Polk Future of Transit Workshop & Webinar March 2nd

Polk Growth Matters is a community forum hosted by the Polk County Growth Management Department.  Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for citizen education and constructive discussion on growth management issues.  It is intended to further a general and common understanding of current issues in Polk County.  Consistent with its focus on community education and dialogue, the forum is not used to advocate a position on issues.

Join us on Tuesday, March 2nd, to learn about the Polk Transit Authority and the Future of Transit in Polk County. Speaker Danny Ours, Executive Director of the Polk Transit Authority, will speak to residents about the following topics:

•         History of Transit in Polk County
•         Value of Transit to the Community
•         Countywide Transit Study
•         Creation of Polk Transit Authority
•         Existing Transit Services & Ridership Trends
•         PTA 5-Year Plan and Proposed Transit Service Improvements
•         Current vs. Proposed Investment in Transit
•         Need for Additional Service to High Speed Rail Station
•         Need for Dedicated Funding (What happens with reduced operating funds)
•         Proposed Referendum

The workshop will be at the Jim Miles Training Center 5204 US 98 Hwy South across from the Highland City Town Center, and begin at 6:30 p.m. with complimentary coffee and light refreshments.  Speaker presentations will begin at 7:00 p.m.
The workshop will also be offered as a webinar for residents that would prefer to stay home and watch from their computer. Residents can also email questions to the workshop leaders to be discussed during the workshop. The webinar is free and requires no pre-registration or enrollment. Anyone interested in participating can log on at any of the following host sites: www.theledger.com/pgtv, www.newschief.com, www.myfoxtampabay.com, www.wpcv.com, and www.max983fm.com.

Reservations are appreciated and may be made by e-mail at JanJohnson@polk-county.net by telephone at (863) 534-6005.


Leadership Lakeland Nominations Accepted Until April 9

Now is the time!  ‘The time for what?’ you ask.   It’s time to nominate someone for Leadership Lakeland’s next class.

Nominations will be accepted until Friday, April 9th, but don’t wait until the last minute! Look around.  Who should you nominate for Leadership Lakeland?  Who in your sphere of influence has demonstrated their commitment to making Lakeland a better place to live and work? These are the types of people who Leadership Lakeland is looking for.  Maybe that person is YOU!

We welcome all nominations.

Step 1.  There is no limit to the number of people you can nominate.   You can find the nomination form on the Chamber’s website AND it was the centerfold of the March edition of the Forum for Business Monthly.

Step 2:  All those nominated (and only those nominated) will be invited to apply.  All applications are reviewed and selection for the next class is announced in July.  The dates for the next Leadership year are posted on the nomination form.

The Leadership Lakeland program has been around for 27 years!   The credibility of the program rests with those who have participated in it.    Read what a few class members have to say about their experience:

Xuchitl Coso, Florida Southern College:   “ I have only been in Lakeland for two and a half years and I am so impressed with this community and the involved individuals who make it their business to give back.  Every Leadership Lakeland Day is an eye opener filled with information and dedicated individuals who are the fabric of this excellent place we call ‘home’.”

Fred Koehler, Smart Creative:   “If your goal is to build a lasting career in the city of Lakeland through professional excellence and community involvement, there’s no better place to get plugged in than Leadership Lakeland.  You’ll be stretched and challenged in many new ways, learn more than you thought was possible, and exit the program a better citizen and a better person.”

Naomi Tillett, Keith and Schnars:    “By becoming a part of Leadership Lakeland, I have been awakened to the many amazing, talented, eclectic people that have the same passion and desire I have in making sure Lakeland continues to be a place that thrives in high family values, business partnering opportunities now and for the years to come.”

Rick Abbatiello, Publix: “In an age of instant ‘this’ and microwave ready to eat ‘that’, DSL and Blackberries, Leadership Lakeland offers you a rare, high speed dose of exposure and information on issues and people you only heard about…..maybe.    Great for us time-starved members of the community.”

Danita Frier, Central Florida Speech & Hearing Center:  “The ‘behind the scenes’ view of the operations of Lakeland is truly invaluable.  Not only is it just plain interesting but it has really helped me do a better job because I have more resources.  During the year that I was in Leadership Lakeland, I looked forward to every day that we were together.  I made 30 friends and feel like I could call on any one of them for help….that’s something you can’t put a price tag on!”


