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Thursday, December 19 2019


By: Staff Writer.


Davenport – On December 17, followers of the City of Davenport’s Facebook page woke up to a public notice posted on the city’s page advising its residents to take action on a letter that was sent, via mail, to some residents in the area.


This is what the public notice said:




Public Notice: Vote No or Disregard


Dear Davenport Citizens,


The City of Davenport would like to inform its citizens that it is not in favor of the request made in the letter that was recently sent out in the mail. If you would please vote no or disregard.


Thank You.


City of Davenport





As expected, this public notice brought a lot of concerned to Davenport’s residents and some of them didn’t waste any time in posting comments about who they felt about the situation. In an effort to gather more information, The Northeast Polk Gazette contacted both cities to hear their side of the story and this is what we got from them:


From the City of Davenport:


This letter went out from the post office recently and is being received by certain residents. There are a number of residents that live in the city of Haines City but have a 33837 address that says Davenport, as well as a number of residents that live in the city of Davenport but have a 33844 address that says Haines City. It appears that Mayor West and the good folks in Haines City are attempting to get a Haines City address for their residents that live in the 33837 zip code. Unfortunately, the letter is very poorly worded and gives the impression that the entire 33837 zip code (which includes all of the City of Davenport as well as unincorporated areas up past Ronald Reagan to I4) would be changed to Haines City which has created a lot of confusion. Also adding to this is the fact that Davenport only found out about this last Friday when a resident that received it brought it to our attention at City Hall. Ideally, we would have preferred for our counterparts in Haines City to at least let us know what was going and even better work together with us on this so that we could resolve the same issue for our residents as well. Instead, we were left in the dark and caught off guard with this notice. We are still trying to get additional clarification and confirmation from the post office,” said Commissioner Brandon Kneeld, who represents Seat 2 on the Davenport City Commission.


From the City of Haines City:


“There are inaccuracies in the post from Davenport. We had no clue this survey was going out at this time and also this is not going to any residents of Davenport. I will get an official statement after the elected officials meet at the commission meeting,” said Haines City’s City Manager Mr. Deric C. Feacher.



At the moment of this report, no official statement from Haines City has been issued, but we will bring that information to you as soon as it’s available.





Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 12:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019

By: M.C. Reyes, Editor-in-Chief.

Winter Haven - This month, on The Student Leader of the Month, we want to feature a student from All Saints Academy in Winter Haven who has used her leadership role to make a difference in her school.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Jayla Fairley, and this is what she shared with us:

NEPG: Which grade are you attending right now?

Jayla: I am currently attending 12th Grade.

NEPG: What leadership position are you responsible for?

Jayla: I am a Head of the Student Ambassador Club, Vice President of the Diversity Club and Senior Justice of the Honor Council at All Saints Academy.

NEPG: Tell us about how your leadership approach has influenced others around you.

Jayla: My leadership approach is to just be friendly and welcoming to all. This enables me to have a measure of influence with my peers. In upholding my integrity and kindness, I would hope I influence those under my leadership to make the right decisions and possibly become a leader themselves.

NEPG: What are your plans for the rest of the school year?

Jayla: As college acceptances roll in, I am trying to focus on the next level of my educational career. I would also like to capture and enjoy every moment of the rest of my senior year. I am very excited for the upcoming basketball season and all of my club activities.

NEPG: What would be your message for younger kids who are planning on taking a leader's role within their school/community?

Jayla: My message to younger kids who are planning on taking a leadership role in their community would be to constantly push yourself to the next level. In gaining endurance and learning how to persevere, you will be simultaneously leading those around you to do the same. You will be helping others to go out of their comfort zone and to aid others in their own times of need. It is understanding that the little things that you do are the ones that build your character and make you a leader in the community.

Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 07:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019

By: M.C. Reyes, Editor-in-Chief.

Haines City - When Lorraine, the youngest of her four siblings, was ten-years-old, she experienced one of the most life-changing events a child could ever experience in his/her short life... she saved the life of her cousin from a near-drowning situation. After that experience, Lorraine realized that if she could save one life, she could also save hundreds. Her take-charge personality and the passion and love for helping led her down the path she chose for her life, and after 31 years with PCSB and 22 years with the Boys and Girls Club, Lorraine says that helping others is her story and all she knows.

   We had the pleasure of interviewing Lorraine, and this is what she shared with us:

NEPG: What's your position, and how long have you been in that position?                                                                     

Lorraine: I have been a Unit Director at the North Ridge Boys and Girls Club for 15 yrs.

