November 20, 2015
In This Issue
Parks & Recreation Director Auburn Taylor

Glitter, Glisten and Snow
Glitter, Glisten and Snow is Saturday, December 5th from 6 PM - 10 PM at Lake Eva Park and will kick off the events of our Holiday Season. During the event, we will light up approximately 800,000 lights which will be displayed throughout the entire month of December. The event will also kick off with entertainment from our local youth, followed by headline entertainer Sisaundra Lewis from Season Six of the NBC's The Voice. From a live nativity scene to carolers, angels, snow slides, and more, Lake Eva promises to have something for everyone.

Breakfast with Santa
Haines City, in partnership with Egg City, is offering Breakfast with Santa on December 12, 2015.  Join Santa and Mrs. Claus for breakfast on Saturday morning from 9 AM - 12 PM.

Seasons Screenings
Bring your family on select nights during the month of December for Haines City's "Seasons Screenings." The City will offer three (3) Christmas movies during this Holiday Season.  Movies are being shown on December 12th, 19th and 22nd at 6:30 PM at Lake Eva Park. Check out the flyer below for more information

Light up the Park
Haines City truly values its citizens and hopes to give the community a remarkable event this year. The goal for this year is to have a Christmas Spectacular like none other. Haines City invites and encourages everyone to enjoy the many festivities taking place throughout the City during the month of December. This month is a time to give back and enjoy your neighbors, friends and family. 

Haines City Community Theater
The Haines City Community Theater presents Tea at 5 by Matthew Lombardo, a one women show about the life of Katharine Hepburn. For more information please call (863) 421-1893 or visit

Saturday, November 21st - show starting at 7:30 PM.
Sunday, November 22nd - show starting at 2:30 PM.


City Manager Jonathan E. Evans, MPA, MBA, ICMA-CM

Happy Holidays and Season's Greetings to All: 

As the City begins to prepare for this holiday season, I want to take this moment to offer our thoughts, prayers and well wishes for all those impacted by the tragedies that occurred in Paris, France. We as a nation and, more specifically a community, are sympathetic and empathetic to those who lost their loved ones on the eve of this holiday season. This time of the year marks a very special time for us all to share special and precious moments with our loved ones and realize the true meaning of the holidays. I would be remiss if I did not say thank you to all our marvelous men and women serving our nation both on foreign soils and here domestically. We are truly grateful for your sacrifices and understand that we are able to live free because you have given so much. The same thoughts and emotions go out to those who have served this great nation and have missed birthdays, holidays and anniversaries to protect our way of life.

As you are all aware, at this time Haines City is not hosting a Christmas parade, but we will do something remarkable that has never been done before. I encourage you to join us at Lake Eva Park on December 5th starting at 6 PM for Glitter, Glisten and Snow! This event will have over 800,000 lights, a 31-foot Christmas tree, and live reindeer, not to mention all the glorious angels that are on display along Highway 17/92 as you enter our great City. We have local groups performing on the 5th and movies in the park during the month of December. Headlining our Glitter, Glisten and Snow event is Polk County native and recording star from Season Six of NBC's The Voice, Ms. Sisaundra Lewis, who will be singing some of our favorite Christmas classics. 

The great part about this event is that Glitter, Glisten and Snow merely kicks off the month-long celebration of the holidays. Throughout the month of December, you will be able to walk through Lake Eva Park and see all the beautiful lights illuminating the area. Park hours will be extended to 10 PM in order to allow families from all over the region to share in the holiday festivities. In addition, local religious institutions and community partners will be caroling in the park during the weekends. Some of your favorite Christmas classics will be shown on the City's inflatable movie screen. Even though we are just lighting up the park, I can assure you that this event will bring smiles and joy to many people's hearts during this holiday season and not just for a 2 to 3 hour period on one day. We will celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and give thanks for all that we are grateful for during the holiday season. 

