Category Archives: Community Info & Events


Lake Wales Museum Remembers Our Veterans in May with Military Uniforms Exhibit & WWII Guest Speaker featuring Dr. Gary Mormino and 20th Century Military Collections

Military Exhibit Flyer-page-001LAKE WALES, Florida –  The Lake Wales Museum & Cultural Center will host a new exhibit, “Military Uniforms from the Twentieth Century: An Exhibit Remembering Our Veterans,” from May 3 – June 9, 2018, and will feature a talk entitled “Florida and World War II,” by special guest speaker, Dr. Gary Mormino on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 6 p.m.

To honor and learn from our veterans, the Lake Wales Museum will host an exhibit of original uniforms, weaponry, insignia, medals and other objects from military history.  “Military Uniforms from the Twentieth Century: An Exhibit Remembering Our Veterans” includes objects on display from the Lake Wales Museum’s permanent collection of military items, pieces on loan from the community, and are interpreted by the museum curator, Bartholomew Delcamp.  Some items have never been on display before.

“I’m so excited to have put this exhibit together with an array of items from the museum’s own permanent collection,” states Bartholomew Delcamp, curator at the museum.  “People can learn about Lake Wales’ residents from the past who served in the military.  For example, Mr. Lee Roy Horton, Jr., who served in WWII, along with his three younger brothers, flew bombers as part of the Flying Tigers, and his Army Air Force uniform will be on display.”

To learn more about Florida’s history in World War II, join us for a talk and discussion with renowned professor, writer, author, historian and speaker, Dr. Gary Mormino, on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 6 p.m.  Dr. Mormino will talk about how on eve of Pearl Harbor, Florida was the smallest state in the South. Today, Florida is a Sunbelt mega state, and WWII was the lynchpin. The war galvanized Floridians, resulting in the influx of two million servicemen. WWII also ignited a modern civil rights movement, new roles for women, and the dawn of the Florida Dream.

Dr. Mormino is the Frank E. Duckwall Florida Professor of History Emeritus at USF St. Petersburg. He is a frequent contributor to the Tampa Bay Times and has written several books, including “Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida” and was awarded the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing by the Florida Humanities Council. If you aren’t a historian but need someone to put an event into an interesting Florida perspective, ask Gary. Everyone does, including reporters from the New York Times, the New Yorker and National Public Radio.

The program and exhibit are made possible by the City of Lake Wales and sponsored in part by Visit Central Florida and the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the Florida Department State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

The talk and exhibit are free of charge.  Please RSVP to the Lake Wales Museum at 863.676.1759.

About the Florida’s Humanities Council

The Florida Humanities Council sponsors community based projects, facilitates important conversations among Floridians, and shines a spotlight on Florida’s history, art, and culture.  Established in 1973, we are an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For over forty years we have developed and funded public programs that tell the stories of both Florida and those unique individuals that call this state their home.  For more information, visit

About the Lake Wales Museum & Cultural Center

The Lake Wales Museum & Cultural Center is open Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is free.  Parking is free and the first floor is accessible for persons with disabilities, wheelchairs and strollers.  For more information contact the Lake Wales Museum, 325 S Scenic Highway, Lake Wales, Florida 33853; 863-676-1759 or visit


Lifesaving Complex Stroke and Neurologic Care Now Available in Polk County at Lakeland Regional Health

Lakeland, FL – Patients needing complex lifesaving neuro-interventional procedures for conditions that previously required transportation to hospitals outside Polk County can now receive immediate treatment at Lakeland Regional Health’s new Biplanar NeuroInterventional Suite.

In addition, Lakeland Regional Health is pleased to announce its Stroke Center, first certified in 2008, is newly designated as a Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Agency for Health Care Administration. The Agency for Health Care Administration developed this advanced certification for those hospitals that have specific abilities to receive and treat the most complex cases.

“Our patients look to us for safe and effective care,” said Elaine C. Thompson, PhD, FACHE, Lakeland Regional Health President and CEO. “We honor that trust by investing in our team and in the latest technology. We are so proud of the exceptional physicians, nurses, clinicians and team members working closely together to ensure that patients with complex neurologic conditions receive the highest caliber of care.”

“We are pleased to receive this important recognition of our Stroke Center’s clinical excellence,” said Timothy J. Regan, MD, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center President and Lakeland Regional Health Chief Medical Officer. “As a Comprehensive Stroke Center, patients and their families are assured they can expect the best outcomes and safest, timeliest care.”

This high level of certification recognizes the significant difference in resources, staff and training necessary for the treatment of complex stroke cases. To earn this certification, LRH Medical Center was required to meet rigorous standards, including:

  • Physicians and other specialists trained in vascular (blood vessel), neurology, neurosurgery and endovascular treatments.
  • Experience and knowledge treating patients with complex types of stroke.
  • Dedicated neurointensive care unit for complex stroke patients.
  • Participation in stroke research.

