Economic Action Workshop Follow-up Meeting to be Held March 11

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altCLERMONT — The public is invited to attend a follow-up meeting to the Economic Action Workshop on Friday, March 11th beginning at 9 a.m. at Lake-Sumter Community College’s South Lake Campus’ community room located at 1250 N. Hancock Road, Clermont.

At the meeting, an update will be given on the progress in developing an Economic Development Action Plan for promoting economic growth in the community.

In early February, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners hosted an Economic Action Workshop in an effort get the business community and residents involved in discussing Lake County’s economic outlook and ways to promote Lake County as a business-friendly community. Strengths and weaknesses for marketing Lake County to businesses were also reviewed, along with specific suggestions and policies that need to be addressed.

At the close of the workshop, Commissioners agreed to host a follow-up meeting in 45 days to report on the progress in developing Lake County’s Economic Action Plan.

The input received at the workshop, along with ideas received through the Business Growth Suggestion forms submitted to the County, will be used in the development of the plan.

The County is still in the process of actively seeking suggestions from the community for ways to grow business in Lake County. For details on how to submit suggestions, log on to the Lake County website at www.lakecountyfl.gov/businessideas. The deadline for submissions is March 4th.

For more information about the follow-up meeting, contact the County Manager’s Office at (352) 343-9888.

Update from February 28th Meeting of Lake County School Board

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TAVARES — The Lake County School Board met on Monday, February 28th, and an item on the agenda that has been several months in the making was a report from the Local Preference Committee.

Last year, each School Board member appointed two individuals to this committee to determine if Lake County Schools needed to adopt a local vendor preference policy. The committee reviewed local vendor preference policies from other governmental entities and reviewed the District’s purchasing policies.

After evaluating the District’s current process for local opportunities, analyzing bids awarded to local vendors for the past five years and a host of other information, the committee recommended not to establish a local vendor preference policy. However, the committee did suggest a few improvements to the process that could aid local vendors, including:
•    Make certain bid specifications are not too onerous where it precludes a local bidder from participating
•    Improve access to purchasing procedures and methodology
•    Educate local bidders about the methodology of bidding on a government job, potentially using evening classes sponsored by a local chamber of commerce
•    Ties in bidding goes to a local vendor
•    Encourage vendors, local or not, to use local products and vendors whenever possible

In other business:
•    The School Board called for a special meeting on Thursday, March 3rd, at 9 a.m. in the District Office, located at 201 W. Burleigh Blvd. in Tavares, for the purpose of considering a change in athletic field improvements at Lake Minneola High School, which is currently under construction.
•    The School Board congratulated Gray Middle School sixth grader Hope Friedrich for winning, in the category for fourth-sixth graders, the 2010 Hope Friedrich is congratulated by School Board Member Rosanne Brandeburg.National Stewardship Poster Contest sponsored by the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD).

The contest provides an opportunity for kindergartners through 12th graders to convey their thoughts about soil, water and related natural resource issues through artwork. It also highlights the educational outreach efforts of conservation districts and their state conservation associations, auxiliaries and agencies. The poster contest is part of NACD Stewardship Week, the longest running celebration of conservation in the country. The 56th Annual Stewardship Week will be celebrated April 24-May 1, 2011.

The “Conservation Habits = Healthy Habitats” poster theme instilled education and appreciation for wildlife habitat, native plants, pollinators and other important conservation issues. The winning posters were featured at the 65th NACD Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., on Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2011. Conservation leaders from around the nation gathered at the event to participate in educational sessions and hear from speakers focusing on the theme “From the Roots Up.”

To reach the national contest, Hope Friedrich won the local contest sponsored by the Lake Soil and Water Conservation District in November 2009, the area contest sponsored by the Sumter Soil and Water Conservation District in May 2010 and the state contest sponsored by the Association of Florida Conservation Districts in July 2010. Posters are evaluated on the following criteria: conservation message, originality, visual effectiveness and universal appeal.

