Category Archives: Announcements


Monday is Last Day for Walk-In Voting

Registered voters in the cities of Lakeland and Winter Haven who are unable to get to their polling location on Municipal Run-Off Election Day, or who simply prefer the convenience of voting in advance, can do so through Monday, December 4th, according to Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards.

All eligible voters may cast a ballot at any Walk-in Voting location in Polk County.  Please be sure to bring photo and signature identification.

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

Walk-in Voting Locations and Hours

Bartow                                                8:30 am – 4 pm           Monday – Friday

Election Headquarters                        10 am – 2 pm              Saturday

250 S Broadway Avenue

Lakeland                                             8:30 am – 4 pm           Monday – Friday

Polk County Government Center        10 am – 2 pm              Saturday

930 E Parker Street

Winter Haven                                    8:30 am – 4 pm           Monday – Friday

Elections Operations Center               10 am – 2 pm              Saturday

70 Florida Citrus Blvd



The Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk County is in full session and students are endeavoring to fine tune their business ideas before January when the second phase of the Academy begins. In October, students kicked off class with a pizza party and ice breaker games at Southeastern University and ended the class with brainstorming ideas based on the students’ skills and passions. The class ended with a presentation by Dr. Daryl Ward, Harrison School of the Arts, about asking the “right” questions and the power of “Combinatorial Thinking.”







Mr. Patrick Dooley, Instructor for phase 1 of the Academy

The second class, the students – along with Instructor Patrick Dooley, a certified mentor with Central Florida SCORE – toured the campus of Florida Polytechnic University and continued brainstorming ideas with the guidance of Jason Heacock, Entrepreneurship Center Coordinator at Florida Poly, including a game called “Idea Jab” that encourages creative teamwork to fulfill a need for a specific market.







Students on Florida Polytechnic University fieldtrip

The students continue to work on their businesses and its feasibility – learning about market research, surveys, SWOT analysis, and strategy and implementation (product, price, place, and promotion) and the importance of creating a prototype and / or proof of concept for their business ideas. They were also introduced to the Business Plan and the importance of it.

Between the Thanksgiving and winter holidays, students will take a field trip to Jet’s Pizza of Lakeland to learn about food franchises and the food & beverage industry; discover financing strategies, design concepts, and legal services for small businesses with guest speaker Steve Aycock of Cygnet IP Law.

The 2017-18 academic year culminates with the Shark Tank Investor Panel in April and the Trade Show at the Lakeland Chamber Business After Hours in May.

The 2017-18 academic class consists of 14 students representing ages 12 to 18; five females, and 9 males; and, from all over Polk County. Schools represented include All Saints Academy, Haines City High School, Highlands Christian Academy, Lake Wales IB, Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, Mulberry High School, Polk State Gateway to College Collegiate High School, and Thomas Christian Academy.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, a chapter of the Lakeland Chamber, is only the fifth chapter in Florida. LkldTV captures the magic of the program in their video from last year’s trade show:

The YEA! Polk Sponsors – Allen & Company of Florida, Inc, Citrus Center Kiwanis, and Maximize Digital – and, the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce are helping to build the next generation of business leaders in Polk County.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a 30-week program for students, ages 11-18, where students start and run their own business and form connections with community leaders. The program will feature guest speakers from businesses and five field trips. The program has three main sections: the big idea, the pitch and the launch. In the big idea phase, students brainstorm ideas, explore their passions, and learn how to evaluate a business opportunity.



The Florida Association of Chamber Professionals (FACP) recognized Florida’s top chambers of commerce throughout the state for their outstanding achievement and dedication to the industry. The awards were presented at the organization’s Annual Conference, held November 14-16, 2017, at the beautiful One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach.

Among the recognition given were the Certified Plus Designations. In, 2003, FACP implemented the distinction of Florida Certified Chamber to recognize standards of professional excellence in Florida. In 2012, the association enhanced its certification program to include a Certified Plus designation, for chambers of commerce that score an 86 or above during the judging process or are an Accredited Chamber through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Both the Certified and Certified Plus designations recognize chambers that have met high standards and strengthened free enterprise by protecting the business environment.

This year, Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce and South Tampa Chamber of Commerce received the Certified Plus Chamber status. The Lakeland, Putnam County, Daytona Regional and Winter Haven Chambers of Commerce are Accredited Chambers of Commerce through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the South Tampa Chamber is a newly-Certified Plus chamber.

This year’s inductees join a long list of Certified and Certified Plus Chambers in Florida, representing the pinnacle standards of excellence in Organization Management, Service Intent and Capacity, Professional Administration, Financial Management, and Marketing/Public Relations. For a complete list, please visit and search under the Member Directory tab.

“The Florida Association of Chamber Professionals congratulates the recipients of this prestigious distinction,” said Tammy C. Bracewell, President of FACP.  “We are proud of each Chamber’s dedication and commitment to excellence within the business community.  The Certified Chamber of Commerce program sets standards within the industry and recognizes chambers that have met those standards while offering guidelines for those to improve their effectiveness.  In many ways, it is like the good housekeeping seal of approval for a chamber of commerce.”

The Certified Chamber of Commerce program is designed to promote the public awareness of the intent of the Chamber of Commerce brand as a not for profit community development based business membership organization.

FACP is a statewide organization whose mission is “Advancing excellence in chamber management” and whose vision is “Enhancing Florida’s business communities by cultivating successful chamber professionals.”

For more information, contact Tammy Bracewell, President, FACP, at 1-800-226-3269 or via email


Polk County Marine Corp Reserve Toys For Tots Program

The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program of Polk County, Florida, in conjunction with the United States Postal Service, is pleased to announce the 2017 Postal Toy Drive. The toy drive will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017. Citizens wishing to donate a new, unwrapped toy to the Toys for Tots program are asked to leave the toys in a bag at their mailboxes. Postal employees working in the neighborhoods will pick up the toys and then deliver them to the Toys for Tots program

In 2016, this extremely successful program resulted in over 4,000 toys being donated to Toys for Tots!

The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program is a nonprofit program involved in providing toys for underprivileged children in Polk County. In 2016, over 8,800 children received toys from Toys for Tots. The success of the program is a result of community and volunteer efforts in Polk County.

For further information please contact David Waller, Coordinator, at 863-292-8687