Wednesday, January 30, 2008

SPCA Foster Parenting 3.0

Today I picked up two more puppies from the Lakeland SPCA. These are three weeks old and part of a litter of seven. I immediately noticed the first puppy (I've named him Moe) smelled bad- not like he'd just gotten dirty, but like old funk. The second puppy (I'm calling her Bindi) was covered- and I do mean covered- in tiny scabs. This is what they looked like seconds before what was probably their first bath:
I tried brushing both of them (it turns out both have scabs, apparently from flea infestation) and got them looking a bit more presentable. But bless their hearts (this is a southern saying, which enables a southerner to say really hateful or mean things without making people angry), these have got to be two of the ugliest little puppies I've ever seen.
I was told they are lab/retriever mix. OK? If ever there were poster-puppies for the term mutt, these two would fit the bill.
Even though they're ugly, they have very sweet personalities and they've already grown on me. They even seem cuter now that I've spent a bit of time with them.
I think I must be losing my mind to take on two such young puppies at a time when a large portion of my kitchen has been consumed by boxes of baby chicks. The two big boxes containing the chicks require liner changes twice a day. Now I have puppies to care for. And did I mention I own a business and work from home? Tonight I got a call from the executive editor of The Ledger, asking me if I was interested in writing a particular article. I rarely turn down a story. When I got off the phone, my husband asked, "How are you going to do that in addition to all your Noah's Ark duties?" I had to laugh because he has a point.
This afternoon I decided to let the youngest chicks roam the yard for a few minutes. A few minutes in the yard is a few minutes' less poop lining the bottom of the box. They seemed to enjoy it. I even let the puppies in on the fun so they could check out the chicks. Everyone got along well and no one lost any feathers.
All that fun really wore out Bindi, who fell asleep in the middle of the yard. At least she doesn't look as scabby in this photo. Don't you think she kind of looks like.....a guinea pig?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Chick Inn

We got more chicks this weekend! We bought 15. Four are barred rocks. Three are Americaunas (or Aricaunas- I've seen both), which are the yellow chicks below. They lay "easter eggs," which are naturally blueish-greenish colored. The rest are black sex links. They are sooooo cute, I had to share some pics that Darby and I took.
Black chick....
Yellow chick....
Sleepy chick....
Mellow chick! This chick has cool chipmunk stripes, so we've named her Chickmunk!
These are 4-week-old barred rocks. Bless their hearts, they're at that ugly adolescent stage.
A whole box o' chicks!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pics from Lakeland Pig Fest

We just got home from the Lakeland Pig Fest, which will continue tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 26) at Tiger Town. We highly recommend the BBQ pork sandwich from Natural Born Grillers. It was awesome. One of my favorite things about the Pig Fest (besides the BBQ) is the names of the grillers who are competing. Rather than write about each one, I'll tell you in pictures:

I also like the decorations you find at the booths. I think there must be a contest for that:
Some of the cooks are even fun to look at:

And the entertainment can't be beat. Firefall was the Friday night headliner on the main stage and there were several guitarists and bluegrass bands scattered throughout the event. But bar-none, my favorite was this cutie :

That's Robby Cox. He's from Hendry County, Kentucky. He has no specific musical heroes, but says he loves it all. He sort of sounds like it all, too. His voice sounds like Waylon Jennings at times, mixed in with a little Johnny Cash and Jim Morrison for good measure. It makes sense, since he can't choose a favorite.
"Picking an influence, picking a song or picking a genre, it's like picking your favorite child," he says.
Robby is 24 and good news, ladies. He's single! If you want to catch a glimpse of him before he leaves town, Robby says he's performing Saturday night at Louie Mack's on South Florida Avenue.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Message to Paula White

When Without Walls announced its plans to plant a church in Lakeland several years ago, I was curious. I attended the service to see what all the hype was about. I apparently filled out an information card. Now Paula White stalks me by mail and refuses to leave me alone.

Over the past several years, she has bulk mailed me numerous requests for donations. Oh sure, she tries to personalize it by addressing me by name, but I'm not fooled. For one, she still refers to me as Lorrie Delk. Apparently I failed to mail her a wedding announcement four and a half years ago.

