The divisive issues around moving the Confederate monument from Munn Park to Veterans Park continued to divide Lakeland city commissioners Friday, with some suggesting voters should have a say during a January special election and others insisting they were elected to make tough but potentially unpopular decisions that benefit the community.
While no Democrats won partisan elections in Polk County this year, party activists say they are building a stronger base seen in the solid showing of candidates such as Kristen Carlson and Bob Doyel.
UPDATE: A rooftop fire at Mojo Federal downtown did so little damage early this morning that the restaurant and bar is planning to open at 12:30 p.m., just an hour and a half later than their usual Sunday opening. The fire, which started after closing, was confined to a small area around the base of a rooftop smokestack connected to the barbecue restaurant’s meat smoker. Some debris could be seen on a nearby patio this morning. The fire set off interior sprinklers, so workers this morning mopped up water. Crews from the Lakeland Fire Department’s nearby downtown headquarters responded quickly, according to Stuart Simm, owner of the neighboring Federal Bar. The pre-dawn photos below are by David Dickey Jr.:
The Lakeland High School Dreadnaughts advance to a playoff next Friday with Plant High for the fourth year in a row after defeating the Kathleen Red Devils 29-7 in regional semi-finals Friday night at Bryant Stadium. Lakeland defeated their long-time, cross-town rival Kathleen 50-0 when they met during the regular season. Their match-up with Plant takes place next Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Bryant Stadium. Meanwhile, Victory Christian shut out Trinity Christian of Deltona 35-0 in the Class 2A regional semifinals and play at home next week against Foundation Academy of Winter Garden.
ALSO: Ledger coverage of LHS-Kathleen and Victory Christian
Work is scheduled to start later this month on exterior renovations to the 94-year-old, eight-story downtown hotel. The $2 million project is backed by the same investment group assembled by Lakeland native Rob Scharar that bankrolled the hotel’s $7 million restoration two decades ago.
Another structure that brings a contemporary twist to Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision for Florida Southern College will soon face the Hollingsworth lakefront on the eastern end of the campus. College officials today broke ground on the dramatic Carole and Marcus Weinstein Computer Sciences Center, expected to open in spring 2020.
An environmental permit application shows a free-standing, 10,920-square-foot emergency room is planned on South Florida Avenue across from Merchants Walk, Tampa Bay Business Journal reports. The 1.71 acres between Pinellas Street and Eastway Drive have been purchased by Zack 1030 LLC of Nashville.
NOTE: An earlier version of this summary incorrectly indicated that the facility was associated with Lakeland Regional Health.
DUNN CASE: The circuit judge recently assigned to take over former City Commissioner Michael Dunn’s second-degree murder trial has presided over mostly civil cases since joining the bench in 2013.
CAPTURED: The FBI, assisted by local law enforcement, arrested a man in Lakeland who is suspected of eight bank robberies, including one in October on U.S. 98 North.
A remodel and rebranding of The Poor Porker at Main Street and Lake Avenue includes upgrades to a former service station that serves as performance venue: a new sound system with outdoor speakers, air conditioning, rustic floor tiles and wall hangings that include a textile tapestry.
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A Southeastern University student checks out one of the Tecnam two-seater aircraft that will be used in a new pilot-training degree program being launched by the university this fall. President Kent Ingle led off a news conference at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport this morning to announce SEU is partnering with International Aero Academy Ltd. for the program designed to fast-track students at a time when aviation is facing severe pilot shortages. Trans State Airlines, a United Airlines operator, will offer graduates of the program an opportunity to transition into its first officer training program. #lkld #aviation
Myron William Ernst is suspected in the robbery of the TD Bank at 6108 US 98 North on Oct. 12 just before 1 p.m. The robber gave a bank employee a note saying he had a gun; after he was given money, the robber fled in a late-model, dark gray Ford F-150 pickup.