All posts by Cory Skeates


Up with People still looking for 60+ host families in Lakeland from March 7-13th!

The international cast of Up with People will be in Lakeland from March 7-13.  Host families are needed to house these dynamic young people from 21 countries during their visit.  Host families provide a place to sleep, limited local transportation and some meals (usually breakfast and dinner).  As a thank you, all host families will receive 2 complimentary tickets to the Up with People Show happening on March 11 at 7:00 pm at Branscomb Auditorium. If you are interested in bringing the world into your home please contact Andrea Thomas at 303-408-4143 or


Polk Museum of Art Acquires 4 Photographic Treasures

Polk Museum of Art recently has added photographs by renowned photographers Ansel Adams, André Kertesz and Alfred Eisenstaedt to its Permanent Collection. The four pieces were purchased by the Museum’s Art Resource Trust group and by individual donors.

“We are delighted to broaden our Permanent Collection with the addition of artwork by three modern geniuses of photography,” said Executive Director Daniel E. Stetson. “These photographers truly led the way with ground-breaking work during the 20th century.”

The Art Resource Trust is a group of Museum members who are also collectors. The group purchases artwork for the Museum’s Permanent Collection while also learning about art and adding to their own collections. The Museum decides on an area of focus for its biennial purchase and then spends about a year researching that particular medium. A banquet is held every two years at which the group is presented with several available pieces. They then vote to decide which piece to purchase for the Collection.

The ART Trust purchased Ansel Adams’ “Moon and Half Dome,” a signed silver gelatin print with a negative and print date of 1960; André Kertesz’s “Chez Mondrian, Paris,” a signed silver gelatin print with a negative date of 1926 and print date of 1979; Kertesz’s “Satiric Dancer, Magda Forstner, Paris,” a signed silver gelatin print with a negative date of 1926 and print date of 1980; and Alfred Eisenstaedt’s “Little Boy Selling Coca Cola at Roadside, West Paces Ferry, Atlanta, GA 1936,” a signed silver gelatin print with a negative and print date of 1936.

The pieces will be exhibited in the Museum’s Hollis Gallery beginning March 1.

American photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984) is often revered as the last and defining figure in the romantic tradition of 19th century landscape painting and photography. A member of the Board of Directors for the Sierra Club, he is well-known for the photos he shot in Yosemite National Park, where he spent time every year from 1916-1984. In 1927, he made what is considered his first fully visualized photograph, “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome.” Adams revisited this masterpiece with the photograph that the Museum purchased.

Hungarian photographer André Kertesz (1894-1985) is best known for his extended study of Washington Square Park and distorted nudes of the 1930s. Drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1914, he took his camera along and documented the lives of soldiers away from the battlefield. In 1925, he moved to Paris and shot portraits of many great artists, including Piet Mondrian and Marc Chagall.

German photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995) has been referred to as “the father of photojournalism” because he was among the first to photograph concerts, political rallies and social events. He immigrated to the United States in 1935 to escape Nazi oppression and remained in the U.S. until his death. He worked as a photographer for Life magazine from 1936-1972, with his photos appearing on 90 covers. His most famous photo is “V-J Day in Times Square” (1945).


QMI Celebrates Grand Re-Opening as ITW Automotive Products

In early 2010 QMI was faced with a challenging opportunity.  With a $3.6M budget and less than a year to complete, ITW approved the expansion of the Lakeland based QMI facility.  The expansion was needed to augment the capacity needs of QMI’s own growing business and the consolidation of sister company Wynns.  Wynns was renting a manufacturing facility in Azuza, CA whose lease was expiring on 12.31.2010.

The resulting expansion more than doubled our manufacturing and distribution capacity.  While the products will be sold under their own brands, we have re-named the facility ITW Automotive Products.

This facility blends and fills light oils for the automotive aftermarket.  Our services and products include fuels system cleaning and fluid exchange, cleaning, replacement and conditioning of all the fluids in a vehicle.