I've never sent her organization a donation, opting instead to tithe at my church, donate regularly to a friend who is a missionary in Africa and to purchase the occasional box of Girl Scout cookies. I have nothing against Paula... I just have limited amounts of income I can donate to charity and quite frankly, I like where my money currently is going.

I've politely placed her mailings in my recycle bin through the years. Now I want them to stop. It's better for the environment if she simply quits mailing these things to me, rather than me throwing them in the recycling bin.

But Paula is persistent. I'm about to return a third letter in the postage-paid envelope included in her mailing, with my third request to be removed from her mailing list. In addition to asking for a donation, this mailing included a prayer request.

Pre-printed on the prayer request was this: "Dear Paula, please pray that God's hand will be on my life and my family in 2008! I have listed my prayer requests and goals for the coming year below. Please join me in prayer for..."

So I added this: "Paula and her staff to honor my THIRD request to be removed from her mailing list."

Paula, I'm praying to God for this to happen. I hope you'll be an obedient servant of the Lord and honor my request. It's nothing against you personally- I'm just trying to reduce some of the clutter in my life.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

FPRA Breakfast & Brainstorming: Local Image Awards Workshop

You work tirelessly to generate good publicity for your company or organization year-round. Now it's time to stand up and be recognized.

The Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association in Lakeland, Fla. has revived its Local Image Awards, and will host a workshop for interested entrants on Feb. 8.

The workshop is designed for groups seeking information on how to put an entry together and how those entries are judged?

Cindy Rodriguez, Polk County's public information director, will lead the workshop.

The Image Awards is a competition to recognize the outstanding public relations programs in Polk County and to encourage and promote the development of public relations professionalism in the community.

This event is brought to you by the new members of the DP/PC chapter: PRIME Class #4.

Here are the details:

When: Friday, February 8th at 8:30 a.m.

Where: United Way of Central Florida community room (5605 Highway 98 S, Highland City, Fl 33846)

Why: Learn how to put together your entry for the judges and share your own helpful tips.

How: Please RSVP to Katie Gernert at or 863-293-1191 ext. 3555.

To see the official entry packet for the 2008 Local Image Awards visit The deadline for entry submission is March 3, 2008.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pics on the Promenade- Hollywood Comes to Downtown Lakeland

This was sent to me today by a city of Lakeland employee:

LAKELAND, FL (January 22, 2008) -- The City of Lakeland will play host to an
exciting new outdoor movie event called Pics on the Promenade. The three-month spring
series starts on Friday, February 8, 2008 with Casablanca.

The monthly movie series takes place at the Lake Mirror Amphitheater, which is between
Hollis Garden and the Lake Mirror Center. The event is free to the public and families
are encouraged to attend.

Bring dinner and a blanket and enjoy the lake setting with movies under the stars. Snack vendors also will be on site.

All shows start at dusk: about 6:30 p.m. Be sure to come and claim your spot early.

One of the most popular romantic movies of all time. Set during World War II in the
Moroccan city of Casablanca, the film stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine and Ingrid
Bergman as Ilsa Lund. Originally released in 1942, Casablanca won three Oscars: Best
Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. The American Film Institute has
ranked Casablanca as the greatest love story of all time.

Mark your calendars for more upcoming movies:

West Side Story: Friday, March 14, 2008.

Loosely based on Romeo and Juliet, this beloved musical is about two youngsters from rival NYC gangs who fall in love. Originally released in 1961, West Side Story won 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. The American Film Institute has ranked West Side Story as the second greatest musical of all time.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Friday, April 11, 2008

With humor, action, and romance, there is something for everyone. Originally released in 1969, the film stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford and was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture.

Pics on the Promenade is sponsored by NFocus, The City of Lakeland, Lakeland
Parks & Recreation Department, Trinity Presbyterian Church, and Mid Florida Credit

Parking is available at the Lake Mirror Center's parking lot and in the Iowa Street
parking garage. No glass bottles within the park please. For more information regarding
the series, contact Justin Wilson at 863-834-6021.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekend Round-Up

Friday night the cops visited the next door neighbor. Apparently, he wasn't taking visitors, as he refused to come to the door. My husband and I went out and talked to the cops for a few minutes. The neighbor from across the street also came over for a minute. He could stay long. He had to run an errand and back his car into one of the patrol cars before he left. Busy night. I thought I would DIE laughing. Turns out the officer just got that patrol car last week. The fender bender didn't even bend anything, but before the neighbor drove off, I couldn't help but be an instigator and suggest he submit to a field sobriety test first. He didn't laugh.
Saturday meant it was time to venture down to the Lakeland Farmer's Curb Market once again. This time, it was for a couple of reasons. First, Darby and I wanted to see if our video and my article in The Ledger resulted in increased attendance. We think it did. How do we know, asks the dear reader?

