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Lake Wales News • Polk County Democrat • Frostproof News • Fort Meade Leader • Your Haines City Herald


2 • Heartland Newspapers

Celebrate Polk

Lifestyles • 2013

Welcome to Polk County

Thank you for reading “Celebrate Polk County.” We hope you enjoy this look at what makes Polk County such a great place to work, play and live for any age and stage of life. All About Work is about what most of us do every day and what makes our county function. From auto dealers to citrus growers, you’ll find information on how and where they got their starts and where they stand today. Our county leaders have provided information on their individual departments and how they impact our lives.

It’s Fun introduces you to outside activities from boating, fishing and, of course, golf. In this area you’ll also find world famous Bok Tower and spring training baseball with the Detroit Tigers. Polk County is a great place for just good old sightseeing, too, such as viewing fabulous murals. And don’t forget to read up on area restaurants for all types of local cuisine.

What Lifestyle gives you a look at our cultural and arts opportunities and special activities for our senior population. Here you’ll find the performing arts and cultural series at Polk State College and Winter Haven’s Little Theatre, among others. Almost every religion is represented within the county, and there’s sure to be a house of worship near you. The Future speaks about where were heading. While most people may know of Polk County for agriculture and phosphate there are other ways that it is going. The medical field has blossomed and you can see where it is going. Education has stormed into the forefront and there are advantages offered here that will attract people from within and from other areas. And, of course, we now have a world class golf course that has opened and a resort there opening this year. “Celebrate Polk County” is brought to you by the The Heartland Newspapers, Polk County’s fastest growing community newspapers.

Polk County By CASSIE JACOBY

CJACOBY@HEARTLANDNEWSPAPERS.COM

From sports, to politics, to business and entertainment, some of the most famous people in the world have roots in Polk County.

s e i t i r b e l Ce

from over 90 different countries. In 1938, the first electric boats began gliding through the tropical canals. In 1943, when ski shows were launched, Winter Haven was dubbed the “water ski capital of the world.” Publishing photos of sunshine and Southern Belles, Pope put Winter Haven on the map. He was proclaimed “Mr. Florida,” first citizen of the state and, in time, the “Father of Florida Tourism” for his tireless showmanship. In 2010, Cypress Gardens was acquired by Merlin Entertainments Inc. and transformed into LEGOLAND Florida. Winter Haven mid-century modern architect Gene Leedy still resides in the first home he designed in 1956. The internationally known architect received the American Institute of Architects Medal of Honor in 2012. His design of the Sigma Alpha Epislon fraternity house at the University of Florida in Gainesville was 13th in the AIA Florida chapter competition for the top 100 designs in the last 100 years. His permanent collection of architectural photography at Polk State College is being expanded and plans are underway for the University of Florida to archive his architectural materials. Ben Hill Griffin Jr. built a citrus empire in southern Polk. He donated nearly $20 million to the University of Florida, which renamed its football stadium after him.

Entertainment legends: There must have been someA 1958 Auburndale High thing in Winter Haven’s water in School graduate, Bobby the 1960s to produce so many Braddock was inducted into talented musicians. the Nashville Songwriters Hall Jim Stafford, born in Eloise in of Fame in 1981. He co-wrote 1944, sold two million copies George Jones’ “He Stopped of his hit “Spiders and Snakes.” Loving Her Today,” named In addition to performing in his the No. 1 country Jim Stafford song of all time Theater by Country in America magaBranson, zine, as well as Mo., Tammy Wynette’s Stafford also “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.” has a home The creator and in Winter producer of the PHOTO PROVIDED Haven. The Trans-Siberian Winter Haven modern architect Gene Leedy’s singer-songwriter Orchestra, Paul designs stand the test of time. launched his career while O’Neill, has homes performing in bands with PHOTO PROVIDED in Winter Haven and taught. Kent LaVoie, who produced Mountain Lake. More Eloise native, Jim Stafford Stafford’s first chart hit, than nine million tickIndustry visionaries: “Swamp Witch,” and his own ets have been sold to The founder of Publix Super Markets first hit, “Me and You and a Dog his elaborate productions that feature Inc., George W. Jenkins (1907–1996) Named Boo,” under the alias, Lobo. lights, lasers and pyrotechnics. started with one store in Winter Haven Another band mate of Stafford and Other in 1930. Now a Fortune 500 LaVoie, Gram Parsons (1946-1973), famous encompany, Publix has more performed with The Byrds and Flying tertainers than 792 stores in Florida, Burrito Brothers. Considered the father from Polk Georgia, South Carolina, of country rock, Parsons discovered County Alabama and Tennessee. Emmylou Harris before overdosing on include Jenkins also founded the drugs in California in 1973 at the age of Frances Publix Super Markets 26. Parsons was inducted into the Rock Langford Charities which has given and Rock Hall of Fame in 1991. who grew millions of dollars to chariup in table organizations. Mulberry Doubters called Dick PHOTO PROVIDED before she Pope Sr. (1900–1988) the became George Jenkins launched the Publix grocery “Maharaja of famous as chain in Winter Haven. Muck” and a singer, “Swami actress and of the radio star in the 1940s. She joined Bob Superstar Swamp” for his plans Hope on USO tours during World War athletes: to create his dream II and retired in Jensen Beach until her BASKETBALL: garden on Lake death at the age of 92 in 2005. A celebrated Eloise. In 1936, Acclaimed jazz cornetist Nat athlete from Lake the gates Adderley (1931-2000) lived in Lakeland Wales, Amar’e of Cypress from 1976 until his death at age 68. Stoudemire, Gardens In addition to recording with his shines on and opened on brother, Julian Cannonball Adderley, off the courts. what would he recorded with such jazz notables He earned PHOTO PROVIDED become a as Woody Herman, J.J. Johnson and NBA rookie showplace Lake Wales’ Amar’e PHOTO PROVIDED of the year for 8,000 PHOTO PROVIDED Kenny Burrell, as well as headlining the Stoudemire annual Child of the Sun Jazz Festival honors for the varieties Dick Pope founded Cypress Gram Parsons of Winter Haven at Florida Southern College, where he of flowers CELEBS | 8

