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(388) stories found containing 'water'


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  • Blue-Green Algae Warning Extended, Use Caution in Area Lakes, Peace River

    News Staff Reports|Updated Jun 18, 2024

    The Florida Department of Health in Polk County (DOH-Polk) is once again cautioning the public about the presence of blue-green algae in several area lakes. Although none has been reported in Ridge-area lakes, not every lake is tested, so boaters, swimmers, and fishers should be aware of the potential and take precautions. Water samples taken from Scott Lake, Lake Van, Lake Hancock, Lake Gibson, and Lake Conine on May 23 detected blue-green algae that have the potential to...

  • City's New "Turf Manager" J.C. White Eager to Put Athletic Fields in Top Condition for Area Sports Leagues

    Eric Marshall|Updated Jun 18, 2024

    Keeping fit and active is important for thousands of Lake Wales residents, so the City of Lake Wales is now making an extra effort to see that the sports facilities they use are in top shape. J.C. White is now in charge of making the town's many sports fields look their very best. White is Lake Wales' new Athletic Turf Superintendent, which places him in charge of bringing the athletic fields 'up to snuff,' where they deserve to be. With 16 baseball and softball fields and sev...

  • Guest Commentary: Homebuilders Helped Rewrite State Law to Speed New Subdivisions

    Jason Garcia, Seeking Rents|Updated Jun 15, 2024

    Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill that will let homebuilders across Florida throw up new housing subdivisions faster and cheaper. The new law, records show, was largely written by Lennar Corp., one of the nation's largest residential developers. Dubbed by lobbyists as the "Lennar permitting language," the legislation (Senate Bill 812) will compel cities and counties across Florida to issue building permits for most of the homes in a proposed subdivision before the...

  • Scenic Highway Closure, Detour to Last 30 Days, FDOT Says

    Robert Connors|Updated Jun 14, 2024

    A busy stretch of South Scenic Highway in Lake Wales will be closed for at least 30 days beginning Monday, June 17 between Winston Avenue and Alvina Avenue, a distance of about four blocks. The closure will require a detour for motorists using the roadway, routing traffic along South 4th Street to avoid construction. The Florida Department of Transportation will be reconstruction storm-water drainage pipes and inlets in the area, and will resurface the stretch when that work...

  • Camp Squeeze Offers Kids a Summer of Fun

    Special to the News|Updated May 31, 2024

    Giving young kids safe and fun outlets to help them burn off all that extra energy is a challenge that may have a solution. Parents may rejoice thanks to a new summer program offered by staff the City of Lake Wales' Family Recreation Center. Kids entering kindergarten through 5th grade are eligible to attend Camp Squeeze. Camp Squeeze will offer campers an array of themed science, art, and sporting activities. They'll learn how to make their own Mars rovers during Space Week,...

  • Drought, Heatwave, Burn Ban Lead Area into Start of Hurricane Season

    Robert Connors|Updated May 27, 2024

    The drought and intense heatwave that has gripped the Ridge and most of central Florida has led Polk County to declare an outdoor burn ban which will go into effect next week. The move comes just as the 2024 hurricane season begins. The annual six-month cyclone season is predicted to be far more active than normal by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a host of private weather predictions. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has released a forecast...

  • Hickory Ridge the Latest Housing Project On Southeast Side of Lake Wales

    Robert Connors|Updated May 26, 2024

    Work has begun on Hickory Ridge, an 85-lot single-family subdivision that will rise just east of Lake Wales Country Club. The project is the work of Garden Street Communities Southeast, based in Pensacola, FL. It adds to the growing list of residential projects now under development in the southeast quadrant of the city. Site work is underway, being conducted by Diamondback Civil. The 47-acre project site lies in unincorporated Polk County and includes a significant wetland...

  • Dangerous Algae Present on Western Polk Lakes

    Special to the News|Updated May 25, 2024

    The Florida Department of Health in Polk County (DOH-Polk) is cautioning the public of the presence of blue-green algae in several lakes in the Lakeland and Winter Haven area. Although none has been reported in Ridge-area lakes, boaters, swimmers, and fishers should be aware of the potential and take precautions. Water samples taken from Scott Lake, Lake Van, Lake Hancock, Lake Gibson, and Lake Conine on May 23 detected blue-green algae that have the potential to produce toxin...