Darby and I went around asking people how they heard about the market. Many said they read about it in the paper. All of the responses were good but two. These two women clearly were not from the south, as evidenced by their Yankee accents. Darby asked the question. Both women said they read it in the paper. Darby explained she was asking because her friend had written the article.

Immediately- I mean, there was NO hesitation here- both women said in very Yankee voices, "Well tell yah friend the directions wah haaaarible!"

Followed by, " Yah, we almost left."

Followed by my first thought, "I wish you woulda."

They went on for a second and finally I piped up and said, "I wrote the article. I'm 'the friend.'"

They weren't even embarrassed. Instead, they said, "Oh. Saaaaahry. But yah should put directions. We almost nevah found the place."

I attempted a little Journalism 101 lesson, but decided it was futile. Instead, I explained that I had put the address in there. In fact, this is exactly what I put in the article:

"The Farmers Curb Market is held from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturdays at 200 N. Kentucky Ave., in the plaza of the Peterson Building, across the street from the Downtown Crispers. Anyone wanting to become a vendor should call Market Manager Jim Luna at 863-688-4238 or 863-221-4633. For more information, visit the market Web site:"

So I guess the only advice I can give those two Yankee complainers is this: don't forget to pull your head out of your ass before you get behind the wheel and head to the Farmers Market. Otherwise, you might miss it.

At the market I bought fresh strawberries and kiwi, along with a bag of chocolate chip cookies for my friend Vonya's baby shower. We planned this shower two weeks before her due date, but she decided to have baby Zoe early.

No mention of a baby shower where the baby has been born would be complete without a picture, so here you go: Aren't they both beautiful? :o)
On Sunday, I spent the morning gathering up tax info from my business , as corporations must file by Jan. 31. I spent the afternoon making cards and watching football in my Miami Dolphins hoodie. I know, I know. But a true fan is a fan in good times and bad.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Idol- Night One

Overall, a great show! I won't bore anyone with a play-by-play, I'll just reveal my favorite quote of the evening, made by the girl who did the Grace Slick impression. Here's what she said (angrily) after being told she wasn't going to Hollywood:

"I'm going for actressing."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

American Idol Season 7- Feeding My Addiction

Oh. My. God. I am so flaming excited that finally....American Idol Season 7 starts tonight. For the next few months, my Tuesday and Wednesday nights will be completely consumed by this. It will become my life. It's a good thing we scheduled the next blogger meet-up on a Monday night, or else I'd have to miss it. Vonya and I will have to end our Wednesday coffee meetings at 7:45 p.m. until Idol goes to 9 p.m. on Wednesday nights.
Note to all of my friends: you remember the routine- no phone calls while Idol is on. You know I won't answer the phone. Well, maybe if there's a commercial on, but then you've got two minutes. And you better be bleeding.

Dealing with Drug Dealers in Your Neighborhood

A couple of years ago, we had a problem with the tenants of a rental house in our neighborhood. We suspected them of drug dealing. I thought it would be a good idea to share with others what to do, in the event this situation ever happens in your neighborhood. I emailed Lakeland Police Department about this today, and Officer Michael Spade (I'm not sure of his rank) emailed me this information:

Drug Activity Recognition and Reporting:

The following items are possible indicators of illegal activity, especially narcotics activity:

- Different people arriving at all hours and departing soon after.

- Brief contact between people at or outside of a location with vehicles and pedestrians.

- Litter consisting of small plastic zipper bags and/or corners of plastic baggies cut off from the bag.

- People arriving with appliances, household items, and tools, and then leaving without them.

- The stockpiling of those items at a location.

-People standing outside of a location acting as lookouts.

