RED-LIGHT CAMERAS: Lakeland’s police chief is asking city commissioners to renew the city’s contract for red-light cameras at key intersections, but one commissioner questions whether the cameras should remain and another seeks changes | The proposed contract | Background via The City Zen Ship
VETERAN HOUSING: Habitat for Humanity announced a plan to use donated land near Mulberry to build tiny houses where low-income military veterans could live rent-free.
PUBLIX CHIEF: The CEO of Publix Super Markets received a 28 percent increase in compensation to nearly $2.5 million in 2017, the first full year after he was promoted from president, according to SEC filings.
#TBT It's strawberry time! Lakeland's long history with this juicy fruit includes cultivation and transportation. Marketing with crate labels served to draw attention to not only the product but to the place as well. This label, featuring the beautiful Lake Mirror Promenade and Civic Center, helped to promote the City of Lakeland. . . . #Strawberries #throwbackthursday #cratelabels #lakemirror #promenade #vintageadvertisement #vintageart #vintage #retroart #florida #Lakeland #civiccenter #transportation #LakelandHistory #SpecialCollections #LakelandHistoryRoom
When built in the 1920s, the Lake Mirror loggia and promenade were known as the Civic Center.
- Jazz on the Lawn at Southeastern University at 7:30 tonight features the school’s jazz ensemble and coincides with the SEU Forum leadership speaker event. Gather on the lawn near the new Buena Vida complex on the northern part of the campus.
- The U.S. Army’s Six-String Soldiers perform Americana, folk, bluegrass and Irish music with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra in a pops concert 8 p.m. Friday at the Lake Mirror Amphitheater.
- Ensembles from Polk public schools play from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Munn Park; the schedule highlights jazz.
- Hear acoustic music on the Kentucky Avenue side of Munn Park the next two Mondays from 11:39 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the March Music Munndays series. Next up: Patty Kenoly and Anisette Mayer. On March 26: Munn Park Saints come home.
WALKOUT: Reporter John Chambliss checks in on some of yesterday’s student walkouts at Polk schools to protest gun violence in solidarity with the students at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
SOCIAL JUSTICE: Mayor Bill Mutz pledged the city’s cooperation implementing the help-for-the-homeless goals of the Polk Ecumenical Action Coalition for Empowerment. Meanwhile, the organization asked its members to urge county commissioners to support its mental health goals and Police Chief Larry Giddens to place more more young first offenders in non-judicial diversion programs. Check video from the event here, here, here and here.
R.I.P: Dolores Brundidge, a Lakeland native who became the founding principal of Rochelle School of the Arts, has died at age 83. Read her family-placed obituary.
CIAO BELLA: Restaurant critic Eric Pera gives the family-owned pasta-and-pizza place on Socrum Loop Road 3 1/2 stars and heaps praise on the desserts and reasonable prices.
The 605,412-square-foot facility was built last year in the CenterState Logistics Park on State Road 33 north of I-4 (map) as the area’s largest speculative warehouse. It is fully leased to a company that distributes Gatorade products. Seller: Brennan Investment Group and Greenfield Partners. Buyer: Griffin Capital Essential Asset REIT Inc. of Los Angeles.
Students claim administrators at McKeel Academy of Technology prevented students from holding a solidarity-with-Parkland rally at 10 a.m. today as other schools around the nation did and instead held a fire drill. School officials have not responded to requests for comment. ABC Action News reports students had been threatened with detention if they participated in a walkout and quotes students who speculate the fire alarm was created as a cover when administrators realized they had made a mistake and that a crowd outside the school would look good for the cameras on TV station helicopters in the area.
YOUTUBE: View the entire discussion at today’s School Board work session, starting at 1:20:50.
Steven G. Achinger, a nephrologist at Watson Clinic since 2009, has been named the organization’s managing partner. Achinger, 45, replaces Dr. Luis Saco, who resigned in December from the position that oversees management and business strategy for the 220-member physician group.
Bob Heist, 58, moves from executive editor of the Northwest Florida Daily News in Fort Walton Beach to editor of The Ledger. Both newspapers are part of the GateHouse chain. A journalist who has spent most of his career in sports departments (LinkedIn profile), Heist stood out among candidates because of his digital talents and “proven ability to build ‘newsrooms of the future’ ” Publisher Brian Burns said. He succeeds Lenore Devore, who resigned in January after nearly seven years as editor. The last time The Ledger hired a chief news executive from outside the newsroom was 1977, when Tim McGuire was hired away from the No. 2 spot at the Corpus Christi Caller Times. Subsequent chief editors (Will Corbin, Skip Perez and Devore) were promoted from within. Heist social media profiles: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
The Lakeland Fire Department put firefighter Peter Jason Martucci, 40, on paid administrative leave Monday. He was arrested by Pasco sheriff’s deputies Saturday night after a man claimed Martucci pointed a handgun at him during a road rage incident.
Susan Pourciau of the Tallahassee-based Florida Housing Coalition gave an update last week on the six months she’s spent in Lakeland and said the steering committee already includes Police Chief Larry Giddens and representatives from health care and philanthropic organizations.
A key paragraph: “Locating the store across the street from a traditional Publix is a bit of a head scratcher. But the new GreenWise location will operate mainly as a meal and quick-trip destination, holding wine and cheese tastings, and selling burrito bowls, Mediterranean pizza, sushi, smoked wings and craft beers. If it effectively complements the larger store, Publix could have an effective tool to expand customer penetration in existing markets, and to push into new ones, as well.”