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The latest happenings in your city government.


LAKE MORTON SHORELINE IMPROVEMENTS

STABILIZATION PROJECT WILL INCLUDE AQUATIC PLANTS AND UPLAND PLANT SPECIES


LAKELAND, FL (February 26, 2015) - The City of Lakeland will soon be planting aquatic plants as well as grasses and shrubs along an area of shoreline on Lake Morton as part of A long-term shoreline stabilization plan.  Curtis Porterfield, Manager of the Lakes & Stormwater Division said, “There is a 150 ft. section of shoreline on the north end of the lake, across from the Chamber of Commerce, in need of immediate repair and this is the area where visitors will see us working.” 

 

Similar to prior aquatic planting efforts of the City, a low-profile fence will be erected on Monday, March 9th so newly planted aquatic vegetation can get established.  The green vinyl chain-link fence will be up for approximately one year.  Porterfield said, “Because of the abundance of waterfowl on Lake Morton, the pressure on new plants is extremely high.  For this reason, a perimeter fence is needed to ensure successful plant growth.”

 

Native aquatic and upland species of plants will be used as a natural shoreline stabilizer very similar to other areas around Lake Morton that have already been established.   A portion of the geofabric that is in place now will be removed so visitors around Lake Morton may see a piece of heavy equipment in the area for a few hours before the fence is installed.

 

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SWAN FEED DISPENSERS BEING INSTALLED AT TWO LAKE MORTON LOCATIONS


LAKELAND, FL (February 23, 2015) — On Thursday, February 26th those walking around Lake Morton will see a few new additions to the landscape because the City of Lakeland is installing swan feed dispensers to help promote a healthier diet for Lakeland’s swan population.  The swan feed dispensers will be coin operated and the bubblegum type machines will vend veterinarian approved swan feed. One will be installed on the north side of the lake in front of the Chamber of Commerce and the other will be installed on the south side of the lake near Success Avenue.

 

Dr. Patricia Mattson who donates her time as Lakeland’s official swan veterinarian recently shared her report on Lake Morton’s swans after their last annual physical.  Mattson said, “The swans are consuming too much white bread and the heavy gluten diet with very little nutritional value is taking a toll on Lakeland’s swan population.”  She added, “Many of the swans have a calcium deficiency because they feast on bleached white bread.” 

 

Bob Donahay, Director of Parks & Recreation said, “The Lake Morton swans are a community icon and families have been feeding them left-over bread for decades.”  He added, “With the swan feeders, we want to educate visitors so they will know there is a better alternative than white bread.  We hope families will use the swan feed because it is specially formulated to include much needed nutrients that will help the swans stay healthy.”

 

Members from the Parks & Recreation Department who take care of the swans recently visited Lowry Park Zoo to see what type of dispensers they use to distribute animal food and similar types of vending machines were purchased for Lake Morton. The newly installed swan feeders are coin operated and the proceeds from the feeders will be used to offset the annual cost for swan food, healthcare and upkeep.  

 

It costs about $10,000 a year to feed Lakeland’s domestic swans.  Lakeland’s flock was started when Queen Elizabeth of England donated a pair swans and on February 9, 1957 the two white mutes were released on Lake Morton.


ANNUAL SWAN ROUNDUP OCTOBER 1ST
 
LAKELAND, FL (September 23, 2014) -- The City of Lakeland Parks Division will be on Lake Morton at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday, October 1st for the 34th Annual Swan Roundup.  Crews will be catching and herding the swans as the initial part of their annual veterinary check-up. The swans will be confined in large holding pens on the south side of the lake for their annual wellness examinations that will start Thursday morning, October 2nd at 7:30 a.m. with Patricia Mattson, DVM. The Annual Swan Round-Up allows Lakeland's Parks and Recreation Department to closely monitor the health and vitality of Lakeland’s swan population. 
 
The original swans on Lake Morton were donated by Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom in 1957.  As Lakeland’s swan flock grew, it became paramount to give the regal birds an annual health check so the Swan Roundup began.  This practice started in 1980 and has continued every year since then. The swans were first cared for by veterinarian (emeritus) and original "Swanvet" W.G. Gardner who recently passed but his dedication to the flock carries on with Dr. Mattson. 
 
Dr. Mattson has almost 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine.  She the owner of Companion Animal Hospital a full service facility that provides general medical care, preventive medical care, vaccinations, health certificates, caesarean section, diagnostic services, on-site kennel, on-site laboratory testing, flea control, dietary counseling, spay/neuter, declawing, radiology, general surgery, dentistry, emergency services, microchipping, pharmacy services and boarding.


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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