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July 6, 2011
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Volume 91 Number 50
USPS NO 211-260
Frostproof, Polk County Fc:,rida.j j384
Copyright 2011 Sun Coast Media Group, Inc.
PHOTO COURTESY THE PRODUCE NEWS
-State Rep. Ben Albritton (left) chats with Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam during
the recent Florida Citrus Conference in Bonita Springs.
generates positive vibes
By CHIP CARTER
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
Amid ongoing legislative and disease
battles, citrus is still a major player in
Florida's economy and is well posi-
tioned to become an even bigger factor
in the future. That was the message
some 650 growers, shippers and indus-
try affiliates took away from the annual
Florida Citrus Conference, on June 15-
17 in Bonita Springs.
There were disappointing elements
to this year's Florida citrus season, but
high markets had attendees in high
spirits at this year's conference. Atten-
dance was up from last year's total of
575, and half of Florida's state Cabinet
stopped by in a non-election year.
Gov. Rick Scott, who two weeks
earlier had "blackened both eyes" of
the citrus industry with legislative ac-
tion, according to Michael Sparks, vice
president and chief executive officer of
Florida Citrus Mutual, stopped by for
an invitation-only meeting June 15 with
Mutual's board of directors.
And Adam Putnam, the new com-
missioner of the Florida Department of
Agriculture & Consumer Services and
a 10-year member of the U.S. House
of Representatives, was the keynote
speaker June 16 at the industry's annual
7 05252 00025 8
On May 26, Gov. Scott vetoed a $2
million appropriation for citrus green-
ing research that would have been paid
by citrus growers themselves via a box
tax collected on each carton of citrus
sold. That same day, he approved a bill
that restructured the makeup of the
Florida Citrus Commission and Florida
Department of Citrus, redrawing dis-
trict-lines and shrinking the number of
commissioners to nine from 12.
Among other items, that same bill
also ends the terms of all currently
serving commissioners and Executive
Director Ken Keck on July 1 and allows
the governor to appoint the nine who
will make up the new.board as well as
the new director.
Sparks told attendees that the in-
dustry would overcome the veto and
restructuring of the commission.
"Now we're looking forward to the
transition and are moving forward,"
he said. "We have established a good
rapport and communication with the
governor's staff, and hopefully that's
something we can leverage in the
In 2009, the commission made a
pledge of "tax neutrality" for the grow-
Frostproof's Senior Dixie
The Frostproof Senior Dixie Youth Baseball all-stars will be heading to state playoff action
this weekend in Sebring. The team will play Saturday in Sebring, although the game time
won't be determined until Friday night. Team members include, front row from left: Coach
Steven Colon, William Cruise Miller, Brant Howell, Dustan Baber and Coach Keith Walters.
Middle row from left: Coach Jason White, Frankie Bartley, Matthew Sharpe, Jacob White,
Nick Martinez and Steven Colon. Back row from left: Julian Zamora, Cody Peacock, Xavier
Gaines, Casey Thomas and Jessie Henson.
Care Center programs
aimed at adults. kids
The Frostproof Care Center is always
looking for ways to help people in the
community, and this summer it is of-
fering up programs aimed at adults and
A free financial education class will
be held starting Saturday, July 9. The
three session course teaching the
fundamentals of budget, finance, credit
score, and insurance. Attendees will
learn how to budget your income to
allow the possibility of a savings. Also,
they will come to an understanding
of their credit score and how to repair
Additional class dates are Aug. 9 and
Sept. 10. Classes run from 9 to 11 a.m.
in the care center's community room.
Sure to draw a big crowd is a free
New golf course
coupon class. This class will teach how
to use coupons and how to research
sales to decrease the cost of groceries.
This class is developed to help those
who are just beginning the use of cou-
pons to those who already have coupon
experience, but need more tips on how
to save more money at the grocery
It will be held once a month, every
second Tuesday, starting at 10:30 a.m.
at the care center.
For kids, there will be a free story
time every Friday from 9:30 to 10:30
a.m. in the Thrift Store Library, at
Frostproof Care Center. All children are
welcome to come enjoy a time of gath-
ering listening to a story and enjoying
some fun time.
Tee Time Coming
,aif Fun time on the 4th
Welcome to your community calendar
ndI If you would like to see your event listed on this page,
we can make it happen. Contact us at email@example.com
Cp ss Bs A, LBs EB~giy' Na DB *_______
Wednesday, July 6
"Trickster Tales" will be featured
in the second of four Wednesday
Storytime events at the Latt Maxcy
Memorial Library. The event starts at
Thursday, July 7
Thursday at the Movies
"Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's
Ears," starting at 10 a.m. at the Latt
Maxcy Memorial Library. Rated G,
run time of 61 minutes
Monday, July 13
The Frostproof City Council will
have a regularly scheduled meeting
in city hall starting at 6 p.m. For the
months of July, August and Septem-
ber, the council will meet on the
second and fourth Mondays of the
month. Starting in October, they will
resume their regular meeting sched-
ule of the first and third Mondays.
Thursday, July 14
Thursday at the Movies
"Chieko and the Pine," starting at
10 a.m. at the Latt Maxcy Memo-
rial Library. Rated G. Run time of 30
Monday, July 18
Tampa Taiko Japanese Drumming
Part of the Family Night program
at the Latt Maxcy Memorial Library.
Show starts at 6:30 p.m. Free.
Tuesday, July 19
Mark Jackson, Director of Polk
County Tourism and Sports Market-
ing, will be the featured speaker.
Lunch cost is $9, starting at noon
at the Ramon Theater. Contact the
chamber at 635-9112 for more infor-
Thursday, July 21
Thursday at the Movies
Starts at 10 a.m. at the Latt Maxcy
Memorial Library. Free. "My Neighbor
Totoro." Two young sisters spend a
summer in the Japanese countryside
with their father. The children's strange
new home turns out to be a wonder-
land filled with creatures and a trio of
furry woodland sprites who can only
be seen by children. Animated, rated G.
Run time of one hour and 28 minutes
Monday, July 27
The Frostproof city council will meet
in regular session starting at 6 p.m. in
Saturday, August 27
Murder mystery dinner theater
"Evil on the Beach" will be the pro-
duction as the Frostproof Chamber
offers another in its popular series
of murder mystery dinner theaters.
Cost is $25. The show starts at 7 at the
Ramon Theater. Tickets must be pur-
chased in advance. Call the chamber
at 635-9112 for more information.
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Page 2A Frostproof News
July 6, 2011
Orange Country antiques, gifts opens its doors
By BECKY DONADIO
Gayle Stephens had a little of this and
some of that laying around the Orange
Box Cafe not too long ago. What to do
with it. she wondered?
Opening Orange Country Antiques
and gifts provided the perfect answer.
The store is located just south of the
Orange Box cafe right off U.S. Highway
27 near the intersection with U.S. 98.
The store officially opened March
12 and is currently open Thursday
through Saturday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
Gayle and her family are from Fort
Meade. She and her husband, John,
own the popular Orange Box Cafe and
John Stephens Inc, which is a fruit
company next door.
Gayle retired from working in the of-
fice at the fruit ctimp.ill\ but came out
of 1itiirt'nliIeIi to open the antique store.
She decided to open the store because
she had a few things over at the Orange
Box Cafe and the building was sitting
empty next to the fruit company so it
was the perfect solution.
Most of the products Gayle has had
throughout the years and some are just
Right now the biggest problem Gayle
has is "trying to decide whether to keep
it or sell it." From Persian rugs to furni-
ture, florals, small prints, and antiques,
with prices ranging from $1.49 to $849,
there is something for everyone at the
Orange Country Antiques and Gifts.
So if you get a chance, please be sure
to stop by to visit Gayle and check out
her new store.
PHOTOS BY MIKE THORNTON SR.
There's a little something for everyone's price range in Stephens' store, located on U.S. Highway
27 near U.S. Highway 98.
Turn to the Experts"
Call this number
Orange Country Antiques and Gifts is open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5
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"A" local company is scamming our elderly customers.
claiming we are no longer in business.......if "A" local
company contacts you, just call our toll free number
to double check thaol is the Compriny you will
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Frostproof News Page 3A
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July 6, 2011
e gaP 4A Frostproof N s
July, I 11r Nw g
A sword rarely sheathed this year
How would you feel if you paid someone to do
a particular job, and instead of doing the work,
they tried to prevent you from getting the job
That is essentially what your state legislators
are doing to you right now.
Only last year, voters in Polk and statewide
gave largemargins to two amendments to the
Florida Constitution that essentially told the leg-
islature to keep their politics out of re-drawing
the state's legislative districts.
The two amendments, governing both state
and federal elections, passed with more than 60
percent of the vote.
Today the Florida Legislature is using your tax
dollars to block your will. They are paying teams
of $500 per hour lawyers to find ways to circum-
vent the amendments, so that they can be safely
re-elected, with little chance of opposition.
'Gerrymandering' dates back to 1812, when
Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry presided
over a re-drawing of state senate district lines,
one famously shaped like a salamander, to ben-
efit his friends.
The concept has been used faithfully by pow-
er-hungry politicians ever since. It is a significant
deterrent to fair representative government.
Florida's problems are no different than one
might expect. Politicians eager to keep their
places of power will do whatever is possible,
short of risking jail time, to work the next deal.
The current effort by Florida's representatives
and senators is typical.
When the legislature draws its own districts,
they strike a series of back-room deals, drawing
lines that have typically favored incumbents.
The result is representatives who no longer have
to worry about what the 'other side' thinks about
They are untouchables, free to become as
radically left or right as they wish. Government
breaks down into a war between extreme posi-
tions, with much name-calling, and little actual
In attempting to head off the taxpayer's intru-
sion into their personal fiefdoms, legislators
were led by House Speaker Dean Cannon, who
fought to keep the amendments off the ballots
last year. Now, having failed in that, he is work-
ing closely with Senate President Mike Harido-
polos to circumvent the public will.