Gardens in 1936.

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4 • Heartland Newspapers

Celebrate Polk

Lifestyles • 2013

Promoting the arts in Polk There is a lot to offer in the county By BILL ROGERS

industries are composed of arts businesses In theater parlance if there was an that range from award for best supporting cast in helpnon-profit museing the arts in Polk County the winner ums, symphonies, would likely be the county commission. and theaters to Polk County commissioners made a for-profit film, key decision last year that could be a architecture big boost in promoting the arts in Polk. and advertising They voted to allow a portion of tourist companies. tax money to be used for arts and Nationally, there culture. The amount will be more than are 668,267 busi$400,000 this year. nesses in the U.S. “I’m thrilled that the county cominvolved in the missioners are visionaries,” said Meri creation or distriMass, executive director of the Polk bution of the arts, Arts Alliance. according to Dun Mass said it will be the first time & Bradstreet. They they will be able to market a sector of employ 2.9 million the arts similar to what the county has people, representdone for sports, which she noted Polk ing 4.05 percent has become known for. of all businesses PHOTO BY ED MIGA It will provide the opportunity to and 2.18 percent One of the shows the Lake Wales Little Theatre has presented is “The Miracle Worker.” Some other cities in Polk County also open awareness and get the message of all employees, have community theaters. out that Polk is a destination for the respectively. arts. In addition to bringing in tourists, While there are than 175 productions attended by more Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” is scheduled Mass said arts and culture attract high- opportunities year-round to enjoy the than 350,000 people. Its shows for this Feb. 21-24, 28 through- March 3 and skilled professionals. arts it seems many things are schedyear include “Hello Dolly” on March March 7-10, 14-17. “The 39 Steps” will The Arts and Culture Committee, uled during the winter and spring. 1-3, 8-10 and 15-17, “Boeing, Boeing” be put on April 11-14, 18-21 and 25-28. which is an advisory committee of March will be a big month for art on April 19-21 and 26-27 and “AIDA” on The Lakeland Center has a full the Polk County Tourist Development shows that Hendricks believes will July 19-21 and 26-28. schedule of concerts and shows. Council, was established in July by a attract tens of thousands of people. Theatre Winter Haven produces There are “incredible performing recommendation from the TDC and Bartow will host Bloomin’ Arts, while a five-play Main Stage subscription arts” offered in the county at Harrison through an amendment to Ordinance the Lake Wales Art Show will be held season, a two-play Theatre for Young Center for the Visual and Performing 86-27 by the Polk County Commission. on Lake Wailes. The Central Park Art People’s series, a summer musical, two Arts School, Polk State College, There has been money spent on the Festival is set for Winter Haven. touring productions and a three-play Southeastern University and Florida arts and culture in the county in the The Polk Theatre, staged reading series called StageRead. Southern College, Mass said. past which was founded in 1928, offers films, plays, musicals, ballets and singers. There are community theaters in Lake Wales, Haines City, Lakeland and Winter Haven. Lake Wales Little Theatre has been providing live entertainment to Lake Wales and east Polk County for more than 30 years. Their offerings include recent hits and old Now Selling favorites, New plays Garage Liability, never before BY ASSIE JACO General Liability, RV, produced are PHOTO BY C also put on in s rie Se ic us Motorcycle, ATV, sting the 2013 M the 140-seat tproof will be ho os Fr in r te ea Th theater. Commerical The Ramon this month. Upcoming shows that began earlier but include “Leaving Iowa” set for March now there is a designated fund. A pro8-24 and “Let’s Hang Him and Read the cedure has been put in place for grant Will” (Teen Theatre) scheduled June funding for the arts. Artistic merit and 14-23. contribution to tourism are going to be The Haines City Community Theatre important factors in deciding what is offers plays and musicals that everyone 1500 US Hwy. 27 S funded. can enjoy. “Cliffhanger” is slated Feb. “We have a lot to offer in Polk 15-16 and 22-23 and “Nobody’s Perfect” Avon Park, FL County,” said Bev Hendricks, editor of on April 12-13 and 19-20. Art-i-facts Magazine. The 2013 Ramon Theater Music People may not be aware of the Series, with a total of six performances, HOURS: Tu-Fri 9 am - 5 pm impact the arts and culture has in the Ashley Bishop, Agent runs January through March at the Sat. 8:30 am - 4:30 pm county. historic venue in Frostproof. Murder Licensed by the state budgetbirite.com The Polk County Creative Industry mysteries and other events are also of Florida Report indicated that as of January held there. 2010 the county is home to 797 artsThe Lakeland Community Theatre, related businesses that employ 2,317 founded in 1986, is dedicated to In Highlands County people. The report offers a researchproviding an affordable, high qualSince 1982And Still based approach to understanding the ity theater experience for people. scope and economic importance of During the past 26 years, the Lakeland HERE to SERVE YOU! the arts in Polk County. The creative Community Theatre has staged more 2836460 BROGERS@HEARTLANDNEWSPAPERS.COM

