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  • Lake Wales Commissioners Challenged to Find Path to Employing Envisioned Plan Principles

    News Editorial Board|Updated Apr 18, 2024

    Lake Wales is bound to grow, and in the minds of many, it needs to grow. Increasing demand for city services can easily outstrip revenue. City commissioners have a tough job dealing with the pressures brought by development proposals, along with the vocal opposition some of those proposals have generated. The commission's decision Tuesday to deny a high-density development on a small parcel near Lake Alta pleased many residents of that neighborhood but drew complaints from...

  • 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...

  • The News Recommends: Brandon Alvarado for City Commission Seat 2

    News Editorial Board|Updated Mar 26, 2024
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    An April 2 day of decision is upon Lake Wales voters, who have significant choices 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. In the District 2 race, Daniel Williams is facing two challengers in Brandon Alvarado and Crystal Higbee. On a city commission that has been criticized as failing to...

  • GUEST COMMENTARY: Equal Pay for Women Remains an Elusive Goal

    Kristin Vanpraet, Public Policy Officer|Updated Mar 8, 2024

    March 12, 2024 is Equal Pay Day; however, this is no celebration. Despite the Equal Pay Act being introduced more than 60 years ago, gender and racial pay gaps persist. Women bring enormous value to the U.S. economy but due to systemic sexism and decades of discrimination, women are still paid, on average, just 84 cents for every dollar paid to a man. This gap only worsens when we include women working part-time or seasonally-widening to 78 cents. A woman must work an a...

  • A Free Press Serves as a Watchdog on Government and Politicians

    News Editorial Board|Updated Mar 1, 2024

    Government is complicated. Elected officials, even those responsible for leading a city such as Lake Wales with its billion-dollar budget, face a multitude of questions and issues. It is certainly not within the capacity of any one individual to have total awareness of every matter that must be decided. The role of the press as a watchdog over government is a long-established principle, one that has for nearly 250 years of American history served to keep politicians on the str...

  • Facts, Not innuendo, Should Guide City Business, Citizen Behavior

    News Editorial Board|Updated Feb 22, 2024

    People often look to their perceived "leaders" for guidance on conduct. In an atmosphere of charged and heated politics on a national level, it is no wonder that people are too often quick to accuse or insinuate wrongdoing even in their hometowns. Lake Wales is not immune from such behavior. Such problems can be exacerbated when evidence arises, as it sometimes will, that political decisions have resulted in unexpected outcomes. When that happens, the solution is neither ignoring the problems nor making wild accusations of...

  • Guest Editorial: Bill in Florida Legislature Would Block Local Government Efforts to Prepare for Storms

    Haley Busch, 1000 Friends of Florida|Updated Nov 2, 2023

    Next week, the Florida Legislature is holding a special session to address a number of topics ahead of the regularly scheduled 2024 session that begins in January. We are concerned with provisions in SB 2-C/ HB 1-C "Disaster Relief" that would prevent local governments from amending comprehensive plans or land development regulations, precluding local leaders from enacting policy changes to make their communities more resilient and safer from storm damage in the future. SB...

  • Public Health a Winner in Lake Wales Envisioned Plan

    John Simmerman, Active Towns Initiative|Updated Oct 24, 2023

    Editor's Note: This guest Commentary is the third of a series of guest editorials that will address the effort known as Lake Wales Envisioned. Public health will be a big winner if the Lake Wales City Commission adopts the Lake Wales Envisioned plan. It is a comprehensive, community-led vision for the next 10, 25, and 50 years that Olmsted would be proud of. As a health promotion professional with over 30 years of global experience focusing on the intersection of our built env...

  • 1000 Friends of Florida Endorses the Lake Wales Envisioned Plan

    Paul Owens, President, 1000 Friends of Florida|Updated Oct 12, 2023

    Editor's Note: This guest Commentary is the second of a series of guest editorials that will address the effort known as Lake Wales Envisioned. Since our founding in 1986, 1000 Friends of Florida has advocated citizen-driven planning to protect our state's environment and quality of life amid its rapid growth. That explains why we enthusiastically endorsed the Lake Wales Envisioned process from its launch last winter. And it's why we're now calling on city leaders to approve...

  • 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...

  • Will Lake Wales be Overrun by Growth? Envisioned Effort Offers an Alternative, But it Needs Your Input

    News Editorial Board|Updated Aug 2, 2023
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    Change is coming to Lake Wales. Are you worried? If so, your concerns are shared by thousands of your friends and neighbors. Ours is a growing community. This special place has been "discovered" by ever-larger numbers of people who would like to share in the unique qualities the city offers. As the agricultural basis of our economy is changing, so is the land use. Unproductive citrus groves decimated by disease are being offered for sale. Savvy developers are snapping up...

  • Enforcement Needed to End Carnage on Area Roads

    News Editorial Board|Updated May 18, 2023

    A bloody toll of fatalities and serious injuries during the month of May has left multiple area families mourning their losses. The rash of deadly crashes is a clear call for increased law enforcement presence on area streets and highways. So far in this month, at least five people have been killed in four fatal accidents in the Lake Wales area. Three of those occurred in two crashes at the single intersection of US 27 and Washington Avenue. Earlier this month two Haines City...

