Month: March 2015

Sheriff Grady Judd promoted Detention Captain Kimberley Marcum to the rank of Major


History was made at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office today when Sheriff Grady Judd promoted Detention Captain Kimberley Marcum to the rank of Major, making her the first female in the agency to achieve that rank.

Major Marcum began her career at PCSO as a detention deputy in 1995, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2001. Five years later, she achieved the rank of Lieutenant, and was promoted to Captain in 2011, where she has commanded the Central County Jail in Bartow. Kim has a Bachelor’s degree in business management and a Master’s degree in criminal justice from Troy University.  She is also a Certified Public Manager (Florida Center for Public Management at Florida State University). She is also a certified Florida Model Jail Standards inspector, and supervised the PCSO Honor Guard for years.

During her acceptance speech at today’s promotional ceremony, Major Marcum said, “I will not argue, it is pretty cool being the first woman to be promoted to the rank of Major.  However, it does not mean that I am the one and only woman to possess the tenacity and aptitude to make it.  There are others on the path; there is no ‘glass ceiling’ here.  Ladies, the door is wide open.” She expressed her excitement to lead and act as a role model for both men and women at the agency, and her gratitude at being selected among the other highly qualified candidates with whom she works.

Major Marcum is originally from Miami, Florida. She is 42 years old and lives in Winter Haven with her husband, Scott, who is a Polk County deputy sheriff, and their son Zachary.

“It is my great honor to promote Major Kim Marcum to this milestone, where I know she will continue to excel and give 110%. Through the years, Major Marcum has never shied away from a task she’s been assigned – in fact she tackles each assignment with such gusto and enthusiasm, we know that she can accomplish anything she puts her mind to. She truly is a shining star here at PCSO, and I could not be more proud of her.” – Sheriff Grady Judd

****** All information in this article is courtesy of Polk County Sheriff’s Office ******


Relay for Life of Fort Meade and Frostproof 2015

Fort Meade Florida – The annual relay for life was held at the Fort Meade High School football field on March 21st 2015 from 10am – 10pm. The community manager for this event was first time attender of a relay Caitlin Simmons. According to the American Cancer Society

.. the relay for life is a life changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember lived ones lost, and fight back against the disease. At Relay, teams of people camp out at a local high school or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative one the track at all times during the week. Since cancer never sleeps, events can last up to 24 hours.

According to organizer Caitlin Simmons, the goal for this years relay season is $65,500.00. At the start of the event she stated that they were approximately one half of the way to that goal at that time. Local organizations are asked to do fundraising from September 1st until August 31st of each year.  There are pre and post event fundraising that takes place to help raise awareness and money to help battle the disease. The relay for life event is simply a way for all of the organizations that are working together for a cause to be in one place to raise awareness.

The current event at Fort Meade High School, started with a salute to our county with the National Anthem played by Fort Meade Middle Senior High School Band and the presentation of the flag by the local VFW chapter. Beth Gobble then took the stage to thank all of those that made all of the days events possible. She also told her own personal story of survival.

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The event then went forward to honor the survivors and caregivers that were present for the event. They made a lap around the track to kick off the event and all teams that were involved stood by the track to cheer them on and show support. It was at this time that the Chorus from Lewis Anna Woodbury Elementary under the direction of Jennifer Webb came on stage to share of part of this day with several songs that were prepared. The children were then asked to take a seat in front of the stage while Polk County Sheriff’s Office gave a K9 demonstration. The crowd was introduced to “Shay” a 9 1/2 year old male german shepherd that is one of 25 officers on duty at the sheriff office. K9 officers are bought from overseas to the tune of approximately $7000.00 each.  Shay will be retiring next month due to his age, but he will find a good home with his handler and will live out his time here on earth in comfort.

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Through out the day there were several special activities including a crazy hat lap, tug of war, and Woman’s Club cake auction. The days events ended with a luminary service that was dedicated to those men and woman that are battling this disease and in memory of those that ultimately lost the battle. Participants made bags with the names of those men and women and placed them around the track and candles were lit inside of them in honor of these brave individuals. Organizers say that donations will continue to come in and anything is appreciated.



March Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

Principal Hardee, 2015 Teacher of the year Sherry Craft, and student representatives from every grade level at FMMSHS.

