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.
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.”
Spectrum News Florida is hosting a town hall at 7 p. m. tonight in the RP Funding Center to examine the effect Hurricane Michael had on Florida’s panhandle and what could happen if the Polk County area suffered a similar fate. Spectrum has invited lawmakers, storm victims, emergency personnel, and meteorologists to discuss the devastation, subsequent recovery efforts, and lessons learned.
Free tickets are available for area citizens who would like to participate. Doors will open at 5:30 p. m. with everyone seated by 6:45 p.m. and light refreshments will be provided. Spectrum will air the town hall live, and will replay it at 7 p.m. on January 19th.
FLORIDA SOUTHERN COLLEGE: Pete Meyer is retiring as Florida Southern’s Director of Athletics. After 20 years at FSC, Meyer is moving to Indiana to start a private venture with his wife, Julie.
LONE PINE: Originally scheduled for Summer 2018, the 42nd annual Polk County Amateur Championship is finally being held this weekend at Lone Palm Golf Club with two divisions: Open and Over-55.
TIME TRAVEL: Just Write! Lakeland will perform former Davenport playwright Vincent Scarsella’s “Practical Time Travel” Jan. 18 to Jan. 20 in the Stage Room, 310 E. Lemon St., Lakeland. The Lakeland-based nonprofit critiques and stages submitted scripts.
COLD: It’s going to be cold this weekend, but not as cold as when it snowed in Polk County 42 years ago this week.
Sara Roberts McCarley was elected to a nearly-three-year-term on the Lakeland City Commission, capturing 74.2 percent of the vote in today’s three-candidate special election.
Candidates are Patrick Shawn Jones, Sara Roberts McCarley and Bill Watts. Review election coverage here.
Some polling locations have been moved for this election as the City Commission decided to consolidate 25 precincts into 12 locations.
Look up your polling place here or find your location below: