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The latest happenings in your city government.


Lakeland Awarded Bronze-Level Walk Friendly Communities Designation

Lakeland, FL – The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has designated the City of Lakeland a Bronze-Level Walk Friendly Community for its walkability initiatives and programs. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and FedEx, Walk Friendly Communities is a national recognition program aimed at recognizing communities for their commitment to pedestrian safety.

For a medium sized city in central Florida, Lakeland offers many opportunities for people to walk safely and conveniently with more than 260 miles of sidewalks and 26 miles of off-road trails, within the metro area.  These sidewalks and trails connect downtown Lakeland with the surrounding neighborhoods, parks and scenic lakes making walking a pleasant experience.  

Among the top reasons cited by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center for the designation are:

·       A well-connected network of parks and trails, with future trails planned.

·       Good planning policies to promote infill development and Complete Streets.

·       Collaboration among city departments and with other agencies, such as Polk County Board of County Commissioners and the Florida Department of Transportation, to improve pedestrian safety.

This designation acknowledges the sustained efforts that the city is engaged in to build a healthy and active community for all Lakelanders to enjoy” comments the City of Lakeland Community Development Director, Jim Studiale. 

Lakeland is among four communities recognized in the latest round of Walk Friendly Communities announced. The Walk Friendly Community designation, awarded from bronze to platinum, is given to applicant communities that have demonstrated a commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans and policies. To date, 47 communities in the U.S. have been designated as Walk Friendly Communities.

For more information on Walk Friendly Communities, please visit http://www.walkfriendly.org.

Additional Resources:

Walk Friendly Communities Website

http://www.walkfriendly.org

 

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center Website

http://www.pedbikeinfo.org

 

Federal Highway Administration Website

http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/


 

CITY CHALLENGE URBAN MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE

DOWNTOWN LAKELAND

 

LAKELAND, FL (April 15, 2014) -  Red Trail Racing of Lakeland will host the City Challenge Urban Mountain Bike Race in downtown Lakeland on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.  The registration and head table for the event will be in front of City Hall on Lemon Street.  Registration for the event will start at 5 p.m. with a practice session starting at 6 p.m. before the racing starts around 6:30 p.m.

 

Ray Wells, promoter of the event said, “I’m excited and we have almost 150 racers that will be participating in this very unique urban mountain bike format.  In fact, I am not aware of any other urban mountain bike race in the nation and we started it all right here in Lakeland.” 

 

The urban criterium is a mountain bike race on asphalt and stairs that winds through the Iowa Street Parking garage and along Lemon Street in front of City Hall.  Spectators are admitted free and can view the outlined course along Iowa Street and the Iowa Street Garage from designated positions.  

 

The Iowa Avenue Parking Garage will be closed because it is part of the race course. The portion of Iowa Avenue between Lakeland’s City Hall and Lakeland Electric will be closed and a portion of Lemon Street will be closed for through traffic at Massachusetts Avenue.

 

Wells said, “This year we’ve added a cyclocross event where participants race their bike on the course backwards having to carry their bikes up the many stairs in the course instead of riding down them.”  

 

Visit www.redtrailracing.com for more information and to register for the Lakeland Urban Mountain Bike Race .

 

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LAKELAND ELECTRIC FUEL CHARGE INCREASE EFFECTIVE MAY 2014  

 

LAKELAND, FL (April 7, 2014) - The Lakeland City Commission voted to increase the fuel charge for Lakeland Electric customers $2.50 cents per 1,000 kWh effective for meters read on or after May 1, 2014.  The new fuel charge will be $43.35 per 1,000 kWh. 

 

After listening to a presentation at the Monday, April 7th Utility Committee meeting, staff recommended an increase to the current fuel charge based on fuel forecasts that indicates growing natural gas prices for the upcoming year. 

 

 

RESIDENTIAL RATES BASED ON 1,000 kWh

 

Current                        New Rates – Effective May 1, 2014

Base Charge    $  59.64                       $  59.64 (includes environmental charges)

Fuel Charge     $  40.85                       $  43.35 (includes fuel increase)

TOTAL:             $100.49                       $102.99

 

The base rate includes environmental compliance charges that are directly related to federal and state initiatives regarding clean air and water mandates. Most of the expenses are related to energy production and include air emission controls, water quality monitoring and capital spending for equipment necessary to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act. 

