LAKE PARKER: By the time the flow of sewage into Lake Parker was capped at 8:20 Thursday night, an estimated 260,000 gallons spilled, city officials said Friday. They are waiting for lab test results, but don’t anticipate lingering environmental effects from the spill that was caused when city workers accidentally cut through a high-pressure line Thursday morning while removing tree stumps.
SCHOOL BOARD: The contenders in the District 7 race for the Polk County School Board are a career educator who helped develop career academies and a former teacher who became known as a fierce advocate for special needs students.
JUDGE: Hope Pattey of Lakeland, a 47-year-old prosecutor, was appointed a Polk County judge Friday. She started at the State Attorney’s Office as a secretary, earned a bachelor’s degree at night and returned to the office after earning a law degree, eventually heading the homicide division.
Brian Klecha, a 35-year-old Disney bus driver who lived in Lakeland, was last seen at MidFlorida Credit Union in Auburndale last Dec. 27. The FDLE asks that anybody with information about his disappearance call them at 813-352-2380.
COMBEE: Two Lakeland residents running for Congress called foul after Neil Combee sent out a flyer saying he’s the only Polk resident in the five-man GOP primary. Combee acknowledges it was an error made in haste but added the two, Sean Harper and Ed Shoemaker, wouldn’t have liked the original version: “It was supposed to say, ‘the only candidate who lives and works in Polk County who can win this election.’”
RACING DEATH: It wasn’t a case of road rage that led to a driver’s death on Bartow Highway in Highland City last month, Sheriff Grady Judd said; it was a high-speed road race. The survivor was charged with vehicular homicide; deputies say his 2007 Acura TSX went out of control and caused both vehicles to slam into an abandoned building.
After months in the making, Cafe Roti is ready to open its new home for Indian and Pakistani cuisine on Monday. Owner Dr. Saqib Khan has upgraded the site at 116 S. Tennessee Ave. between Main and Lemon that used to house a Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Check a preliminary menu.
Residents were warned against fishing and swimming in Lake Parker today after up to 400,000 gallons of raw sewage poured into the west side of the lake near Valencia Street and Lake Parker Drive. The spill was caused when tree stump removers accidentally broke a pressurized sewage line. It will be Friday morning before the extent of damage is calculated, and city officials said they expect vegetation in the spill area to minimize long-term environmental damage.
EWELL ROAD: Expect more traffic delays around Ewell, Lunn, South Pipkin and Yates Roads as crews continue building the new Ewell Road bridge over Poley Creek. The bridge is expected to be completed in mid-September; other road improvements in the area will continue through early 2019 | DOT project summary and detour map
POLITICS/CONGRESS: Reporter Mike Ferguson introduces readers to the three Republicans and two Democrats who want to replace Tom Rooney in U.S. House District 17, which takes in portions of greater Lakeland south of Shepherd Road and County Road 540A (District 17 map). Most of Lakeland is in District 15, which we’ve been following regularly.
WATER: A judge says the Polk County Water Cooperative (which includes the city of Lakeland) can continue its legal action to prevent downstream communities from doubling their water draw.
GUITAR MAN: Swan Brewing is expanding its musical range, with Sam Ortiz playing classical guitar tonight from 6 to 9.
BS RANCH: Polk County government was within its right to change rules governing the BS Ranch recycling facility in east Lakeland, the Florida Cabinet ruled Tuesday. But the saga isn’t over: A co-owner of the ranch, which has generated odor complaints, said they’ll probably appeal the decision in the courts.
MUSIC RANCH: Another kind of ranch — one that specializes in Southern rock in a laid-back, country setting — is turning 20. The Music Ranch in north Lakeland is celebrating with a nine-hour benefit concert Sept. 8 | Facebook
Florida Forest Service firefighters based in Lakeland have been deployed to Oklahoma, Texas, Oregon, California, Utah, Idaho and Colorado to help suppress wildfires.
Candidate introductions start at around the 12-minute mark:
A sold-out crowd of more than 500 people gathered at Marty Higginbotham’s Rocking H Ranch tonight to meet candidates, munch barbecue and cast straw poll ballots at the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce Political Hob Nob. Keep reading for straw poll results.
The Lakelander staff lists Latin restaurants they think you should know about, and writer Tara Campbell (known to many for her baking talent) profiles some favorites: La Michoacana, Arepazo Grill (food truck), La Imperial Bakery and Brasa Latina.
An undercover police sergeant was taken to the hospital after flying shrapnel at the LPD shooting range caused severe bleeding on his wrist in June. A safety review team meets Sept. 6 to determine how to improve safety at the range.
Florida Lineman Appreciation Day is Aug. 26. On this day, we remember all the hard work the lineman do every day to keep the lights on in Lakeland. Without the dedication, hard work and efficiency of linemen, Lakeland would be a lot less bright. The men and women who serve our community, and across the state, put their lives on the line so we can enjoy the comfort of our own homes.
The Second District Court of Appeals has been hearing cases in Tampa since the court’s Lakeland headquarters building was declared uninhabitable in 2016. In an editorial, The Tampa Bay Times argues the court should stay in Tampa. Half of the court’s business originates in the Tampa Bay region and 41 percent of the population of the 13-county district lives in the bay area, the newspaper points out. Pork chop politics in the Legislature landed the court in Lakeland and is clouding reason in the debate on where to house the court, the editorial states, concluding that “all Lakeland has to commend it as a legal center now is inertia.”