Category Archives: Community Info & Events


Registration Open for Annual Economic Update

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (November 21, 2017) – “The ‘human condition’ is always to push forward for the better and economics is the study of that process.” Chief Economist Brian Wesbury of First Trust Advisors, L.P., a nationally recognized economist, will return as our guest speaker for the 31st Annual Economic Forecast Breakfast on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at the RP Funding Center.  Reporting the regional perspective is Dr. Tony Villamil, a nationally recognized business economist, with over thirty-five years of successful career as a senior economist, university Dean and high-level policymaker for both federal and state governments.

“This year has certainly been showered with events that continue to impact Americans”, comments Ralph Allen, Chairman of Allen & Company of Florida, Inc.  He further comments, “from historical hurricane activity in 2017 to unrelenting violence on both foreign and homeland soil.  These events define our thoughts, our actions and sometimes our financial well being.”  How these global stories influence the economies and ultimately our day-to-day lives is important to understand.

The doors will open at 6:45am for registration and breakfast at the RP Funding Center (formerly the Lakeland Center). This year all ticket purchases will be online.  Please register online at where you will find all the details for the event.  Student tickets and tables are available by contacting Rebecca Fortier at the Lakeland Chamber. The early bird pricing ends December 15th.

About Allen & Company of Florida, Inc.

Since 1932 Allen & Company of Florida, Inc. has provided financial planning and wealth management services to the communities we serve.  Headquartered in Lakeland, Florida, with operations in Winter Haven and Viera, Allen & Company is Florida’s oldest investment firm.

About the Lakeland Chamber

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:  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; and, the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.




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Wednesday is the Last Day to Request a Ballot to be Mailed

Wednesday, November 29th is the last day that registered voters in the cities of Lakeland and Winter Haven can submit a request to receive a ballot by mail for the December 5th Municipal  Run-Off Elections.

Lakeland residents will decide the outcome of the City Commission race for SW District C between Michael Dunn and Larry Durrence, and in Winter Haven, voters will choose between Steven M. Hunnicutt and James H. “JP” Powell to decide the winner in the race for City Commissioner, Seat 5.

Requests can be made online at, or by calling the Elections Office at 863-534-5888.  Voted ballots may be returned by mail or dropped off to the Supervisor of Elections, but they must be received by 7 pm on Election Day, December 5th.

All precincts are open from 7 am – 7 pm on Election Day, Tuesday, December 5th and Florida law requires voters to vote at the precinct they are assigned.

For more information visit, or call the Elections Office at 863-534-5888.



Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A. has named Jim Noullet, CPA as the Director of Tax Compliance for the Firm. Jim brings with him over 19 years’ experience with concentration in the areas of construction and real estate tax compliance.
“Jim’s passion for small business and his extensive expertise and concentration in the real estate and construction industries enhances our capabilities and serves our client base well,” said HPS managing partner Steve Hamic. “And we enjoy working with him.”

Jim has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Clemson University and a Master of Accounting from Florida State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A. is a tax, accounting, and advisory firm that has provided personalized service in a wide range of financial environments for more than five decades. Both Steve Hamic, managing partner, and James Previte, vice president and shareholder, credit the firm’s growth to providing comprehensive compliance strategies tailored to meet their clients’ financial needs. “Tax Compliance is more than preparing filings and meeting deadlines,” said James Previte. “We continually strive to provide our clients with proactive planning and customized approaches that maximize their ability to achieve their intended goals.” Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A. has offices located in Lakeland and Dade City, Florida.

For more information on Hamic Previte & Sturwold, P.A. and a complete list of financial services offered, visit or call 863.682.5151.


Southeastern Guide Dogs Polk County Walkathon

At Southeastern Guide Dogs, our Walkathon represents our biggest fundraiser of the year. We walk because the proceeds help Southeastern Guide Dogs raise, train, and match our amazing guide dogs with our visually impaired students, people whose lives are transformed by new levels of independence and freedom. We walk because veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and other disabilities count on us for our remarkable service dogs.

Lake Hollingsworth is a beautiful lake near the center of the city of Lakeland, with a scenic walking path surrounding its shores. While?most of our Walkathons are a 3K walk, Polk County participants can opt for a 5K option all the way around the lake. Walkathon parking, opening ceremonies, and festivities will be held on the grounds of the lakeside First Presbyterian Church that has graciously opened its campus.

Participants will enjoy a 3K or 5K walk, live music, local vendors, our Southeastern Guide Dogs Gift Shop, and family-friendly fun!

8:30 am – Festivities Begin
9:45 am – Opening Ceremonies
10:00 am – 3K Walk Kick-Off
11:00 am – Raffle Drawing

Business’s and individuals interested in helping to sponsoring the event can click here for more information.

For more information on the Polk County Southeastern Guide Dogs Polk County Walkathon please click here.



Mayor Howard Wiggs announced his endorsement of and participation in the eighth annual Small Business Saturday. Falling between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate and support the small, independently-owned businesses that help boost local economies across the country.

“Small business is a critically important part of a healthy, vibrant economy. Whether it be in new job creation or support for local activities, small business promotes and stimulates the well-being of a community,” Wiggs said.

Small Business Saturday serves as the ceremonial kickoff of the holiday shopping season for small businesses across the United States. According to the American Express 2016 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, an estimated 112 million consumers reported shopping at small businesses on Small Business Saturday. The day has also been championed by elected officials in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

In recognizing the importance of supporting independent businesses in Lakeland, Mayor Wiggs and the Commissioners

  • Will be issuing a Small Business Saturday Proclamation on November 20 at 9:00 am at City Hall and will acknowledge the City of Lakeland’s support of this city-wide effort to support the Small Businesses in Lakeland.
  • Plan to Shop Small on November 25thand have invited residents of Lakeland to shop small with them.
  • Have engagedLakeland’s small business agencies – the Downtown Lakeland Partnership, The Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lakeland Business Leaders in support of their efforts in planning Small Business Saturday shopping events on November 25th  
  • Call on residents to share the small businesses in the community that they love on social media using #ShopSmallLKLD and/or #SmallBizSat

Mayor Wiggs and the Commission are joining business leaders from across the community to assist in supporting the local businesses in Lakeland that make Lakeland a great city to work, shop and play. “It’s so exciting to see collaboration among businesses, city officials and the organizations that serve the small business community,” says Chrissanne Long, who helping promote this year’s Small Business Saturday in Lakeland.

Lori Long, Executive Director of the Downtown Lakeland Partnership, says she’s excited to bring more attention to the merchants of downtown. “I am thrilled to see us reaching beyond the boundaries of Downtown Lakeland, and embracing all Lakeland’s small businesses. I believe the more we do this, the more Downtown Lakeland will flourish.”

“The Chamber believes that collaboration is key in supporting our many great small businesses in Lakeland,” says Cory Skeates, president of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. “This partnership provides us with an opportunity to again show our businesses just much we appreciate them and all they do for the success of our community.”

Lakeland merchants and consumers can learn more about local activities for Small Business Saturday and a list of the participating merchants by visiting