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2013 • Lifestyles

Heartland Newspapers • 5

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6 • Heartland Newspapers

Celebrate Polk

Lifestyles • 2013

RESTAURANTS Unique places to eat, fast or dining By JAMES COULTER CORRESPONDENT Polk County offers a cornucopia of restaurants to satisfy any visitor’s or local’s taste buds, whether they prefer home cooking or fine dining, whether they crave good old-fashioned Southern cooking or exotic foreign cuisine. Of the many local franchises, these five provide a fine selection of what Polk County has to offer. Here is just a sampling of what you can get. Andy’s Drive-In Restaurant & Igloo This Winter Haven landmark opened in 1951 originally as a Dairy Queen until the owner Roger “Andy” Anderson expanded the building and added a grill in the 1960s. Since then, very little has changed with the small diner and its classic three-spire road sign on the corner of Avenue G and 3rd Street. For more than 60 years, Andy’s has been serving up hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, and other tasty treats to generations of loyal customers, who have come to expect the same quality service and great food from the same location and even the same familiar faces. As the oldest diner in town, Andy’s serves as a reminder to locals that no matter how much changes with their small hometown, some things will always remain the same and for the better. Address: 703 3rd St SW, Winter Haven Phone: 863-293-0019 Manny’s Chophouse When you first step into Manny’s Chophouse, you’ll tell straight from the road signs plastered all over the walls, the Blues Brothers decor, and blaring music than you’re in for a unique and lively experience. No place else does the saying “the customer is always right” ring truer. Right away, a friendly smile will greet you and have you seated, ready to cater to your every need. All entrees are served with endless salad

bowls and yeast rolls. Every item is made from the freshest ingredients, from the seasoning and salad dressing right on down to the meat, whether seafood, chicken, or beef. Speaking of beef, theirs is always USDA or higher. Every day, only the finest selections are freshly ground into hamburger meat or sliced into steak, prepared with Manny’s own seasoning, and grilled to the customer’s satisfaction. Manny himself guarantees only quality service: “We ‘promise’ you the best steak in town, cooked up just right and served up in a fun, friendly, and courteous manner. If you’re not happy, just tell us. We will make it right.” Address: 1100 3rd St SW, Winter Haven Phone: 863-293-0069 Curly Tails Barbeque Folks hankering for good old-fashioned barbecue should drop by the bright-red building alongside Winter Haven Road in Bartow. For 10 years, Curly Tails has been serving up savory, succulent barbecue, slow-cooked to fall-offthe-bone tenderness, and prepared with a secret family sauce that keeps the customers licking their fingers and returning for more. Curly Tails serves Southern favorites like barbecue chicken, beef, and pork, fried chicken and catfish, ribs, hamburgers, cole slaw, potato salad, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and all the other fixins. Those with adventurous taste buds can sample their “Good Eats” like mac and cheese bites, bacon cheese grits, corn nuggets, sweet potato fries, and fried pickled spears. Anyone looking for good food and good times should drop by and kick back at one of their gingham-covered tables underneath the canopy of the oak tree within their dining hall. On occasions, the atmosphere really livens up with a live bluegrass band – because nothing makes Southern food better than Southern music! Address: 330 Old Winter Haven Road, Bartow Phone 863-533-5685 Cherry Pocket Steak and Seafood Shak What started out as a small oneroom bait and tackle shop

PHOTO BY JAMES COULTER

From the road signs plastered all over the walls, the Blues Brothers decor, and blaring music than you’re in for a unique and lively experience at Manny’s Chophouse. serving groceries has since evolved into freshest ingredients, and prepared with a full-service waterside restaurant and spices to satisfy your taste buds’ preferbar. ences – and afterwards, your sweet Whether starving for seafood, steak, tooth will delight in one of their many or chicken, your stomach is sure to enhomemade desserts, be it Key Lime Pie joy their many entrees, all crafted from homemade recipes, made with the FOOD | 7

PHOTO BY JAMES COULTER

What started out as a small one-room bait and tackle shop serving groceries has since evolved into a full-service waterside restaurant and bar.