“Families should know that their loved ones are receiving world-class stroke care at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center,” said Gabriel Pantol, MD, board-certified Watson Clinic Neurologist who serves as Medical Director of Lakeland Regional Health’s stroke program. “One key facet of this new designation is the establishment of a state-of-the-art Biplanar NeuroInterventional Suite, where minimally invasive radiology procedures can now be used to treat more complex strokes and neurological conditions.”

Leading the Biplanar team is highly accomplished Neurosurgeon Tsz Lau, MD, of the USF/LRH Neurosciences Center in Lakeland. In addition to completing a Fellowship in Skull Base and Cerebrovascular Surgery, Dr. Lau is Fellowship-trained in Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology and is an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. Highly specialized Neuro-interventional Radiologists like Dr. Lau are experts in these types of radiology treatments, using imaging equipment to see into the body and guide their procedures.

“This new technology now allows physicians to perform more complex neuro-interventional cases, such as stroke, brain tumors, cerebral aneurysms and other conditions of the central nervous system,” said Dr. Lau. “Patients treated using biplanar technology are likely to experience shorter recovery times, less pain and less complications.”

Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center treated 677 stroke cases in 2017. These new capabilities will make nearby emergency care available for even more residents in and near Polk County.

“Every second is crucial when it comes to responding to possible strokes,” said Dr. Paul Banerjee, Medical Director of Polk County Fire Rescue/Emergency Medical Services. “Families and physicians can have peace of mind knowing their loved ones won’t need to be transported outside of the county.”

In addition to its Comprehensive Stroke Center recognition, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center has operated a Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center since 2008. The Stroke Center at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center also is consistently recognized with the Get With the Guidelines Target Stroke Honor Roll Gold Plus award by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.

Stroke occurs when a blood vessel bringing oxygen and blood to the brain becomes blocked or ruptures. Deprived of oxygen, nerve cells stop working and the part of the body they control stops functioning as well. Warning signs of stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

About Lakeland Regional Health

Not-for-profit Lakeland Regional Health reaches beyond its hospital walls to promote wellness, education and discovery in new places and new ways, providing a wide range of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services at its Medical Center, Hollis Cancer Center and ambulatory care locations. Lakeland Regional Health earned Most Wired Advanced and Most Wired status four times since 2013 from the American Hospital Association and has earned workplace awards from Forbes, Gallup and Becker’s Hospital Review. Its 849-bed comprehensive tertiary referral hospital, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, operates a Level II Trauma Center, a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Bannasch Institute for Advanced Rehabilitation Medicine and the nation’s busiest single site Emergency Department.


Community Invited to Celebrate Opening of Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children on June 2

Lakeland, FL – Lakeland Regional Health invites the community to be an important part of the inauguration of the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children at a Grand Opening Celebration being held on Saturday, June 2, from 9 a.m. to noon. Admission is free, and guests should enter through the Pavilion’s First Floor Lobby on the Medical Center Campus, 1324 Lakeland Hills Blvd.

Festivities include a Teddy Bear Clinic, guided tours, family cooking demonstrations, yoga for expectant and new moms, games, DJ, refreshments, face painting, and more. All guests will take home special keepsakes of this momentous occasion. A welcome, benediction and several special surprises will take place beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Families and individuals of all ages are invited to come out and learn more about the women’s and children’s healthcare services offered by Lakeland Regional Health.

The eight-story Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children includes approximately 350,000 square feet of inpatient and outpatient space on the south side of the Medical Center Campus and is the largest hospital expansion to date. The Pavilion will be home to the County’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a dedicated Children’s Emergency Department. Its spacious and spa-like rooms were designed with careful consideration for the specific needs of the women and children receiving care.

About Lakeland Regional Health

Not-for-profit Lakeland Regional Health reaches beyond its hospital walls to promote wellness, education and discovery in new places and new ways, providing a wide range of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services at its Medical Center, Hollis Cancer Center and ambulatory care locations. Lakeland Regional Health earned Most Wired Advanced and Most Wired status four times since 2013 from the American Hospital Association and has earned workplace awards from Forbes, Gallup and Becker’s Hospital Review. Its 849-bed comprehensive tertiary referral hospital, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, operates a Level II Trauma Center, a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Bannasch Institute for Advanced Rehabilitation Medicine and the nation’s busiest single site Emergency Department.


Tourism Marketing Meeting to Feature Latin America Marketing Specialist on May 10

Auburndale, FL (May 4, 2018) – Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing (PCTSM) will host the next Tourist Development Council (TDC) Marketing Committee Meeting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 10, 2018.

Victor Manjarres, President of TM Latin America, will be the featured guest speaker. Manjarres, who has nearly 30 years of experience in the tourism industry, will discuss his company’s strategies to promote Polk County as a tourist destination to Latin America markets. TM Latin America has extensive experience in marketing, sales, communications, public relations, brand positioning and e-commerce in the tourism sector in the major markets of Latin America including Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina, with presence throughout the entire region.  Latin America is one of the fastest growing international markets in the travel and tourism industry and Central Florida is one of the top vacation destinations for Latin Americans. Manjarres will present an overview of this market and how PCTSM is targeting this audience and how businesses can capture more visitors from Latin America.

