Are you planning to go downtown Sunday evening for Lakeland’s annual Red, White & Kaboom Independence Day celebration and fireworks? LALtoday put together a guide to what you can expect, including a schedule, food trucks and entertainment.
The long-anticipated Biscuits and Benedicts has opened on South Florida Avenue in Dixieland following nearly three years of challenges. With brunch entrees ranging from $8.95 to $15.95, the eatery emphasizes local products from businesses like Concord Coffee, Tea Largo and Bee-Haven Honey Farm, as well as works from local artists, The Lakelander reports. Owners Troy Hambrick and James Kerr are in the process of getting an alcohol license and are already considering opening a second location at Merchants Walk. | Menu
As black clouds threatened rain, about 20 pro-choice protesters lined Florida Avenue in front of Southgate Shopping Plaza Friday evening, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal protections for a woman’s right to have an abortion, allowing each state to rule on the matter. More
Works from the most famous name in modern sculpture have taken their places inside the exhibit halls of the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College, waiting for the public to view them starting on Saturday when the doors open at 10 a.m. More
James and Lavern Watkins dreamed of owning their own home to raise their children and looked for several years, but couldn’t find anything in their price range. More
- PUBLIX Super Markets has confirmed it has chosen the FedEx building in downtown Lakeland as an information technology center. The company won $500,000 in local incentives that will be paid if it creates a promised 100 new jobs there at a promised average salary of at least $93,500. Publix is also asking the city for permission to tear down the former Citrus Mutual Building south of City Hall to provide surface parking for employees pending future plans for a future building there; that request was approved by the city planning board this week and now goes to the City Commission.
- NEW COVID-19 infections in Polk County grew by 24.8% to 2,642 over the last two weeks, according to the latest Florida Department of Health report. Testing positivity has jumped to 19%, up from 14.8% two weeks earlier. | LkldNow COVID tracking chart
- COLLEEN BURTON avoided a GOP primary in her bid to elevate from the Florida House to the Florida Senate after previously announced candidate Randy Wilkinson failed to qualify for the race. She will face Democrat Veysel Dokur of Lakeland in the general election. In another race, Lakeland Republicans Jennifer Canady and Phillip Walker face off for the open House District 50 seat, as two announced candidates — Republican Nicholas Poucher and Libertarian Allison Marie Kelly — failed to qualify.
The Washington Park/Rochelle Alumni Association handed out $30,000 in scholarships to 15 local high school graduates at its 29th annual Scholarship Awards Celebration at the Polk Museum of Art. More
A small group of people at Monday morning’s Lakeland City Commission meeting waited for an hour following a proclamation by Mayor Bill Mutz, which recognized June as “LGBTQ Pride Month,” so they could voice their opposition to what several called “an abomination” and “sexual perversion.” More
The Poor Porker, a vintage outdoor venue known for its beignets and live music, announced it is closing its doors after a farewell party on July 3 to make way for Unfiltered Lakeland, a “coffeehouse, marketplace, eventspace” scheduled to open later this year. More
Lakeland city commissioners have declined to draft regulations over short-term rentals such as those offered through AirBnB or VRBO, The Ledger reports. “We’re not interested in doing something proactively short term,” Mayor Bill Mutz said Friday during a work session held to explore the topic. The city legal staff had briefed commissioners on a Florida law that limits their domain over the rentals but also described regulations enacted by Flagler County commissioners that have withstood legal challenges. | ALSO: Video of the workshop | Previous LkldNow article
On Monday, banks will be closed and so will post offices in observance of Juneteenth, a federal holiday that marks the end of slavery in Texas in 1865. The city of Lakeland will be open for business this year, including a city commission meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday.More
The mid-century modern, 70-foot-tall orange arch and green slash, with Southgate scrawled across it in white, has long been an icon of the South Florida Avenue shopping center since it was built in 1957, making appearances in the films “Edward Scissorhands” and “The One and Only Ivan.”
Now it is part of an award-winning painting by Lakeland artist Karla Pirona. “Southgate” earned first place in the “Faces and Places” regional juried show in Art Center Sarasota on June 8.
The Polk County School Board meeting room was awash in rainbow colors Tuesday evening for the district’s annual Pride Proclamation.More
A donation from Julie Fancelli of Lakeland funded the three-minute, $60,000 speaking engagement by Kimberly Guilfoyle, a fundraiser for former President Donald Trump, at the rally on Jan. 6, 2021, that preceded the Capitol riot, according to a breaking story by The Washington Post. (A shorter version is available at MSN.) Fancelli, a daughter of Publix Super Markets Inc. founder George Jenkins, also donated $300,000 of the $500,000 cost for the Jan. 6 rally, it was reported in January 2021.
Polk Sheriff’s Lt. Duane Tompkins, who was first to a north Lakeland massacre scene, was recognized Tuesday as Deputy of the Year by a coalition of Lakeland service organizations. Presidents’ Roundtable service awards also went to nearly a dozen other local first responders, Fox 13 News reports. ALSO: News Channel 8 More
Polk School District Considers Hiring-Policy Changes After Scrutiny of Teacher Charged with Sexual Battery
Polk County Public Schools is proposing a major change in its hiring practices after a special education teacher and basketball coach was hired at Haines City High School more than a year after he was found not guilty of sending a sexually explicit image to and kissing a student at Poinciana High School.More
Eleanor Roberta Rubin, 84, passed away peacefully at home, May 19, 2022, after a brief illness. Rubin, a native of Brooklyn, NY, married her childhood sweetheart, Gerald Jesse Rubin, Aug. 3, 1958. They remained married for the next 53 years until Gerald Rubin’s death in 2011.
As a young woman, Rubin exhibited grace, elegance, and glamour. In her later years, the most frequently used description was, “So cute.”
Before starting a family, Rubin taught Spanish at Sam Barthe School, an all-boys private school that existed for more than 40 years, in New Orleans. The school was well known for being an elite educational facility, consistently producing far more National Merit Scholarship finalists than any other school in the city. After her two children were born, Rubin became a full-time mother.
After her children were grown, she volunteered as a docent at the Polk Museum of Art. She also worked at Maas Brothers preparing tasty treats for customers utilizing various kitchen gadgets sold at Maas Brothers.
Her hobbies included oil painting, sewing, playing bridge, attending theatre, and traveling. She learned to enjoy bluegrass and bluegrass gospel music. She attended a Dailey and Vincent concert in Lakeland as well as the Lake Alfred Bluegrass Bash twice. Rubin was also a foodie who enjoyed a variety of foods and drinks. Her favorite drink was a margarita.
One of her fondest memories from recent years was a cruise to Bermuda where she swam with dolphins.
During the last 10 years of her life, Rubin improved her health by adopting a mostly plant based lifestyle. She visited the Lakeland Family YMCA at least three days a week for 30-minute walks on the treadmill and to use the weight machines in the gym.
She will be greatly missed by her children, Alan Jay Rubin of Marietta, GA and Sheryl Lyn Rubin of Lakeland, FL.
A Celebration of Life gathering is scheduled for 2-3 p.m., Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at Gentry-Morrison Funeral Home, 1727 Bartow Road, Lakeland, FL 33801. Condolences may be sent to the family at Gentry-Morrison Funeral Homes.