Katie Worthington Decker has been hired by the Lakeland Economic Development Council as its senior vice president, second in command to long-time President Steve Scruggs. More
Kim-Tien Vo of Lakeland, a senior at Harrison School for the Arts, got perfect scores on two Advanced Placement exams, one of only 12 students in the world to do so this year, Fox 13 News reports. Both exams were in visual arts, and Principal Kevin LeVine says Vo excels in math and science, as well. More
Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy, the LHS Dreadnaughts defensive tackle who was highly sought by major colleges, has decided to join the Texas A&M Aggies rather than the Oklahoma Sooners, his earlier choice, Sports Illustrated reports.
Polk deputies are looking for a white work van with a damaged headlight in connection with the death of a 36-year-old bicyclist who was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Kathleen on Sunday evening, News Channel 8 reports. “Every time we have one of these, it shocks my soul that someone can run over and kill or leave for dead someone on the side of the road and not stop to help,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Three promotions announced today bring an updated leadership structure to the 73-employee city of Lakeland department that oversees community and economic growth.
The Department of Community and Economic Development will be led by Brian Rewis, 48, who served as interim director for the last six months. He will be assisted by: More
With development coming to parts of downtown Lakeland west of Florida Avenue, city commissioners are turning their attention to ways to move pedestrians and bicyclists over and under the barrier formed by the CSX railroad tracks. More
All of Lakeland’s sworn police officers will be equipped with body cameras, under a contract approved unanimously by the City Commission today. The contract with Axon Enterprises Inc. provides police with more equipment than they initially sought and keeps first-year expenses below the budgeted amount. More
Polk State College is using $1.2 million of its federal COVID-19 relief funds to forgive 1,300 student loans, Fox 13 News reports. The debt relief applies to loans issued by the college to students enrolled between March 2020 and June 2021. Amounts vary from 47 cents to $17,000. | ALSO: News Channel 8, Bay News 9 | More
An estimated 50,000 people attended the 41st annual Lakeland Christmas Parade on Thursday evening. The fireworks that opened the parade were double the normal amount to make up for last year, when the parade was suspended because of COVID-19. Keep scrolling for our extensive photo gallery by David Dickey Jr., and click on any image for a larger view. More
Neighbors are fighting a proposal to build 240 apartments on Publix property at the corner of Lake Miriam Drive and South Florida Avenue, The Ledger reports in a subscribers-only story. A major objection is the addition of traffic to an already congested area, but representatives of developer Preferred Apartment Communities said apartments will generate fewer trips than the currently approved commercial uses. The Lakeland Planning and Zoning Board is scheduled to decide on the project Jan. 19.
If you were not one of the thousands who flocked to downtown Lakeland last night to view the 41st annual Lakeland Christmas Parade — of it you were there and want to live it — here is the city of Lakeland’s video coverage of the entire parade. Hosts are Kevin Cook with the city Communications Department and Beth Sherling with Parks and Recreation. Below the full parade video, find highlights coverage from Tampa’s News Channel 8 and Fox 13 News. More
- PALMETTO STREET: The 96-year-old building at 719 E. Palmetto Street across from the main library that formerly housed a rubber stamp company is being renovated for retail use. So far the only confirmed tenant is a yoga studio.
- OPIOID SETTLEMENT: Polk County and its cities will get $17.2 million to address the opioid crisis as part of a legal settlement with drug manufacturers and distributors. (The city of Lakeland expects $750,000 of that, an assistant city attorney said in October.) | City of Lakeland resolution agreeing to participate
- SANTACON, Lakeland’s annual holiday-themed pub crawl, takes place downtown on Dec. 11 starting at 5 p.m. | LkldSantaCon.com
Noah’s Ark of Central Florida announces Lisa Gifford and Sonia Glisson as new members of the Board of Directors. More
- MEETING INVOCATIONS: Polk County commissioners voted unanimously to restrict the people eligible to give invocations before their meetings to only those who volunteer as chaplains with the county fire rescue service. Currently all five are Christian ministers. Previously, the county invited the leaders of more than 1,000 faith organizations to sign up. At least one commissioner acknowledged the action will probably prompt a lawsuit. (Subscribers-only story)
- TEEN ENTREPRENEUR “Queen” Michaelah Williams has established a wide reputation for the lemonades she has been selling since she was nine. The 13-year-old Sleepy Hill Middle School seventh-grader is hosting a Children’s Entrepreneur Expo at The Poor Porker on Jan. 29 where all vendors will be 17 and under. | Previous features: ABC Acton News | LKLD Haven
- COMEDIAN Bill Engvall brings his farewell tour to the RP Funding Center on Friday.
Ms. Constance “Connie” R. Murray, age 85, passed away at home on October 29, 2021.
Connie was born in Stryker, Ohio the oldest child of Calvin and Louella Riter. She grew up on the family farm in Stryker, where she graduated from Stryker High School as class valedictorian. She was a talented artist of oil paintings, enjoyed many hours of gardening and was an avid reader. A graduate of the University of South Florida, Connie worked as an accountant for several nonprofit businesses before retiring.
Connie was preceded in death by her parents and sister Fairy Riter all of Stryker.
She is survived by her brother Phil Riter of Stryker; children Wendy Arden of Plano Texas, Brad Murray of Lakeland, and Lisa McNamara of Lutz, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.
A family celebration of life will be held at a later date. Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.