TALLER BUILDINGS: City commissioners on Monday heard a passionate plea to allow taller apartment buildings in the Lake Morton district followed by an equally passionate appeal to preserve the current neighborhood esthetic. Saying they wanted more time to mull the issue, the commission decided to wait until July 2 to decide on a proposal to increase building height limits | Read the proposal
PRIDE: In the name of love, they came to Munn Park Saturday. The fourth annual Pride in the Park event was held for and about the local LGBT community.
BURGER BAR: The Fort Myers-based Ford’s Garage chain opens its 10th location at the Lakeland Park Center just north of I-4 off U.S. 98.
CHARGES DROPPED: Two FSC students accused of planting chemical bombs in the Lake Hollingsworth area have completed a pretrial diversion program and won’t be prosecuted.
RIP: Hal Smeltzy, longtime FSC athletic director, 86
MOVIE: Walt Disney Pictures crews are scouting Southgate Shopping Center and setting up a base camp at Southwest Elementary School for upcoming filming of “The One and Only Ivan,” an adaptation of a Newberry Award-winning novel.
BUILDING HEIGHTS: City commissioners on Monday take up a proposal to increase building heights for offices downtown and multi-family buildings in nearby neighborhoods, including the South and East Lake Morton historic districts, the Garden District and Dixieland | Read the proposal
POLITICS: Three county commissioners have endorsed a Brandon legislator over a former Polk county commissioner in the five-candidate Republican primary for U.S. Congress District 15.
WORLD CUP: Some of the Lakeland bars holding special events during the World Cup include Glory Days Grill, Linksters Tap Room and Winners Circle Sports Bar & Grill.
WATER DIRECTOR: Bill Anderson, promoted at age 56 to the $138k job of director of city of Lakeland water utilities from assistant director, stresses his “customer-service based philosophy” that seeks to balance economic development with preserving water resources.
SPORTS: The eight inductees to the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame include three Lakeland residents: Gene Engle (Orange Cup Regatta), Bob Georges (baseball) and Lorraine Bloeth Valerino (synchronized swimming).
MONUMENT: With donations to move the Confederate monument away from Munn Park hovering below $9,000, artist/author Fred Koehler is organizing creatives to donate their skills for a fund-raising auction | Facebook
DINING: Nineteen61 owner Marcos Fernandez has scored a hit with his Latin-flavored, fast-casual Dixieland restaurant D’Lucas, says critic Eric Pera, who awards 4 1/2 stars for the food.
MLB: Three Lakelanders picked up in the MLB draft include FSC pitcher Logan Browning, a Lakeland Christian grad, going to the Red Sox and George Jenkins teammates Brady Allen picked up by the Yankees and Brandon Howlett heading to the Red Sox.
CITY PAY: A consultant’s study of the competitiveness of city of Lakeland employee salaries resulted in raises for 44 percent of workers. City Manager Tony Delgado said most are in the lowest-pay jobs. No salaries were reduced | View a summary presented to city commissioners this morning. (City staff said more detailed documents should be released within a week.)
OAKBRIDGE: City commissioners approved changes in the development plan for Drummond Co.’s Oakbridge development on both sides of the Polk Parkway along Harden Boulevard. The biggest changes are planned for 67 currently undeveloped acres south of the parkway and east of Harden.
Documents: Southeast quadrant | North Village | Updated development order
ELECTRIC FUEL RATE: City commissioners can change the rate Lakeland Electric customers pay as a fuel charge every three months, but they decided to keep the rate at its current $40.75 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours of power for July through September.
CULTURAL HISTORY: City Commissioner Phillip Walker’s idea for an African American cultural history center in Lakeland morphed into a center representing multiple cultural histories once his fellow commissioners discussed it Friday. Justin Troller’s motion to have the city staff explore locations for a center representing multiple ethnicities passed 4-2, with Walker and Stephanie Madden dissenting. (Mayor Bill Mutz was absent.) Said Madden about Walker: “I feel like we’ve hijacked his heart and what he brought up.”
ALSO: View a presentation by city staff showing some other African American history centers and one alternative for Lakeland.
NEW HOSPITAL WING: A coming-out party Saturday for the soon-to-open Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children at Lakeland Regional Health drew hundreds of people. Based on a photo gallery, it looks like many of them were parents or expectant parents.