Category Archives: Community Info & Events


USF Poly Supports Polk County Second Graders with Free Trip to LEGOLAND

A group of Valleyview Elementary students got a sweet surprise today when they found out they will be among the first class of Polk County second-graders to receive a free field trip to LEGOLAND® Florida next school year, compliments of University of South Florida Polytechnic. LEGOLAND Florida, Central Florida’s newest theme park opens on October 15, 2011 and will be a 150-acre interactive park dedicated to families with children ages 2-12.

More than 120 excited first-graders crowded into the school’s library this morning to hear the special announcement from USF Polytechnic Regional Chancellor Dr. Marshall Goodman, who explained why the university is funding the program.

“The United States faces stiff global competition from China, India and other countries that emphasize science and technology,” said Goodman.  “As Florida’s first and only public polytechnic, our programs have a particular emphasis on science and technology while providing multi-disciplinary, applied learning and research experiences to prepare our graduates for the jobs of the future. We must engage students early in math and science, and keep them engaged, so they are prepared for these highly-skilled fields later. Through our partnership with LEGOLAND Florida and Polk County Schools, we hope to inspire these young minds through their experience at the park and the associated curriculum that will be introduced in their classrooms.”

USF Polytechnic will underwrite the cost of field-trip admission for second grade classes in Polk County public schools beginning in November 2011.  Advance reservations are required and classes must travel together during normal school hours under the supervision of their teachers.  Qualified public elementary schools in Polk County can make reservations beginning June 7 by calling (877) 350-LEGO (5346).

“What a wonderful surprise for these students,” said Polk County Schools Superintendent Sherrie Nickell.  “Second grade is when students start to go beyond the fundamentals and discover the interrelationships between math and science.  It’s the perfect age to really engage their minds and what better way to get their attention than immersing them in imaginative play at LEGOLAND Florida.”

Florida Learning Programs to be Offered Year-Round

LEGOLAND Florida will offer year-round learning programs for students of all ages.  One such program is “Amazing Machines,” which teaches students ages 8-12 how simple machines work through pulleys, levers and gears.  Students participating in the program will build a motorized model and be sent on a chaperoned scavenger hunt throughout the park to identify simple machines at work in the many rides and attractions.

“We’re building an educational program rooted in kids’ love of play and especially their natural affinity for the LEGO® brand,” said LEGOLAND Florida Director of Sales and Marketing Kim Isemann.  “In fact, whether kids are involved in a school-sponsored program or simply visiting with their families, they’ll have lots of learning opportunities throughout their visit.”

Isemann cites places like LEGOLAND Florida’s Imagination Zone, which emphasizes hands-on exploring and creation.  Here kids can build a LEGO car and compete against other racers on a digitally timed track test.  They can also build and test program cutting-edge, computerized robots.

“We’re working on a whole host of other programs custom-built for school-age children and expect to roll those out as the next school year gets started,” said Isemann.

For more information about LEGOLAND Florida K-6 educational programs, visit


Florida Redistricting Public Hearing Date Announced

Every ten years, after each Census, the Florida Legislature is required to redraw the districts from which voters elect their public officials. The districts are redrawn to accommodate population changes and to ensure equal representation among the district populations. In 2012, the Legislature will begin the work of redrawing the Florida House, Florida Senate, and Congressional district maps.

Because this process affects how you are represented in both your State and Federal government, the public is invited to provide their thoughts, ideas, and feedback on this process. With your assistance, the Legislature can ensure the adoption of fully compliant redistricting plans with all legal requirements and of fair and meaningful representation for all voters in the State of Florida.

Please visit or to learn more. The Lakeland Public Hearing will be held on Wednesday, July 25 from 2:00-5:00 p.m.* (or until completion) at Polk State College.


US Congressman Connie Mack to Speak at FSC

United States Congressman Connie Mack is scheduled to speak to Florida Southern College students and faculty on Thursday, June 9 at 10:00 a.m.  The event will be held in the Eleanor Searle Drawing Room in Joseph-Reynolds Hall and is open to the public.  Seating is limited and reservations are required. Interested persons should contact Julie Middleton at 863-680-3891 for more information.

Congressman Connie Mack (R-14) serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and as chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.  Under Congressman Mack’s leadership, the subcommittee focuses on developing and improving free trade agreements in South America and opening up new markets for U.S. companies. He is currently working to establish trade agreements with Panama and Colombia in an effort to strengthen the economy and promote political stability in the region.  Congressman Mack also serves as a member on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.


Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Training Announced for July

Guardian ad Litem Program, The Voice for Florida’s Abused & Neglected Children

Everyday, abused and neglected children in our community are removed from their homes because their parents cannot or will not take care of them. The Guardian ad Litem becomes a powerful voice for the “best interest” of these children in court.

For information please call Diane Schmelz at 863-534-4605 or checkout our website at

Our next training starts in July, and consists of a total four (4) sessions.

Tuesday,              July 26th 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm      or      5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Thursday,            July 28th 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm      or      5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Saturday,             July 30th 8:30 am – 2:30 pm

Tuesday,             August 9th 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm – includes court observation



Harley-Davidson® of Lakeland announced recently that they will be holding a Disaster Relief Charity Event in conjunction with a Customer Swap Meet and Sidewalk Event beginning at 10am on Saturday, June 18, 2011. The event will be held at the dealership, located at 4202 Lakeland Hills Blvd., Lakeland, FL. All proceeds from vendor registration, special t-shirt sales and planned activities will be donated to a 501(c) non-profit organization specifically set up to benefit the employees of Cycle Connection Harley-Davidson®, who were deeply impacted by the recent natural disasters that ravaged Joplin, MO.

The dealership is currently seeking donated items to be included in giveaways that will be held throughout the day. “We feel strongly about providing relief for the families in our sister dealership in Joplin,” stated Bill Monts de Oca, Vice President of Harley-Davidson® of Lakeland. “One of their team tragically lost his life, and several team members lost their homes to the tornados. We invite the community to come together and show their support for these hurting families,” concluded Monts de Oca.

The day’s events will also include a Customer Swap Meet and a Sidewalk Event. The dealership is inviting local vendors as well as individual sellers to participate. Registration is $25.00 for vendors and $10.00 for individuals. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. Space will be reserved on a first come, first serve basis. “We’re encouraging all types of vendors and individuals to participate,” said Rachel King, Marketing Manager for Harley-Davidson® of Lakeland. “We’d love to see an abundance of community involvement!” Vendors are encouraged to donate a portion of their proceeds, but are not required to do so. All vendor registration fees will be donated.

The dealership is offering financing assistance through their Seller Assist Program for individuals seeking to sell their motorcycles. Individuals may sell any make and model, though financing is through Harley-Davidson® Credit Corporation and is limited to Harley-Davidson® motorcycles. There is a $10.00 registration fee for individuals wishing to set up and sell their motorcycles, which will also be donated.

To participate or donate giveaway items contact Rachel King at 863-802-1971 or at The event is open to the public. There is no entry fee to attend.