Thankfulness multiplied by 239

Barry Friedman

Editor & Publisher

Thank you to the 239 people who helped preserve community journalism in Lakeland in 2022 by donating to LkldNow. We are truly grateful.

Support has grown over the years — we had just 14 donors in 2016, our first full year, and this is the second year in a row we have topped 200 — so we have seen huge increases in impact.

LkldNow has grown from one full-time volunteer — me — in our first years to a small but talented staff that includes an executive director for our nonprofit, a full-time reporter, a handful of free-lance reporters and soon a full-time editor who will also contribute articles. As a result, the quantity and quality of our reporting continues growing year-over-year.

We have launched a series of live, in-person forums to explore pressing issues that readers have told us they are concerned about. Last year, we addressed housing/homelessness and smart growth. This year we will hold forums about race relations and education plus a City Commission candidate forum this fall.

Our website audience has grown from an average of 33,000 readers per month in 2019 to 80,000 now. And the numbers keep growing as more people discover LkldNow as a trustworthy source of news focused on quality of life in Lakeland.

If you know people who you think would appreciate our community-centered approach to news, please tell them about LkldNow. You can forward this newsletter to them and let them know why you value LkldNow.

And thanks for your continued readership and continued support.

What If Munn Park Had a Downtown Welcome Center With Public Restrooms?

An architect is creating a rendering to show what a facility at the northeast corner of Munn Park might look like.

Interpretation of Abortion Law Delays Ending Woman’s Non-Viable Pregnancy

An exception was written into the law, but the mother said Lakeland Regional Health’s legal team “gathered … that the mother’s life has to be affected.”

Student, 17, Arrested After Loaded Gun Found in Her Purse at LHS

She was charged with two felonies. Police said the weapon was discovered during a random search before school.

Polk Museum Exhibition Compares Realists Edward Hopper and Guy Pène du Bois

This is the first exhibit presenting the two artists side-by-side. They were close friends but explored different themes.

Lakeland Electric’s Base Rate Will Rise 2.25% in April

The utility is raising rates in phases, with further 2.25% increases scheduled for Oct. 1 this year and Oct. 1, 2024.

Public’s Wish List for Downtown West Includes Better Walkability and Park Access

People attending a public forum said they want better sidewalks, easy access to Bonnet Springs Park, and a grocery store.

Owner of Downtown’s Lakeland Loft Wants to Open a Tropical Bar Downstairs

Ocean Breeze Tiki Bar would have Caribbean-style drinks, recorded island music and patio seating for 25.

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Jan. 6 defendants from Lakeland will let a judge, not a jury, decide their cases | Fox 13 News

Unfiltered Lakeland opens Saturday at former Poor Porker site | LALtoday

Family shares fond memories of Lakeland man killed in Mississippi mass shooting | 10 Tampa Bay

YMCA wants to add a field house and expand its childcare facility at Cleveland Heights | The Ledger

A Lakeland man was among six killed in a Mississippi shooting rampage | NPR

Lakeland woman’s doctors refuse an abortion even though they believe her baby will die soon after birth | Washington Post

Downtown board ponders welcome center/restrooms for Munn Park | The Ledger

Rich Wills’ Quest: Perfecting the Natural Running Shoe | The Lakelander

Movie on the Lawn and Black Artisan Market | Friday | 5-9 p.m. | Bonnet Springs Park
Watch the film “Black Panther” and shop a handmade-and-homegrown market centered on black-owned businesses.

Garden Festival & Plant Sale | Saturday | 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Hollis Garden
Plantae-palooza Garden Festival & Plant Sale includes vendors from across Florida. View a list of vendors.

Unfiltered Lakeland Grand Opening | Saturday | 11 a.m. | 801 E. Main St.
A complex that combines a coffee house, beignet stand and retail goods from local makers opens in the indoor-outdoor spot that previously housed 801 E. Main/The Poor Porker.

Detroit Tigers Opening Game | Saturday | 1:05 p.m. | Joker Marchant Stadium
The Tigers face the Philadelphia Phillies Saturday in the first of 16 Spring Training home games they’ll play through March 26. City Commissioner Chad McLeod throws the ceremonial opening pitch. Tickets

At a time when changes are being contemplated for Munn Park, the Lakeland Retro Facebook page got a lot of reaction when it posted a photo of what the park looked like between 1961 and 1989. The majority of the 109 comments from Facebook users expressed nostalgia for this midcentury-modern version of the park with a large fountain near Main Street. The current look was meant to mimic the park’s original turn-of-the-century layout.

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Barry Friedman

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.