Communication Builds Our Community

(33) stories found containing 'highland park'

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  • SE Polk Cities See Rise in Property Values

    Robert Connors|Updated Jul 11, 2024

    Cities across the county are seeing significant rises in property tax income, according to the preliminary tax roll published by Polk County Property Appraiser Marsha Faux. Despite the recent surge in home prices and the value of new construction, however, property values in most Ridge-area municipalities have seen only modest increases so far. The valuations have significant impacts on city budgets, since local shares of the taxes are based upon the millage rates set by...

  • January 30, 1924 Highlander

    News Research Staff|Updated Feb 2, 2024

    The January 30, 1924 issue of the Highlander was filled with significant reports, including one claiming that Polk County, with it's sparse population, had been recorded as having the highest per capita income in the nation. A second story indicated part of the reason: at 70,000 acres,Polk County had more acreage of citrus planted than the next five Florida counties combined. The surge of planting here had already generated immense wealth, and Lake Wales was the center of the...

  • 100 Years Ago: The Highlander of January 2, 1924

    News Research staff|Updated Jan 3, 2024

    The new year of 1924 started out with big news in the community of Lake Wales as voters apparently chose to fund a new county hospital, a b ig achievement for the largely-rural county. Roads were being paved and widened to connect the network of small towns that were sprinkled across the more than 2,000 square miles of Polk, while railroad lines were also being extended to allow the quick passage of freight and passengers to and from northern markets. Citrus was the big...

  • Some Local Officials Resigning Over New Disclosure Requirements

    Tom Paulson and Robert Connors|Updated Dec 28, 2023

    A new financial disclosure requirement that has caused hundreds of municipal officials across the state to resign their offices is also having impacts in the Lake Wales area. The state law, which takes effect January 1, requires every elected official in cities, towns, and villages across the state to complete a comprehensive disclosure of income and assets that many consider draconian. The form will replace the simpler, and less invasive, Form 1 previously required. The...

  • "Town Hall" Meeting on ADS Plant to Be Run By City

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated May 2, 2023

    APRIL 25 - A public "town hall" meeting about the proposed ADS plastic pipe plant scheduled for Wednesday evening will be chaired by Lake Wales Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson, it was announced this week. The meeting will offer residents an opportunity to ask questions about the operations and impact of the facility. "They asked the city to be in charge of things," Gibson told, and specifically suggested that Gibson should chair it. "I told them 'If you want that,...

  • ADS to Host Public Meeting Over Pipe Plant Concerns

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Apr 25, 2023

    A public meeting seeking to respond to public concerns over a proposed plastic pipe manufacturing facility will take place on Wednesday, April 26 at the Lake Wales Arts Center. The meeting will be hosted by Advanced Drainage Systems, or ADS, the company seeking to build on a 97-acre site fronting South 11th Street and Hunt Brothers Road. The meeting will begin at 6:00 pm. Some residents have voiced opposition to the "heavy" industrial use of the property, although it has been...

  • Cathryn "Cathy" Sullivan Powers, 1949-2023

    News Obituary Service|Updated Apr 25, 2023

    Cathryn "Cathy" Sullivan Powers, 73, of Lake Wales, passed away Thursday, April 20, 2023, at her residence. She was born June 1, 1949, in Greenville, Mississippi to the late James K. Sullivan and Gloria K. (Weathers) Sullivan. She spent her formative years between Greenville, Dallas, Texas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cathy graduated from Highland Park High School in Dallas, TX in 1967. She graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education...

  • City Commission Approves Correction of Impactful "Scriveners Error"

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Apr 21, 2023

    An overflow crowd was present Tuesday night as Lake Wales City Commissioners approved correction of a "scrivener's error" that many had interpreted as a step toward the approval of a controversial pipe factory proposal. The change will allow a staff decision on a zoning change from "Light Industrial" to "Heavy Industrial" without the necessity of a commission-conducted public hearing process and site review. That process would allow commissioners to place special conditions...

