GRADUATION RATES CLIMB: Polk County schools had an all-time high graduation rate in 2018 with 80.4% of the class of 2018 graduating. That was up 5 percentage points from 2017.
RED LIGHT STOP: For the third year in a row, Lakeland’s red light cameras were triggered more often, but Lakeland police officers reviewing the films issued a fewer percentage of citations. For 2018, almost 50,000 violations were captured, but only about 45% of those triggered a citation. LPD spokesman Gary Gross attributes it to officer discretion: “We’re just giving people the benefit of the doubt,” Gross said. “It’s an obvious sign that we’re not out to get anyone.” He noted an example of a driver taking a right turn on red too fast but the officer determining the driver correctly assessed the situation before turning.
DEGAS AT THE POLK MUSEUM: From December 22nd through March 24th the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College will exhibit 107 pieces by Edgar Degas. The exhibit is free and open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
EMERGENCY: The corner of South Florida Avenue and Eastbay Drive is getting a freestanding emergency healthcare facility of approximately 11,000 square feet. HCA, a for- profit healthcare provider based in Nashville, confirmed the property had been purchased, and a Lakeland city planner, Matthew Lyons, confirmed that concepts were submitted to the city for review over the summer. (Marilyn Meyer’s 12/10/2018 report: Two Freestanding ERs Will Compete With Lakeland Regional
UPDATED: 12/21 at 9:00 am with additional links.