The city of Lakeland will continue limited spraying to control invasive plants in lakes even as a temporary moratorium halts the bulk of herbicide use in Lakeland lakes, city commissioners were told this morning. More
The city of Lakeland is taking a close look at how much it spends to incentivize business growth and where the dollars come from, after an economic development group suggested changes.
Following a recent presentation by Steve Scruggs, president of the private, non-profit Lakeland Economic Development Council, city commissioners expressed willingness to consider a tactic different than the current incentive of paying cash rebates after the creation of high-paying, highly skilled jobs. More
- A Lawton Chiles Middle School sixth-grader refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
- A substitute teacher criticized him for his action and the argument escalated.
- School officials say the student made threats, and he was arrested on charges of disruption and resisting arrest.
- The student’s mother wants charges dropped.
- School district officials say the substitute teacher wasn’t aware that students can opt out of the pledge and she won’t be teaching at Polk schools any longer.
- Details at Bay News 9
KINDNESS: To combat bullying, Sleepy Hill Middle School Principal Kathryn Blackburn instituted “Kindness Day” at the school Thursday. The program found a variety of ways for the children to encourage kindness in each other and themselves.
FIRE: Coverage continued of the Lakeland file that claimed the life of Lorretta Pickard. A press conference with County Fire Chief Tony Stravino and Deputy County Manager Joe Halman was held Wednesday. | The Florida Fire Chiefs Association announced they will investigate whether Capt. James Williams properly handled the response to the Nov. 23 fire. | Polk County Fire Rescue released a series of photos from the fire.
Do big fluctuations in your monthly utility bill have you stressed out? Are you tired of guessing what your utility bill will be? Do you dread the summer months knowing your cooling costs are going up? If yes, then Lakeland Electric’s Average Billing Plan might be for you. More
SCHOOL BUS: To give Citrus Connection a chance to apply for state grants to serve two schools that serve profoundly disabled students, their board of directors asked Polk County Public Schools to wait until the 2020-2021 school year to eliminate school bus service to a dozen charter school campuses in the county. Citrus Connection Executive Director Tom Phillips also asked that some schools they serve start at a later time in order to utilize existing routes.
DOG SHOW: It’s “the best time you can have without a poop bag,” said Trent Rowe, the coordinator and vendor chair for this weekend’s Strawberry Cluster Dog Show at Lakeland Linder International Airport’s Sun ’n Fun area. Human admission is free, but it cost $5 to park a car. In addition to the usual dog show grooming competition, there will be retrieving, dock diving, hunting, and tests for handling stressful situations. (The dogs, not the handlers.) The show is Feb. 15 – 18, 8 a.m. to late afternoon each day.
Planning to take in the Tigers at Publix Field/Joker Marchant Stadium/Tigertown? The Detroit Free Press offers a guide to spring training in Lakeland.
Deputy County Administrator Joe Halman and Polk Fire Rescue Chief Tony Stravino defended their crews this morning in a news conference about the events surrounding the death of Loretta Pickard, 76, in a house fire on Rockridge Road. Here’s full video from their news conference:
More coverage: News Channel 8 | Fox 13 News followup | ABC Action News | Bay News 9 | The Ledger
LkldNow founder and editor Barry Friedman was awarded the first Cygnet Award of 2019 on Tuesday by the community improvement organization Lakeland Vision. The award recognizes businesses and community organizations whose mission or activities align with the strategic goals of Lakeland Vision.
Friedman was presented the award at the intermission of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra concert in the Youkey Theatre at the RP Funding Center. Announcing the award, Lakeland Vision board member Xuchitl Coso said Friedman deserved the award “for the positive difference he is making in the community.” More
FATAL FIRE: County commissioners want details about Polk County Fire Rescue’s response to a house fire on Rockridge Road that claimed the life of a 76-year-old disabled woman awaiting rescue. ALSO: Listen to audio and read a transcript of 28 minutes of radio communications or hear the 911 call.
CORRECTION: The morning paper published a corrected article about lead testing in Polk County schools. The paper noted: “The original version of this story incorrectly compiled information on Polk County Public Schools’ lead testing program. Initial results cleared 59 school sites — 35 sites have had their lead issues remediated, initial results for five other sites are not yet available and the district is awaiting follow-up results from the final 29 school sites, according to the district.” The article contains other corrections.
SPORTS: For the eighth season in a row, the Lakeland Christian girl’s soccer team will advance to the state Final Four tournament after winning the Class 1A, Region 3 final Tuesday night 3-0 against Boca Raton’s St. John Paul II. | Meanwhile, on Friday the Lakeland High School boy’s basketball team will face Bartow High in the Class 8A, District 7 boys basketball championship. The top-seeded Lakeland team defeated Winter Haven 72-50 in the semi-finals Tuesday night.
PAUL HUGHES: Norm Small, a noted Polk County theater director, admiringly profiles the career of Lakeland’s Paul Hughes, another noted Polk County theater director.
Supporters of LkldNow invested in community journalism to the tune of $27,012 in two months at the end of 2018 as the national NewsMatch campaign raised $7.6 million from individual donors and a coalition of major funders for nonprofit news organizations. More
LPD: The Lakeland Police Department purchased 16 new cruisers ahead of schedule to get the cars before prices rise. LPD officials also expect most manufacturers will move to SUVs only for their police vehicle options.
PCFD: Relatives of a Lakeland woman who passed away in a November fire believe the Polk County Fire Department did not follow procedures and failed to save her. According to records, Loretta Pickard, 76, stayed on the phone 20 minutes while a 911 operator told her help was imminent. A News Channel 8 report alleged fire department records noted the home wasn’t engulfed in fames when firefighters arrived and they could have saved Pickard.
ALSO: Fox13 News provides a timeline.
The Lakeland Magic keep on rolling. After a small hiccup against the Stockton Kings, the Magic picked up three more wins last week with local tryout Jeremiah Hill netting a personal record 30 points against the Maine Red Claws. More