Community Foundation of South Lake College Internship with Beacon College

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altThe Community Foundation of South Lake and Beacon College have collaborated and established a College Internship Program.  This program started during the fall semester of 2010 when William Bremkamp interned with the Community Foundation.  Now in 2011, the Community Foundation is proud to announce that Angel (Luis) Montalvo, Jr. is interning with us.  Luis comes from Land O Lakes, FL and plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Computer Information Systems in May 2011 from Beacon College in Leesburg, FL.  Here is a picture of Bruce Greer, Executive Director of the Community Foundation on the left and Luis Montalvo on the right. 

School Board, Tavares & County Enter Agreement Benefiting all Parties

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altTAVARES — With a unanimous vote at its meeting Tuesday, Lake County Commissioners put the finishing touches on an inventive three-way partnership between the Lake County School Board, Lake County and the City of Tavares that benefits the entire community.

“This is a monumental accomplishment,” said Lake County School Board Chairman Debbie Stivender. “Three government agencies in collaboration to save taxpayer dollars, make working conditions better for our employees and provide future safe pathways to schools in the Fruitland Park area and a future school site in the Tavares area. I want to thank all elected officials for working so well together and for all the wonderful work our staffs did during this lengthy process.”

The tri-party interlocal agreement stipulates Lake County Schools’ Maintenance and Transportation facilities, located between Alfred and Ianthe streets, are transferred to the City and County. According to Tavares officials, this property meets a long-term goal of the City to improve the gateway to downtown and provides property for its new public safety complex.

“This has been a project the City of Tavares has been working towards for 25 years and has finally come to fruition,” said Mayor Robert Wolfe.

For the downtown Tavares property, the School Board is receiving a 20-acre future school site located on Woodlea Road from the City and $300,000. The County will receive some right-of-way on County Road 466A and a portion of the School Board’s property for $450,000.

"This is a great example of three government agencies working cooperatively for the benefit of our citizens,” said Lake County Commissioner Jimmy Conner. “You don't see that kind of cooperation in every community and I am proud we have all worked together to benefit the residents of Lake County."

The property transfer is expected to be completed within the next year, and it will allow the School Board to move forward with the purchase of a facility to relocate and expand its Transportation and Maintenance facilities.


Educational Foundation of Lake County waddles out its Posters Winners for Rubber Ducky Race

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Chris Thompson’s Winning Poster DesignTAVARES — The Educational Foundation of Lake County is proud to announce the winners and honorable mentions of its poster design contest, which promotes the 2nd Annual No Duck Left Behind Rubber Ducky Race on Saturday, March 5th, at Wooton Park in Tavares.

All winners receive $25 and an official No Duck Left Behind Rubber Ducky Race T-shirt. The overall winner’s teacher Stephanie Tuesca of Lost Lake Elementary wins $200 for art supplies. Honorable mentions and their teachers receive an official No Duck T-shirt.

•    Overall winner and in the third-fifth grade category: Chris Thompson, Lost Lake Elementary
•    Winner in kindergarten-second grade category: Emily Gerry, Eustis Elementary
•    Winner in sixth-eighth grade category: Justin Gordon, East Ridge Middle
•    Winner in ninth-12th grade category: Jennifer Torres, Tavares High School

Honorable mentions in kindergarten-second grade category:
•    Dylan Plemmons, Pine Ridge Elementary
•    Shakaria Hardnett, Leesburg Elementary

Honorable mentions in third-fifth grade category:
•    Esteban Trevino, Mascotte Elementary
•    Samantha Morris, Eustis Elementary

Honorable mentions sixth-eighth grade category:
•    Kayla Seward, Umatilla Middle
•    Madison O’Brien, Umatilla Middle

Honorable mentions in ninth-12th grade category:
•    Jacob Green, Tavares High
•    Allie Wright, Tavares High

Tickets for the No Duck Left Behind Rubber Ducky Race are $10 for three duck adoptions and are available at 36 participating school sites or on facebook.com/noduckleftbehindrace.

“You can win a college education or one of over $5,000 worth of prizes for your child, grandchild or any child who is enrolled in Lake County Public Schools,” said Carman Cullen, Executive Director of the Educational Foundation of Lake County. “You can also donate and adopt a duck for a student who cannot afford one.”

Come to the race and carnival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 5th at Wooton Park in Tavares and see a seaplane drop the ducks from the sky. School carnival booths will have food, games and prizes. The event includes free moonwalks, obstacle courses and non-stop entertainment.
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