TREES: Lakeland park crews are busy replacing two kinds of trees – palms that succumb to a disease carried by tiny planthopper insects and the Oriental sweetgums downtown that snarl underground utilities and buckle sidewalks.

BUSES: Residents will be able to test Lakeland’s revamped bus routes for free on two Saturdays: May 4 and 18 | Learn more

BANK: Prime Meridian Bank (website) has opened a Lakeland branch, its first outside its Tallahassee base. Its location at at 3340 S. Florida Ave. was home to the former Community Southern Bank, which was founded in 2006 by Michael Micallef Jr., who leads Prime Meridian’s Polk operations.

SOLAR: The head of Polk’s nonprofit solar cooperative says Lakeland Electric’s demand charge is inhibiting Lakelanders from switching to solar.  In an op-ed column, Rick Garrity disputes the need for a demand charge, saying net metering produces benefits for the utility.

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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.

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