Courage to have difficult conversations

Trinity Laurino

Executive Director

Next Tuesday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. is our third community forum in a series we’re now calling “Let’s Talk Lkld.” This time we’re exploring the issue of race and equity locally. 

Judging by the fact that we’re already at about 90% capacity for the venue – an impressive response for notoriously “last-minute Lakeland” – the community sees this topic as a priority. That is also reflected in our partner Lakeland Vision’s findings and the resulting community vision. 

If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time to do so at Let’s Talk Lkld: Race and Equity forum tickets. This event, like our reporting, is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged and helpful for us to manage the event.

We look forward to seeing you there, or you can watch our Facebook channel for the livestream at

Thank you to T. Mims Corp for providing financial support for this important conversation and to the team at The Well for the venue and livestream support. 

Lastly, on another note entirely, despite being a Trekkie, myself, I wish all who celebrate a happy Star Wars Day. May the fourth be with you! 

Live long and prosper, 


State Leaders Gather in Polk To Discuss Human Trafficking as Exploitation of Migrant Children Surges

Technology gives predators more access to children, but it also enables investigators to bring down entire networks of traffickers.

‘It Was Time,’ Red Door Owner Says About Closure

The fine dining establishment shuttered Tuesday, after being a staple of the Lakeland foodie scene for 15 years.

Podcast Fails to Win Leo Schofield’s Release – For Now

Parole board orders convicted murderer to spend 12 months in ‘transition program’ with possible release in June 2024

100 Days Later: Reaction to Four-Way Stops Downtown Is Mostly Positive

The elimination of street lights saves time, but drivers who don’t come to full stops make some pedestrians feel unsafe.

Lake Hunter Tops List of Nine City Lakes That Need The Most Cleanup

Pollutants, sediment and invasive plants are ongoing challenges for the city’s Lakes and Stormwater Division.

City Prepares For First MayFaire by-the-Lake Without Founder Joe Mitchell

Mitchell, a longtime art educator, passed away last month at the age of 91. He organized the first MayFaire-by-the-Lake in 1971.

Novelist Nicholas Sparks to Speak at Fundraiser for Roberts Academy

Sparks has written 23 New York Times bestsellers, including 11 books that have been adapted for television or film.

Monuments & Memories: 8th ‘Flight To Honor’ Brings Local Veterans to D.C.

86 Polk County military veterans took a one-day trip to Washington to visit the war memorials.


Can panthers, deer and bears coexist with I-4? Wildlife crossings in NE Lakeland aim to improve their odds | WUSF News

Class of 2023: Mother and stepson will both get degrees at Florida Southern College graduation on Saturday | The Ledger

Lakeland Regional Medical Center gets ‘C’ grade from nonprofit watchdog group in 2023 hospital safety report | Leapfrog

Flying Blind: LPD forced to stop using its seven Chinese-made drones last month, but proposed budget has $25M to help cities buy American | Fox 13 News

City Commission Chambers to close Friday for tech upgrades; public meetings will be in LE building through June 1 | City of Lakeland

Publix’s first quarter sales were 8.2% higher than last year; net earnings doubled from $618 million to $1.2 billion | News Channel 8

SEU to launch trades program in fall 2023 with construction, HVAC, plumbing and electrical training | Southeastern University

Polk State College to celebrate 1,140 new grads ranging in age from 16-61 at May 4 commencement | Polk State College

Staff shortage forces temporary closure of Lakeland service lobby starting May 8 | Polk County Clerk of Court

Former SEU exec sentenced to 15 months for $155K wire fraud scheme related to website redesign | The Ledger

Lakeland’s need for housing vouchers is eight times greater than supply, study says | Fox 13 News

Neighbors balk at plans for sit-down Chick-fil-A on S. Florida Avenue | The Ledger

Ten Story Challenge | Friday |3 to 9 p.m. | Lakeland Electric Building
Watch local leaders (including LkldNow editor Cindy Glover) rappel off the Lakeland Electric building in this fundraiser for the Pace Center for Girls. There will be food trucks, Little Bus Books, a DJ, a photo booth and more. The address is 501 E. Lemon St. You can donate to the event or a particular team here.

Watermelon Festival | Saturday | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Florida Children’s Museum
Saturday is a “pay-what-you-want” day at the new children’s museum in Bonnet Springs Park. Enjoy live music, lawn activities, free watermelon slices, and watermelon-themed crafts. Every dollar donated will support museum operation and programming.

Burgers with the Bullies | Sunday | 12 to 4 p.m. | Polk County Bully Project
Humans are invited to romp with adoptable dogs at this open play yard event at 5840 W. Brannen Rd. Several vendors including Spontaneous Consumption will be on-site. For a suggested donation of $10 you can feed a burger to the dog of your choice. All adoptions of animals 6 months and older will be half off. (Please leave your own dogs at home as the goal of the event is to help shelter pets find furr-ever families.)

We thought we had finally spotted someone changing the witty messages on Southside Cleaners’ iconic sign – but alas, it was a painter touching up the sage green background. | Cindy Glover, LkldNow

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Cindy Glover moved to Lakeland in 2021 after spending two decades in South Florida. Her career has included journalism, education, digital marketing and public relations. She worked for the Albuquerque Journal and South Florida Sun-Sentinel and spent a year as a community engagement coordinator for the City of Lakeland before joining LkldNow.