Girl Scout Cookies Around Town!

Starting today, keep an eye out at local businesses and stores and buy your favorite Girl Scout Cookie varieties, including Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, Samoas®, Tagalongs®, Trefoils, Lemon Chalet Cremes, Dulce de Leche and the new Thank You Berry Munch, a crunchy cookie with dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks. Booth sales end Sunday, March 21.

GSWCF makes it easy for you to find the cookie booth nearest you! Beginning today,  the public can visit www.gswcf.org and search for a Girl Scout Cookie Booth by zip code using the cookie booth locater system. It’s now easier than ever to satisfy your Girl Scout Cookie cravings!

For those who want to support Girl Scouting in their communities but don’t want to enjoy the cookies themselves, there is still time to contribute to the Cookies From Home Program. This unique program is a way for Girl Scouts to give back to their communities: donations of cookies through the Cookies From Home Program will be sent directly to our military troops serving in combat zones overseas through a partnership with Support Our Troops. Donations to the Cookies From Home Program may be made in person through a Girl Scout, or online at www.gswcf.org anytime through March 2.

Girl Scout Cookies are not only an icon of American culture, but also the world’s leading entrepreneurial program for girls. Through the program, girls practice useful life skills such as planning, decision-making and customer service. During cookie activities, girls are members of a team working towards a common goal, with each girl striving to do her best.

For more information regarding purchasing Girl Scout Cookies and supporting Girl Scouting in your area, visit www.gswcf.org, or call (800) 881-4475, ext. 1838.


Northwestern Mutual Opens New Office on 98 South

Northwestern Mutual Financial Network | www.northwesternmutual.com

4729 US Highway 98 S, Ste 201 | (863) 683-2392

Northwestern Mutual Financial Network has been an enduring and reputable member of the Lakeland life insurance and financial services landscape since 1972.  David Baker and Associates has sixteen financial representatives, who are part of a network of specialists offering a wide array of financial services and products.

“Our new office will enable our financial representatives and specialists to more effectively serve our clients,” said David Baker, managing director.  “Our Open House on Feb 23rd will give us the opportunity to showcase our proven ability to provide clients with innovative solutions to their individual needs, including retirement, educational funding, asset protection and more.”

Northwestern Mutual has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 150 years.  Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a holistic approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services.  Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment advisor, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments.  Further information can be found at www.northwestenmutual.com.


Share a Little Sunshine With Your Friends

Here in Lakeland, we’re gearing up for our busy “visitor season”! Between Spring Training with the Detroit Tigers; Winter visitors escaping snow & cold up north;  fans, families and athletes coming in for FSHAA Championships; and our own area events, let’s remember to show our hospitality to all the visitors who help improve our economy & keep 17,000 of our friends and family members employed in Polk County tourism jobs!

Last week, Governor Crist along with representatives from Flordia’s tourism industry re-launched the statewide “Share a Little Sunshine” campaign. This grassroots tourism campaign encourages all Floridians to send a personal E-mail to out-of-state friends and family, and invite them to visit the Sunshine State.

Each year, millions of people from around the world choose to spend their hard earned money and precious time here with us in Florida. Our state’s tourism industry alone employs more than one million Floridians, and the visitors these employees serve generate 21 percent of the state’s total sales tax revenue – money paid by non-residents that fund crucial needs such as roads, hospitals, firefighters and policemen.

We know that 85 visitors to the Sunshine State support one job, and that in 2008, tourism returned $3.9 billion to Florida in tax revenue and generated $65.2 billion in direct economic impact. Reach out and “Share a Little Sunshine” with your friends and family, and help increase visitation to the state and raise much-needed sales tax dollars.

At www.ShareaLittleSunshine.org, Floridians can select one of several free video invitations or custom e-mail postcards that can be sent to friends and family directly from the site.  Each invitation carries with it information about special destinations from the sender’s geographic area. To encourage Floridians to send invitations, a Florida vacation package will be given away each quarter to someone who sent an invitation through www.ShareaLittleSunshine.org.