The plaintiffs’ lawyers filed more documentation about elevated gamma radiation in the south Lakeland communities, while several homeowners say their own testing shows normal levels. Lawyers who filed the suit are holding a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. May 2 at The Lakeland Center to review their findings.
SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: SEU is renaming its ministries college for Chancellor Tommy Barnett and this fall launches its School of Worship, which will prepare students to lead contemporary styles of worship and music.
“I was expecting more photographs of despair, and I didn’t see that,” said Steve Turbeville of Lighthouse Ministries. The photos, taken by 32 people from Lighthouse and Talbot House Ministries, will be displayed at the First United Methodist Church welcome center May 5-June 2.
ATTRACTING JOBS: The city of Lakeland needs to step up incentives it offers to attract companies offering high-skill, high-wage jobs if it wants to compete with Florida’s larger cities, LEDC’s Steve Scruggs tells city commissioners at a planning retreat | Examples
HOSPITAL: Lakeland Regional Health received its second straight B safety grade from the Leapfrog rating agency; the hospital has received four B scores and three A scores in the most recent ratings | Leapfrog LRH profile
ALSO: A magistrate heard from both sides about alleged BS Ranch and Farm code violations but hasn’t ruled yet | A children’s reading festival is set for Barnett Park on Saturday | Staff Sgt. Richard Caton, 34, of Lakeland is one of two Florida contenders for Army National Guard Best Warrior Soldier
Look for some triple plays this weekend: a trio of special events downtown Friday evening and a couple of indie-rock three-packs: On Friday:
- Jah Movement plays reggae and other island rhythms at Lakeland’s Green Celebration at the Lake Mirror Amphitheater.
- Across the lake, Glass House Point headlines a show at LkldLive that also showcases Spirit & the Cosmic Heart and Hoss.
- Weather for Strangers and Jason Baker entertain at the Polk Museum of Art’s third annual Art+Music event.
The other triple decker: Almondy Brown, Mr.Handsome and Laundromat play 801 E. Main Saturday night. More music after the jump.
A hearing on the county’s cease-and-desist order involving odor and BS Ranch and Farms was halted after Judge Keith Spoto determined testimony would last far longer than promised. A date for the next session is undetermined.
Listen to a panel discussion about food insecurity held this week at Florida Southern College’s Annie Pfeiffer Chapel.
The first anniversary of the George Jenkins High School student’s death and his 18th birthday are being marked Saturday with an 18k run that includes the donation of 18 pair of shoes to kids who need them | Event Facebook page
New detention deputy Kyle Swonger fulfilled his dream of having his badge pinned by his grandfather, Louie Mims, who served as Polk sheriff from 1976 to 1985.
EASTSIDE ODOR: BS Ranch and Farm is not causing an odor problem and Polk County’s attempt to close it could cost the company millions of dollars and hurt efforts to fight citrus greening, a lawyer for the company wrote in a legal filing.
CANDIDATE: Retired teacher and social worker Sandy Toledo has filed to run for the City Commission Southeast District, saying she would bring a perspective that differs from the business owners who currently occupy most commission seats.
ENTERTAINER: Entertainment writer Paul Catala profiles Tyler Robbins, a 75-year-old mentalist, illusionist, hypnotist, artist, composer and musician who often performs at area open mic events.
Sheriff Judd: “Stupid criminals are really appreciated.”
“Every time we spoke to (potential bartenders) their expectation was, yes, you have a great salary, but I can make three times more (through tips),” Posto 9 owner Marco Franca told The Ledger. “I cannot force the market … We tried.” A Facebook announcement of the policy change drew strong comments from both critics and defenders.
TIGERS: An earlier start to Spring Training is one of the possible reasons per-game attendance dropped this year for the Detroit Tigers and the rest of the Grapefruit League.
AIRPORT: A series of transactions topping $1 million to add a U.S. Customs office to Lakeland Linder Airport will be considered by the City Commission Monday.
RALLY: A Lakeland Women’s March protesting Trump administration policy drew dozens to Munn Park Saturday. (A friend who participated took issue with “dozens,” saying hundreds showed during the four-hour event.)
RENEWAL: For Easter, Editor Lenore Devore recounts the recovery of Polk Deputy Adam Pennell, who suffered devastating injuries while on duty.