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2013 • Lifestyles

Celebrate Polk

Heartland Newspapers • 7

FOOD FROM PAGE 6 from down south or Cheesecake from up north. Their outdoor deck is built right on Lake Pierce, so guests can enjoy their Gator Nuggets and Blackened Catfish while watching the alligators bite and fish leap. Guests can soak up the party atmosphere and sip on cocktails at any of the three bars: the main bar, the oyster bar, or the boat bar built out of a boat straight from the Florida Keys. The barn is available for private receptions be it birthday parties or wedding ceremonies and receptions. They once even hosted a funeral. So the place is the ideal party destination in either life or death. If you’re in the mood to party down by the water, drop by on the weekends for live music, entertainment, and karaoke. Address: 3100 Canal Road, Lake Wales Phone: 863-439-2031 Chalet Suzanne Country Inn And Restaurant For more than 70 years, this historic 26-room inn and restaurant has offered only the finest in lakeside lodging and dining. Built in 1931, Chalet Suzanne quickly gained popularity after being mentioned in “Adventures in Good Eating” by Duncan Hines. Since then, Bertha Hinshaw Sr. and her family have been entertaining guests for three generations, with dozens of celebrity guests including food giants Duncan Hines and J.L. Kraft. Aside from the inn and restaurant, the 100-acre estate also features a spa, ceramic studio, private air strip, and a soup cannery, which for over 50 years has prepared their soups, including their world-famous Romaine soup, served all over the world and even out of this world to astronauts in space. Chalet Suzanne has received countless awards and has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Dining in any of their five dining

PHOTO BY JAMES COULTER

Aside from the inn and restaurant, the 100-acre estate also features a spa, ceramic studio, private air strip, and a soup cannery, which for over 50 years has prepared their soups, including their world-famous Romaine soup, served all over the world and even out of this world to astronauts in space. rooms, all eloquently decorated and with a lakeside view, is always a delight whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Dinner is especially a highlight with their five-course meal: starting with their original broiled grapefruit, followed by a bowl of their Romaine soup, then with their unique variation on Ceaser Salad, climaxing with one of

their nine classic entrees, and finishing with one of their many delectable deserts. After dinner, guests can relax with a cocktail at the Swedish Bar, explore the wine dungeon and sample any of their 300 wines, or simply take a stroll through 100 acres of lake, groves, and vineyard. No visit would be complete without dropping by the gift shop, where guests can purchase a can of any

of their 18 soups including Romaine, or “Moon Soup.” And for those who return home with a longing for their fine dishes, their website offers recipes of their most famous entrees including Orange Aspic Pound Cake and Glaze, Romaine Quiche, and Broiled Grapefruit. Address: 3800 Chalet Suzanne Drive, Lake Wales, Phone: 863=676-6011 or 1-800-433-6011.

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8 • Heartland Newspapers

CELEBS FROM PAGE 2

Celebrate Polk Rod Smart has played four years in the NFL, as a running back and kick returner for the Carolina Panthers and played in Super Bowl XXXVIII. He’s better known by the nickname “He Hate Me.” Keydrick Vincent is a former Lake Gibson High School standout who has played with the Pittsburgh Steelers for four years as the starting right guard. A Bartow native who played 15 seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals and ranks fifth in the NFL for career interceptions with 65, Ken Riley coached for several years at Florida A&M, his alma mater, and served as

