Communication Builds Our Community

Articles from the October 4, 2023 edition

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  • New Local Bus Service Begins in Lake Wales

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Oct 30, 2023

    A new "circulator" bus route that will serve the city six days a week on a frequent schedule began this week, making getting around town without a car a much simpler task. Lake Wales should be very proud of the new service, according to Tom Phillips, executive director of Citrus Connection, which operates the buses. "This is only the second city [in Polk County] to have a real circulator route," he told Lake Wales The circulator will stay within the city limits,...

  • October 3, 1923 Highlander

    News Research Staff|Updated Oct 11, 2023

    The Lake Wales area in 1923 was a bustle of activity as the Great Florida Land Boom took serious hold of the imaginations of investors from across the nation. Land speculation in the state was beginning to be a major driver of rising property values as properties were flipped from investor to investor without hesitation, always at a profit. Locally, Roger Babson, a noted statistician, was laying the groundwork for his community of Babson Park, with plans afoot to build a new...

  • Two Winners Each Week from Pizzano's in Our New Contest!

    News Staff|Updated Oct 9, 2023

    We love contests, and we love prizes, so we're giving two lucky families free dinners from Pizzano's! Best of all, we're doing it EVERY WEEK! Win the large pizza of your choice, including the works if you like, just by sharing the important stories we publish about our community. Pick something from our sections about Schools, Fun, Ridge Life, Business, it's all up to you! Just know that you could very well be enjoying one of our delicious prizes. Two winners will be randomly...

  • Crash Brings Traffic to a Halt on SR 60

    News Staff Reports|Updated Oct 7, 2023

    Thursday afternoon travelers on Hesperides Road found themselves caught in a lengthy backup after three vehicles tangled at the intersection of Ninth Street. Emergency responders worked to investigate and remove vehicles from travel lanes to clear the street, but no major injuries were reported. The crash was apparently triggered by an illegal right-turn attempt from a left-hand travel lane. A vehicle with two occupants driven by an employee of Edgewood Landscape crossed into...

  • Lake Hatchineha Road to be Closed Starting Tuesday

    News Staff Reports|Updated Oct 7, 2023

    A weeklong sewer extension project in Lake Hamilton will require the closure of a stretch of Lake Hatchineha Road for several days. According to Bill Skelton of the Polk County Roads & Drainage Division, the closure will affect a portion of the road just east of Scenic Highway. The project was previously scheduled to begin on September 26, but has now been rescheduled to start Tuesday morning, October 10, with an expedited reopening no later than Friday afternoon October 13....

  • A "World Premiere" Screening of "Lake Wales Envisioned" Documentary Will Happen Thursday Night

    News Staff Reports|Updated Oct 7, 2023

    Community civic leaders and interested citizens are expected to gather Thursday evening to view the premiere screening of what is expected to be an influential documentary film introducing the work product of the Lake Wales Envisioned process. The event will begin at 7:00 at the Lake Wales Woman's Club Auditorium. The Envisioned planning effort grew from a desire by city leaders to better shape and guide the impact of dozens of development proposals that will include some 14,0...

  • Temporary Lane Closures on US 27 at Central Avenue Expected

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Oct 6, 2023

    The nearly five-year, The $45 million construction project to reconstruct the intersection of US 27 and SR 60 in Lake Wales is progressing as crews prepare to resurface a stretch of West Central Avenue that has been disrupted during the process. Motorists should expect a northbound lane closure on US 27 near Central Avenue, according the the Florida Department of Transportation and the general contractor The massive project to rebuild the former obsolete bridge and...

  • Donald V. Hendrick, 1939-2023

    News Obituary Service|Updated Oct 6, 2023

    Donald V. Hendrick passed away on his 84th birthday, on October 3, 2023, in Winter Haven, Florida. He was born on October 3, 1939, in Bereah, Florida, to Mr. & Mrs. Vince A. Hendrick. Don attended grade school in Key West, where his father was on shore duty, and in Sulphur Springs. He attended junior high in Fort Meade, Florida, and graduated from Fort Meade High School in 1957. He graduated from Florida State University with a Master's Degree in Genetics and from Queen's Univ...

  • Embrace Lake Wales Envisioned: A Model for the Nation

    Anne Neal Petri and Lucy Lawliss|Updated Oct 6, 2023

    Editor's Note: This guest Commentary, offered by two distinguished scholars of the works of the father and son who shared the honored name of Frederick Law Olmsted, is the first of a series of guest editorials that will address the effort known as Lake Wales Envisioned. A century ago, Lake Wales was in the news: The most famous landscape architect in America, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., was transforming one of Florida's highest points into Bok Tower Gardens, today a National...