The list looks beyond chains and gourmet burger shops to local mom-and-pop restaurants.
MEDICAL POT: Proposed land-use restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries got the support of a slight majority of city commissioners in an informal vote Friday.
TIGER DEAL: Polk tourism is being promoted at Detroit Tigers home games through a kiosk, ticket stubs and a centerfield banner at Comerica Park under a deal cut when local governments ponied up money to renovate Marchant Stadium.
The sanctuary nature of downtown Lakeland’s Lake Morton works to protect a wide variety of birds – and snakes and gators – from predators and the stress of living in the wild. But their greatest threat may come from well-intentioned humans who enjoy strolling the shore and tossing bread and other human food to the always eager denizens of the lake.
TAXES: Local government officials including Sheriff Judd oppose a proposal to increase the homestead exemption, saying it would likely force an increase in property tax rates.
FIGHTING HUNGER: Polk’s Agape Food Bank, Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, kidsPACK and VISTE are among 27 agencies benefitting from the 2016 Publix Food for All fund-raiser. (The print article is more complete than the online version, which was posted before dollar amounts were announced yesterday.)
The Lakeland native and head of RP Funding and homevalue.com was recognized at the Magic game Wednesday, the same day the team revealed his companies are founding sponsors of the NBA team’s D-League affiliate in Lakeland. Homevalue.com has been incorporated into the team’s logo and RP Funding’s branding will appear on team uniforms.
An April 19 court date has been set for Polk County’s attempt to temporarily halt operations at BS Ranch & Farm, a source of odor complaints. The county is represented by Tampa’s de la Parte & Gilbert, and the soil distributor is represented by Lakeland’s Clark Campbell et. al. The day before, the county holds a public hearing on a proposed six-month moratorium on soil manufacturing plants.
CAMPAIGN DOLLARS: A half year before city elections, candidates and committees have begun collecting contributions. Michael Dunn leads among City Commission candidates with $12.7k. The group pushing for a strong mayor held steady in March reporting with $40k, while a fledgling opponent group took in $22.2k in its first month.
DINING: Restaurant critic Eric Pera took a drive to Southeastern University and then a hike to its new, open-to-the-public food court to sample wares from two of the chain operations there. His food ratings: two stars for Back Yard Burgers and three stars for Einstein Bros. Bagels.
MISSING DOG: The Farrell family got Brody back.
Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille remains open as workers add a balcony to the circa-1905 Bryant Block building. A black-painted steel balcony will replace the awning used in recent decades. Early photos of the building at the northeast corner of Main and Kentucky show a wooden balcony. Unlike the balconies of a century ago, the new one will be supported by tension rods, not columns. #lkld #downtownlkld #munnpark #historicpreservation #balcony #paintitblack
A drawing by Audrey Link, 11, will appear on billboards around the country in a campaign for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
MADDEN: Stephanie Madden is running for City Commission against incumbent Jim Malless, saying she can offer business skills and a “female voice” that could go missing with Edie Yates’ pending departure from office.
ROSS: Returning from a five-day trip to Iraq and Kuwait to visit members of the Florida National Guard, Congressman Dennis Ross writes the morning paper to praise the troops and show some pictures.
The accident happened as the bus was loading passengers in front of the IHOP near Walmart. The Ford F-150’s two occupants were taken to the hospital; no serious injuries were reported among the bus’ 30 passengers or driver.
McKEEL: Two fourth-grade classes at South McKeel Academy are experimenting with single-sex education, a practice that has strong critics and proponents.
POLITICS: Dennis Ross may face a primary opponent for his congressional seat. Loretta Miller, 66, a Clermont Republican, is collecting signatures in hopes of earning a spot on the ballot.
A Lakeland police officer saw something special in a troubled teen and helped him get a job at Tigertown. Two decades later, Amp Milton is adored by Detroit Tigers players and staffers.
Eleven days after the problem was discovered, school district officials said they would notify parents and hire outside exterminators.
The owners of the restaurant on South Florida Avenue near Edgewood Drive are partnering with an Orlando restaurateur to expand their Asian offerings. Rib House re-opens April 15 after a two-week update.
Live music highlights include two touring bands: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy bring retro swing to the Polk Theatre Friday, and the Honey Creepers dish soulful Americana at Among Friends Music on Saturday. Also, sample some Lakeland singer-songwriters at LkldLive Saturday night. More listings after the jump.