Recommended reporting:

If you're in Lakeland, call the LPD non-emergency number at 863-834-6966. Otherwise, call your local non-emergency police department number.

Call the Narcotics Hotline at 863-834-2549.

Try to discreetly and safely record subject descriptions, vehicle descriptions and tag numbers.
Note the times and type of activity, e.g. pedestrians coming to the door, people driving up to subjects outside, etc.

Chick-fil-A Calendars

After dropping off my two foster puppies at the Lakeland SPCA this morning, I decided to treat myself to Chick-fil-A breakfast. I stumbled across a great discovery that my fellow procrastinators might appreciate knowing about.

I had planned to buy a 2008 calendar there, because I realized it's now the middle of January and I have no calendar. These calendars are great, because they cost all of $5 and there's a coupon redeemable each month. They get their money's worth from me, because I don't redeem all the coupons. I forget about them half the time.

Anyway, I order breakfast and two calendars at the drive-thru, then see a sign that said if you purchased a $20 Chick-fil-A gift card, you got a calendar free.

I changed my order at the window and bought two $20 gift cards and got both calendars free. I may not redeem all the coupons, but I'll definitely use the gift cards.

I'm looking for couples who met at work and still are together

I'm working on an article about couples who reside or work in Lakeland (or anywhere in Polk County) and/or Plant City who fell in love at work and are still together. If you or someone you know fell in love at work, still together and willing to be interviewed for an article, please email me:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curbside Market Video

My friend Darby and I put together a video about the Lakeland Farmers Market. She did all the difficult work- I just did the speaking. This is the first time I've done this, so feedback and constructive criticism are welcome. Don't be hateful. :o)

Polk County Blogger Meet-up Feb. 4, 2008

If you write a blog, plan to write a blog or just like to read blogs, make plans now to attend the next meeting of Polk County area bloggers. Don't worry if your site is a diary, journal, PR blog or media blog...everyone is welcome.

We're meeting Monday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Black and Brew in Lakeland (205 East Main Street).

If you have questions, post them as a comment and I'll respond.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bike-Thru Banking at Mid-Florida FCU

I stumbled upon some interesting information today. Mid-Florida Federal Credit Union now offers "Bike-Thru Banking."

In a nutshell, you can ride your bike through the drive-thru now, instead of parking and walking inside.

This is an amazing victory for me, even though I doubt that I had anything to do with the addition of this new service. However, I did attempt to ride my bike through the Gary Road Mid-Florida drive-thru in 2007 and was refused service. The teller told me it was "a security issue" and I could only use the drive-thru while on my bike if the lobby wasn't open. Apparently, riding a bike through a bank drive-thru was not a security issue between the hours of 7 and 9 a.m. back then. I used the drive-thru later when the lobby wasn't open and was not refused service.

Oh, how I'd love to believe that the influence of my blog is so great that when I wrote about being refused service, my legions of readers (thanks, Mom, Chuck, Vonya) wrote letters of protest and the powers-that-be at Mid-Florida called a special meeting and created this Bike-thru policy in my honor. But alas, something tells me that wasn't the case. Regardless, I'm happy I can take part in bike-thru banking now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Talking to Strangers

Ginger came over yesterday to see the two puppies I'm fostering and- after a great deal of ridicule and calling her a pansy- to go for a bike ride. I don't know why she puts up a fuss. She's in much better shape and I am.

We headed to downtown Lakeland for our first stop- The Ledger. I needed a copy of the Polk County Business Journal. As we rode down Rose Street and under the Bartow Road overpass, we saw a man with a bicycle sitting on one of the benches. This may come as a shocker to some, but I'm actually a friendly sort. I say hello to people. Even to the homeless people, when I know they will use it as an opportunity to ask me for money. Too bad they don't have Internet access; they'd know how much spare change means to me.

Anyway, as we passed this man, a youngish man who didn't look homeless, I said hello and he said hello back. We continued our ride and finally wound up at McDonald's, where Ginger got her daily fix- two orders of cinnamon melts to go.

We parted ways on Edgewood Avenue and I headed home. As I approached the corner at the end of my street, who do I see standing in a neighbor's yard, but the youngish guy from under the overpass. Again, this may come as another shocker, but sometimes my friendliness acts on itself before good sense kicks in.

