Category Archives: Member Announcements


Southeastern University Officialy Opens New “Front Door”

Lakeland mayor Gow Fields cut the ceremonial ribbon April 23rd to officially open what one administrator termed Southeastern University’s new “front door ” – the new and improved 4/10-mile portion of Longfellow Boulevard along the campus’s west side and the new two-story, stately looking, lighted twin gateways on each side of the road’s south end at North Crystal Lake Drive.

An estimated 75 people attended the brief ceremony, including the university’s governing Board of Regents.

After thanking Southeastern “for being a great institution and a great addition to this community,” the mayor said, “I want to also thank you for letting your light so shine brightly as a testimony to the Lord and all that He has done for all of us, whether we know it or not. And thank you for this great entrance. This is beautiful! It really sets you apart.”

Longfellow reopened to traffic in early March, about 12 months after construction began. More than 3,000 linear feet of underground storm-water system improvements were made, to properly treat and transport storm water to Little Lake Bonny on the road’s west side. The road was widened to include three left-turn lanes, a 425-foot-long by 12-foot-wide beautifully landscaped median, and a pedestrian crossing. Sidewalks were added on both sides of Longfellow, along with a decorative fence, aesthetic lighting, landscaping and Queen Palm trees.

All of this was part of a bigger project that encompassed about 10 acres and is projected to cost about $3 million. Still under construction is a lighted parking lot for 281 vehicles on the west side of Longfellow between Little Lake Bonny and North Crystal Lake Drive. It is expected to be completed by this summer.

Marveling at the beauty and functionality of the new gateways and road, the university’s chancellor, Tommy Barnett, told the group that gathered for the ceremony Friday morning, “This is not only a beautiful entrance, but it’s an entrance to new things and to a new life” for many of the students who come to live and study here.

John Kautz, Vice President for Finance and Administration, spoke next: “While not as costly as most of the projects that the university has built over the past 11 years, the Longfellow project has definitely been the most visible. Because it is the front door to our campus, not only has it been of interest to our campus community, but it has also captured the attention of the many people who drive through here every day. This project sets an expectation of excellence that we think visitors will find in every area of the university, from academics to student life to student services.”

The Longfellow project is part of the university’s master plan which has already spurred numerous improvements throughout the 87-acre campus during the past decade. That plan also calls for at least two other major additions in the foreseeable future, both three stories tall and approximately 40,000 square feet: a building to house the College of Christian Ministries, and an Executive Leadership Center that includes administrative offices, meeting rooms, a lecture hall and classrooms.

Affiliated with the Assemblies of God, Southeastern University is one of the fastest-growing Christian universities in the country with almost 3,000 students and more than 400 employees. It is a private, liberal arts institution accredited to offer 45 programs leading to bachelor’s degrees and eight programs leading to master’s degrees.


All American Fire & Safety Partners With Local Non-Profit

All American Fire & Safety | (863) 838-5573

8240 US Highway 98 North

All American Fire & Safety, Inc is proud to announce they have contracted with Peace River Center (PRC) and Image Creations by Billie, Inc. to provide a split transitional employment position (TEP) for members of CLUB SUCCESS.

CLUB SUCCESS is a rehabilitation club for people with mental illnesses where real-life job skills are taught and used to achieve “meaningful work” as a contributing member of society. Temporary TEPs are negotiated with local businesses to provide members with the opportunity to learn responsibility develop self-esteem and communicate effectively while working in a professional environment.

The newly contracted TEP will be split between All American Fire and Safety, Inc. and Image Creations by Billie, Inc., which is mutually owned by husband and wife duo, Chris and Billie Porche.

Time spent at All American Fire and Safety, Inc. will require members to assist with fire extinguisher inspection and sales, and duties at Image Creations by Billie, Inc. will include helping with various screen and banner printing jobs.

The new TEP will begin in late April and is expected to be a favorite among club members. If you or anyone you know is interested in being a TEP provider please contact Luis Rivas at 863-413-3267.

