In a new report from Smart Growth America, the Lakeland-Winter Haven metro area landed as the fifth most dangerous metro area for walking in the United States. It was a move up from the 2016 report that listed Lakeland-Winter Haven as sixth. More
DENNIS ROSS: The recently retired congressman will join the GrayRobinson law firm’s Lakeland office and work in its Government Affairs and Lobbying Practice. The move will not affect his plans to direct Southeastern University’s American Center for Political Leadership.
DYNAMO: Lakelander Brogan Paul acts, dances, cheers, and has modeled for Gap Kids and New York Fashion Week. The 11 year-old has Down Syndrome and proudly self-advocates during her busy life. Her parents strive to help her try whatever interests her.
DEBUT: Local singer-songwriter Michael McArthur will debut his new album “Ever Green, Ever Rain” Saturday at the Polk Theater with a six-piece band. Lakeland singer-songwriters Van Plating and Kit Allen Wiley will open the show at 8 pm.
DEFUNCT: Bosko’s Clubhouse Grill is closing at the Cleveland Golf Course. It’s the third restaurant in recent years to attempt to make a go at the golf course and close.
In order to help each other through issues of stress, depression, and suicidal thoughts Lakeland Fire Department first responders are receiving training by the Florida Firefighters Safety & Health Collaborative. Due to their shared experiences, peer support is often the first step for those coping with job-related issues.
MEET-UP: The Lakeland Women’s Collective held a Women’s March Meet-Up to discuss ways to improve the community and promote causes vital to women.
SCHOOLS: Griffin Elementary and four other area schools are working to improve their school grade under Educational Directions, a Louisville, Kentucky-based school manager.
VALOR: Tom Butler, 100, received a Quilt of Valor as thanks for his service during World War II at the Colonnades Club House in Lakeland.
CIRCLE-B: Jeff Spence, Polk County’s retired director of parks and natural resources, recently reminded members of the Sierra Club Ancient Islands Group what it took to create the 1,267-acre Circle B Bar Reserve almost 20 years ago.
SPORTS: The Lakeland Dreadnaughts won their second girls weightlifting title in four years with an additional five individual champions taking home trophies. | A free baseball and softball clinic set for 9 a.m. Saturday the 26th at Henley Field will feature former Lakeland High School players Chris Sale and Steve Pearce. The clinic will be run by Florida Southern College’s baseball and softball coaching staffs.
ECLIPSE: A lunar eclipse starts around 10:30 Sunday night. Totality starts at 11:41 and will last 62 minutes. The next Northern Hemisphere lunar eclipse won’t be until May 2021.
Jon and Sarah Bucklew’s planned artisan food hall in the old Lakeland Brewing building faced some delays, but construction is proceeding. They’re still not ready to reveal which food vendors and brewer will be there.
AIRPORT: The Lakeland City Commission is expected to approve the renovation of the terminal apron at Lakeland Linder on Tuesday. The projected cost of approximately $2.5 million will be mostly covered by a Federal Aviation Administration grant.
RENOVATIONS: Staff at the RP Funding Center celebrated $14.2 million in renovations yesterday. The work was completed without the building ever having to close.
READING: Polk County Early Learning Coalition’s Polk Heroes program brings community leaders into preschools to promote the importance of reading. Books read are given to the students so they can have their own small library at home.
MONDAY: Local non-emergency office and services will be closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. However, trash pickup will be unaffected in Lakeland.
Lakeland city commissioners got updates this morning on a range of subjects, from a march planned for next weekend to protest police activities to the latest on the searches for a new police chief and new assistant city manager. More
A lawsuit is slowing, but not halting, preparations to move Lakeland’s Confederate monument from Munn Park to Veterans Park, City Attorney Tim McCausland told city commissioners this morning. More
The shutdown affects a senior complex being constructed by the Lakeland Housing Authority and plans for other re-construction at the West Lake community near Lake Beulah.
UNITED WAY: After a three month search, the board of the United Way of Central Florida (UWCF) chose Christina Criser Jackson as the next president and CEO of the organization. Criser Jackson is currently serving as the UWCF vice president of Resource Development and will take over the new position April 1st.
MAKERSPACE: A pilot program in the Lakeland PACE Center for Girls will introduce the makerspace concept into PACE’s curriculum. The Gibson-Barnett Center for Collaboration will serve as a model for the Florida alternative schools for girls in grades six through 12 who are at risk of a number of social issues. | Facebook photo gallery by Jeff Lakeland
7ELEVEN: Lots of people have been wondering about the site clearing at Memorial and Massachusetts, site of a former Marathon gas station. Plans call for a 4,650-square-foot 7Eleven with eight gas pumps, city records show. (No link yet, but here’s a city of Lakeland Instagram post about it.)
BS RANCH: A lawsuit by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection seeks big fines from the BS Ranch recycling facility in east Lakeland, claiming it’s causing odor problems.
The public parking lot on Lake Hollingsworth next to the Lakeland Yacht and Country Club will be closed next Tuesday and Wednesday while city crews resurface it. Parking is available near Common Ground Park, the city says in a blog post.
Rumours have it that there will be a Fleetwood Mac tribute band at the Polk Theatre tonight and some mighty fine bluegrass at LkldLive Friday. Keep scrolling for our live music calendar. More
REGISTRATION: Polk County Democrats and the Polk County chapter of the League of Women Voters are helping those with felony records, who have completed all terms of their sentences, register to vote at various events this month.
EDUCATION: Without leaving school, some teachers and administrators at Kathleen High School are working toward master’s degrees. The school received a $4.4 million grant to bring University of South Florida educators to the Kathleen campus to teach staff in place. Eligible Kathleen staff receive tuition reimbursement and are expected to complete their degrees by August.
BREAKING: City crews are on the scene of a suspected water main break at the corner of Lake Morton Drive and Palmetto Street between the Wilsonian Apartments and the Florida Southern College garden apartments. They’re digging to determine the cause and stop it, city spokesman Kevin Cook said. Police have blocked nearby streets to keep traffic away. “Water crews need to locate the appropriate valves to isolate and shut off the water upstream and downstream of the leak, then de-water the site before they will get a visual of the pipe,” Cook said at 6:30 p.m.
THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE FROM THE CITY: “At this time, we don’t know exactly how many homes/business are affected nor an ETA of the repair. If you live in the area, please check back to lakelandgov.net/boilwater throughout the day where updates will be posted if/when they become available.”