Chad McLeod says the key to victory in his recent race for a Lakeland City Commission seat was one-on-one engagement with voters. He talked about lessons learned during the campaign in the 100th episode of the “PR and Politics” podcast he co-hosts with his brother and business partner, Joe McLeod. More
Funeral services for LPD Officer Paul Dunn, who died in a motorcycle accident on Thursday, are scheduled for noon Wednesday at Lakes Church, formerly First Baptist Church of the Mall. The public is invited, and the family encourages people to wear attire supporting the military or the UF Gators | ALSO: LPD Facebook post
Thursday was extremely busy on the police and criminal courts beat in Lakeland. In addition to the death of an LPD officer, these stories were reported:
- HOMICIDE: Deputies are searching for Celso Omar Sanchez Acosta, 29, in the shooting death of Henry Fernandez-Soto, 24; the two had a dispute involving a horse theft | ABC Action News
- CHILD DEATH: Kyle Reese, 26, faces aggravated child abuse charges in the death of a 2-month-old infant in his care | 10 News
- DUI FATALITY ARREST: Rodney Wimberly, 53, was charged with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in the April 2019 crash on Bartow Road that killed his girlfriend, Shannon Oglesby, 47 | Fox 13 News
- HIT-AND-RUN CONVICTION: A jury convicted William Hull, 36, of failing to remain at the scene of a crash with serious bodily injuries in a September 2017 incident that knocked an 11-year-old girl into a ditch near Lake Parker | The Ledger
- LPN ARREST: Tammy Konkol-Townsend of Lakeland was arrested on drug charges after a Ring camera caught images of her taking fentanyl and hydrocodone meant for a Good Shepherd Hospice patient, according to a Polk Sheriff’s arrest report. In addition, her licensed practical nurse and radiologic technician licenses have been placed on emergency restriction | The Miami Herald
Lighting that would allow after-dusk use of a city dog park planned near Lake Mirror was jeopardized when bids came in higher than the city had budgeted.
But the lighting and a few other amenities may be on the way after the Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board voted today to add $100,000 to the $50,000 it had already committed to the project. More
Recommendations from Megan Towner, our music maven:
- Roses from Bones, Mugbrain, Blondino and Karissa Frampton 7 p.m. tonight at Hillcrest Coffee. Most of the acts are Tampa alternative rock going acoustic for tonight’s show.
- Black Velvet Band at Molly McHugh’s Irish Pub on Friday at 9 p.m. Irish folk songs and anthems, raucous and very engaging with the audience.
- Lesa Silvermore at The Pink Piano at 8 p.m. Saturday. Lesa is a high-energy indie/folk solo acoustic performer. Truly impressed last time I saw her play there.
Lakeland Police Officer Paul Dunn, 50, died this morning when he hit a concrete median and lost control of his department-issued motorcycle on Lakeland Highlands Road near Lake Miriam Drive, according to the Polk Sheriff’s Office. More
Lakeland police are seeking help locating two teens who were last seen leaving the Motel 6 on U.S. 98 near Interstate 4 on New Year’s Day. Haleigh Cole, 15, and Jorden Payne, 16, were visiting Jorden’s parents there; they left on foot, saying they were going to a store, but did not return.
Jorden was wearing a red Nike jacket and gray shorts, according to an LPD Facebook post. Haleigh was wearing denim overalls and a “Friends” T-shirt, her mother said on Facebook. Jorden has family in Valdosta, Ga., LPD said.
Anyone with information about the teens’ location is asked to contact Detective Charlene Ali at 863.834.8974 or Charlene.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- BULLYING: Lakelander Jaylen Arnold’s anti-bullying campaign is getting help from jet-setting model Daniela Braga, herself a bullying target during her gangly teen years.
- STARBUCKS: Lakeland’s newest Starbucks is coming to the Christina area this summer. It will front South Florida Avenue between Home Depot and Bob Evans.
- HIT-AND-RUN TRIAL: William Ray Hull did not stop his pickup the afternoon in 2017 he hit and injured an 11-year-old girl near Lake Parker because he thought he hit a rock or a piece of wood, his attorney said as his hit-and-run trial started | Background: 2017 coverage
A short followup on our Friday article about a young couple who wants to introduce electric scooter rentals to Lakeland, focused on downtown, Florida Southern College and routes between the two:
The couple, Jed Irvine and Latisha Forsberg, came to Monday’s City Commission meeting to answer commissioners’ questions about Leaf, the business they started in Duluth, Minn., last summer and they’d like to move to Florida during winters. More
- TROLLLER: In a farewell speech Monday lasting 39 minutes, Justin Troller reviewed his last 12 years as a city commissioner, which he said was marked by “being a vocal champion for issues that affect all Lakelanders, not just the privileged few.”
- RIP: Trent Rowe, 78, The Ledger’s witty (and sometimes lovably corny) food writer/restaurant reviewer/copy editor for 22 years.
Shells is on the verge of opening a seafood restaurant in south Lakeland, where steak is still the boss. The small Tampa-based chain will hold its Lakeland grand opening Jan. 15 at 5125 S. Florida Ave. The big building was most recently occupied by Manny’s Chophouse, which opened in Lakeland in 2013 and closed last May. More
You may have come to LkldNow on Sunday afternoon and the website looked a little strange. And there will be periods today when things look a little strange again. We’re working through some technical issues, and fixing them requires us to switch to different templates temporarily. Please bear with us. Our WordPress guru, Chuck Welch, says we’ll get these problems licked today.
Two houses a little over a mile apart near Lake Gibson High School were destroyed in separate fires Saturday morning. No people were injured, but two dogs died, according to Polk County Fire Rescue. The first fire was reported at 4:28 a.m. at 258 Padgett Place, and the other one was about an hour later at 7515 Socrum Loop Road N. MORE COVERAGE: 10 News
The Lakeland Police Department has been sued in federal court by a man seeking $150,000-plus in damages for an incident (summarized here), claiming officers used excessive force in shooting and injuring him at his apartment in 2015. Police said Wesley Cook refused to drop his handgun when they responded to a domestic disturbance call. Cook says in the lawsuit that physical force was unnecessary because he didn’t threaten anybody with the weapon.