Communication Builds Our Community

Articles from the March 1, 2023 edition

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  • West Park Avenue to Remain Closed for Lake Wales Connected Construction

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Mar 27, 2023

    Crews from Gomez Construction will be barricading a block of West Park Avenue between First Street and Wetmore Street on Monday, March 6 to begin the $11.5 million transformation of that street and, eventually, the adjoining eastern blocks and the adjacent MarketPlace. The project is the first major undertaking of the ambitious $20 million project defined by the Lake Wales Connected plan, which was developed with wide public input. The finished product will feature a brick-pav...

  • March 20 "Envisioned" Events to Shape Future of Lake Wales in Face of Explosive Growth

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Mar 15, 2023

    A host of proposed housing developments that could more than double the population of Lake Wales have created worries that the once-quiet community will be overrun by sprawling growth. In response, citizens are being encouraged to join in a process to help prevent bad outcomes. A March 20 afternoon "symposium" at Bok Tower Gardens will be a key part of a months-long project called "Lake Wales Envisioned." "Olmsted's City 10, 25, and 50 years" is a tagline for the process, and...

  • Bok Academy North Classrooms Near Completion, But Funding Remains an Issue

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Mar 13, 2023

    Lake Wales newest middle school campus is set to benefit from a $6 million construction project, but Lake Wales Charter Schools is working to find the resources to pay for the new school building at BoK Academy North. Filling the $3 million gap in funding to complete the new campus is being approached through a three-tiered fundraising effort that includes giving away a 2023 Cadillac XT4. Dr. T.J. McKeon spoke with the this week to explain the crucial need,...

  • Reverend Thomas C. Seitz, 1952-2023

    News Obituary Service|Updated Mar 4, 2023

    Thomas C. Seitz, Jr. departed this life in the faith and fear of the lord on March 3, 2023. He is survived by Anna, his beloved wife of 44 years; his brothers: Chris, Mark, and Peter; his children: Sarah, Katherine, and Thomas; and his seven grandchildren: Anna, John Thomas, Henry, Benjamin, Francisca, Christopher, and Sophia. Tom was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1978, serving congregations in West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, and Florida, retiring in 2017...

  • City Relaxes Controversial Policy On Public Comments at Commission Meetings

    News Staff Reports|Updated Mar 4, 2023

    A policy change allowing increased public input reverses a controversial decision by the Lake Wales City Commission to that sharply limited public input. The modification to a standing policy regarding public comment was approved by the City Commission Tuesday. The policy will continue to limit speakers to five minutes, and all comments to a 45-minute period, unless the commission majority to extends the period for an additional 15 minutes, the maximum allowed. The earlier...

  • City Commission Considers Giving Plant Re-Zoning Authority Back to Staff

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Mar 4, 2023

    The Lake Wales City Commission will consider relinquishing authority on major zoning changes to a city planning staff person who will serve as the final decision-maker. That choice may determine who controls decisions related to a proposal for a nearly 100-acre industrial facility on the city's south side. The issue is particularly timely because of the pending rezoning from "light industrial" to "heavy industrial" of the site, which adjoins both Highland Park and Highland Par...

  • Governor DeSantis' Delayed Reinstatement of Suspended Commissioner Kris Fitzgerald Raised at City Commission Meeting

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Mar 4, 2023

    The expected reinstatement of suspended City Commissioner Kris Fitzgerald was raised again by Commissioner Terrye Howell, who questioned the lack of action from Governor Ron DeSantis at the most recent meeting of the commission. DeSantis suspended Fitzgerald in June of 2021 after she was charged with two felonies. Fitzgerald was acquitted by a jury trial in October. Florida statutes call for the governor to end her suspension "forthwith" upon her exoneration of the charges....

  • School Superintendent Rodolfich and Staff Read to 59 Classes in Marathon Effort

    Special to the News|Updated Mar 3, 2023

    Teaching children to read is one of the most important steps in the life-long project of learning. Getting them started early is critical, many educators believe. Among those who created reading material that draws children into the learning process was the beloved Dr. Seuss. As a way to mark Dr. Seuss' birthday on March 2, Lake Wales Charter Schools Superintendent Dr. Wayne Rodolfich, accompanied by Bilingual Specialist Dr. Julio Acevedo and PD Coordinator Stacie Padgett,...

  • Olmsted Day Vendors, Sponsors Needed to Support Tree Planting

    News Staff Reorts|Updated Mar 3, 2023

    The historic beauty of Lake Wales and efforts to re-create it are the focus of a special event planned for Lake Wailes Park. Area businesses, artists, and crafters are being invited to participate in Olmsted Day in the Park, an annual event celebrating Lake Wales' parks and streetscapes. Sponsors and vendors are welcome to join in the community-wide effort. The April 29 event, hosted by Lake Wales Heritage with the participation of the City of Lake Wales, features music, food...

  • Monday is Deadline for Voter Registration for Lake Wales City Election

    Rachel Harris|Updated Mar 1, 2023

    Residents in Lake Wales who are not already registered to vote, but wish to participate in the April 4th Municipal Elections must register to vote on or before Monday, March 6th. Registration forms may be completed online at Forms are also available at Lake Wales Public Library on Cypress Gardens Lane downtown, and The Lake Wales City Administration building on Central Avenue. Voter registration forms are also available for pick up at many convenient...

  • Lake Wales Police Recover Stolen Property Valued At Over $400,000

    News Staff Reports|Updated Feb 28, 2023

    Lake Wales Police have recovered more than $400,000 worth of stolen property and arrested a 51-year-old man suspected of dealing in stolen property. The Friday February 17, arrest of Billy Joe Byrd by Lake Wales Police detectives came after they received a tip that stolen property was being stored at 254 N Miami Street in Lake Wales. Police are seeking others involved in a wide-spread theft and fencing operation. Detectives obtained permission from the property owner before...

  • Dyer Difference Award Recognizes Polk Sheriff's Charities

    Wendy Dwyer|Updated Feb 28, 2023

    The Dyer Difference Award for February has gone to Polk Sheriff's Charities. Since 2006, Polk Sheriff's Charities have been supporting first responders and members of the community in a variety of ways that show dedication, commitment, and loyalty to Polk county residents. What started as a response to the murder of Deputy Matt Williams and K-9 DiOGi after a routine traffic stop, has blossomed into a veritable font of kindness and compassion for the community. First...