In closing, I encourage you to come out and support your community. We understand that the parade was built on tradition, but this new Christmas tradition will be like no other festivities in the region and, with your support and commitment, we can build a holiday tradition that celebrates the true meaning of Christmas for a month plus. Thank you again for your understanding and patience as we attempt to make history as we did once before by creating an event that leaves you amazed and touched by our reflection and interpretation of how important this season is, not just to our community but to our nation and our way of life. No matter the obstacles our world faces, we as a nation will always persevere and overcome because of our unwavering commitment to family, faith, and one another. Happy holiday season, and we will see you on December 5th.

The French Flag was  Flown in Haines City as a Sign of Solidarity
Flags at Lake Eva Park
Flags at Lake Eva Park
Flags at the Police Department
Flags at the Police Department

Staff at Military Court of Honor_ Railroad Park
Staff at Military Court of Honor
Railroad Park

City Manager Jonathan E. Evans, MPA, MBA, ICMA-CM

U.S. General Speaks to Haines City about Disaster Response 
Lt. General Russel L. Honor_
Lt. General Russel L. Honoré
United States Lt. General Russel Honoré (Ret.), spoke to first responders from Haines City and neighboring municipalities in Polk County last Friday about creating a culture of preparedness. General Honoré is best known for taking swift charge of military relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina and his no nonsense approach that made national headlines when he told reporters, "Don't get stuck on stupid," in an effort to keep their focus on communicating essential information to the public regarding an evacuation plan.
Entrance fee for the event included toiletry items and non-perishable foods to support a local Haines City unit currently on tour, Foxtrot Company 53rd Brigade Support Battalion.
During the event, General Honoré spoke about three points of leadership learned from the great General George Washington: 1. Do the routine things well. 2. Don't be afraid to take on the impossible. 3. Don't be afraid to act even if you're being criticized.
His explanation about knowing whether or not you live in a flood zone was simple and to the point, "If you can see water from your house, you're in a damn flood zone," he said. "Anything built by man can be destroyed by Mother Nature." General Honoré greatly emphasized the importance of everyone having at least three to five days worth of food and water, adding that the most vulnerable populations include the elderly, disabled and impoverished.
General Honoré's advice to the first responders was also to the point, "See first. Understand First. Act first." He said that it is more important to help those in need during times of disaster than to worry about people looting businesses. With regard to a civilian seen carrying a TV out of a store, he said "He ain't right, but you don't have a reason to shoot him," and further explained that some people may be looting simply because they need diapers for their child.
General Honoré also emphasized that municipalities cannot address disasters alone and must proactively coordinate efforts with surrounding government and businesses in their disaster plans. "In a real disaster, you'll need more than your internal assets - you'll need help." He further added that during a time of disaster we must learn to "adapt and overcome."

Director Auburn Taylor   

Leisure Services Department Name Change
Effective Thursday, October 1, 2015, the Leisure Services Department has changed its name to the Parks and Recreation Department. The reason for undergoing the name change was a result of a lack of understanding of what actually occurs within the Leisure Services Department. The department looked at organizations who have the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) Certification (which is a certification the department wishes to achieve in the next three years) and found out that 80% of the organizations are called Parks and Recreation while another 18% have some variation of parks or recreation in their department's name.

The Parks and Recreation Department is extremely valuable to our community, and is committed to creating an environment of healthy lifestyles and activities for our citizens. It is the heart and soul of our community benefiting our citizens young and old. This department is key in connecting its citizens with the environment, history of the City and other cultures as well. The Parks and Recreation Department is a vital factor to economic expansion as well as an investment in the arts and cultural growth within our community. This department hosts social events large and small where people can connect with each other and participate in classes and group activities for personal enrichment. 

Star Wars Reads Day at the Library 
We had a wonderful time at our first Star Wars Reads Day with a great turn out of over 200 participants! There were plenty of characters wandering the library and sharing in all of the games, crafts, contests and snacks. We appreciate all of those who came to celebrate Star Wars Reads Day with us and would like to extend a special thank you to our new friends from the 501st Legion Tampa Bay Squad!


Loughman Oaks Elementary First Grade Field Trip to the Library
Over 140 first graders from Loughman Oaks Elementary visited the Haines City Public Library this week. Library Staff had a great time with students sharing story-time, doing crafts, giving tours of the children's room & building Legos. The Parks and Recreation Department encourages and invites all students to visit the Library and ask about all of the new programs that are being offered.