I throw my arm up in the air and wave wildly, smiling largely and yelling, "Hey, didn't I just see you downtown?" He didn't hear me, so I had to slow my bike a little bit and repeat myself.

He said, "Yeah, probably. I had to go to stewpid probation."

(Red alert! Red alert! Just ride away, Lorrie!)

I said, "Oh, well I thought I recognized you, so I was just saying 'hi' again!"

I started to ride off, and he said, "Well hold on a minute...what's your name?"

I started to freak out inside. Flashes of too many Lifetime movies raced through my head.

"No, no... I was just saying hello. Have a good day!" I said. But really I was saying that to the pavement in front of me, because all that guy saw was the back of me as I raced from the scene- and straight to a neighbor's house.

I knew Cheryl might be home, and I had to ask her a Stampin' Up question (she sells it). I figured now was as good a time as any.

While we were visiting, I shared my biking story with her, and she said, "Oh no, now he knows where you live!"

I said, "No he doesn't. I came straight to your house!"

Monday, January 7, 2008

Do you know this idiot?

I was reading Chuck's blog, Lakeland Local, this morning and saw a link to Alan Snel's blog, where he recently wrote about being harrassed by a Polk County driver while riding his bike in Tampa. And no, my headline is not referring to either of these two guys. Read on.

I'm also linking to Alan's blog post because I want to spread the word. Please take a moment to click on this link and if you know the idiot driver of the vehicle being described, I hope you will tell him/her to be more careful and considerate around cyclists. Bicycles have as much right to be on the roadways as motorized vehicles. Then, if you're really up to the task, smack them in the head for me.

In no way do I consider myself a "cyclist." But as someone who owns and rides a bike and enjoys riding it along Lakeland's city streets, I have a deep appreciation for others who take their biking more seriously. I have a deeper appreciation for the need to educate drivers on the importance of watching out for cyclists.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Farmer's Market and General Store Ramblings

My husband Mike and I ventured downtown again on Saturday, fulfilling what seems to have become a weekly duty. It was a bit chilly- well, chilly by Florida standards- but we still rode our bikes.

We went to The General Store on Kentucky Avenue, “Downtown’s newest old store” that “has everything from Band-Aids to Fix-A-Flat to Marlboros …to ice cold Grape Crush…” and so the promotion goes. We were there to get the reproduction bottles of Coke that came out for the holiday season.

Anyway, I digress. We wandered down to the weekly Farmer’s Curbside Market and finally- praise God- someone had Collard greens. Mike Morgan from Ruskin, a farmer who might be known for his beautiful, blood-red strawberries, called Morganberries, had the leafy green southern delights. They weren’t organic, but they were too beautiful for me to care.

I wanted the strawberries too, but I don’t have time to do anything with them right now, so I’m saving them for another weekend.

Then we headed around the corner to Jim The Breadman, who’s there faithfully every Saturday with breads and rolls. I picked out the big bag of cheese rolls- 10 for $1.50- and suddenly knew what I was making for supper. BBQ pork sandwiches on those soft, fresh rolls. Collard greens on the side. If there was any doubt that I’m southern…
Mike also picked up a HUGE bag of pecan sandies $3.50. We'll have to freeze half of them.

There was a new vendor there on this day, a lady who made cool leather stuff- hair ties, bracelets, purses, belts. Chelsea Geiger was there with her homemade candles and soaps. I bought a tiny simmer pot and a baggie of McIntosh and Granny Smith apple-scented wax buttons for $8.50.

Richard Bond was there with his canvas work. He wasn’t chiseling on a sculpture today. Bummer.
The Barefoot Gardeners, a group of earthy native plant lovers, was there.

The Plumlees, who grow hydroponic lettuces and sell lemon-infused and other olive oils were there.

Lakeland Plant Works, a faithful vendor since the Curbside market began three years ago, was there with his beautiful plants, many of which are Florida natives.

I found myself looking around and for the first time, really taking in this event. It happens every Saturday, and I hate how many people never take advantage of it. We spent less than $20 on Saturday. You can’t beat that!