A 34-year-old Pensacola man died after he was hit by a CSX freight train near Munn Park around 2:15 p.m. today, police said. Witnesses said the man, who was later identified as Eric John Velazquez, appeared to intentionally lean toward the train.
The train continued and it didn’t appear that the conductor realized what happened, Lakeland Fire Department spokeswoman Janet Vasallo told Bay News 9. Rescue personnel initiated life-saving procedures and rushed Velazquez to Lakeland Regional Health, where he was pronounced dead around 20 minutes after the accident.
Tennessee Avenue was closed near the railroad tracks for a brief period.
In Sale’s first Fenway Park outing tonight, he faces Pirates starter Jameson Taillon, also a Lakeland product.
Up to $10k is at stake for middle and high school entrepreneurs at a Chamber of Commerce-sponsored “shark tank” event at 5:30 p.m. at Southeastern University.
THAT SMELL: BS Ranch & Farm outlines steps it has taken to reduce odors from its east Lakeland recycling plant as owners of neighboring businesses disagree about whether the remedies have worked.
SUNDAY ALCOHOL: A county commissioner’s motion to have Polk County follow Lakeland in expanding Sunday alcohol sales stalled, but other commissioners said the issue isn’t dead yet.
AIR SHOW: The red, white and blue vapor trails you may have seen over Lakeland yesterday were from a French Air Force demonstration team performing at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In on its first day.
Advance ticket sales are 15 percent higher than the previous record, Sun ‘n Fun CEO and President John Leenhouts announced today as the 2017 fly-in got under way. He added that this year’s event has 510 vendors, 85 of them here for the first time.
With the Tigers heading back to Detroit, review the 2017 spring season through more than 2,000 photos of fans and players shot by Tom Hagerty.
The 57-year-old Dennis, who has led the church for 21 years, says he’s stepping down for health reasons, including recurrent back pain.
EASTSIDE ODOR: The Florida DEP should help Polk County close BS Ranch and Farm, County Commissioner Melony Bell says. The state environment agency isn’t planning to join a county injunction, an official said, but is working with the recycling company to find a solution to its odor problem.
Three events this weekend and next premiere an animated film commissioned by Platform Art to call attention to the endangered Florida Scrub Jay.
Tampa’s Creative Loafing joins the game of curating Lakeland news, focusing on the weird and unseemly stuff: an alligator roaming Eaglebrooke, two 14-year-olds stealing Dad’s gun and holding someone up, another 14-year-old found with a gun at school, a guy facing 65 counts of molesting kids and an after-school program under investigation after leaving a 6-year-old locked in a van.
Their conclusion: “That seems a little busy with the crazy even for Florida.” Somehow I don’t see civic boosters trading “little mecca of cool” for “busy with the crazy.”
EASTSIDE ODOR: Frustrated county officials prepare to ask a judge to curtail operations at BS Ranch and Farm after learning the recycling plant continued accepting waste despite being ordered to quit doing so as of Friday.
SCIENCE FAIR: A page one feature about the state science fair, ending today at the Lakeland Center, focuses on a seven-year project by Lakeland Christian School senior Julia Canady. She has produced two biological herbicides and a seed germination tool she plans to patent.
LOVELAKELAND: Bolstered by 12 sponsors, a splashy website (link) and a gushing video (link) and boosted by Maximize Digital Media’s Chrissanne Long, Mayor Wiggs unveils his CityMakers Awards. The first recipients are Scott “Scooter” Urquhart and his family, creators of the Lakeland Rocks movement (Facebook).
Nyaira Ronnie Thomas, 20, has bonded out of jail, LPD says. She was charged with criminal use of an ID, forgery and grand theft in connection with the use of a fake ID to pay for $11,025 in plastic surgery.
Lakeland Electric’s Unit 5 was back online on schedule last week after an osprey nest was moved out of danger, the utility’s director said. “It’s nice to see the water vapor meaning our natural gas unit is back up and running. It was running as of last Wednesday, on schedule in spite of an osprey nesting during the outage period 🙄,” Joel Ivy said in a post visible to his Facebook friends. “Natural gas prices are still very favorable and we will leverage that benefit as we should.” News reports last week said danger to the ospreys could delay the generator’s restart after an unplanned outage.
