essay.  Winter Haven High School is the only other county school with this designation.  


Lake Wales Multi-Use Building Proposed

The building would be built on Scenic Highway on land currently used by the city’s public works dept. if the plan is approved by voters in the spring.  City Manager Ken Fields said the building would include two gyms, each capable of holding a full-sized basketball court.   It would include locker rooms, a small meeting room, administrative offices, and a large meeting room that could accommodate 300 people with a catering kitchen.  This building would also serve as a storm shelter which could mean county, state or federal funds might help costs.  Spook Hill Elem. is the only other emergency shelter in the southeast quadrant of the county.  


Ironman In Haines City

Because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael in Panama City, the full Ironman event will be held on Nov. 4th in Haines City.  The full Ironman includes a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run.  Haines City has hosted the Ironman 70.3 for seven years, it has never hosted the full Ironman.  


2018 Lake Wales Pioneer Of The Year

William “Bill” Johnson has been honored as the 2018 Lake Wales Pioneer of the Year.  Born April 4, 1928, Johnson and his family moved to Lake Wales when he was three years old.  He worked as a bell-hop  at the Walesbilt Hotel at the start of WWII.  In 1947, Johnson joined the US Navy where he served on the aircraft carrier USS Boxer.  Johnson purchased a radio shop and called it Precision TV where he would install antennas on houses.  Johnson earned his retirement in 2005 after 54 years in business.  Congratulations!


Proposed Development Goes To Review

The proposed development of 500+ houses and more than 100K of commercial space on sensitive wetlands at Peace Creek near US27 and Cypress Gardens Blvd. is one step closer.  The WH City Commission approved an ordinance transferring the sensitive land from residential estate and conservation zoning to regional activity center zoning.  Before anything can be built, it must first be approved by the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection.


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