  • "Welcome Home" : Honoring Vietnam Veterans 50 Years Later Still the Right Thing to Do

    News Editorial Board|Updated Apr 12, 2023

    Honoring those who have served to defend is a longstanding tradition in nations around the world, no less so in the United States. The freedoms we enjoy, so easily eroded from within, were also defended from foreign enemies by those who have donned the uniforms of our five branches of service. March 31 marks the end of what is considered by many the saddest of America's military efforts. Tens of thousands died in the futile conflict, both military and civilian. Opposition to...

  • Lake Wales Envisioned Offers Us Each a Chance to Protect Our Quality of Life

    Lake Wales News Editorial|Updated Feb 23, 2023

    "Growth" is a word that means opportunity for some and strikes fear in the hearts of others. It has been the driver of both the economic health and the environmental destruction that has reshaped Florida for more than a century. Rising prosperity has too often been accompanied by traffic congestion, water shortages, urban sprawl, and overcrowding, crushing the quality of life in some parts of the state. While growth has been largely focused on other places, it's now arrived...

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

    News Editorial Board|Updated Jan 4, 2023
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    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...

  • Polk Forever Provides a Way to Help Slow Runaway Development

    News Editorial Board|Updated Jul 29, 2022
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    The crush of development pressure that has been applied to Lake Wales by the owners of large tracts surrounding the city has raised alarm in many quarters. Ownership of land conveys many rights. Landowners are aware that resources are limited, and that commitments for water and sewer capacity are best reserved well in advance of their need. The deluge of annexations and platting doesn't mean all those new homes will be built anytime soon, but that's small comfort to area...

  • Why LakeWalesNews.Net Will Not Endorse in City Races

    News Editorial Board|Updated Apr 2, 2022

    As the campaigns that will shape the election of a mayor and city commissioner come to a close, some have asked whether our editorial board will endorse any of the five candidates. We believe a response is in order. The three candidates for mayor, Curtis Gibson, Jack Hilligoss, and Tammy James, agree on much, but offer clear distinctions in their leadership styles and priorities. The two candidates for city commission seat 4, Danny Krueger and James Loydd, differ not only in...

  • A Disservice to Students, Parents, Community

    News Editorial Board|Updated Mar 19, 2022

    Lake Wales has been blessed by the creation of the Lake Wales Charter Schools system nearly two decades ago. Now representing seven schools educating students in grades 1 through 12, the system has received nationwide attention for its innovative methods. Competition between schools for the attention of parents and students has been a positive. The mere existence of the quasi-independent district was likely motivation for improvements at Polk County School System's McLaughlin...

  • Solar Energy Takes Hit From Florida Legislature

    News Editorial Board|Updated Mar 18, 2022

    As Russian tanks roll into Ukraine and global energy supplies are pinched, rising prices are driving home the point that dispersed sources of renewable energy are critical to our future. While the price of oil, used to generate electricity as well as power vehicles, shoots through the roof, the cost of solar and wind energy continues to fall. Everyone seems to get that, except our Florida Legislature. In doing the bidding of energy giant Florida Power and Light, a regulated...

  • City Investment in Walesbilt Project Justified

    News Editorial Board|Updated Jan 19, 2022

    Symbols of Success and Failure Long recognized as the dominant symbol of downtown Lake Wales, the eleven-story Walesbilt Hotel is now among the dominant topics of conversation in the city. Opened with great fanfare in 1926, the hotel has seen good times and bad. It fell victim to the Great Depression in its infancy, hit its hey-day during World War II, and was last renovated in 1972. Vacant since 1995, it's been abused, stripped of its prestigious furnishings and trim, and...

  • Net Metering Bills Are An Affront To Florida Freedoms

    News Editorial Board, LakeWalesNews.Net|Updated Jan 18, 2022
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    The energy demands of the Sunshine State are rising apace of our booming population. New homes, schools, and businesses need electricity in plenty. The problem for Florida is that generating most of that electricity requires vast amounts of water to cool the generators. Water is in increasingly short supply. Enter a solution: solar electric energy. Power from solar panels is used in ever larger percentages across the state and requires no water for cooling. Rooftop solar has c...

  • Proposal for Partisan School Boards a Bad Idea

    Editorial Board, LakeWalesNews.Net|Updated Dec 13, 2021

    Democracy relies upon "the consent of the governed" to function. Consent implies an understanding of the questions of importance to the populace, which in turn requires an educated electorate. By these steps of logic, Public education is the bedrock upon which American freedoms are based. More than 20 years ago Florida voters overwhelmingly voted to remove partisan politics from Florida's public school boards, making them among the few Florida public offices, along with most...

  • EDITORIAL: How Will Lake Wales Stop "Urban Sprawl" and Maintain its Small-Town Feel?

    News Editorial Board, LakeWalesNews.Net|Updated Nov 30, 2021
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    Citing private property rights and the current broad wave of development interest around Lake Wales, the City Commission is faced with a tough balancing act: allowing rapid growth while seeking to protect the city's "small town feel." That desire has been voiced by at least three commissioners in recent meetings, none more vocal in their sentiments than Deputy Mayor Robin Gibson, who has delayed discussion in agenda 'workshop' meetings to repeat his opposition to "urban...

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