All American Fire & Safety, Inc. opened in March of 2010 to help promote awareness of the fire safety codes for small businesses. “It is something that all small and large businesses must comply with, but very few understand what they must do to be compliant. This is where All American excels according to the owner, Chris Porche. They will travel to the customer’s location and inspect their fire extinguishers and safety lighting annually, perform any necessary maintenance and make sure they are and stay in compliance with the life safety codes. Chris has been in the fire equipment business for over 25 years and likes to share his experience with his customers. They will train your staff to use a fire extinguisher, and even provide live fire training for your staff.


Capture Market Share Now! Stinson Home Design Hosts Workshop

Waiting for the economy to rebound may be the worst decision your company can make. Not only are we experiencing an extreme economic slowdown, but a dramatic change in demographics and communication. The new profitable business model will no longer resemble what we had in the past; your business survival will depend on your understanding and your ability to adapt to this new environment. Join us with business visionary Lisbeth Calandrino, author of Red Hot Customer Service, as she shares her understandings and solutions for your business.

Come, get energized and go home ready to make valuable changes!

Lisbeth Calandrino has over 25 years in the flooring industry as a trainer, past flooring retailer, and Director of Consumer Research/ Sales for Fabulous Floors Magazine. Like the rest of us she has had to embrace new technology in order to enhance her knowledge and build her business. She hosts a business radio show; Sunday mornings from 10-11 on Albany Talk 1300AM, called Red Hot Customer Service which is archived on You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and offering business tips from her blog, the Lizbizbuzz.

Stinson Home Design Center

2315 Commerce Point Drive, Suite 130

April 28 | 5:30pm – 7:00pm

Retooling Your Business to Capture Market Share

For Information, please contact Mark Watson: (863) 665-4434 or by email at


Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of Polk County to Host First Annual “Warrior Walk”

On Saturday, July 31 2010 the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of Polk County in conjunction with the Polk County Veteran’s Council will  host the first annual “Warrior Walk” to honor and pay tribute to the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice during Operations Iraqi or Enduring Freedom. This event is part of an ongoing effort to inform, educate and empower the community to learn more about our local fallen heroes who have given their lives in the name of Freedom, and to support those who are still serving.

The Patriotic Ceremony will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church on Lake Hollingsworth located at 175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive. The ceremony will provide special focus to those who have been killed in action.

Immediately following the ceremony participants will walk in honor of a fallen hero on a 2.7 mile track around beautiful Lake Hollingsworth.

Wear your red, white and blue and come out to show your support and patriotism. All veterans, veterans organizations, families of veterans, employers of veterans and supporters of veterans are invited to attend and participate.

We are also in need of event t-shirt sponsors. For more information or if you would like to sponsor, please contact Melissa Sanchez at or 863-899-9700.

For more information, please visit:


Polk County Water School Available as Online Webinar

The University of Florida/IFAS Polk County Extension Service is sponsoring its biennial water school for decision makers entitled “Water 2010: Challenges and Opportunities for a New Decade,” beginning Thursday, April 22. The seven-session course is intended to provide decision makers, community leaders, and private citizens with factual information about Polk County’s water resources and to encourage improved public policy decision making relative to water issues in the county.

The school includes five classroom sessions to be held from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on April 22, May 6, May 13, May 20 and June 3.

The first session will be held at the Polk County Utilities Training Room in Winter Haven; the next three will be at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, and the final session at the W.H. Stuart Conference Center at 1710 U.S. Highway 17 South, in Bartow.

Additionally, two day-long tours (on April 29 and May 27) will explore the Peace River watershed, from Polk County to Charlotte Harbor.All sessions are free and open to the public; however, registration is required.

For more information or to register call the Extension office at 863-519-8677, ext. 112.

NEW THIS YEAR! Anyone interested in learning more about the issues addressed in the Water School, but who cannot attend the courses in person, may participate online during a free interactive webinar. The webinar includes live video of the presentations, along with a dialogue window to submit questions or comments. No pre-registration is required to view the sessions online. Simply log onto one of the participating host sites from 3:00-5:30 p.m. on April 22, April 29, May 6, May 13, May 20, May 27 and June 3. Host sites include:,,,,,,, and

Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in the Water School is asked to advise the Extension Office at least 72 hours prior to the session by contacting Karen Anderson-Grafstrom at 863-519-8677. Extension educational programs are available to Polk County citizens on a non-discriminatory basis.