Hans Lehman, now on the doorstep of becoming a Lakeland Police assistant chief, was conflicted 30 years ago during his last few years at Kathleen High School.
Lehman didn’t know what he wanted to do for his life’s work. Maybe it’s more accurate to say there were too many things he wanted to do: More
State Rep. Melony Bell, R-Fort Meade, tells News Channel 8 she “articulated it wrong” when she supported a term-limits bill by saying Polk County has a School Board member who should be removed from office. She acknowledges that she was referring to Billy Townsend but says he has done nothing that warrants being removed by the governor.
- TEACHERS: Scores of teachers and their supporters are attending today’s Polk School Board meeting (5 p.m., Bartow High School auditorium), and many are expected to speak in support of letting voters decide on a one-mil property tax for salaries | News Channel 8 coverage | Facebook event
- McCAUSLAND: A Hillsborough judge ruled that former Lakeland City Attorney Tim McCausland can enter an intervention program for people charged with a first misdemeanor, so his charge involving “precursor acts facilitating prostitution” may be dropped.
After 19 years of wear and tear, a historical marker commemorating the Buffalo Soldiers’ 1898 encampment on Lake Wire has been replaced with a replica. More
The Polk’s Sheriff’s Office is asking for help finding Malakia Askew, 17, wanted after somebody shot a handgun into a yard full of people on Norfolk Circle east of Lakeand and wounded one of them early Friday. He “should be considered armed and dangerous. He has been known to frequent the Griffin Avenue Apartments in north Lakeland,” PCSO said on Facebook. Anybody with information is asked to contact PCSO at 863-298-6200 or, for a reward, Heartland Crime Stoppers at Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS or www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com.
On his way to establishing a chain, Dwayne Johnson — known for Dwayne’s Place Diner in Christina Plaza — has brought his Ole’ Tampa Cuban sandwich shop brand into Lakeland, opening its third location at Alamo Plaza | Facebook
- TOWNSEND: Discussing a bill calling for term limits for school board members in Florida counties, state Rep. Melony Bell seemed to be talking about Billy Townsend when she said there’s a Polk School Board member “that most likely needs to be removed” from office for being disruptive “and the governor has not removed him.” When questioned by a Ledger reporter, she said she never mentioned Townsend by name and she supports term limits in general | YOUTUBE: Bell’s comments
- THINGS TO DO: “Fly Like a Girl” aviation documentary directed by Lakeland’s Kate McEntire Wiatt at the Polk Theatre at 7 | Central Florida Rum and Food Experience at RP Funding Center from 4 to 7.
Two things have remained constant for former NBA superstar Charles Barkley: his love for First Tee in Lakeland and futility at playing golf. More
Kay Llewellyn, who has been secretary to the principal at Dixieland Elementary School for 30 years, was named Polk County’s 2020 school-related employee of the year. More
- ROADS: Wabash Avenue will extend northward to Kathleen Road, taking pressure off Harden/Sykes Boulevards and Florida Avenue, now that the city has agreed to spend $380,050 for the last bit of land needed.
- PRESCHOOL: A couple planning to open a Montessori preschool is still looking for a suitable site, having decided to no longer pursue either the Deen House on Frank Lloyd Wright Way or a second location on Oak Drive across from the Southgate Publix entrance.
- RAIL: A delegation of local elected officials and economic development backers will travel to Miami in April to push for a Polk County stop when Brightline-Virgin Trains extends its express train service from Orlando to Tampa.
With this week’s cooler temps, this weekend is a good time to warm up to some live music. Some of Lakeland’s finest musicians will be playing at local venues. Check our updated music calendar for details: More
The Lakeland Public Library on Lake Morton and the adjoining coffee shop reopened shortly after 11 a.m. today after being evacuated because of a bomb threat. A man who made threats after being asked to leave was taken into in custody and police searched the building “in an abundance of caution,” the Lakeland Police Department said. More
Florida Polytechnic University is seeing a 31% increase in freshman admissions applications over last year, and a 44% increase in out-of-state interest. Some see that as welcome news in the wake of a WalletHub report (here) that places Lakeland-Winter Haven at 93rd among the 100 largest metro areas in favorability to STEM professionals | RELATED: Ledger editorial and an opinion column about the WalletHub ranking.
Traffic counters were placed in 90+ locations south of downtown recently (map of locations) to gather data on traffic counts, travel times and vehicle types before the upcoming one-year test of the South Florida Avenue “road diet.” So the timing is good for an update on the Ariana-to-Lime Street narrowing of the roadway. Construction is expected to begin around May in prep for the one-year test scheduled to start around October.
- CITY: In his annual presentation to the City Commission, the head of the non-profit Lakeland Economic Development Council presented an ambitious list of goals for the city and an audacious series of suggestions for replacing city revenue without raising property taxes or utility fees. Potential revenue sources include a hospitality tax on food and beverages, conversion of Cleveland Heights Golf Course and development of city-owned property around Lake Mirror | View the presentation slides
- ABORTION: The bill by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, to require parental consent for teens wanting an abortion is heading to the Senate floor and likely passage by the full Legislature.
- DINING: In a five-star review, restaurant critic Eric Pera declares that downtown’s Nineteen61 “is without a doubt the most interesting, eclectic, vibrant, handsome restaurant Polk County has to offer.”
- SCHOOLS: Anticipating a large turnout of teachers who want to talk about public education funding, the Polk School Board is looking for a larger venue for its Jan. 28 meeting, Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd said in a meeting in which board members accepted her apologies for the handling of a state email warning that teachers could be fired for missing school to attend a rally.
- GUNS: County commissioners declared Polk a Second Amendment sanctuary on Monday, three days after a majority said they were reluctant to do so. Commissioner Bill Braswell said the move was symbolic because state law prevents the county from passing firearms regulations.
- GOLF: The Barkley, Bean, Bryant and Friends golf tournament takes place at 1 p.m. Friday at YMCA Par 3 | Learn more