City News Blog


The latest happenings in your city government.

Picture Polk History - A Photography Contest

Sponsored by the Polk County History Center

‘Picture Polk History’ features the History and Heritage sites on the Polk County Heritage Trail.  Explore Polk County’s ‘sense of place’ by capturing distinctive images of our unique, historic buildings, places and events.* Open to amateur photographers only.


Share a picture that tells the story of your town! Photography entries will be on display at the Polk County History Center May 22th. Images of excellent artistic and historic quality will remain on display from May 22nd through November 29th, 2014 at the Polk County History Center. Cash prizes will be awarded. Winners will be announced at the opening reception May 22nd.

All entries must be submitted in person at the Polk County History Center located at 100 East Main Street in downtown Bartow by MAY 3rd. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 9am-5pm. For more information call 863-534-4386.

*Photographs must feature a museum, a monument, a historic building, a cemetery, or a local festival that is listed on the Polk County Heritage Trail. You can consult the History & Heritage Guide to Polk County brochure online at or you may contact the Polk County History Center to check the master list of historical sites.  

All entries must be submitted by MAY 3rd to the Polk County History Center located at 100 East Main Street in downtown Bartow. We are open Tuesday through Saturday 9am-5pm.

For more information call 863-534-4386.



1. Photographs must be the original work of an amateur photographer.

2. Photos must feature a museum, a monument, a historic building, a cemetery or a local festival. For additional ideas, you can consult the History & Heritage Guide to Polk County brochure or you may call the Polk County History Center at 863-534-4386 to check the master list of historical sites.

3. Only 2 image entries per contestant will be allowed.



5. Photo manipulation is acceptable but it should enhance, not distract, from the heritage theme.

6. The Polk County History Center reserves the right to disqualify photographs for inappropriate or offensive imagery. 

Polk County Communities Recognized as Healthy Weight Community Champions

BARTOW- The Florida Department of Health has recognized the City of Lakeland, the City of Winter Haven, and Polk County as Healthy Weight Community Champions. Between November 2013 and February 2014, local governments were invited to submit best practice policies they have implemented to promote physical activity and improve nutrition in their jurisdictions. These “best practices” are exemplified by the Healthy Weight Community Champions.


“Efforts to improve health are often most effective at the local level and the Department wants to recognize the outstanding progress made by these communities to promote healthy weight,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong.

“We are very proud of the work our local community leaders have accomplished to make Polk County a healthier place to live, work, and play,” said Dr. Ulyee Choe, FDOH- Polk Director.

Some of the best practices enacted locally include:

  • Sponsorship of low or no cost fitness related events
  • Pursuing healthy community design and complete streets policies
  • Supporting the development of community gardens
  • Including healthier alternatives in vending machines at parks and recreation facilities

    A full list of policy changes for each community is available in the attached document or online at

    Each municipality will receive their award at an upcoming public meeting. Communities will also receive personalized Healthy Weight graphics and promotional material.

    The Community Champions program is part of the Department’s Healthiest Weight Florida initiative. Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, local governments, not-for-profit organizations, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations and entire communities to help Florida’s children and adults make consistent, informed choices about healthy eating and active living.

    To learn more about Healthiest Weight Florida, please visit

    For more information about the Florida Department of Health in Polk County please visit


OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For More Information Contact:

Lori Edwards, Supervisor of Elections



Election Day Tips for Hassle-Free Voting



POLK COUNTY, FL (October 30, 2013) – Lori Edwards, Supervisor of Elections, has some helpful Election Day tips for Polk County voters.


Our goal is to make the process of voting smooth and these tips can help to accomplish that,” said Ms. Edwards.


·         Bring photo and signature ID to the polls when you vote.

·         Remember that the polls are open from 7:00am until 7:00pm on Election Day.

·         You may take a sample ballot into the polling room on Election Day.

·         If you have moved please notify the Elections Office before Election Day.

·         Double check your polling location, some may have changed for this election.


For more information visit or call the elections office at 534-5888. 





LAKELAND, FL (July 2, 2013) -- Our Polk County Legislative Delegation delivered a letter to City Hall late this afternoon that outlines their review of the recent State Attorney’s report regarding the sexual misconduct at the Lakeland Police Department.  We too are just as shocked as our Polk County Delegation by the alleged misconduct and we have vowed to deliver deliberate action to those that have disgraced the LPD badge.


Within the letter presented by the Polk County Legislative Delegation, it was recommended to invite Sheriff Grady Judd to work with the City in making reforms at the Lakeland Police Department.  The City of Lakeland has enjoyed our relationship with the Polk County Legislative Delegation as we have worked collaboratively for the betterment of our citizens.

The City of Lakeland has declared there will be action.  Not only has Chief Womack addressed the public in Monday’s City Commission meeting, she met with the public during her regularly scheduled Chief’s Chat last night.  During both of these public meetings, she made it very clear that the behavior outlined in the SAO report is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. 


I want to assure our community, the City Commission and all of our City employees that the Lakeland Police Department and the City Administration takes these matters very seriously and will take appropriate action once all the facts are known.  When it first became known to Police Chief Womack in early March she immediately opened an internal investigation to review the allegations and then she called Florida Department of Law Enforcement to assist in the investigation.


I just spoke to Sheriff Grady Judd and he is supportive of our Internal Affairs investigative process.  He did agree to make his agency available if we find it appropriate and necessary.  Two officers and one civilian employee have already resigned in the wake of the internal investigation being conducted by the Lakeland Police Department.


The City Commission is apprised of the process now taking place with the internal investigation and we have full confidence that Chief Womack will take deliberate action once the investigation has been concluded. 


We cherish our law enforcement partnerships, especially the bond that we have with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.  I know it is difficult, but we ask that our citizens be patient while the investigation continues.  We promise to keep our citizens informed as the investigation unfolds and you have my word that those who are proven to have acted inappropriately will be disciplined to the fullest extent.


Mayor Gow Fields

Mayor | City of Lakeland