Lifestyles • 2013

2002-03 season with the Phoenix Suns, becoming the first player to win the award after entering the league directly from high school. With his goal to eradicate poverty through education, the well-respected professional basketball player has a youth outreach program PHOTO PROVIDED to make a splash in designed the world of sports as Winter Haven named its community pool after Olympic medal to a swimming analyst winner Rowdy Gaines. crefor television. ativeDirector of Rowdy’s Kidz, a ly charitable program sponinspire sored by LIMU, Gaines and help at-risk also serves as the chief youth sucfundraiser for USA ceed. Nothing Swimming. He sidelines the won a swimming six-time NBA scholarship to All-Star Auburn University, athlete who graduating in underwent 1981. Ten years two knee later, he was surgeries, includtemporaring microfracture ily paralyzed surgery. with GuillainElsewhere in basketBarré ball, Tracy McGrady, former syndrome. PHOTO PROVIDED Orlando Magic standout who After a full also played for the Houston recovery Lake Wales resident Pat Borders, the MVP of the 1992 World Series, will be Rockets grew up in Auburndale inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame. at the and four-time NBA all-star Otis age of 35, Birdsong led Winter Haven to a he became the oldest swimmer athletic director there until 2002. state championship. to qualify for the trials for the A resident of Indian Lake Estates for BASEBALL: Pat Borders, a 1981 1996 Summer Olympics. Gaines, 28 years, Harold “Red” Grange was a PHOTO graduate of Lake Wales High School, whose mother Jettie lives in PROVIDED charter member of the Pro Football voted Most Valuable Player in the Winter Haven, resides in Lake Hall of Fame when it opened in 1963. 1992 World Series as a catcher with Mary with his wife, Judy, and Lake Wales Other NFL stars include Paul Edinger, their four daughters. the Toronto Blue Jays, also earned an own Octavius Travis Henry and Tim Ferry. Olympic gold medal in 2000. TRACK: A Lake Wales runFreeman GOLF: Lakeland resident Andy Bean, Winter Haven resident Charlie ner shattered all the records to Manuel played for the Minnesota Twins who graduated from Lakeland High become the fastest woman in the School in 1971, has earned more than and Los Angeles Dodgers. He managed world when she ran an 11.10-second $4.5 million in 25 years on the PGA the Cleveland Indians and now man100-meter dash to win the Florida tour and the Champions tour. Brad ages the Philadelphia Phillies. Relays last year. Octavious Freeman Bryant moved to Lakeland in 2004 and Haines City native Larry Parrish exwas automatically qualified for a spot is a rookie on the 2005 Champions celled as a power hitter in the 1980s for at the U.S. Olympic Trials, but fell short Tour. He has one victory on the PGA the Montreal Expos and Texas Rangers, of her bid during the 100 meter dash Tour, where he earned $3.5 million. A served as the Detroit Tigers’ manager during team trials in Oregon. 1962 Mulberry High School graduate, for a year and later became a scout A 1987 Winter Haven High School with the organization. He now manages Bob Murphy won the NCAA tour golf graduate, Ken Brokenburr ran on the championship at the University of the Tigers’ AAA team in Toledo. men’s 4-by-100-meter relay team Florida in 1966 and five PGA titles from that won the gold medal at the 2000 The late Ralph Houk was a catcher 1968 to 1986. He has won 11 times on for the New York Yankees that won two Olympics in Sydney, Australia. the Champions tour. World Series titles in the early 1960s RACING: Lakeland native Joe and lived in Cypress Wood before passPolitical Leaders: Nemechek is a fixture on the NASCAR ing away. Born and raised in Lakeland, racing circuit. He finished third in FOOTBALL: Three graduates of Lawton Chiles (1930-1998) was elected Winston Cup rookie of the year standKathleen High School in Lakeland are to the state Legislature in 1959. He ings in 1994 and 19th in the 2004 football greats. Desmond Clark has won the first of three terms in the U.S. NASCAR standings. played four seasons in the National Senate in 1970, earning the nickname SWIMMERS: Winter Haven named its “Walkin’ Lawton” during the campaign Football League, the last two for the city pool after three-time Olympic gold Chicago Bears; linebacker Ray Lewis, for walking the length of the state. medalist Rowdy Gaines. He continues born in Bartow and named Most Chiles won the Florida governor’s race Valuable in 1990 Player of the and was Baltimore re-elected Ravens’ in 1994. Super Bowl He died victory in just before 2001, earned his second the league’s term Defensive expired. Player of the OneYear award time for the 2003 lawyer season; and Spessard Philadelphia Holland Eagles wide (1892receiver 1971) was Freddie born and PHOTO PROVIDED Mitchell raised in played colBartow and served as gover- Lawton M. Chiles (1930-1998) served two lege ball for nor of Florida from 1941 to terms as Florida’s governor. UCLA and 1945, helping to establish played in Everglades National Park. Super Bowl PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER Holland moved on to the XXXIX. U.S. Senate, where he held A graduate Ken Riley shows off memorabilia from both his college and NFL career. A grassroots effort office from 1946 until 1971. of Lakeland has been under way the past several years to get him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in High School, Canton, Ohio, as a member of the elite, prestigious organization.


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2013 • Lifestyles

Celebrate Polk

Heartland Newspapers • 9


By KATHY LEIGH BERKOWITZ

KLBERKOWITZ@HEARTLANDNEWSPAPERS.COM

The world is changing, that is true. And in the spiritual world, there are those who are trying to evolve with the world while also holding to their traditional beliefs. Changes one might see in religion today could include presentation, hours of service, even changing a traditional church name to make it more enticing to those who might not otherwise visit their facility. Keeping the Traditions of the Past Cantor Victor Geigner of Temple Emmanuel Jewish Synagogue in Lakeland, notes that he and the board of trustees, along with the Ritual Committee and the Religious School, developed different types of services. In offering various kinds of services, he notes, the Temple tries to “encompass every aspect, whether those of family situations or spiritual needs, allowing everybody to participate.” One of these activities is known now as the “Tot Shabbat.” This is a religious service geared to children. Shabbat is the Jewish observance of the Sabbath, which begins every Friday evening, and lasts 24 hours. It is known as a time of rest and reflection, to do no work, a time to enjoy family and friends. They also have the “Junior Congregation,” a service for elementary school children. Those who attend the Temple enjoy “Strings and Shabbat,” which is a Friday night service with the addition of a pianist. Then they offer “Contemporary Service,” which is a “more Reform leaning Friday night service,” a little less traditional, with some English readings interspersed. Contrast that with the Saturday morning traditional, “Shabbat Mornings,” a service in which the entire Torah portion for the week is read in Hebrew. But the one thing everyone seems to enjoy, if the smiles on their faces are any indication, is that after Friday night services, an “Oneg” is held: this is a table with desserts and fruits, accompanied by hot coffee or ice water. Much visiting takes place during the Oneg. Those who attend the Saturday morning Shabbat services (as Sabbath lasts from Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown), are treated to what the Cantor calls a “super nice lunch, when we gather to eat and talk.” “As you can see, Temple Emanuel makes possible to anyone who wants to get closer to our traditions, to have several options to chose from,” notes the Cantor. Cantor enjoys his position as the Temple’s spiritual leader, he notes. Perhaps, it is, as he says, “The gratification to see as my students learn more and more, their families start to be a part of this beautiful family that is Temple Emanuel.” And there are other joys, he notes, such as “The emotion to see our elderly enjoying so much our Shabbat and Festivals celebrations.” “Spiritually, to help the sick and the