NEPG: What are your main responsibilities?

Lorraine: I'm responsible for staffing, payroll, overall safety and well being of the kids, and the upkeep of our building.

NEPG: How do you manage the different personalities among the children to make an impact not only in their "professional" lives but also in their personal lives?

Lorraine: I manage different personalities with a lot of interaction and asking questions. Also, by offering any help and available resources.

NEPG: Tell me a little bit about your family and how you manage your professional and personal lives without allowing one to affect the other.

Lorraine: It's easy because it's just my husband of 25 yrs. He is very supportive of all I do. My kids and grandkids are adults, but they have always been team mom and the Club.

NEPG: What message would you like to pass to the children that you serve?

Lorraine: To never give up on your dreams because one day they will become a reality.

Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 07:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019

Content provided by Rise & Stand, Inc.

Winter Haven - For this month's "In the Spotlight" section, we had the pleasure of getting to know an organization dedicated to fighting bullying.

Meet the Rise & Stand, Inc. Organization.

   R.I.S.E. & STAND is a non-profit organization committed to raising awareness about bullying & abuse. Their goal is to help end acts of cruelty that victimize people like bullying, child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking and other types of hate-related actions. They use a series of effective actions and employ the leadership of trained volunteers and team members.

   R.I.S.E. & STAND is exclusively an educational and charitable organization.

   R.I.S.E. & STAND hears and investigates the cases of any person, regardless of race, religion, or nationality, who are victims of bullying or some form of abuse. They provide support through mentoring, referring victims to shelters or safe havens, notifying law enforcement, funding, or distributing supplies or necessities. Need and assistance are evaluated on a case by case basis.

   R.I.S.E. & STAND’s vision is to empower victims so they no longer feel alone or helpless when enduring a traumatic incident. With the remarkable growth they are experiencing, they endeavor to provide an increase in staff to respond immediately to requests for assistance. They will also continue to expand their web site to ensure it is thorough and informative.

   R.I.S.E. & STAND provides training opportunities to develop its employees through seminars, community service, leadership roles, and mentoring in order to achieve their mission.

   Their members are inspired by a lifelong commitment to building an online community through a unique combination of training, community leadership development, and direct service.

   Note: R.I.S.E. & STAND also helps and houses animals until they can find them suitable homes.

   Interested in donating to this organization: Donations can be made by clicking the “Donate” Paypal button or the "GoFundMe" button found on the right-hand side of every page on their website.

   Donations are VERY important but if you cannot help financially but still want to help, please email them and they can tell you what is needed to become a volunteer or a sponsor for the organization.

   For more information about this amazing organization, you can visit their website at

Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 07:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019

Content provided by Bridges of Heroes.

Champions Gate - Located in the Champions Gate area, we got to meet a new non- profit organization dedicated to lessening the financial burden of health care costs on veterans and their families by providing reimbursement for out of pocket medical expenses.

   All great causes have real-life drivers behind their formation and Bridges For Heroes is no exception. The real-life drivers that propelled the formation of Bridges For Heroes and the cornerstones that are at its foundation are Experience, Commitment, and Understanding.

   Executive Director Jean Ryan experienced first-hand the complexities of the Affordable Care Act, and how it was not as affordable for everyone as it was advertised to be.

   For a period of time in 2015, Jean was without employer-sponsored health care coverage and needed to look to the Health care Marketplace for coverage in one of the Affordable Care Act qualified plans. She found that, under the Affordable Care Act, she and her husband would be required to select a plan with a $1,200 monthly premium AND each of them would have a $6,500 individual deductible before the plan would cover anything of significance. Even with a government subsidy to reduce the monthly premium, the out of pocket costs were very high and led her to question how those at lower income levels could make ends meet while still having health care coverage.

   In addition, Jean’s personal commitment to serving the less fortunate has been one of her life-long pursuits. Philanthropy has always been a central theme in her life and she has dedicated hundreds of hours and resources to many nonprofit organizations including Junior Achievement, PAWS to Read, Give Kids the World, Covenant House, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, Girl Scouts of the USA, Financial Peace University and others. Learning more each day about the struggles and challenges active duty and recently discharged veterans face only serves to drive her to ensure that our Service Men and Women receive the care they rightfully deserve.