Members of the Florida Legislature are cur-
rently touring the state, offering 'hearings' where
they will 'gage public opinion' about their plans.
The problem is, no one but them knows just
what their plans are. No maps are offered for the
public to view.
Legislators have also been ordered to maintain
silence on the subject, and tell voters in atten-
dance that they are only there to listen.
Any word legislators might let slip could po-
tentially be used against them in a court chal-
lenge when they finally release their preferred
The obvious idea is to do that as late in the
next election cycle as possible, so that challenges
are few, and most challengers drawn into, other
The courts would then be.required to delay
elections to correct gerrymandered districts,
something they are not likely to do.
The raw abuse of power is a sword rarely
sheathed in Florida this year.
Let's all join in
"Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
or abridging the freedom of speech, or
of the press; or of the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition
the government for a redress of griev-
ances." First Amendment, United
Journalists tend to make two errors
when they think of the First Amend-
ment, which is Article I of the Bill of
Rights to the United States Constitution.
First, they think of it only in respect to
Freedom of the Press. It is far more, and
at the risk of being accused of heresy
by my brethren and sistren in the press,
Freedom of the Press just might not be
the most important one.
Second, they think of it as "our
amendment," placed there for the
primary, if not the exclusive, conve-
nience of the press. It is not.
It could be argued that the protection
of every citizen's right to petition the
government for a redress of grievances
is even more essential to preservation
of our freedoms than my right to thrust
py opinion on readers twice a week.
SFreedom of the press, it has been
~suggested, belongs to the person who
Freedom to petition government
belongs to everyone with an opinion, or
with a beef.
The system is weakened when
governments, especially at the city and
S.L Frisbie can be contacted at
county level, begin to place obstacles in
the way of citizens who want to petition
for redress of grievances.
In one of its more subtle forms, citi-
zens with grievances can be put at the
end of the agenda for a meeting that
lasts for hours.
In less subtle forms, it can be a refusal
to let citizens comment on an issue at a
work session, or at first consideration of
an ordinance, or at any other time not
blessed by the elected body.
Sure, it makes the process more effi-
cient; meetings are shorter, and deci-
sions are implemented more swiftly, if
citizens seeking to petition government
for redress of grie ances are told they
should have spoken up two weeks ago,
or must come back at next month's
Such policies make government more
convenient for those in office, at the
expense of those with a grievance to
present, or an opinion to express.
Unfortunately, the courts have held
that while meetings must be open to
the public, the government body can
deny members of the audience the right
Last week, the.Florida Press Associa-
tion's First Amendment Foundation
recognized the city commissions of
Sanford and Lake Helen for enacting
ordinances guaranteeing the right of
citizens to be heard "in all hearings,
meetings, processes, programs, and
The two cities were recognized as
Friends of the First Amendment.
And more to the point, they are
friends of their constituents, of those
citizens who elect them to make deci-
sions of government, but who expectto
be allowed to make their voices heard
whenever they wish to petition govern-.
ment for a redress of grievances. :
. That's the way it should work. ';
(S. L. Frisbie is retired. He seldom has
a grievance against local government.
One of the few is when local government
denies the right of a citizen to address
his elected representatives at a time of
the citizen's choosing, not the govern-
The Frostproof News
Jim Gouvellis Publisher
SAileen Hood General Manager Jeff Roslow Editor Brian Ackley Managing Editor
Published everyWednesday at
140 E. Stuart Avenue
by Sun Coast Media Group, Inc. at its Office.
Periodical postage paid at Lake Wales, Florida and
additional Entry Office
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Postmaster: Send address changes to
140 E. Stuart Ave.,
Lake Wales, FL 33853-4198
HOME DELIVERY SUBSCRIPTION PRICE IN POLK COUNTY
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We welcome your letters
Letters are welcome on virtually any subject, but we do have
some rules. Please keep them to less than 250 words. Letters
will be edited to length as well as grammar and spelling. All
letters must be signed with full name not initials. An address
and telephone number must be included. The phone number and
address are not for publication, but must be provided. The Letters
to the Editor section is designed as a public forum for community
discourse and the opinions and statements made in letters are
solely those of the individual writers. Readers in the Frostproof
area can send letters and column submissions to letters@
lakewalesnews.com or mail them to 140 East Stuart Avenue, Lake
Wales Fl. 33853.
Frostproof News Page 5A
y luJ 6 201 1
The Inquiring Photographer
Polk County schools recently received a C grade
from the state. Do you think this is a good grade?
TONY LOCK JOE DUCKHAM
... "Well the C shows we are only 70 ... "No I believe Polk County School
percnet of the way there. We owe it to District is more qualified and capable
our kids to strive for above average." to get a better grade and a lot has to
do with parent involvement."
Stormy Black Breanna Akers
... "No, a C is not a vary good rating. ... "A's and B's are good but not C's"
There is more they can do to raise the
A first amendment
showdown in the election process
The fate of Arizona's Clean Elec-
tions Act, which the Supreme Court
on Monday declared unconstitutional,
was foreshadowed March 28, during
oral arguments. Lawyers defending the
law insisted its purpose was to combat
corruption or the appearance thereof.
The court has repeatedly said this is
the only constitutionally permissible
reason for restricting the quantity of
political speech. The law's defenders
insisted its purpose was not to "level
the playing field" by equalizing candi-
dates' resources, which the court has
declared an unconstitutional reason
for regulating speech. But Chief Justice
John Roberts replied: "Well, I checked
the Citizens Clean Elections Commis-
sion website this morning, and it says
that this act was passed to 'level the
playing field' when it comes to run-
ning for office." Game over.
Given the clarity and frequency with
which the court has stressed the un-
constitutionality of laws empowering
government to equalize candidates'
speech by equalizing their resources,
Monday's ruling was predictable, but
gratifying. Also predictable, but de-
pressing, were four justices (Elena
Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen
Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor) finding
no constitutional flaw in a law that did
It made public funding available for
all campaigns for state offices-but
did so in a way flagrantly punitive to
persons relying on voluntary private
contributions. Recipients of tax dollars
were limited to spending such dollars-
but they got extra infusions of them to
match spending by candidates relying
on private contributions, if such spend-
ing exceeded the amount Arizona's
government deemed proper.
So, these matching funds were a
powerful incentive for privately funded
candidates not to speak not to so-
licit funds to disseminate their advo-
cacy. Even spending by independent
groups supporting a privately financed
candidate trigger such infusions to
opponents. This, even though the court
has said that independent expenditures
are core political speech and "do not
give rise to corruption."
There is evidence supporting what
is intuitively obvious-that the match-
ing funds provision was intended to
suppress speech by candidates relying
on voluntary contributions, candidates
who knew their speaking would trigger
tax dollars for their subsidized oppo-
nents. An internal memo for the Clean
Elections Institute, which defends the
law, contentedly noted that a privately
funded candidate "may think twice
about raising additional funds in a
race against a Clean Elections candi-
date," so "it can be argued that mil-
lions of dollars in spending never takes
place." Hence the law's purpose is to
curtail political speech.
When Arizona Democrat Janet Na-
politano, now secretary of homeland
security, was running for governor, she
joked that President George W Bush, in
effect, held a fundraiser for her. When
he spoke at a fundraiser for her pri-
vately funded opponent, she received
$750,000 in matching tax dollars.
Roberts, joined by Justices Antonin
Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence
Thomas and Samuel Alito, noted that
the "professed" purpose of Arizona's
law is to encourage candidates to ac-
cept taxpayer funding. However, "how
the state chooses to encourage par-
ticipation in its public funding system
matters, and we have never held that a
state may burden political speech-to
the extent the matching funds provi-
sion does-to ensure adequate par-
ticipation in a public funding system."
The Arizona law's fate was also
foreshadowed in 2008, when the court
held unconstitutional the "Millionaires'
Amendment" in the McCain-Feingold
law regulating the quantity, content
and timing of political speech. The
amendment, written by incumbents
to protect incumbents by punishing
challengers wealthy enough to fund
their own campaigns, said: When a
wealthy candidate exceeds a particular
spending threshold (the government's
opinion of the proper amount of politi-
cal speech), the candidate's opponent
can receive contributions triple the
size of contributions otherwise legal.
Because wealthy candidates cannot
be corrupted by their own money, the
Millionaires' Amendment mocked
McCain-Feingold's pretense of disin-
terested concern with corruption, and
it illuminated the element of incum-
bent protection in most campaign
The Arizona law's fate actually was
sealed in 1791, when the First Amend-
ment was ratified; 220 years later,
one wonders: When will people eager
to empower government to regulate
speech about itself abandon the fiction
that political money can be regulated
without regulating political speech?
Will their long losing streak in the Su-
preme Court ever convince them that
the First Amendment requires debate
about government without govern-
ment's regulatory intervention?
During oral arguments last March,
a frustrated Breyer, who is permissive
regarding regulations restricting politi-
cal speech, said: "It is better to say it's
all illegal than to subject these things to
death by a thousand cuts." Yes. Be-
cause it all is illegal as long as the First
Will is a columnist for theWashing-
ton Post. Readers may reach him at
oill dIarsiuuln,A yiCIL eui luvvw e nmu, LuyCtlluln
116S st Street starts now.
uLake Wes3 33-1853 Protect each other from this
www.billmarstonagency.com day forward. Get the life
Se habla esoaiiol insurance that's right for you.
July 6, 2011
Page 6A Frostproof News
July 6~ 2011 Frostproof News Page 7A
on 4-day work week
Summer schedule to
By JEFF ROSLOW
Though the people who work at Polk County Schools
are working 40 hours a week during the summer they're
doing it over four days and having the district and
schools closed on Friday is saving it $250,000 a year.