The meeting will be held in the PCTSM conference room located at Lake Myrtle Sports Park, 2701 Lake Myrtle Park Road, Auburndale.  Industry professionals are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Kris Keprios at 863-551-4750 or     


About Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing:

Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing (known nationally as Visit Central Florida), is the official destination marketing organization for Polk County, Florida, and specializes in helping visitors plan a fun-filled Central Florida vacation.


05-15-18 Phantom of the Youkey TheaterFB

Networking with the Phantom of Youkey Theater

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (May 2, 2018) — You won’t want to miss this romantic and mysterious Business After Hours on Tuesday night, May 15, 2018. The RP Funding Center presents The Phantom of the Youkey Theater for one night only! Enjoy wonderful hors d’oeuvres, libations, and over 200 fellow member-investors. The classic black & white silent film, The Phantom of the Opera, will be playing as guests explore the Youkey Theater in hopes of catching a glimpse of the rumored Phantom of the Youkey Theater!

The party is starting earlier this month since we could not wait until our traditional Thursday to hold the event. So, please join us on Tuesday! We encourage you to adjust your schedule to attend this special event.

“The team and I at RP Funding Center are excited to host Business After Hours for a second year. We believe we have put together a Phantom of the Opera evening that will allow Chamber members to network and socialize in a special setting,” comments Tony Camarillo, Executive Director of the RP Funding Center.

The historic centerpiece of the RP Funding Center is the 2,226 seat Youkey Theater. The theater is named for Robert Youkey, former Lakeland City Manager, who had the vision to build the Lakeland Center for his community. The theater is home to the annual Broadway & Special engagements; the Imperial Symphony Orchestra; and is ideally suited for dance events, plays and concerts. The theater also offers the flexibility for meetings and general sessions and other corporate events.

05-15-18 Phantom of the Youkey TheaterFB

The Phantom of the Opera is a 1925 American silent horror film adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, directed by Rupert Julian and starring Lon Chaney, Sr. in the title role of the disfigured Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House, causing murder and mayhem in an attempt to make the woman he “loves” a star. The film remains most famous for Chaney’s ghastly, self-devised make-up, which was kept a studio secret until the film’s premiere. The film was released on November 25, 1925.

Before you enter the Youkey Theater, please take time to meet the teen CEOs from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk County (YEA! Polk). They will be displaying their product and services and are excited to meet with you. You won’t want to miss this! Meet new contacts! Reconnect with fellow members!

Name: Business After Hours with The Phantom of the Youkey Theater

Register Now:

Location: RP Funding Center, 701 W Lime St, Lakeland, FL 33815

Date/Time Information:  Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm EDT

Contact Information:  Katie McBride (863) 688-8551 ext 236, or

Fees/Admission:  $10 investors | $30 non-members


RP Funding Center

Central Florida’s premiere entertainment, sports and convention venue offers loads of indoor entertainment, and is within walking distance of downtown Lakeland’s unique shopping and dining options.

Arena, Theater, Exhibit Hall and Conference Center

The RP Funding Center is the only multipurpose facility in Central Florida with four distinct venues under one roof: the 10,000-seat George Jenkins Arena, 2,186-seat Youkey Theater, 28,000-square feet Exhibit Hall, and 34,000-square feet Conference Center.

Broadway Series

Theatre lovers enjoying a Central Florida vacation will enjoy The RP Funding Center’s annual Broadway Series, featuring five nationally touring productions. Enjoy upbeat musicals, on the edge-of-your-seat dramas and timeless classics. Locals who subscribe to their Broadway Series Subscription Package receive entrance into all five shows, free parking, priority seating, special discounts and 10 percent off pre-show dining.

Entertainment Series

The RP Funding Center’s annual Entertainment Series brings down the house with thrilling live concerts, ballets, standup comedy, dance performances and more.

Famous groups and performers who have and will take part in the entertainment series include The Tenors, Neil Sedaka, various Dancing with the Stars alumni, America’s Got Talent winner Jackie Evancho and Kathy Griffin.

Lakeland Pro Rodeo Classic

If you’re lucky enough to be in town for the Lakeland Pro Rodeo Classic, you must go. Professional cowboys and cowgirls compete for cash, shiny gold buckles, and most importantly, the title of champion – it’s a boot scootin’ good time.

Public Ice Skating

One of the coolest things to do at The RP Funding Center in November and December is ice skating. Dates are scheduled to coincide with Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, and sometimes summer vacation.


Annual favorites for Central Florida visitors include Collectorama, featuring collectibles including currency, knives, watches more; Buckler Arts & Craft Show, which occurs in the summer and fall; The Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in the winter; Snowbird Extravaganza, which features 50,000 sq. ft. of vendors and entertainment; the Log & Timber Home Show and Lakeland VW Classic, which is held outdoors and features multiple vendors and a parts swap. The RP Funding Center also hosts multiple knife and gun shows each year, and the occasional boating and hunting expo.

Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

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.