A Polk County firefighter from Lakeland and his family are stranded in Puerto Rico for weeks after his son was diagnosed with COVID-19 during a vacation, News Channel 8 reports. Andrew Rodriguez claims authorities there are retaliating against him for questioning the treatment prescribed for his hospitalized son. More
Amanda Gaspary, a curriculum specialist at Santa Fe Catholic High School, showed her prowess on “Jeopardy” Tuesday night, 10 Tampa Bay reports. She made it to Final Jeopardy, finishing second to defending champion Bryce Hwang. “It was really surreal, so it’s sort of like a ‘Jeopardy!’ fan’s dream come true,” Gaspary said.
The home of the Second District Court of Appeal would remain in Lakeland instead of moved to St. Petersburg, under the Florida Senate’s proposed budget. The budget being shepherded by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, includes $50 million to build a new court facility in Polk County, Florida Politics reports. The Legislature last year approved $21 million to build a Second DCA building in St. Petersburg, but the item was vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The court is currently operating from temporary quarters in Tampa.
Mayor Bill Mutz tells News Channel 8 of a close encounter with Monday’s mass shooting at a Boulder, Colo., supermarket. While visiting family nearby, he had been running errands in the same shopping center less than a half hour before the shootings that killed 10 people. “That King Sooper’s is where we pick things up. I would have literally been in that store had I had a grocery item. I didn’t.”
Pam Bryan knew she needed to make changes in her life. A nurse with Lakeland Regional Health and a grandmother of eight, she found herself in a cycle of being very overweight and depressed. Years of putting family first and resolutions to improve her own mental and physical health seemed futile. Trying to lose weight – a continual struggle for Bryan – had taken a heavy toll. More
LaFrancine Burton’s passion has been researching and writing about the history of the Black experience in Lakeland. A particular interest is the Moorehead community that was uprooted to build the complex now known as the RP Funding Center. She tells her own story, including experiences as one of the first two Black students at Lakeland High School, in an interview with Ashley Troutman for The Lakelander.
“American Idol” contestant Zach D’Onofrio, a 20-year-old Florida Southern College student, could definitely carry a tune as a kid, even though his family could barely hear him. His parents, Darci and Bryan D’Onofrio of Wesley Chapel, would often catch him singing sotto voce in church or in the car, and they could tell his pitch was perfect. But it wasn’t until 2015 when he surprised the family with his booming voice. More
When it comes to the world of classical music, the guitar, at best, has a history of playing second fiddle. There’s just not a wide reserve of music composed for the instrument, and that’s something Lakeland guitarist Robert Phillips was seeking to remedy when creating his newest recording. More
Musician Eric N. Collins, better known to fans as MrENC, has released an EP, “We Do Our Own Thing,” which he calls a “love letter to Lakeland” that expresses nostalgia about growing up here in the 1990s. More
As the executive director and chief curator at Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College, Dr. H. Alexander Rich’s professional life rose another rung on Feb. 8. He was named the George and Dorothy Forsythe Endowed Chair in Art History and Museum Studies at Florida Southern. The academic title, supported by the George C. Forsythe Family Foundation, sponsors Rich’s dual position as a professor at the college. More