"It comes out to approximately $25,000-$30,000 a day,"
said Assistant Superintendent Mark Grey.
To put that in terms that may be easier to understand
that amount is equivalent to five teaching positions.
The four-day work weeks started June 13 and will go
until Aug. 12. Teacher Work Days start Aug. 15. Student
Orientation Day is Aug. 18. The new school year starts
SThe people this includes is mostly those who work
in the school district offices but the schools still have
principals working daily and some assistant principals.
save district $250,000
Teachers do not work during the summer. However, with
those who work in the schools the electricity is on. With
the facilities closed on Fridays those systems don't go on.
They operate on timers.
The only exception to the four-day work week is this
week. As the school district was closed on Monday for the
Fourth of July, it is open Tuesday through Friday on an
eight-hour work day.
"The primary savings we have is from being able to
reduce the consumption of energy," Grey said. "We close
all the operations and turn of the air conditioning on the
This is the third year the school district has done this.
It started when funding started heading downward. Grey
said the school district had done it previously, but went
back to the five-day work week but then got back to it in
The school district's 2010-11 general fund budget was
Polk cleanup collects
104,760 pounds of trash
Polk County residents took in 104,760
pounds of waste from the roads valued
at $109,627.25 during the spring Great
American Cleanup, the Keep Polk
County Beautiful agency reports.
In March there were 3,277 volunteers
in Polk County that took the streets to
pick up the trash left in the roads, along
the water and anywhere they could find
it. The agency logged 15,121 volunteer
hours of work.
In addition to trash collected, volun-
teers worked hard to collect more than
5,300 tires for proper disposal and par-
ticipated in numerous beautification,
recycling and waterway cleanup events.
In Bartow there were-210 Volunteers
that collected 315 bags of trash. In Fort
Meade, 38 volunteers collected 40 bags
and 370 tires.
"Thanks to the continued support of
volunteers and our local communities,
Keep Polk County Beautiful is able to
continue our many successful cleanup
and beautification efforts. These num-
bers are amazing and these totals are
continuing to grow as reports trickle
in." said Executive Director, Katie Glass.
"The Great American Cleanup cap-
tures the passion of today's emerging
community greening movement," said
Keep America Beautiful President and
CEO Matt McKenna. "Keep Polk County
Beautiful Inc. is inspiring people to vol-
unteer and make sustainable changes
in their communities, thanks to its
participation in the Great American
Sponsors of the 2011 Great American
Cleanup Included Polk County Board of
County Commission, Republic / Florida
Refuse, Waste Management, A.C.T.,
Inc., Bok Tower Gardens, Triple Canopy
Ranch, NevSet, Publix Super Markets
Charities, Magnify Credit Union, tm+r,
Turnkey Signs, City of Bartow Solid
Waste, Madison Marquette, Mosaic and
The Natioral Sponsors of the 201,1
Great American Cleanup were: The
Dow Chemical Company; The Glad
Products Company; LG Electronics
U.SA., Inc.; Lowe's Companies, Inc.
through the Lowe's Charitable and
Educational Foundation; Nestle Pure
Life Purified Water; PepsiCo's Pepsi-
Cola and Gatorade companies; The
Scotts Miracle-Gro Company; Solo Cup
Company; Troy-Bilt Lawn and Garden
Equipment; Waste Management, Inc.;
and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. Promotional
Partners are: Crescent Art and Framing
PHOTO BY JEFF ROSLOW
The Long family walked Clower Avenue and Broadway picking up garbage during the cleanup.
Here Billy, 11, dumps some trash into dad Ben's bag as sister Jessica, 9, and mom Michelle look
for more trash.
Products, Miss America Organization
andValvoline, a division of Ashland,
Inc. Educational Partners are: Owens-
Illinois, Inc., Rubber Manufacturers
Association and WM Recycle America.
Retail Promotional Partner is: Colgate-
staff can help
you place an ad
650 E. Main Street
Bartow, Florida 33830
F..' S3.P3-3-?0 1u
306 East Broadway
Fort Meade, Florida 33841
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William S. Bilenky is the Southwest
Florida Water Management District's
interim executive director.
Previous Executive Director David
Moore's resignation was accepted by the
governing board at its meeting in June.
He had served in that post since March
2003, and resigned on May 26. Moore
will continue to serve in an advisory
capacity until July 15. Bilenky has
been with Swiftmud since September
1999 and was its general counsel since
March 2000. As general counsel, Bileiky
provided legal advice and support to
the Governing Board and Swiftmud,
appearing on their behalf before the
Department of Administrative Hear-
ings, the Legislature, the state trial and
appellate courts, and federal agencies
Before joining Swiftmud, Bilenky was
in private practice and has also been
the general counsel to the Florida Pub-
lic Service Commission.
He holds a bachelor's degree in indus-
trial engineering from Cornell Universi-
ty, a master's degree in business admin-
istration from Florida State University
and a juris doctorate from the Univer-
sity of Florida. He has been admitted to
the Virginia State Bar; The Florida Bar;
the Bars of the United States Supreme
Court; the United States Courts of
Appeal for the 4th, 5th, llth and D.C.
Circuit; the Federal District Court for
the Eastern and Western Districts of
Virginia; and the Bankruptcy Court Bar
for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Bilenky is also a Florida Supreme
Court-Certified Circuit Court mediator.
While Bilenky is to serve as the execu-
tive director, the agency is conducting
a nationwide search for a permanent
replacement for Moore.
The executive director functions as
the chief executive officer of the Dis-
trict, which includes daily direction and
operating responsibility for more than
700 full-time staff members, the Dis-
trict's $280 million budget and all orga-
nization assets. The executive director is
also responsible for recommending and
implementing policies adopted by the
District's 13-member Governing Board.
The executive director will be ap-
pointed by the District's Governing
Board. However, the appointment is
subject to approval by the Governor
and confirmation by the Florida Sen-
ate upon employment. The position
is posted on the District's website at
WaterMatters.org/jobs. The deadline to
apply is Friday, July 15, at 5 p.m.
a, ,,, ~-pu~cc~--- ---- ---------
Frostproof News Page 7A
Julv 6, 2011
u- j -,
A Frostproof Fourth
A great time
on the water, and
some good eats too
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The water was the place to be Monday, for man and his four-legged friends, as Clinch Lake
provided cool comfort.
- -:-; ... ) ;: :-- :-:: ::!; :7 :;- : :-_ ~5: 3 :: --:=: -
Jake White left and Collin Ogburn right try their luck at some fishing on Clinch Lake
-- -: -"4 ; ~ C-22 : :-; ----- -
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Jake white left and Collin Ogburn right try their luck at some fishing on (linch Lake.
There was no "official" Fourth of July celebration in Frostproof, but that didn't stop many city
residents from making their own fun and fully enjoying the holiday while at Clinch Lake.
HOURS: For your convenience, we stay open until 7 p.m. on
Thursday, and Saturday hours are back too, 8 a.m. to noon.
HORSES: Yes, we do horses! Equine wellness services
available, haul in or we can schedule a barn call.
ACUPUNCTURE: Dr. Shank is one of the few
veterinarians in all of Florida to be certified for both
small and large animal acupuncture, which often can help
a wide variety of chronic illnesses and conditions.
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Page 8A Frostproof News
July 6, 2011
-- ~i~T-* --i
---- ~;- - --- -.-
Frostproof News Page 9A
I. .' ...-.
4. -... -.
Cody Wilson gigged this large Tilapia, a freshwater cichlid fish often caught for food and found in
the shoreline grass of Clinch Lake.
Little Crooked Lake, just north of Frostproof, also was a busy place Monday with lots of family
and friends enjoying the sunny and warm day.
PHOTOS BY K.M. THORNTON SR.
Whats the Fourth of July without some fabulous eats? Here, Otto Polk, left, and Lloyd Young-
blood get ready to hit the grill with plenty of chicken and ribs at the home of Donna and Grady
Respress, who made sure their family and friends went home with full bellies.
Winter Haven: 863.294.6612
Lake Wales: 863.678.0222
., ., i!1 ~ . .,
VISION DISH & ALL SATELLITE
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S...'. ..... ... .
" o .,.,- '' ....... .. /,- ..... . -'.. "-" -.. .. -; '- .. ."
July 6, U011
Life is good, at least when its a holiday Monday, as Bruce Wilson finds out as he relaxes for a bit in
his boat on Clinch Lake.
Longtime county employees honored
". .Nine county employees were honored on June
28 at the Polk County Board of Commissioners
public session, for 20, 25 or 30 years of service.
They are (from left) L to R, Front: Andrew
AndyZ Fisher, Gary Powell, Calvin Spann,
SAndrea Rourk, Jada Randall, Jay Jarvis, Sheryl
Jackson, Gena Freeman and James Butler. In
the back row are (from left) Commissioners
Bob English, Melony Bell, Edwin V. Smith, Todd
Dantzler and Sam Johnson.
In affront to Tea Party, Scott OKs SunRail
By JANET ZINK
THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES
TALLAHASSEE In an affront to
his tea party base and to backers of a
Florida bullet train he killed earlier this
year, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday gave the
green light to SunRail, a controversial
Orlando-area commuter rail project on
hold since he took office.
And by doing'so, Scott may have
helped bring a thousand jobs to Polk
Critics characterized the move as
hypocritical in light of Scott's high-
speed rail decision and stated principle
of limited government spending, but
he defended it by saying SunRail was in
the works before he became governor
and was so far along he had no choice
but to approve it.
"I don't know that I would have made
the decision to go forward with this if
I had been around three or four years
ago," he said in St. Petersburg at the
Florida Press Association/Florida Soci-
ety of News Editors annual meeting. "I
walked in with this set of facts."