Fort Meade Florida – The monthly luncheon of the Fort Meade Chamber of Commerce was held on 3-18-2015. As guests arrived they were greeted with the gold and black of the Fort Meade Miners. On the agenda was an honoring of Fort Meade High School. In attendance were special guests Amy Hardee, Principal at Fort Meade Senior High School; Kenneth Reddick, deputy superintendent of Polk County Schools; and Sherry Craft, 6th grade math teacher and 2015 teacher of the year. Hardee gave a run down of the particular areas of improvement that the school has made over the past year. Although through her own admission Fort Meade High School remains a ‘C’ school, however the school has seen a 5% graduation rate increase as well as an 37 point increase in testing. Kenneth Reddick, deputy superintendent states

…when you look at the fact the way testing is measured has changed, it makes it more of an accomplishment. What it takes to make a ‘C’ school or a ‘B’ school has changed and Fort Meade has managed to still see a 37 point increase… its a big deal….

Mrs. Hardee says she likes to focus on the human side of education so she brought in representative students of every grade level at Fort Meade Middle Senior High School to help with her presentation.

Mrs. Hardee explained that of the 744 students that attend Fort Meade High School, 75% of those students are on free or reduced lunch program which qualifies the school to have the designation of Title 1. What this means according to the US Department of Education, the job of title 1 funds

“is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high quality education and reach, at minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.”

Mrs. Hardee went on to explain that currently there are 68 instructional staff members and 32 support staff which help to educate the children that are placed in her care. However, she also stated:

I might have more degrees but that does not make me more important.

Her goal is for the children to learn and she has felt that way from a young age. Hardee states that her parents probably knew she would be in education well before she did. She believes that

no matter where that student is in the spectrum of learning EVERYONE deserves to learn”.

This mantra holds especially true to some of the children that are under the care of the staff at Fort Meade Middle Senior High School. The school has confirmed that there will be some students graduating this year that are considered homeless. Situations and circumstances were not discussed however, it was brought up that the HEARTH program helps to make sure that these children receive the things that need to be successful. This is a true testament to the character of the staff placed in charge of Fort Meade Middle Senior High School and what is dealt with on a daily basis. The Chamber of Commerce presented Mrs. Hardee with a check for $500 to have a special function for the staff of the school which Mrs. Hardee accepted graciously.

More information on how to help support the HEARTH program or the chamber of commerce can be obtained by contacting the Fort Meade Chamber of Commerce at (863) 285-8253. Chamber of Commerce Luncheons are held on the 3rd Wednesday of every month starting at 11:45 a.m. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Writing, Simply….


Written By Karli Land

Sometimes the thought of writing can be scary. You don’t even have to mention the word novel,

it can be as simple as keeping a journal, sharing memories with a loved one or trying your hand

at poetry. No matter how much practice you’ve had or how big (or small) your project might be,

the thought of completing a written piece may seem like a stretch. Breaking it down, step-by-

step, helps the beginning writer see that it’s really only a series of small tasks that produce an

end result you can be proud of.

Before you begin:

Make a plan: Have an idea of what you wish to accomplish. If you want to write family stories

and recipes for future generations, make a list of what all you want to include. If you wish to

write short stories or a novel, you will need to begin with a basic outline.

Set up your work area: This doesn’t mean that you have to construct a library and find a desk

with one of those old timey writer’s lamps. It simply means to make an area that is quiet and

inspires you. Your writing area may be a cozy corner in your bedroom or outside on a swing

somewhere. No rules!

Set your schedule: Make a plan and stick to it. If you need to take time off, schedule that as time

off. Make sure that this time is uninterrupted time and let others know that you will be unavailable. This will help you

maintain the integrity of your schedule.

And you’re off:

Start small: Aim to write no more than 300 words per day. This helps you get going without

feeling overwhelmed. You will know when you are ready to increase your word count.

Have clear goals: Whether it be a word count, chapter completion, or other goal, make sure you

have some. This will help you track your progress and keep you on target.

Get ongoing feedback: Find an honest person and learn to take criticism. It is better to realize

you’re in a mess early on rather than when you’ve finished your entire piece.

Wrap it up:

Edit: edit, edit, edit. Then edit once more!

Share: Don’t put that piece in a drawer somewhere! Share it with someone. Send it to a

publisher, self-publish, or give to a friend. You’ve worked hard, be proud!

Get back to it: Start a new piece. The more you write, the easier it gets so get started on

something new right away.

There Are Great Apes In Our Midst

Dr. Lori Shank – Last weekend, I had the privilege of visiting the Center for Great Apes outside Wauchula, an amazing place with some amazing animals.

Many people are unaware of this animal sanctuary, kind of between Fort Meade and Wauchula (kind of north and east of Wauchula) which houses dozens of chimpanzees and orangutans.

