Can’t Stop Thinking About the Future Of Fast Rail
A Brightline veep came to Lakeland to explain the private company’s plans to run express rail service along the I-4 median from Orlando to Tampa by 2021. Local elected officials are pushing to get a stop in Lakeland during the initial construction. The company said it plans to put a station in Lakeland eventually but all decisions will be market-driven.
Pedestrians Walk on the Wild Side in Lakeland, Study Finds
Lakeland was singled out — and not in a good way — for pedestrian safety. We were ranked fifth most dangerous city in the U.S. for walkers (eight of the top 10 were in Florida) by Smart Growth America. The city of Lakeland responded by listing projects under way to increase safety, including initiatives on heavily walked Memorial Boulevard and U.S. 98 north.
Mr. Roboto Threatens Jobs In Our Growing Warehousing Segment
The Wall Street Journal came to Lakeland to check out a Brookings Institution study that ranked us third among cities where automation is likely to reduce jobs. The reporter zeroed in on Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, where automation enabled the company to consolidate five warehouses into the largest liquor-distribution facility in the world. Initially the plant brought more jobs to Lakeland, but automation threatens their longevity.
Lakeland Gets Another Homegrown Police Chief
For the second time in a row, the city of Lakeland promoted a long-serving cop who grew up here to police chief. Ruben Garcia, who helped pioneer community policing in Lakeland, became police chief Feb. 1, replacing Larry Giddens, who now heads security at Florida Southern College. Garcia, 54, has been involved with patrol, narcotics, SWAT, K9, 911 and school resource officers.
He’s a Rebel: City Resumes Plans To Move Monument
Work to move a Confederate monument from the center of Munn Park to Veterans Park was halted when some Southern heritage organizations challenged the move in court. Once a federal judge dismissed the case, the city resumed planning the transfer that’s expected to cost $150k for the actual move and about $50k for site prep and security.
Put Me In, Coach: Spring Training Brings Tigers Back
It’s March, and in Lakeland that means taking a late, extended lunch break to enjoy a hot dog lunch and a Spring Training game at Joker Marchant Stadium. The Detroit Tigers returned to Lakeland for an 83rd year. It’s a rebuilding year for the home team, but the mild weather is perfect for checking out whether Miguel Cabrera has recovered from last season’s injuries.
Story About Pledge Protest, Disruption Goes Viral
A Lakeland story that went viral has something for everyone to get outraged about. Civil libertarians are upset that a substitute teacher at Lawton Middle Chiles Middle Academy didn’t know a student was within his rights to stay seated during the Pledge of Allegiance. Disciplinarians were perturbed that the student ignored repeated commands from administrators and the school resource officer. The student was charged with causing a disruption, but latest word is he won’t be prosecuted.
Response to Fatal Blaze Draws Heat to Polk Fire Rescue
Polk County called in an International fire safety group to assess its Fire Rescue department’s response to a Rockridge Road log cabin blaze that claimed the life of a disabled, 76-year-old woman. Critics claim transcripts show firefighters on the scene did little to rescue her even as a 911 operator assured her that help was on the way.
Lakeland Will Escape All That Noise From Draken Jets
As Draken International acquires Mirage F1M jets under its latest federal contract for military adversary flight training, supersonic flights will start taking off from Lakeland Linder Airport this spring. Fortunately for area residents, the flights won’t break the sound barrier until they’re well over the Gulf of Mexico.
Herbicide Moratorium Will Affect Lakeland Lakes
The city of Lakeland will continue limited spraying of Roundup to control invasive plants in lakes even as a temporary moratorium halts the bulk of herbicide use in local lakes. Most of the spraying is done in conjunction with Florida Fish and Wildlife, which implemented a moratorium that’s expected to last into April as it takes public comment. City spraying will focus on plants preventing stormwater flows.