The Florida Children’s Week organization (link) presents Carol Jenkins Barnett its Chiles Advocacy Award Monday in Tallahassee.
TROLLER: There’s “no conclusive evidence” that LHS Athletic Director Justin Troller and another teacher conspired to get a student suspended, a School Board investigator concludes, a finding that diverges from one of the reasons the superintendent recommends he be fired.
OAKBRIDGE: Land at the Oakbridge and Grasslands developments along Harden Boulevard went through state-certified reclamation process before homes were built on a former phosphate mine, the Drummond Companies said in response to a homeowners’ lawsuit that contends inadequate reclamation led to high radiation levels and health hazards.
THAT SMELL: County officials ordered BS Ranch and Farm to quit accepting new waste to process until it fixes the odor problem at its plant off Maine Avenue near the Polk Parkway.
The growing company led by Frank Kendrick has helmed large-scale construction projects at Florida Polytechnic University and Southeastern University.
A 21-year-old man told police he ate breakfast in a crosswalk at Memorial Boulevard and Brunnell Parkway as a prank, but they charged him with a misdemeanor after the incident was photographed and posted to Facebook. Hang on, Lakeland. This looks like another incident that keeps us on the weird news map. And it’s only a day after TV stations went nuts over the woman who paid for $11k in plastic surgery via stolen ID and credit card.
The supermarket giant, which has been adding to its downtown workforce, bought the building and its expansive parking lot for $3.1 million in November. That was about the same time news emerged that the company had applied for incentives to add 700 jobs and a $28 million facility in Lakeland.
In case you were wondering whether U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland was going to support the president’s desire to pass the American Health Care Act or join the conservatives who oppose it, he explains his support in an opinion column.
Saturday night brings two opportunities to listen to music in downtown Lakeland while benefitting good causes. The Lakeland Center appearance by Wilson Phillips, Sister Hazel and Jessie James Decker supports projects by the four Lakeland Rotary Clubs. The Play It Forward five-band show at the Polk Theatre pays for musical instruments for Polk public school students who can’t afford them.
Other weekend highlights include Friday’s evening of hip hop at the Polk Theatre hosted by Marcus “Pryderawk” Myles, Sunday’s Southern rock benefit for the Music Ranch at the northside Linksters, and March’s final Music Munnday featuring the Latin jazz violin of Lemay-Olano James. More listings after the jump.
The Indian Lake Estates resident is among five candidates who have filed to unseat Republican Dennis Ross of Lakeland in 2018.
Attendance is up about 60 percent after viral video of a giant gator brought attention to the nature reserve.
A new set of outdoor sculptures has been installed on the Lemon Street Promenade, and residents were asked today to vote for their favorite via Facebook. Scroll down to see galleries by photographer Yasira Adams and a Facebook post where you can vote.
STORE CLOSING: The Family Christian store on a Lakeland Square outparcel is closing at an unspecified date as the 240-store chain goes out of business.
The County Commission voted 5-0 today to seek a cease-and-desist odor against BS Ranch and Farm, with Commissioner George Lindsey saying none of the conditions placed on the business earlier this year has been met.
Carol Jenkins Barnett has made the list for six years running, and Howard Jenkins is on it for the second year in a row, The Orlando Sentinel reports. Forbes estimates Barnett’s “real time net worth” at $1.67 billion, compared with $1.72 billion when she entered the Forbes 400 in October. The magazine estimates Jenkins’ real time net worth at $1.04 billion, compared with last March’s estimate of $1.1 billion. The two, both offspring of Publix founder George Jenkins, are the only Central Florida residents on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.
Shelly Wilkes, the 36-year-old president of the Orlando Magic’s Lakeland affiliate, plans to market the team as an “entertainment experience.”
The letter from Jacqueline Byrd suspends Justin Troller from his job as LHS athletic director and formalizes her recommendation that the School Board fire him at its April 25 meeting. Troller, who is also a city commissioner, declined to respond when News Channel 8 approached him during a break in this morning’s commission meeting. | Read the two-page letter
The 6th annual “Stop the Violence” march took place March 11.
POWER PAUSE: Lakeland Electric is delaying the re-start of its Unit 5 generator to secure a permit to remove an osprey that found a home there while the unit was offline.
