LAKELAND, FL (July 25, 2018) – The City of Lakeland will be doing extensive work on Lime Street that includes a sewer main relocation project, the install of two raised cross walks and accessibility improvements for patrons visiting the RP Funding Center. A portion of Lime Street in front of the RP Funding Center will be closed for approximately two weeks during the multi-departmental construction project.  Message Boards are currently in place warning drivers about the upcoming closure.  The closure will start the morning of July 30th with the impacted area of Lime Street expected to be re-open on August 15th with detours clearly marked.

John Casey, Manager of Engineering said, “Crews will do everything possible to complete all work on or before our expected August 15th completion date with the goal to open the road back up as soon as possible.” The Lime Street entrances to Blake Academy and the Lakeland Housing Authority will be accessible but the roadway will be closed to through traffic.

The City’s Waste Water Division will relocate and extend an existing sewer line as part of the infrastructure needed for the new hotel being built adjacent to the RP Funding Center. Coinciding with that, Public Works will be working on crosswalk improvements to assist RP Funding Center attendees cross Lime Street from the south parking lot.  The crosswalk enhancements are to improve pedestrian safety. The crosswalks will be realigned, designed with high visibility reflective materials and will feature blinking solar-powered push button signage at each crosswalk approach.

Angelo Rao, Manager of Traffic Operations said, “There is a lot of work that will be going on during the two-week construction phase from two different Departments.  It is a very efficient way to meet the demands for pedestrian safety and improve the infrastructure for new construction.”  He added, “The major goal for Public Works is to enhance pedestrian safety but there will be tertiary upgrades like improved drainage that will also benefit the public.”

The City of Lakeland was incorporated January 1885 and has grown to become one of the largest inland communities in Florida.  With a current population over 100,000 Lakeland continues to grow. It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years.  With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor.  The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 115 years ago.

For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please visit www.lakelandgov.net.  Citizens are also invited to follow the City on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Snapchat and Nextdoor.  Citizens can find the City of Lakeland on these social media platforms by searching lakelandgov.


LRH Breast Surgeons Are Only Area Physicians With Valuable Hidden ScarTM Certification


Lakeland, FL – Lakeland Regional Health Breast Surgeons Toan Nguyen, MD, and Vanessa Prowler, MD, are the only physicians in the area with valuable Hidden ScarTM certification. The two fellowship-trained surgeons recently undertook special additional training to ensure that breast cancer patients do not have large, noticeable scars long after their cancer journey is over.

Using specialized technology and advanced surgical techniques of oncoplastic surgery, Dr. Nguyen and Dr. Prowler are dedicated to apply and offer the principles of oncoplastic surgery to every woman undergoing a breast procedure.

“A patient is not a disease, but rather someone who is looking for guidance to improve her health,” said Dr. Nguyen, who also serves as Medical Director of Breast Oncology for Lakeland Regional Health. “I strongly believe in tailoring a treatment that is specific to each patient, and these breast-conservation techniques allow us to provide women with more options for their breast cancer care with the goal of restoring and even enhancing the shape and function of the breasts.”

“A scar is what a patient sees every time they look in the mirror, reminding them of their cancer diagnosis,” said Dr. Prowler. “Our goal is to safely and effectively remove the breast cancer and make it look as though the patient never had breast surgery.”

This advanced technique involves limiting incisions to one of three hidden locations, tissue rearrangement techniques, and in some cases a symmetry procedure on the opposite breast in conjunction with Lakeland Regional Health Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Daniel Westawski, MD, FACS.

“When the breast looks great, patients have an easier time moving past the diagnosis,” said Dr. Prowler. “Many breast cancer survivors are negatively affected by the constant reminder of their disease through a disfiguring scar on their breast. Using advanced oncoplastic techniques, women often cannot even locate their incisions.”

Several studies of breast cancer patients, including those published in the American Journal of Psychiatry and the Journal of Clinical Oncology, discovered that women who underwent breast-conserving surgery demonstrate a more positive body image than women who underwent mastectomies for breast cancer. These women also reported they felt more physically attractive.

Hidden ScarTM offers an advanced approach to breast cancer surgery that hides scars, minimizing the daily emotional reminder of a breast cancer diagnosis. This approach is used for nipple-sparing mastectomies and lumpectomies. Patients who undergo this approach experience optimal clinical and cosmetic outcomes and are at no higher risk of cancer recurrence than patients who undergo other surgical techniques, according to a 2017 study by the American College of Surgeons.