Upcoming November & December Events at the Library
  • The Poinciana Medical Center Physician Lecture Series will be teaching on several different health topics on December 7th & 14th (topics to be announced).
  • Our Teen Pinterest Tuesdays will be themed for Christmas through December 15th - come make an ornament for our tree & take one home for you too! On November 17th & December 10th we will also have game night included. Every other Tuesday in the Young Adult Room from 4 PM - 5:45 PM.
  • Lego Club will be on Thursdays, December 3rd, 17th, & 31st 4 PM - 5:30 PM. Please join us in the Community Room to bring your creation to life. We will display them until the next Lego Club.
  • Kids are invited to stop by the Children's Room on Tuesday, December 22nd from 4 PM - 5:30 PM to our Make & Take Christmas Craft event. All supplies will be provided!
Mark your Calendars   
Shown in the Library Community Room off the Lobby
  • November 21st  at 11:15 AM - Family Movie Day: Inside Out
  • December 5th  at 11:30 AM - Pelicula en Español - Huevos: Little Rooster's Egg-cellent Adventure
  • December 12th  at 10:30 AM - Family Christmas Movie Event: The Polar Express
The Polar Express is a Christmas Family Classic Book and the movie has become a beautiful addition to this traditional holiday classic. The Haines City Library will show the movie in the Library Community Room located off the lobby of the Library.   All are invited to wear your favorite pajamas & bring your blankets to enjoy the movie family style.
The Haines City Public Library will be closed on the following dates:
  • Thursday, November 26th - Sunday, November 29th , 2015 for Thanksgiving
  • Thursday, December 24th - Sunday, December 27th for Christmas
  • Friday, January 1st for New Year's Day

Police Department
Director Rick Sloan, MSCJ, CPM, FBINAA

Swearing-in of New Police Officer
Public Safety Director Rick Sloan is pleased to report that on Thursday, November 12, 2015, he swore in new Police Officer Lu'Nesha Witherspoon before friends, family and fellow co-workers. Officer Witherspoon is a recent graduate from the Kenneth Institute of Public Safety at Polk State College, and has also received her Bachelors Degree from St. Leo University. Join us in welcoming Officer Witherspoon to our Haines City family!

Medication Take-back Program
Assistant Chief of Police, Brian McNulty, reports that on Saturday, September 26, 2015, members of the Haines City Police Department participated in the county-wide medication take back program. During this day, the Haines City Police Department collected 561.8 pounds of medicine. Additional cities who participated are listed below. 

Results from Medication Take Back on September 26, 2015:  

Lakeland Police Department
300 Pounds
Auburndale Police Department
69 Pounds
Haines City Police Department
561.80 Pounds
Lake Alfred Police Department
50 Pounds
Winter Haven Police Department
 128 Pounds
Lake Wales Police Department
17 Pounds
Total for Polk County
1,125.80 Pounds

Fire Department
Director Rick Sloan, MSCJ, CPM, FBINAA

Fire Station's New Pumper Truck

Fire Station No. 1 Open House and Dedication
Fire Station Dedication Ceremony
On November 14, 2015, the Haines City Fire Department held its open house / Station dedication and new engine push in ceremony.  The Station dedication was well attended by City officials and the public. Assistant Chief McCutcheon started the ceremony with opening remarks welcoming everyone to this historic event. A special presentation was made to retirees in attendance with a framed picture of the original Haines City Fire Station No. 1. 

Assistant Fire Chief Stuart McCutcheon
Assistant Fire Chief Stuart McCutcheon
Mayor Kenneth Kipp also spoke and reminded everyone of the hard work and dedication of those involved who made this special day a reality of the new fire station and purchase of newest fire apparatus in the fleet. Before this day, Haines City had not purchased a new piece of fire apparatus in 20 years and this was well overdue. Mayor Kipp also reminded us the station before this new station we have today was not equipped to house our firefighters in a safe environment. After Mayor Kipp's remarks, instead of the traditional ribbon cutting Chief McCutcheon gave the event a great surprise by having City officials, led by Mayor Kipp, uncouple a 5 inch supply hose in front of the Station.