TROPICS OWNER: “Panos” Iakovidis is a busy man. In addition to his new role as majority owner of the Florida Tropics, the cardiothoracic surgeon is chairman of the board, CEO and president of Bond Clinic, a soccer coach, manager of a soccer team, owner of three car care centers and volunteer tutor with several nonprofits.
TOP K-9: Chad Whitaker of LPD and his dog, Nox, brought home “Top Dog” honors for the second time from the United States Police Canine Association’s Region 1 Field Trials in Gulf Breeze.
BRIAN BURNS, The Ledger’s new publisher, invites readers to an “open discussion on the media (and) our community” at 8:30 a.m. April 6 in an editorial that seeks to differentiate between the newspaper staff’s local reporting and the national coverage (particularly of the Trump administration) provided by other news organizations.
SOPHIA JEAN, a 17-year-old student at Harrison School for the Arts, has been chosen for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, based at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Trucks have temporarily stopped delivering Orlando’s biosolids to an East Lakeland facility that has been the target of odor complaints being investigated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The organization, No Boss Mayor, wants to preserve the city of Lakeland’s council-manager form of government. Organizers include two former city commissioners, Larry Durrence and Frank O’Reilly, former City Manager Gene Strickland and Cindy Petterson, a member of the committee suggesting updates to the city charter.
Brandy Stanton, president of BS Ranch & Farm, said the company will cooperate with county and state officials, but she insists other nearby facilities contribute to the odor issue.
A dancer creates interpretive movement as a writer recites her work; visual artists show emotion in two dimensions as an orchestra plays selections from “Carmen;” and a finale unites a chorus, 18 dancers, 55 musical theater students and a pianist in a popular Broadway melody.
Those collaborations between departments are part of a “Roll Out the Red Carpet” fund-raiser for Harrison Arts Center scheduled for April 1 at 7 p.m. at the school.
LkldLive celebrates St. Patrick’s Day by exploring the Celtic roots of bluegrass at noon Friday. Southern Express Bluegrass Band performs (check a video), and fiddler Jason “Cornbread” Baker discusses the music’s roots. Tickets: $10; $15 with BBQ lunch if you order today. On Monday, the duo Jazzanova brings tropical Brazilian rhythms to Music Munndays at a free lunchtime show. More listings after the jump.
OAKBRIDGE: A lawyer involved in a lawsuit against the developers of Oakbridge and Grasslands says his firm has heard from more than 100 residents concerned about possible radiation hazards. U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, says he has “absolutely zero” to do with the case and that his letter mentioned in the lawsuit referred to EPA flyovers of a site near Plant City.
MAYOR: A judge denied a request from the group pushing for a strong mayor to restrict City Commission action on their petition to only putting it on the ballot and not ruling on its merits. On Monday, commissioners will consider a resolution (link) authorizing the issue to be put on a ballot (no date is specified) with a title and summary to be drafted by the city attorney.
MUSEUM: Florida Southern College will employ Suzanne Grossberg (LinkedIn), head of a New York consulting company specializing in philanthropic fundraising (company site) to oversee efforts to increase financial support for the Polk Museum of Art as it enters a partnership with the college.
ZARZA: Restaurant reviewer Eric Pera praises the grilled meats at the new Zarza Latin Food & Grill in the Shoppes of Hallam, awarding 3 1/2 stars for food and 2 each for service and ambiance.
Excessive phosphorus and nitrogen levels in Lakes Hollingsworth, Bonny, Hunter, Parker and Crystal can lead to algae blooms and fish kills, state officials say. The city of Lakeland says it doesn’t have funds in its storm water account to upgrade the lakes and is looking into increasing its storm water fees.
Mass Market, a project aimed at transforming a neighborhood from troubled to trendy, makes its debut Saturday with two events. Read on to learn about the project and the businesses coming there. Also, view photos and videos that show how a a former grocery store has been reimagined as a large event space and artists’ studios/gallery.
