- A small lobby at the Lakeland Social Security office complicates problems for elderly and disabled people who often wait outside in long lines for services.
- Following a report showing increased crashes at intersections with red light cameras, pressure is growing on legislators to ban the cameras.
- Firefighters rescued five dogs in a duplex fire that displaced a family and caused $20k in damage.
AIRPORT: The city expects to spend $183k to move protected gopher tortoises to accommodate Lakeland Linder tower construction.
COLD: Temperatures have stayed above freezing, keeping some shelters from opening and leaving homeless people out in the cold.
CITY HALL: A “road diet” on Massachusetts Avenue will add parking and dedicated turn lanes in the central business district | A never-used “free speech zone” is removed at the city airport | A parking lot is coming to Florida Avenue for FSC students in the Lake Morton Apartments.
SHERIFF: A captain who suffered a “medical episode” was involved in a car cash on County Road 540A near Carter Road.
- The city and LPD p.r. specialist Ann Dinges have reached an agreement: She’ll resign and get paid more than $38.5k while acknowledging she won’t sue the city and will drop a federal discrimination complaint.
- Larry Roberts, who along with his wife adopted her three teen cousins after a family tragedy, has died of cancer at age 39.
- A new bus route linking downtown, Lakeland Park Center and the Salvation Army (and funded by the shopping center’s developer) was formally inaugurated Thursday.
MLK WEEKEND: The annual Lakeland parade starts at 11 a.m. Saturday at 14th Street and Kathleen Road (no story link), followed by a Dream Mega Fest Big Top Circus from 1 to 5 at Bryant Stadium. Under a new policy, parade participants have been asked not to toss out treats as a safety measure.
A&E: Editor Lenore Devore sampled Latin gourmet restaurant nineteen 61 and liked what she tasted, awarding it 4 1/2 stars | Jackie Evanchco, who has been in the national spotlight five of her 15 years, sings at The Lakeland Center Saturday night.
CITY CHARTER: With a new chief executive in place, city commissioners are ready to review the city charter for possible changes; meanwhile, a group pushing for a strong mayor continues pushing for a vote on the issue, possibly in a mail-in ballot special election.
LPD: A Police Department part-timer has been fired after an investigation determined she failed to report an accident when she backed into an assistant chief’s cruiser and dented it last April.
- The opening of a Lake Gibson clinic this Thursday is one of a series of expansions as Lakeland Regional Health covers a gamut of medical options.
- Challenger Shandale Terrell is undeterred by incumbent state Rep. Colleen Burton‘s $93k-to-$3k fundraising advantage. “So, she’s got 93,000 bucks. I’m going to try to shake that many hands,” he tells columnist Rick Rousos.
PARKING: An expected lease with MidAmerica Administrative and Retirement Solutions would offset costs to expand the city-owned parking lot at Lime Street and Tennessee Avenue.
AVIATION: Pilots with Draken International, which is based at Lakeland Linder Airport, tripled their flight hours in 2015 over the previous year as the company won new contracts.