Tornado in Winter Haven blamed for one death and plenty of damage.

Tropical Storm Debby has proven to be a major soaker for Central Florida. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

WINTER HAVEN – Tropical Storm Debby has brought an entire weekend full of soaking rains to Central Florida, downpurs that are continuing today.
But for one Polk County city, the storm got deadly when it caused a tornado to strike a dangerous path.
In response to the weather, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office set up a mobile command station in the Gold’s Gym parking lot at Cypress Gardens Boulevard and Cypress Gardens Road in Winter Haven, said Carrie Eleazor, public information officer for the sheriff’s office. The mobile command station was set up throughout the evening on Sunday, to assist Polk County Emergency Management with reports of a tornado in the area.
“We were pretty much responding from the mobile command,” Eleazor said on Monday morning. “Now we’re pretty much back to normal.” Continue reading

Four Corners celebrates the opening of its first public park.

The new Northeast Regional Park in Four Corners celebrated its grand opening today. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

FOUR CORNERS – Scott Smith can remember a decade ago, trying to bring together government leaders from the four counties that make up the Four Corners area, and convince them that what used to be miles of citrus groves along U.S. 27 was now something entirely different: miles of residential subdivisions filled with newcomers.
That meant families, and children, who needed more than just a home to live in, Smith said. They also needed someplace to play in.
“We started 10 years ago, going down to the county commissions, and asking for this,” Smith said, as he stood proudly in the new Northeast Regional Park, which celebrated its grand opening on Saturday.
The park, at 50901 U.S. 27 in Davenport, is located right next to the Bass Lake subdivision, and very close to the point where four counties – Lake, Orange, Osceola and Polk – meet. Continue reading

Water Ski Museum hopes to ride the wave when Orlando gets Soaked.

The Water Ski Museum in Polk County is looking forward to the upcoming Soaked water ski competition in downtown Orlando this fall. (Photo by Dave Raith).

POLK CITY – Tucked away off a country road in Polk County, Carole Lowe says her office off the beaten path nevertheless is a very popular spot with people who love to water ski. That includes athletes from around the world, she added.
”Right on this lake, we’ll have the teen trials for the next International Water Ski Championship tournament in 2013,’’ said Lowe, the director of the American Water Ski Education Foundation and the Water Ski Museum in Polk City.
Lowe is also excited that a neighboring county will be hosting a major water ski event in September, one that she believes will put a fresh spotlight on this popular sport – and on the museum itself, considering the leading role it plays in hosting so many water ski competitors year round.
”As far as the museum is concerned, I’m sure it will draw people here,’’ Lowe said. Continue reading

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