Category Archives: Community Info & Events


Salvation Army Lakeland Family Store to Reopen Saturday October 1

Today, I had the privilege to be one of the first to see the remodeled Salvation Army Family Store on South Florida Avenue. Admittedly, I haven’t been in the store for probably 12-18 months, and I am completely impressed with their progress!

Tomorrow, the public is invited to tour the new store, with brand new carpet tiles, incredibly well-organized shopping areas and some super-nice staff! On October 1, the store at 3915 S Florida Ave will be open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.


Florida Attorney General to Attend Proclamation of Red Ribbon Month October 3

Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi, will be in town on Monday, October 3, 2011 to show her support for substance abuse prevention and accompany members of InnerAct Alliance to receive a Proclamation of Red Ribbon Month from Mayor Gow Fields at the Lakeland City Commission meeting at approximately 9 a.m. at City Hall. Attorney General Bondi is focused on protecting Floridians, and she has served as a champion in shifting the tide against prescription drug abuse by supporting the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) and strengthening penalties against pill mills.

The official Red Ribbon Proclamation by the City of Lakeland will kick off a month of special Red Ribbon activities
sponsored by InnerAct Alliance to raise awareness of substance abuse, and encourage communities to present a unified, visible commitment for a drug-free environment. The Red Ribbon is the universal symbol for alcohol,
tobacco, and other substance abuse prevention. Similar proclamations will be presented to InnerAct Alliance by
the Polk County Board of County Commissioners on October 11, 2011, and by the Polk County School Board on
October 25, 2011.

The signature event to culminate Red Ribbon Month is the 20th Annual Red Ribbon Run and Kids Health & Wellness Carnival, on Saturday, November 5, 2011, at Tigertown’s Joker Marchant Stadium. Over 3,000 parents, educators and elementary school students will participate in the largest youth running event in Polk County. Students in grades K-5 can register free and receive a free Run T-Shirt. Adults and students in grades 6 and above compete in the Open Race for a $10 registration fee. Registration check-in begins at 7 a.m., with the first race starting at 8 a.m. Prizes will be awarded and the school with the largest percentage of students in attendance will win a special participation trophy.

Festivities also include the Kids Health & Wellness Carnival from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to celebrate the importance of
good health. Wristbands will be sold for $5 admission for kids age 3 & up to enjoy interactive activities and entertainment. K-5th grade participants will receive a free book to take home. The Red Ribbon Campaign originated when Federal Agent Enrique Camarena was tortured and murdered by drug traffickers in 1985. The Red Ribbon became the symbol to reduce the demand for drugs. Today, the Red Ribbon symbolizes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle and red ribbons are worn and displayed by citizens committed to preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug problems across America.

InnerAct Alliance, formerly the Drug Prevention Resource Center, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency established in
1985 to reduce the abuse and underage use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs through: Community wareness and Involvement; Prevention Education; Economic Support; and Leadership Development. The agency provides substance abuse education programs in the Hardee, Highlands and Polk county areas, and also serves as the fiscal agent for the StandUP Polk (adult-based) and UthMpact (youth-based) Coalitions for a Drug-Free Polk. For more information on the State Attorney General’s visit, or Red Ribbon Campaign activities, please contact InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777 or visit our web site at


FSC Symposium to Highlight New Research in Alzheimer’s, Breast Cancer Treatment

Three chemistry experts will present their potentially life-saving research to the public this Friday, September 30, at the second annual Spencer Symposium at Florida Southern College.  The symposium is hosted by FSC’s chemistry and physics department and will be held in the Hollis Room on campus from 2 pm to 5 pm.

In honor of the late Dr. Jack Spencer, a Florida Southern College professor of chemistry who is credited with making major advances in the research and development of antibiotics, this annual Symposium draws together the FSC community and interested members of the public to highlight the application of chemistry in health.  The event is organized by Dr. Carmen Gauthier, professor of chemistry and chair of the natural sciences and mathematics division at Florida Southern College.

This year, highly notable advances in the research of Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, and methods for effective drug design, will be presented and discussed.

The 2011 program will include the following presentations:

2:00     “Biophysical Characterizations of Alzheimer’s Disease Related Amyloid-? Oligomers,” Dr. William M. Tay, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL

3:00     “How a mass spectrometer can tell us medicinal chemists NOT to synthesize inactive compounds,” Dr. Roman Manetsch, Chemistry Professor, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

4:00     “Treasures from Under the Antarctic Ice:  Natural Products Drug Discovery at the End of the Earth,” Dr. Bill Baker, Chemistry Professor, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

More about the symposium panelists:

Dr. William Tay moved to the U.S. at the age of 12 from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) to escape political unrest and to seek a better education.  He completed his undergraduate degree in chemistry and mathematics at Florida Southern College in 2002 and continued to a graduate career at the University of South Florida under the mentorship of Dr. Li-June Ming from 2002-2008.  His graduate training was largely in enzyme or chemical kinetics with some emphasis on nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.  Since earning his Ph.D., he has joined Dr. Terrone Rosenberry’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow for further training in biophysical techniques and mass spectrometry.

