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Archive for the ‘From the Editor’ Category

Pictures from the Book Signing and Talk by “Living Legend” of the Citrus Industry, Marvin Kahn!

Monday, December 11th, 2017

The Peter Powell Roberts Museum of Art and Cultural Center in Avon Park was the location last Friday evening December 8th for a Book Signing and Talk by Highlands County native son, Marvin Kahn.  Local author, Nancy Dale co-hosted the event and described her book “21st Century Challenge: Preserving Native Florida” and introduced the Living Legend of the Florida Citrus Industry and Founder of the the Pioneer “Cracker Trail”, Sebring’s own Marvin Kahn.

thumbnail_DecemberMarvin Kahn


Marvin’s story of his family’s early roots in Lithuania and his father’s desire for a better life was extremely interesting.  The desire for a better life  eventually led to a move to America and culminated with making his way down to Sebring, Florida in 1923 and developing a relationship with George Sebring, the town’s founder, who helped him get started in the dry goods business.   Marvin’s father purchased his first orange grove in 1933 and Marvin after graduating from the University of Florida returned to Sebring to grow the family business.  And grow it he did! In addition to Marvin’s fascinating narrative, and the autographing of Nancy Dale’s book, a surprise announcement by Mr. Jim Ellis of Bartow, FL was a highlight of the evening.  Jim announced that Marvin Kahn had been selected for the high honor of induction into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame! Congratulations to Marvin and Elsa Kahn on this honor!



Jim Ellis congratulating Marvin Kahn         Author Nancy Dale with Elsa Kahn


Marvin with friends Bob and Garrett Lee       Marvin with friend Sally Claire

IMG_8825 Peter Powell Roberts



Several of the many paintings by Peter Powell Roberts that were on display.

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Two of many items made with wood from centuries old logs cut by natives and found in the bottom of Florida’s rivers that were also on display at the museum.

Pictures from the Outstanding Ceremony Honoring our Vietnam Veterans at the Highlands County Courthouse Yesterday

Saturday, November 11th, 2017
IMG_8613 IMG_8612IMG_8614 IMG_8610 IMG_8609    IMG_8616 IMG_8617
 Everyone stood for our flag and for our National Anthem!

Highlands County Veterans Day Parade Today at 11 AM in Downtown Sebring

Friday, November 10th, 2017



Reminder -At 11 a.m. today the county’s Veterans Day parade starts on North Ridgewood Drive in downtown Sebring and will proceed around the Circle to Commerce Street and will end at the Highlands County Courthouse. A ceremony will be held on the courthouse lawn honoring Vietnam veterans. The guest speaker will be retired Lieutenant General Jay Garner, an Arcadia native and two-tour Vietnam veteran.
Make plans now to attend!

Timeline for Historic Tax Reform

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Timeline for Historic Tax Reform

November 6, 2017 | Speaker Ryan Press Office | http://spkrryan.us/2yngZ9L

The time for historic tax reform is now. Last week, the House released the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, legislation that will deliver relief to the middle class.

It didn’t take just a few weeks. We’ve been preparing for this moment for a long, long time. We garnered member input. We are going through regular order. We did this the right way. The hard work and due diligence by all members of our conference has really paid off. It’s good legislation that will create more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks. It’s what people and families deserve.

Today, the Ways and Means Committee will mark up the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Watch the markup live here.

Here’s a timeline which demonstrates how we’ve been preparing for this moment:

Tax Reform Timeline

For more resources on our tax reform plan, visit speaker.gov.

Highlands County Republican October Meeting Highlights

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Highlands County Republicans held their October meeting at the Inn on the Lakes in the newly remodeled Royal Palm Room last night.  Excellent food, tremendous Guest Speaker, and despite another very large meeting going on at the same time in Sebring, it was really great to have to bring in additional chairs to seat everyone!