An estimated 268,670 men and women will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, according to the American Cancer Society. More than 3.5 million U.S. women with a history of breast cancer were alive as of January 1, 2016, according to an article published in the CA: Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

“I often see patients who I took care of many years ago still living healthy, fulfilling lives, and I realize how much a good doctor can positively impact the lives of so many people,” said Dr. Nguyen.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Painless lump in breast or underarm area.
  • Breast pain or heaviness.
  • Swelling, thickening or redness of the skin.
  • Nipple abnormalities, such as spontaneous nipple discharge.

Lakeland Regional Health’s Breast Cancer Program is fully accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, overseen by the American College of Surgeons. To make an appointment with Dr. Nguyen or Dr. Prowler, call 863.603.6565.

About Lakeland Regional Health Hollis Cancer Center

Lakeland Regional Health Hollis Cancer Center provides specialized cancer care services, including medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology and urologic oncology. The Hollis Cancer Center’s board-certified physicians and team of clinical and research professionals use state-of-the-art technology to provide the best possible outcomes for cancer patients. Becker’s Hospital Review named Lakeland Regional Health one of 101 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Oncology Systems for 2016. Currently, the Hollis Cancer Center is participating in 34 clinical trials and its research over the years has helped to bring 50 FDA-approved chemotherapy and biologic medications to the marketplace. Lakeland Regional Health Hollis Cancer Center is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and accredited with commendation by the Commission on Cancer.


Photos: Headshots of Dr. Toan Nguyen and Dr. Vanessa Prowler and Hidden Scar logo

Hidden%20Scar%20Logo Nguyen_Toan Prowler_Vanessa


Realtors® Offer Guidance for Foreign Buyers

lkld realtorsLAKELAND, FL-Foreign buyers continue to see the U.S. real estate market as a secure and safe investment as Realtors®, members of the National Association of Realtors®,  are experiencing an increase in the number of international clients over the past five years, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors®.

NAR’s 2018 Commercial Real Estate International Business Trends report analyzed cross-border commercial real estate transactions made by Realtors® during 2017. “Of the 59 percent of Realtors® who indicated they completed a commercial real estate transaction last year, 18 percent reported closing a deal for an international client. Realtors® have the expertise and knowledge of working with clients from different countries and real estate practices, so international buyers using a Realtor® are at a true advantage and can rely on their global market perspective,” said Kyle Vreeland, 2018 Lakeland REALTORS® President.

The study found that most Realtors® who specialize in commercial real estate reside in smaller commercial markets where the typical deal is less than $2.5 million. “Foreign investors are attracted to smaller-sized properties in secondary and tertiary markets, helping the profile of smaller commercial markets grow,” said Vreeland.

“Realtors®’ international clients found U.S. commercial real estate markets to be a good value last year. Seventy percent of Realtors® reported that international clients view U.S. prices to be about the same or less expensive than prices in their home country,” said Vreeland.

The top countries of origin for buyers were China (20 percent), Mexico (11 percent), Canada (8 percent) and the United Kingdom (6 percent). While sellers were typically from Mexico (20 percent), China (15 percent), and Brazil and Israel (both at 10 percent). Florida and Texas were the top two states where foreigners purchased and sold commercial property last year, with California being the third most popular buyer and seller destination.

Foreign buyers of commercial property typically bring more cash to the table than those purchasing residential real estate. Seventy percent of international transactions were closed with cash, while NAR’s 2017 residential survey found that half of buyers paid in cash.

NAR’s commercial community includes commercial members, real estate boards, committees, advisory boards and forums; and NAR commercial affiliate organizations – CCIM Institute, Institute of Real Estate Management, Realtors® Land Institute, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors®, and Counselors of Real Estate.

Approximately 80,000 NAR members specialize in commercial real estate brokerage and related services including property management, land counseling and appraisal. In addition, more than 200,000 members are involved in commercial transactions as a secondary business.


FBCH / One More Child President Named to Board for Organization That Serves Vulnerable Children Globally





(LAKELAND, FL) — More than 400,000 children live today within the U.S. foster system – a number being driven upward by the opioid crisis. Meanwhile, an estimated 15 million children worldwide have lost both parents. The challenges are immense, but a global coalition of churches and 190+ respected organizations are laboring together to change reality for these children.