   Finally, it was Chairman Kirby Ryan’s knowledge and understanding of the health care marketplace that helped make Bridges for Heroes a reality. In his 30+ year career working with physicians, providers, and health plans he has come to understand the complexities of the industry and how to best help those in need. His leadership and knowledge are helping to bridge the gap in understanding the best ways to get the best coverage for those in need.

   Their vision is that no veteran or veteran family struggle to afford the medical services they need. This, as we mentioned earlier, drives their mission to lessen the financial burden of health care costs on veterans and their families by providing reimbursement for out of pocket medical expenses.

   They are committed to helping protect the health of those who raised their right hand – pledging to support and defend us, and pledging their lives for our country.

   Ultimately, they want to ensure that all veterans and their families have the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have access to and can afford, health care coverage.

   For more information about this amazing organization, or to apply for assistance, you can visit their website at

Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 07:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019


By: Alex Morales, Contributing Writer.

Poinciana - As a Polk County resident, I find myself impressed with the number of events and activities that Northeast Polk has to offer. The Solivita Annual Fall Arts and Craft Festival is one of those events.

   We were invited to visit the festival by Kaylee Febles, one of the activities specialist at Solivita.

   Upon our arrival, I found myself in a great and pleasant environment, perfect for a relaxing Saturday afternoon. I parked my car and was welcomed by one of the transportation volunteers, Mr. Bill Spear. He took me on his golf cart to the festival entrance. I have to say that that was a very nice touch for the event.

   As I walked around, I noticed hundreds of vendors (residents and non-residents) presenting their talent through their arts and craft. I also saw a teen orchestra in the entrance playing different styles of contemporary music.

   As I continued my walk through the festival, I stopped by the information desk where I talked to Kaylee Febles. She mentioned that Solivita, a 55 and up community, conducts this event annually and that this one is the 18th event they have done. She highlighted that there were more than 100 volunteers helping on the event, which the majority of them were residents.

   The truth is that, as I walked around the festival, I completely forgot that I was there to cover the event... that's how much fun I was having. The music was also perfect. There were musicians playing nice calypso and reggae bringing a nice tropical flare to the festival. As I continued my walk, I got to the food vendors. Oh my... if I thought the music was great... the food was even better.

   When it was time for us to leave, and after I said my goodbyes, I was taken by golf cart to my car by Eddie Dunzelman, another great transportation volunteer who was providing a great service to the festival participants.

   I have to say that I left the festival wanting more and, for sure, I will be attending once again next year. Thank you, to our Solivita friends for such a great experience See you guys next year!.

Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 07:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019



By: M.C. Reyes.

Haines City - "Somos Haines City" was the name of a community event we attended on November 2nd in the grounds of the Haines City Public Library. I have to say that, as a resident of Haines City, I love when the community comes together to celebrate each other. The truth is that... we are called the "Heart of Florida" for a reason.

   During our visit to the event, I got to meet some amazing people, who like me, wanted to not only show appreciation for our community but also showcase the best of our community.

   One of the people I got to hang out with was the great guys from the Haines City Police Department and also the guys from the Haines City Fire Department. I am not trying to be biased here, but I think Haines City has one of the nicest police and fire departments in the whole Polk County area. These guys not only talked to me about their upcoming events, but they also made jokes about each other, which made me realize the great relationship that both of these departments share with each other.

   One of the members of the police department who shared jokes the entire time I was there was Sergeant Colon. Sergeant Colon seems to be a key member of the department, not only for his experience and dedication but also for his sense of humor. Yes, amazingly, police officers do have a sense of humor and SGT. Colon made that clear to me during our little chat.

   During my time at the event, I also got to meet the fine ladies from the Amanda's Academy of Dance Fine Arts Foundation, Inc. The AAD Fine Arts Foundation, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit dedicated to promoting awareness of and participation in the visual and performing arts for the residents of Central Florida. Additionally, AAD exists to promote creativity while inspiring lifelong healthy choices and developing self-confident students of all ages in a wholesome, happy family atmosphere.

   AAD offers classes for adults and children. Some of the classes they offer are ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, art, voice and acting, and much more. For more information about the AAD Fine Arts Foundation, you can visit their website at

   During my time at the event, I also got to meet the beautiful Miss Haines City USA, Lyzbehtt Rodriguez-Ortiz. Lyzbehtt is set to compete for the Miss Florida USA this upcoming January. if you haven't done it yet, you can read more about Lyzbehtt's journey on page 6.

