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Our long-time production director, R., died from Glioblastoma — a particular nasty and deadly form of cancer. R was with us almost 30 years. His former career was as primarily as a newspaper accountant up in Pennsylvania.

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Your elected officials let small business support and unemployment support run out during the worst public health crisis in 100 years and the worst economic downturn in 90 years.

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Many years ago — make that many, many years ago — I began struggling with that problem that has vexed parents for generations: Is there a Santa Claus?

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In the unincorporated areas of Polk County, we are currently enjoying a 46-year low crime rate. You may have heard me mention that before, but it’s an awesome statistic — and one that really shows how great it is to live here.

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There is one word in the American lexicon that is considered so vile that it is referred to only by its code name, “the N-word.”

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“In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.” Those are the words written in 1971 by Judge Hugo Black in the 6-3 (New York Times Co. vs Uni…

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My first acquaintance with banks came in elementary school in 1947 when I became a depositor in the Second Grade National Bank at Bartow Elementary School.

Florida ranks dead last (50th) for the average woman’s wage. Mississippi (49th) pays its women better than Florida. South Carolina (48th) pays women better. West Virginia (47th) pays women better.

Ever since I was a little boy, all I ever wanted to be was the Sheriff of Polk County. Sure, there were people who told me that I was crazy for thinking that way, but I learned at a young age that if you set a goal and you really, really want something, it’s within your power to attain it th…

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With all the beautiful rural territory in Polk County, it is no wonder that all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are popular for hunting, fishing, camping, trail riding, and other outdoor recreational fun. Farmers, ranchers, forestry workers, and emergency service personnel also use ATVs during their…

I had dinner with President Alexander Cartwright of the University of Central Florida and had the opportunity to chat about what could create “the next Silicon Valley” in Florida. What is the role of a great institution like UCF in helping to build a thriving high-wage next-generation econom…

At 16 years old, I realized the value of waiting an extra five seconds before driving forward after a stoplight turned green.

With all the beautiful rural territory in Polk County, it is no wonder that all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are popular for hunting, fishing, camping, trail riding, and other outdoor recreational fun. Farmers, ranchers, forestry workers, and emergency service personnel also use ATVs during their…

Sitting across the table from Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz, I was struck by how often he smiled. Smiled while we talked about the challenges of finding workforce housing. Smiled while we talked about transportation issues and where to find the money to fund all this growth in new Floridians. Smi…

Disney criticized Governor DeSantis and the Republican state legislature when the Republicans chose to enact the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Ron DeSantis, in retribution, had our state government take over the Disney special taxing district.

1000 Friends of Florida is sounding the alarm on very damaging legislation at risk of becoming law: SB 540/HB 359. Local Government Comprehensive Plans sponsored by Representative Wyman Duggan, a Republican and development lawyer from Jacksonville, and Senator Nick DiCeglie, a Republican and…

Did you know that the Polk County Sheriff’s Office has more than 1,800 full-time positions? This makes us one of the largest employers in Polk County. Now that doesn’t mean there are 1,800 deputies patrolling the streets and keeping our jails secured. As a matter of fact, of our 1,800 member…

In this divisive era, the American people have lost faith that our government can make meaningful change. They aren’t wrong. We’ve crammed a diverse, beautiful mosaic of national ideas and innovations into two political parties that force ideological purity and hyperpartisanship. Wedging our…

The Republicans in power in Tallahassee are voting to reduce your free speech rights. This Florida law makes it easier for the powerful to file SLAPP lawsuits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) against individuals who criticize them.

The weather is warming up, making this the perfect time to lounge by the pool, spend time boating on a lake, or your toes in the salt water at one of our beautiful Florida beaches. Unfortunately, a fun day on the water can quickly turn tragic.

It’s hard to believe, but the Polk County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting the Judd Jog 5k for a ninth year on April 29th. This should have been our eleventh year for the event, but Covid caused the Judd Jog to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021.