  • Esther Hooks, 1952-2023

    News Obituary Service|Updated Oct 4, 2023

    Esther Hooks, age 71, passed away Friday, September 29, 2023. She was born August 10, 1952 in Bartow, Florida to Harvey & Mercia Morris. She worked for Lake Wales Cab Company as a taxi driver for 16 years. Esther is survived by her daughter Tina Downing, son Nicky Hooks, sister Margaret McNeely & husband James, seven grandchildren: Ciara Downing, Joshua Downing, Nathan Downing, Tera Downing, Katlyn Hunter, Brian Hunter, William Hunter III, and nine great grandchildren. A...

  • Samantha Diane Herring, 1969-2023

    News Obituary Service|Updated Oct 4, 2023

    Samantha Diane Herring, age 53, passed away Friday, September 22, 2023. She was born September 24, 1969 in Lake Wales, Florida to Michael & Annette Herring. She worked at Arby's in Bartow, Florida. She is survived by her aunt Diane Clyatt and husband James of Lake Wales, and cousins Amy Clyatt and husband James Collins, and Courtney Boyett and husband Jessie. Condolence may be sent to the family at

  • Roosevelt Academy Educator Matthew Brojanowski Named Finalist

    Kyle Kennedy, Polk Public Schools|Updated Oct 3, 2023

    A local educator received a visit from the "Surprise Patrol" today and learned that he has been selected as a finalist in the Polk County School System's annual awards, which are given to the teacher and paraeducator of the year. Matthew Brojanowski now teaches English at Roosevelt Academy, located on East Street in Lake Wales. He has had a remarkable career in education. Brojanowski first got involved in schools as a parent volunteer, then worked as a substitute, and went on...

  • Unhealthy Air Spreads Across Florida for Second Day

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Oct 3, 2023

    Local fitness buffs may be well advised to skip the outdoor routines today due to the unhealthy levels of particulate matter in the air. The cloud of smoke which has drifted south from Canada has cast a gray pall over most of the state. It's the result of smoke from the vast wildfires which have devastated forests in what would normally be the chilly north woods. According to, which monitors air quality globally, the air over Florida is rated as "unhealthy," with...

  • Water Management District Offers Access to Nearly 70 Recreation Sites

    Special to the News|Updated Oct 2, 2023

    The Southwest Florida Water Management District has published its new, free recreational guide highlighting nearly 70 properties. With its new sleeker design, users can scan QR codes to discover specific up-to-date details about each property. There are thousands of acres of recreational lands throughout the District and access to most of them is free to visitors. The new recreation guides also allow users to take notes, learn about various volunteering opportunities and...

  • Cooking Safety and Fire Prevention Go Hand-in-Hand

    Special to the News|Updated Oct 2, 2023

    According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires, with nearly half of all home fires involving cooking equipment; cooking is also the leading cause of home fire injuries (42%) and 20% of reported home fire deaths. State Farm and the National Fire Protection Association have teamed up to promote this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign from October 8 through 15 to educate everyone about simple but important steps they can take to keep themselves and those around...

  • Career Academies Offer Career Pathways to High School Students

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Sep 30, 2023

    Pathways leading to college or directly to highly-paid careers are open to students at Lake Wales High School thanks to the seven "Career Academies" offered at the school. Assistant Principal Jasmine Ansley heads the career academy program and was happy to report that 1,039 of the school's students are now enrolled in one of the pathways. The program helps keep students engaged in what they like to do at school, resulting in a lower drop rate, she said. A recent special...

  • Medically Vulnerable Residents to Gain Easier Access to Healthcare

    Jeff Foley, Polk Media Relations Officer|Updated Sep 30, 2023

    Polk County's medically vulnerable residents will find healthcare more accessible beginning October 1 after the Citizens Healthcare Oversight Committee approved relaxing income requirements for participation in the Polk HealthCare Plan (PHP) from 168 to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. According to officials, the change is in part a reflection of the minimum wage increase occurring in Florida on September 30. Families may make more money now due to higher pay but, thanks to...

  • Lake Wales Native Chosen as New Bok South Academy Principal

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Sep 27, 2023

    Lake Wales Charter School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Rodolfich has announced the appointment of April Barnhardt to become the new principal of Edward Bok Academy South. The appointment was confirmed by the Charter School board. Barnhardt has for the past two years served as the assistant principal of Hillcrest Elementary School, one of several local schools she attended as a child. She will take over the role from Dr. Julio Acevedo, who has served on a temporary basis the...

  • Polk County Seeks Volunteers to Guide Lake Access

    Mianne Nelson, Polk Communications Division|Updated Sep 27, 2023

    Polk County commissioners are looking for volunteers who would like to serve on the county's Lake Access Advisory Committee. The LAAC studies how to increase public access to Polk County's lakes and reports findings and recommendations back to the County Commission. The Lake Access Advisory Committee includes 10 members appointed by the Polk County Board of County Commissioners. Each Commissioner appoints two members to the Committee, with staggered member terms. Members are...