The whole morning outing made me sappily nostalgic. I am willing that General Store to be successful, but I know in my heart it will take much more than that. People will have to get out of the Wal-Mart mentality and pay the extra 70 cents for the cough drops at The General Store than they would elsewhere.

My whole argument reminds me of the Jimmy Buffet song, “Fruitcakes,” where he screams about not wanting a 12-pound Nestle Crunch for $25 at the movie theater.

Sometimes it’s not about price. It’s not about getting the large economy size because it’s the best value. Sometimes it ought to be about patronizing a locally-owned business just because you want it to succeed. And today I learned that you don't always have to pay more to patronize local businesses. I got great deals today.
I feel like if those small businesses are successful, those of us who shop there can take pride in having helped make that happen.

The same goes for the Farmer’s Market. Now how Mike Morgan can drive over from Ruskin on a Saturday, sell beautiful Collard greens for $3 a bunch and have it be worth his while is beyond me, but it must be working for him. It’s not for us to question, it should be for us to support him.
It just makes me feel better, knowing I’ve purchased my Collard greens from a guy who cut them the day before; not from a store that had them shipped from California or Ecuador or wherever the hell they get super-cheap produce from this week.

We live in Polk County, people. We’re still rural. We are the heart of citrus; we live next door to the strawberry capital of the world; down the road from the Zellwood corn mecca; a short drive from the tomato capital; a hop, skip and a jump from the land of peanuts. We have ample opportunities to buy our produce locally.

I hope you all will make an effort to do that. Let’s keep these quaint little events like the weekly Farmer’s Curbside Market, The General Store and all the locally owned downtown shops in business by supporting them.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Sometimes it Takes a Stranglehold to Make You Feel Like We do

I was headed to Ocala to visit my cousin and some high school friends last weekend when I passed this driver in North Lakeland:

I hope this lady never rear-ends someone because she's not going to have to worry about what damage the airbag will do to her face. She'll have to worry about the aftermath of having your head bounced in bumpers-in-a-pinball-machine fashion between your too-tall headrest and the top of the windshield. And forgive me for being insensitive, but if you have to sit that high and that close to the steering wheel, you shouldn't be driving a Mustang GT convertible.

So after I got over this site, I popped in Frampton Comes Alive because nothing gets you through this... 14 minutes and 15 seconds of Do You Feel Like We Do. Unless it's Nugent's Stranglehold.

Lakeland Florida PR/Journalism Internships

Over the next several days, I hope to post information on a variety of Polk County and Tampa Bay area internship opportunities for college journalism and public relations students. Please check back frequently, but here are the first few:

State Farm Insurance

Internships are available at agency field offices and Claims and Marketing departments in Winter Haven, Lakeland, Orlando and Tampa. All majors are accepted, but preferred majors include Business, Communications, IT and Criminology.

Length of Internship:
May 19th, 2008 – August 1, 2008

$15.00 per hour

3.2 GPA or above
extracurricular involvement

Please fax resumes to (863) 318-3131 or email

*Successful interns will receive an offer for full-time employment upon graduation.

Cypress Gardens Adventure Park

Opportunity to gain Public Relations experience in the high energy tourism and theme park industry. Activities to include various media relations, community relations and special event and concert promotion.

Basic computer skills are required. A personal laptop is a plus, but is not necessary. The internship is paid and is available for the summer and fall of 2008.

Alyson Gernert, Public Relations Director
863-324-2111 ext. 1101
863-595-2315 Fax
6000 Cypress Gardens Blvd.
Winter Haven, FL 33884
Lakeland Magazine (A product of The Ledger)

We are seeking a junior or senior magazine journalism student for a 10- to 12-week summer internship. The successful candidate should have completed related coursework and have magazine clips.

The intern primarily would be reporting and writing stories for Lakeland Magazine and East Polk Lifestyles, quarterly magazines published by The Ledger newspaper in Lakeland. He/she also would take part in brainstorming sessions, set up photos and assist with photo shoots, as well as help with proofreading and caption- and headline-writing.

A stipend is available to help offset living expenses.

Please send a resume, cover letter and relevant clips to Sandra Dimsdale, magazine editor, P.O. Box 408, Lakeland, FL 33802.

Paradise Advertising and Marketing, Inc.