QMI’s principle market is tire chains, service centers and quick lubes, while Wynns focuses primarily on dealerships.

We employ 70 people at the Lakeland facility.


Student Leaders to Represent Communities at 54th Florida YMCA State Assembly

Nearly 500 students representing 25 high schools and 12 State YMCA Associations will travel to the 54th Annual Florida YMCA Youth In Government – “YIG” – State Assembly, held at the state capitol in Tallahassee this Thursday, February 24th to Saturday, February 26th. Students will have the opportunity to serve in the actual Senate and House chambers and Supreme Court during the 3-day session. State Assembly convenes Thursday evening with the swearing-in of Youth Governor Alex Fahnlander (Fort Myers – Lee County YMCA) and Lt. Governor Chelsea Jordan (Lakeland – West Central Florida YMCA), then gavels into order at the capitol on Friday morning at 9:00 AM and adjourns sine die on Saturday at 3:20 PM.

The students attending this year’s assembly continue a tradition that spans more than a half-century, with many YMCA Youth In Government alumni now serving at the local, state and national levels. Notable alumni in public service include newly elected US Congressman Dennis Ross of Lakeland, Florida Speaker of the House Dean Cannon of Winter Park, State Representative Seth McKeel of Lakeland, and newly appointed Circuit Judge Nicholas Thompson of the Twentieth Circuit Court in Lee County.

When asked about his experience in the program, Congressman Ross explained how Youth In Government “fosters those leadership qualities in students which are necessary for their future success – dedication, commitment, compromise, and respect. I know first hand, I participated in the program when I was in high school, and it lit the fire of my desire to become a legislator.”

The YMCA Youth In Government State Assembly represents the culmination of the year-round YMCA civic engagement and service-learning program that offers high school students in both school and YMCA-based chapters around the state the opportunity to participate in a youth-run, youth-led model government process. Youth Governor Alex Fahnlander, along with her fellow 11 Presiding Officers have served as a youth “Board of Directors” for the program since their election last February, meeting throughout the year to plan and facilitate the program for their peers.

Youth Governor Fahnlander has stated that reforming Florida’s foster care system and protecting funding for arts-related education are the top priorities for her administration’s FY2012 state budget and legislative agenda. House Speaker Nathaniel Rossum (Orlando – Central Florida YMCA) and Senate President Hilary Jessup (Fort Myers – Lee County YMCA) have made increasing efficient mass transit and tax incentives for bringing new, innovative manufacturing jobs to Florida the top issues on their respective legislative dockets during the session. Current issues such as financing high-speed rail and teacher merit pay/tenure are also the subjects of student legislation expected to reach the floor in both chambers.

2011 marks the 75th Anniversary for the national YMCA Youth In Government movement. Clement “Pete” Duran of the Albany YMCA established the program in New York in 1936. The Florida program – then the Florida YMCA Youth Legislature – was first held in December of 1957 under the leadership of T. Aubrey Morse of the Tallahassee YMCA. Today, YMCA Youth In Government provides service learning and civic engagement opportunities for over 56,000 students around the United States.


Local Bookkeeping Business Expands Services

Lorna Linton, owner of Lorna’s Financial Central, LLC, has expanded her business to include bookkeeping services, expanding from a home-based tax service operation to include small business & indivudual one-stop bookkeeping.

Lorna has owned and operated her business for more than eight years, helping small businesses and individuals better manage their financial needs. Before that, she worked for eight years as a financial specialist in the fiscal departemnt for Peace River Center in Bartow, FL.

Along with bookkeeping services, Lorna is now available for tax planning and other tax services, business valutaionm, business consulting, auditing services and financial planning.

Lorna has lived in Lakeland for more than 25 years, where she attended Polk State College to reveive her associates degree in accounting technology. Recently, Lorna graduated with her MBA in Accounting from Saint Leo University.

For more information, please call Lorna’s Financial Central, LLC at (863) 686-9999 or visit