CAT: An emotional Facebook post about a euthanized cat prompted a Ledger article about how the SPCA learned from an incident in which the agency didn’t maintain its normal four-day hold and euthanized the frail, elderly feline.
CAPTAIN: In his resignation letter, former Polk Fire Rescue Captain James Williams blamed the media for distorting facts for ratings and said he never jeopardized anybody’s life.
DOWNTOWN TRAFFIC: CSX work has closed several downtown rail crossings, forcing north-south traffic into a bottleneck on Florida Avenue. As often happens, railroad officials weren’t available to answer questions about how long the work will take.
FIRE: The cause of a fire at Arbor Glen Apartments in north Lakeland that left several dozen residents scrambling to find new homes was a screw or nail that had pierced an electric wire, degrading it enough to cause ignition, Lakeland fire officials said.
SOUTHEASTERN: After a strong third quarter, the SEU women’s basketball team succumbed to Concordia University 67-59 in the NAIA Division II championship game.
SCHOOL BOARD: Ed Shoemaker announces his second run for the Polk School Board, touting his conservative credentials as he faces incumbent Billy Townsend.
FIRE INVESTIGATION: The outside team investigating a November fatal fire on Rockridge Road has concluded its local interviews and says it will complete a first draft in April.
CITRUS: New inductees to the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame include Tim Hurner, who ran FSC’s citrus horticulture program, and the late Richard Kinney, who headed Florida Citrus Packers when it was based in Lakeland.
SUV IN LAKE MORTON: The SUV was totaled, but the driver was uninjured — as were ducks, geese and swans — when a Ford Excursion was driven into Lake Morton early this morning. Police said the driver was speeding in his girlfriend’s vehicle after having an argument with her at a nearby bar, and he failed to stop at the end of Success Avenue.
TEACHER CHARGED: Christina Lee Dobbs, a drama teacher at Kathleen High School, was charged with leaving the scene of a crash after a woman in another vehicle was injured in a collision at Knights Station Road and Galloway Road Thursday evening.
DINING: Restaurant critic Eric Pera is “conflicted” about Burgerim, a growing chain (with a new south Lakeland location) that gives diners lots of choices when ordering mini-burgers.
PUBLIX: John Attaway Jr. retires May 31 as senior VP, general counsel and secretary at Publix after 21 years there. His replacement: Merriann Metz, 43, who graduated from Stetson Law in 2002 and started at Publix in 2006.
VOTING: In an editorial, the Morning Paper supports a proposal to halve the number of polling places used for Lakeland’s city elections. (Most of the people responding on Facebook to our article felt differently.)
PLANE CRASH: Pilot John Hugh Shannon was likely disoriented when the overloaded Cessna he was flying crashed soon after taking off in dense fog in Bartow the morning of Dec. 24, 2017, killing him and four passengers, the NTSB reported.
SEU LAWSUIT: Southeastern University and two athletic employees were sued by a former cheerleader who said she did not receive adequate treatment after suffering concussions while performing routines.
THAI DOWNTOWN: The couple behind NaraDeva Thai near Mall of Millenia in Orlando are opening a second restaurant with the same name and menu in the long-vacant building on Main Street between Black & Brew and Linksters. | NaraDeva Thai website
SCHOOLS: A bill filed by Florida Sen. Kelli Stargel of Lakeland aims to make public school budgets easier to understand; some Polk School Board members are skeptical of it. (No link; it’s not online yet.)
BASKETBALL FINALS: Follow the Florida high school boys basketball tournament, being held this week at RP Funding Center, with a guide that The Morning Paper intends to keep updated with scores, schedules and stats.
TRAIN WARNINGS: New electronic signs to be activated this month will warn drivers on Florida Avenue of downtown trains in time to divert to alternate routes.
LPD PROMOTION: Sam Taylor, who started with the Lakeland Police Department 30 years ago, goes from captain to assistant chief in charge of Special Services. The article isn’t online yet, but much of the information is available in a city Facebook post.
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS DINING: With his bosses closing their Bosko’s Clubhouse Grille at the city golf course, chef David Dunn will negotiate with the city to open a replacement. He was the only bidder to take over the food concessions there.
DUAL-LANGUAGE SCHOOL: Polk School Board members heard four proposals for charter schools, including Mi Escuela Montessori, which would offer classes in both English and Spanish for kindergarten-through-sixth-grade students at a facility in South Lakeland, Mulberry or Bartow.
TIMEOUT: The Morning Paper’s stand-alone Timeout entertainment section has gone away but many of its features are moving into the main paper, Assistant Managing Editor Allison Guinn writes. Her column urges readers to go online for extensive calendar listings, but as fate would have it, the column itself hasn’t been posted online yet.
PASSENGER RAIL: As Brightline plans to link Lakeland to Tampa, Orlando and Miami via highish-speed rail, Polk County leaders should support an expansion of Sunrail commuter trains to link Lakeland with Winter Haven, Haines City and points east, U.S. Rep. Darren Soto writes in a guest column.