- Newly seated City Commissioner Bill “Tiger” Read describes himself as a fiscal conservative and team builder who wants to learn the ropes before speaking out.
- Briefly: Judge favors CSX in suit over Ewell Road crossing deaths | Endangered man still missing from Lake Parker retirement home | Unoccupied mobile home burns on Sleepy Hill Road.
- A recent court appearance by the North Lakeland “water guy” exhibits the tension between law enforcement’s need to ensure safety and not seeming overly harsh with the needy and homeless.
- A Lakeland homeowner shot and killed a man who tried to break into a house and shoot at the two people inside, the Polk Sheriff’s Office said. Here’s the 10 News version.
- A Florida Senate map drawn by voter-rights groups and approved by a judge Wednesday will extend the Lakeland-based district currently represented by Kelli Stargel into Lake County and remove some Polk County areas north of I-4.
- Trave Williams, founder of the Big Hearted Angels Christmas charity, died in a work-related timber accident Dec. 21. He was 77.
- Victoria Collins remains jailed as a grand jury indicts her for first-degree murder in the death of her ex-lover.
- Proponents of higher Internet speeds in Lakeland are divided over the name Gigabit Lakeland and how far to push city government to expand its fiber network to businesses and residents. An advocacy group questions a city commissioner’s motives, and the commissioner says the citizen’s group needs to be more pragmatic.
- Catapult Lakeland has incubated several startups that recently moved into new spaces: Born & Bread Bakehouse, Patriot Craft Coffee and The Poor Porker/801 E. Main.
- As access to pain meds tightens, police have seen an alarming rise in heroin use in Lakeland at the same time a new drug holds hope for effective treatment.
- Author Tom Corcoran detours from his reliable formula in his latest mystery novel.
- While suggesting city commissioners dub Tony Delgado city manager on Monday (a foregone conclusion), an editorial asks the people behind the strong-mayor movement to end their effort and see how Delgado’s administration performs.
RAPE KITS: After hearing that LPD has sent 80 of 320 untested rape kits to the state for processing, Don Selvage wants to know what the city can do to get faster results. Police say it will ultimately cost more if they use private labs instead of the state one.
EAST MAIN: The eclectic, upcycle esthetic of the newly opened 801 E. Main came under the gaze of the city design review committee. Their judgment: They like what they see but worry others might attempt the style with less panache. The upshot: Approval to encourage creativity in an area city planners view as an emerging artisans colony.
MORE UPCYCLING: Antiques and collectibles will be offered Saturday at an Urban Treasures event at Rochelle School with a portion of proceeds helping the Rochelle band.
DRUG RING: 19 were arrested in a meth and coke crackdown.
- It looks like Tony Delgado will be offered the job of Lakeland City Manager at a salary of $182k on Monday.
- “This is the most horrible thing I’ve ever gone through,” Kevin Warren said after his wife was accused of taking $190k from his company, in part to support an affair.
- A new TV section is coming to the Sunday Ledger (no link yet). It will cost subscribers an extra 50 cents a week unless they opt out.
- ALSO: No bond for accused murderer Victoria Collins | See “The Nutcracker” at Branscomb this weekend | Havertys reopened on S. Florida Avenue (no link)
CRIME: A Lakeland woman’s call to a reporter as part of a scheme to avert suspicion helped build the case that jailed her for first-degree murder. The information Victoria Collins, 58, provided to The Ledger’s Clifford Parody “linked all the evidence together for us,” Sheriff Judd said.
SWAN CRIME: A gray pit bull killed a black nesting swan on Lake Morton after its owner antagonized both animals, witnesses told police; now they’re looking for the couple walking the dog.
EARLY EDUCATION: Community leaders called a meeting to discuss their frustration with the low rate of local children ready for kindergarten. United Way and its partners have adopted a new curriculum and funded master teachers; now they’re seeking money to reach more kids and asking people to volunteer to read to struggling students.