Gratitude when returning to Lakeland

Barry Friedman

Editor at Large

My wife and I recently returned from a  a 500-mile journey on foot across northern Spain that’s known as the Camino del Norte. It’s one of the many paths that constitute the Camino de Santiago, a series of ancient pilgrimage routes that attract seekers from around the world.

While the journey itself is long, it’s really a matter of putting one foot in front of the other — again and again and again. 

Along the way you learn a lot about the regions you’re traveling through, the other people who walk the trail — they’re a hearty and determined bunch — and about yourself. You’re carrying everything you need on your back, so you learn what’s essential.

As you go along, you build capacity. After a while, you find you no longer need to stop several times on the way up a long, steep hill. Longer distances become easier.

In a way, it reminded me of my experience with LkldNow. When we started small nearly eight years ago, we had a staff of one full-time volunteer and a dedicated board of directors. We kept at it day after day and built capacity. We now have a payroll of three excellent professionals and many local backers; we are continuing to grow as more people who rely on us for news about Lakeland become supporters.

The trip to Spain marked the first time since 2017 that I left town and wasn’t involved with LkldNow on a daily basis. In fact, I was hardly involved at all, other than reading the articles from afar.

The clean break let our new leadership team spread their wings and shine. Executive Director Trinity Laurino and Editor Cindy Glover kept the organization moving forward as Senior Reporter Kimberly C. Moore and our free-lancers maintained high reporting standards. 

I came back from Spain full of gratitude for all of the people at home who took on extra burdens on our behalf while we’ve been away — and especially for the talented team at LkldNow who are leading us into the future.

Study Finds ‘Economic Barriers’ Underlie Our Community’s Most Pressing Needs

Affordable housing, competitive wages, reliable transportation, education and mental healthcare ranked highest in two-year study.

School Board Unveils $30.5 Million Plan To Tackle Pandemic Learning Losses

PCPS is using federal aid to fund summer programs and extra help for the district’s youngest and lowest-scoring students.

Nesting Gators Prompt the Closure of Two Trails at Circle B Bar Reserve

Two expectant gator moms have built nests and laid eggs near the edge of the Alligator Alley trail.

Lakeland Streamlines Permit Process As More Homeowners Invest in Rooftop Solar Panels

City looks to technology to help review a surging number of solar permit applications without adding staff or compromising standards.

I-4/SR 33 Project in Limbo After ‘Moving Florida Forward’ Is Only Partially Funded

DOT signals intention to move ahead with all 20 projects, but no announcement is expected until after Gov. DeSantis signs the budget.

Several Events to Mark Lakeland’s 31st Annual Juneteenth Celebration

The celebration of emancipation will be marked by activities at Jackson Park, a car show and a film festival.

Lakeland Moves Ahead With Pride Month Proclamation and Events

Events have been canceled in several other cities amid unease about new laws regarding ‘adult performances’ and LGBTQ+ issues.

LE’s New Power Plant is Late and Over Budget, but Moving Forward

Customer rates will not be affected by RICE project cost overruns or unexpected Unit 5 repairs, Lakeland Electric says.

‘Battle of the Badges’ Charity Softball Game Canceled Because of Rain

The annual matchup between the Lakeland Police Department and Polk County Sheriff’s Office will be rescheduled.

Stormy Weather Cancels First Friday as Tropical Storm Arlene Forms in the Gulf

Forecasters expect Arlene, the first named storm of the new Hurricane Season, to weaken soon.


Polk County Commission declines to approve a Pride Month proclamation, ending a five-year practice | The Ledger

City breathes sigh of relief – for now – after failure of bill that would have restricted the use of utility profits for city services | The Ledger

Lakeland’s ‘Taken By Surprise’ step team named national grand champions after winning 2023 middle and high school step competitions | PCPS

Lakeland dad dies after getting caught in a rip current during a rescue attempt at Daytona Beach | News Channel 8

Swan City Piano Festival showcases diverse talents this week | The Ledger

Dixieland condo owners blame new construction for flooding their homes after recent rains | 10 Tampa Bay

Swan City Piano Festival | June 8-11 | Various times and locations
Recitals span jazz to experimental to classical. Performers include Jihye Chang, Tal Cohen, and Sun-A Park, as well as composer in residence Erica Porter.

Family Fun Day | Saturday | 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. | 115 S. Missouri Ave. 
The Early Learning Coalition of Polk County invites families to “sail into summer learning” with a treasure-themed Family Fun Day featuring free food, face painting, magic shows, balloon art, train rides, music, dancing and more. All children will receive something to take home and a free picture from the photo booth. Admission is free.

Polk Pride 2023: Pride on Tap | Saturday | 2 to 5 p.m. | Swan Brewing
Pride Week kicks off with “Pride on Tap,” hosted by Swan Brewing. The event will feature brews and networking. Raffles and auction items will benefit Polk Pride. Admission is free.

The streets near Lake Hollingsworth were nearly deserted when photographer David Dickey Jr. took this drone shot showing the Hollingworth roundabout and Florida Southern College.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.