The corner of Massachusetts and Parker got brightened up this week when artist Gillian Fazio painted a citrusy summerscape on the wall of The Yard on Mass facing Parker Street.
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Frustrated that many vacant lots are used as illegal dumping grounds, city commissioners are pondering whether to raise fines for property owners, many of whom live out of state, who repeatedly violate lot-cleaning rules. The city pays to have the lots cleaned and mowed, and Commissioner Scott Franklin says the repeat offenders must consider the current fees and fines (typically $261 to $546) a cost of doing business | Latest list of violators
Is Lakeland ready for rental electric scooters? With one exception, city commissioners don’t think we’re there yet, but they’re willing to listen to a young couple who would like to bring 45 scooters here as a pilot project. More
There’s still time to enjoy live music before the two-week holiday period ends. A highlight this weekend comes Saturday when Uncle John’s Band, a favorite of Florida Deadheads, comes to the RP Funding Center to re-create the Grateful Dead’s famous May 1977 concert at the same venue when it was called the Lakeland Civic Center. Keep scrolling for our updated live music calendar. More
A collaboration with other pet-serving agencies and a program that sent 300 kittens to out-of-state homes helped preserve the lives of 1,500 animals, SPCA Florida says as it seeks to reverse Polk’s position as the county with Florida’s highest animal-kill rate.
News Channel 8 looks at the eight addresses in Lakeland where crimes are reported most often. The locations and explanations offered by LPD Assistant Chief Sam Taylor: Lakeland Regional Health (many victims end up there); five retail locations, including both Walmarts, Lakeland Square Mall, Circle K at Florida and 14th; and McDonald’s on Memorial Boulevard (shoplifting and parking lot accidents dominate); Lakewood Terrace Apartments on 14th Street; and Talbot House (homeless people are often victims and the organization “facilitates the reporting.”) Overall crime continues declining, Taylor says.
Several hundred people gathered at the Lake Mirror amphitheater Monday night for a candlelight vigil in memory of Rachael Ramsey, one of the victims of a Christmas Eve double murder-suicide at her house on Atlanta Avenue. Said her mother: “To know that there are so many people supporting us it is just very heartwarming.” | ALSO: WFLA talks with the grandmother now caring for the children of the other murder victim.
- HOUSING: With 228 affordable housing units now being built in Lakeland and 220 under permitting, Mayor Bill Mutz is convinced the city will more than meet its pledge to provide 500 units by 2024. The article catalogues current projects.
- LEGISLATION: State legislators representing Polk County are seeking $23 million next year for local projects. Lakeland-specific programs include $1 million sought by Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Colleen Burton to help build Lakeland Regional Health’s behavioral health center, $975,000 sought by Stargel for the One More Child faith-based anti-trafficking program, $2 million sought by Sen. Ben Albritton for an education center at the Se7en Wetlands nature preserve, and $950,000 sought by Stargel and Rep. Josie Tomkow for One More Child‘s single moms program.
- RIP: Charles W. “Chuck” Bovay, 91, former president of Lanier Upshaw and civic activist.
Friends and family of the two people gunned down in an Atlanta Avenue home on Christmas Eve have started GoFundMe accounts to help with funerals and the expenses of raising the two sets of young children who lost parents. More