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I’m not going to lie — the 5K I mention in this week’s edition of Weekend Best Bets is one of my top-three favorite races in all of Central Florida. I’m not much of a morning person, but getting up early and participating in this event is so gratifying! Read on to hear which race I’m talking about.

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HAINES CITY — A member of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for nearly 30 years, Loyd Stewart was named deputy chief of the Haines City Police Department and started his tenure this month.

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POLK COUNTY — Polk County Public Schools officials and representatives for the Polk Education Association, the county’s public school teachers union, announced Feb. 14 that the two sides have reached a tentative agreement on teacher contracts for the 2019-20 school year.

AVON PARK – Hemp4Water Founder W. Steven Edmonds, Jr. says no one else in the country is studying how hemp could be used to remove metric tons of nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients which can cause problems at high levels in rivers and lakes.

There is a unique food competition going down in Winter Haven this weekend. It is a “people’s choice” competition — and the competition’s planners need your opinion! Not only is it a neat way to try out the final products of Big Green Eggs, but it’s also a delicious way to support the Citrus…

POLK COUNTY — Several Lake Eloise Drive property owners and nearby residents recently petitioned the Polk Board of County Commissioners to install speed bumps on the residential road, which they say is being used to avoid congestion on Cypress Gardens Boulevard in Winter Haven.

BARTOW – Representing Polk County’s public school teachers, staff for the Polk Education Association teacher’s union and representatives for Polk County Public Schools met Feb. 5 for another round of teacher work contract negotiations.

LAKE WALES – A couple of weeks ago, the Lake Wales City Commission voted to purchase the YMCA of West Central Florida facility on Burns Avenue near Lake Wales High School — known as the Lake Wales Family YMCA.

BARTOW – Steve Githens recently qualified to face off against incumbent Trish Burdin-Pfeiffer and Gerald Jacob Cochran for Seat Four on the Bartow City Commission in the Bartow municipal election April 7.

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POLK COUNTY – Staff and volunteers with the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College have been working with Dr. Willem Jan Hoogsteder and his Hoogsteder Museum Foundation staff for more than two-and-a-half years to put together the exhibit “Music and Dance in Painting of the Dutch Gold…

Polk County Commissioners did some significant bond juggling recently and, by refinancing some bonds and adding some new ones, managed to save almost $6 million, according to the county's Comptroller and Clerk Stacy Butterfield.

If you’re wanting to make some memories this weekend, I’ve got the ideal night for you. Lakeland’s Nineteen61 is hosting a five-course meal, prepared by Chef Chem, and a special dessert, prepared by Pastry Chef Lily. After finishing, head upstairs for a salsa lesson paired with bubbly on the…

Each February, over 80 teams of barbecue masters compete for the Florida State Grand Champion title at the annual Smoke on the Water BBQ Competition. What’s in it for you? The best barbecue you’ve ever tasted along with a music festival, aerial flyover and awards show!

Polk County Public Schools’ next hiring event for bus drivers and attendants is coming to the Winter Haven Public Library on Wednesday, Feb. 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more info, call (863) 534-7298.

BARTOW – During a Bartow Rotary luncheon meeting Jan. 22, city commissioner Trish Pfieffer said one of the first things she focused on after getting elected in 2014 was working toward getting Bartow residents a dog park.

POLK COUNTY – When a veteran struggling with a service-related mental health diagnosis is arrested in Polk County, that veteran may be referred to a “Veterans' Docket” — a court-supervised treatment program for veterans whose service experience may have contributed to criminal charges.