Both candidates in the May 1 election for the District 39 seat in the Florida House of Representatives claim to be pro-agriculture and pro-guns, important issues in the largely rural district (map). But they are separated by age (Republican Josie Tomkow is 22; Democrat Ricky Shirah is 64) and the amount of campaign donations they’ve attracted. Shirah claims Tomkow has raised $148,000 – 10 times as much as he has – because she is supported by special interests and the NRA. Tomkow replies: “I worked in Tallahassee, and I can’t help that I have connections in Tallahassee and here in the district.”
About Barry Friedman
Lkldnow.com, which I founded in 2015, is the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, I have used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland and Polk County understand their community better.
Posts by Barry Friedman:
CAMERAS: LPD’s assertion that viral video of a recent arrest didn’t tell the whole story raises the question of whether body cameras would give the public a fuller view, The Ledger writes. After speaking with local law enforcement leaders, the reporter concludes cameras won’t be used here anytime soon.
TRAFFICKING SURVIVOR: The Florida Baptist Children’s Home’s Christa Hicks is devoted to helping survivors of sex trafficking and drug dependence because she knows what it’s like to be in their shoes.
POLK STATE: Nearly 1,080 students are candidates for graduation during Polk State College’s May 3 commencement ceremonies, where Florida Agriculture Commissioner and candidate for governor Adam Putnam will speak.
FLEETWING: Former Fleetwing President David Ricketts is awarded $3.4 million plus attorneys’ fees in his breach-of-contract lawsuit against the employer that fired him in 2015.
LAKELAND ELECTRIC: A giant, new electronic display at the city utility’s headquarters lets employees quickly spot the precise locations of outages and other grid issues.
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich denied Drummond Corp.’s move to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Oakbridge and Grasslands homeowners alleging their property was contaminated by gamma radiation.
Gregory Pilkington of Indian Lake Estates is focusing on public education in his bid for the Democratic nomination to succeed Dennis Ross in Congress. His platform includes relieving teachers from having to pay federal income tax.
Lakeland homebuilder Sean Harper (LinkedIn profile) is the newest likely candidate named as the Tampa Bay Times reports that the GOP primary for the Congressional seat being vacated by Dennis Ross is shaping up as a Polk-vs.-Hillsborough battle. Hillsborough has more voters in District 15 as a result of the latest reapportionment of Florida’s U.S. House districts. On the Democratic side, The Times reports: “Andrew Learned of Valrico is mounting a spirited campaign. There are no signs of new Democrats joining the race.”
NURSING HOMES: As the owners of Oakbridge Healthcare Center prepare to appeal a 20-year ban on being a Medicaid provider, they reached an agreement with the state to preserve threatened licenses at dozens of other facilities. An incident in which an Oakbridge patient was discharged to the wrong family illustrates the disarray just before the facility was closed, The Ledger reports.
VETERINARIAN: Dr. Marc Presnell of Santa Fe Animal Hospital in north Lakeland has been elected president of the Florida Veterinary Medical Association.
POLICE: After videos of a violent arrest sparked Facebook criticism of the Lakeland Police Department, Chief Giddens took his case to The Ledger editorial board, who concluded “the police deserve the benefit of the doubt because what we see is not the whole story.”
MAGIC BUS: The host of the Beatnik Exchange vintage market tonight debuts Indie Blu, a colorful trolley that serves as a rolling art studio and market.
CONGRESS: Greg Pilkington, a 55-year-old former customs enforcement executive who lives in Indian Lake Estates, is running for the Democratic nomination for the District 15 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives being vacated by Dennis Ross.
TOM SHAW B&B: At 93, former City Commissioner Tom Shaw is retiring and selling his bed and breakfast on Orange Street. Buyer Chris Graznow said she’ll lease rooms via AirBnB and continue to offer the second floor to bridal parties preparing for weddings across the street in Hollis Gardens.
VINYL: Stocking up on new and vintage vinyl albums for Saturday’s International Record Store Day, the owner of Jesse Carl Vinyl says starting small at the downtown curb market prepared her for success in her brick-and-mortar store in NoBay Village.