October 2008 Archives

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Help Downtown Lakeland Honor Our Service Men & Women - October 31, 2008

South Kentucky Avenue the HQ for Giving Back to Our Troops

Where: Downtown Lakeland, South Kentucky Avenue; The General Store, J. Rowan Galleries, FastFrame
When: Friday 6 - 9 pm and Saturday 10 am - 4 pm
What: Support our Troops!

This First Friday, as part of Downtown's "Honoring Service" celebration, The General Store, J. Rowan Galleries and FastFrame will begin collecting items for "care packages" for our troops overseas. The holidays are quickly approaching and we need to make sure that our troops get a little touch of "home" for the holidays.

There will also be letter writing stations so we can send messages of support to the troops. This is a great activity for families!

Items to be sent to the troops include:
Snacks - individually wrapped and non-refrigerated; Drink MIxes - Country Time Lemonade is a particluar favorite; Personal care items; Books, magazines, games and other entertainment items; AT&T International Phone Cards; Batteries, duct tape, bungee cords, and mini-mag lites.

For a full list, please see our website at www.DowntownLakelandFL.com

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

2008 State Ballot Initiatives - October 29, 2008

Reference: Article I, Section 2
Summary: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to delete provisions authorizing the Legislature to regulate or prohibit the ownership, inheritance, disposition, and possession of real property by aliens ineligible for citizenship.
Sponsor: The Florida Legislature
Background: Article I, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution provides that equal rights are for all in Florida, but creates a glaring exception for "aliens ineligible for citizenship," who can be stripped of the right to own property by the Legislature. The exception dates to the early 1900's and is common to many states' law, and was directed at Asian-American immigrants (the "Yellow Peril.") Senate Joint Resolution 166, filed in 2007, proposed this amendment. Only New Mexico and Florida still have these provisions in their constitutions, and both states' leaders are asking voters to remove the language this year.
• The amendment would remove an outdated and discriminatory passage from our Declaration of Rights.
• Constitutional action is not necessary at this time because there is no present Florida statute prohibiting ownership of property by aliens ineligible for citizenship.

Reference: Article I, newly proposed section
Summary: This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.
Sponsor: Florida4Marriage.org
Background: A Florida statute already provides that marriage is only recognized between a man and a woman. An Orlando activist, John Stemberger, organized this ballot initiative, which is the only citizens' initiative on the ballot.
• Supporters say the amendment would protect children by ensuring that only one form of marriage, between a man and a woman, would ever be celebrated in Florida.
• The Florida statute that already provides for a single form of marriage could be overturned by a court on constitutional grounds.
• A statute already provides for a single form of marriage in Florida.
• Health care and pension benefit plans which cover unmarried couples living together and which are now legally valid may be adversely affected.
• Article I of the Florida Constitution, known as the Declaration of Rights, establishes rights, but this amendment would instead limit the right to marry.

Reference: Article VII, sections 3, 4, and a new section
Summary: Authorizes the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit consideration of changes or improvements to residential real property which increase resistance to wind damage and installation of renewable energy source devices as factors in assessing the property's value for ad valorem taxation purposes. Effective upon adoption, repeals the existing renewable energy source device exemption no longer in effect.
Sponsor: Florida Budget and Taxation Reform Commission
Background: Increased value of residential property based on improvements designed to improve hurricane safety could not be assessed as taxable increased value.
• Hurricane safety may be improved in residential property.
• Residential property values may be increased.
• The amendment may relieve the burden on non-renewable energy sources.
• Local revenues could suffer.
• Individuals' savings may be minimal.
• The amendment does not apply to new construction.

Reference: Article VII, sections 3, 4, and Article XII, a new section
Summary: Requires Legislature to provide a property tax exemption for real property encumbered by perpetual conservation easements or other perpetual conservation protections, defined by general law. Requires Legislature to provide for classification and assessment of land used for conservation purposes, and not perpetually encumbered, solely on the basis of character or use. Subjects assessment benefit to conditions, limitations, and reasonable definitions established by general law. Applies to property taxes beginning in 2010.
Sponsor: Florida Budget and Taxation Reform Commission
Background: Numerous provisions of federal estate and tax law favor landowners who preserve their property in its natural state. This provision would provide further tax benefits to those landowners.
• The amendment may encourage further conservation of land in its natural state.
• Local revenue will be decreased.
• Existing policies already favor those who preserve their land.
• The amendment would not require public access to the lands to which it applies.