   Last but not least, during my time at the event, I also got to meet Solymar from Solymar Corazon de Calaca. Solymar creates handmade sugar skulls. Each of these amazing skulls have their own special designs and are made out of 100% sugar. They are made to last so that you can use them the following year. These skulls are mainly used during el Dia de los Muerto's celebrations, as well as a mean of "ofrendas."

   If you are interested in knowing more about this and other custom-made things that Solymar does, you can visit her Facebook page at

   As you can see, I had a heck of a time during this event mingling with some great folks from our community. Let me tell you... if you usually don't attend these events, I invite you to do so because the people you will meet are what makes this community of ours a great place to live. Again, we are not called the "Heart of Florida" just because. We are, in fact, one of the best places to live.

   And again, I may be a little biased here but, oh well!

Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 07:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019

By: Mike Ferguson, Contributing Writer.

Haines City - Since its rejuvenation in March, our Haines City Police Department’s Community Oriented Policing Section (COPS) unit has been working to reach the community on a more personal level. Now, it is expanding. With City Commission approval of the 2019-20 fiscal budget came funding for additional officers to keep up with the city’s population growth. As for the COPS unit, it will go from two sworn officers to four this fiscal year. Overseen by Sgt. Christopher Colon, the unit has included Officer Carlos Dominguez, Officer Kalen Holmes and now, Officer Joel Morales.

   Through partnerships with local businesses, nonprofit organizations, community leaders and other city departments, the unit strives to make a difference in the immediate area and to change the perception that some have of law enforcement. With double the number of officers, the COPS unit believes it can make an even bigger impact.

   The decision came prior to the start of the fiscal year but became a must after COPS teamed with the Parks & Recreation Department to put together a Halloween Party for the city’s youth with less than a week to plan. More than 200 local children came out to enjoy food, drinks, entertainment, music, games and much more. The effort drew praise from many, including Chief Jim Elensky and Vice Mayor Anne Huffman, who had previously started a crafts class to help the COPS unit.

   The unit first started to make a splash in early May when it hosted the first annual “Bridging the Gap” event at the COPS substation. The event featured bounce houses, snacks, a dunk tank, face painting, live music, prizes and more.

   In June, the COPS unit took 45 local children to Gatorland Orlando to recognize their hard work inside the classroom. The following month, the unit teamed with Parks & Recreation to open up the Lake Eva Aquatic Center to youngsters and allow parents a night out.

   After the Bahamas was devastated by Hurricane Dorian near Labor Day weekend, it was the COPS unit that spearheaded the effort to provide relief to those affected. By reaching out to other government agencies, businesses and local schools, the agency was able to set up drop-off locations all throughout Polk County. Donations were accepted throughout September and relief supplies were sent to locations in Miami, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

   Last month, the unit was recognized with the Benevolence Award at the city’s quarterly luncheon. All of the COPS’ events and projects have been funded exclusively through private donations.

   The unit’s efforts have been widely commended, but they haven’t come without plenty of hard work. Sgt. Colon and the officers have worked tirelessly to make sure all the needs of the community are met and are always looking for additional ways to get involved. On the eve of the final hurricane drop-off, unit members worked until the early hours of the evening stacking pallets with relief supplies to completely fill a 53-foot tractor-trailer.

   With a larger unit, COPS should be able to have an even wider reach. The unit will continue to work to reach all neighborhoods throughout the community, ensure a high quality of life and reach at-risk youth -- but now on a larger scale.

About the Author: Mike Ferguson currently serves as the public information officer at the Haines City Police Department. A native of Polk County, Mike previously spent nearly five years as a full-time reporter at The Ledger. Mike contributes to a number of outlets and has work appearing in the Associated Press, Yahoo,, Athlon Sports and Sports Illustrated online among other publications. Mike earned his bachelor's degree from Florida State University in 2009. Mike and his wife Jennifer live in Davenport, Florida with their two children.

Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 07:17 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019


Content Provided By: Deena Wilbur, Executive Director of Polk Seniors.

Polk County - The 28th Annual Polk Senior Games are scheduled for February 29 – March 16, 2020. The Games offer a two-week series of 99 athletic and recreational

   Olympic-style events. They attract 2,500 men and women, 50 and over, with a variety of skills - the serious competitor, the fun at heart, the seasoned athlete, the late bloomer, and the physically challenged. The purpose of the Games is to promote friendly competition, fellowship, health and wellness, an active lifestyle, and volunteerism.

