Following the COVID-19 death of 32-year-old Polk Deputy Christopher Broadhead, Sheriff Grady Judd is urging people to vaccinate against the virus. Fifty of Judd’s 2,000 employees are infected with the virus, and as many as five are in the hospital. Judd, who received the Moderna vaccine when it became available, told News Channel 8 he doesn’t know how many of his officers are vaccinated and won’t say whether Broadhead received a vaccine. But he said he will not mandate his employees be vaccinated, declaring to do so would be government overreach. More
With ambulances stacking up at the Lakeland Regional Health Emergency Room and response times declining under the strain of the COVID-19 surge, Polk County’s fire chief advises residents to avoid calling 9-1-1 if at all possible. More
With Tropical Depression Fred expected to bring tropical storm conditions to Central Florida this weekend, Polk County is offering filled sandbags for flood protection. Nearby pickup locations include 8970 N. Campbell Road in Lakeland and 900 NE 5th St. in Mulberry. More
Lakeland city commissioners are at odds over two key pending decisions: next year’s property tax rate and whether to equip police officers with body cameras. At a budget workshop Tuesday, commissioners discussed either keeping the tax rate at the current $5.46 per $1,000 of assessed value or reducing it to $5.43, The Ledger reported. Both are above the 5.20 “rollback rate,” the level expected to bring in the same amount of property tax revenue as the current year. The 5.43 level pushed by Commissioners Bill Read and Mike Musick is the highest level that can be adopted with a simple majority vote.
Lakeland police have canceled a Silver Alert that was issued this morning for Sherri Carpenter, 56, saying she has been located and is being reunited with her family. More
Teens in Lakeland are invited to the Lakeland Police Department’s first Peace Teen Summit at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 30. The morning-long summit at Lake Mirror Auditorium is geared to those ages 13 to 18 in an effort to enhance communication with law enforcement and improve race relations, said Police Chief Ruben Garcia. More
Polk County deputies are seeking the hit-and-run driver of a white Ford F-150 pickup truck that hit two girls, killing one of them, on Independence Day, Fox 13 News reports. Shana Blair, a 14-year-old Advanced Placement student who would have attended Kathleen High School this fall, was killed while walking with a friend near Old Tampa Highway and Clark Road around 9:30 p.m. Sunday. More
Dry weather and an increased risk of brush fires has prompted Polk County Fire Rescue to issue a burn ban that affects unincorporated Polk and all its municipalities except Lake Wales, News Channel 8 reports. Among other things, the ban includes campfires, burning of yard trash or construction debris and use of fireworks.