He said his attorneys told him he
would likely lose in court if he was sued
for killing the $1.28 billion, 61.5-mile
Letting SunRail go wins Scott big
points with powerful Central Florida
business and political leaders who
have made the line a top priority and
pledged financial support. They say it
is a job creator and economic develop-
ment tool that offers a mass transit so-
lution to congested roads. Projections
put ridership at about 2,150 passengers
a day when SunRail opens.
Because the project will use existing
CSX facilities in the Orlando area, some
of the rail lines operations will move
to site between Bartow and Lake Wales
off State Road 60. A new rail transfer
facility will be built there, bringing
100 permanent jobs to the area. Local
business leaders have predicted that
more than 900 acres around the newly
built transfer site could be developed
with private warehousing and transfer
operations, creating an addition 1,000
jobs if fully built out.
The line connecting Orlando to sur-
rounding communities has been on.
hold since January, when Scott started
a review of $238 million in SunRail
Agreements require the state to pay
$432 million to freight operator CSX
Corp. to share its Orlando-area tracks
and make upgrades to the company's
freight operations elsewhere in Florida.
The state is also liable for any accidents
that occur on the shared tracks.
Scott insisted SunRail is different
from high-speed rail because the state's
commitment is capped and Central
Florida governments will be respon-
sible for much of the ongoing financial
"This decision was made after a long,
deliberative process," Florida Depart-
ment of Transportation Secretary An-
anth Prasad said in a news conference.
'All stakeholders will be held account-
Prasad called SunRail a "judgement
day" project. If it fails, it could stop
future commuter trains from coming to
Florida, he said.
Detractors, though, accused Scott of
putting politics before principles.
"He is an insider now. He can no
longer say that he is an outsider," said
state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa,
referring to Scott's pitch on the cam-
paign trail that he was not part of the
Florida political establishment.
Joyner was one of two state sena-
tors to unsuccessfully sue Scott in the
Florida Supreme Court after he rejected
$2.4 billion in federal funding for a
high-speed rail line connecting Tampa
to Orlando, citing concerns about po-
tential costs to Florida taxpayers.
Although the federal government
was prepared to pay for nearly all of
the bullet train's construction, Scott
continued to fret about possible state
The line was part of President Barack
Obama's vision for a nationwide high-
speed rail system.
"It was all anti-Obama," Joyner said.
"It's clear the high-speed rail project
was rejected purely for political rea-
Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, a
champion of high-speed rail and critic
of SunRail, decried Scott's decision,
calling out the deal's payment to CSX, a
Jacksonville-based freight operator.
"It is unclear if when making the
decision the governor had a change
of heart, if he simply succumbed to
the desires of the big money special
interests, or if he has a severe case of
amnesia and thought that he was sup-
posed to be representing CSX instead
of Florida's taxpayers," she said. "When
the SunRail/CSX commuter project is
viewed from a purely business vantage
point, the project falls so far below
what a savvy business owner would ac-
cept that it is somewhat baffling."
Scott's top attorney, Charles Trippe,
previously worked for CSX, but he
recused himself from examination of
Everett Wilkinson, chairman of the
South Florida Tea Party, said that Scott's
decision was "influenced by big-money
lobbyists" and that the governor "failed
to deliver on his promises."
"I really thought he was going to
PAULA DOCKERY HAS HARSH WORDS FOR SCOTT ON SUNRAIL DECISION
Sen. Paula Dockery,
R-Lakeland, a champion
of the failed high
speed rail project and
detractor of SunRail,
blasted Gov. Rick Scott-
for giving SunRail
a thumbs-up. In a
she said Scott had DOT
Secretary Ananth Prasad
"announce that he will
betray the trust" of the
conservative voters Sen. Paula Dockery
who elected him. She
also said the move
"completes his transformation from businessman to
political insider"and shows he is"representing CSX
instead of Florida taxpayers."
Here's the entire statement:
This morning, Governor Scott had his Secretary of
Transportation announce that he will betray the
trust of the conservative electorate who put him in
office by moving forward with the least cost-efficient
commuter rail project in the nation.
This decision has completed the governor's transfor-
mation from businessman to political insider. When
the SunRail/CSX commuter project is viewed from a
purely business vantage point, the project falls so far
below what a savvy business owner would accept
fight more for the taxpayers and
wouldn't give up," Wilkinson said. "Tea
party members are shaking their heads
wondering why Scott did this. In the
coming weeks, I am sure Gov. Scott will
face disappointed and angry tea party
members across Florida."
Others, though, applauded the gov-
"This is as significant for the state
as when Henry Flagler brought the
railroad to Florida and when President
Eisenhower initiated the interstate,"
said U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter
Park, who is chairman of the House
Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee. "This transportation alter-
native offers the only real cost-effective,
near-term solution for our region's
highway congestion and will have tre-
mendous benefits for employment."
Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon,
R-Winter Park, commended Scott on
"his thoughtful decision," and business
groups, including the Florida Chamber
of Commerce and Associated Indus-
tries of Florida, gave praise.
"The immediate benefits result-
ing from the construction of SunRail
include jobs created for Floridians in
the transportation and construction
industries, two industries that have
been hit the hardest by this economic
downturn," said Jose Gonzalez, vice
president of governmental affairs for
that it is somewhat baffling. It is unclear if when
making the decision the governor had a change of
heart, if he simply succumbed to the desires of the
big money special interests, or if he has a severe case
of amnesia ard thought that he was supposed to be
representing CSX instead of Florida's taxpayers.
Governor Scott's general counsel, a former CSX
executive, admitted to giving blatantly false financial
facts regarding High Speed Rail in front of the Florida
Supreme Court. For that reason, it is overwhelmingly
disappointing but not altogether surprising that the
facts about SunRail, a sacred cow of special interests,
would be ignored and the decision would be based
upon arguments put forward by highly paid public
relations consultants, using Floridians tax dollars.
The facts are as follows: nationwide, this is the lowest
rated project for cost-effectiveness by thefederal
government, i n, rlder';hip ellmal es, e sic e l t ."
liability is transferred from a for-profit corpora-
tion onto all Florida citizens, and it is a blank check
waiting to be written by the taxpayers for any and all
cost-overruns and operating subsidies.
While'warnings'were given to the local govern-
ments during Tuesday's dog and pony show, this
fact remains: the agreement between the federal
government and the State of Florida clearly places
the financial responsibility for all but $300 million of
a $2.6 billion project squarely on the backs of Florida
Reprinted from the St. Petersburg Times
Earlier this week, Scott dispatched
Prasad to meetings with Orlando-
area residents and elected officials to
emphasize that they'll be on the hook if
SunRail fails. If local governments can't
cover the costs, the money will come
out of the region's state transportation
dollars, which means there will be less
money for roads and bridges, Prasad
After rejecting SunRail in two legisla-
tive sessions because of concerns about
the arrangement with CSX, lawmakers
approved the project in a December
2009 special session called by Gov.
Charlie Crist to lure federal money for
Agreements call for the federal
government to pay for half of SunRail's
$615 million construction costs. The
state and local governments will pay 25
The state also has liability for any
accidents that occur on the tracks that
will be shared with CSX freight trains.
Florida and local taxpayers will split
payments for construction cost over-
The state will cover operating losses
for the first seven years of SunRail's op-
eration. Local governments are respon-
sible for operating losses after that.
A grant funding agreement with the
U.S. Federal Transit Administration
requires trains to be running by May
Page 10A Frostproof News
July 6, 2011
The Gospel of Alvin
For a former Venice standout, the Word is his deed
By PATRICK OBLEY
HERE WAS NO past or
future as Alvin Mitch-
ell's car spun toward
certain doom during that
steamy July day in 2000.
Here and now, there were only ques-
tions. Mitchell flashed through the
curious series of incidents that had
transpired to bring him to this lonely
stretch of road just beyond the Fort
Meade town limits. The dominos had
fallen, one by one, until this moment.
And as his car skidded down a ravine
toward a light pole, the first line of his
obituary was fairly obvious:
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and
Venice standoutAlvin Mitchell died this
afternoon because he was stupid.
With that, Mitchell arrived at the only
Doggone, that walletjust wasn't
The Rev. Alvin Mitchell, who started the Friend-
ship Baptist Church in Fort Meade, preaches to
his congregation at a Bible study on June 29.
It's Father's Day and the preacher has
something to say to the three dozen
or so who have crammed into the tiny
storefront church at 123 West Broad-
Mario had just poured his heart out
in a rendition of "Open the Floodgates
in Heaven." It made Meemaw cry while
sitting in the front pew.
Ricardo had just delivered an en-
ergetic reading, Blondia at his side,
working the keyboard. Surely, on the
sparsely populated sidewalk outside
the Friendship Baptist Church, the Lord
is touching passers-by.
But it's Pastor Mitchell's turn now.
It's Father's Day and the father of three
girls wants to talk about the Holy
Psalm 23. The Lord is My Shepherd.
There is no other passage in the Bible
In the week leading up to this
sermon, Pastor Mitchell has discov-
ered new meaning in the ancient
words and he's bursting to share the
wisdom that had been whispered in
his ear by the Almighty.
During the next 30 minutes, he spells
out how the Psalm reveals God's role as
the father of us all. He strides quickly
from side to side, his voice rising and
falling, crashing like the tide over the
shoals of the faithful.
"Yep, that's Alvin for ya," Meemaw
would say a little later. "He's just burst-
ing to tell ya. He's like the Energizer
Meemaw is a touch biased. Mitchell
is married to her daughter.
Near the back of the tiny church,
Jeannie claps and smiles in unison with
Two weeks later, as the rest of the
world geared up for the Fourth of July,
the extended Johnson-Mitchell clan
gathered at the corner of Third Street
and Lanier for the Johnson Family
Wipeout Fun Day.
A bounce house entertains the little
ones. A DJ spins tunes.
Jeannie Mitchell is working everyone
through a series of deceivingly difficult
games she has cribbed off the TV show,
"Minute to Win It."
