Category Archives: Community Info & Events


Governor Reappoints Ross to Polk State College District Board of Trustees

CindyRoss_PhotoGov. Rick Scott recently announced Cindy Hartley Ross’s reappointment to the Polk State College District Board of Trustees.

Ross has served on the District Board of Trustees for 14 years — from 1999 to 2011 and since her reappointment in 2015. She has served as both Chair and Vice Chair.

Her latest term started Dec. 21, 2017, and will end May 31, 2021.

“Trustee Ross’s reappointment is a testament to her hard work and commitment to the College,” Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti said. “I am honored to serve under the District Board of Trustees and look forward to continuing to work closely with Trustee Ross and the fellow Board members to exceed the goals for our institution.”

Ross is a Lakeland native who has served on the Polk State College Foundation Board and as president of the Polk State College Alumni Association. The 1979 Polk State graduate received the December 2017 Distinguished Alumna Award for her achievements and dedication to the College.
In addition to her work with Polk State, Ross is involved on many boards and organizations at both the state and national levels. She serves on the Executive Committee and Foundation Board of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Florida House in Washington, D.C.

She is also Program Chairperson for the Republican Congressional Spouses and a member of The Congressional Club, a bipartisan spouse’s group. She is married to U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross and their family boasts more than 15 Polk State alumni, including their two sons, Shane and Travis.

Locally, Ross is a member of the Polk Arts Alliance Art Resource Council and the Polk Museum of Art Board of Governors. She has served on the Habitat for Humanity Advisory Board, Girls Inc. of Lakeland Board of Directors, and the Junior League of Greater Lakeland.

“Trustee Ross embodies Polk State’s motto, We Are Polk,” Falconetti said. “She works tirelessly for both the College and the Polk County community, and I am thrilled she will serve on the District Board of Trustees for many more years.”
The District Board of Trustees is made up of members who are vested with oversight of all College policies, including matters related to programs, buildings, finances, and personnel. Florida’s governor appoints the members, who serve without compensation. All appointments are subject to Florida Senate confirmation.


Lakeland Chamber to Host Gala to Support Business Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:gala logo stacked

December 20, 2017

Lakeland Chamber to Host Gala to Support Business Community

The Lakeland Chamber will host its first gala entitled “Mad Hatter’s Ball” to benefit the Chamber’s Foundation.

This black-tie gala will celebrate The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce’s continued focus on business and increased programming to benefit the Lakeland business community. It will feature dinner, live musical entertainment, and dancing. Proceeds from the gala will directly benefit new initiatives offered by the Lakeland Chamber Foundation. These initiatives will focus on workforce development, new business development, talent development, and leadership pipelines. The premier program “Skills Gap” will offer socioeconomically disadvantaged workers the opportunity to acquire the education necessary to fill the need for skilled workers in our community.

The gala will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2018, from 6:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. at Haus 820, 820 N Massachusetts Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801.

For more information about serving on the gala planning committee or providing a charitable contribution via sponsorship or purchasing tickets, contact Darla Sechrest Pettaway at the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce at (863) 688-8551, Ext. 228, or


About the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The Lakeland Chamber Foundation is one of the greatest assets this Chamber has in serving the diverse needs of our community. Founded in 1973 as a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization, the Foundation serves to support worthwhile community and education betterment initiatives. Through the generous contributions of member businesses and individuals, the Foundation is able to award small grants to not-for-profit organizations in the Lakeland area to support specific community and education betterment projects. All funds donated to the Lakeland Chamber Foundation are a charitable contribution with the exception of non-gift items such as meals at Lakeland Chamber Foundation events.


About the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

Since 1921, the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce has served as an advocate for business. The Chamber is a 501 (c) (6) not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper. The Lakeland Chamber is the largest Chamber of Commerce in Polk County with more than 1,400 investor businesses. The Lakeland Chamber continues to be an integral component of the Lakeland community by offering a wide variety of programs and initiatives that positively impact the economic vitality and quality of life in our region. Our investors capitalize on the contacts, resources, and support provided by the Chamber.


