- Lakeland Electric says it’s going to look carefully at a report from environmental groups urging the city to shut its coal-burning power plant for economic reasons.
- Kimberly Wyant won’t have to vacate her new gallery/artist space near Lake Mirror until her lease is up, according to the head of the organization whose plans to move and enlarge Catapult will ultimately displace the small business.
- As it prepares for a move to Lakeland’s airport, PSC’s aerospace program starts a training partnership with ExpressJet.
- Columnist Bruce Anderson ponders why only one of three eligible Lakeland City Commission seats is being contested this fall.
- For pedaling 3,844 miles this summer and raising $15k, Americans for Independence named Boyd Lipham its volunteer of the year: story | gallery
- Clifford Parody profiles Poster, a local band he calls “nostalgic, comfortable, contemplative.” Check their latest album.
- Reporter Clifford Parody explores the rise in heroin use in Polk, particularly in Lakeland, as drug users switch from pills, and a Lakeland ex-addict tells him, “I’ve seen people get shot over a dime bag.”
- Thirty years ago, A Lakeland family’s faith led surgeon Ben Carson to perform an operation that he considered hopeless but ultimately saved a child’s life and may have influenced Carson’s presidential run.
- Nearly 300 people attended a Lakeland Regional Health reunion for families of babies born in the neonatal intensive care unit. story | gallery.
- Begun in Lakeland, the Lakes Education/Action Drive has removed 12,000 pounds of trash from Polk lakes through volunteer power.
CITY: When you’re in a fender-bender, who you gonna call? If you’re City Commissioner Philip Walker, you phone the police chief.
HIGHER EDUCATION: Zenith Education Group bought Everest University from troubled Corinthian Colleges and is turning it into a non-profit. | Construction of a second dorm at Florida Polytechnic University is 30 days ahead of schedule.
EVENTS: Burt Reynolds headlines Fall AutoFest at Sun ‘n Fun Nov. 13-14. | A meeting between promoter Ekho Powell and buzzy swimsuit designer Altrichia A. Lekay Cook led to Lakeland Fashion Week, which kicks off Tuesday. | Contemporary Christian singer Natalie Grant highlights a series of Porch Light events this weekend and next that raise funds for a sex trafficking victims shelter. | A Sm(ART) Business Symposium at Southeastern University on Friday explores the intersection of business and creativity.
- City commissioners unanimously approved a new schedule of impact fees on new construction despite a last-minute objection from builders about the portion derived from state roads.
- David Lee Martin, who founded Mister Fish in 1969 and was fond of the expressions “everything is beautiful,” “big bucks,” and “think fish,” died at age 82. Read his family-placed obituary.
- The administration building at Kathleen High School was dedicated to the memory of Dr. Clint Wright, who made his biggest education impact on Kathleen schools.
- Jarvis Kendrick, who oversees nine MidFlorida Credit Union branches and has been honored for volunteerism, likes working in finance because it combines his talent with numbers with his interest in meeting new people.
- City Commissioner Philip Walker faces election challenges from A.J. Rodriguez and Ricky Shirah. Meanwhile, Justin Troller was re-elected without opposition, and newcomer Bill “Tiger” Read becomes a commissioner in January since nobody else qualified to run for the seat being vacated by Keith Merritt.
- Lois Searl, who leaves a legacy in volunteerism and as the first woman on the City Commission, has died at 92. News article | Obituary
- Watson Clinic’s 38,000-square-foot complex in the Lakeland Highlands opens Sept. 28, but you can get an advance look at an open house Wednesday.
- Django & Friends Dixieland Emporium provides space for a variety of artists to show and sell their works on Frank Lloyd Wright Way.
- As Tony Delgado begins his first real day on the job as interim city manager facing a contentious budget hearing (6 p.m. today at City Hall), reporter Christopher Guinn looks at his “customer service-centric” approach in a 2,200-word profile, and an editorial declares “he has the foresight to elevate Lakeland to new heights.”
- At Southeastern University, Thursday’s dedication of a choral rehearsal hall marks a new phase of an ambitious building boom that will include a larger arts and media facility, administration and athletic operations building, student activity center and a parking garage.
- Two young women who make a difference are profiled: Mandy Fulton was named a Polk Emerging Leader for her work as a United Way fund raiser and as a volunteer; Lakeland native Ashlee Wright thought she was going to be an attorney but joined the family business (parents Clint and Debra Wright were well-known educators) and founded New Beginnings High School.
- Polk County once had eight fire towers; there are four now, and only the one along U.S. 98 north of Lakeland seems sturdy enough to remain in use much longer, Suzie Schottelkotte reports.