DL-q-wzUMAAMigv IMG_1915


Special guest speaker, Nilsa Alvarez Morales, our Republican party of Florida Regional and Faith director very effectively communicated what she and her team had accomplished in South Florida and her observations on a recent visit last week to the White House as part of the Hispanic Heritage Celebration Month. She provided tremendous praise for President Trump with interesting details on his personal warmth and generosity and the actions he is taking to try to remedy the multiple problems inherited from the prior administration. Her primary message was on the very needed #HealAmerica2018 movement which she presented with great passion.

The Hispanic Pastor’s Summit for Conservative Values in Orlando, the South Florida Minister’s Association (SFMA) launched the #HealAmerica2018 Movement.  This initiative calls upon Pastors and Leaders to unite and cover every Sunday from November, 2017 to November, 2018, with church teams fasting, praying and empowering their congregations to serve toward the “Healing of America” and to continue to protect Biblical Values in the government arena.    Just as the SFMA covered November, 2015 to November, 2016 with the impacting “Stand with God Sunday” Movement, they rise once again to unite churches across the state asking Pastors to take a Sunday to pray and fast for the “Healing of America” and to lead the way

Thanks to Nilsa Alvarez Morales for being our Guest Speaker Thursday evening! Tremendous message! Your tireless energy and passion to educate, inform, and motivate all to take action and make a real difference are very much appreciated!


An additional highlight of the meeting was the addition of four new Precinct Committeemen and Committeewomen as members of the Highlands County Republican Executive Committee. Chairman Kathy Rapp and the membership of the HCREC were very pleased to welcome four additional new members  for the third monthly meeting in a row.  A warm welcome to our four newest members, Jeff Lindskoog, Sara Leon, Mack Payne and Hanna Haney!


We are permitted to have one Precinct Committeeman and one Precinct Committeewoman for every 1000 registered voters or fraction thereof in each precinct, so we still have openings for additional new members of the HCREC in most precincts.  If you would like additional information, contact Chairman Kathy Rapp at 863 381-1390 or rapp1422@gmail.com.


Highlands County Republicans August Meeting Summary

Monday, August 14th, 2017

Highlands County Republicans held their August monthly meeting at the Inn on the Lakes on Thursday evening August 10th.


Special guest speaker, Sheriff Paul Blackman, was warmly received by a near capacity crowd who turned out to hear a very informative presentation on the results of his first eight months in office.  Sheriff Blackman outlined a number of significant accomplishments including opening a new headquarters building, an agriculture crime unit, a tactical anti-crime team, efforts to eradicate illegal drugs and to monitor sex offenders, traffic safety initiatives, efforts to protect seniors and to fight scammers, and good progress in filling vacancies.   Sheriff Blackman now manages a staff of 352 who have handled over 55, 300 calls . 6393 offense reports and 568 cases assigned to detectives this year.  He also answered a wide range of questions from members and guests.


An additional highlight of the meeting was the addition of four new Precinct Committeemen and Committeewomen as members of the Highlands County Republican Executive Committee.  Welcome to Terry and Martha Byng, Susan Cook, and Christy Reed.


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State Committeewoman Sally Claire reported on a conference call on July 31st with the leadership of the RPOF and the Office of the White House Political Director. It was an update for REC Chairmen, State Committeemen and State Committeewomen.  State Chairman Blaise Ingoglia introduced Brian Jack, Deputy Political Director for the While House who reports to the White House Political Director. The Political Director and his team are tasked to assist President Trump’s team to navigate the political climate of priority issues and potential legislation, and to help guide new legislative and policy ideas through political roadblocks, while gathering support for the Administration’s goals.  The White House Political Director’s team has reached out to our Florida leadership including the State Committeemen and Committeewomen and County Chairman to provide direct contact with the White House.  Updates are now being received directly from the White House and will be forwarded to HCREC members. It was also reported that two key counties in Florida have recently flipped from “blue” to RED: Flagler County (Palm Coast area) and our neighbor to the north, Polk County.  PROJECT MAJORITY RED has the goal of turning Florida RED!

