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Our Story

A Message From Our Founder

   On May 11, my oldest daughter graduated from college. On that day, during the commencement acts, I was not only watching her becoming an adult, but I was also listening to one of the most motivational speeches I have heard in my life. 

   You see, the guest speaker was a prior student who, after graduating, went ahead and created her own community magazine. She had no idea what she was doing. All she knew was that she wanted to run her own magazine and that nothing was going to stop her... not even her inexperience. 

   Fast forward two months, here I am, running my own community newspaper, a dream that started many years ago when I got my first rejection letter for an opinion article that I had written for the Orlando Sentinel. That rejection letter did a number on me and made me stop writing for a while... until one day, I tried again and, this time, the piece was published by them and, with that, came my new desire to become a journalist and to finally, create my newspaper.

   My dream of starting the newspaper came with a lot of challenges, and one of them was being stationed overseas for three years due to my husband's active-duty military status. At that time, we were sent to Zimbabwe, Africa and my dreams of starting my beloved newspaper were put on the back burner.

   In May 2016, we came back to the United States after my husband retired from the military and after dealing with many health issues, I finally decided that it was time for me to make my dream of becoming a freelance writer for major publications come true... that was until one day, I received another rejection letter--this time from The New York Times. On that day, I again stopped writing and became involved in a program called Vet Voices to try to fill the void I had in my life. Believe me when I say that Vet Voices was a gift sent from heaven.

   They not only gave my life a different meaning but also made me realize that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

   During my daughter's commencement ceremony, I had another gift sent from heaven... and this time it came in the form of a fellow journalist who, like me, had a dream. But, the difference between her and I was that she made hers become a reality, even when she had all the odds against her, and I was still wondering how to make mine come true. But, her speech made me realize that it was time to do it, that it was time for me to stop procrastinating, that it was time for me to stop allowing my fears to control my dreams.

   On that day, I snapped out of my self-pity and decided that it was time... that the time for making my dream come true had arrived and that I needed to put my big girl's pants on and do it. And I did. Oh boy, I did. The next day after that commencement ceremony, I took the first step and created the first page of my newspaper, which I tentatively called The Haines City Herald, but later on that night, I changed it to The Northeast Polk Gazette after my husband asked me to think bigger, which I did.

   Fast forward two months, here I am, writing this piece to present to you my biggest dream, my new baby, and the result of my hard work.

   With this newspaper, I not only want to bring news that matters, but I also want to use it as a way for fellow Veterans to see it as an outlet during their recovery time. This newspaper will only be available as a hard copy, which will be strategically placed in different businesses around the Northeast Polk County area, as well as in its e-Version here in our website. In the future, we will be switching our website to a full news site, but for now, we invite you to enjoy reading our paper the good old way.

   The truth is that this newspaper is not a typical newspaper... this is a project full of love, not only from my part but from the many Veterans that will contribute to it from time to time.

   I hope you guys give this newspaper a chance.. give me a chance to show you what hard work and dedication looks like. I promise you, I will not disappoint you. Thank you in advance for your support.

With Love,

Marielys Camacho Reyes (M.C. Reyes)

Founder / Editor-in-Chief



Meet Our Team


Meet M.C. Reyes

Founder - Editor-in-Chief

Marielys Camacho-Reyes, MS, (an Army Veteran, and a retired Army Wife), is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Northeast Polk Gazette.

Marielys' recent book Cleaning Out My Closet: My Road from Self-Discovery to Emotional Healing is currently available in Amazon

She currently lives in Haines City, FL with her family. 

Marielys holds a Master of Science degree in Psychology, and a BA in Criminal Justice. She is currently working on completing a Post-Graduate Journalism Certificate with the Michigan State University School of Journalism. 

Marielys is a member of the Florida Writers Association, and a proud supporter for the Society of Professional Journalist (SPJ), the KidsPack Inc, and for the K-9 for Warriors Organizations.


Meet Aida Betancourt

General Manager - Contributing Writer

Aida Betancourt, Army Veteran, Photographer, Independent Writer, and Blogger.  

Aida holds a Masters in Management of Information Services from University of Phoenix and a BA in Psychology from Interamerican University of Puerto Rico.  She also has certifications in Photography from New York Institute of Photography and is a Toastmaster Competent Communicator. She is currently working on her Life and Health Coach Certification.  

Aida is a member of the American Legion. She is the owner of Aida Betancourt Photography. She recently launched her new website

She is currently co-writing her first book about her Army experiences.  

Aida resides in Central Florida with her family.  

Meet Nasif Ahamed


   Contributing Cartoonist


Nasif Ahmed became The Northeast Polk Gazette's cartoonist the moment the newspaper started. He is a Bangladeshi cartoonist who is also a staff artist at the Daily Janakantha. His cartoons have been published in many international cartoon magazines such as Toonsmag, Mercusuar, United Sketch, among others.


Nasif has been drawing cartoons for dailies for more than seven years. Before starting his career as a full-time cartoonist, Nasif worked almost two years as a freelance cartoonist in the monthly satire magazine Unmad and Daily Alokito Bangladesh. Nowadays, Nasif works for Unmad Magazine occasionally.


Nasif was recently selected as one of the exhibitors on the 1st International Hithi Cartoon Contest, 2019 in Ferizaj, Kosovo, on the 1st International Welt Heimat Cartoon Contests Exhibition in 2019, and on the 2nd Cebu Lampoon Festival Cartoon Exhibition in 2019.


Nasif enjoys watching series and drawing cartoons. You can connect with him via his email: or via his website



Contributing Writers:

Mike Ferguson, Guest Columnist



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    The Northeast Polk Gazette
    P.O. Box 1114
    Haines City, FL 33845
    (863) 301-2028


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    The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not represent the opinions or views of The Northeast Polk Gazette, CW3RET Enterprise, LLC or its members. The reproduction of the material contained in this publication may be made only with the written consent of the Northeast Polk Gazette's editor-in-chief.

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