Celebrate Polk

Lifestyles • 2013

Faith Fabric in Polk County Preserving the past and embracing the future

needy is something that makes me feel good,” he adds. The Temple’s role is to provide education and experience of the Jewish Life Cycle events, he says. “A cornerstone to live these cycles events is to help others and the Tzedakah, that means charity. This implies that to be a good Jew, I must be a good person first,” he says. But though the Temple offers various services for the young, and occasionally intersperses contemporary customs with the addition of piano to their Friday services, one thing they do hold dear — and that is the observance, as has been since the ancient customs of their people, the lighting of the Shabbat candles, the festivals, and “all the traditions and customs that were transmitted from generation to generation, despite the obstacles met on the path of the Jewish people.” “At Temple Emanuel, we teach our children about the symbols of the Jewish people, the respect of our roots, the fight of our ancestors, to preserve the knowledge and we experience the lunar-solar calendar, immersing ourselves in our culture on a daily basis,” notes the Cantor. To find out more about Temple Emanuel, visit http://www.templeemanuellakeland.com.

Deep Roots Church Sometimes, a congregation will change their name to keep with culture, perhaps also to describe their mission. Such is the case with Deep Roots Church in Winter Haven, according to Pastor Mike Kennon. He said the emphasis at the church has been “you’ve got to go deeper in the Word, and really live out your religious faith.” Deep Roots was originally Heartland Community, a Southern Baptist Church where he was associate pastor. “I kept hearing over and over again, I want to go deeper. We were Baptist; our church is really hard core about going back to the scripture.” He says that many young people today, “know the gospel.” “But they just don’t attend,” he said. The challenge therein was “keeping in step with culture without changing the message.” Preachers are rotated in from the elder staff, he adds. “We try to be culturally relevant,” he said, “but really sticking with sharing the gospel around us.” “That really is a conversation starter,” the pastor notes. The church is comprised of what he calls “an eclectic mix.” The older generation, he says, is pleased that the church focuses on the basic things of the gospel. “Discipleship is part of our DNA,” he says, using an analogy which likely appeals to college students studying the same. Church management is kept simple. He gave up a full time salary. Of the tithes which come in, he says, about 42 percent of the budget goes to

new church plants. Deep Roots is “really big” on service projects, he notes. Among these are putting together goodie bags for law enforcement who work long hours and sometimes miss a meal when doing investigations, and ministering to the homeless, preparing meals at Thanksgiving. They also work regularly with The Mission in Winter Haven, which reaches out to people who need practical help, like food and clothing, among other things. They volunteer at the pregnancy center as well, he says. Currently, the church meets at Old Towne Square in Downtown Winter Haven at 301 3rd St. NW. The congregation is small at the moment, being a fairly new group, of 25 adults and 12-15 kids. The church has a website at deeperchurch.com. Making an Impact, Impact Church, that is Then there are churches who change their name in an attempt to attract new people. That was the case with Impact Church in Lake Wales, formerly known as First Assembly of God, Lake Wales. The church started in a downtown

storefront, later occupying the Lake Wales Women’s Club for a short season. Then they moved to a building on Pine Avenue, and in 1983 came to rest at 1201 Burns Ave., where everyone recognizes it by its steeple. The church is five decades old, and is quite active in the community. Once they were seen taking water to a fire that ravaged a vacant apartment building, in which firefighters were challenged not only with the heat of the fire, but of the sweltering summer temperatures. Pastor Walt Nelson notes “The passion of the people who attend First Assembly of God, is to make a positive impact in Lake Wales and the surrounding area, following

RELIGION | 15

PHOTO PROVIDED BY TEMPLE EMMANUEL

Cantor Victor Geigner and the Temple Band sing to the children during the 2012 Hanukkah Party.

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2013 • Lifestyles

Heartland Newspapers • 11

Join the Club Civic organizations make the difference By KATHY LEIGH BERKOWITZ

KLBERKOWITZ@HEARTLANDNEWSPAPERS.COM

community to see if there is something we need to be a part of,” he said. They also look to partner with corporate sponsors to assist them from time to time. “We talk very often with

which I live,” he said. He added it’s about “being part of that legacy. I’m giving back.” The Bartow Kiwanis Club meets every Friday at noon at the Bartow Civic Center. For more information, email atlask96@ comcast. net.

actually won an award for his website development because it is so pristine. Although he doesn’t want to talk about himself, he has much to say about Rotary. Their focus this year? “Service above self,” he says. “Our biggest desire is to help people locally,” he notes. This year, the club did work with the Florida Baptist Children’s Home. “We went in and completely rehabbed an open porch area,” he notes. Members provided hard labor, actually physically working with local groups. They’ve built wheelchair ramps for individuals who need access to their homes. “We also have a very social club,” Wilder notes, that they enjoy “Social Hour” every week. “We dod things together that are fun, that build our friendships,” he said. The group meets every week for lunch on Fridays. Jorge Rivera, one of the group’s newest members, joined about a year and a half ago. “I met a lot of Rotarians through Emerge Lakeland,” he notes. He received a Rotary scholarship, which was even more motivation to join. He majored in accounting at Florida State University, so that came in handy. Rivera notes that people might think Rotarians are more of a mature

