Category Archives: Announcements


Polk County Seeking Volunteers for Citizen Boards

Polk County is seeking interested individuals to serve as regular and alternate members on two volunteer citizen boards: the Planning Commission (PC) and the Board of Adjustment (BOA).  Volunteers for citizen boards must reside in Polk County.  All applicants will be considered as positions on each board become available.

The PC reviews applications for Planned Developments, Conditional Uses, Comprehensive Plan Amendments, District Changes and Land Development Code Text Amendments.  The PC normally meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 9:00 a.m. in the Board Room at the Neil Combee Administration Building at 330 West Church Street in Bartow.

The BOA reviews applications for Variances to setback requirements, Special Exceptions for commercial truck parking, and Temporary Special Exceptions for mobile homes for medical hardship.  The BOA normally meets on the fourth Thursday of the month at 1:30 PM in the Board Room at the Neil Combee Administration Building at 330 West Church Street in Bartow.

Any interested person may be appointed to one of the citizen boards; however, whenever practical, each board should include members representing each of the following areas:

a.         An AICP-certified planner;
b.         A licensed professional engineer, surveyor and mapper, architect, or landscape architect;
c.         A natural or environmental specialist;
d.         A farmer, rancher, or extension agent, or an individual involved in other aspects of agriculture; and
e.         A business person, which may include a licensed realtor, licensed general contractor, or subcontractor.

Any interested person should submit a resume by June 17, 2010 including daytime phone number and address of residence, to:

Todd Vargo, AICP
Land Development Division
330 W. Church Street
Drawer GM03
PO Box 9005
Bartow, FL  33831-9005

Please indicate if you prefer to serve on a particular board; otherwise, volunteers may be considered for either board.


Leadership Lakeland Class XXVII Graduates 30

On Thursday, May 13, Leadership Lakeland, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce’s premier professional development program, honored 30 graduates. Each member of the 27th Leadership Lakeland class participated in a grueling year-long curriculum that included overnight retreats and full-day events designed to showcase the inner workings of the Lakeland Community. Congratulations to:

For photos fromt he event, visit The Ledger’s site.


5/25 Crime Prevention Workshops Offered as Interactive Webcast

Polk’s Government Television (PGTV), in partnership with Orange County Public Safety, offers a live interactive webcast of several presentations from the 25th National Conference on Preventing Crime in the Black Community, Friday, May 25, from the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando. The conference is hosted by the offices of Attorneys General Bill McCollum and Thurbert E. Baker and includes law enforcement representatives, activists and leaders, and members of the community committed to sharing information that will establish safer neighborhoods and promote crime prevention within the African-American community across the country.

No pre-registration is required to engage in the online sessions during the interactive webcast. The featured presentations include Q&A sessions, and online viewers are encouraged to engage in the interaction with their own questions and comments. The sessions to be webcast live are listed below:

8:30-10:00 AM – So You Think You Know the Law?
Curtis Barnes, Orange County Sheriff’s Office (Moderator); Dr. Gregory Robinson, Lakeland Police Department; Deputy Stanley Murray, Orange County Sheriff’s Office
The presentation is designed to teach students how to interact with law enforcement during traffic stops and on school campuses and will focus on some of the most frequently asked questions and provide practical answers and solutions. This session seeks to reduce the number of student encounters with law enforcement and to produce better outcomes when those encounters are inevitable.

10:15-11:45 AM – Hip Hop Culture’s Influence on Youth
Kenneth W. Jefferson, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (Moderator); Shawn D. Jackson, The Jaxsun Group, Atlanta
This session teaches essential strategies in understanding and communicating with youth who are influenced by rap music and hip hop culture, with a focus on strong terms, messages and behaviors.

12:00-2:00 PM – From the Ashes, Life Came
Lonise Bias, mother of Len and Jay Bias
Some have forgotten him over the years, and there’s a generation of children who have never heard of Len Bias. Some people say his sudden death 20 years ago changed college sports and drug use and the way society viewed both. It started with one death, and then another came. Just a few years later, Jay Bias, a basketball player like his older brother, was shot and killed. Lonise Bias knows best what the legacy of her two sons really is: “From the ashes,” she said, “life came. God has given me strength and the conviction that Len and Jay died to save other young people from drugs and violence.”

Anyone interested in learning about the conference should log onto for details and contact information. For more information about webinars hosted by PGTV and Polk County Government, call Joan Davies, Program Director of PGTV at 863-534-5997.


How to Regcognize and Handle a Mental Health Crisis

Learn how to respond to a mental health crisis during a live interactive webcast Tuesday, May 25, from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. The webinar is being hosted by NAMI Polk County, in partnership with Polk Government Television (PGTV).

Often a mental health crisis requires a coordinated response by family members, mental health professionals, law enforcement and sometimes the judicial system. A panel of  experts will discuss how to recognize the signs of someone experiencing a crisis, who to call for help, where local treatment is provided and what happens during a Baker Act proceeding.

Experts on the panel include: Judge Beth Harlan representing Florida’s Tenth Judicial Circuit, Kirk Fasshauer representing Peace River Center, Sheila Koch, representing Winter Haven Hospital, Dee Johnson, representing Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Lt. Brian Garrett representing Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Dr. Anne Tyson, representing NAMI Polk County.

For more information contact:

Cathy Hatch
Executive Director
NAMI Polk County
1090 U.S. Hwy. 17 South
Bartow, Florida 33830
Phone (863) 533-4411
This free interactive webcast requires no pre-registration or enrollment and provides a great opportunity for anyone to ask specific questions about how to access mental health services in Polk County during a crisis. All you need is a computer with internet access to log on at any of the following host sites beginning at 11:30 a.m.:,,;,,, www.max983fm.com, and For information about webinars offered through Polk’s Government Television (PGTV), visit or call (863) 534-5997.


Tell Governor Crist NO VETO for USFP funding

The Chamber Board of Directors and members of the Government Affairs Committee have been writing letters to Governor Crist urging him to keep the funding for the University of South Florida Polytechnic and the new USF Pharmacy School IN the budget.

The University of South Florida Polytechnic has been a long standing public policy priority for the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce. USFP is unquestionably one of the most important economic development projects to impact not only Lakeland, but Polk County and the greater I-4 corridor in decades, and will serve as a catalyst to attract high skill/high wage industry and jobs to our region. Information technology, manufacturing, logistics, distribution, health care and engineering– these are just a few industries that will be attracted to our area as a result of USF Polytechnic.

Now we need your help.

We need to send Governor Crist a loud message of support for USFP. Below is a letter to the Governor stating our support. I realize we are all very busy, so I have made it easy! All you have to do is fill in your name, copy it into an email and click the send button. Too complicated? Pick up the phone and call his office (850)-488-4441. Tell his staff your name, where you are from, your occupation (we want Governor Crist to know that you represent the business community) and NO VETO for USFP funding.

Find the MS Word document by clicking here.

MS Word document for Polk State College Funding.

Need help? Call Katie Daughtrey at the Chamber (863) 688-8551, Ext. 241.