  • Fire Destroys Rural Home Despite Efforts of Two Departments

    Greg King|Updated May 8, 2024

    The City of Fort Meade Fire Department responded to a residential structure fire today along US 98 east on the outskirts of the city. Although the fire occurred outside of the city, Fort Meade units were the first on the scene, and had put water on the fire and established incident command by the time Polk County Fire Rescue units arrived. "I am really proud of my department. They responded quickly and were able to start battling the fire by the time county units arrived,"...

  • Baking Temperatures Expected This Week Before Relief Arrives

    Robert Connors|Updated May 6, 2024

    Scorching temperatures are expected to bake the Ridge area this week before increasing clouds bring growing rain chances to the area early next week. Floridians acclimated to warmth may still be shocked to encounter temperatures rising into the 90s to near 100° this week under sunny skies. Long-range models are showing that relief could come with more cloud cover beginning as soon as Sunday. The baking temperatures are adding to the stress of gardens, lawns, and even trees....

  • Young Released on $50,000 Bond on Fraud and Grand Theft Charges

    Frank Butler|Updated May 1, 2024

    Lake Wales business incubator CFO Charles Young Jr. was released Friday from Polk County Jail after posting bond on two first-degree felony charges. Young was arrested last Saturday morning at a residence in Lithia in Hillsborough County following an investigation of a complaint filed last year by his business partners. Young was a partner in Florida Development Corp LLC, which entered into a $1.2 million no-recourse contract with the City of Lake Wales in 2022 for the...

  • Ten-Week Closure and Detours Anticipated for H.L. Smith Road

    News Staff Report|Updated Apr 29, 2024

    Development of new roads and utilities will be behind a lengthy disruption to traffic in an area between Dundee and Lake Wales, according to county officials. Starting Wednesday, May1, installation of a water main for a new subdivision and related road reconstruction will close H.L. Smith Road just north of the Lake Mabel Loop Road intersection for 10 weeks. Traffic will be briefly detoured along Lake Swan Road or Lake Mabel Loop Road to Lake Trask Road to bypass work zone....

  • Preparing for Hurricane Season Means Considering Water Utilities, Too

    Special to the News|Updated Apr 28, 2024

    Perhaps Benjamin Franklin said it best: "By failing to prepare, you're preparing to fail." As we approach the beginning of the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1 - November 30), the Florida Governmental Utility Authority (FGUA) urges all Floridian's to heed these words of wisdom. May 5 – 11 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, an opportunity to focus our collective efforts on the potentially lifesaving benefits of planning and preparation. The threat this year is g...

  • City Commission Votes Down Lake Alta High-Density Residential Project

    Robert Connors|Updated Apr 17, 2024

    A proposal that some city commissioners and staff saw as the best opportunity so far to implement the Lake Wales Envisioned plan died Tuesday night on a 3-2 vote. The concept of a 24-unit single-family community on a 1.46 acre parcel generated intense opposition from residents of the neighborhood, located around the 3.566 acre Lake Alta Park. Commissioners received a letter signed by two dozen of them asking that the proposal be denied, and multiple speakers had criticized the...

  • 10 Tips to Save Water for Water Conservation Month

    SWFMD|Updated Apr 15, 2024

    The Southwest Florida Water Management District's (District) Governing Board declared April Water Conservation Month at its March meeting. April is historically one of the driest months of the year and typically marks the peak demand season for public water suppliers. The District also recently launched the Water 101 campaign to educate new and existing residents as well as communities about how they can help protect local water resources and save water and money. The...

  • Rare Scrub Mints are Fast-Disappearing From Florida Landscapes

    Jerald Pinson, Florida Museum of Natural History|Updated Apr 9, 2024

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Scrub mints are among the most endangered plants you've probably never heard of. More than half of the 24 species currently known to exist are considered threatened or endangered at the state or federal level, and nearly all scrub mints grow in areas that are being rapidly developed or converted to agricultural pasture. In a new study, researchers analyzed a distinct type of DNA marker, which shows there are likely more scrub mint species waiting to be...

  • Two More Large Tracts of Land Nominated for Preservation Near Lake Wales

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Apr 8, 2024

    The vision of a "Big Green Network" of environmental lands flanking Lake Wales to the east and west moved a small step closer to reality this week as Polk County's environmental lands program addressed the possibility of acquiring a large tract of land just northeast of the city. The expanse of lands totaling 1,195 acres spanning Masterpiece Road and partially surrounding the former Masterpiece Gardens tourist attraction belong to corporations or individual members of the...