Summer is fast approaching, and Florida is starting to turn up the heat. And that means it’s a good time to remind parents and caregivers that children and hot vehicles can be a deadly combination.

The state legislature is set to loosen the requirements for carrying guns. The new law appears to allow any gun owner to carry a gun in public with little training and no permit required.

If you are looking for a wild ride in the legal system, Florida is the place to be. Florida has taken significant steps to mitigate the effects of the state’s tort environment, specifically as it relates to the challenging property insurance marketplace.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a big supporter of our Second Amendment right to protect ourselves with a firearm. Very often, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy—or gal—with a gun.

It is interesting how much Ron DeSantis and I agree on the problems with big media. Here’s Governor DeSantis in his own words. “Truth is on the cutting room floor. Damage and the narratives that they are supporting and furthering actually hurt people with their lies. Hold these big media com…

“David, read your column on immigration, and you showed your radical leftist nature again. We need to build a wall, shut of all these lawbreakers and drug dealers, and then have an immigration debate. Not until we stop all these criminals can we come up with a true immigration policy.” T.

“Good morning, Mr. Dunn-Rankin, you had an opinion piece titled ``Should we just say no to immigrants?`` with an immigrant giving her opinion on it. I am also an immigrant and wanted to give a differing opinion.

 America is capable of an intelligent discussion about immigration.

“Greetings David, I believe the American Dream is alive. For me, the Dream is about opportunity. The opportunity to change your own stance and posture in our economy is real and unlike most other places in the world. I see more opportunities now than ever before in my life.

Sometimes it feels like life is changing too much too fast — particularly for my Boomer Generation.

One of our readers raised an important issue in a recent email: “First, let me say that I enjoy your newspaper and your editorials. They hit the nail on the head. Now to the issue at hand.

From reader T: “I read with interest the responses about comparing living conditions past and present this past Sunday.

Reader S. writes, “Your column on Abortion - Maaaan, you will get bombarded from all sides on this issue. Abortion is nothing less than “murder.”

I’ve written over 300 columns in the past three years. Some subjects were apple pie and the American Flag. Others were more controversial.

Reader J. wanted to let me know that I owe everyone a great big apology. When I wrote my two columns about how much better life is today than it was 40 or 50 years ago and how much better life will likely be in the future, it did not sit well with J. He’s 84, lives in a trailer on Social Sec…

 In a series of columns, I’ve been trying to help readers understand America’s challenges in having a thoughtful dialogue about LGBTQ issues.

Love her long pink hair, pulled up off the shoulder. Love the multi-color top, the jeans short shorts. The mid-size black boots with large rectangle heels. The nose ring. Someone comfortable enough with their fellow employees to dress a little on the wild side at the company get-together.

My wife was on a search committee for our church. The search committee carefully and thoughtfully gathered a list of all the qualities they wished for in their new priest: A persuasive and engaging orator, a nurturing minister on the individual level, a sharp administrator, and someone who w…

“In the paper, you wrote that "at one time, the core of our American democracy was the concept of majority rule. That is factually untrue. Our government is a constitutional Republic based on the concept of representative government. While I agree with many of your statements that followed y…

A perfect democracy does not exist. A by-product of self-governance is partisanship politics. Freedom of speech allows for disagreement, and human nature opens the door to special interests—the more space for discourse, the more opportunity for what once was a manageable level of chaos. Norm…

“Polk County is having growing pains, as listed in your column. Yet, this county is set upon a swamp. This Chain of 100 Lakes is a wetland. You fail to bring this issue into your discussion. Your discussion fails to talk about stormwater issues regarding all of Polk county's roads and freewa…

Reader S politely questioned my column comparing various Florida city’s crime rates to New York City. Thanks for the great questions, S. “Not questioning your accuracy in the statistics…..but wondering. Does the population density alter any of that information? Or does it skew it to where on…

Over quite a few weeks, I have asked our readers to send an example of how their local state representative or congressman had been responsive. Not one example of public service was shared. Instead, here’s a sample of what I received.

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