  • "Tweens Invited to "Bad Art Night" to Create Their Own Artworks

    Special to the News|Updated Apr 8, 2023

    A free "Bad Art Night" of creativity, designed for 'tweens 8-15 years old will take place at the Mary Norma Campbell Resource Center in Highland Park Manor on Friday April 21. The event is sponsored by Polk County Parks and Recreation. Aspiring and terrible artists alike are invited to come out and create their own disaster-level piece of artwork from scratch. Prizes in multiple categories will be awarded based on the most creatively awful original works. Kids are invited to...

  • Highland Park Manor Organizers Call a Second "Town Hall" Meeting

    News Staff Reports|Updated Apr 7, 2023

    A "town hall" community organizing event is planned to take place Monday at the Mary Norma Campbell Resource Center in Highland Park Manor. The 7:00 pm event is the second meeting of the community located southeast of Lake Wales. Concern over the lack of transparency by the city of Lake Wales over rezoning of an industrial site to accommodate proposed plastic pipe factory appears to be one of the catalysts for the revival of the neighborhood association. Both Highland Park...

  • Zoning Board Rejects Change to Ordinance That Would Permit Expedited Approval of Plastic Plant

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Apr 2, 2023

    In a surprise move, the Lake Wales Planning and Zoning Board voted 4-1 Tuesday evening to reject the "correction of a scrivener's error" that would eliminate a step in future zoning decisions. The decision has immediate impact in the impending decision regarding a proposed plastics manufacturing plant. Dozens of residents filled the chambers as the board, unused to crowds, opened the meeting. Chairman Chris Lutton told the group that the controversial plant was not on the...

  • City Commission Gives Attorney "Unsatisfactory" Marks in Annual Review

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Apr 1, 2023

    It was a very unhappy group of Lake Wales City Commissioners who spent more than 45 minutes discussing their generally dismal evaluations of City Attorney Chuck Galloway Wednesday. At their regular workshop meeting the commission discussed the notes they had turned in as part of an annual performance review. Galloway received a total of eight "unsatisfactory" scores from four commissioners who completed their evaluations. Commissioner Daniel Williams had not yet submitted his,...

  • 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...

  • Proposed Plastic Plant Meets Another Roadblock After Hearing Cancelled

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Feb 15, 2023

    Final approval of a manufacturing plant proposed for a 96-acre "light industrial" site adjacent to Hunt Bros. Road and South 11th Street has been delayed for at least another month by what Lake Wales City Attorney Chuck Galloway described as a "scrivener's error" in an updated ordinance adopted by the city commission in October. The proposed Advanced Drainage Systems plant would manufacture plastic drainage pipes and requires a "special exception" to allow for the storage of...

  • Major Manufacturing Plant Proposed for Hunt Bros. Road

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Feb 9, 2023

    Advanced Drainage Systems has proposed the plant, which would be located on property adjacent to the former Hunt Brothers citrus packing plant. It would occupy a nearly 100-acre site just to the east of South 11th Street and north of Hunt Brothers Road. According to published reports, Advanced Drainage Systems is the largest maker of high-density polyethylene pipe in the United States, and is headquartered in Hilliard, Ohio. The most recent available data indicates that in 201...

  • Registration Open for Polk Senior Games

    News Staff Reports|Updated Jan 23, 2023

    There's still time to register for those wishing to compete in the annual Polk Senior Games, but that window is closing fast!. The games are an annual two-week series of 33 Olympic-style sports and games for men and women 50 years of age and over. The 30th Polk Senior Games begin on Saturday February 25th and end on Saturday March 11. Registration began January 1 and ends February 10. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded in each event and age division. The Games...

  • EDITORIAL: Limiting Speech at Commission Meetings Is a Bad Idea

    News Editorial Board|Updated Jan 4, 2023

    Stifling Dissent is Not a Solution The essential freedoms that we often take for granted as Americans set us apart from much of the world, where speaking out against a government action or official can bring harsh responses. More than ever, speaking out is needed in Lake Wales. There is no better forum for sharing concerns and ideas about the course of our community than the meetings of the City Commission. Now, under a proposed resolution, Lake Wales citizens may be...

