All posts by Rachel Lawrence

About Rachel Lawrence

Rachel hails by birth from a small town on the outskirts of Erie, PA and has recently dove into a new life in Lakeland, FL. A natural people-person and lover of the written word, Rachel is passionate about photography and creating a lovable brand and bringing it to the masses.


SEU Revolution Film Festival Features Accomplished Artists: Matthew Luhn, Stephen Campbell and Jordan Reddout

The College of Arts & Media at Southeastern University will host their 10th annual Revolution Film Festival and, for the first time, film submissions will be open to high schools, colleges, and professionals across the United States. This year’s theme is redemption, which centers on the moral transformation of a main character. The festival will be held February 5 and 6, 2016.

Submissions for the film festival are due on December 10, 2015, and the late deadline is January 1, 2016. Several categories are available for the films: High School Short, Collegiate Narrative Short, Professional Narrative Short, Documentary Short and Short-Form Screenplay. Time limits for the short films include three minutes, six minutes and twelve minutes. Prizes will be given to the best categories, with the top prize being $1,500 for Best Professional Film. For more information on submissions, please contact 863.667.5119 or visit

The Revolution Film Festival will also include workshops with three special guest speakers: Matthew Luhn, Stephen Campbell and Jordan Reddout. Luhn, story supervisor at Pixar Animation Studios, has more than 20 years of experience in the movie industry and has developed stories and characters on four Academy Award and four Golden Globe-winning movies. Some of his credits include Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, The Simpsons, UP and others. Matthew will be giving the 2016 Revolution Film Festival opening night keynote address at the historic Polk Theater in downtown Lakeland, Florida, at 7:30 p.m. on February 5.

Campbell is the director of photography for AMC’s Walking Dead and has been a cinematographer/director of Sydney White, Monster, and Zombieland. He has won the Crystal Reel for his Cinematography for To Write Love on Her Arms.

Reddout grew up in Winter Haven and attended Lois Cowles Harrison Center of the Visual and Performing Arts and Harvard University. She has worked for HBO, Starz and Fox, as well as Army Wives, The Get Down and Mad Dogs. In 2013, she landed her first writing job for ABC’s The Muppets.

In addition to the artists’ workshops, Matthew Luhn will hold a seminar on February 5 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the campus of Southeastern University. The price for the seminar is $250 and includes a full access pass to Revolution Film Festival.


Lakeland Regional Health Cancer Center Media Advisory

Media Advisory 

 WHO: Lakeland Regional Health

 WHAT: Press Conference

 LOCATION: Lakeland Regional Health Cancer Center, 3525 Lakeland Hills Blvd., Lakeland.

 WHEN: 11 a.m. Friday, November 20, 2015.

 WHAT’S NEW: Lakeland Regional Health will make a major health system announcement.

 RSVP: Please let us know if your media organization plans to attend so we can make accommodations for you, or 863.687.1122.


Lakeland Receives New Fire Protection Rating; the Highest Achievable Level

The Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) is proud to announce that its Insurance Service Office (ISO) Public Protection Classification (PPC) score has improved by an entire rating level from its previous score of a 2, awarded in January 2014, to the highest possible score of a 1. This increased score to the highest possible rating available may have an influence in reducing insurance rates for Lakeland residents and businesses. The score plays a role in how insurance companies – including the largest in the nation – figure rates and decision making in regards to who they underwrite for insurance. It also impacts economic development.

The score, based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 representing the highest level of fire suppression standards and 10 indicating no recognized fire protection, is produced by ISO through an extensive evaluation process. The department’s services, response times, equipment, personnel, training efforts, community risk reduction, and more were evaluated to develop a final score. That score in turn provides both insurers and the fire department a comprehensive measure to rate the quality of the fire protection they provide. In Lakeland’s case, it’s new PPC score of a 1 indicates that the Lakeland Fire Department provides the highest level of service.

The improvements in the score were determined in a reevaluation audit that took place earlier in the year. Evaluators took into account LFD’s addition of an Engine Company, Truck Company, and additional personnel added with the opening of Fire Station 7 in January 2015. The new station which was opened to better serve the southwest neighborhoods of Lakeland in turn helped benefit the entire City of Lakeland through the improved ISO PPC score. Additionally, gains that led to a PPC score of 1 were made in the evaluated categories of emergency communications and community outreach.

“The men and women of the Lakeland Fire Department worked very hard to achieve this accomplishment even in times of fiscal limitations where the department has been asked to do more with less. This is the first time in the history of the department, in the ISO era, that we have accomplished to reach the highest level of public protection classification. This translates to very real and positive outcomes for the citizens of Lakeland.” said Training Chief John Almskog, who was instrumental in coordinating the review along with Assistant Chief of Operations Doug Riley and Battalion Chief Mike Williams.

ISO auditors visited in October 2015, during which Lakeland’s Fire Department, Water Department, and Emergency Communications Center were evaluated to come up with the final determination. The official announcement of the new rating was made Monday, November 16, 2015 and the new score will be effective February 1, 2016.

Of the 614 ISO rated communities in Florida, only 19 have a level 1 classification placing Lakeland in the top 3rd percentile in regards to quality and fire protection of fire departments in the state. Nationwide, there are only 132 of 48,754 rated communities which have a score of 1, which the Lakeland Fire Department now has.


The Salvation Army’s 2015 Kettle Kick Off

Friday, November 20th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., the Lakeland community is invited to be part of the 2015 Kettle Kick Off taking place at the circle in Lakeside Village Shopping Center.  Children will have the chance to greet Santa as part of the kick off celebration for our 2015 Red Kettle season.

Everyone is invited to join us as Santa leads the way for the World’s Largest Kettle to help Mayor Howard Wiggs, ABC Action News Reporter Ryan Raiche, Majors Ken and Connie Morris and The Salvation Army Advisory Board Kick Off the season!

Last year our community volunteers raised $177,874 by ringing the bell in front of Publix Super Markets, Walmart, Sams Club, and Big Lots.  These funds allowed The Salvation Army to assist 1,001 families and 3,881 children with food, necessities, and toys during the Christmas season and throughout the year.

To volunteer this year, groups and individuals should contact Skylar Harrison at 863-940-9290.


Lecture to Examine Impact of Supreme Court’s Kelo Decision

On the 10th anniversary of one of the most controversial recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the Center for Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College will host a lecture to examine the impact of the Kelo v. City of New London case.

Professor Ilya Somin of George Mason University School of Law will give the lecture, “The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain,” at 6 p.m. on Nov. 19 in the Hollis Room on the FSC campus. The lecture, part of the Politics, Law and Economics Series sponsored by the Center for Free Enterprise, is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow the lecture.

The 2005 Kelo decision ruled that the city of New London, Conn., could condemn 15 residential properties and transfer them to a private owner in order to make way for a new private development. Critics of the decision said it marked an unwarranted expansion of the Fifth Amendment, which previously allowed the taking of private property only for public use.

Prof. Somin, author of The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain, argues in his book that the decision empowered the state at the expense of the free market.

“The Kelo decision remains unpopular with people regardless of their political party,” said Dr. Derek Yonai, director of the Center for Free Enterprise. “In light of the current presidential campaign now underway, Professor Somin’s lecture will be a timely examination of how politics and law can limit economic freedom.”