Our Special Number: 7

Trinity Laurino

Executive Director

If you follow LkldNow on Facebook, you might have seen that LkldNow founder and publisher Barry Friedman just turned 70!

This means Barry has been covering Lakeland as a journalist for over four decades, first at The Ledger where he was city editor, news editor and features editor before he launched theledger.com and later became managing editor/digital.

Then, as the same pressures that have strip-mined newsrooms across the country eliminated his position, Barry founded LkldNow, bringing with him a deep commitment to the Lakeland community and journalistic integrity and ethics forged in the heyday of truly local news reporting. He blended that with a forward-looking embrace of technology to create LkldNow, a nonprofit, community-supported and community-focused digital newsroom with a mission to deliver local news to wherever readers are, without barriers to access.

For the past 7 years Barry has worked tirelessly (all while deferring a salary) to build up LkldNow to the small but mighty newsroom we are today, serving over 70,000 Lakelanders every month on LkldNow.com and 7,000 newsletter subscribers.

It seems 7 is our special number. So to honor this milestone birthday for Barry and to help ensure the future of local news in Lakeland, we’re asking if you can support LkldNow with a $70 donation (or $10 a month as a recurring donation through October)?

And from the small but mighty staff at LkldNow, happiest of birthdays, Barry! Your vision for a newsroom dedicated to the public good inspires us, your commitment to the profession humbles us, and your passion for this community is contagious. We are grateful for your leadership and the opportunity to work alongside you. May this birthday be just the beginning of another great year filled with joy, success, and all the things that make you happy and may we all have your energy and your vitality at 70!

Lakeland Residents React to 6-Week Abortion Ban Proposal

Protests came a day after legislation was introduced in the Florida Legislature to ban abortions after six weeks.

FlixBus Plans Service from Lakeland to Tampa, Orlando and Miami

The service targets commuters by using the Gow B. Fields Park and Ride on U.S. 98 near Interstate 4.

Final Update: Florida Avenue Reopened After Only One Commuter Cycle

Work had been expected to disrupt downtown traffic for much of the week, but it was completed in less than a day.

City Hopes DeSantis-Backed Bill Will Deliver Long-Sought I-4/SR 33 Improvements

The ‘Moving Florida Forward’ proposal could provide $197 million for road widening, roundabouts, wildlife crossings and traffic signals.

School Superintendent Conducting Community Conversation Tour

The feedback tour kicks off at the Dream Center of Lakeland, 635 W. 5th St., on March 20.

Entrepreneur Moves His Tech Startup from Lakeland to St. Petersburg, Citing Larger Talent Pool

Relic Ticket’s Hunter Abramson had been named Catapult’s Entrepreneur of the Year in January.

Lakeland Regional Health Agrees to Repay $4 Million in Medicaid Funds

The U.S. Justice Department said LRH made “improper donations” in order to receive matching funds from the Medicaid program.

Harden Boulevard Reopens Following Fatal Single-Vehicle Accident

Lakeland resident, 69, dies after he lost control of his vehicle and he was ejected when it rolled over.

Gang Member, 19, Charged with Murder in a December Shooting

‘I hit his back,’ the teen rapped in a video he posted to social media about the East Lakeland incident.

15 Things To Know About LPD’s Body-Worn Cameras

A 20-page policy governs the use of the video equipment that is being issued to 265 officers.


Jeremiah’s Italian Ice coming to Publix plaza on Lakeland Highlands Road | The Ledger

RIP: Steve Schmidt, 66, Ledger advertising director | The Ledger

Newly opened Aldi on S. Florida Ave. is 205th in Florida, with 20 more planned this year | Business Observer

Behind the scenes at the Publix dairy plant where new ice cream flavors are created | Fox 13 News

Bicyclist killed in collision involving 3 vehicles on U.S. 98 across from Home Depot on Sunday | Fox 13 News

Boy on probation, 13, arrested in accidental shooting that wounded an 11-year-old girl | News Channel 8

Judge declares Jan. 6 riot defendant Olivia Pollock a fugitive after she fails to show for trial | The Ledger

Two die in separate crashes Saturday – one on Ewell Road and one on SR 33 | News Channel 8

FBI searches for Lakeland woman days before her trial on federal Jan. 6 violence charges | News Channel 8

Man stops subdivision planned near his rural southwest Lakeland home by buying developer’s land | Bay News 9

Festive Flix | Friday | 7 p.m. | Lake Mirror
Enjoy the family friendly film “Sing 2” on a big screen from the amphitheater of the Frances Langford Promenade. Concessions will be available for purchase at the free event.

Dance: The Wizard of Oz | Friday-Saturday | 7:30 p.m. | Branscomb Auditorium.
Florida Dance Theatre performs the classic story. Tickets: $15-$25.

Spring Obsession | Saturday | 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Munn Park
The garden-focused event returns to Munn Park for the 20th time. 60+vendors: plants, garden art, food, raffle drawings, and more. Free and open to the public

When Denise Gilmore received the city of Lakeland’s commercial beautification award for March Monday for Mary’s Bagel Café, she said she named the new eatery at 1242 N. Florida Ave. for her grandmother, who was born on the property. “It’s a dedication to her,” she said. City horticulturist Bill Koen praised the building’s architecture and noted that the crepe myrtles around the property will bloom soon.

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Barry Friedman

Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com 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.