Her husband isn't preaching the
Word on this day. Instead, his ministra-
tions are focused on the barbecue grill.
It's here and now Mitchell tells the
story of his life. How he arrived at this
point in time. He knows most folks
back in his hometown of Venice knew
him as one of the best football players
in Venice High history. He also knows a
great deal of those people have no idea
what happened to him upon graduat-
ing in 1982.
He figures there's still about one in
five people here in Fort Meade who
never were aware he played for the
Buccaneers. That's OK.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune let that
particular cat out of the bag in June
when Mitchell checked in at No. 34 on
their list of the all-time top 100 local
football pla .i -rs. Oine of the players he
coaches on a volunteer bais texted his
I didn't know there was a living leg-
end in Fort Meade! Wow, your dad was
"I knew there were people who didn't
know, but I didn't think one of my own
players, players I coach, would not
know," Mitchell says with a laugh, be-
fore turning serious. "You know, I worry
about this next generation. I fear they
don't know what kind of work it took to
get where we are now. I fear the thing
that's missing with this generation is
commitment and dedication."
Mitchell knows about commitment.
He knows dedication.
And he knows fear.
In those first years after graduation,
Mitchell ran. It was all he knew to do.
He believed he had disappointed
everyone, especially himself. He was
supposed to be a star, but instead, he
had been laying stone. Bank president
Dave Voight had plucked the youngest
of four brothers in a family of eight out
of the broiling sun and put him behind
a teller's window at a local branch, but
at the end of the day, Mitchell would
change his clothes and run.
Running on the beach, awayfrom
everyone, he spoke daily to God and
asked why he had been such a failure.
It hardly mattered that he was passing
on college because he was helping his
family make ends meet.
"At first, it was shattering," Mitch-
ell said. "I felt like I let so many folks
down. I knew I had an opportunity to
play ball, but it seemed like that door
It seemed as if God had no answer.
Then one day, two years after his
graduation, coaches from Auburn
University came to town to scout the
next big thing out of Venice High. The
late Indians coach Jim Powell said, "If
you're gonna recruit this kid, you've got
to see this kid who came out a couple
of years ago."
So, the entourage made its way to the
bank where Mitchell worked.
They were smitten.
The Rev. Alvin Mitchell, who started Friendship Baptist Church in Fort Meade, talks with Linda
Lewis, the Christian education director.
"I'll give him half a scholarship just
looking at him," one coach said.
Maybe God had answered, after all.
But the son of a diabetic rock hauler
and domestic housekeeper needed
more than half a scholarship to make it
in major college football.
"It took me two days to earn a full
scholarship," Mitchell said. "And that's
only because we weren't in pads on the
Now, Mitchell knows that sounds im-
modest. But ...
"It was something I knew I had to
do. I had to walk on and I had to prove
myself. My family couldn't afford it. I
was going to have to earn it on my back
and there's no greater motivation.
"I had to do it. I had to," Mitchell
said, banging his fist on a knee with
each had. "To get that scholarship ...
well ... I was very grateful. I'm very
seldom at a loss for words but ... I was
And he was in love. There was a
woman named Jeannie who had come
into his life not long before he left for
She has been at his side ever since.
A solid career at Auburn didn't mate-
rialize into a draft selection in 1989, but
Mitchell did receive an invite to Tampa
Bay's preseason camp'to compete for a
spot as a running back.
It was as if he were repeating that
first week at Auburn.
"I was like being a small fish in a big
pond," he said. "I was surrounded by
athletes who were all at the top of their
game, but I was at an all-time high. I
think I ran 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard
sprint while wearing cleats."
His hard work earned Mitchell a spot
on the Bucs' practice squad. Not that
he knew it.
"I worked out so hard that day that
when I went home, I fell asleep. My
agent called and called, but I didn't
pick up the phone," Mitchell said with
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Frostproof News Page llA
Page 12A Frostproof News
Dixie Majors fall in districts to Bartow
#' '. The Frostproof Dixie Baseball Major Division
S. all-stars travelled to Bartow last week for
district playoff action. The pregame stretch
.. ,- didn't do much to limber up the local's bats,
However, as they fell 12-0.
~~Ft!f ~~: a ~-~,~.
Irrrrl_ LL_ LL____~_~ ~_II
gr1 A2A If4-
............................................. .LZ4.4.-4 "r"--'. .. ..a- 72 r,'- ,..i I.--
wnne me Dars were cola, rrostproof pitcners coulan't Keep nost
Bartow in check either, allowing 12 runs in six innings. This Bartow runner slides under the tag of the Frostproof third baseman.
S., ., .. : :...
Chaz McCartney waits for the throw in hopes that the ball will beat this Bartow runner to the base and that he can make
the tag in time for an out.
PHOTOS BY K.M. THORNTON, SR.
Frostproof's Lane Sanderson looks to make a play on this Bartow runner
at third base during playoff action last week.
July 6, 2011
Polk schools drop from B to C
STAFF, WIRE REPORT
More than two-thirds of Florida's
public elementary and middle schools
received an A or B grade on the state's
annual assessment this year, the De-
partment of Education said Thursday.
But the statistics for Polk County Pub-
lic Schools show they dropped from a
B to a C average.
Polk schools got a B grade for the
previous three years before dropping
to a C this year with a score of 486,
DOE statistics show.
In Florida, 58 percent of elementary
schools received an A, 72 more than
the previous year. Fifty-nine percent
of middle schools received the top
grade, 14 fewer than in 2010. Just 1
percent of the schools received an F
while 5 percent received a D.
Polk County Schools show 39 per-
cent made an A, 22 percent earned a
B, 31 percent earned a C, 7 percent
got a D and no schools failed.
The grades are primarily based on
the Florida Comprehensive Assess-
ment Test, the state's standardized
assessment in reading, math, writing
and science. The proficiency level for
writing was raised, but the DOE said it
didn't have a significant impact on the
To get an A, the lowest perform-
ing 25 percent of students also must
make one year's worth of progress in
one year's time. Otherwise, the grade
is dropped to a B. Interim Education
Commissioner John L. Winn said 82
schools failed to meet this standard,
down from 119 last year.
"We are pleased more and more
schools are meeting the needs of their
struggling students," said Winn, who
is serving until the newly-elected
commissioner, Gerard Robinson,
Virginia's secretary of education, for-
mally takes over the position.
High school grades will be released
later this year.
Just 10 percent of all elementary,
middle and high schools met ad-
equate yearly progress goals under
the federal No Child Left Behind law
in 2011, down from 14 percent the
The annual benchmarks set a target
for the percentage of students from
all subgroups divided by race or
ethnicity, English proficiency, socio-
economic status, and disability -
that must be proficient in math and
For the 2010-11 school year, 79
percent of students in each group
had to be proficient in reading and 80
percent in math. Proficiency is deter-
mined by performance on the state's
standardized test. The goal is to have
100 percent proficient by 2014.
If students from any subgroup do
not meet those standards for two
consecutive years, the school can be
labeled "in need of improvement" and
subject to interventions, including
offering students the opportunity to
attend another school in the district.
The interventions increase for each
additional year that the targets are
not met, the most severe of which can
mean replacing most of the staff, or
closing and reopening as a charter
Alturas Elementary: 2011 grade C; 2010 grade C
Babson Park Elementary: 2011 grade A; 2010 grade A
Bartow Elementary Academy: 2011 grade A; 2010
Bartow Middle: 2011 grade C; 2010 grade C -
Ben Hill Griffin Jr.: 2011 grade B; 2010 grade C
Bok Academy: 2011 grade A; 2010 grade A
Floral Avenue Elementary: 2011 grade A; 2010 grade
Gibbons Street Elementary: 2010 grade B; 2010 grade
Highland City Elementary: 2010 grade B; 2010 grade C
Hillcrest Elementary: 2010 grade A; 2010 grade A
Janie Howard Wilson Elementary: 2011 grade A; 2010
Lewis Anna Woodbury Elementary: 2011 grade C;
2010 grade B
McLaughlin Middle: 2011 grade C; 2010 grade C
Polk Avenue Elementary: 2011 grade C: 2010 grade B
Spessard L. Holland Elementary: 2011 grade B; 2010
Spook Hill Elementary: 2011 grade B; 2010 grade B
Stephens Elementary: 2011 grade C; 2010 grade
Union Academy Magnet: 2011 grade A; 2010 grade A
County pregnancy center staff holds out hope and support
By MARY CANNADAY
Some women are sure they want to
be moms, some not so sure, and some
are already moms, with no place to
turn for help.
This is where the Life Choice Preg-
nancy Resource Center comes in, of-
fering counseling, referrals, supportive
services, and the day-to-day necessities
of clothing, diapers, and food.
The center's services are available to
all county residents, although its office
at 235 E. Central Ave. in Winter Haven.
"It's a wonderful place," said Patricia
Eik, who volunteered at the center for
In the words of Executive Direc-
tor Shirley Healy, "We offer hope and
choices to women who may want an
alternative to abortion." Healy has
been involved in the mission of moth-
erhood for 18 years; seven here and 11
The center offers free pregnancy
testing and free ultrasounds. Referrals
to medical care can be made for needs
Counselors are available throughout
the pregnancy and for 12 to 18 months
after birth. The volunteer counselors
receive 21 hours of training from Healy,
followed by a four to six week orienta-
Clients can receive referrals for: Med-
ical care, social services, includingWIC;
professional counseling; housing and/
or maternity home; adoption/foster
care; maternal support; public health;
legal services; childbirth instruction,
Ford will be performing July 23
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Nominee, Ford is known for adding
hip-hop in his country song and for
hits such as "She Likes to Ride in
Cameras and film crews from the
Outdoor Channel will be at July Jam
for their new series "Mud Slingers."
The Florida Mud Racing Challenge
includes ATV, truck and buggie races
and church services.
