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DOT plans to invest $111 million in Polk roadways next year

DOT plans to invest $111 million in Polk roadways next year

Bartow, FL - The Polk Transportation Planning Organization met on Tuesday to review the $111.2 million road projects proposed for 2011-2012, as the Florida Department of Transportation's five-year work schedule will allot significant funding to Polk county next year. Most road work is planned for Bartow, Lakeland, and Winter Haven.

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High school says other team damaged locker room

High school says other team damaged locker room

Lakeland, Florida - Lakeland High School officials say the opposing team's locker room was vandalized during last week's football playoff game, and they are reporting it to the state athletic association.

Full Game Recap: Lakeland vs. Fleming Island

The Ledger of Lakeland reported Tuesday that the visitor's locker room was damaged and graffiti was written on a wall Friday night. Lakeland's athletic director is reporting it to the Florida High School Athletic Association and is threatening to withhold gate receipts from the opponent, Fleming Island High School.

Damage was estimated at a few hundred dollars. The Fleming Island coach denies that his players vandalized the locker room.

Lakeland beat Fleming Island in the regional playoff game.

Warrant issued for Dollar Store robbery suspect

Warrant issued for Dollar Store robbery suspect

Winter Haven, Florida -- A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the man detectives say robbed the Dollar Store in Winter Haven on Monday, pistol-whipping the manager during a job interview.

"An anonymous caller who saw the video surveillance photos of the robbery published by the local media called PCSO and told them the suspect was possibly Willie Earl Carter of Winter Haven," the Polk County sheriff's office said tonight.

Follow-up investigation led to the positive identification of Carter as the suspect, detectives said. His last known address was within walking distance of the store.

Carter had been arrested twice before for armed robbery, and detectives hope anyone who sees him will contact them at (863)-298-6200.

 

Reindeer goes missing... in Lakeland

Lakeland, Florida -- Rudolph must have needed a break from guiding Santa's sleigh.

Police received a call Tuesday morning of a reindeer on the run in Lakeland. Officials say animal, whose name is Rudy, escaped from the Nativity scene at the Highland Park Church of the Nazarene located at 4777 Lakeland Highlands Road.

Pictures: Rudy and the church's live Nativity scene
AUDIO: Listen to the 9-1-1 call (mp3)

Church personnel chased after Rudy, and eventually found him hiding under the elf house.

Police say Rudy's owner took the animal home, believing he'd probably just escape from the enclosure again. 

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DATABASE: Search 2010 Florida FCAT and School Grade results

DATABASE: Search 2010 Florida FCAT and School Grade results

St. Petersburg, Florida -- The numbers are in for Florida's high schools, and the results are a definite improvement from last year.

Nearly three quarters (71 percent) of all the high schools in Florida earned either an "A" or "B" grade.

Let's break down the numbers a bit: 30 percent of Florida's 470 graded public high schools schools earned an A, 41 percent earned a B, 15 percent earned a C, 12 percent earned a D, and only two percent (11 schools) earned an F. Last year there were 23 schools that had a failing grade.

More Info: Detailed information on the 2009-2010 high school grades
FCAT Scores: Look up school FCAT results

The school grade system was adopted in 1999 as part of then-Governor Jeb Bush's "A-Plus" school accountability program. 

Robber pistol whips store manager during job interview

Winter Haven, Florida -- A man with a gun demanded cash from a store manager as he was conducting an interview with an applicant today, the sheriff's office said.

He got away on foot, but investigators hope surveillance pictures will lead them to him.

Photo Gallery: Dollar General Robbery Suspect

The suspect walked into the manager's office at the Dollar General Store on Recker Highway at mid-afternoon, pointed a gun at the manager and demanded money, the sheriff's office said.

When the manager said there was no money in the office, the gunman pistol whipped him in the head, pointed the gun at a woman who was there for a job interview and threatened to shoot her.

The manager took the man to the front of the store and gave him some money. The suspect then fled.

Forecast: Polk issued Freeze Warning

Forecast: Polk issued Freeze Warning

Polk County, FL - Wind Chill advisory and Freeze Warning have been issued to Polk. You can see the zoom radar for the area here.

A large Canadian high pressure has plummeted south into the eastern U.S. bringing cold air all the way down to Florida. We are waking up to Wind Chill Advisories this morning and Freeze Warnings for tonight and likely tomorrow night. That cold air is blowing in on northwest winds that will stay in the 10-20 mph range through this afternoon. A Wind Chill Advisory has been issued until 9 a.m. for Pasco, Hillsborough and Polk counties as it will feel like 30-35 degrees at times this morning. Skies will be clear and sunny today, but the cold air will only allow us to warm to the mid 50s today when the typical high is 73!