   Competition, held at various locations throughout Polk County, is offered in Archery, Bag Toss, Basketball Shooting, Basketball 3 on 3, Billiards, Bocce, Bowling including Team Bowling, Bridge, Checkers, Chess, Cribbage, Ballroom and Social Dancing, Darts, Euchre, Field Events, Fishing, Golf 18 Hole Singles, Mixed Doubles & Putt & Chip, Horseshoes, Lawn Bowling, Pepper, Pickleball, Punt Pass Kick, Racquetball, Road Race 5K, Scrabble, Senior Smarts, Shooting – Pistol, Rifle, Skeet, Sporting Clays & Trap, Shuffleboard, Softball, Sudoku, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Track, and Walking. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded in each event and age division.

   Registration begins the first week of January. The individual entry fee is $10 for the first event and $3 for each additional event up to a maximum of $28. Fees for team sports are $125 for Softball, $50 for Basketball 3 on 3, and $36 for Team Bowling. There are also facility fees for some events. Everyone receives a specially designed T-shirt. A free Closing Celebration for participants, family, and friends includes goody bags, health fair, entertainment, special awards, and door prizes will be held at the RP Funding Center.

   Polk Senior Games is a non-profit organization sanctioned by the Florida Sports Foundation to qualify participants for advancement to the annual Florida Senior Games, which leads to the National Senior Games.

   Medal Sponsors are Gold and Founding Sponsor – Publix Super Market Charities; Silver Sponsor – Homer & Annette Thompson Legacy; Bronze Sponsors – James W. Sikes Family, CPS Investment Advisors, and Best Value HealthCare + Humana.

   To request an entry booklet to be mailed in January or for more information about participation, volunteering or sponsorships, contact Deena Wilbur at 863-533-0055 or or check out the website at

Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 07:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019

Content Provided By: GFWC Four Corners Junior Woman's Club.

Lakeland - Looking for an exciting Saturday night out with the family? Do you enjoy the fast pace of NBA basketball? Would you like to meet K9s from the Polk County Sheriff's Office? You can take care of all three when you join with the GFWC Four Corners Junior Woman’s Club on Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 7:00PM as the Lakeland Magic take on the Greensboro Swarm at RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

   GFWC Four Corners Junior Woman's Club is partnering with the Lakeland Magic NBA G-league team to raise funds for K9s for Cops Polk County, an organization that raises funds to purchase dogs for the Polk County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit. As of 2018, K9s for Cops has purchased 12 dogs for the unit.

   Tickets for the game are $10 each, with half of all proceeds from tickets purchased through going to K9s for Cops Polk County. If you are interested in purchasing 10 or more tickets, please contact Javannie Jermyn at or 863-825-3265 for special ticket packages.

   GFWC is an international organization with more than 4,000 clubs and over 100,000membersacrossthecountry.

   The local club, GFWC Four Corners Junior Woman's Club is a non-profit organization that reaches out to the Four Corners community of Polk, Osceola, Lake and Orange counties through volunteerism and charitable donations.

   For additional information concerning the organization, or meetings, please visit the website,, email the club at, or find us on Facebook.

Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 07:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019


By: M.C. Reyes, Editor-in-Chief.

Haines City - On November 16, we had the honor of being invited to cover an event for the American Legion Post 34 in Haines City. Well, let me tell you... covering that event was a great honor, but also an amazing opportunity for us to get to know this organization and the job that they do in and for our community.

   To tell you a little bit about the American Legion, this organization was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.

   On November 11, the American Legion Post 34 participated in the Veterans Day celebrations at Haines City in which, among other Veterans, they celebrated the day by honoring the many Veterans and their families of the Haines City area.

   The event we were invited to cover on November 16, was called The Ride for Veterans. This event was sponsored by the American Legion Post 34 and included other chapters around the area, such as Winter Haven and Lakeland.

   The main goal for this event was to raise money to provide scholarships for children of fallen and/or disabled military personnel. With this scholarship, they are hoping to make a difference in the lives of these children by providing them a fair chance for greater education.

   In The Northeast Polk Gazette, we are extremely proud of the job these fellow Veterans are doing for the community and can't wait to cover another event for them.