Last year, the center provided client
services to 1,271 mothers, Healy said.
In addition to assistance to mom and
baby, the center is supportive as well to
the larger family, helping with needs for
food and shelter.
Life Choice receives no governmental
monies, and their services are funded
through four main venues: an annual
major fund-raising banquet, mission
funding from area churches, contribu-
tions from individuals and businesses,
and "baby bottle" campaigns, which are
short term fundraisers held at a variety
of locations, with contributors able to
drop contributions into an oversized
baby bottle (often netting $400 to $500
per location, Healy said.)
The agency operates with only four
part-time paid staff members, due to
the efforts of 25 volunteers, most of
whom work at least one day a week at
the center, Healy said. "They do just
about everything," Healy said. "They
are the backbone." The volunteers
wash, fold and package clothing and
other necessities, counsel clients and
do whatever else needs to be done, she
The volunteers and staff include:
Bettie Bizier, Kathy Brice, Kay Cawby,
Nancy Chafin, Karen Eversden, RN;
Cecilia Forrest, Eleanor Louden, Vicki
Lynn (client services director); Betty
McCalla, Jennie Meinhart, Shirley Mil-
ligan (administrative assistant); Kevin
and Noreen Murphy, Lynne Paulson
(receptionist); Frances Payne, Sue
Peterson, Merle Pido, Amanda Rabon,
Beverly Routon, Sue Snider, RN; Jenifer
with $3,000 in cash and prizes up for
Weekend tickets can be purchased
for $35 before July 18 online at the
Triple Canopy Ranch Website or at
any of the event sponsor's locations:
Barney's of Brandon, Barney's of St.
Pete, Barney's of Brooksville, Wrap it
Up!, Kelley Buick GMC, Pop's Place at
Indian Lake Estates, Sorensen Schade
Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge of Lake Wales
and Dusty's Camper World.
Life Touch Pregnancy Resource Center relies on their hard-working volunteers. Cathie Williams
and Noreen Murphy pitch in on Wednesdays.
Thornhill, RN; Cathie Williams, and
The board of directors, predominate-
ly volunteer, are : Diane White, chair-
man; Dr. Peter S. Verrill, vice-chairman;
Rev. Jonathon Winfree, secretary; Dr.
Manny Jain, medical director; Shirley
A. Healy, executive director; Jeanette
Savant; Sandra Peterson; and Mary Joye
The center is open Tuesday, Wednes-
day and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3
p.m. Call 293-0955 for an appointment
or more information.
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Country singer Colt Ford
headlines July mudslinging event
Frostproof News Page 13A
Julv 6, 2011
Latino growth may fortell shifting power
That portion of population doubled in Polk last decade
By BRANDON LARRABEE
NEWS SERVICE FLORIDA
There was little surprise when Cen-
sus numbers came out earlier this year
that Latinos had comprised most of the
Florida's explosive growth -- about 54.7
percent of the state's 2.8 million new
residents were Hispanic.
But the numbers also contained a
subtle shift in the Latino population. In
2000, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans ac-
counted for a total of about 5.3 percent
of the state's population, according to
the U.S. Census Bureau, putting them
on equal footing with Cubans, who
made up 5.2 percent of the people in
A decade later, Puerto Ricans and
Mexicans are 7.8 percent of the state's
residents, eclipsing the 6.4 percent that
Cubans account for. And many of those
new residents -- more than 365,000 of
them -- are Puerto Ricans.
Perhaps nowhere is the growth more
pronounced than in'Central Florida. In
Orange County, Puerto Ricans now ac-
count for 13 percent of the population
and a quarter of the total population
growth since 2000, according to the
In Osceola County, the increase has
been even more notable. Almost 44
percent of the population growth has
come from Puerto Ricans, who now
account for more than a quarter of the
county's total population.
Here in Polk County, figures show
that Latino population more than
doubled in the last decade. In the 2000
census, 45,993 Latinos were counted,
while the number swelled to 106,532
last year. That represented more than
50 percent of the county's 10-year
Mexicans make up the largest Latino
count at 45,725 people. Puerto Ricans
check in at 34,825.
The voters have come from all over,
observers say. Some of the immigration
is from the island itself, a U.S. terri-
tory, while Puerto Ricans from New
York have also made their way down to
Florida in sizable numbers.
"The seat that we lost in New York
went to Florida," quipped Juan Carta-
gena, president and general counsel
of LatinoJustice/PRLDEF an advocacy
group working with local activists on
redistricting in Central Florida.
But political power has so far proven
difficult to win; already, local redistrict-
ing in Central Florida has caused ten-
sions with the Latino community, and
more could be on the way as lawmak-
ers begin the once-a-decade process of
redrawing the state's political boundar-
Puerto Ricans lean toward Democrats
in elections. According to some studies,
Puerto Rican voters in Central Florida
supported U.S. Sen. John Kerry by a
two-to-one margin in the 2004 presi-
dential election, even though President
George W. Bush carried Florida.
But political observers say the Puerto
Rican community is not as solid for
Democrats as older Cubans were for
Republicans when the latter became
one of the most reliably GOP voting
blocs in Florida for decades. Some
believe that will prompt a new focus on
the voters ahead of the 2012 election.
"The vast majority of us are not
party-brand loyal," said state Rep. Dar-
ren Soto, D-Kissimmee, and currently
the only Puerto Rican state legislator.
"We are swing voters in a swing area of
a swing state."
That could come into focus not only
in redistricting but with the state's
electoral votes being a cornerstone of
efforts by both Democratic and Re-
publican plans for winning the White
"I think we'll see a lot of the front
runners" in the presidential race in
central Florida, Soto said.
President Obama might have already
started that outreach although
it wasn't in Orlando or Kissimmee.
Obama made a much-noted trip to
Puerto Rico recently, and most ob-
servers said his audience was actually
those Puerto Ricans living on the U.S.
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"That certainly will score him some
points to go down there," Soto said.
"But the economic issues are really
The fickle nature that some see as
a virtue could also complicate Puerto
Rican voters' efforts to leverage their
clout. Politically disparate voters might
have a more difficult time commanding
the attention and deciding the fates of
politicians, said Aubrey Jewett, a politi-
cal science professor at the University
of Central Florida.
"In the sense of being able to wield
more power as a group, that is a prob-
lem," he said.
With redistricting looming, the im-
mediate focus is winning more seats
centered on Latino voters generally,
and Puerto Rican voters in particu-
lar, in the Central Florida area. Local
activists have already drawn a map
that would create a Congressional
district where 46 percent of the voters
are Latino, 12 percent are black and 34
percent are white, according to Emilio
Perez, president of the Central Florida
Redistricting Committee, an advocacy
Perez said the concept is simple:
When the state decides where and how
to configure the new districts, the new
seats should follow the new individuals.
"The highest growth in the state was
the Latinos in Central Florida," he said.
Giving some new hope to activists:
The new Fair Districts amendments
adopted by voters in 2010. Support-
ers of a Latino district are hoping that
the focus on giving minority voters a
chance to elect representatives of their
choice will help them in a push for a
Congressional seat, and perhaps more
Jewett said lawmakers following Fair
Districts to the letter might very well
craft a new district along the lines of
what Latinos are looking for.
"If all those things happen, it
wouldn't surprise me to see a new
district in Central Florida ... that had a
fairly high percentage of Hispanics," he
But the redistricting standards
haven't been used before, and it's not
clear how closely lawmakers will hew to
the new rules. Personal preferences for
a seat, either carved out for legislative
leaders or for a favored rank-and-file
member, could still guide the drawing
of the lines.
Cartagena said the two don't have to
conflict. He said who ends up win-
ning the district is largely immaterial,
as long as the voters who brought the
district to Florida are heard.
"As long as that district ... has a ma-
jority or a very, very strong plurality of
Latinos, then Latino voters have a lot to
gain," he said.
- And he thinks lawmakers have very
little choice about whether to create a
district along those lines.
"I think the data compels it," he said.
"And the law may very well compel it
News Service Editor Dave Royse con-
tributed to this report.
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Page 14A Frostproof News
July 6, 2011
-Iul6 201Fotro esPg 5
CITRUS: Positive vibes
FROM PAGE 1
ers and shippers who foot the bill for most of the
commission's and the Florida Department of Cit-
rus' operations, and this year's commission made
good on that promise, trimming the budget for 2011-
12 to $54.8 million, down $4.5 million from last year.
Almost one in five of those dollars $10 million -
will go to disease research as Florida tries to stem the
spread of the lethal huanglongbing virus, also known
as HLB or citrus greening disease, that threatens the
industry's viability. The commission also snipped two
cents off the annual box tax that growers pay to fund
the commission and the FDOC.
The industry should get further help from Capitol
Hill this year, according to Mutual's Washington, DC,
lobbyist John Gilland of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer &
Feld LLP U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is sponsoring a federal
research foundation bill that could mean $30 million
in funds for disease research.
"Your industry has a great reputation on the hill. It
makes our job much easier," Gilland said. "In an off-
election year, you expect revenue measures to move,
so we think there's going to be some good opportu-
nities for us this summer and fall. This industry has
done a very good job communicating (to Washington)
very clearly what it needs."
The measure will need U.S. House sponsorship as
well, and Gilland pledged that "when the right time
comes, we'll have our allies in place."
Added Sparks, "Senator Nelson, the Florida delega-
tion, California Citrus Mutual, Texas Citrus Mutual
- everybody knows we are all-in this year. We are
going to make it happen this year. It will be all hands
on deck late this summer and fall and that's across
Sparks also said that immigration and E-verifica-
tion will "no doubt be part of the legislative package
next year. Don't think that this issue is going to go
away. We are already developing a strategy on how
this is going to be addressed next session."