Kiwanis He’s been with them about seven years, and is the club president, and has much to say about the good of the service club to which he belongs. Craig Burke says the Bartow Kiwanis Club is quite involved in the community, supporting causes such as the Women’s Care Center and Bartow Friday Rotary Fest. But the During the holidays, they Kiwanians run a food drive, partnering aren’t the with the Key Club. only ones Then there is the annual making a Pancake Day, something difference eagerly anticipated every in their year by those who attend comand those who serve. munities. Kiwanians are very conCheck cerned with matters which out the involve children. “Our biggest focus is children,” Burke notes, adding that they have five Kiwanian VIDED PHOTO PRO closets in Bartow and several at area schools. od donations to be helps organize fo e “Every year, we stock those sh as e iv st fe d s an gy. and Progress Ener ne Saks is all smile with whatever the schools Wales Rotarian Ja om the Rotary Club of Lake Wales ke La need,” he said. Lakeland South Rotary Club ilies fr given to 125 fam “Underwear, uniforms, kids the city,” he website, and you’ll find plenty of ways that don’t have school supplies notes, adding the question they ask to get involved, for it is loaded with in… each need for each school is differis “what does the city need and how formation. Scott Wilder, the chairman ent,” he notes. can Kiwanis help the city and help the of the committee who runs the website, CLUB | 15 “One school may need uniforms,” children in the city?” he says, adding that children “can’t be That is the central question that expected to learn if they don’t have helps establish their mission every year, pencil and paper.” he says. “Whatever schools need, we are there On Oct. 1 they have to elect officers to help them in any way,” he notes. and a new board every year, and by Kiwanians hold an annual Easter egg Oct. 15, they have to have an estabhunt with 5,000 eggs, for children up to lished budget. age 12 at the Mosaic Park by the Civic “Every year, it’s evaluated based on Center. need. We have core groups that we “We don’t limit it to the Bartow comtraditionally sponsor every year.” munity,” he said. And the Kiwanis Key Club is an The economy hits everyone hard, integral part at the high school, Burke and service clubs are no different, notes, so the Kiwanis reviews how they but the community support for the can help them. Kiwanians has remained strong, he Last year, upon partnering with notes. Bartow High School, Kiwanians raised “We’ve lost some members, but money to help send kids to camp. Sleep World has the largest variety of beds and mattresses in Polk County. Known for specialty we’ve gained members too. We have 60 Burke enjoys his Kiwanian beds for better sleep, Sleep World has been helping Polk County residents get a good night’s members in the club, which is a good involvement. number.” sleep for more than 29 years. We provide excellence in service, quality bedding and without “I enjoy being able to give back to my They currently support approxicommunity,” he said. the high chain store prices. mately 27 organizations. “It’s a sense of self pride — I am Sleep World offers coil mattresses, adjustable beds, Latex, i Mattress gel “Every year we look to the doing something for my community in

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Civic clubs in our towns Bartow Rotary Club Meets Wednesdays at 12 p.m. at the Civic Center. Visit www.facebook.com/bartowrotary. com. Bartow Kiwanis Club Meets Fridays at 12 p.m. at the Civic Center. Visit bartowkiwanisclub@gmail.com. Bartow Lions Club Meets Tuesdays (except months with 5 Tuesdays) at 12 p.m. at the Civic Center. Call 863-533-0244. Frostproof Rotary Club Meets 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month at noon at the Frostproof Care Center Community Room. Call Frostproof City Hall 635-7855 for more information. Lake Wales Breakfast Rotary Club Meets at 7 a.m. every Thursday at the Lake Wales Country Club.

Visit lwbreakfastrotary.com for more information. To join: Call Michael Morrow at 863-6766678 or email: mikecares@lakewalescarecenter.org or call Robert David Shields, Jr. at 863-678-0506 or email: robbie.shields@ citrusworld.com. Lake Wales Lions Club Meets 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Beans N’ Brushes Cafe, 222 Stuart Ave. Visit www.lions35i.org. For more information, call Tom Galloway, president, at 676-1472 or Kathleen Galloway, 676-1752. Lake Wales Noon Rotary Club Meets every Tuesday at noon at the Hunt Building, Lake Wales Medical Center. Visit Rotary Club of Lake Wales on facebook.com. Call Maryemma Bachelder at 679-6869 for more information. Lake Wales Kiwanis Club Meets every 1st and 3rd Monday at 11:45 a.m. at Oakwood Golf Course. Call Cynthia Rignanese at 294-1114 or Larry Tonjes at 676-7278. Also, visit the Lake Wales Kiwanis Club on facebook.com.

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12 • Heartland Newspapers

Celebrate Polk

Lifestyles • 2013

ife in Polk County

h up their took time to touc , ng So g en sh Jin Some artists, like Art Show. annual Lake Wales

paintings during

the 41st

Classic cars like this one went to the Relay For Life at Bartow Memorial Stadium after Friday Fest.

Alan Sundal proudly poses with his mixed media creations at the 41st Lake Wales Art Show in 2012. The show is held every March.

Rachel Lund, Tom Bergere and Tyler Day were watching the parade but could have been named the “Hair” Krewe at 2012’s Mardi Gras festivities.