Located in downtown St. Petersburg, Paradise Advertising & Marketing is seeking enthusiastic, self-motivated and detail-oriented interns to assist the fast-paced public relations department with internal and client activities. The interns would gain real-world experience by assisting the PR department, along with various assignments from the other departments (creative, account service, traffic & media). The position is both administrative and hands-on with national and local accounts.

Requirements:Must be an upper-level undergraduate or graduate student working toward a degree in mass communications, public relations, journalism or related field. Candidates must have excellent writing, speaking and organizational skills. Must be proficient in MS Office applications including Excel, PowerPoint and Word, and should be able to demonstrate working knowledge of AP style.

Responsibilities:-Research-Creating and maintaining media databases-Monitoring media coverage and compiling reports-Administrative duties-Preparing, editing and distributing press releases-Assisting with the coordination of media and promotional events.

This is an unpaid internship position requiring approximately 15 hours per week. While interns are not financially compensated, we make every effort to ensure your experiences at Paradise will equip you with the tools and skills necessary to succeed in a full-time PR position.

To Apply:
Please send your cover letter and resume to Missy Hurley,

Quest Corporation of America- Click on Careers. This public relations company offers internships in public information, video production and graphic arts.

Polk County Board of County Commissioners- Communications Division

Student internships are available in the Communications Office. The position will have a variety of duties and responsibilities, including the following: special projects involving working with the media, writing press releases, preparing presentations, contributing articles for the internal newsletter, copy editing, creating/updating databases, preparing for seminars, trades shows, speeches, award entries and special events. The ideal candidate will have the physical, developmental, and mental ability to perform assigned job tasks; a knowledge of AP News Style writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling and basic mathematics; excellent oral and written communication skills; ability to receive and understand directions and work independently with minimal supervision; computer knowledge in word processing, graphic design and presentation software.

The Communications Division prefers a student majoring in Public Relations, Journalism, Communications or Marketing.

The position is full or part-time, Monday-Friday**, at the Neil Combee Administration Building, located in Bartow, Florida. Most often this internship is unpaid, but depending on vacancies, it may be paid as well.

** Occasional (and optional) weekend work may rarely be requested to help cover special events

Interested students may apply by completing an application on the Polk County BoCC website

Students also may call Cindy Rodriguez @ (863) 534-6090 with questions relating to the internship.


Polk County Supervisor of Elections

Description of internship: Public relations, community relations, marketing and political science combination. This position is a customer service opportunity for a person who would like to learn more about promoting a positive image of the electoral process in the community. The individual should like going out in the community and interacting with the public in teaching them about voting, election laws and election procedures. We register voters, demonstrate voting equipment, instruct voters about the importance of voting, encourage people to become involved in having a say in government and promote goodwill between the Elections Office and the public. We serve citizens of all ages, from 5 years of age to senior citizens. We participate in school programs, summer recreation programs, make speeches at civic organizations, march in parades and register voters at local businesses.

Required Skills: strong people skills, must enjoy working with the public, strong customer service background. All supplies and equipment are provided; however person should be able to type, answer telephone and schedule events.

This position could be a paid position for the right candidate.

This is an ongoing internship.

For more information, contact:

Judy M. Walker
Outreach Services Coordinator
Polk County Elections Office


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Web Design, Public Relations and Building a Brand

Since I started Lorrie Walker Communications, Inc. last year, I have been incredibly flattered by the hundreds of compliments on my Web site and business card design. Receiving all those compliments made me realize that obviously there are a lot of boring business cards and Web sites out there that aren't living up to their potential. I thought I'd share my experiences in creating my brand, as well as my thoughts on branding in general, in hope that it will help other public relations professionals and those starting their own businesses.

I knew going into this business that the first two things I needed were business cards and a Web site. No matter how mighty the Internet becomes, I think business people always will need business cards for those face-to-face opportunities. And these days if you don't have a Web site, people just don't take you seriously. And I'm not sure they should.

I was blessed in knowing where to go for assistance in developing my brand: Barrett Creative in Lakeland, Fla. Michael Barrett gave me some great advice that I think anyone who works in public relations ought to practice and recommend to their clients. He said branding is everything. When someone looks at your business card, your Web site, your letterhead and your promotional brochures, it ought to look like everything was created by the same person. There ought to be continuity in the design, color scheme, look and feel. That's how you create your brand. If a business does this, Barrett is convinced- and I agree- that people will come to know and recognize your brand. And that, my friends, is good for business.

