All posts by Cory Skeates


Cornerstone Hospica Forever in Our Hearts Offers Uplifting Celebration of Life for those Grieving

Lakeland, Fla. – The time around Valentine’s Day can be difficult for anyone grieving the loss of a loved one.  Cornerstone Hospice has scheduled an uplifting event for Polk County area residents to celebrate loved ones who have passed away.

Attendees will hear inspiring passages and beautiful music, receive mementos and share an atmosphere of joy while honoring the memories of family and friends.

WHEN:                  Thursday, February 7, 2019, 5:30 p.m.

WHERE:                Highland Park Church

4777 Lakeland Highlands Road


WHAT:                  The event is free, but attendees are asked to RSVP by February 1st with the names of the loved one being honored. Call 863-291-5599 or email

About Cornerstone Hospice

Cornerstone Hospice is a leading community-owned provider of end-of-life care in Central Florida. For 34 years Cornerstone has set the standard for hospice care as we serve more than 7,000 people in Lake, Sumter, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties each year. For more information, to donate, or to volunteer, call 866-742-6655 or visit




FSC to Honor Philanthropic Leader at Winter Commencement


LAKELAND (Dec. 13, 2018) Dr. Sherry Magill, recently retired president of the Jacksonville-based Jessie Ball duPont Fund, will be honored by Florida Southern with the degree of doctor of humane letters during the College’s winter commencement for undergraduate students on December 15.

Dr. Magill led one of the nation’s foremost charitable and educational funds for 25 years and is a highly regarded leader in the national philanthropic community. She is a founding member and past chair of the Florida Philanthropic Network and past chair of the board of directors of the national Council on Foundations. Previously, Dr. Magill had served as an instructor, vice president and deputy to the president of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.

Dr. Magill is known for building grants, developing a broader geographic representation, and for bringing professional expertise and diversity to the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. The private grantmaking foundation supports more than 300 grantees, large and small, from around the nation.

Florida Southern College will hold two separate winter commencements on December 15, with the undergraduate ceremony to be held at 10:30 a.m. and a ceremony for the graduate programs at 2:30 p.m. Both programs will be held in the Branscomb Auditorium.

U.S. Army Lt. General Donald L. Kerrick (Ret.), a 1971 FSC graduate and former trustee, will be the speaker for the undergraduate ceremony. He served in the White House as Deputy National Security Advisor to President Bill Clinton and was a principal negotiator on the U.S. peace delegation that negotiated an agreement ending the Bosnian War. Walter Manley II, a 1969 FSC graduate and attorney, professor, and author, will be the speaker for the graduate ceremony.

During the morning ceremony, the College will confer the President’s Scholar medal upon one of its graduating seniors. The medal honors a graduate whose academic standing is in the top 1 percent, who exemplifies the values of the College, and who has a demonstrated commitment to scholarship, student leadership and service.

At winter commencement, the College will confer 145 undergraduate degrees and 82 graduate degrees. Of the graduate degrees, one will be a doctoral degree.

A number of our 2018 winter graduates forged unique learning opportunities through FSC, including Ashleigh Stinson of Lakeland. During her month-long trip to Spain as a participant in the Junior Journey student program, which provides foreign and domestic travel learning experiences, Ashleigh received an unexpected job offer. In preparing for her return to Spain the following semester to work in the small town of Alicante, Ashleigh arranged for three separate internships through the College to be directed by her professor, Dr. Jose M. Garcia. Not only was she able to earn college credit for the internship; her immersion in the culture dramatically improved Ashleigh’s language skills. “Dr. Garcia knew of my interest in speech pathology,” Ashleigh said. “One internship involved observing and helping with occupational therapy for children, and the others were at a hospital and a preschool.”

About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private comprehensive college in Florida. The College maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 70+ undergraduate programs and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, and nursing. Florida Southern has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio; is an award-winning national leader in engaged learning; and boasts 30 NCAA Division II national championships. It is ranked among the Top 20 Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report; named a Top Baccalaureate College by Washington Monthly; and included in The Princeton Review’s 384 Best Colleges, The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018, and Forbes magazine’s America’s Top Colleges Guide. The College is committed to the development of the whole student through vibrant student life programs that prepare graduates to make a positive, consequential impact on society.  FSC is conveniently located within an hour’s drive of both Orlando and Tampa. FSC is home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Named the “Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation” for two consecutive years by The Princeton Review and one of the nation’s “Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture” by Architectural Digest, Florida Southern is an internationally-recognized place of beauty and academic excellence.


