All posts by Cory Skeates


Polk County Visitor Center Hosts Free Fall Harvest Festival Saturday, Nov. 2

BOGO Ticket Specials: Buy one discounted LEGOLAND® Florida Resort or Bok Tower Gardens ticket and get one free, for tickets purchased at the visitor center on the day of the event.

Davenport, FL (Oct. 16, 2019) – Central Florida’s Visitor Information Center (CFVIC) will host a Fall Harvest Festival on Saturday, Nov. 2. This FREE, family-friendly event will take place from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. with games, prizes, face painting, a balloon artist and Pumpkin Patch area when guests can take photos and selfies. Costumes are welcome so the kids can continue their trick-or-treating into November. Various local vendors will be on hand, selling food, treats and gifts, including handmade products, jewelry, plants and produce. Bok Tower Gardens will have a booth and the Bloodmobile will be on site for donors. Attendees will receive one free LEGOLAND® Florida Resort or Bok Tower Gardens ticket for each adult ticket purchased (of the same) at CFVIC on the day of the event. Note: LEGOLAND Florida BOGO tickets are limited to the first 200 tickets sold, with a purchase limit of four (4) tickets per person. CFVIC attraction ticket prices are already discounted, making this an especially attractive offer.

Attendees may enter a random drawing (one entry per person) for prizes including LEGOLAND Florida Tickets, Airboat Rides and MORE! No purchase is necessary but donations of non-perishable food items for the annual Food Drive would be greatly appreciated by local food banks.

The CFVIC is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week and is located at 101 Adventure Court in Davenport (along U.S. Highway 27), a half-mile south of I-4 at Exit 55. In addition to assisting visitors, and residents, by providing tourism information about Polk County, the center also sells discounted attraction tickets for many Central Florida attractions including LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Bok Tower Gardens and most Orlando area attractions.


Miss Lakeland Scholarship Competition To Be Held On October 26, 7pm

Miss Lakeland Scholarship Competition will be held on October 26, 7:00 pm.

George Jenkins High School Auditorium

Tickets are available at the door for $15 pp

Miss Lakeland and Miss Lakeland Teen titles will be awarded. Winners will receive scholarships and will represent Lakeland at Miss Florida, held in June 2020 at RP Funding Center. Miss Lakeland is an official preliminary for Miss America Organization.


Saint Leo University Inaugurates 10th President, Jeffrey D. Senese

Eucharistic, Investiture Ceremonies Incorporate Catholic Heritage, Faculty, Staff, Students

LEO, FL – Saint Leo University’s 10th president in its 130-year history was inaugurated Friday, October 11, in a ceremony in the Marion Bowman Activities Center that incorporated the university’s Catholic heritage and its commitment to student-centered education.

In a Mass celebrated by Abbot Isaac Camacho, OSB, and a formal investiture ceremony, Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese officially became the university’s 10th president.

The ceremony included the Green Line of alumni, who represented graduates dating back to the Class of 1947 when Saint Leo operated as a college preparatory school, and the Gold Line of students, which was comprised of Saint Leo students from the university’s education centers in seven states, online programs, graduate programs, and University Campus. Delegates from other colleges and universities as well as Saint Leo faculty and administration also were featured in the processional.

Timothy Brown, Class of 2019, represented the Lakeland Education Center.

Saint Leo’s Lakeland Education Center is at 315 Granada St., Lakeland, FL.

Senese made the Oath of Fidelity using the Douay-Rheims Haydock Bible, published in 1893, establishing a new tradition at Saint Leo University, in which future university presidents will take the oath using the same Bible. Another Douay-Rheims Haydock Bible has an important role in American history, having been the Bible used in the inauguration of the first Catholic president of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

Saint Leo University Board of Trustees Chair D. Dewey Mitchell presented Senese with the symbols of the office including the presidential medallion. At its center, the gold medal bears the university seal while the chains feature engraved plaques containing the university’s core values—community, excellence, integrity, personal development, respect, and responsible stewardship.

“We at Saint Leo have a been bold leader in the history of higher education,” Senese said. He said the university educated military students early on and at a time when it was not popular. Today, nearly 5,000 military-affiliated students attend Saint Leo. The university also began offering online education prior to other universities and before it became common. Now, the university offers classes online and in blended formats to meet the needs of students wherever they may be and at the times they need them.

