Happenings near and far

Cindy Glover


There’s a word for the kind of journalism we do at LkldNow: hyperlocal. 

Generally speaking, it’s the opposite of “big media” with centralized operations. We are small media with a grassroots operation. Our focus is entirely on Lakeland.

One of my most important tasks as editor is deciding what to cover, and sometimes that’s pretty easy. A hazardous materials evacuation in Auburndale? A road rage shooting in Plant City? A new restaurant in Winter Haven?

Nope – not unless there is a direct Lakeland connection.

But seven weeks into this role, I’m discovering there’s so much happening in Lakeland, it’s impossible for our small team to do it all justice.

Yet again, we have had a week where there were many things we’d have loved to write about. Among them:

  • Chef Patrick Schaefer, who founded Patio 850 and helped make Lakeland a foodie destination, passed away. The restaurant had an open mic event in his honor.
  • Skate World celebrated its 50th anniversary by breaking ground on a new 3,000-square-foot expansion.
  • Area high school and college students won awards for community service, inventions, and more.

All things considered, too much news is a good problem to have. Lakeland’s status as a boomtown may provoke mixed emotions, but it isn’t hard to see the appeal of living here. Choosing which events to feature in this newsletter each week is hard because there are so many.

Of course, Lakelanders do sometimes seek adventures away from home. Our founder, Barry Friedman, and his wife Sharon are on an epic trek along the northern coast of Spain, walking the Camino de Santiago. You can see pictures and read about it here.

But he’ll be back. Because Lakeland has a lot going on. It’s the kind of place people come home to and appreciate all the more after spending time elsewhere.

Big Changes Coming for North Lake Wire As Two Multifamily Projects Move Forward

City Commissioners approved a zoning change and $775,000 in infrastructure reimbursements for neighboring multifamily developments.

| TLC PetSnip

TLC PetSnip celebrates huge milestone – 100,000 spay/neuter surgeries

The Lakeland-based nonprofit has been operating for 10 years, working to provide affordable veterinary care and reduce pet overpopulation.

| Stephanie Claytor, LkldNow

City Seeks Paintings and Mixed Media Works for Next ‘Arts & Rec!’ Exhibition

Deadline is Sunday for artists to submit pieces for consideration; selected artwork will be on display at rec centers for three months.

| Provided Photo

City and LDDA Work to Cultivate Downtown Nightlife, Minimize Problems

New indoor-outdoor tiki bar will expand options for patrons, but officials urge downtown bar owners to keep standards high.

From Culture Shock to Honor Walk: Afro-Latina Student Excels at FSC

Nathalie Moreno, 2023 winner of Florida Southern’s highest award, helped blaze a trail for others as co-founder of the Hispanic/Latinx Coalition.

Unexpected $21 Million LE Repair Bill Gives Commissioners ‘Sticker Shock’ 

Lakeland Electric’s largest generator has been offline since Feb. 23. The city is purchasing electricity from other utilities to keep the lights on.

State Seeks Lakeland Mass-Murder Suspect’s Veteran Medical Records

Assistant state attorney will argue that Bryan James Riley was not insane and should face the death penalty for murdering four family members and leaving an 11-year-old girl for dead in 2021.

Clogged Roads and Railway Subject of Transportation Summit

Many major projects are planned, but needs outpace funding. Transit planners ‘treading water’ with population growth and rising costs.


Local high school students spend hours in auditoriums each week due to shortages of teachers and substitutes | ABC Action News

Lakeland murder suspects arrested in Delaware, charged in ‘mistaken identity’ ambush of man on dirt bike | News Channel 8

Deputy Blane Lane to be added to Polk County Law Enforcement Memorial at May 4 service in Veterans Park | City of Lakeland

Eight young adults with disabilities graduate from Project SEARCH and land jobs with Lakeland Regional Health | ABC Action News

With hurricane season nearing, officials caution that only 2% of Polk County homes are covered by federal flood insurance | Patch

Health department urges Polk County residents to ‘drain and cover’ as mosquito-borne illness risk increases | Fox 13 News

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day: You can drop off unwanted meds at LPD on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | FDLE

March of Dimes Kick-Off Event | Friday | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Watson Clinic Main
The Watson Clinic Main parking lot will be a fairground of food and activities on Friday as a prelude to the annual March of Dimes walk that is coming up on April 29. This event is open to the community. Attendees can enjoy hot dogs, popcorn, drinks, desserts, T-shirt sales, face painting and several raffle drawings for valuable prizes. All proceeds will go to the March of Dimes.

Swan Brewing 5th Anniversary Party Weekend | Thurs-Sun | Swan Brewing
Swan Brewing has four days of live music, food trucks, and other festivities planned to celebrate its fifth anniversary. The celebration starts at 6 p.m. today and noon on Friday-Sunday. There will be special beer releases and onsite screen printing of a limited edition T-shirt. Swan Brewing is at 115 W. Pine Street.

Yard Sale for the Florida Philharmonia Orchestra | Saturday | 8 a.m. – noon | First Presbyterian Church
The Florida Philharmonia Orchestra’s annual yard sale fundraiser is Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church, 175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive. Organizers promise a “huge” sale with lots of treasures, and all proceeds help support the volunteer musicians who make music for their own enjoyment and to share that enjoyment with the community. All concerts are free to the public.  

Earth Day ‘Drive Electric’ Expo | Saturday | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Munn Park
Curious about electric vehicles and how to charge them? Celebrate Earth Day by coming to Lakeland’s Munn Park to learn more. At this free, family-friendly event, local EV owners will showcase their vehicles, answer your questions, and share their EV-enthusiasm. Event also features Lakeland Farmers Market’s wonderful weekly fresh produce, food & craft booths. 

Skate World celebrated its 50th year in business by breaking ground on a 3,000 square-foot expansion that will add a dedicated party room area, improved café, a game room area, ADA bathroom facilities, and upgraded Skate room and DJ booth. | Skate World

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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.