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The latest happenings in your city government.


GREEN CELEBRATION HONORING EARTH DAY
LAKE MIRROR EVENT WILL FEATURE LIVE MUSIC & GREEN LIVING DISPLAYS

LAKELAND, FL (April 14, 2014) - On Friday, April 18th there will be a free Green Celebration in honor of Earth Day with a concert & showcase at the Lake Mirror Promenade from 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. There will be live music from the Sofa Kings along with a variety of exhibits and displays promoting green living initiatives. 

The Sofa Kings will provide an entertaining mix of dance, pop and rock with groovy antics to please the crowd. The band grooves audiences into a soulful mood like no other and they are a perfect fit to celebrate the 43rd Anniversary of Earth Day. Their music includes Southern Rock favorites along with crowd pleasers from the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Buffett intertwined with hits from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. 

The Green Celebration honors Earth Day, a day intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and it is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day. 

There will be a number of exhibits and vendors that will have displays at the Green Celebration. The Polk County School Board will showcase programs and earth friendly initiatives designed to promote a greener more sustainable future. This year, Polk County Schools will exhibit a “green fair”. The audience along with a panel of judges will decide on the most innovative project that promotes a cleaner, greener environment. The City of Lakeland will also unveil six new recycling trucks that have oversized wraps decorated with art created by local elementary schools that depicts a recycling message. 

The Green Celebration invites the Lakeland community to attend the free event. Bring a blanket, a picnic basket and enjoy the festivities as we celebrate Earth Day. Participants are encouraged to recycle, reclaim, reuse and ride a bike. 

 


Allegations Against Acting Chief Giddens Unfounded - Giddens Exonerated

LAKELAND, FL (April 18, 2014) - Allegations against Acting Chief Larry Giddens by Officer Will Long are determined to be unfounded and Giddens exonerated.  City Manager Doug Thomas said, “I’m pleased that we can now close this chapter and move on.  Ultimately the allegations against Chief Giddens were unfounded  in one instance and he was exonerated in another.”  

The issue stemmed from an allegations made by Long regarding him vacating his residence at Florida Southern’s Lake Morton Apartments where he had lived as an extra duty courtesy officer.  He was asked by Florida Southern to move-out of the apartments and was given a deadline of July 28, 2013.  After some issues regarding finding a new apartment, Long asked to have an extension and it was not granted.  Ultimately, the issue rose to up the Chain of Command where Giddens called Long to discuss the situation regarding the College’s decision for Long to vacate their apartment unit.  Long accused Giddens of conduct unbecoming and harassment in the workplace following the telephone conversation. Long felt that Giddens implied that he would remove Long from traffic operations if he did not comply and move out of the Lake Morton apartments by the deadline of July 28, 2013.

Please find attached the Investigative Summary, the City Manager Findings & Recommended Actions Form, and notification letters to both Long and Giddens on the results of the report.

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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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Teacher Arrested After Having Sex with Student


LAKELAND, FL (April 15, 2014) - On April 14, the Lakeland Police Department received information from the victim’s mother that her son was engaged in sexual activity with his English teacher who is employed at the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, 4141 Medulla Road, Lakeland, Florida. The English teacher has been identified as Jennifer Christine Fichter, 29 years of age. It was discovered that the victim, 17 years of age and Fichter had been texting each other with Fichter using two different alias’ and later meeting in the early morning hours for sex in the parking lot of the Reserve Apartments, 4920 State Road 33, Lakeland. The sexual encounters occurred in Fichters vehicle.

 

The victim’s mother discovered this relationship after reviewing text messages from her son and she asked that Fichter respond to her residence to talk. According to the victim’s mother, Fichter admitted to the sexual encounters and professed her love for him. 

 

The victim admitted to his involvement with detectives saying that they met for sex a total of 3 times at the Reserve Apartments and 3 times at another location off of New Tampa Highway within the city limits. In addition, the victim admitted to sex numerous times outside the cities jurisdiction and within the jurisdiction of Polk and Hillsborough County. These incidents are currently under investigation by both agencies. 

 

Jennifer Christine Fichter was arrested at her residence at 11:40 p.m., and later transported to the Polk County Jail. Fichter has been charged with Unlawful Sexual Activity With A Minor (6 counts).

 

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583-2357.