The newly inaugurated president looked to the future of Saint Leo—the promise of growth in the number of students served, the addition of new programs, the expansion of physical locations, and the creation of partnerships among universities. And through the future, the university will remain dedicated to its core values, Senese said.

“Teaching and learning will always be the core mission of Saint Leo University,” Senese said. “It is and will be a university boldly audacious in its actions and humble in its spirit, as well as enthusiastic in its commitments.”

As Saint Leo University’s 10th president, Senese has implemented a foundational three-year strategic plan to grow the university, strengthen its culture, and transform the educational experience to better serve the needs of students.

Photo captions/cutlines

Photos by Renee Gerstein and William Speer, Saint Leo University

Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese made the Oath of Fidelity using the Douay-Rheims Haydock Bible, published in 1893. His son, Daniel, his wife, Alicia, and daughter, Mia, assisted him.

Some of the Gold Line of current students and the Green Line of Saint Leo University alumni process to the inauguration ceremony.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation, offering nearly 60 undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs to more than 19,500 students each year. Founded in 1889 by Benedictine monks, the private, nonprofit university is known for providing a values-based education to learners of all backgrounds and ages in the liberal arts tradition. Saint Leo is regionally accredited and offers a residential campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, 32 education centers in seven states, and an online program for students anywhere. The university is home to more than 95,000 alumni. Learn more at

Media Contact: Mary McCoy, University Writer & Media Relations,, (352) 588-7118 or cell (813) 610-8416


Lakeland Regional Health Team Member News

Lakeland, Fla. – Lakeland Regional Health has the following good news to share:

  • David L. Bowers, MD, joins Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a Urologist at the North Campus/Hollis Cancer Center. Dr. Bowers earned his Doctor of Medicine degree at the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel. Dr. Bowers most recently served as a Urologist at The Villages Regional Medical Center and previously practiced in Lakeland for almost two decades. He is certified by the American Board of Urology.
  • Hyunjung “Mary” An, MSN, BSN, RN, ARNP, CCRN, joins Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse at the Family Health Center. Ms. An earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Nursing at Florida Southern College. She most recently served as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse at Advent Health in Orlando. She is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
  • Matthew Forestiere, MD, joins Lakeland Regional Health Physician Group as a Trauma Physician. He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Dr. Forestiere completed his Residency in General Surgery at Baylor Scott & White Health – Texas A&M University. He completed Fellowships in Surgical Critical Care and Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at LAC+USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. Certified by the American Board of Surgery in both General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care, Dr. Forestiere sees patients at the Medical Center and the Pablo Campus.



Publix Ranks Second Largest United Way Contributor Worldwide

LAKELAND, Fla. | United Way of Central Florida is excited to announce that Publix Super Markets, Inc. is not only in its 40th year of charitable giving to United Way, it is now the second largest contributor worldwide.

In 2018, Publix associates pledged $38.7 million to United Way. Publix Super Markets Charities also donated $26.6 million, bringing the total to $65.3 million.

This is an extraordinary feat considering Publix is not a worldwide corporation. With 1,270 stores across just seven states, associates demonstrate Publix’s core values of giving back and supporting your community.

“Our founder, George W. Jenkins, believed one of the most efficient ways to assist people was through giving to United Way, and we still believe that today,” said Executive Director for Publix Super Markets Charities Kelly Williams-Puccio. “Our commitment to his vision continues through our dedication to offer people hope.”

Publix and United Way have worked together for 40 years to improve early education, build thriving families and support communities. Publix has supported United Way Born Learning, an international campaign that helps families prepare their children for school with a wide range of tools and research-based parent education materials.

In 1966, Mr. George, as he was affectionately known, established a charitable foundation with the intention of caring for his community — and with a vision that the giving would continue long after he was gone. Today, Publix Super Markets Charities remains committed to serving the communities in our operating area, which includes Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. And the legacy of giving continues.

As part of their contribution to Born Learning, Publix provided their shoppers with tips on early learning through in-store experiences, newsletters and more. In Florida, Publix supports our ReadingPals program, a statewide early literacy initiative that helps young children improve their reading skills.