   For more information about this organization, visit their website at or their website at Auxiliary-Post-34-Haines-City-FL

Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 07:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019

Photo Provided: Grand Knight James Sharak of Knights of Columbus Council 7091 of Cypress Gardens (left) presents a check for $1,000 to Dan Jarvis, founder and executive director of 22Zero Follow Me, Inc


Winter Haven - As a sign of its support for helping military Veterans and first responders suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) secure proper treatment before resorting to suicide to overcome this affliction, Knights of Columbus Council 7091 of Cypress Gardens recently donated $1,000 to a local veterans service organization known as 22Zero Follow Me, Inc.

Based in Winter Haven, 22Zero recruits and trains therapists, counselors, psychologists, and social workers to become certified in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) and Reconsolidating of Traumatic Memories Protocol (RTM), two new and highly-effective therapies for treating PTSD.

22Zero was established by Dan Jarvis, a Winter Haven High School graduate who made a vow to help Veterans overcome PTSD after he was victimized by it as a member of the military serving multiple tours of duty in Iraq. Jarvis, who conquered PTSD with the help of ATR and RTM, serves as the non-profit organization’s executive director.

As guest speaker at an October 22 council meeting, Jarvis said 22Zero is enjoying success in helping Veterans and first responders overcome PTSD by making ART and RTM therapies available to them. He said 22Zero derives most of its funding from government grants and donations from individuals and charitable groups like the K of C.

Following his talk, Jarvis was presented with a check for $1,000 by Grand Knight James Sharak. This is the second donation made to the non-profit this year by K of C Council 7091, the first one being for $500 awarded in January.

According to Jarvis, statistics show that, nationwide, 22 PTSD-afflicted Veterans/first responders take their own lives by suicide each day. The goal of 22Zero is to reduce this number to zero.

“Veterans Administration statistics tell us that military veterans are 22 percent more likely to commit suicide when compared to civilian adults in the United States,” Jarvis said, adding first responders, including police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians also experience high incidents of suicide.

In addition to building a network of trained therapists through its Provider Expansion Program, 22Zero offers a Bridge Builder Program that connects at-risk Veterans and first responders with ART and RTM-certified and licensed therapists.

RTM was created in the aftermath of 9/11 by Frank Bourke, a New York clinical psychologist who assisted Jarvis in launching 22Zero and helps train the therapists he recruits. Early this year, Bourke came to Winter Haven to lead 22Zero training sessions.

Jarvis, who enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduating from Winter Haven High School in 1988, experienced PTSD first hand due to a battlefield incident in 2011 in which a roadside bomb killed a member of a squad he was leading and inflicted serious injury on him. This occurred while he was serving as a sergeant first class on one of the multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After seeking relief from the physical and mental anguish he was experiencing from PTSD in many ways, including excessive alcohol use, Jarvis overcame it by completing the ART and RTM therapies in 2017. He established 22Zero Follow Me, Inc. to fulfill a promise he made to himself to make these therapies available to at-risk veterans.

For more information on 22Zero, call Jarvis at 863-221-6304, or send him an e-mail at

Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 07:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019


Haines City - On Saturday, November 2nd, during the "Somos Haines City" community event, we had the pleasure of meeting the young lady who will be representing Haines City during the 2020 Miss Florida USA beauty pageant, which will be held on January 16-19, 2020. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Miss Haines City USA, Lyzbehtt Rodriguez-Ortiz.

   Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Lyzbehtt moved to Florida in 2013 and currently lives in Haines City. A recent graduate from Valencia College, Lyzbehtt decided to continue her studies at the University of South Florida in which she is pursuing a B.S. in Accounting. She is also a library assistant at the Haines City Public Library.

   According to her presentation packet, Lyzbehtt has participated in various extracurricular activities throughout high school. She was a cheerleader, ROTC cadet, theatre thespian, a member of student government, Spanish club, and more.

   In preparation for the title of Miss Florida USA, Lyzbehtt aspires to not only be a positive role model within the community but to also be a representative of the businesses in the community which helps fuel our economy.

   As part of her role as Miss Haines City, and as a requirement for competing in the Miss Florida USA pageant, Lyzbehtt has the responsibility of attaining sponsors to help assist with her entry fees and with the Miss Florida USA organization's accompanying costs.

   That being said, Lyzbehtt is currently seeking sponsorship from businesses around the area who can help her achieve her dream of becoming Miss Florida USA, and subsequently, help her achieve her personal goal of participating at the Miss USA pageant... but, as we all know, that journey starts with the title of Miss Florida USA.