Push-in Ceremony of New Fire Apparatus
The final part of the open house came with a "Push In Ceremony" of the new fire apparatus. Traditionally, when departments purchase a new piece of apparatus for fire departments they have the members of the department, city officials and residents of the community push the new apparatus into the fire station bay in a unified front to say this is what will be protecting our community. 

At the conclusion of the program was an opportunity for everyone to inspect the new fire apparatus and tour the new fire station along with lunch that was prepared by the Firefighters of Haines City.

Haines City's First Fire Truck
American LaFrance-Type 75 Purchased on January 23, 1923

The Fire Department along with the State Fire Marshal's office, achieved regulatory compliance with all statutory and administrative requirements. Additionally, the 1923 engine (pictured above) is now running and is on display at the Fire Department. It was detailed and presented at the Fire Station open house on November 14th. Special thanks to John Weaver and the Staff at fleet for all of their hard work in getting the engine running. Haines City is truly fortunate to have John Weaver, as he may be one of the few mechanics in the state who can work on antique motors and fire engines, and make them operational again.


Director Richard Greenwood, AICP

Welcoming New Building Official, Evert "Fred" Maier Jr. 
Evert _Fred_ Maier Jr._ Building Official_ City of Haines City
Evert "Fred" Maier Jr., Building Official
Development Services is pleased to introduce our new Building Official, Evert "Fred" Maier Jr.  Mr. Maier, or Fred as he prefers to be called, has over 18 years of experience as a Building Official,   first serving Union County, North Carolina, and then in Florida for the City of Fort Myers. 
Fred first moved to Florida in 2000, and has been married to his wife Deborah for 36 years.  They have two (2) daughters who reside in Florida and have five (5) granddaughters and one (1) grandson. He spends his free time with his wife, daughters and grandchildren in various activities.  He also likes to play golf, photography and following major league sports (particularly the NY Yankees, NY Giants, and NY Rangers).  
Fred holds a Bachelor's Degree from the New York Institute of Technology, New York, New York, with a major in Architecture and is a Certified and Licensed Building Code Administrator with the State of Florida. Please join us as we welcome Fred to the Haines City Family.

WOW (Watched Outstanding Work!)

Employees of the Month (October)
Left to Right_ Ernie Turner_ Mayor Kenneth Kipp_ Assistant Parks _ Recreation Director Dan McClain
Left to Right: Ernie Turner, Mayor Kenneth Kipp, 
Assistant Parks & Recreation Director Dan McClain
Ernie Turner 
Ernie Turner has done a superior job overseeing the maintenance operations of the Lake Eva Banquet Hall over the past six years.  His efforts have had a direct impact on the steady increase in rentals since we opened the doors in 2009 for the Banquet Hall.  The leadership and direction he provides to Staff has resulted in excellent customer service for all guests. Whether it is a wedding or a state-wide business meeting, Mr. Turner continuously looks to improve the day-to-day operations by finding innovative ways to improve the services we offer to our guests. The City continuously receives a copious amount of compliments about the superlative job Mr. Turner does as an ambassador for our Department and the City. 

Larry Kennedy
Mr. Larry Kennedy
Mr. Larry Kennedy
Our citizens and guests who come to the downtown area are sure to have seen Mr. Larry Kennedy and the amazing work he and his crew does in maintaining the area in such a pristine condition. Mr. Larry Kennedy is a superb employee truly embodying the City of Haines City's Mission Statement "...provide our residents and business community with the highest quality of services..." He not only is professional and responsive to all of his duties, but he also goes the extra mile and pays attention to even the minutest of details. Larry is a constant sight to see in the downtown area often striking up conversations with our guests and providing great customer service. He continues to be a terrific ambassador for the City and we are excited for what he brings to our team.

The City of Haines City would like to thank all of our excellent, dedicated employees and volunteers who help make the City a great place to work, live and play. Have you "Watched Outstanding Work" within the City lately? Let us know at