Central Florida SCORE and Lakeland Chamber 2018 Workshops Set

Central Florida SCORE is your local chapter of a national organization of volunteers who are experienced in business and dedicated to mentoring startups and existing businesses.  SCORE started in 1964 as Service Corps of Retired Executives, and currently has more than 300 chapters nationally and over 10,000 volunteers spanning all fields of business and expertise.   Both face to face and on-line mentoring are offered at no cost. Our educational workshops are valuable and relative to the growth of small business.  We are a resource partner sponsor of the Small Business Administration.

Below you will find a recap of our upcoming workshops which we partner with the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.  You do not have to be a member of the Chamber to attend.

Central Florida SCORE has announced their Winter/Spring 2018 workshop series in partnership with the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.  The workshops will be held the 4th Thursday, as follows:  January 25, Weave Your Web, Optimize Your Website; February 22, Leads with Linkedin; March 22, Leveraging Your Business with “The Cloud”; April 26, Increase Your Sales With Relationship Building; May 24, Balancing the Books for Growth, Simple Bookkeeping Setups.

Workshops are held at the Chamber, 35 Lake Morton Dr, Lakeland.  Registration will begin at 7:45 am Danish/Coffee, Workshop 8:00 – 9:30 am. Cost is $10.  Registration for series is now available at Take A Workshop link.   SCORE is a non-profit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and no cost, confidential mentoring. SCORE is sponsored by the Small Business Administration.  

For more information, please contact Becky Bywater, 863 838-1079


score workshops



The Lakeland City Commission voted today to keep the electric fuel charge the same for Lakeland Electric customers for the next fiscal quarter (January/February/March 2018). After listening to a presentation at the Monday, December 4th Utility Committee meeting, staff recommended holding the fuel charge at its current rate based on 12-month fuel forecasts in both the natural gas and coal markets, and due to a surplus of funds in the fuel rate reserve.

The fuel charge will remain 3.875¢ per kilowatt hour (kWh). Multiplying that charge by 1,000 kWh, which is typically the minimum a residential home utilizes in a month, the cost equals $38.75 per 1,000 kWh for fuel.

Maintaining the fuel charge at its current rate during the winter months will help our customers keep their electric costs low. In fact, by holding the fuel charge at its current rate, Lakeland Electric will continue to have some of the lowest electric rates in the state. As with most electric utilities that generate their own power, the cost of fuel is directly passed onto the customers. This makes it an important part of Lakeland Electric’s ever ongoing effort to keep our customer’s electric costs low.

Residential Rates Based on 1,000 kWh Current Rates – Effective Jan, 2018
Base Charge* (see below for breakdown of charges) $63.02 $63.02
Fuel Charge              $38.75 $38.75
TOTAL: $101.77 $101.77


*Base Rate
Customer Charge $  9.50/month
Energy & Smart Grid charges $50.99/1000 kWh
Environmental Charge $  2.53/1000 kWh           
Total Base Charge          $63.02/ 1000 kWh




Florida Southern College will present its traditional Christmas Gala on Saturday, December 9, with two live performances to celebrate the season.

This year’s edition, Joys of the Season, will be presented at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., in Branscomb Auditorium. Guests will also be treated to pre-concert music in the auditorium’s Honeyman Pavilion.

“We are eagerly putting together the finishing touches for this highly anticipated Christmas Gala!” said Paula Parsché, chair of the Department of Music at FSC. “We look forward to greeting our many patrons from the community for this spectacular celebration of the season. Please come and join us in our joyous holiday fun and festivities!”

Highly anticipated each year, the Christmas Gala is produced by the college’s Department of Music as part of its Festival of Fine Arts and has become a beloved holiday tradition throughout the community. This year’s Gala features both large choral, instrumental, and orchestral ensembles and smaller ensembles offering a wonder-filled array of musical favorites performed by Department of Music students and faculty, joined by special guests from FSC’s musical theatre and dance programs.

“The marvelous performances by our talented student performers and faculty traditionally launch the holiday season each year for the college community,” said President Anne Kerr. “This year’s Christmas Gala continues a treasured tradition that showcases FSC’s exceptional fine arts programs as they share the joy of the Christmas season through song, dance and inspired musical arrangements.”

Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for students. For more information, visit or call the Branscomb Auditorium box office at 863-680-4296 from 2 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, or go to