Tuesday is shaping up to be a big day in Polk County. It’s the day that students are scheduled to report back to public schools throughout the county after they closed last Tuesday as Hurricane Ian approached, according to a news release. In addition, Lakeland Electric says power should be restored to all of its customers by Monday or Tuesday. More
Here are updates on where things stand in Lakeland in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Since many readers still don’t have Internet and are relying on spotty cell service, we are keeping it text-only and will share to all who have signed up for our email newsletters. More
While Southwest Florida took the punishing brunt of Hurricane Ian’s fury, Lakeland fared much better. There were no lives lost in Lakeland or Polk County, although wind gusts of at least 78 miles per hour blew down trees throughout the city and left about 63,000 people without electricity. A National Weather Service meteorologist in the agency’s Ruskin office said wind speeds could have been higher, but their automated station’s anemometer in Lakeland sustained damage during the storm. More
Following Hurricane Ian’s trek through Central Florida, LkldNow is following recovery efforts and the storm’s aftermath. We’ll update this page throughout the day. More
LkldNow posted updates about Hurricane Ian’s effects on Lakeland on this page all day on Wednesday, Sept. 28. We have a separate live blog for news about the storm’s aftermath and recovery efforts. Among the updates: Polk public schools and Polk State College have extended their closures to Friday. More
Marilyn and Dave Whiting, 81, decided to pack a few things, leave their home in the Schalamar retirement community off U.S. 92 and head to Tenoroc High School’s hurricane shelter Tuesday afternoon ahead of Hurricane Ian’s eye’s expected Thursday morning landfall. More
An hour before midnight on Thursday, Sept. 1, Pat Oldenkamp, 75, looked out from her cottage apartment, located in the backyard of her ex-husband’s West Palm Drive home, and saw him puttering in his kitchen, still the tall, handsome, lanky man she had met years earlier when they were both flight attendants for Eastern Airlines. It was the last time she would see Glenn Leppert, 72, alive. More
As Hurricane Ian approaches Florida, Polk County government is opening 13 emergency shelters at public schools — five of them in Lakeland — starting at noon on Tuesday. In addition, separate shelters will open for people with special needs and people with pets. More
12:30 P.M. UPDATE: Polk County public schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday as some schools activate as storm shelters for people evacuating their homes in advance of Hurricane Ian’s high winds and rain, Polk County Public Schools announced today. All after-school events, including athletics, are being suspended both days. No decision has been made yet on whether schools will remain closed beyond Wednesday. More
As Lakeland residents spend the weekend preparing for the possibility of Tropical Storm Ian strengthening to a hurricane and striking Florida’s west coast next week, Polk County announced it will start distributing sandbags on Sunday. The county also announced that Circle B Bar Reserve and other environmental lands will be closed starting Monday. More
Check our high school football scoreboard below for Friday-night results from Lakeland-based teams. More
In a 10-minute meeting, the Lakeland City Commission on Thursday night unanimously passed a $730 million budget for 2022-23, with a 5.4323 millage rate for property owners – the same as this year. The budget includes funding to add 13 police officers, 12 firefighters and a new fire station north of I-4. More
Kris Hallstrand, 46, served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan as a C-130 crew chief and then director of the flight line at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, overseeing 30 aircraft and about 90 men and women.More
A fiery crash shut down Interstate 4 both ways in the vicinity of Florida Polytechnic University for several hours early this morning and sent two people to the hospital, one with serious injuries, according to breaking news reports. More
The RP Funding Center opens its 2022-23 entertainment season this month as Lakeland city commissioners decide on an annual budget that would lower operational costs and prompt programming changes that are hoped to attract new audiences. More
Paul “P.J.” Vasconcellos, Jr. passed away on September 24, 2021, just shy of his 49th birthday.
P.J. was born in Fall River, Massachusetts on September 30, 1972 to parents Paul Sr. and Beatrice. He graduated from Bristol Agricultural High School in 1990, and Ohio Diesel Tech in 1992. He was an avid gardener and enjoyed fishing and hunting.
P.J. is preceded in death by his mother Beatrice. He is survived by his wife Lisa; Sons Jameson Lawrence and Joshua Vasconcellos; Sister Heather Vasconcellos; Father Paul Sr., and many extended family members.
P.J. was a member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, and a Memorial Mass will be held at the church on Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. Condolences may be sent to the family at Gentry-Morrison Funeral Homes.