This month, the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) celebrated the addition of a new board member to the leadership of this work, Dr. Jerry Haag.  Dr. Haag serves as president and CEO of FBCH and One More Child, a leading foster care and family crises prevention agency headquartered in Lakeland, Fla. that provides services in more than 50 locations locally and globally.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Haag’s immense gifts will be such a vital part of guiding and growing the mission of the Christian Alliance for Orphans,” said Jedd Medefind, CAFO’s president. “His sharp mind, loving heart and effective servant-leadership for children embody the DNA we’re working to see embodied in Christians across the world.”

Without intervention, children that grow up outside of caring families face a future that is statistically tragic. By their mid-20s, roughly four in five young men have been arrested.  And nearly 70 percent of the young women are on public assistance. Those who “age out” of foster care without being adopted experience PTSD at nearly twice the rate of US war veterans.

These immense vulnerabilities are just as vivid for children who’ve lost their families worldwide – with dramatically increased rates of disease, malnutrition, human trafficking and other ills.

“The need is vast and heartbreaking,” said CAFO board chair Tami Heim.  “But with leaders like Dr. Haag serving alongside self-giving people around the globe, there’s every reason for hope we can make a profound difference together for hurting children across American and all over the world.”

Prior to his current role, Dr. Haag served as Baylor University’s Vice President for University Development in 2011.  He also brings experience from the corporate world, including AT&T, and is a Certified Financial Planner.  He earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in finance from Baylor University and earned a Ph.D. in finance and real estate in 1995 from the University of Texas at Arlington. Jerry and his wife, Christi, enjoy speaking together, and have two sons, Ben and Brady.

In 2017, FBCH and One More Child impacted 200,524 children and families through its programs and services.


Image: Dr. Haag CAFO Board.jpg / Dr. Jerry Haag, President / CEO of FBCH and One More Child, and his wife, Christi, with Jedd Medefind, President of Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) and his wife, Rachel.  



MIDFLORIDA Auto Show & Lake Mirror Concours Registration Now Open

Lakeland, Fla. MIDFLORIDA Credit Union invites car collectors and enthusiasts to register their vehicles in the MIDFLORIDA Auto Show & Lake Mirror Concours, taking place the weekend of Oct. 19-21. Participants are encouraged to register online at www.midfloridaautoshow.com before Aug. 31 to receive an early bird discount. Registration closes on Oct. 1.

Now in its 19th year, this Central Florida event engulfs downtown Lakeland and includes multiple experiences for registered car owners and spectators alike. The Budweiser Hot Rod Rendezvous, an event benefiting Junior Achievement, takes place Friday night at Lake Mirror Park and kicks off the weekend with a show of hot rods, an outdoor concert, food vendors and more. Saturday features the Concours along the shores of Lake Mirror, which includes premium and collector vehicles from 1972 and older, and the downtown portion, which covers several blocks with cars of all types. New to the show this year is a special section designated for vehicles that are for sale. Sunday closes out the festivities with the scenic 40-50 miles-long Heacock Classic Road Rally – a challenging route disclosed only through turn-by-turn directions, ending in a surprise location with lunch and prizes. Anyone is welcome to register a vehicle for any part of the weekend, and spectators can attend free of charge.

“We are excited to continue the tradition by hosting this must-attend collector car show,” said David Hand, chairman of the MIDFLORIDA Auto Show & Lake Mirror Concours. “The event draws a collection of rare and well-loved show cars from the Southeast and beyond.”

The featured cars for this year’s Concours are a 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing and a 1957 Mercedes 300SL Roadster from the Rare Wheels Collection in Windermere, Fla. The downtown section will display Dale Earnhardt’s legendary No. 3 “Pass-in-the-Grass” Chevrolet Aero Coupe from the 1987 NASCAR All-Star Race, courtesy of owner Bill Tower. Follow the show on Facebook for more details about these cars and other registered vehicles.

For more information about vehicle registration, the weekend’s schedule or sponsorship opportunities, visit www.midfloridaautoshow.com.


About MIDFLORIDA Credit Union

MIDFLORIDA is a state-chartered financial institution headquartered in Lakeland, Fla. The credit union serves more than 290,000 members with assets totaling more than $3.1 billion through its network of branches, ATMs and website, www.midflorida.com. MIDFLORIDA Credit Union is open for membership to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school within its Central Florida service area, which spans from coast to coast.