The 7 p.m. concert at the Lakeland Center is sponsored by the four Rotary Clubs of Lakeland and benefits their community projects | Tickets: $54.50, $69.50
The suit seeks compensation for lost property value, environmental cleanup and medical monitoring for people who purchased homes in the Oakbridge and Grasslands communities that were built on reclaimed phosphate mines. It was filed in Tampa federal court on behalf of Oakbridge resident John Jerue by a Houston law firm that advertised for claimants on Facebook and by Lakeland’s Lilly, O’Toole & Brown. Drummond Co., the target of the suit, has not offered comment. The suit also raises questions about political interference in EPA attempts to assess radiation levels, The Ledger reported.
THAT SMELL: Neighbors and the state Department of Environmental Protection say a recycling company on Maine Avenue near the Polk Parkway is spewing a stench smelled for several miles. But officials with the company, BS Ranch & Farm, dispute they’re the cause. The County Commission agreed unanimously in December to shift land-use regulations for the plant after their staff hailed its economic benefits.
POLICE MEMORIAL: LPD unveils a statue dedicated to the memory of fallen officers Monday at 6:30 p.m. at police headquarters.
The event sponsored by supermodel Kate Upton and Detroit Tigers pitcher takes place at Tigertown March 18 at 11 a.m.
SPRING OBSESSION: The annual event brings 60 gardening vendors and displays to Munn Park Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Lakeland Rotary Club is the new sponsor with proceeds purchasing emergency medical packets for local schools.
EAST LAKELAND CLEANUP: Crystal Lake, Eaton Park, Skyview and South Combee benefit from a beautification program March 18. Construction materials and other non-hazardous items (no tires) will be picked up curbside that day, and a recycling event for tires will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the Rhema Word of Faith International Church, 3330 Skyview Drive.
Brian Burns is a likable guy with a really hard job. As the new publisher of The Ledger, the 42-year-old former firefighter is tasked with rebuilding a business that has seen slips in readership and advertising for several years.
But Burns exudes enthusiasm and optimism. You get the feeling he is convinced that if he could spend five minutes with every person in Polk County, he’d have thousands of new friends who would understand the importance of the newspaper in binding a community and reaching customers.
A pick a day:
- Friday: Pitbull Toddler, a band formed by Tampa radio personality Mike Calta whose mission is “to melt faces with our music,” plays Masons Live.
- Saturday: Lady Moonbeam, The Shades and Revel in the View are scheduled at 801 E. Main. (Facebook event page)
- Sunday: The Imperial Symphony Orchestra hosts kids of all ages at its annual Cookie Concert at 2 p.m. at FSC’s Branscomb Auditorium.
- Monday: AcousticDose, a guitar-and-percussion duo, entertain in Munn Park for the lunchtime Music Munndays series.
Videos spread on social media cause many viewers to ask whether excessive force was used. But police spokesman Gary Gross said the officers were justified in their takedown of a man acting irrationally. “There are two times police officers are usually killed: during a domestic disturbance or dealing with the mentally ill,” he told Bay News 9.
The aviation unit moving to Lakeland’s airport in a few months isn’t expected to be affected by agency cuts reported by the Washington Post recently, Capt. Michael Silah said today during the Mayor’s Sun ‘n Fun Breakfast.
ELECTRIC SAVINGS: Lakeland Electric is encouraging customers to bring electronic devices to a forum Thursday at 9 a.m. to determine how they will be affected if they switch to one of two pricing plans that offer savings for off-peak use.
After Lakeland approved Sunday sales in 2015, bar and convenience store owners near city limits pushed the county to follow suit. County commissioners voted 3-2 against Sunday sales last year, but a proponent has replaced an opponent on the board since then.
Decisions, decisions. Star Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander asked his Instagram followers this morning whether he should drive his Ferrari 488 or Audi R8 to work for this afternoon’s home game against the Phillies. In case you’re on the edge of your seat, he went with the Audi. Hat tip to CBS Detroit.
The building on Munn Park where BB&T Bank does business started life in 1927 as the Autotel, Lakeland’s first parking garage. A variety of services were available for your car such as battery and tire replacement. You could park your car out of the weather, which had its advantages when you’re driving an open touring or roadster auto as was the norm in the 1920s.
ELECTRIC BILL: Lakeland Electric customers will see an increase in their fuel rate to $37.75 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours from $34.25. The first increase in 30 months resulted in part from mechanical difficulties at a natural gas-burning generator.