Dr. Roman Manesch received his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2002 from the University of Basel (Switzerland) developing antibody-catalyzed cylization reactions under the guidance of Wolf-Dietrich Woggon. He then joined the group of K. Barry Sharpless at the Scripps Research Institute working on click chemistry. In 2005, he moved to the Department of Chemistry at the University of South Florida as an assistant professor. His current research focuses mainly on organic chemistry and chemical biology addressing modern aspects of medicinal chemistry, hit-to-lead progression strategies, and development of chemical probes for the study of specific proteins in complex biological matrices.

Dr. Bill Baker earned his BS in chemistry from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA, and studied under Paul Scheuer at the University of Hawaii where he earned his PhD in marine natural products chemistry.  He held postdoctoral appointments with Ron Parry at Rice University and Carl Djerassi at Stanford University, joining the University of South Florida in 2001 where he is currently Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Drug Discovery and Innovation (CDDI).  He has been studying the chemistry of marine invertebrates, algae and microbiota for more than 20 years, including projects that encompass drug discovery, chemical ecology, biosynthesis and synthesis, centered on source organisms collected from environments that are understudied, such as Antarctica, and from highly productive environments such as the Florida Keys.

More about Dr. Jack Spencer:

Jack Spencer was born in 1932 in Sanford, FL, where he graduated from Seminole High School as Valedictorian.  He attended Rollins College for one year and transferred to DePauw University in Indiana, where he received his bachelor degree in Chemistry. He then went on to receive his PhD with honors in organic chemistry from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Spencer started his career as a research chemist at Lederle Company in New York and then joined Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis, where he held several management positions in research & development, quality control, and production. He is named on several Lilly patents. Jack Spencer retired from Eli Lilly and joined the Florida Southern College Chemistry Department in 1988.  At FSC, he held the Jessie Ball DuPont Chair in the Natural Sciences and retired in 2003 as an emeritus faculty.  He was a 50-year member of the American Chemical Society, and in his spare time, he cultivated prize-winning camellias.


FSC Lecture to Explore the Limits of Science and the Role of God in Nature

The Florida Center for Science and Religion at Florida Southern College will host a lecture about the nature of science and its limits by a prominent philosopher of science.

Dr. David Banach, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, will speak on “Peering Beyond the Veil: Science at its Limits and the God of the Gaps” at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 in the Hollis Room on the FSC campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Center co-director Dr. Sara Fletcher Harding said Banach’s lecture will deal with the religious implications of the “new cosmology,” which includes recent discoveries about the Big Bang, quantum physics and mathematical models of infinity.

“Some of these discoveries present a challenge to natural theology in which God is the explanatory principle,” Harding said. “Yet it’s also about the limits of what we can know.”

While visiting Florida Southern, Banach will also address the campus Philosophy Club and speak to classes. He has degrees in chemistry and philosophy, and has taught at Saint Anselm College for more than 20 years, specializing in the philosophy of biology and the history of science, especially the role of mathematics in ancient science.

The Florida Center for Science and Religion was established through funding provided by the Local Societies Initiative Grant of the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science and is currently funded by Florida Southern College. The FCSR promotes the engagement of issues in science and religion throughout central Florida.  The center sponsors annual lectures and meetings on a wide range of topics.


Lakeland Regional to Host NICU Graduate Reunion

On Saturday, October 22, Lakeland Regional Medical Center’s (LRMC) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will host a NICU Graduate Reunion from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the LRMC Auditorium at 1324 Lakeland Hills Blvd. in Lakeland.

“We are very excited to sponsor the LRMC NICU Graduate Reunion,”

said Pam Kennard, BSN, RNC, NICU Manager.  “The NICU staff becomes very attached to our tiny patients and their families. They leave a permanent impression on our hearts, and we are looking forward to having the opportunity to see them again.”

People of all ages who were treated in LRMC’s NICU, as well as their family members, are invited to attend the event, as the NICU staff would like to celebrate the health and growth of each patient.

As the area’s largest Level II NICU, LRMC is specially equipped to care for newborns as small as 2.2 pounds. Our on-staff neonatologists work closely with our highly-trained NICU nurses and respiratory therapists to deliver the most sophisticated life-saving care in a technologically advanced, yet nurturing environment.

Equipped with the womb-like cradles of the intensive care beds, premature and at-risk newborns can thrive. LRMC provides Kangaroo Care that cultivates physical bonding between the baby and parents. And with the state-of-the-art Giraffe beds, NICU nurses are provided with immediate access to babies who require intense interventions, while allowing for a protected environment for premature babies. In addition, when appropriate, LRMC offers CPR instruction and sleep apnea monitor training when it’s time to go home.

For more information about or to RSVP to the NICU Graduate Reunion, please call 863-687-1400.

For more information about LRMC’s women’s and children’s services, please visit