2013 • Lifestyles

Celebrate Polk

Heartland Newspapers • 13

z Ed and Cathy Lope e m ca ow of Bart dressed for the occasion Saturday afternoon during the final open to the public day at the 2011 Alafia . River Rendezvous

2802008

Sean Serdynski, on inflatable guitar, “accompanies” singer Brandon Pickard during a Main Street Bartow ‘Tow Jam last year. Serdynski and wife Lori of SLS Entertainment offered fun activities like karaoke and a tattoo contest along with music during the monthly event. The Tow Jam is the third Friday of every month in Bartow.

Jakeria Simpson, a fifth grade student at Polk Avenue Elementary School, takes her chances on the bull riding challenge at one of the many attractions children enjoyed during the Mardi Gras celebration in 2012.


14 • Heartland Newspapers

Celebrate Polk

Lifestyles • 2013

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Celebrate Polk

2013 • Lifestyles

RELIGION

CLUB

FROM PAGE 10

FROM PAGE 11

Jesus’ command which can be found in the Gospel of Matthew 5:16, ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’” The church’s emphasis continued to grow through various outreaches, ministry to the needy (they’ve been known to drop bags of groceries at people’s houses, then leave without letting everyone know who it is, and once took up an offering for a woman in their congregation who needed heart medication.) It is for this reason, the pastor says, that the ministry grew in reaching the needy and broken-hearted, and teaching and training those who follow Christ. So after 50 years of being known as Lake Wales First Assembly of God, they changed their name, effective Sunday, July 29, 2012, to Impact Church. “This name change is reflective of the deep desire of the church to be relevant in today’s society and to be a positive force in the kingdom of God,” noted the pastor, adding that the “message of the Gospel of Christ cannot change. The message of the Gospel is perfect and to make a change to that message would cause it to be imperfect. The method in which the Gospel is presented, however, must change. If we as a church are to remain relevant and viable, we have to make sure that those around us see the love of God in action and are able to hear the good news found in the Bible.” John Steedley, who serves on the church’s board, notes they’ve been talking about it for a couple years now. “People kind of stigmatize it with that name (First Assembly of God) and they

Heartland Newspapers • 15

population, but he adds “we’ve lowered the average age by at least 10 years.” “We are a little bit unique,” I think. Next year, he says, their entire board will consist of people age 35 and younger. The Raymond and Jodie Snyder family is shown “We’re very fortunate that we have a here at the Temple Emanuel 2012 Chanukah lot of young professionals,” he said. Party. Jodie was the event coordinator. And Kylie Guess, a fellow Rotarian, don’t come to the church,” he said, add- at one time attended the Lake Wales ing that there have been many people Breakfast Rotary, which meets at 7 who visited and stayed after the name a.m. every Thursday at the Lake Wales change. Country Club. Now, she is in the The group did receive approval from Lakeland group. the Assemblies of God before changing One of the things she is fond of is their name. the Coins for Kids program, a project “That’s the trend that’s going on right sponsored by Rotary every year. now,” he said. “We collect funds throughout our “It’s increased the enrollment from 10 club,” she noted, adding that “being to 20 percent.” coins, any bit counts.” More young people have started Then Rotary International matches attending, he notes. the amount. And he feels that the name change During the holidays, they had raised doesn’t compromise the message, but $2500, she said. added that it was a conversation when “Which is $5,000 we get to spend on they were contemplating it. families,” she notes. Older people weren’t as keen on Many students at Valleyview changing it, but there is no disunity. Elementary are homeless, she adds. They’ve also made a couple of other Some live in hotels on Memorial adjustments, he said. Boulevard in Lakeland. The church also has added a Praise According to the Coins for Kids Worship team. announcement on the Lakeland South The church holds an early morning, Rotary website, that $7,899 had been traditional service, with old hymns. raised, including the match. A later morning service is held for the contemporary crowd. Frostproof Rotary Club It’s always challenging when change With the tough economy, has it been is introduced, he notes. tough on the service club, especially “You’re trying to cater to two groups those in small towns? Not so, according - the worship team for the younger to Brian Ackley, current secretary and generation, the choir for the older past president of the Frostproof Rotary generation.” Club. Find out more about Impact Church “Actually, our fund raising has been at http://www.impactlw.org. pretty stable. We’ve gotten creative with

Every month, the Lake Wales Kiwanis Club presents the Terrific Kid Award to a local elementary school student. Here, Alex Perez is joined by Principal Barbara Jones (left) and Kiwanis Club representative Larry Tonjes for the presentation. some of our fundraisers, and the community has always supported our talent show which has become popular,” he says. The Frostproof Rotary Club is a “healthier club in terms of membership” than they were several years ago, he notes. “A big reason for that is we only meet twice a month now instead of every week. In this day and age, and in small town, networking isn’t as big a deal as it used to be in service clubs. So making that switch has had a very positive influence on getting people to join the club,” he adds. Frostproof Rotary Club adopted as its major project the funding of college scholarships for Frostproof graduates, Ackley notes. Every year, the club disperses about $6,000 in scholarship money. The club is changing that slightly to involve smaller cash awards, he says, to more graduates, in future years to “help spread the wealth and get more kids at least started in college.” The group meets every first and third Thursday of each month at the Frostproof Care Center Community Room. For more information on the Frostproof Rotary Club, email backley@ heartlandnewspapers.com.

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Celebrate Polk

Lifestyles • 2013

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