I think Barrett Creative has effectively demonstrated this formula with one Lakeland-based client in particular- Gate Arty, a Lakeland Realtor. The first thing most people will notice about Gate's promotional materials is the creative little "g" on everything. I notice it every time I visit his Web site or see his ad on a for sale sign or a bus bench. He's building his brand.

When I met with Barrett to discuss my branding needs, I had an idea in mind. I wanted a retro look, and I wanted a design that would stand out from the rest and over time, be recognizable as belonging to me. I thinks its a good idea to have some idea of what you want. I had some specific requests when it came to the font used in my name, as well as the color scheme. I don't know if this helped Barrett or if I became a colossal pain in the butt during the design process. If I'm thinking like a true customer, I don't care whether it was helpful or not. What I did care about was the finished product, and whether it met my expectations.

In the end, Barrett's design exceeded my expectations. Who could ask for more?

When it came to creating my Web site, Barrett's job was easy. He designed a Web site that mirrored the design of my business card. I wanted the Web site to look professional and I wanted it to project me and my business as entities to be taken seriously. Basically, all I needed was an online brochure at this point. I needed people to be able to find me on the Internet and call or email me if they had questions or wanted additional information.

Barrett, in partnership with Jim Mosier and Lakeland, Fla.-based Mosier Information Services, Inc. recently created Donkasites, a company that designs Web sites to help businesses establish an Internet presence. That's exactly what I needed, and it's exactly what Donkasites has done for me.

A big misconception is that building Web sites is expensive, and doing little things that lend a more professional appearance are out of reach for small businesses. That simply is untrue. For example, a lot of people seem to think it's too expensive to have this as your email: IT'S NOT. Read this again. IT'S NOT. You owe it to youself to get with a Web designer and secure a domain name that accurately reflects your business. And there is no reason that if your business name is Lorrie Walker Communications, Inc., that your email address can't be

If your business card shows an email address that ends in "" or "" or "," you don't appear to be invested for the long haul. You don't appear professional from a business or public relations standpoint.

My advice to public relations professionals and those who are starting small businesses is to do some research and find those companies such as Barrett Creative and Donkasites to help you create an Internet presence. They have made a huge difference for me. They have leveled the playing field and enabled me to compete on the Internet with public relations/professional writing firms that are much larger and more established than I am.

Lakeland Electric's Power Outages During the 1/2/08 Cold Snap

If you live near Interlachen Park and you lost power between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. last night, don't get your panties in a wad, thinking that you were the victim of a rolling brown out. Some yahoo hit a power pole in the area and knocked out the power.

I spoke to Richard Gilbert, Lakeland Electric's production manager, this morning and he said there were about 14 locations that lost power last night due to the cold weather and overloaded transformers. In all, fewer than 500 customers were effected.

When asked how the electric company performed during the cold weather, Gilbert had this to say: "I think we did very well. We could have had a large number of outages with this wind and weather. We didn’t have that. We've been maintaining the system for the last few years and it shows that it’s in good shape."

SPCA Foster Parenting 2.0

The Lakeland SPCA called me yesterday to see if I could foster two more puppies. They got in a litter of 12 puppies yesterday- yep, that's 12 puppies in one litter- and another foster family brought back two puppies because caring for six puppies was too much to handle. So I agreed to take the two returned puppies. Candy is in the first picture, and Cassie is in the second.

I didn't name them. If I had, I would've given them much cooler names. But anyhow, aren't they the cutest?! They are lab mix, and they both are mostly black with a bit of chocolate coloring mixed in. Cassie really looks the part of a sweet, blockheaded lab, with her wrinkly face and cute expressions.
They are high-energy, and in one day have managed to give my dogs Lucy and Callaghan quite a workout. They also have quickly proven to be masters at trying to escape from their kennel when I open the door to fill up their water bowl. Trying to keep those two inside the kennel is like trying to shove toothpaste back in its tube.
I get to keep them for two weeks, and then they go back to the SPCA, where I'm sure they will be adopted in no time.