"It seems like we've had more voice in Washington
than we have in Tallahassee," added citrus grower
and commission member Marty McKenna. "We've got
to be involved. We need everybody's input, don't just
throw it on the shoulder of the committee. This is a
real opportunity and a real challenge, and I ask you
all to contribute. It's time to rise above some of this
mess that's going on. We have too many problems
in this industry and too much ground to make up. I
beseech my peers and my colleagues to pull together
and get this industry back on track and get it back
in the position it should be in this state and in this
(Chip Carter is a writer for The Produce News. Story
reprinted with permission. Visit the publication's web-
site at www.producenews.com.)
GOSPEL: The word is his deed
FROM PAGE 11
a laugh. "I asked him when he started
calling me, and he said as soon as I had
left the field."
For 11 weeks, Mitchell toiled on the
team's developmental squad. Then on
Thanksgiving weekend, as the Bucs
traveled to Phoenix to play the Cardi-
nals, he got his big break.
"I thought I was going to start that
week. James Wilder had gotten injured
and they called me up," Mitchell said.
"I practiced all week at tailback."
But he was on the sideline as the
game began. Time passed, and there he
Finally, on a 3rd-and-long, Mitchell,
entered the game.
"It was my first play and they called a
play that was for me," Mitchell said. "A
screen pass. My first play! Wow, man, I
get a chance to leave a history!"
Little was expected of Mitchell. The
Bucs were pinned deep in their own
territory and all they wanted was a little
extra breathing room to get off a punt
on fourth down.
"Yeah, I think we needed 25 or some-
thing yards for a first down," Mitchell
said. "I think I got 12. Maybe it was just
It was 11 yards.
And it was over.
Look up Alvin Mitchell on pro-foot-
ball-reference.com and all one will see
is one catch for 11 yards on Nov. 26,
He played on special teams during
the final four weeks of that season, but
he could see the writing on the wall.
"It had been a losing season and I
knew there was going to be some ad-
justing to the roster," Mitchell said.
That following summer, Mitchell hurt
his hip. The Bucs eventually cut him.
Detroit offered an invite, but he
Jeannie was pregnant. Living on
football's fringe was no way to build a
"It was great to finish the season," he
said, "but the day they cut me, I knew
it was over. I was ready to build some-
thing concrete. It took us about three
hours to get out of Tampa."
Mitchell told Jeannie to find them a
new life. As he and some former team-
mates filled a U-Haul, Jeanie went in
search of that new life in the only place
she knew to go.
She went back to her hometown: Fort
As soon as he arrived, Mitchell joined
the Polk County Sheriff's Office. He
went to an academy for a year before
joining the force.
He has been there ever since.
Soon, Alicia was born. Then Angel.
They built a house at the corner of
Third Street and Lanier.
Everything was fine. That is, until the
day Alvin Mitchell lost his wallet.
SMitchell's future begins 11 years in
the past. On a lonely stretch of road
just beyond the Fort Meade town
It begins in a car careening out of
No, maybe it begins before that.
"I lost my wallet some place and
when somebody called me to tell me
they found it, I drove out to get it,"
Mitchell said. "On the way back from
getting it, I never bothered to check the
gas needle. I ran out of gas."
So, he was going to be late to work.
He hiked a short distance to a gas sta-
tion. It began to rain.
Under way again, for some reason, he
tugged on his seat belt. He never wore
his seat belt.
Why did he do that?
Suddenly, his car hydroplaned.
"I was headed down the ditch and
right for the light pole," Mitchell said.
"It was just my time, I thought."
But as he prepared for an end,
Mitchell endured a new beginning. The
car missed the light pole and bounced
back up to the road, back into the lane
as if nothing had happened.
The burgers are finished, but the
games are not. Jeannie has herded
everyone over to a mound of cups
for a game that has to be seen to be
Smiles are the day's currency. Good
feelings are the product. The sun is
shining and in the shade of trees, the
breeze is, well, divine.
Mitchell distributes juice packets as
he winds up the Gospel of Alvin.
"You know what it is? When you lose
your wallet, you lose your identity,"
he says. "I had to lose my identity that
day. I needed to become someone else.
I had been ignoring God's call all that
time, but the Lord came to me that day
and said I need to go to school and
learn to preach the gospel."
Mitchell opened Friendship Bap-
tist Church in 2004. Today, there are
roughly 75 members.
His football days are a distant mem-
ory, but the extended family continues
the athletic legacy. Jamaal and Rumeal
play college football. Alicia, 20, is at
Johnson & Wells on a basketball schol-
arship. Angel, 18, starts next month at
Stillman on a basketball scholarship.
One day soon, Mitchell will retire
from the sheriff's office and preach full
"It's just a great blessing for me. The
Lord has blessed me. Look at what he's
done," Mitchell says, spreading his
arms at the jovial scene that surrounds
"I enjoy pastoring because I like
watching people grow. I like watching
their lives transform, to see them really
start trusting the Lord.
"It's not so much about me, but it's
... I know I'm being obedient. Spread-
PHOTO BY CHRISTINE ROSLOW
Rev. Alvin Mitchell preaches to the congregation Wednesday, June 29 during a Bible Study at his
church in Fort Meade.
ing the Word is like making your dad
proud. That's who I am now."
Jeannie sneaks an arm around her
husband as he does the same.
"How handsome," she says.
"I married one of the top athletes
in the state of Florida!" he says with a
bellow. Then he crooks an eyebrow and
leans in conspiratorially.
"You know what? She ain't far from it
For some, God's plan involves one
door closing and another opening.
For Mitchell, God has been a traveling
companion. Sometimes, it was a jog on
the beach. Other times, it was a drive,
with Him at the wheel.
"How else can you explain that day?"
Mitchell says. "A person can't do it all
himself. He needs help."
For Mitchell, there's no denying who
is supplying that help.
Email: Patrick Obley is the Sports Editor of the Sun Herald.
He can be e-mailed firstname.lastname@example.org
staff can help
you place an ad
Frostproof News Page 15A
Julv 6, 2011
July 6, 2011
P 16A Frost roof Ne s
The Streamsong golf experience will be almost like no other in Florida, designers say.
Streamsong Doak course completes
shaping, irrigation installation
Construction of the new Tom Doak/
Renaissance Golf Design course at
Streamsong Resort in Central Florida is
moving briskly along. As of June, all 18
holes are completely shaped, and the
first six holes have been sprigged, with
the remainder to be grassed in July and
The completion of shaping.means
that the creative work by the highly-
creative Doak and his team is essen-
"So I'm no longer talking about the
potential of the course to be excellent
I am talking about what the finished
product is going to be, and I'm more
excited about that than ever," said
Doak. He made a visit to the course site
The Doak course and another by the
team of Coore & Crenshaw will be two
highly distinctive, intertwined, 18-hole
courses on a former phosphate mining
site, just west of Fort Meade, and about
" 20 miles from Frostproof.
The noted designers were intrigued
by the opportunity to utilize mined
land and to work side-by-side on their
two courses at Streamsong Resort, a
16,000-acre project being developed by
The Mosaic Company, the world's lead-
ing producer and marketer of phos-
phate-based crop nutrients. The resort
is located in southern Polk County
between Tampa and Orlando.
"This is such a good piece of land
for golf," Doak said. "The variety of
contours created by the mining process
is unique for a project in Florida, or
anywhere in the Southeast. I have been
friends with Bill and Ben for many
years, and it has been fun to be work-
ing right alongside them. I think it has
brought out the best work in each of
flr-5d- 'i" T-.* '-: . K.
The course shaping is now completed, and irrigation lines have also been put in in anticipation of course opening in the fall of 2012.
Doak said the "transition" holes -
those that architects traditionally aren't
quite sure of what to expect when a
project begins are a stretch at his
Streamsong course from the par 3 10th
to the short par-4 13th. Those holes are
on the flattest part of the property, and
the solutions to the problem were dif-
ferent for each hole.
"The 10th was almost a completely
featureless green site which just tilted a
bit from left to right, and that present-
ed a problem, because the other par-3
holes all have a left-to-right bias," Doak
said. "So our challenge was to build a
hole for a right-to-left long iron shot
without building anything obviously
Doak's shapers on the job, Eric Iver-
son and Mike McCartin, pulled it off
by digging a very deep bunker at the
left front of the green, so the approach
feeds back into it like a whirlpool, and
by angling the green away to the left
so that a faded shot runs the danger of
running across the green and off the
back right side.
By contrast, the 300-yard par-4 13th
hole had the problem of too much sand
- it plays along the side of a large lake
to the left. The mining operation had
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GOLF: Shaping, irrigation complete
FROM PAGE 16 recovery. putting surface must now risk a 20-foot said.
A skinny green was built up at the deep bunker at the front left. Plans are to have the golf courses
left a very steep sandy bank more than existing grade, but 20 feet of sand was "Bill and Ben have told us it's now open in the fall of 2012 with the resort
20 feet high running down to the lake, cut along the left side of the fairway up the coolest hole on the course, which is itself, a $75 million 200-room hotel
so that golfers wouldn't see the hazard to the front of the green, so that play- amazing to me, knowing what else we complex, open in 2013.
coming, and would have no chance of ers who try to drive to the front of the had to work with on the others," Doak
Mining operations on the site left behind a dramatic landscape from which to make two world-
class golf courses.
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'I'm no longer talking about the potential of the course to be excellent I am talking about
what the finished product is going to be, and I'm more excited about that than ever," said course
designer Tom Doak.
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July 6, 2011
Frostproof News Page 17A
Page 18A Frostproof News July 6, 2011
PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER
Polk County Manager Jim Freeman (from left), along with Polk County Commissioners Bob English, Melony Bell, Todd Dantzler, Sam Johnson and Chairman Edwin V. Smith, listen to a presentation
made during the first part of the summit. Not all of them were able to remain for the whole summit, as several had other county-related appointments.