State Committeeman Earl Claire emphasized that we cannot remain passive and uninvolved or we stand to lose all that has been gained in the efforts to save our nation. Despite the negative news and the aggressive obstruction and resist tactics by radical Democrats, there have been many positives and many promises that have been kept.  Peter Feaman has also been doing an excellent  job of summarizing and communicating President Trump’s accomplishments and several were mentioned.  The Backhoe Chronicles are frequently posted on our Facebook page and provide positive information for members to share with family and friends to counter the negative coverage by the mainstream media.

President Trump's Accomplishments

Our next monthly meeting will be Thursday September 14th in the newly remodeled Royal Palm Room at the Inn on the Lakes.  Dinner may be ordered from the menu in the room from 5 – 5:45 PM.  The meeting will start promptly at 6:30 PM.  Please make plans to attend and invite family and friends to attend with you.

Highlands County Republican July Meeting Summary

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

We had a near record crowd for a July meeting of Highlands County Republicans last Thursday evening July 13th.  Chairman Kathy Rapp led a planning session to organize members and volunteers to effectively support Project Majority Red, the statewide RPOF initiative to complete the effort to register new Republican voters and turn Florida to majority Republican.


Chairman Rapp reminded all that we have some extremely important elections coming in 2018 and Florida is a “closed primary state”.  Voters will not be able to vote in the upcoming primary elections for the best Republican candidate  for Governor, for Florida Cabinet members including Commissioner of Agriculture, or for US Senator unless they are registered Republican.

Highlands County Republicans also welcomed four new members that joined the Highlands County Republican Executive Committee Thursday evening!  Pictured left to right are, Judi Bentley, Bobby Lee, Betty Gwinn, and Joe Gwinn.   Please join us in welcoming our newest Highlands County Republican Precinct Committeewomen and Precinct Committeemen.  We have openings in most precincts for additional members.  For information on becoming a member of the HCREC, see our website at http://www.highlandscounty.gop/hcrec


State Committeeman Earl Claire shared a list of important actions to assist efforts in Highlands County:

  • Voter registration! Republicans won Florida by a mere 119,000 votes last November and in so doing helped save the nation! During the last election, we reduced the Dem voter registration majority by 200,000 votes and that change and having excellent candidates were instrumental in carrying Florida.  We need everyone to be involved in encouraging family and friends to leave the party that has long-since left them and encourage them to register Republican.  If we can turn Florida to majority red in the next 15 months, we will have a high probability of maintaining a Republican led state!
  • Social media outreach and reinforcement and sharing of conservative posts. Post constructive conservative comments on posts of interest to counter the non-stop negative posts by the liberals
  • Support for Highlands County candidates. Recruitment and support of new candidates for openings
  • Recruitment of new members for the HCREC.   Think what a positive force we could be if all our openings were filled!
  • Education of family and friends, neighbors and co-workers. All are constantly barraged with anti-administration and anti-conservative fake news and propaganda.  You can provide invaluable assistance by sharing real news and constructive conservative news analysis and commentary.

Additionally, it is important to remind all of Republican positions on issues:  “I am a Republican Because…

  • I believe the strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and  responsibility must be honored.
  • I believe in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.
  • I believe free enterprise and encouraging individual initiative have brought this nation opportunity, economic growth and prosperity.
  • I believe government must practice fiscal responsibility and allow individuals to keep more of the money they earn.
  • I believe the proper role of government is to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations and that the best government is that which governs the least.
  • I believe the most effective, responsible and responsive government is the government closest to the people.
  • I believe Americans must retain the principles that have made us strong while developing new and innovative ideas to meet the challenges of changing times.
  • I believe Americans value and should preserve our national strength and pride while working to extend peace, freedom, and human rights throughout the world.”

Upcoming meetings of interest include:

  • June 24, 2017 at 6 pm at HCREC Headquarters – Pizza and Possibilities for Action, RSVP required to Kathy Rapp at 863 381-1390
  • June 26, 2017 at 11:30 am Sebring Chamber of Commerce sponsored Legislative Update at Island View Restaurant at Sun ‘n Lakes in Sebring.  RSVP required to Sebring Chamber of Commerce (863) 385-8448 .
  • August 10, 2017 at 6:30 pm – Highlands County Republican monthly meeting at the Inn on the Lakes (dinner from menu can be ordered in the Conference Room from 5- 6:15 pm)
  • August 11-12, 2017 RPOF Quarterly Meetings in Orlando at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel beginning at 9 am on Aug 11 (all are welcome and invited)  For additional info on how to register and to obtain the agenda, contact Earl Claire (ejclaire@comcast.net)

From the Daily Signal – How One Man Helped Propel the American Revolution

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

John Adams, the nation’s second president, played an indispensable role in moving the 13 colonies toward independence. (Photo: Pictures From History/Newscom)

That the brilliant wordsmith Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence is indisputable, but a lesser-known fact is that the man who played the indispensable role in its adoption by the Continental Congress in July 1776 was John Adams of Massachusetts, our second president.

Jefferson later confirmed Adams’ role as the tireless “floor manager” of the declaration:

No man better merited than Mr. John Adams to hold a most conspicuous place in the design. He was the pillar of its support on the floor of Congress, its ablest advocate and defender against the multifarious assaults encountered.

As historian David McCullough has written, tension in the congressional debate was heightened by the sighting of a hundred British ships off New York, the first arrivals of a fleet that would number over 400. So serious a step as independence warranted unanimity among the colonies, but Delaware and Pennsylvania remained question marks.

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Just as the doors of Congress were about to be closed, Caesar Rodney of Delaware arrived, “booted and spurred.” Although suffering from skin cancer, Rodney had ridden 80 miles through the night, changing horses several times, to cast his “aye” vote for independence.

More important to the cause, McCullough writes, were two empty chairs in the Pennsylvania delegation. Unwilling to vote for independence, but acknowledging the need for Congress to be unanimous, John Dickinson and Robert Morris “had voluntarily absented themselves from the proceedings,” placing Pennsylvania behind independence by the narrow margin of 3-2.

On the final day of debate, when adoption of the declaration by all 13 colonies was still in doubt, Adams rose to speak “with a power of thought and expression,” Jefferson wrote, “that moved us from our seats.”

To Richard Stockton, a new delegate from New Jersey, Adams was “the atlas” of the hour, “the man to whom the country is most indebted for the great measure of independency.”

Today, some 241 years later, we remain awed by the courage of the delegates assembled in Philadelphia who declared their independence from England, then the most powerful nation in the world, and pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to a new nation—the United States of America.

While Jefferson himself penned the Declaration of Independence, it was Adams more than anyone else who was responsible for its adoption. He more than any other delegate understood how consequential the declaration would be, writing to his beloved wife Abigail:

The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.

It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.

So, let the illuminations begin!


For the rest of this article and others, see:  http://dailysignal.com/2017/07/03/one-man-helped-propel-american-revolution/

From Townhall – A Guide to Basic Differences Between Left and Right

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

img_0530  A must read and share reminder as the 4th of July weekend begins. Recent reports show that 51% of Democrats now identify with atheistic socialism. We are in a war for the minds of our youth. America will never be conquered by a foreign nation. Our greatest threat is the enemy within! The left is now attacking patriotism.  Is the left even on America’s side anymore?

From Townhall – A Guide to Basic Differences Between Left and Right

Dennis Prager

1/17/2017 12:01:00 AM – Dennis Prager

Source of Human Rights

Left: government

Right: the Creator

Human Nature

Left: basically good (Therefore, society is primarily responsible for evil.)

Right: not basically good (Therefore, the individual is primarily responsible for evil.)

Economic Goal

Left: equality

Right: prosperity

Primary Role of the State

Left: increase and protect equality

Right: increase and protect liberty


Left: as large as possible

Right: as small as possible

Family Ideal

Left: any loving unit of people

Right: a married father and mother, and children

Guiding Trinity

Left: race, gender and class

Right: liberty, In God We Trust and e pluribus unum

Good and Evil

Left: relative to individual and/or society

Right: based on universal absolutes

Humanity’s Primary Division(s)

Left: rich and poor; strong and weak

Right: good and evil

Ideal Primary Identity of an American

Left: world citizen

Right: American citizen

How to Make a Good Society

Left: abolish inequality

Right: develop each citizen’s moral character

View of America

Left: profoundly morally flawed; inferior to any number of European countries

Right: greatest force for good among nations in world history


Left: a social construct

Right: male and female

Most Important Trait to Cultivate in a Child

Left: self-esteem

Right: self-control

Worth of the Human Fetus

Left: determined by the mother

Right: determined by society rooted in Judeo-Christian values

Primary Source of Crime

Left: poverty, racism and other societal flaws

Right: the criminal’s malfunctioning conscience

Place of God and Religion in America

Left: secular government and secular society

Right: secular government and religious society

American Exceptionalism

Left: chauvinistic doctrine

Right: historical reality

Greatest Threat to the World

Left: environmental catastrophe (currently global warming)

Right: evil (currently radical Islamist violence)

International Ideal

Left: world governed by the United Nations, and no single country is dominant

Right: world in which America is the single strongest entity

Primary Reason for Lack of Peace in Middle East

Left: Israeli settlements in the West Bank

Right: Palestinian, Arab and Muslim denial of Jewish state’s right to exist

Purpose of Art

Left: challenge status quo and bourgeois sensibilities

Right: produce works of beauty and profundity to elevate the individual and society


Left: ideally universally abolished, except for use by police, the armed forces and registered sportsmen

Right: ideally widely owned by responsible individuals for self-protection and the protection of others


Left: intrinsically significant

Right: intrinsically insignificant

Racial, Ethnic and Gender Diversity at Universities

Left: most important

Right: far less important than ideological diversity

Black America’s Primary Problem

Left: racism

Right: lack of fathers

Greatest Playwright

Left: entirely subjective; there is no greatest playwright

Right: Shakespeare


Left: not the answer

Right: sometimes the only answer


Left: wrong, except when directed at the political

Right: wrong, except when directed at evil


Left: all equal

Right: some are better than others

America’s Founding Fathers

Left: rich white male slave owners

Right: great men who founded the greatest society

Purpose of Judges

Left: pursue social justice

Right: pursue justice

National Borders

Left: a relic of the past

Right: indispensable for national survival

View of Illegal Immigrants

Left: welcomed guests

Right: illegal immigrants

For the rest of this article and others, see: https://townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/2017/01/17/a-guide-to-basic-differences-between-left-and-right-n2271475


From The Daily Signal – Just a Common Soldier: A Moving Tribute for Memorial Day

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

ICYMI – A Repeat of a Classic for this Memorial Day

For many years, Stephen Clouse has made videos designed to inspire donations to worthy causes. Recently, he made a different kind of video. It’s not designed to solicit donations but to honor those who have given so much for our country.

In this video, veteran Hollywood actor Tony Lo Bianco reads a poem called “Just a Common Soldier.” It’s a moving tribute to the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who have served our country. As Tony reads the poem, viewers are treated to emotional images of our honored vets. As they were on the battlefield; and as they are now.

Clouse is asking Americans to share the video with their followers on Facebook and other social media channels such as YouTube and Twitter. The goal is to get 21 million “likes”—that’s one for every one of the estimated 21 million living veterans—between Memorial Day on May 25 and Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11.

For the rest of this article and other great articles, see: http://dailysignal.com/2015/05/22/just-a-common-soldier-a-moving-tribute-for-memorial-day/


    Kathy Rapp
Vice Chairman
    Susan Beder
    Kathy Hill
    Penny Kocarek

State Committeeman
    Earl Claire

State Committeewoman
    Sally Claire