PARKING: Out: the underused Purple Heart parking spot on Main Street across from Nathan’s. In: Combat-wounded veterans with a Purple Heart license plate can park in any city space for free. (Video: parking workshop)
CITY LAND: Lakeland commissioners voted 6-1 to sell .83 acre of unused land at Kathleen Road and MLK Avenue to lawyer-developers Ron and Matt Clark for $120k. (The city asked $160k, and the Clarks initially offered $106.5k, based on their appraisal.) But commissioners want to change city procedures so sales of commercial land are promoted more vigorously in the future.
A video documenting the restoration of the 1938 fire engine Leaping Lena was shown to city commissioners today as they honored Jonathan Beale and Matthew Warner, the Fire Department employees who restored the vehicle.
MASS MARKET: Some events (Facebook) next week mark the opening of a large, urban-feel event space and an artists collective that are part of a city initiative to redevelop the Parker Street neighborhood.
TEACHING MUSIC: Strings in Need has expanded beyond its original mission of making musical instruments and lessons available to children who couldn’t afford them.
“This is not low-income housing. This is not subsidized housing. These are people that would qualify for traditional mortgages,” city redevelopment official Nicole Travis said. While some neighbors are skeptical that buyers will put up with petty crime in the area, Travis points out LPD has increased its presence.
LAKE WIRE: Lawyer-developers Ron and Matt Clark want to buy nearly an acre at the northeast corner of Kathleen Road and MLK Blvd. from the city for $106.5k, but at least one city commissioner wants something closer to the $160k asking price. A decision comes Monday.
LEGISLATURE: Reporter Gary White looks at the legislative priorities of some local institutions. One of the top goals for the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is protecting the hospital Certificate of Need program, which it sees as essential to preserving Lakeland Regional Health.
RUNNERS: Promise Run 10K and 5K results
CITY BEAT: The group advocating a strong mayor is taking the city to court, pushing to get the issue on an election ballot | The Hurricane Hunter headquarters being built at Lakeland’s airport is on schedule to be ready by May 1 | Another misfortune has idled a Lakeland Electric generator
CLASSICAL: The all-volunteer Florida Philharmonia Orchestra, which formed when the ISO shifted to professional musicians, performs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at College Heights United Methodist Church.
Spectators at this weekend’s Orange Cup Regatta on Lake Hollingsworth will have access to stands just west of the Lakeland Yacht Club, and a loudspeaker system will let them know what’s going on, race director Gene Engle says. Expected wind could keep speeds lower than previous years.
Seven Lakeland-based organizations would see substantial cuts in state cultural and museum grants under Gov. Scott’s proposals. Here are comparisons between this year’s funding and proposed next-year levels, compiled by the Florida Cultural Alliance:
- Polk Museum of Art: $77,159 to $24,819
- Polk Theatre: $45,070 to $14,498
- Explorations V Children’s Museum: $43,391 to $13,957
- Imperial Symphony Orchestra: $24,389 to $7,845
- Lakeland Community Theatre: $23,286 to $7,490
- Polk Arts Alliance: $16,865 to $5,425
- Florida Dance Theatre: $14,085 to $4,531
PROTEST: About two dozen supporters of Planned Parenthood marched to the office of state Sen. Kelli Stargel to protest her bill extending the time abortion patients can sue for emotional distress.
ELECTION: Jim Malless files for re-election to an at-large City Commission seat, becoming the only incumbent running in a year four seats are in play.
SETTLEMENT: People, Technology and Processes, LLC, is paying $320k to resolve allegations they submitted improper invoices for work done for the U.S, Army.
DINING: Eric Pera gives La Michoacana on Memorial Boulevard 3 1/2 stars for food and 2 for service and ambience.
Justin Troller, a city commissioner and Lakeland High School athletic director, lied to his principal and did not cooperate with investigators looking into his Snapchat communications with a student, according to a report from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Prosecutors decided not to file charges, saying there’s insufficient evidence of improper communication.
ALSO: Ledger coverage
Use your mouse or finger to move the white slider and compare 1940 and 2017 photos of the Magnolia Building. This is the first in a series of then-and-now Lakeland photos we’ll be publishing. Richard W. Snell, an amateur local historian, is compiling the images for lkldnow.
Brennan’s first building in Centerstate Logistics Park north of Florida Poly will be the only one in Central Florida offering 600,000 square feet.