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Updated: 07/23/2014 08:00:03AM

ALS Association partners with Tampa Bay Rays

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On Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, Tropicana Field will become Lou Gehrig’s house, when the Tampa Bay Rays take on the New York Yankees for the annual ALS Awareness Game at 1:40 p.m.

ALS supporters will sit together in a special section and the ticket purchase price includes a T-shirt. To order tickets, visit

Rays fans will root not only for Longoria and Price, but also for those who have fought or continue to fight for their lives — people with ALS live on average only 2-5 years after diagnosis. The Tampa Bay Rays and The ALS Association Florida Chapter hope that the game will increase awareness of ALS, and the difficulties faced daily by people living with the insidious disease.

Nearly 500 supporters of The ALS Association Florida Chapter are expected to attend, all wearing commemorative Lou Gehrig 75th anniversary “Strike out ALS” T-shirts. Gehrig retired from baseball with an emotional farewell speech on July 4, 1939.

In the 75 years since Gehrig lost his life to the disease that now bears his name, there’s still no known cause, treatment or cure for ALS.

To kick off the game, Rays’ play-by-play announcer, Andy Freed, will read Lou Gehrig’s famous farewell speech, player David DeJesus will be featured in a special PSA, and an ALS patient will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

“The ALS Association Florida Chapter values our wonderful community partner, the Tampa Bay Rays,” Kim Hanna, president and CEO of The ALS Association Florida Chapter, said in a press release. “We are hoping the game will act as a platform to spread awareness and reach those in the community who may not be aware of Lou Gehrig’s Disease or its devastating effects.”

Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS progressively paralyzes its victims, attacking nerve cells and pathways in the brain or spinal cord. Patients are robbed of the ability to walk, eat, speak, and eventually breathe.

Butterfield earns new clerk certification

Stacy M. Butterfield, Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller, recently completed an intensive, 240-hour training to earn New Clerk Certification from the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers.

Clerks are required to have 240 hours of training for the initial certification. After the certification, Clerks are required to attend 36 additional hours per year to maintain their certification.

“While I have been in the Clerk’s office for many years, I am glad to have had this opportunity to learn more about all aspects of the Clerk’s office,” Clerk Butterfield said in a press release. “The Clerk’s job spans a wide range of duties, each area bringing its own unique challenges. This training will serve me well in making the best decisions in serving the citizens of Polk County.”

Butterfield began her New Clerk training following her election as Polk County Clerk of Courts in 2013. The process included six, 40-hour weeks of training comprised of a rigorous curriculum preparing Clerks to perform their duties. Topics for the training included: Technology, Finance, Administration, Records, Courts and other Clerk-related material.

Butterfield earned a master’s degree in business administration from Florida Southern College and is a Certified Public Accountant with 26 years as a key administrator in the Polk County Clerk’s office. She serves on the executive committee for the Florida Association of Court Clerks and is an active member of the Clerks of Court Operations Corporation, Government Finance Officers Association, and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

The Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers, established in 1969, is a statewide, non-profit member association. The association is comprised of the Florida Clerks of the Circuit Court and Comptrollers. The association provides education and accreditation for Clerks of the Court and Comptrollers, information and technical assistance to local governments.

Atwater, Putnam fundraising slows

Facing little opposition in their bids for re-election, state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam appear to have recently slowed the pace of fundraising for their campaigns, according to reports on the state Division of Elections website.

Atwater raised $10,315 from July 5-11, bringing his overall total to $1,992,641. Putnam, meanwhile, raised $4,910 during the same seven-day period, bringing his total to $2,018,460. Updated figures for the Republican Cabinet members’ opponents were not posted on the state website Friday afternoon.

But Democrat William Rankin, who is running against Atwater, had raised a total of $13,740 through July 4. Democrat Thad Hamilton, who is running against Putnam, had raised a total of $14,953 through June 27, reports show.

SPCA Florida to offer 200 free microchips

SPCA Florida and Found Animals Foundation are partnering together to provide 200 free pet microchips from noon-4 p.m. Saturday, July 26. It will take place at SPCA Florida, 5850 Brannen Road South in Lakeland.

The free microchip clinic is limited to the first 200 cats or dogs and there are no income qualifications or limitations on number of pets per owner.

“Microchips play a critical role in reuniting lost pets with their families,” Executive Director Adam Stanfield said in a press release. He said it’s especially important around holidays such as Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve as well during hurricane season when loud noises may startle animals and cause them to escape. On July Fourth, Good Samaritans brought three stray dogs to SPCA Florida, the result of escapes during fireworks and holiday celebrations.

“It is equally important to keep your pet’s microchip information up to date with your current contact number and reliable emergency contacts,” said Stanfield. Pet owners can call SPCA Florida if they need help identifying which microchip company holds their pets chip.

For information call 863-646-4647 or visit

Benefit concert July 26

A concert for the benefit of the family of Caleb Lamkin, 28, of Lakeland, will take place 7 p.m., Saturday, July 26 at the River of Life Church, 1120 E. Main St., Lakeland.

Lamkin, 28, of Lakeland, died in a motorcycle accident in Lakeland on June 20. All proceeds from “The Love in Action Benefit Concert” will go to the family.

Performing will be Obadiah, After Infinity and special guest, Amanda Massey.

Love offerings/donations will be accepted. For further information or to make a donation if unable to attend, email Bobby Long at, or call Richard Smith at 863-582-6349. Checks can be made payable to River of Life Church.

Strides Against Cancer event

A Making Strides Against Breast Cancer kickoff event is scheduled Thursday, Aug. 7 at Paint Along Studios, 123 S. Kentucky Ave., Lakeland.

There is a 6 p.m. registration and the dinner program begins at 6:30 p.m.

People planning to attend should RSVP by July 25 at 813-319-5922 or email

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