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Lakeland Chamber Announces Staff Change

LAKELAND, FL (December 14, 2018) – The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the advancement of Rebecca Fortier to the Convention & Visitors Bureau as Administrative Assistant to Jackie Johnson, Senior Vice President, of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, at the Lakeland Chamber. Rebecca joined the Lakeland Chamber almost four years ago and has led the Programs & Events department as Director, proving herself to be a committed advocate for the Lakeland Chamber. Within her new role, Rebecca will support the marketing of Lakeland and Polk County as an ideal convention and tourist destination.

Her background in tourism gives Rebecca an overall understanding of the Convention & Visitors Bureau – with her experience in hotel management and sales, her strong relationships with partners including Visit Central Florida, Polk County Sports Marketing, and local chambers of commerce, and from serving as president of the Lakeland Hotel & Motel Association.

The Lakeland Chamber is excited about this change and congratulates Rebecca on her new role.

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce represents 1,400-member businesses in the Lakeland area and provides opportunities for networking, professional development and advocacy for companies of all sizes. Five-star accredited by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber upholds the following vision and mission statements: Vision Statement – The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce will be the premier catalyst for the advancement of Lakeland’s economic growth and enhancement of quality of life– creating Florida’s community of choice. Mission Statement – The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.



Peace River Center to Host Job Fairs in Bartow and Lakeland

peace river



Bartow, FL – Peace River Center, a licensed and accredited, non-profit provider of mental health, substance use and integrated medical services serving Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties is hosting job fairs at its Bartow and Lakeland Crisis Stabilization Units. The agency is hiring for psychiatric technicians, team technicians, RN charge nurse, LPNs, therapists with LCSW, LMHC, and LMFT accreditations, and clinicians (requires Master’s Degree), and crisis counselors (requires bachelor’s or master’s degree). All positions require a high school diploma or GED unless otherwise specified. Candidates must pass a Level 2 Background Check. Peace River Center is a drug-free workplace.

The job fairs will be held:

  • Thursday, December 20, 2018 at the Bartow Crisis Stabilization Unit, 1255 Golfview Avenue, Bartow, FL 33830 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, December 21, 2018 at the Lakeland Crisis Stabilization Unit, 715 N. Lake Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33801 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Candidates may also apply online at

Peace River Center

Peace River Center is a licensed and accredited, non-profit provider of mental health, substance use and integrated medical services serving Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties. Peace River Center provides options for people struggling with mental health and addiction, for children and adults coping with the trauma of abuse and violence, crisis intervention for people in acute need, and housing and community support and integration for people affected by domestic violence or whose recovery requires more support and time. Peace River Center offers inpatient, outpatient, home-, school- and community-based services, telehealth and mobile programs to individuals, groups and families. Peace River Center’s dedicated and compassionate staff of more than 400 operate 36 programs out of 27 locations and provide 24/7 emergency psychiatric response services to the community through the mobile psychiatric Crisis Response Team. In FY2018, Peace River Center had contact with and provided services to more than 23,000 children, adolescents, adults and seniors. For more information visit


Southeastern University Hosts Fall Commencement

seu news

LAKELAND, Fla. – On Friday, December 14, Southeastern University will host its fall commencement ceremony at Victory Church in Lakeland, Fla., at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Wilfredo “Choco” De Jesus, named as one of Time Magazine’s most influential people in the world in 2013, will be the commencement speaker.

A total of 529 students qualified to march, with 369 participating in the ceremony. There are nine doctoral candidates, 172 master’s candidates, 274 bachelor’s candidates, and 74 associate degree candidates. The students are graduating from Florida and 33 other states, as well as from seven countries, including Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, Japan, and Nigeria. More than 100 of the graduates in this class come from 30 of Southeastern’s extension site locations. This commencement brings the total number of Southeastern University graduates to 15,503.

De Jesus, who will be graduating with his doctorate in education at the ceremony, is the lead pastor of New Life Covenant Church, one of the fastest growing churches in Chicago. Since he became senior pastor in 2000, New Life has grown to 20,000 members. De Jesus is recognized for his leadership and influence within the Evangelical and Latino community. He is also the author of four books and recently successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at Southeastern on the topic of Balancing Church Growth with Church Health.

The student commencement speaker is Noah Rohm, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership. During his time at Southeastern, he has served as a senator and as the student body chief justice for the Student Government Association. He was also a member of the SEU Debate team.

Rohm is an active member of Access Church, where he serves on the set-up team and as a small group leader. During his undergraduate work, he completed a semester of study in Southeastern’s Outdoor Leadership and Discipleship program known as the Wilderness Semester. Rohm plans to continue his education at Southeastern, working on his MBA and eventually work in the outdoor industry.

The ceremony is a ticketed event. It will be streamed live on the university’s website: