Tampa Bay Business Journal features Lakeland-based AgAmerica Lending as one of its Fast50, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the Tampa Bay area. In a QA, CEO Brian Philpot says the company’s staff has doubled in size over the last year as it plans to launch a western HQ in Boise, Idaho, and celebrates transitioning to the to the commercial agricultural mortgage Real Estate Investment Trust (mREIT) in the United States.
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Reporting by Bay News 9’s Stephanie Claytor about how Polk fared in the Legislature includes a chart listing the local projects: how much money they got and which ones were vetoed by the governor.
PUBLIX: The Grove Park Publix reopened at 7 a.m. today in a rebuilt store that’s 5,000 square feet larger than its 1960s-era predecessor. At 10 a.m. doors open to the public for the first time on a Publix liquor store in the same plaza. In North Lakeland, the Plantation Square Publix on Socrum Loop Road will be similarly rebuilt; it closed last night and reopens sometime next year. Eric Pera reports.
DWAYNE’S PLACE: It was just over a month ago that the owner of Dwayne’s Place Diner and Grill railed on Facebook (here) against The Ledger’s methods of using restaurant health inspections as clickbait. He’s probably feeling friendlier toward The Morning Paper today following Eric Pera’s four-star review praising the South Lakeland restaurant’s Southern-style comfort food in general and its sloppy joes in particular.
HONEYCOMB / TWENTY SEVEN: The very busy Mr. Pera chats with Benjamin Vickers and Jenna O’Brien about their plans for a Bay Street storefront downtown that will house Vickers’ Honeycomb bakery and bistro and O’Brien’s Twenty Seven purveyor of paper goods, gifts and art.
Megan Towner, a guitarist and vocalist with local bands including adieux and dagger, has a new title: keeper of the LkldNow music calendar. She’s been around the music scene awhile, so when I asked her for help picking out highlights this weekend, she responded quickly, saying:
“John Frinzi apparently packs Garden Bistro out every Wednesday. Must be a pretty alluring acoustic set. Benjamin Neil from the indie rock band Rocket To Anywhere is driving up from West Palm Beach (to Frescos on Thursday). Garden Club at the Pink Piano (Friday) has a pretty killer pianist and harpist in the mix of a full alternative rock band. Straitjacket Smile is a metal band from Tampa (playing Ybor Live Saturday).”
Sounds good to me. I also want to throw in Red White and Kaboom on Wednesday evening at Lake Mirror since that will be the week’s best-attended event with live music. Like recent years, the pre-fireworks band will be pumping reggae riddims, but this year it’s with a religious twist. The City Saints say on Facebook: “We sing praises to the God who has given us new life, freedom, and forgiveness. It’s all about Jesus!” It’s a new world order at the city. Keep scrolling for the entire live music calendar. More
For the local business incubator, it means access to high-tech resources and potential opportunities for emerging businesses based at Catapult, according to Christina Graham, Catapult’s executive director. More
Along with reports by the BBC, NPR and the Washington Post, The New York Times covered issues surrounding the arrest of Courtney Taylor Irby by Lakeland police. She’s the woman who was charged with armed burglary and spent six days in jail after taking police the guns she removed from her estranged husband’s home when a judge ordered him not to carry them. Among others, reporter Nicholas Bogel Burroughs spoke with: More
Lakeland police tonight apprehended a 25-year-old man who escaped from a patrol car this morning after he was arrested and charged with burglary, police spokeswoman Robin Tillet said. The search for Brandon James Beverly started late morning and focused on the Dixieland and Lake Morton Neighborhoods. More
SE7EN WETLANDS: The city of Lakeland is getting partial funding to design and build an education center at the Se7en Wetlands conservation area, courtesy of legislation that survived Gov. DeSantis’ veto pen. Two previous attempts for funding were vetoed by former Gov. Rick Scott.
PRINCIPALS: Several public schools in Lakeland are changing principals in the annual leadership shuffle: Doris A. Sanders Learning Center – Polly Bruno replaces Debra Peavey, who is retiring; Lakeland Highlands Middle – Edgar Santiago replaces Telay Kendrick; Lawton Chiles Middle Academy – Telay Kendrick replaces Brian Andrews, who goes to the Bartow IB school; Philip O’Brien Elementary – Charlie Huntley replacs Merri Crawford, who is retiring; Sleepy Hill Middle School – Wallace Selph replaces Kathryn Blackburn, who goes to Daniel Jenkins Academy in Haines City.
EARLY LEARNING: Last week we linked to Ledger coverage of Katrina Lunsford’s ouster as chair of Polk’s Early Learning Coalition, which monitors spending on pre-K and VPK programs. Yesterday, Bay News 9 reported that Lunsford is questioning the timing; she says she had been looking into reports of improper documentation and missing required data on contracts.
INMATE DIES: Inmate Arthur Francis Gilmore, 84, of Lakeland, died early Sunday at a hospital in Sebring after falling near the top of some stairs at South Polk Jail Saturday night. Several investigations are underway. Gilmore was in jail on charges he violated probation on previous attempted child sexual battery convictions, WFLA reports.
MOTORCYCLE FATALITY: Polk deputies say speed may have been a factor when 33-year-old Travis Lester of Lakeland was thrown from his motorcycle and died after slamming into a parked SUV on Combee Road near Jungle Street Saturday evening, Bay News 9 reports.