   According to Lyzbehtt's presentation packet, there are many levels and avenues of sponsorship opportunities available to help her achieve her dream. This includes monetary, products, or services. "All such donations are welcome and will be carried with grace. It's my hope to use your sponsorship to propel me to be Miss Florida USA 2020," mentioned Lyzbett.

   Interested in sponsoring Lyzbehtt during her journey to become Miss Florida USA 2020? Here are the ways you can donate to her fundraising campaign:

   * Visit her GoFundMe page at usa to make a donation there.

   * Sponsors can pay directly through the Miss Florida USA website at

   * Via an invoice: Sponsors can request an invoice payable online via or Paypal. Sponsors can send an invoice request to

   * Via Check: Sponsors can make a check payable to Chrisley Productions, Inc. Be sure to print Lyzbehtt's name at the bottom left-hand corner so that the money goes towards her campaign.

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Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 06:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 05 2019

By: Article Courtesy of the NHTS.

Haines City - It’s almost the holidays, and the festivities are in full swing. Americans are driving to parties, holiday vacations, and loved ones' homes to celebrate the season. Unfortunately, the increased traffic means an increase in traffic fatalities. During the holiday season and every day, it’s important to remember that impaired driving of any kind — alcohol or drugs — is dangerous and illegal. Each time a driver gets behind the wheel, he or she should ensure they are completely sober. Impaired driving is a choice, and it’s the wrong choice.  

   To help keep people safe on the streets and put an end to drug-impaired driving, local law enforcement will be out in full force in support of the 2019 Holiday Season If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI. campaign. Between December 13, 2019, and January 1, 2020, law enforcement officers nationwide will team up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to participate in high-visibility enforcement, pulling over and arresting drug-impaired drivers.

   It is illegal to drive impaired in all 50 states and the District of Columbia — no exceptions. If drivers are impaired by any substance — alcohol or other drugs — they should not get behind the wheel. Driving while impaired is illegal, period. The bottom line is this: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI. It’s that simple.

   According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, in 2017, 45% of the drivers killed in fatal crashes who were tested for drugs, tested positive.

   This is why it’s so important to spread this life-saving message: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI. It doesn’t matter what term you use: If a person is feeling a little high, buzzed, stoned, wasted, or drunk, he or she is impaired and should never get behind the wheel. Think driving while high won’t affect you? You’re wrong. It has been proven that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychoactive effects — slows reaction times, impairs cognitive performance, and makes it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane. This is a deadly combination.

   Something as simple as cold medication or an over-the-counter sleep aid could impair your driving. If it does, you could be arrested for a DUI. If you are taking a new prescription drug or a higher dose of a current prescription drug, do not drive until you know what effect it has on your judgment, coordination, and reaction time. Any effect could impair your driving ability. In fact, certain medications may not impair you on their own, but if taken with a second medication or with alcohol, they may cause impairment.

   The decision to not drive impaired should never be a tough one. Impaired driving of all types is illegal and can be deadly — to the driver, to his or her passengers, and to other road users. Law Enforcement Agencies will be out on a high alert, seeking out drug-impaired drivers during the holiday period, showing zero tolerance for anyone driving high or impaired. If you are pulled over and found to be driving impaired by any substance, you will be arrested — no excuses.

   It is against the law to drive impaired in every state and Washington, DC. Alcohol and drug consumption lowers inhibitions, which can cause you to make bad decisions you would not otherwise make. Do not trust yourself to drive safely when you are drinking alcohol or on drugs.

   The If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. national high-visibility enforcement campaign ends on January 1. However, our commitment to enforcing impaired-driving laws never ends. Drug-impaired driving is never okay.

   If you are planning to indulge in an impairing substance, plan ahead for a sober ride home. Remember these tips for a safe night on the roads:

    • If you have ingested an impairing substance, such as marijuana, alcohol, prescription drugs, sleep medication, or any form of illegal drug, do not drive. Passengers should never ride with an impaired driver. If you think a driver may be impaired, do not get in the car.

    • If you are drug-impaired, pass the keys to a sober driver who can safely drive you to your final destination. Like drunk driving, it is essential that drug-impaired drivers refrain from driving a vehicle. It is never okay to drive while impaired by any substance.

    • Have a friend who is about to drive while impaired by drugs? Take the keys away and arrange to get them home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone— they’ll thank you later.
    • If available, use your community’s sober ride program.
    • If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement agency.

   For more information about the If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI campaign, visit materials/drug-impaired-driving/drive-high-get-dui.

Posted by: Content Coordinator AT 06:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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