 

Lakeland Electric bills are broken out for customer convenience in detail to show the base charge, fuel charge and appropriate taxes and service charges.  The fuel charge on a utility bill is exactly that, the actual costs for fuel used to generate the amount of electricity used within your residence.  Most utilities subscribe to the same billing practice and break out the base rate and the fuel charge for their customers. There is no mark-up in fuel.  In fact, fuel is a straight pass-through charge to customers. 

 

Based on Florida Municipal Electric Association data, Lakeland Electric’s residential rates after the May 1, 2014 fuel charge increase will be the continue to be the lowest in the state. Visit www.lakelandelectric.com for more information and to see a residential rate comparison.

 

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Two officers with the Lakeland Police Department are gearing up to participate in the 2014 Police Unity Tour. On May 9th, Lieutenant Mike Moran, a 23-year veteran and Sergeant Mike Lewis, a 14-year veteran, will once again set out on a bike ride that will span three days and 250 miles from Portsmouth, VA to Washington, DC. The annual event’s primary purpose is to raise awareness of Law Enforcement Officers who have died in the line of duty. The tour also raises funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum in Washington, D.C.  This year’s ride will be the 3rd for Lt. Moran and the 2nd for Sgt. Lewis. The pair of riders have been training all year for the ride.


“I am an avid cyclist and also passionate about law enforcement and recognizing the officers that have given their lives for this career,” said Lewis.

Close to their minds and hearts will be fallen officers. Lt. Moran will be riding in memory of Master Deputy Shane Robbins, from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.  The 15-year veteran died in the line of duty on April 26, 2013 when he was involved in a single-vehicle crash.  Sgt. Lewis will be riding to honor the memory of Officer Michael Crain, an 11-year veteran of the Riverside Police Department in California.  Officer Crain was shot and killed in the line of duty after being ambushed at a red light on February 3, 2013. Both Moran and Lewis will wear a metal bracelet with the fallen officer’s name engraved in it. Once arriving at the memorial site, they will present the family members with the bracelets.  

“When you ride into the police memorial in Washington, DC and see the faces of the family that you are riding for, it’s heart wrenching,” said Moran.  “But it’s also amazing when you get to meet the family and see how thankful they are for us remembering their loved one. It’s one of the most gratifying things I’ve done in my life.”

Both will also wear a small memento in honor of their own fallen comrade, Officer Arnulfo Crispin. Crispin was shot in the line of duty on December 18, 2011 and succumbed to his injuries three days later.  “The reason I joined the tour in 2012 was to honor the memory of Arnie,” said Moran. Officer Crispin’s family will be there in Washington to greet Moran, Lewis and the other riders participating in the tour.

Riders in the Unity Tours are either police officers or family members of fallen officers. Officer Lewis shared a memory from his first Unity Tour where a woman who was riding in memory of her husband. The woman began to struggle after about 70 miles into the ride. He watched as another officer whom she had never met put his hand on her back and pushed her for the next 40 miles so that she would not be dropped from the ride. “Riding a bike for 110 miles is impressive, but to push another rider for that distance was simply amazing to witness and truly in the spirit of the tour,” said Lewis.

Started in 1997 with only 18 riders, the event has grown to include over 1,700 riders from all over the United States. In total the event has raised almost $14 million for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.  Each year the ride culminates at during National Police Memorial week in Washington, DC.  Riders all converge at the same time at the National Law Enforcement memorial where thousands of family members of fallen officers and law enforcement supporters are waiting.

For each officer to participate they must raise $2,000.  Half of the money covers the expenses of the ride and the other half goes directly to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund.  If you would like to support these two officers, you can make a donation through their fundraising websites.

Sgt. Lewis’ fundraising website:  http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/MLewis/2014

 

Lt. Moran’s fundraising website:  https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/moranpoliceunitytour/2014