  • Mayor Orders Police to Clear Commission Chambers After Citizen Protest

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Jan 4, 2023

    A raucous end to Tuesday's city commission meeting resulted in Mayor Jack Hilligoss ordering police to clear the room after an angry crowd of more than 30 mostly older citizens objected to a proposed resolution limiting citizen comments at meetings. The group continued their protest outside the meeting chambers, singing and shouting during a five minute recess. The disruption began during commissioner comments regarding a resolution proposed by the mayor that would require cit...

  • Ann Wagner Geils,1928-2022

    Updated Jul 10, 2022

    Ann Wagner Geils, born July 7, 1928, in Summit, New Jersey, passed away at her home in Highland Park, Florida on July 6, 2022, just one day shy of her 94th birthday. She will be remembered by all those who loved her as the matriarch of her family, who loved "her people" fiercely and completely. "Her people" included not only her blood relatives, but also so many others whom she took in as family both physically and emotionally. Her dinner table was the center of family...

  • Neighborhood Shopping Center Proposed for Hunt Bros. Road

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated May 14, 2022

    The Lake Wales City Commission will vote Tuesday on a proposal that will allow construction of a new "neighborhood" shopping center at the currently-remote corner of Hunt Brothers Road and South 11th Street. The conceptual development plan for the 13.66 acre site on the northwest corner of the intersection will be considered by the commission at Tuesday's 6:00 pm meeting. The proposal is being submitted by the McKenna Family, owners of the two parcels, and represents the new...

  • High-Speed Fiber Optic Internet Coming to Lake Wales

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Dec 22, 2021

    In a long-awaited development, Lake Wales is slated to begin receiving direct fiber-optics residential Internet service beginning in 2022. Fiber optics uses light rather than electrical impulses to transmit data, resulting in much faster speeds and higher data volumes. The new infrastructure is expected to provide an economic boost to the city as more people seek to work from home. A multi-million-dollar investment by Frontier Communications will employ "a small army of...

  • Lake Wales Marks Passing of Frank M. Hunt, II, Civic and Business Leader

    News Staff|Updated Nov 30, 2021

    One of the most significant figures in the long history of Florida's citrus industry, Frank M. Hunt II, passed away Saturday, November 27 at his residence in Lake Wales. He was 93, Born in Lake Wales to a pioneering family in 1928, Hunt progressed through Lake Wales schools before leaving to attend Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina. In 1950 he graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville with a BS Degree in Business Administration, which he immediately...

  • Frank M. Hunt, II, 1928-2021

    Updated Nov 29, 2021

    Frank M. Hunt, II of Lake Wales passed away Saturday, November 27, 2021 at his residence. He was born April 2, 1928 in Lake Wales to the late Deeley A. and Louise E. Hunt; he was a fifth generation Floridian. Frank attended elementary school and secondary school in Lake Wales and attended Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina. He graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville with a BS Degree in Business Administration in 1950. Frank was the President of the...

  • Maple Kemp, 1951-2021

    Updated Jul 15, 2021

    Maple Kemp, 70 of Lake Wales, died July 13, 2021 at Good Shepherd Hospice in Auburndale. She was born Jan. 14, 1951 in Malone, FL. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Friday, July 16 at Epps Memorial Funeral Home chapel in Lake Wales. Services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 17 at Greater Saint Thomas The Family Church, 2256 Friedlander Road, Highland Park Manor, Lake Wales. Masks will be required for both....

  • Virginia "Ginny" McGrath, 1934-2020

    Updated Aug 13, 2020

    Virginia E. McGrath (nee Moorehead), of Mansfield, OH, passed away on Aug. 9, 2020 at her winter home in Lake Wales after a long illness. She was 86. Ginny was born Jan. 22, 1934 in Cleveland, OH, and attended Kent State University in Kent, OH where she met her husband Donald. Ginny majored in elementary education and minored in art at Kent State. She taught special needs children for nearly 40 years. Ginny immensely enjoyed baseball, faithfully serving as scorekeeper for each...

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