Student health, learning discussed at county summit
By STEVE STEINER
Even though school is out for the
summer, student's health and learn-
ing were on the minds of many county
school and government officials late
The annual county school summit,
held June 30 at the recently opened
Davenport School of the Arts, was an
opportunity for elected leaders from
county, municipality and school board,
as well as appointed officials, various
school and county employees, and the
general public, to gain an overview of
the challenges facing Polk County, as
well as an update on what has been
Titled this year as "Building up
Steam," the primary focus emphasized
the health and well-being of children.
Two troubling statistics were brought
to the forefront. Nearly 34 percent
of children in Polk County are over-
weight, said Susan Kistler, the Nutrition
Program director with the Polk County
"One in three children born in 2000
could become diabetic," said Kistler.
She added the ratio was potentially
higher in blacks and Hispanics. The
percentage, she said, was higher than
the state average.
The other statistic concerned the
school meal program. Currently, Polk
County Schools provide breakfast,
lunch and snacks served at after-school
programs. According to data, 67 per-
cent of Polk County students receive
free or reduced price meals, one of the
highest percentages in Florida.
Not all the news was bad. A number
of initiatives are and have been un-
der way that encompass health and
nutrition. For the past several years,
measures have been incorporated that
provides healthier choices to children.
PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER
Jenna Kaczmarski, Lacie Sturgis and Katie Taylor, food service supervisors with Polk County Public Schools, awaited their turn to make presenta-
tions at the 2011 School Summit, which was held June 30 at Davenport School of the Arts.
"There has been an increase of fresh
fruits and vegetables," said Kelli Taylor,
a food service supervisor with Polk
Another effort, according to fellow
food service supervisors Jenna Kac-
zmarski and Lacie Sturgis, has been
either the removal of vending machines
from schools, or the removal of certain
items, such as sodas and snacks with
high sugar, sodium and fat content.
Another measure has been monitor-
ing the provision and/or sale of foods
at fund raising events. Finally, school
food programs have been moved to the
auspices of the state Department of
Agriculture, where earlier it had been
under the direction of the state Depart-
ment of Education.
Toward the end of the program,
attention was drawn to the STEM/
STEAM (which includes arts) program,
the latter tied in to this year's theme:
"Building Up STEAM." According to Re-
becca Braaten, the director of the Polk
County School Department of Academ-
ic Rigor, when the STEM program was
started, following President George W.
Bush's 2008 State of the Union address,
it focused on the "hard" curricula:
I -C P--C-- ------l~r--~-a--------- .. .. -.........
PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER
What makes a liveable community was a key question throughout the 2011 School Summit, and a number of presentations, both video and Power-
Point, were given.
science, technology, engineering and
The discussion was held in the
recent shadow of the news that county
schools had slipped to a C grade during
the 2010-11 school year. (See story, page
However, she said, education in the
arts is equally important, as it teaches
students to use imagination, spatial
skills, creativity and multiple perspec-
tives. In addition, the arts teaches
flexible thinking and risk taking needed
for problem solving, as well as human-
ized technology. It challenges students
to develop solutions to problems, not
only those current, but which may arise
in the future.
The topic of what is a livable com-
munity was even on the agenda.
That was the questioned asked
and answered by Polk County
students in the early grades, and their
answers ranged from the humorous
to sometimes insight that belied their
tender ages. The answers ranged from
healthy habits, such as not smoking or
doing drugs, to having parks and play-
grounds to being safe on the roads, to
beings safe in school and free to learn,
to not being hungry.
Filmed by students from the Daven-
port School of the Arts, the question
and answers about what made a livable
community was one of six issues all
inter-related. The other five issues be-
ing the Women, Infants and Children
(WIC), school nutrition, parks and rec-
reation, physical education, and STEM/
The summit was held at the Daven-
port school June 30.
July 6, 2011
Page 18A Frostproof News
Frostproof News Page 19A
Bok Academy getting new principal
Damien Moses will transfer to middle school
By MARY CANNADAY
Although Hillcrest students and par-
ents know Moses quite well, middle-
schoolers from other campuses may
not be as familiar. And the affable for-
mer college football player has definite
plans and is looking forward to his new
post as principal at Bok Academy.
Moses is already a fan of the school,
and his son, Damien, will be starting
sixth grade there this year. "Every-
body wants their child to go to a great
school, and I can't think of a better one
than Bok," Moses said. "When you walk
onto the campus, you can see it's a
wonderful, magical place."
"I'm excited. The school has done
some phenomenal things, and is really
about discovery-type learning, where
the kids can explore." The school will
continue the "55 Essentials, Simple
Rules and Expectations for Building a
Civil Community." The essentials aim
to build mutual respect by such guide-
lines as "Find a way to get outside of
yourself and give back to this commu-
nity," or "surprise others with random
acts of kindness," as well as the more
day-to-day school rules such as "When
standing in line, keep your hands to
Moses says he believes that 'All chil-
dren have greatness within them and
it's our job as educators to bring that
out. We need to get to know the child to
find out what their greatness is."
He is certainly qualified, having at-
tended South Carolina State University
on a full football scholarship, receiving
a Master's degree in Sports Medicine
and Rehabilitation at Life University in
Georgia. He also earned an Educational
Specialist degree from Nova Southeast-
ern. Prior to his time at Hillcrest, he
was a Lake Wales High School assistant
principal for two years and at Lewis
AnnaWoodbury in Fort Meade for nine
His wife, Melissa, teaches kindergar-
ten students at Polk Avenue Elementary
School. The couple have two children:
Karen and Damien.
It's not an easy thing leaving behind
the students and staff at Hillcrest.
"They (the students) are like my own
kids," Moses said.
"But they know this is a good thing,
and anyway, they will be seeing me
and assistant principal Beth Ford again
when they get to Bok."
It's also bittersweet for Hillcrest staff.
Administrative Assistant Cheryl Don-
aldson said "We love him, and we hate
to lose him."
PHOTO BY MARY CANNADAY
Damilen Moses is the new principal at Bok
County observes voting amendment anniversary
Forty years ago,
voting age was lowered to 18
By JEFF ROSLOW
Putting an amendment on the U.S.
Constitution is not easy. It takes years
make that decades usually for it to
It's occurred 17 times since the Con-
stitution became the law of the land
in 1791. That doesn't count the Bill of
Rights which became part of the docu-
ment on Dec. 15, 1791.
The waiting period for the passage
Sof the 26th Amendment took 17 years
, from when it was first proposed to the
--ume ir was certified on July 7, 1971.
"For years our citizens between the
ages of 18 and 21 have, in time of peril,
been summoned to fight for America.
They should participate in the political
process that produces this fateful sum-
mons. I urge Congress to propose to
the States a constitutional amendment
permitting citizens to vote when they
reach the age of 18," President Dwight
Eisenhower said on Jan. 6, 1954 in his
State of the Union address.
On Friday, Lori Edwards and her staff
at the Polk County Supervisor of Elec-
tions Office marked the 40th anniver-
sary of the amendment at her office in
"When the Constitution was first -
written, to vote you had to be a white
male, you had to own land, had to be
of the right religion, take a literacy test
and have enough money to pay for a
poll tax. This country has opened up
more and more through the decades
to all of its citizens and that is what
today's celebration is about, too," Ed-
She also brought some light to how
long it ago that was: "In 1971 Disney
first opened and stamps cost 8 cents
each," she said before introducing
three people invited to mark the occa-
Those three included two people
who graduated high school this year,
KeitleyWatson who graduated from
Bartow High, and Pedro Martinez, who
graduated from George Jenkins High,
both who just turned 18, and Lyle Bul-
man, who registered to vote soon after
the 26th Amendment was passed after
he graduated from Bartow High School
"My father certainly suggested to me
how important it was for my voice to be
heard," he recalled being told time and
again. "And, once Vietnam came to an
end it seemed important to me to how
I can have voice."
He said he didn't follow the political
process that closely, but with the draft
still being around, he was aware of the
war in Vietnam and vividly recalls those
he knew going to Asia and a few not
"I watched my friends and family
getting drafted and I felt it would have
affected me if it didn't end."
The same following of the political
process is also true of Watson and Mar-
tinez. They understand the importance
of being able to vote, but both admitted
they don't follow politics so closely. But
they both say they will follow it more
"My family has always told me we
all need to be heard," Watson said. "As
18-year-olds I don't think (politics) has
a big following."
However, she said realizing how
important it is to vote she wants to
pay more attention. She realizes the
woes of the economy is big news and
the chance of finding good work is not
"(The jobs) are scarce, but we have to
do the best we can do."
Watson said she plans to go to Polk
State college in the fall and study
"I have not had that much focus (on
politics)," Martinez said. "But now I
want to focus more."
He said he's been getting curious
about the presidential race coming in
2012 where President Obama may face
one of several candidates seeking to
get the Republican nomination. But,
mostly Martinez is focusing his efforts
to get into trade school to learn to be
an electrician and getting into Polk
State College after that.
Edwards pointed out she does
whatever she can to encourage people
to vote and pointed out that about 62
percent of those 18-24 in Polk County
voted in the 2008 presidential election
but only 20 percent of those in that age
range voted in 2010.
Edwards said her office's efforts will
continue. All week booths are set up
throughout Winter Haven getting peo-
ple to register. This is a system she does
on a regular basis and Matt Hinton, the
outreach services assistant, says these
booths are usually well used. He said
the office sets up booths around the
county 170 times a year.
And the registration stays steady,
Edwards said. Despite the process the
Republicans have been pushing and
did pass in Florida, registration still
remains strong as does turnout. In
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Polk County there are 28,888 registered
voters between 18-24, which Edwards
said is about 9 percent of the registered
voters in all. Not a bad percentage con-
sidering Florida is one of eight states to
never ratify the 26th Amendment.
"There's a lot more voter turnout
now. When George Washington was
elected president there was an 11 per-
cent voter turnout," she said.
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July 6, 2011