Politics ○A federal court ruled on Friday that Florida felons may not vote until all fines are paid, including any restitution + legal fees as well. Originally, felons had the right to vote regardless of any outstanding obligations. (The Ledger)
ComingSoon ○I could use a laugh, couldn’t you? Laugh Out Loud Lounge is preparing to open this fall to the public. The opening is scheduled for Oct. 2 + is already booking local comedians for their upcoming soft opening on Sept. 24. Upon the grand opening, the club will serve host to live comedy + will double as a restaurant. The club is located in Winter Haven at 233 Ave. O SW. 🥳 (The Ledger)
Civic ○To those Polk County residents who attended the utility workshop on Aug. 13, any suggestions or comments you might have in regards to the proposed edits will be due to Eric Phillips on Sept. 15 via email. All edits are scheduled to take effect by mid-October.
Community ○ Applications opened Friday for Impact Polk 2021. Impact Polk is a program of the GiveWell Community Foundationwith the intent to address the community’s needs. The non-profit offers applicants an opportunity to apply for the grant as it relates to “art, culture, education, health, and human services.” The application deadline is Oct. 5 + the award notices will be sent from March to June 2021. Before applying, please read the guidelines to gather more information.
Cause ○Mark your calendars for Nov. 14, pet lovers. SPCA Florida will host a Virtual Auction for Animals – their biggest fundraiser of the year – and this year, the theme is Star Paws: The Spayed Generation. The event will host a live, virtual auction, a silent auction, entertainment, and stories sure to tug on your heartstrings. Plus, there will be a raffle where one paw-some winner will receive $5,000. Purchase tickets here. 🐾 ○Citizens Bank & Trust has introduced its new 100 Days of Giving grant program offering $100,000 for qualified non-profit organizations in Polk County. Organizations can begin submitting their applications until Oct. 9. The first awards for $10,000 will be announced in Nov. with the final awards announced in 2021. Learn more + apply here.
Deal ○DYKsunflowers follow the sun from East to West every day as they grow? If you need to add a bit of sunshine to your home, head to GreenWise Market’s produce section to pick up a bunch. Bonus: They’re currently on sale.🌻 Ⓟ
Asked ○Calling all trivia – connoisseurs, Reader Sarah H. needs your help locating trivia spots across the 863. Got a favorite spot? Email us your suggestions at [email protected]. 🧠
WaterCooler ○A Florida Southern College alumna has signed a contract with the Las Vegas Aces, a WNBA team. The alumna, Emma Cannon, class of 2011, previously played with the Phoenix Mercury in the 2017 WNBA season. Go Mocs. 🐍
Events ○ Live Trivia | Mon., Sept. 14 | 7:30-9 p.m. | Cob & Pen | 1221 S. Florida Ave. | Prices Vary | Compete against your friends every Monday with live trivia + enjoy craft beer, cocktails, and food.
Disclaimer: It is up to readers’ discretion to determine whether they feel comfortable participating in any mentioned events based on COVID-19 protocols and precautions. If you have questions, please contact the event’s organizers directly.
Through this good act of service, 269 households, 925 people, 353 children, and 63 LVIM clients were benefited from the food pantry. Interested in volunteering next time?Click here for more details regarding dates.
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○ Polk County currently holds the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases out of Florida’s top 10 most populated counties. To compare, Polk’s positivity rate, as of Friday evening, was almost 8% while Pinellas, another populated county, was around 3%. (WFLA)
○ The Secretary of the Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) Halsey Beshears announced that starting today, all bars will be reopened at 50% capacity. The changes came under the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis rescinding Executive Order 20-09from the DBPR. This is the first time that state bars are open at 50% capacitysince June 26 when the order suspended all on-site sales of alcohol for consumption due to the rise of COVID-19 cases. (WTSP)
○ The Reopen Lakeland Task Forcelaunched an “Adopt a School” program in an effort to better protect children from COVID-19. The program launched Friday and is projected to raise funds + proper “healthcare items” for Lakeland public school use. Ideally, the Task Force will raise $5,000 per school, with additional funding for larger schools such as highschools. (The Ledger)
○ Florida recently ranked 41 on a new analysis ranking health systems across the nation. A big reason for this ranking is the state’s spending 51% of the national average and thus places Florida as one of the worst in the nation. President of the Commonwealth Fund and physician, David Blumenthal cites the current struggle due to COVID-19 and its effects on an already stressed + teetering system. (The Ledger)
○ Walt Disney World is bringing back a popular experience for guests at Hollywood Studios. Savi’s Workshop, aka, the spot to build your own lightsaber, will reopen on Sept. 20 and will begin accepting reservations on Sept. 16. The shop closed due to COVID-19 and upon its reopening, new protocols will be in place including physical distancing + a limited capacity. (Bay News 9)
○On Sunday, the Florida Department of Health announced 2,423 new cases of COVID-19 and 8 additional deaths in Florida. That brings the total number of cases in FL of COVID-19 to 663,994 + the total deaths to 12,608. You can find more updates on the Florida Department of Health dashboard. See Lakeland numbers here.