Category Archives: Community Info & Events


Mornings With the Mayor – July 22

Mayor Gow Fields invites local residents to attend the next Mornings with the Mayor event that will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, July 22nd at the north side Golden Corral located at 4705 US Highway 98 N, Lakeland.

Citizens that attend these informal breakfast sessions get to hear from the Mayor about key issues and initiatives taking place within the City before he invites questions from the audience.  This is a chance for residents to converse directly with Mayor Fields on a topic of interest or concern.

Mayor Fields said, “Accessibility is one of the keys to local government and Mornings with the Mayor provides the opportunity for our citizens to share their views, ask questions and provide feedback on issues that are directly affecting them.” He added, “We have successful asked for public engagement during these events and I look forward to spending valuable face to face time with our residents listening to the concerns that they feel are facing our community.”

Those attending will have to pay for their own breakfast.  The Golden Corral features a breakfast buffet with a host of items for around $7. The premise behind the Mornings with the Mayor program is to make elected officials more accessible to residents in the community and to promote one-on-one communications.

This program allows residents an informal and comfortable forum in which to meet with the Mayor to talk about issues, ask questions, voice concerns and offer comments or suggestions.  Mayor Fields said, “It’s also an excellent way for us to gather candid feedback about how people feel things are going in our City; what amenities they particularly enjoy, areas they feel could use improvement, or what they’d like to see in the future.”


Looking for Holiday Fireworks? Make Plans for Baseball!

The Joker Marchant Stadium ticket office will be open on Saturday, July 2 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. so fans can purchase tickets to the Flying Tigers July 4th celebration.  In addition the ticket office will open at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 4.  Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance for the best seat locations and to avoid lines.  Box seats are $7 and reserved seats are $6 and seniors 55 and over and children 14 and under receive a $1.00 discount.  Parking is FREE.  Joker Marchant Stadium is located at 2301 Lakeland Hills Blvd.

The Flying Tigers will take on the Dunedin Blue Jays in a Florida State League north-division match-up.  Game time is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and the gates to Marchant Stadium will open at 4:00 p.m.   During the game the Flying Tigers will have holiday picnic themed games, contests, music and fun.  The team will be wearing special patriotic red, white and blue jerseys. There will also be live music and entertainment following the game by local recording artist Lisa Casalino (

The USSOCOM Parachute Demonstration Team “The Para-Commandos” will perform a precision freefall parachute demonstration to kick off the Lakeland Flying Tigers July 4th Celebration.  The Para-Commandos are the only joint service parachute demonstration team in the U.S. military.  The team is based at MacDill Air Force Base and will deliver an American flag to the field prior to the game.

The dueling fireworks spectacular will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m.  There will be two amazing fireworks displays skyrocketing at the same time choreographed to patriotic music.  The shows are sponsored by The City of Lakeland, Lakeland Electric and The Ledger Media Group and will be displayed by Bell’s Fireworks Display Company.

The Flying Tigers are a Class A Affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.  For more information please visit the Flying Tigers online at


Polk State College “Kids at College” Registration Deadline Approaching Fast

The popular “Kids at College” program for students aged five to 14 still has a few spaces left for the July 22-21 session, according to a Polk State College spokesman. The registration deadline is July 6.

The college has presented the summer program for more than 20 years in Winter Haven and Lakeland, and this year expanded the program to include a site at Bok Academy, in Lake Wales. Classes vary by campus, and include such topics as Art, Archery, Book Cook, Cheerleading, Comic Strip Craze, Lego Robotics, Magic, Rocketry, and Science.

Students take up to three classes during each session, and each class meets daily for 75 minutes. The cost per class is $50 or $150 for the full 3-class session.

According to Brenda Bracewell, Kids at College Coordinator, the program draws participants from Central Florida and beyond. “We have a lot of children from out of town in the program, who attend while visiting family members who live locally. One student even lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Many home school families also take advantage of the program for summer programming, according to Bracewell.

Registration and additional information about the program is available online at Questions may be directed to Bracewell at 863-298-6826 or


Lakeland Student Russel Mank Wins International Art Contest

Local artist Russell Mank, a recent Harrison School of the Arts graduate, was announced as the 2011 National GRAND PRIZE WINNER at the National Young Artists & Authors Showcase sponsored by Sister Cities International, Washington, DC.  Mank will be officially recognized by the City of Lakeland at a July 5th City Commission meeting.

His piece entitled Green Future is slated to tour throughout the United States as part of the Young Artist Showcase.  Mank won $1,000 cash and another $400 towards travel to the Sister City conference in California where the showcase works of art are now on display.  The winning art and literature pieces are scheduled to tour the United States for a year with announced stops in San Diego, California, Dayton, Ohio and Suffolk, Virginia.  New stops will be introduced as part of the 2012 portion of the art tour.

This year’s international showcase, themed “Shaping your Community for a Greener Future”  was an opportunity for 13 – 18 year-old artists to utilize recycled materials or other 2D media to illustrate the ways they, their community, or their sister city are working to protect the local environment.  A panel of judges selected the five US winners and five international winners based on originality, composition, and theme interpretation.

Mank said this about his award winning art work, “This piece of art comments on the modern movement for greener automotive technology.”  He added, “It is a collage of old and new design materials with a soil element that became the base from which new greener technology will bloom.”  A prominent sunflower captures the eye on Mank’s piece of art which he says represents a green future.

Mank also won a $1,000 college scholarship through Lakeland Sister Cities International in a separate award this year.  He plans to attend Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, to pursue an advertising career.

Since 1988, the Sister Cities International Young Artists Showcase has encouraged youth around the globe to express their interpretation of their mission, promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, cooperation through one individual, one community at a time.


One Poly Place to Hold Open House June 28

The public is invited to an open house at the University of South Florida Polytechnic’s new One Poly Place at 439 South Florida Avenue in downtown Lakeland on June 28 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event begins with a ribbon cutting at 4:30. Refreshments will be served.

Located on the third floor of the Pilot Bank building, the 10,000-square-foot One Poly Place houses more than 40 employees in several administrative units. USF Polytechnic leased the additional space following recent faculty hirings, which have created a shortage of office space at the USFP campus at 3433 Winter Lake Rd. in Lakeland.

One Poly Place includes employees from Campus Planning and Facilities Operations; Marketing and Communications; Development; Government Relations; International Partnerships; Finance and Accounting; Human Resources; Extended University; Institutional Research, Effectiveness and Planning; and the USFP Rath Senior ConNEXTions and Education Center.

USF Polytechnic added 22 faculty members and 26 staff positions in 2010 and plans to hire approximately 55 more people this year. These additions help the school expand its programs and course offerings as it prepares to open the new campus at the eastern end of the Polk Parkway and Interstate 4 in Lakeland.