  • Historic Photo Reveals Evidence of "Monster" that Once Inhabited Area Lakes

    Special to the News|Updated Apr 1, 2024

    An old photograph of Crystal Lake, reportedly taken by a pioneer resident, has revealed a long-overlooked secret. Visible in the background is what appears to be a large animal, it's head and neck protruding from the water, partially obscured by palm trees in the foreground. "The image appears to be unaltered, and further evidence that there actually was a large beast living in local waters," said Dr. Jonathan B. Normativo, saying that the image reinforces one story of the ori...

  • Climate Change Driving "Scary" Hurricane Season Predictions

    News Staff Report|Updated Apr 1, 2024

    If forecasters are correct, Floridians should expect and prepare for a very active and threatening hurricane season for 2024. Reports from private forecasters are already sounding alarms about the sharply-elevated water temperatures in the waters of the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. That heat, released as steamy air, is condensed and cooled in the heart of hurricanes, falling as torrential rain and creating the lowered pressure that drives the intensity of the...

  • April is National Garden Month, Here's How to Conserve Water

    Kevin Bakewell, Special to the News|Updated Mar 28, 2024

    We've all heard the expression, "The grass is always greener on the other side." As Spring gives way to what seems like an obsession with keeping our landscaping as green as our neighbor's, many of us take that expression literally. Since April is both National Garden Month and National Lawn Care Month, it's a great time to both celebrate the many benefits of gardening and a healthy lawn and consider a few cost-saving tips to keep our water bills in check. Just like blood to...

  • The News Recommends: Carol Gillespie for Seat 4 on Lake Wales City Commission

    News Editorial Board|Updated Mar 26, 2024

    Lake Wales voters will have significant choices to make in two races for the Lake Wales City Commission on April 2, choosing from among candidates who offer sharp differences in their approaches to governing and attitudes toward the challenges confronting the city. All city voters are eligible to cast ballots in the non-partisan district 2 and 4 races. The district 4 race presents voters with the starkest choice in many years as incumbent Danny Krueger faces a challenge from...

  • More Than 15,660 New Homes Approved By Lake Wales City Commissioners, Expected to Host 42,000 New Residents

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Mar 12, 2024
    2

    A population boom is expected in Lake Wales in coming months and years as design work or construction is advancing for at least 40 projects within the city limits, in addition to others outside the city. A LakeWalesNews.net calculation shows a total of more than 15,660 new residential units have already met some level of approval by the city commission, with many having already received final plat approval for construction, even as other projects are nearing completion. If the...

  • Incumbents Are No-Shows at Commission Election Forum

    Robert Connors, managing Editor|Updated Mar 6, 2024
    2

    Three challengers seeking two seat on the Lake Wales City Commission held the stage at a Monday evening candidates forum after both incumbents failed to show up for the 90-minute event. The election is four weeks away, slated for Tuesday, April 2. Carol Gillespie, seeking seat 4 on the five-person commission, along with Brandon Alvarado and Crystal Higbee, both seeking seat 2, shared their ideas and responded to questions from the audience at the forum sponsored by the...

  • Students Invited to Enter Water Conservation Art Contest

    Jeff Foley|Updated Feb 27, 2024

    Polk County's annual Water Conservation Art Contest is open for all Polk County students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Winning entries will be featured in Polk County Utilities' 2025 Water Conservation Calendar. Participants are encouraged to create a poster or picture that demonstrates the "how" and/or "why" of water conservation. Students may use words or slogans, images, etc. Suggested subjects include saving water, reclaimed water, stormwater protection (pollution...

  • Lake Alta Proposal Modified by Developer, No Longer Impacts Park

    Robert Connors, Managing Editor|Updated Feb 17, 2024

    A development proposal adjacent to Lake Alta on the near north side of Lake Wales has been modified by the developer in an apparent attempt to reach a compromise with neighboring residents. Growth Management Division Director Autumn Cochella attended a Community Redevelopment Agency meeting this week to explain to commissioners that developer J. Walter Homes will bring a new proposal back to the city's Planning and Zoning Board at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27, calling...

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