In order to help each other through issues of stress, depression, and suicidal thoughts Lakeland Fire Department first responders are receiving training by the Florida Firefighters Safety & Health Collaborative. Due to their shared experiences, peer support is often the first step for those coping with job-related issues.
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MEET-UP: The Lakeland Women’s Collective held a Women’s March Meet-Up to discuss ways to improve the community and promote causes vital to women.
SCHOOLS: Griffin Elementary and four other area schools are working to improve their school grade under Educational Directions, a Louisville, Kentucky-based school manager.
VALOR: Tom Butler, 100, received a Quilt of Valor as thanks for his service during World War II at the Colonnades Club House in Lakeland.
CIRCLE-B: Jeff Spence, Polk County’s retired director of parks and natural resources, recently reminded members of the Sierra Club Ancient Islands Group what it took to create the 1,267-acre Circle B Bar Reserve almost 20 years ago.
SPORTS: The Lakeland Dreadnaughts won their second girls weightlifting title in four years with an additional five individual champions taking home trophies. | A free baseball and softball clinic set for 9 a.m. Saturday the 26th at Henley Field will feature former Lakeland High School players Chris Sale and Steve Pearce. The clinic will be run by Florida Southern College’s baseball and softball coaching staffs.
ECLIPSE: A lunar eclipse starts around 10:30 Sunday night. Totality starts at 11:41 and will last 62 minutes. The next Northern Hemisphere lunar eclipse won’t be until May 2021.
AIRPORT: The Lakeland City Commission is expected to approve the renovation of the terminal apron at Lakeland Linder on Tuesday. The projected cost of approximately $2.5 million will be mostly covered by a Federal Aviation Administration grant.
RENOVATIONS: Staff at the RP Funding Center celebrated $14.2 million in renovations yesterday. The work was completed without the building ever having to close.
READING: Polk County Early Learning Coalition’s Polk Heroes program brings community leaders into preschools to promote the importance of reading. Books read are given to the students so they can have their own small library at home.
MONDAY: Local non-emergency office and services will be closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. However, trash pickup will be unaffected in Lakeland.
UNITED WAY: After a three month search, the board of the United Way of Central Florida (UWCF) chose Christina Criser Jackson as the next president and CEO of the organization. Criser Jackson is currently serving as the UWCF vice president of Resource Development and will take over the new position April 1st.
MAKERSPACE: A pilot program in the Lakeland PACE Center for Girls will introduce the makerspace concept into PACE’s curriculum. The Gibson-Barnett Center for Collaboration will serve as a model for the Florida alternative schools for girls in grades six through 12 who are at risk of a number of social issues. | Facebook photo gallery by Jeff Lakeland
7ELEVEN: Lots of people have been wondering about the site clearing at Memorial and Massachusetts, site of a former Marathon gas station. Plans call for a 4,650-square-foot 7Eleven with eight gas pumps, city records show. (No link yet, but here’s a city of Lakeland Instagram post about it.)
BS RANCH: A lawsuit by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection seeks big fines from the BS Ranch recycling facility in east Lakeland, claiming it’s causing odor problems.
REGISTRATION: Polk County Democrats and the Polk County chapter of the League of Women Voters are helping those with felony records, who have completed all terms of their sentences, register to vote at various events this month.
EDUCATION: Without leaving school, some teachers and administrators at Kathleen High School are working toward master’s degrees. The school received a $4.4 million grant to bring University of South Florida educators to the Kathleen campus to teach staff in place. Eligible Kathleen staff receive tuition reimbursement and are expected to complete their degrees by August.
Spectrum News Florida is hosting a town hall at 7 p. m. tonight in the RP Funding Center to examine the effect Hurricane Michael had on Florida’s panhandle and what could happen if the Polk County area suffered a similar fate. Spectrum has invited lawmakers, storm victims, emergency personnel, and meteorologists to discuss the devastation, subsequent recovery efforts, and lessons learned.
Free tickets are available for area citizens who would like to participate. Doors will open at 5:30 p. m. with everyone seated by 6:45 p.m. and light refreshments will be provided. Spectrum will air the town hall live, and will replay it at 7 p.m. on January 19th.
FLORIDA SOUTHERN COLLEGE: Pete Meyer is retiring as Florida Southern’s Director of Athletics. After 20 years at FSC, Meyer is moving to Indiana to start a private venture with his wife, Julie.
LONE PINE: Originally scheduled for Summer 2018, the 42nd annual Polk County Amateur Championship is finally being held this weekend at Lone Palm Golf Club with two divisions: Open and Over-55.
TIME TRAVEL: Just Write! Lakeland will perform former Davenport playwright Vincent Scarsella’s “Practical Time Travel” Jan. 18 to Jan. 20 in the Stage Room, 310 E. Lemon St., Lakeland. The Lakeland-based nonprofit critiques and stages submitted scripts.
COLD: It’s going to be cold this weekend, but not as cold as when it snowed in Polk County 42 years ago this week.
Candidates are Patrick Shawn Jones, Sara Roberts McCarley and Bill Watts. Review election coverage here.
Some polling locations have been moved for this election as the City Commission decided to consolidate 25 precincts into 12 locations.
NEW SCHOOL: A new tuition-free, private middle middle, is set to open this summer at what was once the Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine Building at the corner of Lakeland Hills and Memorial boulevards. Academy Prep of Lakeland is open to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch and who pass the admissions test. The $17,500 annual tuition is paid through private scholarships and a “Step Up For Students” scholarship. Academy Prep has campuses in Tampa and St. Petersburg.
NEW PAINT: The mural on the intersection of Main Street and North Ingraham Avenue received a new coat of paint on Sunday.
NEW COMMISSIONER: The election for a new city commissioner to replace Michael Dunn is set for Tuesday. The three candidates vying for the position gave their views on a range of topics.
(Note: Click for LkldNow election coverage.)
PARADE: The 41st Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King parade was held Saturday. There were 121 parade entries this year, with awards presented at the Feb. 4 Lakeland City Commission meeting.
VISION: Last year, Lakeland city commissioners asked Community and Economic Development Director Nicole Travis for a new vision for the city’s downtown. Travis felt the current plan was good, but needed a different way to promote it. Along with area architects and developers, city staff developed a visual presentation of some of the goals in the plan. ALSO: View the city’s downtown visualization
ELECTION: The three candidates for the Lakeland City Commission give their thoughts about the city’s broadband initiative, Bonnet Springs Park, lake cleanup, and other issues.
(Note: Click for LkldNow election coverage.)