Reference: Article VII, Section 4, and Article XII, new section
Summary: Provides for assessment based upon use of land used predominantly for commercial fishing purposes; land used for vessel launches into waters that are navigable and accessible to the public; marinas and drystacks that are open to the public; and water-dependent marine manufacturing facilities, commercial fishing facilities, and marine vessel construction and repair facilities and their support activities, subject to conditions, limitations, and reasonable definitions specified by general law.
Sponsor: Florida Budget and Taxation Reform Commission
Background: Access to public waterfront has been reduced as marinas and the like cannot afford to resist developers' offers to convert the land into condominium towers or other private buildings. The amendment would require those properties to be taxed based on their current use rather than on their "highest and best" use.
• Access to public waterfront areas would more likely remain at current levels rather than continuing to diminish.
• This measure may reduce property taxes on working waterfront properties and thereby reduce pressure to sell those properties to developers.
• Local revenues would suffer.
• The measure allows the Legislature to define terms and impose conditions and limitations on any tax break working waterfront owners receive.

Reference: Article VII, section 9
Summary: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to require that the Legislature authorize counties to levy a local option sales tax to supplement community college funding; requiring voter approval to levy the tax; providing that approved taxes will sunset after 5 years and may be reauthorized by the voters.
Sponsor: Florida Budget and Taxation Reform Commission
Background: The Legislature has allowed Miami-Dade County to levy a local-option sales tax to assist that area's community college.
• Community colleges serve as a gateway to the university system and to greater employment opportunities; this amendment could increase their funding.
• Voters would have the option of denying any proposed local-option sales tax increase under the proposal.
• Sales taxes impose a greater burden on lower-income families.
• The measure shifts the burden of funding community colleges from state to local authorities.
• The amendment could create unequal opportunities for Florida residents based on the economy in their county of residence

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

EMERGE Lakeland Newsletter - October 29, 2008

Check out our most recent newsletter! Click here.

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Parker Street Ministries - October 21, 2008

Parker Street Ministries is a faith-based, nonprofit [501(c)(3)] organization based in the Parker Street neighborhood of Lakeland, Florida. This area is located just north of downtown Lakeland and is a very broken, marginalized and forgotten part of town. Parker Street Ministries works to reconcile and revitalize this part of town through various programs, such as the Academic Enrichment Program, Summer Camp, community dinners, the Christmas Store, holiday dinner delivery, a home-ownership initiative and more. If you would like to volunteer with Parker Street Ministries or receive more information, you may contact our office at (863) 682-4544, or e-mail Francine Previte at francine@parkerstreetministries.org Volunteers, in-kind donations and financial support are always needed!

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Lakeland Vision - "Make Your Mark" - October 21, 2008

Lakeland Vision is preparing for the next step in the "Make Your Mark" program -- the Goal Writing workshops on Oct. 27th & 28th from 6-8pm both nights at Lakeland High School. Help us use the ideas we collected in September to create goals and strategies that will guide the Lakeland community into becoming the community it wants to be. The ideas have been categorized into ten topics. Go to: http://www.lakelandvision.org/Make-Your-Mark/Goal-Writing-Workshops.aspx to review all of the ideas and the topics.

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Posted by Emerge Lakeland

Campfire's Spirits and Screams Adult Halloween Party - October 14, 2008

Join us for a frightfully good time at Camp Fire USA's Halloween party designed especially for ghosts and goblins over the age of 21. Live music, food, drinks, and a terrifying trip through Camp Fire's annual Haunted House will make an evening you won't soon forget. Additional ghoulish activities include a visit with a fortune teller and a costume contest with a cash prize.

Saturday, October 25 from 8:00 p.m. - 12:30 a.m.

Camp Fire Center
2600 Buckingham Avenue
Lakeland FL 33803

Tickets available online or at Camp Fire
$40 in advance
$50 at the door
Early Ghouls Savings - $60 a couple before October 22

online at: www.campfireusa-sunshine.org
email to: hollyl@campfireusa-sunshine.org
Phone: 863-688-5491

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Posted by Michael Wiener

*All blog posts and comments are the opinions of the blog author or comment poster and do not necessarily represent the views of EMERGE Lakeland.

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