Meghan DeLong of Lakeland has been a crusade to spread information about furniture hazards ever since her two-year-old son, Conner, died after a dresser fell on him in 2017. She started a foundation, Conner’s Legacy (website) and last month sued two furniture industry organizations, CBS Miami reports. Her ask: $50 million in damages the she would use to lobby Congress on par with the furniture industry, her Miami lawyer tells House Beautiful.
Lakeland police are reviewing a Wednesday morning accident in which a young woman returning home from work died when her car was struck by another car whose driver ran a red light while apparently fleeing police, Fox 13 News’ Ken Suarez reports. (An officer “was unable to catch up to the car to conduct a traffic stop before it ran a red light and struck another vehicle in the Memorial Boulevard and Lakeshore Drive intersection,” LPD said Wednesday in a news release.) Suarez reports that key questions for victim Linel Vega-Ortiz’ family is whether police were chasing driver Cleon Truedell and whether the pursuit complied with department policy.
ALSO: The victim’s mother tells WFLA that police informed the family that an officer was chasing Truedell before the accident; the police department told the station Tuedell wasn’t being chased before he sped off from an attempted traffic stop.
Hollie Hepler of Lakeland was born without a uterus, but she fulfilled her dream of having a baby when her sister-in-law, PJ Willis of Gainesville, volunteered to help. In a procedure overseen by a Colorado fertility doctor, PJ carried the fetus created by uniting Hollie’s egg and her husband Joe’s sperm. The Heplers’ son, Jarrell Clayton Hepler, was born healthy last week, weighing 8 pounds, 9 ounces, ABC’s Good Morning America reported.
On May 2, Florida Southern College announced that its provost, or chief academic officer, Dr. Kyle Fedler, would step down from that post to return to a teaching position in the college. Effective Saturday, he will be succeeded as provost and vice president of academic affairs by Dr. Brad Hollingshead, FSC’s dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since 2013. More
Jiwa Farrell, 41, has filed to run against City Commissioner Bill Read, ensuring that there will be at least two races on the Nov. 5 city ballot. In the other race, five people are seeking to replace Justin Troller, who has reached term limits. Commissioner Phillip Walker has no opposition so far. More
Alex Rich, who came to Lakeland in 2014 to head Florida Southern College’s art history program and galleries, has been named executive director and chief curator of the Polk Museum Art. He succeeds Claire Orologas, who has announced her retirement after leading the museum since 2012, according to a news release issued today by Florida Southern College, which formed a partnership with the museum two years ago. More
Sergio Perez, 17, credits the rigor of jointly working on a high school diploma at Lakeland Collegiate High School and an associate’s degree at Polk State College for his acceptance to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He’s the first in his family to go to college.
Alice Koehler, whose career has focused on Lakeland non-profits since she returned here after two years in the Peace Corps, has been chosen as the next president and CEO of Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine. More
When Rose Rosenkranz first visited Auschwitz, the former Nazi extermination camp where as many as 1 million Jews were murdered, she said she heard the voice of her grandmother, who was among those who died there along with her two young children.
“She said, ‘Speak for me and my two babies. I no longer have a voice. You must be my voice.’” More