Gorillas are the third member of the “great ape” family, but this facility does not take those in, largely because few are actually ever used in performances or for testing.

You see, all the animals at the Center for Great Apes are there because they found themselves in less fortunate situations, maybe as a testing animal in a science lab, or as a circus performer, or performer in movies and commercials that are no longer needed. In some cases, they were people’s private pets, which of course to some seems like a great idea when they are all cute and cuddly and small. Then in a few years, when an ape fully matures, the idea of having one as a pet seems downright ridiculous, not to mention dangerous.

There are some incredible stories here, like Mari, who at 12 weeks old, lost her orangutan arms when they were damaged by her mother in a science lab. It was amazing to see her, and hear about how she cal climb a 40 foot ladder by using only her chin and feet.

Meet Mari the Orangutan

And who wouldn’t be totally charmed by Knuckles, a chimp who has cerebral palsy. Because he is subject to seizures at almost any time of the day or night, Knuckles often spends his days riding around in a golf cart with one of the sanctuary’s trained handlers. It was thrill when he came by in his cart and we got a chance to spend a couple of minutes with him.

Knuckles the Chimp

The local sanctuary was actually started in 1997 with 15 acres of land, and today now covers more than 100 acres. Its housing structures are impressive, some over 30 feet high and more than 100 feet long.

What’s really neat, however, is a huge network of interconnected walkways which allow the animals to be free to explore and move between structures with the feeling of swinging through the trees.
There is more than a mile and a half of walkways, just be careful if you walk underneath one where there is a chimp or orangutan vying for your attention!

Not only are there the habitats and walkways, but each structure has its own night house where the apes can choose to go in for rest, or respite from the heat or rain. They are even heated in the winter months for the animals comfort.

Bubbles, Michael Jackson’s Famous Chimp

Truly, it is an amazing place. It is not open to the public on a regular basis, but there are ways to visit. The best way is by becoming a member (individual memberships start at $50, and family memberships are $150). The facility is run entirely on donations – they get no government assistance – so the more members they can get, the better! Members are invited to visit the sanctuary twice a year, once in the spring, and again during a holiday open house.

Trust me when I tell you it’s worth the money. You can get very up close to many of the animals but to be a few feet away from many of these animals is an experience you can’t get at Disney or Busch Gardens or any place else that I know of.
School and student tours can also be arranged at a very reasonable price too.

There are a few chimpanzee sanctuaries in the U.S., from what I understand, but the Center for Great Apes is the only one in the U.S. to take in orangutans.

They are also always happy to take on dedicated volunteers. Our practice manager, Ryan Scarborough and his mother have now been volunteers for a year there. Be prepared to get lots of training, however. It is several months of volunteer time just to learn about the center and how it operates and what will be expected of you before you even enter the grounds to begin working.

Hopefully, you’ll be interested to know more about the center and how to help. They have a great website at:

Mari, Knuckles and even Bubbles, Michael Jackson’s famous chimp, are all waiting for you!

Youth for Christ of Polk County” 25th Anniversary Celebration

The public and media are cordially invited and encouraged to attend the “Youth for Christ of Polk County” 25th Anniversary celebration on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, at the First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland. The evening’s theme will be “A Look at Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow– 25 years in the Ministry of Youth for Christ.”

The evening begins at 6:00 p.m. with an hors d’oeuvre reception and ministry fair in the main foyer. At 7:00 p.m. the keynote speaker, Mr. David Nasser, Senior Vice President of Spiritual Development, Liberty University, Virginia, will address the crowd. Mr. David Nasser was a political and religious refugee in Iran at the age of 9 years old, during the Iranian conflict. Attendees will also hear from young people who have been impacted by the Youth for Christ (YFC) ministry, and will be given an opportunity to invest in the ministry itself.

Youth for Christ of Polk County ministers to troubled and at-risk youth, including incarcerated juveniles, and young people in diverse settings and neighborhoods, through programs such as community groups, wilderness camps, and life skills programs in alternative schools. Over the past 25 years, YFC has ministered to over 90,000 young people in Polk County.

There is no cost to attend this event, but RSVP’s are encouraged. To RSVP or for more information, call 863-325-9220 or

Why get shots at a veterinary clinic instead of a low cost/traveling clinic or feed store?

Ryan Scarborough, Practice Manager, Fort Meade Animal Clinic Shot clinics at feed stores and pharmacies – I even recently saw one at a store that just sells guns and ammo – have become a popular and seemingly convenient option when getting to the vet clinic … Continue reading Why get shots at a veterinary clinic instead of a low cost/traveling clinic or feed store?